Monday, July 10, 2017

A Look At the Evidence #4: The Rope

Other Posts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

On the morning of August 10, 1969 as law enforcement swarmed over 10050 Cielo Drive they discovered, among other things, a rope that was looped twice around Sharon Tate’s neck. The rope then ran over to the body of Jay Sebring and around his neck. One end trailed off from Jay Sebring on the floor. The other end ran from Sharon Tate over one of the beams in the living room.

One end of this rope led to the press and the official narrative to claim Sharon Tate was hung. The other end is one of the more curious aspects of the crime scene.

Officer Joseph Granado described what he saw when he arrived at the scene and even drew a diagram of the scene, which became People’s Exhibit 196.

Bugliosi: I am referring to People’s 194 for identification and also People’s 41 for identification. What type of rope is it?
A: That is three major strand.
Q: It has three strands?
A: Yes.
Q: What material?
A: I found it to be nylon.
Q: So it is three-strand nylon rope; is that correct?
A: Yes.
Q: Now, when that rope was in one piece, and you say it was 43 feet some inches, could you describe the manner in which the rope was tied around Jay Sebring and Sharon Tate?
A: I brought some rope from the laboratory to try to show this.
The rope around Sharon Tate was looped a couple of time around her neck in this manner.
This end here was tied, and it went toward the direction of Sebring.
This end was over a beam, with the end of the rope just touching the floor of the residence.
The other part of the rope that went from Sharon Tate to Sebring went around Sebring’s neck twice, and then wound inward thusly, forming a type of knot that was holding tight onto the neck of Jay Sebring.

Unfortunately, we do not have the benefit of Granado’s demonstration or Exhibit 196.

One End of the Rope: Sharon Tate and the Rope

The first homicide report says:

“There was dried blood smeared over the entire body. It appeared to investigating officers that someone had handled the victim, as in moving her from one location to another and the blood from the stab wounds had been smeared over other parts of the body.”
(Tate First Homicide Investigation Progress Report)

This means the collective opinion of decades of police experience told the detectives viewing the scene that Sharon Tate’s body had moved. There is more then one way that could have happened. One possibility is that after she had passed her body moved, perhaps a result of a rope?

Thomas Naguchi, the coroner to the stars had already made a name for himself in the death of Marilyn Monroe and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. He was present at the scene.

Q : So, part of your opinion that Sharon Marie Polanski was hanged prior to her death is based on your observations at the scene?
A: Yes.
Q: Are you able to answer my question whether or not, in your opinion, Sharon Polanski was suspended by a rope with her full body weight before death?
A: I believe I would be able to answer your question.
Q: Would you please? What is your opinion?
A: I would be glad to.

I believe, based on the wound findings on the left side of the cheek and the way the rope was tied at the scene that I personally observed, the way the rope was placed over the beam of the living room, I would form the opinion that Miss Sharon Tate had been suspended, perhaps not too long a period, but perhaps a partial suspension for a short time.

As to whether or not this was caused after death or before death—it is of a light reddish, and I believe that the suspension was caused during the agonal stage.

Q: I didn’t hear that last word.
A: Agonal stage; during the dying process.
Q: All right. Continue, please. Finish if that is not the conclusion.
A: I might elaborate further.
Q: Would you please?
A: My opinion of a possible short time suspension was based on the lack of severe constriction of the ligature or rope mark, only a mere rope burn, and the rope burn was placed in such a manner it shows around the curvature of the left cheek bone, which gives the impression that the friction was caused by pulling upward; that is, upward in the sense if the decedent’s body were placed in a standing position.

[Aside: who do you think asked these questions?]
Q: Do you have a medical opinion as to how these two rope burns were caused?
A: Yes, I do have an opinion.
Q: What is that opinion?
A: In my opinion, from the appearance of the abrasion, the decedent must have been—the appearance of the abrasions is totally consistent with the rope, a contacting the left cheek—and it is my opinion that the rope was contacted firmly, giving a great deal of traction and it is quite consistent in my opinion that that the decedent was hanged.
Q: That what was hanged?
Mr. Kanarek: Your Honor, I ask that be stricken because at this point there is no foundation in the evidence for this particular opinion.
Mr. Bugliosi: Your Honor, he is giving a medical opinion. I don’t know who else is more qualified than the Coroner.
Mr. Kanarek: Because he said it is consistent. It could be consistent with other hypotheses. It must be in the record.
Court: Sustained.

[Aside: The second quoted testimony is by Bugliosi on direct examination. When the court rules during Bugliosi’s direct examination there is no evidence before the jury that Sharon Tate was hung. None. The evidence has been stricken. And Bugliosi never goes back to the subject in his direct examination.

The detailed questions, first, above, are by Fitzgerald on cross examination. What was Fitzgerald thinking? One can only imagine the look on Bugliosi’s face when Fitzgerald headed off down this road and placed squarely before the jury that Sharon Tate was hung by the defendants and that she was hung while she was dying.

One might also ask what happened to Kanarek? He obviously wanted to keep this out on direct examination . Why isn’t he leaping up to object? How about Shinn? His client was there. Hughes? Fitzgerald just managed to tell the jury his client tried to hang Sharon Tate as she was dying.]

Naguchi didn’t say this happened when he was before the Grand Jury.

Q: Doctor, when you first saw the body of the person depicted in Exhibit 23 did it have that rope around the neck as shown in that photograph?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you examine that rope to determine the tightness of the rope?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did it appear to cause any type of strangulation? Was there any abrasion about the neck or any scarring from the rope?
A: On the neck there was no indication of strangulation, no, sir.

Naguchi during his testimony frequently only answers what he is asked (look at the testimony at the top). He is very careful. He avoids offering anything. At the Grand Jury he doesn’t answer whether there was an abrasion on Sharon Tate’s neck. He answers the first question. He also wasn’t asked whether he thought she had been hung.

Naguchi’s opinion is based upon two things (1.) her appearance at the scene (including the rope) and (2.) the appearance of the abrasions.

At the Watson trial Naguchi is somewhat clearer in his testimony but is still relying on the appearance of the abrasions on Sharon Tate’s neck.

Buglisoi: What is that opinion?
A: In my opinion, since the interrupted dark, red abrasion are around the left cheekbone and following the curvature of the cheekbone back to the ear, and the second abrasion was close to the abrasion I explained to you, II would say that it is totally consistent, these abrasions to be cuased by constriction and suspension.
Q: You are saying, then, that these two abrasions, these two rope burns, are consistent with the conclusion that Sharon Tate was, in fact, suspended in the air—
A: Yes.
Q: --for a period of time?
A: Yes.
Q: But there was a period, in your opinion, when her body actually left the ground?
A: Oh, yes.

And on cross examination Naguchi stops short of saying the incident occurred while Sharon Tate was dying.

A: ---I shouldn’t say underneath, but below the cheekbone and the abrasion is a dark red. That means it occurred while the person was alive, that the blood oozes out after the scraping of the skin is completed and the position of the rope is consistent with the abrasions that are shown in the picture.

Of course, Sharon Tate being hung while she was dying is contradicted by the eyewitnesses.


ATKINS: *****And I went into Sharon Tate’s room and told them to go out in the living room. And the three of them were pretty much terrified by what was going on. And Tex took the rope and tied it to Sebring and Tate together and put the rope over the —
PAUL CARUSO: What did he throw over the beam? Did he throw the rope over the beam and then tie them?
SUSAN ATKINS: No, he tied them up and then pulled it tight, and then threw it over so they couldn’t move either way.
RICHARD CABALLERO: What did they pull over her head?
SUSAN ATKINS: They didn’t put anything over their heads. They didn’t have anything over their heads when we left, except Sharon Tate – I threw a towel over her head.
RICHARD CABALLERO: When you threw the towel over her head, was her head near Sebring’s?
SUSAN ATKINS: Sebring and Sharon Folger —
SUSAN ATKINS: Sharon Tate was laying curled up near the couch and Sebring was coming out this way from the fireplace and their heads were probably close together.
RICHARD CABALLERO: I know the incident about the towel that you were relating to Mr. Caruso, but what I want to ask you is when you did so —
SUSAN ATKINS: I didn’t even look – I just threw it.
RICHARD CABALLERO: So, could it have fallen therefore over Jay Sebring’s head as well?
(Atkins Interview by Caballero and Caruso, December 1, 1969- thanks to

A: And then he tied up Jay Sebring.
Q: “He” you are talking about….
A: Tex tied up Jay Sebring and Abigail Folger and Sharon Tate.
Q: What part of the body did he tie?
A: The neck.
Q: What did he tie them up with?
A: A rope.
Q: This was the rope that was in the car?
A: Yes.
Q: And then after he tied up Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring and Abigail Folger with the rope around their necks did he do anything with the rope?
A: Yes, he threw it over a high beam which he pulled which made Sharon and Abigail stand up so that they wouldn’t be choked to death and then—
(Susan Atkins’ Grand Jury Testimony from

“Tex took the rope he had brought and tied it around the necks of all three. He threw the end over one of the living room beams and pulled it tight, forcing each of them to stand erect or choke.
Suddenly Frykowski, still tied about the neck, but free of the towel around his hands, grabbed me and we began to struggle. Apparently the rope over the beam pulled loose and we fell to the floor, rolling and twisting.”
(Slosser, Bob; Atkins, Susan. Child of Satan, Child of God (p. 140). Menelorelin Dorenay’s Publishing. Kindle Edition.)

“I had already tied Frykowski's hands behind him with one end of the rope we'd brought and now I dragged the rope over to Sebring and tied him, while Sadie tied a towel around Frykowski's wrists according to my instructions. I wrapped the rope around Sebring's neck and then slung it up over one of the rafters that ran across the room and supported a loft above the fireplace. When I started to tie the rope around Sharon's neck, Sebring struggled forward in the chair he was seated in beside the fireplace, shouting for me to be careful of her.
(Will You Die For Me by Charles Watson as told to Chaplain Ray Hoekstra)

Q: Did you carry a rope up the hill or into the house?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you tie any people up in that house?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you throw a rope over a rafter or anything of that nature?
A: No, I did not.
(Watson’s trial testimony- of course we know we can’t rely upon anything he said at the trial, which really renders anything he ever says- suspect.)

If we assume the eyewitnesses are correct their story should be corroborated by the Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger’s autopsy reports.

In Folger’s autopsy report the following is noted:

“On the right neck about mid-lateral is a series of three bluish swollen contusions one measuring about 1 inch, one about 1-1/2 inch and the other about 1-1/4 inches in maximum diameter.”

These appear to be three distinct bruises and not the type of wound (abrasion) a rope would cause on the right side of her neck. If the rope went over the beam between them and Abigail was to Sharon’s right facing the fireplace this might make sense but is inconsistent with Abigail’s movements when chaos ensued- moving to her left towards the bedrooms, which would cause her to pass in front of Sharon. And the wound is wrong, meaning it is unlikely this incident, as described by our eyewitnesses is accurate.

Sharon Tate’s autopsy report contains the following information, which formed the basis for Naguchi’s opinion.

“The left side of the face discloses a somewhat linear but slightly curved interrupted slightly irregular abrasion, associated with ecchymosis.

Two abrasions are situated in a horizontal fashion. The upper abrasion measures 2-1/2 inches and the lower 1-1/2 inches. A careful examination of the abrasions reveal interrupted dark red superficial recent loss of epidermis. The upper abrasion extends from the left naris to the lower edge of the zygomatic bone. The abrasion extends slightly upward along the curvature of the posterior aspect of the zygomatic bone. The lower abrasion is on a level of the left side of the maxillary. The left side of the neck shows a faint superficial abrasion, measuring 3 inches across the lateral aspect of the neck to the occipital area. This abrasion shows minute irregular skin peeling, suggesting this may be caused by fingernail scraping.”

[Aside: ecchymosis- Bleeding into the skin can occur from broken blood vessels that form tiny red dots (called petechiae). Blood also can collect under the tissue in larger flat areas (called purpura), or in a very large bruised area (called an ecchymosis). A serious wound others have seen as a cut or 'gash' to her face.]

Could Naguchi actually conclude that the injury occurred during the agonal stage (while Sharon Tate

was dying)?

Was there time? Naguchi testified at the Grand Jury that Sharon Tate may have survived her fatal wounds by 10-15 minutes. In relation to other victims he repeated this estimate at the trial. So it could have occurred.

But could he actually determine the timing?

One think that bothers me is not knowing whether Naguchi was aware of Susan Atkins’ story. If he wasn’t he could easily conclude that Sharon Tate had been hung  from the injuries and the crime scene. But that doesn’t answer the ultimate question. This incident is significant because the claim, repeated at parole hearings is that an attempt was made to hang Sharon Tate while she was dying.

From the research I have done I believe the answer is ‘No’.

“If the wound was obviously inflicted on a living individual, the injured tissues,
mainly skin, will show the typical inflammatory response as summarized by Legrand du Saulle
in the past century (3) (Table 1). Conversely, if the wound was inflicted on a deceased
individual, these macroscopic features will be absent due to the absence of a vital reaction. If the
wound was inflicted close to the moment of death, it can be difficult to make such a diagnosis.
It is well established that there is no exact boundary between life and death. The period between
life and cellular death is variable and depends on factors such as the cause of death, individual
susceptibility, and duration of pain, among others. Furthermore, different tissues die at different
rates depending on their ability to support anoxia. If, during the period between life and cellular
death, the body suffers any insult, a vital-like reaction may be seen, although usually it is of
reduced intensity. This reaction has been called an "agony reaction" or "intermediate reaction."
It is indicative of the lack of precision of the tissue reaction and results in uncertainty as to the
diagnosis of wound vitality. For this reason, it is difficult to differentiate between the vital or
postmortem origin of injuries sustained close to the moment of death. Tourdes (1-3) described
an "uncertainty period" of approximately 6 hours around the time of death in which it is not
possible to establish the vital or postmortem origin of a wound.
The goal of many forensic researchers has been to shorten this period. Many new techniques
have been applied during the last century. After using macroscopic methods exclusively, optic
microscopy was applied to allow recognition of early vital reaction changes, especially those
derived from a cellular response during the acute inflammatory reaction.
These studies have significantly contributed to reduction of the "uncertainty period" described
by Tourdes. Development of immunochemistry, histochemistry, enzymology, and biochemistry
techniques and the application of these methods since the 1960s are responsible for the present
status of diagnostic ability. The uncertainty period has been reduced to minutes.”

Hernández-Cueto, Claudio M.D., Ph.D.; Girela, Eloy M.D., Ph.D.; Sweet, David J. D.M.D., Ph.D., Advances in the Diagnosis of Wound Vitality: A Review. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology, April 2000)

The problem is Naguchi didn’t perform any of the techniques identified in the article above. He relied solely upon what he observed. That methodology for dating wounds has been largely discredited. Multiple studies have arrived at vastly different conclusions regarding the appearance of abrasions and bruises that occur ante-mortem, during the agonal stage and post mortem. In fact, those studies even suggest that the whole notion of post mortem injury identification is not reliable without special techniques noting that physiological changes that one would expect only ante-mortem can continue for up to six hours after death. (Dr. P. Vanezis, “Interpreting Bruising at Necropsy”, Journal of Clinical Pathology, Volumne 54, Issue 5, 2001)

That is why the scientific techniques referenced in the 'Hernandez' article have been developed: because observation is unreliable in dating wounds.

Despite all that what I have learned is that the abrasions to Sharon Tate’s neck and cheek are not consistent with the eyewitness statements.  If Sharon and Abigail were both forced to stand to avoid being choked they should both have similar marks and they would not be the more severe abrasion identified by Naguchi- their ability to stand would have prevented ecchymosis.

Conclusion: There is no reliable evidence that the killers attempted to hang Sharon Tate 'while she was dying'. There is, however, reliable evidence and it is highly probable that she was, indeed, suspended off the ground by the rope for some period of time despite the fact no eyewitness admits this happened, whether this occurred ante or post mortem is unknown. 

[Aside: it is interesting that during his 1978 parole hearing Watson does not refute Kay saying they hung Sharon Tate after she was dying. He corrects other parts of Kay’s recitation but not that event, an event in a parole hearing, that is fairly shocking.

The Other End of the Rope: Jay Sebring and the Rope.

In my opinion, the rope around Jay Sebring is one of the more intriguing aspects of the physical evidence.

As stated I am not going to post crime scene photos of the victims. However, if you review the one ‘whited out’ in Helter Skelter and the grainy black and what photo of Sebring with the towel pulled back (taken at the scene) you will see with your own eyes that the following witnesses are absolutely correct.


A: This rope was over a towel which was over his head.
Q : Mr. Sebring’s head had a towel over it?
A: Yes, Covering his face.
Q: And then the rope was on top of the towel?
A: That is correct.
Q: This towel which was around Jay Sebring’s head when you first arrived on the scene, did it completely cover his face?
A: Yes.
Q: Did it completely cover his head?
A: Yes.


Q: Was a towel around the male’s neck or face when you arrived at the scene?
A: Yes, it was at the time.
Q: Covering his whole face?
A: Yes, it was, yes.
The Court: May I see that? [People’s Exhibit 107- picture of Sebring]

The rope was over the towel. The towel was wrapped completely around Jay Sebring’s head. This could not be an amazing towel toss by Atkins. Someone ‘staged’ this and no witness admits it. Look at the eyewitness statements above. There is no mention of this scenario- a rope over the towel around Sebring’s head. For me this fact, which is not contradicted by anything I have ever seen, conveys three things.

Notice that it is Sebring and Tate that were together on the rope. As far as any one of the murderers knew those two were ‘together’. They were sitting together in a fairly intimate setting (on the bed, Sharon less then fully clothed) talking together when they were discovered. And Sebring sought to defend Sharon. Is it a stretch to conclude the killers would tie them together and then, perhaps try to hang them from the rafters?

Bugliosi thought so and Danny DeCarlo said so and testified to it.

“One question remained unanswered. Why, on the night of the Tate murders, did the killers bring along 43 feet 8 inches of rope? To tie up the victims? Manson accomplished this the next night with a single leather thong. I obtained a glimpse of a possible answer during one of my interviews with DeCarlo. According to Danny, in late July of 1969, Manson had told him that the establishment pigs “ought to have their throats cut and be hung up by their feet.” This would really throw the fear into people, Manson said. The logical inference, I felt, was that the killers brought along the rope intending to hang their victims. It was only a guess, but I suspected it was correct.”

Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (p. 329). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Second, to me it is obvious, the killers spent more time ‘staging the scene’ then they admit. I am aware some will argue ‘Manson came back to the scene’. My response is three-fold (1.) there wasn’t time (that has been covered elsewhere) (2.) why would Manson connect Tate with Sebring? He wasn’t there during the murders and (3.) Manson’s explanation of the glasses is scientifically impossible and is key to his explanation.

The glasses are usually an integral part of the ‘Manson returned’ storyline because Manson said somewhere that his ‘partner’ had some glasses they used to start fires at the ranch and they left them there. The problem, Charlie, is that it’s the wrong kind of glasses.

There are two main types of corrective lenses: Converging lenses and diverging lenses. Diverging lenses, which are used to correct nearsightedness, bend the light further away from the focal point, while converging lenses, which correct farsightedness, bend the light towards the focal point.

As a result, if you are nearsighted, your glasses won't help you start a fire, because they are actually dispersing the light instead of focusing it.

“On 9-4-69, officers also contacted the Los Angeles County Optometric Society, 2411 West 8th Street, Doctor Wayne W. Hoeft, president (Office 5554 Santa Monica Boulevard). Doctor Hoeft gave permission for investigators to send him approximately 1300 Los Angeles Police Department bulletins describing the physical makeup and description of the glasses found at the crime scene. Additionally, he personally examined these glasses and verified investigators' earlier information as to the type of lens and frame of the glasses. He stated he personally felt, because of the curve of the ear pieces, that the owner of the glasses had a small round head and probably the left ear was approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch higher on the head than the right ear. The doctor further stated that the concerned individual was myopic and very definitely needed the glasses in his possession to see normally.”
(Second (Tate) Homicide Investigation Progress Report)

‘Myopic’ means ‘nearsighted’. Sorry Charlie.

Third, I believe the staging of Sebring shoots a pretty fatal hole in the copycat and drug burn motives. Ask yourself: under which motive would staging a hanging or even staging Sebring make sense regardless of who did it?

Why bring 43 feet of rope? Why not cut it into 5 foot sections if you want to tie someone up? Even if you don’t know how many people are in the house how does one strand of 43 feet help you? And notice, they didn’t tie anyone up with the rope, they used towels. So what was the rope for? I believe Bugliosi is correct, the rope was intended to be a ‘prop’ and used precisely how it was used- to stage hangings- and that to me says Helter Skelter.

Copycat: there was no rope, let alone a hanging scenario at Hinman and Manson knew that and so did Atkins. She was at Hinman the whole time and present at Cielo. Far from furthering a connection to Hinman the rope and the ‘hooded’ towel scream: ‘different crime’. Not even these guys under Manson's leadership could be that stupid. Right? I mean 'no rope' at Hinman.

Drug burn: well, someone who follows this one will have to explain how putting the rope around Sebring’s neck, over the towel can have any connection to a drug burn because I can’t imagine one especially if my two ‘dealers’ are Sebring and Frykowski: why include Sharon? Why set it up like a hood and then wrap the rope around the towel?

Answer: Helter Skelter and hanging 'pigs' from the rafters. 

Pax Vobiscum



Robert C said...

Still retching over the prison burrito.

grimtraveller said...

Put like that David, that's pretty compelling.

Mr. Humphrat said...

One possible cause of the abrasions would be when Frykowski fell in the fight with Atkins if it suddenly tugged against the rope around the two women.
Very interesting stuff especially regarding the six hour period where insults to the body could, back then, be confused with pre-mortem injuries.

grimtraveller said...

David, do you believe Susan, Pat and Linda thought they were kick starting Helter Skelter at Cielo ?

ColScott said...

this is well written David. The continuing problem I have is ascribing rationality to people who were stoned out of their minds

George Stimson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Stimson said...

“Second, to me it is obvious, the killers spent more time ‘staging the scene’ then they admit. I am aware some will argue ‘Manson came back to the scene’. My response is three-fold (1.) there wasn’t time (that has been covered elsewhere) (2.) why would Manson connect Tate with Sebring? He wasn’t there during the murders and (3.) Manson’s explanation of the glasses is scientifically impossible and is key to his explanation.

“The glasses are usually an integral part of the ‘Manson returned’ storyline because Manson said somewhere that his ‘partner’ had some glasses they used to start fires at the ranch and they left them there. The problem, Charlie, is that it’s the wrong kind of glasses.”

You seem to be discounting the story about Manson going to the Polanski residence after the murders. That story initially came from Null Emmons’ book Manson [NOT] In His Own Words. The same passage in that book also includes the bit about the partner and the glasses. But if you don’t believe the overall story about Manson going to the house, why would you pay any attention to a detail (about the glasses) contained within that false story? Maybe (likely) the whole thing about the partner and the glasses is as much fiction as the entire story about going to the house. So it doesn’t make any difference what eyesight the glasses were intended for. (Besides, Manson has admitted elsewhere giving the glasses to the killers as they left the ranch to leave as a false clue.)

Why no rope the second night? Remember, they were supposedly going to hang a priest upside-down at the church. And if everyone was following Manson’s “instructions” literally to the letter, why were no eyeballs hung on the mirrors?

David, we’re going to have to have lunch sometime….

(And Colonel, I agree with your point exactly.)

mrgroove said...

Great article! Stuff like this keeps me coming back here. Thanks!

ColScott said...

Dave 1971

It clearly says deleted by the author. Therefore this is not Matt being butthurt because life. This is a writer rethinking his or her post.

Dave 1971

Censorship really only applies to the government. Thanks

Dave 1971

Has anyone today called you stupid and an asshole yet today? July 10 2017? If not I would love to be the first.

Patty is Dead said...

Censorship! Hahahaha

David said...


Thank you.


I have to admit I am not sure I ever expected to see that comment but thank you, that means a lot.

To both: comments like these keep me writing this stuff.

David said...

Grim said: "David, do you believe Susan, Pat and Linda thought they were kick starting Helter Skelter at Cielo ?"

Yes with a caveat: I'm not sure Atkins cared about much past 'kill'. I am not sure 'why' mattered to her.

David said...


Lunch: anytime we can be in the same place.

I actually originally planned to avoid any mention of the 'Manson return' but figured someone would then chime in with 'Manson returned' and decided I shouldn't avoid it entirely and just threw in the bit about the glasses. Probably should have left it out.

I personally don't think Manson went back and I put the glasses in the same category as the broken fence- an odd twist in all this that makes me go hmmmm.

grimtraveller said...

George Stimson said...

You seem to be discounting the story about Manson going to the Polanski residence after the murders. That story initially came from Null Emmons’ book Manson [NOT] In His Own Words

Did it not originally come from Ed Sanders where he says that the question was put to Charlie and came back to him through one of the defence lawyers ?

Trilby said...

The origin of the "Manson returned" statement was with Ed Sanders and as a result of a statement from Manson himself. Ed was intrigued by discrepancies he saw in the blood evidence at Cielo - Fitzgerald had given him copies of autopsy reports, police reports, & a giant "blood evidence" mapping. Ed then sent a question to Manson thru Fitzgerald asking Manson about this. Manson's reply was: "I went back to see what my children had done." That was in 1970.

Trilby said...

Yes, GT.

George Stimson said...


ColScott said...

what are you asking George Stimson? In the original HC and the SC Sanders tells the story of the glasses- that Charlie commented that someone would be arrested just for losing their specs.

Charlie did not go up to the house. Charlie barely believed it even happened. But Charlie was totally full of horseshit and said things to sound impressive.

George Stimson said...

I wasn't paying attention, Colonel. Sorry.

CarolMR said...

ColScott, in your own blog you have stated several times that you believed Charlie went back to Cielo. What has changed your mind?

starviego said...

In addition to Emmons and Sanders, Nikolas Shreck also claims Charlie told him he went back to Cielo.

Peter said...

I always thought the intention was to hang them from the rafter one attached to each end of the rope, but that they couldn't manage it because it was either too difficult for them to lift, or they panicked, or a combination of both.

Manson Mythos said...

The big Rolling Stone article from a few years ago was most certainly a hack job, however I do know for a fact that Manson told the writer he did in fact go up to the house after the murders. I do know he has also told several people, including Shreck that he did. However, at other times he has vehemently denied it.

NONE of those present ever said a word about the glasses and none, as far as I know were ever questioned about them at parole hearings. The same thing with the towel placed over Watson's head. It's interesting that of the things Emmons claims Manson did on a return trip are things not a single one of them discussed doing. Tex Watson in the early 80s claims he had no recollection of any rope being used. He and Krenwinkel both have said in recent years that Manson was in the house after the murders.

If you haven't read The Manson File, the theory that Schreck puts forth is that the Watson's true intention was to have the murders pinned on Billy Doyle and co.

When one considers that multiple people said Frykowski "video bugged" him and pistol whipped him...and then look at Frykowski with his pants under his butt, pistol whipped multiple times, it's rather interesting.

The full interview with Atkins and Caruso (who represented many of these dope dealers) wasn't made public until AFTER Schreck's book and needless to say, my eyes lit up when I read Caruso's questions, such as where Frykowski's pants were when they left. Not only alarming that he felt that was significant, but his asking her where they were WHEN THEY LEFT, which could hint at the possibility they suspected or knew things happened at the scene after the fact.

A LOT of people said kinky things went on in that house with them bringing hippies from the strip. Even in the homicide report, it mentions Sebring as being known for tying people up and I think it might have been Sammy Davis who said he wore a hood during some sort of erotic asphyxiation thing.

Manson Mythos said...

Also to further answer the question of drug burn in connection to rope, remember that Joel Rostau and his Sebring International receptionist girlfriend were found tied together with rope. So the concept of rope being used in a drug heist isn't illogical. I believe the robbery of those two was in connection to dope. What are the odds a guy with connections to the underworld and drug dealing had a home invasion pulled on him at random by people who simply wanted cash or valuables? People robbing dope dealers is common, because you know they got the goods and it's highly unlikely they will report it to the police. He was shot, thus had no choice. Obviously he wasn't going to tell them that they made off with his stash or at least some of it.

grimtraveller said...

starviego said...

In addition to Emmons and Sanders, Nikolas Shreck also claims Charlie told him he went back to Cielo

George is also adamant that Charlie was clear that he did not go to Cielo after the murders, let alone "go back" {which implies he'd already been there}.
So where does that leave us ?

Manson Mythos said...

So the concept of rope being used in a drug heist isn't illogical

It is where Tex is concerned ! His style was more the Lotsapoppa/Blackbeard Melton MO of blagging the $$$$s than nicking actual drugs, of which there is no evidence and no stories or Family folklore that can be verified.

The big Rolling Stone article from a few years ago was most certainly a hack job, however I do know for a fact that Manson told the writer he did in fact go up to the house after the murders. I do know he has also told several people, including Shreck that he did. However, at other times he has vehemently denied it

In that interview from 2013 the writer wrote:
"Did you go over and try to clean up the mess they made, which some books say you did, but never with proof, and, if true, would put you at the scene of the crime?" to which Charlie replies:
"Well, yeah, I had to look out for my horses. I look out for what looks out for me,"
and the writer then goes on to say:
although later on he will say he misspoke, that he never went to the Tate house that night..
The article itself is a bit of a hack job but it's a better and more readable one than the usual fare.

ColScott said...

CarolMR- I did believe that Charlie went went up there because I tend to follow human nature. I do not believe even Charlie thought Tex would do what he did. Tex had never exhibited such murderous behavior before. If I were Charlie and I heard that this happened I would go check it out and see if the idiots left evidence behind.

I saw the time testing done on this blog (before falling out with Matt etc) and it really could not have happened. Further to that, the risk would have been idiotic and Charlie is not an idiot. Finally and perhaps most importantly, a complete reading of the Transcripts that I bought some time ago make it clear that there was too much evidence left behind for Charlie to have gone up there. Sadie's knife, alone, would have been looked for and found if Charlie had simply looked.

Why go up there and not look for evidence pointing to the Ranch...and he didn' I don't think he went up there.

CarolMR said...

ColScott, thank you for the explanation.

Mr. Humphrat said...

A small point David. I was just looking at Coroner by Noguchi online and he said the wood beam overhead had a minor abrasion which is why he concluded Tate and Sebring were briefly hung and their feet didn't leave the ground.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, this doesn't surprise me at all :

Quentin Tarantino Prepping New Movie Tackling Manson Murders

My guess is that this evolved from the Hendrickson screening last August. I'm also guessing that ColScott will be producing and Max Frost will be playing Charlie.


Matt said...

ziggyosterberg said...

Quentin Tarantino Prepping New Movie Tackling Manson Murders

My favorite director taking on my favorite true crime story. This is the equivalent of the Grateful Dead playing at a Met Game.

Unknown said...

Quentin Tarantino is making a movie about Manson murder

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that I watched the Grateful Dead beat the Mets at Shea back in 1993. Or maybe that was the Phillies? It was either John Kruk or Jerry Garcia playing 1st.

Anonymous said...

Manson has said a few times that the scene at Cielo was "too messy", or variations of such, and that that was his reasoning for going with them the second night.

Wouldn't attempting to hang someone mean that he wanted it to be MORE messy? And nothing like that was attempted the second night at the LaBianca house - where we know for a fact that he was present.

Matt said...

The Bangles could beat the Mets right now.

MHN said...

Tarantino making a Manson movie.

It's gonna be like when you've spent ages wondering what a certain piece of music sounds like on acid, you're sure it would be amazing, and finally you take the acid, and you listen to it, and it sounds like cold porridge, so you start laughing at the funny lights on your stereo.

David said...

Mr. Humphrat said: "Noguchi ........said the wood beam overhead had a minor abrasion which is why he concluded Tate and Sebring were briefly hung and their feet didn't leave the ground."

That, of course, contradicts his testimony at the Watson trial and I harken back to the Memory post.....

.......Wrong beam:

I also forgot to credit for several of the images. Thanks you.

Unknown said...

Great post and I agree with your conclusions!!

I am greatly excited by the prospects of Tarantino taking this on. I believe his style could well produce something very interesting and entertaining about this subject.

Will it reveal anything new? I think not.

But a really interesting interpretation of the story should be a realistic expectation.

Mr. Humphrat said...

David said:
"That, of course, contradicts his testimony at the Watson trial"
Point taken and interesting link to Ann's posting of 2013.

David said...

However, the mark on the beam was not blood.

Anonymous said...

St Circumstance said...

"But a really interesting interpretation of the story should be a realistic expectation."

Amen, Saint.

Like you, I'm not one of those purists who's gonna get their panties all in a knot, just because "Manson didn't hogtie and rape Lotsapoppa before he shot him".

What's wrong with a little artistic license? Jeez Louise.

DebS said...

Tarantino's movie will be to the Manson case what Fincher's movie was to the Zodiac Killer case. Fincher based his Zodiac movie on Robert Graysmith's "Zodiac Unmasked" book, Graysmith is akin to Ed Sanders in Mansonland. While there are lots of facts there are also nearly as many fancies. Not saying that Tarantino will base his movie on Sanders book, just that there probably will be a few departures from the truth for Art's sake.

Tarantino's movie will be successful because he's damn good at what he does but once the movie is released we,here at the blog, will be righting more wrongs than usual.

Were the Col doing a Manson project, I feel confident that he would stick mostly to the facts. Apples and oranges to compare them.

Anonymous said...

One thing that QT is good at is bringing fully formed, multi-dimensional characters to the screen. That's been his stock–in–trade from the outset. I doubt that we'll see a one note Manson portrayal like in all the other (usually B grade or made for TV) movies. It's the thing that most intrigues me about this - how QT will flesh out the characters.

It's been almost 50 years, and the only character in this saga given any depth as an individual is still Charlie. And ironically, he always gets the one-eyed-zombie treatment on film.

I also think that QT is the only major film director who could get away with tackling this subject matter. And he's already getting lambasted pretty hard just from the announcement of this project.

I hope that it happens, but there must be lots of reasons why a major studio Manson film has never been made, right?

Manson Mythos said...

The case has been repackaged for the younger, social justice warrior generation. If you notice, right wing media rarely if ever makes mention of Manson. But left leaning CNN has made the same "special" every year with emphasis on certain aspects that works as good propaganda. It's no wonder Krenwinkel is trying to court sympathy from the feminists with the abused woman nonsense. Blame a white man, get out of prison.

Bugliosi said Helter Skelter was about inspiring the blacks to "rise" up and that they would win the war against whites. Today, the narrative as pushed by Jerry Brown and his tribe is that the goal was to inspire whites to kill off black people after they got the blame for the murders.

If you look at Tarentino's last couple of films, we don't need to speculate what direction he's going to go down to appease his puppet masters in leftist Hollywood.

Something like:

Everything was peaches and cream. America was finally on the path to make up for their past sins with the youth turning into drug addicted flag burners who hate their own race and despise their parents. But then a racist hillbilly came along, perverted and corrupted a bunch of nice girls who should have only listened to Jerry Rubin with his sexist, patriarchal tactics and turned them into bloodthirsty racist killers and domestic terrorists and did so in the most OUTRAGEOUS manner possible, by killing some limousine liberals in Hollywood as opposed to some bums in the street nobody would miss.

and of course it will contain a lot of stolen ideas from obscure 70s movies that Tarentino will call "homage", tits and cool music.

I bet it will resemble a slicker, more obviously political version of Jim VanBebber's hack job The Manson Family.

Anonymous said...

Manson Mythos - I have no idea how he's going to approach it, but Quentin did ask a question at the Hendrickson screening which implied that he doubted that Manson bore responsibility, at least for Tate.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Ziggy is it on video? Tarantino asking RH his question? I would like to see it. I would look forward to his movie, since it would likely be very worth watching as opposed to most movies on the subject IMO. I'd be even more interested if someone made an accurate TV show on the subject of Manson and friends and Tate and friends and some of the MANY other things which transpired besides TLB which has been dramatized to the Nth degree. Ideas for episodes: the girls crawling along the street and their vigil on the corner; the family in the desert; Crocket vs Charlie's ideas; Dennis Wilson etc.; the aged convicts in prison; Lynnette and Sandy circa mid-70s; Charlie and early group showing what was so appealing about him; Hinman's relationship with the group; The Hollywood party scene; Sharon's family before and after TLB; Lottsapoppa and friends; Tex dealing drugs; the Spiral Staircase; other odd groups in LA. and their interactions with Charlie and friends; Shorty's life; the Ranch hands and George; the LaBianca family; Charlie as a boy; Charlie's early incarcerations; Charlie's marriage and pimping; members becoming Born Again; the Straight Satans; the different versions of Charlie and TLB as recounted by different people; the effect of being one of the Family years down the road; Bugliosi; the Family's music; each episode would add a layer of richness and understanding to the story.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Humphrat :

This is the video. At 12:08 Quentin starts talking. The question starts at around 12:36

I agree that a longer (and accurate) TV show version of the entire story would also be desirable. It must be a real challenge to condense something like this. Although Tarantino's movies are often longer than most. The Kill Bill movie was split into 2 parts. And The Hateful Eight had a longer version (over 3 hours) with an intermission for it's 70mm showings. If he plans on including the trial, I'd be surprised if this one wasn't close to 3 hours long.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Thanks Ziggy!

David said...

My 2 cents on a Tarantino movie.

I think he gave you a clue right here as to the nature of the film:

"Brad Pitt, who worked with the filmmaker on Basterds, and Jennifer Lawrence have been approached". Other sources say Margot Robbie has been approached.

Caveat: one source says Pitt was approached to play 'the investigating detective'. Another source says Samuel L. Jackson will have a 'major role'- huh?

My suspicion would be two parallel story lines leading up to the murders (or if Pitt is the detective leading back from them) and a focus on the coincidences that bring two people together, tragically: Manson and Sharon Tate. Why approach actresses of that 'calibre' to have their role be a minor character, center on the actual crime and then focus on non-Sharon Tate subjects. For example I suspect we will see the 'Hatami incident'.

Now, I am a Tarantino fan but frankly, I am leaning this way:

I'm not sure I want to see a 'typical' Tarantino portrayal of those two nights. As this article states this one isn't fictional murder. But maybe I'll be surprised and he will stray from his usual violence.

David said...

Boy there are a lot of people out there you don't like. That must be tough.

cindyfromphilly said...

I would like to comment on the blood of smears on Sharon. Having given birth 3 times its automatic for women to caress their stomach. It's a protective response and increases the closer to term you are. I cannot imagine any term pregnant women not trying to ward off the blows,stop the bleeding, or caress her stomach in a protective way. She was fighting for her babies life. I'm not saying she wasn't moved,just that she alone could have been responsible for all the blood smears on her body. It would be highly unlikely that she didn't as it's an automatic protective response. Just look at the behavior of pregnant women.

Susanatkinsgonorhhea said...

So id like to hear what peoples thoughts are on how Jay and Sharons blood got on the porch, i dont think ive ever seen a convincing argument as to why

Susanatkinsgonorhhea said...

Humphrat i really doubt Tarantinos version will go deep into specifics and the complex relationships between Dennis Wilson, Tex, Charlie, Moorehouse, Jackobsen and slso the possible tie ins between the "family" and the comings and goings at Cielo in 69 snd gorget anything beyong the surface bullshit about Mansons childhood and various incarcerations, it will be a heavily edited bubblegum ultra violent, no subtelty Hollywood cheap production that every other "movie" is today, long on in your face blood and guts, in your face sex, the typical way too pretty compared to the real life characters stars and the typical wild eyed totally overblown "cult leader" bullshit version of Manson everyone else has done

Susanatkinsgonorhhea said...

Or whos blood was in the garage thst police never collected and typed

Susanatkinsgonorhhea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cindyfromphilly said...

Either they were out on the porch or it's a police technician error. Very sloppy police work which is the foundation of any good mystery.

Susanatkinsgonorhhea said...

Pools of their blood is no police technician error, a few drops maybe but not pools, they were on that porch before they died

shoegazer said...

Again, new and maybe this has been well hashed out long ago.

The rope is certainly problematic, isn't it?

It is described in the first police report as being 43 feet, 8 inches in linear measurement, all one piece. As is mentioned by many other readers, one does not bring a rope of this length to use to tie people up as a means of restraint. One might have 5 foot lengths for this purpose.

Much of the crime was planned in fair detail: change of clothes; bolt cutter to cut the phone line; etc. Other parts were completely overlooked: how to find the lights in the dark, if entering a darkened room; which rooms to check (was the northern-most bedroom, off of the service area, ever checked?). But the rope seems to have had a planned purpose, and its length implies that the purpose was not primarily to tie the victims.

Too, there are two overhand knots that seem to have no reason to be where they are, unless they were already there when the rope was loaded into the car.

If one considers the linear rope stretched out, starting at the end closest to Tate, you start with the rope end, then one encounters an overhand knot 5 feet from the end, and a second one 16 feet 4 inches from the end, with a distance of approx. 11 feet between the two knots. This part of the rope was hanging from one of the longitudinal support beams, and there was a frayed area 11 feet 8 inches from the end, in between the two overhand knots.

It was then wrapped around Tate's neck and further along, t was wrapped around Sebring's neck. The length of rope from the end to Tate, the distance between Tate and Sebring, and from Sebring to the second end of the rope is not something I know at this time, but would be interesting. It would also be interesting to know the distance from the frayed area, at 11 feet to Tate.

So assuming that the two overhand knots *were not* already in the rope when it was thrown into the car at Spahn Ranch, one may ask:

1) What is the purpose of the two knots? What might their existence imply?

2) What does the frayed area between the two knots (11 feet from the end of the rope) imply?