Monday, October 2, 2023

September 30, 1969: The Barker Ranch Raid that Bugliosi didn't want to talk about

Of course you've heard about the Barker Ranch raids of October 10nth & 12th of 1969, which rounded-up the Manson gang.  Less well known is the large-scale Barker raid of September 30th, two weeks earlier.  Probably because the raid was a total failure.  They couldn't find a single Mansonoid.

Desert Shadows by Bob Murphy, pg72
Six CHP, four Inyo County deputies, and three park rangers raid Barker Ranch on Sept 30, 1969. (aided by two more flying overhead in a small plane.  They came up Goler Wash from the west side as well as the east side via Mengel Pass)

Interestingly, Bugliosi doesn't mention this raid AT ALL, but does go into detail about a two-man reconnaissance visit the day before:

Helter Skelter, pg175
"On Sept 29, (NPS Ranger)Powell, accompanied by California Highway Patrolman James Pursell, decided to check out Barker Ranch. They found two young girls there, but no vehicles. ... The officers had come looking for arson suspects, and a possible stolen vehicle. ... Before leaving Barker, Powell and Pursell decided to check out some draws back of the ranch. ...  In so doing we stumbled into a group of seven females, all nude or partially so... We questioned the girls but received no useful information."

The raiding party on the 30th discovered two dune buggies they confirmed were stolen, but not a single Mansonoid.  How is it that they found at least nine girls the day before, and most of the Family on Oct 10 and 12, but they didn't come across a single person on Sept 30th?

Desert Shadows, pg73
"Those participating in the September 30 search were disappointed.  The net result of all the planning seemed to be two inoperable dune buggies and no suspect.  The men wondered if the hippies had somehow learned of their plans, but it was more likely they were spooked because of the visit of Powell and Pursell the previous day.  They had vacated Goler Wash."

Was Charlie forewarned?  Where were they hiding* that not one of the 13 cops or rangers on the ground, in a day-long dawn-to-dusk search, could find even one of them?   Why don't any of the ex-Family members ever mention this?  Why is this incident only mentioned in the Desert Shadows book?

*I suspect they spent the day inside the Lotus Mine, down Goler wash.


This was not the first time that Charlie seemed to have foreknowledge of police plans:

--March(or February) '69 Barker Ranch raid by Shoshone Dep. Sheriff Don Ward, with two or three others. The raid caught Brooks Posten, Paul Watkins, and Juanita Wildbush, but not numerous others who had conveniently decamped the day before.
Brooks Poston interview by Inyo County Sheriff Don Ward October 3rd, 1969
"... Juanita was the only one left, as they had heard the Sheriff was coming up. And, Charlie sent a truck up to get a – all the people out, that he could – or that he wanted out. And he left Joan Wildbush and myself up there, to face the Sheriff...
.... there was a supply run made to Las Vegas. In which, Joan and the girl named Sherri went. And when they came back, there was a big hurry to get all the people out except Joan and myself. Because, as I was later to find out, the Sheriff was coming."
 --July 29, 1969 Spahn mini-raid. Charlie was right out there on Santa Susanna Pass Road to greet the 'surprise' visitors.

Ed Sanders' The Family, pg250:
"He(Manson) had concealed himself and his dune buggy in underbrush near the turnoff from Topanga Canyon Boulevard onto Santa Susanna Pass Road, awaiting the invasion of hostile forces."

--August 16, 1969 Spahn raid. The cops moved it up a day, because they feared Charlie had gotten advance intel on the raid.

Manson's Hinman/Shea trial, Oct '71
LADA files Box54-4 pg603 Testimony of LASO Dep. Preston Guillory
"The raid was supposed to take place on Sunday morning, but it was moved up, because we were told that members of the ranch--or somebody--had knowledge of the raid, and that they may have made efforts to pull out or to fortify further."

But even then, the night before Charlie allegedly told Gypsy that they would be raided in the morning.

Conclusion:  Bugs didn't mention the Sept 30th raid because it would have raised too many questions about how Charlie could anticipate the cops' every move.  Obviously, he had a source within LE, probably high up.

".... somebody very high up ... was seeing to it that we didn’t bust Manson."    -- ex-LASO Deputy Preston Guillory


SixtiesRockRules! said...

Slightly off-topic but at least tangentially related: It's OBVIOUS that Manson was somehow prevented from being sent back to jail due to his repeated parole violations. SOMEBODY (or, more likely, some AGENCY) was "protecting" Manson, right up until the time when it was decided to finally capture him and make him and his "Family" media superstars...something, IMO, which had been planned long in advance. Manson himself was, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to finally see confirmed, almost certainly "working for the Man" as some type of Fed informant/rat. No doubt whatsoever he had connections to both LAPD and LASO and knew, from friends in both organizations, what was going to happen in advance.

Whatdoyaknow said...

One thing that sticks out from the raid is CM kind of over reacts. He's very dramatic in the photos. Also, the whole thing was photographed?

starviego said...

Ed Sanders in his book The Family talks about the raid in a roundabout fashion, concealing the fact that the raid was basically a failure.

Around 10pm, on September 29, after the officers(Pursell & Powell) returned from Goler Wash,the policemen had a strategy meeting. Homer Leach, Chief Ranger for the Death Valley National Monument, contacted Sergeant Hailey of the Lone Pine Resident Post of the CHP and informed him about the situation in Goler Wash. Accordingly, four representatives of the Inyo County Sheriff's Office, four National Park Rangers and six California Highway cops drove back in to the Barker Ranch area in four-wheel vehicles to snare the hippie car thieves.
At dawn, Ranger Powell and Officer Pursell came to Paul Crockett's cabin and asked Crockett and Posten if anyone had come into the campsite during the night. Crockett told the officers ... that the family had ridden away into the night, possibly proceeding over Mengel Pass. ...
On September 30, spotter planes buzzed overhead to locate the hippie deployments. But the family covered themselves with tarps or froze in their tracks and evidently were not seen.

TabOrFresca said...

I doubt that Manson was tipped off concerning the 9/30 LE search . Manson and Tex were 2 of the few males around on 9/29 and were wise enough to move from the Meyers-Barker area. Only 1 or 2 other male Family members were in DV at the time. Crocket and Poston also were at Barker during that time.

On about 9/27 5 males left the area, 3 being associated with the Family and 2 being associated with Crocket. Grogan, Watkins, Flynn, Scotty, and either Zero or Davis (depending upon who’s agenda you are to believe) left DV in a blue VW. Watkins got out part way and went to Las Vegas to get supplies for Crocket and didn’t return until about 10/3; Crocket, Poston, and Tex were already gone. The rest went to LA and all but Flynn returned, probably after 10/1. Grogan brought back Rocky Todd and at some point Larry Bailey/Jones arrived in DV.

Vance didn’t make it to DV until around 10/[3,4]. Watkins said that he saw Vance for the first time in DV around 10/[3,4] and a new girl, probably Von Ahn.

What the 9/29 and 9/30 LE searches did was spook Tex enough so that he bolted.

starviego said...

The raid, though unsuccessful, apparently had big impact on the way the Family did business. From Sanders, pg375:

"It was right about that time, after it became really obvious that the police were after him, that Manson banned all daytime activity. By day everybody was to remain hidden in the wilderness. They were to freeze if there were any spotter planes or cover themselves with camouflage parachutes and remain completely out of the way. Food became scarce. No one was allowed to use the Meyers Ranch swimming pool for baths."

Medium Patty said...

TabOrFresca: I want to read YOUR book on the Manson Family, please please write one

starviego said...

DebS has released a document produced by the Inyo Sheriff's Office regarding a visit made to the Death Valley area on May 3-5th, 1970 by film maker Robert Hendrickson and Gypsy Share, along with some others. The Sheriff's deputies found them and one of them asked about the Sept 30, 1969 raid:

"Conversation with Gypsy was superficial and outwardly friendly.. Shortly before leaving (CHP)Lieutenant Hurlbut asked Gypsy where it was that she and her friends had been hiding when an attempt was made from the air to locate the Manson group approximately a week prior to the date the arrests were actually made. Gypsy haughtily responded by saying that she wasn't going to tell us anything about that."