Although Tex, through the years, has done a fair amount of jawing on the murders and on his part in them, not allot of psychological study has been done on the man, or shall I say, not allot has been publicized if studies were done through the years.
But one study, which is readily available on The Manson Family Today site, was one which was conducted by Neurologist Dr. R.D. Walter on April 14, 1971, most likely a court-ordered evaluation, to assess whether or not a plea of insanity could be used as a defence for Watson.
As we all know now, no such plea was forth-coming, as Tex, like all the other TLB killers, besides being drugged-out on Speed and Acid, knew exactly what they were doing and when they were doing it.
This evaluation is pivotal though because we are able to sneak a rare glimpse into the mind of one of Charlie Manson’s most fervent disciples while Tex was still under the neurological affects of two years of rampant drug use, and after the shock of the killings and arrest but before his trial began.
I must say, that on the surface, the interview seemed normal enough, but all you had to do was lazily scratch the surface to uncover a very disturbing view of this then young man, that, at least so far, seemed like he may not have needed Charlie to do what he did.
Yes, you read me right, he may not have needed Charlie to kill.
And I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying, “Wait a darn minute here, MsBurb! Wasn’t it you who said in Part One that Tex may not be a sociopath?!”
And yes, you are right; I did.
How am I getting away with these two seemingly opposite assessments, you ask? Well, psychologists have said for years that you do not have to be a sociopath to kill but the Jury is still out on whether or not you need to be a sociopath to murder!
The moniker above was still up for debate, even a year and eight months after the Tate murders, as Watson, even without Manson’s influence nor drugs, was still showing marked neurological dysfunction, making an assessment of a sociopathic disorder that much more difficult;
“…dilated pupils that reacted sluggishly to light, marked showing in the performance of rapid motor tasks, slurred speech, difficulty in recent memory and impaired ability to supply similarities in the abstract fashion, all signs of organic brain disease.”
And Dr. Walter goes on to note;
“Defendant’s nails are neatly manicured. The nail beds appear slightly cyanosed.”
It’s almost two years later, yet Tex’s system is still ravaged by the drug abuse he suffered under The Family, not counting the self-inflicted drug abuse he suffered before he even joined The Family.
Manson should never be the sole blame for all the self-destructive behaviour these Family killers have shown, as the killers themselves are so readily willing to do. These young adults chose a life of drug experiment and eventual full-time use well before they met up with Charlie. And if these individuals had not chosen such a road, it’s my opinion that Charlie’s guru-like influence on them would have been met with a laugh and the statement, “Get outta my face you crazy freak!”, instead of, “Oh yes Charlie, I’ll gladly follow you into Hell!”
I do NOT profess to be anything close to a psychologist when I write these posts but there are glaring indicators of a severely dysfunctional thought process in Tex. In this interview and as mentioned in his book, “Will You Die For Me”, which was written only seven years after this interview, Tex has quite an obsession with his “nutrition”, as he calls it, or rather his food intake while in prison;
Q. Do you know right from wrong?
A. Yes, but sometimes I get mixed up, man. In Texas I was in a cell alone and I got the proper nutrition.
He repeatedly informs the doctor, and anyone who would listen to him in jail, I suspect, that the cause of his killing spree then, and the cause of his losing weight and inability to hold food down now, was due to his lack of proper nutrition while with Manson and while being in a California jail.
What, that if he’d only kept eating his Mother’s cooking, the Tate-LaBianca victims wouldn’t be?
Well theoretically, I guess that can be true, as you can’t kill in California if you’re eating dinner in Texas, but come on Tex, really? This is the only excuse you could proffer?
Swampland. Florida. Do you wanna buy?
The more realistic reason for his digestive tract abnormalities, in my opinion, would be that the reality of what he had done was now tearing through his physiology as well as his psyche. That Tex, now that the drug haze had finally burned off, was just starting to experience the trauma and the shock associated with those two nights of murder. And as would result later, while Tex was held at the Atascadero State (Mental) Hospital, a total physical and mental break-down would ensue, the end result having Tex become almost catatonic for a period of time.
The fact that The Family members ate so poorly (veggies ala back alley bug-ridden dumpsters!) could have resulted in some malnutrition and digestive tract dysfunction for a short period of time, but having proper nutrition for over a year first at home in Copeville, Texas, and then in the subsequent jails in both states, any residual effects would have disappeared by the time of this interview.
No, this obsession with nutrition and digestive complaints were part and parcel of a larger, more deeply rooted disorder/trauma, one that in all the documents I’ve read, Tex never really articulates to the public. I believe he was absolutely horrified at his actions on those two nights in August and his psyche was doing everything but trying to crawl right out of his body to escape this awful truth.
In his defence, maybe Tex could never articulate his own short-comings because he never quite understood himself what allowed him to act in such a bestial manner.
Can a human ravaged by mal-nutrition and drug abuse commit acts that a person under normal circumstances may never commit?
The concentration camp victims in Nazi Germany immediately spring to mind but circumstances for Tex were never that horrendous, even at the worst of times. So there must be something more to this equation that made Tex do what he did on those two nights.
As the interview progresses, Tex goes on to admit his two prior brushes with the law – the typewriter hazing theft in Texas and the belladonna arrest in Van Nuys – but purposely feigns ignorance as to the details and the severity of each of these offenses, which signals to me, that even at a young age, Tex never really understood, or cared to abide by what is considered acceptable social behaviour and what is not.
Yes, these offenses as seen independently of TLB are in that era quite typical pranks for for a youth to commit. But seen with TLB, they can be the mole hills on which a mountain is made.
If knowing but refusing to abide by socially acceptable behaviour, is the stuff from which indifference is made, and total indifference in any being – animal or human – is by definition a predator – a being out for personal gratification at the cost of others – then that, my TLBer, is the makings of a sociopath!
The vague recollections and feigning ignorance is dropped just as fast though, when it comes time to list the drugs that he had taken while living with The Family. Tex has no memory lapse in this instance, listing the types and quantities verbatim, as if to do so would infer, “See, it was Charlie and The Family’s use of drugs which made me do all this! I would have never done any of these despicable acts without Charlie and those gosh-darn drugs!”
All well and good Tex, as we’re used to this excuse from Patricia Krenwinkel as well, but I don’t believe for one moment that Charlie held a gun to Tex or Katie’s head demanding that they ingest drugs and kill people. Irrespective of Charlie or the drugs, a being has to have the ability to kill. Charlie and the drugs just made it more palatable.
(Can’t you just visualize the hate mail old Burb will get on this one!)
These killers can’t recollect blood or actions of who did what, when, but when it comes time to offering up an excuse for their behaviour, wow, the verbal diarrhoea is immense and supremely articulate!
But like a trap door, the information exchange closes as fast as it opened when asked why he decided to come out to California in the first place;
A. I really don’t know why.
Maybe, but in his book seven years later he sure knew why - for fun and adventure and action, and to escape what he thought were controlling parents and a dead-end life in a hick country town in the middle of Nowheres Ville, Texas - that’s why.
Tex wasn’t satisfied with a “normal” Life, basically because a normal Life came with pressure and responsibilities. Heck, he couldn’t even make it through 2 years of College because in order to pass, he’d actually have to buckle down and do what he truly loathed – working for a living. Yep, that’s right. You heard in here first folks – Working For A Living.
I suspect that anything but a pampered spoiled childhood is what Charles Denton Watson was served. He seemed to have an endless supply of high-end vehicles but no real job to pay for them, so I suspect that he was given everything on a silver platter by his doting parents, and as a result, grew up living only to have fun, and whatever or whoever came in the way of that goal, was ultimately destroyed, in more ways than one.
If that isn’t the true hallmark of sociopathic behaviour, I just don’t know what is.
As Dr. Walter delves into the murders themselves, he manages only slightly to get that psychological trap door to open just a crack once more, to reveal basically that Tex will talk about the act but never about the victims in any detail;
Q. If you had it to over again, would you chose to go the same route, once you were in California as you did before?
A. No, I wouldn’t I am truly sorry I met up with Charles Manson and all those people.
A. Because of what happened with the murders and all that. I can’t believe I I’d do something like that. I pray every night for forgiveness.
Q. Do you feel that the material as in the transcripts is in general is a true statement of what happened?
A. I haven’t had any desire to read about it hear it.
Here, in 1971, he calls them “murders” but in a recent interview I’ll discuss with you in Part Three, the entire two-day melee of carnage is boiled down to “the crime”, singular, devoid of detail or humanity.
In a game he decided to play with himself as soon as the murders were committed, what were precious lives snuffed out at random, and with such ferocity, became only a non-descript noun, eventually boiling down to a singular form of that noun, all cleansed and sanitized for his protection, the damage done to the victims and to society all washed away.
Even Pat, Leslie, Susan and Bobby could describe their victims and use their names, but for over forty years, in order to feel at peace with himself, Tex has succinctly compartmentalized these slayings, as if doing so would lessen his impact on the acts themselves.
To his credit, Tex does admit in later years to all the accusations he denied on the witness stand at his trial, but in 1971, in this interview, Tex was weaving a tapestry of avoidance and repression and committing the Mother of All Sins of Omission, that to not speak of or admit to his actions would make them all just go away. The list is long and incredible:
- He denies driving the Ford to Cielo Drive
- He states that it was Katie or Sadie who told him to kill Parent
- He states that the girls told him to stab Gibby, and he did so only after she was dead
- He had never shot a gun at Spahn’s
- He denies telling Linda to dispose of the weapons
- He states he never saw the Buntline after they returned to the Ford
- He denies telling the girls to wash away the blood stains in the gas station restroom
And to cap off the interview, he offers this tidy summation;
A. No, I didn’t tell anybody to do anything.
Yes, all these points Tex finally admitted to by ‘78, but in ‘71, he had either a) blocked out his actions; b) avoided responsibility for his actions by denying them, or c) just plain lied to obtain a lighter sentence.
I’ll let you pick the answer on this one.
But whatever game he thought he was playing with Dr. Walter, the jig was up in just a few responses, when asked these all important questions;
A. I had a gun and a knife in my hand. The car stopped and I just pulled the trigger…about ten days later I couldn’t believe I’d done it…there was no hesitation, she said “get him”, and I got him…no thought…I could just feel my body get sucked in like a monkey. No feeling at all.
A. The next thing I knew, I was walking into the door of the house and there Sadie was. Nothing happened for a little while….then all of a sudden people started coming into the other rooms…to the effect a man was coming after me…I looked…I had the gun in my hand…I shot around or at the person and he fell on the floor…no more shells.
Q. How did you feel then?
A. I had no feeling. Sadie would kick me to get me going. Then I saw Katie stabbing and stabbing this guy and I had a knife in my hand…and I did the same thing…the guy was all messed up (defendant laughing at this point) All of a sudden Sadie hollered again…the second guy was real big and she was stabbing him all over and blood was spurting everywhere and she was hollering for me and I came over and he fell outside of the house…I got over and the body was totally messed up so I decided to hit him again and again in the head until his head cracked open.
A. All of a sudden Katie was outside and had the woman on the lawn…and she was already dead but I stabbed her anyway. The girls told me to and when someone tells me to do something I do it. Charlie told me over and over to make sure everybody was dead.
Q. And you made sure?
A. Right. I did exactly what he said.
Right. That’s exactly what he did, and that’s all he could admit to at that point, to himself or to others. In this interview, almost two years after those two nights, Charles Denton “Tex” Watson is laughing when he thinks about how “messed up” Voytek Frykowski was on that lawn. I’m certainly not Dr. Walter, but for little ol’ MsBurb, sociopathic sirens starting ringing in my ears uncontrollably for Tex in just that one phrase;
“…the guy was all messed up (defendant laughing at this point)”
…and then in these final few responses, the death knell of sociopath was ringing like the blast from an atomic bomb;
Q. Why are you denying everything?
Examiner’s note: At this point the defendant is angry and raises his voice.
A. I’m not denying, I’m telling the truth.
Q. How do you feel about what you did?
A. It was fun tearing up the Tate house, OK.
Q. It was fun?
A. You should have seen it, people were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. (Defendant is laughing)
Q. What do you feel…who are the victims of this situation you are in.
Wow. And Katie has given the identical answer in the past. Maybe the Jury has finally reached a verdict on whether or not Tex Watson is a sociopath…
MsBurb is speechless…yet again.
The Man Behind The Monster Will Continue!