The Soap Plant on Hollywood Boulevard is the only place I know of nearby which sells Junko Mizuno figures, so I biked out there from Glendale, even though I knew the figures were overpriced. I bought one anyway. Once I had it out of the box and displayed, I wondered why I'd wanted it, which is usually how it is with action figures.
On the way back from the store I rode my bike up and across this overpass which crosses Hyperion just before the river, and as I was about to get off and cart my bike onto the pedestrian ramp, I stopped dead in the middle of this desolate residential street. Waverly Drive? I thought. Holy shit, that's the street where one of the Charles Manson murders took place. 3201 Waverly, or something. I looked, and the nearest street number was in the low 3000s. It was right up the street.
I biked up the street and got to where 3201 should have been, but there was no house with that number. I biked in small circles, figured they must have torn the place down after the murders, and I went home.
I later realized the correct address was 3301 Waverly, and kicked myself. But I wasn't sure this was the right street. The LaBianca house was someplace called Los Feliz, which I'd never heard of, and sometimes in California, streets will be broken up into several disconnected segments.
When I finally gave it serious investigation, I learned that yes, this was in fact the street where the LaBianca house was. South of Griffith Park, intersected with St. George Ave, at a bend in the road. Just over three miles from my apartment. If I'd remembered the street number I could have happened upon it all by accident, and it would have been a real adventure. But now I'd make a little day trip out of it.
I decided to go on September 11th, for blasphemous reasons. While others would be mourning the greatest national tragedy in modern history, I would take a jaunt to one of the Manson Family murder scenes, maybe take a few souvenir snaps. Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who put Charles Manson away, has stated that the 2000 election was handed to George W. Bush illegally, and by all indications, Bush would be exploiting the 9-11 ceremonies to position himself for re-election. I didn't think my festivities could be nearly as crass.
On the ninth, I was looking for books in the Salvation Army store, as I often do, and I found a copy of Helter Skelter, Bugliosi's book about the Manson murders, the one with screaming bloody letters on the dust jacket. It seemed too fortuitous to be coincidence. I bought it. $1.25, no tax.
I read well into the early morning of the 11th about the Tate-LaBianca murders and the investigation which followed. The details themselves didn't bother me, but there is enough of an aura about the crimes that I felt as though I was trespassing on something sacred. So I closed and locked the sliding door so nothing could get me!
Waverly Drive might have been nice once, but now it's kind of crummy. Barren, trash-littered hillsides, abandoned furniture, shattered pavement. That's where it intersects Hyperion. Further in it's not so bad.
When I got to the scene, there didn't seem much point in taking snapshots. The street number has been changed to 3311, and there's a huge gate and fence around it now. The house has been remodeled a bit, with kind of a breezeway put in. It had all been disguised very well, so changed as to be a different house. But this was definitely the former LaBianca residence. It was at the intersection with St. George, and the house next door, 3267, had that curving driveway visible in aerial photographs taken at the time of the murders. The Family, led by Manson himself that evening, had actually gone up the drive of 3267 and then cut across the yard.
I didn't get any sort of vibration off the place, which is typical; I'm just not sensitive to the supernatural. I know that something terrible happened there 34 years ago, but when you look at it, it's just a house. Besides, it was the half-assed secondary murder scene. I was therefore glad I brought the CD player with the Coil album, because otherwise this was going to be a pretty dull adventure.
(I originally thought about bringing Thirlwell's Nail album, but felt it would be too over the top.)
I stood against the hedge opposite the street (in the shade), and started "The First Five Minutes After Death." Drums. Horses clomping through mud. I switched the Hyper-Bass on. 'The angel of Death stands between Heaven and Earth, holding a poison-dripping sword. Identified with Satan, he is full of EYES...' That got me going. I wasn't sure if I was having my own little memorial to the LaBiancas or to Manson's insanity, or possibly both. But the import of the location came through to me for a few minutes.
Waverly is a fairly narrow street, and I snapped out of it when some guy in a pickup had to stop to avoid an oncoming car and looked right at me. He had a weird expression on his face, like he knew why I was there, like I wasn't the first to have loitered around 3311. Anyway, the song was finishing up. I made to leave.
It seemed like I ought to do something else while I was there, like break in. There was a cement-filled post in front where I could've gotten a foothold and boosted myself over the right-hand gatepost. I decided against it. I'd been on the street for several minutes and surely noticed, and I imagine they're a little worried about intruders. So I left and rode into Hollywood again, bought another overpriced action figure.
I didn't see any of that national unity we're all supposed to have felt today, incidentally. The people I encountered were as self-absorbed as they usually are. A guy in a Slayer t-shirt tried to yield to me, though. Did I ever mention that Satanists are much more polite than Christians? And there was some guy blasting Ministry out of his car, which I first heard on a mix tape where I also heard Coil for the first time. But that's not relevant to anything.
Bush never ended up going to the 9-11 ceremonies in New York. Cheney was supposed to go, but his appearance was cancelled citing security concerns. What does it mean when, on a day of supposed national unity and remembrance, it's not safe for the vice-president to show up?