• Manson Clan of Girls Hanging On to Memories

Manson Clan of Girls Hanging On to Memories

LOS ANGELES, Jul. 5 – A year ago, there were about 45 members of the hippie “family” that lived a communal existence on a crumbling movie ranch in the arid, boulder-strewn mountains at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley.

Now there are just a few remaining members, young women who call each other, such names as Gypsy, Squeaky and Boo, and a handful of boys who drift in and then disappear.

The women and the occasional drifters are all that is left of the cult that gathered around Charles M. Manson, the 35-year-old former convict and mystic philosopher who is now standing trial for planning the murder a seven persons, including Sharon Tate, the actress.

Three of the members of Manson’s nomadic band — Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Denise Atkins and Leslie Van Houten – are standing trial with Manson. Another, Mrs. Linda Kasabian, is in custody and apparently will testify for the state.

There are still other members of the family in jail. Robert K. Beausoliel has been convicted and sentenced to death in the gas chamber for the murder of Gary Hinman, a musician. Mary Brunner has been indicted for the same crime, after recanting, then reaffirming, her testimony that helped convict Beausoleil.

Charles D. Watson, who is accused of the Tate murder along with Manson and the others, is still in Texas fighting extradition. Another member of the group, Steven Grogan, is in a Los Angeles Jail on a narcotics charge and the state is apparently making efforts to get him to testify for the prosecution in the Tate murder trial.

Most of the youngsters, however, have moved on, either to other hippie havens or back to their families. The taint of the Manson murder case with all of its bizarre overtones and harassment by the police was enough to put them back on the road.

At the Spahn movie ranch, a sagging collection of wooden, frontier-type buildings that are familiar to anyone who remembers the countless westerns ground out by Hollywood, five girls hang on relentlessly out of their love for Charles Manson.

Mostly, they spend their time making clothes for themselves and the women in jail. They utilize cast-off clothing and the results are unorthodox — low cut frontier type dresses that drag the ground, baggy pants suits often of faded material, and necktie and Stetson hat.

It seems clear to those who watch that Manson is really all these girls have to treasure along with the bond that has grown among them for each other. “He’s the only one who cares,” one of the girls, said recently. “When he is free, we’ll all live together again?”

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