Know the killers: How a brutal woman hit squad kept Manson Family cult's crime empire intact
Two-hour special on a drug-driven hippie leader's women who committed a series of crimes including the killing of starlet Sharon Tate...
It has been nearly 50 years since Charles Manson and his cult shook the world with their brutal murders. An eerily charming and charismatic leader to his infamous "family", the crimes he manipulated his female followers into committing are obscenely violent and extremely well documented, especially the one involving starlet Sharon Tate. And while a lot has been said, filmed, and recreated of Manson's cult, the story of this freewheeling "family" and its members - especially its women - continues to draw the curiosity of the world. Manson died on November 19, 2017.
Oxygen's new two-hour special focuses on four women in the Manson Family - Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Sandra “Blue” Good, Catherine “Gypsy” Share, and Dianne “Snake” Lake as they recount their experiences with Manson, life on Spahn Ranch and their leader’s eventual descent into madness. And while they share a very different perspective on the cult and the impact it had on their lives, it is important to know these women.
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme
She was perhaps one of the most notorious of the bunch and is most infamous for the assassination bid on U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975 in Sacramento. Squeaky had a lot of trouble with the law but kept getting away with it. She met Manson for the first time in 1967 in Venice Beach and was taken immediately by him and his two friends Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins. Atkins was involved in the Tate killing.
Fromme lived with the Manson Family in Southern California at Spahn Ranch where they worked for their keep, and at the Barker Ranch in Death Valley, which was owned by a "family" member's grandmother. Her name Squeaky was given by the ranch owner because of the sound she made when he touched her. She was one of the women who camped outside Manson's trial room after he was arrested for the Tate and Rosemary LaBianca murders in 1969. She was never charged with the murders but was convicted of preventing other followers from talking against him. She got two short jail sentences.
She then moved to Stockton with "family" members Nancy Pitman, Priscilla Cooper and ex-convict Aryan Brotherhood members Michael Monfort and James Craig to follow through with Manson's deal with the Brotherhood. Here, she was involved in the murder of James Willett in 1972. Willett was forced to dig his own grave and then shot by the members. Lauren was also shot. Squeaky was arrested and held for almost 21 months but released for lack of evidence. She also tried to kill a fellow "family" member to prevent them from testifying.
After leaving Stockton, Fromme moved into a Sacramento apartment with fellow Manson Family member Sandra Good. As of January 2019, she was living with her boyfriend who pleaded guilty of a manslaughter charge in 1988. She has continued to profess her adoration for Manson.
Sandra “Blue” Good
Manson called her "Blue" to represent clean air and water. Coming from a broken family, with her parents divorcing at four, Blue met Manson in 1968 and a few months later went off with them when they moved to a new home at Spahn Ranch in the mountains west of Chatsworth. She wasn't a part of the Tate and LaBianca murders because she was in jail serving time for theft. However, she did get an additional 15 years in prison in 1976 after she sent threats to 170 corporate executives who she believed had violated the beliefs of Manson's ecological mandate ATWA (Air, Trees, Water, Animals and All The Way Alive).
Good was paroled in 1985, alongside another member Steve Grogan after he helped authorities find the body of the final Manson victim, Donald Shea. Unlike many of the "family" members, Good still professed total allegiance to Manson even when she came out. She was last heard of in 2001 for her pro-Manson blog which is now archived.
Catherine “Gypsy” Share
Although she wasn't directly related to the Tate-LaBianca murders, Gypsy was convicted for trying to intimidate a witness against testifying, serving 90 days, and later served five years in prison for armed robbery. However, after her release from prison, she wanted to get away from the "family" and wanted to remove the X on her forehead which was a sign of Manson's following.
Gypsy's mother committed suicide when she was 16 and she was living with her adoptive father, who was blind. When he remarried, she started straying - exploring the 1960's counter culture. She met Mandon through Bobby Beausoleil, a "family" member on the sets of a soft porn movie.
She was a devoted member. She attempted to save Manson by putting the responsibility of the Tate LaBianca murders on Linda Kasabian, who was another "family" member. She, along with Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Dennis Rice, Steve "Clem" Grogan and Ruth Ann "Ouisch" Moorehouse tried to kill "family" member Barbara Hoyt to prevent her from testifying against Manson and others in the Tate LaBianca murder trial. They tried to lure her to Hawaii, then drugged her with LSD. Hoyt, however, survived.
Diane "Snake" Lake
She was the youngest member of the "family" apart from the babies. Snake's parents lived in Wavy Gravy Hog Farm in Tujunga, California in an anti-authoritarian way of life. She met Manson's girls when they visited the community and her parents gave her away when she said she wanted to live with them. Manson is said to have beaten her every day, in an attempt to solve her paternal conflicts. She did testify against Tex Watkins, Patricia Krenwickle and Leslie Vann and provided the police with incriminating evidence against the "family."
Her trauma caused her to be diagnosed with schizophrenia when she turned 16. She has said in interviews that the counterculture made her feel lost and it was the perfect prey for Manson. "People were smoking pot on the street. There was all this free love. And I’m lost. Because the counterculture did not have a place for a sexually active 14-year-old. I was jailbait," Lake told HISTORY in an interview. Lake went on to graduate both high school and college before she met her husband and started a family.
Catch the full two-hour special 'Manson: The Women' on Saturday, August 10 at 7 pm ET/PT.