This week marks the 45th anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders. I’m marking it first with a prayer for the victims and second by making note of some interesting people I’ve met as a result of this lifelong Manson obsession I have.
I’ve been to L.A. twice, and both times drove around to the two murder sites and other places.
I’ve also read Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice, a book written by Tate family friend Alisa Statman and Brie Tate, niece of Sharon Tate.
After reading it, I declared it “the most important book ever written” on the case because it showed the struggle of the Tate family in the decades after the murders better than any book up to that point. The day that post published, co-author Alisa Statman sent me a thank-you on Twitter. We then engaged in an extended back and forth about the case. Statman is an interesting woman.
She lived in the guesthouse at 10050 Cielo Drive — site of the Tate murders — in the early 1990s at the same time Nine Inch Nails set up a recording studio in the main house and recorded The Downward Spiral. She also went on to strike up a domestic partnership with Sharon Tate’s youngest sister, Patti, which lasted until cancer killed Patti in 2000.
Restless Souls is a compilation of the unfinished memoirs of Patti, her mom, Doris, and her dad, Paul. You really get to see how they struggled with all of the media attention and personal demons in the years after the murders, and that’s what I liked about it. Doris is a hero to me, because she picked up the pieces and became a tireless advocate for victim’s rights, even counseling convicts.
I heard from others after writing that post, including Brian Davis, host of an online Tate-LaBianca Radio Program, which airs on Sunday nights. I’ve listened to some episodes and they’re quite good.
Davis believes parts of Statman and Tate’s book is fabricated, something I’ll explore in a future post. There are a lot of blogs and other media on this case, including the Helter Skelter forum and Truth on Tate-LaBianca. CieloDrive.com has a comprehensive set of links to those sites at the bottom of its homepage. In visiting all these sites over the years, I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of fighting and disagreement between them.
People really rip into each other over what did and didn’t happen, and almost everyone claims to be an expert. It goes to show how much passion and obsession this case has generated over the years. It’s certainly been the object of my obsessiveness.
Along the way, I’ve learned that there are people so obsessed with the case that they try to make themselves part of the story. The most glaring example is the late Bill Nelson. This guy basically stalked members of the Manson family and befriended Doris Tate. There’s a great write-up about him on Eviliz’s Manson Family Blog. The Tate family had a falling out with Nelson after learning he was a convicted sex offender.
He asks her questions and mentions the most gory details of her daughter’s murder with no sensitivity or decency whatsoever. I admit that I’ve been obsessed with the case over the years. But, boy, am I grateful that I never got as bad as that guy.