It’s been a while since we talked, and for good, grave reasons: I have been neck-deep in researching the fiftieth anniversary of one of the darkest episodes in American 20th century history.
I’m talking, of course, about the brutal slaying of nine people between July and September 1969 by a strange, ragged commune living in the farthest corners of Southern California, led by a thirty-four year-old ex-con named Charles Milles Manson.
You’ll be seeing my feature on the fiftieth anniversary soon in another outlet, exploring both the lingering questions and cultural traumas which surround this strange case. But for the rest of August, you’ll be reading features and stories about the many twists and turns in the story of the Manson Family, a saga which seems to somehow touch everything from the birth of New Hollywood, to the origins of #MeToo, to police corruption and ideological radicalization.
You’ll be getting a mix of free essays and subscriber-only content, including a real stem-winder laying out a very different motive and series of events for how the killings happen than was laid out in Helter Skelter, the biggest-selling true crime book of all time. So stay tuned - you may never listen to the Beatles again!