LOS ANGELES – It was 50 years ago this week that Charles Manson and his 'family' launched a reign of terror across Los Angeles, murdering nine people, including actress Sharon Tate and an intimate circle of her Hollywood and society friends.
The Manson story has been told and retold many times, from Vincent Bugliosi's definitive Helter Skelter to Quentin Tarantino's current film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The Beat On 1's own Chuck Moshontz has his own remarkable story about meeting members of the Manson Family, paying a visit to their infamous Spahn Ranch hideout, and even coming face-to-face with Manson himself.
In 1969, Moshontz was a self-described hippie, living in the Bay Area. He was on a road trip to L.A. with a friend when they picked up a couple of hitchhikers. At first, they simply seemed like another pair of hippies.
It turned out they were Thomas 'TJ' Walleman and Charles 'Tex' Watson -- two of the Manson Family's most infamous killers.
Moshontz and his friend wound up accompanying the pair back to Topanga Canyon to Spahn Ranch, where they spent a few hours hanging out, smoking pot, and drinking wine.
But when Manson arrived on the scene, they were told they would have to leave.
Manson himself accompanied the pair out and told him once they left, they could never come back -- unless they wanted to become members of the family.
Moshontz and his friend didn't take Manson up on the offer, but with no inclination of the murderous plot going on behind the scenes, they left with a good impression of the ranch and the family. Although when it came to Manson, he was less impressed.
"It was clear others were under his spell," said Moshontz. "I didn't have any particular impression of him as being special."
Watch the video in the above player to hear Moshontz's chilling account of the encounter.