Just a few days ago, rumors began swirling about the health of America’s most notorious psychopath, Charles Milles Manson. Initially, reports claimed the manic had died, but later sources stated he is alive but gravely ill. Manson may have escaped the death penalty decades ago, however, on Sunday, November 19, 2017, the story changed. The mastermind killer, who led his followers on a rampage when they murdered seven people in July and August 1969 in an attempt to start a race war, is dead at 83.
Although the sadistically deranged man no longer lives, his story will forever remain a mystery. How could a man become so influential that he could direct a group of impressionable youth during the free love movement of the 1960s to commit a series of violent murders? Reportedly, as a young man, he was profoundly influenced by the late Dale Harbison Carnegie.
Carnegie was an influential American lecturer, speaker, and writer. He created several well-known courses in the areas of self-improvement, public speaking, corporate training, salesmanship, and interpersonal skills. His book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published and still an all-time favorite among lovers of personal development.
Manson read about him, took a course, and ultimately used many of the principals that he taught. As have many others who found success, the well-known psychopath incorporated the ideas into his own life. Manson was an extraordinary speaker and had an amazing ability to manipulate people.
Dead at 83, his mystery lives on. Manson is just as terrifying to a nation as he was at the time of his arrest, decades ago. Ironically, during his tenure at Corcoran State Prison, he still received more letters a month than any other inmate. He often answers fan mail with letters autographed in an unnervingly witty tone, “the hippy cult leader made me do it.” One of his fans was so intrigued by him, she decided to become his wife.
Prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi’s wrote a book on the account of the Manson investigation called “Helter Skelter.” The general understanding of who Manson and his “family” of psychopathic killers come from Bugliosi’s true-crime account. When speaking of Manson’s ability to influence others, he said:
He had a quality about him that one-thousandth of one percent of people have. An aura. ‘Vibes’, the kids called it in the Sixties. Wherever he went, kids gravitated towards him.
By studying the master of influence, Manson learned the art well. The book, “How to Win Friends” offers a lot of solid advice for people who deal with business relationships or do a lot of public speaking. It is also packed with varying subtle manipulation techniques in order to sway others and gain their trust.
The book, although not responsible for Manson’s behavior, has powerful principles geared toward self-help and personal development. However, it is also a framework for ways to get what a person wants by any means necessary. Among its pages are manipulation tactics meant to persuade people or gain mind control and transition them to the reader’s way of thinking.
Manson’s life may forever be a mystery, but his place in history is solidified. His legacy that includes murder, marriage and a strong tendency towards mania will continue to fascinate criminal analysts for years to come. Even now, a half-century later, people still slave over keyboards sharing his gruesome story.
The criminal who terrified an entire nation has never confessed to or recanted anything. While details of his life and the motives behind his manic behavior might be cloudy, one this is clear; Charles Manson, America’s most notorious psychopath, is dead at 83. Yet, the mystery lives on.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
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All Images Courtesy of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Wikimedia Page – Creative Commons License