riverview amusement park

Helter Skelter, 1915, Riverview Amusement Park, Belmont and Western, Chicago.

Helter Skelter was a ride where riders would simply climb to the top and slide down.

Helter Skelters, named for the British term for “disorderly haste or confusion,” had been around since 1905, appearing in many fairs and amusement parks.

In 1968 the Beatles recorded their hit, Helter Skelter. Paul McCartney has said it was “to be the most raucous vocal, the loudest drums, et cetera” and said he was “using the symbol of a helter skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom; the rise and fall of the Roman Empire – and this was the fall, the demise.”

Inspired that same year by the Beatles’ song, Charles Manson would talk to his “Family” about Helter Skelter, an “apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions between blacks and whites”, which would eventually lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders.