Recently I came across a letter that Charlie Manson had written from prison. The story of how this happened is a good one, but would best be told in private. In a moment of weakness, or brilliance, depending on your point of view, I traded it for two ounces of weed. This relative good fortune put Manson back in my consciousness and led me to buy Jeff Guin’s fabulous book on Manson, which in turn made me wonder, “Just where are all these freaks now?”
It has been 45 years or so since this little, opportunistic sociopath charmed and bedeviled a cadre of followers into doing some really bad things. Here is what they are up to today.
Who: Awesome cult leader, mediocre musician, convicted of arranging 7 murders.
Where he is now: Just doing his thing in Corcoran State prison. “We are all our own prisons, we are all our own wardens and we do our own time. Prison’s in your mind. Can’t you see that I’m free?” While that is a pretty awesome quote he also said “Do you feel blame? Are you mad? Uh do you feel like wolf kabob Roth vantage? Gefrannis booj pooch boo jujube; bear-ramage. Jigiji geeja geeble Google Begap flagagaggle vaggle vedich-waggle bagga.”
Who: Murderer who was convicted of 8 killings. While in jail, she confessed to her roomies that she stabbed Sharon Tate and tasted her blood.
Where she is now: Atkins became a born again Christian while in prison and authored a book about her experience. While in prison, she married twice, the second time to James Whitehouse, who thought she was so awesome he went to law school to try and get her out. She died in prison as a result of brain cancer.
Who: Murderer who did most of the stabbings, shootings, and much of the other dirty work.
Where he is now: Tex is in prison in California. He also became a born again Christian and started his own ministry. The website starts, “Welcome! My prayer is for you to experience God’s healing power while on aboundinglove.org. That your heart will be open to God’s love and grace, realizing that if He can forgive me, there is hope for you, too. I believe something new and exciting is about to take place in your life.” Gee, Tex, you really think so? That would be great!
He has four children through conjugal visits.
Who: Convicted of murdering Gary Hinman, good-looking poon magnet and artistic type that helped Manson get the ladies
Where he is now: Still in prison. You can check out his music and artwork here. But don’t go there trying to find out any weird stuff about him, as he puts it on his website, “If you have come here looking to gratify some curiosity regarding unfortunate associations that haunt my past, I’m sorry but you will have to look elsewhere.” Drag.
Who: Brunner had a baby with Manson named Valentine, which is really kind of adorable when you think about it. She was incarcerated for a botched plan involving hijacking an airplane and kidnapping to facilitate Manson’s release.
Where she is now: After her release from prison, she disassociated herself from Manson, regained custody of her son, changed her name and now lives in anonymity somewhere in the Midwest.
Who: Murderer who was active participant in the Tate and LaBianca murders.
Where she is now: Still in prison. Although she was loyal to Manson when first incarcerated, she has distanced herself from him now. When asked who she would place at the top of the list of people she has harmed, she responded, “Myself.” Total parole board fail.
Leslie Van Houten
Who: Murderer who was active participant in Tate and LaBianca murders, giggled a lot during trial.
Where she is now: Still in prison. Although you can buy these really cool Free Leslie Now hoodies in prison orange.
Who: Served as a lookout, for murders, testified against Manson and others.
Where she is now: Kasabian has been in hiding for years, last word is that she lived somewhere in Washington State. She has given the occasional interview. In one she said, “I saw a woman in a white dress and she had blood all over her and she was screaming and she was calling for her mom. I saw Katie stabbing her. I thought about going to a house where there were lights down the road and then I said, ‘No, don’t do that, because they’ll find me and kill all those people.’ So I went down the hill and I got into the car and I just stayed there and waited.”
Who: Although Fromme was never convicted for roles in the murders, she did go to prison for trying to assassinate Gerald Ford with a .45 while dressed as a nun.
Where she is now: She was released from prison in 2009. She apparently now lives in New York State and shops at Walmart.
Who: Manson follower who wasn’t convicted of murders but spent 15 years in prison for sending death threats through the mail to nearly 200 executives.
Where she is now: No one seems to know. She was paroled and moved near where Manson is incarcerated in California, then put up a Manson website, which has since been taken down. Check out her interview with this dub who has no idea who she is.