Skip to comments.Charles Manson Follower Ends Her Silence 40 years After Night of Slaughter
Posted on 08/01/2009 11:44:56 PM PDT by kellynla
LONDON, Aug 2 They were the murders that ended the 1960s, the decade of love, in a bloodbath that shocked the world. Now, on the 40th anniversary of the killing of Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and her friends by Charles Manson's "Family", the gang member whose testimony convicted the killers has revealed for the first time her full involvement in the crimes.
On the night of Aug 9, 1969, Linda Kasabian was sent by Manson with three other members of his Family Tex Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia "Katie" Krenwinkel to break into Tate's home. There they tied up the actress and her friends and stabbed them to death. Kasabian acted as look-out.
Tate was married to the film director Roman Polanski and was eight months' pregnant. In the interview with Kasabian, to be screened in the docu-drama Manson on Channel Five next week, she tells how Tate pleaded in vain for the life of her unborn child. She was stabbed 16 times. Her killers wrote the word "pig" in her blood on the wall of her house.
"I saw a woman in a white dress and she had blood all over her and she was screaming and she was calling for her mom. I saw Katie stabbing her," says Kasabian, who is now 60. "I thought about going to a house where there were lights down the road and then I said, 'No, don't do that, because they'll find me and kill all those people'. So I went down the hill and I got into the car and I just stayed there and waited."
The killings horrified America and the rest of the world and the subject has continued to fascinate ever since. It is not hard to see why. Manson's strange, hypnotic hold over his followers turned a group of peaceful hippies living in a commune into a group of merciless killers. In addition, the case involved a range of celebrity names including the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and record producer Terry Melcher, the son of Doris Day.
In the end, Manson was convicted of the murders of nine people, thanks to Kasabian who was the prosecution's star witness at his trial in 1970 although he and his followers claimed they had, in fact, "offed" a total of 35 people whose bodies had been buried in the desert. It is a claim "that may be high, but could still be true", according to Vincent Bugliosi, the lawyer who prosecuted them.
"The Manson murders sounded the death knell for hippies and all they symbolically represented," Bugliosi told the Observer last week. "They closed an era. The 60s, the decade of love, ended on that night, on Aug 9, 1969."
Kasabian had been living in hiding, under an assumed name, since the trial. The documentary is her first full public interview since her appearance 20 years ago on an American cable chat show. "I could never accept the fact that I was not punished for my involvement," says Kasabian. "I felt then what I feel now, always and forever, that it was a waste of life that had no reason, no rhyme."
Kasabian was a 20-year-old hippy with a 16-month daughter in July 1969 when she met members of Manson's Family and was asked to join their commune at a dilapidated ranch known as Spahn's. There she met Manson, a 32-year-old racist who had already spent more than half his life in jail. About 20 people were living on the ranch, maintained by a life of petty crime and selling drugs.
"Manson who was uneducated but highly intelligent had this phenomenal ability to gain control over other people and get them to do terrible things," said Bugliosi. "Eventually he convinced them that he was the second coming: Christ and the Devil all wrapped up in the same person."
Armageddon was coming, Manson claimed as part of his racist, anti-establishment gospel that predicted a black uprising against the state. Once that was over, he and his followers would take over America. Manson named this insurrection Helter Skelter because he believed details of it were revealed in the song of the same name on the Beatles' White Album. "A typical day would be Charlie playing guitar, telling stories, dancing around just being free," Kasabian states in the documentary. In fact, Manson was a talented musician who had met Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. The pair had recorded a few tracks, including one jointly written song "Never Learn Not to Love" that was subsequently recorded by the Beach Boys.
Manson also tried to set up a record contract with the producer Terry Melcher, but the deal had fallen through, a development that was to lead directly to the murders of Tate and her friends. Manson was angry with Melcher for not pursuing the deal and arrived at the latter's house at 10050 Cielo Drive to confront him. However, Melcher had moved on and the house was now occupied by Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Manson was told to leave.
"This residence 10050 Cielo Drive where Tate and Polanski now lived, came to symbolise the establishment to Charles Manson, particularly the establishment's rejection of him," said Bugliosi. By now, Manson's control over his Family was virtually total, and on July 25 he ordered three of them to go to the house of a drug-dealing acquaintance, Gary Hinman, to demand money. Hinman refused, so they stabbed him to death, using his blood to paint the words "political piggy" on the wall a grim rehearsal for what would occur at Tate's house.
Then Manson ordered Kasabian, Watson, Atkins and Krenwinkel to drive to Cielo Drive. "I felt excited, special, chosen," recalls Kasabian. "When we arrived at the Tate residence there were lights on the outside, the driveway was lit up. Tex got a rope and wire cutters and cut the telephone wires. There was a car coming so we got down. Tex jumped out and shot the gun four times. He told me to take the wallet from the kid he had shot. I got in the car. There was this person slumped over. I didn't see any blood or anything but I knew he wasn't there."
The others went inside the house. Polanski was in Europe, but Tate was entertaining her friends Wojtek Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Jay Sebring. "You are all going to die," Watson told them after tying them with rope. There was a desperate fight in which all four victims were stabbed to death. A total of 102 wounds were inflicted. As they drove off, Kasabian took the weapons, wiped them clean and dropped them in a ravine.
The next day Manson sent his Family out again to kill and this time, at random, he selected the house of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy owners of a chain of grocery stores. Manson broke in and tied them up. Then he left, ordering three of the Family to stab them to death. Manson was involved in at least one more murder of an acquaintance known as "Shorty" Shea before his arrest in October. However, it was for his instigation of the slaying of Tate and her friends that he will always be remembered.
"Some people point to the extreme brutality of the murders to explain our enduring interest, but you know we have had killings even more brutal in America, said Bugliosi. "And yes, the victims were prominent people but they weren't that prominent. But what really gives the Tate killings such durability is the fact they are the most bizarre murders in the recorded annals of American crime. If they had been written as fiction no one would have read it. It would have seemed too far out. After all, the story has just about everything Beatles lyrics spelled out in blood, quotes from the Bible, and nice kids from average families being persuaded to go on horrible killing sprees.
"The very name Manson has now become a metaphor for evil as a result. The name is synonymous with evil today. Mike Tyson, when he was applying for reinstatement of his boxing licence, admitted he was a bad guy but insisted 'I am not Charlie Manson'. Certainly Manson was different from all other mass murderers. He got others to do his work and he was intelligent and manipulative. Most deranged cult leaders end up getting their followers to commit suicide en masse. Manson got them to carry out mass murders. That is why we remember him."
Nick Godwin, the Cineflix executive producer responsible for making Manson, had only an assumed name to go on when his company began its search for Linda Kasabian. "We also had a vague area, somewhere in the west of America, in which she was said to be living," he told the Observer
So his team tracked down each woman with that name and ruled them out one by one until they had a shortlist of two.
"One was a school librarian in California who was very surprised to be mistaken for an accessory to mass murder," said Godwin. The other was living in near-poverty in a trailer. Her details were checked out and fitted those of Linda Kasabian, but when contacted by the company she refused to cooperate. "None of her friends or neighbours knew about her dramatic past," said Godwin.
It took six months to establish a rapport and to get Linda to tell the story of the four weeks she lived with the Manson Family. Then she was shown a tape of the programme in which actors portray her and other gang members . "Linda had her entire extended family sitting in the trailer for the viewing. It was an emotional experience. Linda's daughter cried throughout the murder scene. But Linda said it accurately portrayed what happened."
She also had no idea that a British band had been named after her. So Cineflix gave her a CD by Kasabian to listen to. She was pleasantly surprised, said Godwin.
As to Linda's role in the conviction of Manson and the rest of his Family, the prosecutor at the trial, Vincent Bugliosi, is in no doubt.
"She never asked for immunity from prosecution, but we gave it," he said. "She stood in the witness box for 17 or 18 days and never broke down, despite the incredible pressure she was under. I doubt we would have convicted Manson without her." The Observer
This is the question...if Charlie Manson was twenty-five years old today...what kind of damage could this guy inflict on today’s society? Charlie had enormous talents to manipulate.
A guy I met in my previous job had the scar of a swastika on his forehead just between and slightly above his eyebrows. he was a nice guy, very normal except for his gray hippy hair. One day I asked him if he was a former Manson Clan member.
He said yes.
stepping back in time...
“Linda Kasabian Interview 1988 Tate Murder Sepcial Part-1”
“Linda Kasabian Interview 1988 Tate Murder Sepcial Part-2”
Great article. Thanks for posting. How utterly confused and suggestible do you have to be to follow a nutjob homicidal schizophrenic like Manson? And what was missing in the education this woman received that she would fall for it?
Look at those eyes. This is a man who knows what is coming when he dies. And it’s not far off.
I have never thought hippies were peaceful. That's just what they want everyone to think.
Today Charles Manson would be twittering on his Nokia while wearing distressed jeans from A&F during the protest of world trade!!
On a more serious note, there is no shortage of damaged people and others willing to take advantage of them, so yeah...
this could happen again!
In case you haven’t heard, there is nothing new in the world...
if you are surprised by almost anything that happens...
you don’t know enough history!
Thanks for the post. Interesting article and angle I was not aware of. I thought all who were there that night had been jailed and convicted. Now I know “the rest of the story.” Regards to Paul too (speaking of which) :-(.
They wanted everyone else to be peaceful so that they could be free to destroy the society that fed them.
They were all using LSD.
What I remember most about hippies is that they were all thieves.
Manson had been a pimp for years before he started his commune.
No, the decade of hate called love did not end in the 1960s. Its culmination is the Obama presidency. The 60s have triumphed after all.
Take Your Stinkin’ Paws Off Me You Damn Dirty hippies!
Manson did not start or end any era. He was just a mass murdering piece of slime that is going to meet his Maker pretty soon. No different from Jim Jones or Ted Bundy. Same deal, different day.
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