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Criminal Justice

Tasteless News Item of the Day Courtesy of TMZ; Historical Significance Courtesy Charles Manson and his 'Family'

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On the night of August 8th, 1969, three young women and one young man traveled from their "family" compound following the instructions of their group leader to the Cielo Drive home that had once been the residence of Doris Day's music industry-affiliated son Terry Melcher, but was now the rented home of director Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife Sharon Tate. Once on the premises the four initiated a bloodbath that cost the lives of all who were present: Sharon Tate, Abigal Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent. The word "pig" was written in blood on the door; when Los Angeles woke up the next day they were stunned by the tragedy.

The next night--that's 39 years ago tonight--Manson dispatched another crew, with the same 4 people plus 2 more, to another house on Waverly Drive near Los Feliz. There they brutally murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, and this time wrote "Helter Skelter" on the wall--okay, they had spelling problems and it actually said "Healter Skelter" (stay in school, kids!)--along with "rise" and "death to pigs." It took a long time to solve the cases, and the horrific two nights went down on record as legendary moments in history.

While 48 hours of bloody, violent, and unprovoked killings do not warrant celebration, some may want to spend a moment reflecting on the events (including Susan Atkins, who was recently denied compassionate release from her life sentence due to her terminal illness). But popular celebrity gossip site TMZ took it somewhere totally tasteless today, by running an item called "Hey Everyone: Seance at Sharon Tate's!" It's a brief (and a video!) about "a group of level-headed people" (seriously?) who got together last night from where the Tate murders took place to hold a seance. The results: "a figurine fell from a shelf" and people got backaches (sitting hunched over holding hands in a circle trying to squeeze a connection to the other side will do that).

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Did anyone tell these level-heads that the house at 10050 Cielo Drive where the murders happened was torn down in 1994?

Photo by t@hmid via Flickr