On November 19, 2017, Charles Manson died behind bars at the age of 83. Yet his case will likely haunt the American public for years to come. With rumors of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film revolving heavily around the Manson Family Murders, we’re led to question what it is we find so fascinating about Charles Manson and the Family. The man himself remains largely a mystery, the psychology behind his actions even more so, which makes the facts you’re about to read even more unnerving. Below are a list of facts you may or may not have already known, but one thing is for sure, they are bizarre.
1. Manson never actually killed anyone.
Instead, Manson’s intensely loyal group of followers committed the majority of his crimes. Either members of the Family would step forth to do his bidding or he would vacate the scene of the crime just before the act was committed. Regardless, the law still considered him a guilty party when tried.
2. ...but there may have been as many as 35 victims of the Manson Family.
According to the justice system, the Family is responsible for eight deaths; however, there is reason to believe far more murders were committed. These suspected additional crimes were not tried in court because those who were responsible for them had already been found guilty of other murders. True crime author Greg King offers an in-depth look at the murders in his book, Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders.
3. Charles Manson was an aspiring writer.
A pop music writer, that is. He tried to mimic the likes of Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. Although he never found the success he craved, Manson did, in fact, write songs for big-name artists including the Beach Boys, Guns & Roses, Marilyn Manson, and Redd Kross.
4. Manson's Family was given very specific rules.
Books, watches, clocks and calendars were all against Spahn Ranch rules. But perhaps even weirder was Manson’s refusal to allow members of the Family to wear glasses. Reportedly, he wanted them to “see” the world around them for its natural beauty. It’s safe to say those with high prescriptions weren’t seeing much of anything. Just another one of Manson’s tactics of manipulation.
5. Manson was inspired, in part, by a very famous book.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by the famed writer Dale Carnegie played a major role in Manson’s manipulation technique. It’s widely known he took inspiration from Hitler, but during his time in prison, he studied this book meticulously. Specifically, the sections on “taking ownership” of an idea were important to Manson.
6. The Manson Family had a celebrity hit list.
The Manson Family had scheduled the murders of a handful of prominent celebrities in the months following their arrests. Names on their list included Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Jones and Stevie McQueen. They were determined to immortalize their name and, well, they did. Just not in the way they expected.
7. Charles and the Manson Family members were huge Beatles fans.
The love for this band ran so deep in the Family that they were surprised the band didn’t call after Manson’s arrest. In fact, in an interview with Rolling Stone, some of the Manson Family members demanded the magazine tell the Beatles to call.
8. Scientology was too weird even for Manson
After spending 150 hours in a course on scientology, Manson decided it was just too weird for him. He reportedly called it “too crazy”—despite his reputation as a master manipulator.
9. The Manson Family followers were fiercely loyal to the very end.
During the legal process, lawyer Ronald Hughes, who began the trial representing both Manson and Family member Leslie Van Houten, dropped Manson in order to solely represent Van Houten. But in 1970, Hughes went missing while on a camping trip. Later, his body was found and, while it is still unclear exactly what the cause of death was, its highly believed the remaining Family members murdered him as payback for betraying their leader.
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