On August 9, 1969, the inhabitants of 10050 Cielo Drive were slaughtered by the Manson Family. Who did it and what were their motives?
The executioners themselves: Charles “Tex” Watson”, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel were on a mission to kill. They personally did not know their victims.
Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel
Charles Manson did. He met actress Sharon Tate four months earlier. He’d been looking for record producer Terry Melcher. The house was now being rented by film director Roman Polanski and his wife actress Sharon Tate.
Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski
At the front door, Manson was rebuffed, then rudely sent away by an associate. There was enough time for Sharon to come to the door and ask who it was. There, they would meet. Tate’s only comment later on was “Who was that creepy guy?”
Charles Manson and his tribe of castoff hippies lived at the Spahn Movie Ranch in Death Valley. Manson had been out of prison for two years – a habitual criminal who’d spent his life stealing, pimping and assaulting others.
What set Manson off to become a mass murderer? His heroes were the Beatles He felt they were sending messages to the psychically-attuned, especially with the White Album. According to Paul McCartney, “Helter Skelter” is about a rollercoaster. “Helter Skelter is coming down.” Manson interpreted it as a near-future race war, so he planned to set it off by his own killing spree.
Mixed up in all of this is “Charlie’s” quest to become a rock star. Manson thought his music would rocket him to stardom. The closest he came was with his song “Cease to Exist” retitled “Never Learn Not to Love” sung by the Beach Boys. Beach Boy Dennis Wilson befriended Manson, then escaped from him when he realized what a dangerous character he was. (Manson threatened to kill him when he changed the title of his song and took writing credit.)
Wilson’s friend Terry Melcher heard Manson sing previously and wasn’t impressed. Like Hollywood folks do, he gave “Charlie” a false promise to keep in touch. His broken word led Manson final proof to his rejection by the establishment. No fame, no riches, no groupies, no movie or TV show appearances.
I suspect when Miss Tate saw her future executioner, she gave him a look – a look of disapproval. All this added to the paranoid, schizophrenic, drug-fueled rage of the Manson Family.
Roman Polanski by the door where “PIG” is written in his wife’s blood.
The first victim was Steven Parent, who was there to pick up a radio from the caretaker, William Garretson. A classic case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring shortly before the murders.
Jay Sebring, hairstylist to the stars and former fiancé of Sharon Tate.
Abagail Folger would have inherited the coffee empire, if she had lived.
Wojtek Frykowski, Polish friend of Roman’s Folger’s lover.
Actress Sharon Tate, best known for “Valley of the Dolls” and “The Fearless Vampire Killers” (both 1967.) She was eight and a half months pregnant with the sixth victim, often unmentioned.
As bad as the killings were, Charles Manson wanted them to be much worse. The plan was for “Tex” Watson to tie them up with rope, hang them up from the rafters and butcher them like hogs. Instead, Frykowski and Folger would squirm free from their ties, while Watson was killing Jay Sebring, who protested the treatment of Tate. Sebring is shot, his face kicked in, then stabbed. Sharon’s face is slashed by Watson. Frykowski makes a break for the front door, where he is caught, and repeatedly stabbed. Likewise, Abagail Folger attempts to run out by the pool, but is viscously stabbed, her white nightgown turned crimson red. Sharon asked to be taken hostage or at least be allowed to have her baby to no avail. Susan Atkins, who holds Tate, sitting on the couch, tells her, “Look bitch, you’re going to die and I don’t feel a thing about it. You’d better get ready.” With Sharon the only one left, they tire of her pleas for life and stab her to death. There is some panic because the lookout Linda Kasabian tells them she hear someone coming. Watson tells Atkins to write something in the victim’s blood. She writes “PIG” on the front door.
Autopsy diagram for Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate’s sister, mother and husband at her funeral.
Since then, Manson has become a counter-culture hero among the far-left, appearing on magazines, books, records and films. In a sick way, he achieved his dream of fame.
Manson died in prison at the age of 83. (2017)
In 1971, Manson and his family were found guilty of murder, punishable by the death penalty. This was reduced to life in prison. I ask, if this crime isn’t worth the death penalty, what is?
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