Charlie Manson

I met Charlie Manson

by Duane Ausherman

As a member of the BMW Club of Northern California, I met some unusual people.  Dick (Richard) Van Dusen was among them.  He invited me to visit his home to meet his family.  He did so with this invitation, “We don’t have much, but we will share what we have.”

We visited back and forth many times over the next couple of years.  His middle daughter was quite skilled at sewing.  I once bought her a hank of fabric, and she was wearing the pants made from it in just over an hour.  The younger daughter, Julie, really liked me and was about 9 at the time.

One Sunday, I visited the family, and a school bus drove into the yard.  Out came a bunch of hippy types.  Two guys and 8-10 young women.  One guy, Charlie, was clearly the head of the group.  It was apparent that they all worshipped him.  He was so weird, and the relationship so sick that I made an excuse and left after a couple of hours.  He had visited the family several times over the years.  I didn’t recall names, as I just pushed aside this bunch of crazies.  The hippie era was full of way-out groups, so this wasn’t unusual.

A few months later, Dick reminded me of that group.  He told me that they were in the news for having killed Sharon Tate.  He was pretty appalled and shaken. Charlie gave Julie a diamond ring, which I suppose she still has today.  My history with this family is long and strange.  I have lost contact with them.

I recently watched a special program on TV about Charlie and was taken by his ability to find young women who were “bent, but not broken,” and this could well describe the family I knew.

On 18 July 2022, the TV show Dateline was about Charlie Manson.  They featured people who are experts in the Manson family.  It included one of the women who got away from the “family” early.

This photo is a thumbnail and cuts the top of Julie’s head off.  Click on the photo to see the full photo.

Finally, he is dead. Thank goodness for that.

Updated 30 March 2023