Friday, June 6, 2014

Charles Manson's Fake Parole

Social media is abuzz with news stories about Charles Manson being granted parole.  Don’t get up to lock your doors just yet, none of them come from reputable news sources. The story originated from Empire News, a satirical site that just went live in May.  

The story said Manson, now 79, had been granted parole by the California Parole Board and that it had been authorized by Governor Jerry Beck.  The article stated that due to overcrowding the parole board was forced to reevaluate the cases of prisoners who were elderly or severely ill. Hoping to add credibility to the story, a supposed Manson fanatic said to be camping outside Corcoran State Prison was quoted as saying, “It’s a great [expletive] day in America!”

A disclaimer can be found on the Empire site’s sports section that states, “Empire Sports is a satirical and entertainment website. Empire Sports uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized.”  The article’s author, Aaron Smith, claims to have graduated from Harvard in 1642, was cryogenically frozen, and brought back to life in 1981.  The fake article got tens of thousands of shares and likes on Facebook this week.

Manson's last parole hearing was in 2012, when he was denied release again, marking the 12th time.  He won't be eligible again until 2027, when he will be 92 years old. 

In 1970 Manson and four of his followers were found guilty of murdering actress Sharon Tate and three others in her home on August 9, 1969.  They killed Leo and Rosemary LaBianca the next night.  All were sentenced to death, but California briefly done away with the death penalty in 1972 and their sentences were commuted to life in prison.  A string of other murders have been linked to Manson, who convinced many of his ‘family members’ living at Spahn Ranch that he was Jesus Christ.  Manson has spent the last 45 years in prison, having spent less than 20 years of his life as a free man.

Manson girls outside the courthouse, 1969
Manson associate Bruce Davis, convicted of the killings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea in 1969, was granted parole in May but hasn’t been released yet.  There is a 120-day review period during which the governor can nullify or modify the decision.  Davis has previously been granted parole twice, in 2010 and 2012, only to have Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and then Brown reverse the decision. 

Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, sentenced to life in prison for the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford in 1975, was granted parole in 2009 after serving 34 years.  Steve “Clem” Grogan became the first family member convicted of murder to be released from prison in 1985.  He rode with other family members the night of the LaBianca murder, but after dropping the killers off, continued on to Venice Beach with Manson, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian to kill Saladin Nader, but Kasabian took them to the wrong apartment.  Clem later helped Manson, Tex Watson, and Davis kill Shorty Shea.

Manson made headlines last year when an article in Rolling Stone reported he was to marry his 25 year-old girlfriend he renamed Star.  She had never heard of Charlie when a friend gave her a paper with some of Manson’s environmental views on it. She saved up $2,000 and moved from her home in Missouri to Corcoran.  She now runs several web pages for Manson and visits him every Saturday and Sunday, for up to five hours.  They are allowed to kiss at the beginning and end of each visit.  "I'll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married," Star told Rolling Stone.  "I take it very seriously. Charlie is my husband. Charlie told me to tell you this."  However Charlie told the reporter, “That’s a bunch of garbage…We’re just playing it up for public consumption.”

Manson and Star
Star used to be accompanied on visits by a friend known as Gray Wolf, a Manson believer from the Spahn Ranch days.  Gray Wolf was arrested last year and imprisoned himself for attempting to smuggle a cell phone in to Manson, who has previously been caught twice with a phone.

Related Links:
Rolling Stone article "Is Charles Manson Getting Married?
Manson crime scene photos (very graphic)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

12 year-Olds Stab Friend to Join Slenderman

A sleepover this past weekend in Wisconsin turned violent when two 12 year-old girls stabbed their friend 19 times in an attempt to become proxies of Slenderman.  Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier are currently facing adult charges of first-degree attempted homicide and face up to 65 years in prison.  Saturday morning they lured their friend into a wooded area in Waukesha, stabbed her several times, and left her to bleed out before setting out on foot for the Nicolet National Forest outside of town, where they believed the fictional Slenderman lived in a mansion.

Geyser, left and Weier, right

The school that all three of the girls attended had recently given iPads to all the students.  Geyser and Weier became fascinated with Slenderman after reading user-written stories about him on the website.  In their obviously disturbed minds, they believed they could become disciples of Slenderman by killing someone, and he would then welcome them into the fold.  They wanted to prove to the world that the fictional character was real.  Hours after the stabbing police found the girls walking beside the highway.  Both girls were shockingly open when they described the events to investigators.

They had planned to murder their friend for months.  Each year Geyser was allowed to have two friends sleepover for her birthday.  The original plan was to kill their friend during the night, so they wouldn’t have to look her in the eyes, by placing duct tape over her mouth and stabbing her in the neck before running away.  Weier told police they backed out, and decided to kill her in the bathroom of a nearby park, where they knew there was a drain in the floor the blood could go down.  They convinced the girl to go to the park with them the next day, and on the way Geyser lifter her jacket to show Weier the five-inch long kitchen knife she had brought from home.  Weir told investigators she then thought, “Oh my God, this is really happening.” 

Once they were in the bathroom Geyser handed Weier the knife and attempted to restrain the victim before having what Weier described as a ‘nervous breakdown.’ Once she calmed down, Weier suggested they play hide and seek to distract the victim.  She told the girl where to hide and to lay face down in the dirt.  When she refused Weier pushed her to the ground and sat on her and Geyser joined them.  The girl began screaming, and afraid she would attract attention to them they let her up.  The two attackers urged each other to do the stabbing, and statements to police indicate that Geyser ended up with the knife and told her to “go ballistic, go crazy.”  Geyser tackled the victim and began stabbing her.  The victim yelled, “I hate you, I trusted you.”  When she got up and began walking toward the street Weier grabbed her and pulled her away.  They again told the girl to lie down and be quiet, hoping she would bleed out and die.  Weier lied and told the victim they were going to get help and the two attackers started walking toward the forest where they believed Slenderman lived.  

The 12 year-old victim managed to crawl to the road where a passing bicyclist found her and called 911.  Once paramedics got the victim to the hospital she was rushed into surgery.  Several of her organs had been struck by stab wounds, and doctors reported that one missed a major artery by mere millimeters.  

Hours later the girls were found walking beside the road, carrying a backpack that contained the knife.  Weier told police “The bad part of me wanted her to die, but the good part of me wanted her to live.”  Geyser said during her questioning, “It was weird that I didn’t feel any remorse.”  She also said that Slenderman watched her sleep and read her mind.

Slenderman became an internet meme after he was created in 2009 during a contest on the website Something Awful’s forum.  Users were challenged to create a new paranormal entity by photoshopping it into pictures and presenting them online as real.  User and creepypasta administrator Eric Knudson, also known as Victor Surge submitted the first two photos of Slenderman, along with the story that 14 children disappeared the day they were taken, and that the library where they were taken burned down a week later.  

One of the original photos

Soon users of the creepypasta website developed a mythological backstory to accompany it, with user-submitted fictional stories and supposed personal accounts of being stalked by Slenderman.  Affectionately referred to as Slendy, the nightmarish entity was said to be unnaturally tall, have a blank, featureless face, wearing a black suit, able to extend his long arms to snatch victims, and sometimes extend long tentacles from his back.  His primary MO was originally to kidnap children, although later stories explained that he also torments teenagers and adults.  He likes to hang out in wooded areas, where his long arms, legs, and tentacles blend in with the trees.

The mythology states that children often have nightmares of Slenderman before he abducts him.  Once he begins to stalk you, he will continue to do so for the rest of your life.  Once his arms were stretched out, victims were believed to be put into a hypnotized state.  Later stories told of him having the ability to teleport.  The less you know, the better because Slenderman knows when you take an interest and begin researching him, and that’s when he comes to watch you.  In this case, ignorance really seems to be bliss.

A spokesman for Knudsen released a statement saying, “I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin and my heart goes out to the families of those affected by this terrible act.”  The rules of the Creepypasta website bar anyone under 13 years-old.  The site has not allowed new Slenderman posts since 2009 in an effort to encourage users to come up with fresh ideas.