NOTE: Please be aware that this article contains some graphic content depicting acts of violence. It is not suitable for all people.
On November 19, 2017 Charles Manson died at the age of 83 due to natural causes in a hospital. People to this day still have so many questions that remain unanswered. Charles Manson will always be known as a mass murderer and cult-leader. What caused Manson to murder innocent people and commit many crimes? There’s a lot of reasons that could have been major causes, such as mental illnesses, neglect, a traumatizing past and being exposed to crime. Being exposed to these factors can play a large role in how a child deals with or reacts to problems.
The Manson Family cult became known worldwide when they were responsible for the murder of Sharon Tate, along with four others at her home on August 9, 1969. The Manson Family members stabbed and shot Tate and her four visitors, and wrote the word “Pig” in blood on the front door of Tate’s house. The murder was savage and their disturbing details will not be reprinted here. On the next day, Tex Watson, along with three other cult members, murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. These murders that the Manson Family committed were both terrifying and disturbing to the nation.
At the time of Sharon Tate’s death, she was pregnant and expecting a happy family. Manson killed both Sharon and her unborn child. Most of Manson’s victims had some kind of family. The victims never got to say goodbye to their loved ones. The world would have been a better place if these terrible crimes weren’t committed, especially against innocent people. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose someone because of Manson’s actions and my heart goes out to the victims’ families.
Crimes like these inevitably make us wonder, how could such a person even exist?
Manson’s early life was very chaotic and characterized by neglect. Although Manson did have a mother, it seems that Manson grew up alone and his mother didn’t seem to really guide and help him through life and the chaos that came with it. He was born on November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Manson never knew who his biological father was. Manson claimed that his mother was a very heavy drinker who once sold him for a pitcher of beer to a childless waitress. Manson says that his uncle retrieved him a few days later. At the age of five, his mother and uncle robbed a Charleston, West Virginia service station and were sentenced to five years in prison. Manson was then placed in the home of his aunt and uncle until he was eight years old when his mother was allowed parol. The two of them then lived in multiple run-down hotel rooms. At the age of thirteen, his mother tried to have her son placed into a foster home but no home was available for Manson. The court decided to place Manson into the Gibault School for Boys. After ten months of being in the school, Manson left and shortly found his mother who then rejected him.
One theory is that Manson’s mother’s rejection towards him played a role in his later development. Was that the spark that turned him into a manipulative and dangerous criminal? It is impossible to say with certainty, but we do know that Manson became a pre-teen criminal who burglarized to pay for food and hotel rooms. Manson broke into a liquor store and during another crime, he stole a bicycle. He was caught and sent to a juvenile detention centre where he managed to escape and was relocated to Boys Town. Manson continued to escape from multiple facilities with other boys. He went through a continuous process of committing a crime, becoming incarcerated and then escaping. When Manson escaped with other males, it makes it clear to see that Manson always managed to succeed at getting people to contribute and take part in his plans.
According to an article regarding The Manson Murders on Revolvy, claim that the “panel at one of Manson’s hearings, noted that Manson had a “history of controlling behavior” and “mental health issues” which included both “schizophrenia and paranoid delusional disorder”. They also said that he showed “no indication of remorse, no insight into the factors of the crimes that were committed and lacked the understanding of the level of the crimes and had no remorse for human suffering.”
Charles Manson was exposed to a lot of crime as he grew up, which may have influenced his development. Having an alcoholic parent who also commits crimes allows the child to assume that committing crimes is okay. A case study performed by Stewart Gabel MD, showed that children who have an incarcerated guardian do often have troubled lives including “problems with the law, stealing, running away, breaking and entering.”
In the late 60’s, Manson formed a satanic cult in California and was eventually called the Manson Family. The things that Manson taught to his members seemed to have been based on the idea of Armageddon. Armageddon can be found in the New Testament and is the last and final battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgement. Armageddon and other cult churches ideals and teachings were used by Manson to convince his followers to commit murder and crime. Everyone in the cult was brainwashed into thinking that doing all these things were for a good cause, when in fact, these were primarily done so Manson would be well known and famous. The group was constantly being taken advantage of and none of the group members seemed to notice. Manson manipulated his members and got them to do things that would benefit him. For example, when the Manson Family murdered Sharon Tate along with the four others at her house and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, Manson got them to do most of the work and took credit for the whole thing so he could get his revenge on people. The Manson Family members were obligated to do other crimes such as murders, assaults and thefts. Many sources claim that the Manson Family was also responsible for the attempted assassination in Sacramento of the United States President at the time who was Gerald Ford.
Charles Manson committed a series of terrible crimes and did things to people for no reason and for purely selfish reasons. By committing these crimes Manson traumatized many people. Manson relished his monstrous image and even carved a Nazi Swastika into his forehead.
Manson never really talked truthfully about his childhood, in fact, there was a lot of information that Manson offered to multiple interviewers regarding his early life and many of the stories that he told were untrue. To this day, Manson is still considered a psychopath–i.e., someone whose mental illness includes abnormal or violent social behaviour. This is someone who manipulated people and treated them as bait. He made people commit multiple crimes that he wanted done and they would do it. Manson’s victims all suffered a gruesome and painful death.
It’s easy to say that Manson was just a mass murderer and cult leader, but that’s not all that he was. Charles Manson was a careless and manipulative criminal who brainwashed others and used them for his own benefit. His rough childhood where he faced neglect and crime, along with mental-illness may have played a part in the spark which resulted in him becoming the person he was, but any empathy we have is best placed with the victims and their families.