Who was Charles Manson?
If you’re acquainted with the world of serial killers, the name “Charles Manson” would be anything but unfamiliar. Known to be one of the most notorious serial killers in America, he is but an anomaly if compared to the others of his kind.
Manson was born on 12th November 1934, in Ohio, USA. As expected of most serial killers, he had a rather disturbing childhood. His father was a con-artist who left his mother before his birth, and his mother was an alcoholic who ended up handing him over to an orphanage, thus beginning a series of events that would ultimately lead to the gruesome murders no one would ever forget.
What made Manson a historically significant serial killer was that he personally didn’t commit any of the murders that he came to be known for. Manson was the head of a cult, which came to be known as the Manson family. The family comprised of people that were known to be well-behaved, intelligent and model students. It mostly consisted of women who were infatuated with Manson, and later claimed to have done anything for him.
The cult was famous for being involved in LSDs and extensive drug usage, as well as petty thefts and offences. However, they moved up the ranks pretty quickly when they ended up murdering a famous American actress, Sharon Tate, in her own home while she was pregnant. They stabbed her multiple times despite her endless begging. One of Manson’s cult members, Lynette, also attempted to murder Gerald Ford, the U.S President at the time.
Because of how disturbing the murders were, and how they were progressively getting bolder, America was soon on high-alert, and the Manson family, along with Manson, was finally caught in 1971. Manson was sentenced to death. However, it was later reduced to life in prison in 1977, and he ended up dying of cancer on November 19, 2017. On the other hand, his family was also condemned to life in prison, and some are still alive.
Throughout his life in prison, Manson was of the view that he wasn’t responsible for any of the murders that took place. He was interviewed four times, and each time, he claimed that what his family did was their own choice. That what people’s children decide to do is their own decision at the end, and therefore, they’re solely to blame. In his own words, “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.”
The accusation was anything but right. However, they weren’t very far off.
In an interview with FBI Agent Holden Ford, Tex Watson, one such family member, admitted that he thought what he had done was indeed inside him all along, and that he might’ve done it even without Manson’s guidance.
Unlike the other serial killers that came before him, Manson was not the murderer, but merely a leader whose subordinates did whatever he asked them to do. However, he was seen as the one solely responsible. He was the face of the evil that had conspired and, needless to say, the cult members were merely the puppets.
The real question is, however, how does one man get people like that to commit such heinous crimes? Whether it was plain infatuation, or bringing out the darkness in people, is a deranged person really capable of such effective manipulation? Or was Manson just a highly intelligent individual?
Many have argued against, but what would your perception of this person be?
By Ayesha Ejaz