Audio Archives: Ella Jo Bailey

Monday, November 19th, 2012

“I didn’t want to be hit. And I certainly didn’t want to be killed.”

Nov. 19 – For this installment of the Audio Archives, we listen in on an interview with Ella Jo Bailey regarding her knowledge of the Gary Hinman murder.

The interview, which covers Hinman and changes at Spahn Ranch, also reveals that Bailey was briefly thought to be Jane Doe #59.

The recording begins with a detective apologizing to Bailey for scaring her mother. The officer, trying to identify Jane Doe #59, had come to Bailey’s mother’s house after people at Spahn Ranch suggested the unknown murder victim resembled Ella Jo. Since Bailey’s whereabouts at the time were unknown, her mother was left to assume the worst.

Ella Jo Bailey

Ella Jo had been a roommate of Susan Atkins in San Francisco when the two met Charlie Manson in the fall of 1967.

Ella Jo is probably most famous for introducing the Manson family to Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, after he picked her up hitchhiking with Patricia Krenwinkel in 1968.

She was also one of the family girls dubbed the “Witches of Mendocino” after a local mother had the group arrested when one of them gave her son some LSD.

Bailey fled the family in the summer of 1969 after hearing about the murder of Gary Hinman. Her and Bill Vance’s plans to move to Florida were aborted after she was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio and her mother brought her straight from jail back to Michigan.

In August of 1971, Ella Jo returned to Los Angeles to testify for the people, regarding her knowledge of the Gary Hinman murder.

Bailey has maintained a low profile throughout the years, and is currently living in the southwest.

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23 Responses to Audio Archives: Ella Jo Bailey

  1. pvm777 says:

    Well unfortunately the audio wasnt as good as the other ones so I stuck my ear right next to the speaker. Earphones would do the trick too. Interesting how she said how good of friends she was with Gary and that she almost felt responsible. I guess thats why she split, cuz she was close to him. Its so sad these people had to lose there lives 🙁

  2. johnnyseattle says:

    Thank you Cielo Drive. Very interesting tape. I hope that others give it a listen.

    Funny comment about the mole and her not being Jane Doe 59.
    Would love to have seen those letters Ella Jo wrote to Bruce while he was ‘in Europe.’
    Interesting point about this tape is that she was really breaking down the increasing criminality of the family in terms of other schemes.

    Someone I was always curious about, Bill Vance appears to be fleshed out a bit more in this tape. Anyone follow up on him?

    Ella shows that they knew Terry Melcher lived out at Malibu at some point because he told them directly.

    ‘He (Melcher) said at one time we were welcome to come down to his place across from the Beach.’

    This kind of lays out that the Helter Skelter book and Trial Version of Charlie going up to the Cielo Drive house to locate Melcher and confronting Hatami and Altobelli is problematic. Unless AFTER that confrontation at the Cielo Drive house, Melcher subsequently had met with the family and given them the invite to visit out at the Beach.

    I don’t doubt that Charlie was up there, but probably not to locate Melcher. If so, why did he go up there? Moreover, why the invented dialogue by Altobelli at the trial?

  3. cielodrive.com says:

    Terry Melcher did meet with the family after the Rudi Altobelli-Shahrokh Hatami run-in. According to Melcher, he and Jakobson went out to Spahn Ranch to listen to Charlie play twice in May of ‘69.

    Charlie Manson may have told Rudi he was looking for Melcher. But neither Vince Bugliosi or Rudi Altobelli believed that he was unaware that Melcher had already moved out. Atlobelli felt Manson was just using that line as an excuse to run into him because Charlie knew that Rudi was in the industry and could possibly help him out. At least that is what Atlobelli’s gut feeling was. But this run-in with Rudi happened in March of ‘69.

  4. johnnyseattle says:

    Thanks CD
    I had forgotten about the May meeting out at Spahn.
    Wasn’t the Manson and Melcher relationship still positive in March of 69? Although the Melcher-Manson relationship would go sour, I wonder why he thought Rudi would be more helpful to him then Melcher had been up to that point (March of 69)?
    Besides, Altobeli hadn’t warmed up to him earlier when they met out at Dennis Wilson’s house. Moreover, wouldn’t Charlie risk alienating his then positive relationship with Melcher if it was learned he was trying to use another talent manager?

  5. cielodrive.com says:

    I don’t know, but Charlie doesn’t strike as the type of person who is too worried about taking risks.

    Just wanted to also note that throughout the years many authors have hinted that Terry Melcher had recorded Charlie Manson. While at the same time Melcher maintained that, while he had listened to Charlie, he never actually recorded him. To me, Ella Jo’s comments about Terry seem to support Melcher’s story. When asked about Melcher she says, “Terry had said he was going to come and record music at the ranch.” Nothing about that statement makes me think that Terry had ever recorded Manson.

  6. johnnyseattle says:

    Well, I do agree that Charlie’s internal risk management thought processes left a lot to be desired. And I also agree that the sentence from Ella Jo isn’t proof that Melcher ever recorded out at Spahn Ranch.

    I would also say that Melcher, along with a lot of other folks, was not going to play up his historical relationship with Charlie after the murders. If anything, Melcher would be downplaying to the greatest extent he could get away with. So if he had any tapes of Charlie they would be gone. In the Shrek book he quotes a conversation between Melcher and someone else (it may be Jacobsen but the name escapes me–I don’t have the book with me now) in which Melcher had downplayed his Manson contact to such an extent that his friend had to call BS on him.

    I wonder if Ella Jo is going to listen to this recording. I hope she does.

  7. lauren says:

    fabulous work! by any chance, would you be able to post a text transcript since some of it was hard to hear?

  8. cielodrive.com says:

    I do have a transcript for this but it’s not finished. It’s pretty frustrating transcribing this one. There are points I’ve listened to a single line 10 or 20 times. Another issue is the voice ids. It would’ve helped if this tape was labeled.

    I don’t have a date for this tape. However, you can sort of date it by the Jane Doe #59 conversation. Jane Doe was found on November 16, 1969. The detective goes to Spahn Ranch around New Years. And he also says its been about 4 months since he talked to her mother. That would likely mean it’s April or May of 1970.

    Johnny, I hear what your saying about people downplaying their association. It’s probably true in a lot of cases. I personally don’t think Melcher really did though.

    Who knows if Ella will ever hear this tape. I’ve always been quite fascinated by her. Like I’ve said before, to me she symbolizes a happier time within the group. I’m sure she has some good stories from the earlier years, before things got so out of hand. She is pretty low key though. I doubt she wants anything to do with all of this, which is totally understandable.

    Hopefully she is doing well.

  9. pvm777 says:

    On several occasions I heard that Melcher got turned off and kind of freaked out by Charlie when he heard the rumors of him(Charlie) shooting a black man (Lottsapoppa) and then thats when he decided he wanted nothing to do with him, and I heard it was before the raids too. Charlie did have a big mouth and seemed to boast about certain things he did and it could have very easily gotten back to Melcher. Didnt Mr Young say some things to the effect of Charlie being too wild to tame, and in those days at least in the begining of a career the A&R guys loved to control and mold thier artists.

  10. Johnnyseattle says:

    I agree CD, Ella does represent a gentle-hippie side of the family. And as she put it,
    “I didn’t want to be hit. And I certainly didn’t want to be killed.”

    Pretty reasonable expectation. I hope she does listen.

  11. lauren says:

    by the way, loving the eerie intro music!

  12. cielodrive.com says:

    Ha, it’s pretty pathetic how much time was spent working on that intro

  13. lauren says:

    you did a fabulous job! scares the shit out of me every time!

  14. cielodrive.com says:

    I was going for dramatic, maybe not that dramatic, but it’ll do.

  15. johnnyseattle says:

    the intro’s are great. the voice that does the narration at the start is also perfect for the vibe.

  16. Poirot says:

    Did Ella say the girls wore black creepy crawly clothes and that somebody wore gloves? I was struggling to decipher.

  17. cielodrive.com says:

    Yeah, I think she said they wore gloves. At least that’s how I interpret it.

  18. lauren says:

    I must say, Im glad shes alive and well, she seems happy!

  19. Poirot says:

    If they were wearing gloves and dark clothing to Hinman’s house that implies premeditation to murder. Granted Ella was not at Hinman’s murder.

  20. cielodrive.com says:

    That’s a good point Poirot, I hadn’t thought of that.

    Another thing I find odd about that visit, is how Bobby doesn’t go in when they first get there. Susan and Mary go in, and light a match in the window to signal to Bobby that Gary is alone. Why is that necessary?

  21. Silentseason says:

    Finally got a chance to listen to this tape. Was the detective(s) who conducted this interview ever identified?

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