Due in part to the great reporting done on Pat’s “crono” by the CharlieManson.com website, I was able to digest almost line-by-line, the various psych evaluations done on Ms. Krenwinkel over the years, to see if a) she did suffer from some psychological disorder; b) if this disorder was only fuelled by the excess use of drugs, especially hallucinogens; and c) if, over time, any disorder was i) in remission or ii) reversed altogether after years of drug-free living and psychotherapy.
A tall order, I must admit.
But “Katie”, although the most devoted to the bloody deeds of her guru, Charlie, has always seemed the odd-man-out, in my opinion, when it came to The Family members. She never seemed as blood-thirsty as Sadie and Tex, yet her actions on the nights of August 9 & 10th, 1969, spoke of an enraged demon inside her soul that never really manifested itself on the outside.
During the trial, she was the less vocal of the three Girls and to look at her, she seemed out of place in this nightmare.
But here she was, second only to Tex in the savagery of her knife (&fork!) attacks. There could be no other greater Enigma in The Manson Family than “Katie”…
Pat’s physical and mental problems, to her credit, began well before joining Manson in the form of an endocrine hormonal problem (creating too much testosterone in the female body, leading to excessive hair growth to name only one symptom) and weight gain from the pressures of being a teenager in a household where looking “normal” to the outside world was more important than feeling normal on the inside.
Yes, all teenagers, to one degree or another, experience this kind of psychological angst, yet for Pat, the pressures to fit in with family and friends were greater than most. Being shy and not receiving enough praise for her good deeds undoubtedly didn’t help matters in term of asserting herself and formulating her own moral compass – a weakness that would be exploited to the nth degree by Charlie – and one he could count on to ensure loyalty to his warped ideas no matter what the cost to Pat or to the others.
We will never probably know all the factors which would have affected Pat in terms of the hormonal disorder but my guess that producing an excessive amount of testosterone in a female could have an increased penchant towards inner rage and violence normally exhibited by males in society; hence, the ability in her to vent that rage in the form of a Buck knife and carving fork.
It seems strange to me that her endocrine hormonal disorder was never better treated or that it was never given any weight in how she may have acted on those two nights of murder. And that, it seems to me, although not totally excusing her savage behaviour, might go a long way to understanding it.
The weight gain issue was just a normal part of growing up as a teenager, in my opinion, but was blown out of proportion by her Mother and their family doctor. To put a teenager on Benzedrine & Dexemil (effectively uppers!) to curb the appetite, create energy and affect weight loss has got to be considered child abuse by today’s standards. Instead of pumping Pat with chemicals that could alter her mental state, therapy, praise and encouragement to be more active would have solved allot of her issues growing up. Instead, she begins her foray into dangerous drugs at the tender age of 14, drugs that today pushers on street-corners give to addicts.
She was heading down the wrong path physically and mentally long before Charlie destroyed what was left of her psyche. Hers is a very real and sad tale of how to completely mismanage a self-conscious teenager. And one thing’s for sure, Pat, in later years, judged this aptly herself by saying,
“You know, I wish they would just take me out of here, take me to a school and put me in a cage. Place me behind a curtain, then open the curtain and have me just sit in that cage. Let the students see what can happen to you. I wouldn’t have to say anything. Let them just see me.”
Sad commentary on a wasted life, don’t ya think?
In the first psychiatric report done on Ms. Krenwinkel after her conviction and incarceration on the seven counts of murder, August 28th, 1975, prepared by Randall L. Black, he writes,
“I have seen no residual of any symptoms related to her previous abuse of hallucinogens…During her CIW incarceration, psychiatric treatment is not indicated and would not be indicated upon her ultimate parole….She does suffer from low self-esteem, has somewhat poor social skills and tends to be drawn into herself.
Is this the psychiatric understatement of the century, or what? As I’ve said before, I’m no qualified shrink, but you’d think that therapy would be at least indicated to recover from the PTSD she undoubtedly suffered from after those wretched attacks. As other more competent psychiatrists would discover with Pat in later years, there indeed was a need for therapy and this glossing over of her mental and behavioural symptoms, second only to the drug abuse that was inflicted on by her GP at the nubile age of 14 and Charlie’s “polishing” act, will be the third most damaging treatment Pat would face in her lifetime.
If the Manson Girls didn’t all require extensive psychotherapy, then who amongst us would?
Despite her obvious short-comings, Pat was often given the shaft when it came to reporting the details of her actions on those two nights as well. In the 1993 Parole Hearing for Ms. Krenwinkel, even L.A. District Attorney, Steven Kay, gets into the act by attributing actions to Pat which were discounted on the Coroner’s table regarding Abigail “Gibby” Folger’s wounds,
“But it’s clear that Patricia Krenwinkel inflicted most of the damage and the fatal wounds to Abigail Folger.”
When we know that is just not true. In my estimation of the description of the blade wounds on Gibby, as noted in the Coroner’s Report, ten superficial slashes and shallow entry stab wounds can be attributed to the Buck knife Pat was using, while 11 penetrating stab wounds made with a long, double edged knife were inflicted no doubt by Tex’s bayonet, wound #8 being the fatal stab wound which penetrated deep into the thoracic cavity.
I’m in no way trying to make excuses or lessen the culpability of Pat’s actions that night but I do think it highly unfair to attribute actions to Pat just to scare the Board of Prison Terms into keeping her jail cell door locked. We’ve got to keep it real people and put actions where they belong if we’re ever going to piece together the events of those two hot summer nights.
In 1976, a year after Randall L. Black’s report that stated there was no need for therapy with regards to Pat’s mental health, and according to the biography compiled at CharlieManson.com,
“…the prison staff reported that during a search of her prison cell they found photographs of Charles Manson, doodles, poems and artwork with his name on it.”
This from an ex-Manson disciple 5 years after the murders, yet still indicating little need for therapy by the professionals around her at CIW.
In Pat’s Jul 17, 1978 Parole Hearing, her uncontrolled and as yet untreated behaviour was evident for all to see when she called Steve Kay the “F” word in front of the Board and tried to blame the entire acts on Atkins and Watson, maintaining herself as the innocent bystander. This behaviour almost a decade after the murders, remaining unchecked and untreated as per the psych evaluation of Dr. Joseph F. Roh, whereby he stated,
“The presumptive diagnosis showed no evidence of psychosis, neurosis or personality pattern disorder. She showed history of drug abuse.”
That kind of psychological description could be attributed to mainstream citizens incapable of the murderous deeds of which Pat was clearly capable. And it’s not until July 8, 1981, 12 years less 31 days since the Tate murders, that Pat is finally evaluated and diagnosed with a mental disorder. Staff psychiatrist Dr. H. Rellinger Stafford stated,
“Aggressive conduct disorder under socialized type. Hallucinogen abuse, antisocial personality disorder, suppressed anger and deep seated personality disorders….Deep seated personality disorders at present remain close, but at rest, in a rigidly controlled environment, but still carry the potential of breaking out again if she should be transferred to the very less rigidly controlled actions of the free world.”
and to reiterate the same, Steve Kay said of Pat,
“I feel she’s [Pat] suppressing a lot of anger. If you just look at her in the way she talks here today and the sharpness of her face. She’s almost vibrating.”
If ever there was a need for psychotherapy treatment in a human being, Pat is the one. Had she received therapy at age 14 when her personality development seemed abnormal, there would be every chance that her fate and future would never have landed in the arms of an ex-con like Manson. It’s just difficult for me to believe that it took more than 12 years to see the need for treatment in Pat.
And still 4 years after that first progressive evaluation Pat’s psychotherapy sessions must have been few and far between as evidenced by a similar evaluation done in 1985,
“Ms. Krenwinkel has definite deep seated emotional problems. At one point during the interview, a discussion about values, morals and social ideals was initiated. She was critical of some social set of beliefs and values….She added that every person has to make decisions for himself, herself, and no one can impose his/her will on others.”
The report goes on to say,
“One of the common denominators of those who join cults or similar groups is their state of emotional vulnerability. That is, lack of solid identity family or social dissatisfaction and she used idealism and a deep need for acceptance. Ms. Krenwinkel seemed to have been emotionally vulnerable in the manner just described prior to joining the Manson Group.”
When suggested by the psychiatrist that Pat’s idealistic ways of looking at society and beliefs/values were reminiscent of her time with The Family, her response showed a glimmer of hope that whatever treatment she had been given was now actually working, the report stating,
“…the difference between her beliefs now and then is that ‘I earned it through self-examination rather than taking from others (Manson).”
Although, the report further states,
“….that she [Pat] avoids certain topics when pushed and there is an underlying rebellion reminiscent of her Manson days. I get the feeling she is conforming to meet certain expectations of prison….She also becomes angry when discussing her childhood and avoids discussions relating to the commitment offence….This writer is of the opinion that because of some discrepancy in the degree of accessibility between the intellectual and the emotional aspects of her personality, that a more extensive and in depth process of evaluation is required in Ms. Krenwinkel’s case. A woman that has been convicted of heinous and sadistic crimes must be confronted with therapy.”
DUH!!! to put it in professional psychological terms…. Somehow, the doctors in the first 12 years were not educated enough to see the signs or where indifferent to bettering her mental health because of her crimes. Psychiatrists are human beings first and maybe Pat’s evil acts put her on the pay-me-no-mind list with her shrinks. I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. And as a result, the 1985 Parole Board cited “the need for further psychotherapy” and criticized Pat for not attending self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
The insistence of more psychotherapy and Pat’s willingness to take part obviously paid dividends as her 1987 3 month session of the Long Termers Group Therapy, under the supervision of Dr.L. Cata, described her progress as follows,
“…open in group discussion, considerate, less defensive, open in discussing personal concerns and offering support, positive solutions to other group members.”
Yet, contradictions still managed to bubble up to the surface in Pat, as her proclivity for avoiding the truth in some matters still was evident. When talking to researcher, Judy Hanson, Pat stated to Judy that,
“…she [Pat] was very specific about what she did in visiting the guest house behind the swimming pool [at Cielo Drive]. ‘I went inside, I looked around and there was no one there. If there had been, they would be dead today!!” “I may be a killer but I am not a liar!”
Freakin’ chilling, yes?
Just when you think there might be an ounce of recoverable humanity in Ms. Krenwinkel, she lets the truth out a wee bit more and you’re left with a cold chill down your spine…and to boast this to a proverbial stranger-of-sorts, shows how much the public doesn’t know about went on in Benedict Canyon and the Los Feliz district on those two nights.
I know I keep harping on this one issue on TLB2, about what did or did not happen at the Tate Guesthouse but, to me, the act of searching out for more victims elevates that night of terror to screaming heights. It’s bad enough to have the orders of Charlie in your ears, to kill everyone on the property and manage quite successfully to do just that in the 5 innocent victims, but the level of this macabre dance to seek out more bodies defies explanation. And although I wouldn’t know what the proper term would be for this act, entering another residence in search of more victims belies everything Pat and Sadie have ever said regarding the supposed horror they experienced at killing those 5 people. That just on Tex’s say-so, you willingly open another door in search of more. Can this be just the drugs and the bad childhood and the domination of Manson over his clan at play here, or is there something fundamentally wrong and irreversible with these killers, that even decades of therapy could never put right? It gives you pause…
Even as late as 1988, Pat continued to qualify her culpability in the crimes, admitting to the murder of Gibby but stopping short of group culpability for all 7 of the victims and, of course, as I previously stated, excusing the loss of Gibby’s life as less vital because the woman used drugs instead of achieving world peace. I think that statement, if it weren’t so sad, would have me rolling in the aisles. Your dead because you downed some MDA on Friday night, Gibby…bad Gibby, bad!!! All the while old Patty coming off her acid fix from the night before. Is this what people mean by the phrase “comedy of errors”? If you wrote these murders as a screen play, no one would buy the damn thing as it’s so preposterous.
As the 80s drew to a close, Pat seemed to be coming into her own at CIW and was seriously now anti-drug and anti-Charlie, according to the CharlieManson.com biography. She, finally, after close to 20 years of incarceration, took seriously the attendance at AA/NA meetings and started to finally own and psychologically experience the devastation that she wrought. When asked by Judy Hanson in 1989 why no one tried to stop the killing at Cielo Drive, Pat said,
“It was a horror,….We had gone too far and there was no turning back, no matter where I looked, it wasn’t going to stop….It is something that I have to live with now.”
How did the killing by her own hands become a Third Person “it”? Like it wasn’t her hand slashing and stabbing at Gibby as she yelled out, “I give up. I’m already dead.”, like it wasn’t her hand that turned that Guest House door handle and her walking right in, past the galley kitchen and turning left to see that lit side table lamp and no one there on which she could practise her newly acquired Buck knife skills. “It” wasn’t going to stop, not her, not Tex, not Sadie, not Leslie, just that damnable “it”…
It’s amazing how these killers continue to make me speechless…
To Be Continued…