The Manson Family
By : Julia Mayfield and Reilly Martyn
According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a cult is ‘a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister’. Considering this description and the information surrounding the Manson Family, their group could easily be defined as a cult.
Mind control is typically a key element in the foundation in which a cult is built on. In the case of the Manson family, their leader Charles Manson, was extremely good at manipulating others. When looking for members, he sought after individuals in their late teens, clearly lost and experiencing turmoil of some kind. All of the girls either had divorcing families, abusive parents, etc., just an overall lack of place and love.
That is what Charles Manson “gave” them, a place to belong. He had them all move into an abandoned movie set called ‘Spahn Ranch’, where they experimented with drugs and sex. Charles used the girls, who never denied his asking, to lure in men so their group could expand. Everyone was so enamored by their leader, and wanted nothing more than to be embraced by him. This caused complete obedience in all he wanted from them.This became a serious problem once Charles had a new member of their group introduce murder tactics to everyone. These lessons eventually led to actual action taken. Charles began sending out his “family” to kill people in the surrounding area. Not that there is ever a tasteful murder, but if it was to be measured by the violence inflicted, theirs’ would be the farthest thing from.
This murder took place on July 31st, 1969. Manson was told that Hinman was coming into some money from an inheritance. There was an effort to retrieve money from Hinman. In order to do this Manson ordered Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner,and Susan Atkins to go to Hinman's residence and talk him into turning over the money. Hinman did not cooperate. He was held hostage for days, Manson later came over with a sword and slashed Hinman's left ear (which was actually sewn back on with dental floss by one of the female members). Beausoliel murdered Hinman by stabbing him twice in the chest. Hinman's blood was used to smear "political piggy" on the wall along with the Black Panther's paw to implicate the Black Panther party.
This murder took place on August 9th, 1969. Tate was in a semi-isolated location in the Canyons of Beverly Hills in her leased home she shared with her husband. Tate was enjoying the company of her friends, without her husband. The friends she had over that were spending the night there were Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Jay Sebring. She was 8 1/2 months pregnant when she was killed. All that was heard by the neighbors were gunshots and a mans scream, none of the neighbors notified the police. Later in the night a private security guard heard gunshots and notified the Los Angeles Police Department. Nothing was discovered until the next morning, the housekeeper discovered the brutally murdered bodies at 8 AM. It is believed that Charles Manson directed Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to enter the Tate residence and to "destroy everyone in it, as gruesome as you can." The members climbed up a brushy platform to gain entrance into the property. While they were trespassing they spotted Steven Parents leaving the property in his vehicle. Watson stopped Parent and swung a knife at him then shot him 4 times in the chest and abdomen. Tate and Sebring were tied together by their necks. She also witnessed all of the murders before passing away herself, she pleaded for mercy but she was sadly rejected. She was stabbed a total of 18 times. Tate's unborn child did not survive the incident.
Abigail Folger was a murder victim connected with the murder of Sharon Tate. Folger fled to the room she was taken to and then she was chased by Krenwinkel. She was stabbed by Krenwinkel and later was also stabbed by Watson. Folger was stabbed a total of 28 times by both Krenwinkel and Watson.
Self-concept- From my perspective, each member of the group had no sense of self concept. The reason for my saying this is their lack of individualism, which is a key component to how you perceive yourself. It seems to me that they each became wiped of who they were and reclaimed by what Charles wanted.
Significant Others- This cult in particular really puts into perspective the importance of wholesome significant others. Each member of the Manson Family lacked that in their previous life, which was the main reason for their neediness to belong. If they had each had a healthier upbringing, then they most likely wouldn’t have gravitated towards the lifestyle they did.
Reference Group- In a sense, their reference group was like a single person, each piece contingent on the other. They all became accustomed to what Charles Mason’s views and ideals of the world were, so much that they became their own. I would like to think that at some point in their life they considered what they were doing to be morally wrong. Rock bottom being the place that they accepted these evil values as a norm.
- Looking Glass Self- The group didn’t have any good influences to support a healthy looking glass. Those they were surrounded with had similar viewpoints on values and ideals. Since they were not associated with many others, their immoral lifestyle was accepted through the eyes of each other.
- Isolation- This term has to do with the people in the Manson Family because they are so used to following one person, they think he is what is best for them and he makes the best decisions, so they follow. They have been isolated from the rest of society so long they do not think about how bad the things they are doing are.
- Distorted- Again this has to do with being away from the rest of society so long. Their perception of things is so twisted and distorted that they think these types of crimes are okay and normal because Manson brainwashed them into thinking it was.
- Role Taking- The members of the Manson Family follow the role of Charles Manson. They assume the viewpoint from him is how they should think and how they could view things. They had no one else's opinions to base theirs off of.
- Exhibit- The members exhibit the actions of Charles Manson. They think that they have found a "family" and they are loved and in order to stay loved, the had to act like Manson and mock his behavior.
Wojclech Frykowski was a murder victim in the Sharon Tate case. Frykowski was bound by a towel but managed to free himself. After doing so, he became involved in a physical altercation with Atkins, who later stabbed him in the legs. He continued to flee but Watson struck him with the gun many times on the head, he shot him, and stabbed him multiple times. The gun grip broke off because Watson struck Frykowski. Frykowski was struggling accross the lawn when Watson came to stab him again. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.
Jason Sebring was a murder victim in the Sharon Tate case. Sebring was tied by the neck, together with Tate. Sebring was also shot and stabbed seven times.
Leno and Rosemary LaBianca
This murder took place on August 10th, 1969. (Rosemary is pictured) Leslie Van Houten, Steve Grogan, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasblan, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Charles Watson committed this murder. Manson joined in on this murder because he felt that there was not enough panic among the victims. It is said that they entered the home and tied the couple up with a lamp chord and covered their heads with pillowcases. Manson reassured the couple they were not being hurt, they were just being robbed. After they left other members of the family were ordered to kill the couple. Both victims were stabbed multiple times. Rosemary was stabbed a total of 41 times. Leno was stabbed a total of 26 times. On the walls of the living room, "Death to pigs" and "Rise" were written in Leno's blood. On the refrigerator door a misspelled "Healther [sic] Skelter" was smeared. The word "WAR" was carved into Leno's stomach.
Leno and Rosemary LaBianca
In the winter of 1969, several members of the Manson Family, including Charles himself, were taken under arrest. During this period of their undecided fate, Charles Manson continued to assume the role of puppet master. The girls were basically scripted in all court and public situations. Singing songs Charles wrote, burning an X on their foreheads, yelling at the judge, shouting things at the jury, and so on.
Additionally, the members on the outside protested and fought for the release of their “family”. One of the girls, who was never called to murder, acted as a spokesperson for the group. She could not stand the only family she had ever known be taken away from her, especially Charles. Even those inside were willing to take on the brunt of the crimes, trying to lessen Charles’ time in prison.
The following year, upon their verdict trial, each of the Mason members imprisoned were found guilty of murder. To this day they remain behind bars, some having claimed remorse and trying to better the world through correctional programs. Despite this, many still rightfully so believe that the Mason Family lacks regret for their actions. Either way, life in prison is most likely for these band of killers.