Sharon Tate a Life, by Ed Sanders – POWER Book Review

Introduction – Charlie’s on the Ropes!

Friday, January 6th, 2017 – After a mountain of bullshit has gone down! Through the years, I have accumulated many books, videos, bizarre memories, filled-up notebooks, and teeming file-folders of information/or articles (ephemera or ‘stuff’) on Charles Manson, his followers, and his victims, most especially the dazzling motion picture actress, Sharon Tate.

Initially, I only intended to write a simple book review of Sharon Tate: A Life, by Ed Sanders. I started the piece in early July, but got stuck in a quicksand quagmire (such as Vietnam), that sent me spinning in a maelstrom of sidebars and data slip & slide tangents (it’s like I was reliving it over again).

I didn’t think I’d get out of the Stalingrad mud-cakes, but the news that Charlie was in the hospital brought an immediacy to my cause of completing this tarnished, iniquitous task. I reconciled myself to simply releasing what I have, knowing it’s an incomplete, unpolished gem. Excessive editing can be destructive anyhow!

My rationale for this confusion is that as I read Ed’s book, I began to check his sources, which led me down further intricate bodies of data (info rabbit-holes); an example is, what was Hollywood like in Sharon Tate’s era?

You have Steve McQueen, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Mia Farrow, etc … as such, you need to know about these stars’ lives and careers, if you hope to get a grip on the story of Cielo Drive or Waverly Drive, or even the sterling career of the late but great Vincent Bugliosi.

What I believe I’ve accomplished here, is I’ve acted like a cheerleader for a scrupulous study of the sources for yourself. Many people still want to know what really happened in Los Angeles in 1969, including myself. Ed Sanders comes as close as anyone can to getting us there! He’s the Pied Piper, yet we are the devotees, in search of our own answers …

In August of 1978 I stayed with Ruth and Paul Henning (writer and creator for hit TV show, The Beverly Hillbillies) at their stately home in LA. They told me stories that shocked me beyond belief; they knew Sharon Tate well, since she did so many cameos (as temp. secretary Janet Trego) for their show. They had stories about how in love Donna Douglas was with Elvis Presley too. They carried on for such a long time about how fearful people were, who lived near them in Hollywood, in the jittery aftermath of the murders. It became real for me! Paul loaned me a car, so I drove up to Benedict Canyon and peeped around 1005 Cielo Drive. All you could do was peer through the fence, but man it gave me the creeps! Forgive me if I’m obsessed, but don’t let it happen to you. Come on in Dearie, and take a peek at these scribblings. Beware, as you enter my own private Spiral Staircase!

Sharon Tate in blue bathing suit.
Sharon Tate in blue bathing suit.

SIMULATION OF 10050 CIELO DRIVE MURDERS – AUGUST 9TH, 1969, 12:15 AM (PAGES 181-197) – Denouement of Sharon Tate: A Life

*Note: THE MEANING OF SHARON TATE’S BRIEF LIFE IS CONTINGENT ON A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF HER DEATH! Otherwise, the ballgame’s over with, other than disclosure of a dispassionate timeline of raw facts. Mythologies are a direct result of damaging obfuscation, which is also eroded by the sizable passage of time (Tate/LaBianca is 47 years in the rearview mirror). If anyone is up for the task, penetrating the hermetically waxed seal of the Manson Family chapters, it would have to be Ed Sanders, who has relentlessly researched (with primary and secondary sources) the multi-layered enigma since September of 1969.

If a portion of the motive for the diabolical visit to Cielo Drive that hot August night, was because Linda Kasabian and Tex got burned on MDA there once (other leads point to an acid burn), then I would tend to think, this means Linda is not quite as innocent as Vincent Bugliosi has said she was! I chose to begin my review here, because this section represents a juncture in the book where Sharon Tate (and the other 4 victims) morph from being ordinary human beings, into cosmic symbols whose meaning for Americans will reverberate forevermore into a misty, transcendent (with chameleon-like properties), parallel universe, a historical gallery that is unhinged to reality as we know it.

As I see it, Ed’s job is to untangle this mess (myth), but it’s hard to do; very hard. To state it simply, if we can’t understand what’s behind Sharon’s unnatural death, we can put little meaning to the sparse set of facts, that compose her abbreviated life. Ed is trying as hard as he can to put the mystery to rest, yet it is a Herculean task, likely impervious. We appreciate his effort; the seal on the Cielo Sarcophagus is unbreakable! This explains Sanders’ TLC with his narrative, including only verifiable kernels of data, excruciatingly examined, then compared against other sources, exposing inconsistencies.

This is most appreciated, since I’m 100 percent convinced the real story was never told. I’ve long held a theory that initially released news stories often come nearer to the truth, since they are closer the event (as I found out with the JFK Assassination); there are less filters when the article approximates the actual event. First accounts (granted, some were tabloids), painted a grim picture of drug connection and ritual sacrifice for the Cielo Drive Five. I generalize, but this looks like what the author has discovered, after many years of arduous evidence-hunting. First news releases were right on the money!

Exactly why did select M members do what they did, driving in Johnny Swartz’s yellow and white 1959 Ford (without his permission) that night? This is the fundamental question that Ed Sanders grapples with in Sharon Tate: A Life (and elsewhere). If we don’t know the why, then Sharon Tate’s entire biography is up for grabs! A lack of clarity regarding her death, renders the meaning of her short life inconclusive, pocked full of holes and portentous question marks. This is where we are (or aren’t); I think Ed makes us aware of this profound and unsettling position he’s put in, since he sincerely desires to shed as much light on ST’s life as possible, but he can’t do so unless he can tie-up some loose-ends regarding her ghastly demise.

Vince Bugliosi’s highly hyped motive of ‘Helter Skelter’ may be bogus, if the real motive was a contract-killing at the behest of The Process Church (the author can’t use their name). As such, The Beatles’ White Album, and this expansive hoax of a black on white Apocalypse Conspiracy could just be a cover story concocted and promoted by Charlie to veil the Real Deal. Manson is a career criminal, and endowed with sufficient stealth and cunning, having mastered the arts of deception, to pull it off. Even worse, is knowing Bugliosi died a little over a year ago, but went to his grave without really getting what went down (Charlie ain’t no snitch)!

This really blows my mind, just like his (VB’s) book did to me, and millions of others who read it ravenously back in 1974. Ed has painted a more accurate picture of truth here, in my humble opinion! Linda and Tex (and Manson) had certainly been to 10050 Cielo Drive before; but how many times and under what circumstances? Was there a major drug burn of MDA by Wojtek?

Spooky Narrative

Here on out, for this subsection, I’ll simply react to the still spooky narrative that unfolds on pages 181-195, pointing out tidbits I’ve never heard before. I will say this, nonetheless: TIME FREEZES AS I CAREEN FORWARD THROUGH THIS METICULOUSLY WOVEN SIMULATION! STIFF AS A CARCASS…

I literally felt as if I’d travelled back in a time-machine, up through scenic Benedict Canyon, date: August 9th, 1969 – 12:15 AM (crimes commence). Note: In August of 1978, when visiting Paul and Ruth Henning (Paul was the main writer and creator of The Beverly Hillbillies), I had the opportunity to visit the H.S. Haunted House! Not to take a wrong exit (Tex took a wrong turn that night), but Sharon Tate had minor roles in quite a few Hillbilly episodes, working under Jane Hathaway and Mr. Drysdale in their secretarial pool.

Ruth and Paul had some harrowing testimonials about how scared they all were after the murders there in Hollywood. My only regret is that I didn’t think to record their vivid recollections of an event that terrified a community moored in free-wheeling fame, wealth, and privilege. That casualness and freedom disappeared on August 10th, 1969!

First two facts I never knew: 1. Colonel Paul Tate, Sharon’s father, viewed her new film, The Wrecking Crew, just as the mayhem at 10050 Cielo Drive took its course. 2. Bill Garretson, the ill-fated cottage caretaker (hired by owner, Rudi Altobelli), got good and loaded Thursday night, August 7th.

I figure, experiencing Helter Skelter with a doozy of a hangover is something, like symbolic of what was about to happen to his puny, insignificant existence. One obvious observation is, just about everyone around there was zonked on drugs! Even Patricia Krenwinkel was crashing on acid when Charlie told her get some spooky threads and a buck-knife to boot, and do what Tex told her to do!

Going forward, I’ll just jot down a few of the more mind-blowing revelations, since there are far too many to mention in this drill. The question lingers, stale yet irksome, did Bill Garretson hide behind the cottage after hearing the horrific screams of butchery emanating from the main house? Or did Katie really creepy-crawl the cottage that foul night? Or was she simply covering for herself out of fear for the Demonically possessed Charlie, along with his Robot-Killing-Machine, Charles Tex Watson? These mysteries cloud a semblance of narrative lucidity unto today!

I’ve often said, the offing of radio buff teenager, Steve Parent, randomly visiting Bill G (wrong place, wrong time), shocks me the most! The MANSON special (History Channel) from 2009, mainly from the vantage point of Linda Kasabian, adds another small detail that disturbs me considerably. Tex orders Linda to steal Parent’s wallet, which she did. She describes getting in the Rambler Ambassador and taking the wallet out of the back pocket of a body she tried her hardest not to look at. This is another blemish on Linda I’ve never heard before.

Thunder-Striking Comments on Facts I Wasn’t Aware Of!

On the dodgy night under scrutiny here, Tex Watson is carrying ‘seven or eight coils of white, three-quarter-inch, three-ply nylon line, a total of forty-three feet, eight inches.’

Why was this so? Implied, is Tex was familiar with the house lay-out, and had envisioned the crime, which included torture. The evil event, as I imagine, was premeditated by Charlie, then intimated verbally to the kill-robot Watson behind closed doors.

Stalking the doomed domicile, Linda cuts to the back, checking for entrance opportunities (orders from Tex), she peers through a window pane, spotting a ‘bouquet of flowers on the table in the dining room.’ This strikes me as symbolic of something. Linda is startled by an embodiment of Good, just in time before the putrid perpetration of Evil! Beauty and tranquility in front of the Eye of a Storm of Darkness (resulting in the demise of the Peace & Love Movement of the 1960s)! Linda may have experienced a fit of conscience, having lived in so many peaceful communes. But remember, it was largely V. Bugliosi who conjured the image of a ‘Hippie’ for her.

Yet the bouquet is Sharon’s, so maybe we should go in that direction (Was Sharon a hippie?). Further disturbing ephemera, finds Tex entering by way of a nursery window, freshly painted that day, as Sharon and Roman anticipate the birth of a baby; speed-cranked TW cuts the screen*, although apparently the window was already open. Transgressing a sanctuary of birth and life is especially egregious, and adds to the rogue-mystique in the aftermath of the horror show. Throw in multiple viewings of Rosemary’s Baby and guess what you get!

*{I felt an uneasiness when fathoming the killer’s ingress; I recalled Bugliosi’s account (I did reread it) nailing the ingress to a window just to the right of the front of door. This is the screen that Tex slit horizontally with his bayonet; VB even includes a pic! But now if the window was locked, this means that Tex would have to scramble, fishing for easier access. Remember, Linda K never actually checked for open windows, as ordered by the acid crashing, crank-charged TW, merely feigning as such. Still I don’t know where Ed got this new version, yet I don’t doubt it was earned through spot-on sleuthing!}

This one gets to me, but perhaps I’m overly susceptible to the temptations of symbolism (an affliction of my generation). On the piano was the sheet music, Straight Shooter, by the Mamas & Papas, along with a chart of Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. How are we to take this when we read what Ed has written here? John and Michelle Phillips are in the thick of so many controversial interconnections, it will make your head spin!

One grey spot is cleared-up for me; I always wondered why the ill-fated foursome (if not Bill Garretson) didn’t properly hear the four reports from the .22 Longhorn that killed Steve Parent instantaneously. Yea, I’ve heard the Hollywood canyons there can play acoustic tricks with sounds, but I never was completely convinced with this explanation. And could this moment (say, 12:20 AM) be when WG bolted out back of the cottage, cowering until the nightmare had run its course? Okay, so when the black-clothed phantom (PK) enters the living room, the stereo was very loud; this provides a better reason for not hearing. My only question is, what record was playing (Mamas & Papas is chilling)?

Robbery was part of the motive, and they could have have purloined another $100, if they’d only checked Jay’s blue leather jacket! I’ve seen crime scene photos of the living room; still, Ed paints a vivid living-color picture for you, projecting you into the room in real time (3 D like). Did you forget the huge upside-down American flag, less than two weeks before Woodstock? It belonged to the radical (yet corrupt) Wojtek and Abigail (not as corrupt as Wojtek); Sharon tolerated this anti-Vietnam War statement, yet secretly didn’t approve.

The author’s warning to those less tolerant of graphic violence comes just before the subsection, Horror on Cielo Drive; I drudge forward, though slightly timorous, or was it a more severe case of the shakes (see Don Knotts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken). A fact-gathering insertion prefaces the blow by blow, gory narrative, as is welcome, underscoring the labor required to get under the story; this bloody simulation is not a work of fiction.

ES pulled together actual participant recollections, and even Manson’s confession to one of his lawyers chronicles, he went back there ‘to see what my children had done.’ Okay, throw in a blueprint of the crime scene, including the clusters of blood splotches; Linda Kasabian’s handwritten lowdown; and 1st and 2nd homicide progress reports. Not to mention, Ed actually attended the trial. Pulling together these documents, would appear to be enough to sketch an accurate rendition of a crumbling, scarlet-drenched, Hollywood-Horror-House (Ed’s put a spell on me)!

Tangential Interlude

  • Tangential Interlude necessary to frame the vast passage of time, from Sharon’s Tate’s day. I’ll let you read 188-197 for yourself; actually, and I’ll repeat, I recommend you buying and reading the book. Sharon Tate: A Life. I purchased a DVD, 11.22.63, at Best Buy yesterday. I’d seen the previews in a movie theater and was intrigued with what I was seeing, but it was on HULU. Glad to spot it on the racks, I snatched it up, managing to catch Episode I (of 8) on Labor Day. I’ll not bore you with the particulars of the plot, other than to say, it’s a Stephen King production (starring James Franco and Chris Cooper), and he comes up with some clever devices to drive his stories.

One such device is (a mutation of Deus Ex Machina, used by Euripides in Medea), the method he comes up with to project the characters back in time. Jake Epping’s ailing friend has a closet in his Diner (which also is a relic from the past), that has a time portal, (so deemed a Rabbit Hole) allowing you to time travel back to 1960 exclusively. Upon learning this last night, a light bulb came on in my head, and I decided to use it to travel back in time to August of 1969 (before and after), primarily to Los Angeles. I’m envious of Ed since he lived through this period, and has a treasure-trove of documents to ease the path of time travel; he can obtain the effect organically. I can’t, so I’ll lean on Stephen’s King’s trick, with movies, books, articles, TV specials, and photographs as my transportation-time-machine pillow-cushions.

(I invoke Stephen King’s Rabbit Role; I enter the Diner closet).

I’m here, 1969! Three other items I haven’t heard before: 1. Tex did the lions share of stabbing and shooting.; 2. Tex was the real killer of Sharon Tate, although Sadie Mae Glutz helped to hold her down.; 3. Charlie returns to the crime scene (Ed confirms this through Charlie’s lawyer), adding to the ritualistic spunk of things, mostly already apparent. Don’t think what he did made it more convincing it was done by the Black Panthers, but here goes nothing.

a) M plants a false clue, the eyeglasses.; b. He places a towel on Jay Sebring’s badly mangled face; this was the same towel used by Susan Atkins to tie Wojtek Frykowski’s hands, and lightly at that. M may have moved Jay and Sharon’s bodies outside the front door for a spell. His unidentified cohort (boy, do I wonder who it was) must have helped him move the bodies. How else can we account for a great deal of their blood types in pools, at this particular location?

Why was this done? Anybody’s guess! We can confirm it is truth, since M’s malevolent confederates confirmed Tate and Sebring never left the confines of the living room. The only thing I’ll add, is Charlie stages Helter Skelter as if it were an art form. The late Paul Watkins said, and I paraphrase, ‘Charlie’s trip was death!’

(I return to the present.)

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life (if we can filter the noise)

(To make the Rabbit Hole drop today, I viewed Trip to Cielo Drive (1994), an amateur video I found on YouTube.)

When reviewing the mostly charmed life of Sharon Tate, which needs to be the body of our discussion, but doesn’t quite make the grade herein, I remember Ed saying in his Foreword, Sharon hadn’t kept a day to day diary. As such, the author had to pull together quite a bit of information from interviews, from newspaper clippings, the books of stars (there are quite a few), and likely, from a handful of films she made, or the many TV shows she appeared in. I must add to this, the vast collection of ephemera he amassed through the years (heard it’s stored in a barn), with the help he received from his highly regarded late colleague, the investigator, Larry Larsen, (accumulated for) The Family.

I need not parrot every single yarn that comprises Sharon’s brief life; you ought to buy the book, it’s in there. I will, however, comment on items that were particularly interesting to me, as well as let you know if I recognize events that ring of profundity. One such event, which makes me greatly appreciate the biographer’s research all the more, is a mind-blower involving psychic Maria Graciette, telling of Sharon, Jay, Abbey, and Wojtek visiting a Hollywood chapel just a few days before the murders. Maria sees visions drenched in blood, so she tells them to depart quickly! I want to check out this National Enquirer issue covering this story for myself. With some of the sources, I’ve undertaken a material-sift for myself, allowing for a comparison of what Sanders reports.

The sifting sands (in the hourglass) of Sharon’s relatively short life can be clustered into two periods: the television period and the film period. When working for Martin Ransohoff and Filmways, Sharon saw the move to film as an aspiration, a form of graduation, if you like. As I see it (50 years later), television was in it’s heyday, what with Sharon Tate landing roles in some of the greatest: The Beverly Hillbillies, Mr. Ed, or The Man from U.N.C.L.E (Robert Vaughn just died). While ST couldn’t have known this, the exposure and continual airing by way of repeats, had a way of (eventually and rightfully) catapulting Ms. Polanski to Superstardom! Still I urge you to screen these details with a mind for relevant milestones, as they pop up. Ed does a good job of editing this stuff, so likely you won’t miss too much.

What I’m doing, is making check-lists of material I believe warrant further scrutiny, such as viewing all the old episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies once again, with ST playing a black-wigged temporary secretary, Janet Trego; now I can judge her acting with fresh eyes! Interesting how the author parallels Roman’s career with hers, alternating between them until they converge as one. Naturally, we hear a lot of what Jay Sebring was up to, since he was engaged to HER, and was passionately in love with HER! Jay was very much a Superstar in his own day; perhaps more so than Sharon (that changes after the murders). Small things I’m learning, like Jay worked on Spartacus, and cut hair for many of the stars (you have the list) confirm his lofty status.

I’m working on this on 9/11/2016, at 5:13 AM – 15 years after the Twin Towers toppled, 47 years, 29 days since Tate/LaBianca..

Americanization of Emily, The Sandpiper, The Cincinnati Kid; all Fiimway projects for 1965 – still Martin Ransohoff gives her more Beverly Hillbillies’ guest appearances. Still, I’d argue she was better off, but didn’t know it at the time. Trace through the account here; she and Jay vacation with Steve and Neile McQueen in Hawaii. What I’m seeing here, is, puzzle pieces are falling in place! Sharon gives her high school ring to Jay. Later, the Sebring family returns it to her family. Jay was probably wearing it that fatal night; the Tate detectives, one imagines, withheld this clue, hoping for a slip-up by one of the culprits (say, during a lie detector examination).

On and on … we hear Steve McQueen turns her on to the William Morris agent, Stanley A. Kamen (Steve’s agent). Sharon shows her generosity by still paying the royalty fee to her former agent. Follow these developments closely as the narrative describes Roman Polanski’s early films. One might argue these early films (Knife in the Water, Repulsion, and Cul-de-Sac) were his crowning achievements, leading up, of course, to his masterpiece, Rosemary’s Baby.

Further, one fathoms Sharon’s world changes drastically when she meets Roman, morphing into a moonstruck world of the occult and bizarre; although, this is a flawed spin shadowing Sharon’s legacy without much merit. Nonetheless, such an irrational spin is warranted, given the mysterious circumstances surrounding nearly every set of facts were given for the second half of the 1960s (don’t go blue in the face over castigation towards Mr. Polanski; he’s a very gifted film maker!)

Chapter 3 covers the early films: Eye of the Devil, The Fearless Vampire Killers, and Don’t Make Waves. All Eyes On Sharon Tate, a short documentary, was produced at this time, in conjunction with her first film, Eye of the Devil. I had a chance to see it the other day on YouTube; it’s in black and white, but might as well be in color, what with the Mods of Swinging London and a bewitchingly young and beautiful Sharon (22) with a soft, whispery voice. She comes back to life for me here, in the context of the energized times! As for the film, I may have seen it once at the Drive-In the Seventies, naturally under a different moniker; oh yeah, and under the influence of beaucoup cold, cheap brew.

Sharon was happy when in Big Sur, and even appeared as an underwater stunt double for Lloyd Hunt’s Sea Hunt and in Aquanauts (not something I knew). Fay Dunaway and Catherine Deneuve were her role models as an actress (another item I was unaware of). On page 41 we delve into a period when Polanski is doing well; indeed a rarity! It was March of 1966, the peak of the Mod Period; his films were clicking (was making one film well per year), had his hairdo down, sex-appeal was up, and was dating Jill St. John. As I see it, this a set up for what we later learn, when the forces of history, or Fate (whatever you want to call it), unfold.

Chapter 4 -1967 – Sharon Peaks-Out! The Summer of Love, Valley of the Dolls, & Rosemary’s Baby…

October 1st, 2016, 6:45 AM – All chapters are important, but I singled out # 4 for emphasis and/or elaboration; I’ll let you do your own thing for chapters 5-16 (don’t forget to purchase a printed copy of the book [Barnes & Nobles carries it], excluding 11 *(I chose to begin with this one). Every page is marbled with fascinating details you don’t want to miss, but discovering what Sharon and Roman were up to in 1967, when a social, cultural, and musical revolution explodes on a dynamic American panorama, is especially interesting to me! Wasn’t aware of Sharon’s Playboy shoot for the March issue, The Tate Gallery, shot by none other than Roman Polanski. Will need to shag this timeless collector’s item back issue!

There’s mention of how Martin Ransohoff and Filmways invested a lot of money into developing Sharon as an actress, before actually allowing her to appear in a movie. This is something I’d like to look into a little further; off the top of my head, this conscious ‘star molding’ is no longer in vogue amongst Hollywood Big Wigs.

A milestone: In March of 1967, film production commences for Valley of the Dolls, and more important, Sharon tests as Jennifer North on March 8th. (Plot) Jennifer is forced to work in soft core French “art movies,” to cover her dying husband’s medical bills. A twist in the plot that somehow intersects with Sharon’s real life (the stigma of sexiness), feeds into the whole mystique of what ultimately became of her!

Sex Symbols haven’t fared too well in their real-life outcomes, and I fear Sharon may have been lumped in with these damned stars (such as Jean Harlew, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe). The broad notion that sex symbols are doomed is unfair, when you consider this same stereotyping was imposed on Sharon, and that she fought valiantly against it every turn in her career, as revealed by way of many quotes culled from newspapers or magazines (Sharon generated a fair share of press in the second half of the 1960s).

There’s some mention of Jacqueline Susann doing a promo documentary for Valley, which I’d love to see! One line quoted, and I paraphrase, says ‘a child clutches for a rag doll, while a lonely star clutches for a red or yellow doll.’ That analogy rocks! I’m a groupie for the book and the movie, so when I pick up little details I hadn’t heard before, I get a kick out of it.

I’m well aware that Susan Hayward plays the has-been Superstar, Helen Lawson, but it was Judy Garland who originally played the role, until she was canned after just one month for behavioral issues (problems with doll addiction in her career was real for Judy). I don’t think this is funny; rather, it’s scary when you notice reality and fantasy become indistinguishable.

Sharon didn’t dig the book or the movie, although it’s the one she is most remembered for. This irony takes on a larger meaning against the backdrop of what would occur only a few years later. Hollywood camp becomes a cult sensation when you consider so many matching outcomes between the dolls in the movie, and the loose social texture of mid-1960s Hollywood circles.

It is now October 2nd, 2016, 7:05 AM as I work on this

An interesting fact: During production for Valley of the Dolls, Sharon already had two films in the can, Eye of the Devil and The Fearless Vampire Killers, slated for release in 1967. As such, it’s probably safe to say, she wasn’t yet thought of as real movie star, but merely a bit player on television. Anyway, in this part of the chapter, we get more about the plot and roles of Valley.

Who could forget Neely O’Hara, played by a quite feisty Patty Duke, slurping down Seconal and Nembutal with healthy gulps of booze, establishing an enduring template for Doll Dependency! Jennifer North, played by Miss Tate, commits suicide with pills, in a keeper take that establishes her as a substantive actrIt is now October 2nd, 2016, 7:05 AM as I work on thisess!

Moving forward, we’re reminded of how badly treated Sharon was on the Valley sets by the director, Mark Robson. He went out of his way to pick on her and humiliate her; Patty Duke and other actresses witnessed this treatment first hand. An article in Look magazine has her reflecting on her narrow image, “all they see is sexy.” She was trying to break out of the mold, but wasn’t getting too far. Another line quoted from the Look piece tosses me about untethered, in terms of implied connections! “When I’m alone my imagination gets all creepy.” Same goes for me, Sharon!

I’ll throw out a kernel of thought surely you’ve once mulled-over yourself: the subject of drug abuse within the rich and famous Hollywood community, the all-apparent theme of the book and the movie, seems to forecast a central narrative present in the murders, roughly two years later. There’s a profundity and spookiness to this crystal-ball maxim that may explain much of the reason why Valley becomes a cult film (true with the book also), watched over and over again by millions who would and could easily tie into Tate/LaBianca.

The campiness is ratcheted down a notch or two when the drug brouhaha is projected onto the chilly events of Cielo and Waverley Drive. Ed Sanders gets this, and spends considerable time fleshing-out the drug connections, both with the victims, their large number of friends, and, of course, the obvious drug angle amongst The Killers.

This is what I most like about his ST biography (It’s like a gallery of suspects nearly a half century after we thought for certain we knew what had happened, as well as the always slippery WHY. [This is my reason for carefully re-reading Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter, considering he, may yet again, have been cajoled by Charlie and his band of garbage-munching gypsies!])

Good to know concurrent events with those of Sharon’s; on April 2nd, 1967, The Beatles completed the recordings for Sgt. Pepper, so Paul visited San Francisco and saw Jefferson Airplane, then went to LA and met with Cass Elliot and John Phillips of The Mamas & Papas; after this he met with Brian Wilson for an Elements Suite recording session.

My own observation is, strands of odd connectivity can be found between The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & Papas, Sharon Tate (and other victims), and even Charles Manson, albeit layer-caked in a subtle, obscure, or ancillary bond (or tie-in). This is one of the reasons this case has always fascinated me so! The author chisels away at some of these strange, labyrinthian associations in the book, and manages to chip-off a bit of the stubborn marble mask, obscuring the truth.

The next chunk of chapter 4 (1967) is devoted to Rosemary’s Baby (release date: June 12, 1968), telling how it was made, and more important, how it helped to define Sharon and Roman’s life together. I’ve just recently picked-up the DVD, but have seen the movie dozens and dozens of times in the past. I’m still noticing new details in the film that let me know just how much TLC was injected in the celluloid!

I have to make the same case for Rosemary’s that I made for Valley; after the murders it projects forth prophetic forecasting for the reason why Hollywood got itself in a pickle, morally speaking. Candidly put, brushes with Satanism, a kind of spell cast on Tinseltown Culture, are captured in vivid, frightening Technicolor (in RB)! It’s as if Polanski, who wrote the screenplay, based on Ira Levin’s novel, had extraordinary telepathic powers. Sanders probes this fascination with Satanism in depth – was this merely a nonchalant hobby of the rich and famous, or were these Pagan creeds heartfelt?

Mentioning some of the newly learned particulars, elevating the cult status of Rosemary’s considerable notches higher, is now in order. Polanski himself wrote the screenplay, polishing it to perfection; R.P.’s “script drenched in fear, cultnoia, and modern marriage.” – E.S. – William Castle is the producer. the showbiz thriller magnate’s association alone is an electric volt-charge for the project. Furthermore, Roman shot the exterior opening scene of the Dakota twice, settling for nothing less than perfection (I walk by the Dakota every time I visit NYC, recalling the stunning opening shot of Rosemary’s).

Right from the get-go you’re drawn into a barrage of relevant history, jostling your subconscious before you can spring out of the gate! And many facts about the casting are new to me. Tuesday Weld was Po’s first choice for Rosemary (he even considered Sharon); Tuesday claims she turned it down, for no other reason than she didn’t want to appear in a transparently successful film. Then Jane Fonda turns it down too, since she was shooting Barbarella at the time. Mia Farrow comes from Peyton Place and ultimately gets the role (further feathers in her hat: married to Frank Sinatra and friends with The Beatles).

For the tricky role of Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s double-janus husband, Roman wanted Robert Redford as his first choice; Bob had a schedule conflict, so Po tested Jack Nicholson. Jack was eliminated since he was too sinister-looking; this foul presence was utilized brilliantly many years later in The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on a Stephen King novel. Okay, so finally John Cassavetes gets the part (I saw a box set of JC’s films at End of An Ear that looked interesting)!

As far as I’m concerned, John nails it, with just the right mix of fake loyalty to Mia, while pulling a Benedict Arnold (a bribe) with the spooky Dakota witches. I need to mention those witches, Minnie and Roman Castevet, played marvelously by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer.

At times, Minnie Castevet is a good luck charm for the flick, and Ruth Gordon gets a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. With each and every viewing, she scares the bejesus out of me, for sure! William Castle scored Sharon and Roman a groovy pad in Pacific Palisades on Ocean Front Highway, formerly Cary Grant’s house. Adding to the domicile’s tinseltown aura, Norma Talmadge, a 1920s silent screen star, was its original owner.

Coverage on The Summer of Love is next, letting you know there was an explosion of positive vibes in 1967! Yet, it’s interesting; we’re made aware of quite a bit of bad stuff going down also. We see race riots in Buffalo and Newark in June, and on July 23rd Detroit blew-up big time! I know about the Detroit riots; I visited a friend up there later in the summer, and his parents drove us through the riot-ravaged inner-city (downtown). It looked like a war had been fought there, which is the case.

The logic behind introducing these good and bad events, is probably because they had a strong impact on Sharon and her coattail-coterie. That is, the long reach behind what tragically becomes of her little niche was couched in this conundrum we know as 1967! You’ll just have to take my word on this. A mention that LBJ sent 45,000 additional troops over to Vietnam in August only strengthens this providential thread!

Sharon and Roman were “rich hippies”; the author relates how Sharon would bake hashish brownies to perfection! One can imagine one of these brownie parties, if they’ve ever chewed on a few bites of these yummy spiked confections. And the fashion statement of the day for women was the mini-skirt – Sharon modeled micro-micro miniskirts like no other. Including Miss Tate with the hippies accomplishes a lot in terms of her fate two years later.

I believe you know where I’m going with this. Her personality and lifestyle were highly influenced by the changes happening up the road in Northern California (it even hit us here in Texas, albeit slowly, [way before the internet]). Another strange theory is seeping into my subconscious; since Roman and Sharon might be included in this social subset, the apparent demise of this stratum is directly tied-in to the loathsome bringdown, August of 1969.

*(I’m not saying Sharon should take any blame for snuffing out the Hippies, but a bizarre twist of fate in this historical juncture assumes this spin, almost by default. This is an unfortunate outcome I deem the ‘Charlie Stamp’; each and every person brushing up against tiny M, is sucked-up into an Evil Vortex, resulting in a devouring of GOOD SPIRIT! The weirdness of the case is quadrupled by the Rich Hippie phenomenon, where George Harrison’s song Piggies makes a statement only subconsciously implied by its author.)

Sharon Tate’s first movie, Don’t Make Waves, was released that incredible summer (although she had three more in the can). Theater lobbies were garnished with life-size cardboard blowups of Sharon as the character Malibu, donning a polka-dot bikini. I’d feel lucky to catch a gander of one of these theatrical props! For the tedious filming of Rosemary’s Baby, Po started blocking out scenes with a video camera; video tape evidence remained thereafter at Cielo Drive.

This particular angle of video tape is yet another fascinating aspect to the crime. The cast of Rosemary’s did some spontaneous tapings that likely could tell us a thing or two about the period. Someone should compile an index of video evidence related to this repulsive matter (job may’ve already been done). The beginnings of a new medium always zing with maximum inspiration and creativity (whether it’s film, television, or radio)!

Next we hear of ST and Roman’s visits to Palm Springs, mainly to see Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra, but also to visit with a Superstar of the day, Steve McQueen (still one in my book). We hear word of the harrowing ride with Steve in his Rover, where Sharon sustained considerable bruising. McQueen pops up quite a bit in the narrative, since apparently he ran in the same circles. After noticing SM’s connections to the murders, I conducted my own research on his career and life, and was surprised by what I discovered.

One example, although not so shocking today, is that Steve smoked marijuana every day (his image on screen is more Redneck). McQueen was only 50 when he passed as a result of asbestos poisoning. Obviously, Steve had a very full and exciting life and career (I’ve always been a huge fan; while I love just about any of his films, my favorite is The Sand Pebble).

Did he really experience a strain of witchcraft that resulted in Tate/LaBianca? The author probes this iniquitous wrinkle in his book, and what’s clear to me, with the raucous roll out of record, McQueen was witness to some witchy dingus worthy of further scrutiny!

Mia Farrow was perfect in the role of Rosemary, and Bob Evans at Paramount was able to convince her this was the case, in spite of her husband. Frank Sinatra bullied her to quit and join the cast of The Detective, a B-movie he was slated to star in shortly (not a very good movie). In contrast, Mia starred in an Art/Cult film that makes a lasting impression on American cinema! Frank was so angry and jealous of Mia, he filed for divorce. Plugging the void, enigmatic British actor Peter Sellers, conducted an affair with Mia shortly after her break with the famous (asshole) of a crooner.

Next we hear of Sharon’s positive vibe for the Topanga Canyon district of LA; coincidentally, The Family hung-out there in the eventful fall of 1967. Topanga Canyon was very popular with many counter-culture aficionados; one of my favorite bands of the 1960s, Spirit, lived communally in a house there, writing amazing songs and rehearsing in their creative Hippie domicile (check out Topanga Windows).

Next, the Fugs-Maestro talks about the funky domicile, the Spiral Staircase in Topanga Canyon, where a strange bunch had coalesced to hang-out and exchange spooky ideas. While the author is under Court order, forbidding him to use the group’s name in his writings, expectedly it’s The Process Church of the Final Judgment. (Wikipedia’s entry is informative, plus, I’m using an article, The Process Church of the Final Judgment and the Manson Family, by Adam Gorighty, in Paranoia, as a reference).

Yet, ES’s line describing the Spiral Staircase nicely characterizes the haunted house: ‘a citadel of dope, fucking, and devil worship.’ Yea, Family members hung there, including Robert Beausoleil, sporting a ‘pointed beard and hand-carved skull pipe;’ Bobby lived with his future victim Gary Hinman at the time (Hinman lived in Topanga Canyon, furthering the spooky mythos of this LA district).

Another mention of Joanna Pettet, a movie star in her own right and very close friend of Sharon’s in those final days at Cielo Drive, has her precisely matched-up with Alex Cord by a caring Sharon Tate. Next we hear of the dicey business relationship between Martin Ransohoff and Roman Polanski, where Po’s film, Fearless Vampire Killers, gets chopped to ribbons during editing by the Hollywood mogul.

I siphoned this quote from the bio. “He’s a philistine who dresses himself up as an artist.” In keeping with Po’s take on Ransohoff’s skills in film (TV and movies are totally different forms), Sharon’s first one, Eye of the Devil, an MGM/Filmways production, horribly flops in its theater release. I watched a piece of it on YouTube, and thought it was a hoot!

Yet her film career finally sees the light of day, scoring a screen success! Valley of the Dolls premieres on November 14, 1967, on the cruise-liner Princess Italia, docked in Venice, Italy. 20th Century Fox produced a documentary of Valley, narrated by Army Archerd, which was shot during the 28 day voyage, ending in LA on December 10th. I will look around for this Valley doc., because I would love to see it!

However, (I must mention) the reviews were scathing for Valley, yet the box office draw (receipts) was record setting (this yin/yang duality is often the case). Valley’s popularity, which amounts to cult-like adoration, remains in place for years to come, in the thorny aftermath of the murders (the muscled viewership was eventually by way of VHS and DVD sales). Towards the end of 1967, Sharon bails out of her contract with Filmways, run by MR.

The last part of Chapter 4 gets into a weird photo shoot Sharon did for Esquire magazine (December 1967), where Miss Tate ‘s image is coupled with quotes of Mao Tse Tung (The Little Red Book), often scantily clad, or toting a gun. The author gives you the actual Mao quotes in Esquire, but Lord knows, I’d like to take a peek at the actual Esquire edition! This concludes my detailed breakdown of Chapter 4; I just want to give you my justification for this thorough summary.

Chapters that follow (5-16) are equally fascinating, if you’re somebody who takes interest in the history of Hollywood in the late 1960s. Especially if you’re one who can stomach tying together this one time idyllic scene with the homeliness that was M and his ragged bunch of wilted-flower-molls and garbage-dump marauders. How did the two social subsets, elites and downtrodden, merge, match, and mingle so massively?

In part, Sanders answers this perpetually recurring question; I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, you need to buy Ed’s book! For me, and I suffer from an overactive imagination, Sharon Tate personifies the electric 1960s and what finally became of that decade, snuffed out as it was by ritual-programmed-sacrifice!

Ed Sanders – Author of Sharon Tate, a Life

I don’t really know a great deal about Ed Sanders, other than what I’ve read here and there; the Wikipedia entry gives you a good summary of Ed’s very active life. He was right in the thick of the revolution that took hold in the 1960s. Wiki describes him as a poet, musician, social activist, environmentalist, author, publisher, and, of course, a dedicated member of the band The Fugs. I would add to these accomplishments, passionate investigator, researcher, Historian (nearly), and generally speaking, a dedicated seeker of the truth. One accomplishment that’s also impressive needs mentioning: Ed appears on the cover of Life Magazine, February 17, 1967 *(I wouldn’t mind collecting that issue, if I can find it).

I’m only familiar with two of the author’s books, The Family (1989 edition) and Sharon Tate, a life. To my credit, however, my intimacy with these two volumes approaches mastery, having read and reread select passages many times over. When growing up in Dallas in the 1960s, I did manage to hear some Fugs records over at a friend’s house, and remember thinking they had something in common with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. Although, I must confess, I’ve never actually purchased a Fugs album, nor am I familiar with any of his solo albums. I just may take the leap for Sanders’ Truckstop (1969), since this is the project he was working on when he first encountered the insanity and terror gripping LA, three weeks after Tate/LaBianca first broke in the news!

Recently, I have noticed some of the author’s books for sale at Book People here in Austin. I recall seeing Beatnik Glory and Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side. I’ll try to add a few more books and records to my small collection (I have little money!). The Wiki entry says Ed was a bridge between the Beat Generation and the Hippie Generation. I clearly understand this characterization! While I’m only partially aware of his experiences or writings, I can add a bit more, that hasn’t already been mentioned in bios.

Approach and Method

Ed is very careful with his writing, and takes the attitude of a tireless, persistent journalist! I’ll pen a few sentences about his method in Sharon Tate, because the shaping of the text gives you a clear idea of what makes him tick. He was/is greatly influenced by Larry Larsen, an investigator he worked closely with in the ’70s, in conjunction with his cutting edge book, The Family. There’s a dedication to Larry Larsen in the beginning of ST; sadly, Larry died of leukemia in December of 2010. As a result of Larsen’s pervasive influence, Ed Sanders leaves no stone unturned in his research on any given subject.

This is obvious in Sharon Tate, where every page is dense with period minutiae and the sometimes startling recollections of Sharon’s inner circle of friends, or otherwise hobnobbing affiliates. The bottom line is, what we see in print, the results of arduous research, doesn’t always jive with prevalent templates coming from supposed experts, we assumed were correct. The profundity of these alternative theories, explaining what may have really occurred toss me (us) topsy-turvy!

Yet, these suppositions (not really conclusions) are wrought strictly through an a posteriori approach; ie from known facts. Like a good investigator, or detective, Ed lets the facts lead him wherever they’re going to lead him! What he sees or what he suspects, often doesn’t totally jive with (say) what Vince Bugliosi came up with back in 1969. It looks like the writer is ferreting out many of the details of the story, overlooked by the original homicide detectives and/or prosecutor.

And in Sharon Tate, he has the opportunity to tackle the problem from the other side; ie, what were the victims up to? And did they do or say anything to put themselves in a compromising position? I reckon, the answer is yes; in part, they did. But he didn’t get here easily; he’s worked on this case for 47 years. We curious lot reap the benefits of his hard work!

When we read the crimson monograph, we’re left with with nothing but the remnants of carefully manicured, fine resin, with filters sifting-out all the FAKE NEWS BS. For this reason his writing is dense; to me, his approach might be deemed a hip take on ‘investigative journalism.’ I should qualify that moniker by saying (in his writing), ES remains a fixture of the 1960s counter-culture style, which tends to be more free, using colorful language, or phraseology clearly associated with ‘era niche.’

Let me get this out: the research is so thorough, so consummate, that it transcends the original investigation conducted by the Tate/LaBianca Homicide Task Force, combined with Vincent Bugliosi (and his trusty team)! A legitimate explanation for this break-through, is he had a lot more time to troubleshoot the evidence. But to his credit, he never let up!

To some extent, ST deals with possible alternative motives for Charlie and The Family to kill Sharon. My mind was blown when I read Tate may have heard something she ought not have heard, about why Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. There’s even allegations she once met Sirhan Sirhan at a party (conceivably at 10050 Cielo Drive?). And then we have VB’s motive, magnified and exaggerated in Helter Skelter, indelibly ironed into my brain since the release of his book, that potentially comes into play as a hoax fabricated by Charlie to cover his tracks. And as I study the sources more carefully (archived LA Times is a good place to start), I become more convinced they got it right from the get-go: drugs provided part of the motive! Ed doesn’t give you only one source backing up this assertion, rather it’s more like dozens (victims and perpetrators)!

With no stone left unturned, as far as sources go, it’s time to begin writing; thus the lines we read are the finely filtered resin-siphons, obtained from exhausting the documents by means of arduous research. This method is employed by Historians; therefore, it’s not too much of a leap to include the author with this distinguished scholarly class. Another profession I feel safe in including him with, is ‘investigative journalist,’ a fairly recent category that first emerges on the scene with Jack Anderson *(an interesting topic: who is the founder of investigative journalism?)

A surprising theme boils to the surface in ST; Vince’s template of M’s omniscient, cosmic, end of days hypothesis, commonly referred to as ‘Helter Skelter,’ put forth to explain away the main motive behind 10 or more murders, as well as the bizarre behavior exhibited by The Family, is ripped apart at the seams, thread by thread.

By the time I finished my reading, a wholesale jettisoning of Helter Skelter Juju to the junk-heaps had occurred, with pending charges of surfacy, sloppy investigation right around the corner! A side effect of this newly realized skepticism, is, I’m (we’re) forced to go back and reread Bugliosi (with an eagle eye), once deemed an impregnable citadel for the entire mad trip under scrutiny here!

Minutiae of his probe produces alternative postulates; one speck of dirt comes to me: did voyeuristic, Wojtek dig burning Freaks on MDA? Did he burn Tex and Linda on an MDA deal? It cost him his life, if he did!

My impression is that Mr. Sanders, in describing his methods, likes to probe some of the loose-ends of the case (there are so many), such as statements made by Dennis Hopper (to Los Angeles Free Press publisher Art Kunkin and to a friend of Ed’s, Allen Katzman – p. 223 ST), that detailed a public beating before a coterie of Hollywood stars, of an occult affiliate and coke dealer, at none other than Mama Cass’s house.

Hopper, on top of his game after the colossal success of Easy Rider, was, at the time, shacking-up with Michelle Phillips, who provides the nuts and bolts of this disturbing occurrence to Dennis. The reason why the coke dealer had been publicly whipped has to do with his purported burning of two Tate victims (Wojtek and Jay), on a coke deal. An even more troubling upshot to this bizarre beating, is the Tate murders were exacted as an act of revenge to the humiliation suffered at Mama Cass’s bungalow! I don’t recollect hearing about this in Helter Skelter?

If you swallow the vexing pill of this theory, then The Manson Family are reduced to a humbler role of culpability, relegated to mere contract killers, with the fancy conspiracy-laced bells and whistles of HS, morphing to fictitious spirits that go poof in the night! It’s very radical traversing this mine-laden Yellow Brick Road. You’re entering an alternative universe of bad juju, where the victims (or their Hollywood associates) become just what M said they were: PIGGIES! Ed probes (investigates) deeper into the lives and events encompassing the victims than does Vince Bugliosi, and the pay-off is HUGE! He uncovers previously undetected karma missteps via the niche/groove of 10050 Cielo Drive, prior to the mayhem. Sections of the book capture additional dirt in the cracks, not previously noticed by the original homicide detectives, or V.B. for that matter. Why is this so?

It’s for his unrelenting research and questioning of people who knew M and Sharon Tate, coupled with his ability to mine sources ribboned with golden ore, such as many autobiographies or biographies of famous movie celebrities or rock stars, who surreptitiously collide with ‘The Dark Story’ in one fashion or another.

The persistent author discovers many facts that heretofore were ineffable black holes in the spine-tingling thriller, otherwise known in straight circles as Helter Skelter. Much of this exonerates Sharon herself, once we realize she perhaps innocently, had taken up with some unsavory characters, reminding us of the catch-all adage, “you’re only as good as the company you keep!” You can scratch out your own list of rotten apples; a short list for me includes: Wojtek, Jay, John Phillips, and maybe even Roman (sometimes).

Appendix Mind-Bender! – William Garretson, Cielo Drive Caretaker Citations

You might think of this section as an appendix to ES’s approach and method; William Garretson’s story for what he experienced the night Steve Parent paid him a visit never did sit right with me. These misgivings extend to most people who took some time trying to understand these crimes. As an example of how the author provides new insight into the hippie teenager caretaker, who found himself in a world of hurt in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969, i carefully reviewed and took notes on WG, tapping the ST index citations. (pp. 131-132, 149, 182-183, 185, 201-202, 206, 213, and 218).

While each page has insights worth mentioning, I’ll try to reduce my comments to the highlights, for the sake of brevity; for a better more complete understanding of what likely really happened with the caretaker, I urge you to put the above citations under a magnifying glass. The first reference has Warren Beatty checking out the Cielo pad for renting, just to set the stage. On the same page, the doomed domicile’s owner, Rudy Altobelli picks up an 18-year-old William Garretson, faring from Lancaster, Ohio, establishing the ill-fated connection for the lad.

His duties are defined, that include caring for Terry Melcher’s 26 cats, as well as Saperstein, Sharon’s Yorkshire terrier, Abigail’s Dalmation, Altabelli’s Weimaraner, Christopher, and RA’s green singing finch. By the way, Bill’s pay was $35 per week, which doesn’t sound like a whole heck of a lotta bread, compared to our day! Bill was warned to keep an eye on the property, but not to fraternize with the occupants. One can’t help but consider, Garretson felt as if he’d scored Big Time, not realizing he’d positioned himself into a job that would crack the Sixties wide-open, leaving him wondering how and why his life gets shattered into a million tiny pieces! *(Hopefully, he learned how to cope with these destructive, life-altering circumstances, and is at peace today).

Page 149 reminds us Wojtek was an MDA dealer; apparently, in July, Garretson saw Frykowski taking pictures of a nude lady in the cement pond. This licentious scenario is partially corroborated by a cable-TV repairman who also saw a nude love-making scene one time. I know I said I wouldn’t parrot every detail touched on in these WG citations, but an omission of these tidbits amounts to a cover-up! Further, around this time, Wojtek runs over Saperstein (once again, curiosity creeps to the surface); Po buys Sharon a new Yorkshire terrier and they name her Prudence *(another White Album connection). Also, we hear about an odd mid-July Gone With the Wind themed party, put on by Brian Morris at Cielo Drive. Perhaps Bill could provide us with a bit more detail on this offbeat party.

On pages 182-183, Doris Tate, Sharon’s mother, asked the author to look into the real reasons for Manson and his followers killed her daughter and the others (not sure of the exact time of her request). Even Danny DeCarlo had told the press the real motive had never been exposed. Doris believed Sharon was not targeted, and suspected Garretson may have tipped M off, since Sharon’s car was in the shop that night. In 1974, a husband-and-wife team of informants claimed M had been hired by this English Satanist group to kill S. Tate, since she had learned something about Sirhan Sirhan. This suggests she was targeted, contrary to the theory held by Doris.

Next we get particulars on Bill’s activities the day before the murders (Thursday, August 7th, 1969); this minutiae is of interest to me, since it sets the stage for a maelstrom of evil that follows. Not too weird for the times, our caretaker consumes a dexedrine that day, toked two marijuana cigarettes (perhaps Sharon turned him onto this weed), and slurped down four cans of beer. Bill was nearing the end of his dreamy employment, so maybe he was racking up one last buzz. Also, Altobelli promised him a free airplane ticket back to his plain hometown, Lancaster, Ohio. An easy assessment, WG had a bad case of the cocktail flu when waking up late on Friday. Little did he know, his life was about to slide into a frightfest sandbox, more resembling quicksand!

We get a description of the cottage next, which I found helpful for an understanding of this complicated crime. There were four doors in the cottage and numerous windows, so ES pipes in, the edifice was easy to CREEPY CRAWL! Thursday eve also saw an 8:30 PM trip down to Sunset Strip to shag some goodies (P. 182), hitchhiking back up Benedict Canyon Drive to Cielo Drive, arriving at 10:00 PM. He watches a movie and munches on junkfood (TV dinner, potato chips, and Coca Cola), but unexpectedly, a perky Steve Parent arrives at 11:45 PM wanting to turn a AM/FM clock radio (Parent was a stereo buff). The gadget enthusiast asks about two pretty ladies in the main house and places a call to a friend ten minutes later.

Steve noticing Sharon and Abigail on his way in, poses a question for me. Did he peep into the window trying to catch a glimpse of one of the rich and famous occupants, or were the charmed outside for a short spell? I prefer the former option, although we’ll never know for sure since all three would be dead within the hour. Christopher’s bark as Bill led Parent to the door for departure (12:15 AM) was probably a ‘people bark,’ we later learn from R. Altobelli’s trial testimony. Yes, yipping and barking as poor Steve tries to split the groove-doom-pad! One gathers, Tex, Susan, Katie, and Linda had just jumped the fence and were stealthily making their way up the driveway. One fact disclosed here blows my mind: the shooting and stabbing took place merely 150 feet away (lawn by the pool and at SP’s Rambler in the driveway), yet William claims he never heard the shrieks and resounding Longhorn gunshots.

To get a first down in football, you need 10 yards. 150 feet =s 12.5 feet. My point is made; the killing takes place within close proximity to where Bill was supposedly writing a letter and listening to his record player with the volume half-way cranked up. This story doesn’t pass muster; I don’t buy it and most other authorities (those who have studied the case with considerable attention) don’t buy it either. But the citations probe the controversy further; this is my central reason for scrutinizing these WG references. His stated version, after Parent departs, also claims more barking, then noticing an upturned door handle (I can’t get a proper visual of this yet), as well as observing a window screen closest to the kitchen, (had been) taken off.

A lie detector test administered on August 10th hints at what really went down; William says he may have escaped to the backyard. He’s underplaying this behavior, but for what reason? A few reasons are suggested; personally, I believe he felt guilty that he couldn’t provide aid to the victims, especially his friend, Steve Parent. Also, he was in a heightened state of shock, which explains why he seemed mesmerized, and nearly speechless, a zombie of sorts. For me, it adds up! First he endures a long night of terror and fear, then the next day he is arrested; no wonder Bill zoned in ZonkLand!

Pat Krenwinkel confessed to her attorney, Paul Fitzgerald, that yes indeed, she’d creepy-crawled the back-house, and that no one was there. This leads me to believe Garretson vacated the spook-pad just in the nick of time. I’ll clarify, however, he must’ve noticed the screen that was removed near the kitchen after he reoccupied the bungalow. Naturally, the robotic “spores of evil” had likely made their way back to Spahn Ranch already. Jesus, that must have been hard for him to go back in! I would have run towards a neighbors screaming bloody murder, just as the maid, Winifred Chapman, the first to see the crime scene, had done. (Although, one might argue, WG was the first witness).

The simulation of Steve Parent’s last few moments alive are provided on page 184; I would imagine reconstructions of this when reading Bugliosi, but this for me is perfect. I suspect the author did some on-the-scene detective work in order to secure such vivid details. But having access to LA police files and photographs would do the trick, I suppose. Steve, when holding his clock radio with time frozen at 12:15 AM, had to negotiate a redwood picnic and a bunch of his fellow victims’ fancy cars, then a stroll down the walkway, to get to Rambler Ambassador. One can only speculate, but he may have heard sounds or noises as he approached his car that were beginning to alarm him. We know the dog was barking, so this supposition is not too outside the boundaries of likelihood.

Further hard evidence, supporting this mounting apprehension on Parent’s part, is that he backed up into split rail fence, breaking it; paint from the fence was found on the back of his car the next day, proving he backed into the rail fence. I wasn’t aware of this fact, but now I am (chills run down my spine with this thought). Perhaps Steve had a sense of what was about to befall him, as he gazed at a trotting meth-addled Tex, gripping an old west Longhorn .22. Four shots rang out in the night, echoing around Benedict Canyon; plenty of people heard them too, so why not WG? Tex must have realized his cover was blown, but continued on with his mission, shielded by drugs, death, and the Devil! TW leaves the human race behind that night.

Pages 201-202 cover Garretson’s arrest, describing his appearance as ‘a 19-year-old with long hair, barefoot, shirtless, wearing pinstriped pants’ (that’s how a lot of us looked back in the day). I’ll direct you to the same scene in the 1976 movie made for TV, Helter Skelter; the actor (Jon Gries) playing Garretson nailed it! A highly freaked-out WG is shown the corpses of Abigail and Wojtek, then is led past a sea of reporters and gawkers for a little trip downtown. Other information on 201 tells how Doris Tate first learns of her daughter’s murder; Doris thought she was staying over at a friend’s house (Sheilah Wells). And you’ll want to look at the clumsy way investigators got around to identifying Steve Parent; actually, it was a resourceful reporter who noted his license plate number, then placed some phone calls.

Page 201 had bits and pieces of how the murder scene was characterized by police and news services, in the aftermath of the ghastly discoveries. This is significant for me, in that it tends to support my thesis long held, that news reports published closer to the event are more precise approximations to the reality of the incident. In tandem with this seemingly logical premise would go like this: the further in time you go from the event, the more dilution and distortion will play in perceptions (or interpretations).

I don’t feel as if this is the case in 100 % of major news stories; however, I do feel as if it applies in this historical situation. Shaken detectives walking away from the Cielo slaughter were heard uttering, it “looked ritualistic!” William Tennant, Sharon’s business agent (and Roman’s also, I believe), identified his butchered friends, then had to throw-up outside the house. YEA, IT WAS RITUALISTIC! Even the LA Times (no tabloid) coins the calamity as “ritual murders.” This is exactly the case, and beaucoup drugs play a big role as well!

Page 213 tells us how Hinman detective, Paul Whiteley, talks to Tate detective, Sgt. Jess Buckles, after viewing the victims in the morgue, mentioning that writings in blood were found at the murder of musician Gary Hinman; whereas Political Piggy was found at G.H., Pig was found at Tate. It’s unbelievable that Sgt. Jess Buckles dismisses the connection, saying important people wouldn’t hang with hippies (Hinman suspect, Bobby Beausoleil was already tied-in with the Spahn Ranch fringe group). Buckles was more interested in a Caribbean dope dealer, who it turns out, may’ve played a role after all. This lead is explored elsewhere in the book, and has changed my way of interpreting how it went down.

As far as Garretson goes, we get more information on the important lie detector test administered on Sunday, August 10th. The stuporous and vague Bill G. seemed to say someone came to the Tate residence before he split for the Sunset Strip. We know the foursome arrive at the El Coyote Restaurant at 8:30 PM, their Last Supper of sorts. *(the story of the El Coyote Restaurant visit is another fascinating topic). Were these visitors meeting him, or were they there for the main house people?

On page 214, once again, as Garretson testifies at the trial, we hear the story about writing a letter to a friend (Darryl), while all this killing was happening right outside the cozy cottage. This part is interesting; Bill also mentions he listened to Doors and a Mama Cass album on his record player. I wondered which solo album of Mama Cass he put on, since we now know the pop singer plays a peripheral role in the murders. Cass Elliot already had two solo albums out by August of 1969: Dream a Little Dream (released October 19, 1968) and Bubblegum, Lemonade, and … Something for Mama (July 5, 1969). The thought of Dream a Little Dream rotating with all those shrieks and scream in the air, does not go down too easy, so I favor he had on Bubblegum.

More probable, is the scenario where he hid out behind the cottage until the coast was clear. WG’s attorney, Barry Tarlow, hired a private investigator to conduct an additional polygraph examination, hoping to get to the bottom of this survival mystery. The investigator told Larry Larsen (ES’s esteemed partner) he felt strongly he had heard someone that night. Duh, is all I got to say! Doris Tate went so far as to suspect WG, since she believed M hadn’t intended targeting her daughter. Buttressing this suspicion, is the fact that Sharon’s red Ferrari was gone that dreadful night (actually it was in the shop).

This is far-fetched; Bill didn’t know M or The Family. He’s not a bad person, but he reacted to the incident in some strange ways. Another mind blower, as far as I’m concerned, is during the polygraph he apparently revealed, Sharon had given him some pot that night for he and Rudy Altobelli to smoke. This says something about the free and easy atmosphere prevailing there at Cielo (but please don’t make more of it than you have to).

There’s so much more to learn from page 215, regarding Frykowski’s ten-day mescaline experiment, as disclosed by a friend of the Polanskis, Steve Brandt. Then check out page 216 for the artist Witold K’s unbelievable tale: he thought he knew who the killers were, adding their names were Wojtek’s prolific notebooks (first time I heard this juicy tidbit). The last citations for WG come on page 218, when William Eston Garretson is set free after two days in custody, facing a row of cameras! And so we have it; perhaps will never know what WG experienced that night, unless he responds to my piece (or to Ed’s book). Please contact me, Mr. Garretson!


I don’t know very much about this book’s illustrator, Rick Veitch, so I took a look at his Wikipedia entry. I’m not a reader or collector of comic books (that goes for graphic novels also), so I’m unable to comment on his work, either as an illustrator or as a writer. Perhaps at a later date, I could give his other work more careful attention. I will say, however, the drawing he did do for Ed’s biography is quite remarkable, and lure you further into an already interesting narrative. That enhancement comes by way of only a few twists and twirls of a pencil (which likely, was inked in later).

I counted 15 illustrations all together, inserted in many of the amazing milestones (there are so many) of Sharon Tate’s short life. Some photographs are included also, but the contrast between the photos and the rendering only helps in the telling of the story. While I appreciate all 15, I have a few that have practically riveted me out of my office chair! The silhouette of Tex Watson scaling a telephone pole to cut the phone lines bring a yellow, unwelcome chill down my spine! The realism is increased with Johnny Swartz’s Ford present in the foreground. The final drawing of Sharon in the Sky brings me to tears!

The book is already a work of art, but when you add the illustrations it upgrades to a masterpiece!

Now writing this on Sept. 2, 2016, 5:43 AM, as time ticks by.


  • Afterword, by Vincent Bugliosi (Written in June of 1994 on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Tate/LaBianca); Banton Reissue, Published September of 1995; Note: The Afterword is on pages 665-701 of this paperback edition.

Vince asks the important question, why have the Manson Murders’ infatuation endured?

Remember, his Afterword was written 22 years ago, yet, as far as I can tell, this infatuation is still present today (September 20, 2016). In this 36 page analysis, Vince describes a number of popular theories for the apparent immortality of this cluster of killings. Here I’ll just give you a thimble-full of his explanation, then zero in on the reason I most agree with. I’ll expect you to read the Afterword for yourself, then overlay his arguments onto what you can learn from Ed Sanders’ new book on the life of Sharon Tate. It’s amazing how much stronger I feel about views I’ve only known intuitively since around 1975.

Some of these reasons Vince gives us are fairly self-evident; such as these crimes, including both the victims and the perpetrators, are “bizarre!” Yea, every aspect of the story is too far out! One might compare it to the mass murders (or suicides) of Jim Jones, the Reverend Moon, or David Koresh, but while these cases are amply strange, they pale in comparison to The Family and what they became. Two other very clear triggers for ITS prominence, is first, the recognition that Manson is seen as PURE EVIL!

Much of this is imagined, but it’s not that hard to see Charlie this way – he’s a very creepy character! The last one I’ll give you is another compelling one; Charlie could command others to do his killing for him. Charlie even had ‘Murder School!’ When I think of Tex Watson, my spine tingles with terror, as I imagine him marauding about 10050 Cielo Drive. All of his actions were programed by Charlie!

For me, the most important argument for this dark chapter’s long shelf-life is, it brought the curtain down for the ‘beautiful social movement of the 1960s’. This particular strain of historical cause and effect has always seemed true for me. I do realize it’s slightly more complex than that. I know Vietnam is in there, then we see, that in 1968 assassinations and violence were on the rise. However, the Movement made a come back with the Woodstock Festival, which ironically, came just two weeks after Tate-LaBianca. While it can be argued, the Peace Thing was already largely dead before the termination of the ’60s decade. The way I think of it, is the Manson Phenomenon was like a Dark Priest giving Final Unction to the Flower Children we’ve come to know and love.

Since The Family started out as fairly legitimate Flower Children, it took (required) them to kill the good within their souls, committing spiritual suicide, you might say, that had the lasting effect of poisoning the well for all the other socalled Pretty People. Yet, when I think of what I learned from Ed’s new book, I’m renewing the validity of this theory for additional facts presented within. I’ll only mention a few, then let you see if you can drive the argument further when you cast your eye on the Hollywood culture of the late 1960s.

It must be said, these profound realizations have only dawned on me slowly; the face of naked history prefers a mask! Nobody wanted to admit established Hollywood owned a small piece of culpability in the crimes, yet this hurtful truism is all the more apparent to me nearly a half century later. Charlie told us at his trial, his family and what they did was just a mirror held up to American society! These revelations regarding a hip Hollywood culture, out of control, seem to verify Charlie’s prophetic statement.

The immortality of Manson and his ragamuffin Family (as unsavory events unfolded in the second half of 1969), pondered on by Vince Bugliosi and many others, is assured because these misguided young people hobnobbed or crossed paths with the rich and famous of Hollywood, qualified by the hipper set of this elite group. Again, you’ll need to read and study Ed’s new book and go through each of the stars on an individual basis, as they brushed up against some of these darker forces. I’ve done some preliminary assessments, but am only just getting started.

Here’s a partial list of these stars to get you started. Roman Polanski, Dennis Hopper, Mama Cass, Michelle and John Phillips, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Terry Melcher, Dennis Wilson (perhaps, the jackpot!), and The Beatles (indirectly). I’d add three of the Tate victims as well: Voytek, Abigail, and Jay, or maybe even Sharon, to a lesser extent. I’m not saying they were responsible for their own deaths; only that their loose lifestyles may have played a role in in their collective ill-fated demise! *(Watch out for Charlie’s Girl(s)!)


  • All Eyes On Sharon Tate – *(documentary short – promotional); Produced by Martin Ransohoff (Filmway mogul) 1965; length: 10:19; black and white

I’ve watched this promotional doc – short newsreel (of a sort) on YouTube around ten times, never tiring of it (a 22-year-old Sharon Tate is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life!). This medium, likely shown in movie theaters to promote an up and coming star, is fully antique to us today, but I maybe caught the back-end of this now extinct form in my early days (born in 1953). The film was produced by Martin Ransohoff in 1965 as she was in production for the film Eye of the Devil. One gets a good idea as to how methodical MR is in developing her career, since she was in the midst of transitioning from TV to film, not an easy step up.

The career step-up issue is referenced in the doc when the director of Eye, Jay Lee Thomson mentions they had to make sure Sharon was made of the right stuff, as far as acting and appearance (the make-up and picture posing thing) go. This is funny on the account that Jay Lee acts like they’re making a serious motion picture, whereas when we view Eye today, it comes off as a B-Horror Flick (I’ve recently viewed it). The other thing that tickles my funny bone, is, seeing somebody as ravishing as Miss Tate getting a make-up job, or her hair done, knowing these Hollywood aficionados are testing her to be certain she can make the grade. I can’t think of any star prominent today who could come close to her in motion picture screen harmony!

Sharon was already a prominent model for the still camera, acquiring a considerable amount of press, some of which we see in the black and white short. Becoming a movie star required a lot of work, so we see footage of her studying scripts, exercising, speaking about what it takes to act in light comedy, then finally we see her cutting loose, dancing at an in-est London discotheque, no less to pop music with prodigious tambourine rattling. Next, we see her out and about in London; there’s Trafalgar Square, then Hyde Park with pigeons galore, plus Big Ben at Westminster, and don’t forget London Bridge.

In the final segment of the promo-doc, a wanton camera captures some location shooting in the south of France for the movie Sharon was working on, Eye of the Devil. We get to see the suave and witty, superstar of an English actor, David Niven (nearly forgotten in our time), visiting with Sharon, showering her with praise: marvelous girl, very good actress. We also get a gander of an actual scene in the film, where Sharon, playing a femme fatale, I suppose, tries to lure Debra Carr (few will remember her today) off the edge of castle ledge, using a witchy form of hypnosis (how ironic is this?) The older moll’s eyes grow heavy as an evil Miss Tate holds her hand to the fringe of the precipice. The finale finds the feisty up and coming actress back at the discotheque, cutting the rug to a groove beat; the narrator brands her, the GIRL-ON-THE-GO-GO! Play it again, Capitan!

  • FACE OF EVIL*(documentary); CNN; 2015

I’ve viewed this one three times now, which is reasonable if you factor in tight editing of news archival clips, which rip over you against the talking head interviews. I took notes since I didn’t want to miss anything. The key people here are Jeff Guinn, Barbara Hoyt, Mary Neiswender, Alisa Statma (a friend of the Tates), and Vince Bugliosi, who died not too long after these interviews. The special is only 41 minutes long, but takes you on a wild rollercoaster ride through the complex crime; if you blink you’ll miss a lot! The condensation of clipping lends itself to the over-exaggerated hypothesis that M single handedly totaled the peace, love, and understanding ’60s thing!

This can be contested, but I find it a convenient stopping point. Areas I’d like to pursue with a follow-up are: Mary Weiswender’s relentless journalism *( I could see myself collecting all her articles for the LA Times), the hamburger incident of Barbara Hoyt, where a lethal dose of LSD to girl’s vittles, and I wouldn’t mind taking a further look at the at the work of the courtroom sketch artist, Bill Robles, who captured Manson lunging at the judge with a pencil, or his sketch of Nixon’s proclamation, “Manson Guilty of Murder,” before the trial had even ended.

Helter Skelter; Movie Made for TV (CBS); 1976 (First aired April 1st and 2nd)

I saw it back in the day, but ordered it on Netflix to help me prepare for this project. Since I received it through the mail, I’ve viewed it twice, taking plenty of notes on the second viewing. I won’t bother with any type of review, other than to say they did a great job with. It clocks in at 3 hours, 3 minutes and comes off as realistic to the story first reported in Vincent Bugliosi’s book (of the same name (1974). I’ll cite 3 items that verify its authenticity. One, Steve Railsback looks and acts like the Charlie we all know! Two, the LaBianca murders were filmed at the real house on Waverly Drive! Three, the LAPD loaned the project the actual 1959 Ford used in the Tate slayings! Unreal ‘cuz it’s too real!

As you know, Vince’s book Helter Skelter is the all time best seller for the True Crime category. In his Afterword for the 1994 edition, he points out that the movie made for TV version also holds the record for the most watched program in that medium (television), as of the spring of 1976. This impresses me! Let me just point out a few aspects of the film that made me notice, without digging too deep. Many of the characters’ names were changed, most likely to insulate the poor people who probably wanted to distance themselves from this nasty blemish in our history. It’s not that hard to figure out who they really are though. An example is Adam Williams plays the hippie lawyer, Terrence Milik – that’s actually Ronald Hughes who was knocked-off by The Family.

Here are a few turn ons!

The opening scene mirrors the book’s list of eyewitness neighbors who heard the shots and horrific screams of victims on August 9, 1969 (likely the 10th by then); the difficulty was that acoustics were tricky in the foothills of Benedict Canyon, disguising the source of the sound. This is an added dimension of chill to this already infamous crime; possibly hearing the murders go down, but maybe not believing it was real! Another incredible scene comes just after, when William Tennant, Roman Po’s manager, is asked by LAPD homicide detectives to identify the bodies. When he gets to Sharon he runs outside and gets sick to his stomach; this really reflects what really happened. And jeez, the blood stains in the house were horrifying, while maybe not rendered as perfect reproductions of the crime scene of fact.

Best line delivery: Steve Railsback slyly utters, during the Spahn Ranch (nice set design too), “It’s not nice to snitch, Shorty.” And Nancy Wolfe’s portrayal of Susan Atkins was spot on! Check out her spilling the beans to Ronnie Howard at Sybil Brand, or the intensity of cruelty in her confession of Gary Hinman’s murder (the first of many). I fancied Nancy’s performance of Susan’s Grand Jury testimony, approximated the real deal, where a lady juror got sick to her stomach from hearing S.A.’s graphic narrative of the nighttime visit to 10050 Cielo Drive. And I don’t know who played Tex Watson, but whoever it was, did a terrific job of evoking Tex’s crank-induced homicidal rage and devil possession (haircut is perfect)! I better not forget, George DiCenzo nails Vince B!

The defining scene in the movie was when Steve Railsback, channeling Charlie, gets on the stand and delivers his sermon about how the establishment created him as this monster; he just wanted to remain in jail and play his guitar. Railsback delivers many of the actual lines M said verbatim. I know this, because I went back to the 1994 paperback edition of HS (Bantam Books), finding M’s hypnotizing words on pages 525-530. Much of what M has to say rings true, I have to admit.

CM was a clever con man and had many of the young people in his grip; he even made the cover of Rolling Stone, which was the rag of the Hippies (it certainly was for me). When he says Nixon should have been picking up his children on the side of the road, instead of sending them off to war, it’s hard to argue with his logic. I have many more points I could make about this movie, but I’ll let it be, other than to say it’s an important document amongst the vast available ephemera associated with these late ’60s cult murders.

Helter Skelter Crime Board Image Collage, by Claude Bovee

Helter Skelter Crime Board Image Collage, by Claude Bovee (Collage Art - print photos, acrylic & watercolor paints on woodboard)
Helter Skelter Crime Board Image Collage, by Claude Bovee (Collage Art – print photos, acrylic & watercolor paints on woodboard)

Bovee created this crime board mock-up as a visual aid, by putting a face or image to what’s become a very complex story! It’s so complex that Mister Bovee could easily create a dozen or more of these with characters, events, and ephemera (even historiographical documentation) related to this negative cosmic shift, closing the book on a once Beautiful Scene that sprang forth in the 1960s (manifested in both LA and in SF). You won’t be able to read the captions associated with the images very well on NewsBlaze, so I’m going to publish them here. As you’re viewing the image, just refer to this post for what’s there.

The images left to right, top to bottom are:


Are the murders a subset of the book, or is the book a subset to the murders? I do know with absolute certitude, you can’t have one without the other, and still have even half a cup of monumentality present to this story, which as such, endures forever!


*You can even see Squeaky in the background!

  1. VINCENT BUGLIOSI GOT CONVICTIONS FOR THE MANSON FAMILY! In the mid-seventies, I had the opportunity to see VB speak at the Student Union, UT, when promoting his book!

Classic shot for the movie of Barbara, Patty, and the very sexy Sharon Tate! I still remember clearly when Barbara Parkins did a semi-nude layout for Playboy. I also recall purchasing that Playboy at a drugstore near SMU in Dallas, Texas {Sharon grew up in Dallas}. The point I’d like to make is, women were extra beautiful during that 1960s era!


The tie-ins between The White Album and these strange events are massive! If you care to get serious about this topic, you’ll need to pick up a platter of this record, and maybe The Book of Revelations, while you’re running errands!

  1. Claude paints a traditional hippie peace sign, such as was scrawled by a Family Member on the infamous door, residing at Spahn Ranch (Spahn burns to the ground on September 27, 1970). Other items on the door are the misspelled words, Healter Skelter (Same error at the LaBianca’s, only that was the victims real blood!), plus, 1234567 All Good Children Go to Heaven! a Beatles nursery rhyme from Abbey Roads; Claude simulated these too.
  1. AFTER THE MURDERS, THE MEDIA WAXES SENSATIONAL WITH OCCULT THEORIES! While many of these tabloids were merely trying to move some copy, ironically, and Ed gets into this quite a bit, many of the claims the murders were drug related, or were rooted in the dark, occult arts, had some basis in fact. My own minor brushes with journalism have led me to a zeitgeist: news stories closest in time to a seismic event are often the most factual! I reached this conclusion by studying the JFK Assassination!

Once a devout Family member, Barbara recognized the shift in spirit, when peace and love morphs to death, hate, and killing within this quirky social sub-group *(possibly a cult), beginning in July of 1969, at their Spahn Ranch compound. I’ve become more interested in Barbara after viewing The Face of Evil (2015) several times, where she appears to have her act together, providing a chilling narrative of her days in this odd social experiment. I recalled the harrowing account of her poisoning by way of a hamburger, laced with a lethal dose of LSD at an airport in Hawaii. I needed the straight dope on this story, which has absorbed some embellishment as the years go by.

I worked the index of my new copy of Manson, by Jeff Guinn, and found the troubling citation on page 367. Ruth Ann Morehouse had feigned a friendly visit to Barbara, who was vacationing in Honolulu. After giving Barbara a hamburger spiked with 10 hits of LSD, apparently, after which Ruth Ann took off on a flight back to LA, while poor Barbara collapsed on the floor with an overdose. The attempted murder occurred in early September of 1970, probably with Squeaky and Sandra, longest in loyalty to Charlie, pushing Ruth Ann’s bad button (another example of the robot-kill model)!


A basic collection of monographs you’ll need to be an amateur expert on these unsavory shifts undermining the Youth Movement of the late 1960s! Where did we go wrong? Are we all to blame, partially? We must continue asking these questions.


An extra caption for the M books.


The addition of this new biography of beautiful and mystifying actress of the 1960s, shakes us aware that Sharon had a great mind and spirit, to include with her obvious ravishing physical presence. The new part of this vastly familiar story, is, what fellow actors, actresses, and musicians were doing and thinking during this time period.


Additional captions for the book.


I saw Eight Days A Week yesterday; The Beatles were against segregation and their message was always peace and love. There isn’t anything in The White Album urging kids toward violence, so Charlie misinterpreted the record. This angle is probably the craziest part of this story!


Was Bill aware of the killing on that night? How could he have possibly not been aware? Could his stereo get that loud at half turned-up volume?


A good example of one of Sharon’s movie star friends who can fill in the picture of Sharon’s life and some of factors leading up to her tragic death.


I can look at ST picture galleries for hours on end; stunningly attractive, even with a black wig on as Janet Trago from Mr. Drysdale’s secretarial pool.



  • Kenneth Anger, Hollywood Babylon, & Lucifer Rising – (Wikipedia)

As I was reading Sharon Tate, a life, I started noticing Kenneth Anger’s name popping up quite a bit in Ed’s narrative. I’m fairly familiar with Kenneth Anger, but I needed to brush up a bit on his unique and esoteric career. The Wikipedia entries for the above were helpful to me in recalling my own contact with his work. One thing I will say, is in the electric atmosphere of Hollywood (1965-1969), Kenneth managed a good amount of fame and prominence amongst a group of film and music stars, searching for alternative sources of inspiration (this would include myself, although the groove didn’t surface until 1975).

Yea, quite a few Kenneth Anger connections surface, with regards to the Tate Murders, to The Family, if not to the entire up and coming Hollywood community (well, mostly the alternative lifestyle bunch). I’m staying general here, since it would require a mounted effort of research and investigation, tying Anger to these strange developments, resulting in a shocking unravelling of much of what we most loved during the 1960s!

I suppose I’ll just mention a few sources of connectivity for you, then let you get after it, if you so choose to travel down such perilous roads. I suspect, Ed and other writers/filmmakers (certainly Anger, Polanski, David Lynch, or John Waters) have opened up some of these ominous doors pertaining to magic, the occult, or Pagan religion. I managed to get through a few of Aleister Crowley’s books and even heard Kenneth Anger speak at UT for a festival of his films in the mid-1970s.

I know I’ve seen Scorpio Rising, Lucifer Rising, and maybe one or two of his other films. Bobby Beausoleil plays Lucifer in the film and provides the soundtrack with his band The Freedom Orchestra. I wish I could remember everything Kenneth said in his introductory remarks to his films; I do know he talked Bobby, and Charlie, and some of these strange things, but the screening happened 41 years ago! The Anton LaVey angle will require quite a bit more probing; LaVey pops-up frequently in these hazy proceedings, I’ve come to realize. He even plays The Devil in Rosemary’s Baby, and is the father to the new Son of Darkness (digesting these weird connections is a task)!

I’m most familiar with KA’s book, Hollywood Babylon; at one time, I’ve owned the first edition (1965), the revised edition (1975), and HB II (1984). What happened to my books? I may have the second edition in storage, but it’s anyone’s guess! I have read them many times and have got much of my misinformation from them. This is okay since the writing is of the highest caliber; tales where he may have exaggerated or even lied can be reconciled from other sources.

The 1975 version includes the Tate killings and was a source I relied on during that time. And when Ed covers the time when Sharon and Jay moved into that quirky house, 9810 Easton Drive, I remembered I had learned about the iffy, purported suicide of Paul Bern (married to Jean Harlow) from Hollywood Babylon! I wonder whether any of the Tate victims owned or had read the first edition? Several millions of those tabloid-scandal volumes made their way into the households of Americans, albeit in secrecy! I may have to order another one on Amazon, if I can’t locate my old copies. Is there a curse on me also?

  • The FAMILY – *(Book); By Ed Sanders; I have the paperback edition, published by Signet in 1989.

“Throughout the summer, Gail and beautiful Gypsy the Magna Mater embodiment and Leslie and Beausoleil and two unknown female Caucasians from San Francisco drove in the environs of northern California in the old black Dodge powerwagon formerly belonging to George Spahn.” Page 84, Chapter 5, The Spahn Movie Ranch (1968)

Beautiful writing, power-packed with originally researched facts recollecting the zany evolution *(or De-eVolution – Devo) of The Family up to the murders and beyond! This inside story of these deviant flower children was published prior to Helter Skelter and provides gems or facts that fill in the picture (a majority of what I’ll call evidence is not available in HS), enabling you to better assess what really happened *(the case hasn’t been completely solved yet). Let me just comment a bit on Chapter 5 (pages 72-95), telling you a few of the facts which are (were) new for me, as a way of showing you how much fresh ground was broken.

Let me just say, my profoundest take away from 5 is, evidence points to the slighting of M’s music career creates a direct path to the devastation to the Tate residence on Cielo Drive. One can only think, once the murders had occurred, at least Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher must’ve intuited who did it. Also, we hear Rudy Altobelli, the Cielo Drive owner, first suspected Charlie after he heard of them; more reenforcement for those who figured it out.

On page 72 we read of M recording 6 or 8 songs at none other than Brian Wilson’s personal home studio on Bellagio, in the Summer of ’68; with this, Dennis created a situation of rising expectations in Charlie. When they had to ease him off, he became enraged! Also, when we hear that M was pulling knives on Dennis and a BB engineer, Stephen Despar, we get a better idea why they felt that had to ease Charlie off. It was M who snuffed out his own record contract, not Dennis or Terry. There were those who tried to help him advance his burgeoning music career, such as Greg Jacobson. M was a career criminal, and these steadfast, rotten means fully engulfed him, once he settled in at Spahn Ranch.

A big part of this bummer is the song which Charlie wrote for The Beach Boys, Cease To Exist, was recorded by BBs with the lyrics reduced to a more innocuous message; the tune tanked, so M’s royalties were meager. This fueled his ire a good deal more, given his twisted, inflated ego. Another eye-opener is Tex seemed to hang with Terry Melcher quite a bit at you know where. Melcher and Jacobson were touting Charlie to Altobelli for a time. John Phillips didn’t dig him too much either, apparently. Nonetheless, one senses, some of these big wheels did take the bait early in their time of contact with M. What gives with the convincing snow-job?

01/05/2017 After the traumatizing election, Christmas, and New Years…

After hearing of Charlie’s hospitalization, it’s time to finish this piece; I’ve been dragging my heals, so the rest of the Chapter 5 coverage will just be short notes, lest I never finish it *(once M passes, Ed will sell millions of copies of books).

-August of ’68 homeless C goes to Spahn – duties at Spahn, lots of horses to take care of!

-35 minute ride to Sharon Tate’s from Spahn – 15 minutes to Devil Canyon in Santa Susanna Mountains – location, location, location!

  1. 78, on LSD ranch hand Juan Flynn would relive Vietnam War horrors!
  2. 80, garbage run details – very interesting – Marlboro ads shot at Spahn *(legacy of lost spook-ranch)

-pages 80, 81 brain washing of family members…

  1. 82 no Jimi Hendrix ephemera allowed! Surprised more Family members didn’t protest this!
  1. 84, June of ’68 Leslie Van Houten joins Family via Bobby Beausoleil, good with the girls…Juanita joins, giving up lots of bread to M (weird)…
  2. 85 important influence – The Fountain of the World…Box Canyon “Peace Through Love & Service” Krishna Venta violent history – Family grooves on it!
  3. 87 court cases pot Sadie…

– p. 88 Sept. ’68 Dennis Wilson @ Malibu Beach House – M mandates, either join or don’t!

– Tex joins that fall – gives up wig shop on Santa Monica Boulevard – gave M 1935 Dodge pickup truck *(note: always been fascinated with Tex’s story, since I grew up in North Texas myself!)

  • 89 hung with Gypsy Jokers, a violent biker outfit…
  • heady stuff…Waller Street Devil House – in Haight according to Blaine – learned Evil Arts through them…please reference for ardent M truth Seekers!
  • October 7, 1968 Sadie gives birth to Zezo Ze-ce Zadfrak aka Zeko – M cruel to Susan A…Tex uses Terry Melcher’s Jaguar + Standard Oil CC *(good clue to future crime!)
  • Relaxation Mantra used by BB…details given in Chapter 5 attest to ES’s meticulous research in these still shocking murder cases…reprint The Family soon, Ed, you’ll sell millions!…Thank you for what you’ve done! Cap’N Brew Kidd…
  • MANSON – *(Movie made for TV) The History Channel; Premiered September 7, 2009

This drama documentary produced by The History Channel in 2009 functions as a very good supplementary source to some of your other fundamental M wellsprings. I’ve caught it 3 times on YouTube (the print is getting a little dodgy), plus I saw it when it first premiered. It’s well done, giving you mainly Linda Kasabian’s point of view, but throwing in Catherine Share’s (aka Gypsy) version, with the Father of Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi piping in a backdrop to the story, along the lines of his well-oiled template. Linda’s been in hiding all these years, so it’s great to hear what she has to say, seeing how she was there on two nights of killing. In a talking heads style of telling her tale (once again), we cross over to dramatic simulations of seminal events, beginning when she joins the family, with the help of Gypsy in 1969.

I took 6 pages of notes on the special, so I will try to only touch on the parts where some additional insight can be gleaned, in terms of my already expanded consciousness. I will say, however, Linda K knows an awful lot about this, perhaps too much; Gypsy knows an awful lot also, so for both of these ladies, it must be a tremendous burden to carry these memories around. Linda’s face and words exhibit tremendous guilt, since she got off as the star witness of the prosecution. More recent information I’ve obtained doesn’t paint her as quite as much of a peaceful, loving flower child, as promulgated by VB in his institutionalized template of the M Chronicle.

This new data makes plain the guilt visually and aurally expressed by Linda Kasabian, reinforcing, under certain circumstances, she was a willing participant in these unconscionable misdeeds. I’ll cite on example: Linda purloined the dead Steve Parent’s wallet upon Tex’s command; I never heard this small detail in other sources. This is one reason why I rather like this History Channel special (robbery after murder is indeed a heinous felony!); there’s some new stuff. Although the bit about lifting 5K (money belonged to her husband’s friend) from the trailer where she lived with her husband is not new, seeing a dramatic reenactment of the crime brought home an important point: LK was an official member of the Family now!

Oddly enough, in spots throughout the HC program, Linda teleports easily to pleasant memories of Charlie and The Family, especially in the early days, after joining the family. She even says of M, he was imbued with magnetism, charisma, charm, and power. One wonders whether, even today, Linda still slightly believes this; this goes for Gypsy too. Yea, they highly aware their life at Spahn Ranch went south, but still! Vince sums up the situation, telling us how Charlie gets out of prison right when The Summer of Love was wailing; this fits right into his plan, and helps to explain how he could recruit all these fairly wholesome Baby Boomers kids.

I laughed when Gypsy said M was Dylan-esque, and in the same reflex, cringed, thinking she was still buying into his Trip. Then she adds, he’d be telling great stories, being free, and dancing around. Whoop-tie Do! Linda recalls the orgies and acid trips with praise: all felt good, all felt right. She had experienced communal life before; everyone was dancing, flowing, all beautiful! Sex on LSD was very spiritual, Linda continues. But Vince qualifies: M would control them by breaking down their egos (his remains in tact). The Second Coming of Christ and the Devil all rapped up in one person, Bug further characterizes. Next he explains Helter Skelter and you know how that goes.

I’ll need to cut this short, but it continues threw the usual sequence of crazy events, using reenactments and real film footage, and tying the narrative together with testimony of Linda, Gypsy, VB, and even Sharon Tate’s sister, Debra Tate. One small fact caught my attention, the dark-clothed foursome all took a white tab of speed before departing. Also, Linda had no idea what they were up to until the madness had actually started, adding to the creepiness. Family members watched the news the next day, where the murders were called a weird religious rite (they got it right!). Photos of the victims are shown; I never saw any until the Eighties sometime.Often, the soundtrack is an eerie, atonal drone against one of the uglier scenes; very effective! I love the final scene when Linda makes her escape (August 13th, 1969).

Charlie wants her to see how Bobby is doing in jail; Linda can’t get her daughter who is down at the waterfall. In the simulation, the car she’s using won’t start at first and Charlie in bed hears her trying to leave. Your tension mounts, suspecting M will charge out and yank her out of the vehicle. I wonder if this is how it really went down. So Linda eventually gets out of Dodge, bailing for New Mexico. The viewer readily shares in Linda’s escape, happy in her untethering from Charlie! I felt a rush of relief myself, yet I still wonder whether we have unshackled the iron grip of Charlie’s witchy spell! Finally, one criticism I have, is the actors playing Clem and Tex weren’t particularly scary or evil, compared to the real-life Clem and Tex.

  • MANSON – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHARLES MANSON – *(Book); By Jeff Guinn; Published in 2013, by Simon & Schuster

“Though most of the literate world knows what’s to come, Guinn ably maintains suspense. Even if Manson is occasionally tedious, recounting over and over the Family’s peripatetic adventures – garbage diving for food, stealing, creepy-crawling into people’s homes at night – it stands as a definitive work: important for students of criminology, human behavior, popular culture, music, psychopathology and sociopathology, and compulsively readable for anyone who relishes nonfiction.” by Ann Rule; The New York Times – Sunday Book Review; Aug. 15, 2013

I was very sorry to hear of Ann Rule’s passing last summer; Ann is probably the best known and most widely read True Crime writer appearing on the market. I’ve read a good number of her books and will probably get around to reading the remainder of her titles not already devoured by my eyes (Ann was prolific). Her review of Jeff Guinn’s book is terrific, if you don’t mind giving it a glance. I do own Jeff’s book and have read several of his other titles (Go Down Together on Bonnie and Clyde and the one on the Shoot Out At OK Corral), but I must confess, I haven’t read Manson in its entirety.

I have skimmed it cross-referencing for subjects I was researching in another book. I will get to it in good time. While I need to give Manson a fair and thorough reading, I did notice in places it seemed to noticeably mirror or parrot Vince Bugliosi. One might reason this is inevitable, since Helter Skelter is the Holy Bible of all things Manson, although, my worship of VB is coming unhinged as of late.

*MANSON(Documentary); By Robert Hendrickson; Released in 1973

This film is a little hard to find these days, but I did notice you can purchase it on Amazon (well, it’s good it’s not pirated on YouTube). It’s no matter, I’ve seen it plenty of times before; I could see it for a dollar when a movie house I worked at in the late ’60s, Northtown Six Theaters AMC (Dallas, Texas) converted to dollar screens (deterioration). The music, by ex-Manson members, Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston holds it together, in an eerie kind of way.

The doc was released before Bugliosi’s book and is groundbreaking in many ways, for those of us who aren’t scared enough to wander down that dark path that leads to Spahn Ranch (burned down in September of 1970). Vince has this quote in the Epilogue from the movie, which has stuck with me through the years. I just learned a few days ago, Paul Watkins died of leukemia in 1990, so this made me think a bit more on his slice of the story.

“I lived with Charlie for one year straight and on and off for two years. I know Charlie. I know him inside and out. I became Charlie. Everything I once was, was Charlie. There was nothing left of me anymore. And all of the people in the Family, there’s nothing left of them anymore, they’re all Charlie too.” Paul Watkins

  • MONDO HOLLYWOOD – *(Film) Directed by Robert Carl Cohen; Release Date: 1967

Ed Sanders mentions this film on page 228, as one that experienced resurgence after the murders, along with Valley of The Dolls. Jay Sebring is featured styling hair in one very lively scene, and Bobby Beausoleil, one of Manson’s most dedicated sycophants, got his chops portraying Cupid. I never had seen it, but found the cult flick for free online, provided by Snag Films (with commercials); I gave it a good viewing last night and was mesmerized!

My two main take-aways, amongst the turned-down decibels of lesser revelations, were one: Jay Sebring, in his own time, was a star of the highest magnitude (in the world of hair stylists and fashion); two: when looking at the bigger picture, as far as the historical record of the state of Hollywood, ala 1966 and 1967, one has a better grasp of the context of Tate/ LaBianca. The social fissures of those times are jam-packed in every clip!

  • The Process Church of the Final Judgment and the Manson Family – *(Internet article); by Adam Gorightly -PARANOIA – The Conspiracy Reader

This is a good article that reinforces what Ed mentions in the Afterword and elsewhere; that is, he has seen some evidence, not so much proven definitively, that links Sharon Tate’s murder to RFK’s assassination. I’ll let you read both of them, and see what you think. I do remember, however, that Ed went to some length, questioning the ‘fact’ of Sharon and Roman having dinner with RFK and company the night before he was shot.

Please look at this article carefully; it looks as if Manson may have been more connected to the Process Church than anyone has previously suspected. The hair on my back raised up when I read of the Process Church and The Manson Family had lived next to one another on Cole Street in San Francisco (1967)! I lived there myself with a friend and my sister in 1980/’81, so I am able to channel the vibe that went down. Did Sirhan Sirhan attend a party sponsored by The Process at 10050 Cielo Drive? Did Sharon Tate hear more than she ought to have? It’s worth looking at.

  • Rosemary’s Baby – *(Film); Paramount Pictures; Directed by Roman Polanski; Release Date: June 12, 1968

Possibly, If one might hope to make all the connections we fathom in Rosemary’s Baby, then we’d have a solution for these crimes. At one time, I bought into this theory: the cult-film holds all the secrets! I’m still not entirely convinced it doesn’t; that’s how powerful it is. Everything has a reasonable explanation, we assume, but then again. John Lennon lived and died here (the Dakota) but this was before it happened by 15 years. Do what you will with it, but it’s HEAVY all the way!

  • The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter – *(DVD available on Netflix); Michael Dorsey and Scott Michaels; Tenacity Entertainment; Released in 2008

September 9, 2016, 5:35 AM – This DVD makes for good company with Ed’s book, providing you with tangible visuals, or what’s left of them, is a dreadful reminder of what happened to innocent Hollywood 47 years ago. I took notes last night, remembering how jam-packed this tour video is with eye-opening goodies. The guide, Scott Michaels, knows his stuff and keeps a copy of the Bible, Helter Skelter, with him at all times. The tidbits here, which I won’t call trivia, are far too numerous to mention, but I’ll give you a sample-taste!

Did you know Debra Harry was picked up by The Family one time? Did you know Tex Watson allegedly lived nearby the Whiskey-A-Go-Go? How about that Adam West had his haircut by Jay Sebring, and heard about Bruce Lee, a friend of Sharon’s, recommending him for the part of Cato in Batman? And oh how we have visuals of places! Now I can picture Chateau Marmont, Patty Duke’s house, Dennis Wilson’s house, and Jack Jones (sang The Love Boat theme) pad, that got creepy-crawled by Family members!

Okay, so there’s the Gateway Grocery where Leno LaBianca worked in Los Fenix; add in the Boutique where Rosemary worked. Did you know Spahn Ranch burned down on September 27, 1970? The Polanski residence was leveled in 1994 (still looking for an exact date); the doomsday domicile was obviously haunted, but I wonder whether this resolve such issues. A spiderweb of intriguing trivia makes for a good story when it’s bundled into one huge fabric (remember Charlie’s vest)!

  • Valley of the Dolls – *(Book, a novel); By Jacqueline Susanne; Published in 1966, by Grove Press

Valley has sold more than 31 million copies since its publication in 1966; I’ve bought 3 or 4 of those, if that’s of any value as far as the sales statistics go. I have the very groovy 1997 Grove Press edition, with a pink cover showing three pill-like-peeper-slots to the famous movie marquee poster of Patty, Barbara, and Sharon. And yes, I just heard about a new edition published last July by the same publisher (I’ll wait until I can find it at Half Price Books).

This is not the time or place to once again gut the tacky literary masterpiece, other than to say why I included it amongst my peripheral sources. The reverberations of what Jacqueline Susann had to say about prescription drug addiction in the showbiz community, especially women, are integral to Sharon Tate and her associates, who come of age in the mid to late 1960s, and after their premature deaths, project out into the misty fog of legend. Another strange thing, is, the problem remains today, if not even bigger than it ever was! This might explain, in part, why the airport novel is still read today. There are further reverberations, but I’ll leave her be for now (Jackie passed in 1974).

*Valley of Dolls – *(Film); 20th Century Fox; Directed by Mark Robson; Release Date: December 15, 1967

I recently picked-up the DVD at Barnes and Nobles in conjunction with this project. I estimate I’ve seen the film around 25 times since its original release on December 15, 1967. I viewed the film not too long after its release, and actually read the book after seeing the funky flick. And it’s important to note, I had both mediums under my belt before the murders.

It is Sharon Tate’s most important film and brought her into the limelight even before her death; yet realize, as Vince Bugliosi emphasizes in his signature book, she was propelled to Superstardom after her death, as Valley emerges as a cult film chalk-full of references to a drug epidemic in Hollywood circles, mirroring what we know about the actual homicides. It’s as if Valley was a crystal ball to a grim future manifested at Cielo Drive! Can you read too much into this tawdry flick? Not really!

  • The White Album – The Beatles – *(Double Long-Playing Album); Apple; Released: November 22, 1968

Side one: 1. Back in the U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Glass Onion, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Wild Honey Pie, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness Is a Warm Gun – Side two: Martha My Dear, I’m So Tired, Blackbird, Piggies, Rocky Raccoon, Don’t Pass Me By, Why Don’t We Do It in the Road, I Will, Julia – Side three: Birthday, Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey, Sexy Sadie, Helter Skelter, Long, Long, Long – Side four: Revolution I, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, Cry Baby Cry, Revolution 9, Good Night.

An obvious template for (crime) Helter Skelter, whether Fake or Real, depending on how you interpret the facts! Such questions arise as were The Beatles partially to blame, when we notice such songs as Piggies seem to suggest class warfare. Naturally, it’s all malarky, but we have to remember, the kids from that era took everything as symbolic, which is exactly what Charlie and his rag-tag followers did…It gets even crazier when you listen for yourself and start to see some of the meaning they were reading into the double Apple record containing clairvoyant, cosmic insight…You tap yourself and wakeup, hopefully…I believe I did???…Listened to The WA yesterday – still there.


Friday – 01/06/2017 – 5:23 AM

47 years, 5 months since Charlie ordered Tex, Susan, Patricia, and Linda to drive to the Tate house and slaughter everyone there. Manson’s been in a Bakersfield hospital with gastrointestinal bleeding as of New Year’s Day. Who knows how much longer he will last? The Ice House is Charlie’s home; always has been, nearly! I checked the Google news-stream this morning, noticing stories galore from major news services still publishing recaps of his career in crime. Narcissism gets a grip on me – how much time in my life have I’ve committed (wasted) to the multi-dimensional, moving parts of what looks like (on the surface) CLASS MOTIVATED MURDERS! In the mid-Seventies, when living with my aunt in Columbia, Missouri, late at night, I would smoke marijuana, burn incense, and read Helter Skelter over and over, with The Stones’ Their Majesty’s Satanic Request playing eerily in the background…M affected or infected many of us! Lately, I think more about the victims…