June 22, 1968: The Witches of Mendocino

On this day, five women associated with Charles Manson were arrested in Philo, California for narcotics possession with intent to distribute, and solicitation (prostitution)

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Charlie had sent the women north the month before, in hopes of recruiting more young men. At the time, the Family was staying with Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson and had grown to include at least 12 members of the so-called Manson Family.

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The town of Philo, California is 33 miles southeast of Mendocino

Charlie soon realized that he couldn’t stay in Wilson’s good graces if the Family remained at his home, especially with a crying baby underfoot. He sent Mary, Valentine Michael and several women north to Mendocino County. They were to stay a couple of months there and recruit as many young men as possible.

Susan wrote, “Mary, Pat, Ella, Stephanie, and I headed North in the old black school bus. We rented a house in the little town of Philo… It seemed that I was in charge — although others may have disputed this.”

The women drove first to San Francisco, where they visited the Free Clinic. Valentine Michael had a yeast infection in his mouth, passed from mother to son during delivery. As the girls left Frisco, they scored some wicked acid and grass before driving to Philo.

The Manson Family: More to the Story by H. Allegra Lansing — published June 2019 from Swann Publications (includes quote from ‘Child of Satan, Child of God’ by Susan Atkins with Bob Slosser, published 1977 from Logos International)

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The ‘Mendocino Witches’ included Susan Atkins (at left) along with (at left, from top) Mary Brunner, Patricia Krenwinkel, Ella Jo Bailey and Stephanie Rowe. Three of those women participated in the so-called Helter Skelter murders a year later.

Once the women had settled in the Mendocino area, they befriended some of the young people in the neighborhood, in hopes of selling some of their drugs.

On June 22nd, the women who went to Mendocino were arrested. They befriended three teenaged boys in the neighborhood where they were staying. The women cozied up to the boys, sharing their good drugs and their clap-ridden bodies. But when one of the boys had a bad trip and freaked out, his mother called the police. The cops found a sizable amount of marijuana as well as blue tablets of acid. Mary was arrested for possession of narcotics. Katie (Patricia Krenwinkel), Sadie, Yeller and Stephanie were arrested for prostitution.
The women were held over. Katie told officers that Valentine Michael was her child (Mary’s charges were more serious and she worried she would lose custody of her son). The baby was put in temporary foster care with Dr. Roger Smith and his wife, and the women were tossed in the local jail.

The Manson Family: More to the Story by H. Allegra Lansing — published June 2019 from Swann Publications

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A 1968 photograph of Mary Brunner with baby Valentine Michael aka Pooh Bear

The Mendocino Witches (as the police called them) were released on August 16th, after 55 days in jail. Squeaky and Brenda went to pick them up, stopping first in San Jose. When they were on their way back to Spahn Ranch, the bus broke down. Bobby called the ranch on August 20th, and learned about the women stuck up north. He offered to go pick them up.

Mary, Katie, Sadie, Ella and Stephanie were scheduled to go to trial the next month. Upon the women’s return, Manson was ticked when he learned that they had rechristened Valentine Michael as ‘Pooh Bear’ but the name stuck.

With Sadie back, she and Charlie butted heads again. Sadie thought herself equal to any of the men. She bragged, “I seemed to have the same kind of mind control over the girls that Charlie had”.

The Manson Family: More to the Story by H. Allegra Lansing — published June 2019 from Swann Publications (includes quote from Child of Satan, Child of God by Susan Atkins and Bob Slosser — published 1977 from Logos International)

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An undated photograph of Susan Denise Atkins, aka Sexy Sadie Mae Glutz

In September, the Mendocino Witches went to trial. Paul and TJ Walleman drove the women north for the proceedings. TJ, a 25-year old Marine Corps veteran from Michigan, suffered several injuries during his time in Vietnam. At times TJ showed unprecedented loyalty to Manson, and other times, just walked away.

Melba Kronkright, George Spahn and Dr. Smith each gave character statements for the women. Despite Sadie’s previous convictions, the court leaned toward leniency for her role in Philo. Official documents refer to Susan by the name she gave at arrest: “Sadie Mae Glutz has suffered a good deal of emotional damage… she learned to take a highly materialistic view of the world, and to see survival as largely a question of success at exploitation and manipulation. Her emotional contacts as a child were usually painful and the effects of these experiences on her personality were reinforced by her life of impersonal, somewhat exploitative social and sexual contacts.” Documents revealed that Sadie identified her baby’s father as ‘Michael Weine’, a drifter she met en route to Phoenix.

Mary was not shown the same empathy the court showed Sadie. Only she was charged with possession with intent to distribute (the others with misdemeanor possession and solicitation). For her duplicity and lack of accepted feminine norms (decent moms don’t pawn their kids off, or lead others astray), the judge was especially harsh with Mary. Her court-appointed attorney got her to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. She was given sixty days in jail and served four weeks.

The others were found not guilty. The court had its ‘ringleader’ and was satisfied.

The Manson Family: More to the Story by H. Allegra Lansing — published June 2019 from Swann Publications

This article was originally published at MansonFamily.net

You can read other articles here at Medium about the Manson Family women including:

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Author of the “More to the Story” true crime nonfiction series. https://www.mansonfamily.net/

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