"Murderers are not monsters they're men. and that's the most frightening thing about them"
- Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones
" Charles is a man of peace and character, who shines brightly in a dark place. His identity has shifted from that of a murderer to a child of God. He no longer allows the crime to identify who he is. He sees himself as God sees him- a new creation of Christ"
- Manson's right Hand Man Speaks Out- PDF on Watson's website
Ya know, Someone once told me "A Church is a Hospital for sinners, not a Museum for Saints."
Today, I take a look at "Abounding Ministries" The website of Tex Watson. Watson Founded Abounding Ministries in 1980, and then along came aboundinglove.org in 1997. His site features his "Monthly Views", letters from readers, links to various religious works, and free PDF versions of his books. It talks about his family and youth as well as his childhood and early years, and of course his life with- and since- his times with Manson and the family. It claims to have received "Millions" of hits. As I have read all of it in its entirety over the years, I thought I could summarize it for those of you who dont have the time or stomach. For the purposes of this post, I went back to look it over recently, and it appears to have been given a touch up. If I could digress for one honest moment- the coolest thing about this site, in reality, is reading the Fake "Gratitude" letter he received from Stoner Van Houten. ( True story- I am not going to give out Stoner's real name without his permission- but trust me its there) Reading that was the one and only time I actually smiled in all the hours I have spent on Tex's site. It is not exactly what I call entertaining, or fun reading for the most part. But, this site did give me some insight into Tex's life in Texas and California outside of and around the crimes, and to me that stuff was sort of interesting. I know it is very hard to take anything he says at face value for the most part, but it seems to me that with the passing of time, and the gradual realization of the inevitability of his predicament, Tex has started to be more honest about his involvement and participation over the years. I do not believe a word any of them said 40 years ago when they were still young, and thinking there might be some way out eventually. I am starting to believe some of them now that they are older, more mature, and have had plenty of time to clear out their heads. So call me crazy, but I believe some of what Leslie and Pat say at their most recent parole hearings. And as well, I believe some of what Tex says in the various documents on this website. Having said that- let's take a look:
I awake around 5 a.m.. to read, meditate and pray. I eat breakfast and work as the bio-hazard janitor in the facility where I live. The prison serves two hot meals daily, plus issues a sack lunch at breakfast, but I eat mostly food from the prison canteen and from quarterly food packages. I have been a vegetarian since I was 23 years old. There is a track around a grassy yard available for walking or running and exercise. Some inmates play baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer or horse shoes, but I don't. I walk the track sharing my Christian faith, relating to many men. I'm often seen listening to Christian music and Bible teachers on the radio as I walk the yard. Prison visits are allowed on Saturday and Sunday. Bible studies, services and other functions are held in the prison chapel, where we have a vibrant body of believers in Christ. I also spend time listening to the Lord and writing the content for this web site.
Anyway. I guess I should tackle this in some kind of coherent order. I will try to make some sense where there is no sense so to speak. Let me start with the books.
" Will You Die for Me" is basically the autobiography of Tex Watson. It was written as told to Chaplain Ray Hoesktra. Chaplain Ray was a well known man in the prison system. Famous for converting the worst of people over from the dark side. This book covers Tex's childhood, college years, and his first trips to California, Then it goes through his entire experience with the family, up to and including, his trial and incarceration. He spends two chapters on the two August nights of the murders, and does not go easy on himself or try to downplay his own participation. Tex does actually won it. He posts a review of this book on his website I actually agreed with:
"A riveting story not only because it is a first-person account of the Manson murders by one of its murderers, but because no punches have been pulled..."
Here is a couple of examples of Tex taking some personal responsibility, and pulling no punches in "Will You Die for Me":
Finally I stood up and went back inside with Katie. Sadie was sitting next to Sharon on the couch as the pathetic blond woman sobbed, begging us to take her with us and let her have her baby before we killed her. It was the first time I'd realized she was pregnant, and for a moment it almost seemed like a good idea. But then Katie hissed, “Kill her!” and Charlie's tape whirred, “Kill her!” inside my head and I looked at Sadie. But she just sat there holding Sharon, so I reached out and made the first cut across her cheek. Later, Prosecutor Bugliosi, because of some things Susan-Sadie bragged about in jail in one of her attempts to get attention, was convinced that it was she who killed Sharon Tate, but his suspicion was not true. It was my hand that struck out, over and over, until the cries of “Mother . . . mother . . .” stopped. Suddenly it seemed very quiet. It was over.
I apologize for the graphic descriptions he gives for those with a weak stomach, but they do illustrate my point. Tex doesn't go easy on himself or say anything which is self serving about his participation. I know they have all changed their stories a million times, but as I said earlier, as they age and their heads clear up- they seem to becoming more and more honest about what really happened- if not why. Although this book did give a fair and unbiased look at the actual crimes- of course, it also made a few attempts to humanize Tex and I didn't buy any of that bullshit at all. Here is one example of Tex trying to look like he is not "A Total Monster":
I have no doubt that things would have continued just as Charlie planned-for another night, for three more nights, ten, however long — if later that Sunday afternoon my mother had not called Willis Carson in Los Angeles and asked him to get in touch with me because she hadn't had a word from her son in six months. That call, and Willis's to the ranch that followed, set up my lie about the F.B.I. having come to my parents' home in Copeville, accusing me of murder. And that lie stopped the killing and sent us all to the desert where, nearly two months later, I refused to murder again for Manson and headed home to Copeville, with its peeling white wood and railroad, home to the store and the gas pumps and the kitchen — back to the world I thought I'd blasted out of my mind forever.
So here Tex is basically telling us that although he was the major force in the TLB killings, he was also the hero who saved the day for many other innocent folks. This book, much like the rest of the website is full of these types of contradictions. Tex seems to want us to believe that he is willing to admit that he was totally responsible for the crimes, but that he is also deep down a very compassionate guy with a big heart. He cant seem to process that those two just cant go together. He appears to be trying to be honest and credible enough to get us to feel we can now believe in him when he says he is harmless and changed. Sigh.... Anyway, This book did contain some semi- interesting stories about his youth and his early times in California. He did paint a pretty good picture of late 60's Los Angeles, which is a big interest of mine. And for a time, it seems, Tex was living a life I have dreamed about quite often....
From listening to the music you sometimes got the impression that there was nobody in California over thirty. The first thing Richard showed me was Sunset Strip and I began to think the songs were right. The rows of discotheques and clubs and psychedelic shops were packed with young people, and they looked different from any people I'd ever seen before. The men wore beards and long hair and beads; the girls danced along with nipples outlined beneath their thin blouses. People played flutes on the corner and walked barefoot on the concrete. A girl brushed by me murmuring, “Grass? Acid? Speed?” Rich took me into the famous Whiskey a Go-Go, and as the rock blared I stared at the dancers, couples moving to the beat in the most unabashedly sexual movements I'd ever seen in public. It was a long way from Texas and if freedom was what I'd been looking for, I was certain this was it.
So, there are one or two interesting tidbits in this book if you take enough time to sift through the nonsense. His retelling of the crimes, and the detail he goes into, made me every uneasy. He does talk about Crowe and Gary, but not Shorty. He explains how and why he came and went into, and in and out of, the family. It was also interesting for me to realize that, in total, Tex was only in the picture for 9 months total. Also, it was interesting to learn how after meeting Charlie at Dennis Wilson's house, he had to start out his time with the family sleeping in a tent with Dean away from the others until he "earned" his way in to staying with Charlie and the others. The last parts of the book talk about his times in jail. He starts with the arrest in Texas and covers all of his pretrial and post trial time in various mental institutions and clinks. He speaks about the efforts that both of his " Families" made to communicate with him, and of the all the health, and emotional issues he had to deal with. ( Poor Tex huh?) It ends with him getting very excited in the final chapters, because he gets to speak about his discovery of the lord. This is where I get off...
The other book on his site is called "Manson's Right Hand Man Speaks Out". This is basically a book of 200 questions and Answers. It only lists Tex as the Author, so I assume he is posing these questions to himself? He never really says where they come from. This is what it does say:
An interview for everyone, covering 10 intriguing subjects chapter by chapter. For the historian, you’ll find factual information. Parents will receive counsel for raising successful children. Students will be assisted with their research.Teenagers will find answers. And for those searching, they’ll find the Truth and see at last how to stop the pain! this book of 200+ Questions and Answers unveils fresh, new insights into the 1969 Manson madness.
After the murders in 1969, Watson turned from Manson and returned to his family as a prodigal son. He has used his many years in prison productively. The interview you are about to read is one project with which he felt it necessary to be involved. Never attempting to shift blame from himself, he hopes to share new insights into the Manson madness, and to share positive solutions to problems in society, including victim mentality, the death penalty, prison reform and forgiveness. He prays that many will learn and be touched by these efforts.
So, in this book- we get lots and lots of questions answered, but both the questions and answers are edited by the person who is trying to benefit from the excersize of going through them? I am confused. Well that makes about as much sense as anything else in this case I guess. But, let's not be pessimistic. Lets just take a look a few of the highlights. We can just take new, reformed Tex at his word and put some of these questions to bed forever right?
Q: Is Bugliosi's book, Helter Skelter fairly accurate?
A: Yeah, 85%, for what it covers, especially on Manson's philosophy, since he interviewed so many people close to Manson
See- told you so lol Here is one more and then I am done with H/S- I promise!
Q: Did Manson believe this Helter Skelter Philosophy, or was he just into controlling people?
A: Yeah, he believed it, but we also let him control us. Remember, I ran from Manson on December 1, 1968, the day we listened to the White Album together. That day he began to formulate part of his philosophy from the Beatles, because to him their music confirmed his black-white revolution theory. For the next three months, while I was away, he persuaded the hard-core family members with this madness. So much so, that when I was drawn back to the family at the end of February, all they could talk about was Helter Skelter coming down fast. To them, I was ignorant and blind and had a lot of catching up to do. I didn't know what they were talking about. My head was spinning from all this new insight
He seems to demonstrate a somewhat grudging respect for Bug's for the most part when he speaks about him. But, moving on from the motive thing, here were a few that were interesting to me:
Q: Do you think there's something innately wrong with someone who could commit such a horrible crime?
A: I believe there is something innately wrong with all of us by nature of being born. As a Christian, I believe sin passed upon all mankind through Adam and Eve's fall in the Garden of Eden. This is why we need to be born- again. We all have a heart problem that causes us to trust in ourselves instead of God. But I understand your question. I think you are asking if some of us are born naturally as murderers and some not. I'd say no, we don't inherit it from our parents; it's acquired as we grow up, through the circumstances of our lives and the choices we make.
Isn't that last question both strong and yet weird sounding if he is posing this to himself ? Here are a couple of other old rumors Tex can clear up lol :
Q: Did Manson ever teach the beliefs of Friedrich Nietzsche and Adolf Hitler?
A:Strange as it may seem, I never heard Manson mention Nietzsche or Hitler. Again, I was away from the family for three months when Charlie laid out his take on Helter Skelter. I've heard that magazines were found in a bus we left in the desert, all having articles on Hitler and even Rommel and his Desert Corps. I faintly remember those magazines. Family members who were close to Manson during the months I was gone, knew his views on Hitler all too well. I did hear about that.
Q: How about the beliefs of Scientology and The Process Church?
A:I never heard Manson mention Scientology or The Process Church. He did meet up with a Scientologist named Crockett in the desert. Crockett was instrumental in deprogramming Poston and Watkins, and stood toe-toe with Manson. This was the only mention of Scientology. I remember them arguing back and forth for hours.
Here is one I am always curious about with all of them:
Q: Are you in touch with other former Manson family members?
A:No, I'm not. I do hear things about them through the media and through the grapevine, but I have no direct contact with them. Bugliosi did a great job following- up on former members in his updated version of Helter Skelter. I hear that many have become Christians and truly love the Lord. Some have died in accidents and some from natural causes. Others are in hiding, trying to go on with ordinary lives. Only a couple of the girls still follow Manson. I pray their eyes open up to the truth that is found only in Jesus Christ.
Q: Did the music influence you in a negative way?
A:Well, it certainly didn't influence me in a positive way. These musicians were, like me, looking for answers in drugs, rebelling against parents and society and living in sexual immorality - each one related to the other. They sang about love, peace and freedom; all the things I was lacking. I was caught up in rebellion, searching in all directions, but in unbelief toward God; especially my parents' God. I believe music was one of the influences that helped me dishonor my father and mother. I was under the influence of the same drugs that influenced the musicians. This made it easier to identify with them, and it made what they were singing about more believable; the music had an even greater influence over my mind and took me into what seemed to be a magical world.
Q:Was Manson using drugs, or were only the members using them?
A: I'm asked this question a lot. People seem to think that Manson had all of us drugged out, while he remained sober so he could easily manipulate our minds. This may be true, but a sorcerer such as Manson uses mind-altering drugs himself in order to contact spiritual beings, and gain supernatural powers. He was definitely using drugs like the rest of us.
Q: How did you feel the day between the Tate and LaBianca murders and shortly afterward?
A:I'm ashamed to say it, but I didn't have a lot of feelings. My conscience had become hardened because of my own rebellion. My feelings were dulled through the effects of drugs. But I did have some feelings; more than I admitted to Manson. I was supposed to be without feelings according to Manson's teachings, but in reality, my feelings were all mixed up. I was depressed, downhearted, spiritless and even disoriented during the crime and afterward. I remember sitting in a dry creek bed by myself. I couldn't believe it was me doing what I was doing. I just wanted it to stop, but I felt pressure to go along the next night. I remember thinking as we drove around, “Please don't let Charlie find a house to do the same thing in.”
So that should give you an idea of what type of Q/A Tex has with himself. If you want more- there are about 195 more of them you can read if you care to. I found some of these questions to be interesting, and some to be self serving. Again, probably in both cases, calculated and purposely so. I did find it to be worth reading if you are interested in the perspective of Tex. I am myself. I am much more interested in getting insight into the mind of Tex than I am Charlie. To me, Tex is a much more vicious sort of character than Charlie. Maybe not as "cool" or "hip" to most people. But Charlie is not cool or hip to me. I could have seen him coming a mile away, and would never have fell for his bullshit. Tex, however, is another story. Tex is much harder to figure out to me. And in my opinion those out there who are into Charlie for the darkness and the "Evil" he represents- are missing the boat. Tex Watson should be your Huckleberry. This is the mind you want to get inside of to understand evil. This is the guy who people should be having nightmares over. Charlie carved an X into his own head with a pin. Tex carved up a pregnant woman with a knife. I think Charlie gets too much notoriety sometimes, for the things Tex did.
The final gem to mention in the Tex Trilogy is called " Forgiven- The Tex Watson Story." This 28 minute video docudrama was made by students at Biola University and has interviews with Tex and that wacko Sue Laberge woman- who you probably know was the daughter of Rosemary Labianca. So, with a title like that, and with the (very sad and pathetic) involvement of a victims family member- I assume you can guess where this is going as much as I did. But I watched it anyway. You hear his voice and you get why they called him "Tex." He talks real slow and has an easy country manner to him. He sounds very relaxed when talking about himself in this video. He tells the same story as he does in his books, but it is a little different hearing him explain it, and watching his eyes while he talks. They keep cutting in to the interview with some sort of movie scenes which act out his story as he is explaining it. I am not sure if it was the students doing reenactments, or some old Manson movie I have just never seen? If that is the case, it is easily the worst Manson related movie ever made. I really hope it was the students. Tex mentions several times during this show, or whatever it is, that he was "deceived". He wasn't aware of what was going on around him. He blames drugs many times for his condition, but then periodically stops to say he doesn't blame drugs for the crimes. At one point about 14 minutes in- he does both of these things in the same sentence. Then, of course, the second half becomes all about God. Key the slow guitar music, and now it is o.k. for him to start laughing and smiling...
At about 17 minutes Susan shows up in the video, and any hope of sense or reason goes right out of the window. What in the hell is wrong with some people? In my entire life I will never get people like this Laberge person. NEVER! I am not going to give her the importance of repeating one word of the garbage that comes out of her mouth. Suffice to say, God may understand, and forgive people like this, but I am quite sure I never will. This man tortured and took the life of her mother, and she sits there and works for him to help him gain favor? Sickness in my opinion. And as for Tex- some Charlie like manipulation skills - no? I think that if you want to listen to the daughter of a viciously slain woman tell you why to forgive the animal who did it- there is a video on this site where you can find it.
Aside from the these invaluable forms of Tex information- there are a couple of books on Christianity on the site Tex wrote as well, but I don't give a frog's fat ass about any of that. You can go and read that nonsense for yourself if you must. There are testimonials, and links to other religious types of stuff which all show you what a great command Tex has of the subject. It contains plenty of letters from readers who tell him what an inspiration he is to them for their own personal reasons. I learned from Stoner he even answers some of them ( Until he realizes he has been "Stonered")
And then there are the monthly views. These are small thoughts from the mind of the madman, always ending with prayer and some scripture. In his latest monthly view- The theme is Change. It opens with a part of a recent letter he received from some Jack-ass in San Diego. The letter tells Tex how wonderful his new website looks and how happy he is Tex is able to help so many people. He thanks Tex for helping to get over some issue he had with his parents and now everyone in his family is lovey-dovey. Then Tex goes on to talk about the importance of Change. Change is Possible! Let Change Happen! The Power to Change! A Changed Life! These are the headings of the rest of his "Monthly View" Tex fills in each of these headings with bible quotes and inspirational messages. All designed to make you see how he is not the same twenty year old kid on drugs who made those horrible mistakes I suppose.
And that people is Tex's website in a nutshell. That is what Tex's website is really all about. It is a carefully crafted vehicle to sell people an image of a changed man. A man of god, who is an inspiration and help to many others. Someone who went to the darkest of depths only to survive the inner emotional battles and emerge to find his way into the brightest of light. ( I should trademark that) The only problem for me is that I am not buying it. Tex Watson is one of the most dangerous bastards who ever lived. I know that people will throw lists at me of people who killed many more as far as total victims, and who did more savage things as far as brutality. I know people have murdered children, and committed acts of terror.
I get all of that, but here is the thing to me about Tex that sort of separates him in my mind:
Terrorists and rapists and child molesters, serial killers usually have some kind of a past history of violence, or some kind of extenuating circumstances that trigger them. They, more often than not, have some type of history which, at least, can sort of explain their behavior. Tex was literally the boy next door. He could have been the guy sitting next to any one of us in algebra class. He came from a good family and no history of abuse or mental unbalance. He is the guy you never saw coming. He is the one in a million who defies all profiles of a future predator, or multiple murderer. That really makes me scared. Charles Manson standing in front of me talking his shit would not scare me. I have seen a thousand scumbags talk shit in my life and probably met a few who were better at it than Charlie was. You humor them and walk away, or never get close in the first place if you are smart. You should be able to recognize them from a mile away really. But, waking up to the clean cut kid who grew up down the street from my house standing over me holding a gun and knife, and telling me he is the Devil-and at my house to do the Devils work- would scare me out of my wits!
Look, maybe that is just me. We all have our own personal demons and fears in this world, just like we all have our own personal saviors. Tex Watson says he has found his savior, and has dedicated a website to him. From the Devil to God- Tex has seemed to have been able to connect with both extremes. Once again he has says he has gone through changes. I have doubts that Tex is changed inside very much. I understand why he would spend the rest of his life seeking change. I think he has spent all of this time and effort trying to convince himself more than anyone else that he has changed. Because I think he has come to terms with what happened, and what he did, and now he needs to make himself feel better. And that is not an easy thing for him to do. Tex says he has found salvation, but I don't think that is true. God couldn't help Sharon Tate, or any of the victims, and he can't help Tex in this case either. God doesn't pass out amnesty cards to murderers just because they start spouting his name. Tex will face his judgment at some point down the road, and when he does- no amount of preaching or praying he has done expo-facto of the heinous crimes he has committed is going to help him. Tex hasn't seemed to grasp that when you do so much damage to others, you don't get to forgive yourself. Tex wants to determine his own time-table for repentance, but he doesn't get to do that in my book. Someday, Tex will meet up with his Savior, and my bet is that his soul will not be saved. I believe he will finally have to answer for his sins. If I am still walking this Earth on that day I will take a big hit, drink a beer and smile. For Sharon, Jay, Abigail, Rosemary, Leno, Steve, Shorty and Voytek will have finally gotten the real justice they deserved....
- Your Favorite Saint