On April 14, 1985, while in prison in Vacaville, CA, 48-year-old Charles Manson (B-33920 L-301) released his first commercial record album from material previously taped in 1971 in San Quentin. On March 29th, he wrote some PR letters to the media, including High Times where I was working part-time, helping out then-editor John Howell, who’d just taken over from the recently-departed Larry Sloman.
“The photographs in your magazine make me cry,” wrote Charlie. “but I love looking at them all the same. Keep it UP!”
You know the Helter Skelter theories about provoking a race war to usher in the new age apocalypse were actually originally fomented by the Process Church of Final Judgment (a British spinoff from Scientology). They were the spookiest of all the cults that invaded the Haight. But Charlie’s murder spree actually had two motives, neither to do with race war: One was to get the recently-jailed Bobby Beausoleil released by staging some copycat murders similar to the one Bobby was charged with, proving Bobby was innocent (and the real killer still at large), and the other was to seek vengeance against Terry Melcher who’d scuttled his record deal soon after getting a glimpse of Charlie’s dark side at the Spahn Ranch. Unfortunately for Sharon Tate, she’d recently moved into Melcher’s former home.
As for the letter he sent High Times, aside from pushing his record, Charlie was promoting a new organization, World Wide Understanding, PO Box 90, Nantasket Beach, MA, as well as the group’s 9-point statement of purpose, which I found interesting as it seemed to indicate Charlie was now attempting to capitalize on some of his skills, which apparently included phone sex and occult wisdom:
First: Interested in the ECOLOGY, MUSIC, SEXUALITY or the OCCULT? W.W.U. provides a service where people of similar interests can contact each other with as much privacy and anonymity as desired.
Second: A place for exhibitionists to share their sexual uniqueness with the voyeurs of the world.
Third: A fourm [stet] to explore and exchange thoughts and ideas about sexuality, music and the occult.
Fourth: Learn, teach and share in sexual arousal and gradification without physical contact, free from the worry of unwanted pregnancies and veneral [stet] disease.
Fifth: Learn how to overcome jealousy and still have sexual variety.
Sixth: Venture into new thought and territories exploring the body and the mind.
Seventh: Share your fantasies and have fantasies shared with you.
Eighth: Learn that sex in not a tool to manipulate the opposite sex.
Ninth: Learn not to label or stereotype yourself or anyone else.
PS. Save a tree, eat a beaver. Today the GOOD WITCH from the East will be set FREE to come West.