Charles Manson is known as the leader of the Manson Family, a cult of young hippies in California who committed the infamous murders of Sharon Tate, Rosemary LaBianca, and others. Many of the Manson Family members were sentenced to life in prison for the murders.
Manson dictated his followers with drugs, promiscuity, and mind control. Charles Manson had whacky theories about the apocalypse and believed a race war was coming. The Family would do anything and everything to protect their beloved Charlie.
The cult leader had an obsession with the music industry and becoming famous, which people believe led to the motivations behind the celebrity murders. Manson intended to draw a lot of attention to his Family. In fact, it is said that Charlie did not think that there was enough attention brought to the Tate tragedies, which is what motivated them to target LaBianca.
Many people are still confused as to why the Manson Family did what they did. The Family continued to stick up for their leader while he was on trial, even attempting to silence one of the trial witnesses. There is a fascination surrounding Manson and his Family of followers that continues to this day. The cult murders shocked Americans and people around the world who want to know who this guy is and how he managed to convince a group of people to do such horrible things for him. Here are 15 photos of Charles Manson and the Manson Family that definitely creep us out.
15 Charles Manson Did Not Technically End Anyone's Life
When people think of Charles Manson, they think of the celebrity murders, but he actually never physically killed anyone. Manson managed to commit these horrid acts through manipulating the members of his cult to do whatever he wanted and he did so without ever having to get his hands dirty.
Manson was present when his followers tied up two victims during the Sharon Tate tragedy, but left the scene before anything actually took place. However, this does not make him any less guilty in the eyes of the law, which is why he is spending life in prison. California state law does allow murder conspirators to be guilty via indirect liability.
14 Manson Learned To Manipulate By Reading How To Win Friends And Influence People
How does someone convince a group of people to do horrible things for him? Many people believe that Charles Manson was heavily influenced by Adolf Hitler. However, Charles Manson credits the Dale Carnegie Institute book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, for teaching him how to manipulate the members of the Family. He read the book while he spent some time in prison during the sixties.
The book was actually intended for salespeople and business managers but Manson used the lessons as a way to figure out how to get people to "take ownership" of an idea. He religiously practiced the exercises in the book during his time in jail and once he got out, he put those practices to work with real people who he eventually convinced to form The Manson Family.
13 The Manson Family Planned To Target More Celebrities
The Manson Family was determined to become notorious and they were planning to make that happen by any means necessary. The Manson Family successfully ended the lives of Sharon Tate and Rosemary LaBianca. However, one of Manson's followers Susan Atkins later admitted that they had planned to do the same to multiple other celebrities including Tom Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, and Richard Burton.
If Charles Manson was not stopped when he was, who knows how many more celebrities the cult would have gotten to. The Family revealed that they intended to target well-known people in the entertainment industry in order to get the world to notice them. Manson was obsessed with the idea of fame and was constantly trying to get attention from the big players in Hollywood.
12 The Manson Family Is Responsible For As Many AS 35 Victims
The Manson Family was only held officially responsible for eight deaths in the 1960s: the seven people killed at Sharon Tate's home and an acquaintance of Manson's named Gary Hinman. However, experts have hypothesized that the cult successfully ended the lives of at least 35 people. However, the crimes were never pursued in court because the Family members thought to have committed the acts were already imprisoned for the Tate tragedy.
A lawyer for the Manson Family revealed that the cult leader actually killed a lot more people than people thought, according to tapes he had heard. The tapes reportedly had Manson admitting to ending the lives of a "bunch of people." It is not known whether or not Manson actually carried out these himself or had influenced his followers to do it.
11 Manson And His Followers Frequently Took LCD Together
Manson frequently encouraged his followers to trip LSD or acid with him, claiming that it helped to "see God." The drugs allowed Charlie to get inside the minds of his followers and make them believe anything he wanted. The cult leader this along with mind control techniques like hypnotism to convince the members of his 'Family' to commit horrific crimes for him.
It was even reported that Manson's LSD came directly from the CIA. It was a new type of LSD known as "Orange Sunshine" and was used recreationally by the Manson Family members just before the Tate murders. One former member of The Family later admitted in a prison memoir that the LSD Manson had given him had fully convinced him that his apocalyptic visions were real.
10 The Manson Women Attempted To "Permanently Silence" A Key Trial Witness
The women in the Manson Family were extremely devoted to Charles Manson. The women were extremely disruptive throughout their leader’s trial. Because he was in danger of being sentenced the death penalty, they attempted to end the life of a key witness in Manson's trial. Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme and Ruth Ann Morehouse were taken back to jail after being charged with conspiring to poison a prosecution witness, which was essentially attempted murder.
9 The Manson Family Is Extremely Loyal
If you could not tell already, the Manson Family was extremely loyal to Charles and would do pretty much anything for him. During Manson's legal proceedings, his lawyer dropped him as a client in order to work solely with another Family member named Leslie Van Houten. In 1970, the lawyer, Ronald Hughes, went missing on a camping trip and it was not until months later that his body was discovered.
It still remains a mystery as to what exactly happened to the attorney but many people believe the Manson Family members that had not been arrested went after the lawyer for betraying the leader of their cult. It was certainly not the first time these people had done such a terrible thing for Manson.
8 Charles Dreamt Of Being A Pop Star
Charles Manson was a conceited, arrogant man who believed that he was extremely talented in the music department. When he served ten years in prison in the late fifties and early sixties, he learned how to play the steel guitar from the Ma Baker member, Alvin Karpis. In 1966 alone, Manson reportedly wrote somewhere between 80 to 90 songs and became absolutely obsessed with his desire to become a famous musician.
Manson also had a serious obsession with the Beatles, to the point where he named the motive for the Tate tragedies "Helter Skelter." The prosecuting attorney in Manson's case claimed that his infatuation with the music world and lack of success in the industry contributed to his motivation. What some people do not know is that some of Manson's songs actually went on to be recorded by famous musicians like Guns & Roses, Marilyn Manson, and Redd Kross.
7 No One In The Family Could Wear Glasses
Manson liked to have full control over the Family. This included not allowing them to wear any prescription glasses, even if they needed them to see because Charlie wanted them to "see the world around them" with the eyes that God gave them. This was just another tactic of control that the cult leader implemented on his victims. If someone in the family had bad vision, how could they get much done if they could not see anything?
Also not allowed on the Spahn Ranch where The Family lived were clocks, watches, calendars, or books. Manson had full control over what his followers were doing or when they were sleeping, who they were romantic with, and what drugs they were ingesting, which meant he was able to have total power over their lives and actions.
6 His Bizarre "Helter Skelter" Scheme
During the time Manson was planning the Tate/LaBianca murders, he would frequently speak to his followers about "Helter Skelter," which was an apocalyptic war that he predicted would arise from racial tensions between black people and white people.
He named the concept after The Beatles and referenced the New Testament's Book of Revelation. The cult leader was apparently obsessive over The Beatles White Album, which "Helter Skelter" was released on. Manson and his followers planned to make a musical album with songs containing messages concerning war and convincing "the young love," America's white youth, to join the Family. Manson and his Family of followers were convicted of the celebrity murders based on the prosecution's theory that they were part of a plan to trigger the "Helter Skelter" scenario.
5 The Manson Family Members Are Continuously Denied Parole
Despite their many, many denials, the Manson Family continues to try and get parole. In October of 2016, Bobby Beausoleil, who is serving life in prison, was denied parole for the 18th time. Bruce Davis was denied parole for the fifth time in June of 2017.
Patricia "Katie" Krenwinkel attempted to raise claims of abuse by Manson via her attorney in December of 2016 but was denied parole for the 14th time in June of 2017. Another key player in the family, Charles D. "Tex" Watson, was denied parole for the 17th time in 2016. However, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was released from prison on parole in 2009 after serving 34 years for attempting to shoot President Gerald Ford.
4 Manson Receives More Mail Than Any Inmate In History
Believe it or not, Charles Manson receives more mail each year than any other prison inmate in history. The former cult leader receives up to 60,000 letters a year in federal prison. These letters range from hate mail to fan mail. Some people are writing to try and get inside the mind of a crazed cult leader, while others praise him for what he has done.
Manson even replies to some of the mail. Some have even reported that he had sent them a check along with a reply. There is a website called Manson Direct that is dedicated to providing information on how to contact Manson in jail, what he can receive, etc. Charles has a group of men in his jail block that he calls “X Men,” who help him sort through and respond to as much mail as he can.
3 Charles Got Engaged While Serving Life In Prison
Being one of the most popular men in prison seems to have its perks. Afton Elaine Burton, known as Star, and 53 years Manson's junior, moved across the country to be closer to the imprisoned cult leader. She had been writing to him in prison after a friend chose him as the subject of a school project. The two went forward with getting a marriage license and it seemed like they were really going to go through with it.
However, the couple later broke things off and Star claims to still "cares for him deeply," while other reports say the woman just wanted to marry Manson so she could make money off of him after he had passed away.
2 Manson Was A Scientologist In Prison In The Sixties
Manson spent ten years in prison during the late fifties and early sixties for writing fake checks. He was released in 1967 and began forming his cult shortly after. However, what many people are unaware of is that Manson actually studied Scientology while he was in prison. He used a combination of Scientology teachings, along with lessons he had learned in How To Win Friends and Influence People to lead a group of people into doing whatever he told them to.
Manson learned all about Scientology, even becoming 'theta clear," which is the religion's highest rank. Before he was released from prison in the late sixties, he actually begged the prison authorities to let him stay in jail because he did not believe there was anything for him in the outside world.
1 Charles Manson Was Born ‘No Name Maddox’
Charles Manson was actually born without a name. He was the illegitimate son of Kathleen Maddox and his birth name on the certificate is literally "No Name Maddox." He took on the name Manson after his mother married William Manson when he was a young boy. During an interview in the late eighties, Manson referred to himself as a “nobody,” a “tramp,” a “bum,” and a “hobo.”
Manson's father's identity is assumed to be that of Colonel Scott. Kathleen Maddox filed a bastardy suit against him, the suit was awarded, and a payment schedule was established. However, Scott never paid. It is also thought that Scott may have been a black man, leading to ideas that Manson's self-loathing could have contributed to his desires for a race war.
Sources: thelistlove.com, the-line-up.com, all-that-is-interesting.com, cnn.com