Monday, July 31, 2006

My Life With Charles Manson Chapter The Twenty Sixth

Chapter 26

Is it that you recall being in harmony

Is there something in you that yearns to see

Or do you remember a time

When you were free

Did you ever wonder what you’re living for

Is there anything of which you are sure

Have you asked yourself

Is there more

A moment’s moment can be an eternity

And all the while time has its flow

So how many lifetimes can you live in infinity

It’s all there for us to know…

- song by Paul Watkins, summer of 1970

The book Helter-Skelter chronicles events that took place during the Tate-La Bianca trials – the saga of a murder case which lasted longer, received more publicity, and cost more than any other in American history. For me to repeat what was written there would be wasted effort. I can only conclude my own story which is a part of that saga, a single thread in a legal tapestry which will not be forgotten.

I saw Charles Manson for the last time in a courtroom in the L.A. Hall of Justice in the fall of 1972. I saw him face to face, not twenty feet away, across an odyssey of time and circumstances that in retrospect seems totally unbelievable. What happened that day in the midst of my testimony, when Charlie leaped to his feet and screamed, “Liar!” must remain indelible to all those who bore witness to it. For me it was a catharsis, a moment of utter unwavering certainty, as inevitable as the dawning of a new day. Yet, by the time it happened, I was prepared. By then I had testified not only in the Tate-La Bianca trials and the grand jury proceedings but also in Tex Watson’s trial, and the Shea-Hinman trials. I had spent weeks on the witness stand and had been asked the same questions time and time again. I had been examined and cross examined by some of the best defense attorneys in Los Angeles, including Charlie’s most tenacious counselor, Irving Kanarek. I had been referred to as a “robot” drug addict, pimp, thief, social misfit. But through the process of concentration and a commitment to remembering the truth in court, I was able, as Crockett had foreseen, one step at a time, to deprogram myself from the subtle yet profound effects of Charles Manson’s philosophy, so that when my final showdown with Charlie came, I welcomed it.

From the beginning the courtroom had served as a theater for some of Manson’s best performances. Even those who most wanted his blood could not help but be struck by his spirited charisma. Early in the Tate-La Bianca proceedings, Joseph Ball, the former president of the state bar association, and former senior counsel to the Warren Commission, found Charlie to be “an able, intelligent young man, quiet-spoken and mild-mannered.” He remarked, further, that Charlie had “a ready understanding of the law” and “a fine brain.” Ball said, too, that Charlie was “not resentful against society… he feels if he goes to trial and he is able to permit jurors and the court to hear him and see him, they will realize he is not the kind of man who would perpetrate horrible crimes.”

Following Ball’s remarks, the then presiding judge, William Keene, begged Charlie to reconsider his decision to defend himself. But Charlie wouldn’t budge.

“For all of my life,” he said, “as long as I can remember, I’ve taken your advice. Your faces have changed, but it’s the same court, the same structure. All my life I’ve been put in little slots, your Honor, and I went along with it. I have no alternative but to fight you have any way I know how, because you and the district attorney and all the attorneys I have met are on the same side and the newspapers are on the same side and it’s all pointed against me, personally. No, I haven’t changed my mind.”

But Charlie didn’t defend himself long. His courtroom antics and violation of procedure, much of which was done to play up to the press, forced the judge to appoint an attorney, Charles Hollopeter, with the stipulation that Charlie could enlist another attorney if he so desired. Along the way, Charlie would make many substitutions, selecting, at last, Irving Kanarek.

From December 1969 until July 1970, when the Tate-La Bianca trials finally got under way, Charlie called most of the shots, both in and out of the courtroom. And in the beginning, when he had the support of the free press and radicals like Jerry Rubin, he put on a real show. Together with the girls who came to court daily and kept vigil an the sidewalks of L.A. (Broadway and Temple), Manson was able to hold his own on the battleground of what he called “injustice.” But the evidence and testimony against Charlie, Sadie, Katie, Leslie, and Tex mounted.

But neither Charlie nor the girls gave up, and we were continually threatened. I was entering the courtroom one morning when Squeaky approached me just outside the doorway of the Hall of Justice. It was in September, around the time I was to begin my testimony.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m just telling the truth… it’s time to tell the truth.”

“Are you still my brother?”

“Yeah… I’m your brother.”

“Listen to your love.”

“That’s what I’m doing, Lynn.”

“There’s no such thing as death,” she muttered. “It’s all love.”

“Here, Lynn.” I took a five-carat emerald ring off my little finger and handed it to her. Then I walked into the courtroom.

Nearly three years later to the day (September 5, 1975), in Sacramento, California’s “city of justice,” Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to assassinate the president of the United States.

My testimony, together with that of Brooks and Juan, not only substantiated the murder charges against Charlie – he had admitted killing Shorty to each of us separately – but provided corroboration of Helter-Skelter (the race war) as a motive. We had all experienced Charlie’s programming techniques and were thus able to convey at least in part how Charlie’s devices operated. On cross-examination the defense continually sought to invalidate my testimony by suggesting that drugs had destroyed my mind.

During the Bruce Davis trial (Shea-Hinman), after I had testified to hearing Bruce describe the murder of Shorty Shea, the defense attorney approached the bench.

“Your Honor, it is my intention to show that this witness has, over a period of time involved in his testimony, been engaged almost continually in the taking of drugs. That he has acknowledged on examination and cross-examination in prior cases that he has taken LSD… and that as a result his mind has been bent.”

Hours and hours were spent grilling us on drugs, everything from acid to marijuana. The numerous transcripts of trial testimony read very much alike. From the Shea-Hinman trial, February 1972:

Q. “And now, Mr. Watkins, how about marijuana… what are the effects on you of marijuana?”

A. “On my?”

Q. “On you, sir.”

A. “You get high, or what I would hall high. Kind of happy, laughing, feel free, feel good.”

Q. “Is this after just one, or does it take several?”

A. “It depends on how strong it is, and how strong you are; who you are with, and what you are doing; and it depends on a lot of things.”

Q. “All right. How about hashish?”

A. “It has the same effect, only much stronger.”

Q. “Much faster?”

A. “Much faster.”

Q. “And when you say much stronger, does it affect your balance?”

A. “Hmmm. It depends on the type of hashish you’re smoking. I never has it affect my balance, like I suppose you’re likening it to being drunk, where you are stumbling around. It’s not like that, no.”

Q. “Does it affect your sense of time?”

A. “Inasmuch as though you may be having a good time, and time would seem to fly.”

Q. “Does it affect your sense of vision?”

A. “Not really.”

Q. “It doesn’t enhance or detract from your ability to see; is that right?”

A. “Well, I may have had it enhance my ability to see at times and detract at other times.”

Q. “Does it cause you to have any sort of visions or hallucinations at all?”

A. “No.”

Q. “Does it cause sounds to be more… cause you to be more keenly aware of sounds and sights?”

A. “You’re still talking about marijuana and hashish, right?”

Q. “Right.”

A. “Yeah. On certain occasions it would… you would be more aware of sounds and sights.”

Q. “Well other than that, does it do anything for you?”

A. “Other than what?”

Q. “Those things we’ve named.”

A. “Well, I don’t know how deep you want to get into it. We could leave it right there; if it’s okay with you, it’s okay with me.”

When attempts to discredit me failed along those lines, the defense tried other means. At one point during the same trial, the defense lawyer approached the bench to tell the judge he could prove that I was working with the police and that therefore my testimony was prejudicial and biased. Out of earshot of the jury he explained to the judge what I clearly overheard:

“I will offer proof that between October and December – and specifically in mid-December of 1969 – this particular witness had several conversations with officer Dave Steuber and other officers of the highway patrol and the sheriff’s department in Inyo County; that thereafter, and as a part of the plan of the prosecution, he returned to the Manson Family, to the Spahn Ranch, specifically sent there to be a spy; that he saw Charles Manson in January approximately eight times at the jail – which visits are recorded – and that I contend that this was done specifically to get information, to pass along to the sheriff; that therefore his testimony is biased and prejudiced, because of his connections with the prosecution, based on this background.”

Though none of these assertions were true, I felt at times as though I were on trial.

Q. “Well, you did visit Charlie at least seven or eight times in January of 1970, in jail; is that correct.”

A. “At least.”

Q. “All right. And these were just friendly visits, to pass the time of day, to help poor old Charlie while away the hours -?”

The state’s attorney at the time, Manzella, objected, and the objection was sustained.

Q. “Well, were these just friendly visits to help your friend, who was there in great trouble?”

A. “Some –.”

Manzella objected and the court sustained it.

Q. “All right, sir,” Denny went on. “ These were visits in order for you to try and pump Charlie Manson for the prosecution; isn’t that right?”

A. “No, that isn’t right.”

Often I felt totally exasperated. I wanted to tear through the mumbo-jumbo of the courtroom decorum; I wanted to explain to the court, to the judge, the jury, and everyone present, the real truth – the torment, the depth of feeling, the reality of my experience, which seemed inaccessible and paradoxically out of place in what has been called the halls of justice. But I had learned the courtroom games well, and focusing my energy on the truth enabled me to outlast the most determined defense attorneys. The mind games played in a courtroom are complex, and it takes a good deal of awareness to stay on top of them. It is not simply a matter of telling the truth, since everything you say is controlled by the questions, and many of the questions are asked obliquely so that the intent of the lawyers is not always clear. Plus, your consciousness must encompass not only the attorneys on both sides but also the jury and the judge.

But it was neither the judge nor the jury that made testifying traumatic; it was facing the defendants. It’s hard to describe the multitude of feelings I had when taking the stand as a witness for the prosecution – facing Charlie, Sadie, Leslie, and Katie in the courtroom eye to eye. Facing girls who had once had beauty in their hearts, girls I knew better than any jury would ever know – girls I had lived with, traveled with, made love with, sung with. All of them, on trial for murder. And the man who had taught me a great deal about music and love and had asked me to submit to that love; a man I had once seen as the embodiment of life but who had become its opposite, but who nevertheless continued to project incredible force and presence even late in the Tate-La Bianca proceedings, after Brooks and I had testified.

Clean-shaven, well-groomed, and articulate, he made a great spectacle, prancing confidently around the courtroom. According to Charlie it was not he who was on trial but the system which brought him there. And in part, he was right. Near the end of the Tate-La Bianca trial, when it was clear that the evidence against him was insurmountable, he took the stand to testify in his own behalf. Even Bugliosi, who had fought so hard to ensure the death penalty, admitted to the hypnotic effect of Manson’s words. And Bugliosi had not met Charles Manson at eighteen before the murders, during the Summer of Love, when the youth of America were riding the crest of an awakening consciousness and were high on life and LSD. But I had. And I had come a long way since then, far enough, at least, to see through Charlie’s impassioned soliloquy, shot through with truths and half-truths and the subtle nuances of his madness. Yet, even when Charlie spoke, and he spoke for more than an hour, what he said was not only for the benefit of the court but to manipulate the other defendants – his Family, still programmed to loyalty to the bitter end, ready to die for a man who could have just as easily cut their throats.

Charlie’s testimony began slowly, but as he spoke, his voice became clear and resonant; if Charles Manson was anything, he was a performer. “Most of the people at the ranch that you call the Family were just people you didn’t want, people that were alongside the road, that their parents had kicked out, that did not want to go to Juvenile Hall. So I did the best I could and took them up on my garbage dump and I told them this: that in love there is no wrong…

“I told them that anything they do for their brothers and sisters is good if they do it with a good thought…

“I was working at cleaning up my house, something that Nixon should have been doing. He should have been on the side of the road picking up his children, but he wasn’t. He was in the White House sending them off to war…

“I don’t understand you, but I don’t try. I don’t try to judge nobody. I know that the only person I can judge is me… But I know this: that in your hearts and your own souls, you are as much responsible for the Vietnam war as I am for killing these people…

“I can’t judge any of you, but I will say this to you, you haven’t got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me… but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.

“My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system. … I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.

“I have ate out of your garbage cans to stay out of jail… I have wore your second-hand clothes… I have done my best to get along in your world, and now you want to kill me, and I look at you, and then I say to myself, you want to kill me? Ha! I am already dead, have been all my life. I’ve spent twenty-three years in tombs that you built.

“Sometimes I think about giving it back to you; sometimes I think about just jumping on you and letting you shoot me… If I could, I would jerk this microphone off and beat your brains out with it, because that is what you deserve! That is what you deserve…

“You expect to break me? Impossible! You broke me years ago. You killed me years ago.

“You can do anything you want with me, but you cannot touch me because I am my love. If you put me in the penitentiary, that means nothing because you kicked me out of the last one. I didn’t ask to be released. I liked in there because I liked myself.”

On April 19, 1971, Judge William Older sentenced Charles Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Leslie Van Houten to die. Ten months later (February 1972) the death penalty in California was abolished and their sentences were reduced to life imprisonment. But the drama wasn’t over. Not yet. I saw Charlie one more time, on an afternoon during the final stages of the Shea-Hinman trials. But by then the flamboyance was gone. He no longer looked like the high priest of flower power but an embittered convict.

He was seated in front of me, twenty feet away, just to my left beside his attorney. His head was shaved, the scar of a swastika stamped on his forehead; his jaw was dotted with a fine stubble. He looked old, worn-out, beaten. Since the early days of the trials, much had happened: a major earthquake had rocked Los Angeles, killing sixty-five people. Spahn’s Movie Ranch had burned to the ground. In less than one month of each other Jimi Hendrix (September 18, 1970) and Janis Joplin (October 4, 1970) had o.d.’d on drugs, perhaps symbolizing the end of an era. Someone once said, “all universes die”; looking at Charlie that afternoon, you got that feeling. Yet when I took the stand, he looked up suddenly and just stared at me, a strange half-leering smirk on his face.

As I spoke, he just watched me, tilting his head from side to side as if he were an artist attempting to get the right perspective for a painting. Maybe he was remembering, seeing as I had so many times the arc of the circle we had made in time, the journey from one end of the human condition to the other, from a perfect dream into the bowels of a nightmare from which I had awakened just in time.

I was in the midst of my testimony when Charlie suddenly lurched to his feet and shouted, “Liar! You’re a liar!”

“Order!” The gavel came down.

But Charlie didn’t stop. “No, no… little boy… you lie!”

Charlie was pulled to his seat, but his eyes were blazing, and I looked at him and held his gaze, and after a warning by the court, went on with my testimony.

As I spoke, Charlie raised his finger, grinning, and slowly drew it across his throat.

“You’re pathetic, Charlie,” I said.


Then Charlie was standing again.

“You’re a liar!” he roared.

“No, Charlie… I’m telling the truth!”


Liar!” Charlie was pulled to his seat.

Then I was standing, filled suddenly with emotion – a surging of rage, remorse, and utter revulsion. “You… you… made it all a lie! You calling me a liar proves it! Your whole trip has been a lie.

Charlie struggled to his feet and began grappling with the bailiff, but I didn’t stop yelling. “It’s like you said… the truth will set you free. I know that!”

“Sit down, Mr. Watkins!”

“I speak the truth, Charlie!”

“Remove Mr. Manson from the courtroom!”

Charlie was seized by both arms, but he continued to kick and struggle. “You’re just an insecure little boy!” he shouted.

“The truth, Charlie. The truth will set you free!”

They dragged Charlie out of the room.

“Order… there will be order in this courtoom!”

The door closed, and I slumped into my seat.


Carol Writes Us A Screed

Dear Col. Scott,

You said that
you are not
afraid of the
only the BUG
should be. What,
is the truth?
You certainly don't
know. Maybe a
cigar is
just a cigar and
the Tate/LaBianca
just robberies gone horribly
wrong or a
bunch of doped-up hippies
killed because they did
whatever Manson
told them to do. Manson did
tell the girls to wear dark clothes and
bring knives to Cielo, didn't
he? He went with them to Waverly and
set things up for his kids. This
is conspiracy to murder. He is in prison
where he belongs and the BUG
should be commended, not condemned.
So he expanded the Helter Skelter
theory a little? He stretched the truth a
little? What prosecutor, or
defense attorney for that matter, doesn't?
At least he isn't an
outright liar like the Democratic
candidate for district attorney in
Durham, North Carolina - Mike LIEfong.
This guy is on a mission to
railroad three innocent men to prison
for a rape which never happened.
At least Bugliosi put the right people
in prison.



Dear CR,

Yes, Carol, I DON'T know the truth.
I never claimed to. I want to
find it.

I do know that the BUG does NOT know
the truth. He was a stalker
before the

Manson trial. He beat up his girlfriend
and tried to cover it up
after the trial.

It seems clear he perjured himself
during the trial. Why should
YOU care that I want

the truth? The truth will set us
all free.

A cigar wasn't a cigar even when
Freud smoked it. None of the
easy solutions fit.

Charlie probably did know why but
I doubt even he knows now.
But we can and must as

citizens try to find out why.
Why was this ridiculous murder
case where the killers

were obvious turned into this
big deal? Why?

Charlie did not tell the girls
to kill anyone and by their
own admission it is unclear

if he even told Tex.

Worse than that, if I tell you
to kill someone and you do,
who should be responsible?

You're the psycho that did the killing.

There is NO truth ever spoken
by BUG as to WHY the killings occurred.

If Charlie Manson can be sent
to Death Row by a lying DA then you or I can.

This is why the Col's work so
desperately matters.

I do not know the case in Durham.
But MOST lawyers
do not perjure themselves during


Come with us. Learn. Read the
Blog. You can still
understand. The world is

MUCH worse than you think.

Yours in Truth,

Col Scott

Van Houten Parole Report

Don't you love it? This shit has been going on for DECADES.

Look, Leslie, it sucks, I agree because if anyone was gonna get out it was you. But you aren't. So life sucks. Just ask Leno and Rosemary.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Life With Charles Manson Chapter The Twenty Fifth

Chapter 25

But Jesus said unto him: Judas, betrayest thou

the son of Man with a kiss?

Judas; looking back, I see that my relationship to Charlie was like that of Judas to Christ. Christ needed a Judas; together they made the legend. Someone had to tell the story; someone had to tip off the law. Of all the disciples, only Judas tried to explain what Christ was preaching. But they wouldn’t buy Christ’s blasphemous statements: “I and my father are one.” Christ was seized, tried, and crucified. But Judas never lived to witness the crucifixion; he hanged himself the night before.

I parked my car in front of Black Beard’s place and went inside. Black Beard wasn’t there, but Bob was. I didn’t feel like telling him what had happened, so I remained quiet while he discussed the trial. He said Linda’s testimony would be enough to get Charlie and the others convicted; he said Linda had gotten her head together and was ready to tell everything. He said if I agreed to testify, “Charlie’s goose will be cooked.” I listened for a while, then went out to the van. It was dark by then. I lit a joint and turned on Mark’s stereo and lay down on the bed in the back. I guess that’s when I fell asleep.

Sometime around midnight I woke up gagging; the inside of the van was filled with smoke. Flames were licking up around the front seat. I tried to kick open the rear door, but it wouldn’t budge. The smell of burning plastic and enamel permeated the air. My lungs sputtered; there was no oxygen, only the toxic, white-hot smoke which funneled into my throat. I tried to scream, but the sounds were muted, choked off in guttural groans. I smashed my fist through one of the side windows, but the cold air only fanned the flames, bringing them closer. For what seemed like minutes I remained in a state of panic, continuing to kick at the rear door while my mind lapsed into a slow, reeling, kaleidoscopic rerun of deaths by fire. It was like the freak-out all over again. I felt the hairs on my body being singed. The smell sent me into convulsions, and I vomited, choking on my sickness, feeling as though I was about to die again. Finally an impulse prompted me to dive headlong through the flames onto the front seat. I kicked open the door and rolled out onto the ground, then got up and raced to the house to wake Bob and Black Beard.

By the time the ambulance arrived, I was in shock. Black Beard had wrapped me in a blanket. I stood in the corner of the living room asking for morphine. But they didn’t understand me. They couldn’t; my vocal cords had been burned to a crisp. Black Beard rode with me to the hospital. I remember that. I remember him sitting next to me. “Your’re gonna be okay, Paul… you’re gonna be okay.”

As it turned out, the nightmare of that experience was just beginning. It took over an hour for them to admit me to a bed in the emergency room of the Santa Monica Hospital. Since I couldn’t talk, Black Beard had to interpret. I wrote down my parents’ phone number. But that wasn’t enough. Before the hospital did anything, they wanted to be certain I had medical insurance. By that time, I’d given up on trying to communicate and just lay back, feeling more pain than I could ever remember having felt. The next thing I remember was being given a shot of morphine and being wheeled into a room.

There were two nurses hovering around me when I felt blisters forming on my throat and started choking.

“Pop the bubbles,” I gagged. “Poaap do boabbles!” But the sounds were garbled and they didn’t understand.


“Da baubbles.” I pointed to my throat.

“He’s going into convulsions,” one of them said.

“No… no… pauup da baubbles!”

Then a doctor appeared and ordered them to prepare for a tracheotomy.

No! No! I wailed. That’s when I started to vomit again, but it was mainly dry heaves. I tried to swallow hard and make the bubbles pop myself. I tried to force my tongue down on the bubbles, but it wouldn’t reach. I stuck a finger in my mouth, but the nurses jerked my hand away.

“Pauup the babules! Paaup the bauubles!”

A little cart was wheeled in. My eyes were puffy and swollen; all the hair had been singed off my face. I could scarcely see, and it hurt to keep my eyes open. But I saw the scalpel and the hypodermic needle, and I knew they intended to cut my throat.

No! No! I kicked and thrashed while one of the nurses held a pan under my chin to catch the puke. “Please try and hit the tray,” she said primly.

I kicked at her, but someone grabbed my legs. Two dudes had been called in to strap me down.

“He’s hysterical… hurry!”

They’d pinned one arm down, but before they could grab the other, I seized one of the surgical instruments, shoved the butt end of it down my throat, and popped the bubbles.

I remained unconscious three days. When I woke up, my mother was sitting beside me cutting what remained of my hair. She said everything was going to be okay and for me to rest. She said too that my brothers and sisters were waiting to see me. So were Paul and Crockett and Brooks Posten. I remember seeing Crockett and Brooks, but I don’t remember what they said to me. The next day, my parents took me home to Thousand Oaks.

During the week I spent at my folks’, reporters and police continued to call and come by in droves. My parents kept them away. I couldn’t talk anyway. Fate works with the psyche in mysterious ways – at the very time I am asked to testify in court, in front of Charlie, before the world, I am rendered voiceless. Perhaps I had programmed myself, driven myself unconsciously to the outer limits of several realities at once. The questions were obvious ones: did the Family try to kill me? Were my actions and impulses, as Juan suggested, suicidal? Or was it an accident? Clem later boasted that it was he who tried to kill me. In light of other murders and murder attempts, it would appear a very good possibility. But I don’t believe it. Even if it were true, the responsibility was mine. I drove myself into that situation as a means of coming to grips with a game I knew could not go on. Perhaps it was inevitable. I took myself to a place where there was no voice. The voice I burned was not mine; it was Charlie’s, the Family’s; it was Crockett’s, the Man’s; it was the voice of society. Those voices had to go up in flames. The voice I needed if I were ever to survive was my own voice.

After a week, I left Thousand Oaks and flew to Monterey, then headed down the coast to Big Sur. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to sit on the edge of the cosmos and watch the sea in silence. For several days I hiked through mountains around Esalen, stopping once to visit my sister, who was preparing to go to Chile with a group she helped organize, called Arica. I hiked along the same trails Black Beard and I had once traveled, and I stopped at Garapata Canyon long enough to take a peek at Kevin’s house. But I didn’t go in. I didn’t want to. By the middle of March I’d decided to go back to Shoshone.

The day I got there, Crockett, Juan, and Brooks took me to Las Vegas and bought me a steak dinner with all the trimmings. They didn’t talk much about the fire, but I sensed what they were thinking. They talked about the music scene they were putting together, plans to do gigs in towns throughout the desert. We laughed and told stories, and they showed me the depth of their friendship. Crockett found it amusing that I couldn’t talk, insisting when I did manage to rasp out a jibberish of inarticulate utterings that my singing had improved immensely. They didn’t tell me that night that the D.A.’s office had been calling them regularly, asking them to exert pressures on me to testify in the Tate-La Bianca trials. At that point I didn’t want to testify. I had a perfect excuse. I couldn’t talk.

By that time the retrial of Bobby Beausoleil for the murder of Hinman was in progress. Mary Brunner, in exchange for complete immunity, became the chief prosecution witness, testifying that she had seen Bobby stab Hinman to death. Bobby, meanwhile, put the finger on Charlie. But the jury believed Mary. While this was happening, Charlie was busy juggling lawyers, not just his but Sadie’s and Leslie’s as well. In May he acquired the services of Irving Kanarek. Judge William Keene, meanwhile, who had presided over the preliminary trials, was replaced by Judge Charles W. Older. By the middle of June they began the long process of selecting a jury for the Tate-La Bianca trials.

My feelings during that period fluctuated. The trauma of the fire stayed with me. At times I woke up at night in a cold sweat, in a state of utter panic. I was high-strung and subject to fits of convulsive crying, torrential outpourings which carried away the sludge of repression which had locked me away from my feelings and from seeing the stark horror of an evil I had been part of. The fire had burned away the façade. I was left face to face with myself. The pain of that has never left me entirely.

While Juan had talked about testifying, he was undecided. None of us gave advice one way or the other. Meanwhile, we worked on our music. Though I couldn’t talk, much less sing, I could play the flute. Brooks had become something of a virtuoso on the guitar; Juan was dynamite on the conga drums. In early June we did a gig in Lone Pine, calling ourselves the Minstrel’s Magic. A week later we were hired to play at a dance in Tecopa. For the first time in months I began writing songs – songs for the new voice I didn’t yet possess.

One night we were lounging in the living room by the fire. We’d worked all day laying a pipeline for the gas company. Crockett as usual was dealing cards to himself. Juan was writing a letter. Brooks had gone to Tecopa to pick up the amplifiers we’d left there the weekend before. I’d begun groaning about the fact that I still had no voice, that it looked like I’d have to be content to just play music, not sing it.

Crockett glanced up from his cards.

“You ever decide to get your voice back?”


“Well, if ya ain’t decided, are ya sure ya even want your voice back?” He scooped up the cards and shuffled them. “Maybe ya want to just leave that voice behind… get ya a new voice. Or did ya like the old one?”

I gawked at Crockett.

“If ya want a different voice – might as well, ya ain’t got one now – why not decide on that… decide on the kind ya want… one for singing and talking. Figure out what style ya want… ya know… low, high… once ya decide and picture it in your mind, just relax and it’ll come.”

Juan grinned.

“Way it is now,” Crockett intoned, “yer holdin’ up the show. We got a singin’ group here, like to have it complete… see what I mean?”

That night I decided to get a new voice. I pictured and felt the voice I wanted in my mind’s eye. A few days later, while trying to sing in the shower, my wheezy, disjointed raspings began to give way to sound – the first fledgling tones of my new voice. Moments later I was belting out a song I’d written called “Is It That You Recall.” I was exultant as I dried off, wrapped a towel around my waist, and strutted into the living room, where Crockett and Brooks were seated on the floor, rewiring the amplifier.

“Well,” Crockett said, glancing up at me, then at Brooks. “It ain’t Caruso, but what the hell.”

Shortly after that episode, on a windy afternoon when Crockett and I were in Shoshone buying groceries, we ran into Clem, Gypsy, and Mark Ross riding around in a jeep. We had just crossed the street when they pulled up alongside us.

“Got a message for you piggies,” Clem barked. “Charlie says when he gets out, you better not be around the desert.”

I glanced at Gypsy, and she stared back with all the vehemence she could muster. She looked pathetic. Clem, his hair scrambled and windblown around his ghoulish face, looked even more ridiculous. Suddenly the pent-up rage and resistance I had felt for so long fell away into a kind of clarity. I knew then that I’d testify in front of a jury, in front of Charles Manson, in front of the Devil himself, and that I’d tell the truth.

The same afternoon I wrote a letter to the D.A.’s office, to Stovitz and Bugliosi, telling them I would testify for the prosecution.

Later that night I took a walk downtown with Juan. I told him about the letter, but he didn’t say anything. Oddly enough, in all the time we’d known each other, Juan and I had never shared the information we had on the Family. I mentioned that to Juan, saying, “Let’s not discuss it now, either… let’s just go down there and tell the truth. There’s just been too much dying… Charlie’s trip is nothing but death.”

Juan agreed to testify, and so did Brooks; it was an agreement that would commit us to an odyssey of trials that lasted more than nine years.

“Best thing for ya,” Crockett said when we told him. “Them trials will be like a deprogramming process. Yer gonna have to remember specific incidents and tell them to lawyers who’d like nothin’ better than to make you look dumb, crazy, or drugified. And ya can’t fake it, ‘cause they got it all on them transcripts. Ya can’t remember what ya told one guy… ya just remember the incident and tell the truth, and that will serve to bring your mind through all those things again and get ya free of them… and with Charlie sittin’ right there lookin’ at ya… it will finally cut you loose.”

“The truth will set you free,” I muttered distractedly.

“Exactly,” Crockett said.

We weren’t called to testify that summer, but we followed the progress of the trial and all of Charlie’s antics and manipulations. We saw photos of Ouisch, Sandy, Cappy, Squeaky, and Gypsy sitting on the sidewalks, their heads shaved, their foreheads carved with Charlie’s stamp, just as their souls had been. From time to time we received telephone threats, but it did nothing to alter our decision to testify. Linda Kasabian’s testimony alone was devastating for Charlie. But he continued to operate; manipulating lawyers, judges, the jury. Meanwhile, people continued to disappear and to die, people like Ronald Hughes, Leslie’s lawyer. But those stories have been told – the story of a murder attempt on Barbara Hoyt, the story of Charlie lunging at Judge Older with a sharpened pencil in his hand. Whether in or out of jail, Charles Manson was dangerous. The prospect of facing him in court was not pleasant. But in a strange ironic way, I was looking forward to it. To me it was a part of the destiny of my relationship with Charlie and the only way to really sever that relationship once and for all.

In September, when Text was finally extradited to California, I told Crockett and Posten that I wanted to see him. We drove to L.A. the next day and met with him for over an hour. If I had any doubts whatsoever about testifying, seeing Tex removed them.

Sitting before us, he looked emaciated, skin and bone, like a torture victim at Dachau. His eyes were lifeless. The prosecution would later claim that Tex was faking it, that he was trying to cop an insanity plea. But I knew Tex Watson and he wasn’t faking anything. He was paying for the crimes he had committed. If I’ve ever seen a specimen of living death, it was Tex. When we asked him what really happened at the murder scenes, he told us. He didn’t explain, he just narrated the events in monotone as they happened. The bodies of the Tate and La Biance victims had received a total of 159 stab wounds; most of them had been inflicted by him. “I just killed them… that was what I had to do. I heard Sadie cry, ‘Help me,’ and I helped her. It seemed like there was a lot of time between events… then Katie needed help and I helped her. It seemed like I had to do everything… And then it was over.”

As we were walking out to the jeep, Brooks remarked to Crockett that Tex might just as well die, ‘cause he’d never be able to get that horror out of his head.

Crockett just grunted. It was clear that seeing Tex Watson had disturbed him too.

“I don’t know,” Brooks said, looking at me. “I remember just after Charlie came up to Barker’s after the murders. I was sitting in the bunkhouse and he come in, said he’d been looking for me and that the only time he could talk any sense to me was when Big Paul wasn’t around. He takes out his knife and says to me, ‘You know, it might be a good idea for you to take this knife, go to Shoshone, and kill that motherfuckin’ Sheriff Ward.’”

“What’d ya say?”

“Somethin’ like, ‘Yeah, far-out.’ But I was thinking in there, looking at Tex, what if he had stayed at Barker’s and met Crockett ‘stead of me.” Brooks glanced at Crockett, who climbed into the jeep and fired up the engine. I sat in the back while Brooks, seated on the passenger side, faced me, his eyes squinting. “I mean, shit, if I’d never met Crockett or come to the desert, I’d still be like a junkie hooked on Charlie. Who knows, I might have taken that knife… I might have wound up where Tex is now.”


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Manson Family Reunion Part 4

I love how Geraldo MOCKS the true story TJ tells. I mean, would you ever rescue anyone you media lameass whore? Anyway, thank you so much for enjoying another COLSCOTT video.
Manson Family Reunion Part 3

God I love the 90s hairdoes. I love the angry New Yorker accents from the audiences. Where are shows like this gonna come from now? JOHN come back JOHN.
Manson Family Reunion Part 2

Here we get the late, great Bill Nelson, the molester of young girls who was so obsessed with the case and brought us so much good... and so much bad. Bill died last year. I don't care. I love the TJ/Nellie exchange. Who stole the gun Bill?
Manson Family Reunion Part 1

A Commenter wanted this and the COL delivers. That's TJ who went with Charlie to rescue Rosina from the drug dealer Bernard Crowe. No idea whatever happened to Ansom (Col only cares about members who were there!) As for John- no idea who or what that is. Gerlado is as retarded as ever. I fucking love the idea that they use a clip from the MOVIE version of the novel HELTER SKELTER as if it actually happened. How genius of Jerry Rivers.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Life With Charles Manson Chapter The Twenty Fourth

Chapter 24

Black Beard had changed only slightly since I’d seen him more than a year before, just a few miles away from where we now stood facing each other in the middle of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. His fleecy, tousled hair hung to his waist; his smile was infectious. He said he’d rented a place up the canyon and invited me there for breakfast. I followed him in my car. Five miles back up the canyon he turned up a steep side road to a small house built beneath a stand of oak trees, and parked.

Before going inside, we stood on the porch and smoked a joint. I told him about Charlie and the Family and what I’d been doing. To my surprise, he knew a lot about the Manson Family – firsthand. In July 1969 (just after I had split for the desert), Black Beard had inherited some money and had moved into Topanga Canyon with a friend named Bob Kasabian. A short time later, he met Bob’s wife, Linda, who had just joined the Family and who, on orders from Charlie, had ripped off Black Beard for five thousand dollars. When Black Beard tried to get the money back, Charlie merely showed him the sword he’d used to chop off Gary Hinman’s ear. Black Beard got the picture and a week later took off to South America. He’d only recently gotten back, and was again living with Bob Kasabian.

During the weeks which followed, I visited Black Beard regularly, thereby adding another dimension to my fragmented state, another tendril of extended energy I could ill afford. When I confided to him the many roles I was playing, maintaining at the same time that I had faith that things were going the way they should, he said he wasn’t surprised. He recalled the night we were busted at Half Moon Bay, saying, “I never seen anyone turn a scene around like you did that one. It was karma, man… the real McCoy, you blew those pigs’ minds…”

In early February 1970 we were still living in the Chandler Street house during the week and repairing to Spahn’s on the weekends to do music and unwind. I continued to confer with Charlie, to help arrange for attorneys, and to convey his messages to Leslie and Sadie. I was also in touch with Crockett and Posten by phone.

About that time Bruce Davis was arrested again and sent to Inyo County on charges of grand theft. I was subpoenaed and told that without my testimony they couldn’t hold him. I’d hitchhiked to Inyo with a new girl in the Family named Ginny who was carrying twenty-four tabs of acid, all but two of which we’d sewn into the lining of a sleeping bag. Squeaky had suggested we slip a tab of acid to Bruce during the trial; in part it was a means of testing me. Charlie had told them to watch me closely.

During the proceedings, while Don Ward sat with Crockett and Posten on one side of the room and Ginny on the other, I took the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer on the grounds that what I said might incriminate me. Steuber, and Inyo’s D.A., Frank Fowles, were furious. They needed the testimony to hold Davis. While they had interviews from me which more than implicated Bruce Davis, they could not be used in the court. Brooks and Crockett knew the game I was into and they looked pretty dejected. It got even more insane when Ginny got up and, while passing in front of Bruce, slipped him a tab of acid in the courtroom. Bruce dropped it on the floor, but before anyone could react, picked it up and ate it. A cop meanwhile had seized Ginny’s purse and found the other tab of acid. She was held for two days, then released.

A few days later they let Bruce go, and my loyalty to the Family was, for the time being, reconfigured.

In the meantime, the scene had been set for my sexual number with Squeaky. It was never talked about directly, but the promptings were there, a feeling that the Family would benefit by such a consummation of power.

It happened one afternoon at the Chandler Street house. I’d been at court all morning and had just returned to change clothes. While I was changing, Squeaky entered the bedroom and flopped down on the bed. She was talking about how great things were going, that Charlie was going “to walk.” The free press was taking up the cause. This was during the time that Bernardine Dhorn told a convention of Students for a Democratic Society, “Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and eating a meal in the same room, far-out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.” It was also at the height of Charlie’s flamboyant courtroom theatrics, when he wore embroidered shirts, kept his hair combed, and paraded around the courtroom like a peacock. I walked by Squeaky, telling her to follow me into the other bedroom. I heard her giggle as she waltzed in behind me, removed her blouse, and tossed it on a chair.

I’d all but forgotten the day at Barker’s when I’d seen Charlie bring Squeaky out of an epileptic seizure following sex. And I was momentarily stunned when, after making love to her, she began to shake and convulse. Within minutes she had lost all control. It was as if her entire being had been reduced to a quivering mass of jelly. Then her body stiffened and she clenched her fists until her knuckles turned white. Her head thrashed from side to side.

“It’s okay, Lynn…” I said. “It’s okay. It’s Paul… just relax.” I climbed on top of her grabbed her by the wrists.

“Ohhh… Ohhh,” she moaned. “Aghhh.” Her breathing came in short pants and gasps.

“Go ahead… go ahead,” I said. “Tighten you fingers… yeah… good… tighter, no, tighter… Now, relax them… relax… Now tighten… relax… tighten…”

Using the method I had seen Charlie employ, I was able to settle her down, but it wasn’t easy. By the time I’d calmed her, we were both exhausted. Afterward we drove to Spahn’s and Squeaky behaved as if nothing had happened. But the incident stayed with me, a graphic expression of the control mechanism Charlie had implanted in Squeaky and by which he had been able to dominate both her mind and body.

After that episode, things happened fast. Later that same week I was coming out of the court building when a dapper little guy sporting a goatee and dressed in a double-breasted suit approached me, saying he was a lawyer and wanted to ask me a few questions. I walked with him to a chauffeured limousine and we drove up to Hollywood. He introduced himself as Jake Friedberg, saying he just wanted some information about the Family and that he’d make it worth my while to provide it. He asked if I’d mind staying at the Continental Hyatt House for a couple of days, and when I said no, he made a reservation for me in the penthouse. I spent two days there telling him what I knew; on the morning of the third day, as I was leaving the hotel, I was paged to the phone. It was Crockett; I’d called him the day I arrived and left my number.

His voice was hard and clear, like a pick against granite.

“Where the hell you been?”


“I been tryin’ to get you. D.A.’s office called us up and said that guy Friedberg is a Mafia man… somethin’ about La Bianca’s connection with the syndicate… he say anything about it?”


There was a long pause. Then Crockett spoke. “Where you tryin’ to take yourself anyway, oblivion?”

I didn’t answer. I didn’t know.

“When you comin’ out to the desert?”

“It won’t be long.”

I waited to Friedberg to come back, but he didn’t. And I never saw him again.

A couple of days later, we moved out of the Chandler Street house and back to Spahn’s. George had mellowed enough to allow us to move in again on a permanent basis. The day after we moved back, Clem was released on bail and joined the rest of us in a small wooden structure built just beyond Randy Starr’s trailer, a beautifully symmetrical building we called the Story-Book House. The day we moved in, I was standing on the boardwalk with Sandy when a car with two men in it pulled up beside me and stopped.

“You Watkins?” the driver asked.

I nodded. Both men got out of the car. Both wore baggy sports jackets and gray fedoras. One of them had on sunglasses. They asked if we could talk, and I led them into the saloon, where Squeaky and Brenda were sitting on the floor working on Charlie’s vest.

“We’ll make it fast,” the shorter of the two men said. “We hear Charlie wants to be sprung.”

“Huh?” Brenda stood up.

“We don’t know nothin’ about that,” Squeaky said. “Where’d you hear that?”

The man didn’t look at Squeaky. His eyes were on mine. “So what’s the deal?”

“I don’t know anything about it.” I didn’t.

The two looked at each other. Then the short one grinned. “Well, that’s cool… just forget it ever happened.” They walked out, climbed in their car, and drove away. To this day I have no idea what their visit was all about.

That same week a motion for discovery was made by the defense, and all the prosecution’s evidence (including my statements) was turned over to Charlie and his ever-changing team of lawyers. I had known this would happen eventually, but I didn’t think it would be that soon. I would later learn that on the very day Charlie was presented with those documents we at Spahn’s had set things up for an acid trip to celebrate our return to the ranch.

It was rather chilly the night we gathered inside the saloon to play music and smoke a little grass. I had Mark Ross pass out the acid, and we all dropped at the same time. It was good acid and we each took one tab. Sitting at the head of the circle on a pillow, with Sandy and Brenda on one side and Squeaky on the other, I felt as though I had assumed control. I sensed at once that Kevin and Mark were uptight. I signaled for Cappy and Ginny to move closer to Mark. We all joined hands and I initiated some motion into the circle. It was then that I saw Mark’s eyes kind of roll back in his head. I knew we might lose him if I didn’t intervene. I knelt in front of him and raised his hands, setting his palms against mine. “Hey, Mark… hey, man, don’t fade away on us.” I began exerting a slight pressure against his palms until he met the pressure with some resistance. When he did, I gave in to his motion, then applied pressure again. Pretty soon our hands began moving in a series of synchronized movements. I watched his eyes and saw he was coming around… the motion was bringing him around. I’d seen Charlie do the same thing countless times; pretty soon everyone was tripping out on me and Mark. Finally he looked me dead in the eye. As he spoke, so did I; the words we said were the same words:

“Are you doin’ that or am I?”

Afterward we all made love, then lay around rapping and listening to music. Sometime before dawn we heard three vehicles pull up in front of the saloon. Brenda blew out the candles, and Mark and I laid a cross beam across the door. We could hear the static from squad-car radios and the cops as they climbed out of their cars and began flashing their lights along the boardwalk.

“Go on down by the corral and take a look,” one of them said. “We’ll take a peek up this way.” The boardwalk creaked as they clomped past the saloon toward the tack room.

“Check the back door,” I whispered to Cappy. She walked quietly to the rear of the saloon, then came back and sat beside me.

“It’s locked,” she said. “Somebody must have told them we moved back here.”

Had they wanted, the cops could have gotten inside, but in listening to them, you got the feeling that they really didn’t want to. Finally they convened in front of the saloon, got in their cars, and split.

The next morning (though I was scheduled to appear in court on a traffic violation), I accompanied Clem to the Hall of Justice. He too had to appear in court. It was simple procedure; he merely wanted to change attorneys, substituting Daye Shinn (at Charlie’s suggestion) for Charles Hollopeter. All that was required of Clem was a one-word answer: “Yes.” But by then Steve Grogan was pretty far gone.

When he was finally called before the judge, he stood there dumbly, with a leering grin on his face, his hair disheveled across his forehead.

“Mr. Grogan, the court is informed that you no longer with Mr. Charles Hollopeter to represent you, that you have decided upon Mr. Daye Shinn as your new acting attorney. Is that true?”

Clem turned and looked at the girls who were seated among the spectators.

“Is that true?” the judge repeated.

“Huh?” Clem muttered.

“Young man, I’m talking to you… do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Huh?” Clem blurted again.

The judge then asked that Clem be taken next door and examined for being under the influence of drugs. Forty-five minutes later he was escorted into the courtroom again, it being determined that he was not under the influence of any drug or stimulant. When the judge repeated the question, however, Clem’s response was the same. We asked for a recess, and I took Clem outside.

“Look, man, all you got to do is say one word, ‘Yes.’ When he asks you if you want Daye Shinn, you say, ‘Yes.’”

“Huh?” he repeated.

Finally I just rared back and slapped him full in the face with the flat of my hand and shouted his name. “Steve… Steve… what the fuck is the matter?”

His eyes fluttered and he looked at me.

“What’s the matter?” I repeated. “Where the hell have you been? You okay?”


“You want to keep Hollopeter or do you want Daye Shinn?”

“I’d rather have Shinn; he seems to know more what’s happening.”

When court reconvened, we went back inside and he told the judge he wanted Daye Shinn.

Seeing Clem so completely “dodoed out” that morning unnerved me; he’d played the idiot so long that he’d literally become an idiot; all his responses were idiot responses – implants by Charlie. Steve Grogan had for all intents and purposes “ceased to exist.” Why this particular episode jolted me so, I don’t know. Unless it was the realization that my own idiocy was no less blatant. I didn’t go back to Spahn’s that afternoon. Instead, I drove out to Topanga Canyon to visit Black Beard and spent the night there.

The following morning I appeared before the judge for my traffic violation. Brenda and Squeaky went with me. Since I’d failed to show on two previous occasion, the old man was in no mood for excuses, and fined me sixty-five dollars or five days in jail. I asked the girls to go out to the car and get some money I’d stashed under the dashboard. They went out but didn’t come back, and I spent five days in the cooler, not knowing that Charlie had already given the girls copies of my statements to the D.A.

Charles Manson had spent twenty-three years in prison. To me, five days seemed an eternity, particularly since I knew I’d pushed my own games to their limit. Though I was in a cell with six other guys – half of them murder cases on appeal, the others alcoholics – I felt totally and utterly alone. I thought about the others in jail. I thought about what going to prison actually meant. I thought about Snake, sitting in a mental ward. I would later see a transcript of a statement she’d made to the police. When asked who she was, she replied, “I am a butterfly in a flower palace… I live on a sea of sand.” Perhaps for the first time I began to see what was happening. Not the sensationalism, the publicity, the theory, the great spectacle that was being created to glut the public’s craving for “meaning and justice.” What I saw was the truth, that the distance between good and evil is short; that the fine line between sanity and insanity is one we all walk; that I was on the brink of self-destruction. Around me were four walls and barred windows and men, who, in the face of life, preferred to stay drunk.

I was released in the morning (sometime around the end of March) and immediately hitchhiked up to Spahn’s. Five nights of insomnia had left me completely obliterated. Sandy, Brenda, and Squeaky were there waiting with copies of my statements to the police.

“What is this shit?” Squeaky shouted, springing to her feet.

“What?” I mumbled.

“Your goddamned testimony to the Inyo County pigs!”

“It’s the truth… it’s the -”


“Charlie always said we had nothing to hide… the truth will set you free.”

“It didn’t set you free, did it?” Brenda lashed out.

“You want to be free?” Sandy asked.

“Judas… you’re a Judas!”

“Get fucked!”

I walked out of the saloon and up to the Story-Book House. I grabbed the keys to Mark’s van, then trotted up the trail toward the outlaw shacks where it was parked. I didn’t know where I was going, but I was getting the hell out of L.A.

I stopped in Chatsworth and put some gas in the car, then headed for Topanga Canyon, deciding to see Black Beard before I split. I was completely disoriented, feeling disgust one moment, anguish the next. My entire being seemed molten, slippery, and out of control, as though all levels of consciousness belonged to the sea – to its currents, its waves, its vastness. I felt like some hapless sailing vessel on the brink of a storm. Part of it was exhaustion; part of it was I had reached the end and the beginning at the same time.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Marry a Manson Part 2

Part two of this stupidly enjoyable video.
Marry a Manson Part 1

See Donald Laisure look like Jabba the Hut! Watch Geraldo look smug and stupid! Here's Bill Nelson, pimping his illiterate book. Not sure what that lady is babbling about- "A Nation full of prisoners". Bill plays with a big knife....but at least blames TEX like he should. INCREDIBLE- stalking footage of children played on national television. Tex refuses to face Doris. Then Jabba speaks.(I seriously doubt Susan stabbed fatso but whatever) GOD WHERE ARE THE PROGRAMS LIKE THIS TODAY!!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Life With Charles Manson Chapter The Twenty Third

Part Four:

The Truth Will Set You Free

Chapter 23

Leaving the Family that night with Bruce for what I thought to be the last time did not break my ties with Charlie. Even after he was sent to L.A. county jail as a murder suspect. On the contrary, and for a variety of reasons, not the least of which, perhaps, was Charlie’s physical absence, I was drawn back to the Family.

Charlie’s powers, though he was behind bars, did not diminish. For months he would manipulate not only a large segment of the public and mass media but alos law enforcement officials, lawyers, even judges. He also managed to hold the Family together. Unwittingly, I helped him. He had attempted to program me for this long before: “When Helter-Skelter comes down, I’ll be back in the joint, it’ll be up to you.” While my motives were never completely clear, being at times as much subconscious as conscious, my actions did serve, as Crockett put it, “to hold the Family together when you should just let it die.” I continued to work with Crockett and Brooks, but I was divided within myself. I can honestly say that no time in my life was more agonizing than the months between Charlie’s capture and his conviction. I walked a mighty thin line. The view from the middle often gives a panorama of all sides. But my balance was precarious at best, and what I paid for that vantage point in suffering was more than I could afford. That I survived at all appears, in retrospect, something of a miracle.

The hillsides around Shoshone are riddled with manmade caves, dug originally by itinerant miners, prospectors, and other vagabonds, who, over the years, found the town a convenient oasis in the scorching lowlands of the Amargosa Valley. Shoshone was also a water stop on the railroad line and for a time the site of a thriving hobo jungle which centered in and around the tufa caves. Crockett and Poston were broke and living in one of those caves when I arrived on October 9. Don Ward had told them (as he did me) not to leave Shoshone, that the Barker Ranch was about to be busted.

The following day, just before dawn, while the three of us slept off a reunion celebration on the floor of the cave, officers from the highway patrol, the Inyo county sheriff’s office, and the national park rangers assembled near Golar Wash for a raid on the Barker Ranch—a raid that lasted three days and resulted in the capture of Charlie and most of the Family. All were taken to the Inyo county seat in Independence (just four hours north of Shoshone) and booked for auto theft.

I didn’t know then, nor did Brooks or Crockett, that during the raid Stephanie (Schram) and Kitty Lutesinger (Bobby Beausoleil’s girlfriend, who was then five months pregnant with his child) had been trying to escape from the Family. They asked the police for protection and were taken to Independence to be interviewed by detectives. When it was learned that Kitty was Bobby’s girlfriend, she was asked what she knew about the Hinman murder. She said she had heard that Manson sent Bobby and a girl named Susan Atkins to Hinman’s house to collect some money and that when he refused to pay, they had killed him.

On October 13, Brooks, Crockett, and I were escorted to Independence by Don Ward and officers of the highway patrol. Brooks and Paul had already made statements to law enforcement officials (including Ward) as to the nature of “goings-on” at the Barker Ranch. They had talked about Charlie’s philosophy and Helter-Skelter. The law, however, at that point, was little interested in such bizarre and unlikely tales. Their primary concern, it seemed (at least on the surface), was that Manson and the others be identified and linked to the stolen vehicles found at the ranch. We were shown photographs of dune buggies and Harleys and asked to identify them. We did; both privately to Dave Steuber of the highway patrol and later that week during Charlie’s preliminary hearing in the Inyo county courthouse.

But during that hearing, things changed drastically.

One morning flocks of reporters appeared in the courtroom; not only L.A. and local press, but foreign correspondents as well; what had started out as a quiet, routine procedure became suddenly a circus of spectators, reporters, cops, and lawyers. Word was out that this was not a simple case of auto theft. Charles Manson had become a murder suspect.

Independence, though it’s the seat of Inyo County, is a small, immaculate town located in the heart of the Owens Valley at the foot of the eastern Sierras. From the center of the main drag, snowcapped peaks are visible year round. The county itself is the second largest in the state but has fewer than 17,000 inhabitants. During the court proceedings it seemed as though all of them had flocked to Independence. I remember Crockett saying one morning, "Jesus, there just ain’t no place to hide.” Everywhere we went, we were hounded by reporters. Crockett told us to keep quiet and let things blow over a little. But that didn’t happen. It just got more intense.

Finally one morning while we were drinking coffee in a waiting room outside the courthouse, Crockett said it was time we told some of the story to the press.

“Look at it this way,” he said. “Old Charlie always wanted his story told…we might as well tell it. It ain’t all pretty, but it needs to be told; people should know what the hell went on…what can happen to the mind. Most people ain’t gonna believe it anyway, but eventually there’s gonna be a lot said about it…hell, there’s gonna be books written about it.”

Another of Crockett’s motives, though he didn’t express it at the time, was money. We were stone broke. We couldn’t go back to the mine; police had made Golar Wash a restricted area. Meanwhile, foreign correspondents were clamoring for information. The more we refused to talk, the more they wanted “to make a deal” for our story. Two days before leaving Independence, we agreed to meet in L.A. and give it to them.

Around the middle of November, at approximately the same time Sadie was at Sybil Brand Penitentiary for Woman telling her story to Ronnie Howard, Juan, Brooks, Crockett, and I met with reporters (Don Dornan, Iver Davis, and Jerry Le Blanc) in Sherman Oaks and told them what we knew about the Manson Family—including the murder of Gary Hinman and what we’d heard regarding Shorty’s death. The interviews lasted five days and resulted in the publication of articles in both Spain and Germany as well as a book (which we did not agree to) that was later released, called Five to Die. We were paid eleven hundred dollars each for our information. Afterward Crockett, Brooks, and I went to Shoshone, while Juan remained in L.A.

It was a scary time for us. Word had it that Charlie had issued more threats; most of the Family, including Clem and Bruce, had been released from Inyo County and were back in L.A. living at Spahn’s. Our own living conditions in the cave were by no means pleasant. Without electricity or water we were forced to use candles and to transport water a mile up the mountain from Shoshone in five-gallon containers. Since Golar Canyon was off limits, we could not go to the mine and we had to find work in Shoshone. I managed to get hired washing dishes in the Shoshone Café and also worked with Brooks and Crockett doing town maintenance for the Charles Brown Company; we worked our asses off; did everything—trimmed trees, painted buildings, laid concrete, dug ditches, pumped cesspools.

In late November we moved out of the cave and rented a house on the main highway across the street from the high-school football field. It was a small place: two bedrooms, a tiny narrow kitchen, and a fair-sized living room. There was also a small fireplace, which became essential as weather turned colder in winter. In front of it, Crockett set up his table, and at night after work, while we practiced our music, he spent hours playing solitaire. Around Christmastime, Juan Flynn moved in with us. By then Charlie, Sadie, and Leslie had been charged with murder and indicted. Katie and Tex were still out of the state. Juan brought us further news; others associated with the Manson Family had reportedly been killed. One of them was Joel Dean Pugh, Sandra Good’s ex-husband; the other, a young man I’d met two months before, John Philip Haught, better known as Zero.

Shoshone was far from mellow for any of us. People didn’t take to ex-Manson Family members living in their midst, particularly after the story in the L.A. Times: SUSAN ATKINS’ STORY OF TWO NIGHTS OF MURDER. Notices were posted advising that people keep their children, particularly their young daughters, under lock and key while we were in town. Petitions were circulated to have us removed; letters were sent tot he district attorney. Being glared at, ignored, and verbally berated became a part of our daily existence, and while, in time, it lessened somewhat, it never stopped completely. The only saving grace was that Don Ward, one of the few people who sought to understand the dynamics of the Manson family, became our friend and to some extent served as a buffer between us and the public at large.

Sometime around Christmas, shortly after Charlie had been granted the right to defend himself, I felt the urge to go to L.A. and see the Family. I don’t know if it was a programmed response, an implant Charlie had made months before—curiosity, guilt, or a perverse sense of my own confusion. I don’t know what it was. But I did miss the Family and still considered many of its members my friends. When I told Crockett, he said it didn’t surprise him. He said it would take a long time to get free of Charlie’s programs and my ties to the Family, and that I wouldn’t ever do it by avoiding the issue. I’d read the newspaper accounts. I’d listened to Juan. I could well imagine the paranoia at Spahn’s. But I wanted to extricate some meaning from all the horror and carnage, to step back into the nightmare and find something worth salvaging.

When I asked Juan if he’d heard anything about Snake, he said he had. “They sent her to mental hospital.”

The first thing I did when I got to L.A. was call Patton State Hospital. They said Dianne Lake was there but that I couldn’t see her. Afterward I went directly to the Los Angeles county jail to see Charlie. The meeting was arranged by Charlie’s lawyer, Daye Shinn, who escorted me to the small glass-enclosed room where we both waited. Moments later, Charlie came in – all smiles – clean-shaven and wearing his blue-jumpsuit prison garb.

“Hey, brother… hey… where the hell you been?” He gave me a hug and grinned at Daye Shinn. “This is the man I been waiting for,” he said.

“How’s things, Charlie?”

He shrugged. “I’m just here for Christmas.” He winked at Daye Shinn. “I always come home for Christmas.”

Charlie lit a cigarette and pulled the ashtray in front of him. “Lot to do,” he said. “The girls need your help, you know… all this legal shit to attend to. They got a place on Chandler Street in Van Nuys. Got the scene going at Spahn’s too. We’re getting the album out. You got to help them out, keep things together.”

Listening to Charlie rap, you’d have thought he was free. He spoke as though nothing had changed and that being in prison for murder was merely a temporary inconvenience. He was, in fact, excellent in spirits. Overnight, he’d become an internationally known figure; he’d made the cover of Life magazine. There was also a small yet vocal segment of radicals who were calling him a hero. My impulse was to ask him about the Tate-La Bianca murders, but with Daye Shinn sitting beside me I remained silent.

“What you been doing?” he finally asked me.

Before I could reply, he went on. “You still with Crockett?”

I nodded.

“Hey, tell me something… does he try? I mean, psychic energy… You know, does he try, or does it just happen? I mean, I sit in my cell and put all my attention on the bars to make them dissolve… but they won’t do it, you know. They won’t do it because I try.”

I told Charlie that Crockett didn’t try.

I realized even then how dangerous a game I was playing. You can’t be on all sides at once. Yet that’s what I was doing. I was with Crockett. I was also with those who sought to prosecute Charles Manson. Along with Brooks and Juan I had told the D.A. and the other cops all I knew about the Family. Yet when Charlie asked what I’d said to the law, I didn’t lie. “We’re just telling your story, Charlie… you know… just tellin’ it like it is, ‘cause your story has to be told… the true story.”

“Dig it,” Charlie quipped, glancing at Shimm. “The truth will set you free… even Crockett will tell you that.”

What struck me then, and continued to amaze me during subsequent visits with Charlie, was his preoccupation with Crockett. Invariably he would ask about my relationship to him, and if he had taught me anything I might pass along. I told Charlie that if I could think of anything I’d let him know.

After leaving the jail, I drove directly to Spahn’s Ranch in a battered Chevy pickup I’d borrowed from a friend of Juan’s. As I wound my way up Santa Susana Pass in second gear, I’d flashed on all the journeys I’d made on that road with Charlie and the family; of the day Brenda and Snake had first taken me there. All that had transpired since then seemed beyond comprehension. I felt apprehensive as I turned into the driveway. On the surface, things hadn’t changed. George and Pearl were still there; so was Randy. Gypsy and Squeaky continued to minister to George’s needs. The wranglers worked; the tourists came and went. So did the law. The paranoia Juan spoke about was all too apparent. Driving up to the boardwalk was almost eerie.

Squeaky, Brenda, Sandy, and Clem were standing by the saloon when I pulled in. While Clem, as usual, was pretty spaced-out, the girls seemed alert and animated. They greeted me with open arms.

“Charlie said you’d be back,” Brenda said beaming.

I spent the afternoon at Spahn’s. I saw George and Pearl, then took a walk up to the outlaw shacks. I watched the wranglers herding horses toward the corral. I though of the first summer at Spahn’s, when things had been good. I thought of Shorty Shea. That night I went with the Family, or what remained of it – Squeaky, Brenda, Gypsy, Sandy, Clem, and a kid named Kevin – to the Chandler Street house in Van Buys. On the way, Squeaky told me about the trial; about Leslie, Katie, and Sadie. She said things were working out well; that Charlie would handle his own defense and that he would get off. She also said that the album was being but in wax and would soon be released.

The Chandler Street house was a two-bedroom, two-bath structure in the center of an upper-middle-class residential area in Van Nuys. The property was surrounded by a thick hedge on one side and a chain-link fence on the other; there was an outdoor patio in the back, where we convened to discuss legal matters, entertain reporters, and play music. The living room was cluttered with amplifiers, and musical instruments, but was otherwise orderly. At that time the Family had three vehicles, two of which were parked out in front of the house – a late-model Volkswagen van (belonging to another new guy named Mark Ross) and an old Studebaker sedan. There was also a pickup truck, which was kept at Spahn’s.

My return to the Family changed the nature of things immediately. If the girls harbored any suspicions as to my loyalty, they didn’t show it. I was needed. The Manson Family was based on male leadership; Charlie’s absence had created a real void, a void Clem (and later Bruce Davis) would never be able to fill, nor the young recruits like Kevin and Mark, who began hanging around after the arrests. Unconsciously I fell into the role at once.

While Squeaky continued to brief me on all the legal issues – who needed what, which lawyers had to be fired or hired – I began instituting my own programs, a return to the original philosophy of being unified in love and music. It was completely insane. Charlie was on trial for mass murder. Deep down, I was coming to believe he was guilty of those murders. Yet, there I was, working with the girls on Charlie’s behalf in court, while trying to regain some semblance of what the Family had once been. All of which seemed fine with Charlie, since the image he was then trying to project to the public was that of the enlightened hippie guru who had become the victim of a degenerate society. When I called Crockett and told him I was moving in with the Family, there was a long and pregnant silence on his end. Crockett never gave advice. He didn’t then. He merely quoted something from the Bible: “Fools go where angels fear to tread.”

To this day I don’t know just what forces were impelling me. I was later accused of being a spy for the police, but this was never the case. In part, it was the fulfillment of my role in the Family. Charlie had said, “I am you and you are me.” That statement was always more applicable to me than to anyone else. He had also said, “Someday you’ll be taking over.” Too, I may have been motivated by a sense of guilt for having deserted the Family, but just Charlie, but everyone. I wanted to get back to what we once had. Perhaps with Charlie gone there was a chance. But I knew that this was a false hope. Charlie was never gone from the minds of his followers. Though there were times when I realized how much danger I was in, I could not let go. That is the power of programming, and what this book is about.

When I saw Juan in L.A. several days later and told him what was happening, he said I was crazy. “Seem to me like you try and commit suicide.”

By that time, Crockett, Brooks, and I had all made statements to the D.A.’s investigators. This information, I knew, would be turned over to Charlie once a motion for discovery was made by the defense, which means that all evidence of the prosecution – documents, reports, interviews, everything – has to be submitted to the defense for examination. Charlie would see at once that my testimony against him was some of the most damaging, particularly what he had told me about killing Shorty Shea. Even so, there was a part of me which believed that Charlie would realize the wisdom of his own words: “The truth will set you free,” and that by telling the truth I was doing him a favor. Admitting this now is not easy; admitting to being a fool never is. But it was not merely a question of judgement; it was, in large part, the result of a process in which I had been locked up for more than a year and which left me completely fragmented; the power of programming, hypnosis, call it what you will. I was telling the truth. But I was telling it differently to different people; to Crockett; to the police; to the Family. In the face of all the horror – the real truth – I turned my head. It was not a question of personality, character or reason; it was like being a victim to a destiny I had to trust. I did know one thing; it couldn’t go on indefinitely.

For the next few weeks I met with Charlie, discussed strategy, helped the girls secure new lawyers; I spoke to Sadie and Leslie and conveyed Charlie’s messages. Meanwhile, at the Chandler Street house I reinstituted therapy sessions and love therapy and began indoctrinating the new guys in the arts of sex. For a time I did become Charlie in a way that I never had before.

Perhaps unconsciously I was proving that I could do in the Family what Charlie had done in the beginning; and by doing it, that it wasn’t such a great achievement. In some sense this would invalidate Charlie or at least prove to me that the programs I had accepted were not so important. Perhaps I was trying to free myself by walking a tightrope in front of Charlie’s nose, playing his game even better than he had played it. By the end of January 1970 the only thing I hadn’t done was to make love to Squeaky (Charlie’s number-one girl). I sensed that some of the other girls were generating pressure in that direction.

Only at night did my anxieties really surface. I began suffering from acute insomnia. When I did sleep, I’d invariably have nightmares. I fell into a habit (both at Spahn’s and sometimes at the Chandler Street house) of walking all night, alone. Only through total exhaustion could I relieve some of the tension. But I couldn’t go on living like that, and I knew it.

One morning (the day after I’d been told that Charlie had warned the girls to “Watch Paul!”), I returned from Spahn’s following an all-night hike. Though totally thrashed, I borrowed Mark Ross’s camper and drove it out to Topanga Canyon. I felt the need to see the ocean. Near the base of the canyon, just before it enters the coast highway, I stopped to buy a cup of coffee. As I pulled into the parking place, I saw I guy get out of his van and trot across the street toward the gas station. He looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure. I rolled down my window and shouted.

“Hey, Charlie… Black Beard Charlie!”