On the night of Saturday, August 9, 1969, something changed forever in American society. The murders perpetrated by the henchmen of Charles Manson at 10050 Cielo Drive (Los Angeles) that ended in a savage way with life Sharon Tate and the baby she carried on her belly, Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent and Jay Sebring – completed the following night with the macabre death of Leno and Rosemary Labianca – remain in the collective memory and continue to create theories and motivate hundreds of publications. Now that the 50th anniversary is approaching, this July 18 comes to Spain Manson The real story (Tom O'Neill, Roca) a book that starts with the suicide mission of refuting the official thesis, established in the trial by the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and later riveted in the true crime most famous and sold in history, Helter Skelter (Against), prepared by the prosecutor himself and the writer Curt Gentry.
If these crimes continue to fascinate us, as the writer Kiko Amat said, it is not because they are the most brutal, nor the ones that caused the most victims, that they were not, but because they are rare, very rare, and some of the explanations are insufficient. The result of 20 years of research, Tom O'Neill's book does not enter into conspiracy theories and, as happens to anyone who has been immersed in this horror story, is unable to reach definitive conclusions. Do not expect surprises or conspiracy theories. Yes a detailed inventory of manipulations, contradictions and failures of the investigation and the subsequent process against the Family.
O'Neill believes that there is an essential problem with the monumental narration that is and does not stop being Helter Skelter: obvious characters, lines of research, witnesses … What follows is a recapitulation of the biggest holes detected by the author of Manson The real story.
Who was Terry Melcher and why was he not interrogated?
Melcher was a famous music producer, the son of Doris Day, who had a friendly relationship with Manson-the degree depends on who tells it-to whom he promises a contract to produce a record and then passes it. Manson met Melcher through Dennis Wilson, drummer of The Beach Boys and adept of the Family, who came to let live in his mansion Susan Atkins, Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian and Leslie Van Houten and company. Up there, the known history. However, from the environment of the Californian group the police were alerted shortly after the crimes of the alleged involvement of Manson and his and the producer, John Sparksy, and the tour leader, Steve Despar, corroborated in separate interviews with O 'Neill who, after the murders, Wilson became a pariah in the music world because of his relationship with Manson. So why was this line not investigated from the beginning? Why did not they stop them until months later? Melcher was never called to testify and is not one of the characters in Helter Skelter When O'Neill contacts him to interview him, he releases: "Vince (Bugliosi) was supposed to take care of this and now everything is coming up."
O'Neill speaks with Bugliosi several times throughout the elaboration of the book. In those conversations, he threatens and tries to intimidate him. The prosecutor, who died in 2015, was known for his haughty character, his belligerence and his immense ego. O'Neill has, in addition, three witnesses who place Melcher in the ranch of Spahn, an abandoned place where the Family lived, at least three times after the murders, something that the official version denies. Why was the testimony of someone so close to Manson ignored?
Why was the relationship with other crimes ignored?
Bugliosi's theory was very clear: Charles Manson controlled the rest of the Family members and manipulated them through the massive use of drugs, especially LSD, very much in vogue at the time. To be able to convict him for conspiracy to murder, the prosecutor needed to make this clear and that society see a hippy manipulative and violent – driven crazy by the idea of unleashing a racial war making people believe that the deaths were the work of the Black Panthers – that he orders to kill without mercy. The murders of Labianca the next day were explained in the context of this widespread and dangerous madness. If there had been others before, they had to be left out of the frame.
The full dimension of evil is not in what we know of Manson. It's what we do not know
And that's where Gary Allen Hinmann, a UCLA professor and Buddhist guru that Manson and his people frequented, comes into play. A group of members of the Family tortured him with the objective of telling them where the $ 21,000 that he had theoretically received as an inheritance were. In the end, he was killed after cutting off an ear with a sword. On the walls they painted with their blood two words "Political Piggy". Do you sound them? It's almost the same as they painted on Cielo Drive a few days later ("Pig"). The formal defendant for the murder, Bobby Beausoleil, he made a call to the family ranch in which he suggested that they had to help him out. It is risky to say that the massacre of the house Roman Polanski (who was traveling) was just a maneuver to show that Beausoleil was not responsible for the death of Hinmann but, then. Why the official investigation obviated the suggestion of Charlie Guenther – one of the best agents of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, which resolved among others the Cotton Club case– to establish a relationship between the two murders? In addition, Stephen Kay, from the prosecutor's office at the time, acknowledges to O'Neill's tape recorder that he received orders during the trial not to relate one case to another.
Was Manson on Cielo Drive?
Here it is not that Manson says yes, it was not reliable at all, but that there is evidence that the crime scene was not well preserved, that there were alterations. Police recklessness in a scenario turned into a circus? Can be. But then we must explain why Tate's body had symptoms of having been moved and there were stains of the actress' blood on the carpet – in the amounts that occur when a body lies after being stabbed – far from where they found the corpse . Did someone move them? The prosecution denied that possibility. More so. There are some glasses that Manson says he left to confuse the police when he went to see what "their children" had done. In another sample of his eagerness to test each theory with a testimony, O 'Neill gets the confirmation of the agent of the SIS, a special unit of the police, who found them and presented them as evidence to verify that they were none of the victims . Why were they never taken into account? Another question that remains in the air.
Was Manson a confidant? o Why was not he arrested after repeatedly violating the conditional?
In this case, the madness that surrounds this whole issue is better evidenced than in any other. The idea that he could be an infiltrator of the police in leftist groups within the strategy of the security forces to destroy them has as many detractors as people in favor. But let's go to the facts. Says O'Neill: "Manson forms the Family before the very noses of his federal supervisors. From then on, both the federal government and the police forces were increasingly moving away from the group while its members violated the law in the most blatant way. " Manson, who at the age of 30 had spent almost half his life in federal institutions, violated probation dozens of times. His conditional agent, Roger Smith, not only allowed him to leave the state, but also sent reports to the judge about the subject's good attitude. Reports that O'Neill gets.
What follows must be read several times to give credit. A few days after the murders, on August 16, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office – a monster with thousands of agents and a huge jurisdiction – organized a special operation of great magnitude to enter the ranch of the Family, where they were arrested 27 adults accused of various crimes (nothing to do with the murders that some of them had already committed). Manson had in his possession four stolen cards, cars that were not his, an arsenal, large quantities of narcotics and several minors escaped from their homes. Both he and his followers were released shortly after. According to the prosecutor Bugliosi, for a defect of form in the search warrant given that the date was wrong (a 13 was consigned). However, O'Neill proves, with the endorsement of several experts, that the orders are valid for 10 days, which was perfectly legal. On August 24, he was arrested again for inciting a juvenile with whom he had just slept and next to the one who used drugs. He was released. On August 26, another search warrant was issued for having been caught again with drugs and a minor. The agents did not even start it. None of the policemen interviewed by O'Neill explain why. There is also no line dedicated to this in Helter Skelter.
Manson may not have been someone who was working for the wide range of agencies of the US security forces, but then he committed huge negligence that cost lives.
Did the CIA play any role in all this?
O'Neill recognizes in Manson The real story, that when he found connections between this topic and American espionage, emotion and fear overwhelmed him equally. Fear not for the CIA, but where this road was leading him, a process that forced him to postpone the delivery of the manuscript several times and to break his contract with Penguin. So it's worth taking a look. In its original version, the book is called Chaos, like the program implemented by the CIA in 1967 to undermine and destroy the left movements through the infiltration of agents in the countercultural movement or the Black Panthers. Because of its founding principles, the CIA can not act on US territory, except under very special conditions, but during the Cold War everything was worth it.
One of the obsessions of the Agency was to find a way to manipulate the brain of people through the use of drugs. And there the precursor, the genius, was Jolly West, creator of the Mkultra project. West frequented the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, an alternative program set up by a left-leaning doctor to care for people without resources and where Manson and his people were spending a year (mostly because there was LSD in quantity). Linked with the clinic were David Smith and Roger Smith (yes, the agent of the Manson conditional) who published articles in Life about mental control thanks to LSD and other drugs. In Helter Skelter Bugliosi quoted fragments of these articles that pass for statements that never occurred, since neither interviewed them for the book nor took them to the stand. Why did not you want to speak to the judge two of the experts who supported the official thesis, ie, that Manson controlled the minds of his followers through drugs? Says the prosecutor: "The most disconcerting question of all was how Manson had transformed his docile followers into unrepentant assassins. Besides LSD, sex, isolation, sleep deprivation or social abandonment, there had to be some intangible quality … maybe, something he learned from others. " "Something he learned from others" comes to be like the "alone or in the company of others" of the sentence against Rafi Camino in the case of the Marquises of Urquijo.
Doubts and dark areas, in short, in a reconstruction that puts the hair on end and that goes the incomprehensible root of the dark. Says O'Neill: "The full dimension of evil is not in what we know of Manson. It is in what we do not know. "
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