Don’t throw the “third-eye baby” out with the Bill Garretson Story bathwater, I always say.
Timeline assuredly continues to be somewhat skewed by Bill in his re-telling of the events in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969, and actions/events that I do believe occurred have with outside influences been morphed into the fantastical. But Bill doesn’t do this on purpose, I don’t think. He’s just bought into the agendas of outsiders thinking now that Shock & Awe and interview Hype make for a better, more profitable story, when in fact, the story Bill has to tell, in its truest form, is Shock & Awe enough.
It is the Listener’s job, in this Four Part Podcast by Star City Radio, to separate the fantasy from the facts, for Bill does offer facts, tiny colonels of truth as only now known to us all.
To continue from where Bill left off at the end of Part Two (A);
Bill – “The whole night, this is the whole night. I didn’t go to sleep until day break. It was sunny outside when I went to sleep, I was up all night.”
Cats – “Wow.”
Bill – “I wanted to see what time it was because I have wind up clocks…they all stopped at midnight for some reason, I don’t know why, but they were all at midnight.”
Brian – “WOW!”
Bill – “As far as time, I got no idea.”
Bill voluntarily offers a Disclaimer to the Listener citing that from now on in the re-telling of his experience, there is no way of Bill knowing when the events he is about to describe actually took place. Bill’s reference to clocks stopping at midnight could just be his scattered memory of the radio alarm clock being set by Steve Parent, to show him how it worked, then unplugged again around midnight when Bill was not interested in buying it.
It can also be a veiled reference to the experience Vincent Bugliosi describes in his book, “Helter Skelter”, where when Manson stared at him in court one day, his wrist watch stopped, never having done that before. Oo-Ee-Oo.
As we have no way to corroborate this experience of Bill’s, we can only speculate, but my guess is that if he had told someone of one of his clocks stopping – most likely his wind up alarm clock and not a wall clock or his wrist watch - that person could have relayed to Bill the story of Bugliosi with Manson, and along with the memory of Steve starting and stopping his alarm clock radio, this hyped-up version was born. It made Cats and Brian go “Wow!”, in the hopes that the Listener would think the same thing. I keep saying who needs extra Wow’s when the reality of these events are Wow enough?
Bill – “This, I don’t know what time it is or anything, but then, you know,…I’m writing these letters to different people and now that another knock on the door. Dogs, you know, dogs go to the door, when it’s my time, I go to the door and there’s a couple guys is out there.”
Because Bill emphasizes again he has no idea as to the time, we can safely assume these men who show up at his door are people (police/investigators/CSI techs/Animal Control handlers) arriving on the murder scene after Winifred cried for help at the neighbour’s home, which would put this event definitely after 9:14 a.m. when the first radio dispatch was sent out to police. Although no exact time is documented as to when Bill was discovered in the Guest House, one can assume it would have been within the first half hour of the police arriving on scene, which may put this occurrence at roughly 9:50 a.m. Although, in the Initial Police Report it is claimed Bill testifies to events up at Cielo from about 2 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on the 9th.
The one main clue that proves that this “knock” Bill heard was not made from people in the killing party is that with this knock Bill decides to answer the door. We can assume then that it is daylight, that his fear has subsided and some kind of identity has been made clear to Bill as to whom is knocking; otherwise, he would have done as he did during the kill time frame and hid and not answered the door.
Bill – “One [of the men who approached the Guest House door] looks like he’s wearin’ casual clothes, one’s got casual clothes, there’s a couple with suits and he’s holding a baby, [one of the men say], ‘Could you step outside for a minute?…I’m sticking my hands out…and while I’m holding the baby he [one of the men] says, ‘I gotta use your phone.’, [Bill replies], ‘The phone’s dead.’…and he says, ‘Where’s the phone at?’ and he goes in and while I’m holding this baby this other guy is pointing a gun at my head!”
Brian – “Had they ID’d themselves as police or anything?”
Bill – “No! I’m thinking they’re from a party.”
Cats - “Was the baby clean, was it dressed?”
Bill – “Um, no, it was in a blanket, like a blanket.”
I have racked my brain and gone over the established timeline of events and can only come up with one scenario to possibly explain Bill’s “men in suits with baby” story;
All the 10050 Cielo Drive animals were inside the Guest House with Bill Garretson, save for a small kitten Sharon had found walking around the property a few days before the murders. The kitten is not mentioned in the Police Reports but was stated by officials to the media at some point (because it was mentioned in the print media later) that it had been aimlessly walking throughout the Main House when police entered the premises, its paws supposedly stained with blood. We know from NBC news footage that Animal Control was brought in to retrieve Christopher (Altobelli’s dog) and Prudence (Sharon’s dog) as well as this stray kitten. Although pictures taken of the kitten show it being handled with bare hands, it may have been initially scooped up in a towel or blanket because of it being stained with blood or to protect the handlers from being bitten or being scratched with its claws.
At some point before the animals were loaded into the Animal Control van, investigators, along with the Animal Control handler(s) could have taken the kitten to the Guest House for Bill to ID before Bill was taken off the property as well. This small kitten, wrapped in a blanket or towel, could have been what Bill remembers, only with the shock and trauma of the day’s events and with outside influences from Sharon baby imposter and former girl friend, “Rosie Tate Polanski”, Bill could now have a kitten in a blanket morph into a “baby in a blanket”.
Bill lets us know once again that even he doubts what he is saying are the facts with his oft repeated phrase when he knows his story is derailing;
Bill – “…the main thing that’s going through my mind…if he shoots me, I fall down, the baby is going to get hurt too! What the hell’s going on? Something’s not right…It was alive…the baby’s eyes were open…there is a mark on this baby.”
Brian – “A birthmark?”
Bill – “Yes. It’s not light where I’m at, you know, outside. It appears to be and it looks like another eye….Oh my goodness. This is not right….it’s kind of off to the side…it looked like a little bump, I told Rosie, it looks like if you close your eyes, like your eyeball…if you close your eye, a little slit, it looks like an eye….Why would they bring the baby to the Guest House though, if it’s Sharon’s baby? There was no phone. They came over there to call…the people in the suits go one way, and I’m [Bill says], ‘Hey, I’m going with you.’…and the other guy – in casual dress [possibly Animal Control with the kitten] – going the direction, is going towards the house… [Bill says again] ’Hey, I’m going with you.’ And a guy pointed a gun at me [and said]…’There’s enough people dead already.’ What he’s talking about? [guy says] ‘You go in that direction.” [inside the Guest House and Bill obeyed].
His reference to it not being light where he was standing can still have this scenario playing out at around 9:30 a.m. because the Front Door of the Guest House is inset into the structure and the Lodge Pole Pines that overhang the Guest House did indeed heavily shade the Front Door area of the Guest House.
Bill – “…as far as the third eye, and me thinking it’s an eye…something, oh, it’s in your head, you stick with it, like the electric wires.”
The “eye” of which Bill speaks, when carefully dissecting his words, can become what he thought reminded him of a closed eye into that of just a marking on the face of a kitten. The “bump” he describes could have been the cheekbone of the kitten as well, as he places it off to the side of the face. Bill again repeats the phrase, “This is not right.” in mid-description, cluing us into the fact that even he knows these details are not quite accurate. Basically, after you dissect this hyped-up “third eye on a baby in a blanket” story, all you are left with is a possible scenario of a kitten with a facial marking wrapped up in something and taken over to Bill to ID by the authorities before he himself is led off the property. We know as well that the police did indeed draw their weapons when they first encountered Bill. Bill’s habit of transposing events in the timeline is again evident with this “men and baby” story as it was with seeing the wires cut at the gate. Bill most like is describing actual events but the details are skewed and are not relayed to the listener in their proper linear or chronological order. In that last quote above, Bill is saying as much. He has these memories but he knows they aren’t being relayed accurately nor in their proper order. He feels his memory of events is being manipulated and altered but can’t quite grasp how or why. The hyped-up Shock & Awe, once you know this about Bill, fizzles and pops no more.
I’m sure some would like to draw a conclusion - based on Bill’s guestimate that the time this baby scenario took place was approximately two hours after the “pop” he heard that he thought was Parent’s car back-firing - that these “men” could have been Manson with his “partner” upon their return to Cielo that night, to check on the murderous handiwork done by Tex and the Girls. This conclusion is impossible given that Manson would have never allowed himself to be witnessed on that property that night and linked to those murders, never mind leaving that witness alive to state so to police. And the statement, “There’s enough people dead already” rings not of Charlie’s verbiage but of a typical retort a policeman might make to a possible murder suspect.
Bill remembers factual details but remembers them not in any linear nor chronological fashion and then colours them with misinformation spoon-fed to him by others over the years. He knows that what he is relaying is not quite right and is disturbed enough to say so over and over again. With undue influences and his own cognitive issues, not to mention the utter shock and horror he endured at the time of the murders and then the ravages of time on anyone’s memory, you are left with Bill offering small colonels of truth wrapped around allot of red herrings…but the truth is there.
Bill – “When it’s day light, then I let the dogs out….I let them out at the entrance where you come in at…maybe I should go there and see if everything’s alright, I thought, nah….I went back inside, got the dogs back in and went to sleep…. I hear the dogs barking, I get up and there’s one guy pointing a gun at me, you know, the police.”
In this quote, Bill mentions the dogs being let out and let back in with no fuss or barking from them. During the “men with the baby” event, Bill mentions no fuss nor barking from the dogs either. This is odd given that Bill says the dogs always bark when strangers came on the property. This omission of mentioning the dogs fussing leads one to believe that this event occurred roughly after the police heard a man say “Be quiet” in the Guest House and then approached the building with guns drawn. Only three times did Bill mention the dogs barking; a) when Steve Parent arrived; b) during the killings; and c) when the police approached the Guest House, and the only event that corresponds to the dogs not barking would be after they were under control by either Bill or Animal Control, after the authorities were on site, further suggesting that the “men with the baby” are authorities with Sharon’s kitten. Here, the event with a policeman pointing a gun at Bill is remembered accurately and in order of the timeline. Bill does not question this memory with the “Something’s not right” phrase because he knows this is how this event unfolded.
In this latest version, Bill states without reservation that the dogs were let out of the Front “entrance” which, of course, contradicts the waffling he did during the Lie Detector test when he couldn’t be certain what door he used to let them out – the Front or Back door. I think Bill is stating the truth when he says it was the Front door now because at the time if he had admitted the same to the police, they might have grilled him more on why he didn’t notice at least the blood trail near the Main House Master Bedroom entrance and/or Gibby’s body on the lawn, both being so close to the Guest House Front entrance itself, suggesting he may have seen more than he was admitting. The police then could have wondered why Bill, if he saw blood or a body on the lawn, did not approach it or at least try to seek help, further implicating him in either the murders or suspecting him of negligence after the fact. It is my belief Bill did not see the blood trail from the Master Bedroom French Doors nor Gibby’s body on the front lawn because of the small hedgerow that lines the walk to the Guest House and because Bill was probably in the habit of opening the Front Door for the dogs with his head down, so as to not look like he was spying on the people in the Main House or at the pool.
The one thing that does bother me though as per Bill not realizing that there were dead bodies on the lawn is how the dogs must have behaved during the time he let them out. By the early morning hours, the outside temperature must have been in the high 70s if not 80s (as it was 94 degrees by 2 p.m. that afternoon when the coroner arrived on scene) and I feel the dogs would have smelled the blood and taken a B-Line to Gibby’s and Voytek’s bodies, possibly barking and/or making a fuss as dogs do when people are in distress. Bill said he let them out, then let them back in, mentioning no difficulty in doing so, and it’s hard to believe that they would have willingly gone back inside with blood and bodies so evident on the lawn. It’s my personal experience with handling dogs that if blood is around, or people are in distress, dogs will not leave the scene and will most definitely bark, howl, or paw at the blood. The fact that Bill makes no special mention of this when he lets them out at dawn is perplexing. I have no answer for this (beyond the fact that possibly even that amount of blood and bodies outside on the lawn frightened even the dogs to want to cower inside) and Bill gives no further information. This is a perfect example of why I still believe hypnosis would have been very beneficial to glean the full story of what Bill knew then, as now.
Bill – “That’s when the nightmare comes about.”
Strange how Bill’s mind works sometimes…. He only considers this night and day becoming a “nightmare” after the police arrive, when I think most of us would have considered what we had seen and heard in the hours previous the beginning of a nightmare. Bill admits he was frightened enough in those night hours to not allow himself to go to sleep ‘til dawn, and for me, the nightmare would have begun either at the “pop” when Steve left, or when I heard screams and saw people running outside or at the very least when I heard a voice say, “I’m dead already.” But it’s Bill’s way of assessing events that most likely kept him alive; whereas, I would have been surely dead from at least my own curiosity (going outside and investigating) while the killers were still on the scene.
Bill – “…and,one, you know, one was pointing the gun, the other one followed…First thing that came to mind is was I didn’t pay any hitch-hiking tickets. I thought they came up there to arrest me for the tickets.”
This statement by Bill made me smile, supressing a giggle as I did. The very first thing he’s thinking, after the night he has had, is that cops are breaking down his door for hitch-hiking tickets, never that it might have something to do with pops and screams and “I’m already dead” utterances from the hours before - amazing. Yep, a gaggle of police always show up and attempt to break down the front doors of citizens who haven’t paid fines, that happens all the time…I know, I’m trying not to giggle here but Bill is a funny, funny guy!
Seriously though, I do think his simplistic upbringing coupled with his cognitive issues and the way he processes events has a definite bearing on how he perceives things. Most people, right away, as the police banged on their door, would immediately link the previous night’s scary happenings with why they were now face to face with guns drawn. This proves that Bill has no linear thought capabilities to link one event to another in their proper order; hence, why his re-telling can go astray. The facts are there but they are told in disorder and embellished with the opinions of outsiders who were not present to experience what Bill had.
Bill – “They were trying to kick the door in and I said it goes the other way….One cop went toward the bedroom looking for ‘Christopher’ and I said Christopher is the dog. ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong?’ and they took me out on the patio and threw me down on the patio and said, ‘Shut up and we’ll show ya.’….Abigail’s boyfriend, his eyes was open….How in the hell am I still alive, you know, why?….I remember looking back, in the cruiser…and seeing the dogs following me….When I got to the police station, they told me I was being under arrest for five murders.”
Cats – “…you looked so traumatized.”
Bill – “It stayed that way…they [police] questioned me….”
A great deal of detail is proffered when Bill is relaying his first-hand account of events. There is no doubt nor hesitation on his part for he knows he has the facts in their proper order without embellishments or timeline confusion. When there are embellishments or timeline transposition, little detail is given and doubt seeps into Bill’s statements.
The Truth is in the details. The Facts are in the timeline. If either is missing, transposed or embellished, doubt and hesitation is evident in Bill. That is how you separate the wheat from the chaff in Bill’s account of that horrific night in Benedict Canyon.
Analysis of Part Three of the Star City Radio Bill Garretson podcast to come…