Manson’s ‘Conscience Clear’
Thursday, March 12th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 12 – “I know what I’ve done and what I haven’t done. My conscience is clear.”
So said Charles Miles Manson, the accused mastermind behind the massacre murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others, in an exclusive interview.
He says this to anyone who will listen, and to all who write to him.
“They (the police and district attorney) have no case against me…and making a case against me is like trying to carry sand in a sieve. It can’t be done.
“I keep telling the newspapers that — that there is no case…nothing for me to tell them. The only case there is, is the one they (police and district attorney) make out against me in the papers.
“They have already crucified me. They have me already tried, convicted and buried. They’ve made their dollar selling thrills to the public at my expense — at the expense of my life. That’s the price the newspapers have cost me.
“I’m a dead man speaking from the grave, but pretty soon I’m going to rise up, and instead of just waiting for this thing (their case) to fall apart, I’m going to take the offensive.
“That’s funny, isn’t it? A dead man taking the offensive — but I’m going to do that, and when I rise up I’m going to bring as many minds with me as are willing to look at and accept the truth. I believe there will be a lot of them.
“The ‘Big Lie’ has got so enormous that no one believes it any more. Not only the big lie concerning me, but all the big lies at are being told everywhere. People are getting tired of them.”
People, the long-haired hippie leader contends, have been told the big lie for so long they have lost love.
“When they lost love they shut the door on truth, awareness. They don’t want to see the truth anymore — instead they want a sacrifice, and in this case, it’s me.
“They’ve always known the truth – ever since I was first arrested in Independence and charged with riding in a stolen dune buggy. Well, the first thing you know, the LAPD was up there asking questions about this Tate and LaBianca thing.
“There wasn’t anything could tell them but the truth, and the truth was that there wasn’t anything I could tell them. I told the truth — they didn’t.
“The police told me that if I took lie detector tests and came out clean they would not only clear me on this Tate thing, and the other one too, but that they would dismiss the charges about the dune buggy too…and let me go, period.
“Well, I took the tests, in fact four of us took the tests. I passed the tests, all the way, Clean. Clear. And what happened? Did they dismiss the charges and let me out of jail like they promised? No. They just laughed at me when I asked them to keep their part of the bargain, and told me I was ‘one of those kind of people who could beat the tests!’
“I took the tests, told the truth. They gave the tests and lied because they didn’t keep their word. But they can’t hide the truth forever; it’s starting to come out now.”
People, unlike animals, Manson claims have lost truth — and love. Even wild burros in the desert have an awareness and love that man has lost, he says.
“There are a lot of wild animals roaming around in the desert. They travel in small herds, sometimes only four or five in a bunch. They’re pretty wary and hard to get close to because they’re afraid of the two-legged man who carries a stick that makes a loud noise and hurts them.
“Normally you can’t get within at least a half a mile of them. But I can,” he says with a smile.
“I get as close as I can to them, sit down on a rock or the ground and cry. I mean really cry — like wail. Animals have keen hearing and those burros — off over there — get upset hearing my distress. If I cry long and hard enough pretty soon one of those animals is there nuzzling me trying to find out what’s the matter with me. And, if I take it slow and easy, pretty soon I’ve made up to that donkey. He knows I love him as I do all living creatures; and has an awareness of me, of my love, an awareness that man has buried in a grave of lies, untruths, hate.
“But that burro living out there free and wild in the desert still has that man-lost love and awareness. I can even get him to carry my pack for a while.
“You couldn’t catch one of them running him with a dune buggy, but I can get one to carry my pack out of love for me.”
Manson, who moved with his nomadic band to the desert after police raided the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth where they had been living, claims he can “communicate” with other animals.
“Like a coyote,” he says. “Lots of times I’ve camped out all night, sometimes for two or three days at a time. One of the first times I ever did it, I camped by a water hole. After I’d cooked up and was ready to sack out, I noticed the coyotes were doing an unusual amount of howling. Suddenly, it was just like one of those coyotes had told me plain as day: ‘We’re thirsty; you’re at our water hole; we want to drink but you’re there!
“Coyotes don’t have canteens or drinking fountains so it’s either a water hole or do without, and it gets pretty hot and dry out there on the desert.
“So I packed up camp and moved off about a half a mile and called out to them in their own way. One by one coyotes quieted down. It took about a quarter of an hour, then everything was quiet.
“It must have been an hour later, I was sacked-in for the night, when from down there by the water hole came one last howl from one of them that sure as hell said, ‘thanks, pal’.
“I used to camp at that same spot often, always moving off from the water hole at night for the coyotes.”
One day, Manson claims, the coyotes reciprocated:
“One morning when I awoke after having played tag with the park rangers the evening before, this big coyote came loping across the flats. I was standing in plain sight. He ran up to within about five feet of me and then stopped, staring dead at me, unafraid.
“This went on for about 10 or 15 seconds. He was angled toward me, and several times looked back the way he’d come, like he was trying to tell me something. All of a sudden it struck me that the rangers were coming, and as soon as that thought crossed my mind that big guy took off back in the direction he’d come from.
“I loaded my gear in the buggy and got out of there. About 10 minutes later I was stashed away neat and cozy on a slope, hidden by some pines. Looking out across the desert floor, sure enough, there came the rangers. And from the very direction that coyote had come from to warn me.
“Now you think on that for a while,” Manson says.
And many people, from all parts of the world, “think on” Charles Manson and his beliefs.
Letters he receives is a good indication.
Says Charlie: “Most of them feel sorry for me or don’t believe I’m guilty — sometimes it’s a mixture of both. But I don’t get any hate mail.”
A typical letter is one he received from a 90-year-old ex-schoolteacher from Carroll, Iowa, who had read of his “plight” in her local newspaper and had been particularly disturbed by a picture of Manson taken at the age of 14 in Indianapolis, Ind. She offered help.
Manson answered in a three-page letter, adding a postscript: “Please don’t grade my spelling.”
A letter from Idaho, intimates Manson is “a sheep, lost from the fold whom the Great Shepherd seeks. “Jesus will get you out of that mess,” writes the woman.
A Fresno boy writes for advice: “What magic do you use to get those girls?”
By MARY NEISWENDER