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Join Texxx as he talks with Author George Stimson. They discuss George’s book called Goodbye Helter Skelter, The Charles Manson case, George’s friendship with Charles Manson and much more.
for more info on George Stimson… https://www.goodbyehelterskelter.com
TEXX; Tonight we have a special guest, he is an author of the book GOODBYE HELTER SKELTER and founder of podcast GOODBYE HELTER SKELTER. Tell us about who you are and where you come from before we get into the book and podcast.
GEORGE STIMSON; I was born in Cincinnati Ohio in 1954, and went to school there and ended up doing odd jobs after school & college ended up being a writer and funneled on writing Charles Manson’s case, despite writing other writings before that, that’s my life in ten seconds.
TEXXX; How did you get involved in true crime in general?
GEORGE STIMSON; When I was a kid in Cincinnati around ten or twelve years old we had two high-profile crimes, serial killer and a family of three who got brutally murdered and were both unsolved cases. I saw the effects it hit on the psyche of the city, it went into a panic mode and so I was very impressed at a young age, because, at that age, that kind of thing never happened. People never went around killing each other, but they did, it imprinted me to get into that case and interest in true crime generally, then got into Charles Manson’s case, which is an interesting case. Then one thing lead to another, I read Helter Skelter but still didn’t believe it, so I started looking into it more and more to find an alternate reason for those murders that would satisfy my mind and that makes sense. I think I did it very well and tried to express it in my book.
TEXXX; Speaking of Manson’s, case, what drove you into it?
GEORGE STIMSON; Well, I kept looking more and more into the case and as I did I got hooked up with people who knew Manson and visited them and were able to know them. They saw I was serious and they basically introduced me to him. I started corresponding with him and other people he knew, (Sandra Good and Lynette Alice) I moved out of California, then started visiting him in California state prison Cocoran state, for a little over ten years.
TEXXX; I was born in 1984, and didn’t know anything about Manson and Helter Skelter. Every time I heard this guy who killed all those people and all that silly stories, So the older I got, I picked up Helter Skelter and read it, even then some things didn’t make any sense, but didn’t know any scenario to the case. When you picked up Helter Skelter, what’s your thoughts and take away from it?
GEORGE STIMSON; There were two things I didn’t find appealing, First You had to do what this fellow told you to do without question, I didn’t go along with that. Second, Helped Skelter’s scenario tries to start a race war is screwy, but everything else is appealing to me. A lot of people who wrote and read the book had no experience about counter-culture, with drugs and alternative ways of thinking and living, it was appealing to me because I grew up in that Millenium.
TEXXX; Is there one particular thing that sets you back that doesn’t make sense in the Helter Skelter book?
GEORGE STIMSON; When you read any book and if is the only thing you read about the case, it’s going to make sense to you and it’s going to flow nicely and have a beginning and a middle and an end to make sense, and you go, Oh! Yeah Sure! But it was only when I started reading other books like Susan Atkins, where she said that the motive wasn’t Helter Skelter, I thought, well that’s certainly strange because according to the DEA, it was and everybody else says it was, well if shes say it’s not, why is she saying that? And what is she saying the other motive was, and that is worth looking into, perhaps was it the other motive, and it turns out in my view it was, which was to commit copycat murders to get Bobby Boseley out of prison.
TEXXX; Well speaking of Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi, In your research and thoughts who is Vincent Bugliosi?
GEORGE STIMSON; He is a DEA, he is very ambitious, he is very good at what he did, I do not have too much thought about him beyond how he behaved in the trial and how he treated Charlie and all the other people.
I know he’s got a lot of other things going on in his life that particularly interest me, although they do reflect on his character as far as honesty and his behavior. He is a DEA and they handed him a very dirty case and he made the most of it, he had to come up with something that made Charlie look guilty and he managed to do it and convinced the jury. I dontknow how much he had to do, to convince a jury since Manson was convicted since the second he was arrested and appeared in the paper, he was done! he was finished!
TEXXX; I know some people think Vincent Bugliosi is a great prosecutor and all of that, but especially with the Manson trial Manson didn’t have a defense, always thought that was strange!
GEORGE STIMSON; Manson was not allowed to put on a defense, and that was always Charlie’s biggest gripe was that he was never allowed to have his rights under the sixth amendment of being able to represent himself in court and put on his own case.
You could consider the whole conviction was illegal because his rights were denied, he spent years trying to overturn that with no success obviously. When you look at any other defendants they’ve all been allowed to defend themselves no matter how crazy they might appear. They made an exception on him because they were afraid he would win and he would get off.
TEXXX; If it was today that ruling would be overturned.
Speaking of Charlie how did you get involved with Charlie and you know became friends?
GEORGE STIMSON; I started writing to him corresponding with him and sending him pictures I lived out in the desert in death valley where he lived. So I had lots of pictures of things to send him. I got to know Sandra Good and she put in good work for me and Nikolas Schreck put in good work for me as far as getting my foot in the door if you will.
I kept being persistent and asked Nikolas Schreck and Sandra Good urging to send me a visiting form and he did, and I filled it out and sent it in, and I got accepted as a visitor. I couldn’t pass that up, so I had to make a special trip out to California to go see him and from there on I just kept on visiting him after I moved out of California. He decided he was going to visit me and I was going to visit him.
TEXXX; Did you correspond with him quite a bit on the phone?
GEORGE STIMSON; Yes, I corresponded with them, hundreds of letters and hundreds of phone calls, almost two hundred visits incorporated.
TEXXX; The book Goodbye Helter Skelter, how did all of that come to be?
GEORGE STIMSON; I wanted an alternative version of things, and I kept thinking about it and I had just written a Cincinnati crime book and I was finished with that, I published it, I wanted to write a book about Charlie’s case, and the more I looked into it, the more I found the materials that would make a good book. I had hours of taped telephone conversations with him that I could use for exclusive quotes from him because the most important thing when I am dealing with writing about people is to let them speak for themselves. I did a lot of research in the law library to find out about the law and it was very interesting.
TEXXX; Did you get any backlash from the book when it came out? Anything negative or anything with your take on the case?
GEORGE STIMSON; I’ve gotten some negative reviews, I would have to honestly say that 95% of the reaction has been positive and not the 5% that have been negative, there’s not a whole lot of thinking behind it, not a whole of logic behind it, its just people saying and telling me that I am crazy. I had a prosecutor comment on some of my legal conclusions, and he just said, I had no grip with reality. He could not counter any of the specific legal points I made in the book, so far so good.
TEXX; How many years of research did you do for the book?
GEORGE STIMSON; If I count all the times that I was interested in them, I would say I did it off and on, I wasn’t doing it full time, but I was interested in the case in 1976 and I started writing the book in 1996, so that would be almost 20 years of reading everything I could, going wherever I could. I tried to go to as many of the locations related to the case as I could out in the desert, In L.A and meet as many people as I could, it takes a while when you’re doing it in your spare time, but I just kept on going and going, so it wasn’t something that I ever lost interest in or put down, it was always there.
TEXXX; Would you ever contact Charlie and ask him, hey! what about this or anything as he was writing the book?
GEORGE STIMSON; Yes! I did. I would ask him questions and you know I say in the book, I asked him about this or that, most of the time I was with Charlie we were doing things in the present. I didn’t really approach our relationship as I’m interviewing you for a book. I was actually approaching a relationship as to what can I do for you.
I asked him a question about Gary Hinman or Shorty Shea. I would go ahead and do that but it wasn’t the focal point of our relationship. We were not spending too much time in the past, we were too busy doing things in the now.
TEXXX; What were Manson’s thoughts on the book? Did he read it or anything like that?
GEORGE STIMSON; When I first got the book from the printer, I sent him a copy, I don’t know if he got it then. I think they were holding it back from him for a while, so eventually, I ordered him one through Amazon that I know he got. I never actually spoke to him about the book, because there were times I was not allowed to speak to him, because the government wouldn’t let me, that’s a totally different story but I know he didn’t dislike the book because I’m sure if he had, I certainly would have heard about it.
TEXXX; I did hear in one interview, you were talking a little bit about you had to choose between talking to Charlie or Lynette, Could you talk about that a little?
GEORGE STIMSON; I will tell you Lynette got released from prison I believe in 2009, and I’d been speaking to her on the phone for years before that, but the problem was, one of the conditions for her release was that she was not supposed to have any connection with Manson or the people connected with Manson. So that was the conditions for her parole. So I could decide then at the time, I wasn’t talking to Charlie for various reasons and she was interested in putting her book out and I thought if I had to make a choice between talking to Lynette and helping her out out her book and talking to Charlie who had people doing things for him, he was in pretty good shape without me and so I made the decision that if I had to choose I’d talk to Lynette, so we could get something done, but after a while, she said, talk to anybody you want to and I started talking to him again and nothing ever happened, there was no revolution or anything.
TEXXX; She couldn’t have no contact with Manson or anything, was it I guess because they thought that he was this mind, the way they always betray him, is that why?
GEORGE STIMSON; Its not so much what they thought, they were afraid of what the public would think, it’s all about public perception, they didn’t want there to be a public perception that there was this reuniting of the “Manson family”
So you know, any other inmate certainly in the later years of his life would be allowed to talk on the phone to somebody that he had known for over 50 years, but in this case, they said, you can’t talk to her, you can’t talk to this person, they really cut him off.
They cut all the people off really, I mean part of the big reason that some of the original girls turned against him because they said, if you talk to him you’re never going to get out, so they put up all kinds of barriers between people that they wouldn’t do to normal people and I’m sure it couldn’t have been legal because I am a free citizen with no criminal record whatsoever, I could talk to whomever I wanted to, I thought.
TEXXX; Wow! I know you wrote the book and now you’ve started a podcast Goodbye Helter Skelter, what’s your thought and the reason behind the podcast is it just to get more of the book out? Or?
GEORGE STIMSON; It’s both the podcast and the book are to get out the idea, there are instruments to get out the idea this alternate look at the case. You know I make legal arguments that basically the Helter Skelter motive was the only thing tying Charlie to those crimes as far as intent, which is a legal requirement that you need to get a murder conviction, you have to prove that the person had intent, another way of how they put it and so that if you remove the Helter Skelter motive that they were desperately seeking and Bagliosi spends pages and pages saying how are we going to tie Manson to this murder? We’ve got no motive, so if you present an alternative motive that removes that element of intent, then the murder conviction shouldn’t have stood, at the time it was a done deal and the jury was going to do whatever, they were going to convict all those people no matter what, I mean the girls actually killed people but Charlie didn’t!
Well with your podcast, is it just because I’ve watched of course your episodes, are you eventually ever going to like start interviewing other people, or you just going to keep it the way you’re doing?
GEORGE STIMSON; Well, I want the first thing to do is to go over the book and lay the groundwork for where I’m coming from, and sure, I’d like to interview people. I’d like to talk to anybody else who has a take on the case an alternative theory. I’m willing to talk to anybody, I also like to look at some of the other books that are written about the case and look at their theories and kind of take them apart if you will, and analyze them and look at that, so once I get done summarizing the book, I’m gonna branch out and do more things because there’s plenty to do.
There’s about four or five books I’m looking at taking on.
TEXXX; Nice! Now your publishing company is called peasant hall. How did you come up with the name? Because I heard stories but then I heard one that was just the name of the street or something, correct me if I am wrong!
GEORGE STIMSON; it’s the street my grandmother lived on when I was a kid, so when I was thinking of a name for my publishing company and I wanted peace and hall press kind of flowed nicely and you know that’s it.
TEXXX; Now you published Lynette reflection book right?
GEORGE STIMSON; Yes.
TEXXX; How was it working with her, on the book?
GEORGE STIMSON; It was hard because she is not allowed to have internet access, actually, she would be allowed to have it if she paid to have them come in and analyze it and look at every single website she went to, looking for whatever they think she’s doing. So we had to do a lot of it by snail mail, and it was not as easy as if you and I were writing a book or any other normal person where we could just email you here’s the latest chapter, What do you think, get back to me, because there’s no internet commutation whatsoever. So I get something on a CD ROM or something that you have to work with, there was a bit of obstacle as far as that goes, but other than it, it went smoothly.
TEXXX; Wow! That’s crazy, she’s not allowed to have internet, I didn’t know that!
GEORGE STIMSON; You know we wouldn’t leave brake the restrictions they put on these people on how much they hold them down, just look at the way they treat the ones that have won parole and not let them out.
TEXXX; With your research and twenty-plus years probably of researching the case and stuff. If you can think what is something that you researched and it really shocked you that you just didn’t know about the case?
Is there one thing that you could think of?
GEORGE STIMSON; Well, I would have to say it shocked me, but I was kind of surprised at how everything once said I went on a theme of what I thought happened, how everything fell into place as far as supporting it and still goes, I mean I still come across things today that I didn’t know about in the book and I go yap! That still reinforces My idea and so there was nothing really that shocked me, it was a kind of a gradual process over 20 years.
TEXXX; Well, George, out of all the books, I mean there’s tons upon tons of books about Manson and the case, and everything what are some books you would say stay far away from?
GEORGE STIMSON; Right! MY book and of course the Lynette book’s not really about the case, but that would be the first book that I would recommend anybody to read if you want to get a real idea of what their life was like in the so-called family, but as far as staying away from them, there are a lot of them that I have, that I haven’t read like Jeff Quinn’s book, I would just kind of viscerally say you should probably stay away from that from what I’ve seen him saying on tape, saying on television about things the family was a very interesting book but mostly fiction, most of the books are following the same line.
other one I recommend of course the Manson file with the original file was the book that was the first one that wasn’t telling the same story, so that was 1988 or 1989 that came out and that was really s big thing for me to come across.
TEXXX; Now with Manson’s passing and the funeral. You were at the funeral right?
GEORGE STIMSON; Yes! Did you know, when Manson died my attitude as far as what the disposition of his body should be if you will be let the state have it and do whatever they want with it? They can cremate it and throw it off the golden gate bridge, they can burry it to the Corcoran potter’s field or whatever. I didn’t care! They had his body for his whole life, you can just keep it and I would also say that most of the people I know, who were close to Manson had the same feeling they were four, Mike Brunner was not allowed because of legal issues of being adopted, so he was not able to put in a claim. There were two individuals who I would not have wanted to get the body and so that left the third individual who was Jason Freeman. There wouldn’t have been any funeral there, wouldn’t have been any, you know fighting over the body, the motive behind most of the people is probably money. I don’t know why they want to get a hold of Charlie’s estate. I can’t imagine why anybody would want to do that.
I didn’t go to the funeral with an agenda or anything to change anything that the people in charge were doing, I just went to see how they did it. That’s why I went.
TEXXX; The reason I asked that question is because I’ve heard slot of people that were very upset the way it was handled and then you got into where Charlie’s ashes were being sold and just it was like a circus almost. I was wondering what your thoughts were.
GEORGE STIMSON; There were people there that in my opinion should not have been there, let’s put it that way. I don’t want to get into personalities too many names, but there were a lot of people there who shouldn’t have been there who had questionable motives and did questionable things, everybody there was as far as the ashes go, they were allowed to take some ashes if they wanted to keep some, now if people took them and sold them that’d what they did, so I don’t know anything about that, I’ve heard about painting and tattoos, but I mean I don’t know what you would expect the whole thing as I said wasn’t what I wanted, I was there to see what happened and say goodbye to him basically.
TEXXX; George are you ready to get into some audience questions? I’ve got a few.
Donnie asks why do you think Manson never told the true story about the murders?
GEORGE STIMSON; Well, I think if you look at the interviews he did, the chain of events from the shooting of Bernard Crowe to the murders he’s laid it out pretty clearly in several interviews. As far as I am concerned he told the truth about the murders.
TEXXX; Patsy asked, when the cameras were off, how and who was the real Charles Manson in your opinion?
GEORGE STIMSON; That’s really a hard question to answer sincerely, he was so much, so many different things. Often when the cameras were off he was the same way he was when the cameras were on, but other times he was perfectly level you could say, he wasn’t, he could be very present when he wanted to be, he always was present. That’s a question that’s hard for me to answer.
TEXXX; Next question is from Jake, he asked. Have you read Neil Sander’s book and what are your thoughts?
GEORGE STIMSON; I have read Neil Sander’s book and my thoughts, I am going to read it again.
TEXXX; Next question is from Brandon. And he asked why do you think William Garrison wasn’t harmed that night?
GEORGE STIMSON; That’s an interesting question. Whether part went back to the guest house and tried it and he was in there. It’s hard to say, if he heard something and went and hid in the back, I don’t know that.
FOR MORE QUESTIONS ASKED TO GEORGE BY LISTENERS AND OTHER PEOPLE WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW HERE.