Charlie Manson’s OM War with Wavy Gravy

After serving 22 months in the Army, Hugh Romney attended Boston College on the GI bill and ended up studying the newly emerging improvisational theater movement (created by Viola Spolin). After college, he moved to Greenwich Village to become a comedian and was initially managed by Lenny Bruce while sharing an apartment with Tom Paxton and becoming close friends with Bob Dylan.

Before long, Romney moved to California and joined Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. But when Kesey fled to Mexico under threat of arrest, fellow prankster Ken Babbs hijacked the magic bus Further, leaving the rest of the Pranksters stranded in Los Angeles. Romney soon discovered a nearby hog farm in the mountains was looking for a caretaker. In other words, a free place to stay. He set up a commune and called it The Hog Farm, which overnight became one of the most famous of the 1960s hippie communes.

Charles Manson drove out to the Hog Farm one day in the late 1960s. He arrived in his all-black tour bus. Manson had already made contact with one of the Hog Farmers, Shirley Lake, whose daughter Diane would eventually join the Manson family. After arriving at the commune, Manson gave Romney the title to his black bus and then tried to seduce Romney’s wife Bonnie Jean (today known as Jahanara) in a nearby shed. He was undoubtedly planning on merging his family with the Hog Farm and usurping Romney as the leader of the commune. Romney managed to break up the seduction and Manson retired to his black bus with his female followers in tow. Sensing Manson was channeling the wrong vibes, Romney gathered his troops and began an OM circle next to the bus.

The OM circle is an ancient ceremony from Afghanistan that may have originated with the original Soma cults, or perhaps it was part of Manichaeism. As it traveled down the road to the Middle East, it became shortened as “amen.” I believe the original OM circle is the best way to harmonize a group of people. It initially became popular with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love in Laguna Beach, and was later taken up by Allen Ginsberg, who used it as a force field to protect himself and others during the riots in Lincoln Park during the Democratic convention in 1968.

Suddenly, Manson burst out of the black bus, holding his throat, choking, followed by his female followers who were quite alarmed. They tried to stop the OM circle, as they believed it was killing their leader. Manson began leading his group in an evil OM to ward off the vibes coming from the Hog Farmers. Eventually, Romney was able to persuade Manson to drive away and not return. The following year, Romney would change his name to Wavy Gravy and become famous as the emcee of the first Woodstock festival. Manson’s family would soon become the most famous serial killers in the world.

Today, Wavy remains a master of improvisational theater, which involves a deep understanding of spirituality (telepathic energy). Improvisation can unblock energy clogs and release deep inner insights. If you ever get a chance to attend a Wavy Gravy improvisational workshop, jump at it. You won’t be sorry.

Manson, meanwhile, died on November 19, 2017, in a maximum security prison after numerous parole hearings refused to release him. When he entered prison, Manson listed his religion as “scientologist.” He kept an E-meter at his ranch. Some believe Scientology was created by military intelligence as a brainwashing and mind control operation.

Manson was directed into Haight-Ashbury by his probation officer Roger Smith (who strangely had no other paroles other than Manson). The neighborhood had been flooded with cheap speed. A “free clinic” had been set up in the neighborhood to monitor hippies and their drug use. The clinic was run by David Smith, who had recently conducted the first major study on the effects of meth on mice and discovered it enhanced violent behavior.

Another similar data-gathering operation was set-up two blocks away on Frederick Street. Dr. Jolly West rented a house where over 30 hippies resided, and paid them $1.50 an hour (a considerable sum at the time) for interviews and testing. Personality quizzes and IQ tests were funneled to West, who could have easily culled victims for MK/Ultra experiments. West was strangely predicting the emergence of violent cults from the hippie peace and love movement, something he undoubtedly was fomenting as he’d already mastered the art of erasing memories and planting false ones with drugs and hypnosis.

Ron Stark, Charlie Manson, Mark Chapman.

The British offshoot of Scientology (The Process Church of Final Judgment) ran an operation to capture prominent rock bands into their fold and became perhaps the creepiest of all the creepy vibe masters that infested the counterculture immediately after the new zeitgeist took hold.

Ron Stark was affiliated with The Process Church and he went on to become the biggest connection for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, which flooded the world with Orange Sunshine, while Charles Manson moved to Los Angeles and launched a series of murders seemingly designed to foment race war, but which only served to brand the hippie movement as crazed and violent, driving middle America away from a non-threatening, non-violent spiritual awakening, while disarming and deflecting that culture’s attempts to end the war in Vietnam, something that could have saved millions of lives across Indochina.


26 Replies to “Charlie Manson’s OM War with Wavy Gravy”

  1. The whole scene between the Monsonites and the Hog Farmers is strangely reminiscent of the sting pulled on the Ordo Templi Orientis leader and founding Nasa scientist Jack Whiteside Parsons by future founder of Scientology L.Ron Hubbard, just a couple decades earlier in much the same part of the globe. As Leary – who I understand was linked to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love – identified strongly w/OTO Supreme Head Aleister Crowley aka The Beast 666 – it is interesting the “battle lines” seem to shape up in such a similar way, to say the least – from the way you end the article I expect there will be more light shed on this process (no pun intended) as you role out the data in future pieces.

      1. According the first (and best) edition of Ed Sanders classic, “The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion:” “Another convert, Diane Lake, a red-haired, fourteen-year-old with hip parents, met Charlie and the girls at The Spiral Staircase house of flickers. Diane and her parents had been living in the Los Angeles area with the Hog Farm, an important seed commune later to roam the continents as a world peace brigade.” Whether or not the young Ms. Lake’s parents were with her at this initial meeting at the infamous Spiral Staircase is not clear. Long since demolished, the Spiral Staircase house was some sort of wrecked mansion at the entry to Topanga Canyon. It is the same locale where Manson apparently first met the actor and musician Mr. Robert Beausoleil (according to the books). Off-hand, I believe I read an interview or book in which Manson stated or implied that he first met California devil worshippers at the same Spiral Staircase.

      2. I had a personal war with the STP creeps when I was a street artist on Telegraph.
        They rolled in to Berkeley, and immediately fucked with everyone.

        I resolved my issues with them by wailing on the most obnoxious one with a weighted mallet. End of problem.

        The worst, filthy creeps, ever.

        Hugh is a saint, by the way, and so is Joe MacDonald!

        1. Always interesting that an 11 year old story continues to be relevant, thanks to the honest people who share their stories. Thank you for yours, and yes, Wavy Gravy and Joe MacDonald are both great Americans who are not as well known and celebrated as they should be.

  2. i recall the brotherhood and the free lsd at griffith park…i was involved with the easter 1969 love-in at griffith park….free lsd in jugs of orange juice was doled out while the brotherhood was oming at sunrise!!!
    i definitely tripped my brains out on orange sunshine…….

  3. Countercultural minutiae: When was Mr. Romney nicknamed Wavy Gravy? Somewhere, I read that Mr. B.B. King nicknamed him, but am not sure when. King and Romney both participated in the “Medicine Ball Caravan” tour and film in August 1970. Was Romney already WG before the Medicine Ball Caravan or was that when King nicknamed him? The Medicine Ball Caravan played Yellow Springs, Ohio, where I reside in August 1970, headliners were Van Morrison and Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band (remember “Express Yourself”). According to one survivor of that festival who still resides in Yellow Springs, Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm handed out mescaline popsicles at the Yellow Springs show. Here are two articles I wrote on the Medicine Ball Caravan in Yellow Springs: and The articles also have some info on the ill-fated STP Family’s part in the Medicine Ball Caravan.

    1. Pretty sure the name came from BB King two days after Woodstock in Texas, not during the Medicine Ball Caravan, which happened a few months later (I have a video on Youtube about the film, part of my bio on Tom Forcade). Wavy played his usual role of Temple Dragon on that film and tour, saving the day many times; so its a mystery why Warners wouldn’t allow any of that footage into the final cut, or why they won’t release any Wavy footage to this day. The STP family were a huge problem Wavy had to deal with, and according to Forcade, he did a masterful job of disarming them.

      1. Thanks so much for the quick answer! Unfortunately, the “Medicine Ball Caravan” film is a poor film IMHO. I do enjoy the parts with the illustrious Mr. Tom Forcade and David Peel in Yellow Springs; the Youngbloods’ “Hippie from Olema;” and the soon-to-be-murdered-by-a-cop STP Family’s handsome Deputy Dawg… That said, even as a poor film, I love it because it documents that lost era. Re: Wavy Gravy: my local friend who was at the Medicine Ball Caravan in Yellow Springs, was certainly charmed by emcee/greeter/smiler-in-chief Wavy Gravy’s role at the show.

  4. Another countercultural minutiae question: How well did Stephen Gaskin know Manson? First, in Gaskin’s “Amazing Dope Tales,” he writes of a charming & intelligent short-haired acid head named Charlie that he befriended in the Drogstore Cafe early one morning back in the Haight. The stories that this Charlie tells sound a little like what has been documented as 1967 Manson philosophy (especially when Charlie draws a single line through a piece of paper and analogizes that just as a drawn line through a piece of paper does not create two pieces of paper, that the air between two people does not create two people, because, brother, we is one!). Second, in (at least) one of the editions of Ed Sanders’ classic “The Family,” he writes of a well-known Haight flower power guru who accompanied Manson on at least one bus trip down the California coast. Sanders does not imply that it was Gaskin, but who was it? Third, when I worked the Renaissance Faire circuit as a younger man, I encountered a former resident of The Farm who off-handedly told me that Gaskin and Manson were pen-pals of some sort. I ask this not to cast any sort of aspersions on Gaskin, but solely because I am endlessly fascinated with countercultural minutiae!

    1. I’d have to ask Stephen, although in all our talks, he never once mentioned Manson to me. They were in jail at the same time, however, and some correspondence may have taken place. Manson considers himself an environmentalist, so he’d see a lot to respect in Stephen. As for his “Charlie” character, had that been Manson, Stephen would have likely made hay with that fact and reprinted an expanded version of the book. Frisco was filled with flower power gurus, in fact, every commune had at least one.

      1. Re: the character Charlie from Gaskin’s Amazing Dope Tales’ “Charlie and the Drogstore Cafe.” You are likely correct that it is not Manson. It would be interesting to know who that Charlie is; Gaskin describes him as talking “the most incredible string of highly intelligent hippie dope talk.” Sure, it could be anyone, but, to this reader, he’s the most interesting character in “Amazing Dope Tales.” One detail of the character that doesn’t fit Manson is Gaskin’s description of him as “a little fat.” Re: the ‘well-known flower power guru’ that Ed Sanders wrote about, my understanding of the Haight in that era is as yours: one couldn’t throw a stick without hitting a guru. However, precious few of said gurus could be described as “well-known.”

  5. I was on The Farm in `1976. We had almost no media acess, but Stephan told us the following thing during a Sunday service (which was held every week.)
    Charles Manson said, during his parole hearings, that if he were let out, :I would spend the rest of my life with my freind Stephan in Summertown.”
    Since The Farm was located in Summertown, Ten. it was clear which Stephan he meant.
    Stephan said that he would let Charlie in, but if he showed any trace of ego, he would kick him out, and if he wasn’t nice, he would call he Sherif and have him thrown in jail.
    No mention of any preiouse connection or how Charlie may have gotten Stephan into his head.
    Personally, I think that Stephan was kind of an egotistical, hypocrital jerk, kind of abusive verbally and emotionaly, too. But certainly not as bad as Charlie.

    1. I just don’t know how you could compare Stephen to Charlie Manson and the fact you can’t spell his name makes me wonder about the validity of this story.

  6. Hi Steven!
    I am writing a section in my book about the Hog Farm and Wavy Gravy. Amazing story! Is discussions with Wavy Gravy your source for this? (the story about Manson’s time at the Hog Farm).

    Do you happen to know anything about how Wavy Gravy came into contact with The Urantia Book or anything about to what extent it was / is a popular book among Wavy Gravy and other Hog Farm folks? I have been trying to ask Wavy Gravy but so far no luck.


    Mike – Stockholm Sweden

  7. Hm this is the same group who had orgies with a12-13 y/o Dianne lake? Who feed that girl LSD? Manson may be evil but this group of people scared a 13 year old so much she ran into the arms of a serial killer

    1. Don’t know if any of these accusations are true, but I do know there were many, many mistakes made in the 60s. Zane Kesey was a couple years old when he tried LSD. I don’t recommend LSD for anyone, much less a toddler. As for orgies, never heard that story, but I do believe Wavy Gravy has done more to treat blindness in the third world than almost any other single person.

    1. I will approve this comment Mandie, but I have to let you know I consider Jan Irvin a disinformation specialist and would never contribute to his site. If he has similar info he may have lifted it from me sans attribution. I caution people against falling into his many rabbit holes, the foremost of which is the Jews are running the world.

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