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Charles Manson: The Power of Persuasion

Updated on June 20, 2012

Many Changing Faces of Manson

Many know who Charles Manson is, or have at least heard of him. This cult leader has been described as charismatic, attractive, charming and even as a giver. By others, a small man, standing at only 5 foot 2 inches tall, soft spoken and shy. However his famous status comes from his conviction of multiple murders in the Los Angeles area. What many may not know is that he may have touched two of the victims, however he never harmed one. He was sentenced as the mastermind behind horrific murders carried out by his youthful followers.

Charles Manson had the childhood one would expect from a serial killer, a horrible one. Absent father, incarcerated and neglectful mother, made it so Charles grew up in the system. Spending more than 17 of his first 32 years of life behind bars or some type of facility, Manson was a classic case of institutionalized.

When he was released from prison at 32, Charles found his niche and vulnerable minds in the hippy movement. He eventually raised a commune to about 35 people, living together on an old movie set 20 miles outside of LA. He preached daily of love and peace in the beginning, although all ex family members contend that his daily sermons became more about Helter Skelter.

A song by the Beatles that Manson became obsessed with, race wars and a resulting apocalypse. He started training the family for “self defense”, preparing them for the apocalypse that sure to come. His daily teaching went from love and peace, to hate and war.

The tipping point was a murder that one of the family was imprisoned for and the family was responsible for. The scheme was to commit murders that looked like the one he was accused of to get the imprisoned member out. Charles Manson never admitted to telling fellow members to commit the killings, however all of the convicted say that he did. In his stead, 4 young people, 3 girls and a boy were sent to kill everyone who lived in a house the family had previously lived in. The first night the group killed 5 people, the second night another 2. The killings were so extreme, some say that the night of the killings, was the end of the hippy's movement.

Maybe it was the randomness of the killings, or the fact that one of the victims was 8 and a half months pregnant. Such rage in the murders, between the two; 169 stab wounds, 9 gunshot wounds and many more blows from a gun. Maybe the fear was because of the letters scrawled in blood on the walls, pig and death pigs.

The trial brought the 4 who were actually responsible for the murders, as well Charles Manson as their ringleader to stand trial. It was one of the longest and most expensive trials in American history, the jury was sequestered for over a year. After 200 days of testimony by the District Attorney, not one witness was called in for the Defense. After over a year, the conviction and sentence of the death penalty was given to all 5 involved. In 1972 the death penalty was rescinded and Charles Manson will be eligible for parole in 2012.

Although he may not have physically touched some of the victims, his power of manipulation, power of suggestion was enough to fulfill his desires. The second night of killings Manson was actually in attendance for. As well as he was the one who picked the couple, choosing them by incident. He then went into the house and tied them up. Coming back out, he sent in his faithful followers to do his bidding, to kill for him.


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