Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Manson Tour 2015: Gary Hinman's Bus -- Not

To me the fate of Gary Hinman's 1958 VW bus is one of the most crucial aspects of the Tate-LaBianca case, because if the bus ended up after his murder in any proximity to the Straight Satans Motorcycle Club it reinforces the scenario that the Hinman homicide occurred during an unsuccessful attempt to get "refund" money from Hinman for a bad $1,000 mescaline deal brokered for the Satans by Bobby Beausoleil, as opposed to Hinman being killed as the result of a strong-arm robbery of his supposed inheritance money gone awry.

Although it is the chain of possession of the Hinman bus (and not the bus itself) that makes it important to the case, the actual bus would certainly be a major macabre memento of the events of the summer of 1969.

Whatever became of the Hinman bus? Certainly a possible answer to that question would be the vehicle depicted here. But a reader of this blog also recently suggested another possibility, said to be located on the property of the old Murphy Ranch in Rustic Canyon in Topanga State Park in Los Angeles. During this past weekend two members of the 2015 Manson Family Tour took a few hours to check this latter bus out. 

The bus was certainly located in a remote area. It was reached only after a strenuous walk up the Sullivan Ridge Fire Road into the wild and rugged country of Topanga State Park. After passing through the ruins of the gate of the old ranch, the investigators descended down a decaying road onto the property, which was peppered with buildings and other structures brightly painted in wild colors and designs.  And then, in front of the ranch's old power house, they came upon a demolished and decaying VW bus. Was it the one?

The style of the remains of the body certainly confirmed that it was made pre-1968, but all of the locations of where a vehicle identification number (VIN) could be located and researched for a more accurate determination were long-ago rusted away. That left an examination of whatever remained of the body as the only clues to its vintage. That examination, however, very quickly determined that the bus could not be Hinman's because the hole in the rear of the bus for the taillight housing was much too big for a model year 1958 bus, which Hinman's was. 

Thus was a rumor about an interesting but ultimately inconsequential aspect of the Tate-LaBianca case laid to rest. But that doesn't mean it's the end of the story. It just means that I'd like to see a rear shot of the vehicle shown in the above-linked YouTube video to see what its taillight housing holes look like. 

 The view from rugged Rustic Canyon looking south towards Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean

The gate to the Murphy Ranch

One of the remarkably painted structures at Murphy Ranch

The suspect bus

The taillight hole

A 1958 VW bus with the much smaller earlier taillight


CieloDrive.com said...

Let's not forget that LASO found and impounded Hinman's bus in 10/69. What happened after that, I have no idea, but it's not like it was abandoned in some canyon after the crime and never found.

Patty is Dead said...

Wow! Interesting!

Coyote said...

The bus in Michaels "topanga Mountains" video is the same bus you visited. Murphy Ranch is considered a part of Topanga Canyon State Park. Sorry for the dead end!

MHN said...

This is wonderful. It kind of kills me that I can't tag along. Maybe next year.

Sounds like Cielodrive puts things to bed. But then, anyone know - in 1969 what would standard LASO procedure be once an impounded vehicle had been finished with? Did Hinman have relatives to whom the bus would've been returned? What if no one claimed it?

Coyote said...

I know the bus looked quite a bit different when you visited it this past weekend, compared to what it looked like in Michaels video, but the creek does in fact run every once in a while...causing a lot of change and movement of the bus. In fact, the photos of the bus you took look quite a bit different from the last time I was there. If you contact Michael he will confirm that it is in fact the same location.

Unknown said...

It was a rugged walk alright- but well worth it. A very trippy little place, and a beautiful view getting there...

I spent a good day with George. In addition to Murphy Ranch, he took me on a tour of Hollywood,and Beverly Hills, and even a few spots of his own personal interest. We talked about our families, and the "The Family".

I wrote a post recently asking why anyone who had the benefit of hindsight would want to be friends with Charlie. I believe after spending some time with George (and finally reading his book entirely lol)I got my answer. In fact, I have spoken with a few people on the tour who have given me some ideas as to how that happens.

So now I am moved on from that subject. It made me nervous and scared me. It no longer does.

What kind of person wants to be friends with Manson?

Well it turns out that they are people not unlike me. Instead of trying to figure this out a long time ago, I just made the assumption that I would naturally be better and smarter than anyone who would go down that road.

Turns out- maybe not..

I took it upon myself to insult and name call people this man cares about deeply, and for that I was wrong. I am done with that going forward. My apologies to those I have offended. I am not sure I agree with everything I heard and read, but no doubt they feel strongly about there opinions, and passionate about their friends. and they have the same right to that I do.

It was a hell of a great day George- thanks for everything


stoner van houten said...

this is very interesting ...i will have to check it out for myself ...looks trippy down there ..

CieloDrive.com said...

According to the guy who bought the Van. The court deemed the van part of the Hinman estate. So it went to the next of kin

MHN said...

Admirable thoughts, Saint.

Robert Hendrickson said...

ST. Welcome to a whole new world.

Michael: The Vietnam Golf of Tonkin Resolution ALLOWED LBJ to ignite the Vietnam CONFLICT - without a Declaration of War.

AND the same "Resolution" allowed George Bush to ignite the de-stablization of the Middle East in retaliation for Bin Laden's nastiness against the US. Of course, NOW - Europe will PAY and Bin Laden will likely come the ultimate WINNER !

BTW Medditarian Food is great - we already have such resturants all over LA. Any in Austin yet - ANN ?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this also discussed in the murdered for money-post? Since i'm now copy-pasting, i'd like to thank Cielodrive.com. When you rebooted your website, you also rebooted my interest in the case. It's amazing the amount of money you're not making.

LASD, 3-17-70, 069-02378-1076-016.

"Arneson stated he went to the Spahn Ranch in July or August, 1969 and had a conversation with Charles Manson in the accompaniment of Robert Beausoleil in the salon building. He stated Manson asked him if he would like to have a car and he replied "Yes." Manson and Beausoleil and himself got into a 1965 white station wagon with the engine sticking out the front (Beausoleil driving) and went to the rear of Spahn Ranch where a 1956 Volkswagon Micro-bus, red and white in color, with a large eagle painted on the sides, which was parked among the trees.

Manson got out of the station wagon and showed Arneson how to hotwire the car and started it. Manson started the vehicle and drove it back to the saloon building and gave Arneson the pink slip to the vehicle. Manson stated to Arneson, "If you get stopped by the cops, tell them you bought the vehicle from Gary Hinman, who is a Negro wearing a black beret and black jacket."

Arneson stated a few weeks later, he sold the vehicle to Louis Pubeck. The vehicle was subsequently recovered and the registered and legal owner is Gary Hinman. "

LACDA, 1-20-70, 26-4076.

"[LOUIS B. PUTTEK] states that MARK AARONSON's father works in a motorcycle shop in the Inglewood area.." oo-ee-oo.

CieloDrive.com said...

Ha, thanks Robot. I'm very skilled at not making money.

rshep said...

How does one go about signing up for next years Manson Tour 2016?

leary7 said...

I still think that in addition to the Manson Tours one of the 'go to' people on this blog should start a Manson Dating site.
Just imagine being a couple and someone asking - "so where did you two meet?"
And you could answer, "Charlie Manson fixed us up".
Hell, he did it for Star and Grey Wolf, he just needs to expand.
Obviously, I am kidding.
But Saint's question about who would want to be friends with Charlie is really provocative. Is it different from asking who would want to be friends with OJ or Aaron Hernandez or Jody Arias or William Calley or a hundred others. They are all murderers. But is it different with Charlie because he seemingly embodies evil? Maybe I am an idiot (that's rhetorical) but I still see Charlie less as a murderer and more as a really demented court jester - and one of the more colorful characters of the past century.
You know, in talking recently about Charlie I had referenced Geronimo several times. Geronimo was as hated and feared as Bin Laden back in his day - and yet his name was used as code for signifying the demise of Bin Laden. And his photo hung above the Cheers bar from start to finish. Geronimo was every bit the ruthless killer and hater that Manson is claimed to be. And yet now he seems more of an American Icon than a murderer. It seems impossible, but could that be Charlie's future? If Baltimore and other places continue to ignite, will a hundred years from now folk think Charlie more of a prophet than a killer???
Stranger things have happened.

Ben Gurecki said...

The strange thing to me was when this bus appeared in Michaels video it had the rear bumper on it. The bumper has a UCLA parking sticker on it, the bumper has been stolen since that video but that's pretty strange!!