Abigail Anne Folger
21st Paternal cousin, 2x removed
It's funny how sometimes a person's intuition can lead them to a conclusion that they just "knew" was correct. That was what happened with this particular distant cousin.
From the first time that I remembered hearing about Abigail Folger - heiress to the Folger coffee fortune and one of the Manson Family's murder victims (along with actress Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent & Abigail's boyfriend, Wojciech Frykowski) - I felt a strange pull towards her. It took me over 40 years to confirm what that pull was, and while it came as a shock, it was not a surprise.
Abigail was the daughter of Peter Folger and Ynez Mejia and heiress to the Folger coffee fortune. She was born on August 11, 1943 and would die just 2 days short of her 26th birthday at the hands of Manson Family followers under the orders of Charles Manson. Abigail's body was found on the lawn of the Polanski-Tate property where she had been stabbed to death while trying to escape.
Although Abigail was born into great wealth, she had ended up being at the Polanski-Tate home through a twist of fate. While she had been living in New York City, working at a book store and then in the city's ghettos as a social worker, she met Frykowski. It was through Frykowski that Abigail would meet Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, who Frykowski knew from their home country of Poland.
Abigail and Frykowski left New York City and drove to Los Angeles in August, 1968. When they arrived in L.A., Abigail again worked as a social worker in some of the roughest areas of the city. On April 1, 1969, Abigail and Frykowski moved to 10050 Cielo Drive to house sit for Polanski and Tate. According to reports, Abigail and Frykowski had a volatile relationship and her therapist reported that Abigail was ready to leave Frykowski and return to San Francisco.
Roman Polanski had asked Frykowski and Abigail to stay with his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, until he returned home from directing a film in London. On the night of August 8th, 1969, Abigail called her mother in Connecticut to tell her that she had booked a flight home to San Francisco on August 9th. She made the call to her mother at 10 pm.
At some time after the call, several Manson Family members entered the home and murdered the occupants, including Abigail Folger. She had been stabbed to death and her body was found on the lawn outside of the home. Frykowski's body was also found outside - he had been stabbed and shot to death. Inside the house, 8.5 month pregnant Sharon Tate and her ex-boyfriend, Jay Sebring, were found stabbed to death. 18 year old Steve Parent, who had been visiting the Polanski-Tate's caretaker on the property (the only survivor), had been shot to death as he was leaving the estate.
In the stories that followed the brutal murders and the sensational murder trial of the Manson Family killers, including cult leader and head psychopath, Charles Manson, Abigail's story gets a bit lost. The focus at the time - and to a large degree to this day - remains the murder of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her unborn baby.
As another strange twist of fate, a recent movie loosely based on what happened in Hollywood in the summer of 1969, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" co-starred another of Abigail's distant cousins, Brad Pitt.
Life can truly be stranger than fiction...