Monday, June 29, 2015

Motive: They Believed In What They Were Doing - The Perspective of an Elite Warrior

I'm new to this forum but not new to the strange and macabre events of 9-10 August, 1969. To introduce myself, my name is J and I'm a 20 year veteran of Army special operations. I was an Airborne Ranger for 8 years prior to being selected to a secretive counter terrorism unit based in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. I was a part of hundreds of nighttime raids and kill/capture missions and deployed everywhere from Mogadishu Somalia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Afghanistan and finally four times to Iraq for a total of 8 combat deployments. For those of you that may question my background, I've sent Matt numerous documents to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am who I say that I am. I'm as highly trained and combat effective as an elite warrior can be but my reason for contributing here has nothing to do with me, my accomplishments, or personal accolades. It's to give some perspective and lend credence to something that has always intrigued me about the horrific events that unfolded in August of 1969.

To begin, killing humans doesn't come naturally. There's a great book written about the psychology of killing humans titled "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" which is written by Dave Grossman. I brought this book with me to read when I attended the selection course for the unit I would ultimately spend twelve years in before retiring from the Army. To be honest, I'm not much of a reader other than my true passions; music (specifically guitar), true crime, and horror movies. To summarize, the book "On Killing" is loaded with statistical and empirical data from our wars and discusses how most people, even in the military and law enforcement community can't actually kill when faced with the task. It also discusses how the military tried to make soldiers more effective at killing by changing the simplest things such as training to shoot silhouette (human body shaped targets) which was a departure from the traditional bullseye marksmanship type of targets it had used for years. The book isn't about just those things but gets to the deeper psychological hurdles one has to jump and navigate in order to kill humans. It's way too much to get into here and now but my take away from the book was that killing humans is a very unnatural act and most people can't go through with it.

While reading portions of the book, I could relate to just how challenging killing could be as I thought back to my first engagements on the streets of Mogadishu in October of 1993. I was 24 and had been through Ranger School, Airborne School, and well over two  years of physically and mentally challenging training events. I remember watching Somali men aiming their AK's towards me and my teammates and thinking "don't make me have to do this". I was so tunnel visioned and my heart pounded as I slowly squeezed the trigger and watched as my bullets struck the three skinny Somali men in the face and chest. They continued running towards me and one of them didn't slow down until I shot him in the pelvis. I can still, clear as day, see the look on his face as his body jerked towards the ground in his final seconds of life. The next 18 hours were spent doing much of the same and after more than 22 years later, I can still see and hear the sights and sounds as if it were a few hours ago. Unlike having PTSD, I can think about it when I want to think about it and it doesn't control my thoughts.

Fortunately, I don't have PTSD and after living through numerous harrowing events and situations since October of 1993, I'm able to sleep well at night and wake up with a smile. I was able to continue to go back because I knew I was protected and felt that something or someone always had my back. The trust in my teammates and beliefs in what I was doing was more important than anything. That's what brings me to write this.

I'm not versed enough in all of the different theories (probably common knowledge to most of you) in regards to August 9th and 10th 1969. I did however read Helter Skelter back in 1982 and it was the first of many true crime books that I read in my teenage years. Between Charles Manson and the Zodiac, I'm not sure which I find more interesting. Probably the Zodiac only because he had a super high intellect and has yet to be named, caught, identified and tried by a jury of his peers. In other words, there is no proof that it's this person or that person, only theories about his true identity. But in the case of Charles Manson and his band of wickedness, I don't pretend to be an expert in any of the theories nor do I care to support one theory over another. The facts are the facts, people are in jail and hopefully they will never be released. I say that because by their own admission, they are where there are because of their actions and role in the heinous crimes they committed.

As I told Matt by email, I've recently been re-bitten by the Charles Manson bug and have been combing over a few of the blogs and websites over the last few weeks. It's been quite a while since I read anything about the case and my life experiences are different than when I first read about Charles Manson. Based on my experiences, a few things really stand out to me.

Like Tex Watson and crew, I've been given a location and instructions and told to go and kill or capture people of high importance. Unlike Tex and crew, I was highly trained and very effective in reading situations and have a natural ability to complex problem solve while in a very ambiguous and rapidly changing environment. That's called "cognitive dexterity" and one of the key components to being an operational member of the unit I was assigned to. Here's where I start to have issues with the story about the events in August 1969. Tex Watson and crew were unskilled yet pulled off a near perfect operation on the night of August 9th. Some of the things that immediately jump out to me, how did Tex know what lines to cut or where the lines were located? How did he figure this out in the dark with a group of women standing around not knowing what they were doing? As well, the adrenaline coursing through their collective veins must have been tremendous. What were they thinking at the time? I'd be worried that the occupants of the house own a gun or an attack dog. Will I die in the process of trying to accomplish what I've been tasked to do? Is it worth it? I can tell you, I've been a part of some very strategic, pin point and precise operations. The killers seemed to know what they were doing especially with all of the adrenaline pumping through them. This always stood out to me but stands out even more to me now. Creeping up on a house full of people in the middle of the night is a rush in itself but creeping up on a house full of people that you're going to exterminate is a whole new level. I have to believe that they were more skilled than I originally thought.

I don't understand how a group of twenty-something year old kids could accomplish this except for one small but critical detail. They had to believe in what they were doing. They had to believe in their cause. They had to believe in the reason  they were sent out to kill that night. A typical and rationally thinking person, if pulled off the street, would not be able to load into a car in dark clothing; creep up on a house in the middle of the night, cut phone lines, shoot people point blank in a car, go into the house and round everyone up, and finally shoot and stab everyone in the residence until they took their final breaths. If a typical and rationally thinking person was witness to the horror that took place at 10050 Cielo Drive, they wouldn't sleep for days. Watching people die, especially in such a violent and up close and personal manner is not an easy thing to watch. A typical and rationally thinking person wouldn't be able to get the images and sounds of blood curdling screams and pleading for their lives out of their heads. A typical and rationally thinking person would most definitely experience some sort of post-traumatic stress. Instead, these kids got back into their car and in a logically and rationally thinking state of mind, decided to wash themselves, discard their clothing, and upon return to the ranch they went to sleep. In similar traumatic and life altering experiences I've been a part of, I was able to go to sleep afterwards because I one thousand percent believed in what I was doing. I didn't commit senseless murder. This makes me think that they definitely believed their actions were justified.

On top of that, they got back in the car with Charles Manson not too many hours later, and did it again but this time taking it a bit further and they mutilated one of the bodies after they completed their task.

One of the other details that stands out to me is that the killers were so effective. Believe it or not, people don't die very easily. Voytek Frykowski put up one hell of a fight and if the killers were under the influence of drugs and in a haze due to narcotics, Voytek Frykowski would have easily been able to fight off two small women and one large man. He would have taken some licks and probably some lacerations and stab wounds, but he could have easily fought off two drug impaired women and one drug impaired man. Even after being shot. Again, firsthand experience on my side, I've witnessed a 130 pound Iraqi man kicking the shit out of three to four (highly trained in MMA/Combatives) commandos. When people think they are going to die, they switch into a mode that is beyond human strength. In the news we've all seen videos wherein ten cops wrestle one man to the ground and the cops can barely get the cuffs on the individual. I've lived it and witnessed this firsthand and it wasn't a case of being over the top aggressive with the people I needed to subdue. I applied the force necessary to control the situation and protect my teammates.

If we look at the story and the facts that we all know to be true (I'm sure this comment will draw criticism from the people that have it all figured out), Linda Kasabian is the only one that acted like a typical and rationally thinking person, sort of. She couldn't do what the others were capable of doing. Maybe she didn't believe in the cause because she hadn't been brainwashed enough into thinking that these acts were justifiable. But, one thing is clear and that is she didn't feel safe enough to up and leave the ranch of her own accord. To me, that is her true crime. The guilty parties all admitted to committing the acts. That isn't disputable. What is mostly disputed (nowadays it seems) is the Helter Skelter motive. Not that I subscribe to any of the newly presented theories, or the Helter Skelter motive for that matter, but the motive to commit these acts had to be something that these inexperienced kids believed enough that they were able to sleep and function normally and go out again a number of hours later and kill once more. Again, I'm not an expert in all of the intricacies of the case, but I do know death and killing and the psychology and physiology behind being able to carry out high risk operations.

Based on my knowledge of what is required to successfully carry out these acts from a physical and emotional point of view, I believe the killers were highly motivated. I believe they rehearsed (creepy crawling). I believe they conducted some form of reconnaissance to locate the phone lines. I believe they were completely clear minded and not under the heavy influence of mind altering drugs or narcotics. I believe that they were able to function rationally and logically after the crimes because they truly believed in what they were doing. I believe they brought all of the correct tools needed to be successful at their task (bolt cutters/rope/gun/knives/change of clothes). This leads me to believe that they didn't just go and commit these crimes on a whim. They had a plan, they had the equipment, they had a flag to rally behind, they had the clothing, they had the vehicle, and they had a clear head to successfully complete their task. Now what motive best supports their actions and ability to commit such gruesome atrocities?

People commit murder every day. Generally murder is financially motivated but revenge, jealousy, vendetta, frustration, hate, drugs, etc are all in the mix too. This piece isn't written from the standpoint of theorizing what the motive was. That was proven in a court of law based on all of the evidence gathered. I guess some people say there was a mass conspiracy and cover up but I'm here to tell you, the government doesn't do a good job of keeping secrets. In order to keep secrets, one must be isolated and in this case, there is only ONE group of people that were isolated and those are the people that lived at Spahn Ranch. If government (LAPD) conspiracy was at play, they are far too incompetent to be that good at covering up the truth. People talk to their spouse, they talk to friends, they talk to everyone. In my career, I'd get back from a sensitive deployment and run into a fellow unit member's wife at the grocery store and they'd ask me how my trip was. Again, I'm not an expert on all of the intricacies of this case, but government cover up is probably more a thing of folklore than reality. Government is too big to be good at much of anything.   

As far as motive, one thing is clear to me and that is this was a group of wicked people that really believed what they were doing was justified. The victims family members understand the evil required to commit these crimes and they've lived every day since wondering how this could have happened to their sister/brother/son/etc. As well, the killers own family members probably wonder similarly how their loved one could have committed such brutality. The devil had his hand in these events and worked through these people.

I hope this somehow lends a perspective that few understand and to be clear, I'm not an assassin for the government. I'm not a baby killer fighting George Bush's dirty little oil war. I fought pure evil for your ability to write, speak, and live freely in the greatest country on the planet. If you don't believe in the unprovoked evil that crashed planes into our buildings, feel free to go hang out in Syria or Mogadishu for a few weeks. Maybe then, you'll have an better understanding of the evil in the world. An evil that would gladly saw your head off and the heads of your children, on video for its own evil gain.  I'm sharing this perspective to help you better understand how normal, rationally thinking people can't watch the blood drain out of a woman who happens to be eight months pregnant, and watch it spill all over the carpet, hear the gurgles of death, and then go and have a good night sleep back at the ranch. 

Lastly, we have the benefit of time to look back and reflect on these events. The prosecutor had mere months to gather information and present that information to the world. Was it perfect? No. He didn't have the luxury that we have today and that is time and resources such as the internet.

As well, I hope that the victims families have found peace somehow.


Robert Hendrickson said...

Thank you Mr. "J" for sharing YOUR knowledge with relavance to the MANSON Gang. I would take exception to the "incompetance" of government though, but only to the extent, I can assure you that the real CIA operates in TOTAL secrecy. AND that is a primary factor in America being the MOST powerful Nation on the planet.

Because "survival" is the greatest motivator, it is rather easy to "brainwash" ANY human being into executing an otherwise EVIL mission under the guise of "cause."

Kind'a like the expression: "One man's EVIL is another man's CAUSE."

The primary "cause" of America is "survival" or preservation of it's actual existence under a system of "capitalism." Every "enemy" you mention is simply AGAINST Capitalism in favor of a more primative EVIL - socialism.

Of course, IF you can only SEE the EVIL corruption associated with Capitalism - your "cause" would naturaly be WAR against all that it represents.

It kind'a scares me that you may NOT be aware of WHY the enemy sees the U.S. as EVIL - because in their minds - it makes perfect sense. AND "understanding" your enemy is the ONLY way to ultimately defeat THEIR "cause."

Unknown said...

Very nicely written, logical and well thought out. I liked that the author pointed out that many people confronted with their imminent death will fight like Voytek did, despite the fact he was rudely awakened, and probably still disoriented from drug use when he had to make the decision of fight or flight. And psychologically for the killers it is not a simple task to kill someone when that person fights back and the act of killing becomes very physical work. Voytek and Abigail's bodies clearly demonstrate the outcome of what happens when untrained killers encounter victims who put up a fight. Sebring, who had a modicum of training in martial arts - who theoretically should have fought back with some skill, and Sharon's bodies are evidence that they either did not or could not fight off the attack.

Sarcastically one could say, poor Tex, once the murdering started he was forced to take ownership of it. And that is why he had a hand in killing, or administering very crudely, the coup de grace to every victim. I'm surprised he hasn't used that as an excuse to get followers of this case to feel sympathy for him. But, again sarcastically, Patricia Krenwinkle claimed she stabbed Abigail so many times her hand got a boo boo.

I agree also with the author that it seems peculiar that for a spur of the moment event, and from Manson's stated viewpoint he did not initiate action on the killer's parts - they sure did bring a lot of helpful tools with them to a house whose former occupant Manson had a troubled history with.

Obviously the killers had some idea of who and what to expect. When Steve Parent was killed, good ol Tex probably thought he had just killed the caretaker who was living in the guest house.

Guida Diehl said...

Interesting take on things. I've always felt that 'Helter Skelter' -and by that I mean the philosophy & value system espoused by Charlie, not necessarily the Race War thing- played a definite tole in terms of motivation for the killings.

It's very likely there were other underlying motives at play for some of the participants (drugs, cash, Charlie's loss of face, Charlie needing to keep his followers active & interested & creating a means for engineering their continued loyalty & dependence) but I find the whole thing a lot more puzzling & harder to parse without some deeper rationale behind it. It was a time of causes and I can't imagine some of the people involved being so rabidly fanatical if they didn't think they were acting to further some Greater Good.

That said, we should never underestimate what even dope-addled longhairs are capable of- humans continuously surprise me. Recently making the news here Down Under was yet another brain-rattled strung-out meth addict; locked in what was supposed to be a secure interrogation cell, he managed to knock a hole in a HIGHLY reinforced ceiling ventilation panel using only his legs (his hands were fastened behind his back), then leap into it shimmy his way to freedom through the building's ventilation system- all without being caught by a retinue of highly-trained, heavily-armed policevolk. It is surprising when you actually sit down to think about it how competently Tex et al pulled off what they did, but I guess my point is that there doesn't necessarily have to be any deeper meaning or hidden truth behind it. It's not like these people had a lot of obligations getting in the way of their creepy crawl training & planning sessions, after all.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your service and opinion. I do no want to speak for you but - in my opinion- this is an endorsement for Helter Skelter in some ways. It may not have been intended as such, but parts of it sounded that way to me.

AstroCreep said...

Hello- this is J, the author of the post. I can assure you that I am intimately familiar with all things clandestine. As well, you're incorrect- the evil I've seen first hand isn't anything of this earth merely set about to rid the world of capitalism. It's pure evil and until you've seen it up close and personal, you can't understand it. Just as I would not downplay your credibility in regards to the Manson family or whatever your expertise is, I'd appreciate the same respect I've extended to you. In other words, don't put words in my mouth or guess what I may or may not know. Stick to the post for what it is and comment on that.

Vera Dreiser said...

Love the Sandy interview. Watch it and then try to say you still believe George Stimson when he insists the Tate and LaBianca victims were killed to free Bobby. That's the "war" she's talking about? Please.
But the administrators of this site, and the majority of the people who read it, will still so cavalierly allow George, even encourage him, to get away with his bogus claim that these were copy cats, when he and Sandy know the truth.
You guys are complicit in Stimson's and Sandy's lie.

Suze said...

Shhhhh... don't feed the troll...

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is comfortable killing other human beings makes me uncomfortable, regardless of their training and sponsorship.

MHN said...

Hi J - it often amuses me that when we are faced with an enemy who tells ue exactly why they hate us and why they want to destroy us, we never tire of putting words or motives in their mouths. I don't know why our 'intellectuals' or 'betters' are so unwilling to take our enemies at their word and accept their own description of why they act as they do.

I get tired, for example, of hearing complacent western leaders recite ad nauseam "these people do not act in the name of Islam." Yes they do. How do I know they do? They tell us they do, time after time after time, and they know more about their motives (and their religion) than Barack Obama or David Cameron.

Thank you for defending the democracy and freedom of the west. You are a braver man than I am.

As for your insights into killing, they are interesting and valuable. You seem to be saying that this cannot have just been a case of "hey - you know what might be fun tonight? Let's go up to Melcher's old house and stab everyone to death!" It had to be a mission, with a cause, a very firm sense of rationalised purpose behind it.

Let me ask you - what about rage? What if they felt they had been very badly treated or cheated? What if they felt a sense of burning injustice about something? Would that not make it easier to kill? Does revenge provide enough of a justification to enable them to overcome the natural human aversion to life-taking?

Maybe, but I still find it hard to deal with the fact they happily ate and showered, and slept after doing such things.

MHN said...

Scraper Pro - you're free to sit there in comfort disapproving of those who risk everything, thanks only to those who risk everything. Enjoy.

MHN said...

Vera, we're not 'complicit' in anything you conceited fool. It's called a discussion. If it makes you uncomfortable there is a simple solution.

AustinAnn74 said...

To the author of this article: THANK YOU for your service! What an interesting perspective. I am in agreement that the killers were in the mindset to accomplish a mission, so to speak. I never understood how Tex Watson went from a supposed rootin tootin Texas "boy" to a robotic, multiple murderer within a month, or however long it took. I am not convinced that the Tate victims were his first. It's downright ridiculous that in his "sermons" on forgiveness, etc., he never mentions his other victim, Donald Shea. Again, thank you for your service!

Anonymous said...

Michael Hloušek-Nagle said...
Vera, we're not 'complicit' in anything you conceited fool. It's called a discussion. If it makes you uncomfortable there is a simple solution.


I love it when Vera turns up;)


Thank you to you and your colleagues for their service.

Anonymous said...

MH-N: I do see ur point.. But blind obedience to patriotism and nationalism has produced some horrifying results too.

MHN said...

Scraper - yes, I don't think anyone disputes that. No argument there.

Anonymous said...

Sandy Good mentioned two motives:
1. copycat killings (to get Bobby Beausoleil out of jail)
2. revolution/war/he(a)lter skelter
You gotta sea the whole WDR-docu!

If the "hitmen" had detailed information before the raid, then was there a collaboration with the two boys in the guest house of whom one was killed?

MHN said...

equinox - I love it too. I don't care if he/she/it is a troll. Even when I agree with VD the absurdity of her fanatical self-righteousness gives me a real buzz and a tremendous laugh.

Matt said...

Vera, you obviously haven't read Stimson's book wherein he expresses the idea of the people around Manson being "at war" with the system/society on more than one occasion. As far as George trying to soft-pedal the "war" idea and promote copycat, I'll might point out to you that George is the one that gave me that "war" video. He thought it would add to the post.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a transcript of Ms Good's statements on this video? My ears don't multitask well😒

AstroCreep said...

Hey Michael- thanks for understanding the context of the post. Revenge would also be a great example of motive and I'm of the opinion that had to play into the greater motive.

Anonymous said...

Cybot said: "...If the "hitmen" had detailed information before the raid, then was there a collaboration with the two boys in the guest house of whom one was killed? "


I am sure Pat Krenwinkel said that she didn't know how many people were going to be there.

Re Steve Parent and Bill Garretson, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of complicity. The only thing is that Charlie knew the owner of Cielo, Rudy Altobelli. At one point, RA and BG were living in the guesthouse together.

Matt said...

Cybot, that is a very valid deduction as to why Garrettson survived. It's very conceivable that Watson (and more importantly Krenwinkel) thought it was he who was shot in the Rambler. I honestly never thought of that.

AstroCreep said...

Hey St. Circumstance- I only know what the facts are, and the facts are people are in jail. Their actions landed them in jail and their actions outside the courthouse solidified their guilt in the worlds eyes. Beyond that, I don't know of any evidence supporting another theory. I'm not an expert and don't claim to be at all, but after reading hundreds and hundreds of posts and comments what really stood out to me was this general consensus that they just went and killed some people, no biggie. I have a real problem with that. Normal and rationally thinking people have a hard time seeing an ISIL beheading video without replaying it in their head... let alone seeing the events unfold at the Polanski residence then going back to the ranch to catch a few zzz's...

Anonymous said...

Hasn't Krenwinkel said that Tex instructed her to check on the caretaker's house during the murders, and that she went down there but didn't knock or enter? Seems like she even characterized her pause and change of heart as a moment of conscience!

Suze said...

J, thank you for your service. As a Ranger you put your life in danger on missions that are little discussed. You guys go in and leave without the fanfare. Thank you for that. I work in DC (in government) and I see on a daily basis the waste and politics that bog us down as a nation. It's sickening. But despite it all we are the greatest nation on earth. Thank you for defending us and humbly not taking the credit.

I appreciate your perspective. The fact that most of us are horrified by the events of August 9 & 10 is the result of the killers' lack of remorse. You have shed valuable light on that angle.

Anonymous said...

AstroCreep, thanks for the insight RE:the Mindset of someone who kills.
I never could understand how skinny KIDS with no training could pull off such horrific murders and then just go home as if was just a day at the office.
All the while supposedly stoned & with a pathetic arsenal at their disposal.
It still seems unbelievable but at least you have added something that may help to add a little sense to it all.

Anonymous said...

Great point about Tex assuming Parent must have been the caretaker.

Remember that methamphetamine was distributed to German soldiers as "marching dust". Clearly the killers were not on LSD per cultural mythology, but Tex himself said he was tweaking on meth.

Unknown said...

Thanks Sir. Again- thanks for the service.

AustinAnn74 said...

Pat Krenwinkel told the parole commissioner in her 2011 parole hearing (See Austin Ann's post "Pat Parole Hearing Of Weirdness) this:

"Because there was no doubt that I knew that what was ever going to happen here was not going to be good. I did know that that was, the plan was to murder two women inside the house. That was given, that was a given."

So....does that mean that they did know ahead of time who were/weren't supposed to be there?

Anonymous said...


From the quote, it sounds like they knew two women were going to be there. However, you remember Sandy on the Bertice Berry show when she told Patti Tate that Sharon wasn't supposed to be there. Charlie knew Melcher no longer lived there.

Considering half of Hollywood has since claimed that they were supposed to be there that night, it would have been funny if Tex and the girls had turned up and there was a large number of people there.

Anonymous said...


If Steve Parent was killed in the night this can mean 2 things:
- He was a victim of the Manson crew who met him by chance entering his car.
- He wanted to meet the Manson killers, e. g. to give them information or to get something
and was then terminated as a witness.

Bill Garretson said he did not hear the killings after the massacre, even if they were very loud (some say there were distracting noises elsewhere). But many years later he said different things. And on the lie detector test he was 'unclear'.

And it is not true that this rich compound was not protected. They had many aggressive dogs and other obstacles.
- Bill Garretson took the dogs off the area - he said it was ordered by Sharon Tate
- Tex cut the phone wires
- Tex came out of the house to open the window for the girls (how did he get in?)

Bill Garretson and Steve Parent were portrayed as friends so they could both have collaborated with the Manson Gang. Maybe they did not know this was planned as a killing spree.
And it is known that at least one of them (Parent) dealt with stolen goods.

Tex was the operator of that raid. It seems he had much more information about it than the girls.

Anonymous said...

Cybot said:

"...- Tex came out of the house to open the window for the girls (how did he get in?)"


Tex entered by an partially open window, and opened the front door for the girls. I am sure Pat and Susan testified as to the method of entry.

Anonymous said...


Why was that window open and why where the dogs inside the house?

Anonymous said...

@Equinox - the story as to how they entered the house at Cielo has changed so many times it is difficult to know what to believe.

At Watsons trial he said he just walked right up to the door and turned the knob and and walked in, didn't slit any screens and none of the girls were with him at the door at that time. Eight years later in his book, he said he did slit a screen, went to the front door and let Sadie in.

Sadie stated to the Grand Jury that Tex opened the dining room window and then came to the front door. In 'The Killing of Sharon Tate' she said he lifted up a window right beside the front door (porch window), and got in thru that. In her book in 1977, she said tex went round the back and then opened a window from the inside.

In other words the stories they told, relatively not so long after the event, in Dec 1969 (Sadie) and Oct 71 (Tex) conflicted with each other.

This is the kind of example which just shows that everything they said happened is up for debate.

MHN said...

Kevin Marx

"This is the kind of example which just shows that everything they said happened is up for debate."

To me the interesting question is why that should be the case in this instance. I read a great deal about crimes and about murder in particular, and I don't know of another case like this - where a group of participants disagree with each other and their own past statements to such an extent, without good reason, over the course of nearly half a century.

Why is that the case? Why is nothing about this case clear cut?

MHN said...

Seems like it was an inside job. I propose that Altobelli didn't want a pornographer and child-rapist living in his property, and his attempt to evict the Polanski posse using his contacts in the Family went horrifically wrong, necessitating a copycat killing the following night to create a false narrative.

fiona1933 said...

Well, actually Tex has been completely clear about being on methamphetamine .and he isnt lying.
First, his description of meth is completely accurate. He stated that it makes the mind fly so fast that as soon as you think of doing something, you find you have already done it. This is what happened in the Tate killings.

I have tried that drug once...and once was enough. I couldnt sleep for nearly two days, and I had a tiny little bit. It was exactly as Tex describes: the mind flies. I hated it. But others where I lived loved it. One became totally psychotic and began going around in a heavy veil! To hide from THEM! She had to be sectioned in the end.

Second, the savagery of the Tate murders was instantly recognizable to Coroner Noguchi as an amphetamine killing. By this time, the peace-and-love hallucinogens had been long replaced by heavy forms of speed. What does speed do? It makes you not sleep and that in itself produces psychosis, but it also produces paranoia and rage.
There was an article years ago in the South China Morning Post about the rise of yaba in Thailand..its meth too. Here were tales of a group of construction workers. given the stuff to make them fly around their jobs and feel invincible even at great heights...suddenly freaking out and brutally launching on passers-by...with, crucially, knives. Stab and stab and stab again: sound familiar? There was an incredible picture of a man slashing open his own stomach, believing there were insects inside him...another man cutting his own throat as a horrified cop dashes in..

Knives are the amphetamine killers weapon of choice and overkill is the signature.

Furthermore, Tex seems to have been something of a psychopath himself, or at least of a very cold nature or maybe so far gone with drugs he had no feelings. He had no issue with leaving his girlfriend Rosina with a drug dealer as hostage for money, and simply absconding with the cash. Nor did he turn that cash over to wasnt for Helter-Skelter. He kept it.

In fairness to Charles Manson, he was the one who seemed to be concerned about the girl left with Lotsapoppa and it was he who went to try and clean up what Tex had done. Tex just didnt care. Lotsapoppa had threatened the entire ranch: no reaction from Tex.

I have always felt Tex is an ice-cold person. His supposed conversion to Jesus seems to be transparently working his ticket or getting privileges inside prison. Its just not convincing at all. He called his little autobiographical film "Forgiven: the Tex Watson story". Forgiven by whom? There seems to be no remorse at all...where Krenwinkel and Van Houten have suffered agonies of remorse...Leslie has even starved herself many times.

Tex was also on that night suffering the after effects of the belladonna trip...Manson said Tex was never the same again after that. It had taken days for him to come down from it. He seems at this time of his life to have been a completely selfish individual, wildly consuming anything that came his way. Its funny how little the others ever mention him, as if he somehow didnt really exist..its hard to 'get a sense' of Tex.

fiona1933 said...

So, no, the leader was not 'clear-headed'.
As for the phone lines, I vaguely remember something a few years back explaining that there wasnt really any mystery about getting the right wires, but I cant remember what it was. Is it such a big deal to know phone from electric wires? Maybe it says 'phone'.

The LaBianca killings exhibit a different pattern. There is still a lot of stabbing, but there isnt the frenzy. Its more restrained and targeted. The impression is of someone drained and running on empty, as you might expect. The Shea killing after this seems to have had Tex back on form, but by this time' he'd have been seasoned, surely. ...but I dont think Tex is coming from the same place as you. I think this was a guy already a born psychopath, hard and cold, compromised by years of serious mind-wrecking drugs and sharpened by a real killing drug, meth. He later underwent a come-down, and rained and used up stepped out of the Family and left.
In addition all that stuff about Manson mind-controlling the people is obviously not entirely true. Look at how Tex did the Lotsapoppa deal: no discussion with Charlie, he wasnt 'ordered' to do it, he just did it...for himself, for money for himself. I feel that some of the girls were totally given to Charlie, partly because these were pre-feminist days, when women were socialised all their lives to find a man and take his name and identity as their own, become 'the doctor's wife' not 'the doctor'. It was natural for them to obey, to look for a man to order them about. Not so for the men...and the men frequently left. With the exception of Clem, who was only 17, none of the men were under his spell. I dont believe Watson when he says he was 'programmed' by Charlie...i just think he was a bad person, screwed up with serious drugs and quite possibly willing to kill to see if it was a good kick.

He said it totally was, by the way.

fiona1933 said...

*drained and used-up

Robert Hendrickson said...

Ah Fiona - a sense of reason - is in the building.

So Fiona, can you identify ANY evidence at the Tate and LaBianca murder scenes that would lead YOU to believe these KILLINGS had anything to do with the ignition of a gobal Black and White RACE "war,"
Battle of Armageddon or Black Muslims ?

That is apparently, the REAL issue regarding the "motive" HERE.

OR as the "COL" would say: "Was the BUG a LIAR ?

Anonymous said...

I recently listened to a long interview with Bill Garretson on TLB Radio (, and he tells a pretty wild tale of what he has been able to remember of the murder night at Cielo Drive. He says over the course of the many years that has passed since the murders, he has slowly remembered seeing and hearing much more than what he told the police about. He heard screams; he saw victims run from the house and witnessed some of the stabbings that took place outside the main house; he heard gunshots. He claims he was hitching earlier in the day and was given a ride with a group of people who warned him to stay away from Cielo Drive that night. He had Tate's dogs in the guest house with him. Steve Parent wasn't a friend. They met when Parent gave him a ride home when he was hitching on an earlier date. Parent was there to try to sell a clock radio to him, but he wasn't interested. Parent was on his way off the property when he was shot. Bill also says he heard footsteps outside the guest house and saw the door handle turn, as if someone was trying to enter his residence.

Bill makes some pretty far fetched claims about men in suits visiting him some time after the murders, men carrying a baby with a birth mark, men armed with a gun. I think he seriously believes that imagined baby was Tate's child. That's when I suspected ole' Bill might be a wee bit off the deep end. He constantly uses phrases like, "Something just wasn't right", over and over and over again.

Matt said...

R - It's obvious from that and a lot of other things like this that he broke with reality many years ago. I don't think anything that poor guy says can be taken seriously.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Fiona I think you did a great job of describing meth as a huge motivator in the Tate residence murders. I don't know if Tex was born bad or is still bad. But clearly he was evil at that time and I think the others were being good obedient soldiers to some extent. Susan also methed up but Krenwinkle maintains she wasn't on drugs. I'm not completely sold on Tex being completely free from Charlie's will.
Thank you J for your input on this site and your expertise.

Anonymous said...

Michael Hloušek-Nagle said...

"Seems like it was an inside job. I propose that Altobelli didn't want a pornographer and child-rapist living in his property, and his attempt to evict the Polanski posse using his contacts in the Family went horrifically wrong, necessitating a copycat killing the following night to create a false narrative."


I always enjoy how you manage to summarise the events at Cielo Drive so succinctly. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Cybot said:

"...Why was that window open and why where the dogs inside the house?"

I assume the window was open to let some air in. It was August in California, so presumably hot. I imagine they kept the window open because they had a false sense of security. I've read so many times that the windows and doors in LA were locked AFTER TLB. There is an interview with Johnny Echols of 'Love' on YouTube where he describes coming home and finding Bobby B and Susan Atkins in his house, and he says that people just going in and out of each other's homes like that was the norm.

I am not clear about the situation with the dogs.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Marx said...

"@Equinox - the story as to how they entered the house at Cielo has changed so many times it is difficult to know what to believe."


Yes, the story has changed more often that some folks change their underwear;) The extent to which they all lied is astounding.

Unknown said...

True but if you read all their books and all of their parole hearing transcripts, and all of their trial testimony - some things are universal. For example :

In Susan's grand jury testimony back then and in Patricia's most recent parole hearings modern day- they both say Charlie told them to go with Tex and do what he said. Two different people 40 years apart.

I tend to believe things along these lines.

Anonymous said...

St Circumstance (my favourite Saint!!)

Yes, there certainly seems to be corroboration there. However, I wonder to what extent they have been able to read the transcripts of each other's parole hearings and court testimonies. Also, have they been able to read any of the Manson books which have been published over the years?

MHN said...

equinox - in any other case that would sound like special-pleading conspiracy talk. "Yeah, they all say this or that, but maybe they're all lying most of the time and they've all read each others books and testimonies..."

In any other case. In this one, absolutely valid doubt.

Unknown said...

I assume they have as Tex actually rates the Monson media stuff on his blog but still I feel some of the facts have been repeated by enough different people at different times over the years and in different phases of the legal process to make me believe that these individual points may have some truth...

Maybe lol

MHN said...

And perhaps those variations in testimony are not entirely dishonest. I mentioned once before, researchers showed a group of subjects footage of a minor traffic accident. Half the subjects were then given a questionnaire to complete which asked them to estimate how fast the vehicles were traveling when they collided. The other half of the group were asked to estimate how fast the vehicles were traveling when they 'smashed into' each other. Those that had been given the question with the more sensational 'smashed into' phrase on average estimated a speed significantly higher than the 'collided' group, even though they had all watched the same footage not two minutes previously. The words profoundly coloured their recall of what their eyes had clearly seen in a stress-free environment just moments before.

The human mind is fallible and malleable in the best of circumstances. Eyewitness testimony is often little more than confirmation bias - see Ferguson for many recent examples.

If the TLB killers have their memories infected by what they hear or read from the others over the course of 40 years it's evidence of nothing more than the fact that they are normal humans. (Well, normal in one respect anyway.)

Unknown said...

Sorry on my phone lol. Tex rates the Manson media stuff on his website.

Anonymous said...

@Michael - I agree entirely that peoples perceptions of events, especially traumatic ones can vary considerably.

But in the case of how they entered the premises how can it conceivably change from walking in the thru the front door to cutting a screen to get in? And this change in events could not be put down to two different peoples perspective/memory issues as these two different versions both came from the same source - Tex

Changing from one to the other requires either mental illness, imagination (due to actually forgetting) or deceit. Now if I were a betting man which would I go for...

AstroCreep said...

Fiona- this is great news! I didn't realize amphetamines erased all symptoms of PTSD! Now if we could just harness the good parts of meth and funnel them into the military, we'd have great taxpayer savings after many years of war! No more PTSD!

Anonymous said...

Here you can see Manson and his gang in prison siding with members of the Aryan Brotherhood (11:30). Sandy Good seems to have been the loudspeaker even there! ;)

Anonymous said...

grimtraveller said...

Michael Hloušek-Nagle said...

"And perhaps those variations in testimony are not entirely dishonest"

A thought struck me the other day.
When people are perpetrating a crime, though they may be aware of the risks they're taking, they're not looking to get caught. So there may be a kind of jagged flow to what they're doing in which clear, chronological, concise processing of details simply plays no part and so recollecting at some future point is kind of starting on the back foot. It would be different if someone had to log the details as they go, live, rather like the police are trained to do.
The bigger picture is what becomes important to the criminal, not the minutiae. And people are different, some recall some bits, others may recall other bits and others still may recall very little at all. Sometimes what one 'remembers' is what they've been told, merged with a vague blurry sense of actual memory.
The other thing is that those that were there were there and may not have been 100% aware of everything happening at all times. Like Susan Atkins not being aware of where and how she lost her knife. And the knife turns up caught between the cushion of the sofa. Or none of the women being aware that Tex had a knife as well as a gun. Or no one noticing that Jay Sebring ended up with a towel on his head. Or no one remembering at which point Frykowski was shot. And when detectives {and us 4 decades later !} try to recreate the scene or explain certain happenings with available evidence, some things are inexplicable, yet they obviously happened. Mix this in with untruths, stretching the truth and filling in what you simply don't recall, yet know must have happened, then some of the "changes" are kind of understandable if not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Cybot said...


I assume you've posted the link because of the part where it refers to Manson being transferred to Folsom in 1972. The documentary features a defected AB member, Michael Thompson, who relates the story of Charlie looking to the AB for protection and 'Charlie's girls' smuggling razor blades and drugs into Folsom to ensure that protection. That may be true, but I want to make the point that Thompson recounts the tale in such a way that he (Thompson) was involved in setting up the arrangement. In fact, Thompson and Manson were never at Folsom at the same time. Thompson is known by prison wardens to be an 'extreme liar'. It was Michael Thompson who concocted a completely fake story about Charlie trying to orchestrate an assassination attempt on President Clinton (Charlie and Thompson have both been in the PHU at Corcoran for many years now).

MHN said...

grimtrav - you've said it better than I did. Exactly.

But also

kevin marx - absolutely. You wouldn't bet against deliberate deceit on Tex's part - even if for no other reason than an ingrained lifelong habit. He is clearly an utterly amoral shell of a human.

Anonymous said...

In his courtroom testimony at his trial, Tex said that he stayed up the night before the Tate murders, took some belladonna in the morning, then went to sleep. He woke up at "eating time", then "took some speed" (powdered meth), and later that evening "took some acid (LSD)". In his book, he says that he also "took a couple of deep snorts of speed" just before they left the ranch to go to the Tate house.

So is Tex lying about all that?

If so, I wonder what else he's lying about......

Anonymous said...

Kevin Marx said

"This is the kind of example which just shows that everything they said happened is up for debate."

That's pretty much how I feel. The only thing that I'm truly confident of in this case, is that psycho Tex killed all of those people with an assist from that hairy bitch Pat Krenwinkel.

MHN said...

Yeah, Tex only did it because of the drugs which he only did because of Charlie Manson and his strict mommy. You see, Tex was manipulated. Why, he's almost as much a victim of Manson as Sharon Tate was.

Didn't Charlie ever teach these nuts to take ownership of their lives and their decisions?

I guess he can't have been so great a teacher after all.

Anonymous said...


"...Didn't Charlie ever teach these nuts to take ownership of their lives and their decisions?"

I will never understand why, when told by Charlie to carry out some task, they didn't twig that he wasn't participating, or at the very least ask him why he wasn't taking part. I don't just mean the murders, I am referring to their activities in general, like the garbage runs, the shoplifting expeditions, any domestic chores/ranch work at Spahn. I remember Pat describing on the Diane Sawyer documentary that when CM was handing out LSD, she couldn't recall him taking any. I would have been inclined to ask why he wasn't indulging.

Anonymous said...

Now Michael, you know that it was only after a heavy dose of good old fashioned Kentucky Fried brainwashing, that Tex changed from a sweet, innocent, good natured 23 year old, babe in the woods, into an evil, mass-murdering psycho that we came to know and hate and later, forgive. Charlie was much, much, much older - 34. Most 23 year olds are incapable of wiping their own ass, let alone murdering 9 people, unless a 30-something year old brainwashes them into doing it. Let's also not forget that Linda Kasabian was "a true flower child" like Boogalucy told us, and it was only after meeting Manson a month before, with him using his mind-controlling superpowers, that she became the chauffeur for Helter Skelter. She had no choice. Nor did Tex. Or Pat. Or Susan. Or Leslie. Or Boogalucy's watch. Or anyone or anything else that came into contact with Charlie.

Robert Hendrickson said...

PLEASE Fiona, help me out here. You seem to be the only one who actually understands about the "drug" situation in connection with the Manson Family.

Belladonna was the one thing they really had going for them that could have made them extremely "wealthy." They were the FIRST to harness (control) its power, but instead blew it - ALL for what? OR could it have been that Charles Manson accomplished some sort of "goverment" mission.

Back in the late 1970's I was doing a one-on-one interview with a reporter and HE would not get OFF the subject of "belladonna" and kept questioning me: "How did they "use it?" I realized HIS interest in belladonna went far beyond the role of a repoter and finally HE tried to hypnotize me into revealing some drug Family secret.

I broke off the interview, but have never forgotten the incident. He actually got upset that I would NOT tell him what he wanted to know.

I know this sounds crazy, but so many things, over the years, have pointed to the possibility that Manson was part of a "drug" "Belladonna" research expedition. FACT: NO one ever saw HIM really stoned, but HE divided-up the doses.

For those who don't know about "belladonna" it became the "wonderdrug" of the 20th century and the fore-runner to profaphal.

The "right dose" and you will trash every other drug you ever tried.

Just ask Michael J.

Trilby said...

Every day I check my e-mail and anxiously await the announcement that this has been renamed "Michael's Mansonblog." I mean, why not just moderate all comments through him for approval of thought, content & belief system(s)? So, that pretty much sums up why, although I'll always be a loyal supporter of this blog; I don't bother to comment anymore.

MHN said...

Trilby, message heard. I'm kind of shocked but nevertheless I'm sorry if I've been unknowingly pissing you off, and I guarantee I'll be less visible here from now on.

Anonymous said...


You, as a more recent contributor, have been like a breath of fresh air on this blog, (as is Grimtraveller who I think is excellent, and I always look out for his posts). You make thoughtful, concise posts expressed in excellent English. I am sure that most people who come on here would miss your contributions if you decide not to come back. Additionally, I don't see why you should reduce your number of posts here to suit anyone else.

I would like to see Matt as the blog admin get involved in this because I think what has happened here is unpleasant.

I enjoy ALL the contributors on this blog, irrespective of their viewpoint or their knowledge.

MHN said...

equinox it's really no big deal, nothing unpleasant - if Trilby wishes I would wind it in a bit, to be honest that's fine by me. No need for drama, and no hard feelings.

And she's right - "Michael's Mansonblog" does have a nice ring to it... :)

Robert Hendrickson said...

WELL, Guess what: the "Col" may have gotten one (1) WRONG.

"Lifetime" has greenlighted "the Manson Girls Move."

So how about "the ?

Anonymous said...

@trilby do us all a favor and "Cease To Exist".

In all seriousness, I've lurked this blog for years and I can tell you that trilby's posts on this blog have been, for the most part, unreadable. She doesn't seem to have a clue what a paragraph is, can't spell for shit, her grammar is atrocious, she's frequently off-topic and she's an egotist - as evidenced by her need to come here and announce to us why she, the great trilby, doesn't post here as much. Like, really lady? Who gives a shit?

And before anyone feels the need to point out the irony of me criticizing trilby - yes, I know. I'm also one of the worst posters here and I should have stayed a lurker.

Michael, on the other hand, is one of the reasons why I read this blog. Just look at the recent "Steve Grogan plays on a prison recorded album" to see how one comment from him can make a thread more enjoyable for everyone.

Anonymous said...

ziggyosterberg said...

@trilby do us all a favor and "Cease To Exist".

In all seriousness, I've lurked this blog for years and I can tell you that trilby's posts on this blog have been, for the most part, unreadable. She doesn't seem to have a clue what a paragraph is, can't spell for shit, her grammar is atrocious, she's frequently off-topic and she's an egotist - as evidenced by her need to come here and announce to us why she, the great trilby, doesn't post here as much. Like, really lady? Who gives a shit?

And before anyone feels the need to point out the irony of me criticizing trilby - yes, I know. I'm also one of the worst posters here and I should have stayed a lurker.

Michael, on the other hand, is one of the reasons why I read this blog. Just look at the recent "Steve Grogan plays on a prison recorded album, to see how one comment from him can make a thread more enjoyable for everyone.


Hi Ziggy

I'd like to shake your hand for the above post. Every sentence is spot on. I had no idea who this Trilby female is, nor do I want to. Like you, I thought who gives a shit whether she posts or not. Michael, on the other hand, would be a great loss to this blog. Trilby's post is, I think, hurtful and embarrassing.

As for you Ziggy, there is no way you should have remained a lurker, as you have suggested. Your posts in the recent topics have been excellent. Your observations have helped to fuel the discussions here and I am sure we all look forward to more contributions from you.

MHN said...

ziggy, equinox - thank you both for your kind words. I'd love to draw a line under this now and move on. I have no issue with Trilby whatsoever, she's as valuable a contributor as anyone else, and this blog is too good to get bogged down with this stuff. Thanks again both of you.

Trilby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MHN said...

This is horrible. Please stop :(

Matt said...

Ziggy, that wasn't Trilby.

Anonymous said...

@Matt - Feel free to delete my post, if you can. I'd do it myself, but LiveJournal doesn't appear to have that feature.

If it's possible, maybe you could delete all the posts related to this ugly incident in this thread, starting from hers at July 1, 2015 at 6:21 PM to now, as well?

Matt said...

Hey Ziggy, I deleted one or two. Let's let it die. I like Michael and I like Trilby. Trilby and the blog go way back. She has been a valuable resource both visibly and behind the scenes. I've screwed up in the past myself. Luckily not too many people held it aginst me. It's all good. Let's forget about it and move on.