Charles Manson: Orgins of a Madman

Charles Manson is known as one of the most sinister and evil criminals
of all time. He organized the murders that shocked the world and his name still
strikes fear into American hearts. Manson\'s childhood, personality, and uncanny
ability to control people led to the creation of a family-like cult and
ultimately to the bloody murders of numerous innocent people.
Charles M. Manson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 11, 1934.
His mother, Kathleen Maddox, was a teenage prostitute. Manson\'s father walked
out on the still pregnant Maddox, never to be seen again. In order to give her
bastard son a name, Ms. Maddox married William Manson. He soon abandoned the
both of them.
Manson\'s mother often neglected Charles after her husband left her. She
tried to put him into a foster home, but the arrangements fell through. As a
last resort she sent Charles to school in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mrs. Manson
failed to make the payments for the school and once again Charles was sent back
to his mother\'s abuse. At only fourteen, Manson left his mother and rented a
room for himself. He supported himself with odd jobs and petty theft. His
mother turned him into the juvenile authorities, who had him sent to "Boys
Town," a juvenile detention center, near Omaha, Nebraska. Charles spent a total
of three days in "Boys Town" before running away. He was arrested in Peoria,
Illinois for robbing a grocery store and was then sent to the Indiana Boys
School in Plainfield, Indiana, where he ran away another eighteen times before
he was caught and sent to the National Training School for Boys in Washington
D.C. Manson never had a place to call "home" or a real family. He spent his
childhood being sent from one place to another, and trouble always seemed to
follow him. His mother\'s negligence left Manson without a home and without much
of a future. Manson turned to crime to support himself, and he soon became very
good at it. When just a child, he became a criminal and spent his last years of
childhood in a correctional facility.
After his release from the training school in 1954, a new period of
Manson\'s life began. He went to West Virginia and soon married a girl named
Rosalie Jean Willis. She became pregnant and Manson had a child. This was
Manson\'s first real family, but he didn\'t stray from the criminal lifestyle. He
started stealing cars to make the money necessary to support his new family. By
the time the baby was born, Manson was in prison on Grand Theft Auto charges.
In 1958 Charles was released from prison. His wife and child had left
him, leaving Charles alone once again. Several arrests for car theft and
pimping followed; in 1960 Charles was given ten years imprisonment for forging
government checks. While he was serving his ten year sentence at McNeil
Penitentiary, he studied philosophy, took up guitar, and taught himself sing and
compose songs. His newfound musical skills would later attract followers. His
study of philosophy helped create some of his outlandish ideas that later
appealed to his would-be followers. Manson was released in March, 1967 after
serving seven years. By the time Manson was thirty-two years old, he had spent
seventeen years, more than half of his life, in prison.
This long stretch of incarceration had left its mark. "If Charlie has
any roots, they\'re in the penal system," 1 said one acquaintance.

"Inside, you have to be aware of everything, and when he
came out, Charlie was like a cat. Nothing got by Charlie if
something happened within a hundred miles of him, he
made sure he knew about it. Everytime he came into a
room, he cased it, like an animal. Where were the
windows? What was the quickest way out? He never sat
with his back to the door."

Soon after his release, Manson traveled to Haight Ashbury, where the
"hippie" movement was in full force. At this time, hippies were gentle people,
believing in peace, love, and sharing with others. This was a perfect
environment for Manson to gain followers. Manson\'s probation officer remembers
he was "shaken" by the friendliness of the hippies, but before long, Manson
learned how to exploit it. He started to collect a retinue of impressionable
girls searching for a community of love. With a guitar, a pleasant voice,
sinuous mannerisms, and sweet talk with empty promises, Manson convinced many
young-adults to leave their lives and families to be with him. The beginnings of
his "Family" took shape.