Charles Manson has been named "the most dangerous man alive." Society referred to him as the devil. They believed he was the reason society was so bad in the 1960's. The 1950's to the 1960's was uncontrollably filled with violence. Our culture was shattered by the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. At the same time, body bags from Vietnam were building up from a war that was tearing our nation apart. Riots and antiwar protesters marched across America. Many people worried that the US was getting out of control. "The Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969..." wrote Didon in The White Album. On August 8,1969, director Roman Polaski's housekeeper found five bodies, slashed and bloody. Manson was the metaphor of evil! To many, Charles Manson symbolized the end of civilized society and the dawn of a new age of terror. (Lagarde)
On November 12, 1934, Charles Milles Manson was brought into this world by Kathleen Maddox and Colonal Scott. At the time Kathleen was a 16 year old troublemaker. Charlie never knew his father and never really had a "father figure." His mother was the kind that children are taken away from and put in foster homes. Kathleen had the habit of disappearing for days and weeks at a time, leaving Charlie with his grandmother or aunt. Kathleen Maddox was sentenced to a penitentiary for armed robbery, Charlie was sent to live with his aunt and uncle; who were going to try to straighten him out. When...
Kathleen was released from jail she didn't want Charlie as her responsibility, preferring her life of drinking. At this point in time she was willing to trade Charlie for a glass of beer. Charlie was adapted to a life of violence and loneliness. He kept to himself and didn't have any friends. Charlie was an observer, he never got involved or talked to people. Soon Charlie was following in his mother's foot steps. He began stealing and causing trouble. By age nine he was sent to a reform school. In less than a year he ran away from his school. He tried to run to his mother but she wanted nothing to do with him. Charlie was in and out of reform schools, jails, and institutions. By 1958, Charles Manson was released on parole only to cause more chaos. (Newsweek,55)
On the streets Manson chose pimping as his career. In 1959 he was arrested once again on two federal charges. This time Manson did not receive jail time, giving thanks to a young women pretending to be pregnant with his child. At the age of twenty-six Charles Manson was sent to the US penitentiary. By 1959 Charles had been committed of rape, drug use, pimping, stealing, and fraud. Manson was emotionally insecure and was lacking attention.
Manson had obsessions with music; the Beatles and his guitar. He hoped that in his future he would be employed in the music business. (UMKC) On March 21,1967, Charles was released from prison for the second time. The 32 year old went to San Francisco. Charles Manson protested his
freedom, "Oh no, I can't go outside there..." "I know I won't be able to adjust to the world, not after I spent all of my life locked up and my mind was free. I am content to stay in the penitentiary, just to take my walks around the yard in the sunshine and play my guitar." The prison guards ignored Manson and unleashed the evil man into society once again.
For Charles Manson, religion was a strong force that he used to manipulate the minds of his followers. When Charles was 34 he decided he wanted a family. Charles started to attract a group of followers, many of whom were young women with troubled lives, rebelling against their parents and society. All of Charlie's followers were weak willed people who were nave, gullible, and easy to lead. Manson used LSD and amphetamines to alter his followers personalities. (Manson) Manson's "family" referred to Charles as "God" or "Jesus Christ." The family traveled around California trying to find a place to join together and live. In the spring of 1968, the "family" moved in with a music teacher, Gary Hinman. Eventually Hinman became very uncomfortable with Manson and his girls and told them to move out. Manson then found George Spahn and conned the old man into letting the him and his followers live on the ranch. The Manson "family" was surviving off of stealing and scavenging. Manson made sure that the girls did what he wanted them to. They listened to and looked up to Manson. They took drugs he took if he told them to. They would satisfy his sexual needs one after the other if he told them to. When Charlie carved a black X on his forehead his "family" did too. (Singer,55)
The ninth chapter of Revelation was the Manson's family guide. Manson believed that in many ways he was following the bible. Charles was "god" and his "family" was his followers. His family believed that the "four angels" referred to in the Revelations, was the popular band, the Beatles. Manson viewed the Beatles as prophets who were placed on Earth to warn of an upcoming revolution. Manson believed that the Beatles were talking to him through their music. (Missouri)
Charlie came up with a philosophy; something he dreamed up to impress his followers. The focus of his philosophy was a kind of Armageddon. Charlie preached that someday the black men were going to rise up to power and start killing all of the whites, and turn the cities in to an inferno of racial revenge. In Charlie's eyes the colored man could win this war. Charlie figured that the blacks wouldn't be able to hold on to this power because of natural inferiority. In 1968, Charlie forecasted a racial war. The Beatles released their White Album, which had the song "Helter Skelter." The lyrics fit Charlie's theory of war: "look out helter skelter, helter skelter, helter skelter. She's coming down fast, yes she is, yes she is." The Armageddon now had a name. It was "Helter Skelter." According to Charlie his family would survive this racial holocaust because they
would be hiding in the desert safe from the chaos of the city. He pulled from the book of Revelations, the concept of a "bottomless pit," the entrance of which was a cave underneath Death Valley that led down to a city of gold. This is where Charlie and his family planned on waiting out this war. Charlie's concept was that when the war was over the Manson "family" would be one of the only white families left. Then, the Manson "family" would rule the world, because the blacks could not handle it. (Buglioso,321) Because the Armageddon never came, Manson felt like he should take it into his own hands. During the summer of 1969 Charles made a few members of his family start the murders. The started with the Tate household.
Quiet and secluded is just what the young star wanted. The canyons above Beverly Hills were far enough away from the noise of Hollywood to have privacy and space. Sharon Tate loved her house on Cielo drive. To her it meant romance, with the man of her dreams and father of her child, director Roman Polanski. It was August 9,1969, Sharon was having a get together with a few of her sophisticated friends: Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, and Jay Sebring. Sharon was eight months pregnant and was very lonely for her husband who was away in Europe working on a film. Sharon had many gathers like this one because she was lonely. (Buglosi,25)
The Tate house was secluded but not completely insecure. About one-hundred feet away from the house was a locked gate, and a guesthouse occupied by the caretaker.
That night at the Kott's, Sharon's nearest neighbors who lived about 100 yards away, thought they heard gunshots coming from the direction of Sharon's property sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 a.m. Since they heard nothing else they went to bed. Around the same time, Tim Ireland who was supervising a camp-out less than a mile away heard a women screaming, "Oh, God, No, Don't, Don't..." He drove around and found nothing unusual. Nearby the Scott's dogs went into a barking frenzy sometime around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. He got out of bed, looked around and found nothing unusual. Robert Billington, a member of a private security patrol thought he heard several gunshots a little after 4 am. and called the headquarters. The LAPD officer said, "I hope we don't have a murder, we just had a women screaming call from that area." Winifred Chapman, Tate's housekeeper, got to the main gate around 8 am. She opened the gate. As she walked up to the house she saw an unfamiliar white Rambler parked in the driveway. When she got inside she walked toward the living room noticing that the front door was open, that there were splashes of red everywhere. Looking out the front door, she saw pools of blood in the front lawn. LAPD officer Jerry DeRosa was the first to arrive. He walked up to the Rambler and found a young man slumped over in the passenger seat, drenched with blood. Two other officers arrived and the three of them
approached the house. On the front door was scrawled the word, "PIG." When they reached the living room they were shocked, a young pregnant woman was lying on the floor smeared with blood, a rope around her neck that was connected to a rafter on the ceiling. The other end of the rope was around the neck of a young man lying nearby, also drenched in blood. As they looked through the rest of the house they heard a dog and a man, it was William Garretson, occupant of the guesthouse was arrested immediately for the murders. (Manson)
Manson's next household was the LaBlianca's. After they murdered Rosemary LaBlainca, one of Manson's girls took Rosemary's wallet and credit cards and left them in the ladies room of a gas station, in an area heavily populated by blacks. Theoretically, the credit cards were supposed to be used by some black women. That in turn would appear to be responsible for the deaths of the LaBianca family. The credit cards were never used or even turned in. (Sanders,153)
Late one Saturday evening, Leno and Rosemary LaBlianca and Susan Struthers, drove back from vacation. They dropped Susan off at her apartment and went home to 3301 Waverly Drive in Los Angeles. It wasn't until the next day that anyone came to the house to see them. Around 8:30 am. Frank, Rosemary's son, was dropped off by a friend. He carried his camping equipment up the driveway and noticed that something was wrong. He knocked on the door and got no answer. He went to a pay phone to call, but again got no answer. He called his sister, Susan, who came to the house with her boyfriend. Frank and the boyfriend found that the back door was open. They left Susan in the kitchen while they looked around. When the two men walked into the living room they saw Leno in his pajamas lying with a pillow case over his head and a cord around his neck. Something was sticking out his stomach. They ran out of the house dragging Susan, and they called the police. When the police arrived and searched the LaBianca's house. They found Leno with a blood drenched pillow case over his head. He had a fork protruding from his stomach and the word "WAR" carved into his flesh. They found Rosemary in the master bedroom. She had her nightgown up over her head. She also had a cord tied tightly around her neck. In various places around the house there were words written in the victim's blood, "DEATH TO PIGS," "HEALTHER SKELTER," misspelled. (Manson)
Vince Bugliosi, the author of Helter Skelter, has a theory that heaps a great deal of fault upon the homicide detectives of the Los Angeles Police Department. The Lapp's was very slow in connecting the Tate murders with the LaBlianca murders the following night, and with the murder of Gary Hinman a few days earlier. This was caused by the lack of communication between the LAPD and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office. The LAPD was approached by two Los Angeles Sheriffs shortly after the Tate-LaBlianca murders. The
told the LAPD of the murder of Gary Hinman on July 31. Also, there was a connection between the three crime scenes. On Hinman's living room "POLITICAL PIGGY" was scribed in the wall. Those words were similar to the words written at both the Tate and LaBlianca crime scenes. Also, Hinman had been stabbed to death as the victims at the Tate and LaBlianca homes. The LAPD detectives refused to examine any connections between the three crime scenes. If the LAPD had listened to the LA Sheriff's detectives, they would have heard that the Sheriff's Office has arrested Bobby Beausoleil for the Hinman murder who living with a bunch of hippies led by Charles Manson. But, the LAPD had already decided that the Tate murders were a result of a drug deal that had gone bad. The LAPD had also taken William Garretson, the caretaker on the Tate estate who claimed that he slept through the entire bloody ordeal. (Manson)
On September 1, 1969, ten-year old Steven Weiss found a gun in his back yard, in Sherman Oaks. He took the .22 caliber Hi Standard Longhorn revolver to his father, who immediatly took it to the LAPD. The gun was dirty, rusty, and had a broken gun grip. A couple of weeks earlier, the LAPD forensic experts determined that the .22 caliber revolver with the broken gun grip was the exact gun they had figured that the Tate's were killed with. A .22 caliber Longhorn revolver was a rare and antique gun. When the gun was turned in it was tagged, filled away, and forgotten about. The detectives working for the LA sheriff's department was a group of aggressive young people, they had done research and come up with a few suspects, including Charles Manson. (Langarde)
In mid-October, the LAPD began talking to the Sheriff's office and decided to investigate the similarities between the murder of Gary Hinman and the Tate-LaBlianca crimes. The investigation lead to the Spahn Ranch, which was the home of the hippie group that called itself the Manson "family". Bobby Beausoleil, the man charged with the murder of Gary Hinman, had lived at the Spahn Ranch with the Manson "family." The police found out that Manson sent Bobby and a girl named Susan Atkins to Hinman's house to get money. When Hinman would not give them money, they killed him. Susan Atkins had mentioned to a friend a fight she had with a man who she stabbed in the legs several times. At this point there seemed to be no connection between Beausoleil and the Tate-LaBlianca murders, except for that Susan Atkins had stabbed a man in the leg. Gary Hinman had not been stabbed in the leg, but Voytek Fryowski, a victim at the Tate house. After all of the investigations they had figured that Charles Manson made his "family" do all of the killing for him. When the LAPD found out about this they arrested the whole "family."(Manson)
In conclusion, the Sixties was a very violent time in American history. Charles Manson put an abrupt end to the hard times in America. The Manson family committed various
hideous acts of murder, because Charles told them to do so. He was defined as the devil. In the eyes of his "family" he was god. His followers looked up to him and impersonated all of Charles actions. To many, Charles Manson symbolized the end of civilized society and the dawn of a new age of terror.
- Book of Revelations.Online Available http://www.umkc.com,1 May.2000.
- Buglioso, Vincent. Helter Skelter. New York: Bantam Books,1974.
- Charles Manson.Online Available http://www.crimelibrary.com, 1 May.2000.
- Filmer, Deborah K. Forensic Science and Charles Manson Murders. Online Available http://www.concentric.net, 2 May. 2000
- Galanter, Marc. Cults:Faith, Healing,and Coercion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
- "In '69: Manson". Newsweeks. 3 July. 1989: 54-55.
- Lagarde, Deborah. The Manson Murders, 30 Years Later. Online Available http://omegaserve.com, 30 April.2000
- Porterfield, Kay Marie. Straight Talk About Cults. New York: Facts on File,1995.
- Sanders, Ed. The Family. New York: Avon, 1971.
- Singer, Margaret.Cults and Our Midst. SanFrancisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers,1995.
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