Moments, and Minutes, Before the Slaughter…

10050CieloDrive-August91969-TheMansonFamily 1 Everyone has faults and weaknesses…
MsBurb isn’t any different…
And when it’s been a long day, of faxes and deadlines and screaming expectations, cocktail hour isn’t just an hour in the evening…
And with the booze, the emotions run higher and the pain and the fright of that night seems all the more real…to MsBurb, that is.
Sure, the victims had not a clue…until it was all too late.
But the killers had time, quite a bit of time to kill…before the killing…
And so, with that thought in mind, and with new ice swimming amidst her latest concoction of appletinis in the crystal martini pitcher (for she NEVER shakes anything so yummy as a ‘tini!), she decides to embark on a night of what ifs. Sure, those of you who will read this post, in the light of day tomorrow and with all your mental faculties intact will say, “MsBurb, what ifs, what ifs, why bother yourself with them? Why relive those moments over and over again? It will serve no purpose, the dead are still dead and the living are growing older so why torment yourself?”
And, yes, you’re right.
But somehow, in the dark of night, when the drinks have been long and tall and icy cold, your emotions rise and you remember a time, and a Drive, that you had never been to on that night, that would take many years before you had the courage to venture up, when the lights were on, but dim, the cicadas were chirping in the midnight heat as a waft of a slim cool breeze crept up the hills of a certain canyon, not very far from all our consciousnesses now but light years away that Friday night.
The bug light was attracting bugs…regardless…and the Christmas lights twinkled, giving viewers of them down on Sunset Boulevard the impression of happy times yet to come…oh, to be so wrong. Yes, those lights were glowing and the windows were opening, their owners so desperate for an errant breeze at a time when built-in air conditioning was not yet de rigueur in Los Angeles, at least, not for a French Provencal ranch house tucked under and perched over the hills of Bel Air…
It was Friday, and yes, you could easily hear the cars zooming down Sunset Boulevard, the odd party in the distance, dogs occasionally barking…at nothing…they say. Many people travelled Benedict Canyon that night, late that night, and without knowing it til this very day, still others passed a beater Ford, it’s headlights out of alignment, the paint dingy, the chrome uncared-for. People passed this car with its four occupants, undoubtedly thinking, “Well, there’s a group of kids out cruising around on a Friday night. I expect they’re coming back from a party, or Hell, maybe even going to another"!” At this hour, Hippies did that sort of thing and Bel Air was not immune to their wanderings.
Yes, there is no doubt that several motorists saw that Ford, that night, living the rest of their lives never realizing what they had seen, and what it would all mean, come the next morn….
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The killers knew of course, and despite Tex and Sadie’s admission of being high on Acid that night, we will never know if Katie and Linda were just hung over from their last acid trip or were high on something as well. Linda claims that she took a “white capsule” that night but we know that the Speed Tex had was only in powder form, and besides, Linda has made a career out of telling only “her version” of the truth, so it’s all really moot when it comes to her, isn’t it?
Regardless, the quartet killing machine hummed its way up Bel Air and arrived at the turn off to Cielo Drive sometime before midnight.
And if there had been a stop watch, its owner would have punched the start button right then and there.
Moments, and Minutes, Before the Slaughter…
  • Two minutes to drive the Ford up that drive.
  • Five minutes for Tex to exit the vehicle, grab the wire cutters, shimmy up the telephone poll and finish the job.
  • Two minutes more to drive the Ford back down the hill and park on the Canyon Road.
  • Four minutes for those hyped-up kids to scale the hill. They were young, ya know!
  • From start to finish, for Tex to jump the chain link fence, for the girls to throw their clothes over, for Tex to help all three climb in after him…five minutes more.
  • Skulking, halting, shooting, rolling the Rambler back into position…ten minutes.
  • Quietly, slowly walking up, past the garage, past the Camaro and the Porsche, past that hideous decorative wishing well, up to the Dining Room window, Tex slitting the screen and Linda “supposedly” looking for an alternate way in…seven more, maybe…
  • The entrance, the hideousness, the confusion, the yelling, the shoving, the screams, the tears, the slashing and the tackling, the running and the chasing, and finally, the silence, I'll betcha 25 minutes, tops…
2 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 5 + 10 + 7 + 25 = 60 minutes…and I was being generous, I was…
Divided by 5 lives lost, five dreams dashed, five hopes for love and laughter and marriage and children… = 12 minutes per life, or 12 minutes as the price for death, of several midnight deaths, in those hills in Bel Air that night, The night when “It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon.”
MsBurb’s ice has melted. Time for a re-fill.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sent to MsBurb via email, and republished here by the consent of Sophieeclipse;

Hi! Just to let you know, I took a tour on Saturday in LA that brought us to the murder scenes---called the "Helter Skelter" tour. It was so good, you could actually place yourself there; I was a little scared just being there in the daytime, can't imagine how it is at night! What an excellent time, it was so interesting seeing all the places I've only read about. Have you ever seen these places? I love your blog (I've written to you before), keep up the great work, I always love a new entry!!!
MsBurb said…
Hi Sophieeclipse!

Yes, I remember you, and yes, my story is tangentially intertwined with the Manson story for I was in Santa Barbara at the time of the murders...its a long story and I was old enough to feel the absolute fear and panic but not old enough to understand that Charlie and Sadie wouldn't come after me...hence, my 40 year psychic alliance with the murderers and my one year old attempt at telling the tale with TLB2.

My Aunt & Uncle, and well the entire city had tremendous fear, so we did not see the scenes until about 2 or 3 summers later, but in that time, little had changed from the '69 look and "feel"...

I have never gone on a "tour", didn't need to and won't because I've had enough connection to these crimes to last me a lifetime, but for those who have little connection, or were not born when the murders occurred (as I believe is the case with you) I can definitely see the value in it. Yes, night-time on Cielo Drive, years ago, before anything had changed, was a frightful experience. You could EASILY imagine THAT night...the feeling was really horrible and not "excellent" at all back then.

Today, much has changed of all the scenes, including Barker, but the "feel" can still be felt, if you're quiet and you absorb the atmosphere...those places are still electric to me as well. Been back many times since but not anymore. For me, just too close to reality and too close to dredging up old fears.
Pristash said…
Hey, I live clear across the country, and thought CM might be after me too! Hell, sometimes I think they still are now that Squeaky has moved so close...
MsBurb said…
Hey Pristash, you're a big boy now and can handle a Squeaky should it pop up in your kitchen window...I think! (wink, wink)

That's not how you feel when your a wee girl watching your Aunt & Uncle watch news casts that were happening right out our proverbial front door, a screened door I might add, that my Uncle would check, and others throughout the house before bed, basically for the rest of his life after Manson.

People don't like to talk much about those days, the ones who lived there, it seems, because honestly, this group of losers were not only frightening but wholly embarrassing to Californians as well, even other Hippie/commune Californians. And the latter were often labelled as Manson wannabes after TLB too which wasn't fair; hence the quiet migration to most of those groups to Oregon and Northern CA, just to avoid the stigma.

I wish I had been older when this all came down, maybe then I'd have a better grasp of this rag-tag group insofar as the tangential psychological damage they caused many citizens not involved directly with this case.

My personal feeling is that Charlie has some serious guilt, and has had for many years, that his fantasy caused so much damage beyond the obvious. He, of course, will never admit said but I can sense it in his voice when he comes close to talking about it.

As bad as Charlie turned out, a great deal not of his choosing, I don't think he was ever that full of blood lust as a sociopath is, again, maybe MsBurb's gullibility stepping forward again. But I don't think he meant for his world to become the globe's in the true sense of it all. He wanted power and influence and he struck out in a locale he knew best, never thinking that his decisions and his Family's actions would send tremors across the continent and across the ocean like they did.

It's the epic of epic tales, a cautionary one, that what one person says or does can and WILL influence others, even if you'd think otherwise.
CarolMR said…
MsBurb, I've noticed that you and the COL have exactly opposites viewpoints on the two Charles (Charleses?). He thinks Tex was the brains behind TLB and Charlie was just a two-bit crook who didn't have the intelligence to pull it off. You think that Charlie was behind the murders and Tex couldn't have planned it. I tend to agree with you. I think Tex was so high on both nights that he could't have pulled off a surprise party, let alone mass murders.
And Happy First Anniversary.
CarolMR said…
What I left out in my previous post was that Tex was taking his orders from Charlie.
MsBurb said…
Hi Carol!

You know, it's NOT that I want to be opposite of the Colonel but I have my Dad's training in me...LISTEN TO THE EVIDENCE and let IT tell YOU the story...NOT the other way around!

To date, I have no evidence to suggest that Tex could have ever been the dominant one in that Family. Charlie has the dominant personality, still has it TODAY. His character is very forceful whereas Tex's character is quite passive-aggressive.

It's not that I want to see the scenario differently than the Colonel, I just have no info that tells me what the Colonel thinks is accurate!

And thanks for your congrats on the 1st year and always your comments!!!

Cheers, Carol!
Pristash said…
I don't think the COL thinks that Tex was the main motivator...he just doesn't believe the official story. Neither do I.
MsBurb said…
To Pristash - Then, who do you think WAS the main motivator?
Pristash said…
I think the Col is right in that Helster Skelter was not the motive for these murders. CM used HS to motivate his minions to kill, indeed, but as I have said many many times before: if you believe that seven people were murdered in Los Angeles in 1969 because of the Book of Revelation and the fact that the Beatles wrote a song about a slide in an amusement park, well, then, I would like to sell you some valuable land in Florida...

LaBianca was probably a contract killing...the real mystery here is the Tate murders...why?

And my validation word here is deburb...
MsBurb said…
LOL..."deburb"...makes me feel kinda sore all over that word does!!! (wink, wink)

I have ALWAYS said right up front that HS was not in Charlie's mind that night, and yes, Pristash, I believe he knew what emotional buttons to push for EACH of the killers to respond for him, and quite possibly Katie needed the HS factor...

But, I look at the immediate stressors in CM's life that day and Bobby, Mary & Sandy, as well as $$$ were foremost i his mind.

I do NOT however buy that idea that LaB was a contract killing as there is NOOOOOOOOOO SOLID info to support this...and I mean it Pristash, NONE.

IF any of the people espousing this motive really believe it, they need to go back to square one and re-evaluate the crime scene. Evidence, all it is, is the residual, material energy of the executioner to tell his tale of horror, first to his victim and then to the world. And the ONLY way that story gets told is by outsiders really listening to that evidence WITHOUT prejudice or having the killer confess the details, but even then, I'll take crime scenes over confessions any day...

You gotta show MsBurb the money on this one and nobody has...

Pristash, are you going to "deburb" me...'cause I need to know if I have to start running now...(wink, wink)
Pristash said…
No, no, no deburbing here...tee hee

I think it's possible CM accepted a contract on Leno, perhaps in the days he was gone right before the murders. I think it's possible that Cielo Drive was perhaps a 'practice' for said contract. I think it's possible that yes, Tex, after screwing up the Lotsapoppa burn, was obligated to CM who had apparently offed him, and that CM used that to blame Tex for the Black Panthers that were now coming around Spahn...
And I think that drugs indeed played a part. VF was apparently setting up a deal with the mysterious Canadians to become THE MAJOR distributor of MDA in Southern California. We know Joel Rostau delivered contraband to Cielo Drive earlier that night, and we, of course know how he ended up, VF too.

So, I've asked this question before: WHO benefitted by VF not becoming the largest MDA distributor for SoCal back in 1969? Who ended up getting that deal?

I think it's a reasonable question, that probably isn't really all that hard to answer, and if I didn't live 3000 miles away, I would probably investigate it myself. Perhaps I can in the library.
MsBurb said…
That's all well and good, Big Guy, but I need a common link between the victims, and the Canadian connections have nothing to do with the LaBs, and the possible LaB mafia hit connection has nothing to do with Cielo, yet Waverly AND Cielo are both tied by familiarity to Manson himself...

As for the Canadian connection, we unlike the US, do NOT make public every little criminal fart and sneeze, soooo that means all files pertaining to drug lords, etc. are CLOSED to the public. RCMP won't even divulge the names or if anyone was investigated back then, especially when there was no court conviction up here pertaining to TLB. Our FOI is not an open book like yours, and in my opinion, rightfully so, when there is no conviction by any of these players.

Sorry, Big Guy, but that's how the Canadian criminal cookie crumbles...
Pristash said…
Ah, yes, but perhaps that's just it! The Motives behind Tate are not the same behind LaBianca...

Perhaps it was just, serendipity, which brought these two events together...LaBianca being a contract, Tate perhaps being opportunity...
MsBurb said…
Well, in that case, boy are you talking to the WRONG chick! Cop's daughter, remember?

Coincidence is NOT even circumstantial evidence, Pristash, and I'm sorry, but two separate events with similar MOs, two nights back-to-back, with established killers having DIRECT knowledge/contact with BOTH locales...sounds like a lovely mental picnic you're on, kiddo, I just can't join ya on the blanket, ya know!!!

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