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Charles Manson is an American cult leader whose followers carried out several notorious murders in the late 1960s and inspired the book Helter Skelter.
Charles Manson - Early Life (1:34)
Charles Manson - The Family (2:02)
Charles Manson - The Guru (1:37)
Learn how Charles Manson’s early years shaped the serial killer the world knows today.
To Charles Manson, The Beatles were prophets who were sending him and others messages within their lyrics.
An inside look into the day in the life of the Manson family.
For those in the Manson family, Charles Manson was revered as a Christ-like figure.
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Although Charles Manson is notoriously connected to the brutal slayings of actress Sharon Tate and other Hollywood residents, he was never actually found guilty of committing the murders himself. However,
he is still associated with several brutal slayings including the famous 'Tate-La Bianca' killings that have immortalized him as a living embodiment of evil. Images of his staring 'mad eyes' are still used today to illustrate countless serial-murder news stories.
Together with Manson, The Family (his young, loyal drop-out disciples of murder) are thought to have carried out some 35 killings. Most were never tried, either for lack of evidence or because the perpetrators were already sentenced to life for the Tate/La Bianca killings. In May 2007 Manson was denied parole for the 11th time.
He was born Charles Milles Maddox to Kathleen Maddox, a 16 year old girl, who was both an alcoholic and prostitute. Kathleen later married William Manson, but the marriage ended quickly and Charles was placed in a boys school. Despite running back to his mother, she didn't want anything to do with him. Soon Charles was living on the streets and getting by through petty crime.
By 1952, Manson was soon spending more time in prison. In total he spent more than half his life (17 years) incarcerated. He was noted for being a 'model prisoner'.
A new chapter in his life began in 1955 when he married a 17 year old girl and moved with her to California. She became pregnant, but Manson resumed a life of crime again, this time stealing cars. It wasn't long before he was back behind bars and by 1956 his estranged wife had left with their child and her new lover. Manson later had another child with a different girl while out on probation.
He was described by probation reports as suffering from a 'marked degree of rejection, instability and psychic trauma' and 'constantly striving for status and securing some kind of love'. Other descriptions included 'dangerous' 'unpredictable' and 'safe only under supervision'.
From 1958, Manson was in and out of jail for a variety of offenses including 'pimping' and passing stolen checks. He was sent to McNeil Island prison in Washington State for ten years. During this time he had also raped a fellow male prisoner while brandishing a razor. Paradoxically, it was whilst he was incarcerated that he tapped into his creative talents and learnt how to read music and play the guitar. He was finally released on March 21, 1967.
The following year he was to spearhead a murderous campaign that would make him one of the most infamous figures in criminal history.
In many ways Manson reflects personality traits and obsessions that are associated with gurus of cult-quasi-religious groups that began to emerge in the 60's and are still with us today. He was pathologically deluded into believing that he was harbinger of doom regarding the planet's future, in much the same way that cult and evangelist figures today claim prophetic knowledge of the world's end.
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Combine a charismatic personality with fringe beliefs and an appetite for violence, and you get some of history's most notorious cult leaders. Charles Manson terrorized frightened Americans in the late 1960s, convincing his followers to commit heinous murders in his name. David Koresh led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas, leading to a standoff with the federal government in 1993 that resulted in the death of Koresh and 75 of his believers. Learn about these leaders, and many more, who inspired hundreds to follow their unconventional philosophies—often with tragic results.
Cult Leaders 9 people in this group
Charles Manson's eerie ability to control his "family" of young hippies in California remains as mysterious and intriguing today as it did in 1969, when Manson orchestrated the infamous murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Many Manson Family members were sentenced to life in prison for participating in those murders, including Squeaky Fromme, Susan Watkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. Members Bobby Beausoleil and Steve Grogan, under Manson's bizarre influence, committed other murders. Examine our list of Manson Family members and find out about life on the Spahn Movie Ranch, Charles Manson's uncanny hold over his followers, and the random and brutal crimes that ensued.
Manson Family 12 people in this group
Famous Scorpios 503 people in this group