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The Tate Murders

In this photo ‘psychic’ Peter Hurkos is seen kneeling next to Sharon’s dried up blood. In the background his wife stephany. Photo taken on August 17, 1969.

Peter Hurkos

Peter Hurkos, born Pieter van der Hurk, was a Dutch clairvoyant. He was a painter by trade, and after falling from a ladder in the 1940s, Hurkos suffered brain damage. He was in a coma for three days. After waking from his coma, Hurkos claimed to have clairvoyant powers. He claimed he could see into the future and see events in the past.

Hurkos 'helped' Roman Polanski with the Tate murders. He did a reading at the Tate house, and Polanski gave Hurkos several photographs of the crime scene, hoping that Hurkos could say something about the perpetrators.

Instead of helping, Hurkos sold the photos to the press. Hurkos also made several predictions about the Tate murders, all his predictions turned out to be false. He claimed Tate was murdered during a drug fueled satanic ritual.

According to Hurkos, Tate and her companions played a bizarre game in which the contestants were asked the last time they had sexual relations. The person admitting the longest lapse was hung from an overhead beam and beaten. Then, according to Hurkos, one of Tate's acquaintances had a bad trip and saw “a vision of the devil” and went berserk.

The press adopted Hurkos' statements, and headlines like “Satanic Ritual Murders” appeared in the papers. Hurkos has done the Tate case more harm than good. Ironically, Hurkos failed to accurately predict the date of his own death.

Altobelli, the owner of the house, sued Polanski over the photos that were sold to the press. Altobelli claimed that the images hurt his chances of selling the residence. He further suggested that because Polanski had not paid Augustus' rent, that he (Altobelli) was entitled to the copyright of the photographs.