Charles Denton “Tex” Watson…The Man Behind The Monster – Part Four, The Interviews, Part C

I find it curious that when the Chapter entitled “The Cult” begins, in the interview,  (Click the Pic below for the entire interview!)
 CharlesDentonWatson-TexWatson-TheMansonFamily 1Tex feigns total ignorance of the existence of cults in the late 60s.
I not only find this curious, I find it dubious, as I, at only the age of six, knew all too well about the influx of cult groups within North American society at that time. All one had to do was be at any of the larger airports or city centres in those days to see and be bombarded by young people, dressed in similar clothing or robes, selling daisies for cash and flogging their extremist literature onto anyone who just gave them a glance.
Tex was 22 in the summer of ‘68 and although he had come from a small town, he had been in Los Angeles long enough to have been well aware of all the groups that blew into that city, that his take on the Manson Family as just a commune seems a wee bit off the mark.
The first night he met Charlie at Dennis Wilson’s house, Charlie made no secret of his religious/spiritual philosophies so to feign ignorance in what Charlie was flogging and what Tex was buying is just a very convenient excuse to me.
Tex talks in a passive-aggressive way when he says, “There was something very evil slowly capturing our souls.”, as do all the other killers when they choose to describe their time in the Family as a total subjugation and a total overtaking of their souls unto Charlie, never that they were willing or voluntarily chose to subjugate themselves. In other words, the evil captured them and not them chasing after the evil.
In the latter stages of The Family, yes, I can buy that there might have been a subconscious pull, but in the early stages, each one of these killers made a choice to stay with Charlie, made a choice to do what he said, made a choice to be what he wanted them to be, and made a choice to become part of the evil Charlie had designed for them.
How do I know this, you ask? Simply because not all of the youngsters who fell into Charlie’s lap stayed with Charlie.
Paul Watkins, for one, made a conscious effort to leave The Family after that last conversation with Manson, whereby he stated that Helter Skelter was to come down now, by way of The Family. Paul said he got some pretty bad pictures from what Charlie was saying that day so he chose to leave instead of being a party to whatever was to follow. Others in similar fashion fled The Family before or as soon as they became aware of the killings, as they too wanted no part of Manson’s latest plan.
The kids who chose to flee instead of stay were ingesting the same amount of drugs, attending the same LSD-fuelled orgies and listening to the same mind-altering oratories from Charlie as the killers had but when they realised that a moral line had been crossed, they chose to stick to their morals and abandon their “leader”.
Whenever, at whatever moment in time that took place, whether down by the creek during one of Charlie’s sermons, or during an LSD trip after dinner, or on one of The Family’s murder-school “dry runs”, a fork in the road was made evident to these future killers – to stay and kill for Charlie or to go and not to kill. Most took the moral choice; Tex and four girls did not. It’s really as simple as that.
Tex, to his credit at least, admits that it was his own laziness which prevented him from succeeding in society, that maybe his too-generous parents had made life so easy for him, by way of cars, clothes and college, that the idea of working for these things on his own was by then a distasteful proposition. Tex admits that his failure to succeed made him gravitate towards anyone of authority who said that to “Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out” was not only okay, it was the “in” thing to do.
Tex, like Sadie, Katie and Leslie, was just waiting for anyone to give him the go-ahead to continue to fail, to continue to be an under-achiever, to continue to escape reality through the world of drugs and have all that be socially acceptable. It could have been Charlie, it could have been the Cookie Monster, it could have been anyone Tex saw in authority who said dropping out and failing in traditional ways was what was really expected of their generation, whether it really was or not.
These ne’er-do-well kids were the spark and all Charlie had to do was come up with the flame, and POOF!, the inner-most Manson Family members were born to kill.
Q: When did you realize your beliefs were wrong?
I realized my beliefs were wrong when it was too late. After the murders, my mind was racing, not knowing if what Charlie was saying was true or false. It didn't seem to be unfolding like he said it would. We'd moved to the desert and were unable to find the bottomless pit. I then began to question Manson's beliefs.
All the killers, at one time or another, have given the exact same response, which, if you read between the lines, is extremely telling.
The killers only decided that what they had done was wrong after Charlie’s version of the afterlife wasn’t materializing, NOT because what they had done was so personally disgusting but because what they had done had not been a means to an end. Incredible, isn’t it?!
Soooo, if I’m reading this scenario right, IF Charlie and the gang had found the Bottomless Pit, the Blacks had annihilated the Whites and Charlie had ended up King of the World after The Family had grown to 144,000, then the killing of these innocent people would have been hunky-dory fine with Tex et al.
Hilarious!!!!
It was not the killing that Tex and the girls objected to; it was that their reward for the killings never materialized! All they had done, all the human slaughter would have been A-OK if Charlie’s plan had come to pass.
It was only after the plan’s failure did these sociopaths sit down and decide that if they were ever to see the light of day again without cells bar shadows cast upon their faces, they had better admit the wrong in their actions and become contrite and remorseful even if that wasn’t the first natural, instinctual reaction they had experienced.
What blows MsBurb’s mind is the miraculous circumstance of events which allowed for a conflagration of a handful of like-minded would-be killers in the exact locale at the exact time period needed to pull off this nightmare. I’m not sure Charlie could have done any better if he had taken an ad out in the L.A. Times saying, “Cold-hearted knife-wielding killers wanted. Apply at Spahn Ranch”!
Tex goes on to say in this chapter, that in his experience, he never heard Manson expound on Adolf Hitler, on Friedrich Nietzsche, on Scientology or The Process Church or on any connection between Helter Skelter and the aforementioned. In this admission, I tend to think that Tex is telling the truth here. Not to say that others in The Family had not heard Manson expound on such philosophers/philosophies but just that in Tex’s experience nothing had been said to that effect in front of him. This is not surprising given the testimony evidence we have that Charlie had a penchant for telling each person what he thought they needed or wanted to hear from him.
Charlie was a Father to some, a Lover to others and no doubt could easily have been a Nazi leader to someone else if that was the type of leader they needed Manson to be.
This multiple personality prison parlour trick came in nice and handy for the girls in my opinion, giving each of them their own reason/excuse/authority to kill for a “Cause”, whatever that may have been for each one.
  • For Katie, the concept of “Helter Skelter” was textbook.
  • For Sadie, it was just another opportunity to do something far-out and wicked for her Man.
  • For Leslie, it was most likely the plan was to cover for Bobby.
  • And for Linda, a chance to “Make her bones” in a group of which she so desperately wanted to be apart.
These individual reasons would NOT have had to be verbally instructed to each girl on the night of Tate as Charlie would have made sure these girls had their reasons cemented well before a Buck knife slid into their hands. I imagine the reasons were formulated and reinforced from just before the Hinman murder right up to the night of Tate. All that would have been required of Charlie on the eve of Tate  was the “Go!” signal, and off they went, no further explanation required.
For Tex, the reason seems far more ambiguous to me. I really think after Paul left the clan, Tex either fell into being Charlie’s Right Hand Man or Tex wanted to be Charlie’s Right Hand Man. Whichever the case, I believe Tex willingly committed the murders because he felt he was in that hallowed position with Bobby being in jail and Clem totally incapable of performing in a lead roll.
The question that has lingered in my mind for years has been why Bruce was not chosen to lead the killers on the night of Tate?
It could have been just because he a) refused the order; or b) Charlie purposely kept him out of the mix as he had already had a peripheral role in Hinman or that he was just too valuable a member – being The Family Comptroller – to be sacrificed. Bruce could have been more strong-willed or had less of an interest in achieving a higher position of power within The Family that he consciously chose to be associated with certain crimes and not with others. Bruce wasn’t even present in the Ford on the night of LaBianca yet by all outward appearances Bruce had the brains, the physical capacity and the moral fibre to commit murder as was evident in the brutal slaying of Shorty.
Bruce’s participation in Shorty’s murder could have been because by that time, all the men in The Family had got blood on their hands, literally or figuratively, including Charlie, and Manson was in no mood to hear Bruce’s objections when it came time to eliminate Shorty from the scene.
I truly believe that for Tex it was a power play and an obligation to be there for his Brother when his Brother had been there for him with regard to Bernard Crowe. Once a human being abandons his moral code, one infringement seems no more evil than the next I guess, and to go from the Crowe drug burn to the knifing of strangers wasn’t such a stretch at that point. It seems like a cavernous leap to me but I have have no sociopathic monster behind my psyche like Tex.
Tex gives himself another “out” by saying that if he had heard of Manson espousing such philosophies, Tex would have fled The Family for good just like Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins had.
This is a difficult scenario to prove or disprove from what we know of Tex and his life with The Family at this point in time. I have no problem believing that Tex would have been familiar with the evils of Hitler’s regime from grade school and no doubt from his parents as he himself was a post WWII baby. Possibly if Tex had heard such adoration of Hitler from Manson, that would have been enough of a signal to leave. But when Paul and Brooks did leave Manson for Crockett, it seems like Tex never really asked himself the question “Why?”. Why did such fervent members decide to leave the man they had long ago chosen to follow into Hell if necessary?
I imagine this question still rolls around in Tex’s mind as he lays in bed at night, even to this very day.
I imagine the Monster in Tex knows the answer if even the Man in Tex does not.
To be continued…

Comments

Brian Davis said…
Ms. Burb, Hello ! I'm still reading through your archives but great job thus far !

Ms. Burb wrote,Tex was 22 in the summer of ‘68 and although he had come from a small town, he had been in Los Angeles long enough to have been well aware of all the groups that blew into that city, that his take on the Manson Family as just a commune seems a wee bit off the mark.

I'm willing to give Tex the benefit of doubt there because at that point, I don't think Manson was talking about the Helter Skelter bs. And on meeting Manson and the girls, I could see where Tex felt they were a bunch of hippie's living together in a commune. Hell, even Dennis Wilson thought Charlie was more of "the wizard" than ever a murderer.

Ms. Burb wrote:Tex talks in a passive-aggressive way when he says, “There was something very evil slowly capturing our souls...”

I believe two of the actual killers were already evil before meeting Manson. Tex and Susan.

And from what I understand, Tex had been ripping people off since his arrival to LA. That alone doesn't show evil, but, it shows Tex had conscience. I think the evil was there.

Susan was showing her evil tendencies well before Manson.
She was into guns and armed robberies and I believe did some scenes with the Chruch Of Satan.

I don't think the other two Leslie and Pat, realized what they had really done until much later.

Ms Burb wrote:...a fork in the road was made evident to these future killers – to stay and kill for Charlie or to go and not to kill. Most took the moral choice; Tex and four girls did not. It’s really as simple as that.

Well said !

Ms. Burb wrote:
...This multiple personality prison parlour trick came in nice and handy for the girls in my opinion, giving each of them their own reason/excuse/authority to kill for a “Cause”, whatever that may have been for each one.

For Katie, the concept of “Helter Skelter” was textbook.

For Sadie, it was just another opportunity to do something far-out and wicked for her Man.

For Leslie, it was most likely the plan was to cover for Bobby.

And for Linda, a chance to “Make her bones” in a group of which she so desperately wanted to be apart.


I definitely agree verbatim.

And I would like to offer a reverse theory as to why Manson chose his particular five robots.

I believe Manson chose his least fav's of his inner family because Manson didn't care if they went down for murder or not.

In fact, if they did get caught then Manson would be rid of his proverbial pains in the ass.

Because Manson was absolutely positive he had his ass covered because he didn't get his hands dirty and wasn't at the murder scenes.

Tex - It is obvious Manson chose him because Tex owed Manson for Manson dealing with Lotsapoppa.
And Manson was tiring of Tex fast at that time because Tex was messing up constantly.

Susan - Manson was definitely tired of this speed addicted attention seeking free love maker.

Tex and Susan were partners of sorts with the speed. Which Manson supposedly knew nothing about.

Leslie - Manson never felt the same about Van Houten as he did some of the other girls. As most know, Leslie was one of Bobby B's girls. So Leslie was easily dispensible.

Pat - Pat was one of the originals but I believe Manson was way over
her at this point.

Linda - There may be truth in Linda being picked because she had the only drivers license.
But I think it also helped that Manson barely knew her and she was more into Tex than anything.

Ms Burb wrote:The question that has lingered in my mind for years has been why Bruce was not chosen to lead the killers on the night of Tate?

Again I think Manson chose his least fav's. And Tex owed Manson.

IMHO, Bruce was too valuable as Ms. Burb mentioned.

Thanks again Ms. Burb for another platform to discuss the TLB murders.
MsBurb said…
Hi Brian and Welcome to TLB2!

Yes, the reason I formed this blog is so that anyone who couldn't comment on TLB1 would have a forum for discussing the issues surrounding these crimes...

I'll take each of your comments as follows:

1) On the commune issue:

Granted, we do not have a verbatim transcript of what was said at that first meeting but enough was said by all the witnesses present who were interviewed that all of Charlie's philosophies were discussed at that meeting, yes, in general terms and not in lethal ones, but enough that Tex would have had to know that this group was a wee bit more than just a peace-loving commune.

Charlie NEVER turned down an opportunity to talk on race hate, so I have no problems imagining that Charlie's more extremist notions WERE expounded upon, on that first meeting or the next couple after thereafter.

Let's put it this way...

By the time that Tex moved on to Spahn Ranch, any thought that this was just a free-love commune was completely a lie on his part.

By then, he knew damn well that this was an extremist group (afterall, he left Manson from gary's place no less because he had dounts!), maybe not a murderous group, but a group not just in to communal living, peace love and daisy-chains.

2) On the evil-before-Manson issue:

Don't be so sure your count is correct on that one!

So far, I have uncovered sociopathic tendencies in ALL the killers I have researched to date.

Being sociopathic does NOT however guarantee a murderous streak without the ideal environment for that behaviour to take seed and grow.

It is true that I have not covered Leslie nor Linda in any great detail so I reserve judgment on those two but the rest had anti-social behaviour tendencies BEFORE meeting up with Charlie.

As for Sadie, she did not commit any robberies that I know of BUT was caught by a policeman with an unregistered firearm in her possession while in the Haight.

What she did of a Satanic nature was only star in a theatre production of Kenneth Anger's. There is no evidence that she practised satanism in any concrete form while in the Haight.

Her biggest "evil" if you can classify it as such was her unquenchable thirst for attention and living on the edge. She was forever leaving Spahn's and getting involved with dangerous drug lords and pimps and then running back to Charlie for protection.

What happened to her I can only classify as blood-lust, after witnessing the torture of Hinman.

She could not stop obsessing about killing and knives to the point of being the principal knife sharpener at Spahn's thereafter.

The jury is still out for me on Tex as per his actions/behaviour prior Charlie. He definitely had no respect for authority/laws - dealing drugs with his GF - but how that disrespect transformed into uncontrollable rage, I think had more to do with his hatred of his parents than anything else.

And was this hatred founded on a sociopathic origin? Hard to say although it sure looks as if he was born with these tendencies. Just not enough is publicly known about him to assess this IMO.

Part 1 of 2 of my Response to you Brian...
MsBurb said…
Part 2 of 2 Response to Brian Davis:

3) On the reasons to choose who Charlie chose issue:

I'm not entirely sure I agree with this dispensable reasoning, that I know, has been on the hypothetical table for years now.

IMO, I do not think that these murders were thought out that well.

The over-riding weakness I see in intelligent people researching these murderers is to naturally apply their intellectual reasoning to the killers, when in fact, these people were just not that intelligent.

These kids and especially Charlie were reactionary people. They would act/react on the latest stressor at hand. In other words, if you push them ,they will push you back and just before they do so, they will not have the two grey cells we do to rub together to assess how best to push back!

This is how I see that evening coming down...

a) Sadie eaves-dropped on EVERYBODY at the ranch and no doubt she caught wind of what Charlie & Tex were planning on the eve of Tate and after her gay-old experience with Hinman, I see Sadie almost begging to go on Tate.

b) Tex was chosen because quite frankly, he owed Manson and he was the only guy physically and mentally ready to do the job. Bruce probably refused OR Manson knew outright not even to ask him, and Clem, well Clem, I don't think I have to explain that dodo!

c) I have NO problem believing that Linda and Leslie and Squeaky and Sandy jawed together after Hinman and cooked up that copycat murder scenario they presented to Manson.

Of course, Squeaky being Spahn's ears/eyes couldn't go, Sandy had just had a baby and probably wasn't physically capable of going, so that left the other two girls - Leslie probably wanted to help get Bobby out and Linda, hell Linda just wanted to climb the Manson Family ladder of power IMO, and if killing meant the fast lane to being one of the top girls, then so be it!

d) The big mystery is Katie for me. Charlie went specifically to get her from the trailer where he had to wake her up for Tate. Charlie must have thought that since she was most like him (he has said) that he could count on her to make sure the killings went down IF the other girls chickened out at the last minute.

Katie was probably the rock of Gibraltor he needed to keep the gang from abandoning the act altogether.

I hope these answers make sense to you Brian and of course, you're welcome here anytime to read over the archives as they are quite large now and hold a fair bit of information.

Comment whenever you wish and of course analyse our scenarios as we are not perfect at TLB2 and usually learn more from our members than we know ourselves!
Brian Davis said…
Ms Burb, Thanks for the nice welcome and I look forward to my time spent here on your blog.

Yes, your answers make great sense and I certainly entertain or agree with most all of your theories.

Thanks again for the blog ! And the welcome !

Keep it up ! You're doing a great job !

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L to R: Charles Manson - Charles "Tex" Watson - Bobby Beausoleil - Bruce Davis - Susan Atkins - Patricia Krenwinkel - Leslie van Houten