“Whatcha thinkin’ ’bout?” -Charles Manson
My friend Radeo and I are always up for an adventure. One of the things of my adventure bucket list was to go to Spahn Ranch, where the Manson family lived in the spring of 1968. She was way into this idea. I knew it was in Southern California and that it was probably blocked off to the public.
After a bit of research that brought us no more help than a google map could have, we began this excursion with only the following to help guide us…Seriously.
Manson follower, Tex Watson, drew this map of the area when they were living there. As ridiculous as it looks, its actually a pretty accurate!
This is Topanga, which is the main road before making the turn up to Old Santa Susanna Pass. We had to park the car in a church parking lot, jump a barricade, and hike for about 30 minutes into a wooded area full of prickly things in the grass.
There were a couple of weird forks in the road and creeks to Macgyver our way through, but we eventually found our way to the spot. It’s where George Spahn, the owner of the ranch, let the Manson family hide out in return for sexual favors from the ladies in the family. Its also where the family was introduced to the Beatles White Album, and the entire Helter Skelter came about for them. In 2005, the actual house burnt down in a fire. Although there are some random rusted pieces of material all over the path, that actual site is just a beautiful quiet open field that is surrounded by trees and rocky mountains.
We made the most of the moment with the help of a Manson patch that’s sewn onto the back of my hoodie.
After a long day of walking in the sun, we packed up the family and headed to the beach.