"Unknown answers are far less dangerous than unquestioned answers."
- Tippy Philuea
"The ulterior motives with which you absorb and assimilate evil are not your own, but those of evil. The animal wrests the whip from its master and whips itself in order to become master, not knowing that this is only a fantasy produced by a new knot in the whipmaster's whiplash."
- Franz Kafka
What is the real motive for the TLB crimes? I believe that ultimately this question will always remain at least partially unanswered. Today, I am going to give my best and final shot at answering it based on what I have learned in my years researching this case. In doing so, I am going to take one final look at Helter Skelter to remind everyone why I have always felt that there is more hard evidence to support that motive than any of the others. Recently, I have made cases for all the other reasonable motives to the best of my ability. I think this is a great way to wrap it all up, and finish my motive series with a quick nod to the motive that I personally give the most credence to. I am not saying now or ever that I believe Helter Skelter was the actual/sole motive for the crimes. Just that, to me, if you had to pick just one- it is the choice with the most hard evidence to support it. But before I get into that let me review what I think the ultimate motivation for the actual killers those two nights was NOT...
I do not think the actual killers went those two nights for a drug burn or robbery. There is some testimonial evidence to support that motive, but almost no physical evidence to back any of it up. There is no evidence that substantial money or drugs were missing or gained.
The Music revenge snub motive is intriguing. It used to be be my first choice for many years. However, here too, there is not much physical evidence or supporting evidence to authenticate any of the rumors or stories. Nobody who directly screwed Charlie was killed on those two nights. He knew Melcher was already gone at Cielo. Wilson was allowed to live. People who Charlie had not known were killed. Not really enough there to move me in that direction.
Ever notice something about the "Get a brother out of jail" motive supporters? They are all the people who stayed loyal to Charlie after the crimes. The people who still associate and identify with The Family. Is it because this is the motive that gives Charlie the least amount of culpability? I have read almost every word that Tex has written since he went to jail. Listened to every taped word he has said. I have gone through every letter, book, and email on his website. All of it. There is no way on Earth that Tex went to those houses with the purpose of getting Bobby out of jail. I will never believe that.
That brings us back to the one motive that I still sort of do believe had an impact on the actual killers. Helter Skelter. And while I will be in the minority on this site, I am not alone in the world in general. Helter Skelter is etched in history and, at this point some 50 years later, it is going to stay that way forever. That will frustrate the experts on this blog. The true researchers. The Scholars. It doesn't bother me. I am ok with it. I understand why an average person would see the evidence Bugs presented at trial, accept the Helter Skelter motive, and move on. This is ugly shit and why would your average Joe dwell on it? Besides there is, to borrow a phrase, "A mountain of evidence" to support the Helter Skelter motive. And, unlike other motives, there is some actual physical evidence to back up the testimonial evidence. Ultimately, I think that is why Bugs decided to run with Helter Skelter as his best motive to include Charlie in the indictments. He did a deep investigation, followed the physical evidence and witness testimony where it went, and landed on the common element to all of it. A very weird and far-out philosophy Charlie was preaching to his followers. A Philosophy that Charlie would use to the ultimate manipulation - Murder. Charlie may have had his own personal motivation for selecting the specific people who ended up being murdered, but I think we will never know that for sure. The people who actually did the killing have said that they did so, albeit only in part in a couple of cases, in the name of this Helter Skelter Philosophy Charlie had taught them. There is almost no evidence that anyone who committed the murders would have done so for any reason outside of that being what Charlie told them to do. There is evidence that Charlie chose the nights, participants, weapons, and locations. So we are left with "Why" and here is the key: Which why? Many people focus on the "Why" Charlie sent them to kill. Now that Charlie is gone we may never know that for sure. But we can focus on the other- just as important- "Why." Why the people he chose were willing to go along with it? Bugs found a "Why" that included Charlie. He may very well have started there and built a legend around that "Why." He may have exaggerated and embellished the Helter Skelter motive to fit his narrative and grander plans. But he did not make up Helter Skelter or invent it. There is just too much evidence Helter Skelter played a role to the actual killers to completely ignore it. To me the question is not if Helter Skelter was Manson/Bugs bullshit because in both cases, to different extents, it surely was. The more important question is if Helter Skelter was the motivation that caused Tex, Susan, Katie, and Leslie to commit murder on those two nights of August 1969? Did they buy the bullshit to the point they were willing to kill for it? It can be possible that Charlie created some ridiculous story for his followers, Bugs exaggerated parts of that story for his jurors, and yet half a dozen Family morons still bought into the story enough to kill over it? Or maybe, did a few of them use it as personal justification to cross a line they never would have otherwise? Is it possible that this is what happened here?
Let's take one last look at the Helter Skelter motive and I will show you for the final time why I think it just might have been....
" If anyone had asked me back in March of 1969 why I was going back to Manson, I would have said I had no choice. Every day I stayed away from him felt like I was running, running away from the place I was supposed to be, running away from the changes that were necessary for me. Charlie was my destiny. Even when I talked to them on the phone, the Family women sounded different. All they could talk about was Helter Skelter. I knew the title from the Beatles White Album, but I wasn't sure what they all meant when they kept insisting that "Helter Skelter was coming down fast and we're getting ready for it." Everything had changed, they told me as they babbled on about a club they were opening and about having dune buggies and about the White Album, which explained everything, laid out everything and that I would understand if I would just come talk to Charlie."
Tex Watson in "Will you Die For Me" about the time just prior to the TLB Murders
" I had an urge to stretch out under that searing desert sun and just roast out of me every thought, every sensation. But my mind wouldn't stop flying, speeding back over those two nights and the days before them, the days ahead, maybe tomorrow, maybe tonight, when Helter Skelter would start roaring down on the world. I should start organizing the supplies. I should start looking for the bottomless pit. I should move around. I should catch up with the time rushing like the wind past my ears. My bombed-out brain was was whipping around inside my skull and I couldn't stop it. Even that huge sun couldn't stop it, slow it down, and give me rest."
- Tex Watson in "Will you Die For Me" about the time immediately after the TLB Murders
It seems like Charlie really did his job on Tex. In six months Tex went from hearing about Helter Skelter for the first time to becoming one of the primary instigators to getting it started. It is hard for me to understand why people say Bugs "invented" the Helter Skelter motive when I read words like this right out of the killers mouth. Tex wrote this book long after the murders, When his head was clear, and he is trying his very best to sound reasonable, rationale, and honest. Albeit for self-serving purposes. Tex will also add in his book that there were a couple of other reasons in addition to Helter Skelter why they went those two nights, but there is no doubt to me that Tex had spent considerable time hearing about Helter Skelter. And again we don't have to just take Tex at his word, because there is physical evidence to back up the testimonial evidence that just doesn't exist with other motives.
I keep saying that lol - Want an example? Here is a piece of Testimonial evidence about the Helter Skelter motive with Physical evidence to support it:
"Charlie pointed out the repetition of the word "Rise," first whispered strangely, then screamed until almost recognizable. This was the Beatles way of calling blackie to rise up and begin Helter Skelter, he said, and it was no coincidence that Rise was printed in blood on the walls the night of the second murder, along with Helter Skelter, just as pig had been scrawled on the door of the house on Cielo Drive in Sharon Tate's blood. He showed us how the same weird chord that ended the song Piggies appeared later on in Revalution number 9 followed by machine gun fire and the screams of the dying, the interpretation was obvious, most important, because it tied together the two parts of Charlies apoplectic puzzle."
Tex Watson in "Will you Die For ME"
Well, they did write those words in blood at the crime scenes. Those words do go along with the Helter Skelter story Charlie was telling them according to the way each one of them explain it. Tell you what, lets not be too smart for our own good here people. I think Tex is honestly telling you exactly why those words were written. Now let us now listen to another of the actual killers:
" This was the beginning of the talk of Helter Skelter. The notion of a black and white race war was, of course, something Charles Manson had picked up in prison. That it began to come out more and more, was an indicator of the things being said by the young people who began joining the family at this time. A consummate manipulator, Charles Manson simply parroted back at people what they most wanted to hear. With the Watts riots in LA, and the growing fervor over Viet Nam, revolution was a popular catchphrase for ensnaring the young, the idealistic, and the unwanted. And so Charles Manson sewed together several disjointed ideas and began to construct a tale so incredible and so fanciful that it could hold the attention of even the most drugenfeebled teenage mind. And the story of Helter Skelter was born. That Charles Manson's Helter Skelter story was around will not be disputed. That he used it to manipulate the young people around him is abundantly obvious."
"All we knew was a vague story about Helter Skelter, or revolution, or that these people were establishment people who should be hated. We weren't even told what would be happening, were simply told to go with Charles Watson and do what we were told."
- Susan Atkins in The Myth of Helter Skelter.
Now the entire purpose of Susan's final book on the matter is to repudiate the Helter Skelter motive. She too, for self-serving purposes had changed her story for the umpteenth million time. But even when trying to argue against Helter Skelter, she had to acknowledge it. A pending Race War is what they were being preached to about. And then there is the physical evidence. Once again there is some physical evidence to back up the idea the murders were committed to ignite a WAR:
Its an interesting choice of words they chose to leave at the scenes. To me it seems that words like Rise, War, and Helter Skelter have a lot more to do with Helter Sketler and a Race War than they do to drugs, money, revenge, or robbery. You also have to remember that this book was Susan later on, at the end of her life, trying hard to blame the entire thing on Manson and sound responsible at the same time. She has changed her story so many times, that I think it is also fair to also consider her initial comments back at the time of the crimes. In her 1969 grand jury testimony she recalled the exact conversation Tex had with Charlie immediately after returning to the ranch from the Tate house:
Q: Did Tex tell Manson in your presence what you and Tex and the two girls had done?
Q: What did Tex tell Mr. Manson?
A: Basically, just what we had done. That it all happened perfectly. There was a lot of- it happened very fast- a lot of panic, that we were panicked, and he described it, " Boy it sure was Helter Skelter."
Q: Tex said this to Charlie?
Above is a picture of a door taken from an entryway at Spahn Ranch. It was taken into evidence as proof to the existence of the Helter Skelter Phenomena at Spahn Ranch. Physical evidence to support the testimonial evidence. Before I move on let me point out two more things Tex said in his book - "Will You Die For Me" that goes along with what Susan said in her Grand Jury Testimony above.
"When word of the arrest got to the family, Charlie disappeared for a couple of days up to Big sur, something very unusual for him. When he got back he called us all together. It was the afternoon of August 8, 1969, and his message was simple. " Now is the time for Helter Skelter"
Then when talking about speaking with Charlie after getting back to the ranch after the Tate murders that same night:
"Okay, he said gently. "Go to sleep and don't tell anyone." As the girls wandered off, he called me back. "Was it really Helter Skelter?" He asked. "Yeah it sure was Helter Skelter."
So you have Tex saying that the day of the murder he was told it was time for Helter Skelter, and then Tex saying that night after the murder that he told Charlie it was Helter Skelter. Susan backs up the second part independently. Although, as always with Susan, who knows? She told a grand jury she heard Tex tell Charlie "Boy it sure was Helter Skelter", and in Tex's recollection of the same conversation- Susan was no longer around. However, Susan's version was told right after the crimes and Tex wrote his many years later. It seems reasonable that Susan overheard them as the conversation was remembered so similarly, and as Tex's version of the conversation with Charlie came out second. It would have been really hard back in 1969 for Susan to guess almost identically what Tex was going to say he said to Charlie on that night all those years later.
Lets talk about the Labiancas for a second.
The hardest part for most TLB Scholars seems to always have been tying a motive to both crimes. There are a plethora of motive options for the Tate murders, and I have explored all of them. Figuring out where the Labiancas fit in, has always been much harder. Scholars and researchers have tried looking into their kids, their kids relationships, their business', their hobbies, private lives, potential mob connections, drug involvments. Nothing has stuck. Nothing that you can put a finger on to explain why they were killed that night that would tie the Labiancas to Tate...
EXCEPT THE BLOODY WORDS LEFT ON THE REFRIGERATOR!!!!!!!!!!!
Come on people. What would connect the two houses? The words written on the walls and appliances in the residents blood doesn't ring any alarm bells? The words left behind at both houses have a common theme. And it ain't drugs or money. We are not playing a trivia game here. The obvious answer is not always a trick one. There are important things both crime scenes those two nights have in common. The main participants, the style of the slaughter and the bloody messages they left when they were done. I think the words were intended to leave a message, and the messages were the same at the Tate and Labianca houses. Rise, Pig, War, and Helter Skelter. These words just may have been the key connection between the two crimes. In fact you can throw Hinman in as well. Words that support the idea that the Family was under the impression there was a revolution coming down fast...
Presiding commissioner Roberts: "Why was that?"
Inmate Van Houten: " We were stealing Dune Buggies in order to convert them to Desert Vehicles for the revolution."
Then later Leslie says:
Inmate Van Houten: " But prior to the murders, he began to say that it looked like the blacks weren't going to start the revolution, that we would have to. And that's when he seriously started talking about us killing people."
- Leslie Van Houten Parole Hearing 9/6/2017
Here is more from another of the actual Killers:
Deputy Commissioner Lam: "So did Manson do anything to prepare you for this first set of murders, other than what you said already indoctrinating you with his philosophy?"
Inmate Krenwinkle: "No. I mean, the only preparation is yeah, exactly the ideology. Making me just, us and them philosophy and this war he was creating, and this God-like figure that he created for himself. No- that was all his bit. and nobody ever said no."
Deputy Commissioner Lam: " OK. And During these meetings did he teach you about the race war?"
Inmate Krenwinkle: "Yes."
Finally for this segment:
Inmate Krenwinkle: "Tex. I went out and stole Dune buggies with Tex."
Deputy Commissioner Lam: "And what were those dune buggies for?"
Inmate Krnewinkle: "To go out to the desert. That was part of his philosophy, that we would live in the desert."
- Patricia Krenwinkle Parole Hearing December 29, 2016
Let's take a look at another exchange LULU had in that parole hearing....
Inmate Van Houten: " This was the 9'th."
Presiding Commissioner Roberts: "OK"
Inmate Van Houten: "And so the next morning, I saw Pat outside of a trailer, and she said that Helter Skelter had started."
Presiding Commissioner Roberts: "And what did that mean?"
Inmate Van Houten: "It meant that people had been murdered."
Presiding Commissioner Roberts: "What did the whole Helter Skelter thing mean to that group? What- when someone said Helter Skelter to that group- what did it mean?"
Inmate Van Houten: "Revolution and chaos."
Presiding Commissioner Roberts: " So revolution and chaos had started?"
Inmate Van Houten: "Yeah."
Then just a few questions later she adds this:
Inmate Van Houten: "It bothered me, but again, you know, I never questioned why they were selected or why it happened. But I knew that because Pay had committed herself and early on in my time at the ranch, Manson had told me to stay very close to Pat, I knew that I wanted to go and commit to that cause too. I believed in it, and I wanted to go."
Presiding Commissioner Roberts: "Alright."
So there is Leslie telling you in her own words, not even 5 years ago, why she personally was involved. She did not go to get Bobby out of jail, to rob anyone, for revenge, or over drugs. Now my question to all of you who argue so strongly that Leslie should get out of jail would be this: Leslie said this 4 years ago. She is older and wiser, and clear minded. She has become a responsible older woman who takes responsibility for her crimes and is showing true remorse. If we are to take her word for that, do we not take her word in all of it? If she is being honest, then we have to accept what she is saying as truthful right? Well, Leslie is saying that she went out to kill the Labianca's in the name of Helter Skelter. It is really as simple as that. She does point out one of the always present unanswered questions. Why the Labianca's were selected? But she doesn't really leave much room for doubt as to why she helped kill them once they were. Again, it kinda goes back to the which "Why" you are trying to solve? Did Charlie have some personal, or specific reason for picking those houses? If the people who actually killed the victims inside those houses did not know, and so went in the name of Helter Skelter does it matter?
I think Leslie went along to "belong". I think she was another one who would have done almost anything to not be left out of anything the others would be talking about so much. I believe that Leslie thought she should believe, and therefore felt the need to prove she believed. I doubt she really believed as much as she wanted people to think she believed.
I think Helter Skelter mattered not nearly as much for Linda. I believe Linda was not around long enough to buy in as much as the others, but also not around long enough to object when being asked to go along either. I think she was the least involved in many ways, which is why it is funny to me when people try to make up alternative motives based on her.
That is WHY I think these people participated individually. I think Tex and Pat are stone cold killers and Leslie and Susan were more reluctant ones. I don't think Linda was capable of killing in that manner at all. I think they all went in the general name of Helter Skelter although I think they all had varying degrees of enthusiasm for it, and different limits on how far they ultimately could go in the name of it. I have not found any significant evidence that Tex. Pat, Susan, Leslie, or Linda thought they were being sent there for any other reason than to ignite the race war on that first night. I take them at there word when they all say Charlie sent them there and why. They have all been consistent and uniform about that part of the story if nothing else.
And the brings us to the other WHY. Because if you don't believe the actual killers when they tell you WHY, you must believe there is another WHY. WHY did Charlie really send them if it were not to ignite his race war? WHY were those victims chosen, if not for simply being rich pigs? If Charlie used Helter Skelter to manipulate these people to kill for his own personal reasons- it is going to be really hard at this point to find out what those reasons are. It is my opinion you won't. Charlie is gone. Any secrets Charlie had went with him. Bug's is gone. If Bug's exaggerated the Helter Skelter motive to include Charlie at the expense of any real motive possibilities he may have known of, they too, went with him. The Killers have all told their stories over and over. What do they gain in changing those stories at this point? To admit they have still been lying these last 30 years would hardly be the best way to get out of jail for the last years of their lives. Have any of the dozen books or documentaries that still come out shed any new light? I am sorry to say that we know almost all we are ever going to know about this story. It is a fantastic story as it is. I will never understand the need for so many people to make it even more complicated, and strange than it already is. And look, for a little while I was no different. For 15 years, I have read so many websites, books, testimony/trial transcripts you would think I was obsessed. For hours and hours I have watched videos, listened to parole hearings, and interviews. All trying to understand why the hell this happened. I kpet telling myself it couldn't be Helter Skelter. It has to be something else. So I kept looking into every avenue. I chased down every story I heard or rumor I read. I went to all the locations in person to try and get a feel for myself. I met some of the people loyal to Manson, and considered their versions of the events. All with an open mind. And while I am no scholar or professional researcher I feel I have earned the right to my opinion. It is my opinion we are stuck with Helter Skelter lol. That is just the way it will be. There is just enough real evidence to make Helter Skelter credible, and just quite not enough evidence of any other motive to disprove it. Many people better than myself have tried to prove other motives, and we all always end up at the same intersection. Accept the answers we have found, or keep asking the same questions in different ways. If you chose the latter, my friends, I fear you must prepare yourself to live with frustration. I think the last remaining questions about the TLB motives are always, unfortunately, going to end up unanswered questions...
Now I leave all of you with a question:
A person who lives in the neighborhood where I walk my dog is the leader of a gang of thugs. They do whatever he says. One day he gets pissed off my dog keeps pooping on his lawn. He warns me, but I just laugh him off. So decides to have his boys kick my ass really bad. He is not sure they will go that far over dog poop, so he makes up a story that I raped his sister. He tells the gang members that and they buy it. One day I am walking home with my dog and they jump me and beat me so bad I pass away in the hospital 3 days later. As they first confront me they are screaming at me about rape. the night of the attack the Gang leader who masterminded my attack had a freak heart attack and died. Someone witnessed the attack and the people who beat me are caught. When they are questioned by police they all say they killed me because I raped the leaders sister. When they go to court they repeat this in front of my family in friends. At the scene where they beat me they wrote rapist on the street next to where my body was laying. I died thinking I was killed because people thought I raped someone. The people who killed me did so because they thought I raped someone. My family and friends live the rest of their lives thinking I was killed because someone thought I raped someone, all this even though it is later proven I never committed the rape.
What was the motive for me being murdered?
-Your Favorite Saint