Jimsonweed: A Manson Family Recipe

Jimsonweed: A Manson Family Recipe

The Hidden Ingredient Behind the Creation of the Manson Cult & the Infamous Murders of the Late 1960’s
Jimsonweed and the Manson Family
Crime scene of the 1969 Manson murders

The summer of ’69 began a wave of fear into the minds of Americans as it closed the doors on good vibes from a decade of love and peace. The Age of Aquarius ushered in with cult-like status for a debauched, violent culture soon to come. The celebrity slaughter of actress Sharon Tate and the rest of the household at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, California reads like the scene of a horror movie, as bodies lay strewn about the house and on the lawn. Pregnant Sharon Tate lay bound gagged and stabbed repeatedly to die in a pool of her own blood. Writing on the walls from the blood of the victims. Like a scene in Hollywood that had no set or stage and only its movies could match.

Leslie Van Houten
Leslie Van Houten

Charles Manson’s ‘Family’ was comprised of the muscle of then devil’s-rejects like Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, Paul Watkins, Bobby Beausoleil, and Steve Grogan. And Manson had among himself an heir of young high-school dropouts like Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian. Charles Manson, The self proclaimed savior and prophet, led his followers into a mind-controlled cult meaning conditioning took place through installation of fear, trauma, end times prophecy, preparation for war, and occult brainwashing.

Manson’s hold and the directing of his followers was not made over night. And it can be noted that although we see the side of a more emaciated, rambling madman, Manson had an intelligence that very few men have today. His ability to take control of a group of people, brainwash them with mind-control techniques, drugs, and trauma to carry out the slaughter of innocent people cannot be understated.

Jimsonweed and the Manson Family
Charles Manson brought into custody 1969

Charlie is what you would call a dominant 5% personality meaning 1 in 20 individuals even in the primate and animal world have the traits and personality to take control of a group and direct as leader.  This is usually accompanied by elements of sociopathic and psychopathic nature. When you have no empathy or remorse for taking advantage of people it allows you to hone in on controlling the collective of a group at the expense and suffering of its individual parts. 

Most people today who know a little about the Manson murders and his creation of a drug-crazed, Helter-Skelter cult was their use of LSD as a main component of the madness they were involved in. But what’s generally less known and perhaps more devastating than the LSD is their use of the deadly hallucinogenic deliriant Jimsonweed, which they had been mistakenly calling belladonna (although both have the same compounds and end result) . This would have greatly gone unnoticed but in the trial testimony of Paul Watkins, he describes the plant which is a sure match for jimsonweed:

“Q: When did you, Mr. Watkins, first become aware of belladonna?

A: When I was about 16 years old.

Q: Where?

A: In a Hopi Indian reservation in northeastern Arizona.

Q: Did you ever see belladonna while at the Spahn Ranch?

A: Yes.

Q: When?

A: In the spring of 1969 I went out and — I saw it along, because it grows all around there.

Q: What form does it take?

A: It takes a form of a green plant, but it has got heart-shaped leaves and big white lillies (sic)

Jimsonweed seed pods
“prickly balls” Watkins describes matches Datura, common in Arizona

Q: Some kind of a flower plant?

A: Big prickly balls.”

Clearly he is describing Jimsonweed in this testimony, otherwise known as Datura. The exact species is unknown. But I am going to bet that he was describing Datura discolor or Datura inoxia, Because of their pronounced heart-shaped leaves. Datura plants are fairly common plants in places like Arizona. It has also been recognized in some circles that the Hopi medicine men employed the use of this plant although it was probably much more widespread in earlier times.

Here is where the jimsonweed comes into play for the Manson Family. Charlie had a grudge against a man that had kicked him off his land. Naturally, Charlie had to get even. He then asked Paul Watkins if he knew where he could get a hold of some poison. Affirmative. Watkins finds the Jimsonweed, digs it up, brings it back and they begin making large amounts of tea.

Tex Watson leaves chewing a piece of the root and disappears for three days:

jimsonweed intoxication
Tex Watson Mugshot under the influence of jimsonweed

“I was hitchhiking and nearly crawling on my knees, and my mouth was foaming cotton, my body was sort of red and I fell down three or four times before I got the cycle cranked up and then I couldn’t stand. The last thing I remember was blaring down the road in the daytime…and the next thing I remember, the police were dragging me out of some car..in the valley. I was in Van Nuys Jail the next morning. Three guys in the cell jumped me and beat me up. They said I was very strong; they took me to the hospital to have my right eyebrow sewed up.”

When we look closely into Watson’s mugshot his pupils are extremely dilated which one would come to expect with an overdose of tropane alkaloids. Extreme mydriasis where the pupil is almost completely covering the iris. This is the hallmark signature of tropane intoxication.

Here we have the testimony of Paul Watkins on the story of jimsonweed (although they mistakenly call it belladonna) within the Manson Family:

Q: When did you, Mr. Watkins, first become aware of belladonna?

A: When I was about 16 years old.

Q: Where?

A: In a Hopi Indian reservation in northeastern Arizona.

Q: Did you ever see belladonna while at the Spahn Ranch?

A: Yes.

Q: When?

A: In the spring of 1969 I went out and — I saw it along, because it grows all around there.

Q: What form does it take?

A: It takes a form of a green plant, but it has got heart-shaped leaves and big white lillies (sic)

jimsonweed and the Manson Family
Datura stramonium ‘jimsonweed’

Q: Some kind of a flower plant?

A: Big prickly balls.

Q: What did you do with it?

A: Well, I used to dig it up, and it has roots that are like yams — and chop the roots up and make tea of the roots and drink the tea.

Q: You sort of brew it up, then?

A: Yeah.

Q: Was that done at Spahn Ranch, if you know?

A: Yes.

Q: On how many occasions?

A: On one occasion.

Q: Was that when you did it?

A: That’s when I did it.

Q: What year was this, or what month?

A: Spring of ’69.

Q: And where was it done at the ranch?

A: In the semi-trailer.

Q: Now, is the only way one takes the plant by brewing the roots?

A: By brewing the roots.

Q: Can you chew the root, too?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you ever do that?

A: Yes.

Q: On how many occasions?

A: A dozen occasions.

Q: Was that while you were around the ranch, also?

A: No, I never took it around the ranch. I only did it because they asked me to.

Q: Who asked you to?

A: Charlie asked me to.

Q: Manson?

A: Yes.

Q: Was there some sort of a group gathering when this was done?

A: Yes, people were watching what I was doing.

Q: Were you the one who was actually brewing it up?

A: Yes.

Q: I think you told us you had used it, what, a dozen times before this occasion; is that right?

A: I had used it about 20 times before that occasion.

Q: But 12 times by chewing the roots?

A: Approximately.

Q: And the rest by stewing or by brewing?

A: Drinking the tea or eating the seeds.

Q: What effect did it have on you?

A: Very, very, very strong drug effect.

Q: Like what?

A: Like, first noticeable effects are very, very thick saliva forming in your mouth, and you have a hard time swallowing.

Q: Is that saliva condition something you could call cotton mouth?

A: Yes, you just get a very bad cotton mouth and a very awful odor, then you get nauseous, really nauseated, that lasts for three or four hours, and then depending on the dose, it will lay the body down.

Q: In other words, you would pass out?

A: The trip will continue.

Q: How long does the trip continue?

A: Three days to a week.

Q: In lighter quantities, what happens short of passing out?

A: In the lighter quantities you could still walk around.

Q: Function?

A: Walk around and function.

Q: Did the drug have a tendency to dehydrate you, Mr. Watkins, if you know?

A: Belladonna?

Q: That is what I am talking about? Belladone.

A: Yes.

Q: You get very dehydrated?

A: Yes.

Q: Emaciated?

A: Emaciated?

Q: You know, kind of dried up?

A: Yes. You can say it emaciates you if you want to, I guess. I am not sure what that words means.

Q: Just being very dry?

A: I always carried a canteen whenever I would take that.

Q: To replenish what? The bodily fluids?

A: Yes.

Q: With water?

A: Yes.

Q: How often would you take it when you did take it?

A: One time I took it — it would vary. I would go on a binge and maybe take it every three or four days, in order to stay constantly on it. Spread it out over two or three weeks. Or I would take one very strong trip and then not take any for a few months, then take another one and not take any for a week. There was no pattern to how it was done.

Q: Is the effect pretty much the same, whether you drink the juice or chew the root?

A: Well, all except for the physical effect. If you chew the root, you get a root in your stomach that you are likely to throw up.

Q: Is the physical reaction to the drug the same?

A: Yes.

THE COURT: Would this be a good time to recess, Mr. Bubrick?

MR. BUBRICK: Yes.

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury we will recess at this time until 1:30. Once more, please heed the usual admonition.

CROSS-EXAMINATION (Resumed) BY MR. BUBRICK:

Q: Mr. Watkins, I think this noon when we broke we were talking about belladonna and you were telling us about the batch you were brewing up in Spahn Ranch.

Do you recall that?

A: Yeah, I recall that.

Q: And you said that it was being prepared in some sort of a tea form, something to drink, I take it?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, when that was being prepared, was Mr. Watson there, if you know?

A: Yes, he was there.

Q: And did you see him do anything about the belladonna you were using?

A: Yes.

Q: What did he do?

A: He took a chunk of root about three-quarters of an inch long and about an inch in diameter and walked off chewing on it.

Q: Did you see him again that day?

A: No, saw him three days later.

Q: Three days later?

A: Yes.

Q: And what, if anything, did you notice at that time?

A: I noticed that he was bruised, was cut from one end to the other and had a big blackened, red and blue eye, looked like he had been in a heck of a fight.

Q: Can you fix the time of the year that this occurred in?

A: Yeah, it would be spring of 1968 — no, ’69.

There is a question of whether or not they were on jimsonweed the night of the murders. I don’t believe they were and here’s why:

Tropane intoxication incapacitates the user. Carrying out anything in this state is next to impossible. Especially commands and instructions. Another problem they would have is keeping balance. As Tex said he was “nearly crawling on my knees”. The loss of coordination and balance is a common effect of the drug because the acetylcholine has been reduced to a state where the balance cannot be properly assimilated. This, in my opinion, would never work. I think it was used to sort of break them down and get them a little cooked up so they could be manipulated with ease.

It is important to remember that you can’t really blame drugs on the events that took place on that horrific summer of ’69. You have to understand that Charlie was using these as tools to gain a tight grip around his followers. Of course the media is going to blame the LSD. Mainly because LSD is on the list for the phony ‘War on Drugs’ so of course that will have to be brought to the surface, unjustly. They seemed to overlook the jimsonweed, and I think mostly because they have no idea what it is and what it can do

But I guess that’s how Lady Nightshade does it. She prefers to make her presence known in the most powerful ways and then after the smoke is cleared she blends into the backdrop undetected and back to the dark Underworld that is her kingdom…

Paul Watkins introduced Charlie to jimsonweed and from that point on Charlie utilized it with great efficacy to intensify the fear and trauma, cultivating an aura of unpredictability and instability, thereby making the ‘Family’ more controllable.

Then we get down to the after effects this drug. It is clear from Watkin’s testimony that they were using this stuff heavily and for long, drawn out periods. This would very likely result in some form of lingering psychosis and therefore much more suggestible by someone like Charlie Manson.

Charlie had a perfect tool to keep his followers in check…

jimsonweed & the Manson family
Jimsonweed: the Underworld botanical
Jimsonweed and the Manson family
Charles Manson: Cult Leader and Mind Manipulator