Charles Manson: The Most Infamous Cult Leader

Charles Manson: The Most Infamous Cult Leader

Charles Milles Manson was born November 12th, 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Manson came from an unfortunate background and childhood; his mother was a heavy drinker and his biological father was nowhere to be found. Because of his dismal upbringing, Manson developed an obsession with the life of crime very early on in his youth. His very first offense was burglarizing a liquor store way before he was even in his preteens. From there, his passion for crime only increased. Throughout his youth, Manson was arrested for armed robberies, break in’s, sexual assault, and taking stolen property across state lines. Sadly for Manson, the majority of his younger years were spent either behind bars or running from the law.

Young Charles Manson
Charles Manson in his younger years

The Start of the Cult

By 1967, Manson spent more than 32 years in prison and in other institutions. When he was finally released on March 21st, 1967, Manson decided it was time for a change of scenery. He moved to San Francisco, California where he made himself comfortable in an apartment located in Berkley. He pan handled and did what he had to do to make ends meet financially. He was quite a popular guru in San Francisco's Haight – Ashbury area during the 1967 "Summer of Love" hippie movement. It was there that Manson discovered he had the wits and manipulation techniques to move and persuade many fellow pot smoking and acid taking hippies. Manson brought his "I am God" philosophy to the streets of San Francisco, and decided to start his very own cult where his enthusiasts followed his way of life.

He and his cult members moved from ranch to ranch, where they took acid, drank liquor, engaged in promiscuous sexual activity, and lived a very free and liberating lifestyle. Finally, they settled in a ranch located within Canoga Park. This is where they practiced for the apocalypse and discussed racial tensions between American cities. Manson, being the superior God-like man that he believed he was, decided he was to put an end to all social turmoil. He brainwashed all his displaced and outcast family members into committing crimes for him. Manson was going to start his very own revolution...

Charles Manson
The ranch where Charles Manson and his family of hippies lived at the time of murders

The Crimes of Manson Family

The first crime that was committed by the Manson family was the murder of Bernard Crowe, an African American drug dealer that did Manson wrong by neglecting to give him money that was owed to him. Because Manson believed that it was his duty to show blacks how to start “Helter Skelter”, he had one of his family members shoot Crowe point blank in the head.

The second crime committed by Manson and his family was the Hinman murder. Gary Hinman was held hostage for two days by family members Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins until he was stabbed to death for refusing to hand over money that Hinman inherited that Manson believed belonged to him.

The next crime, and probably the most well-known crime of the Manson family was the Tate murders where eight and a half month pregnant movie actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends were murdered in cold blood by family members Watson, Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Sharon Tate was stabbed a total of 16 times by Atkins even though she pleaded and begged for the sake of her unborn child. Once the murders were accomplished, the group decided to leave a sign to show that they were there and they were the ones responsible for the deaths. This is when Watson and Tate wrote the word “pig” on the door of the home in Sharon Tate’s blood. According to interviews, the Tate residence was targeted because Manson unsuccessfully attempted to get a recording deal from a producer who used to live there many years back.

Sharon Tate, victim of the Manson family
Actress Sharon Tate was slain in her Benedict Canyon home

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Crime scene of Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring
Sharon Tate (left) has a rope around her neck which is connected to the body of Jay Sebring – a famous Hollywood hairdresser
Charles Manson
Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten

The next night, following the Tate murders, the cult was at it again. This time they traveled to 3301 Waverly Drive with death on their minds. The family living in this residence was the LaBianca family. Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary were well-known supermarket executives. Unfortunately for them, they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Six of Manson’s family members entered the LaBianca residence, tied up both Rosemary and Leno, placed pillow cases over their heads, and strangled them with lamp cords. As if this wasn’t enough, they were then stabbed repeatedly until they eventually had passed. According to interviews, Manson and his family had no reason to kill Leno and Rosemary. It was entirely at random.

Death to pigs – Charles Manson Family
Death to pigs was written in blood on the wall inside the LaBianca home
Healter Skelter – Charles Manson Family
Also Healter Skelter written in blood


Once all the crime scenes were investigated and fingerprints were detected, pieces of the puzzle began to be put together. Investigators and the police force found more than enough evidence linking Manson and his family with all of the tragic crimes. On December 1st, 1969, Charles Manson and his family of killers were arrested and put on trial. The remaining family members, who were not involved with the killing spree continued to support Manson and the others in the family that were involved in the murders.

Charles Manson arrested
Charles Manson
Female members of the Charles Manson 'family' with shaved heads

Manson, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Charles "Tex" Watson were convicted of all seven murders, Susan Atkins was convicted of five murders, and Leslie Van Houton was convicted of two murders. Grogan was convicted of one murder and Lisa Kasbian was convicted of all seven murders but was granted immunity for her testimony.

As of 2015, Watson remains incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. His next parole hearing is in November of 2016. Leslie Van Houton is still incarcerated after several attempts at parole. Linda Kasbian escaped jail time by testifying against the family. She is currently living in a trailer park in the state of New Hampshire. Patricia Krenwinkel is still alive and well in California’s state prison system. She is the longest serving female inmate in the state of California. Susan Atkins passed away in 2009 while still incarcerated, and last but not least, Charles Manson is still incarcerated, serving life in prison, and is known as the most dangerous man alive.

Do you think Manson’s sentence was fair? Keep in mind that he actually never killed anyone during the fateful spree. However, he was known as the mastermind behind it all.

Charles Manson
Charles Manson still enjoys his popularity, even behind the bars: On the picture is him and his young groupie and ex-fiance Afton Elaine Burton

Pictures of Charles Manson

Charles Manson
Charles Manson
Charles Manson
Steven Parent, 18 was killed in his car in the driveway

Charles Manson Documentary

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