The culprit for arousing a quasi-commune in the California desert, Charles Milles Manson, is back in headlines. The American criminal and a musician held guilty in ruthlessly conspiring the murder of actor Sharon Tate along with 4 others is all set to get married. His hair might have greyed, but the stare remains. The eyes which once reflected the hope and desperate rage to emerge as America`s ruler through “Helter Skelter”, his concept of an apocalyptic race war seem to have captivated the love of 26-year old Rose.
What started as a burglary in a local grocery store gradually led to the evolution of a brutal murderer. And like every famous man gets a fan following, Manson was also bestowed with the support of his right-hand group, The Manson Family. It has been 45 year since his imprisonment in Corcoran State Prison; but the mastermind continues to garner attention. “I love him,” Star declares. “I’m with him.” But this closeness is likely to counter a barrier as Manson isn’t eligible for parole until 2027.
Last year, in an interview to Rolling Stone magazine, Afton Ellaine Borton, who goes by the name Star, unveiled the news about the marriage. However Manson, still unsure about tying the knot reacted saying, “That’s a bunch of garbage. That’s trash. We’re playing that for public consumption.” This came as no surprise owing the moxie of his first marriage where he jilted his 17-year old pregnant wife to resume a life of crime.
Born in Ohio to an unmarried 16-year old girl who was both alcoholic and a prostitute, Manson is believed to have had an impoverished and troubled childhood. Despite a high IQ, he was made to oscillate between reform schools due to his inability to read or write properly. Soon, his mother and uncle were arrested for holding up a service station. By the age of 13, he had already gained enough experience robbing casinos and shops at gunpoint.
Considered a victim of psychic trauma resulting from rejection and instability, Manson was arrested for various petty crimes without any heavy charges being imposed on him. Whether it was the rape of a male co-prisoner from McNeil Island prison in Washington State for ten years or pimping and passing off stolen checks, each time Manson escaped severe punitive actions even after being incarcerated. This further fuelled his insanity fetching him descriptions like ‘dangerous’ ‘unpredictable’ and ‘safe only under supervision’. His brutal slayings include the renowned ‘Tate-La Bianca’ killings, which have projected him as a living embodiment of evil.
The Manson case resonates with a typical Hitchcock thriller with elements like drugs, orgies and cults, the primary concerns of parents nurturing their children in a “free love” culture. Also it is worthy to point that the case also emerged at a time when there were intense divisions over civil rights and race. “There are thousands of evil, polished conmen out there, and we’ve had more brutal murders than the Manson murders,” Bugliosi, the prosecuting attorney at Manson’s trial, told Rolling Stone magazine in 2012, “So why are we still talking about Charles Manson?”
David Wilson, Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University thinks that Manson`s persistence as a cultural icon teaches Americans their own negligence towards threats and disturbances they commonly face. This, coinciding with his personal charisma, contributed to his unrelenting identity as a murderer. He further notes that “Psychopaths are incredibly charming and persuasive. To get you under control, to court you, they appear to give their complete and utter attention.”