Good evening gals and ghouls and welcome back to Nightscrawlers. Today we are going to be discussing the life, and now death, of one Charles Manson. Known as the leader of the killer cult known as “The Family” or “The Manson Family”, Charles managed to cause panic and chaos without ever lifting a finger. If you’d like to know more about this crazed man and what he didn’t do, then read on.
Life and Times
Charles Milles Manson was born on November 12, 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to single mother, 16-year-old, Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender-Maddox. For weeks after his birth, he was called “No Name Maddox” as his mother did not come up with Charles Milles as his name for several weeks. Manson’s biological father was Colonel Walker Henderson Scott Jr., although Charles never met nor knew the man from anyone else on the street. Colonel Walker was known to be quite a con man, a perfect example being that Kathleen was lead to believe that he was a “Colonel” in the military (and that is why he had to leave for military business just as she became pregnant), but in reality, his parents simply named him Colonel.
Kathleen had married one William Eugene Manson prior to Charles’ birth, but they later divorced when the marriage fell apart as Kathleen began drinking heavily. Unfortunately, Kathleen’s behaviour did not stop there. On August 1st, 1939, she was arrested and charged with robbery and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. During this time, Charles’ was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in West Virginia.
Upon her release from prison in 1942, Charles and Kathleen moved to Charleston, where her drinking continued and Charles began skipping school. After moving to Indianapolis a short time later, Charles also began shoplifting from local stores. At this time, Kathleen was remarried to a man named Lewis, and they decided they could no longer care for Charles and attempted to find him a foster home. When they were unsuccessful in that venture, they sent him away to a Catholic boarding school for troubled boys. Although he attempted to flee the school back to his mother on a number of occasions, Charles was always returned to the school.
Trouble with the Law
During his last attempt to escape from the Catholic boarding school, Charles found himself back at his aunt and uncle’s house, where he was caught trying to steal a gun. Once again he was returned to the school, but only 10 months later, he would run away again. This time, heading to Indianapolis, but not contacting his mother at all. Instead, he got by by stealing from stores during the nighttime, and renting a room in which to sleep. However, it didn’t take long before he was caught again. This time, a kind-hearted judge sent him to Boys Town, a juvenile detention centre in Omaha, Nebraska, instead of sending him to prison.
After only four days at Boys Town, Charles and another juvenile, Blackie Nielson, stole a car, got their hands on a gun and proceeded to rob several stores and a casino before fleeing to Blackie’s uncle’s home in Illinois. His uncle was a “professional” thief and allowed the boys to stay and “work” with him. However, during one of two large grocery store robberies, Charles was arrested and was, at the age of 13, sent to the Indiana Boys’ School, which was known to be a “reform school.”
It was at the Indiana Boys’ School, that Charles would later claim he was raped by several students as a teacher encouraged them to continue. Charles also claimed that this is when he began to play the “insane game” as he called it. When he was being approached or attacked by someone, he would writhe and scream, making horrible noises and gestures until the attackers were scared off. In 1951, he escaped from the school along with two other boys. Once again, he helped steal a car and attempted to drive with the other students across state lines toward California. They were stopped and arrested in Utah, where Manson was then sent to Washington’s National Training School for Boys.
It was here that professionals learned that although he had an above average IQ of 109, he was completely illiterate. They also noted that he had what they called “aggressively antisocial behaviour.”
Life in Prison
In October of 1951, Charles was transferred to a minimum security prison, but was later passed back and forth between different institutions due to his extreme behaviour. He ruined his first parole hearing because just a month earlier, he was caught raping another inmate at knife point. Finally, he was sent to a maximum security prison where he was to be released in 1955 on his 21st birthday. Surprisingly enough, however, he was released early, in 1954 because of good behaviour in the new facility.
After meeting a waitress in 1955 and getting married, the couple (newly pregnant) chose to move to Los Angeles, California. However, Charles was arrested upon arrival as they were driving a vehicle that was stolen back in Ohio. He was sentenced to 5 years probation after psychiatric evaluation, but landed himself in prison for several years for not showing up to a scheduled hearing. While he was imprisoned in San Pedro, California for this charge, his wife, Rosalie, gave birth to their son Charles Manson Jr. It was not long after this, that he learned Rosalie was living with another man. In his fit of rage, he ruined his opportunity for parole because he attempted to steal yet another car. He was given 5-years probation and his parole was denied.
Between the beginning of his probation in 1958 and 1966, Charles would be in and out of several institutions and charged with many crimes. Most of which involved prostitution of some sort, which was his only way of making money.
Upon his final release from his initial prison stints, he took up shelter at the famed Spahn Ranch, where a large number of western films had been set throughout the 50s and 60s. At this time, the majority of the buildings were largely abandoned and the only inhabitants were George Spahn (the owner of the Ranch) as well as horses. Occasionally there would be a visit from a few stable hands who came around to help out Mr. Spahn as he was mostly blind by the mid to late 1960s. It is important to note, that although Mr. Spahn was aware that the Family was living on the ranch (as one of their members nicknamed “Squeaky” was romantically involved with him during their stay), he was not aware of any illegal activity that may have occurred on the site. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s job was to keep him preoccupied and happy so that he stayed unaware. However, he let them live there rent-free so long as they chose to lend a helping hand during their stay and care for the property.
It was here, in 1968 that The Family was formed. Charles attracted a large number of “followers” during his travels throughout California, and eventually they all chose to reside at the Spahn Ranch alongside him. It was at this time, that the story became more complicated as the Family seemed to be completely absorbed by every word that Charles spoke. He became a sort of Messiah for the group and they essentially became a sort of “hippie commune” of sorts, out in the middle of nowhere, run by a man who had a lot of troubled times behind him…. And many more to follow.
I am not going to go into extensive detail for each of these murder cases, as I will be creating a separate post for each one, detailing everything that I have been able to find on the cases. But, for now, here is a little taste of what happened.
I am sure a lot of people who are unfamiliar with Charles Manson can’t seem to comprehend why pop culture and the media are/were so fascinated by him and his so called “Family.” For those who don’t know, this “cult”, for lack of a better term, was involved in some of the most high-profile murders of the late 1960s. Most murderers do what they do in an attempt to gain fame or infamy, but the Family did it for other reasons. Charles had convinced the members of the commune that they were in the middle of a race war between blacks and whites. This was something that he called “Helter Skelter.” (From the popular Beatles song)
The first of the most famed cases was that of the Tate Murders. A budding starlet, 8 months pregnant with her first child, had a small get together with some close friends at her home in California while her husband was away on a business trip. Little did she know, there would be no survivors. Sharon Tate was a young actress who was married to director Roman Polanski. They shared a home on Cielo Drive in California. This was the location of the brutal murders carried out by the Manson Family. Guns and knives were their weapons of choice, as well as rope, which was tied around the necks of two separate victims. Among those dead were Sharon Tate (26), Jay Seybring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and a neighbourhood boy by the name of Steven Parent, who was simply visiting the property’s caretaker who lived in the guest house out back.
The second most famous murder case of this time was that of the LaBianca murders. There were just two victims in this case, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. These two, however, were not famed superstars, but simply grocery store owners who were minding their own business when the Manson family brutally murdered both in their California home. It was even stated that one of the killers stabbed Rosemary Labianca over a dozen times. There was seemingly no motive behind this crime.
Both crime scenes were confusing in their own right, bodies looking like they were still fighting, victims with cloths over their faces, initially unknown victims and words. Yes, that’s right, words. At both crime scenes, there were various words written on walls and doors, all written in at least one victim’s blood. These words included phrases such as “PIG”, “HELTER SKELTER”(spelled incorrectly as Healter Skelter), and “RISE”. Trying to decode these messages was one of the hardest parts of this case for the police at the time.
Throughout the investigation of these various crimes, many of the Family members were arrested. However, on April 22, 1971, Charles Manson himself was arrested and charged with 7 counts of first-degree murder, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Originally, he was sentenced to death, but in 1972, the death penalty was outlawed in California and he was re-sentenced to life WITH the possibility of parole. His first available date for parole was after 7 years of incarceration. He was denied.
During his time in prison, he famously replaced the spot where an X had previously been carved into his forehead during the trials with a tattoo of a swastika. He was also involved in numerous gang-like activities such as violence and trafficking drugs through the prison system. Although, he was not always the attacker. At one point, he was doused in paint thinner and set on fire, which caused 2nd and 3rd degree burns to over 20% of his body. His fellow inmate said that it was done because Charles had verbally threatened him and that he got what he deserved.
Finally, in 2017, after 42 years of imprisonment, and many rejected petitions for parole, Charles Manson died on November 19th. He was in and out of hospital from November 1st through to his death where he ultimately died from cardiac arrest caused by respiratory failure and colon cancer.
Now that the infamous Charles Manson has passed away, there are many concerns about what will be done with his remains. The state of California is concerned that if they were to spread his ashes or bury them in a location that was disclosed to the public, that it would become a ground of worshiping as many, many people were fans and followers of Charles and his beliefs/teachings.
Dozens of people have even come forward with falsified Will documents stating that they are to be the one to possess his ashes upon his death. All of these claims have been proven false thus far.
Thank you for joining me for tonight’s post. I hope you found out something you never knew about the infamous Charles Manson. If you are interested to learn more about the Manson Family and the Murders, please stay tuned because posts on those will be coming shortly. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions for future posts, please share them down below.
Until next time… Keep it spooky!