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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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Manson was also influenced, not only by drugs such as LSD,
but by art works and music of the time such as The Beatles song 'Helter Skelter' from their White Album. He had a strong belief and interest in the notion of Armageddon from the Book of Revelations. Scientology and more obscure cult churches such as Church of the Final Judgement were also fleeting interests.
After 1967 Manson gathered a group of followers who shared his passion for an unconventional lifestyle and habitual use of hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD and magic mushrooms. 'The Family' as they became known moved to San Francisco and later to a deserted ranch in the San Fernando Valley. His followers, numbering around a hundred also included a small hard-core unit of impressionable young girls. They began to believe, without question, Manson's claims that he was Jesus and his prophecies of a race war.
In August 1969 a series of Hollywood murders were to shock the world and tarnish the 60's free love and peace legacy. Manson gathered a group of his most loyal Family followers to carry out a massacre among Tinseltown's elite and 'beautiful people'.
The first victims on the August 9, 1969 were guests at Roman Polanski's Beverley Hills home at 10050 Cielo Drive, that included Sharon Tate the film director's seven months pregnant wife. The following day Manson instigated another killing spree, this time at the home of wealthy couple Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
Manson chose four of his most obedient comrades, Charles 'Tex' Watson, Susan Watkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian, to carry out these heinous crimes. Kasabian acted as the getaway driver and was to become the star witness during the trial.
The victims; actress Sharon Tate, writer Wojciech Frykowski and his partner the coffee bean heiress Abigail Folger, together with celerity hairstylist Jay Sebring, had all returned to the Polanski residence after dining out. Polanksi himself was away in London shooting a film.
Manson himself took no part in the actual killings, but directed his murderous disciples to the address and instructed them to kill everyone. The first victim was 18-year-old Steven Parent who was a friend of Tate's gardener. He was shot as he just happened to walk down the drive and noticed the intruders.
Linda Kasabian was horrified by the shooting of the boy. She remained outside to keep watch. When the other three broke into the house they herded the occupants into the living room and tied them up.
Jay Sebring was shot and brutally kicked as he tried to defend Ms Tate. During the terrifying fracas both Frykowski and Folger managed to escape from the house but were chased and stabbed to death. At the trial Kasabian described how she saw Frykowski staggering out of the house covered in blood and was horrified at the sight. She told him she was 'sorry', but despite her pleas to his attacker to stop, the victim was bludgeoned repeatedly. Folger herself having escaped from the house with terrible injuries was caught on the front lawn and stabbed 28 times.
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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 511 people in this group