CHARLES MILLES MANSON

This was originally going to be a big long essay on how Charlie's in jail for nothing, or something to that extent. But when it came right down to it, I didn't feel like writing it.... :)

So instead I've made this a page of quotes and stories designed to change your mind (or at least instill a reasonable doubt) about Charles Manson.

I have been receiving a lot of email from people who have seen this site and just don't get it, so maybe I'm not making myself clear (enough). First, a few facts (these are actual facts, and not something I made up to serve my purposes). Charles Manson spent half his life in prisons from the time he was twelve years old. The last time he was released was in 1967. He got a bus and eventually a whole bunch of "kids" began hanging around with him. Most of the kids were runaways. In August 1969, four of those kids (Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles "Tex" Watson) drove to Roman Polanski's house and all but Kasabian killed the five people there. The next evening, Manson himself led the way, to the LaBianca home where Atkins, Krenwinkel, Watson and Leslie Van Houten viciously took the lives of the two people there. Kasabian was also along for the ride but, like Manson, did not kill anybody.

Charles Manson was convicted of seven counts of murder and his sentence was the death penalty. He did not kill anybody. I would like to stress again that this is actual fact. How anyone can be convicted of murder and not have killed anyone - a fact that was even laid out at the trial by the prosecution - is beyond me. Manson was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. He denies that he ordered the killings, but the "girls" say he did. Fine, if he's guilty of ordering the murders, then so be it. But to be convicted of a crime he didn't commit?

I could go on about how he was never given a fair chance to defend himself, something he is guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, but I'm sure that is covered on myriad sites around the interweb.

The actual reason for this page is to give you the opportunity to look at Charles Manson from a different angle, not just the same one that's been spoonfed to you since you first heard about him. Before I get into the Manson-quotes, here's one from Guns N' Roses that sort of sums up Charles Manson's view of you:
"I never wanted this to happen; [I] didn't want to be a man. So I hid inside my world; I took what I could find; I cried when I was lonely; I fell down when I was blind.... I know you don't wanna hear me crying. And I know you don't wanna hear me deny.... Your satisfaction lies in your illusions, but your delusions are yours and not mine. We take for granted we know the whole story; we judge a book by its cover and read what we want, between selected lines...." - from "Don't Damn Me", © 1991 Guns N' Roses Music

Here's a key to the people mentioned in some quotes:

Charles Manson recounts an incident from his youth:
"There were these two kids - everybody thought I was cruel because one day he (the youngest boy) fell in a three foot ditch. There was a lot of bushes, the slope was three or four feet above the ditch. Down there it was muddy and he was crying. Others standing around said, 'Help him out', but I didn't. I said, 'Watch'. About twenty minutes passed or so and he stopped crying and started to climb out on his own. And the second time he tried to climb out he fell back down, but kept on climbing out more. Finally when he made it, climbed out, he was really tired, and stood in front of me and smiled. I pushed him back in the ditch again."

Public Enemy No. 1, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, recounts his contacts with "Little Charlie", at McNeil Island Penitentiary; from On The Rock Twenty-five Years in Alcatraz (The Prison Story Of Alvin Karpis) © 1981 Robert Livesey:
     "[This] kid approaches me ... to request music lessons. He wants to learn guitar and become a music star. 'Little Charlie' is so lazy and shiftless, I doubt if he'll put in the time required to learn.
     "The youngster has been in institutions all his life - first orphanages, then reformatories and finally a federal prison. His mother, a prostitute, was never around to look after him. I decide it's time someone did something for him and to my surprise, he learns quickly. He has a pleasant voice and a pleasing personality although he's unusually meek and mild for a convict. He never has a harsh word to say and is never involved in even an argument.
     "He and some other kids in McNeil belong to the Church of Scientology, a religious cult which Charlie attempts to persuade me to join. 'If you believe strong enough that you can do something, you can do it!' he explains, but I decline his invitation.
     "When Charlie is getting good on guitar and vocals and also 'getting short', he asks me to send him to some contacts in Reno or Las Vegas to get a job. Other prisoners, all good friends of mine, are Frankie Carbo, Mickey Cohen, and Dave Beck who have connections with nightclubs in Las Vegas. I think seriously about using my influence to get him started in the entertainment business.
     "My decision in the end is to leave him on his own, if he has the talent he'll make it to the top. The history of crime in the United States might have been considerably altered if 'Little Charlie' had been given the opportunity to find fame and fortune in the music industry. He later became infamous as Charles Manson."

from Helter Skelter (25th Anniversary Edition) Afterword © 1994 Vincent Bugliosi:
Remarkably, there are some who heap scalding criticism on those in the music industry who never gave Manson a chance when he got out of prison in 1967. If he had been given a real opportunity, they add, most likely the murders would never have taken place. While this is possibly true, that type of "but for" causation could be used to argue that if someone had bought Hitler's paintings in Vienna in 1912 perhaps we wouldn't have had the Second World War.

"No sense makes sense." - Charles Manson

Susan Atkins recounts her first meeting with Charles Manson; from her book (co-written by Bob Slosser), Child Of Satan, Child Of God © 1977 Logos International:
     Standing for a moment inside the door of the big brown house, I heard the pounding of my heart. I was stoned.
     Faintly I heard music. "Someone's singing," I thought.... Somebody was singing upstairs.
     I climbed the stairs slowly, my bare feet silent on the carpeting.... Passing through the massive, oak doubledoors, I was startled. My eyes landed instantly on a little man sitting on the wide couch.... I could see he was singing, his eyes seemingly closed. Without moving his head, he opened his eyes and stared directly into my face.
     A slight smile flickered on and off the skinny little man's clean-shaven face. His voice was middle range and expressive. He played guitar magnificently.
     There was a space on the floor to the man's right. I tip-toed to it and eased myself cross-legged to the floor.... He looked at me and smiled. I studied him unsmiling.... "He's like an angel." I don't think I spoke the thought aloud, but I was so loaded I couldn't be sure.
     I was aware that the man with the guitar had stopped singing. Voices and low laughter rose up and down almost lyrically. The little man's spell still prevailed.
     He was talking quietly and smiling. But he never looked at me.... I stared at the man's guitar. It seemed a thing of magic and wonder. "I'd like to play it," I thought. "I bet I can play it."
     In a split second he turned his head slowly to look into my eyes. "Why don't you play it?" He started to move the instrument toward me. My mind swirled. Had I said that aloud? No. I had only thought it. How did he know it? "No, thanks," I said softly. "I can't play."
     He smiled and looked, unblinking, into my eyes.... It was as though our minds were speaking.
     In a second or two, he looked away and joined in conversation in the middle of the room.
     "Who is this man?" I was shaken. "He's really strange."
     I got up and walked to the record player, flipping through the pile of records on the floor.... I danced formlessly around the player as the record concluded. I stopped and dropped on another Doors record. It was alive and furious.
     I threw myself into the music and danced, lost within. "I'll dance for him." He began to dance behind me.... I felt his hands on my hips, and he began to move my body. "What's he doing?" He was leading my body in movements I had never tried.... He whispered into my left ear, "That's right. That's good. Yes. In reality - in your God-self - there's no repetition. No two moves, no two actions, are the same. Everything is new. Let it be new."
     We swung to face one another.... Suddenly, something happened that has no explanation. I experienced a moment unlike any other. This stranger and I, dancing, passed through one another. It was as though my body moved closer and closer to him and actually passed through him.... We danced savagely.
     He smiled. "You are beautiful," he said. "You are perfect. I've never seen anyone dance like you. It's wonderful. You must always be free."
     For a few moments, I could only smile. I watched his face. "Thank you," I finally said. I paused. "My name is Susan Atkins," I said. "Who are you?"
     The eye contact was broken, and he lowered his head, brushing his hair with one hand. "Who? Me? Oh, I'm Charlie. Charlie Manson."

from Helter Skelter © 1974 by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi:
     The morning Charles Manson was to be freed, he begged the authorities to let him remain in prison. Prison had become his home, he told them. He didn't think he could adjust to the world outside.
     His request was denied. He was released at 8:15 A.M. on March 21, 1967, and given transportation to Los Angeles. That same day he requested and received permission to go to San Francisco. It was there, in the Haight-Ashbury section, that spring, that the Family was born.
     Charles Manson was thirty-two years old. Over seventeen of those years - more than half his life - had been spent in institutions.

Charles Manson talks about his followers:
     "And I have told them many times, 'I don't want no weak people around me. If you are not strong enough to stand on your own, don't come and ask me what to do. You know what to do.'"

Joseph Ball's opinion of Manson, after trying to persuade him not to act as his own lawyer:
     "We went over different problems of law, and I found he had a ready understanding.... Remarkable understanding. As a matter of fact, he has a very fine brain. I complimented him on the fact. I think I told you that he had a high I.Q. Must have, to be able to converse as he did. [Manson] is not resentful against society. And he feels if he goes to trial and he is able to permit jurors and the Court to hear him and see him, they will realize he is not the kind of man who would perpetrate horrible crimes."

Vincent Bugliosi, from Helter Skelter © 1974 Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi:
     Sandra Good had told me that once, in the desert, Charlie had picked up a dead bird, breathed on it, and the bird had flown away. Sure, Sandy, sure, I replied. Since then I'd heard a great deal about Manson's alleged "powers"; Susan Atkins, for example, felt he could see and hear everything she did or said.
     Midway through the arraignment I looked at my watch. It had stopped. Odd. It was the first time I could remember that happening. Then I noticed that Manson was staring at me, a slight grin on his face.
     It was, I told myself, simply a coincidence.

Description of Jesus; excerpts from Revelation 1:12-16:
     I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man."* His eyes were like blazing fire ... and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
     footnote: *Daniel 7:13

Charles Manson on his identity:
     I may have implied on several occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven't decided yet what I am or who I am.

from pre-trial transcripts, after Manson had complained that both the Sheriff's Office and the DA's Office were denying him access to a tape recorder, a telephone, etc:
THE COURT: "The prosecutor is willing to go further than the sheriff has, as a matter of fact."
Manson: "Well, I was going to ask him if he would call the whole thing off. It would save a lot of trouble."
THE COURT: "Disappoint all these people? Never, Mr Manson."

Charles Manson addresses the media's image of him:
     "I am dismayed at the readers who lap up the lies and believe them like the Bible, but I have to hand it to the guys who created the image.... I really shouldn't blame the readers 'cause I kind of get caught up in the stories myself. But when I start believing I might really possess all the powers attributed to me and I try to work a whammy on my prison guard - he or she shuts the prison door in my face. Back to reality. I realize I am only what I've always been: a half-assed nothing."

then-President Richard Nixon, on the glorification of criminals, specifically Charles Manson, who had yet to be convicted of anything:
     "Front page every day in the papers. It usually got a couple of minutes in the evening news. Here is a man who was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders. Yet here is a man who, as far as the coverage is concerned, appeared to be a glamorous figure."

Charles Manson, from the transcript of the trial, after being denied permission to cross-examine a witness:
Manson: "You are going to use this courtroom to kill me? I am going to fight for my life one way or another. You should let me do it with words."
THE COURT: "If you don't stop, I will have to have you removed."
Manson: "I will have you removed if you don't stop. I have a little system of my own."
THE COURT [to Bugliosi]: "Call your next witness."
Bugliosi: "Sergeant Gutierrez."
Manson: "Do you think I'm kidding?"
.... at this point Manson leapt across the defense table, brandishing a pencil, toward the judge. He landed a few feet from the judge's bench, but was subdued by the bailiffs. After court the bailiff measured the leap at ten feet. Charles Manson is 5'2" and once hid from police in a bathroom cabinet that measured 3 feet by 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet. The bailiff himself could not duplicate the distance of the leap.

Revelation 9:21:
Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Vincent Bugliosi, from Helter Skelter © 1974 Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi:
     Manson told me ... that he personally believed in law and order. There should be "rigid control" by the authorities, he said. It didn't matter what the law was - right or wrong being relative - but it should be strictly enforced by whoever had the power. And public opinion should be suppressed, because part of the people wanted one thing, part another.
     "In other words, your solution would be a dictatorship," I remarked.
     "Yes."
     He had a simple solution to the crime problem, Manson told me. Empty the prisons and banish all the criminals to the desert. But first brand their foreheads with X's, so if they ever appeared in the cities they could be identified and shot on sight.
     "Do I need two guesses as to who's going to be in charge of them in the desert, Charlie?"
     "No." He grinned.

Charles Manson, given special permission to speak freely from the stand, outside the presence of the jury (a somewhat abridged version of this speech is given in the Helter Skelter film, by the brilliantly cast Steve Railsback as Charlie):
     "There has been a lot of charges and a lot of things said about me and brought against the co-defendants in this case, of which a lot could be cleared up and clarified....
     "I never went to school, so I never growed up to read and write too good, so I have stayed in jail and I have stayed stupid, and I have stayed a child while I have watched your world grow up, and then I look at the things that you do and I don't understand....
     "You eat meat and you kill things that are better than you are, and then you say how bad, and even killers, your children are. You made your children what they are....
     "These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.
     "Most of the people at the ranch that you call the Family were just people that you did not want, people that were alongside the road, that their parents had kicked out, that did not want to go to Juvenile Hall. So I did the best I could and I took them up on my garbage dump and I told them this: that in love there is no wrong....
     "I told them that anything they do for their brothers and sisters is good if they do it with a good thought....
     "I was working at cleaning up my house, something that Nixon should have been doing. He should have been on the side of the road, picking up his children, but he wasn't. He was in the White House, sending them off to war....
     "I don't understand you, but I don't try. I don't try to judge nobody. I know that the only person I can judge is me.... But I know this: that in your hearts and your own souls, you are as much responsible for the Vietnam war as I am for killing these people....
     "I can't judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But I think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in.
     "I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me ... but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.
     "My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system.... I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.
     "I have ate out of your garbage cans to stay out of jail. I have wore your second-hand clothes.... I have done my best to get along in your world and now you say you want to kill me, and I look at you, and then I say to myself, You want to kill me? Ha! I'm already dead, have been all my life. I've spent twenty-three years in tombs that you built.
     "Sometimes I think about giving it back to you; sometimes I think about just jumping on you and letting you shoot me.... If I could, I would jerk this microphone off and beat your brains out with it, because that is what you deserve, that is what you deserve....
     "If I could get angry at you, I would try to kill every one of you. If that's guilt, I accept it....
     "These children, everything they done, they done for the love of their brother....
     "If I showed them that I would do anything for my brother - including giving my life for my brother on the battlefield - and then they pick up their banner, and they go off and do what they do, that is not my responsibility. I don't tell people what to do....
     "These children [indicating the female defendants] were finding themselves. What they did, if they did whatever they did, is up to them. They will have to explain that to you....
     "It's all your fear. You look for something to project it on, and you pick out a little old scroungy nobody that eats out of a garbage can, and that nobody wants, that was kicked out of the penitentiary, that has been dragged through every hellhole that you can think of, and you drag him and put him in a courtroom.
     "You expect to break me? Impossible! You broke me years ago. You killed me years ago...."
     "I have killed no one and I have ordered no one to be killed.
     "I may have implied on several different occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven't decided yet what I am or who I am.
     "Some called me Christ. In prison my name was a number. Some now want a sadistic fiend, and so they see me as that. So be it. Guilty. Not guilty. They are only words. You can do anything you want with me, but you cannot touch me because I am only my love.... If you put me in the penitentiary, that means nothing because you kicked me out of the last one. I didn't ask to get released. I liked it in there because I like myself.
     "... Mr Bugliosi is a hard-driving prosecutor, polished education, a master of words, semantics. He is a genius. He has got everything that every lawyer would want to have except one thing: a case. He doesn't have a case. Were I allowed to defend myself, I could have proven this to you....
     "The evidence in this case is a gun. There was a gun that laid around the ranch. It belonged to everybody. Anybody could have picked that gun up and done anything they wanted to do with it. I don't deny having that gun. That gun has been in my possession many times.
     "... Is it a conspiracy that the music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment because the establishment is rapidly destroying things? Is that a conspiracy?
     "The music speaks to you every day, but you are too deaf, dumb, and blind to even listen to the music....
     "It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says 'Rise', it says 'Kill".
     "Why blame it on me? I didn't write the music.
     "[Danny DeCarlo] said that I hate black men, and he said that we thought alike.... But actually all I ever did with Danny DeCarlo or any other human being was reflect him back at himself. If he said he did not like the black man, I would say 'O.K.' So consequently he would drink another beer and walk off and say 'Charlie thinks like I do'.
     "But actually he does not know how Charlie thinks because Charlie has never projected himself.
     "I don't think like you people. You people put importance on your lives. Well, my life has never been important to anyone....
     "So [Linda Kasabian] gets on the stand and she says when she looked in that man's eyes that was dying, she knew that it was my fault. She knew it was my fault because she couldn't face death. And if she can't face death, that is not my fault. I can face death. I have all the time. In the penitentiary you live with it, with constant fear of death, because it is a violent world in there, and you have to be on your toes constantly.
     "... I do feel some responsibility. I feel a responsibility for the pollution. I feel a responsibility for the whole thing.
     "I don't know the sheriff of Shoshone. I am not saying that I didn't say [to kill him], but if I said it, at the time I may have thought it was a good idea.
     "To be honest with you, I don't recall ever saying 'Get a knife and a change of clothes and go do what Tex says.' Or I don't recall saying 'Get a knife and go kill the sheriff.'
     "In fact, it makes me mad when someone kills snakes or dogs or cats or horses. I don't even like to eat meat - that is how much I am against killing....
     "I haven't got any guilt about anything because I have never been able to see any wrong.... I have always said: Do what your love tells you, and I do what my love tells me.... Is it my fault that your children do what you do?
     "What about your children? You say there are just a few?
     "There are many, many more, coming in the same direction.
     "They are running in the streets - and they are coming right at you!"

Paul Fitzgerald, defense attorney for Patricia Krenwinkel, unwittingly demonstrating the ineptitude that permeated the entire defense team ... closing arguments:
     "Patricia Krenwinkel is twenty-three years old. With 365 days in the year, there are approximately 8,400 days in 23 years, and approximately 200,000 hours in her lifetime.
     "The perpetration of these offenses took at best approximately three hours.
     "Is she to be judged solely on what occurred during three of 200,000 hours?"

statement issued by Charles Manson after his conviction:
     "Mr. and Mrs. America - you are wrong. I am not the King of the Jews nor am I a hippie cult leader. I am what you have made me and the mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society.... Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind's eye my thoughts light fires in your cities."

from Helter Skelter © 1974 by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi:
     The fate of Charles Manson, Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Robert Beausoleil was decided on February 18, 1972. That day the California State Supreme Court announced that it had voted 6-1 to abolish the death penalty in the state of California.
     The sentences of the 107 persons awaiting execution in California were automatically reduced to life imprisonment.
     In California a person sentenced to life imprisonment is eligible to apply for parole in seven years.

Charles Manson, to a reporter covering an early parole hearing:
     "You're in prison more than I am. You've got more rules to live by than I do. I can sit down and relax. Can you?"

Charles Manson on his chances of being paroled:
     "My disappointment is that so many of you are so gullible, that you eat everything you are fed. Even the "system" lends to the madness. Your world requires the California Board of Parole to call me before them for release consideration. On my recent appearances they have had the room full of TV cameras so that everyone can go through their act of justice and efficiency for anyone that wants to watch. But it's a game with two sides, theirs and mine. They know they aren't about to let me out. And to make them feel good about their foregone conclusion, I play the fool for them and their cameras. And even if they should say, 'Okay, Manson, you can go home', I'd have to ask, Go where? You gave me this cell when I was 12 years old. I've become as much a part of the cells as the bars on the windows and doors. This is my home. You kicked me out in 1967, gave me your kids, allowed me a little space on the desert and then took it all away from me. I got nothing out there. If you did kick me out, I'd just have to find some place to hide. Truth is, I'm tired of hiding. I've been hiding under the myth [of Charles Manson] and using it for protection ever since I've been here, but I'm tired of playing that game that was created in 1969. Like me, it's growing old.
     "So for you people who are filled with fear that I might someday be released: breathe easy, I don't see it happening."

Charles Manson, on the letters he receives in prison:
     "There are days when I get caught up in being the most notorious convict of all time. In that frame of mind I get off on all the publicity, and I'm pleased when some fool writes and offers to 'off some pigs' for me. I've had girls come to visit me with their babies in their arms and say, 'Charlie, I'd do anything in the world for you. I'm raising my baby in your image.' Those letters and visits used to delight me, but that's my individual sickness. What sickness is it that keeps sending me kids and followers? It's your world out there that does it. I don't solicit my mail or ask anyone to come and visit me. Yet the mail continues to arrive and your pretty little flowers of innocence keep showing up at the gate."

from Helter Skelter (25th Anniversary Edition) Afterword © 1994 Vincent Bugliosi, the 'where are they now' section:
     Dennis Wilson, the drummer for the Beach Boys at whose home on Sunset Boulevard Manson, without invitation, moved into with his Family in the late spring of 1968, and who told me, when I sought musical tapes he had made of Manson, that he had destroyed them because "the vibrations connected with them don't belong to this earth," drowned on December 27, 1983, at Marina del Rey, California, while diving off a dock near a friend's boat. The coroner's report provided a possible explanation for the drowning. The alcohol level in Wilson's blood was .26 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in the state of California. Traces of cocaine and Valium were also found in his system.*
     In 1979, Ronnie Howard died in a Los Angeles hospital from injuries sustained in a beating by two unknown male assailants. Laurence Merrick, who produced the 1970 Academy Award-nominated documentary Manson, was shot to death in 1977 at his Hollywood studio. The police concluded that both murders were unrelated to Manson or his Family.
     footnote:*With minor changes in the lyrics (e.g., "exist" was changed to "resist," "brother" to "lover"), Manson's composition "Cease To Exist" was recorded by the Beach Boys and released on the B side of Bluebirds over the Mountain on December 8, 1968, under the new title "Never Learn Not To Love".... Although the Beach Boys never credited Manson as being the composer, Paul Watkins, Brooks Poston, and Gregg Jakobson each confirmed to me it was Manson's song....

Charles Manson at his parole hearing, March 27, 1997:
     "I haven't been trying to be good. And I haven't been trying to be bad.... I'm just trying to live, that's all."

Charles Manson at his parole hearing, March 27, 1997:
     "I'm not your executioner. I'm not your devil and I'm not your God. I'm Charles Manson."

Want more? Check out Charles Manson's lyrics
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