On the morning of August 9, 1969, three LAPD officers arrived at 10050 Cielo
Drive (Bugliosi 7). The scene that awaited them was horrendous. In the driveway, in a
parked car, the body of Steven Parent was found. He was shot four times and stabbed
once. Laying about eighteen or twenty feet past the front door of the house, Voytek
Frykowski had been shot twice, beaten over the head with a blunt object thirteen times,
and stabbed fifty-one times. Also discovered on the lawn was coffee heiress Abigail
Folger, stabbed twenty-eight times. Inside the home, in the living room, were the bodies
of Jay Sebring and Sharon Tate. Sebring, a hair stylist, had been stabbed seven times and
shot once, dying of exsanguination. Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time of
her death, was stabbed sixteen times in the chest and back (Fillmer par. 2).
The following evening, in a seemingly unrelated crime, Leno and Rosemary
LaBianca were discovered in their home at 3301 Waverly Drive. Rosemary was found
face down in her bedroom, a lamp cord wound around her neck, in a pool of blood; she
had been stabbed forty-one times. Her husband, Leno, had a pillow case over his head, a
lamp cord tied around his neck, his hands tied behind his back with a leather thong, and an
ivory-handled, bi-tined carving fork in his stomach; he had been stabbed multiple times and
had the word ?WAR? carved in his flesh (Bugliosi 55-56).
The murderers were members of a group led by Charles Manson called the
Manson Family. These people were completely controlled by Manson. He had them
convinced that they were the chosen ones and that they were only carrying out the orders
of a man they thought was Jesus Christ incarnate (Watson par. 3). They were willing to
risk death and imprisonment to satisfy this man. Manson used borrowed ideas from
prosperous cults of the 1960’s to achieve a complete control over his followers.
In June of 1960, Charles Manson was sent to prison for forgery, mail theft, and
pimping (Bugliosi 192-193). There, he became involved with a cult called Scientology
(195). Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard (?Cult? par. 45). It teaches that each
human has a soul called a ?thetan.? Scientologists believe that, many years ago, the thetan
was ?god-like? and that people fell from divinity and forgot their origins. People were
then trapped on Earth in ?delusions of mortality (?Scientology? par. 12).? Hubbard
claimed that he had found the spiritual way to finding the true way to man. He said that
one must work through many levels of self knowledge and knowledge of past lives to
?awaken the primordial deity? until divinity is once again achieved (?Cult? par. 45).
The highest level of awareness in Scientology is called ?theta clear.? Manson
claims to have reached theta clear while in prison. He supposedly achieved this through
many ?auditing sessions,? the method that Scientologists use to teach awareness, taught
by his cell mate, Lanier Rayner (Bugliosi 195-196). Most likely, he picked up many of his
methods of mind control from these sessions, along with ideas such as karma and
The Process Church of the Final Judgment, labeled a Satanist cult by the media,
was founded in 1963 by Robert DeGrimston, a former Scientologist. The basis of this
religion was the book of Matthew of the New Testament, and it began as a mixture of
Zoroastrianism and Scientology. The name ?The Process? refers to the ?changes
necessary to avoid the end of the world with its associated judgment.? Processeans
worship Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan (?Process? par.17).
Even though The Process fervently denies that Charles Manson was ever a
member, many ideas from his philosophy parallel Process concepts. Both Manson and
The Process taught of a violent and unavoidable Armageddon in which all but the few
chosen ones would be destroyed, and both thought that motorcycle gangs would be the
?troops of the last days.? One Process pamphlet described the second coming of Christ
as: ? ?Through Love, Christ and Satan have destroyed their enmity and come together for
the End: Christ to Judge, Satan to execute the Judgment.’ ? Manson believed that, when
Christ returned, it would be the establishment that ?went up on the cross (Bugliosi 637).?
Manson and The Process shared ideas on fear also; they preached that fear was the same
thing as awareness, and that the more fear one had, the more awareness and therefore
more love one had (320). There were so many similarities between Manson’s philosophy
and The Process that even if he was never a member, The Process must have been a great
influence on Charles Manson (638-639).
A great many other ideas of Manson’s came from the Beatles and the Bible. This
may seem like an odd pair, but they fit together surprisingly well in Manson’s mind.
Manson had his own unique interpretations of almost every verse from Revelations 9. He
believed that the Beatles were the four angels spoken of in the Bible. When the Bible
describes locusts emerging from the bottomless pit, he saw it as another reference to the
English rockers because locust and ?beetles? were one and the same. The locusts are
described as having the faces of men and the hair of women, which only reinforced his
opinion (Bugliosi 322-323). In Verse 15 of Revelations 9, the Bible says, ?So the four
angels were released; this was precisely the hour, the day, the month, and the year for
which they had been prepared to kill a third of mankind.? Manson preached that the third
part of mankind was the white race that would die in Helter Skelter (Bugliosi 323). Helter
Skelter was the name that Manson had given the race war between the whites and the
blacks. He believed that the blacks would win but would be unable to govern and then be
forced to turn to the Manson Family for leadership (Bugliosi 329-331). Manson believed
that the Beatles song of the same name was a prediction of this race war (?Charles
Manson?). He would often quote whole Beatles’ songs and Revelations 9 to support his
views (Bugliosi 300). Manson believed that the Beatles were spokesmen contacting him
directly through their songs. He claimed that the White Album set things up for the
revolution and that his album (to be released later) would ?really start things off
Charles Manson had an uncanny ability to sense and use a person’s hangups or
desires (Bugliosi 317). He prayed on young men and women who were vulnerable and
looking for any sense of love or belonging. Many of the members of the Family were
young females who had traveled to California in search of God or happiness (343). He
even attracted a few men with LSD trips to ?open the mind (317).? What they found was
a man who would convince them of what they desperately wanted to believe: that they
were attractive and desirable, and that he was God. As he pulled in followers, Manson
began to preach his philosophy. He claimed to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ and was
known as both God and Satan. He taught that the United States was on the brink of a
black/white racial war called Helter Skelter. Manson believed that the blacks would be
incapable of governing after being the inferior race for so long and would turn to the
Family for leadership (?Family? 2). He promised his followers that they would soon
retreat into the desert to the Bottomless Pit, another concept shared with The Process,
where they would live in comfort until they numbered 144,000 (Bugliosi 313). Then, they
would return to the upper world where they would rule (333). When Manson’s followers
numbered twenty or thirty and Helter Skelter had still not begun, he decided to start the
spark that would light the fire.
The members of the Family had already proven that they were willing to kill and
risk their own lives for him, so Manson ordered the Tate-LaBianca murders. The intent of
these murders was to cause Helter Skelter; they were supposed to appear as though blacks
had committed them. For this purpose, the words ?DEATH TO PIGS? were written on
the living room wall at the LaBianca residence, and ?HEALTER SKELTER [sic]? was
printed on their refrigerator, both in the blood of the victims. The word ?PIG? was
printed on the bottom half of the front door at 10050 Cielo Drive in Sharon Tate’s own
blood (Bugliosi 331-332).
After Manson and the Family members who were involved in the Tate-LaBianca
murders were arrested, he continued to reveal his ultimate control over them. Susan
Atkins, who was involved in both murders, agreed to testify for the Grand Jury in return
for immunity. After the criminal trial started, however, and she had one meeting with
Manson, she repudiated her statement and was once again charged with first degree
murder (?Family? 11). Manson’s followers who were not arrested held a vigil outside the
Hall of Justice everyday throughout the trials (?Charles Manson?). During the court
proceedings, when Manson refused to face the judge, the other three defendants did the
same (Fillmer 10). When he carved an X in his forehead, they mimicked him again. And
when he changed that X to a swastika, they followed (?Family? 11). The defendants
repeated all of Manson’s outbursts in court in a ?chant-like manner (Fillmer 10).?
Vincent Bugliosi says of the Family members in his book Helter Skelter, ?They
were also young, naive, eager to believe, and, perhaps even more important, belong.
There were followers aplenty for any self-styled guru. It didn’t take Manson long to sense
this. In the underground milieu into which he’d stumbled, even the fact that he was an
ex-convict conferred to a certain status. Rapping a line of metaphysical con that borrowed
as much from pimping as joint jargon and Scientology, Manson began attracting followers,
almost all girls at first, then a few young boys (222).? Manson used the people’s
eagerness to implant his philosophy deep into their impressionable young minds. He
taught that he was the fifth angel of the Apocalypse, the one that held the key to the
Bottomless Pit. What Charles Manson didn’t teach his followers was that the translation
of the angel’s name — Abbadon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek — is ?destroyer.?
Bugliosi, Vincent. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. New York:
Bantam Books, 1975. 7, 54-56, 196, 222, 300, 317, 320, 322, 323, 325, 635,
?Charles Manson.? n.d. Online. AltaVista. Dec. 1997. Available AltaVista:
?The Church of Scientology.? n.d. Online. AltaVista. Sept. 1997. Available
?Cult Catalog of the ?Other’ Jesus.? n.d. Online. AltaVista. Sept. 1997.
Available AltaVista: //www.webzonecom.com/ccn/cults/fal10.txt
Fillmer, Deborah K. ?Forensic Science and the Charles Manson Murders.? 26 Apr. 1996.
Online. AltaVista. Oct. 1997. Available AltaVista: //www.cris.com/~dfillmer/
?Manson Family Murders 1969-1971.? n.d. Online. AltaVista. 4 Dec 1997. Available
AltaVista: //www.umi.com/hp/Support/K12/Great Events/Manson.html
The New American Bible. Saint Joseph Edition. New York: Catholic Book Publishing
?The Process – Church of the Final Judgment.? n.d. Online. AltaVista. Dec. 1997.
Available AltaVista: //limestone.kosone.com/people/ocrt/process.html
Watson, Charles. ?helter skelter.? 10 Jan. 1998. Online. AltaVista. 11 Jan. 1998.
Available AltaVista: //www.aboundinglove.org/helter.htm