Helter Skelter Apostrophes

I don’t remember where, I don’t remember when, but at one point in my childhood I found myself holding a copy of “Helter Skelter,” Vincent Bugliosi’s bone-chilling account of the Charles Manson murders. I didn’t read it.

I was probably 9 or 10 at the time and not really one to devour 680-page, true-crime procedurals. But there were pictures that, I feel, authorized me to dispense the following unsolicited piece of parenting advice. Hey parents: Don’t leave copies of “Helter Skelter” lying around the house.

Mumble-mumble decades and countless desensitizing movies later, I found the courage to actually read it. I’m about halfway through. (Don’t tell me what happens! I have a good feeling about this Squeaky gal.)

Funny how time changes a person. Back in elementary school, I was shocked by, you know, home-invasion stabbing murders by Beatles-obsessed racist sex cults.

 Today, I find myself shocked by passages like this one: “In this instance, it led to Aaron Stovitz’ being yanked off the Tate-LaBianca case.” And this one: “Manson borrowed Swartz’ ’59 Ford.” And this one: “Ruth Ann answered Gutierrez’ questions.”

And it gets freakier when you consider the context. Those bits were sprinkled among others like “Tex’s orders” and “Susan Atkins’ attorney.”

Thus, halfway through the book, I’m left with just one possible conclusion: The title “Helter Skelter” refers to the method used for forming possessives. Here's my recent column examining when to put an apostrophe and S after Z, X and S

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