In July and August of 1969, cult leader Charles Manson and his followers murdered 8 people including actress Sharon Tate. In October of that year, they murdered a 9th person. Most of the murderers were judged with the death penalty. However in 1972, California abolished the death penalty for a short time so the sentences of the Manson killers were commuted to life in prison.

Charles Manson died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83. He had accumulated a cult following and ordered his followers to commit murders. He cut off an ear and part of the face of the first victim with a sword.

Susan Atkins died in 2009 in prison of a brain tumor at the age of 61. She had participated in most of the Manson ordered murders using a sofa pillow to help kill one victim and a knife to stab others. She found Christ while in prison.

Bobby Beausoleil, born in 1947, stabbed Gary Hinman at Manson’s behest on July 28, 1968, after lingering with the man, who had been badly injured by Manson’s sword, for three days. He remains in prison.

Charles Watson, born in 1945, was the leader of the murders ordered by Manson in August of 1968, including victim Sharon Tate and 7 other people, and the murder of an 8th person ordered by Manson in October of that year. He remains in prison. He found Christ and leads Bible studies.

Mary Brunner, the first Manson follower, was born in the early 1940s. She took turns smothering Gary Hinman with a sofa pillow as he lay dying of stab wounds, for which she was granted immunity for testifying about the others. She served 6-1/2 years in prison for the armed robbery of a hardware store. She is the mother of Manson’s oldest child.

Patricia Krenwinkel, born in 1947, chased and repeatedly stabbed Sharon Tate’s friend, Abigail Folger. She remains in prison. She got a BA degree by correspondence from Laverne College and is active in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Linda Kasabian, born in 1949, was the designated driver during the Tate and Lablanka murders, before escaping from the commune. She was granted state immunity for her testimony which helped convict the others.

Leslie van Houten, born in 1949, helped Watson and Krenwinkel kill Rosemary Lablanka. She remains in prison and received a BA by correspondence from Antioch University. She is active in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Steve Grogan participated in the Shea murder. He helped locate the buried remains, and was released from prison in 1985.

Bruce Davis participated in the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald Shea. He remains in prison.

Manson cult member, Lynette Fromme attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford in 1975. She was tackled by Ford’s bodyguards and was not able to harm the president. She was released on parole in 2009 after serving 34 years.

One can see from photos and descriptions of the lives of these people, before and after the killings, available on the internet that, other than Charles Mansion, none of them are horrible people, other then those few horrible days in 1969 and 1975.
How then was Manson’s control so complete? At the time of the crimes, Mansion was 35, his followers were in their early twenties, except for Mary, who was in her late twenties. Mind control cannot, I believe, be imposed upon a person without the permission of the person being controlled. There is a kind of magical thinking that wants to elevate another person to hero status and remove the checks on that person’s behavior. At that point a person wants to be deluded. I don’t want to see fault with my hero. If he asks me to kill I’ll kill. I have elevated him to the status of a god and have dethroned the real God. Also, the word assassin is related to the word hashish, a resin of marijuana. Apparently people can be hopped up to kill with drugs.

Why did Manson’s followers commit murder? Why did Jim Jones’ followers drink the cyanide and give it to their children? Why did the Branch Davidians stay with their cult leader until most of them were dead? Why did Heaven’s Gate members eat the barbiturate-laced pudding? Why do Donald Trump’s followers reject any critical thinking, swallowing the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the caging of central American-born children, the siege of Yemen, the payouts to prostitutes and so on ad nauseam?

We’re such herd creatures. We choose the cult we want to belong to, close our eyes to the truth, and mindlessly obey the cult leader. The wake up call is, there is no god but God. He is not outside you. He is within. If your marching orders are coming from the outside, look within. Does it resonate with the core of your being? And yet paradoxically, if you feel assured that you are right, look without for confirmation.

Were there is a cult there is a personality, a leader, sometimes decreased, that has been elevated to a higher status than that of an ordinary human being. Wait, that’s what I have done with Jesus! There is an us and them polarity. There are things you have to do in order for cult members to recognize you as part of “us”. With Heaven’s Gate it was, wear identical clothing and eat identical meals. Additionally, many of them were castrated. Speaking of Jesus, many cult leaders are seen by cult members as being the return of Christ. If you see the Buddha, kill him! This means, if you catch yourself elevating someone to ulta-human status, drop them back down!

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