Born out of wedlock to a teenage mother in 1918, and at first not even given a name, Charles Manson would eventually grow into a very disturbed adult, in whose name, murders were committed. He gained a ‘following’ of loyal subjects who believed in his wild ‘Helter-Skelter’ ideals, and his claims that a race war was imminent and that it would be his hand that would bring about the inevitable coming war.
His depravity began early in life, however, as he was known to steal, even from his own mother (who was an admitted alcoholic and convicted felon), and skip school on a regular basis. Growing increasingly brave in his thievery, Manson’s mother soon decided to send him to a boarding school, which he ran from at least once. When he returned home from the boarding school, he rented a room and supported himself through burglary.
This activity did not cease and Manson was apprehended and sent to another boy’s home, which he promptly ran from, stole a car and a gun with another student and left for Illinois. He was taken on as an apprentice burglar there and arrested only two weeks after arriving.
After years of being in and out of correctional institutions, Manson was finally given tests by a psychiatrist, after which he was labeled as ‘aggressively antisocial’. During his times of institutionalization, Manson claimed that he developed a self-defense ‘move’ that he called the ‘crazy-game’ in which he would act crazy in an attempt to avoid rape by other inmates.
In January of 1952, Manson was caught raping a young man at knifepoint, which landed him back in a correctional facility where he later committed more heinous acts, some of them being homosexual involvement with other prisoners. He was sentenced to a maximum security prison in Ohio after that and not expected to be released until 1955, on his 21st birthday. However, due to good behavior, Manson was released early in 1954.
After marrying a waitress and getting her pregnant, Manson stole a car and the two drove to California, where Manson was caught and charged federally as he had taken the vehicle across state lines. He was given 5 years probation after another psychiatric evaluation but broke his parole after stealing another car and driving it across state lines. His probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 3 years prison time in California.
By 1958, his wife had divorced him and he had been released on 5 years parole. He began pimping girls. He married again in 1959 (although the marriage is thought to have been more to keep Manson out of prison than out of any real love between the pair), and took his new wife and another young woman to New Mexico to begin pimping there. He was later arrested and convicted and ended up serving what had been a suspended term of ten years on a check forgery case.
Upon release in 1967, Manson asked authorities if he could stay, stating that prison was his home. Indeed, he had spent more than half of his life in prison, mostly for federal charges, which carry stricter sentencing than state offenses.
It was after this that Manson garnered a following of mostly young females, and adopted the name ‘Manson Family’ for his depraved tribe. After committing several murders and one failed presidential assassination attempt, Manson was once again arrested and this time he would never be free again. He died of old age in 2017, at the age of 83 at the California State Prison.