Charles Manson - The Story That Stopped the World in it's Tracks
Few crimes literally strike fear and horror into the collective hearts of this world. However the story of the Manson Family and specifically Charles Manson himself in 1969 managed to do exactly that, with the brutal murder of the beautiful 26 year old actress, Sharon Tate, who was stabbed 51 times, 40 years ago.
At that time, Sharon was 8 months pregnant and living with husband Roman Polanski at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. Polanski escaped being murdered himself, as he was working in London with the intention of returning for the birth of their baby.
When he was notified of his wife's death, Polanski immediately flew back to the U.S., under heavy sedation.
I'm bringing this story to you now, on what will be the 40th anniversary (in August) of those killings, because today the cult and gang mentality is becoming worse, not only in America, but in many countries.
Many youths today who have terrible home lives, brutalized, or living on the streets, are easily drawn into such groups, with catch phrases such as 'now you have a family to look out for you.'
Young people today, would probably only know about Manson if their parents had passed the story on to them and it's my personal opinion that they should know. It's in their interest to find out how toxic such relationships can become, before they are indoctrinated.
Certainly, I've never seen a crime live on long past itself, with a long reach into the new millenium.
Victor Bugliosi was the prosecuter in the Manson case and eventually wrote a book that I and many thousands of people read, called "Helter Skelter." I read it because the trial had become an enormous media circus and I wanted to find out exactly what did happen from the source - which was probably the same reason that many others read it.
Predictably, a movie was made from the book and I confess that I don't remember whether or not it was absolutely faithful to Bugliosi's book.
Sharon Tate was not the only victim to fall at the hands of 'The Family'. The death list included Jay Sebring (Doris Day's son); Wojciech (Voyteck) Frykowski; Steve Parent and Abilgail Folger (the coffee heiress.)
With the blood still fresh on their knives and perverted minds, they murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, the following day. Manson had hoped that these two murders would incite a race war, believing that it was prophesied by the Beatle's song - "Helter Skelter."
While sourcing this article, I was surprised to find that there is still a fansite dedicated to Sharon Tate by her sister, Debra Tate. Somehow it seems fitting that if Manson and his cronies are still in the news, that this beautiful woman's life should be celebrated beyond their miserable existence.
F.A.C.T.net lists all the current cults of today and I must admit, I wasn't surprised to see Scientology listed, which I believe to be one of the most insidious cults of today.
Here is a synopsis of what happened on that fateful night when Sharon Tate and her friends were brutally murdered:
Manson sent the psycho posse out on their infamous errand. Tex Watson, Pat Krenwinkle, Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian (coz she was the only one with a driver's license) got in a 1959 Ford, and drove to the house on Cielo Drive.
They arrived around midnite. Tex cut the phone lines, which landed on the gate. They scaled the hillside behind the gate, for fear of electric shock. Once on the other side, they encountered Steve Parent, 18, driving towards them in his white Rambler.
Parent was visiting William Garretson, the caretaker - and trying to sell him a radio. Garretson was staying in the guest cottage, at the far end of the property. Watson tells the girls to hide when the headlights head their way. Tex held up his hand and ordered Parent to "HALT".
"Please don't hurt me, I won't say anything." were Steve's last words. Bang bang bang bang. Point blank distance. Wrong place, wrong time. Big Time.
Here are some of the latest known photographs of Sharon Tate.
Back in 1969, it seemed that Manson, or anything to do with him, was on the lips of the public - disbelief; shock; horror; anger and absolutely no acceptance. The 'Family' were entirely devoted to Manson and that might have something to do with the fact that drugs were freely distributed and taken on the ranch where they lived.
Manson at his best, had an electric and charismatic nature. Put that together with drugs and they loved him even more than they did when they arrived.
He still wears the swastika proudly carved into his forehead this day.
Today he has lost that charisma with age, looking old at 74 (pictured). He still petitions for parole each time it comes up, but he is serving several consecutive life sentences and will not be paroled in his lifetime.
However, his next parole hearing will be in 2012 where I and millions of other people hope, that he'll be denied any kind of freedom again. With any luck, the parole board will restate what they said at a parole hearing in 2007:
Despite his age, Manson "continues to pose an unreasonable danger to others and may still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with," the board wrote in its denial.
Manson has had 12 disciplinary violations since his last parole hearing in 2002. He refused to take advantage of rehabilitation programs, and he would not participate in a psychiatric evaluation, Sequeira said.
"He refused to cooperate, so the conclusion they drew from the reports is he still remains a danger to the public," Sequeira said in a telephone interview. "He was convicted of nine horrible murders. He has expressed no remorse or empathy for any of the victims."
It is interesting to note here, the differences in the judicial system then - and now. Because Manson was never actually at the murder sites and didn't personally commit any of the murders - it was clear through testimony by the rest of 'the family' that he had been the malevolent mastermind and power that sent them all out to commit the atrocities.
I suppose today, he would have been exonerated, due to 'circumstantial evidence' and he would have been free to add to his 'family' to kill again, and again, and again.
It's amazing how this story will not die. It became news again because of his recent parole hearing and the new movie that is currently out on DVD named: "The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter."
N.B. I had carefully described each photograph, however those descriptions have now disappeared!
Profile of Charles Manson
by Charles Montaldo
The following are web sites 'devoted' to Charles Manson
ACCESS MANSON - The Web Site Dedicated To Charles Manson (website down, unsure how long)
The Buffalo News
Prison Releases Photo of Elderly Charles Manson
The Tate Murders
San Francisco Chronicle
Charles Manson Again Denied Parole
The Tate Murders
The Charles Manson Debate
The Manson Family