Sunday, September 26, 2021

Book Review: The Tragic Death of Marina Habe by Tighe Taylor

As longtime devotees will know, here and there I've reviewed books associated with our topic - well, because MansonBlog is a wholesome and benevolent institution in part dedicated to helping readers find the books they'll love by spotlighting the best in TLB-related literature - but once or twice I've had to put on my black hat and present a deliciously virulent take-down. Unfortunately, this is one of those moments. This one lies prone on the sacrificial altar, ready for... well... this.

Let's get the knives out.

It's not just that The Tragic Death of Marina Habe is bad. It’s that it's bad in ways that seem to cause the space-time continuum itself to wobble. It gives us 65 pages that have the breadth and emotional resonance of the white pages. I finished it on a short flight, but was retching before we left the tarmac. I trudged on because it was only 65 pages and the lavatory was occupied.

In the introduction, Taylor says:

"Our story is told through the eyes of a fictional writer for a true crime magazine. Much of the action, particularly the early stages, centers around meetings between the writer and his editor. In these meetings, the writer explains his plan for an article about Marina and her fate.

This framing allows alternative theories to be presented...

But.. then he really didn't do much of that. It seemed like he stuck this in while reading his draft (he didn't even do THAT well) to distance himself ever so slightly from this 7th grade level school report done on Sunday night after bedtime and belongs in a folder labeled "Stuff We Already Know". He repeatedly says he made attempts to contact many (including Deidre Lansbury), but no one responded to him. My favorite part was when he said that it is rumored that Maury Terry had drafted a book solving this case before he passed. This is the same Maury Terry who believed David Berkowitz acted in concert with a satanic cult in Yonkers. Terry's family (of course) did not respond to Taylor's requests for information.

It devolves into self-satisfied, fish-in-barrel elimination of suspects (ie The Family) using long-known facts most likely gleaned from the very blogs that Taylor takes time to badmouth. All of the facts contained in the book can easily be found in this here WordPress blog. In fact, this Charmin roll is pretty much a series of glorified, padded-out blog posts... a deeply needless book... a rambling mess of facts already known to even novice TLB students... a collection of self-aggrandizing - seemingly copied/pasted, mildly tweaked facts and (of course) self-published - so he can tell women in airport bars that he writes true-crime books. I would mention the grammatical errors, quadruple quotation marks, misplaced carriage returns and repeated paragraphs, but it's Sunday night after bedtime.

For the love of God, don't read this book, or else he might write another.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Slow Death of William Eston Garretson Jr.

Brethren, lift up your tv dinners and cold cans of Bud and let's toast tonight...

Sometimes I feel like William Eston Garretson Jr. is Charles Watson's ninth victim. Possibly his tenth depending on how you feel about poor Mr. Stubbs. Blog veteran Panamint Patty touches on Watson and Stubbs briefly here in this lovely interview from last spring. I will revisit the interview in an upcoming post, but right now let's talk about the caretaker. 

Other times, I think Tex was just another nail in Billy's coffin. Billy died in 2016. He was likely a longtime sufferer of PTSD that he disastrously self-treated. Tobacco use contributed to his death at age sixty-six. Billy drove a grocery store delivery truck for many years.  
He lived in a town where things change slowly and everyone knows everybody's business. This was his final address. 

"My husband, I really don't think anybody in the area here, never gave him a chance of day," Linda Derr, Garretson's ex-wife said. The pair were married for five years and had a son together, she said, adding that their son was born with a severe heart defect and died after his third open heart surgery. 

Derr described her ex-husband, who died in 2016, as a very good man, loving man, and cited those qualities as the reason she married him. 
              - Lancaster Eagle Gazette 20 Nov 2017

Shoutout to Linda up in Heaven for her kindness. She was Billy's second wife. I tried to locate Linda when I was gathering information for this post but I was too late. First, I found her phone number from 2002 on Ancestry. Then, I discovered her Facebook page but noticed she hadn't posted since 2019. After that, Google took me to her obituary. 

Linda Lou Derr died at the end of July 2020. No cause of death is listed but she suffered from genetic heart issues. She was a retired drug store cashier. Her employer, Gray Drug, was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1912. Sherwin-Williams bought them out in 1982. I didn't know other drugstores existed for the first twelve years of my life. 

Linda and Billy were on the same high school yearbook page together. That got me. 

     Billy grew up without a father in this tidy little home. 

Sometime after completing high school, Billy made the mistake of a lifetime when he hitchhiked from Ohio to Los Angeles. Scrolling through the labels along the right side of the blog reveals that this is the thirteenth time blog writers have mentioned Billy (and remembered to make a label). I thought I'd try to add some paint to the outline already laid down herein and elsewhere. Thank you for reading the results of my research today. 

Billy possibly had one lucky day in his entire life and you know when I mean. Maybe two counting when the police let him go. 

Arguably, the aftershocks of August 8, 1969, killed him long before he died. You know already that no one escapes this darkness unscathed. Billy's story should reinforce that belief if you already have it. Or maybe create it if you do not. 

Before we get motoring, I want to assert that one indisputable truth in this whole big Charles Manson milieu is that the road is littered with children no one gave a shit about and often hurt. You can drop a pedantic bootstraps lecture below if you wish but you won't change my mind. 

If you haven't read the Bill (and one post labeled William) Garretson posts on the right, you should. Actually, if you need backstory, start by reading the parts of Helter Skelter that are relevant to Garretson. Like if you have a rainy day or something else keeping you inside. For example, if half of your town has covid and the citizens all want to kill each other because of what they post on Facebook. 

After that, read the Garretson articles on the right over there ------------------------->

For 21st century Billy info, read or refresh yourself on this awesome post by Max Frost. In 2018, I was blown away by Max's post and the song remains the same for me now. It's one of my favorite pieces in the library here. While Billy's house from Frost's account is gone, bits of foundation remain a hundred yards from this barn. Frost's friend possibly heard a story none of us ever heard before beside a bonfire on this property while they shared that case of beer. Neighbors are sparse. 

If you're wondering, I solve the mystery behind August 8th today, so make sure you read through until the end! Just kidding. I never will. But there are lots of people hanging around with the answers. Just ask one. Maybe use your VPN and don't slip up and give away any unnecessary info. Monsters and lunatics are woven in amongst the helpful. 

Billy is thirteen when his dad is indicted in Ohio Amish country for common deadbeatery. Btw, Washington Courthouse is pronounced, you guessed it, Warshington Courthouse. 

Billy wrestled in high school. The above photo is from his sophomore year in 1965. You might think Billy was from the sticks and in a way you're right but his hometown of Lancaster, Ohio, is also basically becoming a distant burb of the state capital these days.

Now, if you want to talk about the sticks, I'm from a place near the river that makes Lancaster look like a full-blown metropolis. If you can believe it, six people lived in my town when I was born. Two were my parents (rimshot). 

Btw, if you ever visit Lancaster, be sure to pronounce the city's name, "Lank-uh-stir." Lancaster is famous for General William Tecumseh Sherman. You can visit Sherman's home online here. The vlog host is from Indiana and mispronounces Lancaster. 

Kids from Lancaster are tough. Sherman was tough. Tecumseh was tough but had an insane brother. And also was not from Lancaster. 

11th Grade. You can almost feel the darkness swirling around the edges. Single mother. Early 60's. Conservative town. Smaller dude. 

Senior Photo. Billy studies business and is on the wrestling team but absent from the team photo. 

Like Max Frost said, Billy's number was in the phone book forever. I know the story as it's told has Billy thumbing a ride to California sometime in 1968, but we are unable to produce an Ohio address for him between late spring of 1967 and early 1970. Yes, he could've lived at his mom's for awhile. Every young person loves living at home after they become adults.  

But if he didn't, where was he? Did Billy split for the West Coast so he could be gay without his mom running the vacuum in the living room while he got his groove on behind his locked bedroom door? And if so, why would he go to Los Angeles and not San Francisco? And why would he marry three women throughout the course of his life and have children with two if he was gay? 

Three wives is deeper than any closet I've ever heard of in the secular world. But spend a couple of minutes in Lancaster and you'll be like oh yeah okay I totally see it now. So who knows? 

Was Billy possibly a naive rumpkin who thought he could go to Hollywood and become the next Steve McQueen? That'd be my bet. Or maybe Lee Marvin. Marvin was bigger in '67. A real tough guy. Billy and so many other youths were drawn west like moths to the flame and it never stops. Has never stopped. 

How many Billy's are running around LA right now believing they're getting their big break except in reality they're being used and abused? A couple thousand? 

You think any young rubes who fell in way over their heads are heading home for good at the end of this month? At the end of every month? Billy was about to turn twenty and return to the heartland when August 8th happened. He said so in his testimony anyway.

Let's back up a bit. We're getting ahead of ourselves. 

Billy Garreston, fresh from his senior year in Ohio, arrives in the City of Angels on the back of a turnip truck and drifts through a year or two of living on his journey to Rudi Altobelli. 

Or, nineteen year old Billy decides to hitch to California to see the country he thinks he'll be drafted to defend before it's too late. Both work for me but I lean early. Billy says in his testimony that he had a few friends over to swim in Rudi's pool. How long does it take to make friends you trust enough to have over for pool parties where you live AND work? 

Seriously. How much time passes before a yokel like Billy can cozy up to a mobbed-up guy like Rudi and have the skill set to make it stick? And then move into Cielo Drive (albeit the not air-conditioned guest house) with the property owner who also btw runs around town with Hollywood stars? Have you ever heard of a caretaker sharing the use of a private pool with his rich neighbors, aka the paying tenants, who live across the walk and can see him swimming? 

Did Ms. Chapman and the gardener brothers also take dips? 

Quick story. I have a friend who is a flower wholesaler. They service big personal accounts too. The richest couple in his wealthy state receive weekly deliveries. The orders are so large that my friend's company delivers in a big diesel reefer truck that typically backs onto loading docks. 

One morning, my friend's driver takes a leak in a staff bathroom attached to the massive kitchen at the front mansion when no one is around to ask. Mind you, these people are rich for real, not your local busiest orthodontist who married a surgeon or whatever, or a ballplayer or singer. These folks have a few homes on the property but this is the main one we're talking about. The guards see the driver on the camera walking out of the toilet. A little while later, the woman of the house calls my friend on his personal phone and demands he fire the driver or they're done doing business together. 

Because of two minutes in a staff lavatory. Maybe he peed on the floor, who knows. 

I'm pretty sure no one who just read that is sitting there saying, "Wow, that's super mean and odd because none of the rich people I know are like that..." If someone told me that story, for example, I would probably shrug and say what do you expect? He should've known. 

Rich people don't want contact with the hoi polloi. That's not new news. You might even have a story just like it to share with me in the comments. Or maybe not. Donna Jean never gets no love. 

I'm probably just trying to say that Billy was most likely more ingratiated that many people believe. Or maybe employers take nighttime poolside photos of their employees and I've just had shitty jobs. Which is probably true anyway but whatever. 

Even if you stand firm in other beliefs, it's interesting that we might have a block of missing time in Billy's California life as told in the narrative. It's not a stretch to wonder if things he experienced during that period might help us better understand the goings on at Cielo prior to the murders. In a moment, we'll discuss a second and just as interesting block of missing time at the end of Billy's stay in California and its possible effects on his eventual testimony. 

But first, where was Billy before the dog watching gig that came with free rides from Folger family members? 

Did he start out at a primo cruisin' spot after making the decision he could do that type of work and thus accelerated his journey to the Cielo guesthouse? Billy could've been a waiter or a bartender or a whatever if he had a problem with being a male prostitute. Other choices existed. Maybe he tried women's wigs first and failed. 

And didn't he have any fear of the bad things that happen in the skin trade? Getting into cars is totally scary. What if they drive you away to your doom? Who's behind the wheel? Bill Nelson in a Bruce Davis mask?

I would've starved to death. I'm scared of everything. Killers, germs, conversations. The list is endless. Plus, I hate to say it but I think my early Wesleyan training got to me. My internal dialogue is all over-caution and hey don't do that, dude. 

Actually, I'm attempting to appear interesting. I mostly only internally discuss food wants and upcoming meals with myself. Why I shouldn't eat this or that, what about on Saturday though, basic stuff. 

Let's move on to August 9th. If you read through Billy's testimony you will see the police arrested him prior to lunchtime and released him in the afternoon the following Monday (August 11th). When detectives interviewed him Sunday, the 10th, Billy said the dogs were barking two to three hours after Steve Parent left the cottage. 

Maybe it took awhile to receive permission to leave town but Billy remained in California for a full week after the police release him before returning home to Ohio. Billy tells Bugliosi in court that he moved out of Cielo Dr. on August 9th. Where was Billy for those seven days after being released from jail? He had little or no money and was freshly unemployed. 

The following July, when Billy arrives back in LA to testify, he says on the witness stand that the dogs never barked the night of August 8th, 1969. But then also even if they did, the dogs always barked at nothing so lol whatever man dogs are stupid amirite. 

Hearing that, lead defense attorney Paul (PJ) Fitzgerald shoots out of his chair like an ignited NASA rocket, calls time, and screams, "Heyo, most honorable dude, hold up a quick sec. Billy is busted for lying right here and right now. He's impeached. Here's the proof."

The proof is shown but the bench is still all, "Haha no way fuck you, Fitzgerald. We are here for blood." The attempt fails. 

Aaron Stovitz wins the one-liner of the day award. And check out Billy's answer to the last question. 

Brisk and typical, old boy. Cheerio!

With no psychological aftercare or anything else, Billy enjoyed a free redeye back Ohio that evening where the wife he married three weeks earlier waited. They shared an apartment an hour from the airport in Columbus. 

Lovely digs. Just like Cielo. Lots of Beverly Hillbillies actresses and heiresses using the pool with the help. Okay, you got me. There's no pool. Or actresses and heiresses. 

Billy and Wife #1 have a child while living at this address. Their marriage lasts a year and three days. His wife is granted the divorce on the grounds of gross neglect and extreme cruelty. 

I tried to find her but was unsuccessful. There's also a chance she's passed. Please don't stay forever angry, Mrs. Billy #1. He went through some shit he could never tell anyone about out there in sunny California. 

Billy, how'd you meet that mobster? How did you become his rent boy? I bet he loved how young you looked and your wrestler body. 

Billy is dead but also alive on Max Frost's answering machine. Or computer by now. His phone even. Technology is all we have anymore if you think about it. 

I want to pick up the phone while Billy's leaving his message to Max and breathlessly exclaim, "I'm here! What's up, Bill?"

I'd say, "Gimme the straight dope, Billy. How and why were you staying up all night every night? 

And anyway where'd you hide? The turning door handle story is terrifying okay but also reads like literature edited for maximum effect. And did they really come back later that night and loudly argue? Tell me no one, not even that crew, is that stupid, Billy.

And oh btw who told you to sue Los Angeles for $1.25 million? I can't believe you had the nerve!" 

Sadly, there's just not a lot out there to study. None of Billy's few interviews asked the questions I would call the necessary questions. The tv journalism is kinda superficial at times and I know that shocks you. Someone from a Youtube channel called and asked Billy who he thought would win the Super Bowl one year and then uploaded his answer to the channel for some reason. 

Since 2016, Billy is gone and it's possible barely anyone cares. I do but didn't until I looked into his story. I'm thinking about taking a road trip to Billy's grave this week, touching the headstone, and telling him I hope he's found some peace. He's on a little hill with his mom, framed by the forest around them, and watching the sun rise and set every day. 

Just the two of them perfectly together. The little boy his mom called so gentle he wouldn't hunt or fish because he didn't want to hurt animals, and the best advocate that little boy ever had. 

His father's bones or ashes are somewhere else. There's no man hanging around to give Billy his name and then abandon him. Or turn him out. Or spit him back to Ohio after shattering his mind. Just a loving mama safely holding her tiny baby like she did back when their lives had hope. 

Rest in peace, Billy. Like so many of the souls trapped within this dark miasma, you never had a chance. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Two Convos Close Together

Thank you for reading this addition to a series I secretly call The Eyes Of The Lurker. That's probably not seriously the name but I'm also not sure. Maybe. I definitely sing it to myself sometimes that way. 
all the leaves are brown...

Among Manson's supporting cast, only Tex (Charles Watson) and Cupid (Bummer Bob) are mentioned more times than Leslie Van Houten on this vaunted blog. A polarizing figure, Van Houten and her fate have been argued to Hades and back by Manson scholars, wanna-be's, boxcars, and poop butts. 

(Like it or not, we are forever bonded by our gruesome pursuits.)

Today, we look at two versions of Leslie Van Houten who were recorded for posterity over the holiday season of 1969. One version conducts herself in the manner she probably believes is that of a clever criminal. The other version is a clear victim of an evil little magical pimp with mind control powers who expertly pressed secret MK buttons on her chakras beep boop beep boop, pointed a tiny finger toward the LaBiancas' open door, and growled, "KILL KILL KILL" on that hot summer night of August 9th, 1969. 

Just like he did that one time in Gary's backyard. A handwritten binder told me. 

The difference between the two versions of LVH is drastic. I'll never know what the experts know but I'd like to rule some things out in my own brain whenever possible. I read Helter Skelter when I was twelve, which is way too young. (Remind me sometime to tell you how discovering Sexton and Plath in a spare bedroom bookcase at age ten went. Bookworm families amirite?)  For a couple of weeks after reading Helter Skelter, I showered with the curtain drawn back so I could quickly check for LaBianca killers every five seconds. Water soaked the bathroom floor. My mother asked why every time but what could I say? 

"Umm, because of those satanic hippie girls."

I learned to lock the bathroom door and wipe the floor. 

Before we dive in, I gathered some background info in case anyone is new here or forgets who Leslie Van Houten is or anything along those lines. 

Van Houten remains incarcerated but also dune buggies untethered across the sands of late twentieth (and early twenty-first) century pop culture. She is simultaneously a fleshy collection of defiant young photographs true crime fans want to have sex with, or possibly rescue, Idk, doubtful, and an anxious senior citizen pleading with her eyes at a parole board that keeps trying to send her home. 

Somewhere, a rustic drawing of Abraxas is laughing from its thumbtacked spot on a wood-panel wall. The sound is rumbly, two-dimensional, and unexpectedly scary. 

Leslie avatars have appeared in motion pictures several times. Most recently, when Quentin added his two cents to the corpus. 

Victoria Pedretti plays Leslie, aka Lulu, in Tarantino's film. 

photos via Google

Same sad look. Maybe a bit more Dutch in the face would've worked but whatever. There's little chance the historical person will resemble the real Leslie when it's all said and done anyway. Give a pretty girl a little pizzazz if that's your thing. Have George and Ruby dance a hillbilly jig out front of the Outlaw Shacks while Why Don't We Do It In The Road plays for all I care. 

Seriously. Take license. Give the dust and flies some sparkle. I'm strapped in for the ride. Hyperbole feeds our collective dopamine addiction and we consume with unbridled glee. 

Don't get me wrong. Mutilating corpses (if that's all Leslie did) is super way high up on the list of ways to convince me you're all kinds of seriously fucked up and need someone to keep a close eye on you. But at the same time is over half a century long enough to spend locked inside a progression of tiny rooms? Should we argue case law and/or governators again for the zillionth time? 

Leslie said she could barely stab her knife into Rosemary when Leslie was young and fit. She's certainly not as strong now at 72 years old. Why keep her when so many worse went free eventually? Exactly what kind of a threat is she? 

How long of an extension does singing in a hallway create? 

Regardless, a victim of herself, others, and the difference between the way things should be and the way things are, Leslie sits in Corona waiting to die. 

Do you think she already completed her karma or is her karmic completion forthcoming? I'm a bit unsure of myself on the doctrine. I'm all baby colt unsteady above wobbly legs. Don't even get me started on the dogma. 

And I know there are people reading this who want more justice than a mere lifetime. Perhaps Rosemary and Leno concur and wait patiently at the point of Leslie's crossing with retribution in their hollow eyes. Maybe they're practicing their screams. Whenever Leslie finally succumbs to death, all three will have given their lives for something we do not understand. 

While I was writing my review of her recent interview on Ear Hustle, I also listened to Leslie's interviews with Detective Sgt. Mike McGann (not from the banks of the Bann), and the lawyer she stupidly fired, Marvin L. Part. Both interviews are available at and include transcripts. 

People argue in the comments sections under the interviews. You'll love it. Maybe it's some of you under different names. We live in a mysterious world and no one really knows who's who anyway. 

I mean. I believe I'm me. And I'm positive I'm here to talk about the things I heard and read when studying Leslie's interviews with McGann and Part. 

Sgt. Michael J. McGann 
26 Nov 1969
28 Nov 1969 

McGann took the 27th off so he could spend Thanksgiving Day at home. Leslie insisted. 

Just ninety-five days after her twentieth birthday, Leslie finds herself on the hot seat opposite McGann. She is using the alias Leslie Marie Sankston and claims a California arrival from Waterloo, Iowa, just two short years before. Genealogists and hobbyists will have no problem identifying her people online. Lying about Iowa was, as we find repeatedly in our studies of this group, not a good idea. If Leslie was ever able to become free and slip away in those early days, they'd know right where to start looking.  

Schrodinger's criminals for real. 

Anyway. McGann and Leslie face off. Danger drips from every question. Leslie feigns cavalier and attempts cagey. Her youth makes my heart ache. I feel like a snuff voyeur.  

Leslie made me laugh there. Brave girl cracking jokes in the shark tank. She plays cute with McGann for awhile. He tells her he's given her immunity. She doesn't appear to believe him. 

She is also trying to employ the stupid routine that Charlie thought was aces. It's not as effective when you're a homecoming princess from the same world as the detective. 

McGann isn't fooled. He's been around the block. College. Military officer. A decade on the job. 

You can tell he's tired of working the case and wants it to end. McGann tells her there's nothing okay about random killings as far as he's concerned and appeals to Leslie's heart. She is unmoved. 

Most of Leslie's three plus hours on tape are spent saying she doesn't know anything, and then even if she did know something, she's not ready to talk just yet. And plus she really wasn't even hanging around them all that much anyway because she liked the bikers a lot more. 

Not the best thing to tell the police probably. Leslie is obviously trying to figure out what they know while stalling for time. Their conversations drag at times. She immaturely refers to Terry Melcher as Terry Marshmallow. 

McGann the cat arrogantly yawns into his mouse's face several times while flexing and extending his claws. Not really. Or maybe. I was only listening and reading along. 

For someone not saying anything, and with the benefit of hindsight, Leslie says a lot. 

First, she throws shade at the young loves in the first of her pointless attempts to keep McGann's mighty spotlight away from her homies. 

Next, Leslie winks at Schreck before pulling Bill Vance into the mix. But before we get there, did you ever by any chance notice that both Charlie and Bill spend time being professional crooks in Cleveland, Ohio? Charlie talks about his Cleveland days in Reflexion if you're unaware and interested. What a coincidence! Anyway, let's get back to it. Leslie wants to drop the M word.

Wait...what? Bill Vance reminded Leslie of a mafioso? How weird because if you remember, Vance is the Clyde component of a Bonnie and Clyde couple in Fromme's Reflexion. I wrote about it recently here.

Oh, the pain! They hurt me every time they lie. 

To gunman or not to gunman....that is the question...

Just kidding, but also like what if one of them isn't exactly a liar on this point? Someone simply might not be talking about something. Like some big gigantic something. But who can really say? Secret codes and outlaw ethics and whatnot always foul up access to the already withering streams of information, don't you think?  

Let's just leave all that for later and see who else Leslie wants to sacrifice alongside the 1969 Thanksgiving turkeys. I'm blanking on where we were in my presentation for some reason. I also suddenly want candied yams and a nice mushroom dressing with lots of extra celery. Mashed potatoes. Gravy.

He brought her a slice of leftover cake from Thanksgiving. Lord have mercy. 

Do you think McGann's wife made pie with Cool Whip topping as well as a cake? At the time non-dairy, Cool Whip hit the ground running in 1966 as a tasty dessert alternative to whipped cream. 

Apologies, food drives me. Btw, just in case you maybe somehow have the idea that Mike McGann skated through this darkness unaffected, I hate to report that the overtime and things he saw on the job eventually cost Detective McGann his marriage of fourteen years. The cake and Cool Whip train stopped rolling in early 1971. Sanders already told you that 1971 was the year of the pig but I thought I might refresh anyway. 

You might know already or have guessed that Linda Kasabian goes under the green bus next when stage two of Leslie's not-well-thought-out plan of finding a way to continue the fun and games with her soulmates lurches forward. 

McGann and Leslie hit the ball back and forth for a long time. They drink coffee. Leslie orders hers with sugar and lots of cream. She takes bathroom breaks. McGann doles out candy bars from a machine by the elevators like he's the grand marshal of the Halloween parade.  

At one point, Leslie is either scared or exploring every angle and mentions Christopher Jesus. 

McGann does not initially act like he's after Leslie personally. He wants Charlie's head on a pike and the head of the third girl whose identity he's not sure of yet on a pike next to Charlie's. The detective is eager to work with Leslie but she's evasive. She sidesteps him so many times that he eventually asks if she was involved in the killings. 

Like hey what are you waiting for the water is perfect hop in. But Leslie knows something he doesn't. A total game changer you could say. As her window of daylight closes, Leslie decides to double down on having her friends' backs. 

Oh, Leslie. 

(A sad trombone closes us out. McGann sighs evenly and stops his tape recorder. He looks at the crumb remnants of the slice of cake his increasingly distant wife baked for Thanksgiving. He regrets bringing it to Leslie but says nothing. Women confuse him.)

Marvin J. Part 
29 Dec 1969

Just a month and a day later, after spending Christmas caged, a brand new Leslie sits down for a recorded interview with her attorney, Marvin L. Part. Gentry writing as Vincent Bugliosi in Helter Skelter famously quotes Part telling the judge that Leslie is "insane in a way that is almost science fiction."

Absolute classic. 

You know the rest. Someone here probably wrote it first anyway but I shall summarize for the uninitiated. Part gets shitcanned but tries to keep Leslie from firing him. He implores the judge to listen to his interview with Leslie because he thinks she's lost her mind. Nevertheless, his efforts are for naught. Part possibly never realizes his role in Leslie's updated survival plan until it's too late. 

"And so I was in Hollywood one time and I had an acid trip, and I, and I was up on the cross. It sounds far out but I was for real. I was feeling them do it. And I could feel the knife or the sword when it went in, too. I know that he is - you know - I believe that he's Christ. I would never deny it."

Leslie's statement completely reminds me of the part in the Gospel of Thomas where Jesus says, "Lift up the LSD and you will find me there."

The Beatles: 

Gimme some of that old time religion: 

Revelations, indeed. 

Naturally, this is only after they find the giant hole "in the Death Valley area" that will provide access to the center of the Earth. 

Entiendo. I get it. The rats are jumping off the ship. She done? 

Not. Even. Close. 

Leslie begins by sending a message to Starviego across time.

She is checking boxes faster than any boxes have ever been checked. Race war that isn't a race war? Check. Important mysterious black man from the government? Check. Mini-Leslie who does not age? Check! The Beatles were talking to me? CHECK!!! 

Helter Skelter!!!!  Why did I ever doubt you? 

Leslie's words flow like snatches of remembered conversations in fever dreams but no one cares. Her interview is used against Manson in the strongest ways possible by the prosecution. 

Another coincidence. 

But it's tooooo late, baby. 

Leslie establishes her unhinged persona again and again until it resembles roadkill flattened against a busy highway for sixteen hours. She drives back and forth across the thin oval several more times just to make sure. Raising a glass of tepid water to his dry lips, Part swallows an extra dose of blood pressure medication, rubs his temples, and takes a caffeine-laced pain reliever named Excedrin that has been on the market for nine years. 

Back in reality, the cat's out of the bag. Leslie isn't leaving custody anytime soon. Since there's no charge for unabashed ghoulism, she is up against the death penalty. Is Leslie going down alone and perhaps actually really truly insane in the ways Part thinks? 


Not unless suddenly becoming delusional is accompanied by immediate, improved memory functions in the not-delusional world. And she's certainly snitching. 

In case you don't remember, the gang eventually (supposedly randomly) arrives on Waverly. Seems laughable but what do I know? I just type. 

According to Leslie, she wakes up when Charlie exits the LaBiancas' home, returns to the car, and tells Tex everyone is tied up and chilled out because they believe they're victims of only a robbery. The clowns are then sent inside to imitate monsters, misspell easy words, and steal milk and cheese. The thought of dairy products after all that makes me feel nauseous.  

And seriously who other than a baby sleeps through a car stopping and parking after arriving at the destination? "Hold up a sec, lemme wipe this slobber from the side of my face before I head in there for some grizzly healtering oh dark lord and master..." 

Rosemary immediately creates questions in the minds of researchers for eternity by asking Leslie...

"What are you guys doing here?"

Was Rosemary anxious and scared and blurted something out that meant nothing, or did she know them and typically meet them somewhere else? "You guys" sounds kinda like you're familiar with your new arrivals to my ears. 

I might be reading too much into it but Rosemary's question surely haunts the part of me that wants answers to this gory puzzle. 

"You know like it comes in pictures and the picture I see is Katie trying to get the knife in her throat and it wouldn't go." 

"And then I remember seeing her (Rosemary) laying flat in front of her closet all bloody on her stomach." 

"And then I remember seeing the man (Leno) on the sofa gurgling that deep bloody gurgle." 

"And so then we were going to make the house look freaky..." 

Would Leslie be free right now if she hadn't said all that crazy shit and other crazy shit just like it? I vote yes. 

Out living a real life. Possibly grabbing a fresh pair of Chucks or Nike Cortez at the Foot Locker this evening. Maybe hitting up Subway (in a mask since she doesn't want covid twice) for a veggie on whole wheat combo with Sun Chips and an unsweet tea for lunch tomorrow. 

Or Jersey Mike's if she's dedicated to a fast sandwich. They're better than Subway imo but still nothing special. Now, certain people in my family are complete Jersey Mike's addicts when time is short. And Cane's even though drive thru lines always wrap around the building twice during this time of death and politics. I dig the crinkle fries and Cane's sauce for sure, and I suppose their Texas toast too, but I'm more of a dark meat guy. The breasts are just so dry. 

Okay. Where were we? I know I was typing about unhappy things...

Right! Sooner or later, the real Leslie Van Houten will leave prison. 

Rounding out this dark trinity, the Leslie Van Houten of myth, like some nasty Sisyphus, will spend eternity sitting across from an attorney with a 1969 tape recorder between them as she endlessly repeats her bizarre story. Except for the recording device, everything in the room will be old, heavy, and dusty. Remnants all from the big war where we were the good guys and won. Nothing and no one is plastic. 

Every night, the LaBiancas' little dog will chew through Leslie's flesh with tiny needle teeth and never stop yipping while consuming her slimy liver. Transubstantiation is a twenty point word in Scrabble, btw. Words with Friends tacks on another five. 
There's no possible escape. Leslie will be the photographs and pleading looks until she is not. The gods will allow her to eat only unflavored, unsweetened gelatin she cannot swallow on account of the knife in her throat. Eventually, no one will remember she ever lived, and her punishments will continue unwitnessed. 

Leslie Van Houten was convicted of murder March 21, 1971, and sentenced to death. She remains in prison at the time of this writing. She is no longer freaky. 

I suppose I could've just said hey I had the idea that maybe Leslie wasn't mind-controlled and was down for some dirt when she arrived at the Ranch, and not spent two weeks obsessively typing this out, but whatever. I shall play my small part in the GIGO process. 

total aside: 
(have you ever noticed how often peeps in the fam said, "in other words.." every time they talked in interviews? i wonder if it was one of charlie's phrases. -ggw)

I don't remember where these photos are from anymore. I've had them a long time. Most likely the almighty 


Monday, September 6, 2021

Ear Hustle Podcast - Episode 60 - Leslie Van Houten - Home For Me Is Really A Memory

LVH's interview is hosted on the Ear Hustle website and probably wherever you get your pods. The creators also kindly provide listeners with a transcript of the conversations between Leslie and their hosts. The drawing below accompanies the piece and was made by one of the podcast founders, Antwan Williams. Williams also contributes to the musical score. 

 The bars on the window of the cell and van tell the story in their own way.  

photo via

Personally, I don't think we need to keep people in their 70's locked away in prisons to ensure public safety. Nothing is up to me of course but I thought I'd share. 

I'm a sharer.

But if we must incarcerate our elderly criminals so there are never any doubts over who's running the show and et cetera couldn't we build a couple of facilities here and there to warehouse the old until they expire of natural causes? And if we already have that, why can't we put every elderly prisoner in them? 

I was actually working on an article about LVH this week when we discovered her interview. There's nothing that the readers of this blog are going to hear and exclaim "EUREKA!" over, but Ear Hustle isn't really about all that anyway. I didn't think I'd like the podcast, mostly because I'm a know-it-all and henceforth know everything, but they did a nice job and it won't kill you to throw them a listen and a like on their Facebook page.

A couple of things Leslie said caught my attention. First,  

Leslie uses "sobered" and "sober" once each. Was she dipping into the Gerber jar with the others? I always wonder who else was sampling the local products. 

And then this: 

You "believe" you gave it to the prison's investigators? Good grief. 

Copy the stupid letter. Send it around. 

I spent today with the LVH interviews and transcripts conducted by McGann and Part. All I can say is that a lot can happen in a month, I suppose. I'd like to talk about it with you next Sunday evening if you're online. -ggw