Charles Manson’s eerie ability to control his “family” of young hippies in California remains as mysterious and intriguing today as it did in 1969, when Manson orchestrated the infamous murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Many Manson Family members were sentenced to life in prison for participating in those murders, including Squeaky Fromme, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. Members Bobby Beausoleil and Steve Grogan, under Manson’s bizarre influence, committed other murders. Examine our list of Manson Family members and find out about life on the Spahn Movie Ranch, Charles Manson’s uncanny hold over his followers, and the random and brutal crimes that ensued.
1. Charles Manson had very specific rules. On the Spahn Ranch, books were not allowed. Neither were watches, clocks, or calendars. The oddest thing that Manson Family members were not allowed to do was wear glasses if they required them. Why? Charlie wanted them to “see the world around them” with their natural vision.
2. The Family had a huge celebrity hit list. They were determined to become absolutely infamous, with a carefully-chosen group of celebrities they planned to murder, including Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, and Steve McQueen.
3. Officially, the Family has only been held responsible for the eight deaths that occurred during the 1960s, but experts speculate that they may have actually carried out even more murders. They weren’t pursued in court because the Family members involved in the murders had already been found guilty.
4. Charles Manson never actually killed anyone. He would either send Family members to do his bidding or leave just prior to the murders.
5. He was actually inspired by a very popular book. “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by famous author Dale Carnegie.
6. During his early time in prison Manson studied the book religiously, specifically the part about influencing others to “take ownership” of an idea.
7. When Charlie was five, his mother, Kathleen was sentenced to prison for robbery and Manson was sent to live with relatives in West Virginia. Charlie once recalled her hug, when they were reunited three years later, as his sole happy childhood moment.
8. While Manson’s affinity for the Beatles is fairly well known, Helter Skelter and all that, but the Family were also obsessed with the British band. In fact, they were so obsessed that it was a big shock to them when Charlie was arrested and none of the Fab Four ever bothered to call. In an interview with Rolling Stone, female members of the Family demanded that the magazine “tell them to call.”
9. The Family were extremely loyal to their leader. During the legal proceedings, a young lawyer named Ronald Hughes chose to represent Manson and Family member Leslie Van Houten — then dropped Manson in favor of Van Houten. In 1970 he went missing during a camping trip. Months later, his body was found in the woods. While it’s still a mystery what truly happened to Hughes, it’s highly believed that the remaining members of the Manson Family murdered him in return for betraying their leader.
10. It is said that they may have murdered as far as 35 people!