Monday, August 31, 2015

Conjugal snuggling.....

Inmate Conjugal visitations or family visitation.... What do y'all think?

Do the majority of our readers side with the inmates on this issue, meaning, is it acceptable for killers, rapists, child molesters, etc. to have overnight visits, including "snuggle time" to their spouses/families while incarcerated?

What about Susan Atkins? Was it okay for her to be able to provocatively pose in the "family units" trailer before being pounded by her mulleted husband?

What about Leslie Van Houten? She seems to be everyone's darling. When she briefly married (and got access to a penis sandwich) was it okay? What about her family outing, so to speak with her parents?

What about mustachioed Tex? He fathered four unfortunate children in the last 35 years. He also got to have camp outs with his parents & siblings. They all did.

Manson, of course, is a different story. They basically locked him up & threw away the key. All & all, I find it deeply disturbing and you can probably guess that I respectfully disagree that they should ever bring it back.

I can completely understand why Mrs. Doris Tate had such a problem with it. Her daughter's killers were able to enjoy small moments of normalcy, and experience earthly pleasures while Sharon and the other victims' lives were over long ago. I couldn't imagine how painful it was to know that. So, should these kinds of inmates have this privilege given back to them, or should they leave it alone? Do you think it was okay for these visits to take place at all?

For this discussion, I am particularly interested in what our readers think about Tex, Leslie, Pat, Bobby and Bruce to have conjugal visits again, if, of course, they married? I know Pat has never had a so-called "conjugal" visit, but she did have access to the family living units with her own family.

By the way, I respect most everyone's opinion on these matters, so I hope you respect mine. I know I annoy a hell of a lot of people on the blog, because I sound like such a hard-ass when it comes to the Manson Family, but that's just how I am. That's how I was raised. I'm Austin Ann, the blogger everyone loves to hate!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bruce Davis Granted Parole For The Fourth Time

This just in..... Bruce has again been granted parole according to The LA Times

Bruce Davis, an associate of Charles Manson who was convicted in two of the nine killings tied to the cult, was found Thursday to be eligible for parole, corrections officials said.

The finding is now subject to a 120-day review and could still be blocked by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to a statement released by the state corrections department.

Sitting governors have stopped three previous attempts to grant parole to Davis, 72. In 2013, Brown said Davis is "still dodging responsibility" for his role in the Manson family's gruesome actions in 1969.

Though he wasn't involved in the Tate-LaBianca killings, Davis was convicted in 1972 for the murders of Gary Hinman, an aspiring musician, and Donald "Shorty" Shea, a stuntman and employee at the Chatsworth ranch where Manson and his followers lived.

Davis claims he did not participate in the killings of actress Sharon Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski and pregnant at the time, or Los Feliz residents Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
In the 40 years he has spent in prison, Davis has married, fathered a child and earned a doctoral degree in religion.

Manson remains incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison, where he is serving a life sentence. His next parole hearing is scheduled for 2027.

Old, but interesting... Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir

Folks, you have most likely seen this documentary, since it came out in 2011, but it really is interesting to hear Roman Polanski discuss his childhood and all the horrors of what he experienced before, during & after the war, his wife's brutal murder and so on...

For those of you who have never seen it, Roman is interviewed by his old friend & business partner Andrew Braunsberg, who was actually there and answered the phone when Roman got the terrible news of his wife's murder.  Anyway, it is a good documentary, in my opinion. I enjoyed seeing photos that I had never seen before of Roman in his youth. There are some tearjerker moments in it too, so if you tend to weep easily, you might want some Kleenex handy...

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Agony and the Ecstasy - A Rare Interview with Christopher Jones

I'm currently in the middle of purging and sifting through very old artifacts related to TLB and other subjects. I found this MOVIELINE magazine from August, 1996 with the only interview Chris had done since he quit acting soon after Sharon's death. This interview is what made me seek him out and I got to know him very well not long after.

There's a reason Pamela Des Barres (Google her if you don't know who she is) was able to talk him into doing the interview. Can you guess what it is?

As you will see, the big red font in the middle of four pages actually reads from left to right as though you have the magazine spread open in front of you, seeing two pages at once.

Anyway, sorry for the sloppy scans but I'm not prepared to remove the pages from the magazine for the sake of perfection - the content is what matters.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Sylmar Standard Station And Rosemary LaBianca's Wallet

"Charlie gave Linda Kasabian the woman's wallet and told her to put it in the bathroom in the gas station and leave it there, hoping that somebody would find it and use the credit cards and thus be identified with the murders…."  Helter Skelter, page 245 (1975 paperback edition)

"Charles Koenig, an attendant at the Standard service station at 12881 Ensenada Boulevard in Sylmar, was cleaning the women's rest room when he noticed that the toilet was running. Lifting the lid off the tank, he found, on top of the mechanism, damp but above the waterline, a woman's wallet. He'd checked the driver's license and credit cards, saw the name "Rosemary LaBianca," and immediately called LAPD."  Helter Skelter, page 255 

"After driving for a long time, [Manson] pulled off the freeway and stopped at a nearby service station. Apparently having changed his mind, Manson now told Linda to put the wallet in the women's rest room. Linda did, only she hid it too well, lifting the top off the toilet tank and placing it over the bulb, where it would remain undiscovered for four months.
"I asked Linda if she could remember anything distinctive about the station. She remembered there was a restaurant next door and that it "seemed to radiate the color orange."
"There was a Denny's Restaurant next to the Standard station in Sylmar, with a large orange sign.
"While LInda was in the rest room, Manson went to the restaurant, returning with four milk shakes.
"Probably at the same time the LaBiancas were being murdered, the man who had ordered their deaths was sipping a milk shake."  Helter Skelter, page 365

Visiting a location related to a crime serves more than just to satisfy morbid curiosity. It can also give the careful observer insights which lead to possible understandings of what really happened at that location. Such was the case recently when I made a visit to the Standard gas station in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sylmar where Rosemary LaBianca's wallet was discovered in the tank of the toilet in the women's room on December 10, 1969.

I've often wondered about that Standard station, and if Manson really thought he was in a black neighborhood when the car stopped there, and whether he really had Linda Kasabian plant Rosemary's wallet so that a black person would find it, use the credit cards within, and thus be implicated in the LaBianca murders. I didn't know that there were any black neighborhoods that far out in the San Fernando Valley (farther north even than Spahn's Ranch).The prosecution later said that Manson thought they were in Pacoima, a neighborhood about four miles southeast of Sylmar off Interstate 5 that was a predominantly black neighborhood in 1969. I wondered if a person would reasonably mistake the two areas. 

But I ran into a bit of trouble when it came to tracking down the Standard gas station. In Helter Skelter Vincent Bugliosi gave its address as 12881 Ensenada Boulevard in Sylmar. But according to both Google Maps and my most recent (1990) Thomas Guide of Los Angeles County, no such street existed. 

Left dangling with the thought that the street had been obliterated by urban renewal since 1969 I was surprised to learn from Deb that she and Matt had visited the station on the 2013 Manson Blog Tour.  She referred to it as a "Chevron station."  A little research revealed that Standard Oil of California changed its name to Chevron in 2013. So I googled "Chevron Station Sylmar" and Voila! Up came the street view image of a gas station, but one located at 12881 Encinitas Boulevard, not Ensenada. (Is this an honest mistake in Helter Skelter, or is it an example of more intentional misinformation from the Bug? In The Family Ed Sanders calls the street Encinatus Boulevard.). And as I looked at the Google drive-by image and rotated the scene I saw, next door to the gas station, a Denny's Restaurant. 

Looking at the location on the map I was even more surprised to realize that I already had a personal history with this particular gas station since it is the one I walked to to use a pay phone and call a tow truck to pick up my VW bug after it had blown a generator pulley at the southbound Roxford Street exit during my move from Death Valley to L.A. in 1983. More intrigued than ever, I decided to check the location out the next time I went to the area. That happened in mid-July of this year. 

The first thing I wondered about was whether someone really would have thought they were in Pacoima as opposed to having some other reason for pulling over at that exit. I came to a conclusion on that point fairly quickly.

As I drove north on Interstate 5 in the direction from the LaBianca residence in Loz Feliz to Sylmar (it's a 20 mile drive that would probably take about 25 minutes during late night hours) it became apparent that there were no obvious places where someone would pull off the freeway if they were looking for something like a gas station. Even today accessible businesses like gas stations and restaurants are pretty sparse until you get all the way to Sylmar. The distance between Pacoima and the gas station exit in Sylmar is about four miles, with exits in between that you could pull off if you thought you had passed Pacoima. In this area of the freeway the exits spill out into areas with many buildings such as for small businesses or residences. In other words, they spill out into "neighborhoods."

I wondered if the Sylmar Standard station had the appearance of being in a black neighborhood, if someone would think they were in one if they were there. 

But although Sylmar is a neighborhood, the station isn't located in anything like a neighborhood at all. It is barely off the freeway, and there is nothing around it that even resembles a residential area. Today in the surrounding blocks there are some apartment buildings, but they are obviously of post-1969 vintage. Likewise, the McDonald's and Mobil gas station are clearly newcomers. I stayed in the area for a while, taking pictures and getting the feel of the layout. While my female assistant went into the women's room and took photos of the current toilet (amazingly still a tank model!) I went to Denny's to check out the interior. As a cover for my presence inside the restaurant I ordered a milk shake. The interior had likely been redone since 1969, but it was clearly an older building. The clerk didn't know how long it had been there. (The gas station building, although long since remodeled into a gas station/food mart-type enterprise, was of a basic style consistent with it being the same structure that was there in 1969.)

The whole area had no feel of any kind of "neighborhood." It had the feel of a remote service area right off the freeway.

Above: The Standard/Chevron station at the Sylmar exit off Interstate 5
Below: Another view of the station showing the close proximity of the freeway behind it

The current women's restroom toilet

Rosemary LaBianca's wallet (courtesy of

Above and below: Two pictures showing the relationship of the gas station 
to the neighboring Denny's Restaurant

Above: Inside Denny's 
Below: The receipt for my milk shake

When I asked Charles Manson for his version of the gas station/wallet incident he told me that he knew the station wasn't in a black neighborhood and that he told Linda Kasabian to get rid of the wallet once he realized it was in the car not because he intended it as a false clue but because it was "hot."

Thus, as to the trajectory of Rosemary LaBianca's wallet on the night of August 9-10, 1969, here is what I think could have happened:

After Manson departed the LaBianca house he was joined at the car on Waverly Drive by Charles Watson, who had left the LaBiancas briefly alone and subdued in the house. (Both Manson and Leslie Van Houten have memories of Watson returning to the car.) At the car, Watson passed Rosemary LaBianca's wallet to his partner in love and crime, Linda Kasabian, who kept it concealed as she, Manson, Susan Atkins, and Steve Grogan drove off.

After a night of cruising around Greater Los Angeles (and with more to go), it was time to fuel up Johnny Swartz's 1959 Ford. In those days gas stations were not as prevalent as they are today, and the Standard/Denny's complex would have been remarkable. Because of Manson's awareness it's possible that he already knew about the station and predetermined it as a destination. 

At the station it's possible that Linda Kasabian produced the wallet when time came to make the gas purchase and Manson became aware of its presence and asked her where she got it. When she told him he told her to get rid of the "hot" wallet by placing it in the toilet tank in the women's restroom.

The gas station was picked because it was the only one for miles around, not because Charles Manson thought it was in a black neighborhood. Nobody would think that it was in any kind of neighborhood because the gas station/restaurant was (and to a great extent still is) a remote, standalone complex. The wallet was ditched in the ladies' room because it was "hot," not because it was intended as a false clue.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Watson Grocery and Station Dec.1,1969

Blog reader Tom writes:

Here is one you don't see very often, a photo of Watson Grocery the day after the arrest of Charles. If you look carefully above the fuel pumps you will see the Watson grocery sign. I live just minutes from Copeville and grew up in Collin County. That is the store Tex worked in with his dad. People hardly mention ole' Charles anymore, never did really like to bring him up. That is Denton Watson in the hat loading Pepsi's onto a dolly to bring into the store. Detectives seen under the awning. Check out that price of gas in 1969. The Watson house was just to the left of the store. The old place has been for sale lately. For the most part those old buildings still stand, but no businesses are left in them.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Charles Manson’s Hollywood

A blog reader tipped me off to this ongoing series of podcasts called "You Must Remember This" by Karina Longworth. Longworth tells the sordid tale in her unique masterful storyteller style. Afficianados will pick up on minor errors, but they are easily overshadowed by the incredible detail that goes into this series. There are terrific photos from the archives of Michael Ochs and some excellent archived videos, too. Highly recommended.

You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. It's the brainchild and passion project of Karina Longworth (founder of, former film critic for LA Weekly), who writes, narrates, records and edits each episode. It is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction: navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Karina tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars and scandals of the 20th century.

This season, You Must Remember This will explore the murders committed in the summer of 1969 by followers of Charles Manson, and the Hollywood music and movie scene surrounding the killings. Throughout the series, we'll learn how a single sociopath’s thwarted dreams of fame and fortune led to the gruesome events which became the symbolic "end of the sixties." Future episodes will explore the various celebrities, musicians, movie stars and filmmakers (including Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, The Beach Boys, Dennis Hopper, Doris Day and more) whose paths crossed with Manson’s in meaningful ways, both leading up to the murders and in their aftermath. Today, we’ll talk about what was going on in the show business capital that made Manson seem like a relatively normal guy. Then we’ll lay out the basic facts of who was killed, and how, in order to begin to explain how these unthinkable crimes fit in to the tapestry of one of the most tumultuous times in Hollywood history.

Part 1: What We Talk About When We Talk About The Manson Murders

Part 2: How Manson Found His Family

Part 3: The Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, and Charles Manson, Songwriter

Part 4: Spahn Ranch and the Beatles' White Album

Part 5: Doris Day and Terry Melcher

Part 6: Kenneth Anger and Bobby Beausoleil

Part 7: Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring

Part 8: Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski

Part 9: August 8-10, 1969

Part 10: Roman Polanski After Sharon Tate

Part 11: Death Valley '69

Part 12: The Manson Family on Trial

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Robert Earl Murray

There has been a question as to whether or not a certain picture identified as John Philip Haught is really him.  The only image that is certain is a picture taken of him in the LA County Morgue after his death.  This picture is rather creepy because it looks like someone has drawn in the eyes, the original is with his eyes closed but I couldn't find a copy large enough and clear enough to post.

Lt. Deemer's list of Family members and associates describes Haught as being 5'8" tall, weighing 130 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes and a birth date of April 20, 1949.  The California Death Index has his birth year as 1947 which is probably correct as the info for the death certificate was supplied by his family.  Haught was born in Missouri and raised in Ohio, where he is buried.

The other picture thought to be him is this one which is the header for John Philip Haught's webpage at .

I found a mug shot of the same picture and it is identified as being Robert Earl Murray.

I know the mug shot with the Robert Earl Murray identifier has been around for quite some time.  I think what people might believe is that John Philip Haught was arrested with the Family at some point and used the name Robert Earl Murray as an alias.  The fact is Robert Earl Murray was arrested with other Family members May 2, 1968 in Malibu, months before John Philip Haught was known to associate with the Family.

The arrest report is available for reading at  It's about 3/4 of the way down the page titled LASD Arrest Report May 2, 1968.

The info that accompanies the arrest report says that Robert Earl Murray was 6'6" in height, weighed 205 pounds.  He had brown hair and blue eyes.  His date of birth was Aug. 8, 1945.  His address was 8 Woodstock Lane Pittsford, NY.

Due to recent interest in Robert Earl Murray I was moved to hunt down his high school senior picture and it pretty well confirms that he is an actual person, in fact the one who was arrested in the 1968 Malibu drug bust.  He is not John Philip Haught.

This photo is Robert Earl Murray's senior picture from Pittsford Central High School, class of 1965, in Pittsford NY.  Most high school seniors are 17 or 18 years old when they graduate.  Unless Murray was held back a couple of grades it appears that he lied about his birth year when he was arrested because he would have been 19 or 20 years old when he graduated.  I have no idea whether or not the month and year of the birthdate he gave to the sheriff's department is correct.   It is a little spooky that the date he gave was August 8th, if it's not his true birthdate, because it was on the same date in 1969 that Family members left Spahn Ranch to commit the Cielo Drive murders.

 I have tried to locate Robert Earl Murray but have had no luck to date.  We, here at the blog, did contact Cielodrive and send him Murray's high school picture prior to this post.  He was aware that the picture in his header for John Philip Haught was Murray and has been meaning to fix that but hadn't gotten around to it yet.  He said he will soon though!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Photo ID Help: Garretson

My dearest readers, we would like you to study the following photo and please do let us know if you think the topless, or shall I say shirtless figure on the right in the photo below is one William (Bill) Garretson, who was known as Rudi Altobelli's boytoy caretaker at 10050 Cielo Drive:

Possible Garretson Photo # 1

Now, for comparison, please inspect the authentic photo of William "Bill" Garretson when he was finally released from jail after having been the first suspect of the Tate murders. This photo is the one below. A quick Austin Ann note: the hairless chest seen in photo # 1 seems to be the same as photo # 2. Of course, I could be wrong.....

Totally, 100% authentic Garreston Photo # 2

NOTE: We are not saying it is Garretson, however we do want to hear from our readers to see what y'all think! Ya dig?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lynette Fromme Responds

Lyn Fromme responds to "Pete P."

Sorry, young man, but your memories are faulty. Between 1967 and 1969 Charles Manson was not beat up by anyone but deputies from the Los Angeles Sheriff's department in an August 1969 raid on Spahn's Ranch. I lived on the ranch when Charlie was there, but the other ranch hands you describe as having been there were not. The cowboys who lived and worked on the ranch when Charlie was there are not in your story. So, unless you have written fiction, whatever memories you have of meeting Shorty Shea are about an earlier set of years, and the people who you believed were Tex Watson and Charles Manson were not. 

Lynette Fromme

I do not have a website or on-line capability so I can only respond through others.

*        *        *

Presenter’s Comment --

Since it’s likely that Lyn Fromme’s contribution disputing Pete P.’s claim that he saw Charles Manson get roughed up at Spahn’s Ranch on several occasions will generate commentary and controversy I thought I would weigh in with some of my own thoughts before turning it over to the readers of this blog.

First of all I have to say that I have no dog in this cliché, and I wouldn't even have questioned Pete's account had not one of the Admins of this site asked me if I could ask some of the other residents of Spahn's Ranch in 1969 whether they thought his story rang true. As a result of that request two of those persons (one of whom was Lyn) read the account as published here on the MF Blog. I also talked with two other persons ("family members," both of whose names would be instantly recognized by any reader of this blog) who did not read the account; I merely asked them if they remembered a 10-year-old boy who frequented the ranch, arriving and departing by mini-bike, and who hung out with Shorty Shea and was generally known as "the kid." Then I later asked them whether they remembered Manson ever being beaten up at the ranch aside from during the August 16 raid.

All four of the individuals had no recollection either of Pete P.'s presence at the ranch or of any serial CM sluggings. (Actually, it wasn’t that they had no recollections of any beatings; they said that they didn’t happen -- period.) In fact, one of the “secondary” girls corroborated Lyn's version, saying when asked if Manson had ever been beaten at the ranch, "Yes, [the police] definitely beat the crap out of him [during the August 16 raid] while I watched. They held an M-16 to my head as Bear cried. They made sure we watched. Other than that, not that I know." (One could argue that Lyn and the other girl have rehearsed their stories, but they have not seen each other in over forty years, so either they tell the same version because they had it planned out forty years ago, or they tell the same version because it is the truth.)

Pete says he was a witness to four Manson thrashings: two by Monte Laird (one of which Pete arrived late on the scene only to witness the aftermath thereof), one by Joe Soto, and one bear paw slap down of Manson by Shorty Shea himself. I think it's remarkable that one person would witness so many assaults. And if Pete’s recollections are true and he witnessed four assaults during his part-time presence at the ranch over a period of a few months, it figures that there must have been other assaults that he didn't see. In fact, based on the number of the assaults witnessed by Pete alone, I would have to imagine that Manson was getting pounded at least every week and likelier every few days.

Of course we all know that Manson is crazy, but why anyone would remain at a location where they were subjected to serial slappings and humiliations is a mystery. Also odd is the idea that someone who was basically raised in prison (and a small someone at that) would not have developed some kind of survival skills that would have enabled him to avoid violent encounters with larger men. In other words, Manson learned not to be confrontational with bigger guys when he was incarcerated for the simple reason that if he was confrontational he could easily have been beaten or even killed. And isn't it likely that he would apply those same survival lessons to large, hostile individuals he encountered on the outside? Or would he just keep walking up to big guys and pissing them off until he ended up in the dust?

Seeking confirmation of such beatings, I consulted the literature on the subject. And the first place I went to was Ed Sanders' The Family, because I figured that if there was any rumor at all about the activities at Spahn's Ranch that anyone ever thought they heard it was sure to be repeated in Sander's book. But there was nothing there except for one mention of Manson beating up Randy Starr, which is certainly not what we're looking for here. None of the memoirs of Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, or Paul Watkins mention any CM slapfests either. And not only that, there is also no mention of any Manson beatings in any of the parole hearings of the convicted murderers, and significantly not in the hearings of those persons convicted of murdering Shorty Shea, like Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan. At all of these hearings the convicted killers are asked for the reasons for Manson’s homicidal hostility towards Shea, and the allegations of him being a snitch are always brought up. But never once does someone reply, "Oh yeah, and Charlie was tired of Shorty and his friends beating him up all the time."

If Charles Manson was being regularly slapped around at Spahn’s Ranch it would have been a very big topic of conversation amongst his immediate associates who, of course, held him in high esteem. It would have been very big news. And yet none of those associates recalls any such occurrences. Not one.

I looked up the names of the Manson beaters on the Internet. There are references to Joe Soto bloodying Charlie’s nose in front of the Long Horn Saloon, but the references are based on Pete P.’s recollections. Ditto for Monte Laird. I found this extensive interview with Laird where for some reason he doesn’t mention that, incidentally, he twice beat up Charles Manson. Considering that show business is, after all, a publicity driven endeavor, is this likely? What show business person would omit from his resumé the fact that he beat up one of the most notorious mass murderers of all time?

Of course one could posit that the four "family members" I talked to are all lying because they don't want to admit that CM got beaten up a lot.  But why wouldn’t any of the other persons involved in the crimes (most of whom are doing life for murder and have no love lost for Charles Manson and are fond of bringing up every alleged negative facet of his character whilst trying to put the best light on their own) also mention that he was frequently getting the shit slapped out of him (perhaps as yet another reason for that legendary “anti-social hostility” of his?)?

As for Pete P. -- why would he lie? I could speculate on reasons for that, but my speculations would be just that and it wouldn't be appropriate or even meaningful to commit them to writing. But I can say that in my decades-long association with this case I've met many people who have had seemingly detailed fantasy encounters with Charles Manson, with “members of the Family," and even with me.  

So that's about as far as I can realistically go with this. I have offered some witness testimony and circumstantial evidence in support of Lynette's recollections. I'd be very interested if someone could find some similar corroboration for Pete P.'s version of events.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Current Mugshots of Tate/Labianca murderers

Supposedly these current mugshots were the latest taken in March or April of this year. Why does Tex Watson look like Ted Danson?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sharon Tate: A Life - by Ed Sanders

In 1971, Ed Sanders published The Family, his insider's account of the Manson family murders; it was an immediate sensation. Using the same investigative skills and insider contacts that informed his counterculture classic, Sanders delivers the definitive account of the brief and tragic life of Sharon Tate.

The biography takes a close look at Tate's life—from her itinerant childhood and early career in fashion to her transition to film, passionate marriage to the brilliant and troubled Roman Polanski, and violent murder at the hands of the Manson family cult. Sanders's Sharon Tate offers new insights into what happened on the night of her death and explores new motives for the targeting of the Polanski household.

Illustrated with Rick Veitch's evocative images, Sharon Tate is required reading for anyone fascinated by the dark side of the '60s.

Available on Amazon