5 elements to understand… “the Sharon Tate affair”
On the night of August 8th, 1969, six people were brutally murdered by Charles Manson’s cult in Los Angeles. A look back at the massacre that shocked Hollywood and the world.
On the night of August 8-9, three followers of Charles Manson’s sect broke into director Roman Polanski’s mansion in Los Angeles.
The course of events
The director looking for a film in London is not at home. That night, his wife Sharon Tate, 26, and four other people occupied the premises: producer Wojciech Frykowski and his fiancée Abigail Folger, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring and a friend of the mansion’s caretaker, Steven Parent.
While Linda Kasabian, accomplice and member of the cult, stands guard, the three disciples break into the mansion. Charles “Tex” Watson cuts a power cord, rendering all communication with the outside world impossible. He then kills young Steven Parent. Inside, Atkins and Krenwinkel round up Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger and Jay Sebring and tie them up in the living room. Sharon begs the two women to let her live to give birth to her baby, even offering to be a hostage to save him. In vain, the actress suffers sixteen stab wounds and dies with her baby. Subsequently, his three friends Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Jay Sebring are stabbed or shot.
The next day, the security guard discovers the bodies. While Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger lie disfigured on the lawn, Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring are tied to a ceiling beam in the living room. Susan Atkins even took the time to write the word “PIG” on the front door with a towel soaked in Sharon Tate’s blood.
At the time, no one understood the motive for these murders. Celebrities fear being a potential target. In the United States, paranoia and hysteria are rampant, and gun sales are booming. It will be several months before investigators find the killers.
was Sharon Tate ?
Sharon Marie Tate, the eldest of four daughters, made her film debut at age 16 in a peplum Barabbas, led by Anthony Quinn. Then she secretly appears in the series Mr Ed. However, she only dates back to 1963, when she embodies a more substantial character in the series The Beverly Hillbilliesthat the young actress is more striking. From then on he was assigned more important roles. One finds it in particular in the Mystery of the Thirteen or in the Valley of the Dolls. A few years later, on the set of Ball of the Vampiremeets her Roman Polanski, the director of this vampire comedy. In 1968 she married him and quickly became pregnant with him.
Charles Manson and his sect
Originally he wanted to be a musician, he was a fan of the Beatles. In their music he heard “hidden messages” about an alleged “race war”. By combining excerpts from the Bible (he believed himself to be the reincarnation of Jesus) with lyrics from the group’s “White Album,” Manson had devised a strange prophecy.
According to him, blacks would soon dominate whites and then trust him to lead their new nation. Not seeing the prophecy coming true, he rushes everything. His goal: to create chaos by organizing a kind of “civil war” between whites and blacks. He then “incites” some members of his community (his “family”) to carry out assassinations in the upscale neighborhoods of Los Angeles. In fact, experts suspect Manson is seeking “vengeance” on a world he was denied access to.
Among the disciples mostly young women. Lynette Alice, Catherine Louise and Patricia Krenwinkel all joined the “Manson Family” in the 1960s. Often the same profile: the young women are white, from the American middle class, isolated from their families and often on LSD drugs. Your name is “guru fanatic‘ or even the ‘Gang of Illuminated Hippies’.
Also read: 5 facts to understand… the case of Ed Kemper, the serial killer with a higher IQ than Einstein
The Trial and the Convictions
The trial of the “Manson Family” was lengthy and costly. Charles Manson appears there as a hallucinated guru, drugged up and endowed with a terrible power of persuasion. Despite not being present at the scene of the murders himself and ultimately never being killed himself, the guru was eventually convicted of masterminding the operations.
On March 29, 1971, Charles Manson and three of his followers were sentenced to death, but their sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1972. Linda Kasabian, the accomplice, gained immunity by cooperating with the police.
To date, three of them are still alive: Charles “Tex” Watson (now 77 years old), being held at Mule Creek State Penitentiary; Leslie Van Houten (73 years old), who was denied her parole by the California authorities for the 23rd time on November 30, 2020; Patricia Krenwinkel (75) is the longest-serving woman in California.
Charles Manson has died on November 19, 2017 at the age of 83.
What are the implications of the case?
Wednesday, August 9 marks the 54th anniversary of this horrific massacre that has deeply affected the United States and the entire world.
The “damn” address of 10,050 Cielo Drive has always been busy, but “changed” in the ’90s.
In the United States, August 1969 was supposed to be the pinnacle of hippie “peace and love” with its Woodstock festival (symbolic of 1960’s hippie culture), but the Manson affair will shatter that momentum.
Today there are countless books about these murders and the person who ordered them.
More than five decades later, this horrifying event still shapes minds and cinema. But despite everything, the 7th art hasn’t had that much to do with this matter lately, in “Once upon a time… in Hollywood“, Tarantino divulges elements of the true story of Sharon Tate and Charles Manson’s sect.
As for the music, Marilyn Manson explains that he chose the nickname after Charles Manson (and Marilyn for Marilyn Monroe).
The man who made the world shudder at the horror of the crimes he orchestrated remains a pop culture “reference” today. When he died in 2017, he even had the right to his “RIPs” (rest in peace) on Twitter.