Shock Deepens as Tate Killing Story Unfolds
Sunday, December 7th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7 – People die every day – in wars, on freeways, in the ocean…in the air.
But at no time has the death of five people so shocked the world as in the case of the senseless slaughter of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, three of her jet-set friends and an apparent casual teen-aged visitor.
Shock and unbelief — which registered when the bloodbath was first discovered by a maid on her way to work — continues.
Information seeping to official attention paints a picture of brutality and sordid slaughter at not only the exclusive Benedict Canyon home of the actress but in homes and back alleys across the State.
And the finger of blame points to the bastard son of a prostitute — Charles Miller Manson.
The hypnotic-eyed leader of a nomadic hippie cult. Manson has been named by former cult members, as the “mastermind” behind the Tate massacres on Aug. 8-9. the killing of market owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, the following day, and others — “18 in all” one of his followers said.
Born in Cincinnati out of wedlock to a teen-aged mother and father he has never seen, the boy first learned of prison when his mother was sent there, with her brother, for beating and robbing dates she had hustled in riverfront bars. He became more familiar with prisons as he grew up spending more than half his life in state and federal institutions.
But he learned little in prison — authorities found him “unreceptive.” He picked up one thing, however: a guitar. With it and a penchant for the occult, he fashioned his life.
“The main way we all got together so much was to sing. It was a spontaneous feeling. That’s what made everybody so happy, I guess,” one hippie-cult member recalls.
Leading the singing – strumming his guitar – was the short, swarthy Manson.
The same ex-cult member, holding her infant son, scoffs at reports of free love and drugs at the cult’s communes at Chatsworth and Death Valley.
“There was no dope at either commune,” the recent mother said, adding that she had once been admonished for drinking beer. Both claims, however, have been disputed by casual visitors to the communes and beer cans were liberally sprinkled among the refuse left behind.
Charlie’s hold over his “family” is difficult to attribute to a guitar.
He was able to order his cult — mostly composed of girls — to do anything he wanted, his followers say.
It included turning over all money sent from their parents and “begging” for more on Hollywood street corners, having sexual relations with whomever he would designate and putting up with any abuse or order he might think appropriate.
One of the orders, say his followers, was to murder everyone in the Tate and LaBianca homes.
They obeyed without question, the cult members say.
And they stood quietly — out in the open — when Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies raided the abandoned ranch where they camped, charging they were stealing automobiles,
Where was Charlie: “He was hiding in a tiny cupboard beneath the sink with the rest of the garbage,” deputies said.
It was about three feet high and 18 to 20 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep, the deputies explained, “so it took him time to unwind.”
The rest of the cult members were undressed, deputies sold.
“Some of the women were nude and the rest were wearing bikini underpants. They all wore hunting knives on sheaths.
“These were filthy people, just about the dirtiest I have ever seen,” Lt. Howard Hurlbut of the California Highway Patrol, told newsmen.
“They had two babies — one an infant about a month old who had to be hospitalized for malnutrition. The other had half his face covered with a scab. They said it got burned. It was the most pitiful sight I ever saw.”
But Charlie was in good shape — perhaps a little overweight, officers said.
“We called him ‘Jesus’ sometimes, and sometimes ‘Satan’ — depending on what he wanted,” one of his followers maintained.
Now, although expressing fears that her former leader had put a “hex” on her, 21-year-old Susan Atkins still refers to Manson as “a beautiful man”. Her attorneys says she regards him still “with a mixture of love, fear and hatred.”
It was Manson, she claims, who hypnotized her and others to slaughter the occupants of the Tate and LaBianca homes. He had others “line up” she said, ”
“Her whole world revolved around Manson,” the girl’s attorney said. “Now that world no longer exists. It’s difficult to fathom how this girl’s mind works, but she really regards herself as dead.”
Both girls — the Atkins girl, being held In connection with the murder of 34-year-old musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home, and Linda Kasabian, held for the Tate slaughters — claim they were under an “insane, hypnotic trance” when the murders were committed.
Miss Kasabian’s attorney has even retained a hypnotist to look into these aspects of the case..
Dr. William J. Bryan Jr. of the American Institute of Technology said at first glance the Tate murders “may have involved brainwashing.”
Bryan Added that If there was evidence of brainwashing there would be “no question of diminished responsibility.” He referred to a legal defense — used by assassin Sirhan Sirhan — that maintains the defendant was not responsible for the crime because he was mentally incapable of premeditation.
However, Bryan said three factors must be present for brainwashing to succeed: a long period of confinement with the brainwasher, the “right suggestion” which would appeal to the subject’s personality and a “certain amount of physical abuse or torture to wear the person down.”
According to cult members, all three have existed at the commune — plus one: drugs.
By MARY NEISWENDER