Bill Garretson...More Unplugged Than Usual? Part Four

This is the final part in the Brian Davis and Catscradle77 interview with Bill Garretson, audio-taped six years ago this month on Star City Radio. Parts One, Two A, Two B, and Three are here.

I apologize for the very late arrival of this final episode, but better late than never.


Before I begin my final analysis, I want to announce to my readership (although by now it is probably widely known) that Bill passed away from cancer, August 16, 2016, at age 66. Brian Davis posted the announcement January of this year, and you can read his take on Bill's loss in his Star City Radio article, entitled, Bill Garretson Has Passed Away

Brian offers a link - - for the short Lancaster High School announcement of Bill's death but currently this link is no longer in operation. This was the announcement below:

I must say I was rather shocked to hear of his passing at still such a young age, but it should not come as any shock, really, for the collateral damage of these murders has put several of the tangentially affected into early graves. I have no doubt that the cancer of these murderers and their crimes spread like a lethal virus, doing its dirty work on the innocent right up until today.

Bottom-feeders like Manson and his merry gang of socioapths never once considered how their actions would reverberate like deadly ripples into society, filling all our souls with blackness, no doubt the same colour of the killers' blood in their veins.

Courtesy LA Times
Surprisingly though, Bill would often shrug off the psychological affect (which today would most likely be diagnosed as PTSD), but there was no doubt he was deeply affected by this mass murder, and who could blame him? At any age, at any time in life, much less at 18 in 1969, you don't expect to witness something so beyond comprehension. Bill was a small town kid from Middle America. He had more in common with the movie American Graffiti than he did Helter Skelter.

A big part of me wishes he had never been a witness. Sure, he was a font of information as the only survivor from that bloody night, but we will never truly know how tortured his mind was after August 9, 1969, as he lay in his bed at night for the next 48 years. Whatever thoughts, fears, terrors he endured, it all would have taken a toll. So here we are, almost half century later, mourning his loss.

To his surviving family and friends and fans, I offer my heartfelt condolences.

Please know that my analysis of these interviews in no way subtracts from the value of Bill's life and what he meant to us all. Rest in peace, Bill. You deserve peace.


Part Four:

Throughout these four parts, Bill so wanted to admit that what he thought had occurred, had not, when it came to holding a baby in his arms that night and being told that baby was one Rosie Polanski, the long, lost child of the very dead Sharon Tate. He would begin to admit or agree with Bill and/or Catscradle77, and then just as quick stop in mid sentence.

I believe to even "go there" may have psychologically broken this already fragile man. To have to admit that the Rosie saga was completely false and that he was her patsy, would have either been too much to bear, or that he feared admission of said would have eroded his fan base, the only benefit he ever accrued from this singular nightmarish experience. I believe Bill liked his notoriety, at least in terms of the attention he was paid, as I believe deep down he was a lonely soul. I could be wrong on this but my gut says Bill was lonely.

He readily admits that this Rosie took her sweet time in telling Bill who she thought she was, saying, "...she didn't blurt it out", followed again by his trade-mark "tell", "Something's not--" which in the case of Bill translates into he KNEW what she was telling him was not correct, that it did in fact make no sense. In the process of their relationship, this Rosie had at least no qualms abusing Bill's generosity, ringing up sky-high phone bills, talking to god knows who in her quest to get rich and famous off of Bill. There should be a law for killing a victim twice, as Rosie sure as hell killed Sharon twice in her blatant scam to strike it rich off the backs of her and her baby, Paul Richard.

Bill would never full-on admit he and Rosie had a romantic relationship, responding only, "It's personal" to Catscradle77 when she asked. But it doesn't take a Vincent Bugliosi to put the pieces of that gold-digger puzzle together. At that time in Bill's life, I gather he had no one close enough to him to warn him off her, so, sadly, she may have been the longest romantic relationship he ever had. And if that's true, well, who can blame him for trying? We are all human. How he ends up justifying his time with Rosie made me smile, and had me thinking, Hey, you know what? Maybe this guy was okay, when he said, "If she used me, I used her as well." If that's the case, way to go, Bill!

Bill said that Rosie "...was better than any therapist." I'd like to believe that for Bill. I'd like to think that at least having a confidant to hash out your troubles actually helped that man. But my "spidey sense" fears this Rosie may have made things worse for Bill in the long run, muddying the already deep PTSD waters that Bill eventually couldn't tell reality from fantasy in any aspect of that night, resulting in him having to live out the rest of his life a very distrustful and confused soul.

Bill claims, "...people that told her [Rosie, at age 24, who she was]...she grew up in New York..." Bill never offers up any names of people associated with her time in New York, only a change in his voice hints that the listeners "should know" and be in awe. I assume he's trying to hint at connections Roman and Sharon had in that state, but that hook is left dangling. Bill states that Rosie lived for a time with a friend in South Bloomfield, OH, named Dolly Flebi (exact spelling/identity unknown), this person having absolutely no connection with any the players in these crimes. This Dolly, according to Bill, said there had been a letter from Rosie whereby she stated Colonel Paul Tate had changed his name to Jim Hearns (again, spelling unknown) and that Rosie lived with Paul and the "undead" Jay Sebring, "Jay was still alive..." and "...staying with Sharon's Father"; whereby, Catscradle77 reminds Bill that Jay was murdered that night in '69 and Colonel Paul Tate died in 2005. Bill gives no real response to these known facts.

Bill claims that after he parted with Rosie, she would call his home, leave voice messages, but if he picked up the receiver, she would hang up. In these messages, Rosie would accuse Bill of belonging to the Manson Family and being a "no good--." You can fill in his dropped words. Nice. Real nice, there, Rosie. This, we can surely surmise, is darn well true.

I gather at one point during their relationship, Rosie came to him crying, begging to know if Bill felt sure that the baby he held that night was her. All he could say was, " I cannot say that you are the child I held. I cannot--" Bill may have been a simple creature but in his simplicity he had one shining trait. Bill never lied. He could be fed a load of manure but he was incapable of fudging what he knew to be the truth, for any reason, nefarious or otherwise.

He does go on to offer up a hook—that Sharon was pregnant with twins—and that via other websites, the other twin was a boy but his name was Daniel and not Paul Richard. None of this can be verified and my gut says this is either rumour or Rosie at one time knew a Daniel or just plain liked the name. In Rosie Land there is nothing on which you hang your hat.

Back here in Fact Land, in 1969, in utero scanning was in its infancy, and although there was equipment being built and studies undertaken (see paper entitled, A Short History of Sonography in Obstetrics and Gynaecology), sonography was not in general practice until the mid to late '70s, so on this assertion I have to stay scientifically silent. I agree with Brian Davis of TLB Radio that Sharon seemed big enough to be carrying twins but there has never been any mention of twins on either the Polanski or Tate families. As well, there was what was called the "full bladder method" of detecting fetus size back then that any G.P. would have undertaken, so because she was so far along in her pregnancy I cannot believe her G.P, or OBGYN did not know the amount of fetuses in her womb. And if she had been carrying twins, that fact wouldn't have stayed silent for long and would have become front page Hollywood news, to be sure.

Brian gets Bill back to the issue of the "van" Bill had mentioned in the previous interviews, of a group of people who gave him a ride back up to Cielo that night because they claimed they were headed to a party at 10050. Both Brian and Cats tried their very best to get Bill to finally cough up names, so when Cats cornered him with this direct question, "Did they give their names?", Bill could only spit out, "...they were in the letters, "once the home invasion began; or b) in them, he writes down the names of the people in that "van" or the license plate number of that van, which in this interview he claims he wrote in the letters because he was afraid "I might not be around" to testify to the fact.
which in turn gets us back to those infamous letters Bill was supposedly writing before, during and after the slaughter. In saying infamous, I should have said magical because at no time do these "letters" appear in the trial records. If they ever existed, AND had crucial content, both the Prosecution and the Defense would have been chomping at the bit to use them to their advantage, and excerpts of said would have been splashed all over the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. I'm not saying that at some point Bill didn't write letters to friends and family back home, but there is no evidence to suggest a) he was writing them that night

Bill's thinking was that if he wrote down the names/plate#, authorities would discover the information and know its meaning even if Bill ended up in a pool of his own blood. He references an English school teacher, one "Mrs. Johnson", to whom he wrote, and after the murders, she notified Bill that the police had interviewed her, but at no time that is publicly known are any letters of hers placed into evidence and offered up in the trials during the discovery phase. Bill claims he gave his okay for the police to open the sealed letters so no warrant was needed. Again, no public proof of this. In his final defence, Bill hints that the real reason his letters did not see the light of day in the criminal trials is because Bugliosi didn't want anything to detract from his Helter Skelter modus operandi, inferring that the contents in those letters may have very well resulted in that M.O. being quashed.

As a daughter of a cop, I go back to brass tacks: Time? How much time would Bill have had to write that information down in his letters? And beyond time, Ability? Once he had semi-witnessed and listened to this slaughter, he readily admits he was paralyzed with fear and that he more or less hunkered down and laid still with the dogs until he saw daylight. In that state, is one able to write letters??? Again, my "spidey sense" hollers, No way in Hell.

Bill claims that before he met Rosie there had been an article in The Enquirer reporting that Rosie was suing Roman Polanski for a DNA test. But as well all know, martian and Elvis sightings are also popular articles in that rag. For the record: No such lawsuit has ever been filed between the two, in the U.S. or to my knowledge in France, or for that matter in any country in which Roman resided post '69.

Catscraddle77 quietly offers up the idea to Bill that maybe this Rosie, "...was a serial user of people," to wit Bill offers a, "certainly." It's obvious that by 2011, Bill had more or less accepted that his time with Rosie had been a sham and what she had been peddling to him was a bucket-load of crap; although, throughout these interviews, Bill never wants to fully let go of her story or his belief in holding that 3-eyed baby on August 9th. That acknowledgement would have resulted in still further psychological damage on the psyche of an already damaged man. I shake my head in sorrow for Bill and pure disgust for this Rosie.

In the final minutes of this final Part, Bill offers up some rather prophetic words, given now what we know to be his outcome. At one point in responding to Brian and Cats, Bill says with quiet assurance, "Everything you've been given, God gives it back to you," and when asked how he had survived all of this trauma, all these years, his final words were, "You've got to have faith in God."

Bill Garretson returned to Cielo Drive in '69
Trauma, as we all know now, can have lasting negative affects on one's psyche, and the younger you are, the worse those affects can be. Bill was an uncomplicated man but a man with a great heart and soul, a man who couldn't have hurt a fly skimming quietly over the Cielo Drive pool.

Knowing that, it seems fitting, his final two sentences to Brian and Cats. For a man many took to be simple, whom I took to be a very honest but cognitively challenged individual, I believe Bill Garretson tried his very best to cope with what was an impossible life experience.

My final words on Bill: There but for the grace of God, go all of us.


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