Wednesday, August 25, 1971
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THE COURT: People against Watson.
Let the record show all jurors, counsel and the defendant are present.
You may proceed.
MR. BUGLIOSI: People call Brooks Poston.
THE CLERK: Raise your right hand, please.
You do solemnly swear that the testimony you may give in the cause now pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
THE WITNESS: I do.
called as a witness by the People, testified as follows:
THE CLERK: Take the stand. Be seated.
Would you state and spell your name, please?
THE WITNESS: Brooks Poston, B-r-o-o-k-s P-o-s-t-o-n.
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. BUGLIOSI
Q: What is your present occupation?
A: Handyman in Shoshonee.
Q: You live in Shoshonee, California?
Q: That is S-h-o-s--
Q: That is a little town --
A: Just outside of Death Valley.
Q: How far from Bishop?
A: From Lone Pine it is about 156 miles and from Bishop I don't know how far that is from there, not too far.
Q: Are you a former member of Charles Manson's family?
Q: When and where did you meet Mr. Manson for the first time?
A: In June of 1968 at Dennis Wilson's residence, 14400 Sunset Boulevard.
Q: Who was with Manson at that time?
A: A girl named Brenda McCann, Lynn Frome, Sandy Good, Diana Lake and another girl that left. I don't remember her name.
Q: Did you take up living at Wilson's residence?
Q: From what period of time?
A: About two to three weeks.
Q: Did Manson and these girls you referred to, did they also live there during that period of time?
Q: Did Manson and the girls eventually leave Wilson's residence?
A: In June of '68.
Q: Did you leave with them?
Q: Where did you and Manson and the girls go?
A: To Spahn's movie ranch.
Q: This was in June of '68?
Q: How long did you stay at Spahn Ranch with the family?
A: I was at the Spahn Ranch until October the 31, 1968.
Q: What were your duties there as a member of the family?
A: Shoveling manure in the barns and took care of the horses and rented them out. I was a cowboy.
Q: Do you know the defendant Charles Watson?
Q: When and where did you meet Charles Watson for the first time?
A: In August 1968.
Q: At Spahn Ranch?
Q: And he became a member of the family approximately around that time?
A: Later. He arrived with another man.
Q: Dean Moorehouse?
A: Yes, Dean Moorehouse. Then I believe he accompanied Dean to Dean's trial in Ukiah and then both he and Dean came back.
Q: In September 1968?
Q: And then Watson became a member of the family?
Q: What did Tex Watson normally do around the Spahn Ranch?
A: He worked on George's cars and trucks.
Q: By that do you mean George Spahn?
A: The owner of the ranch.
Q: The 83-year old blind owner of the ranch?
A: Yes, and on some of Charlie's cars. Charlie would bring cars that were all torn apart and Tex would do what he could to get them going again.
Q: Did Manson and his family ever leave Spahn Ranch?
Q: When was the first time they left?
A: The family as a whole left on October 31st.
Q: Where did the family move to?
A: Barker's Ranch.
Q: That is in Inyo County, California?
Q: And did anyone stay behind at Spahn Ranch?
A: Yes, Lynn Frome --
Q: That is Squeaky?
A: Yes. Squeaky and Katie, Patricia Krenwinkel, Sadie, and two or three others.
Q: And Manson and the rest of the family moved up to Barker Ranch?
Q: While the rest of the family was at Barker Ranch, that is Manson, you and the others, did Manson ever leave Barker Ranch for Los Angeles and then return to Barkers?
Q: When is the first time he did that?
A: He left in November.
Q: When he returned to Barker Ranch did he say anything about what was happening in Los Angeles?
A: Yes, he said, "The shit's coming down."
Q: Did he say what he meant by that?
A: Yeah, that the revolution, the Black-White war was in the process of happening.
Q: This was in November of 1968?
Q: Did he leave for Los Angeles several more times?
Q: And when he returned, what would he say?
A: He also said the same thing; he said that it was really coming down fast.
Q: On New Year's Eve of 1969 did Manson again return to Barker Ranch from Los Angeles?
MR. BUBRICK: Your Honor, I think where Manson went would be a conclusion of this witness, unless he was there, or knew about it.
THE COURT: I think he's correct, Mr. Bugliosi.
Q BY MR. BUGLIOSI: On New Year's Eve of 1969 did Charles Manson again arrive at Barker Ranch?
Q: Did he say where he had been?
A: He said he had been down to the city.
Q: And when he said "city," what would he normally be referring to?
A: Los Angeles.
MR. BUBRICK: I think it would be a conclusion of this witness, your Honor.
THE COURT: Well, I will let it stand.
Q BY MR. BUGLIOSI: What did he say when he returned on New Year's Eve of 1969?
A: He said, "Are you hep to what the Beatles are saying"?
Q: Who was he saying this to?
A: Well, the entire family, the ones that were there at that time.
Q: What did he say the Beatles were saying?
A: He said that the Beatles were telling it like it is and that they were programming the people to helter-skelter.
Q: Okay; so he started talking about helter-skelter; is that correct?
Q: And did he use helter-skelter in any particular type of a phrase? How would "helter-skelter" come up in his speech; would he just say, "helter-skelter"?
A: No, when he is talking about the war, the revolution.
Q: I am not asking you what he meant by "helter-skelter," I am asking you how it would come up.
A: That's when he would say it, when he was talking about how it was coming down in the cities; he would say, "Helter-skelter is coming down fast."
Q: So the context in which he said it is, "Helter-skelter is coming down fast"?
Q: Now, prior to New Year's he used to say the s-h-i-t was coming down fast?
Q: But this particular occasion he came back to Barker and said, "Helter-skelter is coming down fast"?
Q: So he substituted the word "helter-skelter" for "s-h-i-t"; is that correct?
Q: Thereafter it was always "helter-skelter is coming down"?
Q: Did Manson ever tell you what helter-skelter meant?
A: Well, helter-skelter was supposed to be the same as the s-h-i-t, this race war that was coming down, that was to happen.
Q: The race war between blacks and white?
Q: Did the family ever move from Barker Ranch?
A: Yes, in the early part of January, the first group left.
Q: And where did they go?
A: They went to a house in the city and I was there with two other girls and then I went down about, oh, a week later and --
Q: What house is this?
A: To a house on Gresham Street in Canoga Park.
Q: How long did the family stay in the Gresham Street house in Canoga Park?
A: I was there for about one month and most of the family was there.
Q: While at Gresham Street did Mr. Manson ever discuss a white Beatles' album?
A: Yes, we had the album there.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Your Honor, I have here a double-white album previously marked People's 266.
May it be remarked People's 266?
THE COURT: It may be so marked.
Q BY MR. BUGLIOSI: Is this the double-white album that you referred to? Did it look like this on the outside?
Q: Did Manson and the family frequently play this double-white album?
A: Yeah, it was played constantly.
Q: Is this the album?
Q: You had a record player there?
A: Yes, stereo.
Q: Did Manson indicate what he thought the relationship was, if any, between himself, the Beatles and this double-white album?
A: Yeah; he said the Beatles were talking to him through the album.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Your Honor, I have here six sheets of paper, containing lyrics to songs.
May these six sheets of paper be collectively marked People's 267? They were previously marked 267 in the last trial.
THE COURT: They may be so marked.
Q BY MR. BUGLIOSI: I show you People's 267, Mr. Poston. Do you recognize these words as being the lyrics to the songs contained within that double-white album?
Q: Do you recognize some of the songs -- "Helter-Skelter"?
A: Yes, "Helter-Skelter."
Q: "Dear Prudence"?
Q: "Glass Onion"?
Q: "I'm So Tired," songs like that?
Q: Directing your attention to the song, "Helter-Skelter," you do recognize these lyrics?
Q: And I notice that there are some lyrics in the song, "Look Out Helter-Skelter, Helter-Skelter, she's coming down fast."
Would that be a common phrase in Manson's family?
Q: And members of the family were saying this all the time?
Q: What about Tex Watson, did you ever hear him say that, that helter-skelter was coming down fast?
A: No, because I didn't talk to him that much; but whenever we would say something, it would generally be one of Charlie's phrases.
Q: So you did hear Mr. Watson say helter-skelter was coming down fast; is that correct?
Q: Directing your attention to the song, "Blackbird," did Mr. Manson ever indicate who blackbird was?
A: Yes, he said the blackbird was the black man.
Q: Directing your attention to some lyrics in the song, "Blackbird," blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life you were only waiting for this moment to arrive."
Do you remember those particular words to the song?
Q: Did Manson ever tell you what he thought those words meant?
A: Yes, he said that the Beatles were telling the black man to rise up, to revolt, that now was the time.
Q: Black man to rise up against whom?
A: The white man.
Q: Directing your attention to the song, "Piggies," do you recall that song in the album?
Q: Particularly directing your attention to the lyrics, "In their eyes there's something lacking, what they need's a damn good whacking"; did Mr. Manson ever tell you what those words meant?
Q: What did he say?
A: He said that the black man should whack the white man and it was the Beatles were again telling the black man it is time to rise up and to put a stop to the white man, the whitey.
Q: Directing your attention to the last few lines in the song, it says, "Everywhere there's lots of piggies living piggy lives, you can see them out for dinner with their piggy wives clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon"; do you remember that verse?
Q: Did members of the family sing that verse?
A: Well, members of the family used to sing verses out of all these songs.
Q: Did Mr. Manson ever place any particular interpretation on those words?
A: Not to me.
Q: There is a song in this double-white album called "Revolution 1"; is that correct?
Not "Revelation 1" but "Revolution 1"; is that correct?
Q: And there are no words to that song; is that correct?
A: Those standard lyrics, as far as I remember.
Q: Did the family play that song frequently, "Revolution 1"?
A: Yeah, it was played quite a bit; people would sit in front of the speaker with their ear up to the speaker trying to catch all the phrases in the background, because the Beatles were supposed to be talking under the awareness of most people.
Q: Did Manson ever say that he heard a particular word in the background of "Revolution 1"?
A: He heard "Rise."
Q: Did you hear that word?
A: Well, after I started listening to it and after Charlie told me it was in there I heard it.
Q: You thought you heard it?
Q: You, of course, have heard of Revelation 9?
Q: A chapter in the last book of the New Testament?
Q: Did Manson say that Revolution 9 had any relationship to Revelation 9?
A: Revelation 9 was supposed to be talking about the helter-skelter too, and that Revolution 9 was the Beatles way of saying that this is the time, that you better get ready because it is going to happen.
Q: Did Manson say that Revelation 9 spoke about helter-skelter too?
Q: Did Revelation 9 say that, the chapter in the New Testament?
Q: Did he say that referred to helter-skelter?
Q: Did Manson ever discuss the relationship of anything between the Beatles and Revelation 9?
A: He said the Beatles were the four-headed locusts that were talked about in there?
Q: In Revelation 9?
Q: While at Gresham, the Gresham Street address in Canoga Park, did Manson ever go into detail about the black-white conflict?
Q: Did he discuss this with you?
Q: And with several other members of the family?
A: It wasn't so much a discussion. He just told us.
Q: All right. Would this be in January or February of 1969?
A: About February '69 or early part.
Q: What did Mr. Manson say?
A: He said -- there was a bunch of the guys up in the bedroom on the top floor and he said that it is like God is sitting up and he is in his creation and he is looking at everything going on and he is tired of the games.
And it is like he says "Move" and everyone is jockeying into position for helter-skelter.
And that what this amounts to is that the black man is going to rise up and revolt and complete Whitey's Karma, and that he is going to do this by coming out of the ghetto --
Q: The black man?
A: Yes -- and going into some rich piggy homes in the Bel Air and Hollywood districts and commit atrocious murders and smear blood on the wall and write "Pig" on the wall and this was designed to get the white man angered, so that he would run into the ghetto because of the viciousness of the murders.
Q: Who would run into the ghetto?
A: The white man.
Q: Would go after the black man?
Q: You may continue.
A: And start shooting down the mongrels, in other words, the ones that weren't the true black man and the ones that the true black man didn't have any use for either, and that all it would do, all it would do is shoot the garbage man and the people who were with Whitey anyway, and that the real black man, the black Moselms, would be in the ghettos hiding and after the white man had done this, he would come out of the ghettos and he would say, "Look what you have done to my people. Help me."
Q: Who would come out of the ghettos?
A: The real black man, the Black Moslems, come out of the ghetto and say, "Look what you have done to my people. Help me."
And this would divide the white man into two factions and he said one faction would be the nigger lovers and the other faction would be -- well, the other faction would be the nigger haters.
Q: You may continue.
A: And these two groups would fight among each other until they wipe themselves out, or until only a few were left and then the black man would come out and he would destroy the rest of them, except for Charlie's people.
We were supposed to be in the desert in a hole and the group was supposed to grow to 144,000, and when the revolution was over and Blacky had cleaned up Whitey's mess, which that was what he had always done, then Charlie and family would come back out of the hole and that the black man would turn everything over to Charlie, and that Charlie would scratch him on his fuzzy head and kick him in the ass and tell him to pick the cotton.
Q: Charlie would say this to the black man?
Q: So during helter-skelter, during this black-white war, Charlie said that he and the family would be living in this hole in the desert?
Q: And during helter-skelter the family would grow to 144,000 people?
Q: Did he mention the twelve tribes of Israel?
A: Yes. He said like it was the Romans turn to be on the crosses and that we were the Christians and that we were like the original 12, would get back to the original 12 tribes.
Q: Which would be 144,000?
Q: Did Manson ever discuss the relationship between the black man and the white man?
A: He said that the black man was Whitey's slave and that he was designed to fetch for him, that white man was closest to God and that the black man was put on earth to serve Whitey.
Q: So the ultimate result then of this helter-skelter, this black-white war, is that the black man would turn over the power to Charlie and his family?
Q: Turn over the reins of power; is that correct?
Q: When did Manson and his family leave the Gresham Street address?
A: In the last part of February of '69.
Q: Did certain members of the family go one place and others go somewhere else?
A: Yes. The family was split up.
Q: Where did you go?
A: I went back to Barker's Ranch in the desert.
Q: With anyone else?
A: A guy named T.J. and a girl named Juanita, Pooh Bear, Mary Brunner's baby.
Q: Where did the remainder go?
A: I understand they went to the Spahn's Ranch and that Chuck Green and Clem and someone else was supposed to stay at the Canoga Park house and keep it
Q: When was the next time you saw Manson and the family?
A: September '69.
Q: At Barker Ranch?
Q: Did you live with the family in a month or so?
A: Well, I didn't live with the family but they were in that area.
Q: You lived in the vicinity of the family?
A: They lived in the vicinity of us.
Q: Okay. At Barker Ranch?
Q: And eventually you left Barker Ranch?
Q: In October of 1969?
Q: Do you know what date?
A: October the 2nd, 1969.
Q: Where did you go?
A: Shoshonee, California.
Q: You and who else?
A: Paul Crockett.
Q: I am sure Manson had many discussions with you about many subjects; is that correct?
A: They were seldom discussions.
Q: Well, he lectured or he spoke about many subjects?
Q: Did he ever talk about the subject of death?
Q: What did he say?
A: Told me a few times to die, to give it up. He said that death was only a game and that as long as you are willing to experience death, you don't have to, that you can live forever.
And that if you are afraid to die, then you will have to experience it, you know, have to go through it and when we came up to the desert, he said that he was going to go out in the desert and the desert was going to kill him and then he was going to come back and he was going to kill us one way or the other.
Q: Did he ever say anything about sin?
A: He had some songs that he had written. One of them, there was a line in it that said, "There ain't no crime. There ain't no sin."
Q: Did he ever say that there wasn't any wrong or there wasn't any right?
A: The same song has "There ain't no right or wrong."
Q: Did Manson frequently say that there was no right or wrong?
Q: Did Charles Manson ever ask you to kill anyone?
Q: Where at?
A: At Barker's Ranch.
Q: Would you relate the circumstances of this particular conversation?
A: Charlie and I were in the lower house -- there was two houses there and he was talking to me about being with the family or not being with the family and he said, "If you are with us, you will take this knife," and he showed me it looked like a small machete -- "you will walk to Shoshonee and sneak into the sheriff's house and cut his throat."
Q: Did he actually leave the knife there?
Q: He walked off?
Q: Did you go into Shoshonee and do anything?
Q: Why not?
A: Because I didn't want to.
Q: You didn't want to kill anyone?
MR. BUGLIOSI: Thank you. No further questions.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. KEITH
Q: Mr. Poston, did you believe in what Mr. Manson told you about helter-skelter?
A: At first it seemed pretty far out to me but then after a while it started making more and more sense because, I don't know, you can go out on the street and I could see people were up tight, and a lot of people were tense.
Q: Did you believe in the bottomless pit?
A: Well, I never thought that it really existed but I was going for it because it sounded like a good place to get away from everything.
Q: Did you try to look for the bottomless hole in Death Valley?
A: We all went around the hills looking for it.
Q: This was at Barker Ranch?
Q: When you say "We all did," did that include Mr. Watson looking for the bottomless pit?
A: When we first got up there he had a guy named Cupid and Paul and Clem --
Q: Cupid is Beausoleil?
Q: Go ahead.
A: And Clem and Paul Watkins and me and I think Tex got in on that trip too, Charlie took us walking around over the hills in back of Barker's Ranch and there was a couple of springs there and he was saying that, "Well, I'm sure that the entrance to the hole is inside that spring down underneath there because of the water," et cetera.
Q: So everybody that was there with Mr. Manson seriously looked for the bottomless pit?
A: I don't know if they seriously looked for it but everybody said they were.
Q: Did anybody tell you while they were looking for the bottomless pit, "Well, I know this is a big joke but I am going to go along with the gag anyway; or words to that effect?
Q: Manson had some hold over you, didn't he?
Q: And could you describe what you mean when you say he had a hold over you?
A: When I came in he said, "Give up your thoughts, submit, submit your will, give up your own identity. Do what your love says do. Live in love."
Believing that he was Jesus Christ I was trying to do the things that he asked or the things that he said.
Q: Did you do anything in particular to give up your ego and your life and your identity, some particular act?
A: Like how do you mean?
Q: At the Gresham Street house, for instance, did you just lay motionless for a few days or was that someone else?
A: That was another place; that was Spahn's Ranch.
Q: What did you do?
A: I didn't do anything. I just laid there. I was on acid.
Q: Three days?
A: I don't know if it was three days or not. I am not convinced that it was three days. It doesn't seem like three days to me. I laid down before the sun was going down and I got back up and the sun is just a little further down than it was.
THE COURT: Did you say you were on acid?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
Q BY MR. KEITH: Did Charlie tell you to do this? Did Charlie Manson?
A: No, he didn't say for me to lay down.
Q: What did he say?
A: He said, "Give it up." He said, "Give up your thoughts."
Q: Did Manson tell you to give it up, give up your thoughts, more than once?
Q: Did you hear Manson tell others to do the same, to give it up, and to give up your thoughts, in addition to you? Maybe not in those exact words but was the sense the same?
A: Yes. I have heard him talk a few times that way.
Q: When Manson talked to you, he was lecturing you; isn't that right?
Q: And it wasn't just you alone. It was other members of the family at the same time; isn't that a fair statement?
A: Sometimes he would talk to me by myself. I assumed that he did that with most everybody.
Q: But sometimes did he talk with you together with other members of the family?
A: He would talk to all of us at times.
Q: This was usually in the evening, wasn't it?
Q: And it was both at Gresham Street and Spahn Ranch?
A: And Barker's Ranch.
Q: And he talked to you?
THE COURT: Mr. Poston, did I hear right when you said you believed he was Jesus Christ?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
Q BY MR. KEITH: Did other members of the family ever express to you or anybody in your presence that they believed that Manson was Jesus Christ?
A: So far as I know, no one ever said "Charlie is Jesus Christ."
Q: When you say "so far as I know," you mean --
A: Because I never heard anyone say it in those words until afterwards, until after I got out.
Q: Until after you left the family?
Q: Then did other people tell you they also had thought he was Jesus Christ?
Q: Who were these people?
A: Paul Watkins for one.
Q: Anybody else?
A: I guess not.
Q: When Manson was lecturing on these subjects that you have gone over with us, did all the people who were listening to him lecture appear to listen very attentively and hang on his every word?
A: I would say that most everyone was listening pretty close to what Charlie was saying. He was the center of attention when he was talking.
Q: Was Charlie Manson the one that told people what to do at Gresham Street and Spahn Ranch and Barker Ranch?
Q: Would you describe Charlie Manson as the leader of the family?
Q: Would you describe him as more than a leader, almost a dictator? In other words, his word was law?
A: Well, he would put it out in such a way that you might get the idea that you didn't necessarily have to go along with it. Only he put it out in such a way that you felt you better go along with it.
Q: What would happen if you didn't go along with it or didn't you ever find out?
A: Well, I haven't been done in yet.
Q: This song that you told us about, is this a song -- I am not talking about the Beatles songs now -- but was this a song concerning the subject of sin that Manson wrote himself?
Q: And did it go like this, Mr. Poston:
"There is no good.
"There is no bad.
"There is no crime.
"There is no sin."
A: No, not that way because I think Charlie was rhyming it. I am not even sure that the good and bad part came in that song.
Q: Well, were there other songs that Charles Manson wrote and sung that expressed this same idea, although in different words?
A: He wrote quite a few songs.
Q: Did any of them discuss, any of those songs, if you remember, discuss the concept of no sin or no good or no bad?
A: I don't remember if he had those lines -- that line in any of his other songs.
Q: Did he ever tell you it was all right to kill?
A: When he was up in the desert.
Q: And when was this?
A: '69, September --
Q: And --
A: He said --
Q: Did he tell just you, alone, or where there others present, that there was nothing wrong with killing people?
A: That was about the same time that he was going to Shoshonee and kill the sheriff.
Q: I understand that, but --
A: I mean, it was in the same --
Q: Did he express this thought -- excuse me, I didn't mean to talk at the same time; but, go ahead.
A: It was at the same time; in other words, it was a conversation, mentioned part of like he was leading up to it, what he finally told me.
Q: Was anybody else present besides you and Mr. Manson?
A: Well, he took me off down to the cabin to talk to me.
Q: Did you ever hear him tell other members of the family that there was nothing wrong with killing people, on other occasions?
Wasn't that part of his philosophy?
A: Let's see, "If you are willing to die, then you should be willing to kill."
Let's see, Brenda McCann was there on one of those -- she was one of them that was there.
Q: "When you are willing to die you should be willing to kill"?
Q: Was that part of a song Mr. Manson wrote or was it just simply part of his philosophy that he lectured you on?
A: Well, that was just one of the things that he told me.
Q: Did he discuss the subject of being willing to kill in front of other members of the family, in your presence?
A: That was that time when he used those words.
Q: That was what time, when he asked you to go to Shoshonee?
A: No, there was another time before that.
Q: Who was present on that occasion?
A: Brenda McCann -- I think Clem was there, I'm not sure.
Q: Can you tell us whether or not Watson would have private conversations, maybe not in your presence that you could hear, but appear to have private conversations with other members of the family on philosophical subjects --
Q: Oh, no, Manson; if I said "Watson," I misspoke.
MR. KAY: That calls for conclusion, your Honor, if he didn't hear the conversations.
MR. KEITH: That's right; I'll withdraw the questions.
Q: When you first met Mr. Manson, that was at where, again, Dennis Wilson's house?
Q: And did you see a gentleman by the name of Dean Moorehouse there?
A: That's who I arrived with.
Q: Ah, you knew Dean before?
A: Yes, I met Dean in Ukiah.
Q: And you and he traveled down to Southern California?
Q: And how did you and Dean find your way to Dennis Wilson's house?
A: We came in on the Coast Highway 1 and went to Topanga Lane; Dean said that Charlie lived there.
He said he was looking for a guy named Charlie, and he went to a place called Topanga Lane, which is on Malibu; and we went down and Lynn came walking out of the house, Lynn Frome.
Q: Had you known her before?
Q: All right.
A: But she knew Dean, and Dean said he was looking for Charlie and she said, "Okay," and she jumped in the car and she took us to Dennis Wilson's.
Q: And was Charlie at Dennis Wilson's at that time when you first arrived with Dean Moorehouse?
Q: On either that occasion or some other occasion, did you see Dean Moorehouse kneel and kiss Charlie Manson's feet?
A: No, it wasn't that occasion; Charlie kissed his feet.
Q: Charlie --
A: Yeah, that was the first thing I saw Charlie do.
Q: Kiss Dean Moorehouse's feet?
Q: Did that have some kind of an unusual effect on you?
A: Well, to coin a phrase, it blew my mind.
Q: What do you mean by blew my mind?
A: Well, it was like a surprise, because he came walking out of the house -- I thought he was going to kick us out, because he came walking out of the house, really sternly, I guess; and he walked up and then he recognized Dean and he ran over and bent down and kissed his feet, hugged him and welcomed him.
Q: Did something happen at Dennis Wilson's place that made you want to stay with Charles Manson and his group?
Q: And what was that?
A: That was the time that Dean knelt in front of Charlie.
Q: So the first time you met Charles Manson he knelt in front of Dean Moorehouse?
Q: But later on -- here's where I have gotten mixed up -- Dean Moorehouse knelt --
Q: -- in front of Manson?
Q: And what happened on that occasion?
A: Dean came up on his hands and knees like a little dog and he looked up at Charlie and Charlie was sitting on a couch and he was tuning his guitar, and he kind of glanced down at Dean and he said, "Are you willing to die?" And he looked back to his guitar and continued tuning; and Dean shook his head, "Yes," and Charlie said, "Then you can live forever." And I was sitting in a chair and I was on acid and I decided that was -- that was where I wanted to be.
Q: And so you decided to stay with Manson and his family after observing this episode --
Q: -- between Dean and Charles Manson ?
Is that when you started to believe that Manson may have been Jesus Christ?
Q: And later on was that belief confirmed in some way; in other words, you really, truly believed --
MR. BUGLIOSI: "Confirmed"?
I will object on the grounds you don't mean what you say
THE WITNESS: I don't believe anymore -- so, it was stronger after.
Q BY MR. KEITH: That is what I mean.
A: As time went on, my feeling got stronger.
Q: What did Manson do to make your feeling grow stronger?
A: A lot of times he would go through his on-the-cross routine, like he'd stretch his hands back like this and moan.
Q: Indicating, for the record, that your hands are outstretched --
A: Yeah, and he'd moan.
Q: He would do what?
A: Moan, you know, "Oh," and go through things -- I suppose it is a sound you'd make if you had nails in your arm.
Q: Did he ever tell you that he had been on psilocybin?
Q: That he had been on a psilocybin trip and that he actually was crucified on that trip?
A: Yes. He told us that he was on psilocybin, that he was laying on a mattress and he was with a girl named Mary and he felt it coming on and he fought it and he'd raise up but then it would get really strong and it would pull him back down onto the mattress and Mary was at his feet and she's crying and he's telling Mary, "Don't worry," that everything is all right and that he did that for quite a while.
He kept fighting it and finally he gave up, and he said it is like when he gave up it's like he went through something and when he came out he saw through everyone's eyes and that he saw the soldiers standing around, Roman soldiers, and that he felt the -- you know, while he was fighting it, he felt the spear in his side -- spear or sword -- and that he could feel the nails.
Q: Now, he was describing to you what he experienced on a drug trip, psilocybin?
Q: You know what psilocybin is, don't you?
Q: You never tried psilocybin?
A: As far as I know, I haven't.
Q: Did Manson or anybody else tell you it was a psychedelic drug, something like LSD?
A: Well, I assumed that it was.
Q: You took LSD, did you not?
Q: Did you take it at Dennis Wilson's?
Q: Did you take it at Gresham Street?
Q: Did you take it at the Spahn Ranch?
Q: Did you take it at the Barker Ranch?
Q: And did you go any other places with Manson and his group besides the places I have just enumerated?
A: The day they left Dennis Wilson's house they went to a place somewhere along the coast on a fire road, took a fire road entrance.
Q: Was that in the Topanga Canyon area, is you know?
A: I don't know, because I was in the back of a van, and the van didn't have too good of a windows in it, so I didn't see where we went, but we were on the coast.
Q: Well, did you stop someplace?
A: Well, when we finally got up to where there was a trailer -- there was one trailer, I don't know, there might have been two -- but there was on trailer sitting there and it was supposed to have been an old fire road.
Q: Did you live there for a while?
A: No, they just went there for just, like -- well, we left that night -- there for about two hours.
Q: Where did you go?
A: Went to Spahn's ranch.
Q: And that's where you settled?
Q: Manson treated the girls in the family as if they were slaves, didn't he?
A: Not at first, it didn't seem to me that way.
Q: But later on at the Spahn Ranch did it seem that way?
A: Later on, after I saw him knock down a couple of girls, it became pretty well evident that if he wanted them to do something that he wanted it done.
Q: And you felt something of the same way, didn't you? In other words, you didn't cross Mr. Manson in any way except when he told you to go to Shoshonee and kill the sheriff?
Q: Did you see anybody else amongst the family members that disobeyed Manson?
Q: Wouldn't it be fair to say that he had almost absolute control over every member of his family?
MR. BUGLIOSI: Calls for a conclusion, your Honor.
THE COURT: Those that you know of when you were there.
MR. BUGLIOSI: It is too broad a question, your Honor. I think it calls for a conclusion. How does he know the state of mind, let's say, of someone else, unless that person told him?
THE COURT: He can tell what it appeared to him to be like.
MR. BUGLIOSI: It calls for a gross conclusion on the part of this witness.
THE COURT: Overruled.
MR. BUGLIOSI: About absolute control.
Q BY MR. KEITH: Can you answer that question?
A: I don't know if it was absolute control but I know that he was more or less in charge, that if he wanted something done or if he wanted something, it generally got that way.
I don't know if he had absolute control, but it seemed like on some of the people he had pretty good control.
Q: Did you see much of Charles Watson at either Dennis Wilson's or the Spahn Ranch or Barker Ranch or any other place you may have gone?
A: No. I didn't see a whole lot of him.
Q: Did you ever see, when you did see Mr. Watson, did you ever see him ingest any LSD or use marijuana or hashish or psilocybin?
Q: Could you tell us what you have seen in that connection? In other words, can you tell us when and where you can remember you saw Watson take drugs?
A: I know he got stoned up in the desert in September when he came up there.
Q: Do you know what drug he used to get stoned on?
Q: In September, 1969, did you see any acid around the Barker Ranch?
A: They didn't offer me any then.
Q: I take it you didn't see any around?
Q: When you say "they," to whom do you refer, generally?
A: The people that were still in the family like for instance, I was talking about Tex being stoned, there was Brenda, Bruce, a few other people were up there, but they didn't make any overtures toward me to take any.
Q: Did you use marijuana at the Barker Ranch?
A: Not in September.
Q: How do you know that Mr. Watson was stoned? Perhaps you could describe his symptoms.
A: I assumed he was stoned because I saw him a few times at Spahn's Ranch when he would be stoned, because we all would be stoned then and he had --
Q: Excuse me?
A: He had particular mannerisms.
Q: That is what my very next question was: What were his mannerisms?
A: I suspected.
When he would get stoned, he would sit with his mouth sort of open and his eyes real wide and he would just generally sit there.
Q: How many occasions would you say you have seen Mr. Watson manifest these symptoms of being stoned? Just about every time you saw him?
A: No, not that often. I saw him about four times, I think, at Spahn's Ranch and once or twice before we left the Barker's Ranch, the first time in February of '69 up there, and then that once in September of '69.
Q: And he would sit there with his mouth open and his eyes having an odd glaze, or something to that effect?
A: Well, they were, they would be really wide, like, I don't know, he would open them like he was seeing something that blew his mind, that was really surprising, or that he was waking up.
Q: Did you travel with any -- by travel, I mean were you close friends with any particular person or persons within the Manson group, such as Paul Watkins?
A: No, I wasn't. I didn't have any real tight friends there because, like I say, I was the bottom of the totem pole, so far as the rank went. Like I wasn't as strong as the other guys, strong inside. Like Charlie would say, you have got to be strong and I just wasn't there.
Q: So you didn't pal around with any of the other guys?
A: No, not too much.
Q: How about any of the girls?
A: No. I talked to Clem a few times before we went up there. We were still at Spahn's Ranch. I talked -- I didn't really talk, but Sandy Good, talked to her a few times because she was going through similar changes as I was.
Q: When you use the term "going through changes," that is kind of a common expression --
Q: -- isn't it?
A: Yes, among the family.
Q: Among the family?
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: Going through changes is like experiencing what you don't want to experience or getting through all of your inhibitions, getting rid of your hang-ups, giving up your thoughts.
Q: Anything else on the subject of going through changes, or have you covered this subject?
A: That covers pretty good on it.
Q: Were you able to give up your thoughts?
Q: You didn't? Was there a time when you sort of began to believe that maybe Manson wasn't the Jesus Christ that you had originally come to believe he was?
Q: And was this at or about the time of the incident when he told you to go to Shoshonee and kill the sheriff?
A: No. It was before that.
Q: So you had become somewhat disenchanted with Mr. Manson as a person and as a messiah a little bit before him telling you to go to kill the sheriff?
A: Yes, quite a while before.
Q: How much before?
A: About five months before.
Q: And this would be sometime in April, 1969?
A: Around April was when I really started looking at it.
Q: You started to question some of Manson's concepts, I take it, about that time?
Q: And by the time --
A: Not necessarily his concepts, but what he said, you know, sounded good, but what went on wasn't necessarily that way.
Like he talked about freedom but, boy, I felt anything but free.
Q: So you began to believe Manson wasn't practicing what he was preaching? Is that a fair way to put it?
A: Pretty close, yes.
Q: And so by the time September rolled around and you were ordered to go kill the sheriff, you weren't about to do any such thing, were you?
Q: Because by that time you had realized that Manson was something of a fraud, hadn't you?
A: Well, I figured that I had been deceived through my own stupidity, through my -- I was pretty gullible because I didn't have much experience when I met Charlie.
Q: But you came to your senses?
A: Through help.
Q: When you say "through help," is this through self-help or through talking to other people?
Q: And did you go to a psychiatrist?
Q: But you talked to other, wiser people?
A: Well, I talked to a man who happened to come up there and I started telling him, like -- that was my first opportunity to try to play Charlie, when I was up there, and this would be like --
Q: Oh, we have got to --
A: In February.
Q: -- keep the record straight. When you say "up there," where were you?
A: In Barker's Ranch.
Q: This was in February of 1969?
A: Yeah, in February, about the last week of February or the first week of March.
Q: All right, go ahead.
A: A guy came up there and I started trying to play Charlie, because all this time, like I knew I wasn't Charlie --
Q: But did Charlie try to make everybody identify with him as if they were him and he were them?
A: Yeah, he said, you know, "I'm you and you are me and it's all one, we are all the same."
Q: This was part of Charlie Manson's philosophy, wasn't it?
Q: And a very integral part of his philosophy?
Q: This oneness concept; isn't that right?
Now, somebody came up in February or March of 1969 and you talked to this person; is that right?
Q: And you were playing Charlie Manson at that time?
A: Yeah, I was trying to play out Charlie's programs, like I knew I didn't have it, really, but what I could do is use all the words that I had heard.
Q: When you say, "Charlie Manson's programs," did Charlie Manson try to program or computerize you, turn you into a robot?
A: He didn't try, but he did a good job.
Now, who was the gentleman that came up in February or March of 1969 to Barker Ranch?
A: Paul Crockett.
Q: And Paul Crockett is a miner or was a miner at that time; isn't that right?
A: They were prospecting, him and another guy.
Q: And you still know Paul Crockett, don't you?
A: Yes, I live with him.
Q: He lives in Shoshonee -- obviously, if you live with him?
Q: And did Paul Crockett help you?
A: I would say so.
Q: Did you seek help from him or did Paul Crockett volunteer?
A: No, I didn't at first. What I did at first was like I'd tell Paul that well, "Helter-skelter is coming down and you have got to get your shit together because black is going to rise and revolt."
I was using all the words that Charlie told me.
Q: You were Charlie?
A: I was trying to play Charlie; and then he'd look at me as if I was some sort of moron --
Q: Well, you were, weren't you?
A: Obviously -- and he's say, "Well, you can go for that if you want to, but I don't necessarily want some of it."
Q: So did you --
A: So --
Q: Excuse me.
Did you continue your relationship with Mr. Crockett that you had formed in February and March of 1969?
A: Yeah, because he surprised me, because he's the first one I ever heard say no to it.
I didn't know you could say no to it.
Q: Say no to what, sir?
A: To the programs, to the helter-skelter. He would say, "You can go for it," but that he didn't have to go for it. He didn't have to go for the idea of it.
Q: So in September when you were told to kill the Sheriff by Manson, you were strong enough within yourself to tell Manson, "Go stuff it," or words to that effect?
A: No, I didn't say anything, I just looked at him because at that time I figured it was better to keep my mouth shut.
Q: You were still a little frightened of him?
A: Oh, it was like -- it was more like being smart, like I was afraid, later on.
At first when Charlie got there I just, like it made me mad because he was coming up and he was always coming around bothering us; he'd come over constantly and interfere with what we were doing.
Q: When is this?
A: In September '69.
Q: All right.
A: And they started carrying knives, and this was like, I hadn't seen them with knives; I had a report during the interim between February of '69 and September of '69 that they were playing with machine guns, and that surprised me; and then he comes up and they are wearing knives.
Q: Who was wearing knives?
A: The guys and some of the girls, even.
Q: Did anybody tell you, Manson or any of his followers, that helter-skelter had actually come down?
A: No, it was still -- well, Tex told me once at the swimming pool, he said, "Whew, it's coming down fast, brother"; so it was still coming down, it hadn't hit, I guess.
Q: Is that when -- you said, "Swimming pool"; is that a swimming pool at the Barker Ranch?
A: There is a little swimming pool at the Barker's Ranch.
Q: Did you see Barbara Hoyt at Barker Ranch in September of '69?
Q: And what was she like?
A: Well, to me, most of the young girls looked kind of afraid.
Q: Did you ever hear Charles Manson describe how to kill somebody with a knife or gun or any other weapon?
A: Describe how to kill?
Q: Yes, sort of a dry run.
A: No, he just told us that he could kill us, that he was going to.
THE COURT: Mr. Keith, I think it is a good time.
We will recess, ladies and gentlemen, till tomorrow morning at 9:30.
During the recess do not form or express any opinion in this case, do not discuss it among yourselves or with anybody else and please keep an open mind.
9:30 tomorrow morning.
(At 4:00 o'clock p.m. a recess was taken until Thursday, August 26, 1971 at 9:30 a.m.)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 1971, 9:40 A.M.
THE COURT: Good morning.
THE JURORS: Good morning.
THE COURT: Gentlemen.
People against Watson.
Let the record show all jurors are present; all counsel and the defendant are present.
resumed the stand and testified further as follows:
THE CLERK: You have been previously sworn.
Would you retake the stand and state your name for the record?
THE WITNESS: Brooks Poston.
CROSS EXAMINATION (Resumed) BY MR. KEITH
Q: Mr. Poston, at the close of yesterday's session, we were discussing generally your relationship with a gentleman by the name of Paul Crockett; do you remember that?
Q: And Mr. Crockett, I believe you told us, was a prospector or miner living in the Death Valley area; is that correct?
A: He had come there from Carlsbad, New Mexico, and --
Q: And you first met him in -- sometime in the early months of 1969?
Q: And you met him in the Death Valley area?
A: At Barker's Ranch.
Q: And did Mr. Crockett, to your knowledge, also meet Mr. Manson?
Q: And were there conversations, to your knowledge, between Manson and Crockett?
Q: Now, at some time in 1969, did Mr. Crockett tell you that he did not believe what Mr. Manson had been lecturing the family members about?
MR. KAY: Well, that calls for hearsay, your Honor.
THE COURT: I didn't get that question.
THE COURT: Sustained.
Q BY MR. KEITH: At some time in 1969 did you become disenchanted with Mr. Manson's philosophy of life?
Q: Did this come about in some manner through your association with Mr. Crockett? Without going into what he may have told you?
Q: In other words, this was one factor, your association with Mr. Crockett and your disenchantment with Manson's ideas and way of life?
A: I had wanted to leave Charlie for two or three months previous to that but it is like I couldn't do it.
Q: Two or three months previous to what?
A: Previous to the time that I met Mr. Crockett.
Q: Did Mr. Crockett give you some kind of inner strength to oppose Manson or combat him?
A: The way he would talk about the things that Charlie said, in other words, I would be saying the words that Charlie used and he would make it clear to me that he wasn't necessarily going for it.
In other words, that is the first person I had ever seen who hadn't. Just like I figured well, if he doesn't have to go for it, why should I?
Q: So your answer to my question was sort of an explanation. Now, I will ask it again; Did Mr. Crockett assist you in your eventual disenchantment with Mr. Manson?
A: Yes, after asking him for help.
Q: So in September 1969, when you were asked by Manson to kill the sheriff in Shoshonee, what was your state of mind regarding Mr. Manson at that time? Do you understand the question?
A: How do you mean?
Q: All right. I suppose I can put it more directly.
At that time you had realized that Mr. Manson was not all he was cracked up to be?
Q: You were not under his control in September 1969. Would that be a fair statement?
THE COURT: Did Manson ever tell you why he wanted you to kill this sheriff in Shoshonee?
THE WITNESS: Yes. He said "If you are with us."
THE COURT: "If you are with us." Do you know whether he had ever met the sheriff up there?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I had met him.
THE COURT: I mean Manson.
THE WITNESS: Manson? I don't know. I think he might have during the floods that happened there. They were stuck down in Shoshonee and I think the sheriff ran them off.
THE COURT: I see. Thank you. Go ahead, Mr. Keith.
Q BY MR. KEITH: Going to another subject, Mr. Poston, I would like to get the chronology of your experiences in the Manson family, because it is sometimes confusing about who went where and when.
You first met Manson at Dennis Wilson's; is that right?
Q: And this was when you came down with Dean Moorehouse?
Q: And this was in June or so of 1969?
Q: And did you meet Mr. Watson at Dennis Wilson's?
A: No, I didn't.
Q: When was the first time you ever saw Mr. Watson, the defendant here?
A: Approximately in August of 1968 at Spahn's Ranch.
Q: All right; so did you stay at Dennis Wilson's?
Q: You, yourself?
Did you ever stay at a location in Topanga Canyon in a house or motor van or some structure?
Q: So you moved directly from Dennis Wilson's to Spahn's Ranch?
A: Yes, except for that time that I told you about the fire road; but that was only like two or three hours there.
Q: Yes; and you stayed at Spahn's Ranch from when to when?
A: From about the 3rd or 4th week in June of '68 to October 31, '68.
Q: How do you fix the date at October 31; did some event happen that sticks in your mind or what?
A: It was just some of the girls were talking about it being Halloween.
Q: About what?
A: They were talking about it being Halloween.
Q: Did you ever see -- let's stick to this chronology subject: Then you went to Barker Ranch in Death Valley; is that correct?
Q: From Spahn's Ranch?
Q: Did you ever return to Spahn's Ranch after October 31, 1968?
A: In December of 1969.
Q: And did you live continuously in the desert from October 31, '68 to December '69?
Q: Did you go anywhere while you were living at Barker Ranch for any extended period with any of the family members?
Q: Do you understand the question?
When you said you didn't live continuously at the Barker Ranch from the end of October to December '69, do you mean by that you took little trips, places, or did you mean that --
A: Are you talking October 31, '68 to December '69?
A: I went for about one month to the Gresham Street house in Canoga Park and about the second week of January '69 through till the third week of February of '69, then back to Barker's Ranch; and I stayed there except for about a week in August of '68 -- I mean '69 -- and I went to Kingman, Arizona and then back to Barker's Ranch, when I moved to Shoshonee.
Q: How far is Shoshonee from Barker's? You may have told us.
A: About 67 miles.
Q: At Gresham Street for this month period was Manson there?
Q: And some of the girls were there?
Q: Did you see Mr. Watson there?
Q: Did you see very much of Mr. Watson at all during your life with the family?
A: Not a great deal.
Q: Would you consider yourself close to the defendant, Mr. Watson, a close friend?
A: What I saw of him I liked.
Q: I understand that, but let me put it --
A: But not close friends.
Q: Let me put it in simpler language: Did you pal around with him?
Q: Mr. Watson wasn't at the Barker Ranch all the time you were there, was he?
Q: Would you say you stayed at the Barker Ranch longer --
Q: -- then any other member of the family?
Q: Except, perhaps, for Paul Watkins; was he with you all the time?
Q: Where were you at the time Manson told you to die, if he told you to die?
A: Well, there was more than one time.
Q: I'm sorry, I thought there was only once.
How many times did Manson tell you to die?
A: About 20 times.
Q: As a result of one of Manson's exhortations that you die, didn't you actually try to die?
A: Well, that was what I was doing for about two months, when he told me to die and I expected to die, because it's what he told me to do.
Q: When you say you were doing this for two months, were you at Barker Ranch at that time or elsewhere?
A: About a week or a week and a half, maybe two weeks before we went to Barker's Ranch on October 31, '68, we took a great big acid trip.
Q: Who is "we"?
A: The family.
Q: Was the acid trip taken in sort of a group setting?
A: Yes. And it turned out to be a pretty big freakout. In other words, people were floundering around and jumping in the fireplace and breaking windows and breaking mirrors.
Q: Everyone was on acid so far as you knew?
Q: How many people were involved in the freakout, would you say? Just your best estimate?
A: I don't really know. There was about --
Q: Would there have been as many as 20 or 10?
A: There was probably about 10 to 15 people.
Q: Was Mr. Watson, if you recall, participating in the freakout?
A: I don't think he was.
Q: Could you describe the freakout to us? You started to and then I am afraid I interrupted and asked you how many people were present.
A: Describe the freakout?
Q: If you can't, you can't.
A: People were laying in the fireplace. People were yelling and hollering. Just like they took two tabs -- we took tabs of acid and it came on really strong.
Q: When you say "we," so far as you know everyone took two tabs of acid?
A: Yes. I saw it passed out, handed out, and furniture was torn up, overturned.
Some of the water faucets in the ranch out there were left on. There was water all over the floor.
People were falling in and out of the fireplace. Somebody would lay in the fireplace and somebody would pull them out.
There were people on the floor moaning in agony, it sounded like, and people were hitting each other, biting each other. They were tearing up the mirrors, walls, the windows.
Q: Sounds like one big orgy.
Q: Sounds like one big orgy.
A: An orgy?
Q: Yes. Do you know what that means?
A: That wasn't my idea of an orgy.
Q: All right.
THE COURT: Can you fix the time again for us, please, when this occurred?
THE WITNESS: About two weeks before -- about the second week in October of '68.
Q BY MR. KEITH: All right.
Now, we were discussing Manson telling you to die.
A: Uh-huh. I haven't forgotten.
Q: All right.
So go ahead with your recitation.
A: After that, that was about the heaviest acid trip I ever took and all along in front of this Charlie had been telling me to give it up, you know, at various times, because it is all in your imagination. It is not real. Nothing is real. Nothing matters.
And like all of a sudden I began to see it that way and I started seeing Charlie as when he would say to give it up, that he really meant it. He wasn't kidding.
And believing pretty firmly that he was Jesus Christ, that is what I thought I should do, and so I started taking more acid because I figured acid would be the easiest way because I figured if you get so stoned on acid you would just die.
So I started taking acid and I took, for about a week straight, I took a tab -- maybe a couple of times it was one day and then the next day and then I would skip a day and take another tab and then skip a day and take another tab and that went on for about, oh, I guess five days.
Q: Then what happened?
A: Then was the time that I laid on the couch, you know, that I am supposed to have laid there for three days.
Q: But you don't know how long you laid there? You have to answer out loud.
And while I laid down on the couch, once before that, and I was looking at Charlie and I could feel like a vacuum cleaner -- it is the only way I can describe it -- he was laying down on the couch facing me and I was laying down on the couch and while I was looking at him, it was like everything inside my head was being sucked out and drawn toward him and I fought because I wasn't sure that I wanted to let it go and somehow I got out of that one.
Q: You didn't.
A: I didn't do it. I didn't give it up and after that it is like that I was, I don't know, I was one-pointed, that was the thing I was supposed to do so far as I knew to die, to physically die.
Charlie told me to die and the only kind I ever saw was when my father died and when he died, boy, he died.
Q: Did you ever hear Charlie tell any other members of the family, that is Charlie Manson, tell any other members of the family they ought to die?
A: Oh, yes. Asked them if they died yet.
Q: How would they respond? In varying ways?
A: I remember one time in Barker's Ranch somewhere I think in December or November of '68 and Cupid and Clem and Paul Watkins and myself and Charlie were in the smaller house. There are two houses at Barker's Ranch.
Q: And what happened on this occasion?
A: And he went down the line and he said, "Have you died?" And he asked Paul and Paul said, "Yes."
And he says, "Have you died?" and he asked Clem and he asked Cupid and he asked me; and obviously I hadn't died, so I said, "No."
Q: Then what happened, if anything?
A: Well, that it's like -- now, it seems like those guys lied.
Q: But did Charlie do anything -- Manson do anything to you when you told him you hadn't died?
A: He said, "Are you afraid to die?"
I said, "Yeah."
Q: Was that the end of that episode or --
A: Well, it was pretty close, because he didn't like fear in one of the people that was supposed to be living with him; he wanted them to get rid of it all.
Q: Did Mr. Manson do anything specific to try to draw the fears out of the members of the family?
A: Yes, scare you to death.
Q: And how did he scare them to death, if you know?
A: Well, I don't know how he did it with each one of those others, individually.
Q: You can't tell us what you didn't see; just what did he do to you?
A: Well, with me every time he'd come around, it was like the teacher was back in school, like when you were a little kid and the teacher goes out of the room, everybody starts yelling and hollering and having a good time; the teacher comes back in and everyone settles down and gets quiet.
And it's like every time he would leave, I would feel relieved, I would feel like, boy, I've got another two days I can live; then he would come back and all he would have to do was just look at me and sometimes he'd say, "Are you still thinking?" and "Haven't you given up your thoughts?" and "You have to die so that you can live" -- until I was convinced that I had to die.
Q: All right. Now, was there something about Mr. Manson's eyes that were unusual, in your opinioin?
I will put it to you --
THE COURT: Well, let him think; let him answer it.
Did you understand the question?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
Q BY MR. KEITH: I don't mean some physical defect --
A: I know. To me it is like he had very penetrating eyes, because when he would really stare at you, concentrate at you, it's like he could look through you.
Q: How many acid experiences do you think you have had, Mr. Poston?
A: About 20.
Q: And did that all take place at the Spahn Ranch or also at the Barker Ranch?
A: Also at Barker Ranch.
Q: Your heaviest acid experiences were during the week when you were trying to die; is that a fair statement?
Q: Did you see acid available at the ranch?
Q: I shouldn't say "at the ranch"; let me put it --
A: Spahn's Ranch.
Q: Did you see it there?
Q: And was it kept in any particular place, sort of a communal grab bag or --
A: No, they would give it to one of the girls to go stash someplace, or Charlie would give it to one of the girls.
Q: To your knowledge, was acid available at any time for anybody that wanted it?
A: As far as I know; only Charlie liked to keep, you know, pretty strict rules. He wanted everybody to take acid together.
Q: Was acid taken together?
Q: You have told us about one incident where there was a freakout. Were there other incidents or instances when you were present when acid was taken communally?
Q: Was this at the Spahn's Ranch?
A: Spahn's Ranch and Barker's Ranch.
Q: Did you know of any other drugs being supplied to the members of the family besides LSD?
Q: Anything else?
A: Marijuana, hashish; I think once there was opium.
Q: Have you ever heard of a drug psilocybin?
A: I've heard of it; I don't know that it was there.
Q: Have you ever heard of THC?
A: Synthetic grass? Once.
Q: That is the THC?
A: That's the synthetic grass, as far as I know.
Q: How about the MDA; have you ever heard of that drug?
Q: Have you ever seen -- do you know what speed is?
Q: Did you ever take any speed, yourself?
Q: While you were with the family?
Q: You don't know whether or not there was any speed at the Barker Ranch or Spahn Ranch or Dennis Wilson's, or anywhere else you were with the family?
A: No; Charlie didn't want any of that type.
Q: Manson didn't like downers, isn't that correct, seconal, sleeping pills?
A: As far as I know, yeah.
Q: He didn't like people to come around the farm -- the ranch, with downers, did he?
A: I don't believe he approved of it.
Q: Downers are what, in your estimation?
A: A downer is something that will make you --
A: Well, I don't know if it would depress you, but somewhat sluggish to where you couldn't respond too actively.
Q: You told us yesterday that you believed you were quite gullible, if you recall?
Q: Do you believe the acid may have made you even more gulliable?
MR. KAY: Calls for a conclusion, your Honor.
THE COURT: I think he can answer that. What effect did this acid have on you?
THE WITNESS: I would say that the acid did have an effect in that way. I was pretty naive, anyway, because I talked to Dean Moorehouse and he told me some of the things that Charlie told him and I hadn't taken acid and it sounded good to me.
Q BY MR. KEITH: With you, the acid made it even sound better; is that right?
A: Yeah, more real.
Q: Now, did you observe any changes in Mr. Watson at all from the first time you saw him until the last time you saw him?
A: How do you mean, changes -- like physical?
Q: Physical changes.
A: Physically, his hair grew longer and he had a beard. The first time I saw him, he didn't have a beard, and he had a beard then at Barker's, September; and he got rid of it.
Q: Did you ever see Mr. Watson strike anybody or threaten to hurt anybody?
Q: Did you ever see Mr. Watson act, oh, aggressively towards anybody -- do you know what I mean, sort of domineering or assertive?
Q: Did you ever see Mr. Watson work on Charlie Manson's vehicles, the dune buggies --
Q: -- and the trucks and so forth?
When he wasn't doing that, he was just goofing around; is that right?
A: Well, if you are talking about the dune buggies, the only time I saw those was in September, when he wasn't at Barker's Ranch.
Q: September what year?
A: '69; when he wasn't at Barker's Ranch doing that, I don't know where he was.
Q: So you saw him at Barker's Ranch working on the dune buggies?
Q: When were the dune buggies first brought to Barker's Ranch?
A: Tex and Bruce and Brenda came up with a rail dune buggy.
Q: By Tex you are referring to Mr. Watson?
A: Yes, right at the first of September of '69, and that was the first time one of the dune buggies came up and they left a couple of days later and came back in the same dune buggy and then a few other dune buggies started arriving along with a Toyota, a jeep, and there was a blue sparkled one, a really bright yellow dune buggy, another sort of off-yellow one.
I am not sure which one of them they retouched, camouflaged it, but there were to my knowledge about three dune buggies besides the rail job.
THE COURT: Rail job?
THE WITNESS: Rail. It doesn't have a body on it, just made with rails and roll bars and things.
Q BY MR. KEITH: Were the dune buggies used primarily to try and locate the bottomless pit or did they have other functions also?
A: Well, I think what they were going to do, they were going to use them to move with.
Charlie said that they would go from place to place. They would stay in one place for a couple of days and then move, that they would move at night, preferably with a full moon night, because then you wouldn't have to use lights and airplanes coming over wouldn't be able to see you.
Q: Was this after the revolution had started?
A: No. I think that was then because Charlie came into the yard a few times in dune buggies at night, you know, when they were in process of changing camps and at least that is what he said they were doing. They were used to bring supplies up the wash too.
Q: I think you told us yesterday, didn't you, that dune buggies were used to go about Death Valley looking for the bottomless pit?
Q: Didn't you say that?
Did Charlie ever tell you that -- strike that -- people at Barker's Ranch did, however, engage in looking for the bottomless pit, didn't they?
A: They were looking for the hole. Charlie said everything was holes, that the whole world was a hole. The sun was a hole in the sky.
That since everything was a hole of some sort or another, and that he was a hole in the infinite, through which God talked, that all his thoughts or all the words that he said were not his but of God -- that the logical solution would be the hole, to find the hole that goes down into the city, the golden city underneath the ground, and it talks about it in the Revelations.
Q: The people up there were looking for the hole?
Q: Did you ever see Mr. Manson perform what you would term miracles?
A: Fooled me, but other -- no, no miracles, other than telling Dean Moorehouse could live forever, which necessarily can't be classified as a miracle.
Q: Did you know Juanita Wildbush or Wildberry? I can never get it.
A: It was Wildbush. Now it is Berry.
Q: All right.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Wildberry?
THE WITNESS: No, just plain Berry.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Berry?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Dropped the bush.
Q BY MR. KEITH: Do you know anything about a transaction where she gave Mr. Manson some money?
A: Only what I heard on that one, on that situation that she gave Charlie a great deal of money and a camper, a Dodge camper.
Q: Was this at Barker Ranch?
A: No. That was at Spahn Ranch.
Q: Were you there at the time when that occurred?
A: I was at Spahn's. That was just a short time before -- well, I guess about three or four weeks before we left to go to Barker's.
Q: This would have been in October of '68?
A: It was September '68, I think September to October.
MR. KEITH: I have no further questions.
REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. BUGLIOSI
Q: Was this Juanita a schoolteacher at one time?
A: Well, I have heard that she taught school in Roswell, New Mexico, but that was after she left the family. She said she came from New Jersey and her father was some sort of a lawyer, some sort -- not a trial lawyer but a corporation lawyer, and she had been living in Mexico and she had a boyfriend down there that she was going to go back to see and she was traveling through, to go back down there, when she picked up a couple of girls from the family and they brought her to Spahn's.
Q: When Manson explained to you -- just a few more questions -- when Manson explained to you about how helter-skelter was going to start in February 1969 at the Gresham Street address, Tex Watson wasn't there at that time, was he?
Q: Do you know where he was?
A: I heard that he was with his lawyer settling an insurance settlement of some kind.
Q: You eventually left Barker's in October 1969 because of what? You were fed up with the family?
A: Yes. I was tired of what was going on up there. I wanted to get out of it and besides that the police told us to walk out and inform them the next time Charlie came to the ranch.
Q: Do you know a man by the name of Bill Vance?
Q: Did Bill live with the family for a while?
A: For a couple -- well, about a week, I guess. He stayed at the Gresham Street house but while I was around he never really lived there.
Q: What about at the Spahn Ranch?
A: At the Spahn Ranch I assumed that he lived with the family. I don't know because I wasn't there when he was there.
Q: What type of a relationship with Manson?
A: I don't think he was completely subservient to Charlie.
Q: Why do you say that?
A: Well, Bill was as old or older. It seemed like he was about five or six years older than Charlie and he was a great big guy.
Q: About six two?
A: At least and seemed like he had his own trip going on; in other words, he had his own -- he was still working at the ranch, and he was working at Spahn's Ranch.
The Gresham Street house so far as I know was Bill Vance's. That is where we got that house and he was working at the ranch, to take over the ranch again from George, was to get the family reinstated there and I have heard that he was interested in robbing.
Q: Commit robberies?
A: Robberies and burglaries and things like that.
Q: On his own?
Q: Independent of Charlie?
Q: You felt he wasn't completely subservient to Charlie?
A: I don't think he was.
Q: What about Bruce Davis? Have you ever heard of a man named Bruce Davis?
Q: Bruce was a member of the family; right?
A: So far as I know he was, yes.
Q: And he lived at Spahn Ranch with the family for a while?
A: I don't know. I assumed that he did.
Q: Was Bruce with the family up at Barker Ranch?
Q: In September and October of 1969?
A: In September, yes. When I was there, he was with the family.
Q: Describe or explain the relationship between Bruce Davis and Charles Manson.
A: It seemed to me that Bruce was competing with Charlie. He was trying to be an equal with Charlie or even he -- he was loud-mouthed.
Whereas when Charlie would generally speak most of the people in the family would keep silent and listen, unless he asked them something directly or he said, "What do you think," or, "Say something."
But Bruce would interrupt Charlie when he was talking and he talked in a real loud voice, and it seemed like that he like the power that he had when Charlie wasn't around because he could have one of the girls run and fetch him something.
Q: You got the impression that Bruce Davis wasn't subservient to Charlie either?
A: It seemed to me that he had more ego than any of the other guys I ever saw there. So that he hadn't given it up to Charlie.
MR. BUGLIOSI: Thank you. No further questions.
RECROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. KEITH
Q: Was Watson subservient to Charlie?
A: I never knew him to disobey anything that Charlie said.
MR. KEITH: I have nothing further.
MR. BUGLIOSI: No further questions.
THE COURT: Thank you, sir. You may be excused.