Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Polanski: The Extradition Question Again

Poland Revives Effort to Extradite Roman Polanski

LONDON — The Polish government said on Tuesday that it would revive an effort to extradite the filmmaker Roman Polanski, whom the American authorities have wanted for decades, after he fled over a 1977 conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The announcement is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle that, at least in Poland, seemed to have ended.

On Oct. 30, a judge in Krakow, Poland, ruled that turning over Mr. Polanski would be an "obviously unlawful" deprivation of liberty and that the state of California was unlikely to provide humane conditions of confinement for the filmmaker, who is 82. The next month, the Krakow prosecutor's office said it would abide by the judge's ruling.

But in a statement on Tuesday, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who is also Poland's chief prosecutor, said he had decided to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, calling the trial judge's decision a "serious breach" of the extradition agreement between the United States and Poland.

Mr. Ziobro did not cite the judge, Dariusz Mazur, by name, but he said the judge had "assessed the gathered evidence in a biased and selective way." Mr. Ziobro added that Mr. Polanski's crimes were subject to a statute of limitations in the United States.

The justice minister also said he disagreed with the judge's decision that Mr. Polanski had effectively already been punished. Mr. Polanski spent 42 days in jail before fleeing the United States in 1978, and he was held in Switzerland from 2009 to 2010, before the Swiss government declined to extradite him.

The detention in Switzerland was "a consequence of his escape abroad from American justice and avoiding criminal liability, not a punishment for a crime of which he is accused," the minister said.

Mr. Ziobro said he also found "incomprehensible" the Krakow judge's comments that Mr. Polanski would face inhumane or degrading treatment if extradited to the United States.

The practical implications for the filmmaker, who holds dual French and Polish citizenship, were not clear.

Mr. Polanski has been working on a film in Poland about Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army captain who was wrongly convicted of spying for Germany in 1894. Last week, Mr. Polanski appeared at a news conference in Katowice, Poland, with the French composer Alexandre Desplat, who has written the scores for several of Mr. Polanski's films.

Jan Olszewski, a lawyer for Mr. Polanski, told the Polish television network TVN24 that the announcement was not a surprise. "We had been expecting the minister to do it," he said.

"We are not pondering here the question of whether Polanski is guilty or not — the judge was very clear in this regard," he added. "We are discussing whether Roman Polanski can be extradited. These are two different things."

Several institutional and political changes have occurred in Poland since the Krakow court's ruling. In November, a government led by the right-wing Law and Justice Party, which swept parliamentary elections, took office.

The party has moved Poland to the right and taken steps to curb judicial and news media independence, alarming European Union leaders, who say the shift might violate the democratic norms of the 28-nation bloc.

The party is known for its law-and-order approach, and for its appeal to Roman Catholic and nationalist voters.

Mr. Ziobro, who became justice minister in November, has consolidated power, and regional prosecutors like the one in Krakow now report to him.

In his statement, Mr. Ziobro suggested that his decision was not politically motivated. He noted that his predecessor as chief prosecutor, Andrzej Seremet, requested a review of the Krakow court's ruling in December, with an eye toward a possible appeal.

Mr. Polanski was arrested in 1977 on charges that included the rape of a teenage girl at the home of the actor Jack Nicholson.

He fled the United States the next year on the eve of sentencing, after learning that the trial judge in California, Laurence J. Rittenband, had decided to revise a plan to limit his sentence to a 90-day psychiatric evaluation, a portion of which Mr. Polanski had already served in a state prison.

In 2009, a California appeals court panel suggested that Mr. Polanski could be sentenced in absentia, opening the way to a possible resolution of the standoff.

Under that proposal, Mr. Polanski would be sentenced to time served, but the plan was rejected by the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

After the unsuccessful effort to have Mr. Polanski extradited from Switzerland, where he was arrested while at a film festival, the United States Department of Justice asked Poland in December 2014 for help in extraditing Mr. Polanski.

Mr. Ziobro, in his statement on Tuesday, took pains to recite the serious crimes for which Mr. Polanski was convicted, including sex with the 13-year-old, who was under the influence of alcohol and methaqualone, a sedative.

In a 2013 memoir, the victim, Samantha Geimer, said she had forgiven Mr. Polanski and moved on with her life.

During the court proceedings in Krakow, two of Mr. Polanski's defense lawyers, Mr. Olszewski and Jerzy Stachowicz, repeatedly cited the 2008 documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," which suggested prosecutorial overreach and judicial misconduct by officials in the United States.

They argued that extraditing Mr. Polanski would violate the European Convention on Human Right and his right to a fair trial.

The 50th Anniversary of the Church of Satan

An article from the San Francisco Chronicle's website on the 50th anniversary of Anton La Vey's  Church of Satan.  The text of the article has been copied and pasted but go to the site and scroll through the images.  There are a few of La Vey that have rarely been seen, with hair!!!


When The Devil Lived in the Richmond
By Mike Moffitt

Witches, warlocks, devil worshippers and underworld spawn, raise your goblets, for today, April 30, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Church of Satan in San Francisco.

Anton Szandor LaVey, a Marin County high school dropout turned carny turned spiritual leader, would not have characterized his flock as Hell's minions, of course. His religion was a rejection of all religions, a celebration of Man as "a carnal beast living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence."

For a short while in San Francisco in the late 1960s, LaVey's self-promoting
meld of pagan hedonism and hucksterism made him a nationally known cult figure.
At 16, Howard Stanton Levey — the name he was given at birth — dropped out of Tamalpais High to join the circus. He purportedly was hired by the Clyde Beatty Circus as a cage boy, feeding the big cats and then graduating to performing magic and hypnosis tricks, and playing the calliope. The tutelage under the big top served him well.

The source of his cynicism

As LaVey's musical skills improved, he began playing piano for the Saturday night burlesque sideshows and, to make some extra cash, Sunday morning tent-revival services. He would later say that seeing the same men at both events fueled his cynicism for organized religion.

James Lewis' reference work
"Satanism Today" notes that LaVey "became well-versed in the many rackets to separate the rubes from their money," a talent shared by many Bible thumpers and TV evangelists.
Most Christian denominations did not possess LaVey's gift for showmanship, however, nor did they use bare-breasted "witches" to fill the pews, a strategy that helped LaVey establish his church in its early days.

LaVey supposedly gave up a brief career in the '50s as a forensic photographer with the San Francisco police although there are no records of his employment with the SFPD. He claimed to have studied criminology at San Francisco City College in order to avoid the draft during the Korean War — but there are no records verifying that either.
What is not disputed is his interest in the supernatural. He began holding Friday night lectures on occult practices and gained a modest following.

The story goes that on Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night), April 30, 1966, he shaved his head (keeping his signature goatee) "in the tradition of the ancient executioners," and founded his church. Walpurgisnacht dates back to a 17th-century German tradition in which sorcerers and witches would gather on the eve of May Day.

However, the site
Satanism Central, says the church was actually founded in the summer of 1966 as a "business and publicity vehicle" and that LaVey actually shaved his head on a lighthearted dare by his wife.

LaVey's headquarters were his small Victorian house in the Richmond District. He painted it entirely black, which must have overjoyed the neighbors.

Black was also the preferred color of his wardrobe. He wore black ropes with pointed collars and a black cape, an outfit he often accessorized with a kitschy devil's horns headdress and medallions.

The bizarre baptism of his daughter

Inside the sinister house at 6114 California St., LaVey presided over his Black Mass rituals with nude women liberally sprawled over the fixtures. One such naked acolyte — an attractive 30-year-old priestess breathing heavily — draped herself over the altar at highly publicized 1967 baptism of LaVey's 4-year-old daughter, Zeena, while the proud papa intoned, "Hail Satan!"

Baptisms have rarely caused such a fuss. The unholy sacrament triggered a media uproar reaching as far as Europe. Allegations of child abuse followed.

The late '60s was a time of upheaval in America. Young Americans were rebelling against the Vietnam War and the military industrial complex, organized religion and the puritanical sexual mores of the '50s. Only weeks earlier a Time magazine cover piece had asked, "Is God Dead?" Conditions were perfect for an alternative church embracing free sex and self-indulgence sanctioned as supernatural worship.

Former members said the church hosted orgies, but, as Helen O'Hara writes in the Telegraph, "It wasn't just the nudity that attracted newcomers.

"As with many religions the congregants would plead for intercession, wishing calamity on an enemy or rival, or attempting to invoke financial or sexual success. The crowd tended to be young, well-heeled and curious, as with other new religions growing at the time."

Sammy Davis Jr. goes to an orgy

LaVey's unholy house of worship was also drawing Hollywood's attention. Sammy Davis Jr. was introduced to the Church of Satan at an orgy party, which he later described as "dungeons and dragons and debauchery." After Davis starred in an ill-fated sitcom called "Poor Devil" — a sort of "It's a Wonderful Life" in reverse, the church awarded him the title of Warlock II, which may be akin to Angel Second Class.

Fifties blond bombshell Jayne Mansfield, who supposedly shared an interest in the supernatural, met LaVey at his home while attending the San Francisco Film Festival in 1966. He was immediately smitten. He showed her some of his black magic trinkets and invited the actress to be his high priestess.

LaVey traveled to Hollywood in 1967 for a photo shoot with Mansfield during which he hung her certificate of church membership in her bedroom. Whether she was an eager recruit or just desperately seeking publicity to jump-start her career, which was in free-fall by the mid-'60s, is not clear. The latter seems more likely.

His small role in 'Rosemary's Baby'

LaVey claimed that Roman Polanski cast him to play Satan himself in the rape scene of the 1968 film "Rosemary's Baby," Polanski's version of Ira Levin's book. The role was not credited but it fueled curiosity in the Church of Satan. The Catholic Decency League condemned the film, which no doubt helped it become a box-office hit.

Buoyed by the success of the film, LaVey suddenly found himself in great demand. Everyone from reporters to occultists wanted to interview "Black Pope," as the Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times called him. But his big moment in the limelight was short-lived.
A year later, Manson Family members murdered Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring.

Sebring had been a member of the church roughly at the same time as Davis and was the singer's stylist. And one of the Manson murderers, Sharon Atkins, had performed as a "blood-swilling vampire" in the LaVey show "Witches' Sabbath" prior to joining Charles Manson's cult.

While people could accept or even embrace LaVey portraying a rapist Beelzebub in a movie, his ties to the Manson murders were disturbing, if not revolting. Suddenly his brand of libertine fun was tainted by one of the most horrific crimes of the century. It was an association he could never live down.

LaVey's dark star began a long, slow decline that occasional talk show gigs couldn't reverse. Even welcoming rock star Marilyn Manson into the fold in the early '90s didn't help much.

Besides, he despised rock 'n' roll — even satanic metal he found distasteful. Instead, he favored romantic tunes of the 1940s.
San Francisco's "Father of Satanism" died of pulmonary edema on Oct. 29, 1997, ironically in St. Mary's Medical Center, which was the closest hospital.

The Church of Satan lives on. It's now headquartered in New York's Hell's Kitchen, led by High Priest Peter H. Gilmore, who has wisely downplayed the Lucifer horns, forked tails and other campy paraphernalia of his predecessor.

The fate of the Black House

As for the Dark Lord's den of iniquity in the Richmond? It fell on hard times.

Chronicle reporter Don Lattin visited the neglected house 15 months after LaVey's death. He wrote:
"Today, the property at 6114 California St. looks like the Addams Family home after a Saturday night frat party. Smashed furniture and a soiled mattress lay amid a mountain of garbage in the small front yard, behind a tall chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

"Adding insult to injury, some blasphemous graffiti artist has scrawled the words "Jesus Rulz" on the mail slot."
Eventually the property was sold, and LaVey's Victorian temple of sin bulldozed. Today, a bland apartment building painted avocado and trimmed in white stands at the site.

You'd never know that it was once the Devil's address.

FWIW I do not believe that Jay Sebring was ever a member of the Church of Satan.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Raw Footage of Geraldo Supposedly at Spahn and with Bill Nelson at LaBianca's

The beginning of this footage has Geraldo riding horses and speaking with a woman named Kim Buchele.  It's presented as if they are at Spahn Ranch but Buchele lived at 23000 Santa Susana Pass Road and she never owned any of Spahn Ranch.

Thanks to Manson Mythos, who comments here, for putting this up on YouTube!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Black Panther

Charles Watson’s marijuana ripoff of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe on July 1, 1969 was the catalyst for the murderous events associated with Charles Manson and his “Family” in the summer of 1969.  The circumstances of this event have been recalled numerous times, but one aspect of it remains puzzling to this day, namely the contention that Bernard Crowe was somehow associated with the Black Panther Party.

Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe

According to this “Panther” scenario, Manson et al. were greatly disturbed by the possibility that Crowe was a member of the group, which had a reputation for sometimes violent behavior. And this belief served to increase “the Family’s” paranoia about blacks. (For example, a rare group of black horseback riders at Spahn’s shortly after Manson shot Crowe caused considerable concern that they might be a scouting party for some future incursion into the ranch.)

But where did this idea that Crowe was a Black Panther come from?

 The logo of the Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was founded in Oakland, California, on October 15, 1966. Its original goals included providing services and security to black ghetto neighborhoods, but as its ranks and revolutionary rhetoric swelled it was inevitable that excesses would occur and that it would attract too much attention from law enforcement officials. That attention led to numerous armed conflicts with The Man, ranging from Panthers brandishing firearms in and around government buildings to fatal shoot-outs with the police. “Off the pig” was a popular Panther chant, and the image the party projected was taken by many as a serious threat to society's white-oriented status quo.

Black Panther Party members display firearms inside the 
California state capitol building on May 2, 1967.

A Sacramento police lieutenant informs armed members of the Black Panther Party 
that they will be allowed to keep their weapons at the capitol building as long as 
they don't cause trouble or disturb the peace. 

Panthers on the steps of the Washington state capitol building in Olympia on February 28, 1969

The Black Panther aspect of the Crowe incident merits mention in much of the TLB literature.  Vincent Bugliosi, in Helter Skelter (page 141, early paperback edition), has snitch Danny DeCarlo saying that the body of a Panther was disposed of in Griffith Park: “According to DeCarlo, after Tex burned the guy for $2,500 on a grass deal, the Panther had called Charlie at Spahn Ranch, threatening that if he didn’t make good he and his brothers were going to wipe out the whole ranch…. Friends of the black, who were present when the shooting occurred, had later dumped the body in Griffith Park, Danny said.”  

In the 1989 updated edition of The Family  (but not in the first edition), on page 172,  Ed Sanders  quotes Charles Watson from Will You Die For Me? (paperback edition, page 123) about a dead Panther whose body had been disposed of on the Westwood campus of the University of California at Los Angeles  (UCLA):  "We all assumed Crowe had died, especially when a report came on the news that the body of a Black Panther had been dumped near UCLA the night before. This made us a little uneasy, since we hadn’t figured on getting involved with the Panthers.”  (Watson’s narrative here is sloppy. He seems to say that the Spahn’s group heard about a fatal Panther shooting ”the night before" on “the next day“ after the Crowe incident which, if accurate, would mean that there must have been considerable media reportage of a Panther shooting in the days immediately following Manson’s encounter with Crowe. It must have been a big story in order for it to filter down to the denizens of Spahn Ranch, who were supposedly famous for their lack of paying attention to the news unless they were the cause of it.)

In The Myth of Helter Skelter, page 49, Susan Atkins-Whitehouse says that Bernard Crowe himself told Manson that he was a Black Panther: “When Manson answered the phone Crowe told him he was a Black Panther (which wasn’t true) and he knew where Manson was and if Manson didn’t come down and give him his money he and all his Black Panther buddies were going to make a raid at Spahn Ranch and kill everybody there.” 

Simon Wells (Coming Down Fast, page 191) seems to concur that Crowe gave Manson the impression that he was a Panther: “Lotsapoppa’s fever threats were peppered with ghetto patois, prompting Charlie to believe there might be a connection with the Black Panthers.” One page 194 Wells writes that TJ and Brenda “heard a report [on the radio] that a member of the Black Panthers had been shot the night before, and his body had been dumped at the entrance of a local hospital.” 

I repeated the “they thought Crowe was a Panther” scenario in my own book (page 129), albeit with the caveat (footnote # 9) that no contemporary media reports of such a shooting had ever been brought forth. 

I thought it was very unusual that no TLB researcher had yet discovered the alleged media report about a Black Panther being shot to death at the same time as the Crowe shooting. Such an occurrence, I knew, would have been very big news. How big? The fatal shooting of Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John J. Huggins, Jr. in Campbell Hall on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles in Westwood on January 17, 1969 was headline news all across the nation. (The pair were apparently killed as a result of a party leadership struggle.) One would expect similar press coverage if a Panther had been killed in LA in early July.

Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter

Chalk outlines mark the locations of the bodies of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins 
after their murders at the UCLA campus in January of 1969.

From the front page of the Rushville (Indiana!) Republican, January 18, 1969. 
This is the kind of news coverage one would expect if it was thought that a
member of the Black Panther Party had been slain. 

The murder of Carter and Huggins was such an important and high profile event 
that it was commemorated 45 years after its occurrence. A plaque has 
been installed in the classroom where the pair was slain.

I was curious about a possible source for this “dead Black Panther” scenario so I decided to look into it myself. Finding nothing on the Internet about such a shooting I went to the main branch of the public Library in downtown Los Angeles and asked to see copies of the local newspapers for the time period in question, namely July 1, 1969 and the week thereafter. I looked at every edition of both the Los Angeles Times and the Herald Examiner. Not only was there no mention of the killing of a Black Panther, there was also no mention of the killing (or wounding) of any non-Panther negro. I did, however, eventually find a general information feature article online about the Panthers that went out from United Press International and was published in area newspapers on Sunday July 6, 1969. That article referred briefly to the fatal shooting of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins (below, bottom of column three).  

Did this feature article on the Panthers, with its brief mention of the Carter/Huggins murders at UCLA, in someone’s hurried perusal, become the media “source” for a mistaken conclusion that the shooting had occurred just a few days before its publication instead of almost six months earlier?

Did Bernard Crowe imply to Charles Manson that he was a member of the Black Panther Party? If so it would readily explain why Manson and the people at Spahn ranch concluded that he was. But if that’s the case, where did the story of the media report of a murdered Panther come from? And if Spahn Ranch was as “unplugged” as has always been alleged (i.e., no newspapers or TV), where did whoever got the story get it so quickly? How did somebody see the feature article about the Panthers (if they did) and jump to such a wrong conclusion?

Like so many other aspects of the Tate-LaBianca murders and the circumstances surrounding them, the "Black Panther" incident raises many unanswered questions. In this case, though, the answers are perhaps not all that important. Because whatever the source of whatever the rumor, the shooting of Bernard Crowe ratcheted up the pressure and paranoia level at Spahn Ranch and contributed mightily to the violence that spilled over into the Benedict Canyon and Los Feliz neighborhoods just a little over a month later. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fountain of the World Bombing

This was published in June 1967 in Police Detective magazine quite a few months before Charlie and Co. arrived at Spahn Ranch.   Some crazy shit was happening up in them thar hills!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Joel Pugh's Death Abroad and His San Francisco Address

When an American citizen dies outside of the United States a Report of a Death of an American Citizen form is filled out.  This form falls under the purview of the US State Department and is filled out by the American consulate or embassy officials in the country where the American citizen died.

Such a form was generated upon the December 2, 1969 death of Joel Pugh in London England.

A few years ago Simon Wells posted  Joel's activities leading up to  his unfortunate death at his blog.  Wells interviewed friends and family of Joel who gave candid insight about Joel's mental decline.  It goes a long way to debunk the notion that his death was a murder.  It seems fairly clear to me that Joel's death was indeed due to suicide.  It was not another death supposedly at the hands of a Family member, namely in this case, Bruce Davis. 

Joel Pugh's last known address in the US was 27 Carl Street San Francisco CA.  This address is considered to be in Cole Valley in the Haight-Ashbury district according to real estate websites.  The Zillow listing for this property, which is "off market",  says that it is a condo with 1000sf,  --bedrooms and 1 bathroom.  It looks like the home was converted to 2 or 3 condos.  The current market value of this particular condo is $1,022,814.  and it has a rental estimate of $4,395.!!!

Joel's unit is accessed through a gate to the right of the home.  A big thank you to Stoner for getting the pictures for the blog while on a day "trip" to Haight-Ashbury!

I wondered whether or not the Carl Street address was associated with the Family in any way even though there is no evidence that anyone connected to the Family other than Sandy Good knew Joel.  Surprise, surprise!  I found a distant connection to Carl Street.  There is no limit to the degrees of separation or synchronicity when it comes to the Family.

The connection came in the form of a post made by Matt, here at the blog back in October 2014.  Remember Jan Holstrom, the man that threw a flammable liquid on Charlie Manson and set him afire while in Vacaville Prison in 1984?  After Holstrom, a Hare Krishna devotee, was released from prison he first lived in Berkeley at a Hare Krishna temple.  When that temple moved to San Francisco Holstrom moved with them.  Holstrom made the news in 1995 when he stabbed a fellow Krishna. The new temple was located at 84 Carl Street, on the same block, across the street and down a few doors, from Joel Pugh's old home. What are the odds?

The Krishna temple sits between a café and small city park, it is still functioning as an academic center for the group.

Monday, May 9, 2016

If Leslie Van Houten is Paroled, What Effect Could That Have on The Other TLB Killers?

In April parole was approved for Leslie Van Houten. The decision will now undergo administrative review by the Board of Parole Hearings. If upheld it goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has the final word on whether the now-66-year-old Van Houten is released. But what possible effect could this have on the rest of the imprisoned killers - Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, Bobby Beausoleil, Bruce Davis and even Charles Manson?

One school of thought is that while Leslie Van Houten  wasn't convicted of Sharon Tate’s murder she was part of a collective trial (Tate/LaBianca). Because she was part of a collective trial the ramifications of Van Houten getting a recommendation for parole could have a snowball effect of every victim and next of kin from the collective TLB trials. Why? Because apparently there's a law that opens the doors to all co-defendants. What is sure to happen is that Krenwinkel, Watson and even Manson can now ask for advanced hearings based on "new evidence". The new evidence being that Van Houten was deemed a non-threat to society - if she's a non-threat, then the others are entitled to that as well. In essence they will all probably get a new hearing if Gov. Brown doesn't veto the recommendation of Van Houten’s parole.

We spoke with an attorney versed in California criminal law who gave a differing and multi-faceted view. He said this:
While LVH was initially tried, and convicted, in a trial of which multiple defendants were held, the "collective" crime was also part known as a conspiracy, for which there is no what goes for one, goes for all rule.  Remember, LVH's conviction was overturned, she was retried, for which a mistrial was granted, and then convicted in a third trial, for a crime that the others were not charged with.  The applicable theory of law was the Felony Murder Rule,  for which a murder occurred during the commission of another felony, that being robbery.  That was a different charge than all of the others, so this claim could be countered with that fact.  Different crimes, different defendants, different results.

While this is a novel concept, I do not see it being successful.  I am not aware of any case law directly on point, but it would not prevent someone from attempting to make the claim in a motion.  However, I do not see the courts accepting such a claim.  The remaining inmates would be better off arguing the cost of incarcerating aged inmates versus the cost of being released into society with supervised parole.  As screwed up as that is, sadly many in society would be more willing to accept that argument.

There is no clear indication of what Jerry Brown may do.  He is walking a fine line of political philosophy versus his legacy.  While he denied Bruce Davis, he did not oppose both Schoenfeld Brothers for their role in the infamous Chowchilla kidnappings.  Most Californians opposed those rulings, but he did not hesitate.  These two men, though no one died, were not, and still are not, any less dangerous than convicted members of the Manson family.  However, the third co-conspirator, Fredrick Woods, was denied parole, partly due to his minimizing his responsibility in the crimes, as well as disciplinary problems.  My point here is that even in parole, no two considerations are the same, so much as on stands alone for their crime, they stand alone for parole as well.
Which way will Governor Brown go? Will he block Van Houten's parole, or will he allow it to stand? If he stands aside and allows her to go free - the question remains - what ripple effect could it have?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The 2017 Manson Blog Tour

The dates of the 2017 Tour won't be announced until January or February, but it normally takes place late April to early May. If anyone is interested in attending please email either myself or Deb. There's no charge, but you need to make your own travel, lodging and other arrangements.

The itinerary is never announced before the Tour because frankly we never decide what we will do and see until it gets very close. The links below will give you an idea of what it's like.

Past tour links:

MansonBlog Tour 2016 - Jane Doe #59
MansonBlog Tour 2016: The Gun Toss And Steven Weiss' House
MansonBlog Tour 2016: Independence, CA
MansonBlog Tour 2016: Death Valley, The Racetrack Playa and The Michigan Loader Site
MansonBlog Tour 2016: Nude Hippies And The Origin Of An Icon
MansonBlog Tour 2016: The End Of Summit Trail

Manson Tour 2015: Earth Day at Spahn Ranch
Manson Tour 2015: A Discussion With George Stimson: Part I
Manson Tour 2015: A Discussion With George Stimson: Part II
Manson Tour 2015: Olancha - Karl Stubbs' Neighbor and Hannum Ranch
Manson Tour 2015: Goler Wash
Manson Tour 2015: Gary Hinman's Bus -- Not
Manson Tour 2015: Benedict Canyon and the Surrounding Areas: Report on Strange Sounds, Gunshots, Indications of Violence, Related by Persons who were in Hearing Distance of the Polanski Residence on the Night of 8-8-69 and the Morning of 8-9-69

Manson Tour 2014: Stoner's Spahn Ranch Hike
Manson Tour 2014: The Museum of Death and The Sounds of Laurel Canyon
Manson Tour 2014: A Day With Aes-Nihil
Holy Cross

2013 Tour - Robert Hendrickson at The Silent Theatre
2013 Tour - Cielo Drive
2013 Tour - Easton Drive / Rudy Weber
2013 Tour - LaBianca
2013 Tour - El Coyote
2013 Tour - Lotsapoppa
2013 Tour - Westchester/Venice
2013 Tour - Hanging out with Michael on his Back Porch!
2013 Tour - Spahn/Chatsworth

2012 Tour Day 1 - Vegas & Pahrump
2012 Tour Day 2 - Devil's Hole, Father Crowley Point & Olancha
2012 Tour Day 3 - Trona, Ballarat & Barker Ranch
2012 Tour Day 4 - El Coyote
2012 Tour Day 5 - Lower Topanga, Spahn, Box Canyon

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The End Of Summit Trail

Not two weeks after the arrest of Manson et al. on Deer Creek Road in Ventura County the group again found itself under assault from law enforcement. It was May 2, 1968, and this time the incident occurred and the end of Summit Trail, an isolated location high up at the end of a series of narrow, twisting roads running off of Topanga Canyon Road. The group began staying at this property, which at the time included a vacant house, after their time at the so-called “Spiral Staircase House” behind the Topanga Shopping Center at the intersection of Topanga Canyon Road and the Pacific Coast Highway (California Highway 1). 

According to the Sheriff’s report of the incident: 

“Acting of information from above informant that above house is being used as a crash pad by narcotics addicts and runaways, writer, Sgt. Salerno, Deps. Rodriguez and Redddy with the assistance of car 103…. proceeded to above location.

“Upon arrival writer observed suspect Manson standing in front of the house.

“Writer identified himself by displaying his badge and stated Sheriff narcotic officers were conducting a narcotic investigation. Suspect Manson replied OK, come in the house, I’ll show you around. Upon entering suspect # 2 was observed lying on a bed, suspects #3, #4, and #5 observed milling about. Approximately five (5) minutes later suspects # 6 and #7 entered with Sgt. Salerno who stated they were in a bus adjacent to the house.

“After exiting the house with all the suspects in our presence, writer observed and heard suspect Manson lean over to suspect Hall and in a low voice said, “Go sit in the chair,” writer observed suspect Hall walk to a chair and sit down. Writer requested suspect suspect [sic] Hall to stand up, to which he complied. A check of the chair revealed evidence held items #1, #2, #3 and #4 on the ground under the chair.

“Writer then displayed the evidence to all suspects and stated, “Do you know what this is and does it belong to any of you”, all suspects remained silent. Suspects were then placed under arrest for possession of marijuana and advised of their rights per SH-AD-477. Each suspect stated he understood his rights.

“Suspect Manson stated that the marijuana could belong to anyone, as a lot of people stay here. Suspects were transported to Malibu Sheriff’s Station by car 103…. and booked on above charge.

“During booking procedure item # 5 was found in left front shirt pocket of suspect Hall. During booking procedures Matron Shirle Smith found item # 6 on suspect Good’s person. Suspect Manson was again shown the evidence, item # 1, #2, #3 and #4 and asked if it was his, suspect stated, no it could belong to anyone of many people. When asked if he smoked marijuana, suspect stated yes. When asked why he told suspect Hall to sit in the chair, evidence recovered, suspect stated I was trying to keep the guys out of your way, so you could do your job.

“Suspect Hall was again shown the evidence #1, #2, #3 and #4, and asked if it was his, suspect stated, No. When asked if he had seen the evidence before suspect stated, I might have, but I can’t say for sure. When asked if he smoked marijuana, suspect stated, yes, but I haven’t for approximately five (5) days. When shown the driver license, evidence held item # 2, and asked if it was his, suspect stated no. When advised that the picture on the license looked like him, suspect stated OK it’s mine, it’s a false name and license.

“When asked how it got into evidence held item #2, suspect stated I don’t know. When again asked about the evidence, suspect stated I don’t know a thing about the marijuana.

“Suspect Good was again shown evidence held item # 1, #2, #3 and #4 and asked if it was hers, suspect stated, no, never saw it before. When asked if she smoked marijuana suspect stated, yes, but I don’t like it. When asked where she got the capsules [item # 6], suspect stated from Gary Hinman in Topanga. 

“Suspect #4, #5, #6 and #7, refused to make any statements.

“Evidence transported to L.A. Sheriff’s crime lab for analysis.

“The facts of this cased will be presented to Santa Monica branch of the Los Angeles District Attorney Office for their consideration towards a complaint.”

Evidence seized during this raid included a quart of marijuana seeds in a glass bottle (item # 1), a little over two ounces of pot (items # 2, 3, and 4), three pills (item # 6), and some driver's licenses of questionable authenticity. 

Taken into custody and detained at the Malibu station of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Office were Charles Manson (suspect # 1), Sandra Good (suspect # 2), Bruce Vann Hall (suspect # 3), Robert Earl Murray (suspect # 4), Louis Covell (suspect # 5), Bruce Davis (suspect # 6), and Diane Bluestein (Diane Lake, suspect # 7)). 

Below, the Sheriff's report of the incident at the end of Summit Trail:

Charles Manson was charged with violation of Section 11530 of the Health and Safety Code, possession of marijuana. On his booking record his address was listed as "transient 'bus'" and his occupation was listed as "musician -- unemployed."

Manson's booking record for possession of marijuana

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Summit Trail Today

The location of the bust on Summit Trail was another of the destinations for the 2016 MF Blog Tour. The end of the trail is still remote and rustic today; it was easy to get lost in the tight maze of "trails" and we made a couple of wrong turns before we finally arrived at the correct spot. When we got there an older gentleman was leaning on the fence in front of the house at the end of the trail, almost as if he was expecting us. After we identified ourselves and our purpose for being there, the man, Rick (who has owned the house since 1974 and been a denizen of Topanga Canyon for several years longer), gladly visited with us and told us stories of indeterminate veracity that he had heard of "the Family's" presence in the area. He was an interesting living link with the past!

Google Maps view of Summit Trail

A wider view shows the relationship of the end 
of Summit Trail (arrow) to Gary Hinman's
residence at 964 Old Topanga Canyon Road.

The end of Summit Trail

MF bloggers talk with Rick, the owner of the house 
at the end of Summit Trail since 1974.

According to Rick, "the Family's" black bus was 
parked on this slight rise adjacent to the house, 
about where the orange car is.

The house at the end of Summit Trail

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nude Hippies And The Origin Of An Icon

Perhaps the earliest media report on Charles Manson and his "Family" was the article that appeared in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner on April 23, 1968. That article, headlined "Nine Nude Hippies Arrested; Found Huddled Around Campfire," described the arrest of Manson and eight of his associates in Ventura County, California after law enforcement officials encountered their disabled school bus in a remote canyon.

According to the article, police found the "bus stuck in a deep ditch along Deer Creek Mountain Road, just above Bass Rock, located about five miles south of Point Mugu....  The group was apparently driving back into the canyon when the bus became stuck in the deep ditch along the roadway about a quarter mile east of Highway 1."

Arrested along with Manson in the incident were Mary Brunner, Brenda McCann (Nancy Pittman), Ella Sinder (Ella Jo Bailey), and Mark Damon (Mark Arneson, who would later be involved in the transfer of Gary Hinman's VW bus to the Straight Satans motorcycle club). Other persons detained with driver's licenses reported as being forged were Sadie Mae Glutz (Susan Atikins), Diane Bluestein (Diane Lake), Susan Scott (Stephanie Rowe), and Bruce Van Hall (in fact his real name).

Manson was booked on suspicion of grand theft auto (the bus was supposedly reported stolen from San Francisco on April 12, 1968, but it wasn't) and possession of two driver's licenses. 

This incident, however, is important beyond providing us with an early newspaper account of Charles Manson and his "Family," because the arrest was also the source of the most famous mug shot of all time, namely the "arched eyebrow" picture of Charles Manson that graced the cover of Life magazine on December 19, 1969 and went on to be featured in countless books, magazines, television programs, and all manner of other media presentations in the following decades. 

In 1968 the antics of "hippies" made for good news copy.

Above and Below: Charles Manson's mug shot from the Ventura
County bust and the resulting Life magazine cover. It has become
the icon for the "Icon of Evil."

*      *      *

Many sites related to the Charles Manson saga have been obliterated with the passage of time, but the location of this important arrest is virtually unchanged from the way it was almost fifty years ago.

A few miles north of where California Highway 1 crosses the Ventura County line the Deer Creek Road intersects on the eastern side. About a quarter mile after turning onto the road there is an obvious turnoff on the right side. Shortly down this turnoff is a creek bed where it would have been possible for the bus to get stuck. Since this is the only location in the area where it would be likely for someone to attempt to pull over a large vehicle it is very probably the site of the April 22, 1968 arrest.

Deer Creek Road is as isolated and untamed 
today as it was in April of 1968. The likely location 
of the bus breakdown was in the canyon indicated 
by the green trees in the lower right of the image.

The turnoff about a quarter mile up 
Deer Creek Canyon Road

Down into the turnoff

Did the bus get mired in this creek bed? 

The view west from the turnoff shows the location's
proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Death Valley, The Racetrack Playa and The Michigan Loader Site

For the fifth year I asked the group if we could go to The Racetrack Playa in Death Valley to see the spot of the burning of the Michigan Loader. I have been consistently outvoted because the spot is very hard to get to. This year I got my wish!

The Racetrack Playa, or The Racetrack, is a scenic dry lake feature with "sailing stones" that inscribe linear "racetrack" imprints.

From Lone Pine where we bunked for the night after checking out Independence it is about a 60 mile trek from the turnoff on CA 198. All of those miles on dirt roads. Not just dirt roads but really windy, mountainous mining roads. None of these dirt mining roads are closer than 40 miles to anything that can be called a town.

Luckily George has lots of backcountry driving experience, topo maps and ice in his veins. The ride was very very bumpy, and we got temporarily lost at least twice. The views were spectacular. Death Valley is a breathtakingly beautiful place.

The view from Hunter Mountain overlooking Hidden Valley:

Tea Kettle Junction - about 6 miles from the Racetrack. Yes, we left a tea kettle:

Racetrack Playa from about 3 miles away:

Racetrack Playa:

The rock formation near the center is known as "The Grandstand".

Sailing Stones at The Racetrack:

Below is the set of the burning of the Michigan Loader, the incident that spurred the Inyo County Sheriff's Department to start the investigation that led to the Barker Ranch Raids and the final arrest of Charles Manson. The spot is the turnoff onto Lippincott Lead Mine Road.

As intense and unforgiving as Death Valley is, it is full of natural beauty.:

On the way back to LA we hit the Trona Pinnacles. Many of you will remember the backdrop from the YouTube video of Bill Nelson filming Cappy as she protested that he had promised not to film her: