This Day In Crime History

August 9, 1969: The Manson Family Murders Actress Sharon Tate And Four Others

It is known as one of the most gruesome and deadliest murders in American history.

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On the night of August 9, 1969, Charles Manson ordered central Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson to take three other members, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to the home of Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate’s house. Manson told the three women to do as Watson directed them. The three women were instructed to "totally destroy everyone in [the house], as gruesome as you can."


The Family went to 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles and murdered Tate, who was eight months pregnant. They also killed three friends who were visiting Tate: her former lover and hairstylist Jay Sebring, Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and Frykowski's girlfriend Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folger coffee fortune. Stephen Parent, who was visiting the caretaker of the home, was also murdered. Polanski was in Europe working on a film at the time.

Frykowski was sleeping on the couch when the Manson Family came in. He reportedly asked “Tex” Watson who he was and what he was doing, and Watson replied, "I'm the devil, and I'm here to do the devil's business."

Tate and Sebring were tied together by their necks with rope and thrown over one of the living room's ceiling beams. Folger was stabbed 28 times and Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.

To make things even more gruesome, Susan Atkins wrote "pig" in blood on the front door of the home. It was this murder scene and this night that the Manson Family gained national notoriety.

The family was a cult that rose up in the late 1960s, led by Charles Manson who implied that he was Jesus and that his followers were the reincarnation of the original Christians. In addition to the Tate murders, group members were responsible for the murders of two others. They also tried, and failed, to assassinate President Gerald Ford.

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