How Charles Manson Came to Lead One of the World’s Most Dangerous Cults

Today we will talk about serial killing again,
but this show is different because our protagonist wasn’t the person who committed the murders. He was behind them, though, as the leader
of a cult called The Manson Family. Some cults, although sometimes regarded by
authorities as suspect, go about their days in peace. Others are not so benign. Have you ever seen photos of the Jonestown
Massacre? This cult committed the mass suicide of 909
cult members – including 200 children – who killed themselves in 1978 by drinking a cocktail
of cyanide, valium and Kool-Aid. What about Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo
and its leader Shoko Asahara, who was behind the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway
that led to 12 people dying? Today we’ll look at one cult only, in this
episode of the Infographics Show, Horrific American Cult Leader – Charles Manson.’ The word cult comes from the Latin, “cultus”
which means to worship, cultivate, promote growth. Cult leaders to some extent nurture and promote
the growth of seedlings, hoping they will grow into flowers, or in some cases, weeds. As you can see in one of the Manson interviews
available online, he had a way of nurturing. “When I stand up on the mountain and say
do it! It gets done,” he growls like the maniac
he is. He also once said about his flock, “These
children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.” But let’s start with some life history and
how a child evolved into a wicked man, and later we’ll discuss the blood-spotted marks
he left on this planet. As Manson recalls in interviews, he was what
he calls a “street child.” That’s maybe over the top, but not by much. Mr. Manson came into this world on November
12, 1934, and his full name was Charles Milles Maddox. Prior to that, though, on his birth certificate
it read, “no-name Maddox.” He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Kathleen
Maddox, who was just 16 at the time. She was one of America’s lost children,
leaving home at 15 to try and fend for herself. It’s not known why she ran away, but some
reports say it was because of her very strict religious upbringing, which as you know from
our other serial killer videos it isn’t always about Christian ethics and church fares,
but sometimes more related to oppressive religious tyranny. Anyhow, the young girl fled her family. Was Kathleen a prostitute, an alcoholic, in
and out of jail? Did she once try to sell her unwanted bastard
child for beer? Well, this is what Manson writes in the start
of his book about his life called “Manson: In his own words.” He writes that his mom was at a restaurant
and the waitress made a comment about the cute baby and said she wished she had one
of her own, to which Kathleen replied, “’A pitcher of beer and he’s yours.” Charles writes in the book, “The waitress
set up the beer, Mom stuck around long enough to finish it off and left the place without
me. Several days later my uncle had to search
the town for the waitress and take me home.” So, there you go, another nasty character
whose youth was full of woe. It seems his mother was a wretched person,
but who knows what background she came from and the trials and tribulations she may have
faced in her own youth. Violence begets violence, which could be the
epitaph for most serial killers. Manson has said that his mother was no teenage
whore, rather she just wanted freedom just as kids did 30 years later in the 60s. Moving on, Kathleen met a person called William
Manson. It seems they married and Charles took the
name, but the relationship didn’t last long and Kathleen was single again. Charles spent much of his younger years being
passed around. When Charlie was 5 his mother tried to rob
a guy, but she was arrested after the failed attempt. Charles then went to live with Aunt Glenna
and Uncle Bill Thomas, as well as his first cousin Jo Ann Thomas. Three years later and Kathleen was out of
jail. She took back her son and it seems the two
spent years moving around America, often living in cheap motels. Biographies tell us that by this time young
Charles was already a petty criminal and he wasn’t keen on school. So, when he reached 12 his mother sent him
to a Catholic School for bad kids. Charles promptly ran away from the school
for delinquents. It was a mess, the family, with both son and
mum mirroring their contempt for the law. We can’t even list the number of crimes
Charles committed when he was young as there are so many, from stealing cars to running
an underground casino. When he was 18 he was caught raping a boy
at knife point, and for that he was sent to Federal Reformatory in Petersburg, Virginia. There he offended again, with three offenses
related to homosexuality. He got out, got married, had a child. His wife filed for divorce a year later, the
same year Charles started pimping out a 16-year old girl. It seems he had a thing for pimping, and making
the girls fall in love with him. In spite of that ragged old age look you might
have seen, he was quite a good-looking young man, said to be very charming. He married again, this time a prostitute called
Leona “Candy” Stevens. She also soon divorced him, right after he
was imprisoned again. Inside it’s said he fell in love with two
things: Scientology and music. He learned to play guitar well and wrote lots
of original songs, thinking he might one day become a musician. That dream would not come true. Well, it almost did, but he didn’t exactly
outshine his beloved The Beatles. Instead he formed a cult and had people murdered. When released in 1967 he headed to San Francisco’s
Haight-Ashbury, the mecca of hippy America where merry pranksters ruled and Tim Leary
devoted himself to sermons about LSD. Turn on, Tune In, Drop out. Manson was pretty good at dropping out already. He’d dropped out of society and was about
to tunnel his way to hell with a string of ardent female followers digging in his slipstream. The first gal to fall for this outlaw was
a UC Berkeley librarian called Mary Brunner. She apparently became obsessed with charming
Charlie and then quit her job in a place that years later would be full of books with her
name in them. She helped enlist Lynette Fromme into the
family, now just a triumvirate but later this little cult led by a man playing guitar and
making prophecies would grow into quite the gang. He would during this time make a song with
Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, which only helped him gain more power as a musical guru. More followers would join, and many of them
moved to Spahn Ranch in California. It was there he had a third son with Mary. Incidentally, that son, now called Michael
Brunner, is currently in a legal fight over Manson’s estate. In fact, lots of people are involved in that
fight. The only person not to get involved that was
close to Charles was the son he had with his prostitute wife, Candy. Reports say Charles Luther isn’t interested
in the cash. Moving on again, Charles became a spiritual
guru by now and was by all accounts convincing. It’s said at one point the cult had as many
as 100 members. We can’t of course get into all those people,
but some of them would become murderers. Manson thought the Beatles song “Helter
Skelter” on their White Album was about an apocalyptic race war. He once said, “These kids listen to this
music and pick up the message. It’s subliminal.” Manson believed the song was related to the
Book of Revelations and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The writer of the song, Paul McCartney, later
said he just wanted to write a really loud and raucous song, something heavy, like what
‘The Who’ did. Speaking of Manson, he also later said, “He
interpreted the whole thing … and arrived at having to go out and kill everyone…. It was frightening, because you don’t write
songs for those reasons.” Maybe Manson had a point, though, even the
sweet-sounding song “Rocky Racoon” from that album is all about murder and redemption
through the bible. The Beatles were obviously skeptical of gun-loving,
bible-bashing America, though. But the race war didn’t happen, so The Manson
family had a plan. They would write songs that would subliminally
start this war, pitting blacks against whites. According to the University of Virginia, Manson
believed tensions would mount and whites would fight against blacks. The blacks would end victorious, and Manson
and his gang would then emerge from their hideout in Death Valley and begin to rule
over the blacks. It sounds crazy, but they were taking a lot
of drugs. Anyone who has taken a lot of psychedelics
knows they have the power to free the mind, help you embrace eternal love, but demons
might also get released. It seems Charles had a lot of these demons. But they needed a better way to get Armageddon
started, so they thought they would give it a little push. According to one of Manson’s main followers,
a man called Charles “Tex” Watson, Manson said they would have to ignite this war and
start it themselves. That meant killing white people. Manson ordered his followers to murder everyone
at 10050 Cielo Drive, north of Beverly Hills. This became known as the Tate Murders. Tex Watson was there, along with three women
from the Manson family: Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel. The house was the former residence of record
producer Terry Melcher, someone Manson did not like as he had rebuffed Manson when he
had tried to get a record contract with him. According to reports Manson had told them
to “totally destroy everyone… as gruesome as you can.” ‘Everyone’ that night was actress Sharon
Tate and her three friends – a writer, a celebrity hair stylist and a coffee heiress. An 18-year old boy was also murdered as he
was leaving the house. He was just a friend of the gardener. Tate was eight and a half months pregnant
with director Roman Polanski’s child. Polanski was in Europe at the time, making
a film. Time magazine reports that the killings were
so brutal they shocked the police. Tate was found tied to another man. Both had been slashed repeatedly, with Tate
even missing a breast. Bullet holes covered the house, blood was
everywhere. On Tate’s extended stomach, where a fetus
lie beneath, someone had carved an X into her flesh. As you can imagine this shocked Hollywood
and the world. These were big names and that was a rich neighborhood. It’s even more twisted as perhaps Polanski’s
biggest film was Rosemary’s Baby – a story about a demonic child released about a year
before the murders. So how did the police eventually catch Manson? A group from the Manson family had prior to
the Tate murders killed Buddhist musician Gary Hinman. They tortured him first for two days. Manson himself taking part. One report states, “Manson sliced and diced
what was left of Hinman, badly cutting his ear–a wound that one of the girls sewed
up with dental floss.” It’s not clear what they wanted, but they
didn’t get it. In the end they just killed him, apparently
the girls did the final touch. Some people say that the murder was drug-related,
but others disagree. It’s a very controversial story, with some
people like writer Truman Capote saying the only reason the Manson family went on the
ensuing murder spree was so police would think the killers were still at large, that in fact
it had nothing to do with Helter skelter. The reason they wanted police to think that
is because a Manson family member, musician Bobby Beausoleil, had been arrested for the
murder. He was actually there, but the family wanted
cops to think it was someone else. That’s one theory, anyway. A day after the Tate murders Manson and members
of his family went out looking for more white victims. They found a supermarket executive, Leno LaBianca,
who was with his wife Rosemary. Both were woken up in the middle of the night
and then tied up by the intruders. Tex stabbed the man numerous times with a
bayonet, and then he or one of the girls used a knife to write “WAR” in his stomach. Cult member Patricia Krenwinkel then stuck
a fork in his stomach and a steak knife in his neck. After that the girls all wrote the words “death
to pigs”, “rise” and “helter skelter” with the man’s blood on the wall and refrigerator. Rosemary was stabbed 41 times by Tex and the
girls, apparently after Manson had said they all must have a go. Rosemary was dead well before the 41st thrust
of the knife. We don’t have time to go into all the details,
but it wasn’t hard for police to connect the murders to the cult. At the time police said they had arrested
members of a “mystical, semi-religious hippie drug-and-murder cult led by a bearded, demonic
Mahdi able to dispatch his zombie-like followers.” This didn’t do much for the so-called “scene”
or the drug LSD, which the government was happy to demonize lest half of America start
acting like Hunter S. Thompson and decrying the rat race. On March 29, 1971, Manson and cult members
Krenwinkel, Atkins and Van Houten all received the death penalty. Tex got the same soon after. In 1972 the death penalty was abolished in
the state of California, so all the sentences were commuted to life in prison. Manson died from cardiac arrest, related to
colon cancer, on November 19, 2017. He was 83. Other members have died, and some are still
in prison. Did Charles ever feel bad about what happened? Well, he once said this, “Remorse for what? You people have done everything in the world
to me. Doesn’t that give me equal right?”. That doesnt sound like remorse to us. So what do you think of this psychopath, and
to what do you attribute his rise as a cult leader? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to watch our other video called
– What Really Happened In Waco, Texas? Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe, and as ever, see you next time.

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