“He said helter skelter is coming down”
Jan. 15 – In part two of the October 3, 1969 Paul Crockett interview, Paul talks about getting nervous after shots were heard fired around the same time a Park Ranger and Highway Patrolman were in the area of the Barker Ranch.
The original analog reel-to-reel recording speeds up and down. We have attempted to correct this, but due to its gradual effect, the end result is still far from perfect.
PAUL CROCKETT: So, at this moment, it is my opinion that he is a very dangerous man. That his whole idea now is to kill as many cops, as he calls them, “pigs.” Or, he calls, anyone that works with law officers in any way, they’re the beast. And he has told me, he will take great pride in taking as many as he can before they get him.
And so, it is my word against, I don’t know what. Take it for what it’s worth. He will try to kill as many as he can if he sees that he is going to be killed. And he’s talked about, if they come in on him – with helicopters and all of this and that and the other, if they bring in the Marines, or they National Guard, that the one thing he can do is to scare havoc into all of these people. That he will personally charge right into them with his knife swinging – this was before he had the two guns – the shotguns he has now. But that, he’d try to take as many as he could. And all of the women have been programmed to do exactly as he do – as he does, and they all have knives. And so it will be fun, to apprehend the man. So I would suggest, if there is anyway possibly, take him all at once, or cut them off one at a time. Would be the only possible way to get this man. Because he’s insane in my mind. And he doesn’t care what he does, how he does it, when he does it, or where he does it. And so, he told me – just before I parted, and walked out – that, I should be more afraid of him, then the law, because I had mentioned I had been offered for an aiding and abetting a fugitive from justice. And that they promised me, a little problem or a little trouble. And he said I should be more afraid of him, then I was of the law. And he said it with a straight face, calmly and everything else. And that is the first time that he has ever put on a straight face with me.
I took him for his word. And I got Brooks Poston. And we packed up three or four cans of, canned food. And we walked out, 20 miles out to Warm Springs, to get out of there. Because I felt my usefulness to him, had already vanished. And that, he would – if he considered it necessary – liquidate me immediately, if not sooner. Because he didn’t figure that I wasn’t any value to him anymore.
Now the insistences that I’ve just referring to – is, uh, just as I left the canyon, was brought to ahead approximately four or five days ago, when I was down the canyon helping Charlie, bring some of this stuff up. Now, all this time he had been telling me that all this stuff has been purchased on credit cards. And that there wasn’t nothing hot. That there was, no thing at the Barker Ranch, that was not legal, and all of this.
Now, as I was carrying in this old, orange Power Wagon – a bunch of batteries, tires, tubes, and uh, battery acid, and uh, all kinds of equipment that this man could use for, what he considered his dune buggies, and his game, all of a sudden it materialized into the fact, that he really was, nuts. That he was, being pursued by the law. Because all-of-a-sudden I was confronted by a highway patrolman and a park ranger. And they wanted to know, what it was, that I was doing. And what I had in the truck. And what was going on.
At this point, I, was a little squeamish. I didn’t know exactly what was going on, what was taking place. But I had been expecting, officers to come if he was, playing a kind of, crazy game that he was playing. And so, I wasn’t really too surprised. So at this time I told them, “well, I’ll tell you what. I’m going back up to the ranch.” This is my conversation with the two officers. And that uh, uh I’m just gonna back up right now. They wanted to know where I had been. And I told them I had been down to the mouth of the wash. And I gave them the names of Juan Flynn and Paul Watkins. That they were going out to get supplies. And uh, make arrangements for us to go to another place. And, I hadn’t told the officers anything at this time, ‘cause uh, I didn’t know what was coming. Or whether it was time to move or what. But I had to find out more, so they pursued me, with language to the extent, they said, now uh. They asked me about two girls that were in my cabin. And I didn’t know any two girls were there. And they thought I was lying to them. And I really didn’t know they were there.
And so, they said, “Well – tell me something. What’s the matter with you? How come you’re not telling us what’s going on?” And I said, “Well, I kind of value my body.” And they said “What do you mean by that?” And so, I told them that I didn’t want to uh, express myself in any form, matter or fashion, that would jeopardize my body. Because I kind of liked it, and I like living. And that, uh, that I didn’t care, to be uh, pushed to – any too great extent, at this moment. And they were really nice. And they went along with me. And so, they said, “Well, uh, can you tell us a little bit about what’s going on?” And I said, “Yup, sure can.” And so, the Power Wagon, I was driving, didn’t – the battery wasn’t strong enough to, uh, start it. So I would have to kill the engine, and uh, to do our talking.
And so, we decided to go on back up to the ranch. And we drove on into the ranch and I began to tell them as little as I could, without getting, what you might called, stirred up emotionally. Because, I didn’t know, just exactly how the whole thing stood up – whether they were ready to come down on the guy at all. Or whether they were just in there on a hunch. Or what was coming? They wouldn’t tell me anything. Because, as I find out later, they didn’t know which side I was on. Or whether I was on a side or not. And so we came back to the ranch. And at that particular point, I began to tell them what I considered a map that I had seen the red Toyota that I had heard stories about, a lot of different vehicles, that they had this and that and that that they had miles and miles of telephone wire and that they had two telephones that they could stretch out for several miles over the desert and which way they could inform themselves whenever anybody was coming from certain directions and this and that and the other. Now, those spools of wire are not there at the ranch anymore, they did bring them in. So they have them spun out somewhere and I’m not aware of where these things are but there are in that desert area somewhere. And I haven’t seen them since, but I know they brought them in.
And so Charlie has set up the whole thing, it’s kind of like a story book. It’s all working out just like he said it was. And so he was going to have his problems. He said helter skelter is coming down. The only helter skelter that I can see is the helter skelter that he’s built in his own mind, that he’s created for himself. And all the people that are with him. And to him, that will be helter skelter and it will come down. And this is what I showed Brooks Poston and these other boys, that that’s what he’s doing. And that they were, if they stayed where they were, that they were going to be right in the middle of the bombshell too and so they decided to leave him.
All of this, this is part of the story that I was relating to the officers. I told them as much as I could without getting too involved myself because I didn’t know what was going to happen and so I didn’t know how much I could say, when to say it, or how, because this Charlie, he had his girls, or himself. He can sneak into your camp, he can sit six feet from you in the back of a window or something like that and hear everything that is going on and then the next time he sees you he tell you your whole conversation and he starts laughing like that at you and tells you how stupid you are and so I had two officers there, I didn’t know whether the guy would be bold enough, brash enough, because I didn’t know where he was, I didn’t know whether he was ten miles away, a hundred miles away, or six feet, and so at that particular time, I didn’t feel like just jumping up and telling them everything I knew until I found more out and whether the officers really knew or had anything on Charlie and he said, well, they tried to bust him in Los Angeles and had to let him go and so from this moment on, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to say anything yet because everything hadn’t come to a head and I didn’t want to get out of there because he was trying to run me out and I knew he was trying to run me out because he considered that his place and so that evening from what he told me, Charlie told me that the officers had his whole crew backed up against the wall down in the canyon. He came running up through the canyon. Now how he got loose, got out of it or wasn’t involved in it, I don’t know, but I had a double barrel shotgun shotgun back in my cabin and said that he hadn’t done nothing and said that he just went running around from rock to rock, sticking his head over the rock and scaming the officers ***
Brooks said he heard shots over the hill that he couldn’t hear just exactly what it was but something like it’s all over or something to that effect.
This was on a Monday and it was the first day that the officers came into the area and it would be about the 29th of September, the last of September, but it would be the last Monday of September.
So after this incident, there was the three shots, what Brooks told me and this and that, and the other really got me just a mite nervous because we didn’t know just exactly what to expect, whether the law officers had gone, whether they had been killed or whether there was a gun battle or just exactly what had happened. And so we didn’t do much sleeping that night because we was sitting up on one ear and one eyeball open all night long, waiting to see what was going to happen. But nobody — yes, Charlie did come back into camp that night and they had a dune buggy with no engine in it in the yard and they came out with this guy named Tex and one girl by the name of Linda and they told me to help him carry the motor which they had stashed in the canyon up from the house back to the place. I went with them, I helped them put the thing in a wheelbarrow. I pulled it back and they stayed there until about three o’clock in the morning until they had the motor on this dune buggy and drove off.
The next morning, approximately daylight, the same two officers that I had confronted down the canyon when I was coming back, came up to the cabin and wanted to know if anybody had come into the camp that night and I said yes they had, that they had come in, they had put the motor on the dune buggy and that they had drove off daybreak, whether they left or anything like that, but I don’t think that they ever left the area.
This Charlie and the whole bunch went down the road, down the canyon, taking shots at everything *** that they came to, turning that dune buggy around, making noise and going all over the place. Pretty soon they came back and went up the other canyon toward Mingo Pass, they made tracks all over the place and then I didn’t hear anymore noise after that. I didn’t know just exactly where they were or where they stayed or anything else.
And so the next day they all started to come and pretty soon all the officers came up to our house, up to the ranch there where we were and then they sat down and we talked and talked and talked and we had seven officers there. There was one park ranger and the rest of them were sheriffs and highway patrol and I gave them as much information to show them on which side I stood but one of the officers didn’t believe that I was working, *** and they talked about me coming into town or staying there either one and at that time Charlie still figured I was valuable to him, so I figured he would leave me alone, that as long as I had value for him that he would leave me alone and that I would stay and see what else I could find out, but I didn’t tell the officers this.
And so the next day — they told me that if he came back again that I should come out and they wanted me to get the old Power Wagon I had and drive out and I wouldn’t drive out in the Power Wagon for all the grits in Dixie because I figured he was somewhere in an area where he could watch any vehicle that was going in or out any area, any entrance.
I told them if I left, I would probably have to walk out — over the mountains because he would be watching all the roadways. And so they told me that if he came back into
And so the next day he didn’t show up. This is the day before you came out wasn’t it. Nobody showed up at all. It was completely quiet. This was the day when the spotter planes were over looking and trying to locate or find any movement at all, anything about where he was and it was quiet around the ranch. We just sat around and cooked a little, and stood around and didn’t know what was going on and that night I heard a noise in my cabin, so me and Brooks want out and got the two guns out of the cabin and carried them over to where we were sitting on the porch and kept them there with us.
In the process, I pulled the doors almost shut to where it’s hard to open and close and you can’t hardly open and close it without making a lot of noise. Pretty soon I heard a noise and the dog, I have a german shepherd over there, which growled. But he didn’t pursue it any and later I found out when we went back to check the cabin and the door was all the way open and we weren’t sure just exactly who came in but I figured he had sent one of the girls down to steal the guns. And I knew I didn’t want any more guns in his hands. So we kept the guns. Everywhere we went, we walked with the guns so that we wouldn’t prop them somewhere so somebody could come and sneak in there. He had a half dozen girls chasing around to grab the guns out.
At this time it’s Wednesday night and we’ve got the guns. We’re carrying them around with us. We go to bed. And around two o’clock in the morning, Charlie and one guy by the name of Tex drives up into the yard, and he gives us some tobacco.