Possible Links Between Tate, Scientology Murders Studied
Wednesday, December 10th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10 – Detectives here are investigating possible links between the recent slayings of two young scientologists and the seven murders linked to the alleged killers of actress Sharon Tate, it was learned Tuesday.
Parallels among the savage crimes are philosophical as well as physical.
As a result, investigators are dipping into the lore of cabals which practice black magic and glorify sexual excess.
Under particular scrutiny is a cult which is fiercely antiestablishment and whose beliefs include Satan-worships. It is an offshoot of scientology but is disavowed by practitioners of that mystical, quasi-scientific order.
The outlaw cult is known both as “The Process” and the final church of judgment. Its members are nicknamed “Mind Benders” and they claim to be in direct contact with both Lucifer and Christ.
Detectives have been struck by the similarities between the philosophies and the occultism of Charles Manson and his renegade band of followers indicted for the other murders.
The cult is based in London, where English authorities, despite great pressure, have recognized it as a legitimate church.
But it has staged major recruiting drives in the United States, which suggests the possibility of cross-fertilization between “The Process” and the Manson cult.
Manson and five members of his clan were indicted Monday for the murders of Miss Tate and four others Aug. 9 and for the murders of a Los Angeles couple the following night. Both crimes had overtones of dark ritualism and anti-influence.
Manson is known to have dabbled in scientology, then to have gone on to more eccentric cultism which apparently included the power to order the execution of those he marked unworthy to live.
The slayings of the two young scientologists appears as lacking in motive as did the other two slaughters when first discovered.
The bodies of Doreen Gaul, 19, and James Sharp, 15, were found Nov. 5 in an alley near downtown Los Angeles. They had been murdered elsewhere and dumped in the alley, only a few blocks from their respective residences.
The investigation into their deaths fell to a team of detectives headed by Lt. Earl Deemer, who immediately was intrigued by the selection of the scientologists as victims.
Deemer, who had worked on the Tate case, noted these circumstances which later gave rise to speculation their deaths might be related to the other killings:
— Like all but one victim of the two-day murder orgy in August, the young man and young women had been stabbed repeatedly. Each bore between 50 and 60 wounds.
— The November victims lived in a neighborhood with a large hippie population, much of it mystically inclined. Miss Gaul resided in a scientology commune whose residents dressed in hippie style.
— Many of the neighborhood’s inhabitants use “soft” drugs – marijuana and LSD – are promiscuous and are nomadic, like the Manson clan.
The final church of judgment is headquartered in an elegant mansion in London’s posh May-fair district. It is run by Shanghai-born, bearded, long-haired Robert Degrimston, 34, who attended Cambridge University and later took up scientology,
After completing a course in the mystical philosophy, he decided to start his own cult, which took a sharp turn away from scientology.
The “church” proclaimed its “dedication to the elimination of the gray forces” – the affluent establishment.
One issue of its journal, “The Process,” calls for an “alliance of God and Lucifer” to rid the world of the affluent.
Other issues advocated black masses, described marriage as “an abomination” and offered ideas to stimulate sexual perversion, even rape.
Degrimston is known as “the Christ of Carnaby Street.”
Manson’s followers called him “Jesus,” “God” and “Satan.”
Members of “The Process” wear black apparel.
The slayers who stole onto the Tate estate and killed the actress, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Voityck Frykowsky and Steven Parent wore black, according to Susan Atkins, who said she was a participant in the murderous raid.
Deemer declines to go beyond describing connections among the scientology murders, the Tate killings and the murders of Lena and Rosemary La Bianca the next day as anything more than a “possibility” at this stage.
But he wants to question all least two young male members of the Manson cult.
At least one of them was present at the strange death of another Manson cultist Nov. 5.
Christopher Jesus, was found known as “Zero,” was found dead on a bed in the beach community of Venice, Calif., a gun beside him and a bullet wound in his head.
A young woman said he had been playing “Russian roulette” and the death formally was listed as a suicide.
“But I’ve never been satisfied with that whole thing,” said Det. Sgt. Art Hansbrough, who revealed the death still is under investigation.
Not a single fingerprint was found on the gun.
Other cultists who had been living at the residence scattered shortly afterward.
One who did, a slight young man who held Christopher Jesus’ head as he lay dying, said he is convinced the death was not a suicide.
He said when he heard the gunshot, he entered the bedroom and found a young woman, another Manson follower, holding the gun lightly by the trigger guard.
“She told me: ‘Jesus shot himself,'” the young man said. “But she had this strange far-away smile on her face, as if she were saying to me: ‘His time had come, time for me to shoot him.’
“You have to understand what those people believe — ‘That you are me, and I am you’ — to realize how their minds, interlock, how she could have killed him and then said he did it.”
It is believed that the young woman and other Manson cultists present that night fled to Death Valley, site of the clan’s last commune.
The young man fears for his life because of his belief that Christopher Jesus’ death was not a suicide.
He said two nights after Jesus’ death the young woman stared glassily at him for several hours, while running her thumb across the blade of a long
“That’s when I decided I had to get out,” he said.
By JERRY COHEN