The Family

 

 

 

Why Do They Follow Him?

 

Charles Manson's Family seems to worship him. They follow like a flock of sheep, like worship-savvy disciples following Jesus to the cross. Manson is hypnotic, enticing in manner, drawing in Family members through a facade of free-love, support, drugs, high-times, and euphoria. The Family is a community; they are each other's only family&emdash;with real feelings of devotion and loyalty. For Manson and his followers, it is the only family they've ever had. (Mindfuckers 29). Manson's life history seems to lead up to the atrocious acts committed in the summer of 1969.

 

The Family began with Mary Theresa Brunner, the first woman Manson had sex with after his long tenure in California State Penitentiaries. Other women came along and played out Manson's desires, sexual and domestic, creating a sense of inseparable community. The Family wasn't really the "Family" until1968, when a reporter came to Spahn Ranch after multiple marijuana busts and referred to the Manson clan as the "Manson Family." (Manson 149) Their Volkswagen van became to small for Manson's group so they acquired a school bus to continue their travels, mystical experiences and musical endeavors. This continued until the group became too large and they finally settled in the Spahn Movie Ranch, a run-down movie set, left open for the hippie, LSD-riddled Manson Family. The Ranch continued to provide the Family with a hotbed on which their free-loving community could continue to thrive with Manson at its head.

 

Did Charles Manson preach the end of the world to his Family?

Did he convince the Family that black people are going to stir up revolution and destroy the world as we know it?

Did "Charlie" demand that his brothers and sisters violently kill rich, white, aristocrats, sparking a race war, where he would ultimately take control of the world?

 

The answer to all of these questions is no.

 

What Charles Manson did do was to slowly and systematically ingrain his Helter Skelter theory into the minds of vulnerable, deceived individuals who were emotionally and sexually involved with him. Little by little Charles Manson unveiled snippets of Beatles's songs to friends, prodding them to conclude that the Beatles preached the coming of racial upheaval. He compared Los Angeles to the New Jerusalem described in the New Testament. Manson found evidence in almost every track on the Beatles' White Album of an impending race uprising. The Manson family members breathed and sweated their devotion to Charles Manson. They reacted and quelled his every whim. While he kept them all at the Ranch with enough food, enough "love," enough drugs, Manson planted small seeds into the minds of every pawn; the plants of upheaval grew in the minds every member of the Family and each felt proud contributing to his scheme. Each brother and sister thrived in developing new ways to frame blacks for all of their horrendous murders. Family members were in fact proud to report how they had killed their victims and created scenes that only black people could have made&emdash;all against the "Piggies" and in the name of Helter Skelter.

 

The Family exists today as young women who believe Manson is innocent and not responsible for the murders committed by his Family members, of many hippies longing for the high-life provided by Manson. It is unclear whether Family members still believe that Helter Skelter will end the world, but it is vividly clear that Charles Manson still enraptures the minds of many brothers and sisters.