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Charles Manson And The Impact Of Helter Skelter
Charles Manson's Vision of Revelation 9:1-12 (The First Woe)
A Complex Catastrophe
August is a sunshine summer month that should bring thoughts of sunshine, picnics, vacations, and beaches; but it also reminds me of race riots and the mysterious August deaths of Marilyn Monroe and the victims of the Charlie Manson Family
The First Woe
1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. [Charles Manson wore a swastika carved into his forehead, while Family cult members worse an "x".]
Numerous historic events can be celebrated on any date of the year. However, summer dates in the Northern Hemisphere may bring forth a higher proportion of violent events given the rising heat that pushes people to irritation breaking points.
Do murder, mayhem, and madness increase with the summer heat? They seem to do so.
Fox News broadcasted a commemorative review on each night of August 7 and 8, 2009 to remind audiences of such murder and mayhem as occurred on the August 9th of 40 years previously.
One of the most historically infamous events in America on August 9h,1969 when the Charles Manson Family murdered a pregnant actress and several other people. Their goal was to blame Blacks for the crimes in order to set off a racial war that Manson had predicted on December 31, 1968 and had named Helter Skelter.
When he was finally arrested, Manson gave his name as Charles Manson aka Jesus Christ aka God. He also reported that he was the Fifth Angel of the Book of Revelation.
Was the Manson plot social engineering toward hoped-for genocide of Blacks and whites, madness, or both? It must definitely be both, along with the determination to gain supreme power over all others. The following is an outline of the related events, and a number of books, films, websites, trial transcripts, and TV events provide the greater details.
An odd and star-studded chain of events led to the night of Helter Skelter.
Charles Manson wanted to be a musician. He was obsessed with The Beatles and repeatedly stated that he would surpass them in musical fame. He claimed that The Beatles' White Album contained code that predicted a far ranging coast-to-coast racial riot by American Blacks.
In addition, he claimed that his family of cult members must record a similar album in order to trigger that riot. Mansion wanted that riot to politically divide whites, whom he felt subsequently would kill one another off -- Then the Manson Family would rule over the Blacks (for what reason in unclear).
Two of the Manson family were given a ride by the Beach Boy's Dennis Wilson, who later provided studio time to record some Manson songs. In fact, the family invaded the house and lived with Wilson for a time, running up bills and wrecking his cars. Interestingly, the Manson cult member known as "Tex" was a person that had given Wilson a ride along the road because his cars had been inoperative.
Through Wilson, these family members met music producer Terry Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day. Melcher had rented his and girlfriend Candice Bergen's home on Cieolo Drive. They moved out of it after cutting ties with the Manson family and the owner rented it to Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. When Wilson and Melcher severed all ties with the Manson family after witnessing violence from Charles - including evicting the entire cult from Wilson's home - Manson became infuriated at the rejection and the loss of potential music income.
The Manson cult moved to three different ranches near and in Death Valley between August - November 1968: the Spahn, Myers, and Barker Ranches, and picked up additional cult members. During the first 8 months of 1969, the Manson family instigated racial tensions by defrauding a Black drug dealer, after which Manson shot him, though not fatally.
Later, the cult attempted to rob a white male acquaintance, failed after holding him hostage for days, and stabbed him multiple times and to death. Then they drew a Black Panther symbol on the wall of the man's room in order to blame Blacks for the stabbing murder.
On the evening of 08/08/1969, Charles Manson declared that Helter Skelter was to begin and that his family should murder everyone at "Melcher's house" as "gruesomely as they could."
This was accomplished after midnight on August 9th.
Copy Cat in 1970
The film Fatal Vision (1984), based on a true 1970 story, is about US Army Captain Jeff MacDonald, a well known surgeon at Fort Bragg, married with two children. He calls the MPs to his house, because his is injured and his wife and children murdered. He blames it all on a gang of drugged hippies like the Manson Family. The crime scene does not bear that out and MacDonald is still in prison in 2009.
First Murder Scene, August 8 - early August 9
Sharon Tate was almost 9 months pregnant on August 9, 1969 and while Polanski was out of town for work, Sharon had house guests that included Abigail Folger of Folger's Coffee, hair stylist Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, and Steven Parent (18-year-old met on Cielo Drive and killed), making 5 people in the household - 6 if you include the unborn baby.
The victims were all murdered by the Manson family via multiple gunshot wounds and stabbings. Charles Manson did not appear on the scene.
After these murders, Melcher adopted a low profile and hired a bodyguard. However, he went on to produce the musical group The Byrds and his mother's TV show, wrote music, and devoted time to the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Second Murder Scene, August 9th - early Augst 10th
The second house chosen for mass murder was chosen because it was next door to a house in Los Angeles where Charles Manson and members of his cult family had attended a party about a year previously.
This was the house of Leno and Rosemary LiBianca. Accounts from various members of the cult differ, but the couple was eventually tied up and stabbed multiple times with a large kitchen knife, a large meat fork, a steak knife, and a bayonet. members of the family wrote inflammatory words, like "death to pigs", on the refrigerator and some walls.
Next, Manson ordered three cult members to travel to the home of an actress one of them knew in Venice, California and murder her as well, but this plan failed.
Bloody words left at the crime scene as reflecting elements of The Beatles' White Album.
The White Album's "Helter Skelter"
Arrest, Release, And Re-Arrest
On August 16, the local sheriff's department arrested Charles Manson and 25 cult members in relation to a stolen vehicle ring and released them a few dates later, because of lack of evidence. Nearly all were arrested again after the middle of October in a joint effort by the Sheriff, CHPs, and a a group of US National Park Rangers.
Apparently, the cult has stolen vehicles as well as some heavy equipment from Death Valley Monument National Park. Manson had also apparently unsuccessfully attempted to hire a motorcycle gang to act as bodyguards for the Family. Much information was revealed by the overall investigation, including "blabbing" done by female members of the Family in detention.
Interestingly, the Tate and LaBianca murders had each been investigated by separate law enforcement teams. The team embroiled in the LaBianca murders recognized some of the bloody words left at the crime scene as reflecting elements of The Beatles' White Album and were able to connect the two crime scenes to the same murderers.
Continuing Helter Skelter
Like the roller coaster ride called the "Helter Skelter", events of the Manson race-war plot continued to roll, even while he and several cult members remained in prison after the 1970 - 1971 trial and sentencing proceedings.
Other murders and attemtp4ed murders occurred around the Tate-LaBianca events, but remained unproven as to connection with the Family crimes. However, cult member Squeaky Fromme attempted to assassinate Present Gerald Ford on September 5, 1975 and thereby gained additional renown for the Family and Charles Manson.
The body of a Manson murder victim, Shorty Shea, a ranch hand blamed for the cult's final arrest was found when cult member Steve Grogan revealed the burial location in 1977.
During the 1980s, several high profile TV interviews were done with Charles Manson. In the autumn of 1984, another inmate poured paint thinner over him and lit it, but Manson survived.
Renewed interest in the Manson Family in the 2000s led to further TV investigative documentaries and interviews with cult members and associated individuals, and new forensics searches of the ranches the Family had inhabited. While no additional bodies have been uncovered, books and films about the Manson cult have been quite successful.
Additional Comprehensive Information
- Trial of Charles Manson - University of Missouri - Kansas City, School of Law
A collection of primary documents, essays, maps, photos, and other materials relating to the trial of mass murderer Charles Manson.
- Charles Manson and the Family - CharlieManson.Com
CharlieManson.Com is a website with much unique information about Charles Manson and The Family.
Where are the Manson Family members and the other participants of the Helter Skelter Trial?
The very name ‘Manson’ has become a metaphor for evil, and evil has its allure. (On the longevity of the Manson story; 2009)— Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (1935 - 2015)
Manson Family Updates
- Charles Manson, born 1934: California State Prison, Corcoran. Plays guitar in his cell. Denied parole 12 times, next hearing in 2027. At some time, he changed the X on his forehead to a swastika. He planned to marry one of his "fans" in 2015, but the marriage license expired, according to the L.A. Times.
- Charles "Tex" Watson, born 1945 - Manson's lieutenant fled to Texas and was extradited to California. Says he is a born-again Christian and teaches prison Bible study at Mule Creek State Prison, Ione, CA. Apparently, he had four children after marrying while incarcerated. He has a website called aboundinglove.org.
- Susan Atkins (1948 - 2009) - Confessed to stabbing Sharon Tate to death with 16 wounds, then hanging her. Filed for "compassionate release" in 2008 because of a terminal illness and the request was denied. Next parole hearing was September 2, 2009 and she died in 2009.
- Patricia Krenwinkel, born 1947 - California’s longest-serving female inmate. Participated in both the Tate and LaBianca murders. She is tagged “model prisoner” at the California Institution for Women in Corona. She earned a degree and is teaching inmates to read, but has been denied parole 12 times.
DEATH TO PIGS— Patricia Krenwinkel
- Leslie Van Houten, born 1949 - Participated in the LaBianca murders. She cut off all ties with Manson and claims brainwashing under the influence of LSD. She is incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Corona, Calif. Denied parole at least 12 times.
- Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, born 1948 - She served a sentence for treason at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell in Texas and was released on August 16, 2009.
- Bruce Davis - Convicted of murder in the cases of performers Gary Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea. While in prison, he has so far been married, had a child, become an ordained minister, and earned a PhD in religion at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo.
- Linda Kasabian - She acted as the driver for the Tate and LaBianca murderers and turned state's evidence, released after her testimony.
- Debra Tate, age 56 – Age 16 at the time of her sister’s death. She lives nearby LA and works for victims' rights.
© 2009 Patty Inglish