Briefly…

Tom O’Neill is an award-winning investigative journalist and entertainment
reporter whose work has appeared in national publications such as Us, Premiere, New York, The Village Voice and Details. His book, Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties was published by Little, Brown in the summer of 2019. Hardcover currently sold out (as of April 18, 2020)  at Amazon U.S. and Amazon U.K., but shipments expected soon (Covid-19 has slowed down the process). Paperback will be released in U.S. on June 23, 2020, and can be preordered now.  Audio and e-book also available on Amazon U.S. and U.K. sites — and please support your local book stores if they’ve made books available!

As of April 20, 2020, the paperback is available in the United Kingdom at Asda stores and can also be ordered online from Waterstones.

To see original documents, video clips of archival material and to listen to selected audio excerpts of author’s interviews with subjects from the book, please go to Instagram or Facebook pages.

Instagram: chaoscharlesmanson

Facebook: ChaosTheBook

Twitter: chaosmansonbook

Email: trmo@aol.com

 

 

 

221 thoughts on “Briefly…

  1. Tom, Happy Fourth of July! Hope you staying safe and healthy because we need you! Especially in the day an age of the Jeffery Epstein’s and G. Maxwell’s of the world. Where history can repeat itself. Three days ago I finished Chaos. Sensational! I truly feel you are a great American investigative reporter and author! Thank you! Thank you! For your deep overly detailed writing, investigating and persistency! I appreciate when you said (paraphrasing) “looking for the paper no one ever thought of looking at, that is 50 years old that might hold that final clue”. I was born after 1969 and reading your book gave me perspective on that time period and clearer perception of the Family, CIA, LA authorities and secrecy that overlapped. Vincent Bugliosi legacy SHATTERED! It infuriates me that these high profile connections to the murders used their “knowledge” to gain popularity and hide the truth. You shined the light on truth, sir! The Tex tapes need to be released, it’s absurd for the LACDA/ LAPD to think that we overly care that there was clearly a cover up. We are no longer naive to the fact that over the course of 50 years there have been so many cover ups from local, state and federal levels about many variable issues. We are no longer shocked or surprised. So lets us hear these tapes, that can potentially lay to rest this truth, for the sake of the victims’ families. Tom, you have settled my closure on this issue. And thank you for the connection to JFK as well. Please look out for my book review on Apple and anywhere else I can post. Hope Joe Rogan has you back on, I plan I re-watching the interview now that I finished the book. You take care, I truly hope you are cooking up something new, keep that fire burning Tom! Thank you sincerely.

  2. Hi Tom!
    Just finished your book, and mind-blowing it was. I hope there are answers to be found someday.
    I agree with your assessment that much of Hollywood knew about the Manson family before the murders. There is an obscure film called “Angel, Angel, Down We Go”. It was released either the week of the murders or in the next. It was a satire of Hollywood featuring a fat scion of wealth bringing a musical group of hippies into her rich parent’s home (the mother a former star, the father a military industrialist) which soon ends in bloodshed. This movie has often been disparged in movie history as a ‘manson ripoff’, but it could not have been as filming took place before the murders. The story itself is not completely analogous to the family’s story, the authors were trying for a blanket indictment of Hollywood, not just Manson, but there are some lines uttered throughout that strike a chord, especially in a scene about two-thirds in where the leader of the hippie gang/band, Bogart, starts talking ‘Charlie’ about the coming race war and the slaughter of’ the rich. I did some research into this movie and it’s principals years ago (I have no idea if those websites are still around) and I found it interesting that the proposed star; recently of the producer/director/writer team’s previous movie, Wild in the Streets’, was supposedly was a caretaker of the Cielo place at one point. The “Angel” part was written for him but he demurred and it was passed on to a former singer for ‘The Animals’. Very few of the principal people involved did anything significant again in movies after and the movie tanked utterly despite being a major studio release.
    I enjoyed your book immensely and am now assured that Hollywood knew what was going on but would suffer by it’s own exposure if it let on to that knowledge.
    Cheers

  3. Tom, I am wondering if you are aware of the blind item posted on Crazy Days and Nights which reveals that supposedly additional letters from Jolly West were found last year which expose more of his work with the CIA and experiments with LSD and the Grateful Dead.
    SATURDAY, JULY 04, 2020
    Blind Items Revealed #17
    January 16, 2020
    Most of the materials of a long time retired professor are at his archive here in Los Angeles. However, that is not the only place he taught. Last summer at a Southwestern university, a treasure trove of documents were discovered. Many of those had also previously been seen. What had not been seen were several letters between the professor and his handler at the CIA. Even though the professor had long denied working for the CIA, other letters have been found over time, proving that to be a lie. The CIA also funded one of his most famous studies.
    The whole blind can be found here:
    https://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2020/07/blind-items-revealed-17.html

      • I just saw this comment (months later, sorry). Did you ever talk to the researcher on the Jolly West papers? I know that the owner of the CDAN site has an email and twitter account. He does respond to insider tips on various gossip, so if you tried to reach out to him he would probably answer you. I would guess he has read your book, thus the blind item.

  4. I have read your new book chaos with great enthusiasm as it is so well written and although which must have been hard ( well I believe so) also without any pre ( I thought so) judgement on what was already a well accounted tale so I thank you for a very interesting book which I hope it gets the accolade it deserves.
    The reason I’m writing to you is about another very intriguing theory concerning Paul McCartney and his death and replacement by a person who did sand in for him on occasions before the conspiracy that he had died I have been digging into this story for years but I am only able to get limited insight to the question as i don’t have any journalistic experience or any kind of contacts but it is a fascinating and intriguing case , although your probably near meltdown after 20 years of a fantastic journalistic experience.
    If you have heard of this and could help or would just let me know in your opinion if it’s one of the more absurd theories and I should forget seeing if I can find anything about this I have tried for a few years now but my resources are so limited but please let me know your opinion if that is possible and you recive any details of this message .
    Anyway a fantastic book would recommend it to everyone.
    Wish you well a BLOODY WELL DONE

  5. Over 30 years in law enforcement, most in Washington, D.C., nothing surprises me. NOTHING! I admire your fortitude and judgement.
    History repeats itself, maybe with different players and agencies, the sixties has returned.
    It’s a damn shame. I enjoyed your book immensely and like all books, including the Bible, humans have written their version. However, yours revealed an intriguing paper trail.
    Keep up the good work.

  6. A tremendous effort which reminds the world how so much of the truth is denied and hidden. You persevered against enormous obstacles and for that you are an u sung hero fighting dark forces. Even though the truth has not been completely uncovered the fact that you took the journey is inspiring and is the stepping stone for those who will follow your example In the future Thank you for your courage and tenacity. It remains a model for us all

  7. Thanks for the book! I read it all, and when it was over, I was feeling angry that it’s already finished; now I have nothing left but to read it again. In one of the interviews you mentioned that you (and mr. Pipenbring) had to “squeeze” the original material to fit into 500 pages (which was a publisher’s demand). Since it’s a 20 year work, I believe you have a LOT MORE materials, which you were simply forced to reject so the book was not too big. Any chance to publish the “full” version in the future? I’m sure many people would buy the extended version of “Chaos”. You’re the living Encyclopaedia of the case, and 500 pages is just for the start. It’s like an addiction – once I jumped into the rabbit hole, I am eager to read more (and more, and more…) about the story. We hope it was just a first dose, and we are hungry for more stuff! During the last four months, I listened to the Joe Rogan podcast with you SEVEN TIMES! Anyway, thanks for the tremendous work.

  8. Hello Tom,
    I enjoyed reading Chaos, I was entranced by the writing. But, I felt that the connection of Jolly West to Charles Manson felt tenuous. I was searching on the internet and found references to a government whistle blower Charles Schlund who unearthed the ‘Don Bolles’ papers. These papers ‘supposedly’ showed that Manson was deliberately molded by MKULTRA to infiltrate and discredit the anti-war left. Did you find any references to these papers or Charles Schlund?

    • Charles August Schlund sued the CIA director (George Bush Sr.) to get those files linking Manson to the CIA’s MK-Ultra program. Schlund claims he saw those files before being confiscated by the CIA.

    • I’m curious why these are referred to as the Don Bolles papers. Don, of course, was the drummer for the LA punk band The Germs; back in the 80s he acquired a stash of the original Awareness Records pressing of Manson’s Lie album and I traded with him for one…

      • John. This is a different Don Bolles. Journalist Don Bolles was investigating the CIAs connection to the Mafia when he uncovered the CIA – Charles Manson documents in late 1975. These are the documents Sgt. Charles August Schlund claimed to have viewed. Thus he called them the “Bolles Papers”. Bolles, unfortunately, was killed by a bomb attached to the ignition to his car shortly after this discovery (mid-1976). There are news articles and photos of the bombing. It’s a dangerous endeavor. Get too close to the truth… and bad things happen. Anyone can see Schlund’s lawsuit vs. George Bush Sr. online. Just Google the words: “Charles August Schlund George Bush”.

      • In Charles Schlund’s lawsit against George Bush Sr, he mentions his daughter Mindee as having been threatened. I saw Mindee Schlund’s comments in the 2010 online obituary for her father Charles. She pledged to carry on his work. So she’s probably the person to ask what happened. She could clear things up.

  9. Dear Tom: Your book was a fantastic read. I didn’t want it to end as I enjoyed every page from start to finish. I was only 11 years old when the Manson trial ended. I vividly remember all the news on TV, newspapers and of course the made for TV movie Helter Skelter which had all the kids in the school yard talking during those mid 1970’s. I too thought everything had been said and written about the case. I was fortunate to have a career in broadcasting, 33 years at the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Working as a field cameraman / audio recordist for over 17 years with the CBC’s “fifth estate”. An investigative program very much like 60 minutes on CBS. I know first hand how much time researchers work for stories and leads et. In TV land there is a much larger team of associate producers, producers and hosts… Your digging around on your own for almost 20 years is amazing beyond belief but I understand how journalists like yourself must get to the bottom of a theory or story idea….. I say BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO… for such a brave book and telling your story. Sorry for the long boring reply here but one last thing… It was terrific reading your book having you as one of the characters…… Thanks again. Joe, reporting from Toronto, Canada

  10. Okay. I finally recieved the book by Marlin Marynick called “MANSON NOW”. Marynick was a long-time Manson friend who visited him at Corcoran State Prison in the 2008 – 2009 period. The two had many phone conversations, many of which were recorded. Manson would open up to Marynick like he didn’t open up for interviews by the media. And I found the first passage to Manson talking about being place in a special Federal program to protect him from prosecution once he was released from Terminal Island in March 1967. (On page 12.)
    “They didn’t want me anymore. So I go to the outside. I go over to where the music was, and the Grateful Dead is playing. (In Nuel Emmons book, “Manson In His Own Words”… Manson talks about going to a Grateful Dead show at the Avalon Ballroom in San Fransico as soon as he arrives there in late March.) I was put in a Witness Program. But not because I snitched on anyone or betrayed any trust. I didn’t snitch on nobody or betray a trust. But they’ve got me in this Federal Witness Program. It says ‘leave this man alone. Do not put him in jail in any direction what-so-ever.”
    Supposedly, somewhere else in the book, Manson talks about the State of California is not being allowed to touch him because he’s in this “Federal Program.” I’ll quote it exactly when I find it. It is odd to place someone in such a federal program who isn’t a witness in any case.

    • The original Federal Witness Protection Program was started by the DOJ in 1964. Gerald Shur headed this DOJ section called the Intelligence and Special Services Unit. In his 2010 conversations with Marynick, Manson seems bewildered by WHY he was put in this program upon release from Terminal Island. He wasn’t a witness of any kind in any case. But it apparently served him well in 1967, 68 and 69.

  11. Tom, my name is Jim Rourke and I wanted to know if you have any info on the end of MK ULTRA??
    I was tortured at Fairchild in jan 78
    I was one of 23 ROMADS tortured there and only like 5 of us are alive.
    Im 61
    Im suing the government and I saw you kn Joe Rogen
    I have a few questions as ive seen info that it was the CIA that was there running a program in parallel with the AF

    Thanks, jim
    508-450-9128

    • Jim. The best person to ask about covert CIA activities inside the US (including MK-Ultra) throughout the 60s and 70s is Lindsay Moran. She’s an ex-CIA agent / whistleblower who has examined many clandestine documents. She’s written a couple of books on the subject as well as co-writing documentaries for CNN and the History Channel. Contact her on her Twitter page: @LindsayMoran

  12. By the way… The man (Gerald Shur) who helped develop the early form of the Federal Witness Protection program for RFK’s DOJ in 1964 died just three weeks ago. He ran the program right through the late 60s, 70s and 80s.

  13. The Mysterious Dr. Hartman.
    I know Tom has discussed this (with Joe Rogan). The name Dr. Hartman has popped up a few times with Manson. There are three times I know of (outside prison documentation) that Manson himself mentions a “Dr. Hartman,” who Manson says “Raised me in the judge’s robe”. That’s Mansonese for someone who played a significant role during his prison life. Manson mentions this name twice at parole hearings and once in the interview he did with Bill Scanlon Murphy. But as Tom has said, Manson never mentions a first name. There is one person I know of who was experimented on (with LSD) by a Dr. Mortimer Hartman who is still alive… actress Roberta Haynes. (Tom mentions Mortimer Hartman in the Rogan interview as having experimented with Gary Grant.) Ms. Haynes did an extensive interview for New York Magazine’s Vulture segment in 2017 about her experiences with Dr. Hartman in Los Angeles. The interviewer only asked her about her personal experiences… how Dr. Hartman would alter her memory, etc. I wonder what she’d say if someone asked her if Dr. Hartman EVER spoke about his other activities… such as working with inmates at prisons in the LA area. Someone should ask her that. Here’s the Vulture interview: http://www.vulture.com/2017/06/cary-grants-lsd-therapy-the-inside-story.html

  14. Ooops. Nix that idea. Roberta Haynes passed a few months ago, in April. Chasing the past is like chasing ghosts. But another actress, Linda Lawson, who was also underwent regular LSD therapy sessions with Dr. Hartman at his Beverly Hills office is still alive… age 84. Ten years ago, she gave detailed accounts of her visits to Hartman to Vanity Fair.

    • Thanks for this info, Paul. I spent a long time looking at the prison shrink Hartman and could never get much if any info on him. I did interview Mortimer Hartman’s brother some time ago, and I’d have to look at my notes again to see if this is correct, but it did seem remotely possible Mort could’ve crossed paths with Manson in a few prison assignments, but not clear or solid enough info to make a secure link, unfortunately.

  15. M. Abernathy

    I KNEW Charles (Chuck) Schlund. I went out to Arizona in January 2003 to meet him and stayed for a couple of weeks. During this time, I met with Chuck every day, for several hours per day.

    I will not have anything more to say, until I can be assured that his story will not be sensationalized or commercialized.

    I have over 1,000 messages and emails from Charles Schlund, along with a couple of recorded conversations.

    By the way, in 2001, his lawsuit against the U.S. govenrment was appealed all the way to the US Supreme. They twice declined to hear the case.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/052901.ZOR.html

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/062901.ZOR.html

  16. I have been hearing about this Schlund character for years. Maybe one of these days we’ll get to hear what he actually knew about Charlie.

  17. Hi Tom, what a brilliant book, something new at last! Well done!
    Ive read it many times now and I’ve had 2 thoughts: The person who rang the Ranch to tell them that Sharon was away must’ve known the gate code, must’ve walked up the drive a way to see round the corner and check the cars, perhaps a ‘friend’ who wouldn’t be challenged if found ‘trespassing ‘… Could it have been Terry? It would explain the guilt.
    The other thought: if it is true there were other Family members at Cielo on the 9th, what was their purpose? In Adam Gorightly’s book ‘The Shadow Over Santa Susana’ Manson is quoted as having said (in reference to Sebring’s whips n chains crowd) “Performances are not us either”.. Were the murders at Cielo some kind of live snuff show? Did the extra Family members make up the audience?

  18. Hi Tom,
    I just wanted to express my gratitude, to you for writing such a captivating book. I would also like to urge you to consider writing a follow up to chaos. I understand from your Joe Rogan interview that you may have a whole lot more information and I would love to hear it all!

    I hope something larger comes out of the excellent work that you have done. The continued withholding of the Tex Watson tapes, shows that there is still something fishy going on behind the scenes. From your book it appears that the original trial of the family members is worthy of investigation by someone at “arms length” from anyone in the DA’s office. I get that some people might be scared that this leads to the release of some members still in jail, but isn’t their a larger public interest argument here, around the validity of the investigation and trial of one of the most famous crimes ever?

    Anyway, whatever happens, keep up the good work Tom.

    Cameron

  19. Howdy!

    I borrowed CHAOS at my library in Montreal, Quebec but didn’t have time to finish it before the due date. Since somebody else reserved it and I’m not a jerk, I brought it back on time and bought it at a store.

    The funny thing is, five minutes after getting out of the store and walking downtown, I walk by a guy who had a t-shirt that was probably custom made, no image of anything and it just said ; ¨Charlie, the man, the myth, the legend¨. It was probably a guy called Charlie who wore it as a dad joke but found the synchronicity quite amusing.

    While I’m far from the opinion that Manson is somehow respectable, I was wondering if you personally had any opinions on his appeal. At the end of the book (spoilers) there’s the quote from the Graywolf guy who says about not knowing what kind of power your messing with. Do you feel that Manson had something more then just lots of charisma? Could he have been a guy who had some kinds of insights while at the same time be a very dangerous criminal?

    Sorry if it’s a dumb question.

    Thanks for the awesome book. It’s totally inspiring the amount of work that was poured into it.

  20. Wow, you are a Nut Job! All of your views put you on the Lunatic Fringe. Everything you claim to know about Vince Bugliosi is flat out nutty and unsubstantiated. Where is the EVIDENCE of any of the things you espoused on Joe Rogan’ show? Every single point you made is “he said, she said” which means you don’t have a leg to stand on. The worst part of it is that it seemed like Joe actually believed your dribble! (Perhaps just being nice?)

  21. I just finished Chaos.
    Great read.
    Thought provoking.
    I’m curious: you said Tenerelli’s BAC was zero point three percent (0.3%), and that didn’t surmount to the legal limit. Was this stated in error? 0.3% BAC is almost four times the legal limit. Did you mean 0.03% BAC?

    Thank You!

  22. Tom, this is more than a very entertaining book, it has been personally helpful to me . My parents where involved with the diggers at that time and saw what you write about, first hand in 1969, they call it the “summer of hate”.

    My mom and her friends always suspected Manson was something like this and I blew it off as, far fetched. Old hippies smoking to much weed!

    She and her friends really believed strongly that LSD could help reduce Hawkish materialism and where devastated by what went down.

    I know my mother and hundreds of others worked around the clock to make 1968 happen and they pulled it off. Anyone I have ever spoken to about 68, will gush about how absolutely amazing it was, they all knew they had tapped into something big.

    They were held up to ridicule and blamed for the violence like it was inevitable because they were spoiled spaced out kids who are not living in reality! I’ve seen them really internalize this message over the years and I think some of them feel shame, guilt and definitely foolish.

    While all of the stories I have heard are highly subjective rumors, that I don’t think could contribute anything, all the info you dug up really does check with “ the word on the street”.

    Thank you Tom, you really helped some people I love, understand that confusing awful time. I wish you could have seen her light up when I told her about your book, she and her friends were right.

    It looks like we are getting a second chance with the hallucinogens. Your timing couldn’t have been better.

    Thank you for helping set the record straight .

  23. Wow, Jolly West notes? His name was rumbling about Sully when I worked there, Sandoz Labs was supplying the juice, the LSD and all that – but came to the thread to ask if you ever met Bud Shoenheit, he was an atty for the DA in LA, I knew him as a kid, when my dad was a minister in La Cresenta at the Unity Church, and met up with him later in NYC for lunch at the Plaza. Wish I had known better question to ask him, but he did tell me about giving chocolate and cigarettes to what he referred to as “the girls”. Oddly, I feel I met him at my home while I was being babysat, a wild party had ensued. Stranger still, another minister’s child, Craig, told me his dad dropped he and his sister off at the Spawn Ranch once, to be babysat. Saw you on Joe Rogan. The MK Ultra part makes sense. Sandoz was getting LSD to Sully & Crom who shipped it off to Jolly out West, and the beat was on, especially since his office was right by the bus depot, where all the runaways poured into City o’ Luv. One of those Dulles brothers (never mind the sis) claimed to have pushed for ‘communes’ and really bragged about how they were the perfect breeding pool for mind control.

  24. Tom,
    I just finished your book this morning and “wow.” Thank you for the amazing journalistic work, thank you for the amount of time and effort you put on this project. I know it’s a lot of work and stress but I hope you follow this up with another book or article. Best wishes and again thank you for your hard work.

  25. Mr. O’Neill – after reading your book I’m hungry to read more about the case (but not the Bugliosi’s trash). Three years ago Neil Sanders wrote a book about Manson (“Now Is The Only Thing That’s Real: A re-examination of the Manson murders, motives and mythos”), also contradicting Bugliosi’s official narration. What do you think of it? Do you recommend it?

      • Ok – but you still may find something valuable in Sanders’ work (between all the garbage he thrown into his book), just like a broken clock shows a right time twice a day. In such an old case it’s worth to dig everywhere.

  26. Hello Tom,
    Just finished Chaos and I think you finally nailed it. I am old and could be wrong but I am sure one of manson’s main followers was Squeaky Frome…Froome ??? and she did’nt get a mention in your book. Cheers and the best, Dale Cooke. Brisbane, Queensland. Australia.

  27. Greetings Tom. Chaos was a fascinating read, or in my case listen, but either way very enjoyable if not disturbing at times with what you were able to uncover. So many coincidences belie the very notion of that word. I do have at least one question; in the audio book in chapter 12 when disclosing the inconsistencies around the death of Filippo Tenerelli, it was stated that in the coroner’s report his BAL was 0.3 and you stated that, and I am paraphrasing here, “that would hardly made a person under the influence”. Was that a miss-speak on behalf of Kevin Stillwell or a possibly a misprint in the book? Not having the hardcopy I have no way of telling. The fact remains that a BAL of 0.3 would not only render him under the influence but most certainly incapable of shooting himself. Don’t get me wrong, the point you were making that the whole suicide of Filippo Tenerelli was fishy at best does not escape me. Just curious if it was in error.

  28. Hi my name is Thomas Kandas, I just want to say first off I’m not done with your book I’m on chapter 4 and I saw your sit down with joe rogan. I’m mind fucked, it made me think several things so far 1. Manson what we know as today was created by the government and turned against him after the murders. 2. Hippie movement was created by the government 3. Ive taken a lot of acid and my Perception of it has changed a lot as a mind control drug. 4. How many people out there went through mkultra Experiment that the government and media directed as monsters of society. Maybe the unabomber?? I would love to dig deeper into this and read related books to this. If you have time I would be honored to pick your brain. Thank you for time, Hope to hear from you soon!

  29. Hi Tom- I am halfway through your book and I am floored. I have been reading books on Manson and the Family for years and the fact that it was mostly made up by Bugliosi is just mind boggling. I used to think he was a genius for getting Manson convicted and to find out that after all this time it was all bullshit… And on top of it, to read about the way he treated his mistress, the poor milkman…. What a lunatic! Thank you for writing this book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s