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. 


Robert Hendrickson said...

I just realized, you don't SEE Black men having guns on the streets ANYMORE, BUT you do SEE "PIGS" shooting THEM in the back. Don't YOU just love that "gun control."

Recently SAW a great documentary on the Panthers and the primary purpose of THEM carrying GUNS was to defend themselves against KILLER Cops.

AFTER the Watts Riots in August of 65, the LAPD declared WAR on the Blacks. YOU all are having such a hard time with discovering ANYTHING relevant to the Manson Family and the 1960s, because it ALL happened in a land and time so "foreign" to you.

I remember the Family discussing the Black man (Crow)situation, BUT at the time, it was no big Deal. I mean HE was NO celebrity or movie star.

Matt said...

It makes me think about how rumors get started in the first place. Someone hears something incorrectly and repeats it - often times just for attention. This rumor though had a powerful reaction that affected the lives of many, many people.

Excellent research and thoughts, George.

starship said...

Yes, thanks, George. I've spent many hours on the internet trying to find verifying info on this as well, but to no avail.

Anonymous said...

Matt said...

"It makes me think about how rumors get started in the first place. Someone hears something incorrectly and repeats it - often times just for attention."

So you're saying that Sadie started the rumor, because that's what it sounds like you're saying.

On another note, didn't Manson once say that Crowe's friends at the apartment were Mexicans? I could swear that I read or heard that somewhere.

Matt said...

Ziggy, I don't know if she started it, or just perpetuated it.

DebS said...

I have no idea where anyone in the Family got the notion that a BP had been killed and found on the university campus. From looking at BPP timelines it seems as if the only people killing BPs were law enforcement.

Starship, I too have looked for anything that might shed light even looking at all the other Black groups of the time. Black Student Union, Black Liberation Army, Black Liberation Front etc. I honestly wasn't sure if what was attributed to Family lore regarding their belief that a BP was killed was true but George has verified that.

Ironically the trial the Bugliosi prosecuted just before taking on the Manson trial was against members of the Black Student Union who in 1968 had taken over the administration building at a local university. There were about 20 BSU members involved in that trial, all but one were found guilty. It came out in the press that some of the BSU demonstrators were wearing BPP tee shirts with the slogan "By Any Means Necessary".

Unknown said...

I saw that documentary as well Mr H. Great watch. I wish that we could get a modern day group of Panthers to spend 24 hours a day following George Zimmerman around.

This was very well done George. These last two posts have been you and Deb doing research which demonstrates why this blog endures and grows while others go in other directions. Fighting and insulting goes on in every site I have ever been in, but very few offer consistent factual research by people who have the real skills to do it.

It apparently makes a difference. :)

Great work to all of you and I hope everyone is well.

grimtraveller said...

From Tex's Autobiog:
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 U.C.L.A. the night before
which makes one wonder if the speed and paranoia hadn't got to Tex first, given that such a report has never ever been corroborated anywhere, in 47 years. I remember the first time I read "Helter Skelter," one of the things that stood out to me was reading the DeCarlo interview at Parker Centre and Bugliosi & Gentry's comment about the detectives having done some interim checking on the killing of "the nigger" {info supplied by Al Springer} and had found that such a happening had never been reported. So the cops found no evidence of it, Bugliosi & Gentry found no evidence of it, decades later when most news items going back half a century can be located, Ziggy and George can find no evidence of it......but Tex did and remembered it in 1978 ? Hmmmm....Maybe trying to big up his achievements, you know, "I burned a Panther..." kind of thing.
He's accepted a lot of responsibility for his part in the murders but thus far, I've yet to see him make a connection between his Crowe drug burn and the subsequent events and it would be interesting to get his thoughts on the part that played in propelling events forward.
As for Susan, she often spoke authoritatively as an insider about what was going on but when you critically examine her words, one discovers more contradictions and disembowelling from her than possibly from any other historical character that one cares to name. Sifting what is true from what isn't when it comes to her is an almost impossible task, made all the harder by the fact that she intertwined so much fluff in her stories and changed them and applied much vengeance depending on whom she was angry with at the time. In both "Child of Satan, Child of God" and "The Myth of Helter Skelter" she contradicts herself and when referring to the Crowe shooting is very specific in stating that Black Panthers were in the room with Charlie, TJ and Lotsapoppa. She also states so many times that Charlie thought Crowe was a Panther but she never states why he thought this or how he reached that conclusion.
It's almost tempting to see it as good old fashioned Family racism mixed with drug sodden ignorance ~ any Black person dealing in drugs, violence and/or revenge must be a Panther. Couldn't just be an angry Mutha that wanted his $2700 back !

Robert Hendrickson said...

VERA: that's a "BINGO."


So how come the BLACKs love the Clinton's and GUN Control ? Is it something to do with the going rate of $6,000,000 per - for the victim's Family ?

DEB: I know of "many" facts buried in "news" stories, that nobody has found.

IE: Joan and Bugliosi TOGETHER at Merrick's funeral. I know there is news footage - cause I saw it on TV.

I'm "almost" sure I saw the dead Black man story, and the Family definitely told ME about the guy who threatened to attack the Ranch.

How about this: Maybe someone in the Family informed the Sheriff's Deputy WHO used to hide behind a tree and watch the Family screw in the grass. THEY became friends with HIM and it would have been just like THEM to tell HIM: "We're in trouble, the Black Panther's are coming to burn us out." He's goes back to headquarters in Malibu and tells the Sheriff what's coming down. That would explain WHY the Sheriff's Department was "watching" the Ranch.

Just THINK a chance for the "cops" to catch the Panthers in action and BLAST them into oblivion.

Makes sense to me.

grimtraveller said...

Lotsapoppa comes across as being so cooooooool in all of the books he's mentioned in. In "Helter Skelter", he's the dude that gets shot nearly to death but will neither tell the cops who shot him or why. In "Trial by your peers" he's the cool trumpet player that deals a little ganja on the side. In "Will you die for me ?" he's the drug dealer that steps up to the plate to front the big cash for the heavy deal, in "The myth of Helter Skelter" he's the mack that hangs with the Panthers, in "Goodbye Helter Skelter" he's the fella who won't back down and is ready to push matters to the end, showing laudable persistence, in "Without Conscience: The Story of Charles Manson in His Own Words" he's the cool cat who laughs in the face of a man pointing a gun at him {this, before it started misfiring}.....; to cap it all, the reason he won't let the docs take the bullet out of him because it makes for a great conversation piece. How cool is that ?
But stories told about a person can be frightfully misleading and deceptive. There's an old saying, something to the effect of "better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and have it confirmed." Lotsapoppa, once he opened his mouth dashes all notion of cool. In the penalty phase of the trial, he's vigourously questioned, mainly by Irving Kanarek and he comes across as such a dingbat. His lying was weak and embarrassing, his attempts to engender pity were laughable. His attempts to come across as a reasonable and spiritual man that didn't really mind that he'd been fleeced of $2700 fooled no one. It's a shame Cat's old site doesn't exist anymore because I'd encourage everyone to go there and read his trial transcript. I'm really glad I did read it because never again could I be fooled by the cool of Lotsapoppa. Even that name rings hollow to me.
The interesting thing about many of those associated with this case that had any contact with him, they spent hardly any time in his presence. The other interesting thing is that many of the authors of TLB books back in the day had access to the transcripts. Maybe he wasn't their focus. I'm still embarrassed for him, even in death.

grimtraveller said...

Robert Hendrickson said...

I know of "many" facts buried in "news" stories, that nobody has found

That's not the point being made though. Bearing in mind the significance of it and the way we can read the most emphatic significance into the tiniest offhand word or sentence, if there was anything that even smelled of a body of a Black Panther being dumped in and around the start of July '69 or, for that matter, any time in July '69, it surely would've been found by now. Tex claims to have remembered it for inclusion in his 1978 autobiog. So it can't be portrayed as buried. If it exists at all.

I'm "almost" sure I saw the dead Black man story, and the Family definitely told ME about the guy who threatened to attack the Ranch

For over 40 years, I was hunting for a song I'd heard as a kid by the Supremes. I had no idea what it was called and I vaguely remembered the chorus. I knew it was the Supremes because one night in the late 80s, I was talking with a friend about a rather harrowing subject and she was playing a Supremes compilation while we talked and that song {which, at the time, I'd wondered about for 20 years} came on and I tried to work out how many songs into the side of the LP it was but because we were talking about something really serious, I lost where it was and so even looking at the sleeve when she popped out didn't help. I was sure that I'd heard it on a trip from Shrewsbury to Birmingham, at the end of summer '69, just before my family moved to London. Anyway, when I was putting my music collection into shape a couple of years ago, I decided to buy up loads of singles I'd loved from my childhood and I searched for that Supremes one. I had even bought Supremes albums in years past, in search of the song. In the end, I listened through almost every Supremes song on iTunes before finding it. It was called "Automatically Sunshine." I was sure I'd heard it in '69 because I remember it evoked memories of dead rabbits that had been squashed by cars on country lanes which I remember from that Shrewsbury trip.
But the song came out in 1972.
I researched it to see if they'd recorded it back then but they hadn't. I wondered if any other group with female singers had recorded it in '69. Nope ! I have absolutely no memory of it from that time. I can recall where I first heard or got familiar with hundreds of songs, but evidently, not that one.
Memories may well be strong but can't argue with documented fact.

the Family definitely told ME about the guy who threatened to attack the Ranch

But by then of course, it was retrospective. In your book, Sandy Good tells you lots of stuff as though she were there in the planning stages and knew of everyone's moves yet she also clearly tells you that she didn't know about the killings until a month after they happened, even though she says she said to Mary Brunner in jail that "it sure looks like we did it !" It becomes clearer that not everyone knew the same things as they happened and that, what with the mythology of Shorty and the body chopped into 9 pieces which we now know wasn't and which Bruce admits was a tale they span, things that one was told appear to be somewhat tainted.
That said, it's not in doubt that Lotsapoppa had the ranch phoned. He didn't even dispute it; he said that the woman Tex had left behind {Luella/Rosina} is the one that put it to Charlie that Crowe was going to head to the ranch and commit mayhem.....

Manson Mythos said...

I'd imagine they just heard about the well documented incident of the Panther who was dumped on the lawn of UCLA months earlier, but whoever heard it (I believe it was TJ) wasn't paying close attention to the date it occurred and only heard about a Panther being dumped on the lawn of UCLA with a bullet in the stomach.

Regardless, it appears the word spread like wild fire in the drug and music world and DeCarlo more or less confirmed what I always suspected, that the cops knew about it too despite Crowe never reporting it.

Gregg Jakobson had some interesting stuff to said in the 1970 Rolling Stone"

"Also, he supposedly shot a spade in the stomach in Topanga. A friend called me up and said, "You know that crazy guy Charlie? He shot some spade in the stomach, then took his jacket, bent over, kissed his feet and said, 'I love you, brother.'" And I said, "That sounds like Charlie, all right."

None of this was reported to the police. This guy was a dealer, a big syndicate dealer, a real out and out criminal dealer who dealt everything. So these people wouldn't report it to the police; they just take care of it themselves. Charlie figured these people would be after him immediately. The spade lived, incidentally. This was early in the summer of '69, when Charlie was collecting weapons and hanging out with the motorcycle people"

It's interesting to note that Mike Love of the Beach Boys said Dennis Wilson witnessed the Crowe shooting with his own two eyes, but I think his facts were mixed up.

The boy wonder said...

Can someone please enlighten me about the whole Vera D thing please, iv been visiting here on and of for a couple of years and keep seeing her mentioned, it's making my brain hurt. Loving the research you guys put in by the way ;-).

ColScott said...

I always thought from my chats with Bobby that the Black Panther thing was an extrapolation. Crowe DID call and threaten to come to the ranch with his brothers and rape and kill everyone. Angry black man had to be a panther, right?

The people to talk to are Rosina, in Sebastopol. I was there in 09 but fucking Matt had not uncovered her by then. And Crowe. Or did he die? When?

It doesn't matter if he was a Panther or not- everyone on drugs out of their mind at Spahn THOUGHT he was.

DebS said...

Crowe died in LA Feb. 1, 1993. He was born in Washington DC April 13, 1942 so just 50 years old when he died.

ColScott said...


Matt said...

Deb found Rosina, not me.

ColScott said...

you did it was on a Youtube news story. bitch

Matt said...

Deb did, punk. It was on a news station and she needed me to find a way to download it and then post it. I'm handy that way.

snowdensofyesteryear said...

Tangentially related to the Black Panthers issue is that of the Nation of Islam, and the alleged helter skelter/zebra killings link there. But sometimes I wonder, if Charlie had read Dune in prison, instead of that other sf classic Stranger in a Strange Land, if things might have been different. If that story of a (presumably white skinned) prince in exile becoming the military savior for a secret society of (presumably) darker skinned assassins hiding out in underground cities of the desert might have prompted him to make more radical alliances and maybe be even more violently minded than he already was, even with the influence of SiaSL's otherworldly love cult that he allegedly had. I checked the dates, and with Dune coming out in 1965, it could have been available to him during his incarceration, but since Stranger was published four years earlier, there were probably more copies of it floating around, especially as it was printed in multiple paperback editions while Dune was originally published in a relatively small printing of hardback copies. So a fluke of the publishing industry might have prevented Charles Manson from being inspired to train Nation of Islam radicals in the desert or try to steal nuclear weaponry. On the other hand, the fact that he was a lazy lecherous racist probably had more influence on his actions than his choice of science fiction did, and so this whole train of thought was probably just silly on my part.

Pepper Anderson said... nailed this post. That impulsive shooting created a butterfly effect of massive proportions. A dynamic ex con, a whacked out Texan, and a biker or two publicly kicking around stories about shooting a black man (who cares if they even said "panther"). This kind of blither, group paranoia, fear and anxiety would get impressionable kids to do a heck of a lot. Happens all over the world, even now. Look at our politics...our world.

Paranoia is the real motive in my opinion. After the fact, you want to say they did it to get a brother out of jail...fine. (George, I did read your book, thoughtfully and with an open mind.) Bug wants to say HS. Alrighty. Sadie says drugs because it gives her peace. God bless you sister. Tex says the Devil. Of course he does. Charlie says the Girls came up with a plan. Good one, Chuck. Conspiring theorists say the mob, badda bing. Nope. It was the shooting of a black man. How's that for no sense makes sense.

What I want to know is WHY did Lotsapoppa not take revenge? If he did, would it have made any difference? To those of you who read it, whay did Crowe's trial transcripts say about WHY he took no action?

ColScott said...

Crowe had to recover. By the time he did the Fam was in the desert. How do you get revenge there?

Also Crowe used henchmen that belonged to Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher. THAT connection would prove interesting

Anonymous said...

@ColScott - Bryn/Bryan Lukashevsky? I wish that someone would contact him and get that cleared up, once and for all. The closest I heard was Brian Davis on TLB radio. IIRC, he had some sort of communication with Bryn/Bryan, but I don't think anything was gleamed from that other than that Manson was an asshole.

If Bryan was there when the drug burn/shooting went down, that would be a huge coincidence. I'd like to know how the conversation went between him and Tex? "Howdy, Bryn. How are Dennis and Terry doing? Gotta go, see ya later. I always come back for my girl."

Incidentally, Bryan has had a net presence for some time, so he wouldn't be hard to get in touch with. I think he even had a Myspace at one time, which puts him in the social media pioneers category.

Anonymous said...

From a recent AP news story :

Mar 27, 12:13 AM EDT

Democratic voter voices from Washington, Alaska and Hawaii

Bryan Lukashevsky, 68, of Honolulu, voted for Sanders because he thinks the Vermont senator stands for the average American.

"I thinks he's pretty much our last gasp of freedom," Lukashevsky said. "We've had everything eroded away so terribly in the past few years, even under Obama."

Lukashevsky, the father of two grown daughters, one of whom was just married to a military man in Hawaii, did not vote for Obama in the last election, he said.

"I hate lying, and they all lie," he said. "In my opinion, the only guy that's standing up for us, the average person, or even everybody, is Bernie Sanders."

Lukashevsky voted at Kawananakoa Middle School in Honolulu. Retired from the film and television industry, he has been living in Hawaii since 1975.

Patty is Dead said...

Nice Ziggy!

Robert Hendrickson said...

GRIM has made an excellent point about "memory" and the troubles it causes.

IN fact HE says Sandy Good said "It sure looks like WE did it." BUT she actually did say:
"Wow! I guess THEY did it."

AND I would say: "WOW, what a drastic difference. IF as GRIM says it's "WE" Sandy could be implicated in Murder, but IF she actually said "THEY" she is not implicated.

Sandy sure is lucky I have the later on tape, because some day a young ambitious prosecutor could read this blog and THINK "Wow, I can make ME famous by prosecuting the late 1960s "Copycat Murders."

MHN said...

Mysteriously vague chain of cause and effect.

Increased paranoia etc.

Nicely vague.

So they thought Crowe was a Panther. So they thought Panther bros would come for revenge.

Ripples. How did those ripples reach Cielo Drive...?

What I'm asking is.... is there any coherence in any of this stuff? Fantastic research into people's dates of birth and first haircuts and childhood homes (and I love that stuff) but when it comes to the event that makes this a legend, the event without which Manson would be the forgotten name of an ex-con growing old in a trailer park, there is no reasonable narrative.

Why did they slaughter a minor movie star living in the former home of a music producer who had let Charlie down? Because of paranoid ripples set in motion by the erroneous belief they had killed a Panther and would be targeted for revenge....?

I know that no sense makes sense, but nonsense is still nonsense.

I would seriously have to ask, is there even a single Family member who actually knows exactly why the hell those people died? I have my doubts.

orwhut said...

What Harold True said.

MHN said...

And those ripples of paranoia have a distinct racial quality at root, but it is now an article of faith that we must believe there was no racial component by the time they reached Cielo or Waverley.


Dante begins his journey lost, assailed by three beasts: a lion, a she-wolf, and a "lonza" - usually translated as a leopard, but I guess a Panther could be close enough. The she-wolf is famously the beast who gave suckle to Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, so the wolf represents the power of the mighty State, the Panther represents the anti-State or chaos (or Helter Skelter), and the lion can stand for the forces of religion, as the lion is used as a symbol of both Judah, Christ, Mark the Evangelist, and of course Satan, "seeking whom he may devour".

So Charlie Manson is on a journey, lost, assailed by the State, assailed equally by the enemies of the State, the Panthers, and by the forces of organised religion, god and devil.

He begins his journey through the underworld. And where does Dante's journey end? It ends in the heavens, in the skies above, in paradise, (or in Spanish, "Cielo"). The nine spheres of heaven are explored... Hmmm.... nine?


I've been as tenuous as possible but I'm sure some research could firm this bullshit up slightly. Clearly there WAS no rational motive, Charlie and his friends were being directed by the cosmos to reenact Dante's journey of the soul.

Either that or the real clues are to be found in Rosemary's Baby, in which a woman is made to deliver the satanic baby she does not want, a ritual precisely counteracted by Tex and Sadie in Cielo. Quite possibly their deed saved mankind from something far worse.

Is it just a coincidence that Patty Duke played Rosemary in a sequel to Rosemary's Baby?

MHN said...

Orwhut, you mean -

"You know, that’s what you do when you apply human thought and logic and reason to people who are crazy; because it doesn’t come out the way you figured it would."


orwhut said...

The way I remember the quote is, (You can't expect rational thought from crazy people).
Your quote seems to be a longer version of the same thing.

Matt said...

"You can't ascribe reason to crazy!"
- Harold True

orwhut said...

Thank you Matt. I remembered you quoting it a while back but couldn't find it anywhere. I think it's one of the most profound statements to come out of the whole mess.

Matt said...

Whut, if you want to listen to the phone interview, we have it here:

AustinAnn74 said...

I have two words for this: Inherent Vice. . . . .

MHN said...

Harold True is perhaps my favourite person in the whole Mansonverse. Not only does he speak a whole load of sense using the most wonderful language, but also his magnificent mustache and his slightly Jack Nicholsonesque aura, those devilish eyebrows.

I agree with the sentiment, but still.... murdering that many people that brutally, you'd think there must be some fairly concrete reason.... no....?

Robert Hendrickson said...

MICHAEL, you are possibly the brightest STAR on this blog, BUT you apparently don't SEE how "paranoia" basicly motivates the existence of ALL mankind. AND "paranoia" is so infectious

ALL politicians USE it to "control" the masses.

Before "I" illustrate, maybe YOU would like to reconsider your relevant THOUGHTS on the subject.

BTW: "minor"? Watch the promo for "Eye of the Devil." SHE was on her way!

starship said...

If I believed the panthers dead body news story, I would think that Charlie thought he had wasted just another drug dealer,but then the news the next day is that the body of a Panther was found, and holy shit Charlie would probably become really scared really quick.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Sorry Michael, I can't wait any longer:

FACT: John F. Kennedy was "paranoid" of the Communists and HE became a REAL American Cult Leader.

HE "first" sent American advisors to Laos who trained the "HMONG" mountain people to FIGHT the Communists.

Of course, the CIA was involved.

LBJ was like TEX WATSON (another dufus from Hicksville) WHO only knew how to carry a torch until the eternal flame (Vietnam) was lit.

AND if you can show ME that JFK and LBJ were NOT motivated by (paranoia) FEAR of the Communists, that THEY were simply two of the most EVIL bastards of modern times, I am ALL ears.

Of course, JFK had a good old American excuse: He was doing pain medication for his BACK while also doing recreational DRUGS and that is a perfect prescription for "paranoia."

Whether Charles Manson KNEW it or NOT, HE was the mirror reflecting America's "paranoia," BUT from a new and improved perspective, that allowed many aware people (mostly young) to re-examine and thusly re-evaluate and eventually put an END to OUR real Cult Leader's public exhibition of human massacre.

MHN said...

Robert, you're probably right. I don't know too much about paranoia, but I'll say this: I might disagree with you re fear and paranoia being tools of the government. I could equally conceive of the opposite being true. We live in age of self-help gurus and motivational lifestyle mentors, and they all have more or less the same attitude to fear; lose fear, overcome fear, transform fear, rise above it, etc etc. And I'm always horrified and bemused. I say take a look around the world, open your eyes - and CHERISH your fear. Fear is the gift the universe gave you to keep you safe, to give you victory over your enemies, to counteract the darkness. Manson was not far wrong about fear.

Anyone who tells you to lose or transform or overcome your fears is 100% employed by the devil, which is to say, the world, the government, the man, whose greatest desire is to see you complacent. To denigrate fear is to sell your soul. A fighter keeps his gloves up because he knows there is a punch coming for him. Most now prefer to pretend there is no war happening in this world.

"OMG" Not the brightest star by a LONG way, there are some brilliant people here, some truly original thought, some lunatics who shall remain nameless, stacks of brilliant research and analytical discussion. I don't know much about the murders, I'm just trying to have some fun. I mean, it wasn't everyone's cup of tea but I absolutely loved the series of posts with Dr Dave. Awesome. Where else do you find that stuff?

Mr. Humphrat said...

Good work George. Good find on that article and lack of other articles. Seems somewhat plausible this article was seen by someone and perhaps remembered to someone else later in the wrong context.

George Stimson said...

On the subject of fear I highly recommend The Gift Of Fear by Gavin de Becker.

MHN said...

Thank you George, I'll check it out.

MHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Hendrickson said...

YES Michael: "Fear" is a necessary ingredient for survival, like IF you don't "seriously" fear "American" cops, it could be Hasta LaVista Amigo!

BTW: Almost ALL the young boys drafted into LBJ's Army, ONLY went to Vietnam because THEY feared going to Levenworth Prison MORE.

So it kind'a boils down to "fear" enough to die OR "fear" enough to KILL.

Mommys like for THEIR sons to be heros, BUT fathers like for THEIR sons to be KILLERs. Go figure.

Farflung said...

The Family narrative appears to be misaligned, perhaps because its conclusion is opportunistic.

We killed because of Viet Nam.

OK, why did you steal credit cards? (insert cricket chirps)

Did Manson steal cars, pimp girls, and forge postal money orders for a higher calling? He just appears to be a common crook.

I suppose a narrative could be crafted where he stole the car as a statement about pollution, pimped as a protest of the rape of Viet Nam, and forged money orders as a demonstration of how phoney the fiat monetary system is.

Farflung said...


I'm sure you recall who LBJ defeated in '64.

AU H2O managed to scare the shit out of everyone when he said:

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

His campaign slogan was - In your heart, you know he's right.

LBJ countered with - In your guts, you know he's nuts.

Truly a different time.

grimtraveller said...

Pepper Anderson said...

Paranoia is the real motive in my opinion........It was the shooting of a black man

That's exactly what Susan said in her final book {if it actually was her}. For all those that consider the copycat motive and use her as support for it, bear in mind that comes at a price. Her upholding of the copycat motive is for the express purpose of showing Charles Manson in the worst light possible, as a master manipulator who didn't give a shit about anyone and was ready to drag those he purportedly loved into murder simply to stop Bobby Beausoleil from going to the authorities with what he knew about Charlie shooting Lotsapoppa.

What I want to know is WHY did Lotsapoppa not take revenge? If he did, would it have made any difference? To those of you who read it, what did Crowe's trial transcripts say about WHY he took no action?

The answer to the first question is pure speculation. I don't think it ever crossed his mind. Having gotten a bullet and been critical in hospital for 18 days, not to mention how long he was actually in hospital, I'd say he had other concerns other than vengeance. Like whether he was going to die. If Lotsapoppa was the big heavy that Gregg Jakobson says he was, he could have had Charlie sorted out. Some months after, they were in the same jail, when Charlie discovered that the guy he thought he'd killed was alive. That may have been one of the lowest days of his life, but that's another story.
If there's any evidence out there that Crowe was heavily connected either with the Panthers or any heavies for that matter, I'd be interested in seeing it. The fact that nothing happened to Charlie and Crowe never got his moola back suggests to me that Crowe had no reach and that the bullet had stopped him in his tracks in more ways than one.
As for his trial testimony, the prosecution brought him in as a demonstration that Charles Manson was capable of killing by himself. But because it was the penalty phase and it really was a matter of life and death, the defence, specifically Kanarek, grilled Crowe alive and he was about as believable as a thief caught in the act of stealing but denying it. He never said anything about revenge because he tried to portray himself as a spiritual, peaceful man that just wanted his money back then decided that it didn't matter in the end.

Manson Mythos said...

I'd imagine they just heard about the well documented incident of the Panther who was dumped on the lawn of UCLA months earlier, but whoever heard it (I believe it was TJ) wasn't paying close attention to the date it occurred and only heard about a Panther being dumped on the lawn of UCLA with a bullet in the stomach

That's one heck of a stretch !

DeCarlo more or less confirmed what I always suspected, that the cops knew about it too despite Crowe never reporting it

Crowe never disputed the cops knew. He turned up in hospital shot. He also told the cops he didn't know who shot him or why. There's no way the cops couldn't not know, in much the same way that they would have known about Gary Hinman later that month if he turned up at the hospital with part of an ear hanging off....

orwhut said...

The interview was great. I'd forgotten most of it and even that it was on this site. Mr. True sounded to me like he'd had a few beers and he was still brilliant. Bogaloosi!!! I love it.

MHN said...

OK, so they were "crazy". Not legally crazy, but crazy by soccer-mom standards.
But they were not crazy when they made the decision to embrace crazy.

I would like to hear RH's thoughts on farflung's point above, about the opportunistic grasping of Vietnam as a post-hoc rationale for their actions.

Robert Hendrickson said...

MICHAEL: Without Crazy there is NO sanity, just as there is NO peace with WAR.

So WHY do the churchies HATE the Devil - without HIM there is NO God.

So why do the "cops" love to shoot BAD guys ? cause without THEM the cops would be working behind the counter in a fast food parlor.

I remember the times of LBJ, Goldwater and Martin Luther King very well.
Many say Goldwater suckered LBJ into WAR and King pushed LBJ into the Civil Rights voting ACT, so what did the "Communists" have to do with ANY of that ? Just as what did the Tate/LaBianca massacres have to do with the Vietnam WAR ? NOTHING, nothing but becomes EVERYTHING when you mix sanity with CRAZY. Kind'a like mixing Liberals with Conservatives. Alone, each is just as tasty as an Apple Pie, but mix the two together and you got a Communist who THINKS HE is a Capitalist.

Penny lane said...

Wow....thank you MHN.....Your take on FEAR just made something in me changing in fact! kinda stunned.

MHN said...

Penny lane, something shifted? You're saying I'm the official laxative of the blog?!

That's cool. I'm happy :)

On the radio recently I was listening to an interview with a top sports psychologist, who said that all the top achievers he had ever worked with had one thing in common: it wasn't ambition or drive to succeed, it was more honestly an absolutely all-consuming fear of failure. That made me think, because even in sports we often hear (usually from people who achieve mediocrity) that competing without fear is essential. Apparently not, if you're a real winner.

This is why I personally never get anywhere above mediocrity in my life: I have such a bleak view of humans and their world (when is the apocalypse coming, no sign of it in the skies yet, darn it!) that I have no fear of failure and thus no great need to succeed. None of it matters enough...

So please, don't take my word for anything :)

prefeteria said...

I've had some significant people in my life who had not fear of failure, but fear of success. When they got close to a certain level they would (subconsciously?) sabotage things. Maybe Charlie Manson had this too?

orwhut said...

I think I know one of those people. She may never keep a job long enough to pay off her college loans.

Penny lane said...

To late MHN aka oh wise one...u are my new guru, whether u like it or not....:-)

Robert Hendrickson said...

PERFETRIA: That's where the FEAR "paranoia" creeps in. Success turns most ordinary folks into complete ASSHOLES. at least, in the eyes of other ordinary people.

Penny lane said...

Lol...i agree Robert...any particular successful arsehole spring to mind? with a copyright fixation perhaps?

grimtraveller said...

Robert Hendrickson said...

Without Crazy there is NO sanity, just as there is NO peace with WAR
So WHY do the churches HATE the Devil - without HIM there is NO God

I'm presuming you meant no peace without war.
I think you got all those somewhat backwards !

Robert Hendrickson said...

GRIM......IN fact HE says Sandy Good said "It sure looks like WE did it." BUT she actually did say:
"Wow! I guess THEY did it."

It's a factual "they" but it's a conceptual "we." And the concept trumps the particular pronoun used. In that section of your book, Sandy speaks at length and when in reference to the Family in relation to the murders and life in general, the words "they," "we" and "us" are interchangeable and because of the oneness with which the Family {or specifically here, Brenda, Squeaky & Sandy} spoke it's clear that they did not see themselves as separate in essence from Pat, Susan & Leslie. You even comment on this at the top of page 487 when you state that what was once a bizarre "we are one" philosophy is being used in environmental and global warming issues.

AND I would say: "WOW, what a drastic difference. IF as GRIM says it's "WE" Sandy could be implicated in Murder, but IF she actually said "THEY" she is not implicated

Sandy tended to jump in and out of implicating herself in the murders and all in the space of a few sentences. For example, she states the murders weren't planned {Brenda added that Pat didn't tell her she was on a mission of murder because she didn't know; she had no plans} and that she was "probably" the last to know due to being pregnant and asleep all the time. In fact it's emphasized a few times that it wasn't planned, that there was no plot and that she was in jail when the murders happened. But then she also says almost immediately afterwards that she knew "they" {☺} had done it. She says she never asked anyone, said it was never planned, yet she knew because "it flashed in my mind." When initially asked if she knew the killers were off n a mission to kill, she replied "some of us actually didn't know......," an obvious reference to herself and Squeaky. All the other aforwmentioned stuff came afterwards.

MHN said...

I would seriously have to ask, is there even a single Family member who actually knows exactly why the hell those people died? I have my doubts

Given replies like Sandy's "no why. We never ask why" and Squeaky's "there aren't any whys," I'd say your doubts were pretty much well founded and justifiable.
Part of the tragedy of this tale is that a group of people are unnecessarily dead and some people that killed them have been in jail for nearly half a century and certainly most of their lives not having been clear exactly what the reasons were for them actually committing the crimes in the first place.
Ironically, the one person that would not apply to is Leslie. She appears to be the only one, bar Charlie, that went into TLB and it's attendant episodes with clarity of purpose.

Unknown said...

Just found this blog. Wow, so full of good information. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Bernard Crowe is cool not mentioned in the movies tho .