Inside the Undying Fascination With Sharon Tate

Tate was in a floral-printed camisole and matching underpants when she was stabbed 16 times, five of them wounds that would have been fatal on their own. A rope was looped around her neck, strung over a rafter above, and the other end was wrapped twice around Sebring’s neck. Atkins wrote “pig” on the front door in Tate’s blood.

Sebring, whose real name was Thomas John Kummer, had been living in another Benedict Canyon home, on Easton Drive, that had once belonged to actress Jean Harlow, who died at 26 due to complications of kidney failure (which conspiracy theory has attributed to everything from hair dye poisoning to a botched abortion). More eerily, Harlow’s husband, producer Paul Bern, committed suicide in her bedroom two months after they got married. 

People who knew Sebring told Bugliosi he had bought the house because of its “far out” reputation. He owned a salon on Fairfax Avenue in L.A. and had just opened a shop in San Francisco in May 1969, step one of his plan to open numerous locations and launch a line of men’s grooming products. He was stabbed seven times and shot once.

Folger, an heiress to the Folgers Coffee fortune, was a debutante and Radcliffe graduate who had driven from New York to L.A. with Frykowski, a twice-married father of one, whom she met in 1968. He was a friend of Polanski’s from Poland; his father had financed one of the director’s early films and Voytek played a thief in his short film Mammals. That’s how Folger met Tate and Sebring, even investing in the burgeoning Sebring International. She was a volunteer social worker for the L.A. County Welfare Department up until the day before she and Frykowski moved into 10050 Cielo Drive.

Depressed and disillusioned by all the suffering she had seen in the course of her work, and using a lot of drugs with Frykowski, she apparently told her psychiatrist—whom she saw every weekday afternoon—on Friday, Aug. 8, that she was thinking of breaking up with her boyfriend.

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