2010 saw the release of Charles Manson Now by registered psychiatric nurse and Manson confidante Marlin Marynick. (See http://www.charlesmansonnow.com/)
For the uninformed, Krishna Venta was a self-proclaimed messiah who oversaw the WKFL Fountain of the World cult (the term used in newspapers during his lifetime) in the 1940s and 1950s. (The "WKFL," by the way, stood for Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love.) He was born Francis Herman Pencovic in San Francisco, California in 1911 and – prior to declaring he was "Krishna Venta" (which he claimed meant "the Christ Everlasting") – had been a con man, a convict, and a soldier.
Venta founded the Fountain of the World in Box Canyon, California in the latter 1940s.
In his monk’s robe, and with his long hair, beard, and bare feet, he cut an unavoidable figure in the America of the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations. He was in the headlines often for everything from gestures of goodwill to failure to pay child support to his ex-wife.
Among other things, he predicted a future in America that many say is eerily reminiscent of the "Helter Skelter" prophecies ascribed to Manson and outlined by Vincent T. Bugliosi in the book of the same name. (For additional information on this topic, see http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/sutherland_shawn_krishnaventa_en0703.htm)
He was murdered on a December night in 1958 when two disgruntled ex-followers entered the Fountain compound intent on confronting their former master and accomplishing one of two things: either extracting from him an admission that he was a mere moral; or ending his life. (Among one of the men’s final words was the statement, "Dear God, give us this night freedom or death...We have dedicated our lives to this mission and whatever may come, this may be our last night in the world. We are making this tape so people may know our motives...Krishna Venta] isn’t what he claims to be. He doesn’t practice what he preaches...") To better advance their cause, these two carried with them to the Fountain a bundle of dynamite. Their "mission" ended in an explosion that killed both of them, along with Krishna Venta and seven of his disciples. (For a listing of those who died in this explosion, see http://krishnaventa.blogspot.com/2008/12/43-in-memoriam.html)
In the latter 1960s (a decade after Krishna Venta’s death), Charles Manson and the so-called "Manson Family" spent a number of their days at the Fountain. And more than one source cites to Manson’s supposed interest in seizing the Fountain property for the Family’s use. (See Jerry LeBlanc & Ivor Davis' 5 to Die, Ed Sanders' The Family, Paul Watkins' My Life with Charles Manson, and the 1973 documentary Manson. See also:
What Manson did or did not learn about Krishna Venta during his tenure at the Fountain of the World is the great unknown. But Manson has mentioned Krishna Venta numerous times and via various venues in the past 25 years. However, most of Manson’s decrees regarding Krishna Venta are at minimum uninformed.
As early as August 1986, when he released an open letter to President Ronald Reagan, Manson has contended that, "Krishna Venta blew himself up in 1949 at the Fountain of the Word in Box Canyon, California, when the Feather River Project cut his fountain’s water off." (See Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason, Storm Books, 1992, p. 430)
These facts are in error, but Manson has repeated them (and other misinformation about Krishna Venta) with regularity. For example, in a 1989 interview with television personality Geraldo Rivera, Manson proclaimed, "Krishna Venta died in Box Canyon in 1949…when I was in reform school." As well, his assertion that Krishna Venta and some of his followers committed suicide in protest against the Feather River Project can be heard on the 1995 audio compact disc Manson Speaks and in numerous YouTube files. And most recently, in Marlin Marynick’s book, Manson again insists:
...Krishna Venta blew himself up in the [F]ountain of the [W]orld in Box Canyon, California. Krishna had a cult and they were based on the water and there was the Feather River project that just started...And Krishna seen it because he had a big fountain in his cult area and when it dried up it stopped, and he said, well, you can’t buy and sell the water…[and Krishna Venta] sacrificed his life and the life of nine women. I think it was nine, maybe it was fifteen, but what he did when his fountain turned off, he put dynamite under his house and blew everybody up...
Manson is presumably aware that his version of events has been challenged; on Page 139 of Marynick’s book he offers:
...the people that pick up the mess they don’t tell the truth. In other words they lie. Them guys didn’t die the way they said they did. No way in hell are you going to convince me that those people [who died at the Fountain of the World] laid in that fire and they didn’t jump up and say ouch or run or do anything. That’s bullshit. That was all put up. Yeah, that was the FBI, that was the system trying to get around for what we’d already done. I was in reform school when Krishna came on TV, that he had blown himself up with all his women, but you know as a child, I wasn’t impressed. That was just another movie.
Ultimately, it is a question of whether the information Manson presents regarding Krishna Venta is what he has actually heard over the years versus whether he knowingly presents erroneous information about the man in an attempt to reinvent and misappropriate him for his ecological crusade.