CHARLES MANSON: Helter Skelter

Did Charles Manson suffer from emotional disorders which were genetically inherited from parents who themselves lived on the margins of society, or were nurtured in the environment to which he was exposed? He shared many of the characteristics we associate with cult leaders, especially those whose actions are ultimately made to further their own needs and desires. Charles Manson was a complex character; delusional, charismatic, intelligent and able to exploit the trends of his time. He brought a counter-culture to a counter culture; he and his followers became hippies whose actions opposed the values of that war opposing, peace-loving group.


Like many other cult leaders, Charles Manson established fear in the minds of his followers. He used quasi-religious ideas to set up the concept of an apocalyptic war, although this was based on race rather than religious dogma. Charles Manson is dead now, recently succumbing to the most every day of symptoms, a heart attack. No passing in the flames of evil or martyred on the cross of his cause. His manner of death was no doubt an anti-climax to a life lived more in myth than in reality. His tale is not yet complete. Perhaps it never will be, such is the continuing fascination he provokes. But here is his story.