In 1969, a then 34-year-old Charles Manson, led a cult that killed seven people in Los Angeles (Hughes 2017). All seven killings took place over only a two-day span. These seven murders shocked citizens all across America. Up until that point, most people had not experienced something equivalent to that magnitude. Charles Manson and this incident, have continued to not only shock, but also fascinate people for decades.
Charles Manson was born on November 12, 1934 to Kathleen Maddox and William Manson (Biography.com 2018). At the time of Manson’s birth, Kathleen was a 16-year-old prostitute who had problems with alcohol abuse. After a short marriage, Manson’s parents had him placed into a boy’s home. Manson tried many times to return to his mother but was always rejected. Finally, Manson gave up and began living on the streets and resorting to a life of crime.
From a very young age, Manson began spending time in prison. At one point, Manson spent 10 consecutive years in prison for passing stolen checks and pimping (Hughes 2017). During his time there, several reports were given that described Manson as suffering from a “Marked degree of rejection, instability and psychic trauma” and that he was “Constantly striving for status and securing some kind of love” (Biography.com 2018). It was even said that he was “only safe when under supervision and that he was very unpredictable” (Biography.com 2018). On March 21,1967, Charles Manson was released from prison.
After being released from prison, Manson, along with 100 of his followers, moved to a deserted ranch in San Fernando Valley. These 100 individuals were people who shared a common interest and lifestyle with Manson. Manson and his followers became known as the Manson Family Cult. These 100 followers began to believe all of his claims, including that he was Jesus. All of his followers were heavily into drugs including many young females. Soon after moving to San Fernando Valley, with the help of his followers, Manson directed his cult to kill many of “Hollywood’s elite and beautiful people”. Overall, during the summer of 1969, his followers had killed a total of nine individuals (Hughes 2017). Charles Manson directed and instructed the killings but, he did not actually ever participate in them. After being arrested, Manson was sentence to the death penalty in 1971. A year after being sentenced, the death penalty was abolished in California leaving Manson to be sentenced to life without parole (Hughes 2017).
I personally believe that Manson’s childhood played a huge role into how he lived his life as an adult. Manson was born to a woman who suffered from alcohol abuse and worked as a prostitute. His father and mother never could get along which left Manson fending for himself in group homes and on the streets. Manson begged for his mom to let him come back but she refused. That left Manson feeling rejected, alone and feeling unloved by people that should have loved him no matter what. I feel that Manson suffered through a great deal of emotional trauma. All of this rejection led him to create a cult. In the cult, he had a family. He had people that looked up to him, loved him and would do anything to please him. He had everything that he wished that he would’ve had as a child.
Manson also lived a life of crime and spent more time in prison than out in the civilized world. Crime was all that he knew. I believe that spending time in prison coupled with his traumatizing childhood made him disassociate from the real world. I believe that Manson lived in his own world and envied everyone who had more than he had. Charles Manson had to grow up quick and without many things, which made him have a lack of sympathy and empathy to all other people. I believe that if you had to categorize Manson, he could be seen as a psychopath. Manson even stated that “I could take this book and beat you to death with it, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. It’d be just like walking to the drugstore” (Schmalleger 2017). According to Schmalleger, “The psychopath has been historically viewed as perversely cruel, often without thought or feeling for his or her victims” (Schmalleger 2017). I believe that this statement alone, accurately describes Manson and his psyche.
Charles Manson has become one of the most famous and notorious criminals in the U.S. Manson has left a legacy that will continue to be talked about and studied for many years to come. Even though what Manson did was far from right or socially acceptable, I believe that Manson was an emotionally disturbed individual. I feel that if someone would have stepped up earlier in his life or if his parents wouldn’t have abandoned him, he might not have been the adult that he was. I believe that Manson’s outcome in life really comes down to his adaptation to the childhood that he was given.