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 (paperback in the summer of 2020).
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.
436 thoughts on “Briefly…”
Just finished reading Chaos and wanted to thank you for the time you invested in giving us this gem of a book! After reading the book, I can see why it took you so long to investigate and get your arms around it. You are peeling away at the whitewash of the US and CA governments and exposing the rot that lies within. I feel sorry for those that participated in covering up any aspect of this story without considering who it actually benefits.
I would be very interested in seeing a close-up of that tangled web of connections that is on your whiteboard. Maybe here on this blog?
Once again, thank you so much for hard work and I hope that you are getting the recognition that you deserve.
Recently finished Chaos and loved it! First I just want to ask is ther going to be a follow up to Chaos? I keep seeing the name Chaos 2 pop up but never find any articles? Second, I just wanted to ask if you were a Pynchon fan?
Yes and yes!
Tom have you ever said anything about Linda Kasabian’s claims on the night of the La Bianca murders. I wrote this last night on that whole part in Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter.
The evidence that Susan Atkins didn’t participate in the La Bianca murders comes from Linda Kasabian. I’m not an anti Linda Kasabian conspiracy theorist by any means. According to her testimony, a lot more of the Manson Family went along the second night as there were to be two sets of murders.
I first read Helter Skelter when I was about 20 years old living in my parent’s basement. I was flipping around the television stations when I tuned into part one of the original two part Helter Skelter miniseries. Coincidentally on the shelf above the television my older brother had left a copy of the book Helter Skelter.
Even when I read the book the first time Kasabian’s testimony here struck me as odd. She said that Manson split them into two groups after tying up the La Biancas. He ordered Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Lesley Van Houten to kill the La Biancas. He told them that after committing the murders they were to clean themselves off and shower and hitchhike back to Spahn Ranch. Hitchhike back after committing murder?
Anyway, while those three were doing that, according to Kasabian’s testimony, she, Manson, Atkins and Steve ‘Clem’ Grogan drove off to commit another murder. Manson drove around eventually remembering an actor that had befriended Atkins and Kasabian, driving them back to Spahn Ranch after first taking them to his place, with Manson saying ‘do you remember where he lived? That’s who we’re going to off.’
According to Kasabian, Atkins gave the directions, but when she got there, Kasabian took over intentionally directing Manson to the wrong apartment room. The problem here is that, as Bugliosi himself describes, Kasabian got the description of the inside of the apartment building completely wrong.
So, after that, essentially Manson decides to calm down by driving to a local park and going for a walk with Kasabian. At the park, Manson sees a random person and hands a knife to Kasabian, telling her to kill the person. In her testimony, Kasabian replies with the (then) well known response “I’m not you Charlie, I can’t kill anyone.” According to Kasabian, Manson basically shrugged his shoulders.
In his interview with Kasabian before the trial, Bugliosi asked if she could corroborate this, and she said that park police later asked she and Manson, in a friendly way, ‘Out for the night are you?’
Bugliosi describes in the book that there were problems in checking that out because the park had overlapping jurisdiction. However, he eventually tracked down all? the officers and none of them could remember this. Of course, that by itself is not unusual.
However, taken with Linda Kasabian saying outright to Manson that he didn’t totally dominate her, even though The Family killed, threated and chased after a number of people who Manson was afraid might report these activities to the authorities (and along with testimony of Manson physically assaulting anybody in The Family – including the Manson girls – who defied him.) That whole part struck me as odd.
I’m surprised it was allowed in as evidence. There were no further crimes committed. The claim that Manson wanted to commit a random murder strikes me as clearly prejudicial (I’m sure the defense objected) and beyond that, obviously the reason Bugliosi wanted the testimony was to separate Linda Kasabian from the other Manson girls.
Kasabian’s testimony also provided evidence for Bugliosi to argue for the death penalty for Atkins, Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson: ‘Kasabian was subjected to Manson as well and didn’t murder anyone. They are still fully responsible for their actions.’
So, according to Tom O’Neill’s book on the subject ‘Chaos’, Susan Atkins in her original (before her Grand Jury testimony) taped description of the events to her first lawyer outright says ‘I was in the La Bianca house helping to murder them.’
I made a few errors here. Shame on me for writing this based on memory. This gist is correct though.
In the note on page 347 of the 1994 paperback version of Helter Skelter Bugliosi writes “My interviews with Linda Kasabian were not taped.” This would have been difficult to do I think since Bugliosi conducted the relevant interviews here at the scenes of the crimes.
This Part II of the La Bianca murder night begins on page 365.
1.They didn’t go to a park, they went to Venice Beach. This occurred before Manson attempted any further murders here.
2.Manson did not give a knife to Kasabian and tell her to kill somebody on the beach. He told Kasabian later to murder the actor. Manson gave Kasabian a pocketknife and demonstrated to her how to slit the actors throat. It’s at this point that Kasabian claims she said “I’m not you Charlie, I can’t kill anybody.” The book does not mention Manson’s reactions, but it sure seems like he supposedly just shrugged his shoulders.
3.Prior to this, the book says on page 363, before the La Bianca murder, that Manson ordered Kasabian to “at the next red light, pull up beside it (a white sports car) I’m going to kill the driver.” But, ‘as Manson jumped out, the light changed to green.’
(I’m not sure how this murder would have been committed. It didn’t sound like Manson was planning to shoot the driver.)
4.It was Linda Kasabian and Sandy Good who met the actor, not Kasabian and Susan Atkins
5.Kasabian did not describe the apartment building incorrectly, but in the apartment she pointed as actually knocking on (on the 4th floor and not the 5th floor – the top floor- where the actor did live,) nobody was renting the apartment at that time.
6.Manson drove back by himself and told Grogan, Atkins and Kasabian to also hitchhike back.
On hitchhiking back, they went to a ‘hippie crash pad’ next to the Malibu Feedbin. A girl, an older man and a big dog were staying there.
On page 393 Bugliosi describes how none of this could be verified. There was overlapping police jurisdiction with Venice Beach and no officer interviewed could remember this. Apartment 403 pointed to by Kasabian was unoccupied at the time and the tenant of apartment 404 was interviewed instead. The landlady did say that sometimes transients stayed in vacant rooms without her knowledge at the time they were staying there. Two girls who stayed at the ‘hippie crash pad’ were found, both friends of Susan Atkins, but neither could verify anything. Nor could any of the drivers who picked up the three hitchhiking be found.
I’m not a lawyer, but since ultimately nothing happened or be corroborated, I’m surprised this was allowed as testimony. Yet, it’s mentioned that it was since on page 544, Bugliosi quotes Irving Kanarek saying: “Why didn’t the prosecution bring in (actor Saladin) Nader and the policemen on the beach?”
Also, Susan Atkins did not, according to the trial testimony, directly participate in the La Bianca murders, but that she was charged with the conspiracy to commit their murders in part because of all of this ‘part II.’ Yet, Linda Kasabian (and others) testified that Steve Grogan was also along that night, and he wasn’t charged with conspiracy to commit the murders of the La Biancas.
Other accounts claim Charlie went to Venice to pay off the bikers who wanted money from Bobby. Insinuating he got cash from the LA Bianca’s. I tend to lean towards that simply because it makes sense. .
Hello Tom. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but many years ago the late author and writer for Vanity Fair Magazine, Dominick Dunne stated ( I believe during one of his appearances on a TV talk show either during the O.J. Simpson criminal trial or during the Simpson civil trial, that the actor Warren Beatty suggested to Dunne that Dunne should write a book about the Charles Manson case, to which Dominick replied that Vincent Bugliosi had already written the book about that case, and Beatty responded that Bugliosi wrote his book about the legal aspect of the case, but that Dunne should write a book about the case from the Hollywood angle since Dunne knew a number of the individuals connected to that case including Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski and Jay Sebring. Sadly, Dominick never wrote that potential book which probably would have made interesting reading!
Yes, he told me about it and wrote about Beatty’s suggestion in Vanity Fair.
I’m currently listening to your Koncrete interview & am astonished you were tricked (& impressed) by the likes of ‘Marilyn Manson’ I’m beginning to think your in way over your head … as worldly and as savvy as you are. All of the demonic people you’re engaging with – have one thing in common: SIN. That’s right. It’s not some antiquated idea that stopped plaguing mankind. They’re listening to – are guided by – the ‘god of this world’ & cultivating their own destruction by choice. Where’s your discernment? It’s a BAD idea to do drugs with the people youre interviewing. Don’t sully up your own credibility. Some people are being put up to contacting you. Have you figured that out yet? There’s people who still want to controll that story. Consider – Dave McGowan. He was flattered & attend the wrong mascarade party in Laurel Canyon. It’s getting harder to find his books.The publisher that bought the rights stopped printing them. People quickly forget. End of story. So, I’d keep a finger stuck in your beer bottle from now on and don’t be so dumb. You don’t seem to know we’re in the midst of a spiritual battle. If they gain enough access – via your own oblivious disregard…. you’ll end up with a very rare cancer. I’d complete the 2nd book – or forget it. Nothing will change. The truth ends up causing despair if nothing can be done about. Their father – is the father of lies. They hate the Truth and anyone who tells it. You seem genuinely naive and there’s some cognitive dissonance. Yeah, wrap your head around it. Next time satan knocks on your door, don’t even look out the peephole. Ephesians 6:12 KJV Only
Fuck, does that mean I can’t accept Ozzy Osborne’s pool party invite next week?
Setting aside the theological discussion, she’s not wrong about watching your back. You are exposing people that literally have the ability to alter someone’s behavior and memory. I would hate for you to fall victim to any misdeeds.
You have not done the one thing the One who died for you asked. Ye must be born again He said in John 3:3.
You seem to be very hypocritical, as you are naive with definetly some cognitive dissonance. As some good advice, suggest you start changing your perspective on c or developing new patterns of thinking.
Amazing stuff King Daddy! Really dug it!
I was investigation The Finders. Marion D. Pettie also had links to Ken Kesey. I looked up Pettie’s name on YouTube.com and found a channel that seems to show that the group is still functioning. Ted Gunderson who was the Head of the FBI in Houston and LA among many other large cities exposed this group as a D.C. operated group that is a well protected entity that gets all of their crimes swept under the rug either due to blackmail or comprising of certain white hats. Gunderson informed the public of the Franklin Cover-Up among many other things and The Finders seems to be the true untouchables. The FBI recently released damning documents that The Finders really were involved in the most evil acts dealing with children. I hope Tom O’Neill will cover this especially since it deals with CIA involvement with Marion D. Pettie and his connections with LSD Guru Ken Kesey. Marion D. Pettie aka The Game Caller must be written about
Have just re-read most of Helter Skelter,
On page 488 of the paperback version of the 1994 edition, Bugliosi says “For our part, although I’d originally planned to call some 100 witnesses, I’d but that number down to about 80.”
I made notes while reading the book, and Helter Skelter mentions 62 witnesses. They are in order of when they appeared in the book which seems to mostly be in order of when they testified. It is possible that if a witness appeared twice Bugliosi counted them as two witnesses. But, only Winifred Chapman is mentioned as testifying on two occasions:
1.Colonel Paul Tate, 2.Wilfred Parent, 3.Winifred Chapman X2, 4.William Garretson, 5.Frank Guerrero, 6.Tom Vargas, 7.Dennis Hurst, 8.Linda Kasabian, 9.Tim Ireland, 10,Rudolph Weber, 11.John Schwarz, 12.Jim Asin, 13.Officer Jerry DeRosa, 14.Officer William Whisenhunt, 15.Officer Robert Burbidge, 16.Sergeant Michael McGann, 17.Coroner Thomas Noguchi, 18.King Baggot, 19.Joe Granado, 20.Deputy Sheriff Helen Tebbe, 21.Frank Struthers, 22.Ruth Sivick, 23.John Fokianos, 24.Officer W.C Rodriquez, 25.Sergeant Edward Cline, 26.Sergeant Danny Galindo, 27.Sergeant Gary Broda, 28.Deputy Medical Examiner David Katsuyama, 29.Jerrome Boen, 30.Sergeant Harold Dolan, 31.Steven Weiss, 32.Officer Michael Watson, 33.Sergeant Robert Calkins, 34.Sergeant William Lee, 35.Thomas Walleman (T.J), 36.Ed Lomax (on page 473, this is the only mention I believe of a witness who had testified earlier but was not mentioned in order “Lomax of Hi Standard had previously testified that this model was relatively uncommon.”) 37.Danny DeCarlo, 38.Sergeant William Gleason, 39.Barbara Hoyt, 40.Juan Flynn, 41.Officer Dave Steuber, 42.Sergeant Paul Whiteley 43.Virginia Graham, 44.Ronnie Howard, 45.Gregg Jakobsen, 46.Sharokh, Hatami, 47.Rudy Altobelli, 48.Charles Koenig 49.Sergeant Frank Patchett, 50.Stephanie Schram, 51.Sergeant Manuel, Gutierrez, 52.DeWayne Wolfer, 53.Jerrold Friedman, 54.Roseanne Walker, 55.Harold True, 56.Sergeant William McKellar, 57.Terry Melcher, 58.Brooks Poston, 59.Paul Watkins, 60.Dianne Lake, 61.Dr. Blake Skrdla 62.Dr. Harold Deering
Only about half of the police authorities in the ‘Cast of Characters’ are mentioned as having testified. Not mentioned are
1Lieutenant Robert Helder, 2.Sergeant Jess Buckles, 3.Lieutenant A.H Burdick (I don’t think this is a surprise since he was the polygraph examiner) 4.Wendell Clements ‘Civilian fingerprint expert’, 5.Lieutenant Earl Deemer, 6.Officer D.E Dorman, 7.D.L Girt, Latent Prints Section, 8.Sergeant Ed Henderson, 9.Sergeant Gene Kamadoi, 10.Lieutenant Robert Madlock, 11.Sergeant Dudley Varney, 12.Lieutenant Paul Le Page, 13.Sergeant Michael Nielsen, 14.Sergeant Philip Sartuchi, 15.Sergeant J Claborn, 16.Officer J.C Toney, 17.Frank Fowles, Inyo County District Attorney, 18.Jack Gardiner, Inyo County Investigator, 19.Buck Gibbens, Inyo County District Attorney
Yeh, I think he didn’t reference some of the witnesses in HS who DID testify like cops Varney and Fowles.
There was an LAPD cop named Roxie Lucarelli, who responded to the Waverly crime scene. He was also a lifelong friend of Leno LaBianca. I’ve never come across an interview with him either.
I read your book Chaos, and I think it is great! Anyway I am interested in Reeve Witson, and that is because Im interested in the Olof Palme case 1986
There is a guy in the investigation callled Jonatan Reeves, a karate expert, and involverad in La Rouche movement
Im thinking maybe it is the same guy.
Do you know iif he had that identitety at some point? And when was he in Sweden?
And was he from Iran? Or another middleeast country?
I also wonder about another thing.
Im from Sweden and I think we also had a Sidney Gotlieb in Sweden and his name was Nils Bejerot. He was involved in Norrmalmstorgsdramat( the Stockholmsyndrome) as some kind of expert, do you know if that also was an experiment? To see if people could be loyal to there perpitrators?
Don’t know what Reeve was doing in ’86, sorry and don’t know about Bejerot, but anything’s possible!
Are you familiar with the book Weird Scenes in the Canyon- Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Side of the Hippie Dream? The author dug up a lot of interesting & thought provoking information (e.g. Frank Zappa, whose dad was a scientist in the U.S. Army’s chemical weapons program, used to have big acid parties where he’d abstain & choreograph the trips of his guests)?
Fascinating book for sure! It sure does amplify a lot of the sinister nature of what was going on with Manson’s group in the same time frame.
I’m sure I’m not the first to discover this, but there is a discrepancy (to say the least) in regards to Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter account of Kitty Lutesinger and, it seems, most of the other accounts. According to Bugliosi, mentioned several times in Helter Skelter, Lutesinger fleed the Manson Family most likely in October 1969 (with Stephanie Schram) from Barker Ranch and not from Spahn Ranch. So, according to Bugliosi, Lutesinger did not leave the Manson Family right (or shortly) after the Hinman murder.
On another matter, there is another mention of Dean Moorhouse in Helter Skelter, although for some reason it’s not listed in the index. In the epilogue ‘A Shared Madness’ on page 640 of the paperback version Bugliosi wrote “Dean Moorhouse went to Spahn Ranch to kill Manson for stealing his daughter, Ruth An; he ended up on his knees worshiping him.,
In doing further research into this cast of characters, I stumbled upon this link. Apparently, Hank Fine was a writer and crew member on a couple of Hollywood projects. No doubt covers for some of his intel work.
just finished your book – what a fantastic piece of work! Definitely looking forward to part 2 – whatever you may put in there.
I was wondering: Did you ever reach out to Denny Trejo? There are videos on Youtube (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkyDTmSzEfM) where tells about his encounters with Manson in prison and I was wondering if you maybe got anything interesting from him.
Also: What’s up with the guy that was the owner of the credit cards that fell out of Mansons pocket during the raid on Spahn ranch also being a Psychiatrist (or something similar)? Isn’t its strange that when Manson, or someone from the family, breaks into a car, its owner – out of all the possibilities – being a psychiatrist? How many of these were walking around in LA back in the day? No deeper connection of him to Manson or the family? It may of course just be a coincidence but if I learned anything from your book it’s that there is a certain chance of more being to these seemingly random encounters than it may appear in the beginning.
Anyway, great job!
Thanks and yeah, good question about the shrink. Spoke to him way back when and still checking some stuff out. May be significant. Stay tuned.
Very observant Pete. That psychiatrist is more interesting than you think. 😉 Stay tuned for CHAOS II.
1.The Tate murders were committed on a Friday night/Saturday morning. Referencing Paul Fitzgerald, (and I believe Irving Kanarak’s) arguments to the jury, it seems hard to believe that the Manson Family wasn’t given a head’s up by somebody casing 10050 Cielo Drive on what they would face that night. According to Vincent Bugliosi, it seems all Paul Fitzgerald said was that women are nurturers and not murderers, but I believe I read Irving Kanarak also stated that it didn’t make sense for Charles Manson to only send 1 man and 3 women to commit the murders because, for all they knew, there might have been 20 people at 10050 Cielo Drive that night, and then what would they do? Would Tex Watson have said: Don’t mind our gun and knives, we’re just here to crash the party. And, the murder out front? accidents happen!
On Page 547 of the 1994 paperback edition of Helter Skelter, Bugliosi responded in his closing argument saying “If Mr. Fitzgerald suggesting that Katie, Sadie and Leslie (for second night) were inadequate to do the job? Isn’t Mr. Fitzgerald satisfied with their handiwork?”
Whatever one thinks of Bugliosi, I think it’s hard to dispute that he was familiar with logic. Bugliosi is arguing a logical fallacy: because the Tate Murders worked out for Manson and the Family, that they must have known before committing them that they would work out. Of course, had there been 20 people at 10050 Cielo Drive that night, they almost certainly would not have worked out.
You mentioned that Reeve Whitson was apparently at (or outside) 10050 Cielo Drive some hours before the murders, but there is no evidence that he phoned Spahn Ranch (or that they phoned him.) The reporting on Reeve Whitson is also obviously contradictory. On the one hand, he seemed to have been assisting Manson, on the other hand he was assisting Colonel Tate and the police investigation, and none of the officers or Tate seemed to think he was misdirecting them.
“it seems hard to believe that the Manson Family wasn’t given a head’s up by somebody casing 10050 Cielo Drive on what they would face that night.”
Statements made at times by various Family members that ‘Sharon wasn’t supposed to be there,’ and what Krenwinkle said at her parole hearing that the plan was to murder the two women there, backs up your claim.
2.I realize it’s a fictional movie, but in the movie The Parallax View, from what is known about Manson and what is known about the sort of people the Parallax Corporation was looking for, Manson would seem to be the perfect fit for a hired assassin of some shadowy assassin government/private sector organization like the Parallax Corporation. I’m sure people would still be reluctant to talk about these things, but is there any evidence Manson could have been a hired assassin?
It would be interesting if Manson’s body had been hooked up for reactions during the montage sequence in the Parallax View movie.
Whatever one believes is the real motive(s) for Manson and the Family for committing these murders, it doesn’t have to be just one thing. Manson could have been trained by the FBI and/or the CIA to be a hired assassin and then was hired to murder one of the Tate victims.
This is all pure speculation, so I don’t mean to impugn anybody, but I can see reasons for any of the four to be murdered, and the rest then having to be murdered.
In the case of Voytek Frykowski. ‘the Parallax Corporation’ could have been hired by some drug gang that wanted to take over the MDA drug trade (if it’s accurate that he was involved in that drug trade and was trying to take it over in Los Angeles.)
In the case of Abigail Folger, it’s possible the FBI wanted her murder made to look like a Black Panther hit since I think it’s been acknowledged she was a member of the White Panthers. As you mentioned and has been widely reported, the FBI put out a fake statement from the Black Panthers that all white people, even Black Panther sympathizers, would be killed by the Black Panthers ‘when the time came.’
It’s also possible that Abigail Folger was simply wanted killed by a member of her family who was angry at how she was spending her trust.
In the case of Jay Sebring, he could have been wanted to be killed by the Mafia or maybe he overheard something he shouldn’t have while styling hair.
In the case of Sharon Tate, I hightly doubt her husband wanted to be a father.
“Abigail Folger… I think it’s been acknowledged she was a member of the White Panthers.”
Folger might have met a Black Panther or two, but I doubt she was a member of the White Panters.
3.On the other side, to contradict something in Chaos. It seems to be acknowledged that Terry Melcher’s reasons for leaving 10050 Cielo Drive in a hurry, that he was afraid of the maid, was a cover story.
However, it seems Doris Day in her own autobiography reported the real reason for this was that her husband, Marty Melcher had just died, and that Terry Melcher and she were shocked to discover that her husband had left her finances in a huge mess, and that Melcher moved in with her in order to facilitate untangling her finances.
The reason for the cover story was that Day’s husband had left her both enormously in debt (her $20 million fortune replaced by a $450,000 debt) but had also signed her up to CBS for a tv series (which became The Doris Day Show, a success which restored her finances.) According to her autobiography both she and Terry Melcher were concerned that had her true financial state become public knowledge that CBS would have gained leverage with her over negotiating the contract.
I read CHAOS over the weekend and found it fascinating and compelling. Great work!
I was curious to read more on Jolly West and looked him up a little. I was surprised by the quotation he supplied for an article on Lynette Fromme in the immediate aftermath of her attempt on Gerald Ford: “The Girl Who Almost Killed Ford” the 9/15/75 issue of TIME Magazine, (v. 106, Issue 11) on p.8-19 and I wanted to pass it on since it is suggestive given your discoveries. Here’s the section:
“Trying to explain Fromme’s fascination with violence, Dr. Louis Jolyon West, head of the psychiatry department at U.C.L.A., points out that she was part of a group whose members all were paranoid to varying degrees. “They all suffered from a group syndrome,” he says. “There was a pattern of holding to false beliefs with even greater conviction and emotional commitment than a normal person’s beliefs that are subject to the laws of evidence. They were being victimized by conspiracies and plots coming from very high levels of Government. This affirms the grandiosity of their self-image, and it justifies the violence with which they strike back.”
In particular, the sentence “They were being victimized by conspiracies and plots coming from very high levels of Government.” stood out to me. Obviously, the irony of this coming from an MKULTRA ghoul is galling. Beyond that, in light of the book, it’s hard not to wonder if his statement might not have been an attempt to get ahead of any MKULTRA revelations that the resulting investigation or trial might produce and frame them as delusions. I’ve read that it’s a relatively common “counter intelligence” tactic to protect a secret by framing the truth or part of the truth in a way that makes it seem incredible or discredits it.
Again, I appreciated the book and wish you the best in future!
“They were being victimized by conspiracies and plots coming from very high levels of Government.”
Excellent post. This is in line with something Krenwinkle allegedly told researcher John Judge many years ago–that she suspected they had been subject to MK Ultra experiments while at the HAFMC. Since that time no Manson member has expressed similar sentiments. I wonder if they were ‘discouraged’ from going down this road.
Also interesting since Jack Ruby was also made paranoid about a fictional grand conspiracy… could be a hallmark of some technique that might have been used on them?
I love and adore Tom O’Neill! Master sleuth!! His tenacity, and unwavering demand for truth, and accountability/responsibility melts me. Thank you for scaring the shit out of Bugliosi. The world needs more Tom O’Neills & Dan Piepenbrings!
Hey Tom, big fan. On the Back to Your Story podcast at about 1:46:00, you mentioned that since the publication of CHAOS, you’ve come across interviews where Manson mentioned being “protected” from 1967 on, where he said he “could do no wrong and it was thanks to the feds”. Are there copies of these interviews available online anywhere that you know of? Or if there aren’t links readily available, could you provide titles, authors, publications, dates or anything so we can look for them ourselves? Thanks for all you do very inspiring work.
I don’t place a lot of credence in what Manson’s says, however, these remarks are interesting and, of course, possibly significant, I may do a post on them at some point, the most relevant are from several parole hearings, but you can also find them in Marlin Marynick’s book, Charles Manson Now.
No specific mention of the feds, but on page 593 of Helter Skelter, starting on page 592 “On December 24 , 1969, Patricia Krenwinkle had been examined by a Mobile, Alabama, psychiatrist, a Dr. Claude Brown.”
“…following the murders “she was always fearful that they would be arrested for what they had done, but ‘Charlie said nobody could touch us.'”
Make of that what you will.
Sorry, should have made that clear: that quote from Patricia Kwenwinkle was part of the report that Dr Brown had put together.
I just finished your audio book and it was excellent. I knew about some of the CIA stuff from other reading. I researched it a lot. I have one question for you to ponder. If the CIA was experimenting with mind control in the 60s, what are they doing now? So many active shooters…
I’ve had the same thoughts, with a shooting incident every week now.
This book is absolutely fascinating, and, for me, many things began to click, after decades of learning about the Manson story. Roman Polansky is highly suspect as well, imo.
Sergeant Michael Nielson was an LAPD detective on the Manson case and named in HS, but is described by his surviving family members as a hypnotist.
Was it common for a detective to be a trained/practicing hypnotist then/today?
Back then I think he was the only one. Interviewed him several times. Didn’t know he died. RIP. Nice guy.
Hello Tom I have some additional information on the subject you wrote abouty MK ultra that I believe may of interest to you and the rest of the world I would like to discuss it with you if possible. You porbably recieve a lot of these responses but I believe this is worth hearing. The short of it due to contraints of space here is that the version of MK ultra that the public found out about was actually a red herring intended to create a stir that would cause the CIA to have to discontinue their practice of human expeirments which was the goal all along. They wanted to begin using subcontractors for the real project that needed to be scaled up and in order to do this would need a scandal. I have reason to believe that I will not discuss here that they were involved with a different direction of mind control that did not center around drugs but rather epigenetic modification using biological means to do so specifically a virus mutation that would lead to the cirmcumstance we face today presently in autism spectrum disorder I have a tremendous amount of information that I have amassed that begins in ww2 when the beginnings of the program stated to materialize. I have a very complete theory and want to run past you what I promise will be a conversation that you will remember the rest of your life. My email address is email@example.com give me 10 minutes and I believe you will; spend the rest of your day thinking about what I have to tell you.
Was Abbie Hoffman also part of this CIA program you describe in ‘Chaos’?
Is the programming/selection for ‘ideal killers’ still being done today?
Love your work and look forward to seeing/ reading more of it.
Mr. O’Neill, I have immense respect for your persistence, and your willingness to honestly evaluate what you could prove, what was yet not established, and what you might have done better. That’s really refreshing.
I can’t remember; did you ever come across anything that put Jolly West and Reeve Whitson at the same location and time?
I picked up your book in our little, local bookshop. I am intrigued, terrified,understanding, amazed and affirming, all at the same time, as I read your book.
I am halfway through.
Do you find parallels between what you wrote about vis a vis the Sixties, the government, the agencies infiltration, the desire to sow dissonance and violence in America, and what has been going on over the past 2 years? I could replace names and dates, and it would be America of today. How scary. How sad. We apparently learned nothing, and our leaders are more emboldened than ever.
I am dog-earring pages that are important and meaningful to the current state of affairs.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Past two years!? Haven’t you been reading the book? You think it just abruptly ended with Manson?
I’m just over 1/2 way and lived very close and knew people who were going to CM.S party’s at Spahn ranch. Everything that I know about is exactly how I have read in the book.
Any update on what Tom is Doing
Second book and a doc film
Groovy!! Can’t hardly wait to read another book from you. What’s is it going to be? More La Bianca stuff and a dive into the connection to the Bobby and Jack Kennedy assasinations? Where will we find the documentation? Are you gonna be in it, too? I really like you in interviews.
P.S.: Just saw people bragging reliculious BS about you drinking and smoking with Marilyn Manson… don’t take so hard. I would have done exactly the same. Not because i am a Fanboy, but because you already took the ride there, there was no big news you got out of this, Marilyn can be charming and is not a dummie and Dan is a huge fan. That’s envy from people that think Jesus is still a celebratie… well, he isn’t.
Was looking up on the OJ Simpson trial in connection with the LAPD. I don’t know if you knew about this Tom, but the Wiki on Mark Fuhrman says this:
In his book Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder, Vincent Bugliosi argues that planting the glove would have required a far-reaching (and unlikely) conspiracy between Fuhrman and other police force members. Anyone involved in such a conspiracy would have been risking their life, because Article 128 of the California Penal Code states that anyone who fabricates evidence in a death penalty case – as the Brown and Goldman murder case might have become – can be sentenced to death themselves.
So, don’t know if Bugliosi knew that during the Manson trial, but given his legal background, it’s likely that he did.
When was that penal code put into place?
Hello again Tom. I just wanted to correct a small spelling error in my previous email message to you. In that email message I misspelled/mistyped the word “of” as “off” towards the end of that email message. Sorry about the spelling/typing error…………. Best Regards, Mike.
I just finished ‘Chaos’, the final part I had left.
It’s an amazing book, very well written. You’re writing is accessible to every level of reader. And given the amazing quality of your work; and the raw honesty. It’s understandable why it took 20 years. You did a good job, Tom. Everyone should be so proud of you. Bask in your success and rest on your laurels.
You deserve this..👏👏
Mr. O’Neill, I just wanted to thank you for all of the hard work and sacrifice that you did. It was an eye opening experience to see how our government really operates.
Thank you so much for your work…
I’m so glad you were on the air with Joe Rogan. I guess, i would have missed the book otherwise…
Looking really forward to Chaos 2.
I hope for you it’s going to be a ride more gentle than the first one.
And what a hell of a ride that was.
But it’s somehow fair. It’s a hell of a book!
I loved it. Thank you
Have you ever made public the audio of your interview with Manson? If so, where can one find it? And if not, could you promptly do so, please?
You can hear parts of it on my Instagram and YouTube pages
Mr. O’Neill, I’m grateful for all your research, because my sister is a victim of Mkaltra. And it’s a lifetime research experiment that included myself, without our families consent or knowledge. It has been a horrible nightmare my whole life. Because it is completely covert. And because they started in early childhood without our parents consent.
Hi Tom. First off: excellent job with CHAOS. As of now I’m on page 276 and car put it down. What prompted me to finally purchase the book was coverage it received on Darryl Cooper’s Martyrmade podcast.
With Jim Jones’ People’s Temple operating out of the Ukiah area, did they ever cross paths with The Family? Thank you.
Not that I’ve seen
Enjoyed reading your book over 2 years ago. I have always been fascinated by the 60’s as well as current event, politics. etc. We are about the same age and when I was in 20’s and early 30’s I worked for a senior member of Congress. I traveled in many circles and was close to people in the senior Bush Administration. I do have a couple questions. How did Tex Watson get back to Texas? Did he have a car? Do you know any reliable source that has listened to the tapes? When is your second book coming out. Thanks MGH
Tom, I just finished “Chaos” on audiobook. Strangely and unintentionally, I chose to do so right before another anniversary of the whole situation. This book is insane. In the best way possible. Thank you for your dedication, sir.
Tom, have you ever heard of Charles Schmid? He was known as the “Pied Piper of Tucscon” He committed several murders in the early/mid 1960s and was the subject of some interest in the public as he had a number of similarities to Manson but the fascination with him seems to have largely disappeared as people moved on to Manson.
The similarities to Manson are twofold:
1.Schmid had a group of teenage followers (hence the nickname) who all knew that he was a murderer, but none of them cared because they found him a charismatic person they wanted to follow. Obviously not quite the same as the actual cult that Manson led, but not that different.
From what I was told, the media downplayed that Schmid’s followers all knew that he was a murderer because the reporters involved were all horrified and concerned about the sociological implications. It wasn’t that the media coverered it up, they just didn’t mention it much. This likely, however, reduced greatly the interest that the general public would have otherwise had in the case.
2.Schmid had personal connections with the Mafia, or, at least, the Mafia based in Tucson. Again, not quite the same as with Manson, for whom there is evidence that some of the people murdered by Manson had connections with Mafia.
Coincidences happen all the time, but I do find the similarities interesting given that they were only around 5 years apart (also, for what it’s worth, both in the South Western United States.)
One probably significant difference, however, is that Schmid had never been to jail prior to committing these murders.
CHAOS Great Book!
Just finished reading last night. Third for me on the subject, best & most informative by far.
Not sure I’ll benefit by reading Jeff Guinn’s MANSON after CHAOS.
I’m a cousin to Reeve Whitson-CIA. My mom Colleen Davis & Clyde Whitson-FBI (all 1st cousins) met during the ’60’s in our home. They made it clear they were fearful & this home was safe. I don’t understand my memories very well but Reeve was real. After Manson Murders he showed up briefly very afraid as was Mom & Clyde. I know positively that Hugh H. was a big topic of concern as were many names. If I asked I was told I dreamed it. Visits stopped early 70s. Before Clyde’s death he visited/called several times. He was emotional, apologetic & constantly seeking forgiveness. But for what? He just said “if you want to know you’ll remember.” But I can’t. Reeve was real tho’ & I knew him. I was told by Clyde he was murdered. Thank you writing & trying to bring truth. I will try to read your books. Maybe memories will be answered.
Thanks for reaching out, Patricia. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and who is “Hugh H.”?
Could Hugh H. be Hef?It’s interesting that ANOTHER one of Reeve’s cousins has contacted you.She said he was running scared?Interesting.
Patricia Smith, About 5 years after the murders, Reeve Witson was involved in a partnership with my dad that made Indy car models, Reeve had a son named Woody?, that had a yellow Honda Civic (first generation) my dad said Reeve Witson went back to Switzerland and died from leukemia I believe, my dad said Reeve was a scammer kinda guy. We lived in Costa Mesa at that time
I had since finding out that Manson had a music producer contact before Dennis Wilson and Terr Melcher why Bugliosi left that out of Helter Skelter. I was especially surprised since Bugliosi mentioned the name of the blues musician who taught Manson how to play the guitar while in prison.
I believed mentioned in Chaos, Manson first made contact with a musician and recording engineery he served time with when he was in jail from 1960-1967 who gave him the name of a music producer in Los Angeles and who promised Manson that he would tell the music producer about him, which he did do, and Manson, straight out of jail, did go see this music producer.
The person who did this for Manson is named Phil Kaufman. Phil Kaufman was also the road manager for country rock music pioneer/legend Gram Parsons. Much more than this connection to Manson, Kaufman is known for stealing Gram Parsons body in order to burn it in Joshua Tree in 1973. He became a minor celebrity, or maybe more than that, when he held a benefit concert to pay off his legal fines resulting from this.
This occurred in 1973, Helter Skelter was published in 1974. One of the most consistent things in Helter Skelter is how Bugliosi minimizes both Manson’s celebrity connections in Los Angeles and the extent to which Manson tried, even before putting together any Helter Skelter ideology, to try to get a recording contract.
hello tom, i am writing to you from santiago de chile, a few weeks ago i finished reading your book, you did a great investigation, i personally do not believe that FBI/CIA agents were behind the crimes, at least not in an intentional way, neither do i believe that manson was an informant, i believe that manson’s impunity in the previous months is simple incompetence of the LAPD. i do believe that it is probable that the parole officer SMITH used manson to study him, and it got out of his hands. REEVE WHITSON is disturbing. while I don’t agree with all your suspicions, it is a fantastic book, full of revelations and hidden information, I think it is a seminal book in investigative journalism. I look forward to your second book.
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Tom, please devote the next 20 years to investigating the death of Kurt Cobain. K Thnx, you are awesome.
I was a witness in a Federal Drug Trial, US v FedEx. It pertained to FedEx being the drug mule for rogue internet pharmacies. FedEx was guilty as sin. Judge Charles Breyer proclaimed FedEx factually innocent and rigged the trial. WAPO knows all about this. I have a direct message and email from a reporter there. Higham who wrote Finding Chandra is sitting on the story. It goes as high as you can go in US Govt.
Doris Day quote to Manson’s face is worth price of Chaos!
I back up EVERYTHING I write.
I’m presently reading Chaos, hugely enjoying it, well done!
I’d like to ask you a question/give you some info you may not have, from a trusted personal source, re Bill Tennant’s wife Sandy, about the murder night itself – please do come back to me
Sure, Paul, interested in hearing what you’ve got She wouldn’t speak to me. Email me at email@example.com. Thanks
Hey Tom, I read your book Chaos about a year ago and I can’t recommend it enough to people. I have a couple questions, where can I find records or go about getting them about the Manson case and are you writing a new book? Thank you, Zach.
Thanks, Zach. In the footnotes to my book I list the places where I found the docs. And yes, working on a follow up!
Email the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Request the 4 CDs containing most of the trial transcripts from the many Manson-related trials. A couple of years back they were sending them to people in the US–for free!
Hi Tom. I just finished listening to Chaos. The lack of transparency on all levels continues to blow my mind. I’m curious if you’ve read a book called Baseless by Nicholson Baker. Many of the same people mentioned and frustrations with waiting for the freedom of information act. Painstaking attention to detail. On par with you! Thank you for sharing your story in such a personal way. And for letting us in on how your brain works. Picturing the mountains of binders. My gosh. Thank you for the years of work. I never knew anything about Manson. Now I do!
Did you ever think about Frank Sinatra? His marriage to his then 22-year-old pregnant wife, Mia Farrow? Roman Polanski propositioned her to star in Rosemary’s Baby. She can’t, Frank would divorce her?
Excellent book/ investigation. Just further re-enforces what I have always known to be true about dark ops in this country. Sadly there will never be a smoking gun incident and if there is it will just be covered up by the establishment. It appears that ole Jolly West’s works continue today…. With much better results and refinement…..random people committing random mass killings / shootings that shock the norms of society .. hmm… Well this retired LE officer has rambled enough. In closing I will open another rabbit hole…. Was Cass Elliots death really an accident?
I just finished the book moments ago… what an AMAZING ride that was!!!! Tom you’re a savage, an absolute unit of an investigator and journalist. I hope this is a long documentary soon to come! Thanks again man it was perfect!
My name is Jeff Crudele. I host and produce a podcast entitled JFK the Enduring Secret. We have produced 140 episodes thus far. We will probably end up with over 250 episodes once we are all said and done. It’s a comprehensive tutorial on the JFK Assassination. I just listened to your interview on Koncrete. Absolutely fascinating and I would be interested in catching up with you to discuss doing an episode together. Let me know if you have an interest in catching up. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your kind words and interest, Jeff. I’m hoping to do my own podcast or YouTube type series down the line so am limiting my appearances on others’ shows to just those that pay a fee (as, despite it all, I’m still deeply in debt from the book and I don’t want to saturate the internet with interviews).Thanks, though, and best of luck with your show,Tom
I just bought your book and will be picking it up soon (hard copy not audio). One big question I have for you. If as you suggest MK Ultra made Manson a killer, then did Manson’s attorneys use that claim as part of his trial defense? And if not, why not? Wouldn’t that have been the best defense he could come up with if it were true?
You’ll find the answers in the book, thanks
Always been fascinated with the Manson event and it’s circumstances; however, I always felt that something was missing. Then I read your book. Well written and satisfying.
Thank you for your commitment to the project.