Charles Manson is known as one of the most sinister and evil criminals of all time.
He organized the murders that shocked the world and his name still strikes fear into
American hearts. Manson's childhood, personality, and uncanny ability to control people
led to the creation of a family-like cult and ultimately to the bloody murders of numerous
Charles M. Manson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 11, 1934. His
mother, Kathleen Maddox, was a teenage prostitute. Manson's father walked out on the
still pregnant Maddox, never to be seen again. In order to give her bastard son a name,
Ms. Maddox married William Manson. He soon abandoned the both of them. ...view middle of the document...
When just a child, he became a criminal and spent his last
years of childhood in a correctional facility.
After his release from the training school in 1954, a new period of Manson's life
began. He went to West Virginia and soon married a girl named Rosalie Jean Willis. She
became pregnant and Manson had a child. This was Manson's first real family, but he
didn't stray from the criminal lifestyle. He started stealing cars to make the money
necessary to support his new family. By the time the baby was born, Manson was in
prison on Grand Theft Auto charges.
In 1958 Charles was released from prison. His wife and child had left him, leaving
Charles alone once again. Several arrests for car theft and pimping followed; in 1960
Charles was given ten years imprisonment for forging government checks. While he was
serving his ten year sentence at McNeil Penitentiary, he studied philosophy, took up guitar,
and taught himself sing and compose songs. His newfound musical skills would later
attract followers. His study of philosophy helped create some of his outlandish ideas that
later appealed to his would-be followers. Manson was released in March, 1967 after
serving seven years. By the time Manson was thirty-two years old, he had spent seventeen
years, more than half of his life, in prison.
This long stretch of incarceration had left its mark. "If Charlie has any roots,
they're in the penal system," 1 said one acquaintance.
"Inside, you have to be aware of everything, and when he
came out, Charlie was like a cat. Nothing got by Charlie if
something happened within a hundred miles of him, he
made sure he knew about it. Everytime he came into a
room, he cased it, like an animal. Where were the
windows? What was the quickest way out? He never sat
with his back to the door."
Soon after his release, Manson traveled to Haight Ashbury, where the "hippie"
movement was in full force. At this time, hippies were gentle people, believing in peace,
love, and sharing with others. This was a perfect environment for Manson to gain
followers. Manson's probation officer remembers he was "shaken" by the friendliness of
the hippies, but before long, Manson learned how to exploit it. He started to collect a
retinue of impressionable girls searching for a community of love. With a guitar, a
pleasant voice, sinuous mannerisms, and sweet talk with empty promises, Manson
convinced many young-adults to leave their lives and families to be with him. The
beginnings of his "Family" took shape.
Whenever Manson succeeded in gaining one of these followers, the first thing he
did was to deprogram both their ego and their "hang ups," about conventional society. By
"hang ups," he meant anything he did not like. Richard DeMargeno, a criminologist,
believed Manson was able to control these people by replacing their father figures.
"It wasn't a very difficult process. He was dealing with
lonely insecure people in...