Tuesday, August 8, 2017

NEAR THE GHOST OF SHARON TATE


 I wrote this several years ago on my old blog Lone Star Concerto and decided to post it again here.

It has nothing to do with ghosts - -  but I still think it's fairly interesting and worthy of a "rerun" post, for those who've never read it.



 


 The house on Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills where
I lived as a young musician. It was located very near
the house where Sharon Tate was murdered.



Everybody has heard about the Sharon Tate murders. If you haven't, look it up and you'll find plenty to read. Here's a quick recap:

On the night of August 8/9, 1969, fledgling actress Sharon Tate was savagely murdered in her rented Beverly Hills house, along with four other people. Tate was twenty-six years old and nine months pregnant. She was due to give birth in two weeks.

Her husband, movie director Roman Polanski, was in London at the time and expected to arrive back in L.A. within a few days. Since Sharon didn't want to be alone during her husband's extended absence, she had invited three friends to stay with her:
Abigail Folger (the coffee heiress), Voytek Frykowski (Folger's lover), and hairdresser Jay Sebring.

A nineteen-year-old boy named Steven Parent was also murdered that night, simply because he happened to be visiting the caretaker of the house, who lived in a guest house on the premises. Steven Parent didn't know Sharon Tate.

The murders were committed by the  hippie cult "family" members of Charles Manson.
To say that the murders caused a mega media frenzy would be a gross understatement. Sharon Tate and Charles Manson became household names and the L.A. news media feasted on the subject for years. The Manson murder trial was undoubtedly the biggest media event in Los Angeles history.



Ill- fated Sharon Tate

So why am I writing this? Because, about a decade after the murders occurred, I lived in a Beverly Hills house that was extremely close to the house where Sharon Tate was murdered.

Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski

I lived on Benedict Canyon Rd. The house where the murders took place was on Cielo Drive, which was only a stone's throw away. Cielo Drive was a narrow road just off of Benedict Canyon, which wound into the nearby hills. The house where Tate and Polanski lived was secretly nestled in the hills. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never notice it.

I knew it was there, of course. I'd even heard  silly rumors about resident ghosts and bad things that happened to people who lived in the vicinity of the murder house.

It might have only been a freak coincidence that I had an auto accident on Benedict Canyon - - directly in front of the cut-off to Cielo Drive and within walking distance to the Tate-Polanski house.
And it happened  on the 9th of August - -  the anniversary of Sharon Tate's death.


The exact spot on Benedict Canyon 
where my accident took place.
The 30 MPH sign is in plain view.



I'm pulling out of my driveway on Benedict Canyon late one afternoon. There's a curve in the road and the view is blocked by large juniper trees. As I slowly emerge I'm immediately hit by a speeding Ferrari. The speed limit on the Benedict Canyon curve is 30 MPH. The Ferrari was going at least 65 MPH. The force of the crash was enough to send my modest Ford spinning. 

Major damage to my car, but miraculously I'm not seriously hurt.
Substantial damage to the Ferrari. The driver gets out. To my surprise, it's an elderly lady with a long cigarette dangling from her Max Factor red lips. Her face-lift was dragged down with a ferocious frown.

Long story short - -
the old buzzard tried to sue me. I had to make an appearance at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. I politely (and timidly) presented my case, then Miz Ferrari presented hers. The judge couldn't decide what to do. After thoughtful consideration he announced that he thought we were both very nice people and he called it a "draw". Nobody won anything. To this day I still maintain that the lady was sailing at a reckless speed.

At the time I was only twenty-one. I was a musician. I wasn't Perry Mason. I probably didn't present my case with enough passion or conviction.

A few months later, Miz Ferrari attempted to sue me again, but her efforts were denied.

In time I put the unpleasant incident in the distant realm of my memories - - but I always had the strange feeling that being near the Sharon Tate murder house had something to do with my accident and bad luck.
Especially since it happened on the anniversary of the murder.
Who knows..........?

The Tate-Polanski murder house on 10050 Cielo Drive was eventually purchased and subsequently torn down. A new mansion presently stands on the spot. The infamous address has also been changed. I happen to know who purchased the property and I know the new address. I think it was wise to expunge the old address and the horrible ghosts of memories.


A side note:
At the time of the Tate murders, Charles Manson and his cronies lived at the abandoned Spahn Movie Ranch in the Simi Hills near Chatsworth.

Years later, I was at the Spahn Movie Ranch, on location, to watch a movie being filmed (it was a gay porn flick). 
All the movie sets had been destroyed in a 1970 wildfire, but the surrounding area was still intriguing enough to be used for "location" shots.

The area is now an historic park.


So much for my adventurous Beverly Hills days.........


The house on Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills where the murders occurred in August, 1969.
It has since been torn down.


my other blog:
http://cabinetofcurioustreasures.blogspot.com  

24 comments:

  1. I await a Ryan Murphy American Horror Story season to revolve around this very subject. Your West Coast life is always intriguing to hear. I need a whole afternoon in a bar with you.........

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    1. Strangely enough, when I lived on the West Coast I didn't think my life was particularly interesting. Nowadays, in retrospect, I'm amazed at the adventures I had (this, of course, was one of the lesser adventures...)

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  2. Creepy old woman! And creepy place for it to happen. That was really an awful event. I remember all the reports about it at the time. Manson was so nuts! And his followers even nuttier, if you ask me. Glad you weren't hurt. :)

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    1. Manson has always gotten the flack for being the murderer - - when, in fact, it was his followers that actually did all the killings. There's no doubt that Manson was nothing more than a brash coward.

      It's difficult to believe that it happened so long ago. Manson is now 82 and - had she lived - Sharon Tate would be about 74!

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    2. He was the mastermind...kind of like a miniature version of Hitler. But how do people go along with the insanity to become murderers like that? It's the followers who blow my mind. Just shows you that right under the surface with too many people darkness lies in wait for release...just needing an excuse. There are some very angry (and probably frightened) people. Always have been. Sadly--probably always will be. Probably the potential lurks within us all if the circumstances were right. Scary thought.

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  3. I just watched a Dateline segment titled ( The Summer of Manson ) the other night, which wasn't pleasant viewing mind you, although factual I suppose. It showed that exact ranch you've described and the same home where these gruesome murders took place. Kind of creepy that you lived so near to the actual scene.

    When I look at the picture of the house where you used to live, wildfire comes to mind. The hills look dry. The nerve of that reckless driver attempting to sue you ... nutter !

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    1. Long ago when I was working the midnight shift as a security officer (at the place where the janitor turner out to be a killer) I spent my idle hours reading "Helter Skelter", the book about the Manson murders.
      Wow! I was much more "courageous" then than I am now....

      Yes, that area of Southern California is really prone to having wildfires.
      Wildfires in the summer and autumn - - and mud slides in the winter and spring.

      By the way, Dylan left a comment for you on my previous blog post. He's been thinking about you.

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    2. Working the midnight shift and reading " Helter Skelter " holy cow - that would have totally freaked me out ! Yep, you must have been very courageous. It's strange how our youthful days generally allowed us to do things we couldn't imagine doing today.

      Thanks for the heads up regarding Dylan. I also left him a comment over on his blog. You guys need to meet each other :)

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    3. Hey Helga, I finally got around to leaving you a reply on my blog. The heat here is worse than I've ever known before, and I have to force myself to simply eat meals and keep hydrated. All I can say is you are a true survivor :-)

      I watched Helter Skelter when I was still in my teens - and I still have nightmares. Sharon Tate was a sweet and beautiful woman, and to die the way she did (begging for the life of her baby) gives me chills to this day. They are buried together. What a fucked up world we all must somehow try to survive in :-(

      Jon and I are two of a kind: Recluse, loner, so we can only connect on the internet *smile*

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    4. Dylan, I'm sorry to hear about the heat where you are. There's nothing worse. I've always lived in hot climates (Ca and TX mainly) so it's a pleasure to be here in TN where the summers are relatively short. The heat here never lasts long.

      The world is definitely fucked up. The older I get, the less I understand.
      I never thought I'd wind up being a recluse and loner - - but I rather enjoy it.

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  4. I was still a teenager when this happened and my own self-centered life was more interesting to me than what happened to others. I haven't/won't read Helter Skelter but I'm curious if it was ever determined why Manson and his followers picked these particular victims. I suppose I can Google it; Google has answers for everything.

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    1. The murder was a case of mistaken identity.
      Before Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski lived in the house, it was occupied by musician Terry Melcher and actress Candice Bergen. Melcher (who was Doris Day's son) had casually known Charles Manson and half-heartedly promised to get Manson a recording contract. Manson became very angry when the "deal" didn't go through.

      Manson thought that Terry Melcher still lived at the house when he sent his cronies there to commit murder. Sharon Tate and her friends didn't know Manson and were innocent victims.

      I have read "Helter Skelter", which I mentioned in my reply to the previous comment. I still have the book.

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  5. NEAR THE GHOST OF SHARON TATE. I wrote this several years ago on my old blog Lone Star Concerto and decided to post it again here.
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  6. I remember this ... and the accompanying chills!

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    1. I still remember the impact of that Ferrari (*smile*)

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  7. creepy the coincidences. glad the old bat didn't suceed in suing you.

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    1. I'll bet that old bat still haunts Benedict Canyon!

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  8. Jon, this is an eerie and prescient post. I don't think I mentioned this on your earlier post, but I'll tell you why. In 1975, my brother decided to go back to college and pick up his general ed. requirements. In one class, the attractive girl with bangs who sat across from him was Lynette Fromme. She seemed nice. They chatted, became classmates, but there was some sort of barrier against normal social interaction that puzzled him. He asked me about it and I said be careful. He pursued other interests and raised a normal family. She was paroled a few years back for trying to shoot President Ford in Capital Park. And people think times are strange now!

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  9. Wow, that is an extremely disconcerting story. Your brother's intuition was certainly right and you were wise in warning him to be careful.

    From what I remember, Lynette"Squeaky" Fromme has a very bizarre and chaotic history. In the early 70's Fromme was supposedly involved in the murder of a couple named James and Lauren Willett, but she was released for lack of evidence. She's one scary woman.....

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    1. I'm really stunned that Lynette Fromme and John Hinckley were both eventually released after attempting to kill Presidents. Neither of them should be loose.

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  10. Fascinating story Jon. I don't remember reading it before. California and the Los Angeles area is also so fascinating. I never tire of visiting there. I've hardly scratched the surface. I'll try to drive in this area the next time we visit (this February.)
    Ron

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  11. I knew you'd like this post, Ron. It's hard to believe that the Tate murders happened so long ago - to me it seems like yesterday. There are so many people around now who weren't even alive in '69.

    I have many regrets, but I was always so thankful that I was raised in Southern California. There's no other place like it.

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  12. I remember this post from your other blog, but I enjoyed it as much now as I did the first time. I'd forgotten the part about the old bat in the Ferrari, though. It sounds like she had a major case of affluenza. (Not to mention a bad attitude.)

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  13. "Affluenza"! I like that! You always manage to make me smile, which isn't easy.
    I don't think there are too many people around who remember the Manson/Tate murder case. That REALLY makes me feel old...

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