In all the pretend mourning for America’s pretend president, the comical stories of Ford’s two would-be assassin gals is probably the weirdest yet most-ignored aspect of his brief time at the White House.
Here are some fun facts: On two separate occasions just 17 days apart, two women attempted to kill Gerald Ford in California — and if not for a last-minute blunder by the women themselves, either attempt could’ve very well put Ford in the Michigan dirt 30 years ago.
Let’s meet the creepy gals, after the jump.
Sarah Jane Moore is definitely the weirder of the pair — and that’s saying a lot, because the other one’s in the Manson Family.
Moore apparently became a radical nut in her 40s. The West Virginia native went through five husbands and various respectable careers before joining the revolution. Oh, and when she fired a single shot at Ford outside the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on September 22 of 1975, she was also working for the FBI as an informant.
A bystander saw the gun being drawn and grabbed Moore’s arm just before she pulled the trigger. The shot hit the hotel entrance instead of Ford, and she’s been in prison ever since.
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme made her attempt on September 5, outside Ford’s hotel room in Sacramento. But she either forgot to put a bullet in the chamber or left it in her hotel room on purpose. Her Colt .45 revolver had four bullets in other chambers. Oh, and she was dressed as a nun.
Fromme was born in Santa Monica but fell out of her aerospace-engineer dad’s graces and wound up a homeless hippie on Venice Beach, where Charles Manson found her in 1966. After the Sharon Tate and LaBianca Family massacres (the latter of which took place exactly 1,200 feet from where your West Coast editor is typing this), Squeaky was one of the three trippy chicks who held vigil at the LA courthouse where Manson and his killers were tried. It was always easy to spot the Manson girls, due to the swastikas carved into their foreheads.
Manson has been many things in his long life: Beach Boys groupie, Guns ‘n Roses songwriter, hillbilly, con man, Scientologist, cult leader and prisoner. But the weirdest thing about Manson is the longstanding rumors that he — like Sarah Jane Moore — was an agent of some shadowy government department, possibly a Manchurian Candidate figure who was programmed to become a hippie killer, which would horrify the nation so much that they would gladly re-elect Nixon.
In that sense, both of Ford’s would-be assassins had deep connections to the government Ford supposedly headed. The 1970s were awesome.
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