A parole hearing, possibly the final one, will be conducted for Charles Manson this morning at the state prison in Corcoran, California, where Charlie is incarcerated. Manson is not expected to show, but who knows, maybe he’ll surprise us all! Recent news stories have provided us with a current mug shot of an elderly Charlie, more resembling Old Saint Nick than a notorious mass murderer and Cult Messiah of the Black Arts. Parole denial is a certitude, but a precipitous fear of his release is yet a public preponderance.
The stirrings of these proceedings trigger the turning back of the clock. (A misty bubble of apparitions appear as we ride The Time Machine back!) We see Vincent Bugliosi making the talk show rounds, commenting on the irony of an overturning of California’s death penalty in 1972, which gave Charlie a victory in the twisted sense he could stay home. That is, remain in jail, which is the only home he has ever known. I don’t suppose Charlie ever considered Spahn Ranch anything other than a garbage dump really.
Most of us would prefer to bury these horrid memories once and for all, but writers and the media won’t allow us to forget. I’ve been trying to forget for thirty years or more, but new specials pop up on TV, or movies come out that perpetuate the myth of Charlie, and assure the Charlie Cult will flourish and survive, perhaps forever! A 1973 documentary still haunts me to this day; it’s Manson, directed by Robert Hendrickson and Laurence Merrick. Hypnotizing, hippie recorders and guitars play fluidly as ex-family members attempt a full detox.
One ex-follower says emphatically: “I was Charlie!” His influence was all consuming for many of these young people who were drifting in those days of the late 1960s, where Charlie could fill a vacuum in their lives, but their parents, friends, or schools were unable to fill. The reasons for this charisma have still not been entirely explained. Some have said Charlie was simply a very gifted con artist, and this may suffice to explain how he could control so many, and still does today, even though he’s 77.
Not that I care to imbibe in such lingering mass hysteria mumbo-jumbo, but I did read an interesting article this morning regarding CHARLIE-ISMS. Oddly enough, it was written for the International Business Times – Charles Manson Parole 2012: At 77, Notorious Criminal Still Has Family of Supporters, by Ellen Killoran. This piece will get you up to date (if you must) on the white noise that still emanates out of a body of fringe worshippers of Charlie, that just won’t say bye bye.
As for myself, I’m hoping this final parole hearing will wash away this nonsense once and for all. I’ve ridden in that Ford Rambler with Tex, Katie, Sadie, and Linda for the last time. The Tate home itself has been torn down since it was just too haunted to live in. I visited the Laurel Canyon spook house once in 1978 and I’m still shaking in my britches today. What happened there on August 9, 1969 is still happening today (the tape loop runs and runs), if you believe in the Paranormal Activity themes. I do!
I’m still curious about one of the Family crimes, which never was explained very clearly back in the heydays of the popular book Helter Skelter. My lack of clarity is on the killing of stunt man Donald Shorty Shea. I read a Wikipedia entry this morning, and it looks as if Charlie got rid of Shorty since he snitched on the Family. Shorty never much liked Charlie, and he paid for it with his life. Not everyone bows down to Charlie’s iron claws.