In 1967, Sharon Tate had a nightmare that felt so frightening and so surreal it still haunted her a year later.
Two years after that nightmare, she was murdered by the Manson Family cult.
According to an interview with Dick Kleiner in Fate magazine, Tate thought it was a premonition of her own murder.
On August 1, 1968, when Kleiner asked her whether she had ever had any psychic experiences, Tate told him the details of the nightmare.
“Yes, I have had a psychic experience – at least I guess that’s what it was – and it was a terribly frightening and disturbing thing for me. It happened a year or so ago. Maybe you can explain it,” she replied.
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At the time of her dream Tate was dating Hollywood hair stylist, Jay Sebring.
One night she was staying at Sebring’s Benedict Canyon home while he traveled to New York for work. The house had previously been owned by Paul Bern, a Hollywood agent whose story was splashed all over the tabloids in the 1930s when he married one of his clients, an actress named Jean Harlow.
Bern had later taken his life in the house after Harlow walked out on him.
The night Tate was staying there, she couldn’t sleep.
“I had a funny feeling,” she told Kleiner. That funny feeling disturbed her and she felt like she couldn’t get to sleep. She then turned on the bedside lamp and saw something stirring outside her bedroom door, at this point Tate didn’t know whether she was awake, but she felt like she was dreaming.
“I saw this creepy little man,” she told Kleiner. “He looked like all the descriptions I had ever read of Paul Bern.”
The figure then entered and dashed around the room, but it didn’t make any attempts to approach Tate. Frightened, she jumped out of bed, threw on a bathrobe and ran towards the stairs.
But once she reached the staircase the “dream” only got worse.
“I saw something or someone tied to the staircase,” she said. “Whoever it was – and I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman but knew somehow that it was either Jay Sebring or me – he or she was cut open at the throat.”
She ran downstairs into the playroom and poured herself a drink. Then she heard a voice tell her to tear away the wallpaper at the base of the bar… which she did.
She pinched herself, relieved that what she was experiencing must have only been a dream.
Tate then walked back up the stairs past the figure tied to the railings, past the apparition, and back to the bed where she quickly fell asleep.
The next day when Sebring returned she told him about the experience and they laughed it off as a dream. Then they noticed pieces of wallpaper on the ground next to the bar.
Tate would later break up with Sebring and marry Roman Polanksi. But she remained firm friends with Sebring.
On August 8, 1969, members of the Manson Family cult broke into Polanksi and Tate’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, just down the road from Sebring’s home.
They murdered Tate, along with Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent.
Tate’s haunting dream will be explored in a movie starring Hillary Duff. Duff posted on Instagram saying it was a “true honour” to play Tate in the film.
“Had the incredible opportunity of playing Sharon Tate the past two weeks in an independent movie. She was an amazing woman and it was a true honour,” she wrote.
The movie, aptly named The Haunting of Sharon Tate, features the dream sequence in its opening moments.
However Tate’s younger sister, Debra, has called the film “classless” and “exploitative”.
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“It doesn’t matter who it is acting in it — it’s just tasteless,” she told People.
“It’s classless how everyone is rushing to release something for the 50th anniversary of this horrific event.”
She also believes the dream sequence never really happened.
“I know for a fact she did not have a premonition — awake or in a dream — that she and Jay would have their throats cut.
“I checked with all of her living friends. None of her friends had any knowledge of this. Tacky, tacky, tacky. It’s a total fabrication.”
The movie, which is already causing controversy, is set to be released later this year just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Mansion Family murders.
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