Showing posts with label Helter Skelter Motive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Helter Skelter Motive. Show all posts

Friday, October 16, 2015

Was Helter Skelter “unreasonable”? Part 2: LSD/Psychedelics

To the acid enhanced mind, the philosophy and resulting “prophecies” of Helter Skelter do not necessarily appear nonsensical or even untrue. While many laugh at the apparent folly of living in underground cities, having shrunk in size to get into the hole in the desert, it is frequently overlooked how one of the effects of LSD is the distortion of size & space. Charlie’s mate, ‘Phil’ Phillips recalls during his first acid trip “I wanted to get out of the bus and I looked out the window and the bus was about 10,000 feet up in the air and all I could see down there was the earth. So I changed my mind, I said ‘I don’t wanna get out of the bus.’

John Lennon on being in George Harrison’s bungalow during his first trip; “And then George’s house seemed to be, you know, just like a big seemed to float above his wall which was 18 foot, and I was driving it.”

Without a doubt, the use of psychedelic drugs like LSD, peyote, psilocybin and mescaline played a major role in opening up new and unusual doors for various family members to pass through, both before and during their time with Charlie. Writer Steve Turner in his book “Hungry for Heaven {Rock and roll and the search for redemption}” observes of LSD, “this was the Damascus Road tablet. People started out on trips as hard nosed materialists after a bit of fun and emerged with their egos ripped & mauled, unsure at first whether they’d seen God or were God. Whatever they’d been through, the world appeared many, such experiences were devastating. There was nothing in their background or education by which to interpret it. Literally overnight all their values & assumptions were challenged.”

It’s worth looking at some of the things said by or about some of the people of the period in relation to psychedelics, in particular LSD, if only to get some sense of the internal changes that young Westerners, contemporaries of the family, were experiencing.

George Harrison {The Beatles}: “It’s shattering because it’s as though someone suddenly wipes away all you were taught or brought up to believe as a child and says ‘that’s not it.’ You’ve gone so far, your thoughts have become so lofty and there’s no way of getting back.” 

For Timothy Leary, according to author Jay Stevens, his first trip “was the most shattering experience of his life.” Ralph Metzner said of Leary the following day, that he had the “blank look of someone who is seeing too much” and he kept blabbing on about the “plastic doll world & the total death of the self.” Stevens describes Leary as having “soared off the map” and Leary himself stated “from the date of this session, it was inevitable that we would leave Harvard, that we would leave American society.”

John Lennon {the Beatles} said that after his first trip “I was pretty stunned for a month or two.”

Jerry Garcia {the Grateful dead}: “It was the truth so you know it absolutely. You don’t have to wonder whether it is, it’s not in the form of an idea. It’s in the form of a complete freed me because I suddenly realised that my little attempt at having a straight life was really a fiction.”

Eric Clapton {Cream, Yardbirds}: “Part of the trap is that they open the doors to unreleased channels or rooms you hadn’t explored before or been allowed to open. It shook all your foundations. After the first couple of times you realised that everything you’d been using as guidelines up to that point was actually pretty flexible if you happened to question it, which acid obviously did”

Brian Wilson {Beach boys}: “Glen Campbell exclaimed ‘whew Brian ! What were you smoking when you wrote that [Good vibrations] ?’ A better question would’ve been ‘what was I dropping ?’”

Writer and former actress Thelma Moss says she became convinced of the unconscious because of LSD. During one trip she became a legless beggar in a desert sandstorm and heard a voice deep within her whispering “I died here...” She later said that “truth & lies & absurdity & grandeur were all mixed together in the psychedelic experience.” On another trip, she came to an abyss: “as I plummeted down, I felt myself growing smaller & smaller...I was becoming a child, a baby. I was a baby. I was not remembering being a baby. I was literally a baby. The conscious part of me realized I was experiencing the phenomena of age regression, familiar in hypnosis. But...though I had become a baby, I remained at the same time a grown woman lying on a couch. This was a double state of being.” A rather eye opening statement of hers: “I travelled deep into the buried regions of the mind. I discovered that in addition to being, consciously, a loving mother and respectable citizen, I was, unconsciously, a murderess, a pervert, a cannibal, a sadist and a masochist.”

Catherine Share: “LSD... completely destroyed my mind and made me like a little child for many years.”

Keith Richards {Rolling Stones}: “There’s not much you can really say about acid except God, what a trip ! Stepping off into this area was very uncertain, uncharted...the most amazing thing that I can remember on acid is watching birds fly – birds that kept flying in front of my face that weren’t actually there. I could almost see every wing movement. It was slowed down to the point where I could even say ‘I could do that !’ That’s why I understand the odd person jumping out of a window, because the whole notion of how it’s done is suddenly clear.” He adds, “it was the unknown with acid {you can’t really control it}. You didn’t know if you’d come back or not.”

Susan Atkins: “You’d have to understand what acid does to the mind in order to understand how a person can get confused behind drugs. And that would take a thesis, writing a book on what LSD can do to the mind.....I used to think that you came down off an acid trip after 12 hours; that’s not true. Every time you take LSD you [inaudible] expand, the moral fibre of your character which is put in you or when you grow up – everybody grows up with different morals according to their culture- when you take acid, your mind expands beyond these moral characteristics and your concepts of right & wrong so you step out beyond those bounds and when you step out beyond those bounds the imagination begins to take over and the imagination can be a very deceitful thing, it’s a fantasy. When you take acid, you go out beyond that and you think you’re coming back to where you started from originally. You don’t.  And every time you drop acid, you get a little bit further away from reality. And I took so much acid that I was what I would term ‘spaced’ and it took me many years to, what I term now, ‘re~enter’ and that was just through not having any acid and having to deal with reality every day.”

Adelle Davis: “The most lasting value of the drug experience appears to be a number of convictions, most of them religious in nature, which are so strong that it makes not one iota of difference whether anyone agrees with them or not.”

Phil Phillips {Jail friend of Charles Manson}: “So I walked up to the front of the bus where Charlie was and Charlie was facing to the front...and then he turned around and he looked just like the Devil. And I said ‘Man, we’re in Hell’ and he says ‘Yeah, ain’t it groovy !’........I couldn’t, like, believe what was happening to me. Everything was just changing before me....I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening, so we’re back to Charlie again and I said ‘what’s wrong with me, like, what’s happening to me ?’ And he says ‘this is insanity’ and I says ‘yeah, but you know, I wanna go back.’ He says ‘no, stay over here, it’s better.’ I thought I was over like in another world....”

Jay Stevens again, on Michael Hollingshead after mixing up a batch of LSD in confectioner’s sugar: “Unthinkingly, he licked the spoon. Now, 250 millionths of a gram, which is a healthy dose of LSD is little more than a speck, so you can imagine what happened to Hollingshead after his impulsive lick. He went roaring off to ‘the Other World’ where he experienced a rare but not unknown problem: he couldn’t come back completely. It was as though he was lost midway between this world and the other one, a little like a spirit who ends up in limbo because of improper burial.”

Charles Watson: “All your life you had been taught a certain way to think, a certain set of moral values, a certain perspective on the world, how it worked, what was real. Most of these things you never questioned; it never occurred to you that they were a framework in your head which you used to understand and organize the constant sensory perceptions and information and experience that were being poured into your brain. You didn't think about this framework because it wasn't what you thought about, it was the way you thought. But acid changed all this by letting you see your familiar little mental world as separate from the sensory data it arranged in such neat, conventional packages. Acid shattered the connection between raw experience and your handy pre~programmed responses and judgments and categories. Space and time melted in your vision to take new forms; common objects could become monsters or revelations of God.” 

Tony Visconti {Record producer of David Bowie & Marc Bolan, among others} on his acid excursions: “Sometimes a feeling of sheer terror came over me when I listened to what normally seemed harmless songs. I sometimes heard nefarious messages in the lyrics that conjured Bosch like images of hell.”

Robert Hendrickson {Film maker and author}:”LSD was developed for psychiatrists to administer to their most disturbed patients so that their deepest and darkest secrets could be brought to the surface and dealt with. But it’s use has always been considered a very dangerous method of dealing with otherwise ‘unreachable’ patients. Thus LSD was the perfect tool to be used for extracting years of ‘establishment’ programming from the minds of the Family. It was their method for obtaining an ‘ego death’ state of mind.”

Pete Townshend {The Who}: “the Owsley LSD trip on the aeroplane was the most disturbing experience I had ever had....I was on the verge of really losing my mind when I floated up to the ceiling, staying inside the airframe, and watched as everything changed in scale. Karen & Pete [himself] sat below me clutching onto each other....from my new vantage point the LSD trip was over. Everything was quiet and peaceful. I could see clearly now, my eyes focused, my senses realigned, yet I was completely disembodied.” 

Paul Watkins: “If acid does anything, it dissolves filters and buffers through which perceptions are ordinarily channelled. Three-dimensional physical reality is suddenly expanded. It puts you in direct contact with the energies all around you; nothing is dead or inanimate. It magnifies and expands your awareness in all directions at once ~ a grain of sand becomes a planet, a single voice becomes a symphony. If you resist it, the slightest fear can become a nightmare.....With these filters removed, you are no longer divorced from what you perceive. Knowing this makes it easier to understand how Charlie was able to get inside people's heads; there were no barriers to obstruct him; his energies moved in and out like the tide; he was everywhere at once. When he said, ‘No sense makes sense,’ and ‘I am you and you are me,’ he was, in terms of acid consciousness, absolutely correct.”

Grace Slick {Jefferson Airplane}: “Peyote, when boiled down to a concentrate, became a vehicle for going out of our minds. Or, in a more gentle interpretation, going from one plane of reality to another and another and another.....flying off the edge of a cliff or trying to embrace a moving vehicle is not an uncommon desire for psychedelic drug participants ~ not that people become suicidal, it’s just that in such a state anything seems possible.”

Lemmy {Motorhead}: “Real acid tripping in those days wasn’t all groovy, like, peaceful shit. The first trip I took lasted 18 hours and I couldn’t really see. All I saw were visions, not what was actually around me...all the time your mind felt like you were on a rollercoaster, sometimes slow at the approach to the top of each drop then wheeee ! Your teeth would kind of sizzle and if you started laughing, it was incredibly hard to stop. Acid is a dangerous drug if you’re complacent because it will wake your ass up ! If you were a little uneasy about yourself you would either be catalyzed by it or you wouldn’t show up again – you know, they’d take your tie and shoelaces away, and your belt and they’d put you in a room with no windows and a lot of soft walls. A lot of people I know went to the basket weavers’ hotel on acid.”

John Densmore {The Doors}: “I looked down over the frayed edge of the couch at the floor between us and saw a dark pit 1000 feet deep. I was a child again, afraid of the monsters outside my crib. Helplessly I began slipping off the couch into the bottomless abyss. I started getting scared and shouted to Grant that I was falling into the void.....the whole episode took only about 2 or 3 minutes but it seemed to last forever....acid had more of a kick than the stale wafer I swallowed on my first holy communion. LSD was a direct experience with God that I felt or at least something otherworldly or mystical. A couple of days after our trip, I still felt a little high, or at least different. I knew that the drug had worn off, that I was back into more or less my previous state of mind, but the sense that there were other ways of experiencing things was a powerful new awareness that is still present to this day [1990]. A crack had appeared in the facade of reality and I had peered through. Nothing had changed, yet everything had.” 

Charles Watson again: “What I remember most was...the ability to see into the pores of my skin. I still don’t know if what I saw in my skin was real or not. I do know that as a result, I became a vegetarian....I guess I liked the psychological effects. It was a way to escape what was really going on in my mind. Walls appeared to move, colours seemed stronger & more brilliant, with unusual patterns unfolding before my eyes. Flat objects seemed to stand out in 3 dimensions. My senses seemed more acute, one merging into another; for example music appeared as colours and colours seemed to have taste. Sometimes I even lost the normal feeling of boundaries between body and space.” 

Chris Squire {Yes}: “I had a rather nasty experience with some LSD and was in a bit of a haze for a few months...I stayed in my girlfriend’s apartment for quite a few months recovering: I didn’t take acid again after that. Having seen the end of the world I thought I’d gone far enough. I had taken it so many times when it was all fun and great and somehow or other I ended up in a Fulham hospital being interviewed by the cops. I didn’t know where I was. I was just smiling at them, thinking they weren’t there.” 

Bob Dylan: “When psychedelics happened, everything became irrelevant....people were deluded into thinking they were something that they weren’t, birds, fire hydrants, whatever.”

Dave Davies {The Kinks}: “As I started to inhale I felt as if there were two of me inhaling two separate cigarettes, each of ‘me’ experiencing two different and quite distinct effects. I was suddenly transported into another dimension or, I should say, dimensions. Before me I could see the universe and all it contained and I was rushing at the speed of light into what seemed the very heart of it. At first it was a phenomenal sensation of travelling very fast when, in fact, I was virtually motionless...a world of energy opened up to me, everything throbbing with relentless life force, breathing, vibrating in every molecule. This was the most incredible experience that had ever happened to me. Explosive, completely revealing, enlightening, illuminating and exciting, but strangely sad. I would lapse into profound moments of excruciating and unbearable sadness. Then I would suddenly be lifted into mystical realms of ecstacy, where answers to the riddles of life would be answered in an almost alien, ineffable language of mind energy. During the whole experience, I sensed a being above my head who talked me through it all. He told me he was my captain. He explained so much to me and helped me out of my tangled moments of confusion. He showed me in a scintillating, almost cinematic way that all I had ever learned would now have to be unlearned.”

Mick Fleetwood {Fleetwood Mac} recalls looking at Peter Green while tripping and seeing “him dead, a skeleton without flesh. I couldn’t even look at the others !”

Andy Summers {The Police}: “The room in front of me dissolves into an egg yolk rainbow of bright plastic colours and all that once had dimension and solidity becomes liquid....I start down a tunnel of intense kaleidoscopic imagery...Alice going down the tunnel into Wonderland and it’s scary and exhilarating as hell. One second I am surfing a rainbow, and the next moment - if I open my eyes – the room appears to be full of horrible little monkeys staring at me with burning eyes....I notice that the bin is like a box of incredible jewels. Old banana skins, cereal boxes and cigarette packets are dazzling jewels of incredible energy that appear to me now in either particle or wave form.” He later reflected that “clearly LSD is not for the fragile; it’s risky, it’s dangerous, a journey from which you may never return.”

Not for nothing did Grace Slick and friends plan to dose President Nixon with enough acid to get him “talking to paintings, watching walls melt and thinking he was turning into a bulldog.”

I make no apology for the number of varied experiences or thoughts concerning the psychedelic experience that have been related here. These aren’t even a drop in the ocean of the vast amount of what has been said or related about psychedelic drugs. We’ve barely touched on the bad trips or delusions that often came with the experience, such as Dave Davies communicating with alien beings for many years after or Sting being transported to his mother’s womb or a trench during WW1 {during an ayahuasca ‘trip’} or John Lennon and Vince Taylor {and indeed, Charles Manson} becoming convinced that they were Jesus Christ, let alone the large number of people that became acid casualties, many occurring in popular music {Syd Barrett, Roky Erikson, Skip Spence, Steve Took, Brian Jones, Vince Taylor, Victor Unitt, Dave Bixby, Gene Clark, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Mike Taylor, Brian Wilson, to name but a few}. Or the power of psychedelics to enhance suggestibility.

Many have wondered and continue to wonder how anyone could believe something as “ridiculous” as Helter Skelter. Not everyone did. But when you take into account just where a constant diet of psychedelics could take you {and most of the family were, in the main, trippers for at least a couple of years}, it’s not hard to see how some would have taken it in and believed it all the way. Then acted upon it......

Written by Grim Traveller

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How unreasonable was Helter Skelter ? Part 1 of 3

While it should always be stressed that the prosecution, as part of their opening argument, stated that they believed there to be more than one motive for the Tate/LaBianca murders, the Helter Skelter motive tends to be the one that most people remonstrate over. I find that most contributors to the various TLB blogs over the past few years have tended to doubt it, while many of the significant authors of Manson related books {among them Robert Hendrickson, George Stimson and Nicholas Shreck}, as well as certain past family members, have pretty much dismissed it altogether. Even members past & present of the DA’s office that successfully prosecuted the killers {Aaron Stovitz, Jeffrey Jonas and Vincent Bugliosi} have expressed doubt and skepticism.

To be frank, it’s a very easy motive to dismiss. The motive itself, if there was one, could only exist in the context of the surrounding philosophy. I’ve found that most who dismiss the motive, do so alongside a dismissal of the surrounding philosophy because it just does not seem credible that anyone could seriously take on board the tenets that went into what was presented to the world as Helter Skelter. The other side of the coin however, is that some did believe it, were of the mind that Charles Manson also believed it and that number was only found in the Family. When I first read “Helter Skelter” I thought the very notion of a civil war between the White race, sparked off by White revenge on Blacks for some heinous murders the Blacks had committed which then led to the Blacks massacring the Whites that were left over after the civil war only for them to hand over the power of rule to the Family that had been hiding out in the desert in some underground paradise, was ridiculous. I still think it’s ridiculous.

Yet, as I’ve gotten older and more experienced and learned more and passed through belief structures and systems myself, as well as understanding others, I find that to various states of mind, there’s nothing really unusual or unreasonable about Helter skelter. If one takes into account the 1960s, the revolution in the air, the quest for civil rights, the racial tension that exploded into riots in the cities in the USA, the psychedelic drugs, the lyrical messages in much of the music, the on going search for meaning, the taking on board of new religious philosophies accompanying the rejection of established ones, the emergence of young people as a force to be reckoned with and the serious insightful questioning of authority, then a package like Helter Skelter actually makes sense.

When looked at through the lens of religion, it is no more unbelievable than that which millions of people believed then, before that and now. It’s package contains nothing intrinsically more unusual or unbelievable than what you will find among the beliefs of someone who genuinely believes in horoscopes or astro analysis. It’s no weirder in principle than the belief in the virgin birth of Christ, the parting of the Red Sea on behalf of the Israelites on the run from the Egyptians, Noah and his family escaping the great flood in a huge boat with every type of animal on the earth or Muhammed receiving the Qur’an verbatim from the angel Gabriel. Mormons happily believe that their founder, Joseph Smith translated the book of Mormon from some golden plates after an angel showed him where they were buried. Reincarnation is one of the central tenets of Hinduism, while rebirth forms a major part of Buddhist philosophy. Purgatory, spiritual beings, hell, a returning Messiah, a Messiah that has yet to come....these and so many more are things that ordinary people all over the world believe. You may be one of them, you may know some of them, you may be related to or in love with one or some of them. The point is that all manner of beliefs that cannot be actually proven exist. So why should Helter Skelter be dismissed as any less believable ? 

As will be shown in part two, psychedelic drugs {in particular LSD} were a crucial component in the acceptance of Helter Skelter but people have long accepted all manner of philosophies and ideas without the assistance of drugs. Not all those that fell in with religious cults did so on the back of a drug befuddled mind. And we went on to see in the 70s and beyond with Jonestown, the Branch Davidians at Waco, the Solar Temple and Heaven’s Gate that when people believe something, no matter how crazy it may seem, they believe with their lives.

It was reported that some of the girls in the Family believed that Charlie got the school bus they travelled in to fly over parts of Golar Wash because the terrain was too difficult to drive up. Others reportedly believed that he brought a dead bird back to life by breathing on it. These stories seem utterly mad until one considers that Linda Kasabian, Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, Brooks Poston, Catherine Share, Nancy Pitman, Paul Watkins, Leslie Van Houten and others {judging by some of their statements, you’d possibly include Sandy, Squeaky and Ouisch in that number} all believed that Charles Manson was Jesus Christ. In fact, long before there was ever any connection between the Family and TLB, indeed, while the Tate autopsies were in progress, officers from LASO went to see officers from LAPD and told them about the finding of Gary Hinman’s body. When they explained about having arrested a suspect that had given Spahn Ranch as his address, they went on to explain that the group living there were an odd bunch whose leader Charlie had apparently convinced them that he was Christ. And when the Family were arrested at Barker later in October, Manson was booked as “Manson, Charles, aka Jesus Christ, God.” It seems that even Manson believed at times that he was Jesus but again, this is not as out of the way as it initially seems. It was something that actually was known to happen to people that were tripping on LSD or had tripped for a while. British rocker Vince Taylor was one of the first acid casualties and he thought for a while that he was the Son of God. Beatle John Lennon, one of the most renowned of the 60s trippers, at one point gathered the band and their entourage together to announce to them that he was the Messiah come again. Timothy Leary was not only convinced that the Beatles were sent by God, he himself took on a prophetic fervour after he became a regular tripper. During his psilocybin experiments with prisoners, many started “getting religion” with Leary joking “let’s see if we can turn the criminals into Buddhas.”

Jay Stevens in his book “Storming Heaven ~ LSD and the American dream” states “to discover in the recesses of the mind, something that felt a lot like God was not a situation that either organized science or organized religion wished to contemplate.”

The relevance of this in relation to the Family is simply this; If Charlie implies he is Christ {“do you know who I am ?”} and is showing you a different way of being and if you believe Charlie is Christ or someone Christ like, then you believe what he tells you. And if he shows you biblical back up for what he tells you, then who’s not to believe ? It is no coincidence that virtually all the Family had come from ‘Christian’ backgrounds in which the reality of Christ the person who led the way, through the Holy Spirit, had become secondary to formulated “Christian culture” in which ritual and rules had become uppermost. An actual minister of the church, Dean Moorehouse, was blown away by the combination of Charlie and acid. Both the young and not so young were looking for real meaning and experiences which explains the number of people that followed pop and rock artists and by extension, what they did or said. There was much looking at and following religious philosophies from the East and many prominent and much loved artists, musicians, actors and writers influenced countless thousands by advocating various gurus as well as looking at more esoteric ideas like Satanism. A section of the Black population in the USA had already embraced “The Nation of Islam” by the late 60s. One of the chief beliefs of the nation was that the White race had been created by an evil Black scientist. At one point, Malcolm X believed that. Muhammed Ali {even while he was still Cassius Clay} believed that. In the UK and West Indies, the Rastafarian movement made great steps in the 60s, foremost among their beliefs that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the returned messiah, God in human form, that Babylon {the Western world, in effect} was falling and that the Black race would be led back to Africa. Many still passionately follow both the Nation of Islam and Rastafari to this day.

There was also a resurgence of experiential Christianity as the Jesus movement  attracted many disillusioned Hippies. This is important because not only did Jesus come alive to many thousands of people who had been searching for spiritual experiences, the notion of reading the bible, interpreting it for one’s own self and being able to share and teach among small bands of converts {despite being part of a larger church} became de rigeur and into this way of thinking, Charles Manson fit perfectly. Like Christ, he was an outsider. Like Christ, he was hounded by the authorities of his day and was seen as a law breaker. Like Christ he was supported by a number of females of substance and appeared to not ‘work’. Like Christ, he was charismatic and could hold large numbers of people in his sway. Like Christ, he could evade capture from the searching authorities while moving freely about. Like Christ, he espoused a wisdom and understanding that seemed to transcend his years and limited upbringing and experience. Like Christ he could not only explain the scriptures, but could infuse new meaning into old words. It’s understandable why so many young searchers, disillusioned with the staid expression of ‘church’ from their lives, thought he was Christ.

In a changing world, as yet unsure what it might actually be changing to, Helter Skelter made sense. It made at least as much sense as following a guru like Meher Baba that said he was God in human form and who maintained a vow of silence from the mid 1920s to his death in 1969. Pete Towshend {The Who}, Melanie Safka and Ronnie Lane {Small Faces, The Faces}, Billy Nicholls, Donald Mahler and Loren “Tex” Hightower among others were not thought mad for following Meher. The Beatles weren’t thought mad for following the Maharishi and so on.....

Later we shall see how there were a number of other parallels and factors at the time the Family were together that made Helter Skelter at the very least, plausible.

*Written by Grim Traveller

Monday, March 30, 2015

Helter Skelter

When I get to the bottom, I go back to the top of the slide.

It's a topic we’ve discussed 1000 times, and let’s face it, we’ll never reach a consensus.

Some folks believe the entire notion was fabricated by Vincent Bugliosi… and from there, he simply jammed it down everyone’s throat.

Other folks, like my good friend Kimchi, believe it all started with Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston.
As Kimchi said to me via email: “The HS thing appears to have emerged from the drug-fueled over-imagination of Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston“.

Some folks believe Charles Manson actually preached “HS” at the ranch… others don’t.

If it WAS preached at the ranch… did Manson actually believe it? Did the kids actually believe it?

This is a discussion that will never end… unless of course, a different motive is “solved” to everyone’s satisfaction. And trust me folks, that’s not gonna happen.


Manson utilized "Helter Skelter" as a means to an end.  Bugliosi also utilized "Helter Skelter" as a means to an end.  Both men fully understood that "Helter Skelter" was nothing more than a tall tale… but both men cultivated the story, because it was beneficial to them. It’s really that simple.

Below are my thoughts on “Helter Skelter” for what it’s worth. I’ll begin by discussing the significance of “HS” from Charles Manson’s perspective. I’ll then discuss the topic, as it pertains to Vincent Bugliosi. Lastly, I’ll conclude by explaining what this all means to us… the “researcher”.


Charlie: The diary of a two-bit entertainer, manipulator, opportunist, with a bitter streak.

Charlie had to keep the kids entertained. He used several methods to accomplish that goal. He sang, he played guitar, he told stories, he provided drugs, he provided sex… etc. etc.

A stand-up comic hones his act nightly, by utilizing audience feedback. If a joke goes over big (with the audience)… he continues to use that joke. In fact, if possible, he expands upon it. Conversely, if a joke bombs, he shit-cans it.

Charles Manson was an entertainer of sorts. He had to be. There were a boatload of places for a young kid to have fun in the 60’s… especially in California. If Manson was a boring old fart, they would have left.

My point:
I believe Manson had dozens of "raps" (i.e., stories) that he used to entertain the kids.  “HS” was simply one of them. One of dozens, in fact.

But for whatever the reason, the “HS story” caught-on with the kids. And Manson, (like any good entertainer), took note of this, and went with it.  He expanded upon the “act“. And somewhere along the line, Manson realized that he could use this “HS angle” to manipulate.

In a nutshell, that’s my honest opinion of “HS” (in regards to Charlie specifically). I think it probably started as nothing more than a “yarn” Charlie spun around the campfire (to entertain the kids), and it morphed into a convenient manipulation tool.

"HS" wasn't even very original. There were lots of folks talking "revolution" in California at that time.


Bugliosi: The diary of a success-driven man, who had no boundaries, when it came to winning.

If Bugliosi could have proven another motive, he would have.

I’m sure Bugliosi was presented with several possible motives (just as we are). And just like the rest of us, Bugliosi was unable to prove another motive (without having major loopholes to contend with). To quote Dilligaf from 2 years ago: “This case had more loose ends, than tassels on a rug”. 

You can't stand-up to prosecute multiple defendants simultaneously, and say to the jury:
"Truth be told, the motive could be this... this.... or this... and likely, two of those combined.  Heck, I'm not quite sure myself.  I’ll probably never know for sure. Thanks for your time".  That doesn't win a case.

For all its shortcomings, “HS” is a fairly tidy package, which is somewhat easy to present (compared to the other possible motive theories). To prove “drugs” as the motive (for instance), you have to string together several intricate timelines and details. There are loopholes that are hard to fill.

You don’t have to “prove” a whole lot of tiny “details” with “HS“. For the most part, you just have to convince the jury that #1) Manson is completely “bat-shit crazy“, and #2) he was in-charge of the other loonies. (i.e., bat-shit crazy enough to concoct and implement a really bizarre scheme). And let’s face it folks… with several butchered bodies left behind, AND the actions of Manson and his minions (inside the courtroom and out), those concepts weren't difficult to sell.

Bottom Line:
Bugliosi knew these folks were going to act crazy. And moreover, he knew these kids were going to paint Manson as their leader. Clang-Bang goes the iron door.

The "HS package" implicated Manson... the "big tuna". I’m sure that was a big selling point for Bugliosi. Bugliosi wanted Manson, and he wasn't going to present a case that excluded him.

Let me make one thing clear:
Bugliosi knew “HS” was bullshit.

Bugliosi was asked in an interview (right around the time Susan was petitioning for "compassionate release“): "Do you still believe the motive was “Helter Skelter“?

His response: "It seems the motives were several and disparate".

Also, years earlier, Bugliosi said on a talk show (paraphrasing):
“Charles Manson probably didn’t even believe the HS story himself.”

Bottom Line:
Bugliosi chose the one motive (he was presented with), that would implicate Manson AND be successful through the corroboration of the defendants themselves (and the “Family” collectively).

Lacking enough evidence to “sell” a more traditional motive, Bugliosi rolled his dice on “HS”… and thankfully for society, it worked. It worked, because Manson and his minions did all the work for him… as Bugliosi predicted they would.


Here’s a few reasons why I think “HS” was not the true motive:

The Manson men took care of Shorty Shea quite handily... and that had nothing to do with a race war (HS).

Manson and TJ left Bernard Crowe for dead, and that had nothing to do with a race war (HS), either.

The Manson men clearly demonstrated that they were capable of committing crimes (up to, and including murder) for practical reasons (i.e., reasons they perceived as practical). They didn't need "HS" as a motive.

In keeping, I don’t believe the Cielo and Waverly locations were chosen randomly either.

They went to Crowe's place intentionally. They went to Hinman's place intentionally. They killed Shorty Shea intentionally. Heck... you can add the Willetts to the list, if you want. None of those victims were complete random strangers. They knew Crowe... they knew Hinman... and they knew Shorty... and they knew where to find them.

These perpetrators went to locations intentionally... and killed people they knew... for a reason. (Albeit really shitty reasons... but for a “reason” nonetheless.) They weren't random serial killers, with a race war in mind. That wasn’t their MO.

HS was a piece of this puzzle... but, it wasn't the entire enchilada. Tex Watson, Charles Manson (and the "upper management" LOL) had their sights set on Cielo Drive and Waverly for reasons beyond HS.

HS was a manipulation tool Manson used (among many manipulation tools) to execute TLB, but it wasn't the underlying motive.

Here’s something else to chew on:

If Manson was completely sold on an Armageddon race war, why did he stop killing after just 48 hours?

I mean...
If Manson really believed that the end of the world (as we know it) was at hand... and moreover, he was going to emerge victorious... why would he throw-in the towel so quickly???

Ya gotta admit:
For an idea that Manson was supposed to be completely consumed with... he certainly gave-up pretty easily.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Manson utilized "Helter Skelter" as a means to an end.  Bugliosi ALSO utilized "Helter Skelter" as a means to an end.  Both men knew full-well that "Helter Skelter" was nothing more than a tall tale.

The question becomes:
Which man accomplished a better outcome by cultivating and manipulating "Helter Skelter" for his audience?  The answer to that question, should be self evident.

Having said all that:
The fact of the matter, is that WAY too much emphasis is placed on "Helter Skelter" in-general.

I don’t believe the jury bought into "Helter Skelter".  Fact is... they didn't have to.
(It should be noted here, that the prosecution doesn't even have to present a motive).

The jury convicted Manson, because they were convinced that Manson was NUTS... and the leader of this group.  That’s all they needed.  More specifically… the jury was convinced that Manson conspired to these murders... and beyond that… they most likely didn‘t care "why".

Bugliosi could have told the jury that Manson was completely crackers and communicating with space ships... and the jury STILL would have convicted Manson.
In fact… ANY motive theory that depicted Manson as “crazy, dangerous, and in-charge“, would have worked... because the jury was already convinced of those three elements, based on the defendant’s own actions.

Let's face it... Manson convicted himself.  The trial was a circus.  “The family” was acting like fools inside the courtroom, and out.  “The family” demonstrated to the world, that Manson was their leader.  The shaving of heads... the carving of "X"'s... the year-long sidewalk vigils... the crawling across town on hands and knees... (need I continue?)...  collectively convinced the world that these people were NUTS… and Manson was the "head nut"!  Manson even lunged at the judge.  As I said... "crazy, dangerous, and in-charge".

Bottom line:
The jury was convinced that Manson "saw to it" (if you will) that people were killed, and that's all they cared about.  They didn't give two shits about WHY a crazy man wanted people dead… they just wanted to see him behind bars.

Bugliosi convinced the jury that Manson was in-charge (with a lot of help from Manson)... and THAT'S why Manson is in jail.  The "Helter Skelter" motive wasn’t a big factor.  “Helter Skelter” was much more useful in the sale of books, than it ever was in the courtroom.
If anything, the jury convicted Manson in spite of "Helter Skelter".

I’m personally convinced that Manson was the “ringleader”… and my opinion has ZERO to do with “Helter Skelter” or Bugliosi’s book.  I could care less about Bugliosi’s book.

I’m personally convinced of Charlie’s “leadership role” as a result of viewing countless hours of film footage, photos, and transcripts.  I’ve inspected these types of media with my own eyes and ears.  I've drawn my own conclusions, with my own common sense.

I've been everywhere the grass grows green... and I don't need Vincent T. Bugliosi, to tell me what time it is.  Manson was a 34 year-old hardened criminal, dealing with suburban kids... primarily females.  It doesn't take a genius to figure-out who was at the top of that totem pole.

C'mon folks...
How often do you see women crawling across town… and holding a (one year) "sidewalk vigil" for a “follower”???

I give the TLB jury the same credit.  I believe the jury saw through to “the truth” with their own five senses.  “Helter Skelter” was a small factor in their verdict.

Here’s where it gets a bit hazy.  The next logical question becomes:
If you jail the right person, for the right crime(s)… does it matter if the premise (or motive) presented by the prosecution may have been inaccurate?
I mean (as a juror)… if you know someone is guilty… does the prosecution have to present the correct motive to you, for you to vote guilty?

Dilligaf could certainly answer that question, better than I… but my personal guess, is No… it shouldn’t matter.  As a juror, you’re voting on the defendant‘s “guilt” related directly to the crime at hand… not on the prosecutor‘s ability to guess accurately at “motive“ or “motivation“.

Legalities aside… from an ethical standpoint… I suppose the answer to that question, relates strongly to how much of a “purist” one is.
Personally… I’d rather see a guilty man convicted despite an inaccurate motive presentation by the prosecution, than see him walk free on a technicality.
The prosecution doesn’t have a crystal ball… and remember, at the end of the day, they don’t have to present a “motive” at all.
Again… (as a juror) you’re voting on the guilt/innocence of the defendant in regards to the crime(s) specifically… not the legal skill of the prosecutor in determining motive.

I’m sure the TLB jurors are sleeping very well at night these days… and, I really don’t think they care what Manson’s “motive” was.  (The jurors who are still alive, that is).

How anyone can possibly watch the “sidewalk vigil footage”… see the girls’ famous “crawl”… listen to the testimony of various “family members”… watch Hendrickson’s films… read the transcripts… witness Lynn and Sandy’s fanatical life-long devotion… and STILL remain unconvinced that Manson was the “ringleader”, is beyond my personal comprehension.

The “Slippie” conspired… he played his cards poorly during the trial (because he couldn‘t swallow his pride)… and now he’s in jail.  End of story.