ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Charles Manson and the Impact of Helter Skelter

Updated on November 2, 2023
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty has 30 years of successful training and work experience in research and analysis, STEM education, history, medicine, and psychology.

Marked for Murder

August is a sunshine summer month that should bring thoughts of warmth, picnics, vacations, and beaches; but it also reminds of of race riots and the mysterious August deaths of Marilyn Monroe and the victims of the Charlie Manson Family.

Charles Manson wore a swastika carved into his forehead, while Family cult members wore an "X". When he finally was arrested, Manson gave his name as Charles Manson aka Jesus Christ aka God. He also reported that he was the Fifth Angel of the Book of Revelation.

Helter Skelter definition: In undue haste, confusion, or disorder, as in "They ran helter-skelter, getting in each other's way." Also: In a haphazard manner.

— Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2023

Charles Manson's Vision of Revelation 9:1-12 (The First Woe)

1 - Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit...
1 - Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit...

The First Woe

1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. -- Book of Revelation, New Testament.

Charles Manson wore a swastika carved into his forehead, while Family cult members wore an "X". When he finally was arrested, Manson gave his name as Charles Manson aka Jesus Christ aka God. He also reported that he was the Fifth Angel of the Book of Revelation.

A Complex Catastrophe

Numerous historic events can be celebrated on any date of the year. However, summer dates in the Northern Hemisphere may bring forth a higher proportion of violent events given the rising heat that pushes people to irritation breaking points.

Do murder, mayhem, and madness increase with the summer heat? They seem to do so.

Fox News broadcasted a commemorative review on each night of August 7 and 8, 2009 to remind audiences of such murder and mayhem as occurred on the August 9th of 40 years previously.

One of the most historically infamous events in America on August 9h,1969 when the Charles Manson Family murdered a pregnant actress and several other people. Their goal was to blame Blacks for the crimes in order to set off a racial war that Manson had predicted on December 31, 1968 and had named Helter Skelter.

Was the Manson plot social engineering toward hoped-for genocide of Blacks and whites, madness, or both?

It must be both, along with the determination to gain supreme power over all others.

The following is an outline of the related events, and a number of books, films, websites, trial transcripts, and TV events provide the greater details.


Coincidental Events

An odd and star-studded chain of events led to the night of Helter Skelter.

Charles Manson wanted to be a musician. He was obsessed with The Beatles and repeatedly stated that he would surpass them in musical fame. He claimed that The Beatles' White Album contained code that predicted a far ranging coast-to-coast racial riot by American Blacks.

In addition, he claimed that his family of cult members must record a similar album in order to trigger that riot. Mansion wanted that riot to politically divide whites, whom he felt subsequently would kill one another off -- Then the Manson Family would rule over the Blacks (for what reason in unclear).

Two of the Manson family were given a ride by the Beach Boy's Dennis Wilson, who later provided studio time to record some Manson songs. In fact, the family invaded the house and lived with Wilson for a time, running up bills and wrecking his cars. Interestingly, the Manson cult member known as "Tex" was a person that had given Wilson a ride along the road because his cars had been inoperative.

Through Wilson, these family members met music producer Terry Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day. Melcher had rented his and girlfriend Candice Bergen's home on Cieolo Drive. They moved out of it after cutting ties with the Manson family and the owner rented it to Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. When Wilson and Melcher severed all ties with the Manson family after witnessing violence from Charles - including evicting the entire cult from Wilson's home - Manson became infuriated at the rejection and the loss of potential music income.

The Manson cult moved to three different ranches near and in Death Valley between August - November 1968: the Spahn, Myers, and Barker Ranches, and picked up additional cult members. During the first 8 months of 1969, the Manson family instigated racial tensions by defrauding a Black drug dealer, after which Manson shot him, though not fatally.

Later, the cult attempted to rob a white male acquaintance, failed after holding him hostage for days, and stabbed him multiple times and to death. Then they drew a Black Panther symbol on the wall of the man's room in order to blame Blacks for the stabbing murder.

On the evening of 08/08/1969, Charles Manson declared that Helter Skelter was to begin and that his family should murder everyone at "Melcher's house" as "gruesomely as they could."

This was accomplished after midnight on August 9th.

Copy Cat in 1970

The film Fatal Vision (1984), based on a true 1970 story, is about US Army Captain Jeff MacDonald, a well known surgeon at Fort Bragg, married with two children.

MacDonald calls the MPs to his house, because his is injured and his wife and children murdered. He blames it all on a gang of drugged hippies like the Manson Family.

The crime scene does not bear that out and MacDonald is still in prison.


First Murder Scene

August 8 and 9, 1969

Sharon Tate was almost 9 months pregnant on August 9, 1969, and while Polanski was out of town for work.

Sharon had house guests that included Abigail Folger of Folger's Coffee, hair stylist Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, and Steven Parent (18-year-old met by the Manson minions on Cielo Drive and killed), making five people in the household, and six if you include the unborn baby.

The victims were all murdered via multiple gunshot wounds and stabbings, but Charles Manson did not appear on the scene.

After these murders, Melcher adopted a low profile and hired a bodyguard. However, he went on to produce the musical group The Byrds and his mother's TV show, wrote music, and devoted time to the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

The front door of the home where actress Sharon Tate was murdered in 1969 has been auctioned off for $127,000.

— Amelia Neath, Independed.UK; September 18, 2023.

Second Murder Scene

Sometime on August 9th to Early August 10th

The second house chosen for mass murder was chosen because it was next door to a house in Los Angeles where Charles Manson and members of his cult family had attended a party about a year previously.

This was the house of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Accounts from various members of the cult differ, but the couple was eventually tied up and stabbed multiple times with a large kitchen knife, a large meat fork, a steak knife, and a bayonet. members of the family wrote inflammatory words, like "death to pigs", on the refrigerator and some walls.

Next, Manson ordered three cult members to travel to the home of an actress one of them knew in Venice, California and murder her as well, but this plan failed.

Bloody words left at the crime scene as reflecting elements of The Beatles' White Album.

Arrest, Release, and Re-Arrest

On August 16, the local sheriff's department arrested Charles Manson and 25 cult members in relation to a stolen vehicle ring and released them a few dates later, because of lack of evidence. Nearly all were arrested again after the middle of October in a joint effort by the Sheriff, CHPs, and a a group of US National Park Rangers.

Apparently, the cult has stolen vehicles as well as some heavy equipment from Death Valley Monument National Park. Manson had also apparently unsuccessfully attempted to hire a motorcycle gang to act as bodyguards for the Family. Much information was revealed by the overall investigation, including "blabbing" done by female members of the Family in detention.

Interestingly, the Tate and LaBianca murders had each been investigated by separate law enforcement teams. The team embroiled in the LaBianca murders recognized some of the bloody words left at the crime scene as reflecting elements of The Beatles' White Album and were able to connect the two crime scenes to the same murderers.


The very name ‘Manson’ has become a metaphor for evil, and evil has its allure. (On the longevity of the Manson story; 2009)

— Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (1935 - 2015)

Continuing Helter Skelter

Like the roller coaster ride called the "Helter Skelter", events of the Manson race-war plot continued to roll, even while he and several cult members remained in prison after the 1970 - 1971 trial and sentencing proceedings.

Other murders and attemtp4ed murders occurred around the Tate-LaBianca events, but remained unproven as to connection with the Family crimes. However, cult member Squeaky Fromme attempted to assassinate Present Gerald Ford on September 5, 1975 and thereby gained additional renown for the Family and Charles Manson.

The body of a Manson murder victim, Shorty Shea, a ranch hand blamed for the cult's final arrest was found when cult member Steve Grogan revealed the burial location in 1977.

During the 1980s, several high profile TV interviews were done with Charles Manson. In the autumn of 1984, another inmate poured paint thinner over him and lit it, but Manson survived.

Renewed interest in the Manson Family in the 2000s led to further TV investigative documentaries and interviews with cult members and associated individuals, and new forensics searches of the ranches the Family had inhabited. While no additional bodies have been uncovered, books and films about the Manson cult have been quite successful.

Perpetrator Updates as of 2023

As of late 2023, two of the perpetrators in these murders are still living - in prison.

  • Charles Manson, (1934-2017): California State Prison, Corcoran. Plays guitar in his cell. Denied parole 12 times, next hearing in 2027. At some time, he changed the X on his forehead to a swastika. He planned to marry one of his "fans" in 2015, but the marriage license expired, according to the L.A. Times. He studied Scientology in prison, a false religion invented by a science fiction author to sell boss, as witnessed by Harlan Elison. Manson died of complications of colon cancer in prison.
  • Charles "Tex" Watson, born 1945: Manson's lieutenant fled to Texas and was extradited to California. Says he is a born-again Christian and teaches prison Bible study at Mule Creek State Prison, Ione, CA. Apparently, he had four children after marrying while incarcerated. He has a website called
  • Susan Atkins (1948 - 2009): Confessed to stabbing Sharon Tate to death with 16 wounds, then hanging her. Filed for "compassionate release" in 2008 because of a terminal illness and the request was denied. Next parole hearing was September 2, 2009, and she died in 2009.
  • Patricia Krenwinkel, born 1947: California’s longest-serving female inmate. Participated in both the Tate and LaBianca murders. She is tagged “model prisoner” at the California Institution for Women in Corona. She earned a degree and is teaching inmates to read but has been denied parole 12 times.
  • Linda Kasabian (1949-2023): Linda stood as lookout for the perpetrators of these two murders, and then testified against the Manson Family in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Afterward, she lived in a hippie commune and several other places, ending in Tacoma Washington, where her daughter was arrested and convicted of drug trafficking. She died of unknown causes in January 2023.


— Patricia Krenwinkel

Other Manson Minions

  • Leslie Van Houten, born 1949: Participated in the LaBianca murders. She cut off all ties with Manson and claims brainwashing under the influence of LSD. She is incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Corona, Calif. Denied parole at least 12 time, she was finally released on July 11, 2023.
  • Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, born 1948: She served a sentence for treason for attempting to murder U.S. President Ford. She is at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell in Texas and was released on August 16, 2009.
  • Bruce Davis: Convicted of murder in the cases of performers Gary Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea. While in prison, he has so far been married, had a child, become an ordained minister, and earned a PhD in religion at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo.


  • AP Was There: Cult leader Charles Manson. AP News, June 2023.
  • Atchison, A. J., & Heide, K. M. (2011). Charles Manson and the Family: The Application of Sociological Theories to Multiple Murder. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 55(5), 771-798.
  • Manson Family Killer Leslie Van Houten Will be Paroled. NBC News; July 2023.
  • Ntanos, L. The Museum of Death: Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA. 50 Dark Destinations: Crime and Contemporary Tourism (2023): 50.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)