All you need is love
Updated: Apr 28
Double curse: Charles Manson was born to a girl from an ultra-religious background who, along with her brother, turned tearaway—an impulsive little whore who was seduced by a man named “Colonel”; a man who himself ran several cons, and disappeared as soon as he knew he had made Charlie’s mother pregnant. The name is typically American; somehow, as with being “Chad Hapgood III” or “Ralph West, Jr.”, it is very American to have the first name “Colonel”—in the case of Manson’s father even his name was a con (he let Manson’s mother think he was a real colonel). This is how Americans end up with a man called Major Major who joins the army and rises to become Major Major Major—a real catch-22 situation, a catch-22 country.
It is this combination—extreme religiosity and a propensity to con artistry—that sums up Manson. Perhaps Manson would have been a regular con artist, maybe even a circuit preacher, if his home life had been in any way stable; as it stood, his mother and her brother carried out an inept armed robbery and ended up in prison for a long stretch—his father was long gone, even the name “Manson” belonged to a guy his mother married before Charlie was born to make the birth respectable. Manson’s inherited tendency towards short-termism, violence, and lies was exacerbated by the fact he never had anybody to show him any unqualified attention—and this eventually fed into a habit, quickly noted when the adolescent Charlie ran into the law, to simply use people.
Charlie would only work if he thought he could get something out of it; he only cooperated with you to use you—con man genes combined with a life where he was always someone’s burden to be dealt with, without a mother’s love or a father’s discipline. Manson was desperate for attention, yet unprepared to cooperate with anyone in good faith. His personality crux can be found in the name he gave his cult, “the Family”—i.e. that which he never had.
He was smart, by the way. Initial IQ tests at first imprisonment indicated a 109 IQ, when he was imprisoned again he was tested at 121—he later claimed, for self-pitying manipulative purposes, to be unable to read and write well; yet, as we shall see, he read some quite advanced books and his actual cursive was neat. By fourteen, Manson was already in serious trouble with the law—while many criminals struggle to commit a Federal offence during their entire criminal career, the adolescent Manson already reached for nationwide notoriety and tweaked Uncle Sam.
Manson’s philosophy was formed during his stretch in California penitentiaries. The first source was the Bible—for a brief period he lived with his maternal grandmother, and she took him to church; he particularly enjoyed Revelation, tales of “the fiery pit”. Manson could quote scripture from heart. His second inspiration came from then-new Scientology: Manson reportedly worked up to the “clear” stage when in prison—the highest, “enlightened”, grade in Scientology. Scientology jargon, such as “cease to exist” and “come to now”, found its way—along with reincarnation—into Mansonism. Scientology was developed thanks to L Ron Hubbard’s encounter with Aleister Crowley’s magic when he lived with the rocket scientist Jack Parsons in California—and Crowley makes a synchronous appearance in Manson’s tale, the Family later abandoned a car at “Crowley Point” and Manson was nabbed for the Tate-LaBianca murders on Crowley’s birthday.
Manson’s third inspiration came from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Charlie took a course on this book in prison and it was one of the few classes with which he genuinely engaged with sincere enthusiasm; his particular lesson from HWFIP was that you should always make the other person think an action was “their idea”—so, for example, a Manson girl might say, “I really want an apple,” and Charlie would reply, “Great idea, Susie; you should volunteer at the farmers’ market to get us some fruit!”. Manson used this trick again and again when he built up his harem. He also learned from Carnegie that you need to make a “big impression” and make a grand statement to animate interest in your ideas or yourself—hence the Tate-LaBianca murders, a very big impression.
A fourth inspiration came from my personal favourite, Dr. Eric Berne’s Games People Play. This book spawned Transactional Analysis and relies on a cybernetic system to analyse human interactions, essentially it uncovers the polysemy in human speech and interactions—it gels with Manson’s occult interests because it effectively uncovers the implicit agenda behind much human communication. It doubtless added to Manson’s spookiness and his ability to control his cult.
Finally, Manson also taught himself various hand signals and created his own language with his body. Again, we see a connection with an interest in semiotics and occulted meanings shared with Berne’s work—and also with HWFIP. It was the time—a spooky time, as they said in the ‘60s (though I would say wyrd)—when people came to appreciate McLuhan’s statement that “the medium is the message”. Manson also learned a few Masonic hand signs in this period and threw them at the judges in his trials, presumably in the hope that they would see he was a fellow Mason (a fellow Manson) and go easy on to him, though to little avail.
Manson also taught himself the guitar and composed songs; he was highly disciplined in this pursuit and wanted to be a professional musician—personally, I think he was pretty good; and he eventually worked “cease to exist” into the lyrics. In prison, he also encountered and became obsessed with the Beatles—a band who constituted a psychic earthquake in contemporary America.
My view is that Manson’s prolonged isolation in prison, his lack of family and mental imprint, his devotion to Scientology (effectively, thanks to Crowley, a form of gnosis), and his knowledge of Eric Berne turned Manson into a shaman—a misshapen spontaneous shaman. His interest in music and dance—his other instrument was the drums, very shamanic—augmented his shamanic aspect. Indeed, you should look at a YouTube clip and watch Manson dance; his dance is bizarre and schizophrenic—yet it is also shamanic and hypnotic, informed by ideas around occult communication.
At one point, Manson befriended the Beach Boys—particularly Terry Melcher and Dennis Wilson; they took him to the exclusive Whisky a Go Go club in LA, partly because tagalong Manson had become too big for his boots; they wanted to put him in his place in a real celebrity venue where Manson would be nothing. Yet Manson, a complete nobody, dominated the dance floor with his moves—and he did so because he had mastered shamanic dance; he knew how to entrance anybody.
Similarly, Manson’s skill in wordplay is magical and alchemical; hence he styled himself “man’s son”—and gave his second name as “Willis”, not his real “Milles”, so as to become “will is man’s son”. Later, he would identify the Beatles song “Revolution 9” with “Revelation 9”—and doubtless his other shamanic intuitions about the song Helter Skelter were derived through similar wordplay. Manson’s enforced isolation in prison, a meditative egoless existence, provoked a distorted ego death that placed him in the shamanic state—he then added to his shamanic material intellectually and through dance and music; and this is why we still talk about him today—he altered the American psyche, perhaps even the world psyche.
When he was finally released, Manson built his Family around the Haight-Ashbury sensibility, although he took only one recruit from the actual street. As a man, Manson was “beta”; he picked on vulnerable ugly girls and told them they were beautiful—then he slept with them, usually on an LSD trip. A favourite Manson trick was to talk to the girl about her difficulties with her father—many had run away from home and had troubles with their fathers—and then ask if she ever imagined sex with her father, many said this was so. Manson then instructed the girl to imagine he was her father as he had sex with her on LSD. This helped to develop an imprint on Manson, along with the usual cult techniques such a group sex—and possibly even fellatio with dogs.
As a short man—typical Napoleon complex—whose experience had been primarily homosexual thanks to prison (as a teenager in a reform school Manson held a knife to another boy’s throat and raped him) Manson was somewhat at a disadvantage with women. In prison, he learned how to pimp; and his early proto-Family situation was a pimp operation facilitated by what he had learned from HWFIP—in short, as we say today, prison “red-pilled” Manson on women. He later asserted women have no soul and exist to serve men and produce babies—a position that can only be described, in the current vernacular, as “based”.
Manson’s first Family acquisition was a homely librarian from the Berkeley campus. This was the general pattern for his female acquisitions: middle-class women with plain looks—his charges included the daughters of stockbrokers and aeronautical engineers, perhaps a testament to the fact that the American family in California was already in meltdown before the 1960s. Manson used his Family to subsist in various parasitics ways, but I’m going to keep my concentration on Manson’s esoterica and beliefs—if you want the basic facts, these have been extensively recorded elsewhere.
I will cut to the chase as regards what underlies Manson’s murder spree, the Tate-LaBianca killings that Manson thought would herald a white-black race war called “Helter Skelter” (after a song from the Beatles’s White Album): the widely accepted story about these murders is that Manson was sour about his failure to obtain a record contract through his contact with the Beach Boys—the Polanski residence at Cielo Drive had once been occupied by Melcher and was owned by music impresario Rudi Altobelli, who had also scorned Manson. It is not so; the crime was egoless.
Manson took his followers out to live in various ranches in Death Valley. It was here he finessed his worldview, with help from the White Album. Manson thought that there would be a race war between the whites and blacks in America; the whites would lose, the establishment would be killed off—and yet the triumphant blacks would not know how to rule, so they would turn to Manson and his pure desert family for help. Manson and his 144,000 followers (a number derived from the Book of Revelation) would take power. Essentially, Manson’s story was a circular historical narrative, not unlike Vico, that described in naturalistic-pagan terms how the world would go through death and renewal.
Manson said that he picked up messages from the White Album (the white race album) that instructed the blacks to rise up and kill the “white pigs” (as ‘60s youth slang had it, today the left says “gammons”). Context: at the time there had recently been a huge riot in the Watts ghetto and the Black Panthers stalked the scene—racial strife was on the agenda. Indeed, the White Album features the word “rise”; it also feature subliminal tricks sure to tantalise the budding schizophrenic—for example, at one point the Beatles sing that if you want a violent revolution you can count the Beatles “out”, then, very softly, another voice adds “in”. My take, given the leftist politics of the Beatles, is that the album does call for revolution—after all, it does feature the track “Back in the USSR (You don’t know lucky you are, boy)”. So I think Manson was right to think the Beatles tried to incite subliminal revolution—“Right on, man. Right on!”.
Manson thought he could immanentize the Helter Skelter race-war eschaton through the Tate-LaBianca murders, the hope being that the murders would be blamed on black revolutionaries and so spark stage one in the great cleansing and racial conflagration. In this context, Manson praised Hitler as a man who “levelled the karma of the Jews” and played a necessary role as a periodic biological cleanser—an argument not dissimilar to that put forward by Hitler fan girl No.1 Savitri Devi.
From the esoteric perspective, I think Manson became a channel for the very forces of Nature herself. He was blown open by his prison experiences and Scientology; then, in the desert, he was possessed by Nature herself—perhaps by Kali. Indeed, Manson often described himself as both Jesus and Satan; a coincidence of opposites sure to lead to intense shamanic insights that allowed him to transcend duality—thus he would often observe that life and death are the same thing.
Manson became a channel for Nature’s desire to cleanse the corrupt city areas, LA in particular. He was radically anti-humanist in the desert, being seen to prefer the eagles, coyotes, and spiders to humans—Manson was reported to have revived a bird that had died, a shaman-like power. Indeed, he became very upset when a follower killed a tarantula; and he would later make spider toys in his prison cell, an act of sympathetic magic by which he exerted power in the world. In a detail missed in many accounts, Manson inspired his followers to “go creepy-crawl” in occupied houses at night—and these nighttime raids were a preparation for the Tate-LaBianca murders. The “creepy-crawl” was decidedly spider-like in its nature.
I think these natural spiritual forces acted through Manson. The putative explanations as regards envy over a record deal do not hold with Manson’s general demeanour; he was, in a sense, “too far gone” to care about anything as trivial as a record deal. It was much more the case that Manson experienced an “Aryan awakening” that drove him to target the Polanskis in particular; remember, Roman Polanski had recently made a film, Rosemary’s Baby, where Satan conquers the world without opposition. Manson’s attack on Polanski’s home—his murder of Polanski’s wife and baby—surely indicates a reprisal against a Satanic force; and, in line with Manson’s comments about Hitler, a Jewish Satanic force at that. For those who see films and artistic products more generally as more than “just fiction”, to make a film where Satan wins is itself a Satanic act—and an attempt, spawned in Hollywood, to see Satan regnant in the world.
Nature could not stand it: Manson was the shamanic channel through which she sought retribution. Similarly, the LaBiancas were involved in bets with mafia-backed bookies and connected to mafia banks, although not themselves tied into the mafia formally; though they were Italian. They also represented the corrupted LA power structure—the outsider non-Aryan ethnic cabal, an Italian equivalent to Jewish control over Hollywood.
We must also consider a slightly underdiscussed issue as regards Manson: his connection to the Process Church of the Final Judgement. The Process Church was founded as an offshoot from Scientology in England by a former Glaswegian prostitute, Mary Anne MacLean, and a former Army officer-turned-architect, Robert de Grimston—MacLean was very much the mover and shaker in the cult. The group moved beyond Scientology into directly spiritual activities; they formed circles where members spoke spontaneously to channel energies—the energies thus channeled told them to move from London’s exclusive Mayfair to Xtul, an uninhabited area in the Yucatán. It was there the group, after they survived a tropical storm, received extensive messages from “the intelligences”—quite possibly HP Lovecraft’s “Old Ones”, Mayan gods.
The Process set out to proselytise North America and often did so in dramatic fashion. They would wear black clothes and carried out black masses. Their theology took inspiration from Jung: there was a quaternary, not a trinity; and the Process filled this with Lucifer, Jesus, Jehovah, and Satan—as opposed to Jung’s Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God, and Lucifer. Adherents could choose to manifest any particularly god they wished, so that a Luciferian would be fun-loving in drink, drugs, and women—while a Jehovahan would be stern and chaste. The group predicted imminent apocalypse and were helped in their quest by the fact that they recruited—a bit like Manson—many wayward sons and daughters from Britain’s higher echelons, so they were able to put out magazines with high production values and to ingratiate themselves with celebrities.
The group had quite a sadistic tinge, possibly due to MacLean’s savage experiences as a call girl. They were known to keep Alsatians and, as with Manson, Hitler was praised by the group’s inner circle—when the cult folded, MacLean, who obviously loved animals more than humans, founded an animal sanctuary (Hitlerian anti-humanism). The group used a swastika composed from the stylised number “6” as its emblem; and, when imprisoned, Manson scratched an “X” (“X’d himself out”) and then a swastika on his forehead—and his girls went Buddho-NatSoc skinhead. My view is that the group was effectively neoNatSoc, although arguably it depended on which god a Process adherent worshipped—still, the leadership, so it seems to me...
The connection to Lucifer interests in this regard, for in Manson’s gang we find Bobby Beausoleil (literally “good Sun”—the Sun, the swastika again) who appeared in Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising and also provided the film’s score. Beausoleil murdered for Manson; he was Luciferian, and the National Socialists also conceptualised themselves in this way—Himmler issued the SS with a book called Lucifer’s Courtiers by Otto Rahn, a book all about the quest for the Holy Grail.
Similarly, Manson claimed that there was a giant pit Death Valley with a city in it and that he would lead his followers to this pit in order to ride out Helter Skelter. Typically, this is linked to a similar pit in the Book of Revelations—yet it is also similar to the underground city of Agartha, popular in Buddhist folklore and also neoNatSoc circles. It seems to me that Manson might have been inhabited by Lucifer’s cold light, partly courtesy the Process Church—he shared their view that the apocalyptic end was near, and that everyone should prepare for the judgement.
Manson’s connections to the Process were considerable, a man linked to the Process even made clothes for Manson; and members of the Church visited Manson in prison. Manson stated, as regards de Grimston, that “I am him”—and it is likely the two men met. The connections are slightly difficult to trace because the Process established cells that were secret—it has been suggested that a biker associated with the Family belonged to one such cell. Perhaps the best evidence for the link comes from the fact that the Process sued the hippy writer Ed Sanders for a book he published about Manson in the early 1970s that extensively documented links between the Process and Manson—nobody sues for libel unless they have something to hide. In a final twist, it should be noted that the Process lived below Polanski’s house on Cielo Drive and on one occasion Polanski was chased by the Alsatians that belonged to the Process—almost as if they marked him out, the Jew fled the holocaust and yet was still hunted by Luciferian Aryans as he made his filmed tribute to Satan.
In general, this connection between “Aryan awakened” Manson and the Process recapitulates a wider theme related to the Kundalini awakening found in Hinduism—an awakening from the lower chakras that is often connected with violence and the left-hand path esoterically. Aside from Manson and the Process, the guru Rajneesh (Osho) would form a compound in Oregon in the 1980s that utilised Nietzsche, Kundalini, and Zen to form a holistic community—his watery eyes somewhat resembled Manson’s glazed look, you could leave any time you wanted (games people play…). Rajneesh also cut himself off from the Federal government and even started his own bioweapons program—so it goes with Kundalini; and, similarly, he asserted that the Jews chose their fate when it came to Hitler—for everyone chooses his own fate really.
There must be something about the West coast that causes such ructions; in Manson’s time an LA lodge of the OTO, not Crowley’s own OTO but the original branch, held ceremonies to focus hate into the Watts ghetto to provoke violence there and usher in the race war. Even people associated with the Beach Boys, with whom Manson palled round, expressed antipathy towards the blacks—what were the good vibrations these surf-Nazi Aryans were on about, anyway? For good measure, I understand Madame Blavatsky thought that California would be home to a new spiritual root race…
This would seem to be a good place to sum up all the occult events connected with Manson I have so far noted:
1. Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor on the Manson case, reported that his watch stopped during the trial—he looked up and saw that Manson grinned at him, as if he had claimed responsibility.
2. Stephen Kay, an assistant prosecutor on the trial, turned out to have dated one of the Manson girls as a teenager—he rejected her as “too stuck-up”.
3. Nixon declared that Manson was guilty before the trial concluded and this could have been grounds for a mistrial if the jury found out, so newspapers were banned from the trial. Manson acquired a newspaper and scrunched it up to read “Nixon guilty”—either a prediction or a Burroughs-style cut-up that caused Watergate.
4. Before the link had been made, an LA newspaper reported the Tate-LaBianca murders and the arrest of the Family for car theft on the same page.
5. When Bugliosi arrived at the ranch the Family hung out at, the radio began to play a song called “Young Love”—Manson called his girls “young loves”.
6. A Manson girl, Susan Atkins, confessed to the Tate killings to a cell mate while held on another charge—her cell mate turned out to have known one of the victims and to have visited the property where the murder took place on Cielo Drive, with a view to a lease.
7. Video footage of the victims at Cielo, taken sometime before the murder, recorded one victim, Frykowski, who recalled that he once saw a pig’s head aflame in the fire in the living room—when he was murdered in the same room the Manson Family wrote “Pigs” on the wall in Sharon Tate’s blood. Further, the same video ended with the extensive sound of knives carving meat down to the bone—the victims were stabbed multiple times, right down to the bone in that very room; again, either premonition or a Burroughs-type cut-up.
Doubtless there are other similar events that can be connected to Manson. Overall, the picture is such that Manson—as with many other people—experienced an unauthorised gnosis and became a conduit for certain forces that operate around us; it’s not quite about evil, so much as being wonky—in the same way that you achieve negative results if you drive a car blindfolded on a flat tyre. The Process advanced an unbalanced quaternary—they took out the Holy Spirit and inserted Satan instead, whereas Jung advocated Lucifer specifically to balance out the “good” trinity so as to achieve the fifth element (in alchemical terms “four becomes one, the fifth element”). The Process altered this system, with negative results.
Ultimately, it cannot escape our attention that these movements are connected to Scientology and, finally, to Crowley—since the operative element in Scientology derives from Crowley’s magical work. If you promote “gnosis for all” you end up with instability, possibly murder—and Crowley said, “Every man and woman a star”. However, I also think Manson represented a genuine tendency by a force of Nature to purify California—even if expressed in a distorted way. A desire for “the twice-born” or “born-again”, the Aryans, to claim and purify California; perhaps those forces are yet to find a stable expression.