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Manson, a charismatic but deranged cult leader, carried out a series of brutal crimes in the late 1960s that shocked the nation and left a permanent mark on the US public’s subconscious.

Early life:

in 1934 Born on November 12th in Cincinnati, Ohio, Charles Milles Manson had a turbulent upbringing. His early years were marked by instability, neglect, and the absence of parental guidance. Manson’s troubled childhood laid the foundation for a later life of crime and manipulation

Manson was born to a 16-year-old girl and a man he would never know. After his mother was imprisoned for armed robbery, Charles lived with an aunt and uncle in West Virginia. Since the age of nine, he has spent most of his life in juvenile correctional facilities or prison for crimes including petty theft, armed robbery, burglary and carjacking.

Formation of the Manson Family:

In the late 1950s, Manson formed a communal lifestyle known as the Manson Family, which consisted mainly of young, impressionable women who were attracted to his charismatic personality. The group consisted of approximately 100 followers who lived an unconventional lifestyle and often used psychoactive drugs such as benzedrine (amphetamine) as well as hallucinogens such as LSD. Manson exploited their vulnerability by subjecting them to a mixture of hallucinogenic drugs, pseudo-spiritual philosophy and his own twisted interpretation of pop culture.

Manson had already gained his first follower on the UC Berkeley campus, librarian Mary Brunner. He talked her into letting him sleep at her house for a few nights, which quickly became a permanent residence for him. He then met Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a teenage runaway, and convinced her to live with him and Brunner. Manson soon began to attract large crowds of listeners and some devoted followers. He aimed to manipulate individuals who were emotionally insecure and socially rejected. In his book Love Needs Care, David Smith claims that Manson tried to reprogram their minds to “submit completely to his will” using “LSD and … unorthodox sexual practices” that would turn his followers into “empty vessels that would accept everything, what is he pouring.”

Manson family member Paul Watkins testified that Manson encouraged group LSD trips and used smaller doses on himself to “keep his wits about him.” Watkins said that “Charlie’s journey should have programmed us all to obey.”

The most infamous crimes:

Hinman’s murder

Charles “Texas” Watson conned Bernard Crowe to get money for Manson. Crowe threatened Manson and the Manson family. Soon after, Manson shot Crowe, falsely pretending that Crowe belonged to the Black Panthers, an African-American left-wing organization. But Crowe didn’t die, and Manson feared Crowe’s revenge. In order to escape and move to a new area away from the Spahn Ranch (the Manson family compound), Manson needed money. As Manson’s escape plan unfolded, he was told that his friend Gary Hinman had received money from the estate.

In order to get the money back from Hinman, Manson ordered Bobby Beausoleil, along with Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins, to go to Hinman’s residence and convince him to hand over the money. Hinman was uncooperative. After being held hostage for several days, Manson came in with a sword and slashed Hinman’s left ear. Beausoleil eventually killed Hinman by stabbing him twice in the chest. Hinman’s blood was used to smear a “political pig” on the wall along with the Black Panther’s paw to incriminate the Black Panther Party.

While there is much speculation surrounding the circumstances surrounding Hinman’s murder, Beausoleil was arrested after he was found asleep in Hinman’s vehicle, wearing the bloodstained clothing worn during the crime, and the murder weapon was found hidden in the trunk.

Tate’s murder

In a semi-secluded location in the canyons of Beverly Hills, on Cielo Drive, actress Sharon Tate and director Roman Polanski lived together in a rented house. On 1969 August 9 pregnant Tate enjoyed the company of her friends after her husband left – Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Jay Sebring were staying with Tate.

Sharon Tate

Late that night, Tate’s neighbors claimed to have heard the suspected gunshots but did not alert authorities. There were also reports of a man screaming coming from the Tate residence. Later that night, a private security guard hired by the owners also heard gunshots coming from Tate’s residence and reported it to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

When Winifred Chapman, the housekeeper, came to the residence the next morning, she discovered the brutally murdered bodies.

According to the book “Helter Skelter – The True Story Of the Manson Murders” by Vincent Bugliosi (the lead prosecutor in the case) and Curt Gentry, Charles Manson instructed Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel to enter the Tate residence (former Melcher’s residence, which rejected Mason’s music compilation) and “destroy everyone in it – as brutally as you can”. Watson, Atkins, Kasabian and Krenwinkel climbed onto the storage platform to gain access to the property. While they were trying to get inside, one of the guests at the residence was getting ready to leave,  Steven Parent was walking towards his car when Watson threw a knife at him and shot him four times in the chest and abdomen.

Watson entered the residence after cutting a window screen and opened the front door for Atkins and Krenwinkel. Kasabian was at the end of the driveway to ‘watch’. Watson and the group entered the residence and found Tate, Folger, Frykowski, and Sebring. Tate and Sebring were tied by the neck, and Folger was taken to a nearby bedroom. Sebring was stabbed seven times. Frykowski was tied with a towel but managed to free himself. After doing so, he got into a physical altercation with Atkins, which resulted in him stabbed in the legs. Frykowski continued to run, but Watson hit him in the head with a gun several times, shot him and stabbed him several times. The gun’s handle broke off after Watson struck Frykowski over the head.

Folger fled the room he was taken to and was pursued by Krenwinkel. Folger was stabbed by Krenwinkel, and eventually by Watson. Krenwinkel and Watson stabbed Folger 28 times. Meanwhile, Frykowski was struggling across the turf when Watson came to poke him again. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.

Tate, after witnessing the horrific crimes, begged Atkins for mercy, but the request was denied. Tate was stabbed a total of 16 times. Tate’s unborn child did not survive the incident.

The LaBianca murder

1969 On August 10, the night after Tate’s murder, Manson and six members of the Manson Family (Leslie Van Houten, Steve Grogan, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Charles Watson) committed another murder. Unlike the Tate murder, Manson joined in the LaBianca murder because he believed there was not enough panic among the Tate murder victims. Manson and his family were driving around looking for possible murder victims when they arrived in the neighborhood of a house where they had attended a party the year before. The house next door belonged to successful grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.

There are several different stories of Manson and the six members of the Manson Family, so the exact events of the murder are not certain. Manson claims he arrived at the home alone and later returned to pick up Watson. Once Manson and Watson were at the residence, they bound the LaBianca couple with a lamp cord and pillowcases covering their heads. Manson assured the couple that they would not be harmed and were being robbed. Shortly thereafter, Van Houten and Krenwinkel entered the premises with Manson’s instructions to kill the couple. Manson left the residence and instructed Van Houten and Krenwinkel to carry out orders.

Watson began to stab Leno while he screamed for help. Afterward, in the bedroom, Rosemary began swinging the lamp, still wrapped around her neck, in an attempt to free herself. Van Houten and Krenwinkel called for Watson’s help and stabbed Rosemary several times. Watson gave the knife to Van Houten, who continued to stab Rosemary. Watson, Van Houten and Krenwinkel stabbed Rosemary a total of 41 times.

Watson returned to the living room and continued to stab and kill Leno. Krenwinkel carved the word “WAR” into Leno’s stomach, stabbed Leno several times, left a fork sticking out of his stomach, and left a knife at Leno’s throat. Leno was stabbed a total of 26 times.

“Death to Pigs” and “Get Up” were written on the walls of the living room in Len’s blood. “Healter Skelter” was plastered on the fridge door.

Frank Struthers, Rosemary’s son from a previous marriage, returned from a company trip and thought it was suspicious that the curtains had been drawn. He also became suspicious that Leno’s speedboat was still parked in the driveway. Struthers called his sister to warn her, and she arrived with her friend Joe Dorgan. Dorgan and the Struthers entered the house through a side door and found Len’s body.

Arrest, trial and conviction:

Manson and several of his followers were arrested in 1969. at the end and 1970 presented to the court. The trial received widespread media attention, and Manson’s wild and strange behavior captured the public’s attention. Although Manson was not personally involved in the murders, he was found guilty of orchestrating the murders under the legal doctrine of “vicarious liability”.

After the verdict, Manson and his followers were sentenced to life in prison. Manson’s twisted charisma and the brutality of the crimes committed by the Manson Family left an indelible mark on American culture. The case became a symbol of the dark side and fueled public paranoia and fear.

Decades after the crimes, the Manson family and their infamous leader continue to fascinate horror fans and disturb ordinary people. Numerous books, films, and documentaries have been produced in an attempt to understand the motives behind the murders and reveal the complexity of Manson’s personality and influence.

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