Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Family of Winnfred Wright

The Come-On

The come-on was flattering and went like this: "Would you like to model for a women's art project?" Bremner would explain that she was part of a group working on a mural celebrating femininity, and was looking to photograph 90 women to use as models. The woman would also have a chance to partake in a "spiritual session," Bremner added.

Most of the women Bremner hit on were down-on-their-luck drug users, women who wandered through The Haight vulnerable and alone, one step away from homelessness, and Bremner sometimes used drugs as an enticement, according to press accounts.

She'd give the woman The Family's address, and if she showed up at their door, the wives would greet her enthusiastically. Incense would waft toward her invitingly from the home's interior, where candles glowed. They'd ask her to slip into a robe for the pictures and chat her up, making her feel as comfortable as possible by reading her tarot cards, putting on soft music, giving her massages and offering her pot or herbal cigarettes.

But the warm welcome had nothing to do with murals or administering to lost souls and everything to do with Wright's raging libido. The cozy atmosphere, the massages, the drugs, all these sensual details were merely prepping the woman so she'd be sexually receptive to Wright and allow him to take dirty pictures of her.

Wright called these recruiting missions "actions." He told his wives that he entered a spiritual trance during actions and he wasn't to be disturbed or contradicted. Their job was to deliver him fresh women, and his job was to copulate with them. Period. If they balked or grew jealous, Wrights temper would flare and he'd call them "cracker-assed bitches," according to the SF Weekly.

The police received several complaints related to these "actions" during the early 90s. In one police report, a woman described showing up at The Family's doorstep and being greeted by two women, one who had a black eye and the other who had noticeable bruises. The women gave her a massage and repeatedly asked her to take off her robe, but she refused. As she read from the Book of Revelation, Wright who was smoking an odorless substance in a glass pipe exposed himself to her, she said.

In another police report, a woman said she felt drugged after smoking the herbal cigarettes, and had had sex with Wright, who told her he was "Adam" and she was "Eve."

Another woman told authorities she saw Wright smoking a "crackling substance" in a glass pipe. When she was left alone with him, he pointed to an ax on the wall and asked her: Have you ever seen a woman wearing an ax? It's a sign of femininity." She left quickly afterwards.

Although several women complained to police about the strange events, none pressed charges. Most women simply left The Family's lair after they got their drug fix or realized that they were about to become a sacrificial offering to a crazed sex maniac.

Three women, nevertheless, stayed on.

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