In its unlikely way, the Family was an integral part of Los Angeles, connecting rich and poor, famous and unknown. One of the strangest pairings was Charlie Manson and Dennis Wilson

VINCENT BUGLIOSI, deputy district attorney. He is 74 and the author of several books, including Helter Skelter (cowritten with Curt Gentry), the definitive account of the case. Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys lived in the former home of Will Rogers on Sunset Boulevard. One day Dennis picked up two girls, members of the Manson Family, hitchhiking on Pacific Coast Highway. He took them home, left them there, and went out to a recording session. He came back that night about two o’clock, and Manson greeted him at the door, got down on his knees, and kissed Wilson’s feet, then invited Wilson into his own home. There were all these girls in there baking marijuana cookies. Free everything—sex. So Dennis let them live there. They moved in, and they were with him for several months. He paid for all their expenses. He told me they ran up the highest gonorrhea bill in the history of Beverly Hills. He paid for work on their teeth. But he said it really got to be a fear situation. Manson started taking the gold records off the wall, the clothing. They cracked up a new car Dennis didn’t have insurance on yet—totaled it. Manson had a bullet delivered to Dennis with a message that there were others where this one came from. Wilson feared for himself and for his son. He fled. Dennis had auditioned Manson, and someone told me that he still had the tape. I wanted to hear the words Manson was uttering on these songs. Was “Helter Skelter” in there? “Blood”? “Murder”? But Dennis said he’d destroyed the tapes. I said, “Why?” He said, “They were not of this world. The vibes were not of this world.”