Thursday, July 2, 2015

Motive: The Case For Helter Skelter

                                                                                                                                                                            "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."

                                                                                     -Mark Twain 

"I remember one time, which really impressed me that Tex really had gone for the whole idea of helter-skelter, when him and Ella and Mary went down to the city to do something and they came back and they both, they were all three of them shaking like leaves, you know, panting. I met them coming up the road and they were like they had been running from something. I said, "What's going on?" They said, "Boy, it's really coming down," Tex said. He said, "It's really insane down there and it's coming down right now. I mean it's happening today." I thought -- I just had never been impressed -- that is when I first became impressed that Tex was really -- really went for the idea"

                                                   -Paul Watkins 1971 testimony people versus Charles Watson 

 "Helter-skelter was the motive for the murders. Manson borrowed that term from a Beatles song on the White Album. In England, helter-skelter is a playground ride. To Manson, helter-skelter meant a war between whites and blacks that the Beatles were in favor of. When the album first came out, in December of '68, he got a copy, and he came racing back to the ranch all excited and said, "The Beatles are telling it like it is! The s___ is coming down!" It was this war that he felt he could ignite by killing white people and blaming black militants, this war called helter-skelter."

                                                           -Vincent Bugliosi

So, Today I make the case for Helter Skelter. It is my purpose and goal to convince the reader that after hearing similar arguments regarding all possible alternative motives, Helter Skelter is the motive with most actual evidence to support it. Then, I will leave it up to the readers to hear the other arguments and decide for themselves which motive makes the most sense based on real evidence. I ask you only to keep an open mind and remember- I am making an argument as to which motive can be backed with the most real evidence. I am not going to try to compete with rumors, legends, second hand stories, or unnamed sources. Having said that- here is my case for Helter Skelter:

I am not a lawyer. So for me, the fairest way to decide which motive is backed by the most evidence is to make sure I understand exactly what the definition of evidence is. As a common person with no real knowledge of the law- I resorted to Google. That should be simple and fair enough to use as a starting point. Obviously there are a few types of evidence. But, for our purposes: "In the Law, rules of evidence govern the types of evidence that are admissible in a legal proceeding. Types of legal evidence include testimony, documentary evidence, and physical evidence."  I guess I can start there.  If someone wants to come up with a better way- I am all ears. Otherwise, using this as the launch point- I believe I can show that the Helter Skelter motive is supported by specific, verifiable examples of these three types of evidence. Then I will wait for anyone who supports another motive to do the same....

 Testimony-  In the law, testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. Testimony may be oral or written, and it is usually made by oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury.

Can anyone really argue there is not quite a bit of testimony to support Helter Skelter as a motive in the minds of the family, and specifically, the actual killers? Most of us have heard LULU's recently released interview, and I can reprint quotes from different people who were around at the time all day long but, for the stubborn ones among us, here are a few reminders:

Gregg Jakobson 1971 trial testimony: 

Q: From the time that Mr. Watson first met Mr. Manson, did it occur to you that Mr. Watson both accepted and agreed with Manson's philosophy?
A: Yes.
Q: Any doubt in your mind about that?
A: None.
Q: Did you ever have any discussion with Mr. Manson regarding helter-skelter?
A: Sure, yes.
Q: Oh how many occasions would you say that you discussed helter-skelter with Mr. Manson?
A: Well, it is hard to say. It would come up on a number of times.

 From Tex Watson's site in his own words in a Q/A:

Q:What were you thinking and feeling right when the murders were taking place?

 A:The girls and I didn't enjoy murdering our victims. It was insanely difficult for us all, but our slavish hearts were committed. We wanted this outbreak of violence to be over with. We felt we had to do it. We wanted to get it done and leave. It was horrific, and no way were we going to go to a second or third house, even though Manson had ordered it.There were no thoughts of concern for the victims. There was a total disregard for life. I was concerned with destroying everyone and not getting discovered. In some ways, punishment escaped my mind since Helter Skelter was coming down and society, as we knew it, was coming to an end.

 Tex's ( Will You Die For Me):

If anyone had asked me in March of 1969 why I was going back to Manson, I would have said I had no choice. Every day I stayed away from him I felt like I was running, running away from the place I was supposed to be, running away from changes that were necessary for me. Charlie was my destiny. Even when I talked to them on the phone, the Family women sounded different. All they could talk about was Helter Skelter. I knew the title from the Beatles' White Album, but I wasn't sure what they all meant when they kept insisting that “Helter Skelter is coming down fast, and we're getting ready for it. Everying had changed, they told me as they babbled on about a club they were starting and about buying dune buggies and about the White Album which explained everything, laid everything out-and that I'd understand if I'd just come out and talk to Charlie.

 "There were three basic motives behind the murders that took place sometime past midnight on August 9. The most obvious was the one Charlie had articulated to us that afternoon: to do what blackie didn't have the energy or the smarts to do — ignite Helter Skelter and bring in Charlie's kingdom."

 LULU at a Parole hearing:
 PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: And did you -- did you agree with the ideology of the group? You mentioned a moment ago something about the Helter Skelter and that sort of thing.

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes. I did agree with it.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: And what was that that you agreed with?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: That the blacks had been suppressed and that it was their turn to be in charge and that the whites had treated the blacks in a bad way, and that there would be a revolution and the blacks would then be in control. That the whites that survived it would live in a hole in the center of the earth and reemerge after 150 years.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: So it was your desire to let the blacks get into charge of the world or this country?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: This country was -- I was only thinking of this country.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: And was your group, the Manson Family, were they going to facilitate this revolution, this uprising?


PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: And how were they to do that?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: By committing murders of white people and making it look like it had been done by blacks.

PRESIDING COMMISSIONER FERGUSON: And you felt or you agreed anyway that by committing murders of white people that that was going to somehow empower black people?

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: It was to spark a revolution 

Linda Kasabian on direct at original trial:
 "The night of the afternoon that Mr. Manson said 'Now is the time for Helter Skelter,' were you still at the ranch that night?" 
"Was this the evening of August the eighth, 1969?"  
"I believe so."  
"What took place that evening, Linda, at the ranch?"  
"I remember I was standing out front at this one point and Charlie came up to me and pulled me off the porch, and I was standing at the very end of the porch, closest to George Spahn's house, and he told me that-"  

Bugs questioning Brooks Posten at Tex's trial:

 Q: Directing your attention to the song, "Helter-Skelter," you do recognize these lyrics?
A: Yes.
Q: And I notice that there are some lyrics in the song, "Look Out Helter-Skelter, Helter-Skelter, she's coming down fast."
Would that be a common phrase in Manson's family?
A: Yes.
Q: And members of the family were saying this all the time?
A: Yes
Q: What about Tex Watson, did you ever hear him say that, that helter-skelter was coming down fast?
A: Yeah. 

 Paul Watkins:

Direct examination by Vincent Bugliosi:
"During your association with Charles Manson, did he frequently discuss Helter Skelter with you?"


"He used the word 'Helter Skelter' constantly?"

"I wouldn't go so far as to say constantly. He did not say, 'Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter.' But he did quite a bit, yes, it seemed to be the main topic."  

I think it is fair to say that there is adequate testimony available to support that people in and around the family felt that Charlie had strong belief in Helter Skelter, and I also think it is fair to say there is TESTIMONY to support that a few of them believed they went over there on those nights for just that reason. At least above is some TESTIMONY to support that. Two of the killers actually said it and the one who drove them didn't deny it either. That gives me some cause to believe that at least it was a factor to these individuals.  

Documentary Evidence- is any evidence introduced at a trial in the form of Documents. Although this term is most widely understood to mean writings on paper (such as an invoice, a contract or a will), the term actually include any media by which information can be preserved. Photographs, tape recordings, films, and printed emails are all forms of documentary evidence.

This one is a little tougher, but still something that offers me a couple of examples to demonstrate Helter Skelter as a potential motive. Now you will hear rumors and legends about films, and photos that could prove another motive. You will hear lots of second hand stories, rumors, and unnamed sources who say they have seen them. But have YOU SEEN any actual photos, films, or other video which can be attributed to another motive? Well, I have seen a few which could support Helter Skelter:

Now I know some would say that Sue Bartell has explained away the ranch door. Maybe. But, that still doesn't explain the refrigerator? And just cause country Sue said so, doesn't make it so. I would  submit that these are few examples of documentary evidence by definition, and so again I ask, does anyone have two or three examples of Documentary Evidence for another motive? I further submit that Mr. Hendrickson's Documentary would count here as well-as a couple of people close to the family speak on camera about the influence Helter Skelter had on Charlie. Does anyone have Photos, films, video, contracts, or anything firm in this category of evidence to support another motive? Ask yourselves some questions... Did the killers write " revenge", or "Death to Roman" on the walls? Where was any actual proof of drugs or money being involved? Where would the above evidence fit in with any other motive? For example - was writing Helter Skelter on the Labianca's refrigerator going to get Bobby out of jail? Think about this for a second. They wrote words like Helter Skelter, Rise, and Pigs. They carved the word War into Leno's body. These are words, and expressions, which can be attributed to the Helter Skelter Philosophy. Not words which indicated they were pissed about being burned by drugs, or seeking revenge, or getting someone out of jail. In reality, personally, more than I am impressed with the evidence for Helter Skelter, I am underwhelmed by evidence pointing in any other direction. When Tex says, by his own admission, that he told them he "Was the Devil, and was there to do the Devil's work"- that sounds much more like him following the instructions Testimony says Charlie was giving, than it does him being there for revenge, or as retaliation for a drug burn, or any other reason he would have on his own for being there. But don't take it from me:

Tex Watson in " Will you die for Me":
Charlie pointed out the repetition of the word “rise,” first whispered strangely, then screamed until almost unrecognizable. This was the Beatles' way of calling blackie to rise up and begin Helter Skelter, He said, and it was no coincidence that RISE was printed in blood on the walls the night of the second murders, along with HELTER SKELTER, just as PIG had been scrawled on the door of the house on Cielo Drive in Sharon Tate's blood. He showed us how the same weird chord that ended the song “Piggies” appeared later in Revolution 9,” followed by the sound of machine-gun fire and the screams of the 

Then he laid out how he wanted the murders themselves done. He apparently didn't know who was living in the house or how many people we might find, but whoever and however many it was we were to kill them all, mutilate them (”Pull out their eyes and hang them on the mirrors!”), and write messages on the walls in their blood. Then he started listing what he wanted written — things like HELTER SKELTER and RISE.

Linda Kasabian on direct at original trial:

"We got about to the middle of the driveway, you know, and Charlie called us and told us to stop, and he came to the car to my side of the window, stuck his head in, and told us to leave a sign. He said, 'You girls know what I mean, something witchy,' and that was it." 

Of course, the Physical evidence in this case is morbid but not lacking. The actual walls and doors the painting of the expressions were on. The tuning fork, and knives. The frayed paper used to do the writing. The actual number of stab wounds wouldn't be physical proof of motive, but words pertaining to motive carved into one of the victims bodies might I would guess. I think in good taste I will keep this part brief.... But again I must ask- where is more Physical evidence of another motive?

Closing Argument:

It is hard for me to understand why some people would insist Bugs made up or "invented" Helter Skelter as a motive. There are just too many examples of people close to, or in, the immediate circle of Manson who attribute the same significance of its importance to Charlie. I only posted a few examples here of Testimony from those who talked about this. I assume everyone understands the amount of testimony to this that is available. Also, a few of those who actually participated in the crimes have said over the years that Helter Skelter was a reality at the ranch, and at least a partial reason for the murders.

Hmmmm.... Lets say Charlie tells Tex to go ignite Helter Skelter :

( Tex " Will you Die for Me")

When word of the arrest got to the Family, Charlie disappeared for a couple of days up to Big Sur, something very unusual for him. When he got back, he called us all together. It was the afternoon of August 8, 1969, and his message was simple. “Now is the time for Helter Skelter.”

"After Charlie's announcement in the afternoon, the ranch became very quiet, with an undercurrent of eletric excitement, even dread. With everything that had been happening over the past weeks there was no question that we would be the ones to bring down the Apocalypse, not some black militants fromWatts.  The only question was which of us and how."

“What I want...I want you to go to that house where Melcher used to live [we knew that by now Terry had moved down to a beach house in Malibu]. I want you to take a couple of the girls I'll send with you and go down there . . . and totally destroy everyone in that house, as gruesome as you can. Make it a real nice murder, just as bad as you've ever seen. And get all their money.”

 Then Charlie tells the Girls to do what Tex says.

INMATE KRENWINKEL: I participated because Mr. Manson came into a trailer where I was taking care of the children and he told me to come out to come to the ranch. When I came up to the front of the ranch there was a car and Mr. Watson was there and Miss Atkins was there and Miss Kasabian was there and Mr. Manson told me to go with Mr. Watson and do whatever he said.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER ANGELE: As a result you went to the rear of San Vincente Drive, and climbed over the wall.
INMATE KRENWINKEL: Yes. Mr. Watson --( she gets indiscernible here but clearly was about to say what Tex was telling her to do- hide in bushes which she goes into next)

 From Susan Atkins Grand Jury testimony:

A: I never recall getting any actual instructions from Charlie other than getting a change of clothing and a knife and was told to do exactly what Tex told me to do. 

Q: So Charlie told you on August 8, 1969, to get a fresh change of clothing, get a knife, and do whatever Tex told you to do?

A: Yes. 

And as far as LULU on nite number 2:

INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes. Early at my going to the ranch, Pat was the one that kept an eye on me. And she was kind of like, I guess placed like a big sister to me. And I was devoted to her. And I knew that she had crossed the line on her commitment to beginning the race war. And it was important to me that I cross that line too. So I wanted to go. I wanted to show my commitment to this belief system.

 So, they went out and actually did it at places they were semi- familiar with for one reason or another. Is that scenario really be so hard to imagine?

 I submit to you that the people who killed the victims those two nights did so in the name of Helter Skelter, and the people who died were murdered because of people who were wired to the idea of Helter Skelter.

I submit that Charles Manson lit the match and fed the flame that ignited the fire. Many people who were intimately involved with the family gave testimony of the passion Charlie had for the philosophy, and the fact he was constantly on pushing it on others. There is testimony, documentary, and physical evidence which all support this motive that Bugs was able to tie together for a group of people who agreed with him unanimously. I ask if anyone can show as much actual testimony, or hard evidence for another motive, as Bugs was able to show for this one? Drug burn, revenge killing, intended to get Roman, whatever your choice- do you have the testimony or physical evidence to match up with what Bugs had to offer for this motive?

Personally, I dont think Charlie had any secret reasons, or that he lied to them to get them to do his bidding. I don't think Charlie would have had to make up a reason to get Tex and Katie to do murder for him, and if he did have to make one up- I think it would have been much easier to use revenge or money. I think what may have really happened is that some of them bought into Charlie's every word. And there should be no doubt he spoke quite often about those two words.

This was a case and a group of people where "no sense make sense". I think some people today refuse to be willing to accept that, and want to force this motive into a box they can understand. I think if the motive was drugs, money,or revenge- then Bugs would have had an easier time convincing people of that, and he still would have reaped the same benefits from his involvement. I do not think Bugs was a stupid man. I think he would have went wherever the evidence took him. I think he investigated this case personally, diligently and that he worked it very hard. I dont think he was able get evidence to support any of those other motives. Maybe, just maybe, that is because there was no other motive.

Bugs wouldn't have needed to make anything up to tie Charlie in with the others either. I know that argument is out there. Whatever the motive Bugs was going to use to paint Charlie as the mastermind and string puller- it wouldn't have mattered. Charlie gave him exactly what he needed in front of the court, jurors, and the world. Charlie was an easy vote for guilty by the way he acted, and by the show he and the others put on in the courtroom, in front of a bunch of scared and shocked people who needed a monster to slay to make themselves feel better and safer. Charlie was his own worst enemy at that trial, and despite what his supporters will tell you- he has nobody to blame but himself for that. Whatever sensational story you think Bugs was telling those people- please remember that Charlie and company did just as sensational of a job acting it out for him in the public eye. They acted as crazy and as obedient to Charlie as Bugs was making them out to be and, frankly and disgustedly, they seemed to enjoy it at the time.

Let me finish with this thought:

Let us remember, again, that this motive was presented to a jury of people. Many of us think that these jurors must have been idiots who fell for Bug's ridiculous stories, or outright lies.

Maybe- Maybe not.

I submit that those jurors were told of a Brainwashing guru who convinced a bunch of kids to do his bidding so as to start a race war called Helter Skelter. Then those jurors saw a bunch of kids do exactly what Charlie did/said and act exactly how Charlie acted. They saw girls carving X's into their heads and laughing and singing at a trial where they were accused of murdering people- including a 9 month pregnant woman among them. They chanted, and screamed at the judge, and the people in the court room. In short- they totally acted the part of crazy, brainwashed zombies. Next, the jurors heard person after person testify about Charlie's obsession with Helter Skelter, and then they saw physical evidence including the words painted in blood at one of the murder scenes, and on a door at the ranch where he lived. Now some may call me crazy, but maybe those jurors saw the evidence presented, and it matched the story they were being told. Maybe the most bizarre tale they had ever heard was being acted out right in front of there eyes. Maybe- just maybe- those jurors heard the evidence, weighed the facts presented to them, and did their jobs based on everything that was available to them at the time. I mean think about it- they weren't being told anything that was weirder than what they were seeing right in front of their own eyes. Personally, while I am not sure that they got it 100% correct as far as the why, and although I think its possible there are multiple why's, until I see more evidence of another motive than what Bugs was able to present in regards to the Helter Skelter motive- I am willing to give both he and the jurors the benefit of the doubt.

Until someone can show more evidence of something else, or disprove some of the testimony about this motive- I personally cannot dismiss it simply because it sounds silly to other people. It sounds silly to me as well when you think about it without context, but I can read and hear, and I have done too much of both to pretend it wasn't a term that Charlie and the family used, and that some of them believed in. There is enough evidence there, for me, to support that.

Look, I feel ya. Helter Skelter may seem like the strangest most far out tale you ever heard. But, I submit these were some of the strangest most far out people you will ever encounter. All I am saying is- Helter Skelter as the real motive?  It just might be possible.

 "If I'm looking for a motive, I'd look for something which doesn't fit your habitual standard … something much more far out,"

Who knows? Maybe the selfish little bastard was right...

At the end of the day you have to ask yourselves the same question I have been asking myself:

Bugs had the story and trial of a lifetime at his fingertips due to no fault of his own. The nature of the people involved on both sides, as well as the behavior of the accused, in addition to the way the crimes were carried out, were going to make this a story for the ages regardless of why the crimes happened. This book was going to be written one way or the other. Bugs may have been a terrible human being, but he was a dogged investigator and prosecutor. And after his investigation- he came up with no sufficient evidence of any other motive, nor did anyone else. For the 40 years since then, investigators have looked into this case many times. With the rise of the internet- great researchers have studied it. Wealthy people with huge resources have gotten involved with it. Friends and family have used connections to pry into it. Entire web-sites are devoted to it. People intimately involved on both sides are writing about it in books and blogs. TV shows and movies are dedicated to it. Yet nobody, in all this time, has been able to show you anything concrete which points to another motive...


-Your Favorite Saint ;)