Thursday, April 12, 2012


Frykowski, Tate, Parent, Sebring, Folger.

Yesterday, convicted killer, 60's icon, and general, all-around looney tune Charles Manson, was denied parole for the 12th time since his incarceration. That it comes as no surprise should be obvious. Refusal was such a sure thing that even he didn't even show up. Putting it bluntly, the man can, without argument be considered a modern-day monster.

I was a teenager during that hot, sweltering summer of beads, incense, and cold-blooded murder. The pot-smoking hippies had turned their appetite for greater states of altered consciousness to harder drugs like LSD, mescaline, and any other plant or chemical that could further free the "White Bird" of their liberated spirit. The harbinger of this new trend was none other than the Grand Vizier of Psychedelic Vaudeville, Dr. Timothy Leary. You may remember that Leary left his mark on the 60's by "tuning in, turning on, and dropping out".

Sharon Tate had starred in VALLEY OF THE DOLLS

After a few freak outs on brain fry with names like windowpane and orange sunshine, the drug-besotted flower children were easily seduced into the next trip. The Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco, as well as co-ops and communes all over the states -- and particularly on the west coast -- had evolved from pastoral outdoor living to dens of iniquity within a few short years. Throw in a helping of biker, hard criminal and drug addict pushers peddling even stronger drugs like heroin and these idyllic enclaves of bliss degraded quickly into diseased pest holes.

The vibes all culminated on the night of August 8, 1969 when one of the most heinous crimes in modern history went down at 10050 Cielo Drive in the wealthy neighborhood of Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles. Manson, in a mental orgy of deranged and twisted political thought and hallucinatory pop culture rhetoric, ordered his demon horde to pass on the "creepy crawlies" this time and literally do some phyical damage to the innocents who were currently living in the house.

The wedding of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate.

The monstrous brutality of what happened next will live on forever in the shadowed subculture of Los Angeles and the criminal history of the world. I remember the aftershock left everybody as jittery as if it had been a 7.0 earthquake. The ensuing manhunt, the trial and the relentless news coverage left everyone scared, nervous, and anxiety-ridden. Like the period during the Son of Sam murders in New York, the intensity was almost palpable. It transfixed the fear centers of this young teenager and has haunted me ever since, so much that a certain morbid fascination has never left the realm of my curiosity.

Sharon Tate's body being wheeled out of the Cielo Drive house.

Now, it may seem out of place at this point, but I feel it is necessary to put this news story into some sort of context with the thematic premise of this blog. Here goes . . .

The issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND that was on the stands around the time of the murders was #57, CREEPY was at #29, EERIE #23, and VAMPIRELLA's first issue had just been published, along with CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN #14.

Today, the house on Cielo Drive looks nothing like the house where the Tate murders occurred. That house was demolished in 1993 and like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes, a new house, Villa Bella, was built. Ironically, the religious expression of the Spanish word "cielo" can be translated into English as "heaven" or "angel".

With the unrepentant shell called Charles Manson locked up where he belongs, hopefully, the ghosts of Cielo Drive can rest now a little easier.

 Here is the news story of Manson's parole hearing from the L.A. Times:

"In rejecting freedom for Charles Manson, a California parole board Wednesday said the mass killer has made no effort to rehabilitate himself.

Before the hearing, his attorney, DeJon R. Lewis, said he would like to see Manson transferred to Atascadero State Hospital from the state prison near Corcoran. "Charles Manson does not need incarceration at this point in his life," Lewis told CNN. "He needs hospitalization."

But the board decided he should stay in prison.

"This panel can find nothing good as far as suitability factors go," John Peck, a member of the panel, told the Associated Press.

Manson did not attend the hearing, which was the 12th in which state officials concluded Manson was too great a danger to be released. The 77-year-old will be eligible for another hearing in 15 years.

Manson and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969. He is housed at Corcoran State Prison in a special unit for inmates felt to be endangered by other inmates, separate from the general prison population.

Twice in the last few years, Corcoran guards said they found the notorious killer in possession of a cellphone. Manson called people in California, New Jersey and Florida with an LG flip phone discovered under his prison bunk in March 2009, The Times reported in 2011. A second phone was found a year later. Thirty days were added to his sentence for the first offense, officials said.

Earlier, a homemade weapon was found in his possession.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office had said it would vigorously oppose Manson's release. "We consistently [opposed parole] and will continue to do so," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

A new photo released by the California prison system shows Manson with long, gray hair and a beard.

In 2007 at Manson's last parole hearing, the board concluded he "continues to pose an unreasonable danger to others and may still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with."

Folger and Frykowski.

Prosecutors said Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles song "Helter Skelter."

Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed at the couple's hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Polanski was out of the country working on a film. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death: Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate's caretaker. The word "Pig" was written on the front door in blood.

The next night, Manson rode along with his cohorts to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three of them to commit the murders. "Death to pigs" was written on a wall, and "Healter Skelter," which was misspelled, was written on the refrigerator door.

Charlie's girls.

Manson was also convicted of the earlier murder of musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home, and the slaying of former stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea at the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth, where Manson had his commune.

Manson initially was sentenced to death. A 1972 ruling by the California Supreme Court found the state's death penalty law at the time unconstitutional and his death sentence was changed in 1977 to life in prison with the possibility of parole."

1 comment:

bluerosekiller said...

While some younger readers might wonder why you'd choose to include a story/account like this here on this site, for me, it fits.
I was a wee bit younger than you were at the time of Manson's "family's" atrocities ( I was about two months short of turning 9 ), but can still vividly recall the fear that I felt in the days after whenever the news would come on television or I'd hear accounts of the murders on the radio. It was definitely the stuff of nightmares.
THIS was stuff to be scared of!
Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein... not so much. Not anymore.



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