Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Abigail Folger: L.A. Woman


Until just a few years ago, photos of Abigail Folger in life were few in number. Recently, the yearbooks from her high school, Santa Catalina, in Monterey, CA have been digitized, offering several photos of Abigail during her teen years. Photos of Abigail during the last twelve months of her life in Los Angeles are even more rare. Occasionally, I revisit sources of possible research leads, with the hopes of discovering new information on the background of her life. To be sure, more is known about her passing—on her status as a victim—than is known about the nearly 26 years she was alive. Then I returned to the website and Facebook page of another well-known individual in this story, artist Witold Kaczanowski, or Witold-K, as he is known professionally. It is here that I discovered some additional photos of his art on display at Cielo Drive. I also discovered, for the first time, two photos of Abigail, in what I call her "L.A. period", from August 1968 to August 1969. Witold-K does not provide context for these photos of Abigail on his Facebook page, but after a little sleuthing I was able to determine where these photos were taken. The photo of Abigail standing is at the Los Angeles Airport(LAX). The second photo is of Abigail on the backyard patio at the home of Cass Elliot in Laurel Canyon. It was on this patio and in this backyard that many a famous musician had been photographed, while visiting with Cass.

Abigail at Los Angeles Airport. Photo by Witold-K, Facebook

Abigail on the patio at Cass Elliot's house, Laurel Canyon Los Angeles. Photo by Witold-K, Facebook



Abigail and Voytek in happier times

THE WORLD AROUND HER

As was her custom during her New York period(August 1967-August 1968), Abigail developed a network of friends within her sphere of influence in L.A. Although she would have socialized with friends of Sharon and Roman Polanski, like Roger Vadim, Mia Farrow, and many others, she arguably moved within a sub- network of people more or less exclusive to both she and Voytek. Many of these people were within the orbit of Cass Elliot, meaning that at some point Abigail and Voytek met Cass, and developed a friendship. Where and when that meeting took place is unknown, but this could have happened thru a mutual association with Sharon and Roman, and may have been at a party given by them. To that end, I was able to contact Cass’ daughter, Owen, and asked her if she had additional information on either Abigail and Voytek. She said she did not, so certain finer details will for now remain a mystery.

Cass Elliot

Roman and Sharon Polanski

Roger Vadim

It is known, of course, that Abigail and Voytek spent much time in the company of Witold-K, Michael Sarne, Thomas Harrigan, Ben Carruthers, Mark Fine, Pic Dawson, Charles Tacot, Billy Doyle, and, to some extent, John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. However, Michelle Phillips would later admit that she and John would distance themselves and their own inner circle of friends from Voytek. Because of her relationship with Voytek, this distancing evidently included Abigail.

Witold-K

Michael Sarne

Thomas Harrigan all smiles with Paul Caruso

Ben Carruthers

Pic Dawson


John Phillips at his home


John Phillips

Michelle Phillips

“Voytek,” recalls Michelle Phillips, “had a kind of weird vibe about him, a hustler-like feeling. No one really wanted to be around him that much. I never really got to know Abigail very well. She was considered a sort of ‘little rich girl,’  and at least among our circle, there was a great snobbery which kept them both at arm’s length.”(Michelle Phillips quoted in Greg King, Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders, Barricade Books, Inc. 2000. p. 172). I have subsequently contacted Michelle’s publicist, requesting an interview with Michelle prior to this post, hoping she might be able to offer clarity to her previous comments, and possibly additional thoughts on this time in L.A. At the time of this writing I have not received a response.

Yet in the taped interview with LAPD, conducted in Toronto on August 30, 1969, see https://www.Cielo drive.com/updates/William-Billy-Doyle-interviewed-by-LAPD-lt-earl-deeper-83069-part-one/. Billy Doyle offered up a counterpoint to Michelle Phillips’ above statement. To Doyle, anyone who attempted to paint Voytek as a bad guy, probably had something to gain from it. In fact, palpable tension existed between Doyle and John and Michelle. That Abigail and Voytek were friends with Doyle, therefore, probably did not factor well in their favor.

So how did Abigail fit into this social scene in Los Angeles? Writer Greg King contends that, like Voytek, Abigail “was just lost in this milieu...” Some of the individuals in both she and Voytek’s closer circle were strange bedfellows indeed. Yet Abigail, as an educated, wealthy civil rights and social worker, would have stood out remarkably from this bunch. I am reminded of a quote by Abigail’s former boss at the Berkeley Art Museum, Peter Selz, who said, “[s]he may not have lived the most traditional type of existence, but she wasn’t a hippie type at all. She didn’t look, dress, or act like a hippie.” Looking at the two photos of Abigail at the beginning of this post, and how she was dressed in them, her look may be perceived as stylish, or perhaps even conservative. I would not be surprised if it were ever learned that Abigail did not have a pair of blue jeans in her wardrobe.

Abigail was employed by L.A. County as a volunteer social worker

Abigail's place of employment during her L.A. period


A yellow 1968 Pontiac Firebird like this on was Abigail's cruising vessel during her L.A. period

Abigail Folger came to Los Angeles with Voytek Frykowski(and possibly also Witold-K)in August 1968, driving a rental car from New York. She chose to work, and offered her passion to aid others thru employment with the county welfare department. Additionally she would volunteer in the campaign of Tom Bradley for mayor of Los Angeles, who was running against incumbent Sam Yorty in May 1969. The move to Los Angeles, and the reason(s) for it were undoubtedly well thought out, as Andreas Brown, her former boss at the Gotham Book Mart in New York said, “she finally hit on something” that would truly satisfy her ambitions.


Tom Bradley


Sam Yorty


Bradley and Yorty at election debate

Roman Polanski has indicated in at least one interview, that Abigail took a speed reading course in the evening, following a long day working to better the lives of underprivileged people in Los Angeles, and campaigning hard for Tom Bradley. Added to this workload was the fact that Abigail attended Monday thru Friday psychoanalysis sessions in Beverly Hills with Dr Marvin Flicker, M.D. (Dr Flicker recently passed away on July 16, 2021. He was 86. His brother, Ted, co-created the TV sitcom, Barney Miller). What strikes me as unique about Abigail is that she had the presence of mind to seek professional help in dealing with her issues. What precipitated her seeking help from Dr Flicker is not known exactly. But Bugliosi’s book does hint at depression over her perceived view of her personal life, use of narcotics, and her failing relationship with Voytek. Unlike many in her generation, she approached the medical establishment for help, and according to Dr Flicker, evidenced the emotional wherewithal to leave the situation she found herself in while living in L.A.


Abigail's therapist, Dr Flicker in a recent photo


Abigail attended therapy sessions with Dr Flicker in the three-story building in the middle

Abigail and Voytek rented a house in Laurel Canyon at 2774 Woodstock Road. As David points out in his excellent post on this blog, this house was not directly across the street from Cass Elliot’s house, but was rather about two blocks away. Witold-K also lived with the couple, and transformed one part of  the house into his painting studio. Pic Dawson would later be invited by Voytek to live in the Woodstock house, but at some point got into a fight with roommate Witold-K, going so far as pulling a gun on the artist. Voytek thereupon threw Dawson out of the house, which would forever color the relationship between the two men. Interestingly, according to Zillow.com, 2774 Woodstock recently sold for $1,350,000.

2774 Woodstock. All photos: Zillow.com







While Abigail and Voytek moved into Woodstock, Sharon and Roman Polanski were renting the house of actress Patty Duke at 1600 Summit Ridge Drive. Abigail and Voytek would certainly have spent time here, likely in the company of Sharon and Roman’s friends, lingering over dinner, and according to Roman’s autobiography, whiling away the evenings in the backyard, discussing the important events of the times.

Home of Patty Duke 1600 Summit Ridge Drive


Although it is sometimes contested, this has mainly been accepted as a photo of Sharon Tate with Voytek and Abigail

In addition to socializing with the Polanski’s friends, Abigail and Voytek enjoyed the company of several Polish expatriates, then living in L.A. Foremost among these, again, would be Witold-K, but also in this group would be writer Marek Hlasko, musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda, who wrote the music for Polanski’s film, Rosemary’s Baby, and many others. If this group of polish writers, composers, and artists had one thing in common it was this: to see Poland again—an economically strong, culturally vibrant, and communist-free Poland. Some of these people would find great success in America, such as Roman Polanski, writer Jerzy Kosinski, and ultimately Witold-K, whose new gallery in Beverly Hills paved the way for him to branch out and settle in Denver, CO for many years. He recently moved back to Poland to live after residing and working in America for a half century. It is this success that Voytek Frykowski craved, but of course could never realize. During a night of drinking in L.A. in December 1968,  Hlasko engaged in some rough horseplay with Komeda, causing Komeda to tumble down a hill and sustain a brain injury, from which he died about four months later. Shortly thereafter, Hlasko returned to Europe and died himself in Wiesbaden on June 14, 1969. He was 35.

Marek Hlasko and Krzysztof Komeda

This Polish group of Abigail and Voytek’s friends enjoyed  heavy drinking, and some of them liked fighting. Like Hlasko, they were romantic and tough, and like Hlasko’s writing, they were invested with a sense of distrust and cynicism. The America of the late 1960s must have been a strange place for them.

Meanwhile, Abigail socialized within a circle of people in Cass Elliot’s orbit. This would have no doubt included several musicians, as Abigail and Voytek were often at Cass’ house. Ben Carruthers and his wife also lived in that house, and many people came to visit them. Also, as previously stated, this group included the likes of Billy Doyle, Pic Dawson, and the very interesting Charles Tacot, who was described in detail by musician Billy Rinehart, in his September 30, 1969 interview with LAPD, at https://Vimeo.com/46262144. A transcript of this tape is viewable at scribd.com/document/3830. Rinehart said, “...I have never even met Roman Polanski or Sharon Tate, or Voytek, or Jay Sebring. Ive Never even met them. I’ve never talked to those people in my whole life. The only one that I know is Billy Doyle and Charles. This one time there was a phone call, and it was Voytek supposedly and he said he had a gun on Billy and that if somebody didn’t come over and pick up Billy right then and there he was going to do him in. When Charles came back with Billy he was lying in the backseat and his face was all cut up and everything and Charles then chained him to the tree in the backyard at Cass’ house.” Rinehart would go on to say that Pic and Billy Doyle were close, not Pic and Voytek.

TESTIMONY OF THE THREE BILLIES

What Bill Rinehart describes here is the much-discussed story of Billy Doyle being drugged by Voytek, who allegedly put mescaline in Doyle’s champagne. But when one hears the entire tape or reads the entire transcript of the interview, it becomes apparent that Rinehart had much more to say about the various “scenes” surrounding Abigail during that time in L.A. To obtain a balanced understanding of the world around Abigail, and best follow along with this post,  I recommend the reader read or listen to what I call, “the testimony of the three Billies”: Billy Doyle, and  Bill Rinehart, and Bill Garretson. Links to Doyle and Rinehart are provided above.  The Garretson transcript may be found at https://qdoc.tips/william-Garretson-polygraph-pdf-free.html. Reading the Garretson interview, it becomes apparent that he had more exposure to Abigail than, say, Sharon or Voytek, and is able to provide at least a modicum of detail of the atmosphere at Cielo. Whereas Pic Dawson would simply later describe Cielo to police as a constant party scene. 


Billy Rinehart


Bill Garretson poolside at Cielo

Indeed, to Rinehart, it was the house of John and Michelle Phillips that played host to the drug craziness of that time—not Cielo, not Woodstock, and not the home of Cass Elliot. In many ways, the Rinehart and Doyle interviews, like Bill Garretson’s, are important to establishing at least part of the environment surrounding Abigail in L.A.: one at Cielo Drive, the other two in the wider social milieu outside of Cielo. Concerning drug use within this culture, Rinehart adds, “...everybody knows everybody else. I don’t care what anybody says, these people everybody knows everybody else. Everybody at one time or another has sold a little dope that they’ve got to a friend. Which make all of them a drug dealer in actual reality. The way the law stands it makes us all dealers.” This summation is probably the best way to understand the drug actions of Jay Sebring and Voytek Frykowski. If they obtained drugs, it was most likely to be given or sold to trusted friends.  When asked if Voytek was a dealer, actor Jim Mitchum remarked, “Nah, man, he was the Robin Hood of dope.” The reference here meaning Voytek would distribute to his circle, but to no one else. Billy Doyle balked at the idea of Voytek being a dealer in the wider use of the word—he simply could not imagine it. To Doyle, Voytek lived a “purely social lifestyle,” and this meant sharing drugs with friends.


Voytek Frykowski


Jim Mitchum

There exist small snippets of recollection of Abigail by established figures in the “scene,” during this L.A. period. Dave Mason is one of them. Mason said, “one of the freakiest parts was that at Cass’s I saw a lot of Abbie Folger and Wojciech Frykowski until the Manson crew slaughtered them.” Celebrity hairstylist Carrie White was another who crossed the path of Abigail in L.A. Carrie styled both Sharon Tate and Abigail. I was able to contact Carrie, asking if she could add another dimension to this time period. She told me she remembered Abigail well, but basically did not think to chronicle her association with Abigail with anything written. Carrie told me that since there were no smart phone cameras at the time, the idea of taking serial photos would be a thing reserved for the future, hence no photos of Abigail there. However, she did submit that Abigail was an avid reader of books during her appointments, basically confirming the theme of the ambulatory bookworm that has always attached itself to her. Another recollection is to be found in The Ed Sanders book,  The Family, who recounted stories told by Layne Wooten of Topanga Canyon. Wooten told Sanders that Abigail had hung out in Topanga with actor Brandon DeWilde and the “English crowd”(Ed Sanders, The Family. Da Capo Press, 2002. p. 389).

Dave Mason

Carrie White at her salon

Pickwick Bookstore, a favorite haunt of Abigail in Los Angeles

Site of the I Magnin Department Store, Los Angeles. This and the Beverly Hills location were another shopping destination of Abigail

It is Witold-K, in his Facebook page, who illuminates more of the “scene” during the L.A. period. The artist recalls this time as a member of that tight-knit Polish group, who so badly wanted to succeed in America. This group was not comprised of hippies, but of Eastern Europeans, many in their mid to late thirties, whose main drug of choice was alcohol. Here the artist shares some stories that I had not heard previously. He also confirms that Debra Tate was a visitor to Cielo. Debra’s visiting there was no doubt in the summer of 1969, during which time she would have been on summer break, and Sharon and Roman would have been out of the country. Debra has also subsequently indicated in an interview that Abigail drove her around L.A., looking for schools for her to attend for the 1969-1970 school year. It should be remembered that Sharon’s family was in the process of settling into their new home in the L.A. suburb of Palos Verdes in the summer of ‘69.

10050 Cielo Drive at night


Debra Tate


Debra Tate at Cielo


Witold-K displaying his art at Cielo. Photo: Witold-K, Facebook

Witold-K and Abigail's Dalmatian puppy, the illusive and mysterious Tom Folger. Photo: Witold-K, Facebook

Painting by Witold-K over the piano in the living room of 10050 Cielo Drive. Photo: Witold-K, Facebook

One interesting member of the group surrounding Abigail, as here indicated by Witold-K, is a member of the Hormel family. This is the same Hormel family of the packaged meat and other food products fame of Austin, MN. There were three Hormel brothers, but the one the artist is referring to here is no doubt George “Geordie” Hormel, who was a musician and recording studio owner. He founded the indie Village Recording Studio in Los Angeles in 1968. He also sang on Frank Zappa’s album Joe’s Garage in 1979. As a side note, in addition to hanging out with an heir to the Spam fortune in L.A., Abigail, as heiress to the Folger Coffee fortune, was also in the circle surrounding Mary Hayward-Weir, wealthy steel heiress and wife of writer Jerzy Kosinski during her New York period. 


George "Geordie" Hormel

"My adventure with drugs would probably require writing an entire book and it had good sides as well as bad and even dangerous. The loss of life was literally at the rivers fingertips. If it wasn't for Wojtek Frykowski, I wouldn't have the opportunity to talk about it today. It was the end of 1968, in Los Angeles we found ourselves again: Wojtek, Marek Hlasko and me. After our last meeting in Paris which ended in a fight with Sorbonne students, never the three of us haven't met anymore...Romek Polanski was in Brazil and flew straight from Rio to London, Abigail Folger, the coffee princess, just like in New York her apartment, she gave me her house on Woodstock Drive to live in Los Angeles. Wojtek and Gibi temporarily lived with Romek and Sharon Tate.

I painted in both houses: Gibi's and Romek's, in the meantime looking for studio and gallery rentals...In the evenings, on the other hand, I used to come to Romek on Cielo Drive, where Wojtek, dying of boredom, was constantly looking for company. On that memorable evening when as usual, I reached for the bottle, Wojtek, who drank every day in Poland for years, simply screamed: You won't be cold anymore! And tried to take my bottle I tried to push him back to reach for the chalice. Romek and Sharon had beautiful thick blue Mexican goblets. Wojtek was faster, he pulled out the bottle from me and hit me with his fist. Hit the back of my head against a wall and slide all the way to the ground...Blood is already on two shirts...Wojtek put in a lot of effort to convince me to take marijuana and when I lit it up after a few glasses, I kept repeating the same thing: it doesn't do anything to me. Of course it didn't work, because you need to smoke it...to sober up. With a swollen nose, a plum-colored eye, and sober, I lit for the first time as my professor's instructions, breathing directly together with air into my lungs. Without holding smoke in your mouth--Wojtek warned and continued holding my hand in his hands. This was the first step that allowed me to cross a line I didn't know existed for 37 years of my life. Marijuana didn't cause addiction and need to experience further hallucinations...

Following Wojtek's prompt, the next step was a mescaline pastyl. This was a revelation and a revolution for my visual imagination. Green was greener, black was more black, and red burned so that it would burn--it seemed to me. Those who know my red period in painting should know that if it weren't for this crayon, perhaps this revolution would never have happened, especially since I hated the flag red color for known reasons.

Experiences under the eye of Wojtek, then John Phillips(from Mamas and Papas), and then on Malibu with Roger Vadim and his young friend Hormel the son of the potent American ham and sausage, at a point enriched me and I think my attitude to life was widened as if and deepened my admiration for existence itself...Alcohol won't provoke anything like this in the long run.

And now for the tragic accident that didn't happen. One evening I come to Roman's house,(sometimes I didn't have to come, because on the so-called bunker was a pile of pillows and I lefty it for the night). Wojtek offers me mescaline, and when I learned that you have to wait for about an hour for the effect, I started a conversation after French with Gibi Folger, who constantly urged me to do it. After a while he appeared at my place mild headache and to rest this French lesson, I started complaining. Like this one she served a glass of Perrier water and crayon. Unfortunately it was not an aspirin. This was the second mescaline pill given to me before the first one took on. Well? An hour and a half later I had a panic attack more severe than I've ever experienced even with the Gestapo holding my hair. It was simply "OD". I swam from one room to another, my body felt no weight. I was a cloud, a foot above the floor above the big ones, with beautiful Mexican or Italian tiles. Gibi's bedroom was opposite Sharon's bedroom and further away was the door leading to the pool. I went through the house twice, from the pool to the kitchen, completely "sober", aware of what's happening and why its happening...

legs touching the air, the space between me and real, physical existence. The panic attack was intensifying and was caused by the fear that I would never walk on earth again or return to "ME". In the kitchen there was a door that went out to some cell phone and further to the yard, to the wall of a high mountain. I found a string there, lured the stool that Winnie the cleaning lady used to reach the dishes on the top shelf. Above the cell phone door, outside, there were three hooks. I put a noose on my hook and head and when I stepped on a stool. Suddenly Wojtek came in and grabbed me half above my knees, calling Gibi. To top it all off, Gibi just had a swim in the pool. Wojtek has ordered: take out that lip....y string. Panic subsided as he took his hand away.--What am I doing? Am I crazy? Dear God....And what did Wojtek do? He poured a glass of Vodka and told me to drink."(Witold-K, translation from Polish, on his Facebook page).

Perhaps most significantly, for students of TLB, is Witold-K’s story of the origin of the American flag, draped famously over the couch at Cielo: it was a birthday gift, along with a bottle of Dom Perignon, for the artist’s birthday in May 1969. It is at this time that Abigail worked together with the other campaign volunteers so passionately for Tom Bradley. The opposing side of Mayor Yorty mounted a bitter campaign against Bradley, and, despite the Bradley team’ s best efforts, lost the election. This no doubt had a lasting impact on Abigail, and was arguably one of the topics of her therapy sessions with Dr Flicker. Had Abigail lived, she would have been proud to see Bradley elected in July 1973, serving as mayor until 1993. A trip to Abigail Folger’s Facebook page reveals a few nuggets about the election, and at least one inclusion from Dr Flicker himself. Apparently, one of the women who worked alongside Abigail in the Bradley election recalled those times. She said she remembered Abigail saying, essentially, “you either like me or you don’t like me. There is no in- between.” Dr Flicker submitted that Abigail had “no skeletons in her closet,” and that she was preparing herself for an eventual run at the Senate.

American flag over sofa in living room at Cielo


American flag over sofa at Cielo. Photo courtesy of Cielodrive.com

"Sharon Tate was murdered in Bel-Air, California. Wojtek Frykowski was also there, with whom in Warsaw, when I was young I played a lot and raced in swimming at the Legia pool. There was Gibi Folger who let me turn her New York apartment and her home in Los Angeles into a studio. I drove between Gibi's house and Romek Polanski's house on Cielo Drive. At Romek and Sharon's, I had the best time painting in the garden, where the panorama of the city stretched. Slept mostly on a mellow mezzanine overlooking the city. There was room for plenty of people. Sister Sharon came from San Francisco once and the third person to spend the night with us was her mascot, a large iguana, the size of a small alligator, who for some reason liked to climb on my back. May 15, 1969, for my birthday I received a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and an American flag rom Gibi. The flag was so big that Wojtek Frykowski covered the entire large sofa standing in front of the fireplace in the living room with it. He fell asleep on this couch afterwards and received the first of 51 stab wounds..." (Witold-K, translation from Polish, on his Facebook page).

Abigail graduated from Radcliffe in 1965, and returned to San Francisco, where she worked at Berkeley. In August of 1967 she and Andreas Brown drove to New York, where she lived until she left for Los Angeles in August of 1968. Of course it is while in New York that she was introduced to Voytek, and by extension Witold-K. However, before this meeting she had already been a part of a literary circle of friends in Manhattan. According to Brown, Abigail fell “madly in love” with Voytek, and he moved in with Abigail into her apartment. Witold-K would share the space as well, using it as his painting studio. The thinking here is that Abigail was attracted to an intelligent group of people, wherever she happened to be. Yet there emerged a bohemian spirit in her, which would embrace Voytek, but also his entire group of Polish friends now living in America. Some of these had already made the move to Los Angeles when Abigail and Voytek were living in New York. Abigail found in Voytek the kind of man she could not find in an American man, and she says as much in the personal letter I included in my last post on her. Voytek helped Abigail to become adventuresome, and probably more open minded. This attitude would become solidified in L.A. as she encountered the zeitgeist of the late 1960s on the West coast.

This brings us back to the remarks of Greg King, who said both Voytek and Abigail were just “lost” in this environment. Indeed, if New York was literary and “old money,” Los Angeles was the center of a very youthful and vibrant music and acting scene, and was very much creating a culture of “new money”. It was here that Abigail found herself in a world, the likes of which she had not experienced before. Thru all of Abigail’s years after college, she maintained a sense of noblesse oblige, which she certainly carried with her to L.A. Here she cultivated a social life with popular musicians and actors, while maintaining closer ties with Voytek’s group of Polish expatriates. The third part of this social life included people like Dawson and Doyle, the latter of which she was probably helping to clean up.



Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, and Cass Elliot at her home in L.A.


Lunch on the patio of Cass Elliot. Pic Dawson seated next to Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton and Cass

Home of Cass Elliot

In my last post, Abigail declared in her letter that, “my head has been very messed up for a long time, and although I have known it all along, I have never done much about it. It is the time - worn case of feeling that I let everything happen to me instead of making it happen...” By the  summer of 1969 Abigail appeared ready to “make it happen,” by entering therapy and finally making a choice to combine her education and interests and embrace the future. If that future did not include Voytek, then unfortunately that would have be the way it was. Abigail and Sharon Tate were close, and Abigail saw in Sharon her love for Roman, but also Sharon’s own resolve and strength as a woman to move forward professionally, even if it meant possibly leaving Roman. But even though Abigail loved Voytek, he would not marry her, on account of her being wealthy. Try as he might, Voytek had not found his place among his successful friends in America, and no doubt felt bad about it. The idea of marrying a woman with wealth, while he was basically broke, was probably a difficult position for him to be in. By August of 1969 Abigail was 26, and the new year of 1970 was only four months away, and with it a brand new decade of possibility. I have always thought that Sharon Tate’s best work was still ahead of her, and I feel the same about Abigail, especially if it meant her making a run for the Senate.


The Los Angeles period of Abigail was a year of hard work for her, but arguably also a coming of age, so to speak. As I have said elsewhere, due to her financial status, Abigail had before her the dizzying anxiety of possibilities, but found it difficult to focus on one, and go with it. Thru all of this period, I cannot help but think that she kept journals of her experiences after college, and especially in L.A. It is well known that Voytek kept highly detailed notebooks of his life in America. That being said, I find Abigail similar in some ways to Joan Didion, who’s 1968 book of exquisite prose,  Slouching Towards Bethlehem, chronicles Didion’s experiences in California. I am not saying that Abigail was preparing a book of her own experiences, as there is no evidence of this. But what I am saying can be summed up when one looks  at the photo of Didion with the hippies in San Francisco. Didion, like Abigail, was to be sure, not a hippie. But looking at the photo of Didion, I see her as being aloof from that very interesting group of people, yet drawn to study them, to write about them, among other experiences. To that end, I see Abigail in much the same way in her own social circumstances among the hippie world: in it but not of it.

Joan Didion chronicling the scenes

Abigail was to depart Los Angeles on the morning of Saturday August 9, 1969 for San  Francisco. Her recorded purpose in doing so was to unite with her family for her birthday. I would add that it was a precursor trip to her ultimate withdrawal from the circumstances around her in L.A.: the psychic letdowns of the losing Bradley campaign, the immense challenges of providing social services for the poor in a massive city, the drug craziness surrounding the music scene, her strained relationship with Voytek, and on and on. The sad irony of all this, is that she was literally hours away from realizing it thru that flight. This thought has been with me since I first learned about this case. The funeral of Abigail took place in Portola Valley on August 13, 1969. TV coverage of her funeral has been preserved at the Bay Area Television Archive at https://diva.sfsu.edu.  In interviewing Witold-K for his book, Chaos, Tom O’Neill asked the artist what one question he would ask Voytek Frykowski if he could. If I could ask Abigail Folger one question, it would be: was there any particular reason why you decided not to book your flight to San Francisco for the morning of Friday August 8th?

159 comments:

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Nice work, Torque. I almost think of Voytek as another Tex in my mind, and Abigail as a ghostly figure in a white nightgown floating across the lawn. The first photo of Folger shows how small she was and humanizes her so much for me. I've crept on her on the genealogy sites but school pics don't come close to what you posted.

Tex is an absolute piece of garbage. Even if I'm the only person celebrating when he dies, it will be a blog holiday here.

SixtiesRockRules! said...

Incredible post...IMO one of the best and most informative that's ever been uploaded here. These kind of lengthy entries are why I and other long-time students of the Charles Manson case keep coming back to this site, even though, sadly, the quality of the offerings here in the last year or so has, with a couple notable exceptions, declined rather sharply. This profile of folger is reminiscent of the type of first-rate research and writing that used to be seen here on a regular basis. Definitely provides long-sought pieces to the puzzle of august, 1969. Excellent job, and I hope this is an indicator of the blog returning to its former state of awesomeness.

Torque said...

Greene, thanks. Yes, before she was a victim of the Manson Family Abigail had a life. Its difficult at this point to know about her relationship with Voytek, but she did love him. The way I see Voytek in the summer of 1969 was that he was bored, and eagerly awaiting Roman's return to America. I think Voytek desperately wanted a job, and that Roman could have better helped him attain that, if he were present. Hopefully more can be learned going forward.

starviego said...

"Dr Flicker submitted that Abigail... was preparing herself for an eventual run at the Senate."

Dr. Flicker said that? Do you have a source?

shoegazer said...

Torque:

First, this article is an absolute home run--a knock-out. Thanks for the excellent work and the detached and considered tone you've used.

This is truly a piece of popular history--and by this I mean that it's worthy of inclusion in a larger work on the era.

Well done! Very well done, indeed!!!

Now a point that I'd like throw out there...

In many ways, the Rinehart and Doyle interviews, like Bill Garretson’s, are important to establishing at least part of the environment surrounding Abigail in L.A.: one at Cielo Drive, the other two in the wider social milieu outside of Cielo.

I think that it's important that someone has raised this point--that the reputation on-line, in places like this and other less savory sites, was of a wild, drug-partying household. Anything goes, at any time, with the concomitant unspoken implication that they reaped what they had sown, maybe.

When I first read this blog in 2019 and did not distinguish well between the bizarre hangers-on, and those like David (who posted many well constructed articles at that time), I got the impression that many questionable shenanigans went on there, and that the killing was in some sense connected.

But if we go down that path--as so many who have posted here have done, looking for cheap thrills, it seems like--you need to be very certain, or the hypothetical scenarios you may construct will tend to lead you away from, rather than nearer to, the verifiable events and the most likely representation of the events of that night.

So, long-winded as ever, I'm saying that this time (2022) I read Garretson's immediate interviews, his testimony, and his polygraph. Then, in close proximity in time, I read everything I found said by Winifred Chapman, the housekeeper, and by God!, I came to the conclusion that the general lifestyle of the residents (Folger and Frykowski, especially) was pretty conventional--modest, even. With the exception of filming nude young women in the backyard pool, I *know* people who live a lot like the way Garretson and Chapman portrayed the common activities that went on at Cielo from Feb/Mar 69, until the end. Small, impromptu dinner parties, etc. Few large parties, and these were for specific events: housewarming, etc.

While they may have liked surrounding themselves with Bohemian types, they, themselves, were very bourgeoise.

Torque said...

Sixties, thanks for your very kind words. I'm thankful that I can make some kind of contribution. I also love this blog. Gathering materials and conducting research is certainly a lengthy process, but I believe it is worth it. I appreciate very much all of the posters here, and the lively discussion following in the comments. There are thousands of people who read this blog, and I would invite anyone who has an interest in this case to conduct some research and post here.

Torque said...

Star, yes. I saw this in the comments of Abigail's Facebook memorial page. I don't have the exact commenter and date, but I recall seeing it there. It was someone who quoted Dr Flicker. Historically Dr Flicker said precious little about Abigail, due to physician/patient ethics, but he did make small statements like this from time to time.

Torque said...

Shoe, many thanks. This story is of great interest to me, and I'm trying to make some kind of contribution. The information on Abigail has only materialized in a small way, but it is worth the effort to find it. A couple of items may be obscure, and I have attempted to cite them as best I can. Also, yes, agreed on your view on Abigail and Voytek's living at Cielo. Jerzy Kosinski called them both squares, but there is no doubt they were bohemian.

shoegazer said...

Hah!

You know, in some respect, the murders at Cielo, could be analyzed under a Marxist interpretation of critical social theory, especially as intersectionality affects it.

There's a dissertation out there, somewhere.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

HUGE NEWS! I was promoted to full blog admin today!!!

Let's celebrate. I brought a sheet cake -- white on white -- the baker called it a Rick Ross.

Even 60's can have a slice but not a corner piece or one of the roses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH0Qda32IKM

shoegazer said...

Great news, G. G-W!

shoegazer said...

Torque:

Reading your article induced a certain mood as I read it. It captured something, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Then I got it: the ambiance you described feels like California Dreamin' or 12:30. It's a new word for those people, a fresh, optimistic start.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Thanks, Shoe!

shoegazer said...

Watch...

The first thing G. G-W does on assuming expanded authority is to ban me!!! ;^)

G. Greene-Whyte said...

LOL! Fat chance. I look at it like we're all stuck here together. Every aspect of the study is represented in our group, biggest name to smallest.

SixtiesRockRules! said...

Congrats G. G-W 👍 Btw, my earlier comment wasn't directed against you personally. (eats his piece of 🍰)

shoegazer said...

But, G.G-W, I was asked to leave Ta-Nahisi Coates' comment section to his Atlantic column about six years ago, then banned outright from the Atlantic blog that started after the Atlantic discontinued the comments section about 5 years back.

Basically, my offense was to persistently ask questions of positions that made no objective sense.

Surely you want to maintain industry standards, don't you?

"I wouldn't want to belong to a club that would admit people like me as members..."

G. Greene-Whyte said...

No hard feelings, 60's. I've lived my life on the Internet and know not every moment will be fun. I also don't disagree with you. When I was a lurker, I loved showing up every couple of weeks and seeing a couple giants posts and then some smaller ones to dive into. The more comments the better.

I work as a writer in real life. In January and February, I wrote six days a week for my supper, and then hopped into Manson research right after dinner for my Monday MB post.

Counting the ones that never hit the Internet, I wrote forty two posts here in the past thirty weeks. I found it's nearly impossible to write a long piece in a single week. When I'm the only writer here, I manage about one long one per month. I just watched Torque work on theirs behind the scenes for several weeks, for example.

You may have noticed this is not a good crowd to make a research mistake in front of lol.

Now, outside of my whining, I confess to simply wanting to hang out and talk Manson on the weekends. So I've been posting more hoping to begin a discussion or two.

I'd post Dead shows every Sunday if Matt would let me...

shoegazer said...

Torque:

Check this out:

Bullock's Wilshire

Folger may also have gone here. It was definitely set up for the carriage trade.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

LOL Shoe! Sworn enemies moving about in here daily. And I think Dave M or maybe it wasn't him was going by something that had anus in the title at one time.

A lot of times it seems like someone is having a bad moment, they run into another person having a bad moment, and the sparks fly until one or both leave vowing never to return. Most of the people with a serious interest in the case eventually return and patch fences. Or just return lol.

We all live in a yellow submarine.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Ben Carruthers died at 47. He doesn't look super healthy in that photo up there either. Interesting possibly only to Dan S, Carruthers' son was the first drummer in Megadeath.

Doug. Doug will also care.

grimtraveller said...

Torque, that was a beautifully written piece.
'Nuff said.

shoegazer said...

Two odd diverging thoughts...

1) Watson was a virtual killing machine. Over two nights he killed 7 people without too much problem. Manson, as a manipulative head of a cult of personality, needed muscle at times, since his most ardent followers were women. Watson appears to be a sort of enforcer--Manson's Luca Brasi.

2) We're living in a time of getting virtue points for identifying privilege. This goes hand-in-hand with an assumption that wealth and position can buy insulation from the ugliness of life.

...and yet Folger was autopsied and the photos leaked out. They are dehumanizing and demeaning. And yet she was a little rich girl.

It's time to get realistic about what privilege is, and how it works.

Dan S said...

MegadEth.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Yes yes my apologies

shoegazer said...

Torque:

Question about the photo of the Pickwick Bookstore: do you know where that one was located? It was a very large S Cal chain (maybe regional/national for all I know), and this looks like it may have been the main store.

They had a catchy logo, as I recall. A sort of smiling, partly bowing, bespectacled geezer in knickerbockers.

I liked Pickwick, Either/Or in Hermosa Beach, and there was one near Santa Monica, close to Zen Bakery, whose name escapes me.

The Woodstock house is a very nice mid-century modern. It has held up well, from the photos. Thise are sorta "in" right now...

shoegazer said...

G. G-W:

A lot of times it seems like someone is having a bad moment, they run into another person having a bad moment, and the sparks fly until one or both leave vowing never to return.

I never have bad moments; when you're always right, life's good...

;^)

Keep on truckin' GW!

shoegazer said...

Torque:

Ah, here's the logo and a list of locations at one point:

Pickwick bookmark

I never went to the one in Hollywood.

Torque said...

Shoe, I first found an exterior photo of the Hollywood Pickwick location, then found the interior shot. I compared both the ceiling and roof lines of the two photos, and am certain the one in my post is the Hollywood location.

Also, check out one of David's posts on Abigail. He provides a photo of one of her unpaid bills that was presented to settle her estate; this is a receipt for books at the Hollywood Pickwick. She purchased, among other things, books on dolphins for Voytek to study, as he wanted to assist Roman on his planned film, Day of the Dolphin.

shoegazer said...

Nifty, Torque!!!

Torque said...

Shoe, yes Abigail visiting Bullock's is probably a safe bet. Also agreed, the house on Woodstock has held up well, and probably not a bad price for the area. Also need to correct myself: earlier I indicated that Abigail and Voytek were bohemians, but meant to say as you did that, yes, they surrounded themselves with those types, but were no doubt bourgeoise. Even though Kosinski referred to them as squares, they were educated people who probably wanted very much to be a part of the hip mindset of the New Hollywood.

I am here reminded of the quote of Abigail's former boss, Selz, at Berkeley, who said that she may not have lived the most conventional lifestyle, but...Also reminds me of Voytek, who was reported to have a degree in chemistry, then tired of that and took up the study of film.

Torque said...

Greene, congrats on your promotion!

tobiasragg said...

Torque, this is absolutely astounding work and you are to be commended, good sir. Wonderfully in-depth and beautifully illustrated! I found myself hoping that some of those currently-unanswered inquiries you mention are eventually responded to. If so, I do hope you will share the relevants with us here.

Green, the day Inmate Watson dies, we shall gather in-person for a drink of something-or-other. Perhaps something Polish, eh . . . ?

I have always felt that, had she been allowed to live into middle age and beyond, Miss Folger would likely have developed into a very fine woman, indeed. Perhaps her future would have included a run at political office, or perhaps she'd have continued on her track of philanthropy and trying to make some positive impact on the neglected ones. That seemed to be her mother's calling, and Abigail seemed to have been quite close to her mum - emotionally of course but also in terms of her sensibility and instincts. Hers may have been a much greater loss to society than many may imagine.

We have been busy recounting the details of 8 August with some of those newer to this whole thing, and one Abigail detail has always remained with me. Convict Watson related that once Sebring had been shot, Sharon Tate was in a state of mild hysteria but Miss Folger became calm in that moment and attempted to rationalize with the home invaders. The precise details were not shared, but it is easy to imagine her saying something like "Okay, let's all calm down, here - what is it that you want from us?" Coming from Watson, it is difficult to imagine how true this detail might be, but one who knew her says that yes, that seems very much like how she would react in that situation - it was her counsellor training at work, the person suggested - though I cannot remember at the moment who shared this observation on her.

And then we have the loathsome Convict Krenwinkel, sniffing to her prison-issued psychiatrist in the late 70s that Miss Folger should have done more with her life than consume drugs and waste her life away, as she did. Stephen Kay had a field day with this one in parole hearings for a good long while.

Green, we shall drink together again once Big Patty heads to that eternal cell in the sky or wherever!

Last bit is below, and it is completely unrelated to anything above - so feel free to bow out now, dear comment reader . . .

tobiasragg said...

I was shocked at first, and then not, to see Eric Clapton pop up toward the end of this piece. Clapton has been a kind of Zelig of popular culture for the last 60ish years, it is amazing how many places and in how many cultural stories & moments he presents in.

Green, you may be aware that Mr. Clapton owns a home and resides part time in our fair city, and I had a very insignificant brush with that rock god (turned anti-vaxxer in more recent times, but that's another matter). Clapton's current wife is Melia, and her parents own the local, massively-successful MAC construction company here where we live. My mum was friends with Melia's parents, the McEnerys and by extention I was (very slightly) friendly with them too. My mum was single and I would sometimes serve as her "date" to social fun, and this is how I found myself invited to an Ohio State football "chili cook off" party they were hosting for one of the games - it was probably a Michigan or a playoff game of some sort, I can't remember. All of the guests who cared to were charged with making a crock of chili and there was to be a tasting and general voting on the things. Anyway, my mom charged me with making our contribution to this thing. Despite my urban living situation, I manage to do a bit of gardening. I mainly grow things to cook with: tomatoes, herbs, peppers, this sort of thing, and I love growing the super-hot peppers each year. Ghosts, Reapers - you name it. So I thought, "okay, this is gonna be a suburbanite crowd, I might as well knock them out of their mom jeans!" and I created a ghost pepper chili that would melt the hairspray from most any well-manicured coif, right?

I figured I should probably warn the chili-eaters of the heat involved with my creation before they actually chose to sample it, so I printed up a little tented sign festooned with cartoon chili peppers and whatever name I had chosen for this culinary creation. This prompted all of the other chili-makers to rummage for markers and paper so that they, too, could (not so) cleverly name their chili entries, which I found slightly amusing. So we're all gathered around the kitchen island and I am doing my best to fit in when IN walks the daughter Melia, along with her newish-at-the-time husband, Eric.

Gulp.

This was before they had their first child, so it was just the two of them. No one seemed to much care that they were all in the presence of rock greatness (many already knew him as part of the McEnery family, I gathered) so I pretended that I didn't much care, either. But Eric-fucking-Clapton was seated just to the right of me, watching Ohio State fucking football! I only had one direct interaction with the dude, and this came late in the afternoon gathering. I was standing in the kitchen after the game and he came through the archway and headed directly for me. "You're the one who made that blazing one, are you?" I stammered out a "yes" and he simply smiled slightly and said "well done!" and walked away.

Obviously, that wasn't the time or place for such things, but had I read this wonderful blog post prior to that rather insignificant encounter, I'd have loved to ask him "So about Mama Cass' place . . . do you recall meeting an Abigail Folger . . . ?"

Speculator said...

Shoe -Watson was indeed a killing machine but the ultimate cowardly one at that. Taking a gun and knife to unsuspecting and subdued victims. The only barely “fair” one on one he had with Frykowski he clearly couldn’t cope with until he resorted to using the gun.

Doug said...

This Gibbie/Sharon related video is quite interesting (if you have not seen it before)!

https://youtu.be/B4z1UxodRc0

Doug said...

Not so much about Carruthers or his offspring...BUUUUUT, Billy Rinehart is a whole other story...

A fantastic rhythm guitar player and pretty solid songwriter who co-wrote The Leaves debut single in 1965 (The Leaves of course released the first version of "Hey Joe" (prior to the Byrds and Love...The Leaves also including ace bassist and future Mothers/Zappa bassist Jim Pons) before leaving the band to join the incredible (seriously underrated - their song LIVE was covered by The Bangles) Merry Go-Round with teen prodigy Emmit Rhodes before joining the newly solo Gene Clark (Byrds) 1st solo band and, making a great debut album with Gene.

Here's an early 1966 television "performance" of the Leaves doing Rinehart's excellent "Too Many People" which was pretty trippy and snottyfor 1965 and, which was far more awesomely in your face and fuzzed out live. Bill is "playing" the wicked Rickenbacher on the far left FYI

https://youtu.be/AWr1p_GpVAY

Doug said...

G GW - The single redeeming fact of Ben Carruthers 1965 UK (Parlaphone?) 7" - besides that it was fairly quickly withdrawn from production/release due to a very controversial issue with Bob Dylan's publisher over the Carruthers/Dylan co-writers credit due to Carruthers unauthorized (nothing in writing...debatable verbally) use of an unreleased Dylan lyric/poem is that it was a Shel Talmy production (Who, Kinks,Small Faces, etc) and the song that "borrowed" from Zimmerman included session playing from two 21yr olds who would go on to make a pretty big splash in the music world shortly afterwards...

Jimmy Page and Nicky Hopkins

Ben Carruthers and the Deep

7" fetches around $200 these days...the flipside “Right Behind You” is quite bizarre as well

https://youtu.be/l7jmyswGmgY

Doug said...

Hermosa Beach...ever hit up the Lighthouse Cafe for awesome jazz? The venue was booked and operated by the legendary jazz/R n B producer/talent scout Ozzie Cadena and his wife Gloria!

Or, perhaps (G. G-W - are you listening to my spiel?) you hit up the equally legendary birthplace of bands like Black Flag, Descendents, Red Cross/Redd Kross, The Last, etc...The Church.

We have six degrees running amok here - Red Cross being the first to record a version of "Cease to Exist" in 1981 (bassist was 13) while future Black Flag vocalist and 2nd guitarist who lived with the band at the Church was the son of Ozzie Cadena...Dez...

I'll stop here...so many degrees of Hermosa Beach...dozens

Torque said...

Tobias, many thanks. And thanks for sharing your excellent story of Clapton. I appreciate your thoughts on Abigail. Indeed, what would she have gone on to accomplish had she lived? I think of that often. Her mother lived to age 100, and by all appearances was always active in something. Abigail was said to have contributed to the campaign of Robert Kennedy, as well as Tom Bradley, so I suppose she likely knew something of political organizing. It may not be difficult to see her making an attempt to enter politics.

Concerning Sharon Tate, I could have seen her getting her own TV show, something along the lines of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, with its excellent comedy.

Doug said...

TORQUE - Heavy kudos to you for this exemplary work!

Jay said...

Loved this article. I’ve always wanted to know more about Abigail Folger- she tends to get kind of overshadowed by the other victims. Personally, one of the most chilling mental images of the murders is of Katie chasing Abigail with an upraised knife across the lawn.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Great post. Great comments thread.

Food, music, and Manson is my Valhalla. Let's all meet in the Mead Hall after dinner to discuss how we'll defeat that nasty Grendel.

Tobias, we grow the hot stuff and maters over here too!

Thanks, Torque. Means a lot. I did a lonely f-ing grind here for a long minute.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Spellcheck Dan - I rode 30 (indoors) yesterday with a yellow bird on my shoulder and have photos to prove it.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Doug - Gimme gimme gimme...

Dan S said...

I had lost all respect for a second there!

shoegazer said...

Spec:

As you probably noticed I seldom am interested in the relative virtues or vices of any of the characters in TLB, outside of how these characteristics contributed to the commission of the crimes.

I'd sure agree with you that in mentioning that Watson killed 7 people in two nights, it was when he had a distinct advantage, so it wasn't anything like one-on-one combat.

But to understand it a little deeper, the first night he had no real idea what they'd face on the other side of the gate. He possibly knew that they had no real guard dogs--two dobermans loose, patrolling the property at night, would have changed everything. Or even a large mixed breed dog like my first wife had, who we kept indoors at night, and would have killed for her, I have little doubt.

Or overnight guests, or that Frykowski liked guns and kept a loaded one nearby.

The second night it was Manson who faced these uncertainties.

Matthew said...

That first photo is very fascinating to me. It is the first photo of here from that time that you can see her youth and beauty. Most photos of Abigail she almost looks matronly. Thank you for sharing and for your well researched post. Abigail sometimes gets lost in this tragic story.

shoegazer said...

Doug:

Lighthouse, yes, a couple of times in the mid-80s. Went out and played on the playground swings on the beach, at night, to get some fresh air, saw the Talking Heads film "Stop Making Sense" at the theater just up the street.

We used to ride bikes on that concrete bike/rollerblade freeway that runs on the beach from near Santa Monica, all the way to Redondo Beach, and maybe a little further (never went any farther).

The pictures of the place where the Israeli actor lived who they thought about killing--the area is an absolute pit. Venice at night was one of the few places I was always scared.

For some reason, Venice, which on paper should have a lot going for it, is a pit.

During that period I lived on the bluff at Playa del Rey, above the Jungle. Rented the daylight basement of a nice house while going to Southwestern Law school for a year.

Boy, I really liked it down there...

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I don't have an alternate theory or anything like that but I've always wondered why Tex and three girls armed with knives and a single gun that looks like the BANG! flag should come out of the barrel when someone pulls the trigger is the chosen murder squad Friday night.

Moreover, if everyone is chummy and the killers have been to Cielo enough times to know the lay of the land, surely they're all aware of Christopher and three dudes (plus an unexpected fourth in Parent) to contend with, plus Abigail with any type of sneak attack she can muster.




shoegazer said...

OPEN QUESTION:

In Witold-V's translated recollection, there are at least two ambiguous passages. One refers to "crayon" and in the context is seems like a reference to a drug dose. This I've never heard/read and I wonder if it's due to translation.

In any event, by context it certainly seems to refer to his experience with mescaline.

The second passage is more intriguing.

In the kitchen there was a door that went out to some cell phone and further to the yard, to the wall of a high mountain. I found a string there, lured the stool that Winnie the cleaning lady used to reach the dishes on the top shelf. Above the cell phone door, outside, there were three hooks. I put a noose on my hook and head and when I stepped on a stool.

Clearly it's not literally a cel phone he's talking about, but what, exactly, is it? I suspect that this may have been part of the inoperable intercom system to the front gate, but it would be nice to know, one way or the other.

The way he describes the location, it is the kitchen door to the back of the house.

Torque said...

Shoe, yes, that translation interested me from the beginning. I don't know of any other way to explain it.

Torque said...

Matthew, thanks. Yes, I feel the same--Abigail often gets lost in history. I feel she had not made her mark yet in life, and that her best work was still ahead of her. I'm certain I could say this about all of the others that died as well.

Torque said...

Doug, many thanks.

TabOrFresca said...

Shoegazer said:

The second passage is more intriguing ….

This link shows exhibit 137, which shows the end of the communication line which began on the rail fence near the outside gate button. The speaker was outside on the ground, next to bushes, with many feet of cable coiled up. That is McGann on the right holding it. Refer to Vol 65 page 8567.

https://i0.wp.com/server.rxstr.com/media/d2794-cielo-drive-back-yard.jpg?ssl=1

But also remember what Kilgrow said, how he said it, and what he did not say.

Shoegazer said:

In Witold-V's translated recollection, there are at least two ambiguous passages.

Torque, could you provide the untranslated text for the two questionable phrases?

Doug said...

I need some more

Torque said...

TorF, yes, its best just to go to the Facebook page of Witold-K. Once there, just scroll down and you will see the original Polish. I don't have the exact entries in front of me, but its an easy find. He also has other interesting stories of his life there, and beautiful pictures of his art.

Torque said...

To all, I also wish to point out that paintings by Witold-K may be purchased by visiting his website, witoldk.com, and selecting the "works for sale" tab.

orwhut said...

Thanks Torque,
That was great. Some of the pix remind me of the crush I used to have on Michelle Phillips

TabOrFresca said...

There seems to be a Byrds connection with a couple of the characters mentioned. A bassist/guitarist/producer named “Bill Rinehart” worked with Gene Clark and Charles Tacot was friends with Chris Hillman (I recently read his book “Time Between” and RS has a preview).

“Before the murders were solved, police were following every lead they could. Michael and I had a good friend from our Byrds days named Charles Tacot, an older guy who ran with Dickson and a lot of the Hollywood crowd. Charles, who’d been a small arms instructor in the Marines in his younger days, was a tough, no-nonsense kind of guy you could count on to watch out for you. After the murders, I opened up the Los Angeles Times one day and saw Charles’s name as someone they were interested in talking to. One of the victims was famed
hairstylist Jay Sebring, and there was some kind of conflict between Charles and Jay. On top of worrying about the random people who’d been coming and going, we were now also convinced that the cops might burst down the door of Burrito Manor, looking for Tacot, and drag us all away. It sounds paranoid now, but it’s hard to describe the mood across the city in those dark days.
I decided it was time to move immediately — if not sooner. I found a house north of Malibu …”

Doug said...

Yes. Reinhart played with quite a few notable bands...especially between 1963-1970. I commented on some of the other connections and people that he had in his orbit who had themselves woven into the various friends of the crowd that Tate, Polanski, Sebring, Frykowski and Folger were involved with socially and, who also had various connections to the MF and/or the burgeoning LA (especially the Topanga crowd and, the key scenesters living there)!

The number of people who weaved in/out of that larger population is quite interesting and a lot larger than one would think.

The new LA elite- young and influencial, famous and fabulously wealthy

It really is a fascinating deep dive

Dan S said...

the first 2 photos she is in the same outfit. fly in and straight over to mama cass's...

Doug said...

I posted this link wayyyyyy up with the earliest comments for this particular blog post and I am gonna repost it here in case someone would be interested in viewing it and didn't see my stupidly placed placement WAYYYYY UP IN THE BOONIES.

I have to chuckle about someone lamenting the "old days" of this blog where there would be times when a lot of dialogue and commenting...even reaching upwards of 100 comments...

There's been quite a few excellent and thought provoking posts triggering some fantastic conversation since that was brought up...quite a few 100+ comment mofo"s too

Here's the link and a few words about the video - I liked how it brought out a little bit about what kind of people Sharon and Gibbie were leading up to their brutal murders


This Gibbie/Sharon related video is quite interesting (if you have not seen it before)!

https://youtu.be/B4z1UxodRc0

shoegazer said...

Read Watson's 2016 and a couple of Krenwinel parole hearings.

Objectively, I think they're both truthful and that Watson is carrying an almost stupifying load of personal guilt. Krenwinkel carries guilt also, but I think is actually more able to resolve what the whole thing was all about, how it got that way.

Funny thing too: I feel that Watson perhaps never had a good memory for detail and sequence, and that he was indeed hyped on speed. These two factors. combined with the chaos of the Cielo attack, has made it difficult for him to recall with precision the sequence--he ends up telling things, but out of order so far as most supporting parts of the evidence/testimony go.

Too, prior to reading this, I felt pretty certain that he was a person who really had no intrinsic way of setting goals for himself, and by this I mean it was not poor training, but simply an innate inability to decide for himself a mid/long term course. So he just floated like a leaf on a pond, subject to whatever external forces he encountered.

You can even see this in his hearing, when he had that extremely sympathetic chairman--Peck was maybe his name, and it was the second time he had chaired one of Watson's hearings. Watson absolutely required Peck to structure the responses, because he would drift off onto a related topic.

With Kasabian's testimony, plus these hearings, plus the Atkins recountings, they are very consistent on major points, and even sequence. I think things happened very closely to the established narrative of the crime.

tobiasragg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tobiasragg said...

"but simply an innate inability to decide for himself a mid/long term course."

Yeah, you raise some good points about Watson. The longer you look at him the harder he is to see, really. There's just not much there. He seems a cypher, a conduit for others.

A couple of things have always stood out to me on old Tex. The first is that he felt an enormous amount of guilt, starting very shortly after these murders happened. I like to look at people's behavior to try to understand their thinking, and everything Tex did between those two nights and his arrest suggests that he seemed to be wrestling with the reality of his carnage. He confessed his role to Snake shortly afterward. Both of them speak of this moment where he held up that LA Times front page featuring pics of the five Tate victims, slapped at the paper with the back of his hand and exclaimed, almost in disbelief, "I did this! I did this because Charlie told me to do it!"

The second thing that has stuck with me is that Tex is enormously obedient. Beausoleil, Watkins and others have said that he was among the most devout of Manson followers. Just prior to his extradition to California, his Texas lawyer cautioned him to talk to no one - and he didn't. For weeks. Not even his own lawyer in LA. Then the Reverend Bullshit gets ahold of him in prison and all of a sudden he's living and breathing Jesus-speak for the rest of his life. There is no Charles left, really. You ask him how he's doing today and he's gonna answer you with a bible quote. Mama Watson must have done a real number on that dude as he was growing up.

My theory has always been that he recounted his acts during the Manson period into the pastor's tape recorder (which became his first book), and then he was done with it. He left "Tex" behind and shielded himself from the carnage and the guilt by becoming "Charles" and spouting Jesus-speak. This is why he struggles so in parole hearings, I think. There, he is forced to speak of Tex - that other guy - a person he left behind decades ago. For me, this suggests that the dude can never really be properly rehabilitated, because he seems to find it impossible to connect THAT guy with the guy living in his skin today. He confesses it all, he says the words, but there is a very palpable separation there. He was long ago "forgiven", he declares, and he is no longer that monster.

Read Watson's most-recent parole hearing if you care to, it is really pathetic. He struggles to remember the events of those crimes and the commissioner has to walk him through it, reminding him of details he seems to have forgotten now. I would wonder what kind of person Charles Watson might have become if he'd never set off for LA in the first place, but I really don't care. I imagine he would have been a very good, very devoted, low-midlevel employee somewhere. Or he might have taken over dad's general store when the old man grew too old - in which case he'd have bankrupted it, because he doesn't seem capable of taking the initiative on much of anything.

Torque said...

Tobias, your analysis of Tex is probably the most detailed I have ever seen. I recall one of his psychiatrists saying, "he's depressed," when asked if he thought Tex was crazy. The takeaway I got from that statement was that Tex was experiencing extreme guilt, and now had begun to see the error of his ways by hooking up with the Manson Family. No doubt Tex thought about his good life growing up immediately after incarceration, and wondered how everything had gone so wrong.

Jay said...

I’ve wondered that as well. The weapons they took seem almost inadequate. Plus the fact that most of the group were women that were nowhere near as strong as Tex was, it does tend to raise some questions. I enjoy hearing everyone’s (civil) takes on all of the alternate theories. It makes for interesting reading at the very least.
I always wondered why Kasabian’s driver’s license was so important when you had a car full of armed people, some of whom were on speed. Manson must’ve really been worried about traffic violations.

shoegazer said...

Jay:

In hindsight, considered objectively, there were many ways the Cielo excursion could have failed...

Cutting unknown wires, going onto the property with no knowledge of guard dogs, security measures, entering the house with no idea who was there, armed or otherwise.

One male, untested, armed with a gun and knife, and three females, untested, armed with knives.

They had the element of surprise, which is a considerable advantage, but...

...and assuming that Manson recognized these possibilities, and for now, I assume that he was capable of recognizing the extremely chancy nature of the mission, he sure threw these folks into a high-risk situation with apparently little hesitation; a lot like the WWII Japanese command structure spending their peoples' lives like grocery store coupons set to expire in two days.

This underlines his exploitative nature: with friends like him, who needs enemies?

In a sense a great deal of luck was involved.

shoegazer said...

Posting and lurking here for a while in 2019, and now currently, I've read a lot of commenters who point to Watson's commitment to Christianity as a convenient ploy. Others see it as a grasping at any ethical straw available to him, to save himself from his conscience.

And there are no doubt many intermediate permutations, as well.

After reading his first book and subsequently some of his parole hearings, and especially about his early life and his family connections, I currently think that his return to Jesus is probably a natural reflex based on his early upbringing.

I grew up among the sons and daughters of The Grapes of Wrath; added to that, my first wife's father was from Texas. Religion means something different to them than it does to the average Irish or Italian American Catholic--it's more more harsh, unforgiving. Binary, really. Saved or damned--no extreme unction or confession to off-load sin.

So now comes a general observation about human nature, so tune out if this is of little interest.

Of the "normal" socialized population, there are two basic types: those who conform to social rules by an internal, uncoerced commitment to the social contract, and those who require the "help" of an external threat. The former basically behave themselves easily, without much effort, because for whatever reason they have accepted the necessity and desirability of the benefits of the social contract; the latter would be content to simply exploit any short (or longer) term opportunity, to hell with the social contract, and the only thing that deters them is fear of external retribution--and in this instance retribution means either temporal punishment (prison, etc.) or spiritual comeuppance (damnation).

For whatever reason, I found that the incidence of the latter was often the case with those from the mid-west, and to me, Watson was clearly in this camp. I've played around with the idea that those who settled the American frontier often restored to routine direct butchery--genocide, really--and hence had a giant load of guilt, which could be best expiated by a harsh God's forgiveness, whereas the average later 19th/early 20th C European immigrant often end up in established, ordered social environments, often urban, and this required no such resort to wholesale slaughter with its subsequent guilt load.

Just "routine" human sins, such as coveting one's neighbor's wife, etc.

shoegazer said...

Reading Watson parole hearings, it was interesting that he was drafted, showed up for induction, but was rejected.

This is what happened to me, too, but I had fought it long and hard before I had gotten to that point.

Boy, oh boy: did I ever feel good walking out of the Oakland induction center with a 4F in Feb '70.

Manson Mythos said...

You know that picture of the pre-murders Cielo Drive living room is a photoshop creation?

Torque said...

Manson Mythos, Yes I know about that photo. I included it only to add another angle of the flag for clarity. The only other photo of the flag on the sofa at that angle (that I know of) is a crime scene photo with the bodies; and of course we will not be displaying those here.

shoegazer said...

Any photo that old can be tough to definitively verify. It might be possible to see "Photoshop" in the exif metadata, but if the edit was done, saved, opened and then the image was recaptured using some kind of screencap tool, all that would be lost.

If one has access to the actual digital image file, or what purports to be, you can use something like exiftool to list all of the metadata. Even if Photoshop appears in the metadata, it still doesn't guarantee an edit; it could be simply adding a caption.

That old the image would have been scanned at some point, and the brand name of the scanner will be retained in the metadata.

...or Whitson could tell us...

shoegazer said...

If you read some of the parole hearings, there'll be inadvertently funny stuff.

This is from Watson's 2021 hearing, when he was describing his life in high school...

I -– I was a lazy student, but I, uh, I got through high school, uh, very well, a star athlete, uh -– uh, track and field records that held up to 1985 matter of fact. And, uh, since I was as infamous as I was, it came out in the paper that my record had been broken, you know.

For some reason, this struck me as very funny. It was as if it was a sort of petty piling on, the implication being that he was sufficiently reviled in the community that it was with a sense of civic pride and relief that his name could finally be erased from the record books.

tobiasragg said...

"For some reason, this struck me as very funny"

Yes, this struck me in a similar way when I encountered it, and I commented here on his observation. I was a little surprised and amused that he was still keeping track of such matters from prison; someone replied that he probably took pride in that record as being one of the fewer things he still had to be proud of, these days.

And yes, of course, one can imagine the reaction of the local community to the news of his arrest and involvement. There are old recordings from back then out there. The father had to take the family name off the general store signage, in fact. That old store & the family home still stands, as does Watson's church from back then. Some dude did a tourist visit video in the town and posted it to YouTube, it was kinda interesting.

orwhut said...

Patty Duke had moved up a bit since she left her home in Brooklyn Heights.

Milly James said...

An amazing and captivating piece of research. Thank you.

Dan S said...

Manson didn't give a Fuck about these "soldiers". It was a big piss taking and success was never an option. A diarrhea mouth filling a cipher's brain with pooh

ColScott said...

FIRST- this is extremely well researched and written- well done to the author- the best writing on Abigail evah

SECOND- it mentions yearbook photos but I do not see them- am I missing something?

THIRD- a story. Circa 1999 when I was researching our film myself and my wife and Max Frost were doing a research crawl. We stopped at the Dennis Wilson rented house in the Palisades. Before and since you can only get to the front gate. THAT DAY only we arrived during an open house- the house was for sale. We went in and video'd the place (I should look for this).

When we were in the kitchen I opened the garbage can and found junk mail for the current owner- Mr. Hormel. Like the chili.

Two months later we were eating at a Cafe on Beverly and the young couple behind us said something and we realized she was Hormel's daughter. The family allegedly had owned that house for a long time.

This is the first time I have heard Hormel associated with the case via Torque- I just assumed they bought the Dennis house recently.

Deb is you see this can you find out who Dennis rented the Palisades house from back in 68?

This is probably nothing but it is a stunning coincidence that Tom O'Neil could maybe get a whole book out of!

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Her yearbook photos are on the genealogy sites. I'm pretty sure you've seen them all before. I felt like I had.

ColScott said...

well fuck me
Property records confirm this guy George Hormel owned 14400 Sunset up to about 2003


what does it all mean???

Torque said...

Col, many thanks for your kind words. Again, I'm glad I could make a contribution. Your video on the Wilson house sounds amazing, would love to see it.

The Abigail yearbook photos are available at the Santa Catalina site. I don't have a link in front of me right now. But I found them in the past by just typing 'Santa Catalina digitized yearbooks' in my browser. Every yearbook is there from the beginning of the school, which I believe was in 1950.

tobiasragg said...

"We stopped at the Dennis Wilson rented house in the Palisades"

The multi-part Epix doc features several nice little looks into this house & grounds. They might have filmed this during the vacancy period, around the time you were there. Fabulous fireplace!

ColScott said...

Yeah yeah yeah


Now is Hormel a coincidence? Like Bryn Lukashevsky? Or was LA in 1969 super small?

shoegazer said...

Now is Hormel a coincidence? Like Bryn Lukashevsky? Or was LA in 1969 super small?

Maybe not LA, but the intersection of wealth and celebrity might be pretty small.

Hormel = rich guy whose avocation is music, has a small recording studio. Owns a house in Pacific Palisades, maybe outright, in full (unknown). Maybe he has more residences (unknown)

Folger = rich girl bumming around with the artsy-fartsy crowd, including Cass Elliot and her extended circle.

Wilson = dissolute longtime music industry veteran performer.

There's a possible connection between Wilson/Hormel thru the music industry. Possibly knew Wilson a bit, word of mouth (or industry paper) Hormel has a house to rent, and Wilson clearly has enough income to pay for it.

There's a possible intermediary with Elliot, who may have known both Wilson and Hormel thru music industry connection.

There's an independent connection between Hormel and Folger: both are heirs to established fortunes, and everyone knows that birds of a feather flock together--you know, to compare notes on servants, Bentleys, prep schools, etc.

I don't see that it has to do with anything, really. It's like how did Polanski hear about the Melcher residence being available?

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

If you read some of the parole hearings, there'll be inadvertently funny stuff

There really is. Such as one year, Tex being referred to as Tom Watson {I seem to recall a golfer of that name} or Barbara Hoyt being referred to as Barbara Hoist. Or in Pat's last hearing in 2017, the DDA saying that "the District Attorney's office position is that the criminal behavior was a result of the devotion based upon the inmate's lack of steam" before correcting herself and saying "lack of self esteem." 😆
One of my favourites is at the sentencing in the original trial, a tense moment, punctuated by:

Manson: I don't see how you can get by with this without letting me put on some kind of defence. Who gives you the authority to do this ?
Hey, boy !

Judge Older: Mr Manson, if you don't remain quiet, I will have you removed immediately from this courtroom.

Manson: I didn't ask to come back !

Sometimes, there's so much tragedy about in the case, but one has to see the humour, where it exists.

Torque said...

Shoe, according to Sharon Tate biographer, Greg King, in his book Sharon Tate and the Manson murders(p. 102), "Sharon spent the last of January with real estate agent Elaine Young, driving all over Los Angeles, from Malibu to the hills above Hollywood, in search of a house. Then, in the first week of February, she learned that the Benedict Canyon estate where Candice Bergen and Terry Melcher had lived was going on the market."

shoegazer said...

GT:

All of the other parole hearings that I've read (Krenwinkel, Van Houten, Watson) so far, all seem cowed and repentant. It's pretty clear that they'd like very much to get out.

But Manson is like Satan in "Paradise Lost". Essentially, "Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven".

shoegazer said...

Thanks for the info on how they found the Cielo house.

Veering a bit, the more I look at Cielo, the layout, the construction details, and compare them with, say, Frykowski/Folger's house, the more evident it becomes that it's a very crudely constructed house--really, it almost seems like a first-time effort to build a prestige house by a less-than-prominent builder.

It was probably euphemistically described as "rustic". Like other such houses, it is trying to pretend to be something it's not--and this is pure Hollywood.

It's thematically related to the kinds of houses you used to see closer to Franklin Canyon, or even farther east towards the Hollywoodland development--little fake thatched cottages, mini-castles, etc.

Related to these:

Houses

or this one:

another house

Of course, the lot and view covered up for any perceived shortcomings in finesse. I would suppose that later, after the gate was in, the prospective tenant thought: "Wow. There's parking here for a significant party, with visual isolation from surrounding properties, and once the gate is closed, and if I lock it, no one can get in without express permission.

And all this just up the hill from Rodeo Drive."

ColScott said...

There is a direct line now between Dennis and Abigail and Hormel.

Dennis evicted the Fam from Hormel's house.

Abigail got slaughtered

I do not dismiss the links as easily as you

tobiasragg said...

"it almost seems like a first-time effort to build a prestige house by a less-than-prominent builder."

Quite the opposite, actually. Robert Byrd was a very prominent and rather beloved architect in his time, and his work still stands all over SoCal.

The Cielo house was designed and built-to-order by an actress named Michele Morgan. She admired Byrd's own home in the area and said that she wanted a house just like it.

Personally I rather like the home, despite the taint connected with it.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd_(architect)

shoegazer said...

There are some indications that the stories of its design and original owner may be inaccurate. I'll need to look for this stuff, but it's because it's a side note and of little importance to me, as compared to getting the sequence of events right, it may be a while.

Also, when I say "builder" this would mean, literally, the general contractor. I think he may have his name only on this house.

I'll try to find this stuff and post links. It could also be as you say, but there's a sort of nagging little bell going off...

shoegazer said...

Yes, there was a lot to like about the property and the house. Without any doubt I'd snap it up, like Altobelli did.

shoegazer said...

I mean, the way the lot was, it was sorta like going to Lake Arrowhead without having to go to Lake Arrowhead. You had your getaway right there.

shoegazer said...

Re Cielo:

This is intriguing, but not definitive:

10050 Cielo Drive

Building History

In 1942, the French actress Michèle Morgan, (née Simone Renée Roussel, [1920-2016]), a star for RKO Radio Pictures, purchased this residence in 11/1941. A notice in the Los Angeles Times stated: "The early American farm-type dwelling at 10050 Cielo Drive, Beverly Hills, has been bought by Michele Morgan from J.F. Wadkins & Co. With addition of a pool and rustic recreation cottage now being built, the investment totals $32,000, according to Harry H. Kem Co., Beverly Hills realtors, who represented the buyer and seller." (See "Michele Morgan Buys Residence," Los Angeles Times, 11/23/1941, p. A7.)

Several sources have credited the house's designer as Robert Byrd, although this has not been corroborated.


About PCAD:

PCAD



shoegazer said...

Dennis evicted the Fam from Hormel's house.

Abigail got slaughtered


Let's see...

Hormel rented a house to Dennis Wilson.

Dennis knew Manson and Watson, and eventually evicted them from his (Wilson's) house.

Manson has a grudge against Wilson. No evidence he knows Hormel.

Folger may have known Hormel, and may have known Wilson.

What's the connection?

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: I believe everything and I believe nothing. I suspect everyone and I suspect no one.

Speculator said...

Grim/Shoe - speaking of funny moments (as in perversely funny!) it extends to interviews too. If you watch the tv interview with the Cielo neighbour two doors down who came home 1.30am - at the end of the interview the guy asks has she ever been on the property and she says yes and that it was kind of spooky. And then he kind of smirks and says “a good place for a murder?!” And she says “oh yeah” with a little grin. Totally surreal when you think of the subject matter and the murders having had just occurred!

SixtiesRockRules! said...

Does anybody here know exactly when (as in month and year) dennis wilson moved into the pacific palisades house? And when did hormel purchase the residence? Thanks in advance.

Peter said...

100

Torque said...

To all, you may find Abigail's high school yearbooks on the site called Digitized Yearbooks--Santa Catalina School. Here is the link:

https://www.santacatalina.org>digit...

She graduated from Radcliffe in 1965, and the Radcliffe and Harvard yearbooks were combined as one book that year. The college yearbooks have not been digitized, at least not to my knowledge.

Torque said...

Forgot to mention Abigail graduated high school in 1961.

shoegazer said...

1965 may have been Radcliffe's last year as a separate school.

The Seven Sisers colleges were sorta pair up with one of the Ivies from when the Ivies were all male. Vassar and Yale paired, Radcliffe and Harvard paired. Harvard started admitting women and then absorbed Radcliffe. Vassar, Smith, Mt Holyoak, Wellesley and maybe some others are still there, although some of them are now co-ed.

shoegazer said...

WHOA!!

Original building permit for 10050 Cielo.

Owner = M. M. Landon
Architect = Arthur W. Hawes
Contractor = J. F. Wadkins Corp.

building permit

There's a lot to check out on this doc (see if architect designed other stuff, etc.) and a lot more permits in the 1940s.

Whaddaya think?

shoegazer said...

Cielo architect...

Here are some of the buildings he designed.

Hawes buildings

Here are two images of an LR that were built in 1940, one year before Cielo. Click to advance to the 2nd image.

Cielo LR?


There's also a photo of a BR that is some ways similar to one of Cielo's BRs.

Interesting stuff!

Jenn said...

Shoe: r.e. Pickwick. It looks like the one that used to be on Hollywood Blvd, IIRC.

Jenn said...

Torque,
SUPER great piece, thanks! Just one little disagreement: VK’s house WAS basically right across the street from Cass’ Woodstock house. The house you show is her Woodrow Wilson house, her last home, which is indeed a couple of blocks away. So at one time, they did live across the street from each other. Actually, I don’t know if they lived in their Woodstock houses at the same time, but houses that they each lived in were located across the street from each other.
Jenn

Torque said...

Jenn, thanks. Yes, the house I show in this post is Cass' Woodrow Wilson house. I have learned that Cass bought that house in 1967, and owned it until her death. Abigail and Voytek moved into the Woodstock house in August of 1968.

Buntline said...

Michelle Phillips would have made a textbook member of the Manson family.

Buntline said...

Was Roman Polanski having an affair with Michelle Phillips at the time of the murder, and did Roman Polanski accuse John Phillips of the murder for that reason?

tobiasragg said...

The Roman/Michelle thing was a one night hook-up kinda deal and yes, he suspected many of his friends at first, John Phillips included.

D. said...

You should maybe listen to the Billy Rinehart interview a little closer.

"Indeed, to Rinehart, it was the house of John and Michelle Phillips that played host to the drug craziness of that time—not Cielo, not Woodstock, and not the home of Cass Elliot."

This is absolutely false. Rinehart said Cielo had such a bad vibe about what was going on that he stayed away from it.

Calling somebody "The Robin Hood" of dope would imply he stole it from others and gave it to his friends.

Voytek was a dealer and so was Jay. Why would Jay carry a gun, according to his nephew's documentary? For Shampoo distributors? Voytek was involved with Tom Harrigan, Billy Doyle Charles Tacot and Daniel Strickland in smuggling weed from Mexico. Strickland was the pilot. It's amazing people still want to uphold the Bugliosi fantasy.

shoegazer said...

D:

That's very intriguing about Rinehart's portrayal of the vibe at Cielo.

Could you provide some links to something a bit more definitive?

Or do you think we should just take your word for it?

D. said...

It's in the LAPD interview with him!

Buntline said...


As an aside, Billy Doyle was no fan of the Phillips'. In his interview With Lt Deemer, he described Michelle as 'a cobra'. Although a peripheral character, Michelle was friends with four of the victims, had a romantic involvement with Polanski, and was mentioned in 'Helter Skelter' as being interviewed by police, (and appearing to point a finger at Dennis Wilson).


Allegedly, Michelle Phillips was quoted as having once said that "everyone in the house was busy filming an orgy and Sharon Tate was part of it", but that was in the U.K.'s daily mail so must be taken with a grain of salt.

shoegazer said...

D:

No link?

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Bunt - I missed you. Welcome back.

tobiasragg said...

Shoe, jeez - google is your friend lol. And most everything is posted on the cielodrive site, as far as testimonies & LAPD stuff, anyway.

I was thinking of pointing you to the Robert Hendrickson films on YouTube. I'm afraid I will have t trust you to do your own searching on those too, but they are essential viewing for those with an interest in all of this. The first film, Manson, released in 1973 and popped up in art house & campus theatres for a good decade or so after that. That one was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar. The second appeared decades later and is more fun, it is a kind of "Mondo Manson" that seems to be comprised of outtakes from the first film. Both feature a shit-ton of footage of the non-incarcerated family over a period of several months - before, during and just after the main trials. If you'd like to actual witness much of the stuff covered in these trials & the various books, these films are a priority - family life at Barker and Spahn, mealtimes, bathing rituals, family trips to the courthouse to support Charlie during his perp-walks, you name it.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

If anyone is interested in contributing a post to the blog, Matt's email address is at the top of the blog. I see a few interesting posts waiting in the queue. Maybe you could join them. Help keep GreenWhite away forever.

tobiasragg said...

"Help keep GreenWhite away forever."

Oh, but you are the temptress, aren't you!

shoegazer said...

Shoe, jeez - google is your friend lol. And most everything is posted on the cielodrive site, as far as testimonies & LAPD stuff, anyway.

Is this in relation to the question about Rinehart today?

This guy?

On 9-29-69, William Barbour Rinehart (Billy) was brought into Parker Center at 2000 by SIU for interview. After talking with investigators it was evident he was under the influence of some type of narcotic. He admitted he was "high on grass." He talked freely and implicated Mama Cass, Doyle, Harrigan and Charles Tacot in heavy drug traffic on the Sunset Strip. He denied ever being on Cielo Drive or being aware of who the murderers were. His only aim in life, according to him, is to sell songs, smoke grass and sit on a hill and play his guitar. He agreed to a polygraph examination on the following day.

On 9-30-69, at 1000, Lieutenant E. A. Deemer, ran Rinehart with negative results, the subject hyper-ventilated to an extent which made it impossible to run him accurately. An extensive interrogation resulted and Rinehart talked freely to investigators. He admitted selling marijuana, using all types of narcotics numerous times. He feels Mama Cass, John Phillips, Billy Doyle and Harrigan as well as a number of other persons in that crowd could be involved. He could furnish no details. Lieutenant Deemer and investigators have eliminated Rinehart as a principal in this crime. The evidence does not substantiate this individual's statement and it is the investigators' opinion that he is fabricating his story.


From 2nd Progress Report

From years and years of posting, starting in the Usenet days, I've found that the main reason people come up with flip answers when they make a claim, and are asked for a link, is deniability: when you go looking and find no support--like they claim there is--they just say, "Well, that's not the one...try again".

They'll do this as long as you are stupid enough to play along. And ultimately you'll learn nothing.

It's basically a ploy by those who are both dishonest and chickenshit.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I also need time to compile my eye-opening list of high school mascots associated with the milieu.

tobiasragg said...

"They'll do this as long as you are stupid enough to play along. And ultimately you'll learn nothing."

I understand your thinking, but the attitude can read as lazy.

I've been into this case since I was 14 years old, I've decades of reading & watching & learning behind me, and I know a fraction of what many others here do. You've just started looking into things a couple of years ago, so naturally there is a ton you haven't gotten to yet. I get it.

But when you ask a question and someone gives you an answer - and your response is "prove it" - that can be pretty annoying, to say the least. Because it puts the person who is trying to be helpful in the position of having to think "hm ... do I start to scan dozens of book indexes and do key word eBook searches because this jackoff doesn't believe me?"

Yes, memories can be faulty and answers can be wrong sometimes. But no one is here to jack you around. If someone tells me something and then tells me where I can learn more on it, I'm content to go off and look into things for myself rather than asking to be hand fed. That's just me, though. BTW - check out the Hendrickson films. I was thinking you'd like these as I was watching one again, a while ago.

shoegazer said...

Two ones you should not overlook:

Tillamook High School Cheesemakers

The first time I drive by their stadium in the mid-70s, the logo said:

"Home of the Fighting Cheesemakers!"


The other is:

The Laguna Beach Artists

Regrettably this was changed to the Breakers in 2003

http://www.lagunabeachwalks.com/blog/flashback-friday-picture-of-the-laguna-beach-high-school-artist-mascot

I extrapolated their name to the "Fighting Artists" and often longed to see a national-level football playoff between the Fighting Cheesemakers and the Fighting Artists.

shoegazer said...

I understand your thinking, but the attitude can read as lazy.

Those making a claim bear the burden of proof, not the other way around.

Burden of Proof

I especially like this part, called Hitchen's Razor:

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

"It implies that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim; if this burden is not met, then the claim is unfounded, and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it."

But when you ask a question and someone gives you an answer - and your response is "prove it" - that can be pretty annoying, to say the least. Because it puts the person who is trying to be helpful in the position of having to think "hm ... do I start to scan dozens of book indexes and do key word eBook searches because this jackoff doesn't believe me?"

What if I'm nit asking a question, but responding to what looks like an unverified claim?

This is absolutely false. Rinehart said Cielo had such a bad vibe about what was going on that he stayed away from it.

In this case it was a poster attempting to refute Torque's section on the atmosphere at Cielo. They simply attacked it by saying that so-and-so said such-and-such, and because Torque supported his position, and his interlocutor did not, that makes it an extraordinary claim requiring objective support.

I asked and was brushed off. I found an polygraph interview that you have to pay for--but who knows what's in it? I then found an LAPD report of interviews with Rinehart, and they end up saying he's unreliable.

So I'm back at: if you say Rinehart said something of value, I'm seeing the contrary. It's your claim: back it up.

What I'm finding is that some people raise such a low bar for proof that they might just as well be jerking me around. These are the ones who in all credulousness accept unconfirmed hearsay as being equivalent to physical evidence.

There are others here who are so emotionally involved in the characters that they embroider a sort of morality play from carefully selected bits and pieces, and they, too, are not ones to take at face value.

Then there are malicious jerkoffs--there are plenty in any forum. Surely you've encountered them.

So yeah: I'll want proof.

Alternatively, do not blithely portray a position as factual when its simply your recollection. Supply a link or admit that the reference is simply your possibly flawed recollection of something you read. This identifies it as interesting speculation rather than vetted fact. And there's a world of difference between to two.

That would be the honest way to do it.

tobiasragg said...

"I asked and was brushed off. . .

So yeah: I'll want proof"

Asked and answered, I'd say.

Read your transcripts;)

Panamint Patty said...

GW where are you...write me?

shoegazer said...

This is my point: there are people out on this forum who make what turn out to be erroneous claims either because they want deeply to believe a certain story, and of course they don't want you checking it out.

There are other who make perfectly honest mistakes. For example, they might swear up and down that on the night of the Tate murders Watson was wearing moccasins: of this they are certain. They might take what the read online at face value, and they'll tell you with all certainty that the architect of 10050 Cielo was Robert Byrd, when the contemporary paperwork states otherwise.

These last may be honest mistakes, made by a lazy and pompous fool.

Now if you want this forum to be a couple of fishwives gossiping over the backyard fence about stuff they read in the move magazines, that's fine, but I was hoping for a whole lot more.

tobiasragg said...

"Now if you want this forum to be a couple of fishwives gossiping over the backyard fence about stuff they read in the move magazines, that's fine, but I was hoping for a whole lot more."

Sorry dude, people do not come here to serve your needs. Best thing you can hope for is that folks will point you in the right direction and wish you well as you make up your own mind about things.

shoegazer said...

A guy who admits to being stuck tight to the Manson case since he was 14 should be careful about bringing up the issue of "needs".

Still gonna stick on Byrd as the architect? Why don't you say it again to be sure everyone gets it?

Google is your friend...

tobiasragg said...

Sorry, I'm not going to get into a pissing match with a relative newbie. Yes, I settled on Byrd as the architect of the home. Most people have. If you've reached a different conclusion, great - welcome to MansonLand!

Watch Hendrickson . . . and read those transcripts;)

shoegazer said...

Yes, I settled on Byrd as the architect of the home. Most people have.

Gossip over the back fence?

There's a great saying attributed to a bunch of US public figures:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

D. said...

What did they mean "his story"? He told multiple stories. But I mean, fuck. This guy Reinhart is mentioning how Charles Tacot got his ass beat for something he told Paul Caruso. So no, this guy Reinhart wasn't a bullshit artist for him to even know the name Paul Caruso. Very interesting is he says Caruso is working with Younger and how it was "Weird"

And what kind of attorney tells client what other clients have said? The kind who take a broke girls case and claim she was "under a hypnotic spell" and killed strangers?

Billy Doyle put way too much emphasis on Folger not doing drugs. "I repeat, Abigail did not get high". Then mentions how he "hopes Mr. Folger" find out who killed her soon? It's so obvious somebody was telling them to sanitize things.

shoegazer said...

D:

Did you see Doyle as a complete bullshit artist? I did.

The very best at lying tell the truth when it helps them and cook up shit when it doesn't. They try to get you to "prove" the true stuff, which pans out, and hope that this establishes a sort of credibility so that you'll buy the bullshit with the strawberries.

This works on a surprising number of people, sad to say.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

But when you ask a question and someone gives you an answer - and your response is "prove it" - that can be pretty annoying, to say the least

That's as maybe, but it shouldn't be.
I don't mind if someone says something like "I know I've read this somewhere, but I can't recall where." But if one is going to make claims as opposed to state opinions, I think that person has a duty of human decency to show where they've gotten the info that has enabled them to make the claim ~ so anyone in the discussion can see it too and assess whether or not the claim is at the very least reasonable.
We do it all the time, "Watson said this in that book, Pat said this in her 2004 parole hearing or one of her parole hearings" etc.

Because it puts the person who is trying to be helpful in the position of having to think "hm ... do I start to scan dozens of book indexes and do key word eBook searches because this jackoff doesn't believe me?"

I think it's fanciful to say that Dennis {D.} was trying to be helpful. He tends to go on the attack with whatever he doesn't accept or believe and scourges anyone that takes a contrary view. I've had many great sparring battles with him across 3 sites from 2015 and I've always liked engaging with him in his various incarnations, but with him, there's no middle ground or debating or even entertaining of questions. I've asked a few times for where he got certain bits of info he's claimed and he doesn't reply usually. To be fair, he did actually say where the info could be found this time.
I'm in shock ! 😱

If someone tells me something and then tells me where I can learn more on it, I'm content to go off and look into things for myself rather than asking to be hand fed

Well, I agree with this. But you know, a link does no one any harm. I think hand feeding has a part to play sometimes, up to a certain point.
Sometimes, perhaps we overlook the reality that there are so many dimensions to this saga, and ∴ so much information on any one topic or side trip. Let's not be churlish about giving a helping hand. Even Vera, when blowing fire from the nether regions, will give links or mention where the info you're being beaten up with 😆, was gleaned.

D. said...

These people were mostly bullshit artists in that they were whitewashing. There is no doubt from his interview that Peter Folger was doing something to keep their mouths shut.

Another thing that backs up that Cielo was a nasty place when they were staying there is the scorn and contempt Doris Tate had for "those people". She never spoke of them as being friends to Sharon and mentioned that Sharon called Roman to tell them to leave after an incident one night and then Bill Tennent who ID'ed her body calling Polanski a "little prick" who "left his pregnant wife in that house" insinuating it was known that something bad would/could happen.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

I prefer the Col's one, that everyone is entitled to an informed opinion. It may be ultimately right, wrong or none of the above. But at least it's informed, and based on something that can be pointed to.

grimtraveller said...

D. said:

Another thing that backs up that Cielo was a nasty place when they were staying there is the scorn and contempt Doris Tate had for "those people"

I've long suspected that much of Doris Tate's actions once she'd learned to manage her depression and got on board with Stephen Kay, stemmed from guilt. She was the one that kind of pushed Sharon in the direction of the entertainment business. Which led her directly to the kind of people she encountered and the sort of scenes she engaged in. It had nothing, really, to do with her death, but guilt is not always cut, dried and logical.

shoegazer said...

I tend to see a comparison to verifiable facts as the way you can distinguish between wild speculation and an informed opinion.

No problem with either self-identified speculation--even wild speculation--or with informed opinions. My own stance is that nothing is actually "knowable" in an absolute sense, and it's a fun exercise trying to get as close as you reasonably can.

And of course it won't matter one little bit...it's just an enjoyable exercise.

But what truly annoys me, not that it matters to anyone but me, is making up a story you like then attempting to make all new incoming information fit it, bending and discarding as needed. Basically, that's the creation of dogma.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

You've just started looking into things a couple of years ago, so naturally there is a ton you haven't gotten to yet

All the more reason to extend a helping hand where one can.
Mind you, like with many other topics that one is just coming to, patience is of the essence.

tobiasragg said...

"I think it's fanciful to say that Dennis {D.} was trying to be helpful. He tends to go on the attack with whatever he doesn't accept , , , "

I wasn't thinking of any one poster as I typed my post, mainly as I can never keep screen names straight in my head. I was speaking more of the kind of entitled thing you speak of above, "deliver the information to my inbox for me" and also, more to your point "I have decided that this or that is correct and this means that you are wrong."

It's just whatever. I'll generally site a source and even pull a quote or post a link if it's handy. If not, I'll offer a general idea of where I learned of something - this is often true of parole hearings, where there are so many for each individual to be had.

It's all good, though. Most answers, to the extent that they exist, can be had with a minimum of effort. Some folks profess to being curious when they actually are not, though, and that's just weird.

Torque said...

D, thanks for your comments. I've listened to the Rinehart interview I linked to several times. In fact, I made notes in key moments in that interview which prompted me to write what I have in my post.

To begin, I have no horse in this race. I simply want to get at truth. An important part of this exercise is to survey the backstory, or the environs. That said, here is what I understand about Rinehart's interview:

At about 54:50 Bill describes John Phillips having a party where everybody is stoned on mescaline. A girl had to get a cab home from that party because she was so high. Bill then describes a party at Cielo in August, 1969 *after the murders* where he was invited, but declined to attend. Bill knew it was Altobelli having the party, and said, "how he's having a party up there is beyond me".

A careful listening of Bill at about 1:28 reveals that he did know of happenings at Cielo *before* Sharon and Roman moved in.

At about 1:32 Rinehart is asked if he had ever been to either Cielo or Woodstock, to which he answered "no." He amplified his answer to say, "I do not even know where Woodstock is, even".

Shortly after 1:43 he goes on about John Phillips having mescaline and coke parties at his house, and everybody stoned out of their minds. He describes it as a continual "bum scene". He then talks about Voytek slipping mescaline in Doyle's champagne.

From about 1:54 thru 1:57, Rinehart issues his editorial of this "scene". He calls John Phillips the "biggest liar I ever met," before describing the ongoing atmosphere at John's house, as well as Cielo after the murders.

Couple this, then, with Billy Doyle's tape at Cielodrive.com. Doyle basically has nothing but bad to say about the world around John Phillips. Doyle also said that when he was at Cass' house, he put an end to drug taking there.

To be fair, much of what Bill Rinehart said may have been second hand, or even hearsay. I simply included his tape in my post because I feel he provided some very interesting backstory to the scene around Abigail. He did not even know where Woodstock was. To me, the bulk of the negative vibes to Rinehart originated at the John Phillips house, and I hear nothing in his tape to dispute that. Rounding out the "testimony of the three Billies" with Bill Garretson, and of course there is precious little to suggest non-stop drug craziness there either.

Also, the quote by Mitchum on Voytek being the "Robin hood of Dope" is what it is. One would have to speak to Mitchum about it to be certain. I cannot see evidence that Voytek stole drugs to give to his friends, but rather most likely bought them and shared them. Doyle in his tape says that Voytek was being assisted financially by Roman.

Additionally, the Doyle/Rinehart/Garretson interviews were conducted by L.A.P.D. in August and September 1969. This was long before Bugliosi was given the case, so I don't see how Bugliosi could have influenced any "fantasy," at least not there.

Finally, I will not knowingly write anything in a post that I know to be "absolutely false." I realize that nearly all the cast of characters in this case were some kind of narcotics users, and likely participated in some craziness attendant to that use. The evidence for that is in abundance. I for one do not see Cielo, between February 15 and August 8, 1969, as being ground zero for the drug hype put out by the popular and altetnative press immediately following the murders. Be advised that I will change my view any time superior evidence proves otherwise, but for the purposes of my post I will stand behind what I have written, as I believe my citations help shed light on my point. The links are there for everyone to study.



shoegazer said...

Yep, guilt is debilitating, for sure.

There's a way to triage guilt: internally assigned and externally assigned. One should probably reject all attempts to externally assign guilt to you; you'll know full well when you deserve guilt.

shoegazer said...

Torque:

To begin, I have no horse in this race. I simply want to get at truth.

Yay, Torque! That's the spirit!

No kiddin'.

Maybe 20-25 years ago I gained a great insight. The easiest way to express it was that I didn't care if I was right, what I wanted was to get it right.

That's what's important.

Possibly this came from working in engineering, I'm not sure.

shoegazer said...

Torque:

Rounding out the "testimony of the three Billies" with Bill Garretson, and of course there is precious little to suggest non-stop drug craziness there either.

In my opinion, Winifred Chapman's testimony supports this, as well.

The most unconventional occurrence that I recall was Garretson testifying (or interviewing) that Frykowski had filmed a nude young woman at he pool once. I had kinda hoped that the interrogator would follow up on this a bit, but sadly, he did not. :^(

shoegazer said...

Most answers, to the extent that they exist, can be had with a minimum of effort.

It's easy enough to do this, but the question is do you accept them or test them? Anyone can write anything, but if it's unvetted it's simply gossip.

...and that right there is where laziness raises its feckless, clueless head.

Torque said...

Shoe, yes. And let's not forget all the time Witold-K spent at Cielo. His stories that I have included here involve personal use quantities of drugs, and among just a few people. He certainly was exposed to other people in this case and no doubt partied with them, but he makes no mention of Cielo being some kind of habitual den of iniquity. However, we know about the fight involving Bill Tennant at Cielo, and Pic Dawson threatening Witold-K at Woodstock. These are isolated events, even though Witold-K knew Harrigan, Doyle, Dawson, et al to be unsavory types.

And what of Doris Tate? If she were concerned about the people at Cielo during Sharon and Roman's absence, how was young Debra Tate and her pet iguana allowed up there?

tobiasragg said...

"but he makes no mention of Cielo being some kind of habitual den of iniquity"

I've always had the feeling that the atmosphere at Cielo, as far as drugs were concerned, was mainly centered around the time that Gibby & Voytek were in residence and Sharon & Roman were in Europe.

We've precious little to go on where those months are concerned, but we do know that Voytek was hoping to become the MDA kingpin of the west coast, so it is easy to imagine that the atmosphere during Sharon's absence was at least somewhat different to how it was once she had returned, and we know there was a bit of uncomfortability among the trio over conditions at the home.

Most in the position to speak to this shut up hard after the murders, so this is likely an area that will remain forever shrouded, a bit.

shoegazer said...

Torque:

And what of Doris Tate? If she were concerned about the people at Cielo during Sharon and Roman's absence, how was young Debra Tate and her pet iguana allowed up there?

Now I'm going to add a "gut feeling" after looking at the candid photos of Frykowski, Folger, Tate, and Polanski.

This means nothing, but it's an impression formed from vague life experience.

I see Frykowski as almost an adventurous academic--almost like he's play-acting at Boheminaism. He doesn't actually give me the impression of being promiscuously outgoing enough, like Doyle, to be a serious dealer.

Polanski I can see as a dealer. He's a wily survivor, cynical. It would be very hard to get to Polanaski, or to fool him, I think.

Folger indeed appears to be a privileged young person of the era seeking to give back. She looks to me like a volunteer social worker, if ever there was one.

While I see cynicism in Polanski, I see it in neither Frykowski or Folger. They are simply trying to be "with it". Actually, they are not well-suited to the milieu in which they found themselves; they tried, but...

Tate I think knew where her advantages lay and could use them to her advantage, but not with much joy or sense of accomplishment. She gives no impression of being a manipulator, and with her looks, this an area she could have really exploited if she was motivated, or unprincipled enough to do so.

She seems to be the homecoming queen who slept with the captain of the football team, and realized what this meant, and what it might mean in the future. I see her as somewhat reluctant in this role, but willing to exploit it because: what else could she do, really?

Sebring was a sort of self-made man looking to mix and mingle with the most glamorous, simply as payment for his ambition and effort; he seemed to want to sleep with as many babes as he could. A decent enough sort, really.

He could conceivably be, or have become, a dealer at some level. But I think he mainly used drugs as a social lubricator: by having access, he could use it as gifts or ask favors. He used them to make connections.

All of this is the thinnest of speculation, I assure you.

D. said...

LOL@"put an end to the drugs"

These people also told cops they were involved in a "documentary" about Marijuana. It was actually a smuggling operation. Daniel Strickland had a commercial pilot license and would fly it in him. It was him, Charles Tacot, Billy Doyle and Frykowski.

Panamint Patty said...

My comment got buried. I miss my friend GW

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Yo, Patty. I emailed you :)

You visit Paisley?

shoegazer said...

D:

I agree with your thoughts on "put an end to the drugs".

It's one of the reasons I awarded Doyle with the Best in Class Bullshitter prize.

You've gotta be careful: he's likely truth about some things. He's done this before, a time or two...

You'll note some instances of incorrect words or usages. He's trying to sound more sophisticated, educated, in the interview.

He pays kind, non-sexual compliments to some of the women: he's trying to give an impression of being somewhat protective in nature (that shit with "got rid of the drugs", etc.) to convince the police interviewer that, yes, he may be involved in drugs--but so is everyone else in Hollywood--and he's a sophisticated gentlemanly sort.

My opinions, of course...

SixtiesRockRules! said...

The last name is actually STANland, not Strickland. You're welcome.

Panamint Patty said...

I'll go read it now. Just been to the Talgarth

shoegazer said...

Patty:

I take it you're familiar with the Panamint Valley, the Panamint mountains?

Proteus said...

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

And not just the Col ...

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant ― Harlan Ellison.

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge - Isaac Asimov

Well, that's, like, just your opinion, man - the Dude

Eidolon said...

Post and Comments: what an amazing piece of American history. Just fascinating.

Torque said...

Eidolon, thanks!