Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin - Tom O'Neill

Episode Date: May 22, 2024

Tom O'Neill is an award-winning investigative journalist and entertainment reporter. His investigative stories, such as the cut-throat battles among daytime talk-show producers (“Welcome to the Jung...le”), the stalking and murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer (“Dangerous Minds”), and the unsolved slaying of a Hollywood starlet (“The Life and Death of Miss Hollywood”) have appeared in national publications like Us, Premiere, New York, The Village Voice, and Details. His exposé on sexism at Saturday Night Live (“The Incredible Shrinking Women of Saturday Night Live”) earned him an Exceptional Merit Media Award from the National Women's Political Caucus and Radcliffe College in 1995. His book, Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, is the culmination of a 20-year investigation, which unearthed information about the murders, the murderers, the prosecutors who tried them, and the complex web of connections between Charles Manson, the CIA's MKUltra program, the counterculture movement, and other powerful individuals during the 1960s. ------ Thank you to the sponsors that fuel our podcast and our team: LMNT Electrolytes https://drinklmnt.com/tetra ------ Squarespace https://squarespace.com/tetra ------ Lucy https://lucy.co/tetra ------ House of Macadamias https://www.houseofmacadamias.com/tetra

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Tetragrammaton. music music Tetragrammaton. music Tetragrammaton. music Tetragrammaton.
Starting point is 00:00:20 music The deeper I got, I started working harder and more hours because I kept feeling like if I don't keep going, if I lose momentum, I'll never finish. And if you know the book, it goes out into a lot of different subjects and areas and I always felt behind. So it got to be seven days a week. And I was literally working about an average
Starting point is 00:00:47 of eight to 12 hours a day. I mean, I wouldn't eat dinner till nine. If I ate dinner, I couldn't work after dinner. So I try to put it off till nine. I take a break. I had a dog, a neighbor's dog, that I would walk a couple times a day. So I get that hour of fresh air
Starting point is 00:01:02 and then I go to the gym for an hour. But other than that, it was just constant. Do you think of yourself as an investigative journalist? Well, actually, I was doing it for a few years before this. This was my first book, and it was my first real heavy investigative piece. But I had done the story prior. I had been asked to do it. Actually, I pitched it to Details magazine, a story about a woman who was mysteriously killed and she lived in LA and it
Starting point is 00:01:32 was a classic small town beauty queen. Michigan girl comes out here to think she's going to be, you know, a star, the next Madonna singer, actress, and she ends up getting killed and left in a pit. It was the 50th anniversary to the week of the Black Dahlia murder, which was famously an unsolved murder of a Midwestern girl. She wasn't cut in half like Elizabeth Short, but she was stabbed and left there about three or four days before her body was discovered by vagrants,
Starting point is 00:02:03 and then she wasn't identified for a week. So it was this awful story and I did spend six months on that and I really thought that I was going to solve who had killed her. And I think I did but details was apprehensive because the guy who I was claiming had it done was a pretty powerful club owner in Los Angeles who was also a music producer and very wealthy and she had become a nuisance. The story was called The Murder of Miss Hollywood. He had created a Miss Hollywood pageant just so she could get the title.
Starting point is 00:02:39 He was 30 years older than her and I believe that he had her killed because she had found out that, I mean, he had basically tossed her aside. She couldn't get beyond whatever recordings he'd done of her. And she was getting more and more addicted to drugs. So she ended up becoming homeless. But she had information about his dealings with the mob and she was going to report them. And she got threatened in LA and went to Oxnard
Starting point is 00:03:06 and then she went up to that small town near Sacramento where she was killed and she told the couple of people she had contact there that he was trying to kill her and she was gonna end up dead. So that was frustrating because I couldn't resolve that. And prior to that I had done investigative pieces for Us Magazine, which at the time was owned by Rolling Stone. I was doing 5,000 word pieces about the entertainment industry, and I did about a half dozen of those.
Starting point is 00:03:34 So I hadn't ever set out to be a journalist, number one, investigative reporter, number two, but I found my way into investigative reporting after doing celebrity profiles and set stories for about five or six years that I got real bored of, and the investigation was fun, because you're trying to find out new information that people don't want found out.
Starting point is 00:03:55 So that led to my kind of albatross around my neck, which was the Manson case, and that was, again, 20 years was too long, but I'm proud of what came out of it. You started the process, it was the 30th anniversary of the murders, correct? Yeah, 99. And why would we think, just hypothetically, that we could find new information on something that happened 30 years ago that wasn't available 30 years before. To be fair to the magazine,
Starting point is 00:04:25 my assignment wasn't to find new information. Oh. My editor called me, and she said, I have a perfect story for you. It's the 30th anniversary of the Manson murders, August 99, and she called me in March of 99. I want you to do a long piece, you know, how it impacted Hollywood, how it changed Hollywood.
Starting point is 00:04:43 You know, the victims really blended back then with the movie community and the music community, unlike they had before. And I told her, I had never even read Helter Skelter, and I said, I'm not at all interested in that. And she said, well, you'll be interested once you start. And I said, I don't know, Leslie. She goes, you'll find something more interesting to you
Starting point is 00:05:07 than the impact, if that's what you have to do. But it wasn't their idea for me to do any, you know, new revelations about the case. Based on their original ask, how did it change Hollywood? Well, it did. I mean, it really overnight, Joan Deaton famously said that the morning she woke up and heard about the murders, she knew the 60s had come to an end.
Starting point is 00:05:29 I mean, things were getting out of hand with the drugs. Not that drugs were bad, but because of drugs, people were kind of letting their guard down. Famously, the Tate House on Cielo Drive, Polanski House, was an open-door policy. Anybody could come in and out. So once the murders happened, people, drive Polanski house was an open door policy, anybody could come in and out. So once the murders happened, you know, people, and Spoliosi writes about it in his book,
Starting point is 00:05:49 and it's one thing that he didn't exaggerate, you know, got guard dogs, guns, put up walls, security, became much more careful. And also since they weren't solved for about three months, people were paranoid and suspecting each other, including Roman Polanski, who famously was stalking John Phillips because he thought John Phillips might have had something to do with it. Really? I didn't know that. Well, Roman had had an affair with Michelle,
Starting point is 00:06:14 and John was very jealous, even though he wasn't even with her at that point. They had broken up a year or so before, and Roman had other reasons to believe that Phillips was behind it. He actually broke into his garage. Wow. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:06:28 That's wild. It's crazy, yeah. I was trying to interview John Phillips forever until he died, he wouldn't talk to me. I did have a off the record lunch with Michelle Phillips one day that was pretty cool and interviewed Denny Dougherty. And you know, in the mama cast,
Starting point is 00:06:44 there's a lot of reporting that she was close to the Manson family and had them to her house. I've never been able to confirm it. It's all kind of speculative. And I talked to lots of people in her family. I mean, her daughter and her sister and Russ Kunkel and those people. And the daughter was too young to know,
Starting point is 00:07:04 but they all thought they would have heard. You know, Jimmy Webb, he published a memoir about two or three years ago, where a big revelation in this book, he was recording with Cass in London right before she died, and she confided to him that she had arrived at the Tate House the night of the murders and seen bodies on the property
Starting point is 00:07:27 and gotten her car and sped home. I tried to get Jimmy Webb to, you know, he stood behind it, but he wouldn't talk to me about it. He wouldn't comment on it. And that was, I think, after my book came out or shortly before. So I had done my cash reporting 10 or 12 years before, but I went back to her closest friends, her daughter, her sister, and said, is there any chance she told you this story? And all of them said no, and she would have told us before Jimmy Webb.
Starting point is 00:07:58 So is it true? I don't know. Was he doing it to sell a book? I mean, actually, without going into the weeds, there's a good chance she would have gone to the house that night. And I did believe that she had these massive secrets about the case and these drug dealers she knew who actually were the first suspects.
Starting point is 00:08:16 But that will hopefully be in the second book if I get enough substantiation. How much have you learned since the book came out? A lot more. I mean, when I finished it, I honestly thought, 20 years, I'm done. Yeah, that's it. I'm going to write fairy tales about unicorns
Starting point is 00:08:31 and princesses and children's books. But, you know, there was so much in the book that wasn't answered, which was really frustrating. Another reason it took so long, kept trying to get the conclusion, the definitive answers. After it came out, I kept going back to it, so long, kept trying to get the conclusion, the definitive answers. After it came out, I kept going back to it, you know, but I thought it was more like a hobby.
Starting point is 00:08:51 I did Joe Rogan's podcast about six or seven months after it came out, and that kind of changed everything for the book because he opened it up to a much wider audience than it had gotten. And once that happened, and prior to it a little bit, I would get contacted, I still get contacted almost every day by people with information. Based on reading the book and being like...
Starting point is 00:09:13 Based on the book, yeah. ...they have information that you didn't have in the book. Yeah, so 95% of them are insane. You know, 5% of them are great, and they're about half-do dozen people that I've been communicating with for five years now. The book came out in 2019. One or two of them on a weekly basis and they have access to information that I never had
Starting point is 00:09:37 access to, didn't know how to get. One of them is an ex-military person, intelligence. Others are ex-district attorneys, cops, people in law enforcement. And I've been accumulating information, supporting my original theses, and trying to make them not so much theses, but factual story. I still haven't committed to doing part two
Starting point is 00:10:00 with my publisher, they want it. And I wanna do it, but I have to thought a couple more. Of the material, yeah. When people reach out, do they just want to see the truth be told? Yeah. Some of them, I think, there were so many people who wouldn't talk to me
Starting point is 00:10:15 in the course of reporting the book, not just from the celebrity entertainment world, but from intelligence and cops. But some of them, I think, when they read read the book without patting my own backs, I had a respect for my doggedness and for the fact that I really in the book don't sensationalize what I found. I presented pretty soberly, objectively except I'm writing in the first person. But I don't have anything definitive that I can't absolutely prove.
Starting point is 00:10:44 And I think that's one of the reasons people who otherwise might not have reached out to me have reached out to me. I'm still waiting for more. And it's surprising, you know, I open every email, read every email, because you just never know. And it's surprising that every now and then I get somebody that's got really great stuff. Tell me the order that you went in. How did you start the process originally?
Starting point is 00:11:08 Wow, well, the first thing I did was read Helter Skelter and reach out to... When you read Helter Skelter, did you read it thinking this is the story or did you read it with a question mark? I read it not thinking I was gonna find out anything new in it, but I thought I needed to familiarize myself with it,
Starting point is 00:11:30 and I was actually blown away by what a fast, exciting read it is, it's really well done. Did you think of it as the accepted story? Oh yeah, and I accepted it. And when I reached out to Vince Buleosi, he hadn't done interviews for a number of years. He would do them periodically, like on anniversaries and stuff, maybe that's why he agreed to meet with me.
Starting point is 00:11:54 But when he agreed to, he was the first, well, second interview I did. And I went to his house in Pasadena and spent about six hours with him. Do you like him at first meeting? I liked him because he was so generous with his time. I went into his house and his wife, Gail, put out cookies and coffee,
Starting point is 00:12:13 and we sat in the house and talked for an hour or two. Then we went out to lunch. Then he gave me a tour of some of the sites, you know, connected to the crimes. Then we went back to his house and talked more. And as much as I liked him, I'd done my research. I read the book, I read a lot of the interviews he'd done. I knew he was just on autopilot,
Starting point is 00:12:34 just regurgitating every story he'd ever told. And I think that maybe it was because he hadn't done it for a while that he was extra garrulous, but at one point, and it's in the book, I said, Vince, thank you so much. You're giving me great quotes and stuff, but I really am hoping to write something to do some new reporting about this 30-year-old case.
Starting point is 00:12:57 Is there anything that hasn't been told about it before? And we can go off the record, not for attribution, turn off the recorder. And he said, turn the recorder off, turn the recorder off. And then he told me this story that was pretty shocking. And I wasn't allowed to use it. I couldn't use it and attribute it to him, which was our agreement until seven or eight years later when he brought it up in an on-the-record interview with me when our relationship had
Starting point is 00:13:24 become very contentious and he was trying to stop my book, and he talked about it and admitted he had told me that so then I could use it. And that was kind of what split the narrative open for me. I mean, a few days after the murders, the police were searching the house at Cielo and they took these video tapes from the loft above the living room.
Starting point is 00:13:50 And they looked at them and in Vince's book he writes that it was just a homemade video by Roman who did have cameras and video equipment. It did exist then. And it was of Roman and Sharon making love, so he put the camera on. That's what was in the book. He told me that in reality, it was Roman forcing Sharon to have sex with two men against her will, like a rape. And I was naive about criminal investigative reporting.
Starting point is 00:14:19 Right then, I should have said, the first suspect in a crime when a husband or wife is killed is always a spouse. Now, Roman did have a troubled relationship with her that the police knew about, but that's much more extreme to know that he was forcing her to have sex against her will with two men. He never told me who they were. I didn't say to him, well, that kind of changes a lot, and I didn't ask him why he didn't
Starting point is 00:14:49 put that in. I figured he did it to protect, he did, he said he did it to protect her memory. But he also made another mistake, which again, I'm admitting my naivety and stupidity. He also told me he was the one who told the cops to put it back in the loft. And this is part of the official narrative. Roman did go to the house about three or four days after the murders, flew back from London, went into the house, gave the police a tour, it was photographed and featured in Life magazine. They had put the video back for him to take and they never told him they had
Starting point is 00:15:25 looked at it. Well, Vince couldn't have told them, as he told me, to put it back because he wasn't on the case until November. This was August. So was he lying about... Who knew what he was lying about? But it took me a couple of years to go, wait a minute. He says in his book, middle of the book, he said he had never thought about the case beyond the fact that it was an unsolved murder.
Starting point is 00:15:52 He had nothing to do with it until he was asked to be the co-prosecutor about a week before Thanksgiving in November. So that changed everything. At that point, I couldn't ask him about that discrepancy because he wasn't talking to me anymore. But early on, and that was again the first couple weeks of reporting, when he told me that, I thought, well, if he changed this, what else did he change and why? And that's when I started probing and trying to get interviews with people who had never
Starting point is 00:16:21 talked before, witnesses, cops, and I think the passage of time, people who turned down interview requests to the media at the time, authors for years, they get old, they get lonely, they get bored, and if you're persistent, they start talking, and I started scoring interviews with people who had never told their story before, and then that started opening stuff up and making it a whole different kind of story.
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Starting point is 00:17:58 can perform at your very best. Element electrolytes are sugar-free, keto-friendly, and great tasting. Minerals are the stuff of life. So visit drinklmnt.com slash tetra and stay salty with Element Electrolyte. LMNT. Do you remember the first point in doing the research where you felt like there's more here? In the example you just gave me, you didn't realize it until years later.
Starting point is 00:18:36 But where was the first time there's something here? Something is not adding up. There's more to learn. I got access to a guy named Rudy Altabelli. Rudy owned the house that Sherrod and Roman were renting from him, the Cielo Drive house. And he had lived there, I think, since about 61 or 62. He lived in the guest house on the property.
Starting point is 00:18:57 He'd rent the main house before Roman and Sherrod. So even Terry Melcher rented it. It was not Terry Melcher. Because it's always referred to as Terry Melcher's house. Yeah, no. Terry Terry Melcher rented it. It was not Terry Melcher's house. He didn't own it. It's always referred to as Terry Melcher's house. Yeah, no, Terry and Candace rented it, and Candace wanted to buy it with Terry. She loved it. She called it the love house. In the middle of the night, in January of 68, Terry said, we're leaving. And to this day, Candace Bergen has never explained this.
Starting point is 00:19:26 She wouldn't talk to me. But he still had very many months left in his lease. They were going to renew the lease. Something spooked him, and he left in the middle of the night. At that point, Rudy rented it to Roman and Sharon, who moved in in March. And Rudy had never talked to a reporter before, and he was a key prosecution witness for Vince Pagliosi.
Starting point is 00:19:49 And he was a real colorful character. He was an agent for, back in the 40s and 50s, people like Cary Grant. He had this stable of clients that were very eclectic. Jack Nicholson, Jimmy Darin, Dick Van Dyke. But after the murders, he kind of, like a lot of people connected to the victims, lost everything.
Starting point is 00:20:12 I mean, he had already been doing lots of drugs and drinking. He was an out gay man before men were out in Hollywood. He came from Brooklyn after serving in World War II where he was raised and lived in the same building as Elizabeth Short in Hollywood on Cherokee, knew her casually, and was just very flamboyant. And he was the one who testified about Manson making this visit to the house in March, looking for Terry.
Starting point is 00:20:40 Well, once he agreed to start meeting with me, I had to take him out to restaurants. We started at Musso & Frank's, that was his favorite restaurant. And then we'd kind of move around Hollywood to fancy, expensive restaurants. And I had an expense account at Premier Magazine. So it was okay, but the nights were long. He'd drink a lot. I drank too much. And he would always leave me, give me a little information,
Starting point is 00:21:08 but leave unanswered questions. So he started telling me stuff about Terry Melcher and his relationship with Manson. And Rudy was, to the day he died, bitter, that everybody painted a picture of him as being the one who he rejected Manson when Manson came to the house.
Starting point is 00:21:31 And according to the official narrative, that's why Manson targeted. He didn't know who was there anymore, but he wanted to send a message. And that story wasn't true. But he admitted that to me. He admitted to me that Melcher was much more involved with the family. Historically, in the official narrative, at trial, Melcher said he'd met Manson, I think, three times. Once at Dennis Wilson's house, and then twice at the Spahn Ranch when he went out to audition Manson in the spring before the summer murders.
Starting point is 00:22:06 And he was asked to understand, and he testified at the grand jury, at the Tate LaBianca trial, at the Tex Watson trial, and at the retrial of Leslie Van Alten. And he always stuck to the story. I found out that he had lied. He had perjured himself, and Vince had known that and suborned that perjury.
Starting point is 00:22:25 So that kind of information came to me about two or three months in. Do you think that he and Vince were in cahoots? Rudy or Terry? Terry. Oh, absolutely. I mean, I caught them in lies because they were each. So they had the same story, but that story was a lie. Yeah, it was changed, scripted, and I think a lot of the witness testimony was, including Rudy
Starting point is 00:22:48 Alabelli. How do you think that happened? If you just, I know you can't know, but just based on what you do know, how would you guess it may have happened? That's the frustration of the book, is I have a couple theories that I couldn't prove, because number one, Vince wouldn't admit to any of it. And Terry wouldn't admit to any of it. And Terry wouldn't admit to any of it. Terry got so upset that I was gonna report it
Starting point is 00:23:10 that my one big encounter with him face to face on the roof of his building on Ocean Drive or whatever in Santa Monica, he said to me, if you don't publish all this, if you don't write all this, after threatening me saying, I have an army of attorneys, I will shut you down, everything that Vince did to me, if you don't publish all this, if you don't write all this, this is after threatening me saying, I have an army of attorneys, I will shut you down. Everything that Vince did to me a few years later, he said, how about this?
Starting point is 00:23:33 People have been begging me to write my memoir for years. Not just about my experiences producing the birds and being such close acquaintances with Sly Stone and the Beach Boys, etc., but also about my mother's life, which would shock you. Stories about my mother that nobody knows. And it was Mother's Day. And...
Starting point is 00:23:54 Who was the biggest star in the world at one period of time. Yeah. And I'm like, you're gonna throw your mother under the bus to save yourself? Then I knew it was even more, that I still wasn't getting the whole story. What was he? I've never met him, what was he like? I don't know anything about him, really. Yeah, yeah, well he was a boy wonder, you know?
Starting point is 00:24:11 He was producing, obviously he was what they call a nepo kid now, he got the door open for him because he was Doris Day's son, but he was really good at what he did, he knew how to make hits. And by the time he was 22, 23, he had a huge contract, was producing singles. When I met him, he had stopped working for a number of years.
Starting point is 00:24:32 He had had a lot of drug and alcohol issues himself. When I started, the story, he had gone up to Carmel, where his mother lived and ran a hotel. It was basically just a charity for her to support her animal protection things. Do we know why he left the music business? You know, that's a good question. I'm trying to remember when he did.
Starting point is 00:24:52 He wrote Kokomo, which was the biggest Beach Boys single ever. I think it's one of the worst songs. With Papa John, no? Yeah, John Phillips and him, and I don't know, Brian Wilson. I can't remember. Or maybe it was just the two of them. I think it was just the two of them. Yeah, John Phillips and him and I don't know, Brian Wilson, I can't remember, or maybe it was just the two of them.
Starting point is 00:25:05 I think it was just the two of them. Yeah, yeah. So I think that was in the 90s. He might have even done it from Carmel. I don't know if he was burnt out or what. Nobody's ever written a book just on him. I mean, maybe it's time for that. But he had come back because he decided to get back into the business with Lou Adler.
Starting point is 00:25:23 And they were going to start a label or start recording together, and he only agreed to talk to me because he knew that Rudy was talking to me and he was really worried. And he had told Rudy on the phone after I first reached out to Terry to try to get an interview on the phone. Right after he talked to me, he called up Rudy
Starting point is 00:25:42 and he said, Vince, promise me that was never gonna come out. And when I met him, the one time talked to me, he called up Rudy and he said, Vince, promise me that was never going to come out. And when I met him, the one time face to face on his roof for about an hour and a half or so, he was drunk. It was about one in the afternoon. It was the day before the 4th of July. My immediate reaction was he looked like Jim Morrison in his latter days. His face was really puffy.
Starting point is 00:26:05 He had sunglasses on, long hair. And he was slurring and slightly incoherent and talking. And I have the tape, it's an hour long tape, and it's kind of hard to listen to. Was it sad in the moment? Yeah, it was really sad. I mean, I knew that he'd had a sad life. I mean, his mother actually, you know,
Starting point is 00:26:26 she was America's sweetheart, but she was not a nice person. And she didn't go to his funeral, and he had one child, a son. And when Doris died, he didn't go to her funeral. She had cut him off. So who knows what was really going on within that family. He'd been married, I think he had a third wife when I interviewed him, and he died less than a couple
Starting point is 00:26:53 years later, he had skin cancer that I think, I read somewhere it was from all the time he spent Malibu on the beach in the sun. So he wasn't that old, I think he was mid to late 60s when he died. It was frustrating because you want people to spill their goods and tell you the truth. And I knew I was getting to him, but it was so clear. Like he said to me after saying he was gonna
Starting point is 00:27:19 hire all these lawyers and sue me for defamation, then he asked me to write his memoir. I'm like, you just threatened to ruin me and now you're asking me to be your official biographer and trust me with stories about your mother and your career in the rock and roll business that have never been told. It was insane.
Starting point is 00:27:37 But that was par for the course with this. I mean, almost, I would have those kinds of interviews once a week. I mean, I became so much more cynical about the world. And I was 40, the day I got the assignment was the day after my 40th birthday. And I thought I was the most sophisticated, all-knowing person, I'd lived in New York
Starting point is 00:27:55 for years and years and I'd been reporting on entertainment. But boy, I was naive about how the legal world, law enforcement work. I mean, I knew there were bad cops. I didn't know how many bad cops. I knew there were bad prosecutors. I didn't know, wow, how many, how you really can't trust almost everything you're told.
Starting point is 00:28:17 So I became much more skeptical. And I was romantic about, you know, 1967, 68, the free love and the hippie movement. I bought the story about, you know, love beads and long hair and happy drugs. Was there any part of it that was real or was the whole thing a Psyop? I wonder. I wonder. I still don't know whether the CIA, I know the CIA was behind, you know, experimenting with LSD in the United States before anybody else got access to it.
Starting point is 00:28:50 But did they do what people think they did in the hate and distribute it? I'm not sure. When did they come into your story? Oh, gosh. In your research, when was the first clue? It's like, hmm, there's something bigger going on here. So Vince, in his book, has one little paragraph in the epilogue of the book, Helter Skelter, where he's wrapping everything up. And there was an update that he had written 10 years after, I think.
Starting point is 00:29:18 And in the epilogue, he says, even though he was able to convict everyone and show that they killed the people that he believed they killed, he said, the one thing I will never know and that we might never know is how Manson was able to get these kids. Mostly, 90% of them had no criminal records. Most of them were under the age of 23, 24. Most of them were women.
Starting point is 00:29:47 In under a year to be able to control them to the point where they would go out and kill strangers for no reason just because they were told to and have no remorse and even laugh about them after. And he says, is there some hidden switch, some secret? Did he learn this on his own in prison or was he taught by others? And that was one thing I highlighted the first time I read the book. And he said, we might never know.
Starting point is 00:30:18 And at the point that I found out that there was this, in Helter Skelter, Vince Hartley talks about Manson's first year out of prison in 67 in The Hague. When he became, he transformed from this kind of uninteresting, lifetime con man who'd been in and out of federal institutions half of his life into this guru with this beautiful women, not all beautiful, but some of them following him, not speaking unless he spoke to them first,
Starting point is 00:30:47 doing whatever he said all in under a year, he created that monster or guru or whatever. And when I found out there was so much stuff that we didn't know about that year, I went up to the HATE and started exploring who we had contact with. I found out about the free medical clinic, and I had never heard of MKUltra,
Starting point is 00:31:09 which I think you must know about, you know, the secret mind control program by the CIA. This was really in the early days of the Internet. It was like 2000, I think. So I would Google, and there wasn't nearly as much information out there, and I started hearing about this program, and then I interviewed someone who I just,
Starting point is 00:31:29 when I was waiting for you to come in, I was looking at Twitter, and Alex Jones just tweeted about him today, a guy named Ted Gunderson, who was a former FBI agent, who left the agency in the, I think, late 80s, and started lecturing and writing and saying there was this secret cabal of child predators, and really, really crazy stuff.
Starting point is 00:31:56 Now, I knew that he had worked peripherally on the Manson case, and that's why I interviewed him. While I was talking to him, the one or two times I met with him in 2000, he brought up MKUltra and told me a little bit- This is Ted Gunderson. Ted Gunderson, yeah, a little bit more about it than I knew.
Starting point is 00:32:14 And he said, you should look into a psychiatrist named Louis Jolion West. And I said, I actually interviewed him about five years ago. I lived in New York and the magazine would send me out here. And it was one of the investigative pieces I did. It was on the phenomenon of celebrity stalking. So Madonna had just had her house broken into
Starting point is 00:32:35 by a guy who wanted to kill her. And it was a famous story. Rebecca Schaeffer had been murdered a TV actress a year or two before. So I came out from New York and spent a couple weeks interviewing a few actresses who had been stalked, and authorities, cops, people who dealt with that world. And one of the people I reached out to was this professor at UCLA named West, because
Starting point is 00:32:59 he was an expert on the criminal mind. And he was a neuroscience, the director of their neuroscience at UCLA and the head of psychiatry. And it was a bad interview. I mean, I got there on time, and he was about 45 minutes late. I was waiting in his office. He came in, didn't apologize.
Starting point is 00:33:18 What do you want to know? So I said, well, before I could even ask a question, he started lecturing me about the subject. As if I was in a class at UCLA, I tried to stop him to ask a question. He wouldn't let me. And then we're done. And he told me, all right, we're done.
Starting point is 00:33:33 I said, I haven't really gotten to ask any questions, obviously. Describe him. What did he look like? A large guy, had a beard. He was probably in, it was probably in 92 or something, so he was probably about early 70s or, he died the year I got the assignment. His son later wrote a book about it.
Starting point is 00:33:54 His son did assisted suicide with both his father and his mother a year or two apart. Both of them had terminal diseases and his son gave them drugs and then wrote about it. Are the books about that or about their lives? The son's book is really about his making the decision first to do it with his mother and then to do it with his father, but there's a lot of biographical information in there. And I had tried reaching out to all three of Jolly's kids, I mean, five years into this,
Starting point is 00:34:24 I got close to getting one of the daughters to kids, I mean, five years into this. I got close to getting one of the daughters to meet with me, but she changed her mind. I talked to John, the son, who basically said, we are not allowed to talk about my father's career, even though he's not alive, and I can't talk to you, I'm sorry. He died, I think the year my book came out,
Starting point is 00:34:43 and to this day, I haven't been able to find out how he died. I mean, he wouldn't have been more than 60, as mysterious as his father. Jolly did a lot of press over the years, a lot of interviews and stuff, so there wasn't anything stunning in his book except the fact that nobody knew that he had done this. So much of today's life happens on the web. Squarespace is your home base for building your dream presence in an online world. Designing a website is easy,
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Starting point is 00:36:15 already managing a successful brand, Squarespace makes it easy to create and customize a beautiful website. Visit squarespace.com slash tetra and get started today. How do we know about Jolly's relationship to the CIA? So Ted Gunderson told me to look into him at that meeting and I told him, wow, I interviewed him about the stalking phenomenon. I'll go back and listen to his interview because I'd never even listened to it and I had the tape transcribed,
Starting point is 00:36:51 there was nothing interesting in there. Oh, I looked him up and found out he had died, I think within months of me learning about him. What I was starting to do then was, even though I was getting these exclusive interviews with people who had never talked, you know, they're telling you stuff, and it's 30 years later, the memory plays tricks.
Starting point is 00:37:11 People also want to make themselves more important in stories. I realized I'm getting nuggets of important information, but I need to corroborate it. And that's when I started really chasing down documentary, you know, original police reports, case files. So with Jolly, I found out that he had been at the Haydash-Bury Free Medical Clinic
Starting point is 00:37:31 the same summer that Manson was going there on a weekly basis, first to get medical care for the women who had sexually transmitted him, who had sexually transmitted diseases, and also for drug issues. And then his parole officer was doing drug research there. He started having his parole meetings there. Well, Jolly had an office there at the same time.
Starting point is 00:37:53 I called up UCLA and he had been there. He had been at University of Oklahoma before UCLA, but he had gone to UCLA coincidentally in 69, the year the murders happened. He'd been there until he retired. So I knew that they were most likely the repository of his papers. So I contacted them and they said, I think they had 160 boxes,
Starting point is 00:38:16 but none of them had been processed. And I said, well, I have a magazine deadline and it's due in a couple months, which is kind of true back then. And I don't know, I have a magazine deadline, and it's due in a couple months, which is kind of true back then. And I don't know, I guess Charlotte, the woman in charge of Special Collections, took a liking to me. And she said, all right, I'll assign some grad students and we'll start releasing them,
Starting point is 00:38:36 but just a couple at a time. So I started looking in his boxes. Took me months. I go to that young library every day, go down there, and just I was looking for a needle in the haystack because I just felt like there were too many coincidences. What were the kind of things that were in the papers? Well, West had been accused from the very first report of the existence of MK Ultra in 75, 76.
Starting point is 00:39:01 He had been accused on the front page of the New York Times as being one of seven or eight university professors who had been contracted by the CIA to perform mind control experiments on subjects without their knowledge. Without the subject's knowledge. Yeah, without consent and without the university's knowledge. In the case of Wes, also the Air Force base where he was before he went to Oklahoma, and Wes denied it. And Wes said he had been approached by Sidney Gottlieb, who was the founder of MKUltra at the CIA, and he ran it from 52 to 72. What was Sidney Gottlieb's job?
Starting point is 00:39:38 He was the head of technical services. He was a chemist. So he, with Ellen Dulles, who was a director, and Richard Helms, who was an assistant director, they created MK Ultra in 52, 53. Did you get to meet any of those guys? Richard Helms was still alive, wouldn't talk to me. Sidney Gottlieb was alive for about a year, but he lived on a commune in India, and I couldn't get information for him.
Starting point is 00:40:00 That's interesting. Dulles was long dead. Yeah, yeah, it's a lot interesting about Gottlieb. What do you know about him? Well, there was a book that came out after mine called Poisoner in Chief by a New York Times reporter, biography of Gottlieb. Wow. He doesn't, I don't think he has anything that wasn't already available in the public.
Starting point is 00:40:18 There's not a lot of books about MK Ultra, but the very first one is called The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. It's by John Marks, who was a State Department employee, like a clerical guy, who came across these financial files in a warehouse offsite of the State Department. And he saw they were all funding at the time Oklahoma, where Jolly West was, and these other places to do this research. It was very vague. It was just financial records, not what was done. He brought that to a congressman.
Starting point is 00:40:52 One of the congressmen called up is Seymour Hersh. And Seymour Hersh was the one who reported it for the first time. There were congressional hearings. West was- So was he a whistleblower? Would you call him a whistleblower? John Marx? Yeah. Oh, absolutely. West was... So was he a whistleblower? Would you call him a whistleblower? John Marks? Yeah.
Starting point is 00:41:06 Oh, absolutely. Yeah, and he wrote this authoritative book, The First and Best. Explain what a mentoring candidate is. Okay. Do you know where the name comes from? Yeah, the name comes from a book, a novel by Richard Condon, who is believed to have been part of the agency in some capacity. He wrote it in the early 60s.
Starting point is 00:41:26 It was about a program, a hypothetical program run by the United States government to create people who would use the brainwashing skills that we knew, the Chinese and the North Koreans and the Russians had developed that we started developing too in the 50s. But the ultimate goal of each of these foreign countries, including our own, was to create a programmed assassin. He might have invented Manchurian candidate, Manchuria China, who was played in the first movie, the Manchurian candidate by... Frank Sinatra.
Starting point is 00:42:01 Yeah, I think it was Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey who would kill when triggered, in that case, I think a playing card, a Queen of Hearts or something. Angela Lansbury was the mother. So that movie came out right before John F. Kennedy was assassinated and they pulled it from the theaters. But he's the one who created it, but nothing was written about MK Ultra. Nobody knew it existed.
Starting point is 00:42:25 He didn't call it that until John Marx blew the whistle, brought it to Congress. They had three hearings, Frank Church hearings beginning in 75 for two years. They exposed the existence of this program that had been the most highly funded of all the CIA's programs to that date, from 1952 to 72, 73. Upon closing it, Richard Helms, who by then was the director of the CIA, and Sidney Gottlieb destroyed all 20 years of records. And had it not been for Marx stumbling upon these files in 75, no one would have known about it.
Starting point is 00:43:01 Why do you think they destroyed the records? Oh, because there was crimes. I mean, number one, the CIA is by charter. They're not allowed to do anything on American soil domestically. They were doing experiments on prisoners, on people at Air Force bases, on people in brothels in San Francisco and New York who were lured into these apartments that had one-way mirrors where CIA scientists would study them as they were dosed with LSD by prostitutes who had been hired by the CIA.
Starting point is 00:43:31 That was called Operation Midnight Climax. So it was illegal. People had, who knows what kind of damages were done. And West, on the front page of the Times, said, Sidney Gottlieb had approached me about using LSD on human beings as a part of this, and I said, number one, LSD, when people are on LSD, you can't control them to do anything,
Starting point is 00:43:54 and I would never administer it to anyone but animals. I only do animal experiments. They were all lies, you know, and from then, 75, 76, seven, Wes had never been challenged. They gave him the benefit of the doubt. He wasn't investigated. People like at UCLA at the school newspaper would ask him about it or write about it,
Starting point is 00:44:14 and he would go ballistic denying it, threaten to sue them. I have about six or seven articles that appeared over every two or three years until he died where it would come up and West would threaten to sue if they published that it wasn't true, he said. So I went in there with nobody ever being able to prove
Starting point is 00:44:32 he had anything to do with this, and I found the needle in the haystack, and it was letters. At that point, he's dead. So I'm going through the boxes, and I think it was about three months in, and I was just miserable because there was nothing in the index or finding guides.
Starting point is 00:44:47 I'm getting two or three boxes every three or four days. And then I found- And you don't know what you're looking for, right? I was looking for evidence of him and Manson being somehow together or him and MK Ultra. I see. So I found these letters, and the first one was about 10 pages, and it was from him to
Starting point is 00:45:07 Sherman Grifford. Who's that? That was Sidney Gottlieb's alias. Now I had heard the name Sherman Grifford, because it's in John Marx's book from 77, The Man Sharing Kennedy. I had already gone through it. And I go, these letters sound like a blueprint for MKUltra. Unredacted, they're describing the experiments they're going to do at that point at Lackland
Starting point is 00:45:31 Air Force Base. And he said he's going to try to create fugue states, he's going to try to create amnesias, he's going to try to induce insanity. And his ultimate goal was, he said, to replace true memories with false memories without a person's knowledge. And I said, but who's Sherman Griffith? And I went back and I got Marx's book. There were like three books about MKUltra at that point in print, 2000 or whatever it
Starting point is 00:45:58 was, 2001. And in the footnotes of Marx's book, it says Sherman Griffith was an alias Sidney Gottlieb would use to correspond. So then I knew and I went back and then I found about eight different letters from 52, 53, till about 56, 57. The last one was a report where he said he had successfully developed the technology to remove true memories and replace them with false memories using a combination of hypnosis and drugs
Starting point is 00:46:28 without a person's knowledge. I mean, that was what the CIA needed to do from the first place. They wanted to program people to kill and then have that memory removed, that kind of thing. So I was the first one to be able to say, all right, this guy was lying all these years. That was kind of a eureka moment for me. So I was the first one to be able to say, all right, this guy was lying all these years.
Starting point is 00:46:45 That was kind of a eureka moment for me. And to this day, I was so close to giving up. They kept giving, and I found it. And they're still there at UCLA because since my book has come out, researchers go there all the time now. And I said, they should just put them out on display so you guys don't have to find them.
Starting point is 00:47:04 But I tell them exactly where they are. Because Wes did not intend for those to remain. He probably had graduate students organizing his stuff before he died, and he probably didn't look closely. It was careless. But that was what enabled me then to kind of take that leap into like, was Manson taught this? Or did Manson somehow benefit from his knowledge?
Starting point is 00:47:28 Then I was trying to find out whether Manson and Wes- And how do we know that he's not doing this as a kooky professor, but in fact doing it for the US government? Oh, because in the letters. In the letters, he discusses with Gottlieb how he's going to hide the funding from the CIA, from Gottlieb, from his own superiors. When he was at Lackland, six months into his research, he tells Gottlieb he has to fire the commander at Lackland because he's become too inquisitive about his experiments. They removed the guy. That guy went on to
Starting point is 00:48:03 become the secretary of the Air Force, I think. Very well known guy. After they moved him to another base, he never knew why. I called him to say, do you know why you were moved from Lackland in 1953 or 54? He said, yeah, it was just a transfer. I go, I have something to show you.
Starting point is 00:48:19 He said, I don't wanna see it, I don't wanna know about it. And he wouldn't talk to me. Yeah. So Gottlieb told West to have double envelopes, use his alias. He had a post office box, a fake corporation in DC called Chernobyl Associates. It was very, very complicated about how they withheld this. West even wrote in a subsequent letter, he said,
Starting point is 00:48:44 since much of my experiments are on people who are in our mental facilities, psychiatric wards, their strange behavior won't strike other doctors or observers as unusual, which gives me more freedom, because they'll just think it's a symptom of their mental illness, but this was the most important sentence. He goes, but you know, eventually we need to take these experiments and put them to practical use in the field, meaning a wave in the public. Wow.
Starting point is 00:49:14 So that was when things shifted and I really started looking at what Vince had inadvertently kind of sent me on when he said, well, we ever know how Manson, now it's not a spoiler for the book because if you read a review of it, said, inadvertently kind of sent me on when he said, well, we ever know how Manson, now it's not a spoiler for the book because if you read a review of it, I was never able to prove that Manson and West were in the same room. I know they were in the same building and every doctor who I interviewed there, beginning
Starting point is 00:49:37 with the main head of the Hay-Dashbury Free Medical Clinic, David Smith said, oh yeah, Jolly would have seen him, we all knew him, and he was a character here. Jolly had an associate at Oklahoma, another psychiatrist who he brought with him to the Haight for that summer. When you say they were in the same building, let's describe, how big is this building?
Starting point is 00:49:56 It's a classic Victorian townhouse. The house. The house in the Haight. Right. It was like three stories and they had offices. The waiting room would fill with hippies who were really, most of them were having bad trips. But what David Smith didn't tell is he created this in 67
Starting point is 00:50:14 anticipating what was about to happen in the summer of love, that there would be this invasion of kids and they'd be using this new drug LSD and there'd be no medical facility. So he did it. And again, I'm very conflicted about what I believe David knew or didn't know. He's still alive.
Starting point is 00:50:33 He's in my book. I interviewed him quite a bit. He contradicted himself quite a bit. And when you say they were in the same building, just to be clear, Jolly had an office in this building, and Manson came there three times a week for a long time. When you say they were in the same building, just to be clear, Jolly had an office in this building, and Manson came there three times a week for a long time. Yeah, for, well, the summer through the fall.
Starting point is 00:50:51 In a building the size of a house. Yeah. Just to be clear, because we can say they were both in the same building one time, and it's the Empire State Building. Oh no, yeah, this is a house. This is a house. This is a house-size building,
Starting point is 00:51:04 and they're there often at the same time. Yeah. Okay. And James Allen, who was a psychiatrist at Oklahoma who Wes brought with him, told me, he said, of course, Jolly, we talked to him. Everyone was fascinated, because Manson would walk down the hall, and he had, it began with two or three,
Starting point is 00:51:20 then it became six or seven women trailing him like slaves. And he said, there were a lot of characters in The Hate, a lot of them in The Hate Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, but nothing like Charlie. So what else do we know about the clinic? It closed the month after my book came out. It shut down. It had been open since 67. It closed in 2019.
Starting point is 00:51:39 That's interesting. Yeah. That's interesting. Yeah. and rituals for centuries. More recently it has been shown to increase alertness, improve focus, elevate mood, enhance cognition, heighten reward sensation and more. We are talking about nicotine. Nicotine is a wonder worker. Inspired by indigenous practices throughout Inspired by indigenous practices throughout history and guided by a wealth of contemporary research, the team at Lucy set out on a mission to create clean, grain-boosting nicotine products for the modern lifestyle. Whether it's their nicotine breakers, parches or gum, Lucy's products are carefully formulated to deliver a pure and potent nicotine experience,
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Starting point is 00:53:22 Did the CIA join this existing thing? Or were they there from the beginning? Or did they start? Or did they create it? I can't prove it. I believe they created it with David. I mean, David lied from the beginning. He said it was not going to be a research facility.
Starting point is 00:53:38 He said this is a treatment center. We're doing this to help kids. And he raised money. He got funding. What was his background? He was a psychiatric student who, for his thesis, I guess that was his master's thesis or his PhD, wrote a study on the effects of LSD. And this is again where things get so confusing. In his paper he wrote mice.
Starting point is 00:54:05 He would give mice in communal settings, LSD starting in 65, and then crowd them and see how it affected their behavior, and what it did was it caused them not only to kill each other, but to rip each other to shreds. Wow. Yeah, I interviewed his teacher's assistant, a pre-med guy named Charles Fisher
Starting point is 00:54:24 who wrote a paper with him, and he had to go, like, three times a day to observe the mice, and he said, I'd have to go there at one in the morning, and I knew it was, you know, the Vietnam Wars happening, and it was like looking at Me Lai or something. You go in there, and there'd be limbs. They'd be... Do we know why this is what he was choosing to research?
Starting point is 00:54:44 He wrote a book called Love Needs Care in 1971 or 72 about the origins of the clinic, his research. He talks about this study. He said he just anticipated that drugs would overwhelm the hate a year before it happened and that kids would live communally. Now people were living communally in cities,
Starting point is 00:55:07 but mostly be beacons. That's a big jump. Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, it's incredible. And he talks about once they get crowded and clustered and they're taking drugs, and eventually he said, speed will enter the scene,
Starting point is 00:55:20 they're gonna kill each other. And he was, in one of his papers he wrote, he said he wanted to learn how they could control that behavior once people were on, you know, theoretically it's a good thing, you know, make sure kids don't hurt each other when they're tripping and using speed. Also, and this is I think one of my most important findings, he published it but nobody ever thought it was remarkable, he coined something called but nobody ever thought it was remarkable. He coined something called psychedelic syndrome, which he said some people will have one LSD experience,
Starting point is 00:55:52 and it'll be profound, and then they'll go on to the next day and be just like they were before. Maybe they'll talk about it, maybe they'll try it again. Other people had life-altering LSD trips. Their first time where they had a massive personality change. And again, other people had life-altering LSD trips. Their first time where they had a massive personality change. He wanted to find out what were the precipitating factors in people who, kids who took LSD,
Starting point is 00:56:17 who had almost a psychotic break, where they never thought the same way. And he wanted to be able to divide those people, which is exactly what Manson was doing. He was finding followers who, you know, he was giving them acid, not taking it, and then he was doing... Was that true he was not taking it,
Starting point is 00:56:32 he was just giving it to them? He might have taken it in the beginning, but his commune family members, you know, in their testimony at the trials, the books they later wrote, they all said that they found out Charlie would pretend to take it, and he would give it to us, and he would keep them high for consecutive days. in their testimony at the trials, the books they later wrote, they all said that they found out Charlie would pretend to take it and he would give it to us
Starting point is 00:56:47 and he would keep them high for consecutive days. And then he put them in role playing stuff. It began with the men had to make love to other men, stuff that made them uncomfortable, then it became pretend you're killing someone, all that kind of stuff while they were high. Because some people who he recruited would rebel against them. They're like, I'm not the man, especially man, but woman.
Starting point is 00:57:10 I'm not going to let you tell me to have sex with someone I don't want to have sex with. I'm not going to wash your feet and cook for you. But others would immediately become subservient. So basically the objective of David's early research was to find out how to find the ones who would be the kind of people who would be Manson girls. And when he opened the clinic in 67, there was a group called the Diggers, who were really the first hippies. And they became organized and they were giving out free food.
Starting point is 00:57:40 And I saw that you've spoken about it before the death of the hippie funeral they had in 68, when it became like a commercial term and they buried it. Emmett Grogan, the one who founded The Diggers, wrote a book before he died, like he died young, but I think he wrote it in the 70s, and he publicly said to reporters that he thought David Smith was like a narc,
Starting point is 00:58:01 like he was working for the government, and he accused David of using government funds to do research. David said after the first year, yeah, he was doing papers. He published something called the Psychedelic Journal or something, and they were studying people, but he said it was all private funding or it was volunteer work by other psychiatrists like Jolly. No, it was funded by the State Department, the NIMH, the same people that were funding money to Jolly
Starting point is 00:58:28 when he was doing MKUltra stuff. So I think that David, I couldn't prove it, but I kind of say it in the book, was complicit. I don't know if he looked the other way. So this is something I guess, I don't care about telling it now. I don't think I've ever told it. I found out this recently. Someone I know has been interviewing
Starting point is 00:58:48 David and about a year and a half ago Roger Smith died. Roger Smith, no relation to David Smith, was Manson's parole officer who was a big character in that first year as Manson's officer. He was almost enabling Manson to become this guru. And didn't he end up being his stepfather to Manson? Oh, yeah, foster father. When the girls, Manson's firstborn child, Michael Valentine Smith from the Heinlein novel, Stranger in a Stranger World, Manson named him after that,
Starting point is 00:59:18 named the boy after that, who he had with Mary Bruner. And in 68, Mary and three other women got arrested in Mendocino. Roger Smith, who had stopped being Manson's parole officer right about then, went up to Mendocino with his wife and petitioned the court to be assigned as the foster parent to Michael.
Starting point is 00:59:39 There are people who believe... That's wild. ...that Roger was the father of that baby and not Manson. Oh, that's interesting. I actually have never said that before, but whatever. I was gonna say I never heard that one before. I couldn't put it in my book because I couldn't corroborate it, but I actually.
Starting point is 00:59:53 Why would anybody think that? Well, you know, Roger had the women to his house with him. They were coming to his house too. And his wife, I interviewed his wife. My arrangement with her was never to tell her new name, so I can talk about this, it's not in the book. She was one of my door knocks, you know, I knocked on her door in her house in this beautiful place in the Bay area and she immediately shut at my face and I said, Mrs. So-and-so, I have these parole
Starting point is 01:00:23 investigation reports for some Manson girls in 68 where you and Roger both signed your name saying they should be released, they're harmless, they're good women. Your name's on that. I'm going to put that in my book, but if you work with me and talk to me, we can have an arrangement where I don't name you, so she let me in. She was freaked out because she was terrified of Susan Atkins, the main woman. She wouldn't be in the house and they would come over and he said Roger got too close
Starting point is 01:00:50 to them. Roger was obsessed with Charlie. He was fascinated by Charlie. And what was his background? Roger was from Iowa. He was a rock-rib Republican as he said it. He went to Berkeley Criminology School, which doesn't exist anymore, to get his PhD in criminology in about 64.
Starting point is 01:01:12 And for three years he got a master's and a PhD. He studied. His first area of focus was gangs and collective behavior with the youth in Oakland. So these kids, right before the Panthers were formed, these street kids were forming violent gangs. So he was infiltrating them with other grad students to interview them, study them, and try to figure out, again, which kids became more criminal
Starting point is 01:01:38 and which kids didn't, what was the common factor in that. He wrote a paper about it for his master. Would that background make sense to be a parole officer? Would most parole officers- The parole officer was part-time. So he started being a parole officer undergrad at, I think, Madison in Wisconsin he went to or University of Chicago. So he knew he wanted to get into criminology.
Starting point is 01:02:02 So he got trained to be a parole officer his last couple years there. And it was like a part-time thing. Then when he went out to the hate and he was putting himself through school, he became a full-time parole officer. And again, who knows what to believe with these guys. He said he never intended on doing it once he got his degree.
Starting point is 01:02:21 Then he wanted to be a criminologist. His last parole client was Charles Manson, and that ended in 68, and then he stopped. And then he got his degree, and then he became an expert. Well, actually, after the gang research he did, then he shifted over to speed, and he started something called the Amphetamine Project under the auspices of the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic. So that was the fall of 67. He actually had an office open. At that point they had an annex,
Starting point is 01:02:54 another building around the corner, where he opened something called the Amphetamine Project, and Manson would go there for his parole hearings, and they were studying speed and how it influenced some people to be violent, but not other people. And when you say they were studying it, would they give it to people to see how they react?
Starting point is 01:03:13 Well, that was it. I think I have a page in my book. If not, it's on my social media. He had a contract, so he would hire grad students. They would go out to speed labs, or they would find speed addicts and they'd interview them. And the contract that they made with him is, you will be witnessing criminal activity. You could be considered an accessory, but every subject that we study has to remain
Starting point is 01:03:39 anonymous and you are not allowed to cooperate with the police in any of this. You have to sign this contract saying you won't so we can get these people that we're studying to trust us. That's kind of what he would do. He would gain access to them. At the same time, there was a clinician worker named Alan Rose who kind of ran the Hay-Dashbury Free Medical Clinic under David. He was kind of his protege.
Starting point is 01:04:05 And he became completely enthralled with Manson and the women in 67. When the three girls got arrested in 68 in Mendocino, he went out there with David Smith's money and got them bailed out and hired them lawyers. What did they get arrested for? They went to Mendocino. Manson sent them there to recruit more people for the family.
Starting point is 01:04:27 So they were in, I forget the name of the town, Mendocino, but they started having these LSD parties and they lured these three or four 14-, 15-year-old boys there, had an orgy with them. One of the boys thought his arms had become rubber bands, and he ran home to his parents, and his parents, one of them was a deputy sheriff, so they raided the house. So it was for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Starting point is 01:04:55 LSD had just become a felony. It wasn't in 66, but 67. In 66, was it legal? It was legal, yeah. I think it became a felony in 66 or 67. So they were up on all these charges. So Alan Rose ended up, all three women were pled out. They pled to lesser charges.
Starting point is 01:05:13 And then the probation officer who, you do a probation report where you interview the friends of each of the three who ended up pleading guilty and recommending to the judge either to send them to prison or to give them probation. He recommended for all three of them that they should go to jail, not prison, for like a year because they were very prone to repeating this. He also identified Charles Manson as being the person that they'd said him were his wives
Starting point is 01:05:43 and he being their criminal ringleader even though he was down in LA, but they take all their orders from him. They sent it to the probation investigator, David Mandel, who I was able to interview. He also interviewed Roger Smith and his wife. So Roger Smith and Mrs. Smith wrote in the reports for Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner, two women who were later convicted of murder. Susan of multiple murders, Mary Brunner of the murder of Gary Hinman in Topanga.
Starting point is 01:06:12 A year before, Roger and his wife wrote these reports saying these are good women, they're just hippies, they're peaceful, prison isn't going to help them, they need to be released. David Mandel still recommended to the judge that they not be released, but the judge was lenient and gave them probation. Roger never disclosed in the report or to David Mandel that he was actually Manson's parole officer for the year that he gathered these women and turned them into a criminal crime family. That's how I got in the door with Mrs. Smith.
Starting point is 01:06:48 Mrs. Smith never told me that Roger was sleeping with the girls, but other people at the clinic believed that he might have been. Terry Melcher also was definitely sleeping with at least one of the girls who was underage, Ruth Ann Morehouse, and that's what Manson would do to get a man obligated to him was he would give them his youngest, prettiest girls.
Starting point is 01:07:11 And then they had this, they became compromised and he would be able to do, he was a smart guy man. Yeah, I was telling you that I recently learned that David Smith in an interview on audio tape with someone I know, I should preface it by saying when my book came out, I learned that David Smith in an interview on audio tape with someone I know, I should preface it by saying when my book came out, I learned that David Smith and Roger Smith were considering filing a lawsuit
Starting point is 01:07:33 against myself and the publisher. I knew they wouldn't, because there's something called discovery, and everything I have is backed up and vetted by, they did an incredible fact check at Little Brown, so they decided not to do it. But David gave an interview after Roger died about a year and a half ago to someone, and he said he would now, Roger Gawain say that he's now wondering whether Roger was involved
Starting point is 01:07:59 in some type of governmental program to manipulate Manson. Because after reading my book and remembering what he had experienced himself, he was looking at it differently. Now is he saying that because he wants to throw any focus off of him, or does he truly believe it? I'd love to talk to him one more time. Have you reached out?
Starting point is 01:08:19 I haven't since the book came out, but there's a few people I want to reach out to now, and you have to do it before they pass away, and he's still in the hate. He actually lost his position on the board of the clinic he founded before my book came out, about five years before, because he was embezzling from it. And he never got criminally charged, but the board sued him in court,
Starting point is 01:08:43 they got some of the money back and he was banned, he wasn't even allowed on the property, and that was his whole identity. So, you know, who knows? That's the hardest thing about a book like this, you meet people, and I spent a lot of time with him, probably three or four sit-down interviews at his house and the clinic with him in the early 2000s,
Starting point is 01:09:04 lots of phone calls, and you end up liking these people and you're like, could they have been this full of malice? Could they have been that evil? And can they lie to me? And then I would find out that they were lying to me. Welcome to the house of macadamias. Macadamias are a delicious superfood, sustainably sourced directly from farmers.
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Starting point is 01:10:18 Snack bars come in chocolate. Coconut white chocolate and blueberry white chocolate. Visit houseofmacadamias.com slash tetra. Is it possible though if they were working for the government that they thought they were doing something good? Well, yeah, that's one of the biggest defenses of that was, if you look at it in the context of the times, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis happened in 62. Americans really were living with a shadow of nuclear annihilation over their head, and these agencies were trying to prevent that.
Starting point is 01:11:06 But, you know, Jolly West was a medical doctor. He was a psychiatrist, medical doctor, and his Hippocratic oath is to protect. And he was giving drugs to people and fucking with their minds. And imagine doing that with someone who's already bipolar or schizophrenic. One of his colleagues who took over the chairman
Starting point is 01:11:26 of psychiatry at Oklahoma when he left is very esteemed. Professor said something to me, it's in the book, that shocked me, because we talked about, I don't know if you want to get into it, the Jack Ruby thing. Yeah, tell me.
Starting point is 01:11:38 Before I tell you about that, what he said to me, Gordon Decker, was, I said, would West, if asked by the government, would he scramble Jack Ruby's mind? Which I'll tell you about in a second. If the government asked him to. And Deckard said, if the government asked him to do it, and he thought he was doing it, for good reasons,
Starting point is 01:11:59 he'd do anything they said to him. So yeah, the Jack Ruby JFK assassination, who would want to get into that when you're just writing about reporting about Manson? And once I found out that, you know, Jolly West had this very circumstantially direct relationship with Manson during the time period he became a guru and, you know,
Starting point is 01:12:22 this leader with incredible magical powers. I looked at West's history, he received kind of national fame right after the Korean War. So 52, 53, there were about 30 or 40 prisoners of war, airmen who were captured fighting for our side in Korea, who were returned to us. But while they were in prison in Korea, they had made public statements that we were using germ warfare over there, which was against the Geneva code,
Starting point is 01:12:54 and that we were evil in an awful country. So when they were returned, West and four other psychiatrists were assigned to deprogram them. Do we know what they were saying was not true? No, no. And there's been incredible reporting in just the last five or 10 years
Starting point is 01:13:11 that we were using German warfare over there, and they were telling the truth. They were probably coerced, you know, maybe tortured. They weren't sleeping and stuff like that, but they ended up telling the truth. What they needed, the United States government, when they came back, they needed them to renounce that. So the psychiatrist who, the team that was assigned to them
Starting point is 01:13:30 was West, Margaret Singer, Robert Lifton, Edgar Shine, and one other guy, all of them, Robert Lifton's still alive, I believe, work for the CIA. West is the only one I can prove right now. I tried to get Lifton to admit it to me, but he threw me out of his house. What was he like, Lifton? He's considered the leading world's expert on brainwashing.
Starting point is 01:13:51 He wrote one of the first books about it. Once we discovered that the Chinese and Russians were brainwashing their own citizens and using drugs and hypnotism and sensory deprivation, he was a professor at Harvard, and then he retired out in Cape Cod. I got him on the phone a few times and I wanted him to look at these letters that I have between Gottlieb that had an MK Ultra and Jolly West because I thought they were very close colleagues,
Starting point is 01:14:21 not just during the Korean Power episode, but they both testified at the Patricia Hearst trial when she had been the defense set of victim of brainwashing by the SLA. And I really badgered my way into him agreeing to let me come to his house and talk to him. And beautiful house in Cape Cod, and I had my briefcase. I said, do you believe that Jolly was working for MK Ulster during those years? Because I read all that garbage. You would never do that, I'd never do that.
Starting point is 01:14:49 We were scientists, we would never take funding, we would never give drugs to people. I said, then you need to look at this. He goes, what is it? And I said, they're letters between Sidney Gottlieb and Jolly, in fact, John Marks, the one who wrote the search for the Manchurian candidate, he hadn't done interviews for years
Starting point is 01:15:06 until he agreed to meet with me. He told me, he said, this is gonna happen to you. At this time, it was a magazine article. If you publish this article and it's about MKUltra, what happened to me is gonna happen to you. You're gonna have people camping outside your house saying that they're victims of MKUltra and you have to help them.
Starting point is 01:15:24 He goes, I had to stop lecturing. I was gonna do a, I just walked away from the subject. Because first he said he wouldn't talk to me about it. He said, I haven't given an interview on the subject for 25 years. Everything I know is in the book. But when I told him I had unredacted letters, he said, I'll see you.
Starting point is 01:15:40 And it was the night before Thanksgiving, I went to Georgetown, D.C. He said, come at 11 o'clock. I don't know what. 11 p.m. P.m. I go to the house, and you know, at that point he's in his late 60s,
Starting point is 01:15:51 it was probably 2002 or three. Lets me in the door, doesn't even say hello, he goes, let me see what you have. I walk in, his wife leaves the room. Are you looking at photocopies or original photos? Photocopies, yeah, that I had made from the originals at UCLA. And he's like, if I had these documents,
Starting point is 01:16:09 my book would have been entirely different. The investigations would have been different. He goes, this is the only unredacted record of this program I've ever seen. He goes, this is amazing. I mean, I didn't need him to verify that it was West at that point. He goes, this is all what we knew he was doing,
Starting point is 01:16:25 which he denied. He goes, and you found it. He goes, good luck. And he goes, remember what I said is gonna happen to you. Nobody's camped out at my yard yet, but those are among the letters I get from people who want me to help them
Starting point is 01:16:36 because they think they're, maybe some of them are, but most of them probably aren't. I was so lifted and wouldn't look at the letters. And I said, you're a scientist and a historian. Your field is brainwashing. You're considering... You wouldn't look at the letters. I go, you need... He didn't want to have to admit
Starting point is 01:16:55 what he had been denying to me. Another colleague, Margaret Singer, taught at Berkeley for years and was one of the other five assigned scientists. I interviewed her in Berkeley when I was going up to do the hate reporting. She met with me a few times, very close to Jolly. She said, there's no way Jolly worked for the CIA. None of us would say the same thing Lifton said. She looked at the letters.
Starting point is 01:17:18 She made me turn off my recorder. She said, if you publish this, you will destroy everything Lifton, Shine, West and I did. Our entire careers will be thrown out if you publish these letters. I said the same thing to her. I said, you're a professor. History is part of what you teach. You want me?
Starting point is 01:17:36 She goes, yes, it'll just do too much damage. Unfortunately, she wasn't alive when my book came out. Lifton is still alive to this day, it's about 93. So it's true, but it's inconvenient. An inconvenient truth. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So those guys went to Valley Forge.
Starting point is 01:17:51 The POWs were brought to Valley Forge Military Academy, where I grew up, like the next town over, and they were isolated there, while Lifton, Shine, West, Singer, and one more person deprogrammed them, and they all came out and publicly said they'd been brainwashed in Korea by their Chinese captors and forced to lie.
Starting point is 01:18:13 They didn't remember being, all that kind of stuff. There was no germ warfare, and they were all pilots. That's how they were captured, you know, their planes were shot down. So that was Jolly's first kind of national fame when he was one of those elites. And then in 19th... You know, the planes are shot down. So that was Jolly's first kind of national fame when he was one of those elites. And then in 19th...
Starting point is 01:18:28 In all these stories, the people, other than the programmers, are pawns in the story. Yeah. What did they get for it? I mean, money, they wanted to be on the cutting edge of science, or they were diabolical and wanted to do this for some kind of pleasure, or were they patriots?
Starting point is 01:18:50 Yeah, I find it hard to believe that they had bad intentions. I don't want to say that about the other four, but I think Jolly was pretty evil. You think? Just some stuff I know about him personally. I mean, you know, there's a lot of philanderers, everybody does it, but I heard stories about what he would do to colleagues, wives.
Starting point is 01:19:12 You know, he was fucking everyone. And again, it's not wrong, but you don't do it to your best friend's wife. And this one guy who I won't say, whose wife became a very prominent cancer researcher herself, said if he saw Jolly, he would spit in his face if not beat him up. whose wife became a very prominent cancer researcher herself, said if he saw Jolly, he would spit in his face if not beat him up, and this is 30, 40 years later.
Starting point is 01:19:30 And the son talks about it in the book a little bit about his father was unfaithful to his wife, but he was cruel from what I heard about what he did with students and women and stuff, and the stuff that I believe he did with patients is pretty diabolical. And it's in hindsight, but that meeting with him, again, I would transcribe every interview I ever did.
Starting point is 01:19:52 I never even transcribed that tape because I just thought, not that he was evil, but just like, this guy's just this pedantic, poor, thinks so much of himself. His ego was very big. So JFK. Jack Ruby. And again was very big, so JFK. Jack Ruby. And again, you're not looking for this. No. And when it first started surfacing, I'm like, oh, no, no, no, no.
Starting point is 01:20:13 I don't want to go anywhere near the JFK assassination. And when I moved to LA, 97, two years before I got this assignment, I had friends who had already lived here, and some of them is a stereotype, but they'd come out to LA and they became such kind of conspiracy-minded, where they hadn't been that way on the East Coast. And it was like they were much more open to like people living under the center of the Earth
Starting point is 01:20:41 and reptiles and shit, and it scared me. And they also would talk about JFK and I dismissed all that. And then literally I'm studying Jolly and I'm like, well wait, he was assigned to Jack Ruby and Ruby's claim after shooting Oswald, so Oswald is arrested for shooting Kennedy at Dealey Plaza, which I went to
Starting point is 01:21:00 for the first time ever last week. I was in Texas for something. How was it? It was incredible. I mean, I walked around this place that I had visualized and seen films of, the supporter film, and it feels like nothing has changed in the plaza. Then I went in their museum, the sixth-floor museum,
Starting point is 01:21:17 and I was really pleased to see, and I heard this was all, like, the last five or six years, a lot of stuff about the possibility that Oswald didn't act alone, that there was a conspiracy, I mean, in the displays and things. I think there's a book that really lays out, has evidence in the title. Oh, best evidence is David Lifton, I think.
Starting point is 01:21:36 I think maybe it's that one, no? It's a good one, but this guy, Jim Douglas, he's the one that the most serious people I know, and he's doing a follow-up, and he wanted me I think it's coming out in the fall. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book.
Starting point is 01:21:53 And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think it's gonna be a really good book. And I think everything with him, and I think he said the book is coming. He's on deadline. He's late like I've always been. I think it's coming out in the fall.
Starting point is 01:22:09 And the subject of his book. It's new findings that he's had since his book was published in the 90s about this assassination. I think it's kind of like his swan song before he goes over the Rainbow Bridge. A sweet guy, lives in Alabama, so he and I have been communicating, sharing information.
Starting point is 01:22:29 I think it really changed after Oliver Stone's movie JFK. They set up something called the Assassination Records Review Board, which forced the CIA to at least begin the release process of all its files on Oswald, which finally were supposed to become available during the Trump administration, and twice Trump turned it down and extended the deadline,
Starting point is 01:22:53 and now Biden has done it once, and there's another deadline, so there's still- And whatever they put out was all redacted, I remember. What they put out was redacted, and they're admitting they still have hundreds and hundreds of pages. Yeah, and how many years ago was this? 63. So 63 years ago, and they're admitting they still have hundreds and hundreds of pages. And how many years ago was this? 63.
Starting point is 01:23:07 So 63 years ago and they're still redacting the information from the public. Why? Why? Yeah. Yeah. To protect sources and all the sources have to be dead. Jack Ruby shot Oswald three days after the assassination, when Oswald was being let out of the police station to be transferred to the jail in the basement on live TV in front of cameras, 100
Starting point is 01:23:33 witnesses. Just so happened. Yeah. And what he said after they tackled him, he said, I'm Jack Ruby. Why are you doing this to me? Why am I here? And then the first day or two of his custody, he said he had no memory of the shooting. He said he didn't know why he was there, how he got there.
Starting point is 01:23:53 So he never testified at his murder trial of Oswald. He was convicted a year later, like 64, and then he fired his lawyer, Melvin Bella. He got a new lawyer, Hubert Whiston Smith, who was a lawyer and a psychiatrist who was a colleague of West's and an old friend of West's. Smith brought Whiston to examine Ruby for an insanity plea. Now they had already tried the insanity plea in the first trial. He was examined by six psychiatrists. All of them thought he was sane. They said he's prone to excitability, he's manic, but there's no sense that he doesn't know the difference
Starting point is 01:24:30 between right and wrong, nothing wrong with this or that. West goes to see him, and I think it was April of 64, 65, is alone with him in his cell for about an hour and a half, comes out, gives a press conference, announces that in the preceding 48 hours, Jack Ruby had had a psychotic break from which he will likely never recover. He has auditory hallucinations, he sees people in the room who aren't there, he hides under the table because he thinks someone's in the room who aren't there, he hides under the table
Starting point is 01:25:05 because he thinks someone's in the room with us, he hears noises outside, he told me he hears Jewish, he was Jewish and he thought it was a Jewish pogrom that was framing him for this, he hears Jewish children being boiled alive outside his jail cell at night, so Wes continued to treat him for about a year, He would see him once every other month. And from that point forward, Ruby could never have a coherent conversation. He testified- His personality changed after a year in prison,
Starting point is 01:25:35 after one meeting- With Jolly West. And in Jolly West's very first letter to Gottlieb, he says he wants to learn how to induce insanity in a subject without their knowledge. Now, Ruby finally testified to the Warren Commission. So the Warren Commission sent Earl Warren, who was the head of the commission,
Starting point is 01:25:55 the Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Ford and Arlen Specter. Gerald Ford was on the commission, Arlen Specter was an attorney, investigator for the commission, to interview Ruby in Texas. And they had to stop the interview because he was rambling, he was incoherent. He took Arlen Specter aside, who was Jewish,
Starting point is 01:26:14 and said, don't you know they're killing Jews? They're going by on trains to camps. So he never used anything, and then he died a year later of a sudden onset of cancer. Didn't he say he thought that they gave him? Poison, yeah. He thought they poisoned him. There's a whole world of people out there
Starting point is 01:26:29 that they think that Jolly injected him with something to kill him or give him cancer. I can't go that far, but at the very, very least, West was compromised. He couldn't have been... Jack Ruby was called the most important witness in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Oswald would have been, Jack Ruby was called the most important witness in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Starting point is 01:26:47 Oswald would have been, but he's dead. So the person who killed Oswald is the most important. Well, that person was being treated by someone who was contracted by the CIA to remove true memories, replace them with false. In 1955, he reported he'd been successful at that, and also to induce insanity in people. Alan Dulles, who was on the commission, he'd been fired by Kennedy,
Starting point is 01:27:15 when Kennedy, after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, he fired Dulles and Kennedy famously said, I'm gonna splinter the CIA to a million pieces. Dulles was on the commission. Dulles knew who Jolly West was. Richard Helms, who was the direct supervisor of Gottlieb and then Gottlieb over West, was a liaison between the commission and the CIA,
Starting point is 01:27:36 because Helms was still at the CIA. They knew who, the minute Ruby became mentally unhinged during the day that West first met him, they had to know, did they disclose that to the rest of the commission? I doubt it, I couldn't interview any of them. Gerald Ford wouldn't talk to me, he was still alive. I think he was the only one on it.
Starting point is 01:27:56 So I believe the whole Warren Commission was compromised. I don't know anything about second and third shooters, any of the other stuff. I just kept my narrow focus on the relationship between West and Ruby. What may fall within the sphere of Tetragrammaton? Counterculture? Tetragrammaton. Sacred geometry? Tetragrammaton. Counterculture? Tetragrammaton.
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Starting point is 01:29:00 The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. The art of the day. forecast Tetragrammaton, ancient wisdom for a new age. Upon entering, experience the artwork of the day. Take a breath, and see where you are drawn. and I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you.
Starting point is 01:29:30 I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I'm going to be a good friend to you. I got to interview him. Tell me about him.
Starting point is 01:29:45 Well, you know, I was reporting on Robert Kennedy's assassination, and I really... That happened a year before the Tate Law, the Oncomarters. Same cops in the LAPD were the cops on the scene at, you know, the Ambassador Hotel where Kennedy was shot in the pantry by a lone assassin, Sir Han, who also claimed he had no memory of the shooting, no memory of the preceding 24 hours. To this day, he's alive. And who's writing like would just write the same- Yeah, yeah, automatic writing.
Starting point is 01:30:17 Our famous style. The same phrases over and over. Hundreds and hundreds of times. Yeah. He's still alive, no? He's still alive. The parole board approved his release for the first time in 50-something, 60 years. I think it was a year and a half ago.
Starting point is 01:30:29 But the governor has the authority in California, not all states, I think like two-thirds of the states, to overturn a parole board's ruling. So Gavin Newsom wouldn't allow him to be released, which is what he's done in the Manson family members who have been approved. Leslie Van Houten, one of the women, did get released last year. Newsom overrode the parole board decision, but Leslie's attorney took Newsom in the state to court, and the appeals court ruled that Newsom wasn't fair. They released her about a year ago.
Starting point is 01:31:05 But the Sirhan thing, I couldn't find any evidence that West had anything to do with that. I do believe, I can't prove, and I'm hardly the first person to say it, Sirhan was hypnotized that he fired at Kennedy. At least one of his bullets killed Kennedy, but there were other bullets. Noguchi, famously, who did the autopsy, said that Sirhan couldn't have shot Kennedy, because Sirhan was in front of Kennedy, and the bullet that they said was a killer bullet
Starting point is 01:31:36 came from behind his ear. So Noguchi actually lost his job because of that, because he wouldn't stand down. He wouldn't say, and he was able to sue back and get back into the job, and he finished and retired, I think, five or ten years before I started the book. And now he's alive still. I haven't talked to him in ten years, but I got him on the phone a couple times. But yeah, Noguchi is a character.
Starting point is 01:32:04 He was, you know, corner of Los Angeles. All kinds of things, you know. Sal Minio, you know, who was in a couple of James Dean's movies, was killed in West Hollywood. But yeah, so West, Patty Hearst gets kidnapped. And then, you know, months after she's a kidnapped abductee, she's holding up a bank in Hibernia, I think, with the SLA, an automatic weapon in her beret, Tanya. So West was the first doctor to see her, to deprogram her, and basically build a defense
Starting point is 01:32:41 that she was brainwashed by being you know, being isolated in a closet, being raped, which probably was all true, but... Do we think the SLA might have been... Oh, yeah. Yeah. And again, I spent a lot of time... I mean, the parallels between Donald DeFries, who founded the SLA and was killed in the fire, there was a big shootout in South Central, I think it was, when they thought they had the entire SLA and Patty Hearst surrounded and the SLA started shooting back and they ended up bombing the house and Five or six SLA members were killed including to freeze who was a commander
Starting point is 01:33:17 Patty Hearst wasn't there so she ended up escaping that but he had a history so similar to Manson's He was getting released when he shouldn't have been released escaping that, but he had a history so similar to Manson's. He was getting released when he shouldn't have been released. He had this guy named Colston Westbrook who was ex-CIA who was his mentor in prison when he was at Bacaville. He was going in and teaching him and had this contact with him. Again, this isn't my reporting. I don't think I even mentioned it in my book,
Starting point is 01:33:46 because I couldn't find out anything new about it, and I couldn't connect it to Wes, but, you know, and Jones told him that there was some involvement, and I always say I don't know that they wanted to create the monsters or the monstrous acts those people did, but I think those people were being manipulated as part of experiments. But then after, all these people are vilified as bad guys, so it's like, don't do these
Starting point is 01:34:11 things. Yeah. It's got a chilling effect. Oh, yeah. Yeah, well, that's what I call climate of tension or whatever, which is we know it first began with the Gulf of Tonkin when we're trying to declare war against To join the South Vietnamese in the war against North Vietnamese And we had to have grounds to do it just like Saddam's chemical weapons, which weren't true So two of our ships got bombed in the Gulf of Tonkin
Starting point is 01:34:37 And I'm pretty sure the United States government has admitted that they weren't bombed by the North Vietnamese Yeah, but that gave us a reason to actually get into the war officially and begin that horrible war. Strategy of tension, it's called, to make people terrified so that the government can. Now, you know, every time there's a school shooting or a mass shooting, I get tons of emails from people who are convinced that that shooter,
Starting point is 01:35:04 from some information that they've read about, even in the early coverage within days, was somehow brainwashed to do that. And I always say the same thing. My reporting stops at 74, 75. Yeah. You know, I can't go there without losing my mind more. Yeah. What was reclaiming history?
Starting point is 01:35:24 Reclaiming history. So Vince Buleosi's opus was he was gonna prove once and for all that Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. So he spent, as long as I did, 20 years writing what became this, like, 1,200-page doorstop of a book called Reclaiming History where he attacks chapter by chapter every critic of the Warren Commission finding, every author, every public figure, and in his saying takes apart and dissembles all of their arguments
Starting point is 01:36:01 for there being a second shooter, all that kind of stuff. Again, I'm not an expert on the Kennedy assassination, but I have the book. I couldn't get through it, but I would go through certain parts of it, and I've seen the critiques of it by the people who attacked him, and they demolish his critiques. And you know, he did what he did with the Manson case. He did it, he wrote it as a prosecutor, so he omitted information that wasn't favorable to his thesis. And the stuff that, and I did look at, I can't remember which specific chapters where he attacked books that I really respected.
Starting point is 01:36:37 And I'm like, wait, you're not reporting that they found this document, that evidence. And he did this, and I think he really thought it was gonna be the last book he did before he died. But he actually lived longer, he's dead now, but he wrote a couple more smaller books. What were the later books about? The later book was a book about his atheism,
Starting point is 01:36:56 and about how he had become an atheist after being raised a Catholic. Very controversial. So I mean, Bouliosi should never have been assigned the Manson case. And I know that, and I have it in the book, because he had a criminal record of his own prior to getting this assignment. This is a plum assignment, right? It's the highest profile murder case in Los Angeles history until O.J., 1969.
Starting point is 01:37:26 He was a really smart, really charismatic deputy DA. I think he was the same age as Manson when he got assigned. They were both 32. So he'd been in the DA's office about three or four years. He had a couple of high profile murder cases, but nothing that made him a household name. This did. But what wasn't reported, until about five years after the case, and I wasn't the first one to report it,
Starting point is 01:37:51 people forgot it, it was reported, he ran for Attorney General of California. And when he ran for that, there was a man named Herb Weisel and his wife Rose, who came out and had a press conference to announce that starting in 1966, he'd been stalking them for more than a year. Herb Weisel was his milkman. Vince believed that Herb Weisel was the father of his firstborn child, Vince Buleosi Jr.,
Starting point is 01:38:22 who was born in 66. So that lost him the election. It was reported in all the papers. He denied it. He lied. What he said was, here's the truth. Herb Wiesel was my milkman. We believe, my wife and I, that he stole $200 from our kitchen because we would let him
Starting point is 01:38:41 have access to put the milk in the fridge. So I was investigating him about that. What his opponents pointed out was, even if that were true, when he was investigating him, starting 67, 68, the statute of limitations was over. He couldn't have done anything if he found it out. He never reported it to the police. He was using DA's investigators saying the milkman was a witness to a murder case who
Starting point is 01:39:11 didn't want to testify and he needed him followed. He went to the house and was parked in front of the milkman's house. He went to the door, begged the wife to get her husband saying we're both due to get him to do a blood test. She said, you're crazy, get off the property. He sent his wife to the wife's house to do the same thing. The wife said please, just have your husband do this. My husband's insane. And she goes, just stay away from us,
Starting point is 01:39:37 we're terrified of you. At that point they didn't know he was a deputy of DA. They knew he had some official capacity downtown. Then they had someone follow him after he had followed them, traced his license plate, reported him to the DA's office, they had a meeting. Vince promised not to bother this couple anymore, to walk away from it.
Starting point is 01:39:59 He offered to pay them like $600 in damages. They said, we don't want a dime, just stay away from us. So when he's running for attorney general, they thought the world needs to know how crazy he is. So he lied to the press. They ended up suing him then for libel for making up this story. He settled with them, gave them money. Then he ran for district attorney of Los Angeles two years later.
Starting point is 01:40:24 Same thing happened. A woman comes out, has a press conference, Virginia Carvel said, I was Vince's mistress, 73 and 74. I got pregnant. I'm Catholic. He wanted me to have an abortion. I wouldn't do it. He said I had to.
Starting point is 01:40:40 He set it up, paid the doctor. I lied to him. He called the doctor and the doctor violated his Hippocratic oath and said she never came in for the abortion. He went to her apartment in Santa Monica, beat the hell out of her. She miscarried.
Starting point is 01:40:55 She went to the Santa Monica Police Department. I have the photographs of her bruised face, bruised arms, filed a report. The next morning or that night, the beat reporters, they get a teletype from the courthouses, saw that the charges had been filed. It was all over the papers that Vince had beaten up his mistress.
Starting point is 01:41:16 And he goes back to her apartment with his secretary. She has a son who's four, I think. The secretary goes in the a son who's four, I think. Secretary goes in the bedroom to occupy the son, then spends three or four hours begging her, threatening her to go to the police and say she filed a false report. He said, they will arrest you, but here's a story we're going to tell them. She had originally contacted him about getting support payments from her ex-husband. He wasn't paying child support, and that's when their affair began.
Starting point is 01:41:49 He said, you're going to say we never met face to face. I consulted with you once on the phone, and I've never been in this apartment. She got so beaten down that she called up the police department, and she said, I want to come in and withdraw my report. I filed a false report. They sensed that something was wrong. This is my report. This was reported but not this part.
Starting point is 01:42:12 I found this out because I found the cop who went. The cops, they said, we'll come pick you up. And Vince was like, no, no, you go in. So she said, no, no, I'm coming in. Well, they knew to send a patrol, two cops there. They got to the apartment, and this is how powerful Vince was, none of this part was reported. Wow.
Starting point is 01:42:30 He wouldn't let them in the house. Wow. He was in private practice, and he got his partner, Robert Steinberg, the two of them wouldn't let them in the house to get her. They called the DA, Santa Monica had his own DA, then I tried to interview him in Malibu, he wouldn't talk to me.
Starting point is 01:42:44 They took her. She filed, said it was a false report. She was arrested. Vince said, I'll take care of it. The DA dropped the charges quietly two or three weeks later. The papers reported that she had withdrawn it, that she was angry. The story was that he wouldn't give her back her $200, something ridiculous. So he lied about that to police.
Starting point is 01:43:06 The police interviewed him. When he ran for office a second time, she came out and he lost again. So this was a pattern of conduct. When I confronted him, not the first year, but six years later, I said, Vince, I need to bring everything and show you what I'm gonna report.
Starting point is 01:43:21 At that point, it's a book. First he pretended not to know who I was. After knowing he's tracking me, he's calling people before and after I interview them, finally agreed, because I knew that he had to keep control, to talk to me at his house. I went to his house, and just like I had in 99, we spent about four or five hours at his kitchen table. We didn't leave the house that day.
Starting point is 01:43:43 Screaming, him screaming and shouting and threatening me. He said, I will hurt you like you've never been hurt before. Do you have any idea what I can do to you? I will own Penguin Press, which I think was your publisher. He started writing them letters. They got their first letter. I don't know, was Scott Moyers your editor there? Yeah, Scott was my editor for five or six years.
Starting point is 01:44:04 He got that letter and he called me up and he said, you know, I know from all you've told me how crazy he is, but this letter is insane. It was, I think, 18 pages, single space, with 20 pages of exhibits and footnotes. So he said, we have to show it to our in-house attorney. That attorney looked at it, he called me So he said, we have to show it to our in-house attorney. That attorney looked at it. He called me and he said, Tom, you have to tell me, is he senile or is he mentally
Starting point is 01:44:31 ill? He goes, I was in law school when the tape lobby on control. He said, he was a hero to us law students. This letter was not written by that person. I said, he's not senile. He hadn't even finished his Kennedy book yet. He's lecturing, he's got this Kennedy book coming out. He's insane. Wow. So, reclaiming history is how we got to that. I believe, can't prove, but that Vince was in the pocket of the agency.
Starting point is 01:45:00 And I think that he got this assignment to Tate LaBianca because he was compromised. Evel Younger, who was an ex-FBI man, the head DA, who had covered up the Kennedy assassination a year earlier, he's the one who picked Vince to do this. He needed someone who had to do what they told him to do, and they should have fired him in 68 when they found out what he had done to the milkman.
Starting point is 01:45:24 Do we think that's a pattern that they have compromised people who do what they say because they don't want to be outed for whatever it is? Yeah, that's how they work, I believe. Wow. And again, I'm not the first one, and other people have much better evidence of it than I do. What do you think it is about that window of time, 68, 69, that continues to fascinate us so much? Probably because of the, like, even the Joan Didion thing.
Starting point is 01:45:51 All of a sudden, it seemed like overnight, the image of the hippie, and I was 10 years old when these murders happened. I don't remember at all anything about Charles Manson. My brother, who's eight years older than me, swears that I was obsessed with it and reading about it. I remember wanting to be a hippie, romanticizing what I was reading.
Starting point is 01:46:13 I just, you know, you would listen to the mamas and the papas, not the Beatles, but you know, the 67, 68 bands. And I just thought it was so beautiful and cool. And then when the tape murders happened, well, I wasn't a part of the community, but the people here then realized, again, if you believe one of the thesis of my book,
Starting point is 01:46:35 that this was an operation to neutralize the left-wing movement, to make hippies all of a sudden seem like the big bad boogeyman. So I talk about not just MK Alter, but the CIA had a program called Chaos. FBI had something called Cointel Pro. Both of those operations were begun in San Francisco in 1967. Cointel Pro and Chaos specifically to figure out a way to stop what was becoming this mighty black power movement by the Black Panthers and also the anti-war movement.
Starting point is 01:47:11 So that was begun under the auspices of Ronald Reagan who was governor, Richard Helms then was the director of the CIA, and in Los Angeles Sam Yordy was the mayor. They all were, you know, approved that they knew it was happening. And the goal of those agencies was to use undercover guys, maybe some women, to infiltrate the Panthers, the anti-war demonstrators, and then set them up for crimes, in the case of the Panthers, which they could be killed for by cops who, you know, get them to have a meeting with guns or something and then have the cops storm the meeting
Starting point is 01:47:48 and have a shootout, or get a rival gang to believe that the Panthers were about to attack them, or in this case, the US slaves, who were their rival in Los Angeles, thought they were because they were being fed information from the FBI. That happened at UCLA. Two people were killed at a meeting at UCLA.
Starting point is 01:48:07 I think it was January of 69, eight months before the tape murders, because slaves had believed that, I can't remember which was which, was about to attack. So they both went to do it before and they killed two people. All this came out in the 70s when a bunch of investigators raided a warehouse in Pennsylvania and stole the FBI files that they knew were there,
Starting point is 01:48:32 which exposed the whole COINTELPRO program. Later, the FBI admitted to being responsible for actual killings. Had those files not been found, we would never know about it. Yeah, there's a great documentary that came out a few years ago, and I think it was the night of the Frasier Ali fight or some big sporting event where they knew the security guard would be glued to his TV, that they
Starting point is 01:48:57 were able to sneak into the window and that get all these files out. Again, you know, when you get the paperwork and the original documents, there's no refuting it unless you can say they're forgeries. But Geronimo Pratt, the famous panther who spent something like 30 years in prison for killing two people playing tennis in Santa Monica, was framed for that murder. The FBI was surveilling him.
Starting point is 01:49:20 They knew he was in San Francisco when that couple was killed, but they needed him behind bars. So they had that murder done and then had him. And they admitted it when he was released, I think late 90s or early 2000s. He was finally exonerated and released. And the FBI admitted that they knew he couldn't have done it because he was in San Francisco.
Starting point is 01:49:41 So that kind of stuff was going on all the time. In my book, I have the document, but Hoover wrote to the field agent in LA, the head of the FBI field office, I think it was the winter of 68 to 69, definitely before the tape murders. They were worried about the White Panther Party. The White Panthers were basically celebrities who supported and had fundraisers for the Black Panthers, famously Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and his wife. And Hoover wrote a memo saying we need to make these whites believe that when the revolution finally happens, they're going to be lined up against the wall and executed with everyone
Starting point is 01:50:24 else. So it was a propaganda campaign. And when Manson was on the front pages of all the papers December 1st, after he was charged, and they announced that they had this group of hippies in custody who lived on a commune previously at Spahn Ranch here in Chatsworth and then out in Death Valley.
Starting point is 01:50:45 You know, the girls were giving interviews, the ones who weren't arrested, with babies nursing, long hair, beads, barefoot. But they looked terrifying. And then Manson's photographs and mugshots. All of a sudden, the hippies, that's the other thing, how it changed Hollywood, well, how it changed the nation.
Starting point is 01:51:02 People wouldn't pick up hippies hitchhiking anymore. They were terrified of them. They were, you know, they could kill you. LSD could turn your kids into killers. You know, the lack of structure, family, you know, the free love, everything was the most dangerous thing. And Johnson said when he was president, and Hoover and Helms, they all said, the greatest threat to national security is this revolution that's coming.
Starting point is 01:51:27 You know, this youth movement from the Panthers to the anti-war demonstrators, they're a bigger threat than Chinese communists or Russia to our national security. And that has to be stopped. Did you see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? Yeah. How did you react? So I, a dummy about Tarantino, I like his movies,
Starting point is 01:51:45 but I hadn't seen a lot of them. I knew that he had a twist ending. And he was very good at keeping it a secret. I had a friend who had a kid who was like 15, and about a month or two before the movie was released, my book came out the same month. Is that true? The publisher changed the release date
Starting point is 01:52:03 to coincide with Quentin's movie. Oh. Because they knew that it would get a lot of attention. That's a good idea. It is a good idea, you know, business-wise, but to me it felt exploitative, but I didn't argue. No, it doesn't change the book at all. No, it doesn't. It's just promotion.
Starting point is 01:52:17 I'm sure it helped. Yeah. But my friend's kid said to me, I bet he does what he did in Inglorious Basterds. I'd never seen it. I go, his name was Bo. I go, Bo, what did he do in Inglorious Basterds? He goes, oh, all the bad guys get killed. They kill Hitler.
Starting point is 01:52:33 I go, who? He goes, the Americans. They storm this theater and kill all the Nazis. I said, that's interesting. I guess I should see it. But you know, Bo, if he did that in one movie, he's not gonna, it's a trick, you can't do it twice. So I waited, the day it opened,
Starting point is 01:52:48 I wanted to see it before I learned anything, I didn't read anything more. I had no idea what was gonna happen. So when they get to the night of the killings, and they don't go to a house occupied by the victims, but the, I'm like, what? Oh, he's completely fictionalizing it. So I watched that scene where, you know, Brad Pitt kills everybody, and I was bothered by
Starting point is 01:53:12 it because it was so brutal, and I kept thinking, all right, it's a revenge fantasy, the bad guys get killed, but it seems to me demeaning to the people who really died that night because it just didn't feel right and people were cheering and laughing the more brutal it got. And I almost walked out, I didn't, and then I kept watching and then if you remember how it ends, DiCaprio gets invited onto the property
Starting point is 01:53:40 and Jay Sebring invites him and Sharon and Wojciech and then you have the little tinkling music and then the title, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And I'm like, oh, it's a fairy tale, what if? And I almost cried. And I thought, it's so moving, it's genius. I thought it was really brilliant. And then Quentin, you know, he got in touch with me.
Starting point is 01:54:03 So I have a friend who has been his first AD forever, a friend of a friend, and another woman who was one of his last girlfriends before he got married. They both got him copies of my book before it came out. He never read it. He was finishing his movie, publicizing it, but about six months after his movie came out, my friend Billy, who was his first AD,
Starting point is 01:54:25 sends me an email. He goes, Quentin is writing a novelization of his movie, because originally he wanted to write a book and not a movie. He goes, he'd love to talk to you. Would you mind getting on the phone with him? I'm like, yeah, of course. So Quentin starts calling me from Israel. I think his wife is Israeli.
Starting point is 01:54:41 They went over there, and then they got stuck there because of COVID. So he called me two or three nights, and I don't know if you know him, rapid fire questions. And I tried to answer, then he started. But he was really sweet because his book came out, he sent me, I don't know how he got mine, probably from Billy, got my address, sent me an inscribed copy
Starting point is 01:55:05 Beautiful and then when he went out to promote the book he went on Marc Maron first Talked about how important my book was to his great And then he goes on Rogan and the two guys fan brod out about the and I already knew Rogan likes my book, but the two of them talking about it like and likes my book, but the two of them talking about it, like, and Tantino says this to Rogan, he goes, you know, Tom took my call, he agreed to talk to me. I'm like, fuck, I've been living alone with nobody listening to me for 20 years.
Starting point is 01:55:35 I would take your call whether I did have a book or not. Of course I'm gonna take your call. But it felt good, and yeah, the two of them have really helped the book. It's such a good book. Oh, thanks, thanks. It's so good. And it really is thought-provoking and mind-opening.
Starting point is 01:55:53 Yeah, I mean, a couple people, this guy, Jim Douglas, who wrote the Kennedy book, he said to me, and you know, he didn't need to say this, he's very old and he's written The Defender, but he said, you know, your book has changed that whole world. The fact that you were able to get that stuff published by a mainstream publisher, that's opening the door for the rest of us. He goes, you have no idea how important it is and I've heard that from other researchers. I'm like, I was just trying to finish a fucking magazine story and not look like the fool who wasted his life. Do you think there was an occult side to the murders?
Starting point is 01:56:30 We know, again, I try to look at it in the context of the times. Sharon Tate, in interviews before she was killed, said that she was studying witchcraft. She was also doing her last movie, 13 Chairs, which was about the occult. It was what she left Italy to come back to the house for in July, then she was killed in August. She didn't clarify if she was reading and studying that
Starting point is 01:56:55 for the role. Roman is so fucking complicated when you try to look at Rosemary's baby and wonder, did this somehow become chronically a consequence of him making that movie where this baby is taken from the mother's womb and by a Satanist? And, you know, there was a rumor that, to this day, a lot of people believe.
Starting point is 01:57:22 They believe that Sharon's baby was cut out of her by the Manson family. Susan Atkins said that they wanted to, but they didn't. They did stab her in the abdomen, but they didn't cut the baby out. Then of course the Manson family, people believe that they were somehow being manipulated or influenced by the Process Church, which was a satanic church that kind of blossomed in the hate in 67. What do you know about them?
Starting point is 01:57:51 I don't know anything about them. Oh, gosh. Well, they began in England in like 64, 65, and it was about 20 or 30 Satanists who, you know, were patriarchal. The men were the bosses. The women were slaves. about 20 or 30 Satanists who were patriarchal, the men were the bosses, the women were slaves, it was communal free sex.
Starting point is 01:58:10 Were they hippies? No, they were like intellectuals. I spent a lot of time looking into the possibility that they somehow influenced Manson. I could never find anything solid, so I kind of walked away from it, I'm not fresh with the information, but what's interesting is Ed Sanders wrote,
Starting point is 01:58:29 the first book about the case was called, his book, The Family, he was reporting on it for the LA Free Pass, kind of the underground paper. It came out about a year and a half before Helter Skelter. Sanders had a whole chapter basically saying the process, Manson learned a lot of his mind control and powers from the process church and Scientology. So the process sued him successfully in England
Starting point is 01:58:56 and Sanders had to go over there and testify and they ended up taking out the chapter from the subsequent copies of of it was ordered removed. And you can get it. Well actually the publisher thought since they were successful in England, they threatened to do it in the States, which is harder to do. I know that because the only compromise I made
Starting point is 01:59:19 with the reporting of my book, nothing. Little Brown didn't ask me to take anything out. But my British publishers said we have to remove about four or five anecdotes about Roman being physically abusive to Sharon. So I interviewed Sharon's closest friends and they told me some horrific stories that are in the American edition.
Starting point is 01:59:41 One of them is about Roman smashing Sharon's face into a mirror. I think that was on the honeymoon. Another about him torturing her by throwing a brick into the pool. So her dog was trying to get the brick and was drowning, and she had to jump and get it. Another time, she was wearing the same dress at a second party they'd been to,
Starting point is 02:00:01 and he told her to go home and change it, and she wouldn't. And he pushed her in the pool in front of a whole party. So been to, and he told her to go home and change it, and she wouldn't, and he pushed her in the pool in front of a whole party. So it's much easier to sue for defamation in the UK than it is here. I fought a little bit against it, and then I thought, I don't care, you know, it's not important.
Starting point is 02:00:18 I've got the verbal stuff he did to her, not the physical stuff in there, and it paints a pretty accurate picture. So I think that Sanders' publisher here said, we can't take the risk. Once they started doing the second and third editions, it was gone. So they did visit Manson in prison before the trial.
Starting point is 02:00:36 He did publish a letter to their followers in their magazine, but I don't think anybody's ever been able to prove to my satisfaction that they had any significant relationship. What's interesting though is they disbanded in, I think, the 80s, and they still exist, but they're a very well-known animal rights group with a farm in upstate New York, and it's the original founders. They're all now, if they're alive in their 80s, running this sanctuary
Starting point is 02:01:06 for dogs and cats and animals. What was Atua? Oh, that was Manson's air, trees, water, animals. Not until he was convicted did he announce that he wanted to become an ecological, you know, kind of guru. So from prison, he was making pronouncements about, actually he was ahead of his time about climate change.
Starting point is 02:01:33 I think it was also a ruse for him to get money in prison. So he would get funds and his followers who still exist to this day, I mean original, there's Sandra Good, Squeaky From, Nancy Pittman. There's at least four or five women who still support him. And they don't do hardly anything publicly anymore. But usually if they do, they do it under the banner of advancing Atwa.
Starting point is 02:02:02 Was it ever genuine? I don't know. Did you hear the Disgraceland podcast episode about Manson? I don't know who that is. It's a cool podcast, and there's a story about what was happening at the Tate House that's much different than the story that we know. Oh.
Starting point is 02:02:21 And it involved kind of ritual crazy stuff. What's interesting is if they're saying that happened when Roman was leasing it, he and Sharon moved in the very last day of February or first week of March and then by the fourth week of March, he went off to London to begin working on an adaptation of Day of the Dolphin that he wanted to direct and she went to Italy,
Starting point is 02:02:46 they left the same day but on different planes, she went to make 13 chairs. So from March until July, it was Abigail and Wojciech there, and then they were the ones who really brought in the underbelly, and I do write about, I wonder how long ago was the podcast, like in the last couple years? Last couple years. It's really interesting, you'll like it.
Starting point is 02:03:06 Oh no, I'm gonna find it, yeah. I mean, I write a little bit about it. The original suspects. Mama Cass is in that as well. Oh yeah, yeah. So the guys who were originally suspected were named Charles Tacko, Billy Doyle, Tom Harrigan, and Pick Dawson.
Starting point is 02:03:23 Pick Dawson was a Washington, D.C., rich preppy kid whose father was a diplomat. And he had everything at his fingertips. He started dating Cass in like 66, 67. And was he a drug dealer maybe? He was a drug dealer, an international drug dealer, and her friends despised him. She finally broke up with him
Starting point is 02:03:45 and then just moved over to Billy Doyle, his best friend, and those guys were selling drugs to the people at the Tate House and spending a lot of time there. And they probably talk about the rape of Billy Doyle when he supposedly, Billy was anally penetrated by J.C., was given drugs and then raped by J.C. Brigham-Voychuk. I was able to confirm the story because...
Starting point is 02:04:13 That's a true story? Well, Billy Doyle denied it. I talked to, he's still alive, he's in Canada. I talked to him on the phone and just like talking to Madison, he speaks in riddles, he denies, whatever, but he definitely was Cass's lover at the time of this. Charles Taco, who was a drug dealer, an ex-Marine military intelligence guy, he and Billy Doyle were partners. Taco's daughter married Steve Winwood. Taco was part of the music scene.
Starting point is 02:04:44 He told me on tape, because I interviewed him at his nursing home, I took him out to Coco's, some restaurant, and he said to me that he got a call, and this is part of the official story, that Billy was unconscious at the house, that he'd been drugged and raped. So he said, he tells me this on tape,
Starting point is 02:05:02 I actually on my Instagram and Facebook page, very early, everything's chronological, so you'd have to go back to 2019. I posted the audio tape with documents where he tells the story of driving up to Cielo Drive, finding Billy passed out, and he said his pants were sheared and belt were sheared from behind. He'd been raped.
Starting point is 02:05:26 Drove him in his car, brought him to Cass's house, had chains in his car for another operation he was on. He said, but thank God I had them because I chained Billy to Cass's tree because I knew when Billy woke up, he'd try to go back and kill everyone. This was July, about six weeks before the murders. So this was a well-known story in Hollywood that Billy had been raped and brought, Candace
Starting point is 02:05:53 Bergen was the first one to tell the police. And he was chained to the tree for I think 24 hours. And Taco tells me in the interview the cast thought it was hysterical and went out and took Polaroid pictures of him. And Charles said, I got Billy's father on the phone in Canada who was also military intelligence, and he said, Billy, you can't go and kill those people. Charles is gonna take you to Mexico or Jamaica, get you away because if anything happens to them.
Starting point is 02:06:22 I mean, I'd love to hear that podcast and see what they report, but it's in the police records. Vince doesn't... He only mentions that he tells a story about Roman having a housewarming party a week after they moved there, and Doyle, Harrigan, Dawson, and Tackle crashing it,
Starting point is 02:06:40 and Doyle stepped on Bill Tennant, who was Roman's manager, a big agent at that time or manager, stepped on Bill Tennant, who was Roman's manager, a big agent at that time, or manager, stepped on his foot, and Doyle and Tennant got in a fight, and Roman had them thrown out. And the death to pigs that was in blood on the front door, when the police started hearing stories about Pick Dawson
Starting point is 02:06:59 and these other three guys having a beef, they thought it was death to Pick. I'm still not convinced that those guys weren't involved. I mean, there was another actress named Corrine Calvet, who was Charles Tackle's girlfriend. She told me on the record that Tackle brought Manson to her house, and he peed in her pool, and she threw him out of the house.
Starting point is 02:07:18 So that's why the book's so hard to write, because there's all these conflicting stories, and you don't know which one to believe. No, and a lot of people were on drugs and hallucinating, and it's a weird time. I went to see, do you know Dave Mason? Yeah, I mean, I don't know him, but I know him. So, Taco and Billy Doyle were his drug suppliers,
Starting point is 02:07:40 and he let me talk to him after he did a show. This was the early 2000s. He thought we were talking about Cass. I kind of misled him. And when I brought up their names, he basically said, they're still alive. He goes, they are the most dangerous people that you'll ever encounter.
Starting point is 02:07:56 I can't talk to you anymore. And he had me, I had to leave his dressing room at the troubadour somewhere. How do you think the story would have been different if Charlie would have gotten a record contract and made music? I don't believe he really wanted that. I think that that was part of the myth.
Starting point is 02:08:15 He told Melcher he didn't believe in contracts, he didn't believe in studios, he didn't believe in representation. When he was released in 67 from prison, his only contacts outside of jail were in Los Angeles. I don't know if you know who Phil Kaufman is. He wrote a book called Road Mangler Deluxe. He was the road manager for the Rolling Stones a little bit.
Starting point is 02:08:39 Ultimately, for the last 10 or 15 years, he's been Emmylou Harris's road manager. So he's a dinosaur, he's been around forever. He met Manson when he was in prison on drug smuggling charges at Terminal Island in 67. So prior to Manson's release, he gave Manson two or three people in the music industry to see about recording.
Starting point is 02:09:01 And Manson was allowed, when he was paroled, he was supposed to stay in LA. But he immediately left LA and Manson was allowed, when he was paroled, he was supposed to stay in LA, but he immediately left LA and went to The Hate, where he had no connections, he was in violation of his parole, and that's all covered in my book. Immediately he was- And do we know why that is?
Starting point is 02:09:17 I can only speculate. I believe he was sent there to begin what became and that Roger Smith was waiting for him. Yeah. Can you think of an example of a lead that you got, that you followed for a long period of time, but it took you nowhere? So, so many.
Starting point is 02:09:32 Here's the thing, I did it for 20 years. I would say, you know, generously, half of those 20 years were spent on dead ends. And I would spend months digging into something. Give me an example of a dead end. Well, trying to show that Sirhan and West were connected. Or, if not West, one of his colleagues. Least a year, you know,
Starting point is 02:09:57 getting all of the courthouse records, interviewing all of the people who'd written about it. The process, you know, I probably spent months on the process. Those guys, Doyle, Harrigan, Dawson, so much of that didn't end up in my book. The one thing I did, I didn't throw away any of my reporting. To this day, I have everything in binders.
Starting point is 02:10:20 One thing I got very good at that I learned by osmosis was organizing and indexing all of my stuff. And I think there's a photo in my book from six years ago of what my apartment looked like then. And that was when I was in my Venice bungalow where everything spilled out of the living room where my office was, because it was a one bedroom. It took over the whole place.
Starting point is 02:10:43 Now my apartment I've been in since 2014 is two bedroom. I'm able to contain everything in one. But I've got about 400 binders, like black binders. But the stuff that I didn't use, sometimes it all of a sudden did become relevant. So I'd be doing all this reporting, all right, Nazis. The Spons Ranch was next door to a guy named Frank Retz, who was in the Nazi party, who somehow got over here
Starting point is 02:11:12 and was trying to buy the Spahn ranch from George Spahn. He ends up dying mysteriously a couple years later. His whole Nazi past was hidden from the American authorities. Rocketdyne, which is in Chatsworth, is a rocket mission where they brought the original Nazi scientists an operation paperclip. All these guys were over there developing... In Chatsworth?
Starting point is 02:11:36 In Chatsworth. And if you go there now, I mean, I did a lot of research on that. If you do pull up beyond a certain perimeter, black cars come out. I've not tested it, but if you go too far, a helicopter comes out, it's still existing. So I spent so many months trying to prove that Manson, who was a neo-Nazi eventually and thought Hitler was a genius, might have been having contact with these guys somehow. And maybe one out of 10 times, something I researched heavily became important later. That's why I still to this day have saved everything.
Starting point is 02:12:14 Was there any point in the process where you thought the book might never come out? Oh my God, yeah. So we sold it in 2005 to Scott and Ann got off. That was incredible because I have probably one of the best agents in the business and he was a genius. My proposal was 220 pages.
Starting point is 02:12:35 It was book length. My agent made everybody sign an NDA. He went to, I think, three publishers and two of the three made offers right away, and then Ann and Scott offered a preempt, meaning they knew that since other publishers were really interested, it could go to auction. So the way it was explained to me is they made a more generous offer than they normally would, hoping to fend off at getting too expensive.
Starting point is 02:13:05 And when they made that offer, I said to Sloan, and this is credit to you, I mean, to your book, I said, who is the best publisher in the United States that's gonna give me the most, not leverage, but we're publishing a conspiracy book. He said, if you publish with Penguin Press, you know, they publish the books of presidents and cabinet members.
Starting point is 02:13:29 He goes, you're automatically going to have that stamp of approval. It's going to be taken seriously. And I said, so let's go with them. So that was great. I got an enormous offer. Sloan, my agent, lots of big clients. He said he'd never had a first time author
Starting point is 02:13:43 get that kind of money. I'll never forget, lots of big clients. He said he'd never had a first time author get that kind of money. I'll never forget, after we sold it, then we had kind of a celebratory meeting with Scott and Ann, and Ann said to me, and she's like revered in the publishing world as being just so fucking smart. She said, your book is here in this proposal. This is the guts.
Starting point is 02:14:03 All you need is to fill it out a little bit. And I said, I still need about two or three years. She goes, understood. So in 2012, they canceled my deal. Scott promised me, and I put this in the book, I don't care if he gets mad, he and I had a meeting outside Penguin after, because I needed to know from him
Starting point is 02:14:23 that he hadn't thought I'd gone crazy, and that wasn't why they were canceling it. So he said to me, we have to meet away from the office, and you can't ever tell anybody about this meeting. I think I've talked about it before. It might even be in the book. But he said to me, and he really, I thought he got emotional. He's a nice guy.
Starting point is 02:14:41 He said to me, I know that you didn't spend our money, the advance, on hookers and blow. He goes, I've been to your house. I see the car you drive. I know every penny we gave you went back into that. The one thing you can be assured of is we're never going to try to get the money back. So when you get an advance, you get a third or a quarter. That's what they'd given me, which was a lot, and it was all gone. Six months later, they sued me, and my agent said it was the most humiliating day
Starting point is 02:15:09 in the business when he got papers delivered at his desk. So long story short, and he told me, he goes, it was a business decision. What he didn't tell me, what happened later, was Random House was about to acquire Penguin Press. I found out later, Random House said, you've gotta cut loose anything that's draining money that's not gonna be publishable in like the next six months
Starting point is 02:15:32 or we're not gonna do the sale. So it was like a corporate thing. Corporate, and I believe that that was the truth. I don't know why they ended up suing me, but they did. So that put the book on hold. Sohn said to me, he goes, until this lawsuit is resolved, I can't try to resell it. I know you're never gonna stop reporting
Starting point is 02:15:50 and trying to tell your story, but he goes, I can tell you now, with this black mark, Penguin Press, the most respected publishing house suing you, it's gonna be really hard to sell. But I wouldn't stop, but then I think about that, to actually know before then, when I sold the book to Penguin in 2005,
Starting point is 02:16:10 called my parents, then I called one of my best friends, and she said, I promised your mother I'd never, she was very close to my parents, she said, I promised your mother I'd never tell her this, but they called me about three years ago to ask, because she saw me a lot more than they did in LA. They were worried about your mental health and they wanted to know from me if you were okay.
Starting point is 02:16:33 And I said, you were. And when I told my mom, she goes, I told her never to tell you that. So, you know, when Penguin pulled the plug, I lost a lot of confidence. Scott said he never stopped believing and he hoped I was going to resell it. But I couldn't stop because I had to validate myself. And I knew...
Starting point is 02:16:56 How many years was it at that time? 2012. So that was 13 years of reporting. And then the lawsuit was resolved in 2017. And I never stopped reporting. And at that point, when it was resolved, I started pestering my agent, you gotta take it out. And he was kinda giving me the brush off. I think he wasn't ready to deal with it again.
Starting point is 02:17:20 I found somebody who I knew, I knew I needed a collaborator, but I found somebody who was published, I knew I needed a collaborator, but I found somebody who was published, but was too old to do it. And I said, Sloan, if you can't find me a collaborator, I'm going with this guy. And he said, I'll meet them, it was two people. And he said, they're sweet, they're accomplished, but in their 80s they're too old to help you with this.
Starting point is 02:17:41 So I said, you know what, I got an idea. Let me call you back in an hour. He calls me back in an hour. He goes, we've got a really young whippersnapper here. The stupidest name, Dan Pipenbring. He said he's 28 or 29, never written a book, but he just had to leave a project because the subject died and the subject was Prince.
Starting point is 02:18:03 So Prince had hired Dan to be his ghostwriter for his book. He had been traveling with Prince for about three months when Prince was touring, getting Prince's story. Prince dies and then everything has to stop until the estate's settled. It was kind of like my lawsuit. Dan couldn't continue. They guessed that it would take about two years
Starting point is 02:18:26 for the Prince's estate to be settled. I think it was longer. And I'm like, I'll meet with him, Sloan, but he's 28, 29, he's not even gonna know. He wasn't even alive when the men summer. So I met with the, first they sent me some articles he'd written and I could tell the guy's like a savant.
Starting point is 02:18:41 Then I met with him and he became my collaborator in 2017. We revised the proposal, shrunk it from 220 pages to 30, resold it. I really thought I'm going to be the crazy old man who's got piles of shit that amount to nothing. When I had those thoughts, I had written down on an index card six or seven bullet points of my most important findings that had never been reported. And I would pull it out and look at it, and that would reinvigorate me not to give up. But when you ask how many times did I think it was not going to be a book, sometimes once
Starting point is 02:19:20 a day for a year, I would wake up at night. That was my nightmares. Has there been talk of a film of the book? Yeah, yeah. We originally sold it to Amazon Studios. They got ahold of the Little Brump, the 2017 proposal, which they weren't supposed to get. There was an embargo, but they got it and bought the scripted rights in 2017. And I didn't want to do it because I said to a slow my agent, I I didn't want to do it, because I said to his phone, my agent,
Starting point is 02:19:47 I said, they want to do a feature film. They haven't seen the book, but when they see the book, they're not going to be able to check it. It's too long. It has to be like a series on streaming or whatever. And so I said, well, wait until they get the book. He said, if you don't do it, because I was so broke, and borrowing money, driving an Uber at that point,
Starting point is 02:20:04 I just started that and I hated it. He goes, you'll get broke and borrowing money, driving an Uber at that point. I had just started that and I hated it. He goes, you'll get this chunk of money and then you and Dan can just do the book for the next year and a half. So I took it, they renewed the option, which is great. Got a writer, great writer, guy I really liked. He came out and spent a week with me and at the end of the week, he said,
Starting point is 02:20:23 now I know why it took you 20 years. And he goes, and I don't know how I'm gonna do this because they're still insisting on a feature film. How am I gonna condense it? So he wrote it with his hands tied behind his back. A year, year and a half later, he turned it into Amazon and they pulled the plug on it. I had been working with Errol Morris in 2014
Starting point is 02:20:44 when Penguin filed the lawsuit. Errol had originally been approached by Scott, who's his editor at Penguin Press. Errol's written some books. He thought he'd be perfect for me. And I said, okay, let him read the original proposal. Errol read it, and then Scott sent an email. It was from Errol to him, saying,
Starting point is 02:21:01 I don't want to write this guy's book. I want to do a movie of it. This was when it was still in play. They hadn't canceled the deal wanna write this guy's book, I wanna do a movie of it. This was when it was still in play, they hadn't canceled the deal. The guy said, all right, we'll get back to you when the book is done. Jump ahead, the thing's canceled, and all of a sudden I'm like,
Starting point is 02:21:14 Sloan says I can't resell it for two or three years. Maybe I'll reach out to Errol and if he still wants to make a film, I can do that just to get some money, and it might be the only way I'm ever able to tell the tale. So I just took make a film, I can do that just to get some money. And it might be the only way I'm ever able to tell the tale. So I just took his email address. I'd never communicated with him,
Starting point is 02:21:30 and I sent him an email saying, I don't know if you know, but Penguin canceled my deal on being sued. I checked with a lawyer, and they don't own the film rights, just the book, and there's no book. So if you're still interested, he called me that day. So long story short, for a year,
Starting point is 02:21:48 he and I worked together developing it. And I have a love-hate relationship with Errol. After we'd shot a teaser, and he sold it to Netflix as a series, which is what I wanted, with someone who a lot of people think is the best documentary film maker alive. He suddenly changed his vision. There's a guy named Eric Olson,
Starting point is 02:22:09 whose father, Frank Olson, was probably killed by the CIA. Warm wood. Yeah, so I'm talking about that when he's filming me. He came to L.A. and filmed me in my bungalow for a day and then on the soundstage talking about the Olson case and talking about Eric. He says, oh, do you think Eric would be interviewed by me? And I said, he's very reclusive, very private,
Starting point is 02:22:30 but he's gonna know who you are and respect you, so why don't you call him? So he called him, and then a few months later, Errol says, you know, I'm changing my vision. I want it to be Eric's story chasing his father's death, you chasing your thing, and I'm gonna intermingle them. And I'm like, Errol, this might be the only telling of all of my years of work at that point,
Starting point is 02:22:53 15 years or whatever. I go, I can't let you do that. I have to be the subject, and I know that's grandiose, but I can't share it with another guy's story. It's not what I signed up for. And luckily, Sloan had crafted this structured contract where right before they green-lit it at Netflix I could pull out if I didn't like where it was going.
Starting point is 02:23:13 And I was furious. But then Wormwood came out of that. He did Wormwood. And Wormwood was incredible. Yeah, yeah. Too long. It should have been a little shorter, but I think he had to fill in the space.
Starting point is 02:23:26 Eric's story is amazing and he spent three times as long as I did researching and he's still doing it. And I'm still very good friends. And it's more personal. Very much more. I mean, it's his whole, he lives in the house that his father disappeared from. Unbelievable story.
Starting point is 02:23:41 He still lives there, it's tragic. But they did one wood, it was great. And then when the Amazon deal ended in like 2021 or something, I happened to listen to Errol on a podcast with his son, Hamilton. And Hamilton was at my bungalow when Errol shot me there in Dennis in 2014. Errol had put like 12 cameras in the bungalow,
Starting point is 02:24:04 like on the ceiling, hidden everywhere, and everything was remotely controlled. in 2014, Errol had put like 12 cameras in the bungalow, like on the ceiling, hidden everywhere, and everything was remotely controlled from another bungalow that happened to be empty. His team took it over, and it looked like a NASA command center. And there was just Errol and I in my bungalow, and then one woman who was there to pull lens on one big camera.
Starting point is 02:24:27 I found out later she was really there because I actually knew her previously through a friend, and they knew how anxious I was, and they knew she could call me. She was there to be my comfort blanket. Oh, nice. Kelly Simpson, she was great. Nice. And she was an assistant DP.
Starting point is 02:24:39 So, Hamilton brings it up in the podcast, and he says, he goes, the one thing I can't believe is we're never gonna see that footage you shot. Errol said, stop right now. He goes, legally, I'm not even allowed to talk about it. And Hamilton's like, well, if we don't name the person or what he was doing, he goes, I just wanna talk about what you did to that bungalow that you were shooting in.
Starting point is 02:25:01 Errol said, that is the best footage I've ever shot in my career. And this is like 2021, which is a lot of films. And he goes, and to think that that's gonna be in my vault and never seen by anyone is heartbreaking to me. So then Hamilton and he talked about how they set things up without revealing me.
Starting point is 02:25:19 So I emailed him the next day and I said, I heard you on Hamilton's podcast, Errol. Just so you know, I don't think there was an NDA. I talk about it working with you to everyone. That's like, you know, that gets me cache. And if you're still interested, believe it or not, it's available again, because Amazon pulled the plug on the scripted.
Starting point is 02:25:37 He called me like within an hour. I couldn't believe it. Anyway, he said, I was so angry at you. And I go, well, I was just as pissed off. And you know, we had that. So long story short, now he's doing a documentary film, not a series, and this is getting into the mechanics and the business, but for whatever reason,
Starting point is 02:25:54 he'll tell why they didn't want to do a series they only wanted to do to a feature. So he's condensing my book into 90 minutes. And he's shooting, you know, he's great at what he does. I've seen a few cuts. I'm sure it'll be great. It'll just be some aspect of the book. condensing my book into 90 minutes. And he's shooting, you know, he's great at what he does. I've seen a few cuts. I'm sure he'll be great. It'll just be some aspect of the book.
Starting point is 02:26:08 So you can't do anything like that. Yeah, so I'm supposed to see, I think, I've never seen the whole thing. I've seen the first two thirds. How was it? He's so good at what he does. And you know, my fear was he's gonna make me look either mentally ill.
Starting point is 02:26:24 No. Yes, he's known make me look either mentally ill. No. Yes, he's known for making people look kind of nuts because we are nuts. But no, he treated me and my reporting and my material with respect. So that fear was out of the way. I'm just frustrated because I feel like some of it's glossed over.
Starting point is 02:26:39 Not me, but the information we're trying to impart. But you have 90 minutes, you have to, you know, in 90 minutes, you have to go out and see some stuff. And I'm gonna see, so I think this week, I'm supposed to get the next cut with the ending. Great. And then they have to turn in a final cut in May,
Starting point is 02:26:54 I was told. So when would it air? In the fall. Amazing. And I don't know what the fall is. Is that September, October? Is it gonna be called Chaos or we don't know? That's the working title.
Starting point is 02:27:04 Yeah. The working title is Chaos, who knows. But it's me, blah, blah, blahing. So he used a lot of the footage he shot in 2014. And then he had me come out to Boston where he's based. And he rented this old school on the coast, like an hour away that's a famous location that there's a movie called Coda
Starting point is 02:27:26 that won an Oscar for best picture about five years ago and half of the movie takes place in this abandoned school. You know, they make it. So he did all of his haunting arrow setups. We'll have cameras like way up in the ceiling and it'll zoom down to me. Wow. And he has all kinds of weird,
Starting point is 02:27:42 I won't spoil it, weird effects. I can't wait to see that. He's good at what he does. Yeah. What do we know about Tex Watson's statement to the police? Oh, the tapes. These are audio tapes that are the first recorded version of how the murders occurred and why. Tex Watson was tape recorded by his lawyer in Texas. He turned himself in to the sheriff, who was his mother's cousin.
Starting point is 02:28:10 The sheriff called the family lawyer, and this was before he was charged. They were looking for him, and it was before Manson and the family had been announced. It was the day after Thanksgiving, 69. So tactics found out they were looking for him. They found out he was in McKinney, this little town. So they called the sheriff. He said, I'll find him and you can come question him or I'll see what happens.
Starting point is 02:28:32 So he called up Tex and Tex was brought in by his mother and father. He'd been home for about a month. And Bill Boyd said, what do you have to do with a murder? They wouldn't even tell me what the murder was. And he said, I don't know what they're talking about. I have nothing to do, it's crazy. And he said, okay, his name was Charles.
Starting point is 02:28:53 He said, Charles, I'm gonna let you sit here for a half hour, I'm gonna go out with your parents, get lunch or coffee, and then I'll come back, and if that's your story, that's what we'll tell them, but you might wanna rethink it because if you are responsible for anything, you need to tell me now, I'll be your lawyer, it'll be confidential and I'll protect you.
Starting point is 02:29:13 So he came back and this is a story Bill Boyd told me on tape in 2000. Who told you the story? This lawyer, 2008 on tape. He said to me, he goes, so I go back and I go, Charles, are you still sticking to that story? He goes, well no, he goes, they're coming to talk to me, he goes, so I go back and I go, Charles, are you still sticking to that story? He goes, well, no. He goes, they're coming to talk to me about the murder
Starting point is 02:29:28 of an actress, you know, Sharon Tate. And Bill Boyd said, well, I know about that case. He goes, well, I killed her. And then Bill said, will you tell me the whole story? And he said, as long as it's protected. So he took out a cassette recorder and he taped him. He told me for 20 hours over two or three days, the detectives came, he wouldn't let me go. and he said as long as it's protected. So he took out a cassette recorder and he taped him. He told me for 20 hours over two or three days,
Starting point is 02:29:48 the detectives came, he wouldn't admit to anything. They couldn't take him out of custody because Bill Boyd wouldn't allow them. So that was a prolonged, I think, almost nine month long process to extradite him back. But that tape recording is the first account of how and why the murders happened before anything was published before they got the next account from Susan Atkins, which was compromised, which I won't get into because I could take another hat down.
Starting point is 02:30:16 Just tell me why it was compromised. I don't know. So she had a public defender. She had been charged with the murder of Gary Hinman, who was killed a week before Tate LaBianca, a musician and student in Topanga Canyon. She killed him with Mary Bruner and Bobby Beausoleil. So she had been arrested and charged for that.
Starting point is 02:30:35 While she was in her jail cell, she started bragging about being involved in the Tate murders. One or two of her jail cells called up, reported her to the police. The police went in and questioned the cellmates. They said they'd testify to it. So they were going to charge her with tape murders. But she had a public defender named Gerald Condon.
Starting point is 02:30:58 And they had a meeting. And I found this out when I got access to files that hadn't been reported before. The DA's office had a meeting saying, we've got to get somebody on our side to represent her. So they had her court-appointed attorney illegally removed from the case at her next arraignment in Hinman. And they replaced him with a former deputy DA who had just gone into private defense
Starting point is 02:31:24 practice that year named Dick Caballero and his partner Paul Caruso She was never told why I was able to interview the condon and his brother who was his partner and they both said We were stunned we went to her arraignment and the judge announces that we're being taken off the case They gave us no reason we could have fought for it. Both of our wives said, we don't want you involved with this because they were starting to whisper
Starting point is 02:31:49 that she might be charged with Tate. And he said, it's my biggest regret is that I didn't fight for that girl. So I found minutes to the meeting, which was completely improper, where the deputy DA to Elva Younger, a guy named David Fitts, said, I can get to Clinko, the judge in that case, we'll have Condon removed and replaced with
Starting point is 02:32:10 Caballero. The judge isn't allowed to do any of this and nothing can be done without Condon finding out. So they did it behind the scenes. So from that day forward she started telling a story scripted by the DA's office for her. She got a deal which was they weren't gonna execute her if she pled guilty, she'd get life in prison. They knew that she would never stay on their side.
Starting point is 02:32:34 They just needed her grand jury testimony because it was hard to indict Manson since he wasn't at the scene of the murders. They needed her to talk about him ordering it. She later said, everything I said was scripted by the DA. She went back to Manson, ended up getting the death penalty like all of them, and all the death penalties were commuted when the state Supreme Court
Starting point is 02:32:55 ruled death penalty. How often is someone associated with a murder, but not at the scene and not a stab or a shooter? Not too often. And that's what, I mean, the scene and not a stab or a shooter. Not too often. And that's what, I mean, the whole helter-skelter really is about Vince having to prove that Manson had ordered these murders, that he was guilty of conspiracy
Starting point is 02:33:16 without him being at the scene of the Tate murders. Has anyone ever been charged with conspiracy to commit murder that goes to jail for life? Gosh, that's a good question. I feel like now I'm gonna look it up when I get home. Okay, I'm curious. And actually, why didn't I think of that when I was writing the book?
Starting point is 02:33:34 Because if nobody had, that would have been important, and I know it can't be a lot. Yeah, it can't be. It just seems so wild. Well, I'm now thinking about that teenager who was convicted of murder for getting a guy to kill himself on the phone. She persuaded him to commit suicide.
Starting point is 02:33:53 It became a great movie. I know the guy who wrote the New York Times magazine article. Not really conspiracy, but she got second degree murder for telling this guy he had to kill himself because he was a nothing and his family hated him and the guy was messed up and he did it but she didn't physically kill him. But I have to look that up Rick, that's a good question. Was the Manson trial filmed?
Starting point is 02:34:15 No, no cameras in the court room, not till O.J. Yeah, no. But, but you know, the courtroom artists were there every day, and they were all acting up. Manson carved an X on his forehead. The girls did it the next day. They shaved their heads. Manson lunged at the judge at one point with a pen to try to stab him.
Starting point is 02:34:36 Have you seen all of the unedited Manson interviews, Tom Snyder, Geraldo? No. I mean, maybe the first year I watched a bunch of them, you know, because I interviewed them, and I needed to see... How did you interview them? I don't know this. Again, one of the most frustrating parts of all this.
Starting point is 02:34:54 So I reached out to... He has a handler outside a pr... Pat, you know, he's dead. Ever. And he had a follower named Gray Wolf, who was outside the prison walls. And he would follow Manson because he went through like three or four different prisons. And he would handle all of Manson's correspondence, money.
Starting point is 02:35:12 So he would go to the visiting hours and? Yeah, and share information. He was like his manager. And for years. So in 2000, when I got the assignment, I knew I had to interview him, and I found out that that was the way he had to go through Greybeard. So I actually wrote Manson a letter.
Starting point is 02:35:29 Would the prison tell you you have to go through Greybeard? No, no, no, actually I'm revising that. I didn't know that. I sent a letter to Manson. Manson gave it to Greybeard, or maybe Greybeard got it first, and he contacted me, and he wanted money, and I said I can't pay a subject,
Starting point is 02:35:45 but I've got a lot of new information and I tantalized him with some stuff. Nothing that exonerated Manson, but also implicated. So he got curious, he persuaded Manson to do it. He goes, but the thing is, you can't see him in person because he's in the hole. He's in solitary because he's a bat. He always gets in trouble.
Starting point is 02:36:04 So when you're in the hole, you're allowed out like one night a week to make phone calls. So they set it up for me to talk to him on the phone. Now, I knew that just seeing those interviews you talked about, Thomas Snyder, Geraldo, however many, even face to face, it's hard to get him to stay straight and answer. But I thought on the phone, it's going to be impossible, but I got to try. So I had three phone calls with him and he played the same games he did with them. I think the first or second call I got angry at him. He had a guy inside called Pink Cushion, who was his inside shadow guy who protected him
Starting point is 02:36:40 and he was called Pink Cushion because he was stabbed so many times. So Manson would get upset with me, Pink Cushion would grab the phone and say, you can't talk to the old man like that, I don't know, you can't, you're pissing him off. Show some respect. I said, I'm just asking him questions. So at one point, Gray Wolf said to me,
Starting point is 02:36:57 in between some of these calls when Manson stopped talking to me, he said, you gotta understand why he's so pissed. And I said, I'm not asking anything that implicates him. I'm just asking him about Melcher and stuff like that. So he goes, here, listen to the audio of him talking to me about you. So Grey Wolf would always be patched into our call.
Starting point is 02:37:15 So Manson's inside, I'm outside, Grey Wolf's outside. And after I got off, Manson was complaining to him about me. But when he talked to Grey Wolf, he's like, you know, this O'Neill guy, I can tell he's really done his research and his reporting, but I don't wanna talk about ABers. I said, Wolf, he sounds like he could be a paralegal, or he sounds coherent.
Starting point is 02:37:37 Why don't I get that, Charlie? I get crazy Charlie. And you're just showing him now he's playing a part. He's not, and Wolf's like, oh, I shouldn't have played you that tape. But anyway. That's amazing. I got like one more call with him,
Starting point is 02:37:49 and then I didn't get anything I thought that was usable, and then about seven or eight years later, I'd gone on a road trip for eight months where I fleshed out a lot of Manson family members who had never been approached before. I think maybe eight or nine, and I think only one or two talked to me. The others chased me off their properties, threatened me.
Starting point is 02:38:10 He found out, Manson found out I was doing that. And I came back from that trip and I called Gray Wolf, and I said, Gray, I'd love to get another shot at Charlie. And he called back and he left a message on my answering machine. He goes, oh Tom, I can arrange that. He goes, the old man, he liked you in the end and the good news is you can come see him
Starting point is 02:38:30 because he's not in the hole. Wow. But then like an hour later, I get another message from Wolf saying, never call me again. He goes, you have no idea how pissed off the old man. So he had reached out to Charlie. They canceled it. Have you met any of Manson's children?
Starting point is 02:38:46 I don't think I've met any face to face. So Mary Bruner's son, the one we were talking about earlier, who got fostered by Roger Smith and his wife, Michael, formerly Michael Valentine and then Pooh Bear, was his name the last couple years on the ranch, reached out to me when my book came out, and he's working on a memoir and just a really nice guy.
Starting point is 02:39:11 His mother did end up going to prison, not for the murder she participated in, which was Gary Heman, but for trying to break Manson out of jail before he went to prison. They did an armed hold up her and about three or four other members in Lake 71 I think and Hawthorne of a sporting goods store and there was a shootout so she went to prison for that and Michael you know was actually sent to his grandparents When she was arrested the first time when she was a suspect in Tate LaBianca and Inman So he was raised by his grandparents in Wisconsin, and now he's like a carpenter, contractor, single dad.
Starting point is 02:39:51 And one of the, I talked to him on the phone, one of the gentlest, sweetest guys in the world. He was born in, I think, 67, so I don't know how old that is, but he knows I would give my left not to interview his mother. She's never given an interview since she got out of prison. She hasn't given an interview probably since she was being tried in like 70.
Starting point is 02:40:15 And I said, I'm not gonna push that. I go, but if she ever decides to talk to someone, I go, and here's another thing. There's just a couple questions if you could ask her this, and he's done it for me. So he's the only one I think, oh, no, there's another guy who lives out here, and he's been able to prove it by DNA. He just found out about three or four years ago he was Manson's biological son from like late 50s that I told you Manson was out in LA and 58 59
Starting point is 02:40:47 and he was fathered by Manson and now there's a court battle for Manson's Rights and remains, you know Everything that Manson collected in prison for 50 years is in storage and possession of the courts Whoever gets that can sell it to all the crazy collectors for lots and lots of money. Some of his music rights, I think, are valuable. So there's two of his friends who are claiming one has a will that Manson said, that he says Manson signed, that's being disputed.
Starting point is 02:41:22 Another one has some evidence that Manson was leaving his estate to him. There's another fraudulent son who definitely isn't his son but who says he's actually grandson, and then Michael. So there's like five, and now this new guy, there's five or six people. This is an ongoing case that's been going on for about three or four years where they're all fighting
Starting point is 02:41:41 for possession of Manson's stuff. Did you ever speak to Kurt Gentry? Yeah. Tell me about that. So Kurt Gentry was Vince's co-author for Helter Skelter. Vince never worked with the same co-author twice. He wrote about eight or nine books. All his true crime books had a co-author, which I'm not discounting.
Starting point is 02:42:01 I mean, Dan, mine saved my life. But I talked to two or three of them, one of them who sued Vince, none of them liked him. Kurt said it ended amicably, but Vince started telling Kurt not to talk to me. So the last time I talked to Kurt about, he was very generous on the phone with me a couple times with information,
Starting point is 02:42:22 but within the same year I called him, and he said, I know what you're doing now. He goes, don't call me again. on the phone with me a couple times with information, but within the same year I called him and he said, I know what you're doing now. He goes, don't call me again. I said, whatever Vince is telling you, you gotta hear me out and he just hung up on me. So he died early 2000s and five years ago, I wanted to get his files,
Starting point is 02:42:40 because I knew he had a lot, he told me he had files. So he had stuff in storage, he had no kids, but he me he had files. So, you know, he had stuff in storage. He had no kids, but he left it to a sister who left it to a kid. It all went to auction because it wasn't claimed and I couldn't trace it, so who knows where it ended up. You want to tell me about what it was like driving a horse in Central Park, horse and buggy?
Starting point is 02:43:00 How long did you do it for? I thought it was going to be a summer job. It turned into eight years off and on. And that's when I started getting published, is I would be up there on slow nights. I mostly work nights. And I would just bring like a whole bunch of magazines to read. And I thought, I can do this. And I had never studied journalism.
Starting point is 02:43:19 I finished NYU. And it was great because, you know, I transferred to NYU, so I was only there two it was great because I transferred to NYU so I was only there two years at that point. But I started driving the carriage and I'd work from like five or six at night till three in the morning, four in the morning. And at that point, a carriage could go anywhere in the city, a car could go. And about 70% of the drivers were immigrants,
Starting point is 02:43:43 predominantly Irish, then Italian, then Polish. And they were just all characters. I only did a full time for a year, but for the next seven years I would do seasonal. Like the prom season was big, Christmas was big, the beginning of fall was big, the beginning of spring. So I'd do it at two or three months at a time. And it really showed me a side of New York
Starting point is 02:44:04 I don't think I ever would have seen because you're out there in Times Square, Central Park. I go down to the village with the horse, three or four in the morning. And you're seeing that whole other nightly world. And at one point. And people are delighted by the horse and buggy. People like seeing it.
Starting point is 02:44:21 And I was always conflicted about the horses. My stable had, I think, the largest stable of horses, and he loved the horses more, the owner loved the horses more than he liked his drivers, and he told us that. He goes, I don't care what happens to you fuckers, but don't let one of my horses get hurt. But I still had, you know, conflicted feelings about doing it, but I really, romantically,
Starting point is 02:44:44 you know, I have amazing stories from that period, I had conflicted feelings about doing it, but I really, romantically, I have amazing stories from that period of stuff that either I experienced as a driver or a witness. There was a woman who was a great screenwriter named Jay Preston Allen who wanted to do a TV series based on me driving the carriage. It got close and then she got interested in something else. She put it on a shelf
Starting point is 02:45:05 and it never happened, but I have all of the stuff we wrote together. It's one of those things I have kind of in a drawer that I think when I want to get away from the subject, I gotta do either a carriage memoir or some kind of film or something. Thank you.

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