'LINDA ASHCROFT: a wishful sinful wild child' BY SALLI STEVENSON

When Linda Ashcroft's Wild Child [a memoir taken from her alleged diary documented four-year relationship with Jim Morrison] first came out in England [Hodder & Stoughton], it revealed her purported secret affair with the rock star and created controversy for several reasons. Ashcroft claimed co-authorship of many of Morrison's songs and much of his poetry, alleged that both she and Morrison suffered abuse and had Pamela Courson Morrison admitting to Morrison's murder. The immediate problem in judging the veracity of Wild Child was that anyone who could confirm Ashcroft's story first hand was dead, missing, or had no memory of the events reported in Wild Child.

Considering her claims, is it possible that Wild Child is more questionable than anyone has heretofore suspected?

While Wild Child [released by American publisher Thunder's Mouth Press in January 2000] has an earnest and engagingly written romance novel style to it, one finds lapses that leave one wondering if indeed Ashcroft had the relationship with Morrison she claims.

Little things bother. Some of Ashcroft's physical descriptions of Morrison were remembered quite differently by women who had been intimate with the rock star.

Ashcroft maintains that Morrison called her frequently and talked sometimes for hours. "Jim called with no hello. Just read poetry to me for a couple of hours." [p.180] When asked, more than one close friend recalled Morrison's intense dislike for anything but the shortest of phone conversations.

His love for cilantro was noted by this writer, who happily let Morrison grab the herb from her salad, so she wouldn't have to eat it. He obviously enjoyed it, despite Ashcroft's allegations that Morrison hated it and thought of it as "so nasty even caterpillars wouldn't eat it." [p.329]

In June of 1969, Ashcroft recalls that she agreed reluctantly to do a screen test for a film Morrison told her he hoped to start with his buddies from UCLA. She then reports that she felt safe in doing so because "the film was on hold until somebody could afford film for the camera." [p.331] In fact, shooting for the film began on April 7, 1969, not in June or July, and was more than adequately funded.

Because of these discrepancies, we decided to investigate further. We felt the fairest method would be to follow a time line to see where Ashcroft's "relationship" could have fitted into Morrison's busy life.

Although the American edition is now available in book stores in an edited version of the original, when we reviewed her book the Thunder's Mouth Press version had not been released. Our research is based on the original book from Hodder & Stoughton. All quotes are identified by page numbers from the English edition.

The first thing we found was that Ashcroft provides no dates, but many clues.

With the help of biographies No One Here Gets Out Alive, Break On Through, the writings of Judy Huddleston, Janet Erwin and Frank Lisciandro, the 10,000 Year Calendar, The National Weather Service and--most importantly--Greg Shaw's Doors on the Road, as well as our interview with the author herself, we investigated.

For lack of space, we will reveal only a few examples of what we discovered through our research as we compared Ashcroft's book to Greg Shaw's documentation of Morrison's travels. As for the rest, we suggest you might want to buy or borrow her book to see if you can find any mistakes we may have missed.

JULY 1967:
Ashcroft's alleged first meeting with Morrison is in San Francisco in July 1967. They spend three nights and days in his motel room. They eat deli, spaghetti and Mexican food, fly kites in Golden Gate Park on the first day, see the Museum of Modern Art the second and, on the last day, visit City Lights Bookstore and then Morrison puts her on a bus for Stockton.

Ashcroft's clues from her interview:
Clue #1:   DCM: When did you meet Jim?
                   Ashcroft: He always counted it as the third week of July.
                   I thought it was maybe a little sooner than that."
Clue #2:   DCM: "Light My Fire" had just become #1 in Billboard?
                   Ashcroft:Yeah, I think it was that week or the week before it
                   had become #1.

Ashcroft's clues from her book, 1967 section:
Clue #1:  "His weekend plans hadn't included shaving and he'd
                    run up the street for a few toiletries." [p.22]
Clue #2:  "He was in no hurry. The Doors must not have been
                    scheduled to play that night.

We were looking for: a weekend in July 1967 in San Francisco. Morrison had no concerts to play. He could spend time on his own. "Light My Fire" had just been named #1 Single in Billboard. [The Doors' managers told them the news on July 25th. "LMF" was publicly listed as #1 for the first time in Billboard on July 29, 1967.]

We have listed every possible weekend mentioned by Ashcroft that could qualify for her "first meeting" with Morrison in July 1967 as taken from her quotes:
---the week Ashcroft says she remembers meeting Morrison [July 9-16].
---the week she says Morrison remembers their meeting, "the third week." [July 16-23].
---the week "Light My Fire" became #1 [July 23-31].

Please compare these two calendars. When did Ashcroft and Morrison meet?

      Ashcroft's schedule for July 1967

Table One

      Morrison's schedule for July 1967.
Table Two

Ashcroft and Morrison's "second encounter" takes place in November 1967. It was a period of 10 or 11 days of constant contact ending in a camping weekend in Big Sur, a famous scenic area of California approximately two hours south of San Francisco.

Ashcroft's clues are quotes from the 1967 section of her book.
Clue #1. "Not bad for a cold November night." [p.124]
Clue #2. "I finagled the weekend." [p.116]

      Here's Ashcroft possible schedule for November 1967. We
      have allowed the largest latitude possible for her expedition.

Table Three

      Here's Morrison's schedule for November 1967:

Table Four

      Please compare the above November calendars.
      When did Ashcroft and Morrison go camping in Big Sur?

Ashcroft also claimed two meetings in December of 1967 that, after research, are equally questionable.

In February 1968, Ashcroft states she and Morrison had another camping trip. According to her book it was a two-day trip. Morrison met her in Stockton at 9:30 AM on a Friday. They camped out Friday and Saturday and returned home Saturday evening. She reports that there was a heavy, hours long rain on the Saturday that they were camping.

Ashcroft writes: "By the time the sky broke open with a downpour, I had vowed never to drink again…we took refuge in the cramped car for a few hours. The rain on the roof was determined to split my head open." [p.165]

The rain tables for Big Sur and Northern California for the weekends in February 1968 were as follows:

      Rain tables for San Francisco/Monterey/Big Sur, February 1968.

Table Five

The only rain days that could have been described as "downpours" were on Friday, February 16th and Saturday, February 17th. Friday ran a little over a half-inch. Saturday's was about a third of an inch. Ashcroft also describes a "lopsided, bright moon." The moon was full that weekend and Morrison was in Phoenix.

Most of February 1968, Morrison was working on "Waiting for the Sun" in Los Angeles, hanging out with Ron Allen playing cemetery games [Feast of Friends by Frank Lisciandro], and getting arrested for drunk driving [LAPD arrest records and Break On Through].

      Ashcroft's schedule for February 1968 :
      [We picked the only weekend that had rain.]

Table Seven

      Morrison's schedule for February 1968:

Table Six

All Ashcroft's other meetings with Morrison in 1968 can be disputed on the basis of her descriptions of the weather, the moon cycles and by Morrison's schedule.

The contacts shown here are all alleged to have happened between the time the Jerry Hopkins interview came out in Rolling Stone on July 26th and the Tate/La Bianca Murders, August 8-9, 1969. Since Rolling Stone could have been available as early as the 22nd of July, we have given Ashcroft some latitude, assuming a 19-day time period in which to see and spend exclusive time with Morrison, who called her just after the murders saying, "A friend of mine was murdered this weekend." [p.373]

      Morrison's schedule for July 21 to August 10, 1969:

Table Eight

Of the 19 days between the possible release of Jerry Hopkins' interview with Morrison on July 22, 1969 and the Tate-LaBianca Murders on August 8th and 9th, 1969, only eleven [11] days can be unaccounted for in Morrison's schedule, including the days of the murders. We do not have any information regarding Morrison's whereabouts during the first week of August, although we suspect his friends would be able to fill in the blanks. See July/August calendar.

Ashcroft's memory of that period is as follows:
--- Day 1 -   We assume Ashcroft gets the magazine on the 22nd and the phone call from Morrison during which she confesses to glancing at the interview.
--- Day 2, 3, 4, 5? -    We have to wait "a few days." [A few days usually equals three]. Then she makes her first "pilgrimage into San Francisco" where she says she runs into Bill Graham. He recognizes her after having seen her only one time--a year before--for two or three minutes. They have lunch.
--- Day 6 & 7 -    "Jim buzzes up from L.A. " They eat black berries in Santa Cruz and get hives. We presume that Morrison drives up to Northern California in one day, then back to L.A. the next, equaling two days. We are also not sure from her book how many days elapse between her lunch with Bill Graham and her blackberry feast with Morrison.
--- Day 8 -    "The next I heard from Jim, he had come up with enough cash to buy a reel of film. I pretended I was off to Stockton for a few days." Ashcroft does her screen test with Morrison and Brandon De Wilde.
--- "Less than a week later,"   [We assume that could be from three to five days apart] "Jim phoned to say the film was processed if I wanted to see it." Ashcroft went down to Los Angeles to see their work. Later that day they drove to Stockton and spent the night. This equaled two days together - Day 9 & 10.
--- Days 11-14 -    "Jim made a trip up from L.A." They then drove down to L.A. They spent four days together that Ashcroft clearly identifies, taking us to Day 14.
--- Then she states   that "Jim and I existed in a glow for the rest of the week." Does that equal another three days? If so, it gives us a total of 17 days Ashcroft claims to have spent with Morrison in July, early August. Even if that "rest of the week" equals only two more days, it still gives her 16 days with Morrison. Ashcroft next hears from Morrison on the weekend of the Tate-LaBianca Murders. [pgs. 338-373]

How did Ashcroft crammed 16 to 17 days into Morrison's available 11 days?

The following alleged encounter with Morrison is from Ashcroft's interview with The DCM. We asked if Ashcroft saw or spoke to Morrison in October 1970, before he returned to Miami to be sentenced at the end of that month.

From her interview with The DCM:
    DCM: Did you talk to him the week before he left?
    Ashcroft: It was a couple of days before, 'cause he'd come up to
    see me and then went back to L.A. to go with the entourage…
    DCM: He came up to see you in October before he went to be
    sentenced? Was it the last week before he left to be sentenced?
    I'm confused. When did he come up to see you in October?
    Ashcroft: It was just before he went to be sentenced.
    DCM: Just that week then?
    Ashcroft: I believe so. Where am I in my own book?
    He was pretty much of a mess.
    DCM:It was between the 25th and the 31st of October?
    Ashcroft: Yeah.
    DCM:So he was up there to see you during that week prior?
    Ashcroft: Yeah. This is one of the odd things about Jim...
    actually some other people at the time…I don't know if cocaine
    had something to do with it. Brandon De Wilde said cocaine
    had a lot to do with it, but he would drive from Los Angeles to
    San Jose, which is seven hours [one way] stay and talk 45
    minutes or an hour and drive back, 'cause somehow he felt he
    had to talk in person rather than over the phone.
    DCM:Is that what he did that week?
    Ashcroft: As I remember it he talked, turned around and I'm
    not sure…it might have been cut from the book…they liked
    the call when he got convicted and they felt the other
    wasn't as…it didn't really have the punch line in a way.

Morrison's actual location throughout the month of October is thoroughly documented. His time is completely accounted for. Morrison was in Los Angeles 24/7 from October 12, 1970 until he left for Florida to be sentenced.

Among those who can verify this are the Doors [Morrison was spending his days rehearsing], the Door's staff, Danny Sugerman, friends Frank Lisciandro, Babe Hill and Judy Huddleston, the Elektra staff, members of the L.A. rock press and this writer.

Ashcroft claimed her last visit with Morrison was on February 28, 1971.

From her interview with The DCM:
Ashcroft:   "We spent a day together on the beach around Monterey. It was February 28th 'cause it was my mother's birthday."

According to Frank Lisciandro and Babe Hill, Morrison was in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 28th playing touch football. [In a conversation several years ago Lisciandro remembered the football game as happening the last weekend of February. Hill also remembered it and thought it was Sunday. ] Finally Janet Erwin, author of Your Ballroom Days Are Over, Baby, [The DCM Annual, 1999] reviewed her dated journals and reported that Morrison arrived at her apartment on the afternoon of Monday, March 1, 1971 "stiff and sore from a touch football game the day before."

As they say, Linda, the ball is now in your court, but we find the above information, to quote Arte Johnson from the popular Sixties TV comedy Laugh In, "V-E-E-R-R-R-Y IN-TER-ES-TING!"

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