Monday, April 26, 2021

Juanita Wildebush Speaks

The Daily Beast conducted a recent interview with Juanita Wildebush. While much of it are things we know there are a few nuggets of new information.

Charlie, Juanita, Clem, and Sadie huddled together in the back of the Dodge van that had become Juanita's traveling home in the summer of '68. Clem and Sadie made no attempt to conceal their sexual desire for each other, and soon retreated to the upper loft. Now, alone with Juanita for the first time that day at the beach, Charlie knew he had her cornered.

At 24, Juanita was a few years older than most of the free-spirited hippie girls in Charlie's orbit, but no less idealistic, and Charlie knew that. He turned to her and smiled, his eyes wide with enthusiasm, a toothy grin across his face. He slithered his small, compact frame closer to her, and kissed her. She pulled her lips away from his. "What about Carlos?" she asked, referring to her fiancé, the man she'd planned to rendezvous with in Mexico.

He giggled, that little stuttering laugh she initially found so delightful and charming but would later try to erase from memory. "You don't need to worry about Carlos, because I am him, and he is me," he said, his calm, soothing, self-assured voice settling any anxiety she may have had about what was about to happen. Then, he made love to her in the back of the van, while Clem had his way with Sadie in the bed above them. Never one to miss out on an opportunity to punctuate a moment with drama, Charlie even invited Sadie and Clem to join him and Juanita in bed together. That didn't matter much to Juanita, she was open to it, and if Charlie said it was cool, heck, it must have been.

From that moment on, Juanita Wildebush was hooked, so meeting up with Carlos in Mexico would just have to wait. Before that night at the beach was over, she'd agreed to give Charlie Manson not just her van and the $14,000 she had in a trust fund account, but her whole self.

"He was amazing," she says, describing Manson's sexual prowess to me over Zoom. Now 77, a retired social worker who spent the better part of her career helping others who, like her, have escaped a dangerous cult, Juanita lives comfortably in Oregon, a widow, mother, and grandmother. "He was so tender, he would bring you just to the point of orgasm and then he would bring you back. Like a Kama Sutra kind of thing, you know, just bring you up, and bring you up, and bring you back." I had to remind myself that she was describing the lovemaking technique of one of America's most notorious criminals, the Machiavellian cult leader who masterminded the brutal "Helter Skelter" murders in 1969 that shocked the world.

When I ask if sex was a tool Manson used to get people hooked on him, she pauses for a minute. "I think so," she says, as if realizing this for the first time, but this should come as no surprise: she's spent the last 50 years of her life running as far away from Manson as possible.

"I just don't get why this is so interesting to people," she tells me. It won't be the last time I hear her say this.

I ask her about her earliest memories of life before "Charlie." "I had a pretty unremarkable childhood," she says. "My father had had a heart attack at the end of World War II and was given 18 months to live, a year before I was born. And so there was always that undercurrent of he could die any minute. That weighed heavily on me because I was much closer to my dad than I was to my mom," she continues.

Growing up just across the river from New York City in Westwood, a modest New Jersey suburb, Juanita has fond memories of her father but had, at best, a contentious relationship with her mother. "She had a rule for everything," she says. "Like you never went into New York City without wearing gloves. You had to wear stockings. You know, there was just a rule for everything. You don't tip on alcohol. You only tip if there's table service, there were just rules, rules, rules, rules, rules, rules."

Religion was hardly center-stage in the Wildebush home. Juanita was Jewish on her father's side (her grandmother had escaped the Holocaust) but told by her mother she was Lutheran. She has no recollection of going to church or Sunday school as a child.

She starts telling me about ‘the Family' and how they're a band, how they sang with the Beach Boys. I liked her right away.

Summer camp had a profound impact on her as a teen. "It was a girls' residential camp in Vermont and it probably did more to mold me into the person I am than anything else in my life," she says enthusiastically. "It was run on the freedom program," she continues. "We all lived in cabins, two to four campers in a cabin, two on each side of a cabin, no counselor in the cabin with us. The activities were open. I'd be hot and I'd say, hey, I'm gonna go swimming. So you got to really roam free and kind of be independent and roam. "

The way she talks about the camp, it's hard not to make the connection between those early experiences and the ones she would have later with the Manson Family, in the hippie commune she discovered in Los Angeles—Charlie, with his beard, guitar, and New Age ideals, could have easily been mistaken for a Camp Director at any run-of-the-mill free-love community. Only in Manson's case, activities like horseback riding and arts and crafts would eventually take a backseat to those with a darker bent, namely, auto theft, assault, and murder.

Charles Manson was 32 years old when he was paroled from McNeil Island prison in Washington state in March of 1967. Having spent half of his life up to that point behind bars for mostly petty crimes like check forgery and pimping, Manson eventually settled in the Bay Area, where that year as many as 100,000 people converged in San Francisco's neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury for what would come to be known as the "Summer of Love." There, Manson recruited a group of young girls and formed "the Family," a roving band of bohemian nomads doing whatever possible to avoid the straight life, traveling around the country in a modified school bus in search of enlightenment.

The Family settled in the Los Angeles area, first at a flophouse in the Topanga Canyon area that separated the sprawling San Fernando Valley from the Pacific coastline, then at Beach Boy Drummer Brian Wilson's estate in Pacific Palisades, and later at Spahn Ranch, at the northwest tip of the Valley. By the time Juanita hooked up with them, the Family had grown into a full-fledged commune with Manson at the helm, dictating their every thought and action. He kept his followers isolated; at Spahn Ranch there were no newspapers, calendars, or clocks—the only information they received is what Manson wanted them to know.

"View of an upside-down car and a pair of dilapidated buildings on the Spahn Ranch property, Los Angeles County, California, August 29, 1969."

Ultimately, Manson would become a household name in December of 1969, when he and other members of the Family were arrested and ultimately convicted of the grisly Tate-LaBianca murders in August of that year. Fortunately for Juanita, by the time those murders took place, she was long gone from the Family and had no role or participation in the crimes, and has lived under the radar ever since. Now, she's one of the few remaining Manson Family members who can provide a firsthand account of what it was like to fall under Manson's spell—and to make it out safely.

Long before she hooked up with Manson, Juanita pursued an undergraduate degree at the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City, where she met Carlos, a philosophy major at nearby Autonomous University. "He looked like Jean-Paul Belmondo. He was just dashing—he was an Olympic-caliber swimmer, so he had that swimmer's physique, good shoulders, slim hips. He knew he was brilliant, so he was a bit arrogant," she tells me.

Juanita and Carlos, along with one of his friends from school, would travel around the villages of Mexico, where they came to be known affectionately as "Los Tres" by locals; Juanita stood out with her striking looks and blond hair. Along their many travels, they encountered hippie expatriates who, like Juanita, had grown disillusioned by the political and social climate of the United States and were seeking refuge in a society less consumed with consumerism. Through them, Juanita heard stories about, and became intrigued by, the concept of communal living in the States, specifically, the Hog Farm, an organization founded by peace activist Wavy Gravy, today considered America's longest-running hippie commune and what some say Manson used as a model for his Family.

And it was in Mexico that Juanita had her first experiences with LSD. At college, she'd befriended a chemist from Sandoz Laboratory who would "show up on a Friday afternoon with a handful of pharmaceutical-grade acid pills in his pocket, lay them down on the table and say, ‘This should hold you for a while.' We'd go up into the mountains outside of Mexico City before dawn," she tells me. "We would drop our acid. We'd trip through the day. We'd come down (from the trip), then we'd go home. Yeah, it was beautiful. Just beautiful." However, her dealer friend warned her of the dangers of "street acid." Little did she know the role it would play in her life only a few short years later.

Juanita graduated from university in Mexico in 1967 with a degree in psychology and returned to New Jersey with Carlos, who after a short stay in the States retreated to Mexico with the intention of Juanita joining him there after she'd saved up enough money to purchase a van. "He had an odd view of our relationship at the time," she recalls. "He said to me, you and I are one. There is no need for me to write you. There's no need for you to write me. There's no need to call each other. We are one. But then I didn't hear from him for six months."

She worked for a time at the Aid to Dependent Children program in Patterson until she'd saved up enough money to acquire a Dodge van with a fancy sound system. Then, towards the end of the summer of '68, she bid farewell to her parents and made the cross-country trek to California with a friend in tow, whom she planned to drop in San Francisco before heading south to visit her sister's family in Palo Alto. Then, she would drive to Phoenix, visit a friend, and make her way to Mexico City to rendezvous with Carlos.

On the night before she planned to leave for Phoenix, Juanita's van was burglarized and the $850 stereo that had become her prized possession was gone. Heartbroken, she spent a few hours the next day searching for a shop that could replace it, and found one in San Jose. She kissed her sister and her nieces and nephews goodbye, loaded the van and made her way south.

After replacing the stereo in San Jose, she noticed a pregnant woman leaning against a tree near the on-ramp to the freeway, holding up a hand-written sign that said "Los Angeles." She invited the woman, and the two men with her, into the van.

The woman introduced herself as Sadie. After getting in the van, Juanita says, "she starts telling me about ‘the Family' and how they're a band, how they sang with the Beach Boys. I liked her right away."

They drove south to L.A., and Sadie directed her to Spahn Ranch, a horse property and sometimes Western movie set in the northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley, just outside the city limits of Chatsworth. By the time they arrived, it was dark out, and Sadie invited Juanita to stay for the night. "I can't wait for you to meet Charlie," she told her.

Manson's female followers were notoriously devoted to him, even after the murders, none more so than Susan "Sadie" Atkins, the troubled daughter of alcoholics and one of Manson's earliest recruits. During the trial, news outlets would broadcast startling images of Sadie, Katie, and Leslie (her co-conspirators in the Tate-LaBianca murders) parading through the halls of the courthouse, holding hands and singing Manson's songs in unison. Some of the girls, including Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (who stayed devoted to Manson for decades even after his murder conviction), set up an encampment outside the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles during the trial, where they could be seen sitting cross-legged on the ground, often singing Manson's praises to anyone willing to listen. When Manson appeared in court with an "x" carved into his forehead and his scalp shaved, many of the girls followed suit. To them, Manson and God were synonymous, and law enforcement's attempts to "crucify" him were only further proof to them that he was, in fact, Jesus incarnate.

Charlie Manson, as Juanita had already learned from her conversation with the hitchhikers, was the leader of Sadie's band. When they arrived at Spahn Ranch after dark, Juanita followed Sadie towards a trailer off to the side of the faux-Western "town" in the center of the ranch. "Charlie! Charlie! Look what we found you!" Sadie yelled out as they approached the trailer. The trailer door opened and out popped a naked man, no more than five feet two inches, grinning from ear to ear, accompanied by his naked lover, a beautiful brunette who went by the name "Gypsy." "They welcomed me in, handed me a joint and asked me if I wanted some tea," she says.

At the ranch, she found herself in the company of warm people just like her, disillusioned with the world as they saw it, more interested in peace and love than material wealth. They were the kind of people she'd been looking for; they shared the same values, they spoke the same language.

That night, "we talked, we hung out, they sang for a while. And then everybody went to bed and Charlie invited himself into my van. And I said, no. I mean, I just met the guy." I ask her if she was taken back by his forwardness. "It's hard to explain what the hippie life was like to somebody who didn't believe it," she tells me, "but it was just all open and free-flowing and you just, you know, you just went where the wind blew you. You know, and that was what you were supposed to do, because the universe would provide."

Still, she rejected Manson's overt advances. "Well, now you're just being selfish," he told her. "But we're gonna fix that."

The next morning, Juanita awoke in her van to a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar being offered to her by one of the girls. Moments later, Manson appeared with two cups of coffee to choose from, one with and one without cream. Juanita recalls the image in her mind. "He said, ‘Come on, let's show you around.' "And that's when I got out of the van and I looked around, and it was magical. It was like, hey, I've got a movie set. Look at all those horses. Look at the cowboys over there." I ask if her first impressions of the ranch reminded her of summer camp. She doesn't hesitate. "Yeah, it sort of did."

Spahn Ranch in the Manson years is reported to have had a similar effect on other outsiders who encountered it. Greg Jakobson, a songwriting partner of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson (who invited Manson to live with him in the summer of '68 and nicknamed him "the Wizard"), was so taken by Manson's Svengali-like hold over the young girls in his midst, he tried to convince his friend, record producer (and future Manson foe) Terry Melcher, to finance a documentary about the Family. There's no doubt the ranch would have been an assault on the senses for anyone experiencing it for the first time. The setting was a rustic, boulder-strewn canyon; the sights included horses, ranch hands and a gaggle of LSD-infused hippies cohabiting amidst a decrepit Western movie set; sage and jasmine and eucalyptus perfumed the air. While only 10 miles from the sprawl of Los Angeles, the ranch, with its idyllic location at the foot of the Santa Susana mountain range, was nothing short of an oasis; even today, the terrain feels better suited for a high-end resort than what lies just beyond it.

Ingratiating herself with the group, Juanita found it harder and harder to leave with each passing day. Had she found the utopia she'd been looking for since her days wandering around Mexico as part of "Los Tres"? "I had this pre-formed thing of what life on a commune in the States would be," she recalls. "And all of a sudden I was on a commune in the States, so I was really interested in it. And I kept thinking, oh, God, I should write to Carlos and have him come up here." But that never happened.

One night at Spahn Ranch, Manson organized a group LSD trip in the house they shared together. Once the drug took hold, things spiraled out of control. She describes it to me: "I can still remember it, it was like I was in this Arabian tent, there's Arabian Nights kind of scene and there were pillows everywhere and horses jumping through and people were fighting and yelling, it was really chaotic. And Charlie came in to where I was because I was just watching it and said, ‘I got to find my shoes. I've got to get out of here.' And I stood up and asked him, ‘Where are you going?' And he said, ‘I have to leave, all the love here has gone. I don't know what happened, but I'm leaving.'"

At one point, Family member "Little Paul" Watkins punched her square in the jaw, so she walked out of the house to get some fresh air. One of the male members of the Family followed her out and asked where she was going. "I don't want to go back in there," she told him.

He told her to stay put. The next day, with Manson missing from the ranch, Juanita shared her conversation with him with the Family, and they grew concerned about the whereabouts of their leader. Then, as if nothing had happened, Manson arrived back at the ranch later that afternoon, and the incident was soon forgotten.

"Little" Paul Watkins was, by all accounts, Manson's right-hand man—his best recruiter and a personal favorite among the female members of the Family. When Family members (including Juanita) began defecting from the group of '69, it was Little Paul who initially dug his heels in, boldly confronting anyone who dared challenge Manson's theory on the impending race war, something Charlie called "Helter Skelter," named after the song on the Beatles' White Album he'd become obsessed with. Later, Little Paul would be among those who testified for the prosecution at Manson's trial, sharing details of his former guru's dark philosophies to a shocked courtroom: "There would be some atrocious murders; that some of the sp--es from Watts would come up into the Bel-Air and Beverly Hills district and just really wipe some people out," he said, using racist slang, "just cut bodies up and smear blood and write things on the wall in blood, and cut little boys up and make parents watch."

In November of '68, the Family loaded up the old school bus they had outfitted as their primary means of transportation and set out for the Mojave Desert. They'd learned of the remote Meyers Ranch, a miners' outpost deep in Golar Canyon in the southwest corner of Death Valley National Park. Family member Kathy Giles' grandmother owned the ranch, and they initially planned to set up an encampment there. Manson often shared with the group his fascination with the desert. He believed its vast, empty landscape would provide fewer distractions for his growing Family.

Upon reaching the base of Golar Canyon, they attempted to navigate the bus through the narrow, dusty road that led to the ranch but it proved no match for the rocky terrain, so the Family found themselves hauling their gear up the wash on foot. At this point, Juanita became startled by the sound of bombs exploding in the distance and flashes of light across the sky. "I freaked out," she explains. "We were traveling that day and I absolutely freaked out, ducked my head, covered. It was the scariest thing I had ever been through. And they helped me get up."

Years later, she would visit a psychic medium who would tell her that in a previous life, she'd been a 13-year-old Jewish boy who was smuggled out of Belgium by nuns to escape the Nazis, and the sound of bombing she'd heard that day in the canyon had triggered memories of those events. Later, she would identify the actual source of the sounds: the Naval Weapons Air Station at China Lake, some 20 miles from the canyon.

When it became apparent that Meyers Ranch wouldn't provide enough space for the Family, which by now had swelled to over 30 members, they opted instead to stay at nearby Barker Ranch, which offered more expansive accommodations. They settled into their new life in the desert. By day, Manson would send the Family out to search for a secret cave, the "bottomless pit" that would lead the Family to an "underground city" where they could hide out during the forthcoming race war. At night, they'd drop acid and sit around the campfire singing and listening to Manson preach. Some nights he'd try to orchestrate a group orgy, which never quite materialized.

After a week or two at the ranch, Manson dispatched Juanita and Family members Diane Lake ("Snake") and Little Paul Watkins to Las Vegas to drum up supplies for the group. They spent a few days there fundraising, going door to door and introducing themselves as members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, collecting food for hungry people in the desert.

On their way back to Barker Ranch, they stopped in Shoshone, a dusty desert outpost on the banks of the Amargosa River not far from Golar Canyon, to panhandle and pick up more supplies. There, they came face to face with Inyo County Sheriff Don Ward, a small bulldog of a man whose children attended the local schools and who'd grown concerned about the hippie contingent infesting his otherwise conservative community. He offered them a simple piece of advice: "Get out, and don't come back."

Fast-forward to March of 1969. Manson and the rest of the Family had gone back to Spahn Ranch to continue preparing for the inevitable race war—spending the majority of their time building dune buggies and "fundraising" to finance their retreat to the desert.

Juanita, along with a relatively new Family member, 19-year old Brooks Poston, had been left behind at Barker Ranch, directed by Manson to "keep an eye on the place." Though the Family told them they would be back to get them in 10 days, they'd been separated from the Family for three months. But then, two unexpected visitors showed up at the ranch in a Dodge Power Wagon.

The men, Paul Crockett and Bob Berry, introduced themselves as gold prospectors from New Mexico looking for a place to stay while they set up their operation in the abandoned mines scattered around the Panamint Mountain range.

"You can't stay here," Juanita told them.

Crockett, the older of the two, took charge. "It's getting dark, code of the desert is you take care of us and we'll leave when it's daylight," he said. "And they offered us food, and we were running low on food, so we all cooked, and we ate together that first night," she recalls.

The next day came and went, and it soon became apparent the prospectors, now living in the small "bunkhouse" about 50 yards away from the main house at Barker Ranch, weren't going anywhere. "We were wondering how the hell we were going to get rid of them before Charlie came back," Juanita says.

Crockett, somewhat of a stoic figure, took a liking to her and Brooks. Despite their urging him to leave, after long days collecting ore samples at the mines, he would join them at night, along with Bob, for dinner and company in the main cabin. "We would sit around the kitchen. Brooks had a four-string guitar, we would sing, and it wasn't very long into this that we started playing metaphysical games," she says. "Paul taught us how to create energy balls in our hands, hold it there long enough and we would throw the ball around the kitchen to each other, sort of like playing keep away, but with an energy ball."

The more he got to know Juanita and Brooks, the more Crockett learned about them, the Family, and "Charlie," whom they seemed afraid of. They learned about him, too—he told them stories about his mentor, "Doc" Bailey, a student of L. Ron Hubbard who used a machine to help his patients overcome their physical pain through the use of electro-magnetic energy. And he talked about "agreements," "hundreds of agreements that we make with other people, and it's the implied agreements that are the strongest," she says, no doubt referring to their precarious relationship with Manson.

Juanita tells me that Crockett picked up on their concern about "outsiders" at Barker Ranch. "Paul said, ‘I can fix that. We can fix that together.' And I said, ‘What do we have to do?' He says, ‘Let's go back down to the wash' (the point of entry into Golar Canyon). We get there, and he says, ‘Just imagine an arch made of energy that fills that wash. And on the arch, it says all those who pass this point must be prepared to pay their karmic debts.' And so we visualized that. We put it up. And people stopped coming. Later, Little Paul told us that Charlie had tried to come up many times and he'd get so far, and he couldn't get up any further."

As images of the gory crime scenes flashed across the screen, Juanita felt a pit in her stomach, and turned to Bob. ‘That's Charlie. That's the Family.'

By now convinced that Crockett had special powers over Charlie Manson, Juanita and Brooks began to join him and Bob on their prospecting excursions into the mountains. Juanita jumped at the opportunity to learn a new trade. "We're all prospecting," she says. "We had our claims staked."

They would pack what little gold they found into small vials and take them to Las Vegas, where they could sell the gold for three times its value in the back of a Chinese restaurant.

Meanwhile, Juanita and Bob Berry developed a romantic relationship, after Bob volunteered to stake out a wild cougar that began showing up at the ranch during the night, and Juanita offered to keep him company.

Eventually, Little Paul and Family member Barbara Hoyt (Bo) made it through the energy field and arrived back at the ranch to fetch Brooks and Juanita and bring them back to L.A. Upon their arrival, Little Paul was shocked to learn that they'd taken up with the two prospectors, more so when they confided in him that they'd decided to leave the Family. Little Paul, in his best efforts to emulate Manson, went to work on Crockett, warning him of the coming race war and all that might befall him if he didn't get "hip" to the scene. Seeing his efforts have little to no effect on Crockett, Little Paul soon became convinced that Crockett had power, perhaps more so than his beloved Charlie, and began talking of defecting from the Family himself and hooking up with Crockett's prospecting venture. But those plans would have to wait—Little Paul had promised Manson he'd come back to Los Angeles and he intended to honor his commitment. So he and Bo bid farewell to Brooks and Juanita, but not before they asked him for a favor.

"When he was leaving, we said, (Little) Paul, will you do us a favor? Some evening when Charlie and everybody are together in the living room, would you tell Charlie that we want him to release us from all agreements implied or direct? And we will do the same for him. And so Little Paul, I guess, went back and did it, and Charlie said something like, ‘That's fine. I don't care.'"

Polish film director Roman Polanski, fresh on the heels of the success of his first Hollywood production, the 1968 horror film "Rosemary's Baby," moved into the ranch-style house in Bel Air at 10050 Cielo Drive with his new wife, the up-and-coming young actress Sharon Tate, in February of 1969. The house had previously belonged to music producer Terry Melcher, whom Manson had crossed paths with a number of times through his Dennis Wilson connection.

On the evening of Aug. 8, 1969, Manson instructed family member Charles "Tex" Watson to take Sadie, Katie, and Family newcomer Linda Kasabian to "that house where Melcher used to live" and "totally destroy" everyone in it, and to do it "as gruesome as you can."

At the house that night were Tate, 8½ months pregnant with Polanski's baby (he was in Europe working on a film); her ex-boyfriend, the flamboyant hairstylist to the stars, Jay Sebring; screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski; and Frykowski's girlfriend Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folgers coffee fortune.

When police were called to the scene the next morning, after Polanski's housekeeper discovered the bodies of Frykowski and Folger on the lawn outside the house, they discovered a ghastly scene that looked like something out of one of Polanski's movies, with blood splattered throughout the house, and Tate's body on the ground with a noose around her neck and her stomach cut open. There was even a cryptic message left behind by the killer(s) on the front door: the word "PIG" written in blood.

The following night, grocery store owner Leo LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were murdered in their Los Feliz home in a similar fashion, and the entire city of Los Angeles went into panic mode, certain they'd been targeted by a serial killer of one form or another. It wouldn't be until December of that year that they'd learn the identity of the killers: a group of drug-induced hippies, members of a religious cult operating inconspicuously in the shadows of the City of Angels.

After she freed herself from Manson, Juanita set about moving forward with her life. At one point, a prospector nicknamed "Heavy" paid a visit to Barker Ranch. When he mentioned to Bob that he was a Justice of the Peace, Bob asked if he would marry him and Juanita, since he had all of the paperwork and could file it at the court in Independence, the seat of Inyo County some 200 miles from the ranch, and he agreed to do it. "I didn't have a dress," Juanita says. "I just had what I had been wearing. I took the curtains off the windows (of the school bus) and turned them into a dress."

Meanwhile, Bob's brother, also a prospector, had a line on an opportunity to mine for turquoise in Arizona, and brought the news to Barker Ranch. With the Golar Canyon operation yielding minimal results, the newlyweds decided to try their luck elsewhere and left Brooks and Crockett behind to carry on without them.

In August of that year, Juanita, Bob and some friends were sitting around a TV in Kingman, Arizona, watching news of the moon landing when a special bulletin about a series of gruesome murders in the L.A. area appeared on the screen. As images of the gory crime scenes flashed across the screen, Juanita felt a pit in her stomach, and turned to Bob. "That's Charlie. That's the Family," she said, though it would be months before investigators would link Charles Manson and his group to the crimes.

Little Paul eventually made it back to Barker Ranch and hooked up with Crockett and Brooks, fully ready to cut ties with Manson. In late September, Manson and the remaining members of the Family finally made it through the energy field and settled in at Meyers Ranch, initiating a stand-off of sorts with Crockett and his camp at Barker.

Manson did his best to woo the hardened prospector to him, but Crockett held his ground. Eager to continue his prospecting in the area, he agreed to offer his assistance to Manson and began bringing supplies up to the ranch in his Power Wagon from the valley below.

At the same time, Sheriff Ward began to grow suspicious of Manson's activities in and around the desert, believing them to be criminal in nature. One day while exploring the area, Ward happened across Crockett, who was en route back to the ranch with a truck bed full of supplies. Initially reluctant, Crockett agreed to talk with Ward about what he knew, and told him everything, furthering Ward's suspicions; by now, Ward was devoting all of the resources at his disposal to take Manson down.

That day would come in October, when park rangers discovered one of their earthmovers had been set ablaze deep in the desert, and followed tire tracks from the smoldering heap straight to Golar Canyon. Crockett, having been told by Manson that he "should be more afraid of me than the law," decided he'd gone about as far as he could at Barker Ranch, and escaped with Brooks over Mengle Pass into Shoshone, where they hooked up with Sheriff Ward, who committed their testimony to tape.

The law descended on Barker Ranch shortly thereafter and arrested Manson and his followers, booking them in jail in Independence on an arson charge. On his arrest report, Manson signed his name "Manson, Charles M., aka Jesus Christ, God." It wouldn't be until December that Ward would learn that the hippies he'd arrested for setting fire to an earthmover were guilty of crimes far worse than that.

Manson, Sadie, Katie (real name Patrica Krenwinkle), Leslie (Van Houten) and Tex, were ultimately convicted for their roles in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Initially all received a death sentence, however, in 1972, those sentences were commuted to life in prison (with the possibility of parole) after the Supreme Court of California ruled that the state's death penalty laws were unconstitutional.

Sadie died in prison from brain cancer in 2009, at age 61, after having been denied parole 14 times. Manson remained in prison until his death at age 82 on Nov. 19, 2017 from cardiac arrest.

That's what the survivor's guilt was about. I had no doubt that had I been there, I would have done (the same thing).
Katie and Leslie remain incarcerated and have been denied parole 14 and 22 times, respectively. Tex, a born-again Christian, also remains incarcerated, having been denied parole 17 times, most recently in 2016.

On Sept. 9, 1971, as Barbara "Bo" Hoyt was preparing to board a flight from Hawaii back to California where she was to testify for the prosecution in the Helter Skelter murder trial, Family member Ruth Anne Moorehouse bought her a hamburger and laced it with a multi-dose of LSD in an attempt to kill her. Hoyt survived and testified at the trial, and Moorehouse, along with four other Family members, were later charged with attempted murder. Hoyt died in 2017 at age 65.

Brooks Poston testified for the prosecution during the trial, helping to explain to the jury the Helter Skelter motive. After the trial, he formed a musical group called Desert Sun with Paul Watkins and performed in Inyo County, California. He eventually followed Paul Crockett to Washington, where he still lives today.

Little Paul Watkins went on to become the founder and first president of the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce and the unofficial mayor of the small town of Tecopa before his death in 1990 from leukemia. He is survived by his second wife and their two daughters, one of whom is the writer Claire Vaye Watkins.

After his confrontation with Manson, Paul Crockett settled into life in the desert and for a period of time, acted as the manager for Brooks and Paul's band. He eventually married his wife of 30 years, Sylvee, and moved to Washington where he started a metaphysical coaching practice, Balance Point School for Personal Evolution. In a 2012 radio interview, Crockett was asked about his time with Brooks and Juanita in the desert, and the deprogramming he did for them. "They were hungry, they were sharing our food," he told the interviewer. "And so later on, it became obvious that they sold out to me for a bologna sandwich." Crockett died on Jan. 10, 2014, at age 89.

As for Juanita, she is content to leave the events of '68-'69 where she thinks they belong—in the past. She stayed married to Bob until his death two years ago, and they had one son together, who now has his own family. Now retired, she built a successful career working as a licensed therapist and has received high esteem from her colleagues for her work with cult survivors. She is lovely, whip-smart, and very funny. I ask her, with the passing of time, if she ever thought about Sadie or any of the other girls she befriended in the Family. "That's what the survivor's guilt was about. I had no doubt that had I been there, I would have done (the same thing). Sadie and Leslie were the people I felt the closest to," she tells me candidly. She even admits that she considered visiting Sadie in prison at one point, though her therapist talked her out of it.

Today, she is a committed and practicing member of the Jewish faith. She often thinks back to the day she first hiked into Barker Ranch when she heard the sound of bombs and wonders if the psychic medium might have been right—she thinks perhaps she was a young Jewish boy in another life.

Very few people in Juanita's orbit know about her time with Charlie and the Family; she has not even shared her past with her neighbors who she regularly socializes with. When she tells me her story, she's remarkably detached from it, but I can tell it still affects her to a degree. I ask her about that. "(I'm hopeful) something good will come out of putting myself out there in a way where it makes me feel better about this whole thing. That like by putting myself out there, I'm breaking the shackles off of me and I'm no longer constrained by this thing, that I have control over it and it doesn't have control over me."

In one of our conversations, I ask Juanita about Carlos. "What ever happened to him?"

She laughs. "Who knows. For all I know, he's still in Mexico, waiting for me."


Vera Dreiser said...

Where’d ya get that picture anyway?

DebS said...

Uh, the Daily Beast, where I got the article from. If you read the fine print at the bottom of the picture it says "courtesy of the University of Nevada."

Vera Dreiser said...

Oh that was an incredible find on their part! Amazing that we’d never seen it before!

TabOrFresca said...

I first saw this picture in the book,
“Chaos”, by Tom O’Neill.

I believe the picture is taken in November 1968. The hair length for the guys is short, Watson is there (and he had to report to the draft board on December 2 and then left the family for about three months), Watkins is there, and Wildebush is there.

While I’m not 100% sure, I believe I can ID the six guys (but not the old(er) man).

As far as the eight girls go, I’m pretty sure on three: Brunner, Wildebush, and Gillies.

Bottom Row (L2R): Van Houten? or Share?, Atkins?, old man?, Bailey?, Watkins, Brunner with her son.

Top Row (L2R): Poston, Watson, Grogan, Manson, Rosenberg?, Rowe?, TJ Walleman, Wildebush, Gillies.

Do you see someone different?

TabOrFresca said...

Whenever I see a new thread, I scroll to see who submitted it. If David is the author, I know that it will be thought provoking and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. If DebS is the author, the work is top notch, detail oriented, and so professional in nature.

I tend to focus more on very small things, such as: who was where on a particular date and what they were doing OR were they consistent in telling a story (when telling it multiple times).

For years I’ve hoped that someone would interview Juanita, someone familiar with Watkin’s book, the 80’s interview, and the trial transcripts for Crocket, Poston, and Watkins.

When Watkins describes people or events in his book, the people or events seem to exist, but he seems to be quite a story teller who exaggerates a bit and places himself at the center if attention.

I do hope that neither the interviewer or interviewee is a Clifford Irving wannabe.

If the article is genuine, then I am both pleased and disappointed by this article.

I’m pleased that Juanita appears to have had a good life and can still talk about those times. There also are a few new tidbits in the article, so that’s something.

I’m somewhat disappointed because I wish that it would have been DebS who wrote the article. Someone who is familiar with the facts and not someone cramming to learn the subject so they can write this month’s article. But I’m still glad there is something new.

starviego said...

"...two unexpected visitors showed up at the ranch in a Dodge Power Wagon.
The men, Paul Crockett and Bob Berry, introduced themselves as gold prospectors from New Mexico looking for a place to stay while they set up their operation in the abandoned mines scattered around the Panamint Mountain range.
"You can't stay here," Juanita told them. ....
The next day came and went, and it soon became apparent the prospectors, now living in the small "bunkhouse" about 50 yards away from the main house at Barker Ranch, weren't going anywhere."

I had always thought Crockett was already a fixture up at Death Valley/Golar Wash/Barker even before the Mansonoids arrived. To find that he basically interjected himself at the ranch and stayed, even with little success in mining, is interesting. This is what Fromme had to say in her book "Reflexion," pg470: "The older man with alternately self-righteous and suspicious expressions, had claimed the space, and commanded the order. We would hear rumors that he'd once been a military "deprogrammer," and that the three younger men were under his tutelage. Whether he was a product of the military or a free-lance philosopher was unclear.... ."

starviego said...

What was Crockett's legal claim to do any mining whatsoever? The local mining claims belonged to the Myers and Barker families(correct me if I'm wrong). Charlie at least got permission from Cappy's grandmother and then Arlene Barker to live there. And why would Crockett choose Barker out of the thousands of abandoned mining claims throughout the West? And why didn't he just move on down the road when things got tense with the Family? Crockett sure invested a lot of time up there with very little gold to show for it. But then again, maybe gold mining wasn't the real reason he was there.

DebS said...

Starviego, Juanita doesn't say that Crockett and Berry were mining at Barker or Myers. They were mining in the area and would go to the nearest dwelling where they could get water and bed down for the night which happened to be Barker Ranch. Read up on mining and mineral rights in California. One can stake a claim to mining rights and not own the property.

TabOrFresca said...

If you look at Davis, Vol 39 pages 5973-74, Crocket states that he began living at Barker the last week of March, 1969. He met Watkins about the middle of May and Watkins started to live at Barker with him (, Juanita, Brooks, and Bob) about the last week of May.

Gorodish said...

TabOrFresca typed:

I first saw this picture in the book,
“Chaos”, by Tom O’Neill.

I believe the picture is taken in November 1968.

November 1968 seems about right. Since I've seen this picture, I had them pegged as this:
Back row L-R: Juan Flynn, Tex Watson, Steve Grogan, Manson, Bo Rosenburg, Stephanie Rowe, TJ Walleman, Juanita, Kathy Gillies.
Front row L-R: Catherine Share, Pat Krenwinkel, "Ballarat Bob' Dunlap, Ella Jo Bailey, Paul Watkins, Mary Brunner w/baby Michael.

I also have a second picture from this shoot that's slightly different, with Ruth Ann Morehouse emerging from behind Juanita.

orwhut said...

I withdraw my complaint about a new post interrupting the comments on the last post. The results of Deb's research are always better than a free-for-all.

Timaukel said...

Denis Wilson was The Beach Boys drummer not Brian Wilson (15th paragraph)

Peter said...

Revolution baby ! Fight the power !

"There was just a rule for everything. You don't tip on alcohol. You only tip if there's table service, there were just rules, rules, rules, rules, rules, rules."

I wondered if she now lives by these same rules today. Then the article said she was a practicing jew, so I know she does.

Dah, dun, dun.

Peter said...

And what about when you order your food at the counter, but then they bring it out to your table?

Fayez Abedaziz said...

Ha ha, that's a good one.
Yeah, I said to myself while reading this article about another former/ hanger on, fella or fellatia at the horse sh** grounds of Spahn retch and then at Barker valley death smell is in the air place.
Well, what do ya know, it's another one and this would be another innocent passerby and, of course, a know it all. Ms./Mrs. Wildebullshit.
How about that.
I laughed, then shook my head, then I laughed again.
Yes, I talk to myself sometimes and then I said, 'self, what's up with these people?'
Like weasel, hypocrite Paul Watkins, the former unwashed tell us that they saw this and that and gee, 'you know, I'm a good person, really, even more so now,so then I went over there and I was interviewed and...blah blah.' Same old tedious excuses and boring narrations.
No. You're simply talking bull and you're no different than thousands of people that came and went to so-called communes and there too, you had some nice people and many
crude and rude a holes-males and females.
So, this Wildebush,(what, she never trimmed... never mind, heh) lives a long life and the suckers Susan Atkins, Leslie and Patricia have lost the free part of living. And, creepy Clem Grogan, same thing. And Diane, and Kathryn Luteswhatever: welcome fine guys and gals, wanna certificate of being upstanding citizens of the
community? Why do ya look and act so different from when you were with the bums and bummettes at Spahn? Why are you living in middle/upper class homes and dress like your going to the Kennedy Center for awards and know.
I know why: because none of you were real. You were/are inauthentic people-shallow like so many. Dig?
Wildebush was a therapist and she herself had a therapist? Stay away from therapists if that's how many are in this society.
Then, in this article, the writer says that Sharon's stomach was ripped open. No.
Oh, before that, it says, that Charlie and the gang got on a bus and took off, 'bye bye' to the Haight and that was to go in search of 'enlightenment.' Another untrue and another laugh. They were going away from the lack of a place they could live for free and Charlie wanted to be the boss, without all of the other people, including other wise ass 'gurus' like him, being around in this house or outside on the corner and so, Charlie was a clever guy, he didn't believe in this 'enlightenment' or spiritual anything.He was cool, cause that was the 'thing' in the late 60's, you know, pot, open sex and talk of the unusual: 'free your mind' and so on, that was one of the big 'happenings.'
Also, notice that when any of the former Spahn camp 'members' are said to be, or they say they are, religious, it's never questioned, but when dear Susan Sadie, my brown eyed girl (remember that song) said/was, she is made fun of. And, how do you know that Tex Watson is not, in his heart?
Now, I don't have animosity against Juanita the former babe (like the other girls, she'll let ya and most guys screw her depending on where you happen to be sitting and what words you use in those moments)
Those that continued to Lobby for Charlie, like the girls on the sidewalks and corner outside of the courthouse and current apologists for Charlie are, at least, honest about that and don't hide with, you know, "well come to think about it, I this..and I live the good, honest regular old (freakin'-my word-Fayez)"
There is so much, but you hadda been there or I need many pages to really express how people acted then and as I stated above, in a general way, most of those at Spahn were not much different then many at other 'hip' places/communes.

starviego said...

Fayez Abedaziz said...
"Then, in this article, the writer says that Sharon's stomach was ripped open. No."

Yes it was. You can clearly see a large, deep horizontal slash across Tate's stomach area in the crime scene photo.

Peter said...

Yuk. Take your word for it.

orwhut said...

Could you give us a link. I've found Sharon's crime scene photo but don't see the slash.

Peter said...

Murder porn.

orwhut said...

I'll save my response until Star replies.

starviego said...

starviego said...

Video interview of TLB first responder Robert Burbridge:

"The only wound I could see on Sharon Tate was right in her pregnant belly. It was a big gash... like an avulsion cut... It's like they were almost going to cut the baby out of her, that's what it looked like."

orwhut said...


I pulled up a crime scene photo and saw a dark line going clear across the upper part of Sharon's stomach about a palm's width below her hand. The line looks to me like it might be dried blood that accumulated around a drawstring in her scant clothing or the rope attaching her to Jay. I don't think it's what you're referring to. Correct me if I'm wrong.

When I found a morgue photo where the blood had been washed away, the closest thing I saw to a slash or gash was what looked like coagulated blood or intestine coming out of a stab wound. That must be what you saw, the first responder described, the article calls "cut open" and Fayez called "ripped open". Unfortunately, I can't get a link to copy. My quirky tablet only pastes which won't go directly to the picture.

I didn't see a stomach slash on her autopsy drawing, either.

If you can link me to another photo of a stomach slash, please do. It will change what I've believed for years about how Sharon was killed.

Dan S said...

Interesting that little paul is punching her in the face and she's not allowed to leave the party

orwhut said...

Blogger Peter said...
Murder porn.

When I read that Sharon's stomach had been cut open, it sounded like the killers had tried to take the baby. This has been rumored and the rumor discounted for many years. I respect Star's opinion and if he had evidence to the contrary I wanted to see it. What we have here seem to be different interpretations of what people saw when looking at a blood covered corpse and different ways of describing it.

orwhut said...

Blogger Dan S said...
Interesting that little paul is punching her in the face and she's not allowed to leave the party

It's also interesting that Little Paul failed to mention that in his book. Maybe I forgot.

Torque said...

Star, Orwhut, the autopsy data I have seen on Sharon comes from TheMurdersof1969 blog. There, looking at the autopsy drawing of Sharon, there is one abdominal wound called out. It is labeled "stab wound #5," and is clearly drawn on the right side of the abdomen over the area of the liver. If it is drawn proportionally correct by Noguchi, it appears to be a localized wound. I can see this wound in the color crime scene photographs of Sharon.

Interestingly, in the autopsy narrative I have seen, only the chest wounds are described in any detail. On pg 2 of the narrative Noguchi says the following: "There are four stab wounds on the chest. These stab wounds are labeled #1, #2, #3, and #4 for the purpose of identification, and others labeled #5 through #16 are described in a subsequent report."

I have seen the additional wounds on the autopsy diagram, but I have not seen the subsequent report detailing wounds 5 thru 16. Stab wound #5 appears to be the wound in question here.

That said, there must be additional pages of the autopsy report on Sharon, including photographs, which have not been made available.

Matthew said...

What I could find was that stab wound #5 was a horizontal stab. Wounds 6 through 16 were in the back. I believe that because wound 5 was horizontal and the blood pooled across the stomach, it gives the illusion of a long slice instead of a stab. However, if you look and the autopsy photos after the blood was cleaned off, it is definitely one horizontal stab. That is also very evident in the coroners drawing.

orwhut said...

Torque and Matthew,

Only when I went back to see where wound #5 was located did I notice the faint line and arrow identifying the arm wound as #2. This means the stab wound over the liver has to be #5 even though no line and arrow are visible in the photo. With this in mind, I think that may be liver tissue hanging out of the wound. I agree that #5 is the wound in question.

starviego said...

Photos of the victims on the autopsy tables used to be available. Now they all seem to have disappeared from the net. Does anybody know where they are still available?

starviego said...

orwhut said...
"I pulled up a crime scene photo and saw a dark line going clear across the upper part of Sharon's stomach about a palm's width below her hand. The line looks to me like it might be dried blood...."

That looks like a deep 'avulsion' cut to me.

orwhut said...

Blogger starviego said...

That looks like a deep 'avulsion' cut to me.

Different eyes see different things.

Sam the Cat said...

Wonder who took the photo, and are there others.

orwhut said...

I once got into an argument because the photo of the word WAR on Leno's stomach looked to me like it was written with a Sharpie. Different eyes see different things.

TabOrFresca said...

These may help. Top shows 3 wounds under left breast. Bottom shows same 3 wounds with a clotted wound under ruler on right side ( looks like a nipple, sort of) and pregnancy.

orwhut said...

Thank you, I hadn't seen those before.

sillyworm said...

I imagine this "party" is the "acid freakout" party where everyone indulged in 2 hits of very strong LSD.I remember some of my journeys and there were times where if I had done 2 I'd have been in some serious trouble..cartoonland is one thing....losing reality all together is another.

Fayez Abedaziz said...

Now what led you all there and what did you do that for? I and many others were disappointed, Leslie, Patricia and Susan.
And quite displeased with you Susan, didn't expect that, no, that led to my despair and confusion.
Now, here we are, now we're in prison, in the disco 70's, so what do you say Leslie, Patricia and Susan? Now?
How and why?

I think I know: the second Tex said, in the car, on the way to Benedict Canyon, that you were all gonna do as Charlie said, which was to kill (read; cold blooded murder)
everyone that is in the house that both of 'em knew, (Charlie and Tex) were familiar with, well I'm saying that that was the second all four were now- The Functioning Insane.

And, I believe the photographer friend of Sharon, the Iranian guy, Hatami, when he testified that Charlie had been there and Hatami told him, at the front door, politely, to take a hike, scram, later alligator.
Charlie walked away, Sharon peeked out and saw him.
Charlie saw her.

Now then, I do believe, you naysayers you, that I coined the phrase-The Functioning Insane- a couple decades ago.
But whatever, that's what the four were that night.
No excuse for Linda Drouin. She watched as Tex murdered an innocent teen in a car.
Now, that's neither nice nor cool, no, that's not where it's at, it's the new age, you dummies, peace and all, love and kindness, my dear ladies.
three points here:
1- the three girls said exactly the same thing, which was to kill and to grab money.
Nothing else, no mention of revenge or drugs and they were in the living room and no one there knew who the hell these three weirdos that home invaded them were, so drug theory my foot.
2-Since Sharon's stomach was not cut open, well...this is why I brought up the no evidence at all or ever of drug dealing or stealing of such, had anything to do with that invasion, so as to:
draw an analogy, that being the continuing untruths, lies in all manner of media about Sharon's being attacked at, obviously, 'the point' of her pregnancy (her belly/stomach area)
3- Tex didn't attack Sharon there, directly to her middle. All of those stabbings were elsewhere, weren't they, almost 100% of 'em, on her body.
Having said all of that, why not consider the other lies one sees again and again, as, for example, the at least two pictures that describe them of being the face of Susan Atkins. That's not her.
And, yet, to this stomach area attack/wound, same thing, not true.

Leslie is said to be, as is Susan depicted, in many articles, of being, a "convicted American murderess," with 'seven murders' or 'eight murders,' "members of a cult" "murderous cult" "Charles Manson, serial killer" and so on.

None of the statements in the above paragraph are based on the truth.
To be fair, I don't believe that Linda deserved to be sentenced for, say 30 years, as Leslie and Susan so richly deserved, but she simply coulda run to a phone, at least the next day. That's what bothers some of us on that.
By the way, Peter, how ya doin'? That's funny what you said, several comments above.
That reminded me of when I made another trip to Chatsworth, when I was in the L.A. area, several years ago and people in the restaurants and shops I was in said that there were some studios there now that produced what polite society calls, 'adult films' or 'erotica,' aha, yeah, I got the picture. And I got another picture when I met with some of the 'actors' gee, I thought, they look just like other people. And I admit that I asked one of the girls for her phone number. Thought you might get get a laugh at me. I laugh at myself, so it's all good. It really is a nice town, old Chatsworth.

orwhut said...

sillyworm said...
I imagine this "party" is the "acid freakout" party where everyone indulged in 2 hits of very strong LSD. < snip

I think you're right. It sounds like the "freakout" Little Paul describes in Robert Hendrickson's first Manson film.
Do you remember where you learned about the "two" hits of acid. It sounds like a source I don't have.

TabOrFresca said...

Watkins - Chapter 9

“But that night, I’m sure he took the same dose as everyone else: two white double domes. We all dropped and within minutes started coming on. It was very strong acid. One tab would have plenty.”

orwhut said...

Thank you. It's been years since I read Little Paul's book. There's something else I forgot.

Gene Aquamarine said...

In Paul's book he paints a picture of Manson and Crockett engaged in a sort of 'wizards battle' for the fates of some of the followers. Its really interesting to hear that Crockett had spent time around family members in CM's absence, it feels like a reconnaissance mission or stakeout of some kind. After reading Watkins' book, Crockett was the character I was most fascinated by, his 'standoff' with Manson is something I'd never heard of before, quite a an enigmatic character.

Peter said...

orwhut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brownrice said...

Chris B said...

Not read the whole thing yet but what always intrigues me is that Americans still seem so hung up on the sex angle.
Even in 2021 the opening part of the article is about the sex thing. In my opinion what they are best known for is the death thing not sex but hey ho I guess there are a lot of frustrated people out there who want second hand tales of free sex.

Patty is Dead said...

Sex is NEVER free.

SixtiesRockRules! said...

ATTENTION MOD(S)...apparently, another "unknown" asshole has somehow managed to get his comment (see directly above) uploaded here. Please nuke this fool ASAP.

orwhut said...

Most Americans enjoy sex more than death.

grimtraveller said...

Chris B said...

hey ho I guess there are a lot of frustrated people out there who want second hand tales of free sex

Hang on a minute ~ no reader in the universe has any control whatsoever over what a journalist writes in an article. And even less control over an article that has already been published.
When somebody writes, you can only go with what is written.
Personally, I'm not in the slightest bit interested in the sex life of the Family 51~54 years ago. Or anyone else at any time, come to think of it.
I'm not interested in what they had for breakfast either or what shade of yellow their urine was.......

brownrice said...

grimtraveller said:
or what shade of yellow their urine was.......

Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much!

Sorry Grim I just couldn't resist. :-)

grimtraveller said...

Fayez Abedaziz said...

Sharon's stomach was not cut open

In December 2018 during a debate about facial slashes I linked to a picture on a site called the Serial chillers podcast which is no longer there. But there was a very clear picture of Sharon on the mortuary table and she was not ripped open.
In the early days of the reporting in August '69, certain publications sensationalized an already sensationalized story with wild exaggerations, one of which was that she had been ripped open and her baby taken from her womb.
When the cop, in a documentary, said that the first thing he saw was her cut open belly, I remember back in the summer of 2018 thinking that that was a bridge too far. I think I commented on that somewhere here too. Susan Atkins told Virginia Graham that she had wanted to cut her open so as to get her baby. But they did not do it.
And let's face it, with this case, it would be even more sensationalized by the media if she actually had been ripped open. The reality is that she was no more ripped open than Shorty was beheaded. Correctly reporting does not in any way minimize the horror of what happened. It doesn't make the perps appear to be more civil somehow by not exaggerating what they did.
This article was kind of interesting but it had the usual quota of misinformation, stuff that can be easily checked and debunked just by a quick read, a quick perusal or a fair working knowledge of the case.

grimtraveller said...

brownrice said...

Sorry Grim I just couldn't resist

Me neither ~ I've got to find a loo !

Speculator said...

Grim - just as an aside on misinformation and exaggeration - I had always assumed that the story about Sharon Tate having the premonition of her own death (the dream/apparition or whatever it was she had whist staying a night at Sebring’s home) was just made up by someone AFTER the murders and then regurgitated by others down the years since. It turns out that the story was first reported in 1966/7????! At least according to a DearlyDeparted YouTube vid that includes a photo of the article. That was certainly news to me and makes this whole case all the more weirder if that’s possible!

Fayez Abedaziz said...


That's the way a lot of 'information' is taken by people.
They tend to believe the first 'report,' such as an article or a phrase next to a picture of someone.
There's a picture of Leslie and the word 'evil' or murderer next to it.
Then there's a picture of Susan Atkins and the word 'psycho' there.
So they read an article and most articles are wrong as to the facts.
At least in one or two statements.
So, I can say to the curious on past sensational cases that, well,
sister Leslie was not evil.
Susan was not a psycho.
Most people don't wanna hear it.
Also, it seems to me, and there are times I think I kinda know, with something of a decent I.Q., that the average person doesn't realize, that they know next to nothing about the different mental states, the mindsets of different segments of people at large, in a society.
Before I forget, lemme say that now, these days, the people here in the U.S., are very weird and corrupt,(even more so) compared to what the populace was in the 60's.
Right you are, we don't want to have people think that anyone (or most here, are minimizing the suffering or crimes of August '69.)
But, there have been 1000's of equally horrible and even worse then those, even this and the past several years.
One thing about dancing Sadie: she was very good and right there at being able to adapt. To each situation. That explains some of what she said, bragging, at times lying and on and on as the situations changed and so,her attitude and words.
Still, she killed no one. She stabbed, maybe, Voytek, as he grabbed at her and she moved her hand down and, to his legs. Even that is debatable, the knife found had no prints. There is no way blood was on it, as it was found clean.
You can wipe something down, but, in a lab, chemistry and such, it will be found.
What'da think. Plausible?

Dan S said...

I mentioned the gallegos rampage as an example of Sacramento true crime lore; they let THAT woman out! Charlene and Karla walk along us!

Dan S said...

Walk among us

sillyworm said...

Fayez... we can speculate till the sky turns yellow and we'll NEVER know exactly what went down the nights of the murders.