119 days after Charles Manson passed we attended the services that Jason Freeman had set up after his victory in court for Charles’ remains. Three of us were shocked to find that what we had heard prior was true when we identified Charles’ body on the evening of 3.16. Charles’ body had been embalmed before we arrived. Just as shocking was the news that Jason was to hold an open casket viewing as part of the services, which would be held the next day, 3.17.
We were assured repeatedly that NO FOOTAGE OF CHARLES’ BODY WOULD BE INCLUDED in whatever the finished product would be of the film production crew that was already there. We were told they were to film Jason, and his reaction, upon seeing his grandfather for the first time.
(Months prior Jason and I spoke and I conveyed to him that it was paramount that no filming of Charles’ body could be permitted. I recall him saying, “I just puked in my own mouth”. I didn’t understand what he meant exactly until he explained that the thought of something like that made him sick.)
Jason was very loose with us and I sensed this was a form of placation, knowing that we were displeased with the choice to embalm and hold a viewing of the body.
Had I known going into the building that day how loose Jason would be with Charles’ close friends (inner circle) I would have insisted he not let a few people attend who we encountered in the parking lot. They had no place there whatsoever…
I was with some of the very few people whom I personally love. We weren’t “saying goodbye” to a deceased loved one, we had already done that in our own ways, months prior. We were a body of friends, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who were there to honor the life of a man we knew! A man we took care of and loved.
Charles was not there. He had already flown from this flimsy shell months prior. His body remained only. Flesh and Bone.
It seemed our duty to avoid the blasphemy of the many who were in the presence of even this mans mortal shell.
This proved a trying experience which had to be endured with a facade put on in order to achieve what we set out to do.
Together we lifted Charles’ body out of the casket and into the wood box which we wheeled into the cremation room. We said prayers and beat drums and deposited Charles’ body into the fire.
In the same room, while the body burned, we played guitar and sang songs. No beach boys or guns and roses, as was reported by rolling stone magazine. This was not filmed and it was beautiful.
We hung around outside the cremation room, sharing memories of Charles on the grass while waiting for the final part of the services Jason had set up, the ash spreading ceremony. A procession of vehicles traveled to the site and there we spread Charles’ ashes. Jason gave me an urn of ashes and bone.
(Within a matter of weeks someone else who was irresponsibly given some ashes to would end up selling them to a murderabilia collector, who then gave the story to some base media outlet.)
We set out to righteously eclipse something that would be exploitative with light and love, dignity and truth. It was all we could do.
I have now seen a “trailer” of the film and it is as I thought it would be, replete with images of Charles’ body… and to blur them out would not redeem anything at all. I was sure to warn Jason, and others, that there would be cosmic repercussions if he did not keep his word in regard to using any images of Charles’ corpse…