Manson Web Extra: STRANGE BREW

The Manson trial lasted eight months

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. I had several staring sessions with Manson. One day we were in the judge’s chambers with the defendants, the lawyers, and the judge, and Manson started staring at the judge. The judge just ignored him. That was not unusual. Sometimes he’d stare at the jury, and the jury would ignore him. Other times he’d turn around and give a Hitlerian stare to the spectators, and they’d get up and walk out. In the judge’s chambers he turned at me and stared. We locked eyes, and it went on for about 20 minutes. It went on and on and on. It may have been easy for him, but it was very tough for me. I was not about to look away. I was just hoping for something to happen to end this without him thinking that I backed down. He was trying to intimidate me. I’m guessing we were six feet apart. There was no one in between us. I’ll tell you it went on for a long time. Then I noticed that his hands were shaking. That enabled me to break the spell. I said, “What’s wrong, Charlie?”

CATHERINE SHARE, member of the Family. Sixty-six years old, she is a writer. When Charlie shaved his head, the girls shaved their heads in solidarity and sat on the corner in front of the courthouse. I was told that I could shave my head and join them, so I did. The whole world was looking at us, and it was our place to let people know about Charlie. We were proselytizing. Young girls were coming constantly and wanting to join the Family. We would say that Charlie was the one. In our minds the chosen one was on trial, and we conveyed that, and there were lots of people who listened and joined.