Monday, August 12, 2019

Leave Something Witchy

Leave Something Witchy is a true crime graphic novel by writer/artist Randolph Gentile.

Clocking in at 219 pages the graphic novel covers the formation of the Family through the murders and their eventual capture in late 1969.

The book explores the backgrounds of the major players in the family from their youth to their joining the group at Spahn Ranch. It also tells the story of the Lottsapoppa affair, the Hinman murder, the death of Shorty Shea, and of course, the Tate/LaBianca slayings.

It explores the Helter Skelter scenario as well as evidence that the murders that took place a half a century ago were copycat killings designed to free Bobby Beausoleil from prison.

Gentile, a former Marvel Comics artist and designer, spent almost 7 years researching, writing and drawing the project, speaking to Manson biographers and people close to Manson before his death.

He’s crowdfunding the project through Kickstarter offering the book both digitally and in paperback format.


AstroCreep said...

The graphic novel certainly looks amazing, I love the imagery BUT, is that something that should be capitalized upon? In some ways, it’s no different than Bugs writing his novel but in other ways I find it in poor taste. Sure, I don’t have to buy it and ultimately that’s how capitalism works- the consumer dictates value and worth of a widget or service. Just seems like a portion of proceeds go to victims advocacy or something of the family members choosing.

Unknown said...

Everybody copies from Helter Skelter- it's a bunch of b.s., the worst I've seen was a book put out this year, the guy is crazy. He tells terrible lies about the victims VB and everybody else that's gone. It's just filled with conspiracy theories. Won't even mention the book except to say the author's name is Tom O'Neal. He's crazy. If u read u will find out real fast how crazy he is.

Unknown said...

Like the whole conversation

Ajerseydevil said...

Unknown agreed O'Neill's Chaos is pretty bad Manchurian candidates CIA spooks MK Ultra he's really stretching since this is a subject that I'm really interested in I try to read & watch everything on the subject
I just ordered a new book that looks promising called Manson Exposed

cielodrivecom said...

What does O'Neill's book have to do with people copying Helter Skelter?

LastGirlOnTheLeft said...

I think it looks fantastic. The artwork makes it quite chilling. I would buy it.

Zelda Formaldehyde said...

I just purchased O'Neill's book ... and Deb's book about Shorty at the same time. When they arrive, which one should I read first?

Doug said...


RandolphG said...

Randolph Gentile here, write/artist of LEAVE SOMETHING WITCHY. if you’d like to get the book the link to my kickstarter is here. Thanks for your time.

shoegazer said...

It's very clear to me that with the 50th anniversary--the Tarantino film providing a VERY effective megaphone--there are a lot of people out there trying to either make some money, or gain some level of pubic attention for themselves.

This is OK, but personally I'd not seek to encourage it. Kinda trashy and déclassé.

However, it raises a very interesting question I'd like to ask the group...

What is your interest in the Manson phenomenon? What are the limits of your interest?

Here. I'll prime the pump with my own thoughts...

To me, there are certain culturally appealing packages. Certain events that transcend the sum of the parts. One such is the Titanic sinking. It's almost like Greek mythology, perhaps the tale of Phaeton, who got a divine beat-down for exceeding the scope of his rightful powers.

The Cielo murders have some of this mystical attraction--not so much hubris, but semi-divinity being taken down by a Caliban-like anti-hero and his followers.

And this happens in the dead of night, in the west coast version of Camelot. The Cielo parcel itself, its location, its proximity to glitzy LA, and yet its remoteness--a paradox, really. It was some speculator's idea of an urban hideaway.

There's something ephemeral in the entire situation--something that transcends easy description.

So there's that intangible attraction.

Now, that was the hook, but the actual part that has kept me interested for a few months is the uncertainty of the exact sequence of the crime. There is physical evidence that is not well-explained--or even explained, at all--by any narrative reconstruction. I don't find these to be glaring discrepancies, but more like vague foggy areas in the testimony. By nature, I like to try to resolves such ambiguities, and this is the part that has held my interest.

As to the intrinsic moral implications--proper subjective justice, the character of the various people involved, and whether the events treated them fairly or otherwise--this has almost no interest for me. The act, itself, is ancient history. To me, none of this matters.

I am a little bit interested in the social mechanisms that permitted Manson to gather a following, and to that end the personality *types* are of interest. to me. E.g., Manson seems to have been an amoral narcissistic opportunist and how this facilitated his control over others is interesting.

So far as the LaBianca, Hinman, or Shea killings, I have very little interest except in terms of how they may have affected the Cielo crime.

OK, your turn!

Torque said...

Your analysis of the many issues surrounding this case is indeed well thought out. Certainly the intetsection of rock music(Beach Boys, Melcher), celebrities, the counterculture, and the practically mythological figure of Manson has and will continue to attract interest.

Additionally, criminology, legal procedure, forensic science, and related issues continue to invite passionate discussion.

For me, although all of the above are of intetest, my ultimate intetest is in the victims. Namely, I am intetested in knowing about their interesting and promising lives. When I first read Bugliosi's book, it felt like reading a funeral oration. To that end, I would like to make my main focus of research one of finding and preserving the living memories of these people.

When I think of how--with the exception of Shorty and Steven, who was murdered outdoors--these people were killed in the seeming security of their own homes or friends home, it makes the case even more terrifying and sad.

In the end, for me its ultimately all about respect for these victims' lives.

LastGirlOnTheLeft said...

All the characters that came and went as part of the Family are the most interesting for me...I love the articles here that go into more depth on their backgrounds, like the ones on Mary Brunner and Beausoleil. Plus the dry, dusty, remote setting. I’m fascinated by cults as well. Is it possible to have a favourite true crime story? It seems weird and grisly to admit to it. But to me, no other case comes close.

Dan S said...

Anyone who says they're interested in true crime because of the victims is lying to themselves. Especially in the case of stranger murders. It's a salve for a guilty conscience about being fascinated with perversion. One might as well read about normal people who aren t victims. It's called biography and a lot of people like it.

Peter said...

Manson is the least interesting. He's easy to figure out.

AstroCreep said...

Personally, I saw the words “Helter Skelter” in spray-paint underneath a bridge in the early 1970’s when I was maybe 4 years old. A few years later,I saw a copy of Helter Skelter in my house and was intrigued. I’ve always had a macabre fascination whether it be behind the scenes in Amityville and the real crimes that took place at 112 Ocean Avenue, the streets of Queens involving the Son of Sam, or the west coast in and around the San Francisco Bay Area involving Zodiac (my favorite case). I’ve elected to remain anonymous here because I don’t want to be judged by people who don’t understand my fascination with these cases.

As with Peter, I find Charlie the least interesting character of the Manson saga- we know what he is.

The family intended to shock the world and that they did- the fact that 50 years later people are still talking about it, reading about it, creating mainstream motion pictures about it etc, says an awful lot. To that end....

That’s also why those responsible will never be released... the case is too well known and reality is a life sentence is supposed to mean a life sentence. Sure, we can discuss (as we have in the past) fairness in sentencing but very few governors are faced with commuting sentences or granting parole that will immediately become national/international news. In reality, nobody in the general public wants those responsible releases aside from a handful of Manson sympathizers.

Peter said...

I was about 10 during the summer of Sam. I remember the headlines, the artist sketches and the letter to Jimmy Breslin. That was some pretty crazy stuff with its Hello from the sewers of New York and Wicked King Wicker stuff. People were scared and it went on for over a year in leafy suburbs like Pelham Bay, Bellerose, and Forest Hills where people thought they were safe. My older sisters cut and cored their hair. On the hot summer nights I would listen to 1010 news or CBS on the radio while I lay in bed with no air conditioning and the cicadas buzzing and I remember them reporting on the shootings.

Dan S said...

I was checking out the Son of Sam conspiracy web page another reader put up in a previous post. Is it possible it was a group using the same gun like the zebra murders? I doubt it.
Also I have read that people believe there's a team zodiac. I wish they would solve that case. I'm so happy they solved the East area rapist slash original Night Stalker slash Golden State killer case.
The Manson Murders are perfect storm 4 True Crime titillation. They happened at a time when innocence could be lost and there was media to capture it.
Another case that has a lot of mystery to it is the William heirens case. Most people seem to think he didn't do it and it's a series horrific murders that ensnared a large Metropolis in terror.

Peter said...

I dont know, the sketches of Son of Sam were way different and witnesses described seeing people that fit those descriptions at various crime scenes appearing to act as lookouts. Plus Yonkers at that time has some pretty weird stuff going on.

Vera Dreiser said...

O'neil's book sucks!
Why do you think Matt acts like it wasn't even published? Garbage!

Dan S said...

REALLY weird stuff.

AstroCreep said...

Peter, I was 7 and remember hearing reports on the radio and seeing the news in the evening- before he’d named himself Son of Sam. Even though he was in the NYC area and I was in Bethesda MD then, everyone was terrified (or at least I was and so were the other kids in my neighborhood).

In terms of my true crime and horror movie fascination, I view it as a childhood moment that was significant- being at the beach in 1975 when Jaws was released, seeing Halloween/Amityville Horror when they came out, all stuck with me- Looking within myself, probably a large part of my fascination is overcoming those ‘boogeymen’ from my childhood.

shoegazer said...

Neat comment, AstroCreep!

Very personal observation and I'm glad you shared what it was like.

I can recall being in my counsellor's office, talking about college plans when I was a junior. He had stepped out to get something and was gone for maybe 10 minutes. When he came back in he said "I just heard that President Kennedy has been shot. Let's pray for the best."

That, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, were the two most memorable events I can readily recall. By comparison, TLB, when I was coming back to my 4th year of college, trying to avoid the draft, was a minor blip.

Matt said...

Vera Dreiser said...
O'neil's book sucks!
Why do you think Matt acts like it wasn't even published? Garbage!

Correct, Col...

Vera Dreiser said...

Great, Matthew, thank you! When are we going to see YOUR excellent, perceptive review of Oneil's trash!

Vera Dreiser said...

In the meantime, here are some other reviews of that shitty book. I tried to link the LA Times absolute pan but there's a paywall. Here's the Guardian's takedown:
and the Washington Post, I mean how did that hack even get his book published, Vera wants to know!!!:

I understand why you don't want to waste your valuable breath on it, Matthew, but PLEASE add your acid tongue to these guys who hated the book as much as we do! Vera need's Matt's opinion!

shoegazer said...

Vera, thanks for your opinion.

At first, reading about it as a new book that took years to write, I was a interested enough to put my name on the local library's wait list (there were 18 ahead of me! I've never seen anything even close to that number!). But the more I read *about* the book, and what's worse, the more I read O'Neill's self-described process of writing it, the worse it sounded.

Right on the surface of it, it sounded cheaply exploitive. Base sensationalism preying on the public's credulousness.

Then I read what posters here had to say, and I took my name off the wait list.

I'm afraid that the people responsible for publishing and hyping it know a lot about how to make money by exploiting crap. The timing for TLB is perfect, and they're not about to let the chance to make a soiled buck slip by. And sad to say, the length of the wait list indicates that they're probably right... :^(

Thanks again for your post!

Vera Dreiser said...

Of course, Shoegazer -- but I wish you or Matthew or even the Col (as promised) would actually read and review the book so we just don't get speculations! I did read it and my one word review is "garbage"! And, speaking of ONeil's "process" as you did, here's another very long article tearing apart that, too. What a self-important loser!:
But I still want to see a real Manson knowledgable person assess this piece of crap, like ANYONE from this site! Don't we all deserve it?