Saturday, May 20, 2023

Remembering Linda Kasabian

Linda Kasabian was born June 21, 1949 and passed away on January 21, 2023. Although she only spent approximately a month with the Manson Family in the summer of '69, she would become an extremely important witness for the prosecution to convict several members of the Family of murder. She will forever be remembered for her 18 days of testimony on the stand that helped write the fascinating story of the Tate-La Bianca murders.

Please click on the video below to remember Linda through photos. 

Music: "Arizona," by Mark Lindsay, Columbia Records, 1969.



shoegazer said...

As with most of the Manson followers, she gives me a sort of sense of underlying repulsion.

Maybe it's because I already know who/what they are/were, or maybe it's just the social signals they give off in unguarded moments (like smoking in the car, or walking with apparent boyfriends), that you can pick up by evolved intuition.

Oh, well...

shoegazer said...

Huh. I just had a thought re the Manson followers...

I live in Portland, OR (PDX). There's a very visible, and growing, homeless problem. I live close-in (Irvington) and if I go to the grocery store, gym, out-to-eat, inspect properties, I see it a lot. I've inadvertantly ridden my bike thru encampments, etc, and have gotten an eyeful, for sure. This has been going on for many years--maybe 8 or so. I have formed distinct impressions and opinions, but this post is not about that.

I also read reports and see photos of other major west coast cities, such as Seattle, SF, LA, and it seems similar there, too. Seems like it's in Vancouver, BC, as well. It could be in other urban areas in the US/Canada, but I can only speak to the west coast.

So what we apparently have is a wide spread sociological trend, and *this* bears on my question for today.

My question is: in your considered opinions, do you think that the personality profile of the current homeless is similar to the Manson followers, and further: do you think that if those such as Bruce Davis, Watson, Grogan, were alive and young today, they might well have been living the homeless life?

I sorta think many of them would.

You'll note that I left out any of the female followers and that's because there was a different dynamic going on between Manson and the females. There could have been some who might fit the current homeless profile, but not as many as the men followers.

What do you think, fellow-TLBers?

brownrice said...

I imagine the primary difference is that most of the so-called Family (both the hard-core and those that just came and went) had chosen to be there and they all had homes they could easily return to (as Tex for instance did). In my experience, whilst there's a smattering of people in any contemporary homeless camp that are living out some romanticised notion of hip poverty or bohemia, the vast majority are genuinely poor, desperate people (many with serious mental health issues) who actually have nowhere else to go. Let's face it, most people are just one or two financial mishaps away from homelessness. Not everyone has properties to inspect. :-)

Peter said...

Homelessness is a problem that offers too many possibilities for graft to solve.

Torque said...

To all: if you are interested in homelessness, especially as it exists in Los Angeles, check out the website, The Invisible People.

shoegazer said...


"...check out the website, The Invisible People."

I was hoping for an exploration of whether the male Manson followers may have been within the personality profile of the urban homeless I've seen, rather than an exploration of homelessness, itself.

But, oh well!

shoegazer said...

I had meant to stay away from a discussion of contemporary homelessness, and I'll say only this...

I see it all the time, personally. I see interviews with the homeless, read local news article about places I know specifically. I own rental properties that are increasingly harder to rent due to fears about the home. Have witnessed aberrant behavior directly and on multiple occassions.

For a very long time I took it at face value, as reported: it's people who cannot afford rental housing. Many of them, most, were simply down on their luck. They had lost their apartment during COVID, etc. And I tended to see it that way because coming from my own perspective, raised as I was by east European immigrant parents with traditional values, my deep gut feeling was:

"They *must* be down on their luck, because no one would live this way if they had any choice at all in the matter. Clearly, they're driven to this by circumstance."

And then some things that media and homeless advocates told the public didn't add up. Some of the homeless were people who had been evicted during COVID due to loss of jobs. But as a landlord, I *could not* evict anyone for non-payment of rent during COVID, so the number of homeless did not increase during COVID because of loss of job and eviction. This was against the law here, and there were also federal restrictions against such evictions. And indeed, the numbers of homeless *did* increase during this period.

Also toward the end of this period this period there were very many entry-level jobs readily available. There were constant placards, billboards, ads basically begging for low-level employees. And yet the homeless numbers still increased. So besides increasing at a time when they could not have been evicted, if they were homeless simply because they didn't have a job, it was much easier to get one. And the number rose.

Lastly, all the while the homeless numbers were increasing, the population of Portland dropped by 18K, and at the same time more new housing came on line.

So I had to reconsider if indeed the current homeless problem was lack of jobs and lack of housing, or eviction. It might be something else. I mean, is it the normal thing for people who mean well but are down on their luck to spray paint on public and private structures where only 5 years before graffiti was not a problem in PDX? Does this seem like something someone who lost his job would be likely to do, and yet you see this EVERYWHERE now in PDX? Public urination and defecation, even trash, is understandable, if not tolerable, but spraying tags on everything? Or does it seem like something else is going on?

I came to the conclusion--and it's fairly simple: in outlook, the homeless of today are very much like 1930s hobos: they actually liked the life-style, and had no actual intention of ever working of they could help it; not laziness, but freedom. They are *not* playing at being bohemians; they are closer to unwittingly practicing political anarchism. Without knowing it, they have taken Thoreau's advice to "simplify": they purposely live with less so as to be able to do what they want when they want, and between relief organizations, panhandling, and property theft, they have enough to satisfy their basic needs, which very often involve hard drugs--possession of which are not a criminal offense in Oregon since 2020. You can have "possession" amounts of heroin, meth, fentanyl, everything and the maximum penalty is a ticket and a $100 fine that's waived if you contact a treatment referral center--or if the police can find you to try to get you to court to pay the $100, which you do not have.

The hardest part is to come to grips that anyone would actually live like that by choice. I had to get past that. Believe me, what I'm seeing here is largely a lifestyle choice. And I would suggest to you that unless you've actually *seen* it and lived with it everyday for maybe 6-8 years, it is easy to make generous assumptions about why they're doing it.

Torque said...

Shoe, I mentioned The Invisible People website only in passing. Homelessness is a very important issue to me, so I thought I might share it with the aim of possibly identifying chsracteristics of homelessness. From there one could see if, in fact, the male members of the Manson Family might qualify as homeless.

I would think it comes down to exactly what one considers "homeless," at least in this context.

Tex Watson chose to drop out of college; Bobby left his parent's home to pursue music; Bruce had a number of jobs from time to time, but chose to move in with the Family at the ranch; Clem had the resources of his own family, and could have lived with them, but chose to live at Spahn. We could easily factor in Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston as seekers (they all were), but still with the resources of their own families.

Even though Spahn Ranch was less than an ideal living arrangement, it was arguably a home. It afforded shelter, food, clothing (communal), bathroom facilities, a social sense of community, and at least a modicum of respectable physical work. Of course, the real money in the operation had to come from elsewhere, such as crime, donations, certain trust funds, etc. It would seem most of the food was acquired via dumpster diving, but apparently it was plentiful.

And let's also not forget Linda Kasabian. She was separated from her husband, Bob, and chose to go with Gypsy to Spahn. She immediately was able to enjoy all of the benefits of "home" at the ranch that the men enjoyed.

Taken together, although life for the Manson Family may have been less than ideal, I'm not so sure that I would classify them as homeless; certainly not in the way we see homelessness in our contemporary large urban areas.

shoegazer said...

Thanks for the further explanation, Torque!

Chet Miller said...

I don't think Linda Kasabian is deserving of a photo montage set to wistful music. She was a certified POS.

Rock N. Roll said...

From my observation living on the street makes people mentally ill, very quickly.

Matthew said...

I don't think we can put all homeless men into one personality profile. Bruce Davis might fit the same profile as this homeless man but not that homeless man. Just because they are in a homeless encampment, that does not make them less individual. People end up in this sad predicament for many different reasons.

Still Grooving said...

The cost to rent an apartment pretty much anywhere, right now, is out of many people's income. There may be more low-level jobs, but low-level jobs rarely pay the rent. Every time the Fed ups the interest rate, home prices and rents increase. You add the cost of food and medication and what do you get? You get homelessness. I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of the homeless aren't there by choice. Mental illness without medication and treatment, which is also pricey, is degrading mental illness. And that runs rampant in the homeless population. And I'm pretty sure no one chooses mental illness.

My grandfather was one of those depression era hobo men, part time. His other option, if he were to stay at home, was to work in the dangerous coal mines in W. VA., so he chose to travel where the jobs were. He hopped trains and hitched rides traveling the nation to do the kind of work that most illegal immigrants do today: picking orchard fruit and vegetables, etc. But he always sent money back to his family, and always came back home for lengthy stays before his next adventure.

As for the Manson family, they were members of a dangerous cult commune. They chose that lifestyle, and if they were young today, they'd either be members of some cult, somewhere, or musicians or prostitutes (as most of the female members of the Family were for Charlie).

shoegazer said...


I don't think we can put all homeless men into one personality profile.

No, and that's not what I'm suggesting. I'm suggesting that a general profile of short-term goal planning, difficulty with determining life priorities, difficulty with deferral of gratification, and problems with accepting authority, even legitimate and beneficial authority, fit about 80+% of the homeless I see. In short, they ascribe to an actual philosophic movement without even knowing it:

individualist arnarchism

Of course this is my opinion, and others may differ based on their personal experiences. But I do suggest that reading about it, seeing it on TV, and actually living with it daily are different. The first time you stop at a major intersection and see a guy sorta squatting like a cowboy around a campfire, but with a needle in his forearm, and know that this was at 11:30AM, in place where you used to walk with your 8 year-old daughter without any need for watchfulness, you get a very different idea about the homeless. Then seeing things like this anytime you go to a public place where formerly you used to walk without a care, for years, changes everything. You see the multilayered and gratuitous and senseless graffiti on almost every vertical surface, and it's hard to think that these are "people like you and me, just down on their luck". There's a lot more to it than that.

But this discussion has gotten me thinking more, and I now reject my own hypothesis. I think that almost all of the male Manson followers seem to have a need for structure in their lives--approval, goals, priorities--and Manson recognized this and supplied it, making them dependent on him.

This seems completely lacking in the homeless I've seen. They are basically pervasively anti-authoritarian--truthfully, they seem to be something like opportunistic individualist anarchists. The Manson men seemed to need a father or big brother to give order to their lives; they couldn't do "self-imposed order".

But there's a whole lot I don't know about the Manson social phenomenon. I just thought it might stimulate discussion here to ask.

shoegazer said...


Is this the sort of thing that a person who wants to fit in well enough to participate in society would routinely do, do you think?

about a mile from my house

Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


This is only a small part of what it's like, day-to-day.

Does this seem in any way like your grandfather? Of are these folks different in some profound sense?

St. Circumstance said...

I think that homelessness issues today are not at all like what most of the Family were experiencing. First- most were not homeless but young runaways. Big difference. Also, Several were educated and perfectly capable of getting work if they sought it. And then there is the commune factor which was a much more popular thing back then. Many chose that lifestyle. Only Clem was really thought of in the Family as mentally challenged and he ended up being the smartest of the guys in the end of all... At least the only one smart enough to get his ass out.

As for Linda passing. I have not been paying much attention these days and had not heard that....


shoegazer said...

St. C:

These are all good thoughts and I'm now getting more and more convinced that the male Manson members were unlike today's homeless in that the Manson men wanted order and structure and Manson supplied this.

I just remembered something a friend who is a social working in Seattle, and works with the homeless there told me about two years ago. It took a while to sink in, and then to test for reasonableness over a period.

He said:

"When you see these people on the street, in the large numbers we see now, what you're seeing in most of the cases are people who have alienated their own natural safety net. Most people have friends or relatives who could take them in if they're having transient financial or emotional problems. But these people now on the street, many of them have repeatedly abused their own friends and relatives to the point that no friend or relative wants to live with them. I've seen many cases where they are on the street because they'd been asked to leave the living situation with friends/relatives. They just don't want them around anymore."

So people can take that for what it's worth, but from my extensive exposure and observation, it seems consistent.

But that's just me. I may be a bit low on the empathy scale.

St. Circumstance said...

I think that you need very little empathy for the most part for this subset of friends. For sure there were some younger people around the Family who had few options, and in the latter days- Sphan Ranch was a source of shelter and some kind of food. However the main players in the Family were there for far more hedonistic reasons.Not wanting to follow mom and dads rules, because acid and sex on the road is much more fun, is a far cry from winding up in homeless encampments for mental health issues.

Keep in mind I am not a social scientist nor do I know much at all about the homeless population.

It just seems different to me

Cisco Budge said...

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Chet Miller said...

Why are you discussing homelessness? Why is this not a discussion about why someone had the audacity to post a photo tribute to a despicable piece of human garbage? The Tate Labianca murderers had nothing to do with modern day homelessness. They were a dysfunctional commune who turned to murder. They were not a bunch of people living under an overpass. And Linda Kasabian was as responsible for the deaths of the victims as the assh*les who actually committed the murders.

Torque said...

Chet, although this group of photos may appear to be a tribute, it is not. For me this post is simply an historical indication that someone(Kasabian)was a part of the immense story that is TLB, and that that someone has died.

Of course people will say what they will about Linda. But let us not forget that her testimony helped bring down the House of Manson. The defense knew that it was game over for their case when Kasabian finished her testimony, and the jury found her to be both genuine in her emotions and believable.

In all, this video picture post goes to the totality of the story, as a person who was intimately associated with it is now deceased.

shoegazer said...


FWIW, I viewed your article as documentarian in nature, and some of the candid photos were of great value in showing Kasabian as other than the flower child on the witness stand.

After all, Kasabian, and all of the others involved: victims, perpetrators, associates of all kind, mean nothing to me personally, so this is a lot like looking at protozoa thru a microscope. Looking at the detail.

Thanks for linking the images.

Torque said...

Shoe, thanks. Yes, this was my intention with this post.

Gorodish said...

I find that 99% of Kasabian bashers/haters always turn out to be Manson fanboys.

cielodrivecom said...

Spot on Gorodish

shoegazer said...

All-in-all, I'm not very interested in who the people were and why they did what they did in the overall picture, but I am very interested in *how* exactly they did it, and sometimes this leads to *why* they chose Course A over Courses B, C, etc., during the commission of the crime.

Here's a really good example of something that interests me, and it's why I took off on Torque's "Steve's Stroll" post.

My understanding is that at Cielo, Watson told Krenwinkle to go to the back house (guesthouse) and to kill anyone there. Assuming that this much is accurate, when exactly (where in the sequence of events) did he tell her this, and how long did her side trip to the guesthouse take from the time she was told to the time she rejoined Watson and Atkins?

Did Watson, for example, tell her to go to the guesthouse at about the time that he came over to Folger to finish her off, or after he had killed Frykowski on the lawn? If the former, she would have left from roughly the spot where Folger's body was found; if the latter, she may have wandered back to the front lawn and then had to travel back to the guesthouse. This would imply that Atkins and Watson would have either waited in the area of the front lawn (Tate being already dead), or had gone back into the house for whatever reason(s) and that's where Krenwinkle rejoined them.

Also, the back porch light being ON, as appears in some of the photos. This would have illuminated a part of the pool area, and between that, and some of the exterior overheads near the trees (if they were on), and the porchlight near the kitchen door of the guesthouse all affected how quickly she could find her way to and from, and hence would affect the amount of time it took.

I keep feeling that a major key to a more complete understanding of the most likely detailed sequence of events would be a really tight estimate of the total amount of time from the first incursion over the fence to the time they walked back to the car on Cielo, proper. I mean, it seems that there is some evidence that the site was wiped down somewhat (Parent's car), unless the LAPD got more prints than I'm currently aware of. All of this would take more time.

I know that several first-hand sources say that it happened very quickly, but that's a very general thing to say, and it's relative to an unstated expectancy that it should have taken longer. And the people who said it were actively involved and time might seem to pass more quickly, plus they were under the influence of drugs and adrenaline, and by habit (at the ranch) did not measure time with any degree of precision. And so when they say that it happened quickly, does this mean much?

I'm guessing that it took longer than those involved thought when they stated that it happened in a "short" amount of time. If this is accurate, it might well valid the fairly minor discrepancies in the timeline as related by Ireland, and the guy whose hose they used to wash off. We could better surmise a lot of other things.

kraut_iznota_knotsy said...

aaaaaarrriZONA =D

Retromoviefan said...

I'm intrigued by your question about whether current day homeless are similar to the Manson males. I grew up in the 60's, and also grew up in the Spahn ranch area, Chatsworth/Thousand Oaks vicinity, so I knew a lot of what I would call "affluent hippies". The rich hippie culture and lifestyle was definitely a thing. Leslie Van Houten was well off and certainly not a homeless hobo but she chose to rebel. Same with Tex Watson. The only dude who would be similar to today's mentally ill homeless would be Manson, with his lengthy criminal history and obvious mental derangement. The rest of them were capable of work, of getting an education, etc. but chose to rebel. I think rebel is the operative term for many who decided to roam around with Manson and hang out in San Fran and the Haight and other hippie areas. It was "the thing to do" back then. Plus, the Vietnam War fueled and huge amount of rebellious drop out behavior back then.

I would compare the Manson crowd more to the beatnik era of the 50's, or an extension of that era, where it was cool to disassociate from the mainstream, drop out, smoke dope, free love/sex, etc. It was a social choice. As such, they had sort of an actual structure, as you mentioned, where they gloried in the fact that they were acting against their parents, society, war, and other social "ills" as they saw fit, and truly felt they were bringing about some sort of new lifestyle or new order or something. A true badge of honor for them as they viewed it. Today's homeless don't fit that general description. Most are just druggies and mentally ill. Or lazy slobs who don't want to work at any job, or apply themselves in school. Having said that, I do think there is a sub set of these people who associate with anti-social groups like Antifa and like to burn things down just for the fun of it...i.e. anarchy. So yeah, I do think there's an anarchist element among the homeless crowd who advocate just burning things down, tearing up businesses, shoplifting, breaking into random homes, camping out in the other people's neighborhoods and communities because they "deserve it" and so forth. Whether they call themselves "progressives" or "far left" or "humanitarian" or other 60's inspired labels, there is a certain link I believe between the old timey hippies I knew of back then and today's "youth" who have adopted a certain element of "if it feels good, do it". Many of the youth today grew up without rigid discipline, or their parents worked so many hours trying to keep up with the Jones or make the car payments or buy the latest sneakers or whatever that a similar alienation exists. I just feel it's a lot darker and drearier and more horrible/empty than the 60's kids who "rebelled" for certain idealistic (to them) reasons, but who ultimately did have homes, parents, loved ones, structure, and really weren't as "rebellious" as they liked to portray. Tex Watson when he got to California totally went off the deep end and absolutely loved the "do what you want" lifestyle on the West Coast. I believe he is a psychopath. He didn't really want to be a hippie. He liked nice things and hot chicks to hang out with. I think he was just lazy and finally decided it easier to turn to crime/violence than to get a job. In common with many of the anti-social homeless who refuse to work, who alienate their friends and family, yeah, I think there is a certain linkage between the types of people who drift into weird situations like the Manson scenario. However, I feel that today's homeless are more run of the mill types vs. the more glamorized hippie rebels of the Manson era. If that makes sense intriguing question, for sure.

shoegazer said...


That is a hell of a meaningful response, so far as I'm concerned. I will try to reply to part of it soon.

Retromoviefan said...

I look forward to your thoughts on this, since you raised such an interesting question. I also have pondered this idea, the differences or similarities between the 60's era anti-social or outside the boundaries of society people vs. today's homeless or rootless people. And I'm sure i've pondered it for the same reason you have, which is to figure out if a Manson style crime could happen again. Could it arise from the same rootless, asocial, homeless population or are there key differences in today's world that would prevent it? It's a deep concept that is sometimes hard to pinpoint or grasp, but definitely worth analyzing and thinking about!