Much fun has been made at the expense of Barbara Hoyt.
- Fat jokes abound.
- Constantly accused of hearing things that never happened.
- A Manson Family snitch penultimate.
No one that once was associated with this Family has not been negatively touched by their actions but none so obviously than the then cute brunette girl, once a victim of Family attempted murder, a future nurse and a life-long holder of guilt for all her former cohorts’ actions, Barbara Hoyt.
Like most all of the girls who came to Charlie, she found Manson just plain “fun” to be around and she initially thought, as others did, that maybe his Family had found the true way to happiness, enough so that her decision to belong remained until several days after the morning of August 9th, 1969.
The night before, she had been asked to retrieve dark clothing from the back house for a reason unknown to her at that time. The morning after, she was summoned to Spahn’s trailer to watch news coverage on the Ranch’s only television.
All the channels were covering the horrible take of murdered Bel Air socialites and as she watched dumb-founded, the Family members around her seemed not as shocked as she, for they snickered and out-right laughed, as if to enjoy a private joke to which she had not been made privy. Her cohorts’ reactions seemed odd to her, but then again, many things had been odd of late around that Ranch, so Barb just shrugged it off but could not feel as they had about this awful murder spree in Los Angeles.
Flash forward a few days as Barb over-heard Sadie describe that awful night up in Bel Air, that Sharon Tate had called out for her Mother, that a woman named Abigail Folger had been “gutted” by Tex and that all of these gruesome details were stated by Sadie with the glee only afforded children on Christmas Day. It was at that moment that Barb put the dark clothes and the television newscasts together and the horror in which she was involved finally came to rest on her consciousness.
From that day forward, Barb resolved, one way or another, to find a way to escape this Family of Death, only escape was not to come soon enough, not until she experienced the murder of one she closely knew, only days later.
The guttural screams of Shorty Shea have not lessened as the decades have gone by for Barb.
She was sleeping in a building that over-looked the creek bed and on that quiet desert night, sometime around 10 pm, Barb was startled by the never-ending screams she sure were from the voice of none other than ranch-hand Short Shea. She attempted to look out the window but saw nothing that corresponded to the horrible sounds she surely heard that night.
She knew these cries were very close.
She knew they were from Shorty.
And she knew this was not something that could have occurred a mile or so down Santa Suzanna Pass.
Flash forward to her brief stay at Barker when the Family needed to escape the Law from Los Angeles and the grace of God that allowed her and Simi Valley Sheri to escape down to Ballarat before Clem Tufts (Steve Grogan) met them with a sawed-off shotgun and a murder date of their very own.
Then, the attempted murder in Hawaii.
Then, the testifying at all the trials.
Then, the non-stop Family death threats.
Then, being ostracized from every nursing school because of her Family affiliation.
And then, Vincent Bugliosi’s Letter of Reference that finally gained her admittance to the Nursing School of her choice, a career which she executed flawlessly for her entire adult life.
After a failed marriage that bore a beautiful daughter, Barb is now just a mere reflection of her former beautiful self. The weight gain is deathly serious, her pallor pale, her face swollen, her eyes tired and teary, her psyche filled with the responsibility and the horror of her former cohorts’ actions.
Barbara Hoyt is carrying the guilt, the shame, the moral responsibility for all the former Family members and that burden, along with the sneers and the snipes by ignorant Mansonsites, has taken it’s toll on her very being.
Even though the killers have served years in prison, this ex-Family member has been imprisoned to a far greater degree. While the killers boast Californian tans and a healthy pallor, Barb suffers physical and emotional traumas and scars that no amount of time has made to heal. While ex-Family killers such as Steve Grogan and now Bruce Davis will spend their aging years free of their past deeds, Barbara, never a Family killer, will never break free of her torments.
As former Family members have never offered letters of contrition or support to the victims’ surviving family members, Barbara continues to offer her assistance to Debra Tate and others, with never an agenda of self-aggrandisement other than to suffer another occasion to re-live the horrors of her past associations and the nightmares that I’m sure follow those parole hearing she so graciously agrees to attend.
If you feel the need to chastise or criticize any of the ex-Family members, please try to refrain from throwing any more stones at Barbara Hoyt, for she has never deserved such attacks and any more could bring a physical end to this guilt-ridden soul.
While one of the Family financial parasites, Katherine Share (aka Gypsy) takes every opportunity to be in the lime-light and be interviewed for a fee, feeling no personal guilt whatsoever from her dubious and verified criminal actions, Barbara does not voice her opinions unless duly warranted and always with the deference of the shame and the embarrassment not far from her emotional surface.
If you ever feel the need to experience the horror which washed over the faces of the Hinman/Tate-LaBianca victims, just watch the facial features and body gestures of one Barbara Hoyt. The experience is both shocking and horrific, that one being could be carrying so much pain for so many people, living and guilt-free and dead and innocent.
She deserves not our criticism but our undying respect, that one woman could have such inner courage to suffer the ails of her cohorts, ails that she had never imagined could exist, then or now.
Let the first person free of guilt cast the first stone. To that end, Barb should be throwing stones at us.
(See Barbara and assess her for yourself…Barbara Hoyt’s Interview on “Most Evil”)