Dark Disciples: Infamous Cult Leaders Part 4 – Charles Manson

What drives a person to join a cult? There’s so many reasons to someone may do it, including a longing to belong. But what happens when the cult is built upon malicious principles? As we’ve mentioned with our previous Dark Disciples entries (part 1 – Jim Jones, part 2 – Grigori Rasputin and part 3 – Shoko Asahara), most people go in with a sense of curiosity and longing. But, like any bad relationship, things can go south quickly. These lost, timid yet eager people are made to believe that everything they’ve ever wanted is here in this sect, and by the time they find out it’s a trap, they feel they have no where to go. Cult leaders are like toxic relationships, except on a significantly larger scale. Today’s entry is one of the worst.

Most people know who who Charles Manson is. His face has been plastered everywhere. There have been multiple documentaries and even had a few fictional movies based off of his most infamous actions.

Check out this week’s Dark Disciples: Infamous Cult Leaders Part 3 – Charles Manson. 

Probably the most famous cult leader in America, Charles Manson does not need an introduction. Although his crimes lack numbers compared to the others on this expose, he and his Family more than make up for it with their “accomplishments.”

Born Charles Milles Maddox on November 12, 1934 to Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender, Manson had a rough childhood (not that that’s an excuse, of course). He proclaimed that he never knew his father but a paternity suit lists local con man, Colonel Walker Henderson Scott Sr. as his dad. Manson’s mother was an alcoholic who brought home a string of lovers, and even has an arrest record. When he was just 13-years-old, Manson was sent to Gibault School for Boys, a home for delinquents. In an interview with Barbara Walters, he claimed to have burned the school to the ground.

Manson was eventually sent to Natural Bridge Honor Camp, a minimum security prison, in 1951. There, he was given an aptitude test. Despite being illiterate, he scored an IQ of 109. He was released from there in 1954 and took off for Los Angeles but ended up in prison again for stealing a car. He wouldn’t be released until 1967.

Once out of prison, Manson moved to San Francisco, and initially earned money as a beggar. While doing this, he began to establish himself as a spiritual guru. Manson slowly gathered a following around him while also becoming friends with several celebrities, most notably Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys. He began travelling the west coast with his inner circle, which he dubbed The Family.

The most prominent members of the Manson family. From the left: Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel.

Manson eventually developed a God complex, which shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this. He also became fascinated with The Beatles, believing he was receiving secret messages from the band through their White album. He began to preach of a coming apocalypse he referred to as Helter Skelter, named after the Beatles’ song. In his mind, Helter Skelter was an upcoming race war that would envelope the entire country. Manson believed that the non-whites would be the victors and that The Family would rule over them.

For Helter Skelter to work, the sociopath planned a string murders, with the most famous victim being pregnant Sharon Tate and her guests. There were a number of murders that police believed to be unconnected at the time. Initially, members of the family had been arrested for various vehicle thefts, but matching fingerprints were located at both crime scenes. Combine that with Family member Susan Atkin’s confessing to people while in prison, The Family was going down.

Sharon Tate was just one of many victims of the Manson Family. Sadly, her death ended what could have been a promising acting career.

Over the course of several months, Manson and several of members of the Family were on trial. Initially, Manson was allowed to represent himself, which was not a genius move. Manson’s irate behavior during the trial proved troublesome, and a public defender was eventually appointed. On January 21st, 1971, Manson was found guilty of 7 counts of murder. He was set to receive the death penalty, but the charges were changed to life with the possibility of parole due to the death penalty being ruled unconstitutional in the state of California.

Manson spent the rest of his days in prison and gave four interviews throughout the ’80s and ’90s. In 2014, 80-year-old Manson had made a statement that he had entered into a relationship with Afton Elaine Burton, who was 26 at the time. The relationship ended after it was reported that Burton and a friend planned on using the madman’s corpse as a tourist attraction. Manson eventually passed away on November 17, 2017 of cardiac arrest. He was 83.

Read part 1 – Jim Jones, part 2 – Grigori Rasputin and part 3 – Shoko Asahara of our Dark Disciples articles.

Manson pictured with Afton Elaine Burton. Burton was alleged to have been visiting him over the course of 9 years.

About Zachary Howard

Just a dude stuck in small town in Washington State. Grew up on bad movies, loud music, violent video games, and I thing I turned out normal!

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