Social unease, hatred of society, a feeling of deserving something more. Combine all these things and you will get the worst crimes America has ever seen in the late 1960s.
Charles Manson, the son of a prostitute (in the words that Manson himself will use several times to describe his mother) was born in 1934 in an Ohio city. From an unknown father he takes the surname of a temporary partner of his mother.
It has always been hostile to the rules and prohibitions. So hostile that he began, while still very young, to initially carry out small thefts and then specialize in car thefts and robberies. After a short period of detention in a juvenile prison, he is placed in another institution from which he escaped. At 16, in an attempt to transport a stolen car across the border, he commits his first federal crime. In 1954 he was granted parole.
Despite some occasional regular work, Manson continued to successfully assist the trans-border transport of stolen cars. Arrested for this crime in California and subjected to a psychiatric examination, he managed to get away with the pregnancy of his wife (a nurse he met on parole).
In prison he became interested in the occult arts, esotericism, black magic and the manipulation of people. The latter was the reason why he managed to have such a large following of people who decided to go and live with him in a sort of sect.
Towards the end of the 60’s Manson tried to follow his artistic vein trying to use the musical skills he had learned behind bars. In 1968 he went to Los Angeles to a record company and, with the financial help of Dennis Wilson made a record. The experiment went wrong and no Manson song was ever released (except Cease to exist which the Beach Boys released, editing the lyrics, on their album 20/20)
From here, most likely, his vision of being misunderstood and deserving something more was born, something that others had and that, in his view, they did not deserve. Some participants in the sect founded by Manson at Spahn Ranch believed that he was simultaneously the incarnation of Jesus and Satan. For many members of the “Family” Manson was a God.
Most of them came from the street, from disastrous family situations or social misfits. Manson argued for the need for racial warfare between blacks and whites. A war that he supported and that, in his view, “The Family” would certainly have won without problems.
In the “Family” we lived on promiscuity, it was a good idea to practice group sex, to use drugs. But murder was not yet contemplated
Manson never actively participated in the murders we will discuss, but he was certainly the instigator. Given his strong charisma on the members of “The Manson Family” it was not difficult for him to convince some of them to commit the heinous crimes for him that will be discussed shortly.
After the murders, the prosecutor Bugliosi finally managed to find some evidence linking Manson to the murders. Some followers betrayed him and he found himself arrested. The first one who chose to be constituted was Linda Kasabian, the one who had acted as a stake in the house of Polanski.
In 1971 all members of “The Family” were sentenced to the death penalty. The sentence is commuted to life imprisonment because California abolished the death penalty in 1972.
In prison Manson modified the famous “X” on his forehead until it became a swastika.
Manson died of health problems on November 19, 2017.
In late July 1969, a music teacher, Gary Hinman, is killed by a member of the Manson sect, Bobby Beausoleil. On a wall of his house is written, in the blood of the victim, this sentence: “Political Piggy”.
During the middle of August 1969 a group of members of the Manson sect went to the villa owned by Terry Melcher (son of Doris Day who had refused a musical contract in Manson). The villa, however, was inhabited by the director Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate who was pregnant. With a rag stained with Tate blood, a member of “The Family” stained the wall with the words “PIG”. This villa was, for Manson, the symbol of all those who had denigrated him and had not, according to him, understood his artistic value. In the order were brutally killed: the hairdresser Jay Sebring, Voityck Frykowsky, and then Sharon Tate.
On 10 August another double murder is committed: Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary; on one wall the writing “Death to Pigs” is found and in the kitchen, on the refrigerator, the writing “Helter Skelter”.
According to investigations carried out during these murders, the sentences containing the word Pig were indicated by Manson himself to blame the black community for the murders.
Also in 1969, some members of the Manson sect killed a Spahn Ranch worker guilty of marrying a black woman and wrongly accused of wanting to evict “The Family”. After killing him they tore him to pieces and threw him into a stream inside some garbage bags.
Charles Manson has always called himself an avid Beatles fan. He claimed to have been given the task of committing those crimes by the Beatles.
According to him, the song Helter Skelter hides dark meanings from those who can’t listen. In that song the Fab Four would have chosen to send a message to anyone who would have been able to grasp the meaning. According to Manson that song meant end of the world, arrival of chaos: while in English it means confusion, in bulk (it is also the name of a carousel for children).
Manson has always declared himself a stranger to the murders as not present while they were committed. Susan Atkins, one of the members of “The Family” confessed that Manson had planned the deaths of other Hollywood stars: Litz Taylor, Richard Burton, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones.