Many years ago, a group of cult members who lived in a desert commune in California became internationally infamous following a series of murders they carried out at the time. They were referred to as the Manson Family and were led by Charles Milles Manson, thus, the killings committed by the group are popularly known as the Charles Manson murders.
The Manson Family members believed that their leader was a manifestation of Jesus Christ and that his prophecies of things to come were reliable. As such, they followed him wholeheartedly, committing murders, thefts, and petty crimes all in the propagation of the group’s ideals. However, their end came in the 80s after a series of murders perpetrated by cult followers sent many people to their early graves.
The Truth About Charles Manson
Charles Manson began his Manson Family cult after he was released from prison in 1967. Following his release, he relocated to San Francisco and settled in Berkeley. It was during the time he was living in Berkley (surviving mostly by begging) that he met a certain 23-year-old graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison named Mary Brunner. Charles moved in with her and it wasn’t long before he began inviting other women to live with them. At a time, they were about 18 in number.
Manson was also emerging as a guru whose philosophy was hugely based on that of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. The church believed that Christ and Satan would at the end of time come to reconcile and judge mankind jointly. With his first set of followers, Charles Manson formed the Manson Family, comprised mainly of female members.
In those days, the Manson Family lived in places like Malibu, Topanga Canyon, Venice, and other western parts of America before they finally settled in L.A.’s Spahn Ranch in 1968. Charles increased the number of his following by attracting vulnerable women who are looking for a sense of belonging whether to a leader or amidst a group. Whatever kind of emotional need these women wanted, Charles Manson gave it to them as he set himself at the center of attention in the group.
The Manson Family members often spent time listening to Charlie’s spiritual teachings, getting high on drugs, as well as mingling with music moguls who Charles hoped would help turn him into a big musician as reports had it. However, in their delusional state, disaster was already lurking by the corner for the group. A series of murders which history collectively refers to as the 1969 Manson murders involving the Charles Manson Family members were set to occur and it was after this that a permanent end was put to the group and whatever they believed in.
The Infamous 1969 Manson Murders and Their Victims
In a bid to obtain money from Gary Hinman, Charles Manson sent Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner, and Susan Atkins to go to Hinman and persuade him to turn over his money. However, Hinman didn’t cooperate with the Manson Family members and things went the other way. After he was held hostage for 3 days, Charles came over to the house and slashed off his left ear with a sword while Bobby Beausoleil finished Hinman off by stabbing him three times in the chest. With his blood, they smeared the “political piggy” with the Black Panther’s paw on the wall in order to implicate the Black Panther Party as the one responsible for the murder.
The next victim of the Manson Family murders became actress Sharon Tate alongside her friends on August 9, 1969. She was however not the initial target. Charles Manson sent Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, and Linda Kasabian to film director Roman Polanski‘s house. They were ordered to kill whoever they found in the house. Sadly, the occupants of the house at the time were pregnant Sharon Tate, her friend Jay Sebring who is a celebrity hairstylist, the coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Abigail’s boyfriend Voytek Frykowski. While Linda was in the driveway keeping watch, three of the other Manson members (Susan, Tex, and Patricia) sneaked into the house in the late hours of the night and carried out the dastardly act.
Tate and the other occupants of the house died in different ways. Tate was stabbed 16 times while Sebring was shot and stabbed 7 times, Frykowski was stabbed in the leg and shot multiple times in the head by Watson as he tried to flee. Folger has stabbed a total of 28 times while Frykowski was stabbed 51 times.
A night (August 10, 1969) after murdering Tate and her friends, Charles Manson and his group were out looking for who their next murder victim will be. In Charles’ company were Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Charles Watson, Steve Grogan, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Their murder victims for the night were Leno LaBianca, and his wife, Rosemary.
Several accounts of LaBianca’s murder were given by the Manson Family members after they were caught. However, they all have one thing in common which is that the LeBiancas were stabbed several times before they gave up the ghost.
The End of the Charles Manson Murders
With scores of innocent people already killed, investigations were conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to solve the murder cases. The continued criminal activities of the Manson Family members led the security agencies to look at their direction critically as possible suspects for the murders.
With the family under police radar and several other criminal activities being attributed to the group, a raid was conducted by the police during which the group was found to be in possession of several stolen vehicles. Many of the family members were also arrested, including Beausoleil’s girlfriend, Kitty Lutesinger. On questioning her, she disclosed that Susan Atkins was involved in the Hinman murder. Atkins was later arrested and put in jail and while in jail, she began sharing details of her exploits in the cult with her cellmate. This then started a more in-depth investigation into the Manson murder stories and the possible involvement of Charles Manson in all of it, being the leader of the group.
With the investigation unearthing several facts about the murders which were all pointing towards the direction of Charles and his family members, it was becoming all too glaring that they were involved in the murders. Thus, they were arrested and put in trial for the murders. After this, the Charles Manson murders ceased for good.
Charles, Tex, Susan, Patricia, and Leslie were found guilty of all charges against them. However, the state of California made the death penalty illegal in 1972 and their sentences became life imprisonment. Charles Manson later died on November 19, 2017, at the age of 83.