Ruth Ann Moorehouse

Ruth Ann Moorehouse, also known as Ouisch, first encountered Charles Manson after her father, Dean Moorehouse, a former minister, picked up a hitchhiker and brought him to the family home. The hitchhiker turned out to be none other than Charles Manson.

Charles Manson was hitchhiking south when he was picked up by Dean Moorehouse, who welcomed the hitchhiker into his home with open arms and invited him to dinner. Upon entering the house, Manson’s gaze was immediately drawn to the preacher’s young daughter, and he felt an instant attraction to her. Manson gladly accepted the dinner invitation.

After dinner, they discussed the Bible, said a few prayers, and sang religious songs. By the end of the evening, Dean and Manson had bonded over their shared love of faith, and Manson spent the night. Dean was so taken with Manson that he invited him to come back anytime, and Manson became a frequent visitor to the Moorehouse home.

Manson admired Dean’s piano that had accompanied their singing the night before. Dean offered the instrument to Manson, likely thinking he wouldn’t take him up on the offer. Little did he know, Manson had his eye on both the piano and the preacher’s young daughter. It wouldn’t be long before Manson had both.

One day, Manson was on his way to the Moorehouse residence when he noticed a Volkswagen van. With only twenty-five dollars to his name, Manson boldly knocked on the door of the owner and began to negotiate. After some back-and-forth, the owner agreed to swap the van for the piano, and Manson and Dean hauled the instrument over in Dean’s pickup truck.

Manson drove away with his first set of wheels since his release from prison, and the newly acquired van was not only a means of transportation; it was also a home on wheels that afforded Manson a nomadic lifestyle.

Mendocino Arrest

After Manson obtained the van, it was time to fulfill his next wish; the preacher’s daughter. Manson and Ruth Ann ventured off to the beach in Mendocino, where, according to Manson, she provided him with the most memorable and rewarding experience of his life. On that day in Mendocino, Manson took her virginity.

July 1967. Dean Moorehouse, along with his wife Audrey and daughter Ruth Ann, had rented a cabin in Leggett, Mendocino. On the night of July 26th, Dean and Audrey got into a heated argument. The next morning, Audrey left for their home in San Jose. That same morning, Dean also left for San Jose, leaving Ruth Ann alone with Charles Manson, Lynette Fromme, and Mary Brunner, who had been staying with the Moorehouse family at the cabin.

Manson and Ruth Ann decided to go to the beach. After having spent some time along the shore, Manson took Ruth Ann to his van and the two shared an intimate moment. As this was occurring, Ruth Ann’s mother had called the police and told them that her underage daughter had been left alone in the cabin with an ex-con, and asked them to bring Ruth Ann to their home in San Jose. The police took the report of fifteen-year-old Ruth Ann and the thirty-three-year-old ex-convict seriously and began searching for her.

The police eventually located Ruth Ann and Manson at the cabin in Leggett, Mendocino. They informed Ruth Ann that her mother had reported her missing and that they would take her home. Manson, desperate to keep Ruth Ann with him, tried to dissuade the police, telling them they would have to use force to take her away. The police called for backup, and Manson was charged with interfering with the questioning of a suspected runaway juvenile, before being booked in Mendocino County Jail.

Dean Vowed to Kill Manson

When Dean found out Manson had slept with his daughter, he was so enraged that he vowed to kill Manson. Dean and a friend then went in search of Manson. When they found him, Dean’s companion pointed a gun at Manson while Dean went into a furious rage. Ruth Ann cried, and pleaded with Dean, telling him that she had fallen in love with Manson and that she wanted to be with him.

When Dean’s temper finally began to subside, Manson slipped him a tab of acid, telling him, “This will help keep your blood pressure down.” Dean was noticeably calmer after the hit of acid. Manson was able to convince Dean to go home. Several weeks later, Dean returned, but this time it wasn’t for his daughter’s sake. Instead, Dean wanted more acid and to join a world he had always preached against.

According to Vincent Bugliosi’s book, Helter Skelter, Dean Moorehouse had initially wanted to kill Manson for stealing his daughter. “He ended up on his knees worshiping him.” Dean and Manson eventually reconciled and became friends again, and Manson stayed with Dean and his family for several weeks. Dean was so taken with Manson that he believed he was Christ-like. Ruth Ann’s mother, however, did not share this sentiment and packed up her things and moved in with her sister.


Manson wanted Ruth Ann to join the family, but due to her young age, he realized the potential legal problems he would face if he took her with him. Manson informed Ruth Ann that he was going to southern California, so she wouldn’t be seeing him for a while. Ruth Ann started crying and told Manson she wanted to go with him. In a bid to protect himself, Manson told Ruth Ann she could go with him if she was married and was “her own woman”.

On May 20, 1968, Ruth Ann, who had just turned 16, married a 23-year-old bus driver named Edward Heuvelhorst in an effort to become emancipated. One day after the wedding, Ruth Ann Moorehouse, now Ruth Ann Heuvelhorst, left Edward and joined the family.

Life at Spahn Ranch

Ruth Ann joined the family, and they traveled up and down the West Coast in an old school bus dubbed “The Magical Mystery Bus.” Looking for a more permanent home, the clan ended up at Spahn Ranch, a former movie ranch with an accompanying horse stable. Ruth Ann’s primary duty was taking care of the children, followed by dumpster diving and panhandling.

It was George Spahn, the owner of the ranch, who gave Ruth Ann the nickname Ouisch. Legend has it he gave her the name due to the sound her pants made as she went by. Another source claims she was given the nickname Ouisch, because of how Ruth Ann pronounced the word “wish”. Whatever the true meaning of her nickname is, it stuck with her, and 50 years later people are still calling her Ouisch.

Dianne Lake, aka Snake, and Ruth Ann got along very well, even though Lake had slept with Ruth Ann’s father. Lake described Ruth Ann as down-to-earth and fun, the opposite of her father. The two girls, who were about the same age, would have fun pretending and dressing up in costumes that the group had accumulated. Ruth Ann and Lake assisted when Susan Atkins had her baby at Spahn Ranch; after the baby was born, Lake cut the umbilical cord with her teeth.

After Terry Melcher had visited Spahn Ranch to check out Manson’s music, he invited Manson and some of the girls to do an actual recording session, where Ruth Ann and several other girls backed up Manson’s singing with soulful harmonies. Melcher’s associate, Gregg Jakobson, had a huge crush on Ruth Ann, as he said decades later during an interview.

Paul Watkins described Ruth Ann as small, elegant, and sensual. According to Watkins, Manson kept Ruth Ann close to him during her first weeks at the ranch. Watkins said that Manson later practically “gifted” Ruth Ann and another girl, Sherry Cooper, to Straight Satan Danny DeCarlo in exchange for guarding the ranch. Ruth Ann quickly became one of DeCarlo’s favorite girls.

Sweetest Little Thing

Ruth Ann was one of Danny DeCarlo’s favorite girls. He called her one of his sweeties, the other being Sherry Ann Cooper.

“She [Ruth Ann] used to be one of my favorite sweeties. You know, that little girl there is so sweet. What really made me sick to my stomach is when she came up one night, when I was up there in the desert, and she said, ‘I can hardly wait to get my first pig.’ “Little seventeen-year-old! I looked on her like she was my daughter, just the sweetest little thing you would ever want to meet in your life. She was so beautiful and so sweet. And Charlie fucked her thinking around so much it turned your guts.”

Spahn Ranch Raid

A week after the Tate murders, Ruth Ann was rounded up with the rest of the family during the Spahn Ranch raid on August 16, 1969. She was taken to the police station where her mugshot was taken. Several months later, while the family was staying at Myers Ranch in Death Valley, Ruth Ann learned about the Tate murders from Susan Atkins.

Ruth Ann was apprehended alongside the rest of the family during the notorious Barker Ranch raid on October 10, 1969. After her release from prison, she relocated to her mother’s home in Minnesota. Ruth Ann returned to the clan during the trial against Manson and other group members, proudly carving an X into her forehead to demonstrate her unwavering loyalty, and became a regular fixture at the Hall of Justice.

LSD Laced Hamburger

During the Tate/LaBianca trial, Ruth Ann brazenly attempted to poison fellow family member Barbara Hoyt, who had by this time agreed to testify against Manson. Several members of the clan devised a plan to dissuade Hoyt from testifying by offering her an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii; if this incentive failed to persuade her, they would then have her poisoned.

On the afternoon of September 5, 1970, Hoyt was contacted by some of the girls, who proposed that she should accept a free vacation in Hawaii in exchange for not testifying. Hoyt, albeit reluctantly, accepted the offer.

The following day, Steve Grogan drove Hoyt and Moorehouse to one of the family hideouts, located in North Hollywood. This particular hideout was being rented by one of the newer family members, Dennis Rice. Rice then accompanied the girls to the airport and purchased tickets for them. He gave them fifty dollars in cash and some credit cards. The two girls traveled under assumed names (Ruth Ann as Amy Riley, and Hoyt as Jill Morgan). In Honolulu, the two rented the penthouse suite at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.

During their stay in Honolulu, the pair saw very little of the island, as Moorehouse was determined to keep them confined to the suite. As part of her attempt to dissuade Hoyt from testifying, Moorehouse revealed to her that she was aware of ten people the family had killed other than Sharon Tate. Every morning, Moorehouse would make a long-distance call to a pay phone located three blocks away from the Rice residence in North Hollywood.

On the morning of September 9, 1970, after Moorehouse had made one of her regular long-distance calls, she informed Hoyt that she had to return to California, but Hoyt was to remain in Hawaii. Moorehouse then booked a reservation on the 1:15 flight to Los Angeles that same afternoon.

The two women soon hailed a cab to the airport, and, while waiting for the airplane, Moorehouse suggested that Hoyt eat something. The pair then went into a nearby restaurant and Hoyt ordered a hamburger. However, Moorehouse abruptly picked up the hamburger and headed outside, telling Hoyt to pay for it.

When Hoyt followed her out of the restaurant, Moorehouse handed her the hamburger. Hoyt then proceeded to eat it while waiting for Moorehouse’s flight. Just before Moorehouse boarded the plane, she uttered a chilling comment to Hoyt – “imagine what it would be like if that hamburger had ten tabs of acid in it”.

After Moorehouse had left, Hoyt began to experience sensations of being high. She then got on a bus to the beach, but disembarked when she started feeling sick. She panicked and started running, until she eventually collapsed. Hoyt was then rushed to the nearby emergency room, where her condition was diagnosed as an acute drug-induced psychosis.

As it happened, Moorehouse had actually put ten tabs of acid in the hamburger. Following her admittance to the hospital, the medical staff called Hoyt’s parents. The next day, Hoyt’s father flew to Hawaii and took her back to Los Angeles. By this time, Hoyt was absolutely determined to testify against the family.

Jail Sentence

In ’71, the five family members involved in poisoning Hoyt were given a 90-day jail sentence. Ruth Ann, almost 9 months pregnant from a fling with C*, a Vietnam veteran, failed to appear at the sentencing hearing and fled to her sister’s in Carson City, Nevada, to avoid giving birth in jail. Four days after her arrival, Ruth Ann gave birth to a daughter.

In Nevada, Ruth Ann met a construction worker named Harold. The two fell in love and got married in 1972. Ruth Ann became pregnant and gave birth to a second daughter, Amber, who passed away at age seven. In ’75, the FBI located Ruth Ann in Sacramento. The FBI did not arrest her but informed Sacramento authorities, who picked her up on the long-standing warrant.

On November 4, 1975 Ruth Ann again appeared in court to be sentenced. The Judge did not give Ruth Ann any jail time, instead he ruled that because she was abandoned by her father and “thrown willy-nilly into the Manson cult” she could go free with time served.

From The Los Angeles Times – 1975

Ruth Ann Moorehouse, still wearing a bandage over plastic surgery she underwent to remove the forehead X that had marked her as a member of the Family, Tuesday made a brief and tearful court appearance in Los Angeles.

With Moorehouse at his side, unsuccessfully trying to fight back her tears, Fitzgerald (Ruth Ann’s lawyer) told the judge that she did not appear for sentencing because she was nine months pregnant at the time. “The ‘family’ told her she had to shave her head and that she had to have her baby in jail.” Fitzgerald explained “And she wanted none of that.”

Later Life

In 1979, Ruth Ann and her second husband, Harold, divorced, and she eventually remarried a man named Dale with whom she had two sons. After divorcing Dale, Ruth Ann chose to maintain his surname as her own. Ruth Ann’s mother, Audrey, died in 2002, and her father, Dean Moorehouse, died in 2010. Ruth Ann’s first husband, Edward Heuvelhorst, passed away in 2012. Her children are aware of their mother’s past, though Ruth Ann has adopted a pseudonym for her online identity, never speaking publicly about her days as a ‘Manson girl’. She is present on social media, using an alias on her Facebook and Instagram page

The 2010 Social Media Frenzy

Ruth Ann is notoriously camera shy, you won’t find any recent pictures of Ruth Ann Moorehouse online, except for the 2010 hiccup when Ruth Ann let her guard down and appeared in her son’s wedding video; some people shared video-captures of Ruth Ann and her children online.

Even though the photos are very grainy, and you can barely tell it’s Ruth Ann, one of her sons took action and demanded that the sites who posted those pictures took them down. However, once in a while the pictures resurface in Facebook groups and on so-called fan-pages. For the record, this website did not participate in sharing the photos.

Down The Rabbit Hole

Even Ruth Ann’s children and grandchildren have been harassed by “researchers” and have all set their social media accounts to private, except for Ruth Ann’s daughter, who stopped posting to social media all together but left her Facebook page open to the public.

Some of her pictures and even the names of her children, Ruth Ann’s grandchildren, were shared online, along with other personal information, including her hometown, date of birth and line of work. Ruth Ann’s son threatened the person who distributed his sister’s information with legal action, and the blog post was taken down soon after, and Ruth Ann’s daughter deleted her Facebook page.

Ruth Ann Moorehouse Today

Today, Ruth Ann Moorehouse is a mother and grandmother. She loves animals and breeds butterflies at home. She lives a quiet life with her cats and dog, somewhere in the Midwest.

Related: Dean Moorehouse