Friday, November 7, 2014

The Forbbiden Chapter in Sanders' Book

Everyone by now likely knows that not long after the first edition of Ed Sanders The Family came out he and his publishers were sued by The Process for writing untrue things about their group and their connection to Charles Manson.  Sanders US publisher settled with The Process.  Any books that had been published in the US but not sold had to have a slip of paper affixed to the front end page saying that anything about The Process in the book was bunk.  And the chapter about The Process and any other references to The Process were removed from subsequent editions of the book.

The case over the forbidden chapter then went to trial in England where The Process was founded and the book was also published.  Ed Sanders British publisher attended the trial but Sanders did not.  The Process lost the case in England and they were ordered to pay the defendant's legal fees. You can get a copy of the trial transcripts from Aes-Nihil if you want to delve into this further.

So, where did Sanders get that story about an "exorcism" of Pussycat by a man named Father P with Charles Manson as a witness to the whole affair, that so ruffled The Process's feathers?  This event was supposed to have taken place at the "Devil House" on Waller Street in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district.  The "Devil House" has alternately been reported as having been The Process's San Francisco headquarters or a building belonging to the Diggers.  No one, to my knowledge, has ever claimed that the Diggers and The Process were connected in any way.  Also, no one has ever been able to definitively say where the "Devil House" was located, only that it was on Waller.

Father P's real name came out in the trial but Pussycat's name did not.  Father P has since passed on but no one has learned the name of Pussycat and therefore the veracity of the story has never been tested.  I learned from Jon Aes-Nihil that both Father P and Pussycat actually did exist.  By some cosmic witchy occurrence Jon met both over New Year's in 1967/8 in Guerneville, yes, that same Guerneville where James Willett was killed! 

I was able to track down the beginnings of the story and the likely source for  the chapter in Sanders book in a January 30, 1970 Berkeley Tribe article.  This article was published a good year before Sanders book.

So, the questions remain, was Charles Manson present at this alleged event, who is Pussycat and where was the "Devil House"?