Monday, December 28, 2020
George Gascon is the new Los Angeles District Attorney and Debra Tate does not like him. Gascon comes to Los Angeles via San Francisco where he first served as Chief of Police. Later, when Kamala Harris who was SF's district attorney ran for Attorney General of the State of California and won, Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Gascon to be SF's district attorney. Gascon held the job from 2011 until 2018 when he announced he was leaving to go to LA to care for his aging mother.
George Gascon was born in pre-communist Havana, Cuba in 1954. He immigrated to the US with his family in 1967. The family settled in Bell, a suburb of Los Angeles. In 1978 he joined the Los Angeles Police Department as a patrol officer. He left LAPD after three years to go into business management. While working as a civilian he continued working for the police as a reserve officer in the Hollenbeck Division of the LAPD.
In 1987 Gascon returned to LAPD as a fulltime officer working his way up the ranks becoming Assistant Chief of Police under Chief William Bratton. During this time he went to Western State College of Law earning his J.D. degree in 1996.
In 2006 Gascon left LAPD for Mesa Arizona becoming the Chief of Police. He had frequent clashes with Mariposa County Sheriff Arpaio over Arpaio's treatment of Latinos. It was in 2009 that Gascon was hired to be the Chief of Police in San Francisco.
Gascon announced his candidacy for the LA DA's position in 2019 and won the office November 6 2020 beating incumbent Jackie Lacey who had held the office for eight years. Gascon is considered a criminal justice reformist and that is the platform he ran on. He is against the death penalty and charging juveniles as adults, furthermore vowed to re-open officer involved shootings from the previous eight years. He will also re-evaluate any prison sentences where the prisoners has served 20 years. Once elected he announced his office would not seek cash bail for certain offences and would release those currently awaiting such bail. His actions have created outrage from some victims and their families as well as some of his own prosecutors.
To be fair, Governor Newsom has also suggested a no cash bail system to the counties in California during the pandemic to lessen the jail and prison population where the virus is running rampant.
All of George Gascon's bio aside, Debra's outrage is probably misplaced because it is the Governor who has the final say as to whether or not a prisoner is released. Bruce Davis, Leslie Van Houten and Bobby Beausoleil have all been granted parole under former District Attorney Jackie Lacey's tenure, only to have that parole reversed by the Governor.
The following is an interview with Debra Tate by Orange County radio host John Phillips regarding George Gascon.
Friday, December 25, 2020
How do Christmas trees celebrate the holiday?
We, at the blog, wish everyone a happy holiday no matter which one you observe. This has been a troubling year globally and we hope that the blog has provided you a bit of a distraction. Here's to better times next year!
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Cielo Drive has posted a story saying Leslie has Corona virus. It sounds like she was hospitalized offsite for a few days but is now back at the prison. I assume she responded to treatment and is recovering.
There was a rumor a few weeks ago that Tex had the virus but it was never verified. The California prison system has suffered greatly during the pandemic with both prison staff and prisoners being affected.
I haven't found any other news stories but since Cielodrive spoke with Leslie's attorney I'm confident it's true. It will only be a matter of time before the news outlets pick-up on this.
Monday, December 21, 2020
Manson Clan's Book of the Dead
San Francisco Chronicle September 18, 1975
Excerpts from "The Book of the Dead" believed to have been the guiding "law" of the Charles Manson "family" in the southern California desert, were released to The Chronicle yesterday by the San Francisco Police Department.
The photos of the hand printed loose-leaf booklet reveal the leader of the murderous cult to be a male chauvinist.
"Man is god and woman is his. Woman will be slave to man to serve and bear child. Woman is the key to paradise when she does what she is told and gives her King, Father, Lord and Master... no talk only her love... woman being directed only by man... and man taking as many as he wants as he ages." it was written in the book.
San Francisco Police obtained "The Book of the Dead" and other Manson family memorabilia as evidence in 1972 when Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme was arrested as a murder suspect. The charges against her were later dropped.
Miss Fromme now stands accused of trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento earlier this month. In the 1972 arrest police seized the evidence which included "The Book of the Dead." There were also a list of names of some of Manson's followers written in blood, a multi-color vest worn by Manson and a number of designs that appear to have some deep meaning, but remain unexplained.
Officers photographed the evidence before turning it over to the young suspects defense lawyer. Since 1972, the material has been part of the police department's intelligence file on the Manson family.
In another rather cryptic portion of the book, under the heading "LAW" is written:
"Man is the law... his word is final. Outside your mark, do what you want to anyone, but inside this mark is only peace, wisdom and understanding with no lie for your brother- he is your life.
"If you are a leader of a pack and sign this book, then you are held for the action of all that follow you.
"Sign this book with your soul! Giving life to your Lord and Slave Master. To stand in one thought, think as one head, move as fingers on one hand. Kill or be killed for one. Leave your past, come to the thought of dying... Now! Stay with now in your eyes, willing to die and happy to face death."
In another part of the book, under the heading "LAST RUN," there is a list of suggestions or orders on clothing, weapons and vehicles to be used for some apparently paramilitary operation.
For the clothing the book recommends dark green, brown or black garments, "clothes for hiding in the night and clothes that will last."
Two wheeled and three wheeled motorcycles are recommended- with extra gasoline apparently for cross-country trips.
Sandra Good, a Manson disciple and Miss Fromme's roommate, was contacted in Sacramento last night and asked to talk about the book.
She declined except to say that it was written for another time, "1969 when we were going into the desert."
The Lompoc Record, September 18, 1975, newspaper has some more details about what was in the book. Here are some outtakes from the article. Most of the article is the same as above.
“Knives are advised: “One for eating, one for killing.”
“Grenades are gold” it says and 18-inch sawed off pump action shotguns are recommended.”
The Chronicle article states that the book was confiscated when Lynette was arrested as a murder suspect in 1972. That would have been the murders of James and Lauren Willett. It also says that the book was eventually turned over to "the young suspects" defense attorney. It's unclear to me which of the young suspects attorney the book was given to although the San Francisco police did photograph the book before turning it over. Presumably they still have the photos in their files.
Robert J. Leahy was the attorney for Billy Goucher. Unfortunately, Leahy as well as his two law partners have died. I do not know who Lynette Fromme, Nancy Pitman and Priscilla Cooper's attorneys were so I was not able to look them up. Since the article says "young suspects" I doubt that the book was given to either Michael Monfort or James Craig's attorneys as they were older.
I suppose it's possible that which ever attorney received the book gave it back to their client but since it has never surfaced, it seems doubtful.
Back in November 2013 Eviliz wrote a post about "Squeaky's Book". There seems to be some confusion in the comments about Squeaky's book and the "Book of the Dead." Robert Hendrickson states in the comments that he has a picture of the cover of the "Book of the Dead" in his book "Death to Pigs" and he does. But it's unclear if the book that Eviliz possesses is the "Book of the Dead" because she never posted any pages of it.
|From Robert Hendrickson's "Death to Pigs"|
Monday, December 14, 2020
"If ones motives are wrong, nothing can be right."
- G.W. Carter
"Revenge is never the best driver for a battle, but a common one."
- Janet Morris
Stephen Kay questioning Greg Jakobson in the Trial "People versus Charles Watson"
Kay: Did Mr. Melcher ever record or Film Mr. Manson?
Kay: And did Mr. Manson want to be recorded by Mr. Melcher?
Kay: Was MR. Manson...did he appear to you to be upset that Mr. Melcher did not want to record him?
Kay: Mr. Manson wanted pretty badly to be recorded, didn't he?
Jakobson: He was really pushing yes.
So, How far would you go to get revenge?
Do you think you could ever get to the point where you would kill somebody? Order someone to be killed? If you are like me, it would probably take a deliberate act of violence against yourself or family, to make you even consider going that far. Even then, I doubt I could do something that severe to another human being. I would most likely spend the rest of my life imagining the cool and bad-ass ways I would get even, while doing nothing in reality of any consequence. I am a big dreamer when it comes to being a tough-guy. But, it keeps me out of trouble lol. I like it that way. Others find their own bad-ass ways to get revenge without turning to violence. Take Doris Tate for example. She made sure that life stayed as difficult as possible for the people who did her wrong. Doris followed the rules to help make some new rules that really stuck it to the people who...Well, maybe that was a bad choice of words.
But, Doris really did some very admirable work to make sure she got her chance to be heard on behalf of her daughter. It has been offered, from time to time, that Doris lost her daughter as a result of Charles Manson seeking his revenge for being snubbed by people in the music industry. I personally never really thought much about it at first. I read and listened to so much information when I first got interested in this, and objectively- Helter Skelter was the one motive that had the most evidence to back it up. I have laid out as thoroughly as I could over the years why I have seen MORE evidence for H/S than any other motive. I am not 100% sold on H/S either, but using the test of Circumstantial, Physical, and Testimonial evidence, I have been able to lay out more specific examples for H/S than any other motive. It is what it is. However, after all these years I am still not able to feel any more confident in Helter Skelter either. And today, there is one other motive outside of Helter Skelter that I am willing to, at least, consider. I have seen almost nothing of serious consequence to support the drug-burn theory, and despite George Stimson's best effort- "Get a brother out of jail" is still not doing it for me either. I have, however, read some testimonial evidence over the years for the Music Snub Revenge motive. When I read my very first post on the "Only Official TLB Blog" written by Col- I became submerged in this case. I felt strongly for the first few years that the "Real Truth" was buried somewhere in the music connections in Laurel Canyon. I was never able to prove it. I did stumble across a few things here and there though, as I came to realize Helter Skelter was much more likely. But the Music thing always stuck with me. So- Today, I will go there.
It is not too hard to imagine that Charlie could order someone to be killed as an act of revenge- just think of Shorty. Again, I am not sure I really believe revenge was the motive for the Tate Killings. But, I have often said that we cannot say for sure what the motive wasn't- until we know for sure what the motive was. So, keeping that in mind, let's take a look...
"Now life was one big party. Rock musicians and hopeful singers like Charlie, actors and hopeful actors, girls who didn't do anything, Producers like Terry Melcher, talent people, Managers like Gregg Jakobson, and star's children would all come over to the house and it would be a drug circus"
- Tex Watson ("Will You Die For Me")
"We just hung out. He played some songs for me, sittin' in Will Rogers old house, on Sunset Boulevard. Dennis had the house there. And I visited Dennis a couple of times. Charlie was always there. I think I met him two maybe three times."
- Neil Young ( Shakey Biography by Jimmy Mc Donough)
I guess these were the "Salad days" for Charlie. He was still considered a charming and interesting guy, and he was still accepted and even given deference among some pretty glitzy cliques. That must have felt pretty damn good while it lasted. We have all heard the stories of the people Charlie was associating on in his earliest days in L.A. Giving Deana Martin a ring. charging Didi Lansbury's credit cards. When you are allowed to run in these circles you can start to imagine a life that is very far away from the streets of West Virginia, Kentucky, or Ohio, Charlie had come from. And come-on, as much fun as living in a tricked-out bus, or playing camp-out at Spahn ranch was- I am sure that getting ready for parties in the Hollywood Hills by taking warm showers in plenty of luxurious clean space, and changing into sharp new clothes, was pretty exhilarating for Charlie in a way he just was not normally accustomed to. I think that Manson was probably thinking that he had found his way to a life beyond his wildest dreams. Imagine going from Terminal Island to the precipice of the Hollywood big-time...
Only to have it all fall apart. Because, as we all know. Charlie and his clan of free-loaders would wear out there welcome at the Wilson residence fairly quickly. And then Charlie's lack of talent, and over the top behavior, would cause everyone who had been willing to give him a chance to run as far away from him as they could get. These are the facts. And as we also know, things then started to get ugly. Real Ugly. Now, I am not saying that I can prove for sure that this change of his social status was the reason that caused Charlie to start ordering people to kill. But I am pointing out that, starting around the time when the music dreams were ending, the overall desperation started accelerating. For Charlie the dreams of living the high life were giving way to the reality of a bare existence on old dilapidated ranches at Spahn and Barker. Hinman, Crowe, all those events starting happening out of desperation for money. Prior to his disassociation with music industry people, that desperation did not exist. The end of the idea of Melcher delivering the big-time came immediately prior of the escalation violence in the Family chronological history. (Below is a hastily put together timeline that is close enough to make my point)
April/May of 68- Dennis picks up Ella-Jo and Pat hitchhiking. Within 24 hours a sizeable portion of the Family would move in.
August 8/9 of 68- One year to the day of TLB- Charlie is recording at Gold Star Studio on Dennis' dime, and following it up doing overdubs with Dennis the next day at a smaller studio in Van Nuys.
Now it is during these recordings that Charlie first starts to play with knives, act sort of scary, and sing weird lyrics. In short, he finally starts to show the "Beautiful people" who he really is. At the same time, he has started to take a serious toll on Dennis Financially. So much so, that by the early part of fall-Charlie's life of luxury starts to fall apart....
Fall of 68- ( Very busy few months for our purposes) Family sets up permanent camps at first Spahn in late August, and then Barker by November. Also in early part of fall, Dennis has abandoned house on Sunset, and Family are chased out by his manager. Between September and December the Beach Boys will record and release " Never Learn Not to Love" changing the name to Charlie's song, and not crediting him. Charlie did not take this well. According to Van Dyke Parks, this incident would cause Charlie to approach Dennis Wilson with a single bullet and threaten his kids. This would mark the end of any real remaining relationship between the two.
March of 69- Charlie goes to 10050 Cielo looking for Terry Melcher, and is rebuffed and treated rudely by both Rudi Altobelli the owner and Sharon's photographer Shahrokh Hatami. He is no longer being welcomed by the "Beautiful people"
May of 69- Terry Melcher goes to Spahn to audition Manson and leaves unimpressed. returns a couple days later and same result. Terry arranges for a mobile recording vehicle to return, but Charlie would eventually scare that guy off as well. Shortly after, Melcher would pass on his rejection through Jakobson.
At this point the dream is officially over and Charlie knows it. Nobody left in that circle will have anything to do with him,
Early July 69- Crowe incident
Laster in July 69- Hinman incident
August 8/9 of 1969- TLB....
I have never read any timeline the Family had prepared for how to handle to execution of Helter Skelter. But if you want to see, in real-time, an outline of a guy go from one extreme in life to the other in the course of about one solid year- look at the above timeline again. Charlie's life went from glamour and possibility, to poverty and desperation. Maybe Charlie started to simmer over who he felt was responsible. Once the Family crossed the line to violence it may have just become a matter of time...
"Circulating around Elektra Records or A&M when I was there was some Manson tape that had come in , gotten rejected, come in and gotten rejected again. People remembered that tape suddenly, and some people were thinking, Gee, glad we didn't sign him, and Gee wonder if our rejecting him played a role? There was this vague sense of not so much guilt that anyone contributed, but that they were part of a chain of events that, unknowingly and unwillingly, led to the outburst of whatever all this rage was."
- Michael James Jackson (A&R Executive in "Laurel Canyon" by Michael Walker )
"As long as I live, I will never talk about that".
-Dennis Wilson to Rolling Stone in 1976
"For my cousin...our group members to be involved with that and to have the guilt associated with that, I mean had to be a tough burden to carry with him for the rest of his life."
- Mike Love ( interview with ABC News)
So back to this: Why That house? And, does the choice of THAT house tell us anything about the motive?
"The Girls spent the whole day preparing food and joints, fixing up the house in Canoga park where the Family was spending the Winter. Melcher never showed. Once again Terry Melcher had failed Charlie. More than ever, Terry Melcher, in his house at the top of Cielo Drive, with his power and his money was the focus for the bitterness and sense of betrayal the Family felt for all the phony Hollywood hippies who kept silencing the truth that Charlie had to share. These "Beautiful people" , Terry and all the others, were really no different from the rich piggies in their white shirts, ties and suits. and just like them, they too deserved a damn good whacking."
- Tex Watson ( Will You Die For Me)
It took Charlie quite a bit of time to find a place to go the second night, didn't it? They all testified to that,
But not the first night. And they all testified to that as well.
Charlie knew exactly where he wanted to send them that first night. Did Charlie send them there for personal revenge? He had been slighted there in the past by Rudi, and Sharon's Photographer. He knew that some pretty important "Pigs" lived inside, and he also probably did NOT know how to find Melcher himself at that point, but may have felt THAT house would serve the purpose just the same. Is that possible? Could that have been why Charlie sent them to THAT house that night? Is that harder to believe than the idea he sent them there to start a race war? Maybe. Even Mr. Helter Skelter himself had to adress it:
"We knew there was at least one secondary motive for the Tate murders. As Susan Atkins put it on the Caballero tape, "The reason Charlie picked the house was to instill fear into Terry Melcher because Terry had given us his word on a few things and never came through with them."
-Vincent Bugliosi (Helter Skelter)
For years I have been told on this blog that Bugs "Invented" the H/S motive for his personal gain in addition to being able to implicate Charlie. Maybe. But if Bugs overplayed H/S - did another motive get underplayed as a result? Something as simple as revenge? Charlie painted a very rosy picture of things for everyone in the early days of the family. As time went on and it became harder to deliver, it must have become more and more important to find places to point the finger and people on whom to lay the blame. Maybe, over time, rich or well-off people became the enemy. Furthermore, maybe the rich, or well-off people that Charlie knew- and who had personally denied that lifestyle to him- became enemy number one. As far away as the "Recording star" dream became for Charlie- the more his venom towards those people seemed to grow. Did the frustration reach a boiling point?
"He seemed a little uptight, a little too intense. Frustrated artist. Spent alot of time in jail. Frustrated songwriter, singer. Made up songs as he went along. New stuff all the time, no two songs were the same. I remember playing a little guitar while he was makin' up songs. Strong will, that guy. I told Mo Ostin about him, Warner Brothers- "This guy is unbelievable- he makes up the songs as he goes along, and they are all good." Never got any further than that, Never got a demo. Glad he didn't get around to me when he was punishing people for the fact that he didn't make it in the music biz. That's what all that was about. Didn't get to be a rock and roll star so he started fucking wiping people out. Dig that."
- Neil Young (Shakey Biography by Jimmy McDonough )
Neil Young seemed to think so, and he was not alone. there was certainly a feeling in the Los Angeles music community back then that they had gotten too close to the monster. Many of the people from the music industry who wound up in Charlies orbit would go on in life to speak of Manson in a way that demonstrates either guilt in having not been a target of the violence, or guilt in perhaps having been some kind of influence in causing it. Most of them stayed quiet out of guilt and/or fear. There was a common feeling that it was something close to all of them. You can sense it in the interviews and old videos. It was real. Maybe that tells us something about all of this, and maybe its mashed potatoes? I really don't know.
But let me ask you this: Melcher and several others went into seclusion or hiding after the murders. Some refused to talk about it ever again. Do you think they were afraid of the Family and Charlie at that point because of a race war? Or, do you think they were afraid Charlie might send one of the others after them to seek some sort of misguided- Revenge?
Hmmm... Lets take a quick look at what another one of the actual killers had to say:
"If Charles Manson thought Helter Skelter was imminent, and he desperately didn't want to get caught for the murders, why would he still go ahead and arrange for the people to be murdered? He wouldn't. Something else provoked this rash act. And as we go through the events that led to those two nights in August of 1969, you will see exactly how a long line of interrelated events led to all of this."
" They were not revolutionary or environmental symbolic killings. They were heinous, degraded, and depraved murders of completely innocent people, 3/4 with loved ones, families, and friends, dreams and hopes just like the rest of us- and all for the most basest of causes; the serving of Charles Manson's self interest."
- Susan Atkins ( The Myth of Hekter Skelter)
So in fairness, both Tex and Susan say the motive was ultimately a moshposh of contributing factors. But I did not make any of these quotes up. I also know Tex and Susan can't really be trusted, and change stories, and are self-serving blah, blah, blah...
But, what if neither Tex or Susan really knew why they did what they did. What if Charlie had his own reasons to send them where he did, and just made some stuff up for them to get what he wanted? Ultimately, maybe Charlie died, knowing alone, why he really sent them to that house on that night. I am not going to tell you I know for sure one way or the other. Some things just make more sense to me than others. Sometimes it just seems that the most confusing riddles have the easiest answers if you just don't overthink them. That house represented everything to Charlie he never had, and had come to realize, would never have, That house was rejection. When it became time to be spiteful to a world that was rejecting him, perhaps it was not too difficult for Charlie to figure out where to start.
Maybe all the pressure and all the anger swelled into one group of people and one specific place for Charlie to focus on, Maybe one man pushed over the edge decided to take his revenge against the people who denied him what he felt entitled to. Maybe that man sold a story to his friends to get them fired up to help him, and maybe it worked. Maybe TLB happened because a frustrated loser ran out of options and crossed a line when he had nowhere else to go. Maybe the people who committed the actual crimes never understood the real reason they were obediently doing so. Maybe Bugs knew this all along and swept it under the rug to sell books, and a motive to secure his verdict against Charlie. Maybe that worked too. Maybe the whole thing was really about a motive as old as time itself...
I don't know... Maybe
- Your Favorite Saint
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
This post will briefly touch on a period in Abigail Folger's life, from approximately August 1967 to August 1968, when she lived in New York City. For those unacquainted with Abigail's life before or after this period, please refer to the following posts by David
The Coffee Heiress (Part One)
The Coffee Heiress, Part 2: Gibbie's Books
The Coffee Heiress Part 3: A Yellow Firebird and a Yellow Bicycle
The Coffee Heiress, Part 4: The Estate of Abigail Ann Folger
The Coffee Heiress: Some Final Words
It has basically been accepted that Abigail Folger accompanied Andreas (Andy) Brown to New York, driving across the country from San Francisco in August of 1967. Abigail was said to be interested in "probing the other side of life," although this comment needs to be verified. Mr Brown, on the other hand, was most certainly en route to New York with one certified goal in mind: he was to purchase the famous Gotham Book Mart at 41 W 47th Street from the iconic Frances Stelof, who opened the store in 1920.
|Frances Stelof and Andy Brown|
|Exterior of Gotham Book Mart|
Upon arrival in New York, Abigail rented an apartment in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and took a job for a short time with a publisher, before joining Andy Brown at the Gotham Book Mart where she subsequently found employment. The aforementioned is basically well known, and is derived from what others have said about Abigail. What has been historically missing, of course, is biographical information on that period in Abigail's life from her perspective.
Always unsatisfied with the lack of original material on Abigail, I have embarked on a research mission, with the hopes of finding biographical material that originated from Abigail herself.
Knowing that historically Abigail was introduced to Voytek Frykowski by the writer Jerzy Kosinski in New York, in either December of 1967 or January of 1968, I set out to research the archived papers of Kosinski at Yale University, hoping to find some clues there. This is no small task, as the archives are contained in some 194 boxes, spanning 80 linear feet, which include personal papers, photographs, correspondence, and ephemera.
|Jerzy Kosinski and Roman Polanski|
It is in one box of correspondence, early in my research, that I chanced upon a unique discovery. I found a letter, typewritten by Abigail Folger on her personal stationery, to a friend, dated May 23, 1968. I have not seen this letter published or discussed anywhere before. It is three pages long, and is unsigned. Although additional pages of the letter may exist, they may be somewhere in the vast archive, so hopefully this and other materials may materialize as I continue my search.
I have obtained permission to publish the letter, and do so here for what is likely the first time in 52 years:
(Letter of Abigail Folger from the Katherina Von Fraunhofer-Kosinski Collection of Jerzy Kosinski General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.)
Anyone with knowledge of Abigail and Voytek will recognize immediately what she is speaking about in her letter. Yet this may be the first time that the words come from Abigail herself. I find it revelatory that she describes Voytek as "the most intelligent and most worldly person I have ever met." We now also know that by May of 1968 she and Voytek were indeed living together.
|Abigail and Voytek in |
|Lorca's book cover|
As well, the first half of the first paragraph of page 1 is especially poignant. Here Abigail is referring to the sniper's bullet that killed Martin Luther King a month before; the Columbia University student protests taking place further up the west side of Manhattan; and of course the Vietnam War.
|Columbia Univ Protests|
What is chilling, however, is the following: "…nor have I fallen prey to any other of the newsworthy perils that make this such a cheery, safe world to live in." Of course Abigail could not have known that exactly 443 days after writing her letter, she would ironically fall victim to a most newsworthy peril indeed—the Tate/Labianca murders, or as it became known, "the crime of the century".
Also of note is the fact that, by May of 1968, Abigail's interests move beyond her much-discussed love of books to include film. Could it be that Voytek got her interested in film making and distribution? Incidentally, on the first page one will see a long strike-thru after Abigail discusses the Gotham Book Mart. After a close look at the deleted sentence, I can see that it refers to the bookstore, and I make it out to read, "…the crazy bookstore that employed me for my first few…" She probably meant the first few months that she was in New York.
Abigail does bring up the name of Roman Polanski, but she does not volunteer if she had yet met him. Sharon Tate also accompanied Roman to New York during the filming of Rosemary's Baby, which took place in the autumn of 1967, but there is no indication that she met Sharon then either. One scene of the movie takes place at the Gotham Book Mart, featuring Mia Farrow shopping for books on witchcraft.
|Sharon Tate on |
Rosemary's Baby Set
|Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby |
scene in the Gotham Bookmart
The film was subsequently released on June 12, 1968. At the very least Abigail may have watched the filming at the bookstore, and at the Dakota Apartments just three blocks north of her apartment, but of course this remains unknown.
What appears to be known from the letter is that Abigail may have spent time in the company of the director Skolimoski, actress Elzbieta Czyzewska, who was married to writer David Halberstam, "and many others, all fascinating and all equally crazy." This would no doubt include the artist Witold-K, who painted a now famous picture at Abigail's apartment. Arguably it was Kosinski who introduced Abigail to these people. Abigail also uses the word "crazy" several times in her letter, the ultimate significance of which is unknown. It may be that "crazy" is a quality that appealed to her, as someone who was described to be a "restless soul"; offering a respite to the disillusion and harshness of life she ostensibly saw around her.
Interestingly Kosinski writes about this New York period of Abigail and Voytek, in his 1977 book Blind Date. (Jerzy Kosinski, Blind Date. Grove Press, 1977. [see pages 166-183]). Moreover, Tom O'Neill learned thru interviewing Witold-K, that Voytek Frykowski arrived in New York on May 16, 1967(Tom O'Neill, Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. Little Brown and Company, p. 59).
|Blind Date Book Cover|
|Skolimoski and Roman Polanski|
|Witold-K and Roman|
Abigail volunteered that, "my head has been very messed up for a long time, and although I have known it all along, I have never done much about it. It is the time-worn case of feeling that I let everything happen to me instead of making it happen, and…" One may wonder if this statement is a catalyst that would compel Abigail to obtain psychiatric treatment from Dr Flicker in Beverly Hills a year later.
The address Abigail includes in her personal stationery finally clears up exactly where she lived on the Upper West Side: 59 W 69th Street. The building is a former townhouse, which was built in 1910. It now contains ten apartments. Although it is unknown what Abigail paid for rent in 1967-1968, units are renting in this building today for $2,900 a month.
|Abigail's apartment at |
59 W 69th Street New York.
It is the grey building just to the left
of the building with the spider
Halloween decorations on it
Abigail's address on west 69th Street is between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, on a lovely tree-lined block. It is a smart location, too, as it is a block away from Central Park and Tavern on the Green. Meanwhile, Lincoln Center is just three blocks south of the apartment. 66th Street bisects Central Park and leads one to the Upper East Side, and to the apartment of Kosinski. Abigail could make a very short walk north to W 72nd Street to catch the subway, at the foot of the famous Dakota apartment building, which of course factored so highly in Rosemary's Baby. The Gotham Book Mart is a comfortable 20-minute walk, and I have made the same walk countless times when I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
|Tavern On the Green|
|Central Park Be-In, 1968|
Beginning in 1969, Abigail's street became the epicenter for what has become a wildly popular Halloween block party.
| W 69th Street Halloween Block Party |
on Abigail Folger's street
Additionally, Abigail's brother, Peter, was married on January 20, 1968 at the Church of St Vincent Ferrer at 869 Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Abigail was a bridesmaid. She most likely knew Voytek at the time, but there is no indication in her letter of Peter's wedding, or if Voytek may have accompanied Abigail to the wedding as her date. It should be remembered that Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski were married in London on the same date.
My research into the Kosinski archive continues, and hopefully I will be able to locate additional material on this period in Abigail Folger's life.