Before She Was ‘Sexy Sadie’

The early life of the Manson Family’s Susan Atkins

In November 1967, Charles Manson was living in San Francisco with three women (Mary Brunner, Lynette Fromme and Patricia Krenwinkel). The foursome were preparing to leave the Bay Area that week, headed on the road in their old school bus (converted into a mobile love pad) and eventually down to Los Angeles, where Charlie had hopes of scoring a record deal.

The first week of November, the four attended a party in the Haight. Charlie pulled out his guitar and began singing The Shadow of Your Smile, a jazz…