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Author Topic: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book  (Read 4505 times)
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2021, 09:58:18 PM »

Great posts guitarfool. Really insightful
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« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2021, 07:05:07 AM »

For those interested in digging deeper, with more facts akin to those O'Neill uncovered in his book, these two pieces of evidence helped change my views on the whole Manson saga and "Helter Skelter" well before this book we're discussing was released.

The Manson letter I referenced in my previous post, transcribed here:

https://crystalsphere1.blogspot.com/2010/05/charles-manson-letter-to-william-dakota.html

An interview with Bobby Beausoleil from 1981, where he describes the Hinman crime as it actually happened and his time spent with Manson:

https://www.bardachreports.com/death-trips-new-yorks-unwanted-dead-1?rq=bobby

Those are just there for the consideration of anyone interested in more facts behind the Manson case. And part of the Manson letter does tie in with what O'Neill said Bugliosi told him about what the police found at Polanski's house, which wasn't made public.



So Guitarfool, have you been able to ascertain the most likely motive for the killings?

Al these shards, sometime you think there is a straight line but then you find a piece that doesn't add up.

Bugliosi didn't pull Helter Skelter out of thin air. I'm sure the girls were filling in this theory, and the girls outnumbered the guys in terms of arrests. So he is hearing this from the girls as the motive. But along the way investigations probably show this doesn't make sense.  But the evidence to nail Charlie himself is weak. And the cross connections of the Hollywood Elite are discovered, and that becomes a problem in circles of power and influence. And so Bugliosi takes it and runs with it, jamming square pegs into round holes along the way.

Meanwhile the Drug business has its usual challenges and Charlie finds himself shooting Crowe. Then he enlists the bikers for protection, which leads to another bad drug transaction, which leads to the Hinman murder. Then the copycat murders happen to try and free Beausoleil, the houses are picked because Charlie and Tex know Cielo and Charlie's knows the neighbourhood where the LaBianca's live...simple as that? The Hinman murder is in a different police jurisdiction so the other killings do not have the desired effect of freeing Bobby. Then loose lips and sloppy cover ups sink everyone.

Great except for a million little things. Are Sebring and Frykowski involved in some drug dealings with The Family? Are the LaBiancas? What about Charlie's trip to Esalen, the day before the Tate killings, why is he there, and why is he so pissed by accounts, afterwards? Esalen is connected to Big Sur Festival. Has Terry, or someone else in the industry sent Charlie up there as a way to keep him happy (and try and pass the buck on his musical support) to audition, and he is rejected, which fuels the murders at Cielo. And then all the Govt conspiracy stuff...it gets super weird!
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« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2021, 09:37:38 AM »

For those interested in digging deeper, with more facts akin to those O'Neill uncovered in his book, these two pieces of evidence helped change my views on the whole Manson saga and "Helter Skelter" well before this book we're discussing was released.

The Manson letter I referenced in my previous post, transcribed here:

https://crystalsphere1.blogspot.com/2010/05/charles-manson-letter-to-william-dakota.html

An interview with Bobby Beausoleil from 1981, where he describes the Hinman crime as it actually happened and his time spent with Manson:

https://www.bardachreports.com/death-trips-new-yorks-unwanted-dead-1?rq=bobby

Those are just there for the consideration of anyone interested in more facts behind the Manson case. And part of the Manson letter does tie in with what O'Neill said Bugliosi told him about what the police found at Polanski's house, which wasn't made public.



So Guitarfool, have you been able to ascertain the most likely motive for the killings?

Al these shards, sometime you think there is a straight line but then you find a piece that doesn't add up.

Bugliosi didn't pull Helter Skelter out of thin air. I'm sure the girls were filling in this theory, and the girls outnumbered the guys in terms of arrests. So he is hearing this from the girls as the motive. But along the way investigations probably show this doesn't make sense.  But the evidence to nail Charlie himself is weak. And the cross connections of the Hollywood Elite are discovered, and that becomes a problem in circles of power and influence. And so Bugliosi takes it and runs with it, jamming square pegs into round holes along the way.

Meanwhile the Drug business has its usual challenges and Charlie finds himself shooting Crowe. Then he enlists the bikers for protection, which leads to another bad drug transaction, which leads to the Hinman murder. Then the copycat murders happen to try and free Beausoleil, the houses are picked because Charlie and Tex know Cielo and Charlie's knows the neighbourhood where the LaBianca's live...simple as that? The Hinman murder is in a different police jurisdiction so the other killings do not have the desired effect of freeing Bobby. Then loose lips and sloppy cover ups sink everyone.

Great except for a million little things. Are Sebring and Frykowski involved in some drug dealings with The Family? Are the LaBiancas? What about Charlie's trip to Esalen, the day before the Tate killings, why is he there, and why is he so pissed by accounts, afterwards? Esalen is connected to Big Sur Festival. Has Terry, or someone else in the industry sent Charlie up there as a way to keep him happy (and try and pass the buck on his musical support) to audition, and he is rejected, which fuels the murders at Cielo. And then all the Govt conspiracy stuff...it gets super weird!

I have not, and wouldn't even venture an educated guess at this time! I think if a motive would have been revealed, it may exist in that tape of Tex Watson being interviewed by the police after the killings which the LAPD and other offices have had all along and for whatever reasons refuse to release. Of all the LAPD interview tapes which have leaked either in actual audio or transcript form, the Tex Watson interview remains locked away. And just like a lot of the JFK files, maybe Tex doesn't say anything of importance or anything that would change a narrative...but it would still be valuable to hear from one of the firsthand participants' "unfiltered" conversation as it happened and was recorded.

And you're right, just as things start to add up, and connections are made, something either takes a drastic left turn into more confusion, or there is no hard evidence which would hold up as more than tinfoil-hat conspiracy talk that still exists or is available.

Just an example separate from the O'Neill book would be the involvement of Mama Cass, John Phillips, and one of Cass Elliot's boyfriends named "Pic", running parallel to Frykowski and a small circle of other known Hollywood partygoing types who were involved with the Tate group who was murdered at Ceilo. Sure, some accounts mention Mama Cass in relation to Manson, but her circle of friends in Laurel Canyon included those who were murdered, and those who were originally suspected of the murders. Even Cass herself was apparently threatened with charges that she was hiding people and information after the murders, and she was an emotional wreck after the killings because she knew everyone involved, including (apparently) Manson himself. And Papa John when interviewed by police thought the word "Pig" written on the wall was actually "Pic", as in Cass' boyfriend and related to some bad events that went down in that circle involving Frykowski.

So you go down one rabbit hole and 15 more open up.

As far as motive and Bobby Beausoleil's  involvement, read Bobby's interview which I posted here earlier, and he says Manson had nothing to do with the Hinman murder and wasn't even there, and all those details were invented by the prosecutors to tie Manson into another killing to get a conviction in court. Again, not making a judgement, but both sides are available to read and anyone reading can weigh all possibilities.
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« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2021, 03:56:38 AM »

The most Dennis relevant thing that the author brings up is that Dennis was still very enamored of Charlie in late 1968, whereas some have suggested that he was only close to him for a few months circa summer 1968. He noted something that always bugged me. If Dennis was sick of Manson by August 1968 (when he supposedly stopped paying rent on his home and secretly moved) than why does he praise “the wizard “ to the sky in some very bizarre interviews he gave while on tour in England in December 1968
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« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2021, 06:26:13 AM »

The most Dennis relevant thing that the author brings up is that Dennis was still very enamored of Charlie in late 1968, whereas some have suggested that he was only close to him for a few months circa summer 1968. He noted something that always bugged me. If Dennis was sick of Manson by August 1968 (when he supposedly stopped paying rent on his home and secretly moved) than why does he praise “the wizard “ to the sky in some very bizarre interviews he gave while on tour in England in December 1968

It seems there is a lot more to the connections between the Dennis "faction" if we call it that and the Manson group than was previously known. Terry Melcher saw Manson after the killings, yet testified he cut off contact earlier and didn't see him again. Dennis apparently cut off contact after a certain point yet praises him months later in published interviews. Did Dennis see him at all after the killings like Melcher, or even went with Melcher at any point?

Those are all valid questions the O'Neill book raises, so it's not all tinfoil hat conspiracy material after all. The timeline is important too, what can be cobbled together that is.

Just a basic look at Manson's associations before the killings is pretty stunning: Just consider who this guy, who by most accounts we've heard was "pure evil",  was dirty and didn't bathe, was scary/creepy/odd, liked to pull knives to scare people, was a convicted small-time hustler and grifter, was a drug dealer with good connections to prime dope, etc etc etc, was hanging out with: Some of the elite Hollywood party types and some of the LA rock elite. And at the same time he was with them, he was hanging with an assortment of disassociated wealthy heiresses, random drifters and ex-cons, biker gangs, drug dealers, stuntmen, and lost hippies. He was also on the outskirts of Hollywood agents and casting directors through the same connections.

You literally, seriously, could not make that sh*t up if you tried.

Maybe some of the answer is in the Bobby Beausoleil interview: He suggests Manson kept the women around to attract "manly men" because Charlie wanted to do rugged man stuff with them and didn't have friends like that otherwise. Dennis would fit that profile. And he'd also have the women to attract rock stars, because he wanted to be a professional musician and star. Dennis and Terry obviously fit that profile too. So maybe it was this big mutual benefit setup they had going: Charlie got to hang with people he could ride cycles and dune buggies in the desert with and be part of the mens club, and he got to hang with people in the music biz. And those people in return got a bacchanal of dope, free sex, the then-fashionable communal "no shits given" lifestyle, and a cast of women and men available to partake.

Who knows.

And maybe Dennis and Charlie just got along as friends, even without all the mutual benefits. I guess we'll never know. 
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« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2021, 10:46:01 AM »

Thanks Craig for your posts on this topic. I was on the "other forum" engaging in some interesting debate, but was not getting very far considering the sort of anti-"conspiracy"/anti-Manson blinders some of the posts there seem to reveal.

To me, it seems just as bad to throw out skepticism in the spirit of "that's just some crazy conspiracy theory" as it is to see crazy conspiracy theories everywhere.

I wanted to chime in on the "maybe they were just friends" angle. I think this is something that gets thrown aside. If we think about people in the '60s in this scene, things were pretty different. We have stories like the ones from Bob Burchman, we have people like Steve Kalinich getting involved- these were guys who were unknown and the Beach Boys began working with, simply because they liked then and liked their poetry, etc. I don't see why we can't put Manson at least somewhat into this boat.

Another example I think is interesting is Mike Love's association with Craig Smith/Maitreya Kali. This guy was just about as out there as Manson, if not more so at one point. Yet Mike was hanging out with him and considered a pretty good friend. Even into 1971, there's a story that Craig was visiting Brian's house. By all accounts, Craig Smith was behaving very very strangely, and was apparently pretty unstable by this time. And this is post-Manson ... yet here's this guy hanging out at Brian's.

We should also consider the behavior of the group themselves at this time. Dennis was probably pretty out there himself, and think about those stories from Mike in the Steven Gaines book, around 1970 when he was fasting. Not to mention Brian. I think in the context of these guys who ... might have been considered pretty weird- Manson was another weird dude hanging out (up to a certain point).

As someone who is generally considered to be a weird guy myself, it doesn't seem that weird to me.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2021, 10:49:00 AM by DonnyL » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2021, 08:12:21 PM »

All these crazy pieces...

Rudy Altobelli- why does he have Bugliosi on speed dial, decades later? Terry calls Rudi, frantic about O'Neill and Rudy calls Vince?

Sharokh Hatami- Reeve Whitson calls him to tell him about the murders hours before the police arrive? Whitson pressures Hatami into giving the crucial testimony that Manson showed up at Cielo?

Charlene Cafritz- was she a girlfriend of Dennis'? Is this verifiable? She ends up financing Charlie with a divorce settlement, Is at Sharon Tate's funeral, OD's...apparently had some Manson home movies?

Mama Cass- Jimmy Webb says Cass told him she was at Cielo the night of the murders?

It is endless, the twists and turns. I was reading where Sebrings friend, Paul Greenwald had installed state of the art electronics at Jays house - cable tv and electronics so he could control drapes, lighting etc from his bed. The night before the murders, all of the victims are at Jay's house. Jay calls Greenwald as he is having issues with the TV. Greenwald can't come over to fix. Days later he is there fetching a suit for Jay's funeral and remembers about the issue. He goes outside and sees the cables are cleanly cut. He mentions that the way they were configured would mean that when power was disrupted it would have some sort of reverse effect and turn all the floodlights on outside, which could have scared away any would be intruders. It's just a story that makes you think, as the first move by Tex at Cielo was cutting the lines.
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2021, 12:49:45 AM »

Yeah, Mike and Dennis were pretty out there at that time - there's an anecdote of Mike picking up Craig Smith and going out for a drive where he ran a red light on purpose before getting pulled over by police. I don't know if Brian was that interested in Manson or Craig Smith on the occasions that they were at his house - more likely he put up with them. Marilyn didn't like having them around.

I'd agree that Charlie for Dennis was a new friend & collaborator in the same way that Stephen Kalinich had been. Charlie was 'hip' and had an authenticity about him which probably increased Dennis' desire to bring him into the songwriting fold. Similar to Mike and Craig Smith - Mike seemingly wanted to use Craig's 'Salesman' as a Beach Boys track in '71.

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« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2021, 03:08:16 PM »

Thanks Craig for your posts on this topic. I was on the "other forum" engaging in some interesting debate, but was not getting very far considering the sort of anti-"conspiracy"/anti-Manson blinders some of the posts there seem to reveal.

To me, it seems just as bad to throw out skepticism in the spirit of "that's just some crazy conspiracy theory" as it is to see crazy conspiracy theories everywhere.

I wanted to chime in on the "maybe they were just friends" angle. I think this is something that gets thrown aside. If we think about people in the '60s in this scene, things were pretty different. We have stories like the ones from Bob Burchman, we have people like Steve Kalinich getting involved- these were guys who were unknown and the Beach Boys began working with, simply because they liked then and liked their poetry, etc. I don't see why we can't put Manson at least somewhat into this boat.

Another example I think is interesting is Mike Love's association with Craig Smith/Maitreya Kali. This guy was just about as out there as Manson, if not more so at one point. Yet Mike was hanging out with him and considered a pretty good friend. Even into 1971, there's a story that Craig was visiting Brian's house. By all accounts, Craig Smith was behaving very very strangely, and was apparently pretty unstable by this time. And this is post-Manson ... yet here's this guy hanging out at Brian's.

We should also consider the behavior of the group themselves at this time. Dennis was probably pretty out there himself, and think about those stories from Mike in the Steven Gaines book, around 1970 when he was fasting. Not to mention Brian. I think in the context of these guys who ... might have been considered pretty weird- Manson was another weird dude hanging out (up to a certain point).

As someone who is generally considered to be a weird guy myself, it doesn't seem that weird to me.

Thank you Donny. I haven't been following other discussions, but it never fails that some will try to either erase or dismiss the entire history of Manson, and try to peg those who want to discuss and learn more details as conspiracy nuts or worse. It comes down to a truly tragic story all around where lives were lost, however the fact that a guy who is described as "pure evil" managed to get in the social circles of some of Hollywood's and the LA music scene's elite, and did so even without ever becoming a recording artist or actor or anything close. And he surely didn't have the money which would buy access into those circles either, he was an ex-con and a grifter.

So if people don't find that interesting, and want to erase or whitewash the whole thing, they're missing out on a lot of deep-dive history of the LA scene from 1967-1969, which for me is fascinating no matter who the subjects are. I like learning more about it, and ignore the critics.

It's hard not to think that Dennis and Charlie just got along as friends, as did maybe others who associated with Charlie. Take away all the salacious stuff and maybe these people just enjoyed hanging out with each other. It wouldn't be a crime to admit that if that were the case, yet there was a mad rush to distance anyone from him as soon as things went tragically bad. Which is natural, of course, given reputations and earning potential in Hollywood and the music biz, but still...it's not like Charlie wasn't hanging out with them regularly. 
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« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2021, 05:04:56 PM »

O'Neill's book brings to light so many "you can't make this stuff up"  details. Even if you don't care for Joe Rogan, his podcast with O'Neill is remarkable. Hearing this stuff from the author himself is very enlightening with some jaw-dropping details.
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« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2021, 11:37:03 PM »

I always thought Mikes story about taking a shower at Dennis' house didnt add up. Who goes to a party and takes a shower? Especially after manson had already been weirding them out, supposedly...That he was with some chick in there makes it make a lot more sense.

I saw some of the Joe Rogan interview with the author pretty crazy. I will read the book probably...One thing that hasnt been mentioned in this thread is that quote from Dennis from the 70s when he says something like "i know everything about why manson did it and what happened... as long as I live, I'll never talk about that" or something similar....If it was more than just Helter Skelter BS then that makes a lot more sense. Especially if he was possibly protecting Gregg or Terry for some reason. Didnt want to say that Terrys story in court was BS or something?

I was just watching neil young old interview with howard stern and he mentions hanging with Manson a few times at Dennis' house. Didnt go into much detail tho just how much it impressed him that manson could just make up songs non stop on the fly.
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« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2021, 07:10:24 AM »

I always thought Mikes story about taking a shower at Dennis' house didnt add up. Who goes to a party and takes a shower? Especially after manson had already been weirding them out, supposedly...That he was with some chick in there makes it make a lot more sense.

I saw some of the Joe Rogan interview with the author pretty crazy. I will read the book probably...One thing that hasnt been mentioned in this thread is that quote from Dennis from the 70s when he says something like "i know everything about why manson did it and what happened... as long as I live, I'll never talk about that" or something similar....If it was more than just Helter Skelter BS then that makes a lot more sense. Especially if he was possibly protecting Gregg or Terry for some reason. Didnt want to say that Terrys story in court was BS or something?

I was just watching neil young old interview with howard stern and he mentions hanging with Manson a few times at Dennis' house. Didnt go into much detail tho just how much it impressed him that manson could just make up songs non stop on the fly.

One more comment on the Mike shower story. I was reading an interview with Bobby Beausoleil, discussing the arrangements at Spahn. He said that Squeaky was assigned to George Spahn, partly because she was very loyal to Charlie and did not like to engage in sex with other people.

Again the shower thing undoubtedly  happened, just not the way Mike claims.
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« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2021, 07:59:18 AM »

O'Neill's book brings to light so many "you can't make this stuff up"  details. Even if you don't care for Joe Rogan, his podcast with O'Neill is remarkable. Hearing this stuff from the author himself is very enlightening with some jaw-dropping details.

Whatever opinions exist of Joe Rogan, you're right, that podcast episode is pretty remarkable and is one of the most compelling long-form interviews I've seen in recent years. I'd suggest anyone with even a passing interest in the Manson story give it a chance and watch it, you'll never view the case and the people involved the same way again.

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« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2021, 07:30:10 PM »

I always thought Mikes story about taking a shower at Dennis' house didnt add up. Who goes to a party and takes a shower? Especially after manson had already been weirding them out, supposedly...That he was with some chick in there makes it make a lot more sense.

I saw some of the Joe Rogan interview with the author pretty crazy. I will read the book probably...One thing that hasnt been mentioned in this thread is that quote from Dennis from the 70s when he says something like "i know everything about why manson did it and what happened... as long as I live, I'll never talk about that" or something similar....If it was more than just Helter Skelter BS then that makes a lot more sense. Especially if he was possibly protecting Gregg or Terry for some reason. Didnt want to say that Terrys story in court was BS or something?

I was just watching neil young old interview with howard stern and he mentions hanging with Manson a few times at Dennis' house. Didnt go into much detail tho just how much it impressed him that manson could just make up songs non stop on the fly.


So I have always questioned some of Mike's claims about Dennis and Manson decades after the fact. I understand why he may not wanted to talk about it, but a part of me also thinks were some of these stories designed to push his autobiography? I try to be fair to Mike, though, even when he makes questionable decisions. But recently on some Beach Boys forum, I came across an story of a Manson Girl, I believe it was Squeaky Fromme but not 100% sure, who claimed she recognized Bruce at a concert after this night with the family? Mike said he left, which I can believe him. He was getting into TM pretty heavy around this time so it does seem he would have been turned off by it. I question if Mike stood up to Manson about taking a shower, though. Again, it sells books if the lead singer of the Beach Boys rejected Manson's request to not leave the family. However, Mike recalls that it was he and Bruce who attended. Bruce was a swinging bachelor. (I recall seeing another article talking about Bruce's carefree single life, maybe shortly after he left in 1972. If anyone can help provide the sources, that would be appreciated!)

So in short, Bruce could have been a part of this evening with Dennis and the family; even after Mike split. It could have been something after a session, hey, let's go over to Dennis' and meet his new friends. Carl, Al and Brian seem a sure bet to say no. This might have been the somewhere around the time Brian was institutionalized and Carl and Al seemed dedicated to music and being with their family. Who knows what happened there? It doesn't seem like a story Bruce or anyone else would go into greater detail. No one wants to be connected to the family, even if the connection was sharing a joint, playing guitar, or having sex with someone from the Family prior to the murders. It's understandable. It just makes the history a little murkier. I am currently reading Chaos and there were a lot of people who refused to be interviewed about Tate-LaBianca. I'm curious to learn more and I'll report back with additional thoughts.

Also, that quote of Dennis is reference in Chaos, I believe. He mentioned Dennis saying that one day he'd tell the truth about Manson and write a book, but that he drowned in 1983 and that was the extent about that quote.
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« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2021, 08:14:52 PM »

Looks like plenty of Hollywood figures have downplayed their involvement with Manson. Mike is unique in that he incriminates Dennis while attempting to exonerate himself. I don't think anyone really believes that Mike would have shown up to Dennis's house at that point in time without the intention of sleeping with some Manson girls.

It's alarming that Dennis, Gregg and Terry seemingly went to such lengths to conceal their degree of connection to Charlie; false testimony, failing to contact police when it was presumably obvious to them that the murders were done by the family. I guess just another example of the elite being shielded/covered up for, the sort of thing we still see to the present day.

Re: Hollywood blackballing the Beach Boys - would this go some way to explaining the extent of Sunflower's chart failure? It also would seem to explain why they were forced to focus on the UK and Europe as their primary market for a couple years.

Somewhat unrelated, but it strikes me as increasingly odd that Bruce was still close with Terry Melcher throughout the 70's. Bruce purports to have always been this clean-cut guy, but it seems like Terry was the opposite - it's interesting that their relationship never appeared to sour.
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« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2021, 08:55:09 AM »

Just for those curious, here is the article and interview with Dennis from December 1968 where he talks about Manson and the girls:




So this relationship was public, at least to those who read this paper, in December 1968. No one was hiding the associations as of this time, and obviously by December 1968 the relationship between all these people was still happening.

Interesting to note the description of the "dance" Dennis learned from Charlie which he called The Inhibition. Others can fill in more info, but the description of that dance is similar to exercises taught and practiced by some religions that parallels hypnosis techniques, in fact the technique of focusing on each limb and part of the body as each part relaxes deeper and deeper is one of the common techniques used in clinical hypnosis in general. Add a psychedelic drug like LSD to that process, add the Scientology practices Charles Manson supposedly learned from people he was serving time with in prison, and there is one of the formulas for how Charlie would run those group meditation sessions. And it was either Bobby or Charlie himself who said Charlie would only pretend to take the drug he was giving out during his group meditations so he could remain in control of the hypnosis (or meditation, call it whatever).

It just opens up more questions as to the how's and the what's of the entire saga beginning when Manson was in jail until his release on parole in Spring 1967 and his subsequent travels between the San Francisco area and the LA area...while he was on parole...and those connections are where the Chaos book delves deeper into the backstory and the figures and organizations involved.

It sounds less and less like a "nutty conspiracy theory" when it's all put together, and it becomes even more relevant to read things like this Dennis article when books like Chaos trace similar hypnosis and LSD based experiments to the government, the military, and the CIA in the 50's and throughout the 60's. Government agencies were running tests and experiments focused on group hypnosis, post-hypnotic suggestion, and the use of drugs like LSD to further the effects and outcomes of these group experiments, then suddenly here's an ex-con fresh out of prison who shows up and starts doing similar things, and is given multiple free passes by his parole agent, and the authorities in general, even though he's on parole and has no money or source of income to speak of.

Again, you couldn't make this kind of sh*t up if you tried.

That's why getting more information through sources like O'Neill seems like a more worthwhile pursuit rather than writing the whole thing off and saying "Helter Skelter" is the final word on the case. 

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« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2021, 09:39:16 PM »

So I finished the book and there is a lot take away, but first, I think the Beach Boys fandom needs to confront that Dennis (and the band) were much closer to Manson than we will ever know. Reading and posting on another forum about this topic, I have noticed several fans who buy the Bugliosi "Helter Skelter" hook, line, and sinker. They seem to judge the book without having read it; that any talk is merely conspiratorial garbage and should be dismissed. I think the fandom has blinders on the life of Dennis Wilson. I love Dennis' music, but the man was completely reckless and, like all of the Wilsons (you too, Mike), in need of some mental health treatment.

I was going back through the Manson portions of Heroes and Villains after reading Chaos. There are startling revelations made in passing about Dennis. I'm not sure where Gaines got the source for this information, but he says that in addition to bonding over young, attractive girls; Dennis and Manson also had a mutual dislike of black people. There are anecdotes that people say about Dennis not being afraid of Manson, but Gaines writes that Manson sensed fear in Dennis and knew how to prey on it. Charlie took clear advantage of Dennis generosity and it seems it was willfully. Dennis even quotes Manson telling him that fear is nothing but awareness. That's some Landy-esque talk right there; just Manson used psychedelics and Landy used pharmaceuticals. Maybe Dennis did punch out Manson as Van Dyke's hearsay would have us believe, but I do feel like Manson knew how to manipulate Dennis.

Dennis and Charlie also bonded over orgiastic sex; which kind of falls in line with Dennis' "I live with 17 girls" quote. (Add Mike's claim about group sex to this as well and you start to see that this is the stuff they did.) Gaines even includes Audree discussing meeting Manson and the family and warning Dennis not to tell Murry about her visit, which of course Dennis did anyway. Gaines quotes Croxey Adams several times, who was a 15 year old girlfriend of 23 year old Dennis when the family lived with him. This stuff doesn't age well. Again, I think the fandom has a blind spot for Dennis' actions at times, because he's the charismatic Dennis. I understand why people are defensive, but the truth is that Dennis, like Melcher and many other celebrities of the time, probably had closer relations with the Family then we will ever know. Does this implicate Dennis as a murderer? Hell, no. It does show though that Dennis was vulnerable and prone to being taken advantage of. I view this timeframe as critical in the history of the BB. They have left Capitol and now need to make it big for Warner. Brian's back in the studio more after 20/20, the band's working as a whole and musically, they are really firing on all cylinders.

But then, you have Murry selling the catalog in November 1969 and Manson getting arrested in December. Mike's hospitalized February 1970 after his apple juice fast. I can't imagine the inner band drama during this time; especially after Sunflower bombed. Nothing was going right for them and now the cloud of Manson was tied to them forever. I think the fallout of Manson on the BB has been understated. It further emphasized them as persona non grata when it come to air time. It probably created or, really furthered, resentment between some members of the band. Judging by the Bellagio timeline, Brian starts doing less for the band after Sunflower's failure. A lot of the Manson stuff had a cumulative effect and I'm sure it contributed to the decline of Brian (and obviously Dennis). If Endless Summer was never released, the group could have easily faded away after Holland. By the time of Brian's Back, it seems like the band only stayed together for the money, which of course, created even more problems.  

O'Neill cites Jon Parks, Jon Stebbins, Stephen Desper, Brad Elliot, Karen Lamm, David Anderle, Alan Boyd, Stanley Shapiro, Nick Grillo, Ryan Oskenberg and Ed Roach for his notes on his Beach Boys sources. That's a pretty good array of knowledge on the band. Through Rudy Altobelli, he was given Carole Wilson's phone number, but after initially agreeing to do an interview, she backed out, saying that it's a scary thing and that anyone who knows anything won't talk. Altobelli told O'Neill that Carole had a diary of the time Dennis met Tex Watson and that she hated Melcher. She even had a picture of Dennis naked with some of the family girls around the pool. The one thing she did say to O'Neill was that there was more going with Hollywood and the Family than has been reported. He also mentions Carole pursued a romance with Jay Sebring around this time, which he said had never been reported before.

Another individual that's connected to Manson via Dennis is the mysterious Reeve Whitson, who also has connections with Hatami, Polanski, and Jay Sebring. Chaos mentions Whitson met Manson through Dennis. Has anyone ever seen that name floating around in BB circles during this time? Even just a passing reference?

Terry Melcher does not come across good in the book. The handwritten Bugliosi note of Decarlo saying he saw Melcher at Spahn after the murders is damning to the Helter Skelter narrative and also meant that Melched lied under oath. It's interesting how Melcher always slides in and out of the Beach Boys world. I also wonder what Bruce's connection was to all this being in the same band as Dennis and having that history with Terry.
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« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2021, 07:55:44 AM »

I agree about the blind spot that many fans have about Dennis.  You rarely find a negative comment about anything related to Dennis, including his music.  Can you imagine Al Jardine going home at the end of a tour and talking to his wife about how f’d up the guys in the band are?
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« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2021, 09:31:33 AM »

So I finished the book and there is a lot take away, but first, I think the Beach Boys fandom needs to confront that Dennis (and the band) were much closer to Manson than we will ever know. Reading and posting on another forum about this topic, I have noticed several fans who buy the Bugliosi "Helter Skelter" hook, line, and sinker. They seem to judge the book without having read it; that any talk is merely conspiratorial garbage and should be dismissed. I think the fandom has blinders on the life of Dennis Wilson. I love Dennis' music, but the man was completely reckless and, like all of the Wilsons (you too, Mike), in need of some mental health treatment.

I was going back through the Manson portions of Heroes and Villains after reading Chaos. There are startling revelations made in passing about Dennis. I'm not sure where Gaines got the source for this information, but he says that in addition to bonding over young, attractive girls; Dennis and Manson also had a mutual dislike of black people. There are anecdotes that people say about Dennis not being afraid of Manson, but Gaines writes that Manson sensed fear in Dennis and knew how to prey on it. Charlie took clear advantage of Dennis generosity and it seems it was willfully. Dennis even quotes Manson telling him that fear is nothing but awareness. That's some Landy-esque talk right there; just Manson used psychedelics and Landy used pharmaceuticals. Maybe Dennis did punch out Manson as Van Dyke's hearsay would have us believe, but I do feel like Manson knew how to manipulate Dennis.

Dennis and Charlie also bonded over orgiastic sex; which kind of falls in line with Dennis' "I live with 17 girls" quote. (Add Mike's claim about group sex to this as well and you start to see that this is the stuff they did.) Gaines even includes Audree discussing meeting Manson and the family and warning Dennis not to tell Murry about her visit, which of course Dennis did anyway. Gaines quotes Croxey Adams several times, who was a 15 year old girlfriend of 23 year old Dennis when the family lived with him. This stuff doesn't age well. Again, I think the fandom has a blind spot for Dennis' actions at times, because he's the charismatic Dennis. I understand why people are defensive, but the truth is that Dennis, like Melcher and many other celebrities of the time, probably had closer relations with the Family then we will ever know. Does this implicate Dennis as a murderer? Hell, no. It does show though that Dennis was vulnerable and prone to being taken advantage of. I view this timeframe as critical in the history of the BB. They have left Capitol and now need to make it big for Warner. Brian's back in the studio more after 20/20, the band's working as a whole and musically, they are really firing on all cylinders.

But then, you have Murry selling the catalog in November 1969 and Manson getting arrested in December. Mike's hospitalized February 1970 after his apple juice fast. I can't imagine the inner band drama during this time; especially after Sunflower bombed. Nothing was going right for them and now the cloud of Manson was tied to them forever. I think the fallout of Manson on the BB has been understated. It further emphasized them as persona non grata when it come to air time. It probably created or, really furthered, resentment between some members of the band. Judging by the Bellagio timeline, Brian starts doing less for the band after Sunflower's failure. A lot of the Manson stuff had a cumulative effect and I'm sure it contributed to the decline of Brian (and obviously Dennis). If Endless Summer was never released, the group could have easily faded away after Holland. By the time of Brian's Back, it seems like the band only stayed together for the money, which of course, created even more problems.  

O'Neill cites Jon Parks, Jon Stebbins, Stephen Desper, Brad Elliot, Karen Lamm, David Anderle, Alan Boyd, Stanley Shapiro, Nick Grillo, Ryan Oskenberg and Ed Roach for his notes on his Beach Boys sources. That's a pretty good array of knowledge on the band. Through Rudy Altobelli, he was given Carole Wilson's phone number, but after initially agreeing to do an interview, she backed out, saying that it's a scary thing and that anyone who knows anything won't talk. Altobelli told O'Neill that Carole had a diary of the time Dennis met Tex Watson and that she hated Melcher. She even had a picture of Dennis naked with some of the family girls around the pool. The one thing she did say to O'Neill was that there was more going with Hollywood and the Family than has been reported. He also mentions Carole pursued a romance with Jay Sebring around this time, which he said had never been reported before.

Another individual that's connected to Manson via Dennis is the mysterious Reeve Whitson, who also has connections with Hatami, Polanski, and Jay Sebring. Chaos mentions Whitson met Manson through Dennis. Has anyone ever seen that name floating around in BB circles during this time? Even just a passing reference?

Terry Melcher does not come across good in the book. The handwritten Bugliosi note of Decarlo saying he saw Melcher at Spahn after the murders is damning to the Helter Skelter narrative and also meant that Melched lied under oath. It's interesting how Melcher always slides in and out of the Beach Boys world. I also wonder what Bruce's connection was to all this being in the same band as Dennis and having that history with Terry.

Excellent post, and great info to share.

The whole thing about "the truth will never be revealed" is what keeps the whole Manson saga alive and has new readers wanting to explore further.

So "the truth" will never be spoken and will go to the grave with the people who were there, yet we're told something like the Bugliosi book and narrative is *THE TRUTH*? How can people not see the contradiction there?

I have to come back to what I shared here earlier, in how those people who had a ton of money invested in various Hollywood and music business entities potentially stood to lose millions if not billions if "the truth" ever came out and the money-making entities who were either box-office gold or blue-chip record sellers and personalities would be damaged goods if too much info came out about associations with Charlie Manson.

Money rules the day. When the facts about Hollywood actors and musicians being viewed as commodities traded and valued as if they were companies traded on the stock market, and the values rise and fall just as the future earnings are speculated and calculated based on popularity and potential sales, the whole thing makes sense.

And that's just the Hollywood/Music Biz element of the whole thing. What O'Neill also does is connect government agencies and individuals working on the outskirts of "official" government activity into the whole saga, and it gets even deeper and more bizarre.


Regarding those who are fine with putting blinders on and accepting "Helter Skelter" as the truth, just ignore 'em. The collection of blinders they have overall, not just for Manson but for other parts of the Beach Boys' story and I'm sure the JFK story too, must fill as much closet space in their own homes as Mike's hat collection in his Tahoe mansion's walk-in closet spaces. If at this point in 2021 the Warren Commission "magic bullet" theory is still being accepted and promoted as the final word and truth on the JFK case, then we're seriously f**ked as a general public who believes what they are force-fed and shamed into not accepting what these agencies tell us. Maybe it's no wonder the same Vincent Bugliosi decades after Helter Skelter also wrote a lengthy dissertation/book/lecture backing up and defending the Warren report.

Off soapbox.  Grin Smokin
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« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2021, 01:40:08 PM »

Of course I found the book fascinating and a part of me would love to see a Carol Wilson interview or more info about Terry but then again what incentive does she have to do that and would it be great if she had? At the end of the day there is no evidence that Dennis or Terry hurt anyone or participated in serious crimes-so why drag them down by associating them more with Manson. Carol’s kid views Dennis as his dad-what does he gain? Do we really have a right to know more or is just voyeurism?
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« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2021, 04:04:02 PM »

I definitely understand the need to respect people's privacy and not upset about certain people declining interviews about all of this. From a historical perspective, it's interesting to see how the murders of the century were not entirely prosecuted ethically. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the murders that have nothing to do with The Beach Boys. (Did Manson or someone else go to Cielo to rearrange the bodies? Was Reeve Whitson on scene at the murders? etc) There are also the questions about Manson's time in San Francisco, mainly around the two Smiths and Jolly West and his hippie crash pad that was being observed by confused grad students.

I agree with guitarfool about talents being like stocks and every agent/publicists/etc will do anything to keep their talent's stock high. Terry Melcher provided testimony in the Tex Watson trial on August 23rd, Gregg Jakobson gave his testimony August 26, 1970. In Melcher's testimony, Dennis is mentioned 21 times. In the Jakobson testimony, Dennis is mentioned 15 times. Sunflower was released 5 days later and was off the charts in a month. That would seem to indicate that there was a industry boycott on the Beach Boys. Add in the factor that they weren't hip anymore to play on the radio, and it makes sense why Sunflower, despite being the best cohesive music the group ever made, bombed.

The Manson involvement is an important part of the band's history, but I don't think it's been told fully, for obvious reasons. This is why the tapes will never come out (until maybe when everyone associated passes away) The tapes could be nothing of substance or the could depict friendly interactions among some of the band and Manson. We can only speculate, but being associated with Manson is clearly bad for business. If it weren't for Endless Summer, would the Beach Boys have become popular again? What effect did it have on each of the band members? Did this create the first real schism in the band that exploded in 1977 at the tarmac? I imagine by the time of the tarmac incident, there was a lot of built up resentment that had went back for years among the members. How did this affect the personal relationships with the band?; particularly Dennis and Mike. It definitely influenced the direction their career went; if Sunflower hadn't bombed and there was no Manson connection, would the group have gone with Jack Rieley?

Also, what did all of this have on Brian's mental state? Brian was pretty far out by the time Smile ended. If we assume Brian did meet Manson at some point just once, I'm sure that haunted Brian after the murders had happened. We know how freaked out he was about supposedly causing fires in Los Angeles. Add in the cumulative effect of Murry selling his songs, Sunflower's chart failure, his own fragile mental state, and drug use. After Sunflower, Brian just doesn't care anymore. He'd rather work at the Radiant Radish or produce Spring or hang out with Tandyn Almer and Danny Hutton. He didn't want to do anything with the band anymore, but they kept getting him to show up since they recorded in his home.

In my view, I believe the decline of Dennis started with Manson. He clearly had guilt and it haunted him. O'Neill does mention the quote (maybe from Leaf's book?) from Dennis where he said he would one day tell the true story of what happened.

At the end, I am just a curious fan. I'm not interested in sordid details, just interested in the correct narrative of how things played out.
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« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2021, 07:19:31 PM »

Just want to say that "Join The Human Race" makes some very relevant and important points in the posts above, and to say thank you for those posts. I, too, am a fan but I am also a student of history, and if there are still so many unanswered questions and such obvious proof of misconduct if not illegal activity done by the prosecution in order to secure a win in court, it goes far beyond The Beach Boys. In fact, most of this is not about Dennis or Terry or whoever else, and the bigger unanswered questions encapsulate Hollywood, the music business, and the government far beyond the scope of a single band or band members.

If the narrative that has existed for this many decades is wrong, and can be proven wrong, isn't there some responsibility to correct it? This was and is considered one of the most watched trials in history, and we're supposed to accept a false narrative? Hell no! (nod to Bobby Whitlock there...)

It still comes back to the simple point of people saying they will take "the truth" about this case to their grave, or simply not talk about it, yet we're also supposed to blindly believe that Bugliosi's narrative and "Helter Skelter" is that truth. And what, everything else is a nutty conspiracy? No way. If Bugliosi and "Helter Skelter" was the truth, no one would need to take anything to their grave because the truth was already published in the 70's and put into open court during the trials.

And yes, it sucks that Dennis and Mike and whoever else in their group of friends got involved in this tragic mess of events and people, but the fact is that they did, and if there are still issues regarding the case, that involvement can't be swept under the proverbial rug if the history is being written with any degree of accuracy or integrity.





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« Reply #47 on: September 16, 2021, 07:22:00 AM »

I have been thinking about Manson's trip to Esalen, and how it could be a key factor in the murders. It also leads me to speculate that one true motive may not exist. It may be an accumulation of events leading up to the murders that all contributed...perhaps Esalen among them.

So, if Charlie makes the trip up there to audition, presumably for Big Sur Folk Festival,1969, who set it up? Terry,Gregg, Mama Cass?? It does make sense based on the concept of the festival, combining established acts with unknown performers. At this point, maybe Terry and Gregg have exhausted options, in terms of trying to record Charlie, and see this audition as a way of still doing their part to try and get his music career going, while also hoping to pass the buck, somewhat, if things go south.

It certainly is funny timing, and if Stephanie Schramm is to be believed, Charlie ain't happy with the results of the meeting. Does it go deeper, with Folgers connections to the Institute? Who knows.

But I think it shines light on something that is somewhat overlooked in this entire narrative. There was likely a huge disconnect in philosophy between guys like Manson and those who were immersed in the world of Hollywood entertainment, be it the music or film industries.

I spent some time with guys who were affiliated with Biker gangs and had done some pretty significant stretches in jail. Everything they did, in business, especially was completely governed by two main ideologies: never ever lie, and always follow through if you give your word on something. Failure to do either meant any retribution was justifiable. It wouldn't surprise me if Charlie adopted that same code, I think it is a theme throughout his many ramblings. In juxtaposition, and I don't mean to generalize, but I think the Universe that guys like Terry lived in, is one filled with broken promises. A casting couch mentality where people and their hopes of stardom are cast aside on a regular basis. While Terry, and others might not think twice of stringing Charlie along, while partaking in the girls, for Charlie, the moment someone says they are gonna make him a star, that's it. Follow through is absolutely expected.

So maybe Charlie loses it after the humiliation and rejection of Esalen....
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« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2021, 05:23:32 PM »

I have been thinking about Manson's trip to Esalen, and how it could be a key factor in the murders. It also leads me to speculate that one true motive may not exist. It may be an accumulation of events leading up to the murders that all contributed...perhaps Esalen among them.

So, if Charlie makes the trip up there to audition, presumably for Big Sur Folk Festival,1969, who set it up? Terry,Gregg, Mama Cass?? It does make sense based on the concept of the festival, combining established acts with unknown performers. At this point, maybe Terry and Gregg have exhausted options, in terms of trying to record Charlie, and see this audition as a way of still doing their part to try and get his music career going, while also hoping to pass the buck, somewhat, if things go south.

It certainly is funny timing, and if Stephanie Schramm is to be believed, Charlie ain't happy with the results of the meeting. Does it go deeper, with Folgers connections to the Institute? Who knows.

But I think it shines light on something that is somewhat overlooked in this entire narrative. There was likely a huge disconnect in philosophy between guys like Manson and those who were immersed in the world of Hollywood entertainment, be it the music or film industries.

I spent some time with guys who were affiliated with Biker gangs and had done some pretty significant stretches in jail. Everything they did, in business, especially was completely governed by two main ideologies: never ever lie, and always follow through if you give your word on something. Failure to do either meant any retribution was justifiable. It wouldn't surprise me if Charlie adopted that same code, I think it is a theme throughout his many ramblings. In juxtaposition, and I don't mean to generalize, but I think the Universe that guys like Terry lived in, is one filled with broken promises. A casting couch mentality where people and their hopes of stardom are cast aside on a regular basis. While Terry, and others might not think twice of stringing Charlie along, while partaking in the girls, for Charlie, the moment someone says they are gonna make him a star, that's it. Follow through is absolutely expected.

So maybe Charlie loses it after the humiliation and rejection of Esalen....

I've heard that theory and I guess it's plausible, and another connection was Abigail "Gibbie" Folger's involvement and investment in Esalen, as well as Abigail's mother having been a volunteer with the Haight-Ashbury clinic that O'Neill mentions so prominently in his book, the same clinic that had the Smiths, Jolly West, and a visitor named Manson...

But like so much else, the Esalen angle hits a brick wall because those who run (and ran) the Esalen retreat and center said Charles Manson was never there, they insist Manson wasn't there, and they even lawyered up in the past when a journalist was researching a story about Manson that would have mentioned him being there. So it's literally a brick wall, when the folks from Esalen insist Manson was not a guest there and hire lawyers to insist Manson wasn't there.

Like the other Hollywood/Music Biz connections, keep in mind Esalen was funded by and had as influential members some very wealthy and connected people at that time, and they knew how to keep secrets.

Do I think Manson was there? Absolutely. Too many people, including Manson himself, have said he was there. Can it be proven if Esalen denies it? There's the rub.

Interesting to note too that the artists who played Esalen's Big Sur music festival from 68-70 were artists who Manson had connections to, including the Beach Boys.

If whoever was there at Esalen did somehow reject him and his music, and we believe Stephanie Schramm when she said Manson came out of that meeting and slapped her around in a fit of anger, and we believe it was Gregg Jacobsen who had the connections to the Big Sur fest and organizers at Esalen, who knows what the implications were on what happened later. But the Folger connection is not something to be ignored, both the mother working at the clinic and the daughter being a major benefactor and  potentially being there on-site when Manson showed up with Schramm waiting in the van.

I just think they had a way of buying privacy for the organization and the members at Esalen, for what it's worth. And some have suggested the government had a surveillance operation running there too.

And yes, I have heard interviews with Manson where he talks about the code or blood oath you're describing, and he got fired up about it because he truly did live by that code that a man's word was his bond and a sacred oath, and anyone who violated it and did not live up to their word should be punished. That's how he lived as a con for all those years, and that's how the bikers he was dealing with lived.
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« Reply #49 on: September 19, 2021, 06:44:56 PM »

Imagine Carl's frustration having just spent a year producing 3 different versions of Sunflower just to get a record that would satisfy Warner Bros, only to have it flop because of Dennis' uncomfortable associations.

I wonder if the exclusion of Dennis songs from Surf's Up was partly a damage control thing? Maybe Dennis, voluntarily or otherwise, started his solo career with Daryl because his songs being included on subsequent Beach Boy releases would be a commercial risk. CATP and Holland he contributed songs again, but only two per album, whereas he'd had three on 20/20 and four on Sunflower, plus several B-Sides and Slip on Through being a single.

It's interesting that Dennis' momentum as a songwriter didn't slow down regardless of all this. He was writing some of his most transcendent & joyous material in a period that should've been his most tumultuous.
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