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Rethinking John Lennon’s Assassination

The FBI’s War on Rock Stars

By Salvador Astucia


Part IV: The Manson Murders



Chapter 9: The Crimes



Charlie Manson



Charles "Charlie" Mills Manson has been in prison since 1969, convicted of masterminding the murders of Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowki, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent, Gary Hinman, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. In this chapter I will demonstrate that the notorious Manson Murders were linked to the FBI’s war on rock stars. The level of Manson’s involvement remains a question, but after reading his version of events as presented by Nuel Emmons in the 1986 book, Manson: In His Own Words (1986), a compelling argument can be made that Manson and his followers were patsies, used by the Bureau in a diabolical attempt to thwart the influence rock music was having on America’s youth at a time when billions was being spent by the Bureau’s propaganda machine to garner public support for the Vietnam War.


Charlie Manson, in 1969

(about 35)



Contrary to popular belief, Charlie Manson was a gifted musician, singer and songwriter. In 1969, he had the look and persona of a Sixties rock star. He also had the charisma—possibly comparable to the likes of John Lennon—to be a major force in rock music had fate dealt him a different hand. Or perhaps fate had nothing to do with it. Perhaps it was all the work of the FBI. To better understand Charlie Manson, it is helpful to understand his background. When the infamous Tate-Hinman-LaBianca murders occurred in 1969, Charlie had already spent nearly half his life in correctional institutions. Yet none of his crimes were of a violent nature; mostly steeling to survive. The following is a summary of Charlie’s life, how he was abandoned by his mother at the age of twelve, and was victimized ever since by America’s juvenile and adult penal institutions.

Charlie Manson was born November 12, 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Kathleen Maddox, born in Ashland, Kentucky, the youngest of three children—Luther, Joanne, and Kathleen—from the marriage of Nancy and Charles Maddox. Contrary to popular belief, Charlie’s mother, Kathleen, was not a prostitute, although she gave birth to Charlie out of wedlock. Born around 1918, Kathleen was a free spirit who ran away from home in 1933, at the age of fifteen, because she could not endure her parents’ fundamentalist Christian fanaticism. Charlie’s father was a transient laborer, who called himself "Colonel Scott," who worked on a dam project near Cincinnati. He left the area as soon after Kathleen discovered she was pregnant with Charlie. The name Manson came from William Manson, a man considerably older than Kathleen with whom she lived shortly after Charlie’s birth. They eventually married, but divorced soon afterwards. Charlie has no memory of his stepfather, William Manson.

When Charlie was six, Kathleen and her brother Luther were convicted of holding up a service station in Charleston, West Virginia and sentenced to five years in Moundsville State Prison. While his mom was in prison, Charlie lived with Kathleen’s sister, Joanne and her husband Bill, in McMechen, West Virginia. Although "Uncle Bill" was a stern, country man, Charlie liked living with them and they apparently liked raising Charlie. But when Kathleen was released from prison, she quickly took Charlie away and the two began traveling from town to town, constantly struggling to make ends meet. For a couple of years they lived in numerous towns and cities in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. By the time Charlie was twelve, he had missed quite a bit of school, spent time in juvenile homes, and watched his mother go from man to man, not to mention a few lesbian affairs.

Around 1946, Kathleen decided raising Charlie was too much for her, and consequently, she took him before a judge and asked that her son be made a ward of the state until she had the means to take care of him. The judge complied and Charlie was placed in a religious school, run by Catholics: the Gibault Home for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana. Gibault was not considered a reform school per se, but despite its religious training, it was essentially the same thing. After being there for a time, Charlie felt that he had matured enough to go back to his mother and help her get along in the world. Consequently, Charlie, ran away from Gibault and went straight home to his mom, thinking she would realize how much he had matured. He expected to be greeted with open arms, but instead, Kathleen turned him in and the next day he was right back at Gibault. Disillusioned, Charlie ran away from Gibault the first chance he got, and he more or less broke ties with his mother as well, since she apparently wanted nothing to do with him. He was twelve.

While on the run, Charlie knew to avoid the major highways; so he kept out of sight, walking through fields, over hills, along railroad tracks, hopping a freight train, sleeping in the woods and under bridges, meeting bums, winos and hobos who shared meals with him. Eventually, he arrived at Indianapolis, about one-hundred and sixty miles from Terre Haute and the Gibault School for Boys. He then stole enough money to rent a room in skid-row. He supported himself by sweeping store fronts, washing windows, cleaning garbage cans, and stealing. Eventually the local police picked him up and were surprised that a twelve-year-old boy could be living on his own. After a few days, they found out that he had run away from the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute. They contacted his mother and she appeared with Charlie in juvenile court. Unfortunately, Kathleen was still unable to take care of Charlie. The judge was sympathetic and didn’t want to send Charlie to a reform school, apparently realizing Charlie’s problems were not of his own making, but rather, his mother’s.

The judge arranged for Charlie to be sent to Father Flanagan’s Boys Town. At that point, running away had become a part of Charlie’s makeup. He stayed at Boys Town for four days, then escaped with another youngster whose uncle was a World War II veteran living on disability; he was also a thief. He gave the two runaway boys food and shelter; in exchange he had them burglarize various places and he kept most of the money they stole. The two boys were arrested on their third burglary, and placed in the Indianapolis City Juvenile Home. After being there only one day, Charlie managed to steel a pair of wire cutters from a maintenance man’s tool box. That night he escaped, along with thirty or thirty-five other boys he freed with the wire cutters. Charlie was picked up about two hours later driving a stolen car, although he could barely see over the dashboard. At thirteen, Charlie was booked at the county jail, the youngest offender ever.

When Charlie went before the judge again, stronger measures were taken because of Charlie’s propensity to run away and take up with criminals. As a result, Charlie was sent to a bona fide reform school: The Indiana School for Boys at Plainfield, Indiana. It was a brutal school; many of the employees were child molesters or engaged in similar perversions. Charlie was small for his age, and consequently, he was often the target of bullies. After being at Plainfield for only a few hours, he was held down by several inmates while a sadistic guard beat his buttocks with a leather strap until they bled. About a week later, four of the older inmates cornered him, held him down, and raped him repeatedly. He got even later. One night after the lights were turned off in the building where he and several other inmates slept, he took one of the iron handles used to open and close the windows and severely beat one of the boys who raped him. Charlie then placed the weapon under the bed of one of the other rapists, hoping he would be blamed for the beating. The injured boy almost died, but through pure chance, a guard happened to discover the unconscious youth under his blanket. The boy was taken to a hospital where he was treated for a severe concussion. The other boy became a suspect just as Charlie had planned. After that incident, it was rumored that Charlie was the true assailant. As a result, he was never raped again, despite his small stature.

Charlie spent the next three years at Indiana School for Boys at Plainfield. Although the rapes stopped, the guards continued to harass Charlie quite a bit, blaming him for the slightest infractions, regardless of his guilt, and punishing him routinely. Consequently, Charlie escaped from Plainfield several times, but was always caught and returned. When he was sixteen, however, he made a successful escape with two other inmates. They stole a car and headed for California, burglarizing service stations and grocery stores along the way for gas money. In Utah, they were arrested for driving a stolen car. Because the car was driven across state lines, Charlie and his two accomplices were handed over to the federal authorities and prosecuted under the Dyer Act. In March 1951, at the age of sixteen, Charlie was sentenced to the National Training School for Boys in Washington, DC. Because of his offenses, Charlie was given quite a bit of extra time in jail, but he didn’t care; he was glad to be away from the Indiana School for Boys. In fact, he preferred the federal reformatory to the state-run facility at Plainfield. The people who ran the federal facility were not sadistic, and they generally seemed interested in trying to rehabilitate the inmates, rather than torture and humiliate them.

Over the next three years, Charlie was placed in four federal institutions. They were: The National Training School for Boys in Washington, DC; Natural Bridge Honor Camp; The Federal Reformatory at Petersburg, Virginia; and The Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio. While at Chillicothe, Charlie met Frank Costello, the notorious American syndicate gangster, and close associate of Lucky Luciano, noted for his influence with politicians. Years later, Charlie described Costello to writer Nuel Emmons. The following is Charlie’s description of Costello from the book, Manson: In His Own Words (1986), as told by Nuel Emmons:


When I walked down the halls with him [Costello] or sat at the same table for meals, I probably experienced the same sensation an honest kid would get out of being with Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantel: admiration bordering on worship. To me, if Costello did something, right or wrong, that was the way it was supposed to be. One morning Costello and I were seated at the same table for breakfast. He was reading the morning newspaper and a new guard walked over to him and started to take the paper, saying, "You read in your cell or the library." Costello removed the guard’s hand from his paper and replied, "Sonny, when I’m at home it’s my habit to read the newspaper while eating breakfast. The government has made this place my home for a while. You’re here to see that I stay, not to tell me where and when I can’t read." The guard hesitated for an instant, then looked around the dining room, left our table and started hassling one of the young guys on some infraction. Anyone without the status of Costello would have been on his way to the hole after confronting a guard that way. Yeah, I admired Frank Costello, and I listened to and believed everything he said.1


In May 1954, Charlie was paroled, through the help of his mother’s sister, Aunt Joanne and her husband Bill. Charlie was nineteen and had been incarcerated for seven years, since his mother abdicated her responsibility as a parent when he was twelve. The parole stipulated that Charlie live with Aunt Joanne and Uncle Bill in McMechen, West Virginia. In January 1955, at the age of twenty, Charlie married the daughter of a coal miner, a young woman he met at a card room in Steubenville. Unable to manage his money or get a decent job, Charlie returned to a life of hustling and petty larceny. A few months after getting married, the young couple moved to Los Angeles and set up house keeping. Charlie’s wife was a few months pregnant by then. After living in LA for only a short while, Charlie was arrested for driving a stolen car. Since it was a Florida car, the FBI took over the case. In the end, a judge was lenient with Charlie because of his pregnant wife, and only gave him five years probation. But since the car had been stolen in Florida, Charlie had to face another hearing there. His future uncertain, Charlie panicked and hit the road as a fugitive. Ironically, he was arrested in Indianapolis. Since he had jumped his federal parole, he was returned to California, his five year probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to five years at the Federal Penitentiary at Terminal Island, San Pedro.

It may seem odd, but Charlie liked the facilities at Terminal Island quite a bit. It was a paradise compared to the Indiana School for Boys at Plainfield. The guards were only interested in security, and the inmates were mainly interested in doing their time, without bothering others. His wife wrote him almost daily and came to visit frequently, eventually bringing their son to visit. But after a year, she got tired of waiting and took up with another man, a truck driver. Devastated, Charlie viewed the loss of his wife to another man as a turning point in his life. Prior to that, he teetered between a life of crime and the hope of living a more honest existence. He wanted the latter but continually slipped back into criminal activity because, frankly, it was all he had ever known. After his wife left him, he lost all hope of ever being an honest man, and made a conscious decision to become a criminal. He decided to get involved in prostitution because in prison, pimps enjoyed a higher social status than petty thieves. In prison, a pimp was comparable to a bank president in the business world, whereas, a gunman or thief was considered a blue-collar worker. Consequently, Charlie got another inmate to teach him the ropes of getting into the prostitution trade.

In September 1958, Charlie was released from Terminal Island and immediately began pursuing a career as a pimp. He met a young woman named Sandy who became his girlfriend and prostitute. In the end, Charlie spent nearly two years having his girlfriend turn tricks for him. He met lots of "high-rollers" in Hollywood and thought he was doing well as a criminal. Then in May of 1959, he was arrested for trying to cash a government check, worth $37.50. The judge gave him a ten-year suspended sentence, pretty harsh, considering the offense, but it was mostly because of Charlie’s criminal history. With a ten-year sentence hanging over his head, Charlie recklessly continued his life as a smalltime player in the prostitution trade. Eventually he ended up facing the same judge who had given him the ten-year suspended sentence for cashing the government check. The judge revoked the suspension and sent Charlie back to prison. He spent a year in a county jail fighting the ten-year sentence, but was quickly deserted by his so-called high-roller friends, and eventually his girlfriend Sandy abandoned him as well. The government dropped the morals charges against Charlie, but he still had the ten-year sentence which he was unable to fight. Ironically, the ten-year sentence was over a check he cashed for $37.50. Eventually, he was sent to McNeil Island in Washington state to begin serving his time for the minor infraction. The year was 1961.2

Charlie has reasonably happy at McNeil Island for the first couple of years, then a feeling of melancholy began to permeate his soul. He felt guilty about the life he led, the things he had done, the wife who left him, the son he loved but had been taken from him. He felt he had several chances to make a good life, but through his own shortsightedness, had squandered them. He was depressed. He tried to shake the feeling but was unable. In the end, Charlie credits the study Scientology and Dianetics as the thing that brought him out of his depression. An inmate had told him about it and they began to study Scientology with a third inmate. Charlie claims it gave him a lot of self-confidence and helped him to decide an honest career path: music. McNeil didn’t consider music a trade, so Charlie relied on fellow inmates to help him learn to play the guitar. Through music, Charlie befriended Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, a nationally known gunman and member of the notorious Ma Barker Gang from the Thirties. Karpis was past sixty at the time and played the steel guitar. Although he and Charlie liked different styles of music, they both shared an interest in their instruments which established a friendship. Charlie observed that Karpis was quite knowledgeable in other areas besides music. The following is Charlie’s description of Alvin "Creepy" Karpis from the book, Manson: In His Own Words (1986), as told by Nuel Emmons:


When we weren’t playing or practicing, we spent a lot of time just talking. I liked the old man and listened with open ears to everything he had to say. He hardly ever discussed the chain of events that led to his imprisonment, but for a guy with so much time behind him, he was well versed on what was going on in the outside world. His knowledge of government, unions and foreign affairs always amazed me. Like a lot of old timers, he was always saying how corrupt the system was. But unlike the other guys who just said the words, he would pin point circumstances and motives behind laws and government procedures. He told me things that the CIA was doing in other countries (time has since proven he knew exactly what he was talking about). Hell, at that time I didn’t even know there was a CIA.3


In June of 1966, Charlie was transferred from McNeil Island to Terminal Island in San Pedro, California. Charlie was happy to be there, having befriended several inmates when he was there years earlier. In addition, Charlie’s new interest in music made Terminal Island a better location, since it was close to Hollywood. He practiced his music and wrote lots of songs during his year at Terminal Island. He made plans for starting a career in music upon his ensuing release, and he performed for inmates whenever the opportunity arose. But as his release date approached, he got cold feet. In fact, he asked if he could stay at Terminal Island on the day he was released in 1967.4 The following is Charlie’s description of his desire to stay in prison from the book, Manson: In His Own Words (1986), as told by Nuel Emmons:


Warped as it may sound, I had become very happy and content there at Terminal Island. I had some friends. I was accepted, even appreciated, as an individual. Other than a girl to love, or at least sleep with, I had perhaps the best world I had ever known right there in T.I. Thoughts of leaving brought back the feelings of inferiority I had studied so hard to master.5


It has been written that at the time of my release from Terminal Island in 1967, I asked if I could stay. That is true. I had spent the last seven years of my life looking forward to the day when I would get out. I had dreams and plans, but as I was being processed for release, I knew the dreams would never be realized and the plans were nothing more than wishful thinking. I’d had my releases before. With me, nothing had ever been as I imagined it. There is a big difference between illusion and reality, and neither was a stranger to me. Since I had at last found a comfortable atmosphere in prison, the streets were not the place for me. My job assignment at T.I. was pleasant, I had my guitar and plenty of time to play it. There were no hassles with the authorities or other inmates. In thinking of starting all over in the outside world, all my escapes and even the legitimate releases flooded my mind. I remembered myself as a small boy, huddled in an alley trying to sleep and stay warm, yet afraid to sleep soundly for fear a policeman might wake me up and take me off to jail. I saw myself as a man sleeping in sleazy rooms and wondering how I was going to pay the next night’s rent or find food for myself the following day. I reviewed what may have been my peak—my days during the late Fifties as a pimp. I remembered all the shallow thoughts of what a wheel I was, the whole time knowing I was a bogus bastard who was really afraid to take an honest look at himself. And all the desire during the last seven years for a new image and self-esteem left me. I was afraid of trying to cope in a world that I had never understood. I had my music, but I was afraid that if I depended on it too strongly, I would fail at that too. No, I did not want to go out into a world of uncertainties. For the moment I was secure, and that was how I wanted to stay.


I told the officer who was signing me out, "You know what man, I don’t want to leave! I don’t have a home out there! Why don’t you just take me back inside?" The office laughed and thought I was kidding. "I’m serious, man! I mean it, I don’t want to leave!" My plea was ignored.6


Charlie’s desire to stay at Terminal Island poses two interesting questions. First, is it possible that Charlie intentionally reverted back to crime, committing the most heinous crimes imaginable in order to ensure he would return to Terminal Island? The problem with that theory is there is no guarantee that someone will be sent to a specific prison after committing a crime. Charlie apparently liked Terminal Island because it was somewhat progressive and it satisfied many of his needs; however, it is quite possible he would be sent to a prison with substandard living conditions. As someone who had spent years in various penal institutions, Charlie must have been aware of the absurdity of such a notion. Therefore, the scenario that he committed the crimes so he could to be re-incarcerated is not very realistic. But a second question arises: Is it possible that Charlie’s fear of going back into the outside world made him vulnerable to people with ulterior motives? In other words, is it possible that someone from the FBI lured him into becoming an informant? The latter scenario is quite possible. In 1967, Charlie told the officer who signed him out of Terminal Island that he wanted to stay, but the officer laughed and ignored the request. Perhaps the officer told a colleague of Charlie’s unusual request and the conversation was eventually passed to someone with the FBI who decided to contact Charlie about working as an informant. This scenario is quite plausible. Law enforcement and prison officials work closely with the FBI. Many are trained at the FBI Academy at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

If Charlie was asked to be an informant for the FBI, they would have paid him a moderate amount to do certain things. This would help with his basic needs like providing food and a place to live. In addition, Charlie’s handlers would likely open lots of doors in the music business. It is also significant that Manson had befriended gangster Frank Costello while at the Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio. Charlie also claimed he befriended Ma Barker’s gunman Alvin "Creepy" Karpis while serving time at McNeil Island in Washington state. Costello was a close associate of Lucky Luciano,7 leader of the American Mafia until his death in 1962.* Costello and Luciano were also associates of Meyer Lansky, considered by many to be one of the most powerful mobsters in America after Luciano’s death. In 1979 the House Select Committee on Assassinations, ending its two-year investigation of the Warren Commission report, linked Lansky with Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who killed President Kennedy’s accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.8 In my book, Opium Lords, I assert that Oswald was a patsy, and Lansky was recruited by J. Edgar Hoover to hire French Corsican assassins to kill Kennedy.

To my knowledge, Charlie Manson has never publicly stated having any association with Meyer Lansky or Lucky Luciano, only that he knew Frank Costello and gunman Alvin "Creepy" Karpis in prison. Perhaps Charlie was unaware of Costello’s association with Lansky, and he likely did not know of Lansky’s involvement in the Kennedy assassination. More research is needed to determine the precise nature of Charlie’s connection to the mob, and possibly the FBI, after his release from Terminal Island in 1967. But Charlie’s admissions that he had befriended Frank Costello and Alvin "Creepy" Karpis certainly suggest he might have been manipulated by powerful mob figures possibly working at the behest of the FBI. Whether Charlie was a bona fide FBI informant remains a question.

It is also highly relevant that prior to the infamous Tate-Hinman-LaBianca murders, Charlie was never incarcerated for committing violent crimes. He had spent half of his life in correctional institutions when he was released from Terminal Island in 1967. Yet none of his crimes were of a violent nature; mostly steeling to survive. His last six-year stint in prison was for cashing a government check worth $37.50, hardly the act of a violent criminal. These and other facts suggest that Charlie Manson and his followers were probably patsies, wrongfully blamed for the murders of Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowki, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent, Gary Hinman, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Charlie might have been lured into working as an informant in some capacity, but if so, it was probably because he needed money to survive, not because he was part of a conspiracy to commit mass-murder. In the rest of this chapter, I will show that there is much more to the infamous Manson Murders than anyone has yet revealed, perhaps more than Manson himself truly understands.


The Tate-Labianca-Hinman murders

On August 9, 1969, a year after Rosemary’s Baby was released, Roman Polanski’s beautiful young bride, actress Sharon Tate, was brutally murdered along with four other people at a house, in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles, where record producer Terry Melcher—Doris Day’s son—had lived until Polanski and Tate took over the lease in February 1969.9 Three other murders occurred around the same time. All eight murders were linked to the Beatles. The names of two Beatle songs—"Piggies" and "Helter Skelter"—were written in the victims’ blood at the crime scenes. Charlie Manson and members of his hippie commune, known as the "Manson Family," were eventually arrested and convicted for the murders. The following is an overview of the crimes that Manson et al were convicted of perpetrating:

July 31, 1969   The body of Gary Hinman, 32, was found at 946 Old Topanga Canyon Rd., Los Angeles, California. The body contained multiple stab wounds, victim had been dead several days. On the living room wall was scrawled, in the victim’s blood: "Political Piggy." Also on the wall were blood smudges as though a panther had left its paw print. Hinman attended UCLA in pursuit of a Ph.D. in sociology, supporting himself by teaching music. It was later learned that he manufactured a form of mescaline, a narcotic.10  
August 9, 1969   The bodies of Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowki, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent were found at 10050 Cielo Drive, Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. They had all been brutally murdered in a ritualistic manner. On the door of the home, the word "Pig" was written in Sharon Tate’s blood.11  
August 10, 1969   The bodies of Leno LaBianca, 44, and his wife Rosemary, 38, were found at their residence on 3301 Waverly Drive, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Mr. LaBianca’s body had 26 stab wounds, some of which were caused by a carving fork. When he was found, the carving fork was protruding from his stomach and a knife was in his throat. Mrs. LaBianca had been stabbed 41 times. The words "Death to Pigs" and "Rise" were written in blood on a wall. Also written in blood on the refrigerator were the words "Healter Skelter." (misspelled)12  


The brutal murder of Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, was not unlike the satanic worship portrayed a year earlier in Rosemary’s Baby. In an interview years later, Charlie Manson told Nuel Emmons of a satanic group in the Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles where he and his friends (aka, The "Manson Family") used to visit. Here is an excerpt from Manson: In His Own Words (1986), as told to Nuel Emmons:


Several weeks before we decided to come south [to LA], I met a lady in Frisco. She was a trippy broad, about forty-five years old, who experimented with everything. When I met her, she was pumped up about devil worship and other satanic activities. I didn’t attend a lot of the places she invited me to, but we often discussed the good and bad sides of different beliefs. As a result of our acquaintance, she had given me a standing invitation to visit her home in Topanga Canyon [LA]. I was in LA waiting for some action on a recording session. We needed a place to park the bus for a while so we went looking for her house. Taking Topanga Canyon Boulevard, we came to a two-story house with a peculiar winding staircase, which one of the girls quickly dubbed the "Spiral Staircase." […]


Normally, I am a person who picks up on vibes. Acquaintances, decisions, the songs I write and the music I play are all reflections of the vibes I feel. Though I was welcomed to the house by hearty hugs, good music, and passionate kisses, I had bad vibes about being there and staying longer. Yet I stayed. And though I would leave in the weeks to come, I would also return.


Each time I returned, I would observe and listen to all of the practices and rituals of the different groups that visited the place. I’m not into sacrificing some animal or drinking its blood to get a better charge out of sex. Nor am I into chaining someone and whipping them to get my kicks like some of those people were. Still, through the drugs and listening to the ways a particular leader or guru maneuvered his people, some of their rap may have become embedded in my subconscious. Planting fear in their people is the way a lot of leaders keep control. At the time, love and doing our own thing was what held us together and that’s the way I wanted everything to be, but at a later date, the things I was exposed to at the Staircase may have come back to me.13



It is worth noting that the first murder victim, Gary Hinman, linked to the Manson Family was killed at Hinman’s residence on Topanga Canyon Road, Los Angeles. The satanic house—nicknamed the "Spiral Staircase" by Manson’s group—was also located in the Topanga Canyon area of L.A. It is quite possible that members of the Spiral Staircase were involved in Hinman’s murder and possibly the Tate-LaBianca murders as well.

It is also important to note that Manson takes responsibility for the murders, but he objects to the motives used by the prosecution to convict him and his followers. Here is an excerpt from Manson: In His Own Words, as told to Nuel Emmons:


The resentments and denials I’ve expressed over the years stem, not from being convicted and sentenced, but from the manner in which I was convicted. I mean, the deaths happened, so someone has to pay. It’s obvious the right people are locked up, but the motives used to convict us, especially me, were absurd.14


The ‘Spiral Staircase’ - Satanic cult group

Manson gave a chilling description of the Spiral Staircase to Nuel Emmons. The following is an excerpt from Emmons’ book, Manson: In His Own Words:


I don’t know much about the history of the place, but long before we arrived there, it had become a meeting place, a party house, a freak-out pad, and for some, a hideout. Its isolated location served a lot of purposes for a lot of different people and, like the lady who owned the place, some far-out, spaced-out, weird people were frequent visitors.


The day we first drove up, we were innocent children in comparison to some of those we saw during our visits there. In looking back, I think I can honestly say our philosophy—fun and games, love and sex, peaceful friendship for everyone—began changing into the madness that eventually engulfed us in that house.


It was a kind of "house of transition." Those who lived in the mountain communes, practicing things that would not be tolerated in the cities, would use the house as a place where they could shed their commune attire for more acceptable city clothes. Not only did they change clothes, they took on new personalities as they went into the cities to do business, recruit followers, or simply re-live what they had originally left. The mixture of people, the variety of beliefs and practices and the assortment of drugs would have shaded any of the parties in Haight-Ashbury.


On the other side of the coin, there were those who lived in the city and walked the straight and narrow by day—people with beautiful faces or charming personalities, people who made great contributions to society. They came in the dark of night, visiting the Spiral Staircase to indulge in what they preached against by day. There were nationally respected celebrities, a prominent sports figure or two, some of the influential and wealthy, and on occasion, some who wore the cloth and preached the word of God. It was a strange house, but one to learn in; a place where mental sickness and mass confusion were the best one could expect.


…To those who live within society’s moral code, the house might have resembled a movie scene of a massive party at a dope fiend’s pad: music playing, often blaring, sometimes soft and sensual; strobe lights blinking, or hardly any light at all; guys and girls everywhere, seated on couches, chairs and pillows, on the floors and on the beds; marijuana joints passed around; tables showing long lines of coke; pills and capsules of all colors, each providing a different high; long-haired, bearded guys in weird clothes with exaggerated lengths of gold and beaded chains; scantily-clad girls, obviously drugged, willing to have sex…If the movie switches scenes at this point, it has only scratched the surface of the parties at the house in Topanga Canyon. Needless to say, when Charlie Manson arrived with a dozen young, pretty girls, all eager to experiment and play, I was an immediate favorite.15


The Manson Family

As previously stated, the infamous Manson Family was actually a hippie commune, something that was quite common in the late Sixties and mid-Seventies. The Manson Family had a carefree attitude about sexuality and hallucinatory drugs, as did many people of that era. By the autumn of 1969 the Manson Family consisted of twenty-two identifiable commune members, plus ten or twelve others whose names have escaped publicity. The following is a listing of the family members, sorted in alphabetical order of the last name.


Susan Atkins (Sadie)

Bobby Beausoleil

Mary Brunner

Bruce Davis

Juan Flynn

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme

Cathy Gillies

Sandy Good

Steven Grogan (Clem)

Linda Kasabian

Pat Krenwinkel

Dianne Lake

Kitty Lutesinger

Charlie Manson

Ruth Ann Moorehouse

Nancy Pitman (Brenda)

Brooks Poston

Stephanie Schram

Leslie Van Houten

T.J. Walleman (Thomas Walleman)

Paul Watkins

Tex Watson16



Bobby_Beausoleil Bobby Beausoleil is an important character in the Charlie Manson saga. Beausoleil was eventually convicted of torturing and murdering Gary Hinman. Beausoleil was a rock guitarist, about twenty years old when he first met Manson. Beausoleil was closely involved in the LA rock music scene in the Sixties, a musical element the FBI was certainly trying to discredit at that time, along with John Lennon and the Beatles. In the mid-Sixties, Beausoleil had played rhythm guitar with Arthur Lee in a rock group that would eventually be named Love. Jim Morrison, of the Doors, cited Love as one of his favorite vocal groups in his official bio for Elektra records. Beausoleil’s association with Love will be discussed in a later chapter, but for now, it is important to understand that he is a key member of the Manson Family, with respect to the crimes they would later be convicted of committing, and because of Beausoleil’s association with the burgeoning LA rock band, Love.  
Bobby Beausoleil  

When Charlie Manson was released from the prison at Terminal Island, San Pedro, California on March 21, 1967,17 he had not been a free man since 1960. America had changed a great deal in those seven years. "I was to see a lot of changes compared to what things were like when I started my sentence in ’60," Manson told Nuel Emmons years later.18 The following is Manson’s perception of America in 1967—as told to Nuel Emmons—after being incarcerated for seven years.


Before getting locked up in ’60, I’d had a pretty good run on the streets, and though I knew I wasn’t a big success at the things I was trying to do, I thought I was a smoothing-talking mother who knew what the score was. Jail life has always kept up on what is happening in the fast lane, but hell, the things I was seeing there in Frisco, I felt I was in a horse-and-buggy trying to keep up with a jet-liner. In the 50s, to score a lid of grass you had to make a phone call or two and use a lot of discretion about who you dealt with. As for making it with a broad, a guy might wine and dine her several times before being able to kiss a girl goodnight. Now people were like the music, very fast. And all seemed willing. Pretty little girls were running around every place with no panties or bras and asking for love. Grass and hallucinatory drugs were being handed to you on the streets. It was a different world than I had ever been in and one that I believed was too good to be true. It was a convict’s dream and after being locked up for seven solid years, I didn’t run from it. I joined it and the generation that lived it.19


The earliest iteration of the Manson Family consisted of just four people: Manson, Mary Brunner (the original member), Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Charlie’s two and a half years of freedom—from the spring of 1967 until the autumn of 1969—was like a five-act play. During each act new members constantly join the commune, which causes Manson to look for larger dwellings. Act 1: Charlie is a gifted singer-songwriter-guitarist just released from prison. His primary goal is to get a recording contract and give up his life of petty crime. Manson is a carefree spirit enjoying his freedom, traveling in a VW van with Brunner, Fromme, and Krenwinkel along the coast of California on Highway One. The van is their home. Charlie’s relationship with the three women is sexual, but not obsessive. The foursome bond emotionally and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. The girls view Charlie as a wiser older man. He views them as the first people who ever loved and nurtured him.

The following are Manson’s comments about the love and respect he felt for Brunner, Fromme, and Krenwinkel; as told to Nuel Emmons:


I gave a lot to the girls in the way of attention and conversation. Just three or four months earlier the talk would have been bogus convict bullshit, but the more I got into laying it out and realizing all that I was saying, the more I saw it working. And the girls were giving me as much as I was giving them—not just passion trips, but new thoughts about life. The four of us had so much harmony and love, the words became honest and real to all of us. We shared more than simply doing things together. We looked at things through the same eyes, thought as one, lived as one. We were all one.20


Act 2: Susan "Sadie" Atkins joins the Family. Atkins is a bad influence; trouble follows her everywhere. Manson goes to L.A. to audition for a studio contact. While in L.A. the Family stays at the Spiral Staircase, but Manson has bad vibes about the strange people who visit and live there. Many are into the occult. Act 3: On April 1, 1968, Mary Brunner gives birth to Charlie’s son, Valentine Michael Manson. (nicknamed "Pooh Bear") Manson moves to the Spahn Ranch primarily to get away from the weirdoes at the Spiral Staircase.21 The Spahn Ranch was an abandoned Hollywood movie set located above Chatsworth, California in the Simi Hills, about a thirty-five minute drive from Hollywood. The Spahn ranch—then owned by an elderly man, George Spahn (deceased, 197422)—had a mock old western town with a boardwalk filled with buildings designed to be cafés, saloons, hotels, and jails. By the time the Manson Family moved in, the Spahn Ranch was no longer used by Hollywood film makers, but George Spahn owned fifty or sixty riding horses which he charged money for a leisurely day of horse-back-riding.23

While living at the Spahn Ranch, a friend introduces Manson to Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson who is quite impressed with Manson’s talent and his carefree lifestyle.24 Charles "Tex" Watson joins the Family. Watson is similar to Susan Atkins: a bad influence; trouble follows him everywhere. Surprisingly, Manson meets Watson through Dennis Wilson.25

Act 4: Manson moves back to L.A.—at the suggestion of Gregg Jacobson (colleague of record producer Terry Melcher)—to be closer to people in the recording business. Manson rents an old house which his group names the Yellow Submarine. (after the Beatle song) Manson also moves part of his group farther into the desert at a place called the Barker Ranch. So he has people at three different locations: (a) the Yellow Submarine in LA, (b) the Spahn Ranch, and (c) the Barker Ranch, in the desert. Act 5: Manson’s musical career collapses temporarily. Shortly afterwards, the murders occur.

The following is a timeline of the different places where the Manson Family lived:

March 21, 1967   Manson is released from prison; he lives at various places in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.26  
Spring - 1967   Manson moves in with Mary Brunner, a librarian at the University of California in Berkeley.27  
Summer- 1967   Manson gets a VW van and travels the California coast with his three lady friends, Brunner, Fromme and Krenwinkel.28  
Summer - 1967   Manson exchanges van for school bus due to increasing numbers in the Family.29  
Summer - 1967   Manson Family goes to L.A. to meet a studio contact for Charlie. The Family spends a lot of time at the Spiral Staircase, but live in their bus or abandoned buildings.30  
April 1968   Manson Family moves to the Spahn Ranch.31  
Latter half of 1968   Manson moves part of the Family to the Barker Ranch, a place farther in the desert.32  
Winter - 1969   Manson rents a house, called the Yellow Submarine, in L.A. to be closer to the studio. He does this at the suggestion of Greg Jacobson, a colleague of record producer Terry Melcher.33  
    POSTSCRIPT: On Sept. 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme approached President Gerald Ford in Sacramento as if to shake hands along with several other spectators as he walked into Capitol Park. She pointed a 45-caliber pistol at his stomach and pulled the trigger, but the gun was not loaded. Fromme claims she had no intention of killing Ford. Nevertheless she was given a life sentence by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. MacBride.34  


Several parallels exist between Rosemary's Baby, and the life and death of John Lennon, and the Tate-LaBianca-Hinman murders. Perhaps these parallels are merely coincidental, but a close analysis of the movie and of Lennon’s life reveals that dark forces—trusted people within Lennon’s inner circle—may have been at play, manipulating events in John and Yoko’s lives as part of a satanic ritual that ultimately ended with John’s slaying on December 8, 1980.

The most obvious parallel between Rosemary's Baby and Lennon is the location of the movie. Most of the filming was performed at Lennon’s future home, the Dakota, on West 72nd Street, Manhattan, New York City. In the movie, the Dakota was renamed the Bramford.

Second, in Rosemary’s Baby, two people either died or suffered violent retribution at the entrance of the Dakota/Bramford, near the spot where Lennon was killed. A female character, Terry Ginoffrio, committed suicide by jumping to her death from a window above the entrance to the Dakota/Bramford. Terry was a former prostitute/drug addict taken in by an elderly couple, Minnie and Roman Castevet, (played by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) who turned out to be witches. Roman Castevet’s father, Adrian Marcato, was nearly beaten to death in the lobby of the Dakota/Bramford, by the residents, for conjuring up the living devil.

Third, Lennon knew Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence. In fact, he wrote a song about her, Dear Prudence. Here is Lennon’s description to Playboy (1980) about how the song was inspired:


[Dear Prudence is] a song for Mia Farrow’s sister, who went slightly balmy, meditating too long, but wouldn’t come out of the little hut that we were living in. [Singing] "Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play …" They selected me and George to try and bring her out because she would trust us. We got her out of the house—she’d been locked in for three weeks and wouldn’t come out. She was trying to find God quicker than anyone else. That was the competition the Maharishi’s camp: who was going to get cosmic first. What I didn’t know was that I was already cosmic. [Laughs]35


Lennon was apparently referring to his participation in an extensive meditation course in Rishikesh, India, under the instruction of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in February and April 1968. On May 15, 1968 John and Paul appeared on the Tonight Show, on American television, and John publicly denounced the Maharishi.36

Fourth, as previously stated, a year after Rosemary’s Baby was released, Sharon Tate—wife of the film’s director, Roman Polanski—was brutally murdered, along with seven others, in the infamous Tate-LaBianca-Hinman murders. (aka, the Manson Murders)

Two Beatles songs, Helter Skelter and Piggies were linked to the murders. The words "Political Piggy" were scrawled on the living room wall of Hinman’s residence, written with Hinman’s blood.37 The word "Pig" was written on the door of the residence where Sharon Tate was killed, written with Tate’s blood.38 The words "Death to "Pigs" and "Rise" were written in blood on a wall in the LaBiancas’ home. On the LaBiancas’ refrigerator were the words "Healter Skelter" (misspelled), also written in blood.39

Lennon commented about Helter Skelter and Piggies in the well-known 1980 Playboy interview:


[Helter Skelter was written by] Paul completely. All that Manson stuff was built around George’s Piggies and this song of Paul’s about an English fairground. It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me.40


…[Piggies is] George’s song about pigs. I gave him a line about forks and knives and eating bacon.41



Here is the verse from Piggies where Lennon’s line about "forks and knives" and "eating bacon" are mentioned:


Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.



When Leno LaBianca’s body was found, a carving fork was protruding from his stomach and a knife was still in his throat.42 His body contained twenty six stab wounds. No doubt the killers were referencing the Beatles music, specifically John Lennon’s line about pigs using "forks and knives." In fact, Los Angeles district attorney Vincent Bugliosi built much of his case against Manson and his followers around the two cited Beatle songs—which appeared on the Beatles’ White Album—and how Manson interpreted the songs’ lyrics.43

Fifth, one of the eight people killed in the Tate-LaBianca-Hinman murders was named Rosemary, the same name as Mia Farrow’s character, Rosemary Woodhouse, in Roman Polanski’s movie, Rosemary’s Baby. The real life victim’s name was Rosemary LaBianca.

Terry Melcher’s ties to the Beatles

Terry Melcher—the man who previously leased the house where Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, and her four friends were murdered44—had been a recording producer in the early days of Apple Publishing, a business created by the Beatles which later evolved into Apple Records. Terry Melcher is the son of actress Doris Day (real name, Doris Von Kappelhoff) and Cincinnati trombonist Al Jorden. In 1951, Terry was adopted by his mother’s third husband, Marty Melcher.45

Terry Melcher became a successful producer for several Sixties rock bands. He produced the first two albums by the renowned Sixties rock group, the Byrds, plus Paul Revere and the Raiders.46 He is also closely associated with the Beach Boys and has written songs for them in recent years. In 1997 Kristofer Engelhardt published a book, The Beatles Undercover, which revealed that Melcher had direct ties to the Beatles inner circle through Derek Taylor, publicist for the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Beach Boys. In 1968, Melcher produced a song for Grapefruit, a band backed by Lennon and McCartney and signed to Apple Publishing by Terry Doran, a friend of Brian Epstein (Beatles original manager). The following is an excerpt from Engelhardt’s book:


The group Grapefruit consisted of George Alexander (born Alexander Young on December 28, 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland), Geoff Swettenhan (born March 8, 1948), his brother Pete Swettenham (born April 24, 1949), and John Perry (born July 16, 1949) all born in London, England. All but Alexander were in a band called the Sugarbeats before becoming members of the group Tony Rivers and The Castaways, managed by Brian Epstein's NEMS Enterprises. Tony Rivers And The Castaways recorded a cover version of The Beatles' song, Nowhere Man, released in 1966. Paul McCartney attended a Tony Rivers and The Castaways performance at Epstein's Saville Theatre on November 19, 1967.


Terry Doran, a friend of Brian Epstein and The Beatles from Liverpool, who worked for Apple Music Publishing, signed Alexander as a songwriter for Apple. (Alexander came from a very musical family. His brother George, whose first name Alexander borrowed, was in the mid-'60s group The Easybeats and his brothers Angus and Malcolm are members of the group AC/DC.) John Perry said, "I met Doran who told me he worked for a company called Apple. Later I found out it was The Beatles' company. Had I known that I would have been down there in five minutes! We had this idea of forming a four-piece group that would replace The Beatles' pop image because they were sort of psychedelic at the time. Apple liked the idea, and it was there that I met George Alexander whose songs we liked."


The group was signed to Apple Publishing and managed by Doran. On December 11, 1967, they were christened Grapefruit at the suggestion of John Lennon (after Yoko Ono's book of the same title). On January 17, 1968, The Beatles (minus Harrison) attended a press reception at the London headquarters of RCA records (Apple did not yet have a record label) to launch Grapefruit. (Some time later, Lennon, McCartney and Starr attended a press reception for Grapefruit held at The Hanover Grand's Banqueting Rooms.) The group's first single, Dear Delilah, was released two days later.


According to several reliable publications, Lennon and McCartney visited Grapefruit at IBC Studios in London and probably participated for their debut recording session that produced the recording Dear Delilah. The Swettenhams and Perry agree none of The Beatles contributed to or were present for the recording of Dear Delilah. However, they recall Lennon and McCartney attending one of their first recording sessions. Pete remembers McCartney hanging around playing tambourine but does not think anything resulted from those first sessions.


Terry Melcher, who is listed as the producer of Dear Delilah, does not recall any of The Beatles being present for the recording and said he handled all the production by himself. (Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day, was a songwriter and producer known for his work with The Byrds and Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys [see: The Beach Boys]. Melcher, no doubt came at the suggestion of The Beatles' press officer and Apple publicist, Derek Taylor, who had been a publicist for The Byrds and The Beach Boys.)


Grapefruit said they, not Melcher, produced their second single, Yes//Elevator. The group recalls McCartney being present to give advice and help (padding drums etc.) with the recording of Yes. On May 26, 1968, McCartney directed a promotional video for Elevator at the Albert Memorial Statue in London.


…Terry Doran and Derek Taylor went on to become assistants for George Harrison for a time. Taylor returned to work for the revived Apple Records label in the 1990s but died of cancer in 1997. Doran, who has worked much of his life in auto sales, currently lives in London. Terry Melcher owns and operates a restaurant in California but is still involved in the music business and recently wrote a number of songs for The Beach Boys.47



It is widely known that Charlie Manson was a singer/songwriter/musician trying to make it in the music business. It is also widely documented that Terry Melcher was interested in Manson as a recording artist. During Manson’s trial, L.A. district attorney Vincent Bugliosi claimed Manson hated Melcher for closing him out of the music business, and subsequently sent his followers to kill the young record producer. Years later, Manson described his feelings for Melcher in positive terms in the 1986 book, Manson: In His Own Words. The following is an excerpt:


Terry Melcher is the son of Doris Day and head of a recording studio. More than anyone else, he had it in his hand to pick us up and put us in the music world. He did give us a little attention, a lot more than was brought out during the trials and in other books that have been written. He and [Gregg] Jacobson arranged a couple of recording sessions and, in looking back, I guess the girls and I blew it. Melcher and the people who were doing the session had their ideas of how they wanted the recording done, the girls and I had our idea. We clashed, and nothing was accomplished, but that relationship lasted right up until August of 1969.


As long as I was still trying to get into a music career, Melcher and Dennis [Wilson, drummer for the Beach Boys] and Jacobson were people I liked being around. When things were really desperate out at the ranch and some money was needed, Melcher was a touch. For the prosecuting attorney to say I sent those kids after Melcher is total bullshit. Why would I? He gave me money, lent us his car and credit card. Melcher was all right and I had no bad feelings for him.48


Beatles often stayed at Tate residence (?)

In the famous 1970 Rolling Stone interview, Lennon suggested that he, George Harrison and Ringo Starr took their second LSD trip at Doris Day’s house in California while touring with the Beatles. He may have been referring, unwittingly, to 10050 Cielo Drive, Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, the house where Sharon Tate and four others were murdered. As previously stated, Doris Day’s son, Terry Melcher, had allowed Roman Polankski and his wife, Sharon Tate, to take over his unexpired lease about six months prior to the murders.49 Here is what Lennon said about his first and second experiences with LSD:


A dentist in London…laid it [first LSD pills] on George, me and our wives [Cynthia Powell Lennon and Patty Boyd Harrison] without telling us at a dinner party at his house [in London]… And then, well, we just decided to take it again in California…We were on tour, in one of those houses, like Doris Day’s house or wherever it was we used to stay. And the three of us took it. Ringo, George and I. I think maybe Neil [Aspinall, a roadie]. And a couple of the Byrds…[David] Crosby and the other guy, who used to be the leader…[Roger] McGuinn. I think they came round, I’m not sure, on a few trips.50


Lennon’s memory of his second LSD trip was a bit fussy, but he mentioned some interesting people and places: Doris Day’s house, the Byrds. Earlier I mentioned that Terry Melcher produced the Byrds’ first two albums. As stated before, Melcher’s mother is Doris Day. Sharon Tate and her four companions were killed at a house in LA where Melcher had lived six months earlier. It might have been owned by Melcher’s mom, or maybe Lennon knew she was connected with the house somehow, so he referred to it as Doris Day’s house. Not only does Lennon unwittingly suggest that he and two other Beatles—George and Ringo—took their second acid trip in the house where Sharon Tate was murdered, he further intimates that the Beatles stayed at that house quite often while touring California. Here is the key statement again: "We were on tour, in one of those houses, like Doris Day’s house or wherever it was we used to stay." The words "wherever it was we used to stay" describe a place the Beatles stayed at frequently while on tour.

Manson meets Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson

Manson told writer Nuel Emmons that he and Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson were friends, and Wilson opened doors for him in the music business. The following is Manson’s description of how he first met the young rock star.


For all the space and pleasures at the [Spahn] ranch, I would still have the urge to travel. Something inside me was always gnawing at me to look over the next hill, check around the next corner, look into the other guy’s game or just spread myself out so that I didn’t miss anything… I’d put on a different face and hang around the city for awhile. Or, with yet a different face, I’d head over to Las Vegas or back up to northern California…


It was on one of those impromptu trips that I first met Dennis Wilson, the drummer for the Beach Boys. I had stopped by a friend’s house in San Francisco to replenish my supply of grass. When I started out of the place, another guy was on his way in. My friend kept me from leaving, saying, "Hey, Charlie, you two ought to meet. You’re both into music. Dennis, this is Charlie Manson, he sings and plays the guitar. Charlie, say hello to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys."…


Dennis was a hell of a guy. For all his success and wealth, he still enjoyed the simpler things in life. Sure, he put on airs and played the Hollywood success story. He’d make appearances and play whatever part the occasion demanded, but inside he was a rebel and had long ago tired of catering to the whims of a public who wanted him to be the "All-American Boy." He still loved his music, but he tried to escape from the demands of his agents, the travel and the appearances, every chance he got. He wasn’t looking for a way out, just time and space to let his hair down and be out of the public eye. He was the dream of ninety-nine percent of American youth, but he was just as lost, just as wanting, just as in search of something as those kids with me. So it was kind of natural Dennis and the rest of us hooked up.


Dennis opened the doors of his house to us, and as much as his business agents would let him, he opened his pockets. Others have painted pictures of us moving in on Dennis like a bunch of vultures. We never did move in. Some of us stayed there for days at a time, but always with an invitation. He also spent some time out at the ranch with us. He like his booze, grass and cocaine. Acid was a sometime thing with him, but girls were a constant desire. As a celebrity in the music and movie industry, he could have girls of all ages, shapes and sizes just for the asking. But in the circles he traveled in, most wanted possession and marriage. The girls with me wanted neither from Dennis. So for all the good he gave and shared with us, we gave and shared with him. He was no fool and was his own person when accepting or giving. He gave what he wanted and he took what he wanted.51



Dennis Wilson was obviously quite impressed with Manson’s musical abilities and songwriting talent. The following is Manson’s description— as told to Nuel Emmons—of things Dennis did to help and encourage him:


The next time [we recorded] was at Dennis’ brother’s [Brian Wilson’s] home studio, which was larger than a lot of commercial studios. This time we did a pretty fair session, putting down about ten songs. But getting some money out of it and getting us on the market was still going to take some time.52


…The good times with Dennis [Wilson] lasted for well over a year. In that time he and I worked on several songs together, two of which made it onto an album the Beach Boys recorded. He even gave me some gold records that had been presented to him.53


One of the songs Manson wrote was Cease to Exist, retitled Never Learn Not to Love, included on the Beach Boys’ 20/20 album.54 I know personally that Manson had talent because I heard a recording of him singing and playing guitar in a documentary about the infamous murders. He was surprisingly good. The song was not what I expected, very upbeat as I recall. In my memory, it had several major-seventh chords which, as musicians know, gives melodies a very positive feeling.

Also note that Manson recorded at Brian Wilson’s home studio. Brian Wilson was the primary songwriter for the Beach Boys, an American rock group who rivaled the Beatles. Recording at Brian Wilson’s home studio was tantamount to recording at John Lennon’s home studio or Paul McCartney’s. Manson never made it to the big-time, but he was definitely playing in the big leagues.

On December 28, 1983, Dennis Wilson drowned while free-diving in the frigid waters of Marina Del Rey Harbor. According to the official story, he was legally intoxicated.55

Similarities between Manson & Lennon

"But for the grace of God, there go I." That popular saying came to mind as I read about Charlie Manson and his ties to the Beatles. Although John Lennon was not a murderer, he could have easily quoted that phrase to describe Manson. I have observed that, in many ways, Manson is the inverse life force of Lennon. Had there been a few twists of fate, Manson might have been a rock legend and Lennon might have grown up in reform schools and prisons. If dark forces were truly at play as I suspect, manipulating events in John’s life as part of a grandiose satanic ritual, then the selection of Charlie Manson—using him essentially as a human voodoo doll of John Lennon—is conceivably the most sinister, the most satanic piece of the venomous puzzle. The similarities between the two men are striking.

First, Lennon and Manson were abandoned by their natural parents early in life. John was born to Alfred "Freddy" Lennon and Julia Stanley who were married on December 3, 1938, but Freddy—a sailor—abandoned Julia when John was born two years later on October 9, 1940.56 During John’s early years, he went back and forth staying with his mother, who lived with her parents, and Julia’s sister, Mimi. At the age of five, his father asked him to choose between living with him and his mother. John chose his father but ran after his mother when he saw she was leaving. From that point on John lived with Aunt Mimi and her husband George Smith.57 John and Uncle George became quite close.58 When John was almost fourteen, George died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage.59

Charlie’s mother, Kathleen Maddox, ran away from home at the age of fifteen to escape her mother’s stern interpretation of God’s Will. On November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio, an unwed Kathleen gave birth to Charlie. His father called himself "Colonel Scott," but the name Manson came from one of Kathleen’s live-in boyfriends, William Manson. When Charlie was about six, his mother and her brother Luther were sentenced to five-years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville for trying to rob a service station in Charleston, West Virginia. Charlie lived with Kathleen’s sister Joanne and her husband Bill while his mom was in prison.60

Second, Lennon and Manson had distant relationships with their fathers, but both loved their mothers despite obvious character flaws. Both women were free spirits and loved night life. Both mothers re-established relationships with their respective sons after abandoning them earlier. When John was about thirteen, around the time his Uncle George died, Julia re-entered his life. Pete Shotton and Ivan Vaughn, John’s two constant friends, thought Julia was great at first, but Vaughn eventually viewed her arrival was a bad influence on John; she encouraged him to be a rebel.61

Charlie’s mother was released from prison when he was about eight. They were both overjoyed to see each other, but Charlie reflected philosophically on the reunion years later: "It’s a lifetime too late to think about it," he told writer Nuel Emmons, "but things might have been a lot different if Mom had gone her way and left me with the aunt and uncle. She didn’t—and I was glad."62

The following is Charlie’s description of his mother’s character flaws, as told to Nuel Emmons:


…before being sentenced to Moundsville, Mom had become a pretty street-wise girl, but she really learned all the ropes doing her time. She even added a new dimension to her sex life. I didn’t learn about it until years later, but while she was at Moundsville some of the older dykes showed her that sexual pleasure didn’t only happen between men and women. Of course, back then gays were still in the closet so Mom was pretty discreet when it came to making it with another broad. Dummy that I was at that age, I didn’t mind sleeping in the other room if she had another female spending a few days with us.


With her gameness and prison education, she had all the answers and could hustle with the best of them. Trouble was, she was a fiery little broad who liked her booze and wouldn’t take any shit from anyone. Consequently, we might leave a place in a hurry. I remember one night Mom came running into our little old one-room apartment and jerked me out of bed, saying, "Come on, Charlie, get up! Help me get our things packed. We gotta get outta here." She had been working as a cocktail waitress at the Blue Moon Café in McMechen. One guy wouldn’t keep his hands off of her. Mom told him to cool it a couple of times. When he didn’t, she grabbed a fifth of booze and busted the bottle over his head. He was still on the floor when she left. "Hurry up, Charlie! I just flattened one of the Zambini brothers an’ I ain’t waiting around to see if he’s dead or alive. Either way, I’m in trouble." The Zambini brothers were two of the town hoods and everyone was afraid of them, including Mom. We’d moved around some, but that is about the fastest we ever left a place.63


Third, Lennon and Manson were emotionally traumatized by sudden separations with their respective mothers after being abandoned then reunited years later. Lennon was seventeen when his mother was struck and killed by a car.64 The accident happened outside his Aunt Mimi’s house on Menlove Avenue.65 John was at Julia’s home for the weekend with her common law husband, John "Twitchy" Dykins (aka, "Bobby),66 when the accident occurred. The following is John’s account as told to Hunter Davies:


"I was staying with Julia and Twitchy this weekend," says John. "We were sitting waiting for her to come home, Twitchy and me, wondering why she was so late. The copper came to the door, to tell us about the accident. It was just like it’s supposed to be, the way it is in the films. Asking if I was her son, and all that. Then he told us, and we both went white. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. We’d caught up so much, me and Julia, in just a few years. We could communicate. We got on. She was great. I thought, … I’ve no responsibilities to anyone now.


"Twitchy took it worse than me. Then he said, ‘Who’s going to look after the kids?’ And I hated him, Bloody selfishness. [Note: Julia and John "Twitchy" Dykins had two daughters together: Julia and Jacqui Gertrude, both younger than John.]


"We got a taxi over to Sefton General where she was lying dead. I didn’t want to see her. I talked hysterically to the taxi driver all the way, just ranted on and on, the way you do, just babbled on. The taxi driver just grunted now and again. I refused to go in and see her. But Twitchy did. He broke down."67


At the age of twelve, Manson’s mother sent him to reform school. The following is Charlie’s description of the incident, as told to Nuel Emmons:


When I was twelve, my mom’s current lover brought things to a head. Unlike Mom’s usual two- or three-day romances, this guy had been around for a few weeks. One night I was awakened by the sound of their booze-leadened voices arguing. The words I remember most were his: "I’m telling you, I’m moving on. You and I could make it just fine, but I can’t stand that sneaky kid of yours." And then Mom’s voice: "Don’t leave, be patient. I love you and we’ll work something out."


Poor Mom, we’d long ago worn out our welcome with the relatives and friends who were willing to keep me for any length of time. I’d become spoiled and was accustomed to doing pretty much as I pleased. I’d been tried in a couple of foster homes but I just wasn’t the image those parents felt like being responsible for.


A few days after I’d overheard the argument, my mom and I were standing in front of a judge. My mother, in one of her finer performances, was pleading hardship. She told the judge what a struggle life was and that she was unable to afford a proper home for me. The judge said, "Until there is capable earning power by the mother and a decent stable home for Charles to return to, I am making him a ward of the court and placing him in a boys’ home." At that moment, the words didn’t mean anything to me. I was angry at Mom and didn’t want to live with her and her friend. I wasn’t depressed or disturbed. The shock was still a day away.


The court placed me in a religious-oriented school, the Gibault Home for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana. I felt all right while being registered in the school office, but when all the papers were completed things started going wacky in my head and stomach. By the time I was escorted to the dormitory I would live in for the next ten months, I felt sick. I couldn’t breathe. Tears ran down my cheeks, my legs were so rubbery I could hardly walk. Some invisible force was crushing my chest and stealing my life away from me. I loved my mother! I wanted her! "Why, Mom? Why is it this way? Come and get me, just let me live with you. I won’t be in your way!" I was lonely, lonelier than I had ever been in my life. I have never felt that lonely since. I wasn’t angry at her anymore. I just wanted to be with her, live with her, under any conditions. Not in some school locked away from everything.68


Fourth, Lennon and Manson were gifted songwriters and good rhythm guitarists. John began playing guitar in 1956, at the age of sixteen, inspired by Elvis Presley. Julia bought him his first guitar and taught him banjo chords.69 Charlie’s mom, Kathleen, had let him take voice and music lessons as a child. Later, a Mexican friend taught him the fundamentals of playing the guitar. While serving time in prison, from 1960 through 1967, Charlie decided to develop his ability on the guitar, seek a career in music, and give up his life of petty crime.70

Fifth, Lennon and Manson were both interested in rock music, but surprisingly, both had been influenced by Bing Crosby and similar non-rock singers. John claimed Please Please Me was inspired by the lyrics from a Crosby song. ("Please lend a little ear to my pleas…")71 Contrary to popular belief, Manson claims he was influenced by people like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Perry Como more than the Beatles, Beach Boys or any of the prominent groups of the 60s.72

Sixth, Manson and Lennon had a charisma that—in Lennon’s case—translated easily to show business and stardom. In the Sixties Lennon was the king of rock, and he looked and acted the part. Manson also looked and acted the part of a Sixties rock star, but the world will never know his potential as an artist.

Susan Atkins & Tex Watson

The FBI likely directed two "mentally compromised" individuals into Manson’s family. By mentally compromised, I am referring to people who have already undergone extensive mind control processing. I have concluded that these individuals were Susan "Sadie" Atkins and Charles "Tex" Watson. I am not claiming that either Atkins or Watson consciously worked with the FBI; I am saying that the FBI essentially conducted extensive mind control processing on them, then pointed them in Manson’s direction and steered them into his group. This is important because Atkins and Watson were directly involved in the Tate-Labianca murders.

The following is Manson’s description of how the odd pair—Atkins and Watson—joined his group, as told to Nuel Emmons:


Susan Atkins and Tex Watson have both written books declaring their rebirth as born-again Christians. In their books, they cop to being into drugs, vice, and complete opposition to the law long before they met Charles Manson. If, in fact, they are as sincere about Christianity and as strong in religion as they were sold on drugs and deceit during the time our lives ran parallel, then God has got two devoted disciples. But if, on the other hand, they are with their God as they were with me, they are still going to do just as they please. I’d like to emphasize that those two, who screamed the loudest and cried the hardest that I influenced their lives and actions, were themselves instrumental in what I feel was the biggest blow to the life we were living and led to murder and chaos.73


Susan Atkins became acquainted with Charlie Manson at Haight Ashbury, San Francisco. Sexy young women had no trouble making friends with Manson.74 Next to LSD and other mind altering drugs, sexual obsession was probably Manson’s greatest weakness. Manson told Nuel Emmons a story of how trouble seemed to follow Susan Atkins wherever she went.


One time after [Susan] had been gone for several days, she came back and handed me about two lids of grass, which might net us thirty dollars, and said, "Here, Charlie, this is all I could score, but I’ll do better next time." Twenty minutes after she handed me the grass, three big suckers, two Mexicans and a white guy, come driving into the yard. One of the Mexican guys started shouting, "I’m looking for Sadie, Susan Atkins, she here?" I met him about halfway between his car and the front of the saloon,* asking him why he was looking for this girl. "She’s my woman and I know she’s here. Tell her to get out here!" I hollered at Susan to come out of the saloon. Reluctantly, she came over to where the four of us were standing. The guy that was doing all the talking grabbed her by the shoulder and said, "Come on bitch, get in the car and don’t be splittin’ anymore." Susan pulled back and told the guy, "I’m not going anyplace with you, man. Now get out of here and leave me alone. Charlie’s my old man, and this where I’m staying." The guy then gave me all his attention, saying, "That’s my bitch and I’m taking her with me." "Okay, pal," I told him, "do you see any fences here? Take her if she wants to go with you. Nothin’s holding either one of you from doing what you want to do." The guy again reached out for Susan, but she backed away, telling him she wasn’t going anyplace with him. "Then I’m going to kick your old man’s ass and get my two pounds of grass back," the guy said as he made a move on me. I didn’t have anything in my hands but my guitar, so I evaded his first move and told him, "Now, man, don’t make me break my guitar over your head. If the girl wants to leave with you, you got her. If not, she stays and you go. But if you insist on sticking around, I’m going to pull my gun out of my pocket and blow your motherfucking head off."75


Realizing Manson was bluffing about having a gun in his pocket, the Mexican drew a knife and Manson drew an even larger hunting knife. They proceeded to fight one another; Manson dodged his assailant and cut the Mexican a few times in a non-lethal manner. Finally the Mexican left with his two friends.76


Susan came running toward me, asking, "You all right, Charlie? The lying bastard didn’t cut you did he? He’s a liar! I didn’t take his two pounds." "Susan," I said, "you got no reason to explain things to me. I’ve told you a thousand times: what you do, you do for you, not me. But I’m getting pretty fucking tired of your shit always coming back on the rest of us. One of these days, you’re going to have to settle up on all you owe."77


Manson met Tex Watson through, of all people, the Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson. Here is Manson’s description of how he and Watson first met, as told to Nuel Emmons:


Among the people who were not celebrities I met while visiting Dennis [Wilson] was Charles [Tex] Watson. Originally from Texas, he’d been in California for a couple of years and hadn’t made much out of his venture to the Golden State. Most reports on Watson overlook his activities in California before he became associated with me. The two years he spent using drugs and pushing dope, burning everyone he came into contact with is forgotten. What has mostly been established is that, prior to meeting me, he was the pride of Copeville, Texas; an exceptional student, ace athlete and perfect picture of the All-American Boy….


Considering Dennis Wilson had a mansion on Sunset Boulevard, owned a Rolls Royce and a Jaguar and was one of the better known celebrities in the area, it seems a little absurd that he would be hitchhiking. But, as I said earlier, Dennis was kind of a rebel. So, as it happened, both his cars were laid up, and instead of taking a cab or calling someone for a ride, he was thumbing it home from wherever he had been. Watson, driving an ancient 1935 Dodge pickup, stopped for the hitchhiker and got the reward of his life when he found out it was Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. When they got to the house, Wilson, always gracious, asked Watson to come in for a while. Several of us from the ranch were in the front room playing music….After that, we saw a lot of Watson. Before meeting us, his popularity among his old friends was on a downhill slide because of drug burns and a habit of never paying his bills. A few weeks later he couldn’t pay his rent and was facing eviction, and Dennis allowed him to move into the mansion. The guy was such a freeloader that pretty soon the big-hearted Dennis sent him packing. Not too long after Dennis cut him loose, he showed up at the ranch, broke and hungry, with nowhere else to turn.78


An odd incident occurred with Tex Watson that—according to Manson—caused him to lose control of his mental faculties.


One day Indian Joe, a biker who often hung around the ranch, was hiking around the canyons a mile or two from the ranch houses when he stumbled on some telatche [belladonna] plants. He brought them down to the kitchen and explained to Brenda [Nancy Pitman, aka, Brenda McCann] how to trim the plants, boil the roots and make talatche tea. The plants were potent and poisonous and it wasn’t advisable to cook them indoors because of the fumes, but Brenda trimmed the roots to about medium-sized onions and began boiling them in the kitchen anyway. Tex walked in and wanted know what was in the pot. He was told, "This is what is belladonna is made from." With that, he picked up a large root and started scarfing it like he was eating an apple. Before the full effect hit him, Tex caught a ride into town.


I wasn’t in the kitchen, nor did I know what was going on. I had seen Tex come out of the building and waved goodbye to him as he left the ranch. He waved back saying, "See you later." I think it was the last time until the trials I saw Tex in what might be called his right mind.79


Perhaps when Watson ate the poisonous belladonna root it was merely an unfortunate accident. But it is plausible that Watson was given the drug intentionally as a means of putting him in an altered mental state wherein he could easily receive hypnotic commands from a sinister third party.









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1 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 48
2 ibid, pp. 64-65
3 Ibid, p 72
4 ibid. Manson’s bio is a summary of pages 27 through 74. (Manson’s homosexual rape described on pages 42 & 43.)
5 ibid, p 74
6 ibid, pp. 77-78
7 Encyclopedia Britannica: Costello, Frank
8 Encyclopedia Britannica: Lansky, Meyer
9 Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter, p 39
10 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 3
11 ibid, pp 3-4
12 ibid, p 4
13 ibid, pp 122-123
14 ibid, p 225
15 ibid, pp 122-124
16 ibid, pp 149-150. Also, T..J. Walleman was identified as "Thomas" Walleman by Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry in their book, Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, p 473.
17 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 78
18 ibid, p 79
19 ibid, p 81
20 ibid, p 114
21 ibid, pp 137-138
22 Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, p 698
23 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, pp 139-140
24 ibid, pp 145-146
25 ibid, pp 148-149
26 ibid, p 78
27 ibid, p 86
28 ibid, p 101
29 ibid, p 116
30 ibid, p 118
31 ibid, pp 137-138
32 ibid, pp 153-156
33 ibid, p 166
34 Bill Lindelof, from the Sacramento Bee, September 5, 1985: ‘Squeaky’ Still Says She Didn't Intend to Kill Ford
35 Playboy magazine, April 1981, interview with John Lennon by David Sheff; Dear Prudence description on p 182
36 Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, (1992) p 703
37 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 3
38 ibid, pp 3-4
39 ibid, p 4
40 Playboy magazine, April 1981, interview with John Lennon by David Sheff; Helter Skelter description on p 184
41 Playboy magazine, April 1981, interview with John Lennon by David Sheff; Piggies description on p 194
42 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 4
43 Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, reference entire book.
44 ibid, p 39
45 SOURCES: (1) John Kiesewetter, The Cincinnati Enquirer, October 14, 1998, Doris Day bio begins in Tristate, (2) Encyclopedia Britannica: Day, Doris. The latter bio claims her real name Doris Von Kappelhoff, whereas, Kiesewetter asserts her last name is Kappelhoff without "Von."
46 SOURCES: (1) Terry Melcher’s association with the Byrds is described in Byrd Watcher, reference; (2) Terry Melcher: The Whole Picture, by Deb Lindsay, from Mark Lindsay’s official website (NOTE: Mark Lindsay was the lead singer in Paul Revere and the Raiders, another Sixties band produced by Melcher); reference
47 Kristofer Engelhardt, The Beatles Undercover, pp 180-183
48 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 148
49 Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter, p 39
50 Jann Wenner, Lennon Remembers (The Rolling Stone interviews), pp 49-51
51 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, pp 145-147
52 ibid, p 167
53 ibid, p 147
54 Kristofer Engelhardt, The Beatles Undercover, p 50
55 ibid, p 51
56 Hunter Davies, The Beatles, (1996 edition) pp 6-7
57 ibid, pp 8-9
58 Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, (1992) p 99
59 Hunter Davies, The Beatles, (1996 edition) p 15
60 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, pp 27-31
61 Hunter Davies, The Beatles, (1996 edition) pp 16-17
62 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 32
63 ibid, pp 33-34
64 Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, (1992) p 37 (Facts about the death of Lennon’s mother, Julia, are available in several other books as well.)
65 Hunter Davies, The Beatles, (1996 edition) p 48
66 Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, (1992) p 94 (Coleman states that Julia Stanley Lennon never legally divorced Freddy Lennon, but lived with John Dykins, and they had two children together: Julia and Jacqui Gertrude.)
67 Hunter Davies, The Beatles, (1996 edition) p 48
68 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, pp 34-35
69 ibid, pp 19-20
70 ibid, p 70
71 Playboy magazine, April 1981, interview with John Lennon by David Sheff; Please Please Me description on p 194
72 Nuel Emmons & Charlie Manson, Manson: In His Own Words, p 165
73 ibid, p 175
74 ibid, p 118
75 ibid, pp 173-175
76 ibid, pp 173-174
77 ibid, p 175
78 ibid, pp 148-149
79 ibid, p 176
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