Saturday, August 22, 2020

INTERVIEW WITH SIMON WELLS, AUTHOR OF CHARLES MANSON: COMING DOWN FAST

CHARLIE AND ME

Richard Turgeon

Original Article

When I was growing up, my parents kept their eclectic library of books on full display in our small downstairs den. From a very young age, a few stood out to me—namely a Life World Book about Japan, my mom’s copy of In Cold Blood, and a particularly lurid-looking paperback with a cover that looked like bad news through my young eyes.


This was the edition and cover of my mom's
worn paperback on the bookshelf of my childhood home.
Many consider this the definitive account,
but Simon’s book, and this interview, may change your mind.


The book’s title, HELTER SKELTER, seemed to have been painted in blood, set against the kind of warm yellow backdrop one might associate with the California sun. I was also old enough at the time to know what “murder” meant, so of course I was sufficiently intrigued to flip through the photos—which were fortunately whited out. Undoubtedly, part of what’s made the book the #1 true crime book of all time was the shocking brutality of the killing spree—carried out by “hippie cult leader” Charlie Manson and select members of his so-called “Family” of mostly young, female, twentysomething drifters.

In my late 30s, I moved to San Francisco and revisited the topic by reading Manson in His Own Words by Nuel Emmons, which provided insight into Manson’s awful upbringing and distorted worldview. Flash forward to early 2020—before COVID, BLM, election anxiety—when I felt compelled to learn more about the Tate-LaBianca murders, Manson himself, and his young followers who carried out these unspeakable acts. I’ve since spent the last several months watching documentaries, reading at least a dozen more books on the subject, and sifting through infinite online archives.

Tellingly, more books, films, articles and documentaries have been written about Manson than one could possibly consume in a lifetime—it’s a bottomless rabbit hole. But longstanding interests in a number of subjects—Los Angeles, late ‘60s American history, San Francisco’s Summer of Love, the introduction of LSD to the counterculture, the music and Hollywood film biz, true crime, and cults—all compelled me to go deep on the topic. The story of Manson and Helter Skelter is one where all of these subjects seem to intersect.

One of Manson’s many mugshots since age 14, this one from 1969.
You’ll find a gallery of them here.


Additionally, America has not felt this divided since the late ‘60s. Things seem to be breaking down to the point where it feels like there are strong parallels between then and what we’re going through today. Most writers and musicians like myself tend to be interested in pop culture and feel a certain attunement to the zeitgeist. Even so, I only recently realized that 2020 was the 50th anniversary of the August 8–10 murders, putting them in the spotlight all over again.

That’s my best explanation of why, like so many others—and perhaps more than ever—I’m compelled to understand why Manson and his followers did these things. Who were they? How did the social and political climate of the time make such horrifying and bizarre crimes even possible?

MEET SIMON WELLS, AUTHOR OF CHARLES MANSON: COMING DOWN FAST

In the many Manson documentaries I’ve watched these last many months, several familiar faces are interviewed with strong ties to the case—including Jeff Guinn, author of Manson, and retired FBI profiler John Douglas, who interviewed Manson in prison decades ago as part of his groundbreaking work on serial killers.

But in the excellent documentary Manson: Music from an Unsound Mind, someone new to me was interviewed: UK author Simon Wells. From the first time he appeared on camera, I thought, Wow, this guy really gets it. I promptly ordered his book, Charles Manson: Coming Down Fast.



This was the first documentary (but not the last) I saw that featured Simon.

Even though the Introduction is seven pages long, I’d never read such a clear, concise, insightful summary of the Family and their crimes—along with the complex social and political climate that spawned it all. As I continued to read, I became utterly absorbed by the book’s craft, unique tone, and thoroughness.

My paperback copy of Simon’s book.


Once I’d gotten about halfway through, I reached out to Simon to learn more about the project, and he was gracious enough to agree to the following interview. Before we dig in, I’d like to thank him now for his time, the insights into his process, and for his unique perspectives on this pivotal event in American history.

What got you interested in Manson and how did the project come about?

Anyone who is a student of the 1960s will have come across Manson. He is the decade’s foremost bogeyman—the man who as legend informs us was the person “who killed the 60s.” I was intrigued by Charlie’s assignation of a serial killer and mass murderer when it was clearly obvious he was neither. So on that basis, I was hooked into exploring the story. 


It was around 2008 I started pitching the idea around, and I was fortunate that Hodder in the UK was interested—so much so that they paid little attention to my brief to de-sensationalise the story. What they wanted was something to update the story and to cash in on the 40th anniversary. To be honest, I was just excited that they went with it.

The whole writing and research process was regrettably quick (I don’t recommend it). With the 40th anniversary looming in August 2009, it left me just 11 months to write a 500-page book. Nonetheless, I was intent on sticking with my quest to present what I believed would be the first sober account of the story.

So much has been written about Manson these past 50 years. What was your research process for this project, and how did you synthesize that into such a well written narrative in just 11 months?

A lot of hard work! I had the bare bones of the story—which is freely available—so I used that as a very bare skeleton to hang my story around. The next process was to challenge every aspect of what had been previously written and draw out as much of the truth dressed in as little emotion as possible. A lot of what I read didn’t ring true—so I decided to cross-check and re-investigate as well as interviewing many people who I feel had been badly represented earlier.

What is your daily writing routine (at least at the time)? Do you have any special rituals, tools or techniques you rely on—especially when taking on such a large project?

I always set myself a word target, but given I had research running in tandem it often blurred. Many of my interviews were done on the phone and with the time difference in the States (eight hours behind from the UK) it meant frequent late nights.

Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel
being escorted to court during the most infamous trial of the century—perhaps ever.


Of all the books I’ve read on Manson and the Family, you tell this story with such exceptional care and craft. It’s detached and objective, but at times also laced with a subtle dry wit. What informed and inspired your unique approach?

The brief of the book was to de-sensationalise Manson and place him and his cohorts in a more solid reality than before. To expand; I come from an alternative community and have spent time around many fringe and esoteric groups. I am not intimidated by the weird and alternative, and I have met many “Charles Manson” characters in my time—so Manson as a character did not faze me. Equally, the activities of the so-called “Family” were of no real shock to me (apart from the murders obviously) so I could view all of this in a way that hopefully didn’t offer any judgement or hysteria.

Given emotion, fear and horror had previously driven the narrative; it gave me a new angle to explore. At times, especially during the murders, I found it hard to detach myself—especially given the horrific detail of the murders. I found that particularly harrowing—but it had to be told.

Aside from the unbelievably brutal nature of the murders, and overall strangeness of the Family, why do you think this dark chapter in American history continues to fascinate the world some 50 years later?

It’s rock and roll. And to decode that a bit further, it’s that most murders are pretty dour and dismal affairs. However, the Manson case embodies all the elements of rock culture. With participants such as the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the counterculture of southern California and the 60s, it will endure as long as all these parts remain attractive. (This is not to act as an apologist of Manson or indeed the murderers).

Manson was cunning and manipulative, but his obsessions with race, the Beatles, and the Bible—along with his violent outbursts before the murders—seem almost schizophrenic. Do you think he really believed his vision of Helter Skelter, or it was just part of his act to keep his followers frightened and dependent as he felt his control over them slipping away?

I believe Manson believed and conceived Helter Skelter as a conversational point—something that would wow and (possibly) control his followers. Manson’s wacky spiel was not unique to him—as we know many were convinced that Paul McCartney was dead and that the Fabs had been sending messages about his demise through their records.

From left: Brenda McCann, Sandy Good, Cathy Gillies,
and Kitty Lutesinger of the Manson Family, kneel on the sidewalk
outside the Los Angeles Hall of Justice on March 29, 1971.

Charlie’s madness appeared to gain a greater precedence as his musical aspirations began to slide. His failure called for something to mask his (and by extension his followers) disappointment, but more importantly to preserve his self-appointed divinity and oracle status. Manson had lots of proclamations in the run-up to Helter Skelter, so it wasn’t an unusual topic. He’d previously been obsessed with the Fab’s “Magical Mystery Tour” album, so the connection with the Beatles had already been made. Helter Skelter remained a conversation topic up until August 8th when he flipped it into a reality. I doubt very much if Manson and the Family’s downturn in fortunes hadn’t occurred, it would have remained in the domain of a campfire chat.

Manson very much seemed to want to be a player in Hollywood’s music scene, but was rejected. How much do you think that fueled his commands to commence Helter Skelter and the Tate-LaBianca murders?

It was a combination of many elements. The murder of Gary Hinman, the shooting of a drug dealer “Lotsapoppa” (aka Bernard Crowe, who Manson believed was a Black Panther), the arrest of Bobby Beausoleil, Sandra Good and Mary Brunner, Manson’s rejection at the Esalen centre and not least, the defection of many Family members. With the music rejection ever present in the background, it presented a cocktail of dismal failure. All of this came to a head on the afternoon of August 8th. So it was a combination of rejection and upset. 

It also was an example of what happens when commune living breaks down, something I know a lot about. I personally feel Manson didn’t plan Helter Skelter as a reality, it was just that circumstances forced it. I called my book “Coming Down Fast” as it really was that—a monumental collapse. The few weeks before the murders are the true key to what happened. I do detail it in great depth and to me at least, it is academic why they occurred.

There seems to be a good deal of circumstantial evidence of Manson murdering others before the infamous two nights of Helter Skelter. You seem to disagree. Can you expand on that?

There is something quite insidious that I couldn't really explore in the book—that being the rush to associate as many "freaky" murders with the Manson Family. Bugliosi's claim that there were somewhere in the region of "35" deaths ascribed to the Family is spurious. Given the resources available at the time, I would have thought in the 50 years plus since the crimes, at least one would have been proven.  

My opinion is that in reality there is only one murder that could be ascribed to the Family after Tate-LaBianca, and that is the death of Christopher Haught (aka Jesus). To me, it seemed strange that police in Inyo County were eager to jump on the bandwagon with the Pugh case as if there were some kudos to be associated with the drama (ditto lawyers). They patently avoided the glaring evidence of Pugh's mental health status and failed to contact Joel's family—probably knowing the answers would derail their more sensational investigation. I did get a chance to expand on this on my blog, so I hope that will put the record straight—as far as it can be. 

If you could change anything about how the book turned out, what would it be?

Ooh… I would have liked lots more time and twice the page count! To be honest, the story needs a three-volume approach to do it absolute justice. Before the crimes, the crimes and the trials, and the aftermath. It is such a complex and labyrinthine story—far too small for one book.

What have you been working on since the publication of Coming Down Fast?

I wrote a book on the Rolling Stones famous drugs bust of 1967, a couple of books on the Beatles, a book on the film Quadrophenia, a biography of Anita Pallenberg and a 60s London retrospective. A couple of books of poetry and a novel too!

Do you think a murderous cult like the Manson Family could ever happen again, or do you see it as something of an anomaly?

Not exactly like Charlie’s gang. Given the era, Manson had what appeared to be unchallengeable license to spew out his blurb to his followers. I dare say many today would Google what they heard and probably question him. The drugs are different too—and are far more acerbic. It’s very much an episode of its time and of region. That said, radicalization has many links with what happened with Manson, with young people—often from unremarkable homes—being brainwashed into killing. It’s a new and disturbing parallel.

Do you see any connections between the turmoil of the late ‘60s (race riots, social unrest, Vietnam, the Summer of Love) and what the world is going through today?

I don’t think so. There’s such passivity about life these days. It appears that revolt has been largely dampened down. I fear that IT, increased wealth and consumerism have swallowed up the hurt and the hunger that often underpins dissent. Yes, there are demonstrations and the occasional riot, but they are largely (as far as I can see) without the passion of what back-dropped the 1960s.

After the massive undertaking of researching and writing Coming Down Fast, do you have any lingering curiosity or feelings around Manson and the case? Does it still stick with you, or do you feel like the project provided a sense of closure to any of that?

The deeper you go with the Mason story, the more you uncover. I remember feeling that there were many lines that I hadn’t properly explored, or that other angles could produce some interesting stuff. Manson and the Family’s tentacles touched so many people in southern California, and everyone who came across them has a story to tell—so I dare say I could have reached out even further. Sadly, because of the time constraint, I could not. Who knows, I may dip my toe back in one day.





68 comments:

gina said...

2019, not 2020 was the 50th Anniversary of the murders.

starviego said...

It was a conversational point, and the conversational point came to be.

And that's basically Wells' idea of motive.

Proteus said...

I have always liked Simon Wells' writings and general approach to the case. He brings a touch of normalcy to Manson studies, with no apparent obsession or axes to grind. He has also provided the definitive version of Joel Pugh's death, cutting through all the mindless prejudice, misinterpretation and conjecture found elsewhere. I for one would love to see what else he might come up with, were he to return to the case, though I have no idea where he might want to direct his energies and curiosity. But he probably has more rewarding things to do.

But what a delightful change to read and/or hear a clear voice speaking clearly: an antidote to the wilful obfuscations of Robert (with HIS apparently RANDOM use OF capital letters) Hendrickson, Mario (I need to tell you that from what I have been told a lot more happened at SPAHN RANCH but I'm not telling you what cos trolling is what I do) Nitrini and Fayez (I was there, I write in this pseudo weird style because I want to look cool) Abedaziz.

Bless them all, and RIP Robert, but give me Simon Wells any time.

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Proteus,
I am not a writer.

As far as you say I am "trolling?" No, Matt has been kind enough to let me comment on his blog. And there are MY legal reasons for me to comment about The Charles Manson Case & Saga, to lay-out a back-story.....for what might be coming involving me.....

I sent Matt an Email over a year ago about a direct message on Twitter that I sent to former Hells Angels National President George Christie.
👇
https://www.mansonblog.com/2019/03/did-pj-tate-suspect-blowback.html?m=1
who has me "blocked" on Twitter
👇
https://mobile.twitter.com/georgeFPC
Imagine that, George Christie blocks me on Twitter because I asked him specific questions about his "knowledge" of certain "HAPPENINGS" of what went on at SPAHN RANCH when The Charles Manson Family lived there. Hmmm?

Matt has not posted that email I sent him pertaining to George Christie on his blog. And I understand completely why he hasn't.
Out of respect to Matt & his blog, I have not posted it either.

But I'll tell you what.
Matt?
I will post the exact email I sent to you on this blog-post, if you say yes.
If you say no, I won't post it, and I'll completely understand why a no answer.
Your call Matt. Yes or No.

Mario George Nitrini 111
--------
The OJ Simpson Case

Proteus said...

I rest my case with regard to Mario Nitrini. He yet again tells us he has his legal reasons, and has knowledge of certain happenings but as always it goes no further. Mario: in the words of the immortal Norman Schwarzkopf, crap or get off the pot. If you want to share, share, here or elsewhere, and if you're not going to share then please do us all a favour and stfu.

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Proteus,
out if respect for Matt and his blog, I will him make the decision pertaining to my email I sent him re: the DIRECT MESSAGE I sent to the former National President of The Hells Angels, George Christie.

And thank you for your "blessing."
I may need it soon.....

Mario George Nitrini 111
------
The OJ Simpson Case

AstroCreep said...

Matt, PLZ say yes and post the email! This case is gonna break wide open!!

ColScott said...

Proteus

The wham is in the bam says those children with knives that come at you. You fucking taught them I didn't teach them them to put the lime in the coconut and shake it all BUT very important, I killed three Hell's Angels in Chatsworth just to watch them die, Paul Fitzgerald helped me organize did you know Tom O'Neill was gay, just like a lot of friends of Nicole Brown Simpson and Nicole and Sharon BOTH frequented The Daisy along with Warren Beatty who played a Football quarterback in the remake of HERE COMES MR. JORDAN which is what the mountain said to the copter so did anyone think that Warren could have??? Obviously.

As one is one is one, it turns out that the rain in Spain DOES IN FACT stay in the plains no where near Barker Ranch. If any of you would like to follow my logic, drop two tabs of LSD and hit your head with a large croquet mallet 27 times, the age when Hendrix died and the exact age when another quarterback, Orenthal, convinced his younger wife to try anal for the first time. I stan Jon Aesnihil for did he not set forth the laws of the lawgiver and teach the unwashed that Grease was A word but not THE word? Of course he did. I submit that BUGliosi's love of Latin music was eclipsed by his hate of Milk men and that you CAN go home again but not to the Daisy or Rockingham because they are torn down.


Colonel Darwin Scott, Ret.

------
The YoMamaSuxCoxinHell Case

Panamint Patty said...

Snort

Proteus said...

Love it, ColScott - you got it perfectly

Dan S said...

That's why i check this blog every day! Thank you! But do your research, Orenthal was a tight end

AstroCreep said...

Nailed it minus the 👇 twitter links

Doug said...

EPIC!

grimtraveller said...

Mario George Nitrini 111 said:


Imagine that, George Christie blocks me on Twitter because I asked him specific questions about his "knowledge" of certain "HAPPENINGS" of what went on at SPAHN RANCH when The Charles Manson Family lived there. Hmmm?

Yeah, I can't imagine why the top dog {the national president, no less !} in the world famous Hells angels would deign to block you. What was he thinking ?

Proteus said...

I rest my case

And very well rested too !

AstroCreep said...

Matt, PLZ say yes and post the email! This case is gonna break wide open!!

Unless the e-mail said something like Mario is Vincent Bugliosi's secret love child and that his 'dad' told him that he withheld the truth that the murders were committed by Seymour Kott's wife but she was in a secret liaison with Nixon's wife and Charles Manson was actually Thelma's chauffeur......then I doubt I'll bite.
Poor George probably thought "who's THELMA" when he got the e~mail.

Milly James said...

I used to hang out in The Horn of Plenty in St Albans. Great music venue. The Hells Angels turned up occasionally. Windsor. They were mainly one eyed or walked with a limp. And yes, the President, Ted, did buy me a drink on occasion.

Monica said...

Reading these comments, I feel like I'm in the Star Wars bar again.

David said...

MGM (Lion Roar) 356 said: "And there are MY legal reasons for me to comment about The Charles Manson Case & Saga, to lay-out a back-story."

No, there is not.

MGM 321 said: "Proteus,
out if respect for Matt and his blog, I will him make the decision pertaining to my email I sent him re: the DIRECT MESSAGE I sent to the former National President of The Hells Angels, George Christie."

Send it to me. My name is up there too. I'll post it.

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

David (The Lawyer),
AKA Dreath.
You state
👇
"No, there is not."
REALLY? You know what my situation is? 🤔
I DON'T believe you do.......

This is Matt's blog. So, if Matt wants to forward you my email, that's his call, and you post it, fine.

I prefer NOT to email you.

Mario George Nitrini 111
------
The OJ Simpson Case

David said...

MGN!! said: "I prefer NOT to email you"

Um...ah....hmmm....Yesterday :: Today :: Tomorrow :: Where No Sense Makes Sense.

Matt said...

My brain hurts...


Cooltide said...

Jeezus, post the F*****g e- mail, if you have it, give MGN his 5 seconds of fame ,you have teased us long enough.
Publish and be damned, 😱😉😂

ColScott said...

David (the Lawyer)

I do in fact prefer not to as Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener said, not the wine cooler chump, the original apathetic cornholer who knew Nicole and Denise Brown Simpson when they both were trying to score sugar daddies among the black celebrities who were not allowed to attend Chasens when I held my epic Chili Bean Fart off lunches. I feel you would be more concerned for my plight when you take into account the dearth of prozac available where I am as well as the results of twelve years of self administered electroshock treatments.

You may be a lawyer but you are no F. Lee Bailey who knew that Davis was the Zodiac killer and was aware that Tex Watson's kids were incubated Village of the Damned style to be future assassins and light fires in our cities while we sleep. Tom O'Neill established that Charlie was the half brother of Richard Nixon, twice removed and I must say I am stunned this never came out in the third Van Houten trial. Leslie as everyone knows gave the best head of all the girls with her horsebite mouth and Adam Gabriel is the reason God made Oklahoma, where the wind goes sweeping down the plain.

One more thing like Peter Falk said in that Columbo episode, the Bye Bye Sky High IQ Murder case, we all should take into account that the Hell's Angels have killed many people some who do not even know they are dead yet and thus I hide, getting daily instacart orders of Diet Coke and non dairy creamer only.

Col Darwin Scott, Ret.

----

The YoMamaSuxCoxinHell Case

David said...

Be careful, Col, you might get stuck in this mode.

ColScott said...

David

I assume you mean pie ala mode, which as everyone knows is best with a McFlurry if they can get the machines working, not the earth machine Charlie blew up which was pretty rad but pointless


Col Darwin Scott, Ret.

-------

The YoMamaSuxCoxinHell Case

Dan S said...

Now do RWH/SAG!

David said...

Ok, here you go. This is the MGN111 e-mail that has everyone all a-twitter with anticipation...wait for it......

David said...

here it comes....................

David said...

From: "Mario g. Nitrini 3"
Subject: The OJ Simpson Case...Most of my DM to George Christie
Date: March 10, 2019 at 10:33:13 AM EDT
To: matt@mansonblog.com

MARIO GEORGE NITRINI 111
------
The OJ Simpson Case

Matt, it's a real difficult decision for me to make, but here is most of my Direct Message to George Christie.
Go ahead and post it if you're comfortable with it.

My DM to Mr Christie had to do with this Tweet by him

https://mobile.twitter.com/georgeFPC/status/1090636126077870080


"Greetings Mr George Christie.

First of all, I want to apologize again to you for completely being out of line with my tweeting last month to you I was a real jerk, and thank you for handling it in a professional and respectful way.

Ok. When I saw that photo you posted the other day of the Satan Slaves that patched over to the Hell's Angel's, I said to myself, I'll bet____________(not yet...lol) is in that photo. I looked, and I couldn't find him. I looked again, and still couldn't find him. Then, BINGO,
The Hat.
BAD BILL REID. 2nd person on the left, standing on the ground.

Let me please give you some general background on me & Bill.
Here's how I met him.
My wife(now deceased) at the time, had a neice by the name of Shauna. You've seen me tweet about OJ Simpson Case Limousine driver Rocky Bateman? Well, Rocky did some "business" with your former group, and knew Bill Reid. Rocky met Shauna at a party and they hit it off. Then, Shauna intoduced her mother Bernice
(my deceased wife's sister)
to Bill, and Bill & Bernice hit it off. I had conducted some small "transactions" with Bernice, and one day I met Bill Reid. Bill was aware of the "business" I was in. It took Bill 4 months before he approached me to talk about doing some "business" for him. Then, Bill & I got started.......
And where did we do some of our "business" transactions?
I was in a house band playing at the Deering Inn in Chatsworth. I'm the keyboard player on the left:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xfD48plyUfE

One "business" category lead to another, if you get my drift.
I always got Bill his money, no matter what. I was a good money-man.
Bill introduced me to his fellow Angel's as his brother-in-law. Bill was VERY GOOD to me.
I even sat in on 2 "meetings," if you get my drift.

(2 paragraph's OMITTED. Much too SENSITIVE INFORMATION to post)
There's so much more, but for now, I'll leave it at that.

The Charles Manson Family.
When you tweeted back to me and said:
"There was a lot of partying going on there, yep.
In a round about way that's what Bill said.
I asked Bill why he went up to SPAHN RANCH when the Charles Manson Family was there? Bill's answer:
The girls and to conduct business.
I'll leave it there for now.

(1 paragraph omitted due to Very SENSITIVE INFORMATION)

I hope your books are selling
BIG-Time. You have quite a unique story to tell.

Thanks George

The OJ Simpson Case
Mario
Feb 1, 2019, 2:45 PM"

Dan S said...

As per this post were commenting on: Charlie's mugshot: 5'4", right? That's the final answer?

Dan S said...

I think the motorcycle gang element is important in the transition from bus travelers to dune buggy brigade. The real question is how much drug sales.
They should have got Helter Skelter off the ground. The night club that is

Proteus said...

Well, now all is clear, Mario. You met a guy called Bill Read. You and he did some ‘business’ around Chatsworth. You and Bil got on well, and you attended some ‘meetings’. And there’s so much more you could tell us ....

I think we’re all going to have to sit down and digest the enormity of this revelation, Mario. Please do not give us any more detail until we have recovered sufficiently to deal with it; this is simply too much to handle right now.

grimtraveller said...

Excuse me sir, is this the third street on the left ? That's what I was told by Mario.

Peter said...

What a bunch of ... Omitted VERY Senstive Information.

Matt said...

Nuthin' like fun at the ole ballpark...

H. Allegra Lansing said...

Great interview - thanks for sharing, Matt! When I began researching what ultimately became my book, it was originally from the perspective that I knew HS wasn't exactly THE motive for the murders and I wanted to try to understand what, instead, was. But along the way, a secondary purpose for my book really became trying to understand the collective of people known as the Family, what some of their common denominators were, what drew them together, and what kept some loyal for decades. I truly believe that when we distance ourselves utterly from them ("they're monsters", "not cut from the same cloth as...", etc) then we fail to really learn the lessons - lessons that are still incredibly valuable today. I love when Wells says, "It also was an example of what happens when commune living breaks down... The few weeks before the murders are the true key to what happened. I do detail it in great depth and to me at least, it is academic why they occurred." Narrative is key: to understand why something happened, you have to look it the timeline and every member of the Family became a part of that timeline.

St. Circumstance said...

Hello H. Allegra Lansing :) Two things about your comments that are interesting to me...

1. timeline and every member of the Family becoming part of that timeline.

What is so crazy to me is how short the timeline is in total. Always fascinated me that this happened so fast. From Release from Terminal to busted at Barker was more or less two years, and almost none of them were with him for the full two years. How did they get in so deep so quickly?? To me the fact that so many of them were able to get that bat-shit crazy over him and his nonsense so fast -makes anything possible as far as why they killed on those two nights.

Which leads to number 2. You knew going in that H/S was not Exactly THE motive. You wanted to know what instead was.

You are so not alone in your confidence that H/S was not the "Real", or "Main" motive. This site and many others are dedicated to getting to the real truth. I started to believe after my first couple of years there was absolutely some connection between all of these people in the Laurel Canyon music scene. So I spent 10 years, reading every book, and website I could find or buy. I watched every parole hearing and read every trial transcript. Visited all the locations, and met some of the people associated with the Family and the case. I did searches and read all the conspiracy stuff, and sacrificed hours of my life chasing down rumors and legends.

I came up with didley that proved anything substantial.

St. Circumstance said...

I did read/hear Many of the actual killers say H/S was a reason they did it. I read much testimony from people who were actually there that is was talked about constantly and part of life on the ranch. I saw physical evidence that it was painted on a door at the ranch where they lived and also in blood at one of the crime scenes. So, although I found nothing personally to prove any other motive- I did find some for H/S. Not maybe as much as Bugs said, but I saw some.

Now, me- nahhhh. I am not that smart or special.

BUT, I have also read books by those with more access and intelligence than I by people who are POSITIVE that H/S was not the motive. George Stimson, Schreck- you know. People such as this who have not shown me anything at all that proves any other motive. And there are many more books, by many people, that ask many questions about motive, but deliver no real answers, or no real physical evidence, or factual testimony. All we get in most cases are the various stories by the rest of the Family who weren't actually the ones who did the killing, and after the fact when they had other motivations to give motivation. (Did that make sense?)

Then there are the various blogs and radio shows, and podcasts that are after the "Real Motive". I have been an active, and not so active, member of many at different times (Only here for the last 4 or 5) over the last 13 years. Many researchers and experts have been trying to prove something other than H/S for a very long time. Alas, between all of us- we still cant say definitively there was some other motive.

But we are all so comfortable saying we know it couldn't have been this one specific H/S motive? Even though it was accepted by the actual jury who who saw/heard the testimony and evidence in real time, and in person.

That always fascinated me too :) There is a certain stubbornness that I think is going to become more and more frustrating to some as more time goes on. All of the relevant people who would know anything else are dead, or close to it. Memories dont improve with time, and alot of time has passed. People will always remember the name Manson, but the rest of this story is already starting to fade to 97% of the world. And those of us who do care- are not going to have an easier time proving anything as more people pass, and more time passes.

At some point it going to just become the way History remembers it. Unless someone comes up with something soon.....

Although I am no longer personally looking, I am always watching and hoping someone does find the "Real truth", just in case it does exist :)

St. Circumstance said...

I would leave this post with one final thought about motive from someone who is also smarter than I.

Alfred E. Neuman once said...

"When you plant corn. You get corn."

Think about that for a minute or two... then go look at who he is if you don't already know.

Sometimes the reality is just that simple. You don't always have to be a genius to get it.

:)

H. Allegra Lansing said...

Love it, St. Circumstance! Always was a fan of AEN...

I spent a year researching the book, followed by two years of writing. It was not until the conclusion of the first year that I completed the timeline of the Family between Spring 1967 and the conversations in November '69 between investigators and Danny DeCarlo, Ronnie Howard, etc that ultimately 'solved' the case. At that point I shifted to writing about motive, dedicating a lengthy chapter to that subject. I had no foregone conclusions before I sat down to write it, but I found six motives (each provable on some level with at least some of the killers): Drug Dealing, Drug Addiction, Cult Programming (and trafficking), Money, and Manson's Rage/Revenge.

But how you rank them depends completely upon who you base your information on. Manson had one set of motives (getting rid of the followers he no longer wanted was key to WHO was chosen). Watson had another set of motives. Bruce, Clem, they had different reasons. Even among the women, you had different perspectives and motives. I do feel certain that both Pat and Leslie totally believed in HS. Mary and Susan's behavior at Hinman's had a lot to do with Charlie's coercion and control over their sons, although Susan is an entirely unique creature. I could write oodles of books just about her personality disorders, although I think that her book "The Myth of Helter Skelter" comes closest to the truth about WHY the murders occurred, than any other book written by former Family members.

It's valuable to examine every perspective in an attempt to understand motive, but the scientific way is to work off of narrative, or time. The sequence that things happen in have meaning, which is why I think that every member of the Family contributed in large or small ways to WHAT happened, a snowball that kept building with every person and every collective and individual experience. So, too, did the impact and influences of that particular era.

So when you start with the first murder (Hinman, and charting the events that lead up to his grisly death), motive becomes a lot clearer. It's the least sexy of all the possible motives, but it largely answered, for me, WHY it all happened.

St. Circumstance said...

I too agree that " Myth of H/S" was the closest to the truth we are ever going to get :) I really do. I have written that here many times before.

But again, who really knows? Tex in his own words, on his own site, says H/S was a motive
(albeit one of several). Even among the women... they all agreed on one thing- Charlie called all the shots, in addition to saying how much H/S was part of life. Hell, the channge in tone from Charlie scared a few of them away. Many of the men talked about H/S. There were not that many men lol but Tex, Posten, Watkins, Jackobson, Clem, and Bruce all said they talked about it. And EVERYONE said Charlie was in charge. On the White Albumn were words like Pig, and Rise and H/S. LOL Which were also at all the crime scenes...

which would make George Mario Mitrini III of the OJ Simpson Case say- HMMM?

(Click Click Click)

But despite all of this and the fact that all of these people after all of these years, cannot definitively prove any other motive means nothing I guess?


Sometimes when you plant corn- you get corn :)

St. Circumstance said...

I found it hard to believe that Susan wouldn't finally be honest on her death bed, and her story was reasonable and sound. I still believe it was probably closest to truth we will ever get!!!

But- she did change her story so many times.

Also - if you believe half the excuses the other Family members make, or other motive theorists make - She would not have known the real motive. Can they have it both ways?

So when she says she overheard the men, because she was on punishment in an area where she could hear clearly the real truth- can you really believe that? Charlie was a genius and guru- but he planned the most risky things they were doing within ear shot of a place he put a person he couldn't trust?

Is Charlie a a genius or an idiot?

Who do you believe with them? When?



Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Well St Circumstance?...well, you know.....
👇
(Gazoo)

My leaning opinion about motive pertaining to the Cielo Dr murders, was the Terry Melcher snub. And I base that on information....
I would go into detail, but reading some of the comments on this blog-post about me,
🤔...HMMM....
well....maybe some people may believe that The Charles Manson Case & Saga is "game" for me?....No Way, it's as serious for me as it gets.

But what does
👇
(Click Click Click) mean?🤷🤷🤷🤷...lol

Mario George Nitrini 111
-----
The OJ Simpson Case

St. Circumstance said...

Hello Mario :)

Click Click Click is what was supposed to get Dorothy home from Oz. Her red shoes.

Gazoo was from the Flintstones.

Two of my favorite Childhood memories lol

Although I used both to be funny- It was not intended to be a jab at you. Specifically Oz.. when I get on this subject with some, I really feel like I am in another land. Now Gazoo on the other hand lol - he showed up when you needed him. Maybe that was intended for you...

All in good fun :)

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Oh, no worries St Circumstance.
I didn't take it as a "jab" at all.
The "Click?....ahh, very good...

I've always found your comments and blog-posts extremely informative, and, IMO, your writings come from your heart.👍
Except the Gazoo stuff...lol🤭😂

Mario George Nitrini 111
-----
The OJ Simpson Case

St. Circumstance said...

Gazoo will never come up again ;)

grimtraveller said...

H. Allegra Lansing said:

Always was a fan of AEN...

I always preferred Spy vs Spy ! As a kid and teenager I took an instant but probably irrational dislike to Alfred E. Maybe it was the unconscious connection to the dentistry that had so pained me in my younger days !

I think that her book "The Myth of Helter Skelter" comes closest to the truth about WHY the murders occurred, than any other book written by former Family members

I suspect the only reason you really say that is because it's the only one {along with her first autobiography} that supports your overarching theme of motive {ie, HS played no part}. Squeaky can't or won't say, Tex says HS was one of the motives but the rest of his thinking on the subject is clearly untrue {copycat and bail out the arrested women}, Paul Watkins can't say because he wasn't even aware of the Family's involvement and ditto for Dianne Lake. So that only leaves you with Susan. That's like being in the middle of the desert with only salt sandwiches.
Good luck with constructing anything solid with anything solely from Susan Atkins that isn't solidly corroborated by other sources {preferably multiple}. And "The myth of HS" is not.
As an aside, isn't it interesting that through 43 years of parole hearings, Tex has arrived at telling people to read his book {ie, the first one} if they want the truth ~ yet in none of his parole hearings does he ever say anything about copying the Hinman murder or raising money to bail out Mary Brunner and Sandy Good. And with good reason ~ just take a look at Mary Brunner's mugshot taken the day the killers set off for the Cielo killings and pay attention to the time the picture was taken. That alone {and that's even assuming that either Brunner or Good phoned the ranch and Mary, the one that used the stolen card and was therefore liable, said she did not} demolishes both Tex's story and, notably, Susan's account in the Myth of HS.

St. Circumstance said:

I too agree that " Myth of H/S" was the closest to the truth we are ever going to get

I think overall "The myth of HS" is primarily bollocks. It's quite good and definitely interesting {but then, so is Shreck's book and George's book} and provides a certain food for thought.
But it is full of demonstrable holes, contradictions and things that are demonstrably untrue and don't even qualify as nuanced paradoxes. Much of it reads like it wasn't actually written by her and is so markedly polar to "Child of Satan, Child of God." I don't even know where to start with its myriad holes and contradictions.

H. Allegra Lansing said...

Grim Traveler: appreciate your comments. I don't actually discount HS as a motive, it's just not the reason why Hinman was murdered and I based my theories of motive on using narrative or timeline (one crime leading to another). In the end, I still believe all 6 potential motives (drug dealing/using/money/rage&revenge/cultprogramming) contributed to all of the murders. It's just that HS was not specifically a leading factor in why Gary was killed, and two other motives stand out more significantly.

I concur with your statement that "Myth of HS" was bollocks, despite the fact that it shows a very clear trajectory from the shooting of Lotsapoppa to the murders. Did Susan overhear a few things at the ranch? Sure. Did she overhear those things? Doubtful. We know she was in communication with Bruce Davis during the 70s. Perhaps some of that understanding came from him or other male members, later on.

And I don't believe it was actually written by Susan, but by her husband. Notice that every time it mentions Manson, the text reads in full "Charles Manson". It laughably includes statements like, "Charles Manson then told Bernard Crowe that he, Charles Manson, was going to come to the apartment to fix the situation and Crowe could expect Charles Manson within the hour." (not verbatim but you get the point). I'm sure that she was telling her husband these stories and he was putting it into text, and then uploading it to her old website (where I originally read it about a decade ago). He needed a good editor once he decided to self-publish it, and clearly didn't bother with that step. If it had been a really true story, it would have included recent information from other former Family members concurring or elaborating on what Susan was writing.

You could never take what Susan said as 100% truth, although I think that as she got older the percentages increased (ever so slightly). Nobody will ever know the whole truth, but I think it's a good thing to continue to chip away at the half-truths and fallacies.

starviego said...

St. Circumstance said...
"Even among the women... they all agreed on one thing- Charlie called all the shots... And EVERYONE said Charlie was in charge."

And thus we can rule out any independent thought by Tex or Linda doing TLB as revenge for a drug burn.

It was all Charlie, and Charlie's trip was the racial apocalypse.

Dan S said...

It's tex wanting to impress his peer group and self interpreting Charlie's diarrhea mouth. Plus the contingency of history for the family that at that time it became plausible to kill

Dan S said...

Night 2 Charlie is put on the spot to practice what he's been preaching. So my theory, diarrhea mouth and excitable llama.... examining tex before the murders is the significant timeline....

Sleeping on the outskirts of the ranch. Not very accepted. Fixing cars quietly. Finally getting Yana the witch after maybe a dry spell after LVH.
Interesting they met him at their pinnacle beach boy pad
D Wilson calls Charlie "kind of dumb" in that one article
Tex destroys the Ferrari? And clem i think
And lotsapoppa debacle of course.

Gorodish said...

Dan S typed:

Tex destroys the Ferrari? And Clem i think

I believe it was Clem and Paul Watkins that wrecked the Ferrari.

St. Circumstance said...

Grim and H. Alegra ....

In my opinion most of what Susan said most of her life was "Bullochs" ( I do not really know what that means though- I assume its like B.S) in regards to this case.

But there was something a little different in Myth of H/S to me...

I think Myth was as close to honest as any of them ever were, but not completely honest either. It was very self-serving of course, and therein was most of the dishonesty. But, she did talk about a lot of things in a way I had never heard any of them speak before. I think it did come with the passage of time and maturity, as well as the fact it was being written as she was in her death bed more or less. That can bring some levity I would imagine. In fact it was never even finished.

Yes, it was written by James Whitehouse her. Another case study that fascinates me. Of all the life changes, and ridiculous lengths people have gone to get close to Charlie and his family- this guy went from a trailer park to a law degree. All in the name of getting close to a person who was in jail for multiple murder.You do have to give some of them credit for the lazer focus they were capable of when they locked on to a passion. Misguided focus I would argue, but incredible in some cases none the less...

grimtraveller said...

H. Allegra Lansing said...

I don't actually discount HS as a motive, it's just not the reason why Hinman was murdered

My apologies in general; I was focusing on TLB and I thought you were too.
I concur with quite a bit of your analysis actually, in one way or another. I don't believe drug dealing really had anything to do with anything other than Lotsapoppa {and that's not why Poppa was shot} and I don't believe Manson wanted to get rid of the ones he selected for killing duty.
But that's another story !

You could never take what Susan said as 100% truth, although I think that as she got older the percentages increased (ever so slightly)

Susan reminds me of an old episode of Star Trek, the one in which this creature attacks Spock and fuses with his nervous system. It becomes so entwined in him that it becomes impossible to separate him from the creature {until they discover bright light kills it}. Susan told bits of truth but they were so entwined with her lies and fantasies and denials and story changes and posturing that the more she recounted, the worse she made things. "The Myth of HS" is perhaps her greatest legacy to that tendency.
This is one of many problems with it; how is it that the supposed realizations she comes up with didn't come up in her first autobiography which is supposed to be a truthful account that she never recants ? Why does she work out all these things in the 2000s that she didn't see in 1977 ? ST mentions the passage of time and being on her deathbed bringing levity ~ but not one of these things she talks about are things that it needed the passage of time to see.

grimtraveller said...

Proteus said...

He has also provided the definitive version of Joel Pugh's death, cutting through all the mindless prejudice, misinterpretation and conjecture found elsewhere

Yes, on his blog. But not in his book. His book does everything it can to pin the tail on the Family donkey, the donkey being Bruce Davies. It's actually really confusing. If you compare it with his blog page on Joel Pugh, it's like two different pieces written by two different writers even though the blog piece is directly taken from the book and is the same piece. The book version is has the prejudice, misinterpretation and conjecture found elsewhere. The blog version explains Joel's mental health issues and doesn't add all the extraneous stuff about Bruce's "trip" to London and Manchester in late 1969 for which there has never been the slightest shred of proof. So the book version is cast as a murder, just one that can't be definitively proven while the blog piece, shorn of all the extra curricular activity, is cast as the suicide of a guy that was struggling mentally.

Doug said...

Mary's mugshot was taken at 10:21pm on 8/8/69

Processing an inmate (including mugshot) would likely be done after interrogation/interview(s) and, taking her statement (and transcribing the key points onto her booking paperwork...a full transcript would likely be completed by some admin person and, reviewed and signed off on later).

What time were they arrested? I've always thought that Sandra and Mary were arrested in the afternoon...at least 7hrs prior to the mugshot.

This whole credit card fraud arrest was likely to protect two of Charlie's "most valuable assets" from being involved with any of the fallout from the murders...heck, they have an alibi that is timestamped by the Police and, photographed to savour the moment forever!

Is that what you are implying Grim? Because I think that makes a helluva lot more sense to me than one of the two calling Spahn to say they were in custody for credit card fraud...and, THAT pissing Charlie off...putting him over the edge...and, fast-tracking his masterplan of murder.

That timestamp IS important..but in what way?

Anyone ruminating on that?

Cheers

PS - HAS MARIO CRACKED THE CASE? DON'T SHOOT HIM...HE'S ONLY THE PIANO PLAYER

Doug said...

Bollocks /ˈbɒləks/ BO-ləks is a word of Middle English origin, meaning "testicles". ... The word is often used figuratively in colloquial British English and Hiberno-English as a noun to mean "nonsense", an expletive following a minor accident or misfortune, or an adjective to mean "poor quality" or "useless".

St. Circumstance said...

Thanks Doug for clearing that up ;)

David said...

Doug said: "That timestamp IS important..but in what way?"

The arrest occurred shortly after 4:00 p.m.

Brunner was processed into the San Fernando LAPD station at 10:21 P.M. There was no jail, there. And finally booked into Sybil Brand Institute (SBI) at 1:50 a.m. on the 9th. Under existing procedures she then would have been given a police-monitored phone call (2 actually) not long distance to a spouse, relative or employer. The second call could be to a bail bondsman.

Brunner and Good would not have known their bail amount until they appeared in court, Monday, given those charges.

In fact, in a subsequent statement Brunner states that she didn't speak with anyone at Spahn until either (a.) Fromme came to see her or (b.) she saw them in the jail hallway following the Spahn raid. Which event occurred first is unclear but Fromme may hav revisited her on the 12th (which is, of course, when Kasabian allegedly attempted to visit). She also stated she didn't call anyone because the first time she had access to a phone was at court "on Monday" which would be the 11th.

What all that means is no one received a phone call from Brunner or Good on the night of the 8th before they left for Cielo Drive.


Doug said...

Thank you David. That makes sense completely.

Doug said...

I really wanted to post the Sex Pistols album cover...lol

Cheers

David said...

Cheers

orwhut said...

The other day, I rediscovered a Manson related paperback lying on a shelf in the living room. By it's condition I know that I haven't read it. The book is titled, CHARLES MANSON COMING DOWN FAST. I think that's pretty cool.

grimtraveller said...

Doug said...

This whole credit card fraud arrest was likely to protect two of Charlie's "most valuable assets" from being involved with any of the fallout from the murders...heck, they have an alibi that is timestamped by the Police and, photographed to savour the moment forever!

I don't agree with that. For one thing, it makes Charlie look like this wonderfully cool, calculating mastermind.
Sandy was 8 months pregnant. She didn't need protection from any murder fallout. And why would Mary ? She wasn't even in the frame at that time for Hinman. Furthermore, why in the world would he want anyone of his troupe to get caught with stolen credit cards ? That was one of their lifelines. That they had alibis is kind of neither here nor there. Everyone had alibis except the 4 that went along....but because Atkins' confession had laid the framework, the cops were only interested in the alibis of 4 people initially.

Is that what you are implying Grim? Because I think that makes a helluva lot more sense to me than one of the two calling Spahn to say they were in custody for credit card fraud...and, THAT pissing Charlie off...putting him over the edge...and, fast-tracking his masterplan of murder

There was a time when I did think that the timing of the arrest of Bobby and also that of Mary and Sandy combined with Charlie's fragile mental state in the aftermath of the popping {so thought} of Poppa had a bearing on what happened but I don't now.
They knew Bobby had been arrested but Atkins' idea that Bobby was threatening to roll over on Charlie is horseshit. The greatest piece of evidence on this Manson himself. We all know that he did not understand the laws of conspiracy. And it is quite obvious from his actions that neither did Bobby Beausoleil. Manson wasn't there when Gary got killed. So in his mind, he had absolutely nothing to worry about. He played it clever and it was Bobby's problem. If Bobby had sent a message to Spahn saying "I'll tell the cops Charlie told me to do this !" Charlie wouldn't have been worried other than his aversion to snitching. He wasn't even mentioned in Bobby's first trial until Danny DeCarlo's testimony was brought in after the case had concluded. It was only in the aftermath of Susan's arrest and the grand jury indictment that Manson began to understand how conspiracy worked in terms of him being able to be charged. But even then, he was of the mind that he wasn't there, he didn't kill so the people that did should take the fall. From a legal perspective, {and Bugliosi did this} it can be made to seem callous. But from Manson's ignorant perspective, his stance was actually pretty logical. Daft, wrong and ruthless, yes, but logical. And he followed that line, at least publicly, till he died 48 years later.

grimtraveller said...

Doug said...

That timestamp IS important..but in what way?

That timestamp is important because it proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Tex lied in his book "Will you die for me." It therefore also casts some serious doubt on his claim that in his mind, the murders were committed to ignite Helter Skelter {although this is mitigated by ~ groooaaannn 🙄 ~ Atkins' claim that he described the carnage to Charlie as being "helter skelter" although that could just as easily mean a scene of confusion}. It pretty much dumps the notion of the copycat motive {and there is lots of corroborating evidence, granted, circumstantial, that supports the copycat being a load of shit} and shows that there is no way they could have known Mary and Sandy were in jail prior to the killers setting off for Cielo or that bail might be needed or what amount, therefore meaning that as an additional motive, it wasn't. If all that is bunk, it makes one wonder about the rest of the contents of his book. We've already seen how, when he would tell the parole board to read his book, DDA Donna Lebowitz had obviously done so and used her knowledge of its discrepancies with what he had recently been telling the boards at hearings as her contribution to howitzer and torpedo him into a 5 year denial.
It also has major bearings on Susan's "Myth of HS" book. In it, "she" states: "The idea that the Cielo~LaBianca murders were in direct response to Charles Manson’s fear of Bobby Beausoleil rolling over on him ~ the copycat motive ~ is decisively supported by the fact that on the morning of Friday August 8, 1969, Charles Manson sent Mary Brunner and Sandra Good out to buy escape supplies, including rope, for a breakout attempt at the Los Angeles County Jail.
By mid-afternoon news came back that Brunner and Good had been arrested for trying to buy the supplies with a stolen credit card."

Manson was in San Diego with Stephanie Schram that morning. He didn't get back until the afternoon and it was after that Mary & Sandy went to Sears. They couldn't have heard of the arrests that afternoon.
That's why I mentioned the timestamps.

grimtraveller said...

St. Circumstance said:

"Bullochs"..I do not really know what that means though- I assume its like BS

Pretty much. Doug covered it perfectly. It's one of those words that, I'm afraid, shows my background and my age. It's very 1970s. It was a very commonly used phrase when I was a kid and teenager but I can't honestly remember the last time I heard someone use the term. Possibly not even this century. But I love the word. It's so disdainful, so much more powerfully evocative to me than 'rubbish', 'crap', 'BS', 'nonsense' etc. It's quite rare that I get a chance to use it. Susan's book gave me that chance !

In my opinion most of what Susan said most of her life was "Bullochs" in regards to this case

Yeah, I agree. Ironically, in the book, she makes the point that Charlie's M.O. for the penalty phase was to mix truth and lies. That sadly turned out to be the story of her life as well as his. I think that she spoke the truth at times. I also believe she embellished much at times. I also believe she filled in to try to impress at times. And I also believe she outright lied at times. Sometimes, all of those could be back to back in a statement which is why the main word that one can use to describe her is 'unreliable'.

But there was something a little different in Myth of H/S to me...she did talk about a lot of things in a way I had never heard any of them speak before

"She" did...but really, the book can be distilled down to 4 themes:
a]Blast Charlie with both barrels ~ the drug addicted paedophile sociopath who was out for himself.
b]Blast Linda with a full round ~ the slippery thieving magpie that was out for herself.
c]Blast Bugliosi on all cylinders ~ the dark lord of 'due process' that was out for himself.
d]Pity me ~ I didn't stab Sharon Tate and I helped solve the case.

It was very self-serving of course, and therein was most of the dishonesty

I don't have a problem with a person being self serving. That's no reason in itself to negate what they say about themselves or others. Of course, by the same token, being self serving is also a primary invitation to examine your words that much more robustly. For me, an autobiography or interview will be judged by a much more rigorous standard. As should my own words be.

grimtraveller said...

orwhut said...

The other day, I rediscovered a Manson related paperback lying on a shelf in the living room. By it's condition I know that I haven't read it. The book is titled, CHARLES MANSON COMING DOWN FAST. I think that's pretty cool

Read it brother whut !
I read it back to back after reading Jeff Guinn's book. I literally finished Guinn's and picked up Simon's. I was on a boat coming back from France and feeling a little 'green around the gills' and not a little claustrophobic in our windowless cabin. Because of when I read it, I've always thought of it as a companion piece to Guinn's, like its little sister, even though it predates Guinn's by 4 years and uses a photo that Guinn also goes on to use on the cover of later pressings.
Personally, I don't think it's a unique book in any way but it is a good book and is definitely worth reading and digesting.
Incidentally, not being unique isn't a put down in any way. There are some books that are unique but not necessarily a good read and some that are not unique at all but are way better than others that are unique in the same subject range.

orwhut said...

grimtraveller said...

Read it brother whut !

Will do brother grim.

grimtraveller said...

Proteus said...

I have always liked Simon Wells' writings and general approach to the case. He brings a touch of normalcy to Manson studies, with no apparent obsession or axes to grind

Simon gets a bit of better quality airtime in this documentary.