Monday, May 21, 2018

MansonBlog Tour 2018: A Few Reflections on the MansonBlog Tour

I’m a newbie to the Manson Blog Tour. I have never been to any of these sights. Since I have been to LA several times, I am not sure I can explain why. Here are my reflections on the tour. 

Spahn Ranch

Go. The first thing, which is sort of in the reverse of what we saw is the actual size of the area where Spahn Ranch once stood is surprisingly small, maybe an acre total. While there is nothing there from 1969 there are enough land marks that with a good guide you can ‘see’ what is in all those old photographs. 

The ‘Family Cave’ and ‘Charlie’s Rock’, which is about ten feet from the cave is just below where the ranch buildings once stood. A few feet from there is where the hammock once hang between two trees. I moved away from the group and took a few moments. That location impacted me. This was where ‘they’ were, where they stood, where Manson played guitar for Terry Melcher and the ground, due to the efforts of our tour guide, are the same as they were then (although trees and brush grow over 50 years). 

Retz' House
Climbing up the hills behind the ranch, first offers some amazing views. The ‘back ranch’ foundations are here. Further up this also gives you a perspective of where Frank Retz lived (and worked diligently to get rid of the clan). Still further up the hillsides are the remains of what is known as ‘Bruce’s Corvair’ and evidence of a Native American presence. This trek is not easy. On a hiking map it would likely be listed as ‘difficult’. I didn’t go all the way up to ‘Stoner’s Cliff’ but others did. 

A good guide is crucial to this part for the trip. Stoner Van Houten should be your guy (Stoner420fox@yahoodotcom). It's free. Probably about 75% of his tour is Manson related but Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza and the celluloid magic of old westerns are also part of the tour. Keeping up with Stoner can be a chore physically because he’s obviously walked these trails hundreds of times.

PS: there is absolutely no chance Barbara Hoyt heard 'Shorty' Shea scream. 

The La Bianca House

The True House: Manson walked up the driveway that was not where it is today, crossed the yard between the houses and entered the La Bianca houses. There he tied up Leno and Rosemary, leaving them alone and went to get those who murdered them. The owners of the La Bianca house have taken great pains to protect their privacy. 

Where the boat was parked
Again, I moved away from the group and ‘contemplated’ what I saw. A dog in the house behind me, standing about where Manson parked the car barked continuously. I looked to where the boat was parked in the street and was impacted by what I have never seen before. Almost 50 years ago terror happened here. I could almost ‘see’ what happened that night. It affected me the rest of the day.

Topanga Canyon

We went here too and stopped at Gary Hinman's house. It looks nothing like it did at the time. Several of us also took a hike through the Snake Pit to the location where most believe the Spiral Staircase once stood. We also stopped at a book store called the Spiral Staircase the guy working there wasn't particularly helpful, probably because we came in as a group asking for pictures of the 'real' Spiral Staircase and suggesting his shop was named after that. He strongly denied any connection. He did tell us that once a year someone (claiming to have an interest in Manson's bones) comes in there asking if 'this is the Spiral Staircase' (it was a gas station in 1969) and then asking if he knew where it was. He added: 'you know, the kind of guy who buys one stick of incense'. I'm not sure what that meant.

Cielo Drive

Where the killers parked
We went to Cielo in, well, take a look. That is where the killers parked that night. I’m not sure I can explain how I felt walking up that drive. It was creepy. It was also very, very sobering- to realize what happened just a few hours later then we were there those decades ago. How so many lives came needlessly to an end there. Cielo is simply something that needs to be experienced. Even after we returned to the car little was said about the walk except that it indeed was ‘creepy’. Well, that and the fact it took 7 minutes and 4 seconds to walk one way at a pretty brisk step by Matt, Monica and myself. 

As to both Waverly and Cielo standing there, which I have never done before, was actually somewhat difficult. I almost felt like I was invading the privacy not of those who lived there today but those who lived there then.

The Warts

My flight- ok- TSA. They stole my lighter, some wood matches I had from a very cool restaurant  and my shampoo. According to them because, according to the x-ray gadget he was looking at, I had 3.2 ounces of shampoo. WTF? "How could you know that?" I asked. Answer: "I can tell from the monitor".

El Coyote- you sort of have to eat there, and I'm glad I did, but the place is a bit run down and the food is nothing to write home about. Don't ask for an after dinner brandy. I like good brandy. They didn't have any.

Doing Monica’s laundry. I asked for help. Stoner was actually responsible for this event because he said we should wash our cloths after walking through poison oak all day at Spahn Ranch. Made sense to me. She went out to dinner. We ordered in Thai and I did Monica's laundry.  
Entry door guest house and bath from the outside.

Another was the motion detector light activation switch in the ‘guest cottage’ (to the right). The lights came on every time myself or my roommate rolled over. Of course being in the renovated garage that was billed by the owner as a 'guest cottage' at least meant I was likely to survive the tour if things went really bad. At least I wasn't on the couch. We fixed that after night #1.

After Matt ordered a milk shake the first day there was this constant 'whining' from the back seat about milkshakes. Ok, ok ...we took care of that the last day.

The biggest ‘wart’ of the tour was our driver. He rolled through stop signs and even skipped a few entirely. He took turns rather abruptly, merged without warning and drove too fast. One random guy even pulled us over to say he had backed into his car. That one turned out to be untrue. Others in the car also say he ran a red light (or two). I personally didn't see that. 

Otherwise, anyone who reads or writes about these events should go on this tour. Being there with others who know so much about this case was an experience worth repeating. 

But the real 'upside': actually meeting the people I have communicated with electronically for several years. This was was more important than anything else. I wish Saint, George, Grim, Bo, Starviego, the Col., Robert C., Mr. Humphrat, Whut, Ziggy (especially Ziggy), Brownrice, Penny Lane and everyone else I didn't name (and even MGN111) could have been there. It is worth the trip to get to know who you are talking to on here. They are all good people (despite what the Col. says). 

and....Jenn, you should definitely go on the tour. 

Pax Vobisum



Dan S said...

What's the evidence that Charlie tied up the labiancas?

Patty is Dead said...

The "guest cottage" lol

Monica said...

Thanks for the laundry and milkshakes David. Still laughing!

David said...

Dan S said: "What's the evidence that Charlie tied up the labiancas?"

Atkins' testimony at the Grand Jury and Kasabian's testimony.

starviego said...

Dan S said...
"What's the evidence that Charlie tied up the labiancas?"

It's also in the book "Manson In His Own Words" by Emmons.

Robert C said...

Thanks for your Tour closing statement David. Wish I was there for sure and could meet others. Question .... did everyone in the Tour stay at the same motel/whatever or was it everyone for themselves ?

David said...

Col Scott- I didn't delate your comment and will now ask that it not happen on this post.

You obviously missed the point of the post or perhaps chose not to see it. It’s at the end there. See that? You are on the list.

The tour isn’t about seeing Cielo Drive or Spahn Ranch. It’s about the people you meet. It’s about many of the ‘warts’ listed there.

It’s about Julie (sorry, Julie) our ‘house mother’ who fretted about the accommodations the whole time without realizing that most of us (maybe all of us) have lived in worse and….Julie, who had to be the one ‘adult’ a few times when some of us weren’t. Thank you Julie.

Its about Stoner and his young friends in the ‘courtyard’. It’s about the hug from Matt I got when we parted; tossing out Dead concert memories with him and watching him have to wait for a woman to interminably unload her groceries because he couldn’t get to the car with the beer (I have a picture). We are twin sons of different mothers.

It’s about Monica on the Spahn Tour and her reaction when she walked in the first night; and her being in the back seat with too much testosterone in the front seat and correcting me when I was flat out wrong.

It’s about when Deb walked off her plane and we both realized who we were; smoking with her in the ‘courtyard’ and our conversations there and our ride with the Russian(?) cabby who looked in the rearview mirror every time we mentioned Manson.

It’s about my personal conversation with Patty in the ‘courtyard’, which may have meant more than the rest. Thank you.

It’s about meeting Julie’s friend- God I am terrible with remembering names- Michael, I hope. It was about ‘Anthony’ and the acres of pot he smoked. It’s about Michael Channels meeting me and telling me he ‘hates F**** lawyers’ and later showing me his court documents.

It’s about Thai food orders (good) and Greek food orders (not so good) and the look I got night one from Stoner when the lights came on at 4 a.m.

These are the memories: the people.

And when I arrived I asked if I was going to get to meet two people. You were one and the other I won’t ‘call out’ here. And I was told ‘no’. Why? Because you were both in pissing matches over…nothing.

And the reality is, in your case, only you could end that because on their end they needed to admit something happened that didn’t. So, I tried a little ‘ploy’. I thought for some stupid reason and from some ‘humor’ I detected in your posts it might ‘beak the ice’. I fumbled. I've done worse in courtrooms.

So, what came from all that is: you are not in that list in this comment above because I didn’t get to meet you and that is one of my regrets.

Now, to your comment- is Stoner a TLB ‘scholar’? Nope, and he doesn’t claim to be. Does he know Spahn Ranch like the back of his hand? Yup. Is Spahn Ranch what I thought it would be from the books and pictures? Nope. Does he show you what it was- given what it is? Yup. And all that is why it is worth going, with Stoner.

Pax vobiscum.

David said...

Robert C,

It was a house with a guest house. I insisted on sleeping in the guest house for obvious reasons ;-)

David said...

I was initially offered the couch as an alternative.

David said...

We were all together.

Patty is Dead said...

David no way was Patty going to let you sleep on the couch. :)

Hippiedoll said...

The year I went on the tour, I had a blast meeting & spending time with Patty, Stoner, Matt, Mrs. Matt, and George! Unfortunately, Monica couldn't make it that year.
There was long drives, rough & bumpy rides, interesting sights, and even a walk late at night! I went to places I've only read & heard about, and even places I didn't even know about! I know these are locations I would have never seen, if it hadn't of been for the tour. And I like to think that I made new friends because I joined the tour that year.
Sending waves & love...

Matt said...


Patty is Dead said...

You were a good roomie Hippiedoll. :) Xo

Jenn said...

I really want to do the tour! I’ve been to al, of the LA area locations several times, but it would be way cool to do it with you all! It’s just such a bad time of year for academic types. Looking forward to some future time!


David said...


I now regret my comment. This may be about the most childish thing I have ever seen on here.

David said...

No, Col,

The little game you are playing here is childish. Do you really produce movies?

My God man. Get ahold of yourself.

Dan S said...

Thanks for the response, starviego. Pretty flimsy. Charlie did all that in the time it takes LK to smoke half a fag....

David said...

Oh DanS,

You clearly don’t smoke. That could be 10-15 minutes depending on when they lit up. You assume they lit up the moment he left. Not likely, LKs description is ‘boredom/ anxiety smoking. That kicked in down the road a bit. ‘Hey, Sadie, give me one of those.” But your recognition of time would be that cig. It is what you remember and really the only way she could judge time.

Walk outside. Turn all the lights off. Sit down. The key is to ‘count’ first 5 then 10 and then 15 minutes.

No phone. No puter. Count all you want. Note the time when you head out.

Then check it when you are done. Then do 10
minutes and 15.

If it’s meaningful report back the results. I think you will find the shorter the interval the closer you come. But also the longer the interval the further off your judgment is.
The whole Cielo night took 20-25 minutes.

Dan S said...

Leather thong

Dan S said...

At waverley, didn't they eat and shower?

David said...

Yes, they did and stole some cloths. All of which was how LVH was eventually convicted.

Hippiedoll said...

Hi Matt!!
I may not post often, but I do check in daily and read everyone's posts

Hippiedoll said...

Patty! I hope you & Stoner are doing well. You all are in my thoughts & prayers.

Rock N. Roll said...

Col Scott,
I’m a lurker and don’t post often but seriously you’re stepping on my high - daily. Your pathetic need for attention from this group is distracting and mean. Stoner’s videos are a great contribution bringing Spahn Ranch to life and the latest news live and in color. Clearly you are consumed with jealousy. If you can’t offer more than nasty smack then shut the fuck up and leave us in peace.

sheisalocal said...

I feel kind of sad I'm not seeing the Col posts for some reason, just the responses. I sure could use some entertainment to get through the day.

Patty is Dead said...

It's only funny when it's someone else.

Peter said...

In other words. Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you've got nothing new to say.

Peter said...

If you continue to ban the Colonel, his pathological need for attention will force him to restart the official blog so he can continue to lob bombs at you from there.

Everyone's a winner.

Unknown said...

I have nothing new to add about Manson....

But did want to stop by and check out pics of this years tour. My favorite memory of the Tour was the morning before we head into Barker. We stayed at various local hotels the previous night and at some old school style saloon playing pool and having drinks. We were at a pre-agreed upon meet-up spot and nobody could find John Aes-Nihil. after we all wondered around for a bit searching... Deb found him. He had wondered off alone and was sitting in a Carl juniors eating breakfast lol

I spent a couple of days with John and was positive he had no idea who I was, Then on the way back to LA when we dropped him off at his place- he looked at me and said "Thanks for the food" ( I had paid a tab I guess at some point when I was hammered) and gave me a gift bag with some of the coolest vintage magazine articles I have ever seen.

Also... The experience of driving up that -very narrow- roadway to the gate at Cielo with George Stimson was one of the most surreal moments in my entire life. You just have to do it to understand.

But the best part of the experience in total was the amazing way that 6 or 7 people who didn't know, or barely knew, each other actually became a family for the better half of a week. We looked out for each other. We shared stories with each other. and two people apparently were in the very romantic process of falling in love with each other. It was a trip that I will never, ever forget.

Thinking about the tour made me look up old pics before I decided to post this. The last pic on my roll from that trip was at El Coyote. I am siting on one side of Col, and Matt was sitting on other. Col is in the middle smiling with his thumbs up...

Ahhh the good old days :)

I hope you are all well and Happy. Patty- I never would want you to eat your hat lol


- Your favorite Saint

ColScott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter said...

What's that Colonel? I can't hear you.

Patty is Dead said...

Patty loves you St.

Unknown said...

Then I am a very lucky guy ;)

Say hello to Stoner and tell him I thought of him when Eagles won the Super Bowl šŸ˜‰

David said...

Hi Saint.

I for one miss you.

Terrapin said...

I'm not supporter of the Col usually but its starting to feel like a bit of a dictatorship with all these comments being deleted. y'know free speech and all that

Matt said...

I miss you too, St.

Terrapin, if someone is contributing to the conversation they are welcome to post comments. However, airing personal grievances publicly detracts from the blog's purpose. We aren't interested in getting in the gutter with anyone, so unfortunately we need to censor from time to time :(

Dan S said...

Thanks, David.
To sheisalocal, If you need a col fix, read his blog from the beginning. He spends a whole year picking on a grandma and picking apart bad grammar.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Bruce's Corvair? Ha! How appropriate..unsafe at any speed! Thanks David

David said...

Well said, Matt.

Monica said...

Hi My Favorite St.
Sure wish you could have been on THIS blog tour! I miss your comments and recently vacationed in San Francisco because of one of your posts!
All my best.

Unknown said...

Me too and has planned to buy things changed at work. I'm headed out to LA in July to get my fix lol. Thanks for always being so nice and sorry I missed you šŸ»

Dan S said...

I got 14:20 for my 15 minutes. Pretty good, no?

Dan S said...

It's still daylight out, pretty spring weather, with fluttering trees to look a; maybe it's different in the dark. I think i'd count as well regardless

David said...

Not bad Dan S. I am actually very surprised. Now try one without counting.

David said...

In the Waverley car scenario the only constant measure of time was a cigarette. They were under significant stress, especially, the only witness- Kasabian or if you will Kasabian, Krenwinkel, Atkins and Watson, all of whom expected someone to be murdered in that house. All of whom had been there the night before and all of whom thought they might be called upon to do it.

So the memory of elapsed time is something that measures time- a cigarette.

When we were there I moved away from the group and someone asked what I was up to and I said 'trying to gain perspective'. A rough estimate: even at a walk It likely took Manson about 30 seconds to get to the True house. About 30 more to get to the LaBianca house from there. And then, what, five minutes to tie Leno up and maybe 30 seconds max to get back to the car.

That's about a cigarette.

Dan S said...

All the books by the killers have to corroborate the official narrative in order to accept responsibility for the parole board. LK, LVH, and CstabbyW probably had a sex orgy at the scene. The dynamic between them is rarely mentioned and seems revelatory.
Anyways, i accept your possible time frame for the tying up, etc

Peter said...

7 minutes to smoke a cigarette. Less if they are passing it around and steaming it up. Maybe 10 for a Pall Mall or a Chesterfield.

Maybe it was a Virginia Slim 100 ? "You've come a long way stabby."

Matt said...

You've come a long way...

Orwhut said...

I just watched an old movie called, Unidentified Flying Objects: The True Story of Flying Saucers.
I often do some research on films I've seen and while reading the Wikipedia article on this film, the name Les Tremayne (the narrator) caught my eye. I clicked on it and when I got to the place he's buried another familiar name popped up, Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

Dan S said...

Trying for ten minutes without counting , 1a.m., smoked a bowl and sat in the back yard,birds chirping in the night, strange sounds like a guiro, I thought to myself, "give it about two more minutes," and i started to fall asleep. I snapped out of it with a start and fumbled to unlock my phone to see the timer.... Drumroll please: 12:40
Lol just noticed Virginia slims quote above says stabby not baby. You should have a coma before a vocative, though.

Anonymous said...

I have read about past tours, that each time you go to different places, and you were skipping the critical places. So, this year 2018, you went back to the major places. I could going around and looking at these places if I was in local to Southern California.

Spahn Ranch was an old movie set, and if was kept the way it was, I could see people wanting to see it, and the selling of tickets similar to Tombstone Arizona. Tombstone is kept historically accurate, and its a lot of fun to go there. The pictures of Spahn Ranch all look really interesting. Squeaky could be a tour guide. She never killed anyone, and she served a very long amount of time. Its also possible to see the Eagles Nest for example in Germany. Maybe in 100 years time, it would people could be more objective similar to the way we now feel about the Lizzie Borden. There is a tour of the Lizzie Borden house. I saw a documentary about it. I, actually, popped in here because there is a new Manson book out and an article about in the Daily Beast, that would be worthy of creating a post. I knew little bits and pieces of Manson's Story after he was in prison, but I never saw a picture this complete.

Terrapin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terrapin said...

Matt.. no problem at all i understand now what happened and wouldn't have done anything different

Brian G said...

Watson said he did but he went along with the prosecutions narrative because it made him seem less culpable.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add an update to my earlier comment. The book Hunting Charles Manson is another trashy Manson book that is trying to cash in. Today, I have seen the article in the Huffington Post about Tex Watson. My recommendation is to read the article in the Daily Beast, but don't waste your money on this book. I am willing to read anything for free, but I don't want to support a woman, the book author, who is makes a living publishing trashy books about true crime. In my opinion, its almost as bad, as committing the crimes, as to use them to make money. The book is on prerelease on the Amazon Kindle. I read the Tex Watson article, the title of which suggested that it had more information than it did. Apparently, the author got herself a seat at Tex Watson's parole hearing, where he gave her an "evil look" when she took his photo by surprise. She never interviewed him, received a letter from him or had any contact with him. How much rehashing of old information are we expected to want to read?

LastGirlOnTheLeft said...

I’m just a lurker here, though mad about the site, reading it back to front over a few months and now starting again, but just wanted to say how great it was seeing St C back!! He comes across as so lovely - I always liked reading his posts as they were so normal and so relatable to people like me who know a LITTLE about the case but nowhere near an encyclopedic knowledge of it! St I so hope you stick around!!!