You got it, Ken. I found a few photos. Sorry I took so long to get back to you. You know how life goes sometimes.
Ella Jo Bailey was born January 15, 1947. Like Ken said, she was from Holland, Michigan. It's crazy to think she stopped wearing her glasses in California. I wonder if she could see?
I'm not a fan of true crime. General cowardice and an overall weak constitution are probably the reasons. I feel too strongly for the victims and also sometimes for the monsters who hurt them when it's obvious they were once victims themselves. Cream is supposed to rise, I get it, and cycles can be broken. But not everyone is cream, are they? Sometimes, nihilism is the only way to dull empathy.
Regardless, every now and then, Charlie and his ephemera plop themselves down inside my mind loop and my questions start back up again. They really never fully go away. Big pieces of this puzzle are missing. It's obvious. Something dark and ominous is lurking beneath the surface that will make everything understandable once we rip it from the water and watch it die at our feet.
And we all know it.
Or do we? Maybe I simply want there to be more because Susan was weird and had a mustache and oozing sores on her feet and Sharon was pretty and seemed nice and was huge pregnant and they butchered her. People do crazy stuff on speed every day but when it comes to Sharon, I somehow need Garretson's van ride and multiple FBI surveillance guys cutting out early on a Friday night to party with Hollywood hunnies (I just made that part up) and Eugene Massaro spilling the beans about a drug deal on Cielo to be legit parts of August 8th.
I doubt we'll ever understand the whole picture. People reading this who know the truth are probably laughing and pointing at their computer screens and phones right now. I feel it in my bones.
Not really. Or probably. I don't know.
To embrace any single theory, you know them all, a person has to ignore facts that appear to clearly validate one of the other theories. The answer is probably all of the theories are correct. That's what I tell myself anyway.
Typically, when I reach that point, I look for side quests. The one I'm on now is how did they pay for their daily lives as they rumbled toward that tragic weekend in early August, 1969, and their subsequent downfall?
We all think we know. Credit cards, auto theft, selling dope, whatever. But what can we prove? Who are the reliable witnesses?
Writers and commenters on this blog have asserted countless times over the years that Charlie was pimping out his girls. While I've always wondered what the deal was with the young loves who had to run away into desert every time a pair of headlights bounced toward the group's digs at night, and I bet I don't want to know, Fromme or Good would have to tell me themselves that Charlie was their pimp for me to believe it.
But I'm also no fool. I know it was happening. Dianne Lake says so but I don't know what to believe when it comes to Snake so I set her aside as a witness I don't trust. My bad if she's your homie. If you cited Lake in a paper and I was your professor, I'd write a brief note in one of your margins asking why you believe her, and would surely reduce your grade if you didn't support her claims with anything the rest of the world considers official.
Such as court transcripts. Especially when the information is never overturned or proven wrong. They become history. Like it or not.
Which brings us to the Witches of Mendocino
. We've all heard for years (and probably repeated it once or twice along the way) that Manson's group was starting up a house of ill repute in Mendocino. And although the belief is commonly held in some circles, we see that after Sadie, barely twenty-one herself, forced free drugs into sweet, innocent, little, seventeen-year-old Allen Rosenthal and turned his legs to snakes (Can I get an amen!), the witches were busted only for drug possession and giving their drugs to minors.
And they likely would've been charged with nothing if they were better at hiding tiny blue pills and a bag of weed in the freakin woods behind their house.
I mean come on. The gang that couldn't shoot straight rides again.
So then are we cool to move on and put to bed the idea of the girls selling their heynanner nanners to the local talent? Kinda. But not really.
As willing as always to help dig her hole a little deeper, Susan Atkins opened her big mouth and revealed to a probation offer that she was somewhat tricked into the sex trade soon after turning sixteen. Today, we'd say Susan has PTSD from the way she grew up and she'd have resources available for help. Back then, bad kids chose to be bad kids.
You can hop back into the above transcript and go to page 58
if you want to read what Susan told the probation officer about her life after arriving in San Francisco in 1963. Evidence exists to verify what she says, no one should be surprised. It's old news. We've all seen the photo of Dracula staring down longingly at her pale bosoms during one of those shows where he charged idiots to see him shill for the devil.
Sorry, I meant Anton LaVey.
And then later, when the shit hits the fan for real in late 1969, Sadie again puts herself in San Francisco several years earlier when she fills in her backstory to everyone's favorite pedantic psychopath, Vincent T. Bugliosi Jr.
If you listen closely and remain still as a statue, you can hear Bugliosi's pants tightening in the groin area while Sadie answers him.
That's it for Bugliosi. Drive overload. His face colors when he hears Sadie say they all shared their "means of support," and his mind quickly pivots to where his animal instincts were already taking him.
"Enough about did Charlie ever call himself Jesus for a moment, Vince," he advises himself. "These hippies were surely humpin. Let's get some of the juicy deets into the open air and make her repeat the part about Jesus Satan Charlie asking her did you ever imagine doing the deed with your dad."
And so that happened. You can read it.
Hold up, you say. Wasn't this post about Ella Jo Bailey?
Yes. But it's also about theories. And the things you've written to one another over the years in the comments. And the posts. But mostly this is me wondering if I can verify any illegal streams of income flowing into the family that either did or did not call themselves a family.
We're getting there. I promise. Let's see what else Ken619 had to say about Ella that you probably ignored and left unanswered while arguing with each other over which MB reader is a dick and who isn't one and etc etc.
Hmmm. I wonder if Lynette Fromme mentioned anything in the best eyewitness account to date, Reflexion. Last we checked in where was she? Oh, right. Deciding the oldest profession in the world was not for her, and you can rest assured the same went for Mary and Patty.
"...I jumped out of the car with my shoes in my hand. This was not the life for me. Mary and Patty were not thrilled with it either. Contrary to April's assurances about her clients, Patty had been roughly treated. April was unapologetic. She rebuked Charlie for allowing himself to be seen coming into the house. She was furious that we had jeopardized her business simply so we could have 'an experience.'
Moralizing about the way we were living, without structure or regard for money, she made a point that she was sending her five-year-old daughter to a conservative Catholic school" (Fromme, Kindle, 128).
April, you might remember, is the top girl and operations manager for Pete the pimp, Charlie's friend and fellow winner of the Mann Act sweepstakes. Debutante fresh according to Fromme, April "earned her way up in this business, starting in migrant flophouses turning ten-dollar tricks at roughly ten per hour" (128).
That doesn't sound like Charlie was exercising a strong pimp hand on his small band of travelers. But at the same time he took them to Pete's house, right?
A lot of trash has been talked about Lynette Fromme on this blog over the years, but unlike all of us, she is not guilty of ignoring Ken619. Sure, her reply came seven years later, and Ken I hope you're still here, but Fromme answered him and filled in the picture a bit more for the rest of us.
Before I show you what she wrote, I want to point out that what you're about to read is on the very next page after the whole Pete and April disaster. Imagine, all the stories Fromme probably has in her head and her notebooks and her book goes right from a whorehouse in Sacto to...
"Sexy Susan was a stripper in a San Francisco cabaret. Stretched on the Persian rug in a big Victorian house on Lyon Street, propped on one elbow, she was barefoot and dressed in an orange sweatshirt, and jeans, staring at Charlie, not saying a word. He was strumming his guitar, and appeared unconscious of the six or eight people who had gathered to listen" (128).
This is incredibly similar to the Atkins grand jury testimony you just read above if you clicked the link. Since Fromme and Atkins basically tell the same story, let's see if Fromme has anything else to add to that folksy scene where everyone was barefoot and all strummy on acoustic guitars.
"At least four people sublet rooms in the house. I spent some time talking with a thin blonde rolling her short wavy hair in curlers" (128).
"That was Ella, an experienced woman on break from college. She looked like a 1930s actress, with a bright smile as ready as her conversation" (128).
Sandra Good describes meeting Ella later in the book. "One girl right out of a 1930s Broadway musical, her huge blue eyes and wavy blonde hair beneath an old top hat, looked up from her bread board. Shaking flour from her hands, she smiled, saying, "Ella," and everyone in the room looked at me with cheery hellos" (166).
I wanted you to get the picture of Ella wearing a top hat while preparing a healthy dinner into your mind because it's such a cool image, like something from a film, but I want to go back to Fromme's comment if we can.
Ella was no older than than a college senior at the time. Two decades plus a year of life probably. Again, this is at the start of a new section in the book right after the previous section ended in unhappy prostitution experiences for the Three Musketeers. Fromme picks this place to introduce us to Sadie who we already know is a sex worker at the time.
And then immediately after Fromme's description of Sadie, we meet Ella. Why would Fromme call Ella experienced? At what? She'd been in the Haight only a year or two.
having knowledge or skill in a particular field, especially a profession or job, gained over a period of time
"an experienced social worker"
Fromme is a wordy lady. She knows how to write. Her family was educated. I don't think she chooses words randomly and for no reason. Especially when introducing someone.
"One night my father and I clashed over something silly--a word or a definition. Suddenly enraged, he pointed to the door and yelled, "You get out of this house and never come back!" I cried, stuffing a big purse full of books and make-up and miscellaneous junk" (3).
Words matter. Experienced at what? Sharing her means of support with Susan Atkins?
Maybe Ella made top hats. I'm not sure. But I do think this might be another example where we could say it doesn't look like Charlie is their pimp, but he damn straight knows where to find some hoes.
I make jokes. But it does kinda seem like Sadie and Ella were already in the life when Charlie appeared.
In conclusion, based on things Susan was unable to keep from telling authorities, court records and documents, and Fromme's book, I'm unable to provide evidence of anyone giving Charlie any of the money they made on their backs at this time.
I'm definitely willing to consider your evidence, however.
For the two of you still reading this apparently endless post, thank you. I want to leave you with a couple of quick thoughts after briefly listing a few of Ella's highlights that most of you are familiar with:
- Ella is Sadie's roommate when Fromme and Charlie meet Sadie
- Susan Sadie Glutz Atkins tells the grand jury that Ella is in the first group to leave SF in the bus
- Fromme verifies Ella is with Patty when Dennis Vibrations picks them up hitchhiking in his Rolls
- Ella rolls out to Mendocino with of the girls who'd already been involved in prostitution
- She's the first to bring Steve in from the desert
- Ella tells Charlie that Hinman is coming into an inheritance
- But smartly refuses to go to Hinman's
- And then stupidly helps wipe down Hinman's vehicle
- She teams up with Bill Vance, another Mansonverse enigma and probably best criminal in the group
And this from Sandra Good in Reflexion:
"The heavy door of the saloon creaked open, and, quickly, three people slid in. Their eyes were large and the sweat on their bodies dampened their leather vests. One dug a hand into a Levi pocket and tossed some clinking clattering silver onto the dusty hardwood floor. From another pocket came a wad of bills.
'Wow!' How much didja get?'
'Oh, just a couple hundred. We had some trouble and had to split.'
Ella pulled a paper bag out of her purse, removed a Colt .45 from it, and began wiping it with one of the rags. 'Whew,' she said, 'That was something else. Someone stash this for me.' Sadie took the gun from Ella. It was the first time that they had robbed. Ella said, 'It was nothing. I was calm as a rock.' She took off her cowboy boots and with a big sigh, lay back against the bar" (334).
Good doesn't tell us who the other two people are, but right before that charming story of youth, Fromme ends her piece by telling us that Bill Vance "liked the rock n' roll of robbing with no pesky ideological attachments" (333).
Bill, Ella, and who else?
"It was the first time they had robbed."
What happened the second time they robbed? Or the third?
I feel like I went looking for a hooker and maybe found a revolutionary when I dove into Ella Jo Bailey on my search for money trails. It's possible Fromme and Good gave us a little more about Ella because Ella turned rat to dodge a forgery charge. Probably, in fact. But man, Ella's profile seems to match Mary's and Share's much more closely than say Sadie's imo.
Or maybe I'm totally wrong and something else happened to make the main Manson girls go rogue with a lifelong criminal. Charlie might've actually been controlling their minds like people say.
In the case of Ella Jo Bailey, some of the girls' minds he apparently controlled before he even met them.
But that's how evil works, right?
thanks to Cielo Drive
for keeping the research materials alive year after year.