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June 5, 2024 64 mins

Years after his death, Charles Manson remains one of the most infamous cult leaders in US history. While the mainstream public seems pretty satisfied with the official narrative, people still struggle to understand how Manson could have held such an iron grip on the minds of his followers. To some researchers, he wasn't acting alone. Instead, he had help from some world-class experts in mind control -- the CIA.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
From UFOs to psychic powers and government conspiracies. History is
riddled with unexplained events. You can turn back now or
learn this stuff they don't want you to know. A
production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:24):
Hello, welcome back to the show. My name is matt
Our Powell Nol is still on an adventure, but will
be returning shortly.

Speaker 3 (00:31):
They call me Ben. We're joined as always with our
guest super producer. You know him, you love them. It's
Max the freight Train Williams. Most importantly, you are you.
You are here, and that makes this the stuff they
don't want you to know. We're diving back into something
that has fascinated both of us and hopefully you. Fellow

conspiracy realist played along at Home nearly seven years after
his death. Charles Mills Manson remains one of America because
most well known Madmen cult leader would be music star,
best known not for his association with the Beach Boys.

Speaker 2 (01:08):
Correct his music, by the way, I was kind of
rocking some of it while we were doing research this week,
and I don't hate it, man. Yeah, I mean I
don't love it, but I don't hate it. I kind
of feel what he was doing. It's tough.

Speaker 3 (01:24):
To make it in the world of entertainment. And that's
you know, that applies to Charles Manson as well as
everybody else, all the independent musicians in the crowd this evening.
Manson is best known for running a cult loosely called
the Family than the Manson Family in the late nineteen
sixties for relatively short period of time. They are known

to have committed at least nine murders in California, and
decades later, people still wonder whether there's more to the story.
So our question is this, and hear us out. Could
Charles Manson have been connected to the CIA?

Speaker 2 (02:00):
Definitely, We'll be right back.

Speaker 3 (02:09):
Here are the facts. In previous episodes, we explored Manson's
life in depth. He had a really tragic, troubled childhood.
We looked at his early life, which was a lot
of juvie and prison time, up to his rise as
a cult leader when he was in his early thirties
and his messiotic ambition to rule the world literally all

the way to his conviction his imprisonment. I think it's
a story most Americans know on at least some level, right,
Like everybody has heard the name.

Speaker 2 (02:40):
Oh, for sure. There are all kinds of iconic interviews
that went out there, especially if you were a kid,
I don't know coming of age in the nineties. There
was a nineteen ninety three interview with Diane Sawyer that
really like, let you kind of feel the character of
Charles Manson.

Speaker 3 (02:57):
I roll the Nichols The game is Mine.

Speaker 2 (03:00):
Oh dude, I broke no law. I didn't step out
aligne with God. I didn't step out alive with the law.

Speaker 3 (03:05):
I bounced a few checks.

Speaker 2 (03:08):
I told those people the same thing that the United
States President would tell them. The only way that you
can dispense Saint life and death is you have to
be willing to give yourself to that cause. You have
to fight a revolution. You can't do anything unless you can.
And he just kind of goes on and on and on.

Speaker 3 (03:23):
My favorite's probably the non verbal thing he does when
they say who are you? And he does the quick
cavalcade of character acting and emoting.

Speaker 2 (03:33):
Well and then lyrics to songs. He's often throwing in lyrics,
and I think it's really important to when you're thinking
about this person as we're going through their life. That
thing you mentioned Ben that he spent a lot of
his time in juvenile detention and then in prison, and
he sounds to me a lot like interactions that that

our team had with Wayne Williams, where it's somebody who
is very good at saying something to kind of throw
you off of whatever the question is or the line
that you want to be talking about, and saying something
to kind of interrupt that and then take you on
a completely different direction and take you down that line
far enough to where you almost if you're not really

paying attention or taking notes, you might have even forgot
what you were talking about in the first place. It
brings to me, I don't know if sociopathy is correct,
but maybe just manipulation tactics are really heavy with this person.

Speaker 3 (04:29):
Yeah, with both of them, and that team MAT's referring to, folks,
is the production with Tenderfoot.

Speaker 2 (04:36):
Yeah mostly Yeah, Alex and Paine and Donald and myself
and a bunch of other people. But just I've interacted
with somebody like that, I guess is what I mean
to say, And you really pick up on it when
you watch these iconic interviews with him. So let's jump
in and let's learn about who this person was early
on again.

Speaker 3 (04:57):
Yeah, so quick and dirty recap, folks, you probably if
you live in the US, you probably have heard of
Charles Manson, even if you were born far after those
horrific events in the late sixties early seventies. For a
quick and dirty recap, I'd like us look at the timeline.
Charles Manson is born November twelfth, nineteen thirty four, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

His mother is sixteen at the time. He never knew
his father, and as far as we know, I'd never
had any contact with him throughout his life. When he
was still very young, his mother is convicted and imprisoned
for armed robbery, so he gets sent to live in
West Virginia with some relatives nouns and an uncle. And
from an early age he's on the wrong side of

the law, Like mentioned earlier, beginning at just nine years old,
he starts being in and out a juvie and then
later prison for a lot of what we might call
miscre inactivity or small time crime. There is just to
be very clear, it is almost certain that he was
sexually assaulted in the system. He would later, as we know,

assault other people. If we fast forward, it's nineteen sixty seven,
he is thirty two years old. He's released from California's
Terminal Island Prison and from there he goes to San Francisco.
He has been incarcerated roughly half his life at this time,
and the hippie movement is in full swing. There are
tons of disillusioned, often younger people, kind of drifting, searching

for meaning or a cause. This is fertile soil for
a man with the ambitions of Charles Manson.

Speaker 2 (06:35):
It is fertile soil. And it's there's a reason for
all of that disillusionment, right. I mean, we've talked about
the history of that time, and you know, Vietnam War
and what was going on, and the disillusionment in general
of that Americans were having with the system, right that
just everybody was kind of like, oh wow, wait a minute,

we can kind of see the man behind the curtain here,
and it doesn't feel good to know that that's what
we're doing and kind of why we're doing it. And
I don't want to lose that fact that he said.
Ben at nine years old, he started going into the system,
like thinking about what that does to an individual's mind,
what the world is, how it functions, what structures are like,

what time even is like if you're in the system
that often, and especially from that age, it's and then
and then to come out and then I guess, find
a group of people somehow that I don't know, I
don't know how to put it. Ben, to find a
group of people that is somewhat like minded, right as

you said, within this movement, the hippie movement, and then
to be I don't know, he has this charisma about him.
I keep trying to figure out how he really developed
that charisma other than just somewhat manipulating people as he's
going through the system.

Speaker 3 (07:58):
Would say it's a mater of survival, probably given his
formative years spent in such a hostile environment. One learns
to be intensely observant, and one learns how to push
the right psychological levers in a way that makes your
environment hopefully a little less hostile. However, you would understand

that right and.

Speaker 2 (08:22):
Sot it, so that's like people and well mostly manipulating
people so that the entirety of your surroundings are better
for you, I guess.

Speaker 3 (08:32):
I guess. Another thing to add in here is that
he did not have very much at all in the
way of formal education. But education and intelligence are two
different things you can never see the inside of a
classroom for the entirety of your life and still be
quite a wise person. And so his intellectual acumen, we

could speculate, was as a matter of survival, a necessity
solely centered on escaping a hostile environment, dodging maybe consequences
of actions. And because of this this keen almost supernatural
observational ability and manipulative capacity. The official narrative is that

he used this to attract a group of young, kind
of drifting people that we would call hippies, and you know,
like the the burnouts and the washed, washed aways of
American society. This was very common in this time because
there were so many protest movements, there were so many
anti war movements, movements for racial equality or civil rights

or even racial supremacy, and this in this milieu, we
see that he gets a group of people. They're a
small group at first, but they're very devoted. They start
to get its street name, they're becoming a religious commune.
They're starting to be called, loosely, the family. And if
they had in the beginning a mission statement, it was

a cult of personality centered around Manson, the idea being
that we will study and apply this guy's spiritual or
even religious teachings. And the best way to describe those
is kind of like it's similar to scientology in that
it's a mix of ideas called from science fiction, from
readings of the occult, from fringe psychological theories.

Speaker 2 (10:28):
Yeah, and if you listen to his interviews, you can
hear him peppering in stuff. Right, he's mentioning Hinduism and karma,
then he's talking about Japanese culture and philosophy. Then he
jumps over to the Bible and starts talking about God
and teachings of Jesus. It's really interesting the way he's

as you said, you said, a hodgepodge like a It
is that, right, And I feel like there's so many
cults that kind of do that. It reminds me a
lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church and my grandfather went to,
where it's not it's more about the philosophies behind the
meaning of certain things and then putting those meanings together

into one, you know, all encompassing kind of theory of
existence and life and death and all of that. Except
his it feels like he's cherry picking little things in
the moment to apply to like what to apply to
what he's talking about in the moment.

Speaker 3 (11:32):
I don't know. It's very strange, and he has He's
doing something that the protagonist of cults of personalities typically do,
from televangelist to MLM types, even business tycoons. The idea
is that you get someone in person and you are

instantly reacting to what they're saying, and you're offering propositions
or leads, whether verbally or simply with intonation and physically,
and then as those people are responding, you start to
isolate and adjust for the reactions that you want. And
some people do this much better than others. Some people

are trained to do this, some people have that intuitive
nec or maybe in Manson's case, again, you could argue
had to develop such a skill or set of skills
as a matter of survival.

Speaker 2 (12:30):
Yeah, or weaponized it as a job, right, I mean,
think about what spies have to do. It's very similar.

Speaker 3 (12:38):
And this initially this met with great success where he
was part of this CMB seeing crowd, you know, and
met celebrities like Brian Wilson and try to pursue a
career in music, and over time is unfortunately a not
uncommon thing with cults of personality. Over time, his group

grew more insular, more hostile, more combative, more militant, as
they were aiming increasingly towards some apocalyptic end point. And
that's where you get the most widely accepted narrative, popularized
by the book Helter Skelter, written by Vincent Boligosi, says, Look,

here's why these murders occurred. Manson was convinced the US
would be ground zero for a civilization ending race war,
and Manson and his followers would hide away underground, and
then after all the s hit the f he and
his followers would emerge from the social wreckage and they

would rain over the smoking ruins whatever was left.

Speaker 2 (13:45):
Jeez, sounds like a pretty common thing nowadays. Again, if
we're going in the science fiction realm, which is where
mads And pulled a lot of his ideas from, it
feels like feels like fallout, feels like a lot of
these things we've been talking about recently. It feels like Zuckerberg's,
you know, the rumors of his twenty five million dollar

hideaway thing that he was building his bunker. Somebody that
wants to emerge from the wreckage and control stuff.

Speaker 3 (14:13):
It is.

Speaker 2 (14:15):
I don't know, it's pretty grandiose for a guy in
a group of lovable miscreants hanging out on a farm.

Speaker 3 (14:27):
People largely ranch rather yeah, people largely orphaned by mainstream
American society. You know what I mean. You want an answer,
You want to cause, you want something. Unless you're a Manson,
you want something bigger than yourself. And so they ran
into a problem that happens with a lot of apocalyptic cults.
The disaster they foresee is taking just too long to

get here. You know, Manson was at least smart enough
to not predict a specific date, or maybe he was
just cooking live doing some jazz. But eventual he decided
the race war took too long to ignite, this again
according to the popular narrative, and so he decided the
family would take action to kickstart the conflict. He denies this.

He denies that he or he's dead. He denied that
he ordered his followers to go commit murders and try
to frame the black population of California. Instead, he says
he talked in hypotheticals like you know what I would
do if it were me doing this?

Speaker 2 (15:28):
Yep, I would leave and.

Speaker 3 (15:29):
I think one of that we were talking about this
off air. One of the most oft repeated quotes is
he says, I would leave something witchy behind.

Speaker 2 (15:38):
Yeah, if you know, if you were going to do
something like that, let the world know you were there
if you're going to do it. The way he describes
it to Diane Sawyer after she kind of breaks through
to him for a moment, is that I needed money
to get my brother out of jail. I didn't have money,
but I had these people around me. But I'm not
a violent person, so I would never do anything. I

never do anything like that. What I said was, we
need that money. We got to get that money. So
basically talked around doing something violent, right, That's exactly what
we're describing. Talked around getting money by doing something violent.
And his followers went and did that thing.

Speaker 3 (16:17):
And at this point in the deterioration of the organization,
I think it's mission critical to note that the followers
had already had their egos heavily damaged and their personalities eroded,
so to them. Similar to the way the Puritans of
old did not practice metaphor, they thought things in the

Bible were literal, these folks were not were possibly no
longer capable of clocking metaphor or hypothesis or simile, so
they may have just thought he said, yeah, go do it,
follow in my footsteps, and and.

Speaker 2 (16:55):
They were coming down off an LSD trip, right, That
was one of the big points of contention. They weren't
currently on LSD or something like that when the murders
took place, at least according to Manson. According to some
of the people who were put on the stand during
the trial, but they were on other drugs at the time.
But who knows what he was saying to them while
they were under the effects of LSD or some other

psychotropic substance.

Speaker 3 (17:18):
Yeah, that's why I wanted to point out, like, the
thing that we're missing when we just look at that
something witchy quote is that that is a one episode
in a series of escalating conversations, a culmination perhaps. So
he may not have said, you know, the way to
get right with the world is to follow in my

footsteps and do exactly what you think I would do
in that discrete conversation, but earlier, for months, he had
probably been saying something very much like that, because that
is how colts work any case, and we can play
a clip from Manson later, one of my favorite.

Speaker 2 (18:01):
But the whole point there have been was that just
to bring an LSD into that or this concept of
using LSD as part of whatever that thing is, that
manipulation technique that gets people to think a certain way
at certain times.

Speaker 3 (18:15):
Yeah, that's some good foreshadowing. We know whatever specifics of
conversation and brainwashing maybe lost to history, we do know
that in nineteen sixty nine, the Manson family carried out
multiple murders odd Manson's orders. That's the legal opinion of
the United States. That's what they concluded, of course, because

this country worshiped celebrities. The most well known murder is
Sharon Tate, who is the wife of director and still
criminal on the run, Roman Polanski, currently located in France.
Tate was killed in our Los Angeles home. Three other
people were killed. This was a mass murder. There were

other murders as well, and after being apprehended, the members
of the Manson family and Manson himself gone trial in
nineteen seventy captures the imagination. This is up there with
Truman capodies in cold blood in terms of the level
of public interest in what we call true crime. Today,

he's found guilty. In seventy one, he sentenced to death,
but fortune favors him, you could say, because the very
next year, California abolishes the death penalty. So Manson goes
from an appointment with execution to the much slower death
penalty of life in prison.

Speaker 2 (19:38):
Yeah, he just turns into crazy. Uncle Charles says whatever's
on his mind to everybody that's around him in prison.
Correspondent in perpetuity, at least until his death.

Speaker 3 (19:49):
Oh yes, yeah, he when he dies in twenty seventeen.
He has been technically eligible for paroles since nineteen seventy eight,
and he keeps coming up to the parole board and
he keeps beat me here, he keeps saying crazy, and
so they obviously are not going to let this guy out.

He expresses no remorse, He denies anything he did. He
dies of cardiac arrest due to complications from colon cancer.
The world begins to move on, you know, the world
is ending for someone every day, and people across the
US and later the world are still struggling with disturbing questions.
How did his cults get so far when others just

you know, collapse or make an ill fated Vegan co op.
Why did it seem like there was more to this story?
Did he have additional associations, influence, maybe assistants that could
explain how things got this far? What if the story
of a race war? What if it was merely a narrative?
What if it's not the whole truth? And if he
did have help, who could it have been?

Speaker 2 (20:54):

Speaker 3 (20:55):
Like, who could be powerful enough to keep their association
with Manson hidden?

Speaker 2 (21:00):
Oh yeah? And why would they do that? Why would
they want to make the hippie movement look evil and
violent and cruel?

Speaker 3 (21:08):
What if he had some friends in the CIA? Will
pause for a word from our sponsor. Here's where it
gets crazy, all right, CIA, don't come for us. I'm
just going to put that out there. We're taught. There's

a little bit of a stuff there once. You know,
book Club. There's a book that came out in twenty
nineteen that Matt I think captured our attention.

Speaker 2 (21:38):
Oh yes. It is titled Chaos, Charles Manson, the CIA
and the Secret History of the Sixties. It's written by
this guy named Tom O'Neill. And then it says and
Dan Pipe and bring which is I don't know just
an co author, I suppose. But this thing is fascinating.
We both remembered when it came out in twenty nineteen,

it was reviewed by everybody from Rolling Stone to the CIA,
itself a pretty good read. Ben, got to be honest
with you, I haven't gotten through the entirety of it
because I don't have I never got a physical copy
of the book. But I've read so many reviews of
it and spoken with people about it. I feel pretty
good talking about it. But Ben, did you read the

whole thing? Yeah?

Speaker 3 (22:23):
It's great. I actually I reread several parts of it
for this episode, because it's very dense and part of
the in terms of information. The reason we have to understand.
The reason it's so dense goes back to the origin story,
because even this book Chaos has its own strange provenance.
Flash of memory back there. It's nineteen ninety nine. There's

a guy named Tom O'Neil.

Speaker 2 (22:48):
That's a great year. The Matrix came out this.

Speaker 3 (22:50):
Year and people were partying per Prince's instruction, Different cult,
different episode. Tom O'Neill at this time is an entertainment
reporter and he gets a job with a film magazine
named Premiere. They give him an assignment. So they say,
we're going to give you three months ninety days. We
want you to write about the Tate LaBianca murders of

the Manson family and the larger context of their effect
on what we call Hollywood. So he misses the deadline.
Oh no, because he gets very involved. He's quite conscientious
and a diligent journalist, and he continues to investigate the
murders after that three month assignment. After that deadline passes,

his three month tour turns into twenty years in the making,
hundreds of interviews, previously unknown stuff law enforcement arguably missed.
He has falling out with several publishers about getting the
book because he's not quite done yet. He has decades
and decades of research because he is increasingly convinced something

doesn't add up. In the end result of all this
is the book Chaos amazing. I guess we should we
should at least mention what chaos is. Right, He's not
just talking about the general kerfuffle that is Hollywood.

Speaker 2 (24:13):
Oh sure, chaos or what is this, MH. Chaos. It's
a CIA program that was going to target American citizens
from nineteen sixty seven to seventy four meant to ferret
out possible foreign influence on public activism and protest movements.
So infiltration of activist groups interesting. We know, that's something

that has been of interest to both the CIA and
the FBI for a long time. These outside agitators or
they have a bunch of different words for them, but
foreign influence, particularly on groups like the Black Panther Party
for self defense, This has been in their purview and
interest for a long, long, long long time.

Speaker 3 (24:59):
Also, go and tall prone never ended.

Speaker 2 (25:01):
Oh exactly, it's still going on right now. Yeah, and
it's strong, just really quickly. I have met people like
Tom O'Neil before who have started, do you like, dip
their toes into one of these topics or individuals that
is in themselves a rabbit hole that is so deep

you cannot see the bottom of it, particularly when looking
into the Zodiac Killer. The people that I met through
that research who are convinced, like Ted Kaczynski is the
actual Zodiac Killer and then spent ten twenty years going
down that rabbit hole to try and prove this thing
that they believe in their heart so fully. I wonder

how much of that it feels like Tom experienced something
like that when he really delved into Charles Manson in
some of these connections.

Speaker 3 (25:55):
All right, the concept of confirmation bias.

Speaker 2 (25:57):
Yeah, well it's so strong. We'll keep you going and
pushing and pushing and pushing because there might be that
one thing that proves all.

Speaker 3 (26:05):
Of this right. There might be a smoking gun, definitely,
especially when you smell the powder and the gun oil
just around the corner. So he has you know, I
will say in defensive Tom O'Neil, and we haven't spoken
with him, but you can hear him at length and
some other podcasts and interviews. He had a piece with

Joe Rogan not too many years ago, I think when
the book first came out. But one thing I will say,
I can't speak highly enough about Tom O'Neill is, despite
the fact that some people call his exploration controversial or inconclusive,
he is very honest. He's a guy, he's a man

of integrity. He's very honest when he says, well, this
was a dead end, but I had to look into that,
and I respect, I respect when that happens. You know,
maybe it's not super sexy for everyone, but it's the
kind of work that you have to do, and he
asked a reasonable question. Right, Yeah, he does get rabbit
holed by his own admission.

Speaker 2 (27:05):
Well, and I don't mean anything like bad by that.
I just mean it's a it's an easy thing to
get sucked into when it's this fascinating, that's all. I mean.
No shade to talk.

Speaker 3 (27:15):
Oh, I don't think we're throwing the shade. I was
just going to say that he gets to a question
I think is pretty reasonable, and even the CIA themselves
admits this a reasonable question. His question kind of starts,
why on earth would a government institution be involved with

something as unclean as manson? Make it make sense, as
the Internet says. To answer that, we've got to look
at the historical context. The CIA, the FBI, they were
definitely up the hijinks on domestic soil at this time.
They were often in partnership with medical institutions, with academia,
and with organized crime. Those three genres of partnership, you

could argue, continue today in one form or another, and
the American public had no clue, They had no idea
what was happening. They probably the United States almost never
learned about things like MK ultra. The only reason we
know about mk Ultra is because someone dropped the ball

and forgot to destroy all of the records. They probably
destroyed most of the records, they just didn't get to
all of them, so we don't know the full extent
of what went down.

Speaker 2 (28:31):
Well, it was mk Ultra one of the things we
learned about when I can't remember the activist group, but
they broke in and stole a bunch of files or
they like took a bunch of files.

Speaker 3 (28:41):
I think that was co Intel Pro.

Speaker 2 (28:43):
That was Cointelpro, okay, but mk Ultra wasn't a part
of that either. That was something that came out through
some FIA.

Speaker 3 (28:50):
Yeah, here's what happened. So mk Ultra gets discovered in
the late seventies, so far after Manson's conviction or his arrest,
his conviction sentencing. Because of the panic caused by Watergate,
the Watergate scandal in seventy three, the CIA director who

knew about m k Ultra said, destroy all of this,
and they destroyed most of the CIA docs about MKULTRA.
But because some of these documents, I think like twenty
thousand were incorrectly stored. They were literally they were put
in the wrong building and that's how people found them.

They were in the Financial Records Office. And you might
be saying, yet, twenty thousand documents, that sounds like a lot,
you know what I mean, that's a huge amount of information.
We'll think about what that tells us about the immensity
and the scope of the full MK ultra entire We only.

Speaker 2 (29:52):
Know a little. And just going back to what you're
saying about cointelpro that was the Citizens Commission to Investigate
the FBI that we've talked about on the show before.
It literally went to an FBI field office. Bricon took
a bunch of stuff and they're like, wait, what is this.
They're spying on American citizens, on activists, including Martin Luther

King Junior.

Speaker 3 (30:16):
And they didn't know. By the way, they didn't know
that's what they were looking for. It was a kind
of an accidental breakthrough, like a great scientific experiment. Shout out,
double slit. But this leads us to our first provable
point in this idea, in this conspiracy theory that Manso
was working with the CIA. The first provable point is this,

we know the CIA was definitely doing crazy stuff looking
for so called mentory and candidate truth serums, creating false memories,
manipulating people's minds to various ends through the use of
hallucinogenic substances, including LSD, and these conspiratorial experiments were often
conducted without anything approaching informed consent. They even set up

a fake brothel, they set up a fake hippie squad.
They were in all of it. It's a true conspiracy.
But how does that apply to Manson? This is where O'Neill,
in particular, I would argue, does some brilliant connecting of
the dots. And even if you feel you are a
very skeptical person, fellow conspiracy realist, this is troubling. This

is I wouldn't say smoking gun, but it's enough to
beggar claims of coincidence. So again, let's connect. If we
connected to Manson, we have to realize, yes, CIA, FBI,
they're up to heinous stuff. Manson's thirty two years old.
He's just out of prison. And as some of us
in the crowd unfortunately know, when you get out of prison,

unless you're exonerated, you have a parole officer who is
in charge of your life. They have the power to
put you back in jail.

Speaker 2 (31:57):
Our parole officers generally nice or are they just like
mean cops? Right, you better not be doing anything wrong.

Speaker 3 (32:05):
Parole officers are people, you know in the spectrum.

Speaker 2 (32:09):
I know, I'm just joking. Like most like most folks.

Speaker 3 (32:12):
In the public sphere, they're probably underpaid and overworked. They're
probably too many cases.

Speaker 2 (32:17):
Yeah, like just check in, are you good? Everything's cool?
All right? Fine? Bye. Well, Manson did have one of
these parole officers, but it's a little coincidental. Let's say
maybe that his parole officer was a Berkeley doctoral student
named Roger Smith, who, guess what, was involved in a

federally funded program that researched LSD and drug use among
the population of San Franciscans. And uh, it's a little bit,
you know, it's a big coincidence, man, just because he's
involved with LSD that was a popular thing at the time,
research into it to figure out what's going on with

it and how it's affecting people. That's just a big coincidence. Yeah,
it has nothing to do with his connections to Manson. Sure.

Speaker 3 (33:08):
Yeah. It's a gig economy then is now you.

Speaker 2 (33:10):
Just got to get jobs, try to be a doctor.

Speaker 3 (33:13):
There are a ton of people who are grad students
who have to have another job to get themselves through schools.
So the weird thing is, though, with the power that
you may have as a parole officer, and any parole
officers in the audience tonight, let us know your first
hand experience. As a parole officer, Smith has a degree

of what we call juice pull suction. He can provide
limited immunity to people under his supervision because if they
run a foul of the law, he's one of the
first people they call. So he has the power should
he wish to exercise a kind of get out a
jail free card, and at Manson's case and the case

of Manson's followers, he does. He does. I can say
that's not true because he definitely did it several times.
He got them out of jail.

Speaker 2 (34:05):
Really interesting and it makes you wonder if he, I
don't know, had access to a little LSD that was,
you know, being used for all the experiments in research,
which would be an interesting relationship outside of the parole
officer parole thing that would be going on there normally.

Speaker 3 (34:24):
Yeah, the phrase we would use is beyond the scope,
depending on what the scope is right and what the
true nature of the relationship is so Smith could have
at multiple points, pretty much any point after the first violation,
he could have sent Manson back to prison right for
quite some time. He never did. And he also never

bothered to report you know, evidence to drug use or
petty crime kind of stuff, never reported it up the chain.
And this happened pretty frequently. At least O'Neill has made
a really s the case that it does. So Manson
remained free as a drug addled bird, and he was
doing he was doing tons of substances, you know.

Speaker 2 (35:10):
Well, you know, he says he only did the weed.
He only smoked weed and LSD and stuff that made
his mind expand he never did the uppers and the
downers and all that stuff, at least that's what he says.

Speaker 3 (35:22):
He never. He also had a very interesting habit of
forcing his followers to do drugs that he himself did
not do, which is another indication of cult activity or
MK ultra or MK ultra. Yeah, because oh god, I
wish we could see the rest of the scope of mktra.

Speaker 2 (35:43):
Oh, somebody out there, you know, contact us please, Yeah.

Speaker 3 (35:49):
And Roger, so these are Roger Smith is working at
the Hate Ashbury Free Medical Clinic. Okay, he is collaborating
with a guy who's not related to him named David's.
David Smith is the founder of the clinic. He is
a medical doctor who's made a name for himself with
his expertise in pharmacology. So they get money from Uncle Sam.

The CIA. The CIA funds the hate Ashbury Free Medical
Clinics saw operations for research into recreational drug use amidst
their patients. They're saying, you already have patients who may
or may not be kind of on the fringes of society.
We're going to pay you to understand more about them.

Speaker 2 (36:35):
Oh my gosh, dude, sinister. It's not sinister. But if
you think of the motivation behind it, why does the
CIA want to know about that? Why does the CIA
want to know about that citizens within the United States
that are taking recreational drugs? I don't it doesn't sit

right CIA. Sorry, I'm sorry, I'm doing weird voice today.

Speaker 3 (37:00):
I guess it's gathering intelligence technically, but.

Speaker 2 (37:05):
On American citizens inside the United States.

Speaker 3 (37:08):
Right now, you're perview boys, But the what they begin
to notice everybody involved in this CIA funded stuff, and
then in just ancillary research happening at the same place.
They say, Wow, A lot of the folks who keep
showing up, you know, for treatment for like venereal disease

or something to help with addiction, et cetera, et cetera.
A lot of them belonged to this Manson family or
this family led by Charles Manson.

Speaker 2 (37:38):
They at least know Charles real well.

Speaker 3 (37:40):
Yeah, or at least they know Charlie old chuckles. And
then it it's even deeper. I didn't know this until
read O'Neill's book, but there was an assistant researcher at
the place named Alan Rose. And Alan Rose visited the
Manson families compound when they when Manson relocated to la
And while he was there, Alan Rose participated in, you know,

the social rituals of the family. He used drugs, he
got into some weird sexual rituals.

Speaker 2 (38:13):
As you do.

Speaker 3 (38:13):
Yeah, right, And so a lot of journalists call this
diplomatically or euphemistically, four months of immersive research. He's out
there just going hand for four months. He goes back
to San Francisco and then.

Speaker 2 (38:32):
He wait, wait, or could that be like deep undercover
recon like really finding out what's going on there. Yeah,
and how could we use this group potentially?

Speaker 3 (38:42):
And then how why does it take four months to
figure that out?

Speaker 2 (38:46):
Because it was it was fun.

Speaker 3 (38:48):
That's it's not like that hard as nails boss of this.

Speaker 2 (38:51):
Yeah, you're the four officer four.

Speaker 3 (38:54):
Months in seventy. In nineteen seventy, after his his time,
I'm in the field, this guy, Alan Rose and David
Smith write the first scholarly paper about the Manson family,
the Group Marriage Commune, a case study.

Speaker 2 (39:13):
Wait, the group marriage? Were they all married to Charlie?

Speaker 3 (39:17):
They were fluid in their sexual partnerships?

Speaker 2 (39:24):

Speaker 3 (39:26):
And then Manson also had a tremendously vile habit, according
to reports, where he would you know, like going back
to spawn ranch and everything, like he would buy people's
approval or favors dudes by getting female members of his
family to sleep with them.

Speaker 2 (39:45):
I remember hearing about that, but I'd never I guess
saw it written out. I don't read books, sorry. But
he also made people sit around and just listen to
him play an acoustic guitar for way too long.

Speaker 3 (39:58):
I know, I'm just paying. I will leave the house party.
I mean, unless it's like vampire rules, unless invited, don't
do that, you know what I mean, Because that's not
for the people listening, that's for you.

Speaker 2 (40:12):
Well, I've got a little surprised for you. At the
conclusion of this episode, bend, is that true? Yes?

Speaker 3 (40:20):
I got it. This was and we also know this
was not the only thing of its sort in town
right like this. Yes, there were a lot of communesic cults,
but also there were other people doing you know, not
super above board research. There's a guy named Lewis West.

His middle name was like Jollin or something, so people
called him Jolly and and he was one of the
point people, one of the prime connectors for this idea
of studying LSD in drug use amidst what they called hippies.
He was also a CIA psychologist with experience in deprogramming

brainwashing victims, and in later conversations our author here, the
journalist O'Neill, will say that West had a noted expertise
in encouraging insanity in people through the use of substances
without their knowledge.

Speaker 2 (41:26):
Really well to what end? Because he was wasn't he
also good at de deprogramming people from things? I guess Wait,
was he programming people and then deprogramming them? I don't know.

Speaker 3 (41:40):
It's like if you already have a person around. It
depends on what you need for the experiment. Most I mean,
the Department of Defense is weirdly enough graded offense.

Speaker 2 (41:50):
Yeah, that's true, you just need test subjects.

Speaker 3 (41:54):
Whoa. They did that by creating a fake hippie crash
path stop. Yeah, clinic, it's true.

Speaker 2 (42:04):
No, it's true, the one we just talked about, Like,
so wait, this is all connected.

Speaker 3 (42:10):
Yeah, what the fake pad is like this dilapidated Victorian building.
It's pretty close to the hate Ashbury Free Medical Clinic.
And the idea is we're just going to study these
hippies in the wild. We'll see what leads to addiction
or homelessness, et cetera. West also works for Sidney Gottlieb,

head of the MK Ultra programs. At some point, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (42:36):
Gee, I wonder why Tom was so into the story.
It feels like everything is already connecting, at least in
my mind.

Speaker 3 (42:46):
Yeah, you can tell. And if he's a kick ass journalist,
so he has to and he has to turn every
stone right if it could lead to something, And you know,
we know this wasn't a unique situation. Sadly, because I
think it was nineteen seventy six. New York Times has
their own investigation and they find the CIA has collaborated

with all sorts of places, National Institute for Mental Health, Foundations,
Fund for Research and Psychiatry, incorporated, all sorts of basically
things they were using as fronts or shell companies, such
that in several cases, many of the researchers who were

receiving this funding might not know that it was coming
from the CIA. So now everybody involved in MK ultra
was knowingly malevolent.

Speaker 2 (43:38):
I think, yeah, and there was real research to be done.
This is a This is an incredible substance that seems
to have tremendous effects on the human I don't know,
state of mind. So you can understand why there was
such interest here. You can also see why the CIA
had interest. We've been joking a lot about it, but

we're in the midst of the Cold War here, the CIA,
the FBI, all of the American government is both terrified
and super pissed at the concept of communism up terrified
of and angry at it. But you know, it's there's
a reason for all of it to be happening, but
for it to culminate with freaking Charles Manson somehow super

closely tied to it is just weird.

Speaker 3 (44:27):
Yeah, and we still haven't we're not we're not out
there yet. But I really appreciate the point you're raising
about that context and about the the validity the legitimacy
of those concerns, because the USSR was actively attempting to
infiltrate and influence movements and the US government entire and
they had they had a degree of success in doing so,

So you have to cut it off at the button.
You might say, hey, I am you know, I'm a
five y five John Q Blue Jeans employee. I would
never do hippie drugs like LSD. But if the Russians
figure out a use for it and we are running
behind in the game, this could change the course of
the globe. So they I wouldn't even say it was

a rationalization at first. It was a very profound realization.
They had to try it.

Speaker 2 (45:20):
Yeah, Well, they're probably even worried that the Americans might
be taking the bait and just using it too much recreationally,
right as and it's being supplied somehow by someone who's
also working for them.

Speaker 3 (45:32):
Yeah, and then we got to get into Olsley, the
famous mad scientist of LSD, like mm hmm what his
connections were. I don't know if you remember, but we
got some fascinating correspondence a few years back about this.

Speaker 2 (45:45):
Yeah, my gosh.

Speaker 3 (45:47):
And this all leads us to the second point we
can definitely prove, which that Manson was around the same
time these programs were active. He was in the same place.
He was associated with people who are being studied in
the research right his followers. He was associated with people who,
at the very least were associated with people who are

active in these programs as administrators, as researchers. But being
in the same area of an event does not prove
you were involved in that event. That's like if we're
walking through New York City on the night the Yankees
win the World Series. It doesn't mean we're on the team.
We were just also there.

Speaker 2 (46:28):
Ah. I guess you're right.

Speaker 3 (46:31):
But it still needs more scrutiny, and maybe that's our
ad break.

Speaker 2 (46:34):
I think, so more scrutiny, more ads will be right back.

Speaker 3 (46:45):
We returned. Hope everybody had a good time scrutinizing those ads.
Our pal O'Neill uncovers evidence that LA law enforcement investigators
seem to have mishandled multiple aspects of the case. And
this is something, you know, This is something that Vincent

b points out in Helter Skelter. O'Neil says, though he
takes a little step further, and he says the LAPD
Los Angeles Police Department destroyed records from murder investigations involving Manson.
Now being a parole officer and saying, hey, my guy
messed up. You know, he's out past curfew one time.

Don't put him in jail again, or don't put him
in prison again, that's one thing. But saying hey, my
guy might have murdered someone. Let's just keep it quiet
till the experiment is done, that's a whole other back Badgers.

Speaker 2 (47:39):
I would say, so, yeah, And I think there are
specific passages in Chaos where O'Neil talks about some of
this stuff, right, yeah.

Speaker 3 (47:48):
In one passage he is speaking with a forensic psychologist. Again,
O'Neill interviews so many people for this. Sometimes the interviews
are contentious, and then there's still people who have just
refused to talk to him at all. But in one
in one conversation, he's talking to a guy named Alan Shefflin,
a forensic psychologist, and they're talking about the possible fallout

of mk ultra, this mind control program, and he asked Shefflin,
He says, well, is it maybe possible that the Manson
murders were part of an mk ultra experiment gone wrong?

Speaker 2 (48:27):
And Shefflin says, no, an mk ultra experiment gone right?
What dude, it makes so much sense. They want the
hippies to be evil because the hippies are Commies and
the Commies are bad.

Speaker 3 (48:44):
M all right, just like the allegations of the FBI
bankrolling problematic gangster rap. Right, we didn't have a shirt
on that, dude.

Speaker 2 (48:54):
You can't got to destroy the connective tissue between groups
telling you it's a thing. It's still happening.

Speaker 3 (49:02):
There is no smoking gun yet. However, we do know
like this West guy, our buddy Jolly, was being paid
to quote study hippies in their native habitat they called it.
Manson was there at the same time, and like the
CIA would later be proven to do, Manson was dosing

people with LSD. I mean, it seems again like you know,
everybody check out our old video on how to start
a cult, But it seems again like this is sort
of an mo of a cult leader. You want to
remove personalities. You want to remove individuality. You want to remove,
most importantly, the ability to say no to you if

you're the leader.

Speaker 2 (49:43):
So think about it, right, right.

Speaker 3 (49:46):
Don't think about it. Listen to my acoustic guitar. And
this makes them easier to control, more malleable, more menable,
and weirdly enough, later down the line, when this stuff
goes to court, defense attorneys will try to use this
as a mitigating factor. It doesn't work, but it does
all lead O'Neil and a lot of other people who

have the same bent to ask, Okay, hang on, if
this Charles Mancy guy is largely uneducated, how could he
land upon such sophisticated methods of personality control? Do you
just have a real knack for it? He was just vibing'
and then he figured out like the right dosage patterns
and frequency of dosage and so on.

Speaker 2 (50:28):
We'll see. There was this guy at the clinic and
he was really good at cults programming and deprogramming. Sorry,
and here's the question. The connection feels right again, that's
the problem with this. And again, the zodiac theories and
some of this other stuff. It feels so right on

the surface when you're looking at it. I don't know, man, Well.

Speaker 3 (50:54):
It's like one of those things where you know those
puzzles kids played, where you might see a bunch of dots.
When you connect the dots it makes a picture. Yeah,
it's just like that when we see part of the
picture drawn. But you know, we it gives you a
bad vibe. I think we could say it gives you
a bad vibe because the implication here is could go

a couple of ways. In one way, you could say Manson,
who is by all accounts a very observant, very clever person,
may have clocked there was experimentation taking place and may
have paid enough attention to replicate some aspect of that
experiment or those processes on his followers, or the more

conspiratorial end of it. Someone could have actively taught him
these things like, hey, Charlie, thanks for coming by the office.
You want to see something cool.

Speaker 2 (51:47):
Check this out, Charlie. Well, or there's a piece of
it that could be that's why he's staying out of prison,
because he's complicit in these experiments and he's doing it.
And you could even take it further and say, the
real experiment is on Charlie and to see whether or
not you could influence Charlie to do these things and

to influence other people further.

Speaker 3 (52:10):
Right, if you could create a cult leader, right, something
that some kind of thing that you could just transport
to an unfriendly country or a country that clearly needs
some democracy, and then you have that be the leader
of you know, your homegrown student group. Charismatic leaders are
real things. Shout out to school the Americas. You know,

that worked until it didn't.

Speaker 2 (52:33):
Yikes. Man again, look, we can't prove any of this stuff.
We're talking possibilities, right, That's all this is. But man,
it it gets the wheels turning.

Speaker 3 (52:45):
I mean the third provable point, which I guess is
kind of out of order. We know that Roger Smith,
the parole officer and doctoral student, continually gave Manson and
his followers a get out of jail free card, like
in less than forty eight hours getting Popps, no matter
what the circumstances. They were back out.

Speaker 2 (53:06):
They were assets. They were assets, dude.

Speaker 3 (53:09):
Yeah, but you don't have to know you're an asset
to be an asset.

Speaker 2 (53:11):
Exactly exactly. And I think it's the same with his
followers and with Charlie. Maybe he is completely unaware. Oh
this is a possibility, But maybe he's completely unaware that
he's the actual target of the thing.

Speaker 3 (53:25):
And disturbingly, it also fits some of the structural modus
operandi we know about the CIA programs during this time.
You want someone else, you want to escapegoat or some
an asset he can burn if you have to. Yeah, Patsy, right,
you want you know, you want a Oswald, you want

a Ruby something like that.

Speaker 2 (53:48):
That's what Oswald called himself. I'm a Patsy.

Speaker 3 (53:50):
That's what he did. And maybe, look, maybe this is
all a matter of bending small rules and service to
a greater good. Maybe Roger Smith was taken in by
Manson and thought he's a good egg. At the end
of the day, he just had a crap life, and
you know he deserves a second fifteenth or twenty seventh chance, whatever.

Speaker 2 (54:11):
But we can also, I agree, we should also put
this out there, completely made up. Off the top of
my head, there's a possibility that his parole officer was
subject to some of the same favors that Charlie was
giving to the other males in his groups.

Speaker 3 (54:27):
Right, right, Yeah, he could have been compromised.

Speaker 2 (54:30):
Exactly, and maybe that's the reason. And then he has
to protect Charlie and his followers.

Speaker 3 (54:36):
But if he's protecting them for small time crimes and
drug use, even if the mk ultra connection is real
and he's rationalizing it, right, then at what point does
something no longer? Can you no longer define something as
a small time crime? Murder is a big deal, and O'Neill,
Tom O'Neil, our author here, believes the family was responsible

for more murder than the Tate la Bianca homicides, and
the evidence, which may I have time to get into today,
is pretty concerning. There's one. There are several unsolved murders
at this point. One of them, just for a quick example,
is a guy named Felipo Tenerelli. He was found dead
under some really strange circumstances, particularly his pubic hair had

been shaved two hours before his death, and a member
of the Manson family around the same time named Bill Vance,
had what he called a magic vest they like to wear,
and it was decorated with pubic hair. Tenerelli's family refuses
to believe the official conclusion of suicide and to this day,

they are campaigning for authorities to release more evidence about
the murder or the death, which they have none.

Speaker 2 (55:50):
That's that's one of the major problems with our system. Man.
Once something is ruled an accident or suicide and all
the evidence, maybe he just goes away, just go we
don't need that. It's just a it was a suicide.

Speaker 3 (56:05):
Stuff to get it reassessed.

Speaker 2 (56:06):
Yeah, that's yeah, yay, that's horrifying. A magic vest of
pubic hair.

Speaker 3 (56:13):
I don't know if that's the kind of magic I'm into.

Speaker 2 (56:16):
No. I like fox magic, I like.

Speaker 3 (56:21):
All sorts of esoteric pursuits, but I think I'll avoid
the pubic vest.

Speaker 2 (56:26):
Yeah, moon magic, stick to moon magic.

Speaker 3 (56:28):
I mean, do you you know what I mean? Just
don't hurt other people, right, So get your pubic hair consensually, folks.
There's the other thing. There's so much missing evidence. It
appears to be right. Like before the publication of Helter Skelter,
Tex Watson that we've talked about in the show previously.

Speaker 2 (56:48):
He had this is somebody's a part of the group.

Speaker 3 (56:50):
Right, Tex Watson's a member of the family, of the
Manson family. He had several hours of taped confessions that
the DA and Tex Watson agreed should not be made
available to lawyers or journalists.

Speaker 2 (57:04):
Why, uh, there's gnarly stuff in there. Well, and maybe
he's lying a ton, yeah, which is a real possibility.
But what if there is stuff in there? Do those exist?
Do we think, like somewhere physically on tape they did for.

Speaker 3 (57:23):
A while, Yeah, we just haven't. We the public haven't
heard them. So one possibility is that whatever he says there,
if it's not total hogwash, it may have in some
way implicated the authorities on some side of this. Maybe
he talked a little bit at length about those get
out of jail free cards, you know, maybe he talked

about other murders as well. We simply do not know,
and we should note that again. Vincent Luligosi is he
was the DA for Los Angeles during nineteen sixty four
nineteen seventy two. He prosecuted Charles Manson, and that's why

his book Helter Skelter is by many widely considered like
the definitive source on what went down and the motivations.
But O'Neill and Vincent Buligosi disagree on multiple key facts
the book that O'Neil has does not prove Manson worked

with the CIA, but it raises some dangerous, disturbing questions,
important questions about the you know, the prevailing narrative. But
even that is like raising questions. Is still not the
same thing as saying the CIA weaponized hippies in a
mad race to control America.

Speaker 2 (58:46):
Well yeah, yeah, but it does make you wonder about
this whole season of the which thing as the Summer
of Love was coming to an end, as the Zodiac
Killer in sixty eight and sixty nine, as stuff like
the Manson family stuff, you know, the murders, assassinations of
very popular, let's say, uniting figures. It makes you wonder

about that large change in the American psyche and like,
what really did motivate that stuff? And could any of
that have actually been projects too, you know, to alter
the way America was already changing. At least that's what
it does to me.

Speaker 3 (59:30):
Yeah, agreed, agreed, Because we want to find a causative agent, right,
we want to find the variables that led to these
apparent and improvable changes. What soured America? You know, what
cut the heels of the flower power movement?

Speaker 2 (59:48):
Yeah, well, some will say it was just an awakening
to institutions that were not set up for what their
intended purposes maybe were, or maybe those intended purposes were
never the thing that we were told exactly.

Speaker 3 (01:00:03):
And this leaves us I think I was well said, Matt.
This leaves us with more questions. We know the CIA
officially claims to have terminated in k Ultra in nineteen
seventy three. They also issued a statement slash review of
the book Chaos by Tom O'Neill, and I think we
can agree there. The whole thing is a good read.

The review and the conclusion is somewhat surprising, and they
give O'Neill some compliments. I think that the last, like
the last part of it, just says O'Neill's narrative is
never uninteresting, and he raises legitimate questions. And then they say,

no matter what, though he's not written a secret history
of the nineteen sixties. And then this line, Matt.

Speaker 2 (01:00:54):
This one is weird and I had trouble reading it aloud.
So you go for it.

Speaker 3 (01:00:59):
Unless he has not written a secret history of the
nineteen sixties. Unless the secrets are those certain individuals wish
to keep for their own reasons. The author cannot definitively
tie Manson, Tim Kay, Ultra or Chaos. He can only
imply it on circumstantial evidence. At least in the end
he has the grace to acknowledge it, which like, they're

not saying he's wrong about stuff, and he doesn't. He
doesn't claim to have definitive proof. He's like, look, I
am compelled to follow this stuff up, and I will
be honest about what I've found. Yes, so why is
the CIA?

Speaker 2 (01:01:34):
Man does CIA? Is like a good try, pal, you
almost got there. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:01:44):

Speaker 3 (01:01:45):
So with that, what we can say is this, there
is no conclusive proof that Manson was knowingly working for
the CIA, but there is proof there is in the
same area at the same time, they were doing some
pretty high heinous mind altering experiments, and he did know
people associated with those programs, both as the conductors of
the experiment and as the participants that I don't know.

I don't know what to think on this one.

Speaker 2 (01:02:12):
I know what to think the CIA did that stuff? No,
I'm just joking. That is how I feel, though. I
think coming away from this episode, it feels like there
is a yet to be proven thing that might live
in those texts recordings that we mentioned, and if you
can find those whoever you are, or you've seen them
somewhere in a darkened file cabinet, get them out and

show the world in us two.

Speaker 3 (01:02:39):
Yes, we cannot wait to hear from you. We try
to be easy to find online Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or x.
You can also hit us up at the right crossroads
at midnight, say a name three times into a mirror
in the dark. Or you can give us a phone call.

Speaker 2 (01:02:55):
Yes, call their number. It is one eight three three
stdyk when you call in. Give yourself a cool nickname,
whatever you want, really, just not your government name and
let us know at some point in the message if
we can use your name and message on the air.
If you got more to say than can fit in
that three minutes, maybe attachments links, I don't know, some

cassette tapes of Tex Watson telling his secrets. Why instead
send us a good old fashioned email.

Speaker 3 (01:03:23):
We are the folks who read every email we receive.
Be aware the void me right back, and you could
totally use your government name if you like. Just ask
that you don't knowingly pretend to be someone else. Conspiracy
at iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 2 (01:03:58):
Stuff They Don't Want You To Know is a production
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Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


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