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Helter Skelter in the Summer Swelter: 40 Years Since Manson Murders

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Tonight and tomorrow mark the 40th anniversary of two nights of murders in Los Angeles that forever changed the cultural landscape. Instructed by the head of their "family" one young man and three young women crept onto the property of a home atop Cielo Drive, and ruthlessly initiated a bloodbath that cost the lives of all who were present: Sharon Tate, Abigal Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent. The following night a similar group replayed a similar scene, this time on Waverly Frive in Los Feliz, taking the life of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

It was a time that would soon be known as "Helter Skelter," thanks to words painted in blood at the scene of the second crime, and the "family" leader Charles Manson's insistence that the Beatles' song urged him on.

It took police a very long time to connect the ne'er do well Manson and his band of vagabond and runaway "misunderstood" miscreants to the bloody killings, but once the connection was made, the world never forgot. Forty years later Manson still sits in prison--and garners attention--as do the others who played a part in the murders, like Susan Atkins, whose own "death sentence" is her failing health and the denial of her request for an early "compassionate" release.

Today's LA Times has an excerpt of an interview with Vincent Bugliosi, the man known as "the Manson prosecutor," and author of the book Helter Skelter about the crimes. Although he has numerous other professional credits and accolades, as the interview reveals, and he admits, first and foremost will always be Manson.

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Incidentally, we like to talk about Manson et al, too. Here's a 40th Anniversary sampling:
It's Always Manson, Manson, Manson!
Ex-Manson Follower Wants Early Release Due to Illness
A 39th anniversary seance at the Tate-Polanski "house"
Digging Up Charles Manson Rumors
Where Are Manson's Children Now?
Scary Stories: Spahn Ranch