Monday, January 1, 2018

The Lost Corners of Paul Crockett

In the wake of Charles Manson's death in November, I listened last month to Stuff They Don't Want You To Know's two-part podcast about the life and times of the cult leader/murderer, who was born "No Name Maddox" in a Cincinnati hospital in 1934. (Not exactly a cheery holiday podcast, I know.) As a kid who grew up in the shadow of Manson's crimes and often leafed through my parents' paperback copy of Helter Skelter at way too early of an age, I've always had a level of interest in Manson. So it seemed like a natural bit of closure to listen to the shows.

One thing that struck me, though, was a facet of the Manson story that I'd never heard about. Briefly, when the Manson "family" was staying at Spahn Ranch, one of their neighbors was a middle-aged man named Paul Gaylord Crockett. He had some familiarity with Scientology, metaphysics and coercive persuasion — all of which were part of the "soup" that Manson was using to influence his followers (along with copious drugs). So Crockett quietly tried to counteract Manson's control of some family members. He notably helped Paul Watkins break free from the cult's influence. Watkins would later testify against Manson in his murder trial.

So who was Paul Crockett?

There's not a lot out there about him, especially compared to others in the sprawling Manson saga that has captivated America for nearly a half-century. One of the longest pieces is this 1975 Psychic magazine profile by Gary Richardson. It's well worth checking out.

Richardson, on his blog, is also the source for the information that Crockett died on on January 10, 2014, at age 89.

But there is also — and this is where Lost Corners and the fragility of digital ephemera come into play — Crockett's website.

Here's the URL, for posterity:

The image at the top of this post, featuring a reflection of Crockett himself, is from the website, which is called Balance Point Personal Evolution School. The "pro" behind Balance Point, based in Burlington, Washington, is described as follows:
"Paul Crockett is a masterful and extraordinary teacher of the nature of reality, transformative processes and universal principles. He provides telephone sessions for his teachings and exploring avenues for achieving aspirations and goals. Paul is very interested in working with individuals who have a desire to deepen personal understanding, are on the path of self-discovery, and regard themselves capable of attaining wisdom. The individuals who are attracted naturally to the teachings Paul has to offer are those seeking the personalized attention and comprehensive learning experience that he offers."
And here are some of the testimonials from Balance Point clients:

  • Anita R.: "My session with Paul was 90 minutes and I wish it could have been much longer. Paul has a way of getting to the heart of the issue and assisting in finding the answers to what you are seeking or clarifying issues into terms that make sense. His manner is straight forward yet gentle. He helps you come to the consiousness you have bee looking for. I feel comfortable talking to Paul about any topic and know that this will bring me. My meeting with Paul was in person and I look forward to talking to him again soon on the phone or otherwise. Everyone will find his sessions well worth the time and effort. You will wonder why you didn't do it sooner."
  • Holly K.: "Paul helped me get my life straightened out. He is a wonderful sage/counselor who can help you get what you want out of your life. He is honest and real. If you need help, Paul is the person to seek."
  • Art B.: "If you are looking for meaning in your life, for a way to change your routine, interested in exploring deeply how the universe works, or simply needing a wise counselor with whom to exchange ideas, Paul Crockett is your man. I have known and worked with Paul for more than 40 years, and in that time I have seen him help people of all ages cure themselves, extract themselves from bad situations, achieve success in their work, or come to a place in themselves where they find deep understanding and satisfaction with their place in the universe. Paul will help you in ways you may only understand after some time, but even a one-time session with him will benefit you."

I wonder if any of these clients knew about the important role that their counselor once played in working to stem the tide of Charles Manson's growing evil. It seems to me that this website, sure to disappear sooner or later now that Crockett is gone, should be preserved.


  1. Actually Crockett didn't live near the family at Spahn. He came into contact with the family in the desert as he was a prospectors. He ended up becoming the manager of Brooks and Paul's band. Later he told Paul he could heal Paul of cancer if he abandoned his family and paid a lot of money, according to Paul. He also ended up leading his own cult which Brooks was part of, again according to Paul.

    1. the guy was a total charlatan
      but did help paul watkins break free of manson

  2. Yes. Crockett was a gold prospector in Death Valley. And he visited Barker's Ranch in Golar Wash. Some of Manson's Family were there at the time. Crockett (who was well-versed in Scientology and programming) instantly notice signs of programming in members of the Family, including Paul Watkins, Brooks Poston, Juan Flynn and Juanita Wildbush. And he was able to deprogram them and got them to leave Manson. Crockett was a true wise man of the desert. An Angel in the Devil's Hole.

  3. Crockett turned out to be a con man himself.
    He saw the incredible money that could be plucked from desperate kids and those attracted to cults.
    PAUL WATKINS was correct.
    Paul was the only person to come out of this mess that was with a damn.
    Never forget Paul Watkins.
    May his blessed soul rest in peace.

  4. I'm not sure Crockett was a con man. It does seem that he and Paul fell out but maybe that had to happen for Paul to stand on his own two feet. The whole Manson story for me is about the courage Crockett displayed at the Barker Ranch. The White Magician and the Black Magician in the desert. Like when Gurdjieff met Crowley only Crockett was more accommodating. Don't forget Charlie wasn't alone. I would guess Bruce was there, maybe Clem. Terrifying out of control people. Crockett stood between them and the boys. Just before he died I asked him how he'd done it. Where had the courage come from. He answered without hesitation, "By being completely true to myself." Not bad for someone called Gaylord eh? RIP old timer. Chris

  5. True. Read the interview with Juanita (Joan) Wildbush. She credits Paul Crockett with turning her mind around... getting it off Manson's Helter Skelter fantasy... and getting it to focus on and cope with the "real world."

  6. I've regretted that no one so far has been in a position to write a biography of Paul Crockett. He seems, in addition to the unexpected interactions with the Manson Family, to have been deeply knowledgeable about things we'd all like to understand.

  7. Crockett's teacher was a follower of Gurdjieff. I think Fritz Peter's Boyhood With Gurdjieff is as good a place to start as any. JG Bennett's Masters of Wisdom details Gurdjieff's sources. Enjoy.

  8. Squeaky Fromme said in her book that the rumor was that Crockett was a military 'deprogrammer.' He was certainly in the right place at the right time if that was his true reason for being there.

  9. wonderful stories appear @

  10. They were all full of shit. I was there.....

  11. You were where? Name, time, and other details if you want to be taken seriously.

  12. yep wings i am fascinated by the case. Dont tease us..give details please. I dont mean name, timeline etc. I would just like to ask a few questions. thanks, tom

  13. my email is

  14. Ask? I grew up with the Watkins family at lake Sherwood. Paul’s older brother was my age, David was his name an intense painter of large canvas. The Watkins fam hated us. They were very dedicated Catholics…..Paul was I believe prez of the TOHS student body. A year later he was procuring women for Manson ….after the Manson trials . Paul, brooks and Paul Crockett show up at my house in Thousand Oaks. My wife fell under his spell and within a month we were living on SHOSHONE WITH THE PAULS AND BROOKS. I spent 6 months out there with this bunch when finally I took my daughter of 13 months and left the idiots behind….., I’ll save what happen in those six months for a later day . Wings hauser

  15. Thank you for responding. Don't keep us waiting too long with more details!