Revisiting 8 Key Manson Family Murder Locations in Los Angeles
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
The gruesome murder spree envisioned by Charles Manson turns 51 today.
1. Dennis Wilson's Home: 14400 Sunset Blvd. Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
One fateful spring night in 1968, Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson picked up two young women hitchhiking on Sunset Blvd. They eagerly accepted an invitation back to his lavish home in the Pacific Palisades, regaling Wilson with stories of their spiritual guru, Charlie.
Wilson returned home from a recording session later that night to find a school bus parked in his driveway and a party in full swing. Charles Manson kissed his feet, thanked Wilson for his hospitality and made himself at home. At first, a newly divorced Wilson didn't mind having twenty or so free-spirited young women around but the Manson family soon wore out their welcome. Within a few months they had totaled three of his cars, racked up $100,000 in debt and given him Gonorrhea.
2. Spahn Ranch: 23000 Santa Susana Pass Rd. Chatsworth, CA 91311
In August of 1968, Charles Manson made a deal with an elderly and nearly blind George Spahn. His cult would take care of Spahn's rundown, desolate property and manage his horse rental business, in exchange for a place to live. It had been many years since the movie ranch appeared in Westerns and George Spahn was lonely. The Manson family left Dennis Wilson's home that August, moving the festivities over to Spahn Ranch. Later, a series of wildfires would sweep through Los Angeles in 1970, burning Spahn Ranch to the ground, but you can find hiking directions to where it once stood here.
3. The Manson Caves: 34.2713785, -118.6206256
Spahn Ranch was a place of psychedelics and free love but a dark cloud loomed overhead. An aspiring musician, Charles Manson became acquainted with record-producer Terry Melcher before moving out of Dennis Wilson's home. He hoped Melcher would sign him to a record deal and when that didn't happen, an already angry Manson became enraged. A few months later when the Beatles released their iconic "White Album," Manson came up with a plan. Hollywood had rejected him and they would have to pay the price. He convinced the others that Beatles' songs "Helter Skelter," "Blackbird" and "Piggies" foretold a race war and when it never panned out, it was up to the Manson family to start one themselves.
4. El Coyote Restaurant: 7312 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036
On the evening of August 8, 1969, Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring and Wojciech Frykowski sat down to dinner at El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant on Beverly Blvd. Tate was nearly 9 months pregnant and unbeknownst to them, it would be their last meal. They left the restaurant around 10:00 p.m. and went to Tate's home, 10050 Cielo Drive.
5. Villa Bella: 10066 Cielo Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (Formerly 10050 Cielo Drive)
In the early morning hours of August, 9 1969, four members of the Manson family went to 10050 Cielo Drive under Charlie's orders. Charlie had been to the home when it belonged to Candice Bergen and her then-boyfriend, Terry Melcher. The fact that Melcher no longer frequented the Cielo Drive home did not matter to Manson. The house itself represented Hollywood's elite inner circle, a space Manson tried and failed to gain access to through his music. Just after midnight, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian hopped the gate at 10050 Cielo Drive. They ran into Steven Parent on their way in, who had been visiting the estate's caretaker, and shot him four times in the chest. Kasabian stood guard outside while the others entered the home, killing Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Sharon Tate and her unborn child with a total of 102 stab wounds. In 1994, the house was demolished and Villa Bella (pictured above) was built in its place, the address changed to 10066 Cielo Drive.
6. Bloody Clothes Found: 2901 Benedict Canyon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210
After finishing up at Cielo Drive, the gang started back up the hill towards Spahn Ranch, pulling over on Benedict Canyon Drive to discard their bloody clothes - three black t-shirts, one white t-shirt and three pairs of black jeans. In an attempt to trace the perpetrators steps, an LA Times reporter found the blood-soaked garments nearly four months later on December 15, 1969, strewn on the hillside across from 2901 Benedict Canyon Drive.
7. Gun Found: 3627 Longview Valley Rd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
At some point after shedding their bloody garments, they pulled over again on Beverly Glen Blvd. to get rid of their gun. Linda Kasabian got out of the car and threw one of the murder weapons, a .22 caliber revolver, down the hillside. On September 1, 1969, 10 year old Steven Weiss found the gun in his backyard, "lying next to the sprinkler, under a bush."
8. LaBianca Residence: 3311 Waverly Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90027 (formerly 3301 Waverly Dr.)
Sometime after 1:00 a.m. on August 10, 1969, Charles Manson took Leslie Van Houten, Steve Grogan, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian to 3301 Waverly Drive. They had attended a party at the house next door the year prior and may have been casing the LaBianca home. Earlier that year, Rosemary LaBianca reported strange happenings to the police. The LaBiancas would arrive home to find objects moved and their dogs in the backyard, after leaving them inside. Rosemary and her husband were asleep when the Manson gang let themselves in through an unlocked back door and proceeded to fatally stab the pair with a steak knife, carving fork and chrome-plated bayonet. In 2019, Zak Bagans of "Ghost Adventures" purchased the home for $1,888,888.