After a classic Manson take on the legal system and justice in general, I said, somewhat facetiously, “You seem rather mellow now compared to years gone by.” He quickly changed composure and said, “You know, if you and I were sitting in a bar right now, having a beer, everything would be cool, there’d be no problem... I’ve been Charles Manson for so long, I forget who I am sometimes.”
Over a two week period of 15 minute conversations, all of us got to know Charles Manson in a way that few people have. Englishman, Doni and I spoke to Charles on different occasions, taking notes, recording the conversation and trying to get to know the man who is undoubtedly the most renown criminal figure in history, an iconic figure that makes everyone uneasy just mentioning his name. Our intent was not to judge him, ask any questions about the incident that placed him behind bars, or retry him; we just wanted to talk about things in general, and allow him to set the record straight on some misconceptions. As we talked, Charles was extremely polite, articulate and engaging. This is not an interview. Charles mainly talked, as we listened. Englishman had the first conversation with Charles.
Charles was supposed to call at 8pm our time. The call would have been automatically transferred to my house, so I’d be sure to be there. Englishman was at the computer sipping on a cup of coffee when the phone rang and he picked it up. Totally unprepared, he knocked the coffee cup over trying to get a pen and paper and fumbling with what to say. As it turned out, you don’t need to say anything, Charles does most the talking.
Charles Manson: Hey Dave, what’s the weather like?
Englishman: It’s cold.
CM: Is it colder than last year?
EM: I am not sure. It’s not too bad.
CM: What we are thinking is that it is colder here than for the last 100 years. You know what ATWA is right? ATWA is Air Trees Water and Animals. The District Attorney called it Helter Skelter, but he lied a lot; you knew that right? Our cause is to save life on the planet earth. The weather is um, changing.
As we talked, it became evident that Charles truly cares about the environment. I asked him about global warming, thinking he’d be all over it, but he has his own views on why the environment is in peril. He mentioned his spacecraft in Arizona. Now, on the surface you’d think he was nuts, but Charles is probably more sane than many who claim a superior state of sanity. Remember, he’s locked down. They’ve taken almost everything away form him, his art, his music, everything, but they can’t touch his dreams. So if he has a spacecraft in Arizona, so what? It’s better than the broken dreams some Senators have after getting away with murder. When asked if he thought global warming was responsible for the environment’s condition, he philosophized:
I think it is United States Air Force trying to curb the population. There’s too many people. They are using up everything; we can’t survive with all these people. The bottom line is to get rid of all these people as fast as we can. All we are trying to do is save our own bug. You know, I’m just a bug man, you know, a bird or a tree. Long ago I left the people syndrome. I am an animal on a motorcycle. You know me. I’m an outlaw, no good at all. The whole thing is out of whack man, but you don’t see it in the outside, in the public, because the public is pretty much in to the what ever you are told. There is this whole perspective living in the underground that don’t tell. With the people that don’t tell. You know, the people that don’t tell. Yeah man, they don’t snitch on their partner. They hold their mud, whatever they do, no one knows about it. Tell someone, they can stop you from what you are trying to do. We learned that from Hitler.
EM: Hammer really wants to talk to you
CM: Yeah well, I wonder why??
EM: Well, there’s an aspect about you that people don’t know about, that people don’t talk about very much.
CM: Yeah whatever a “you” is... a “you” is a goat up on a mountain. I am not much of a “you” guy. I will play act but only if I have to; you know the dumber you are the less you have to do. I got trapped up in the Helter Skelter thing, but the District Attorney wanted to bring all the Italians from the East Coast to the West Coast, but we couldn’t get past the other Ma a. There’re two: the Italian and Mexican ma a. They’ve been fighting for years underground, and they wanted to open up into Las Vegas, into the beach, across the border. But they run them off into Canada twice. The only way to get to Hollywood, is to go through the courtroom. So, that’s what Vincent did in the case, Rambo, Geno, all this, into action. I got a dream of my own you know, just like every man.
EM: What is it?
CM: Life, death... I got too many people mad... I can’ t do it. Anytime you tell someone, they will stop you if they can. They ain’t doing nothing. You kill someone, they end up getting a copyright out of it. You had that happen?
EM: Yeah... (rhetorically speaking, of course)
CM: I figured... Right on, man yeah, come up with a good idea, you may hear it on the radio. I write songs man, but I don’t bother with the copyright... someone steals ‘em. I don’t care. I hear my songs on the radio. Do you play?
EM: Yeah, actually.
EM: Back in ‘77 I played guitar for a living.
CM: Did you give it up?
EM: No, I have a lot arthritis in my left hand; kinda slows you down.
CM: I like that. I am working on a song now, The Sorry Road “I heard the angels that sing and yell. I know the man who stands in re and sings songs in the devils choir. I see Jesus out on the run from federal indictment sucking on his thumb...” I had to come up with something for Jesus that rhymes...so it’s a good day, every day gets a little better.
CM to EM: What kind of bike do you have?
EM: One I built myself... A Harley based Shovel that I made.
CM: I had an Army man, from the USAF send me a letter telling me he was gonna take my bike. I wrote him back and said how you gonna get off on that? He said “I am an airplane mechanic, retiring out of the AF. I can come where ever you are and I can take leave in the morning before breakfast, then I can come back and drop whatever I want on your head.” He said that there is nothing I can do about it. “I will be back for lunch.” I said have a good ride man. I mean, it’s his bike, man. When you have something that someone can touch you with and you can’t touch it back, what can you do? Sgt or lieutenant come, you have to do what they say man... Yeah man, I wish I can do that. I got involved in everything. You have to be a good mechanic to do that.
EM: Either that or be willing to learn as you go.
CM: You have to be sharp. Do you have a shop do you do your own?
EM: No, just my garage I do everything in my garage...
CM:I had a nice bike. I traded it for a ship, a sailboat. I am over here in CA in a cage. You are in MI, man that is a long way, where you at?
EM: Right by Detroit
CM: By the lake? (yeah) Is it cold? There fish? You by Lake Erie? I bet...
EM: Yeah it’s cold man. I don’t know... not sure what this one is called... I haven’t been living here very long.
CM: Where did you come to MI from?
CM: You’re from The jolly land man, you English? That’s what I figured. You killed all the Irish men, right?
EM: Not all of them...
I asked Charles how he felt about a celebrity like OJ walking after killing two people, and profiting off the killings, whereas he was convicted on a conspiracy theory and sentenced to life. I had expected an explosion of emotion, venting pent up anger, but it wasn’t to happen. He calmly brushed it off as, “so what?” He said people get off all the time, while others don’t; no new news there. That did, however, remind him of his utter disdain for Marilyn Manson.
CM: And that’s where I am at now, chain of command, trying to get over all the confusion with all that Marilyn Manson bullshit.
Charles does not like Marilyn Manson, at all. Apparently Marilyn stole some of Charles’ songs and made money off them, basically capitalizing on Charles’ fame and talent. He expressed this dislike several times during everyone’s conversation. But I should add that he was not threatening in his dislike, just matter-of-factly stating that this quasi, cross dressing entertainer is making money off him and he resents it.
EM: Marilyn Manson? Who the hell can confuse that?
CM: Well, they took my band stand? They’ve been doing it for years, haven’t you notice? The Hebrews?
EM: I haven’t really followed...
A few days passed and I had talked to Charles a few times. Now it was Doni’s turn. I told her not to be nervous, just relax. She was totally relaxed and unimpressed—until Charles called. She all but froze. The reality of talking to Charles Manson finally hit, and she stuttered before finding composure, then it all went smoothly.
Doni: How are you doing today?
CM: I am doing... doing whatever I can, whatever I can get away with.
Doni: I hear that...One of the things we are curious about is your past with motorcycles. You know, what you rode, what you liked...
CM: I had a Vincent. I don’t think it has a year on it. It was an English bike that was made from the motor of a British aircraft. I had all kinds of bikes man. I had a three wheeler I liked a lot; a four, five. A little ex motor made bike, it only went 60-70. It was a fun bike, not built for speed, just for taxing pretty girls around. I had a 1948 red Harley Davidson that was like brand new, then this kid came up to me, and his people had misused him a lot, and he was down. He wanted to ride my motorcycle. I told him he was out of his mind. No you can’t ride my bike... he was just a kid. Said he had a learners permit. I told him this bike was not for learning...So he was all crying, saying he never grew up to be a man... so I said go ahead. He ran it off the cliff... He said I destroyed your bike... I said, but man, are you all right? You see, I felt he was more important than the bike. You know, I think people are more important than motorcycles... although I think motorcycles may come next. But anyway, I told him when you grow up, you’re gonna have to pay me back. You’re gonna owe me a bike.
Doni: Did he pay you back?
CM: Hell no... (laughing) get away from me, I’ll call the cops on you. But it’s all good. He is a preacher. Picked up a Bible and decided he didn’t like motorcycles anymore.
Doni: That’s too bad. My preacher rides.
CM: Yeah man I know, they all do whatever it takes to make money and lie... I feel sorry for Jesus.
CM: Cause of all the preachers.
Doni: You don’t think Jesus likes preachers?
CM: No, because they won’t let him come back. They can’t make money if he comes back. They keep making him into the devil. You didn’t know that by now?
Doni: It is always interesting to hear someone else’s point of view.
CM: It isn’t a point of view, Sweet. Stonehenge is there. You ever see them rocks piled up over there on the other side of the world? You know why I put them there?
Doni: You put them there?
CM: Certainly I put them there.
Doni: Why did you do that?
CM: I had a good woman. I told her to do it. (he laughs a lot here) she did it.
Doni: Wow, that was nice of her. I am not sure if I would have done that...
CM: She didn’t have a choice. You are gonna do what you have a choice to do... but when the cold wind blew, you wished you had listened. We tried to tell you, the District Attorney called it Helter Skelter. It wasn’t Helter Skelter, but global freezing. They covered it up with global warming, but it is global freezing. Then Al Gore tried to ride on my boat. He wanted to ride on my motor.
Doni: What did they mean by Helter Skelter?
Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi had to have a motive at the time, so he stretched the imagination, pretending to be a psychologist in his closing arguments stating, as if it were fact, that the, “Tate residence was symbolic to Charles Manson, and particularly the establishment’s rejection of him. Now, with an overall motive for these murders, an overall motive of Helter Skelter, the victims who Charles Manson ordered murdered really didn’t make too much difference to him. As long as they were white and members of the establishment they were qualified...” So Bugliosi used Helter Skelter as the motive to tie Charles to the crime, even though Charles was not present at the time of the crime.
CM: Helter Skelter means confusion... lies and deceptions. The District Attorney called it Helter Skelter.
Doni: So he was the one that was confused?
CM: Well you can’t really say that, because he was the one who got rich...
Doni: Well that’s not fair...
CM: No, it never was. Never could be. I think George Washington was fair. I am over there in their graveyard now with a 1934 motorcycle.
Doni: Yeah, Hammer has a ‘38 Indian here that we play with. It is much different than the technology of today.
CM: Yeah, well you guys have a different concept of motorcycles than I do. My concept is that my motorcycle is like a box car, because I have a sleeping bag and I live on that motorcycle. That’s my life. If something bad came to Phoenix, I’d get on my motorcycle and I’d move to Miami. If something doesn’t t there, I go to Mississippi. If something is wrong there, and they laugh at my boots cause they have straps on them, I go to Chicago... (laughing)
Doni: Sounds like a hell of a way to live
CM: Well yeah, I don’t have no problems. I don’t have to go back to jail that way. Sure beats solitary confinement in San Quentin
Doni: How long have you been in there?
CM: I’ve been in there all my life. That’s why I like motorcycles. When I get out, I run. I‘m like a rabbit running. I have to run and get away from bullshit. When you have a choice, you have to get away or put up with it. It’s better to get away, put your girl on the bike and be gone.
Doni: How do you feel about the election?
CM: I don’t care about that shit. That’s all dead, braindead people. They are stuck in school.
Doni: Who would you vote for?
CM: George Washington or myself. But not Lincoln, not for a second, because the South will rise again. It is that simple. It has to, ‘cause it was right. Lincoln was the divide and conqueror that Europe sent over here. The Pope sent him to divide the Protestants. Bet you didn’t know that
Doni: Nope, I didn’t. You are a wealth of knowledge.
CM: The Gettysburg address was written by a French man.
Doni: Ironic, since (we) portray them as wimps now...
CM: I wouldn’t say that. The French Foreign Legion is filled with strong people. They have always been great people. I think the Normans lived with them for awhile. I am heavy into Vikings, biology, chemistry.
Doni: Do they (the prison) have resources for you to learn from?
CM: I don’t need that. I already know this stuff. I was born with it. It was in my mind when I was a baby. I was born 1000 years old.
Doni: I wish I had the knowledge you have
CM: it’s not knowledge... it’s you. I’ll tell you what... go out on your bike where there is nobody. Are you listening? Go out where there is a lot of stars, and lay on a rock and just take your time there and think about it, and think of how many millions and trillions of years that just from little spot to the next, how many lifetimes and then let your mind grow in that great zodiac wheel of all those celestial beings that have been and have always been, that’s you! That’s you man. Remembering what Socrates told you thousands of years ago. You’re only 10,000 years old. That ain’t nothing. You know...
This is a great universe. There is no end to it. It is all just recollection. You still there?
Doni: Yes, just soaking it up.
We started talking about the credit cards.
CM: We are trying to put up an international credit card company. The only way for me to get my money right now. What is happening is that with no rights in a court of law, that is the truth...
Charles expands on that thought.
CM: It is all a sham. Now they’ve lied, and they don’t know that. They are teaching the kids another dollar bill. You dig, for another war. I am coming from Korea, from Viet Nam, Charlie Tuna, from Elvis Pressley’s testicles, in other words, from the basement. Life has been going on, and hasn’t been put in the media. You’ve seen Humphrey Bogart and McCall doing a movie, Escape from San Quentin? There was a real reality to that, but they make movies from reality, and most people do not understand the difference between reality and the movies. So what happens is all those people that are not locked in movies see the opportunity to take what they can get from the us and go to Europe and there is nothing anyone can do about it. They have no rights. Here is how it works. The civil court is held together by the criminal court. The divorce court is held together by the civil court and the criminal court. An extension of the criminal court. When the criminal court falls down, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. San Quentin fell down. The egg came down when that big egg came down, that is 140 years of law and order and wars and sacrifice and graves over in Frisco when the Grateful Dead said you don’t need a head man. You have a mind of your own, use it. In other words, everyone is going to survive that works and wants to survive those that don’t, will fade away like old soldiers. So when it comes back around, you can’t protect your money unless you have an international court, the ICPR (International Court of People’s Retribution). The reason we need retribution is because there has been some grand theft going on in the money and it is going to Europe in the millions and hundreds of millions of dollars. Consider that the oil markets have moved to Acapulco with the Shah of Iran. He took his bank accounts with him. We are talking big money, all the kings and the realm and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are not going to put that Humpty Dumpty back together again. The only way we can put it back together is with my card game. I run the underworld. I run the cards, the gambling, the drugs and the guns. I have always been a pirate. That is the Navy. The US Navy simply is the English language pirates. And George Washington is still a revolutionary. Does that communicate?
So the Sons of Liberty are in my crypt.
The crypt of the Sons of Liberty are all the dead men walking in righteousness and honor in the US Marine Corps and the Navy. That is all revolution. It is only a couple hundred years old, so it is not old, but it is all still there, and it is still in thought and mind and body and soul. Now I am putting mine on a motorcycle, ride around with them and a sleeping bag. You know what I am saying? And when I meet you, we have a good time, but when I am gone, well, you know... cry a little and everything is all right. Is now and always will be. You know what I am saying to you; You understand me, right?
Doni: Yeah man, I hear you...
CM: But you love money, right?
Doni: Who doesn’t? I don’t love it, but I will admit to liking it a lot. (Charles is laughing here...)
CM: Got your attention anyway..
Doni: Yeah, you got it.
CM: Yeah well, all I am trying to do is put a hat on my money, so I can get mine because what happens with me is they steal my music, my songs, my life, they take everything about me and they make the money.
Doni: What are some of the songs that I would maybe hear, that are actually yours?
CM: They don’t do it like that, Sweet. You see, if I write a song, “In my cell,” da da dad dah and you will hear it “in my room.” They change a word here and there, and the bridge and then say it is not your song, it is my song, just similar to your song. You know like stealing catch phrases. There used to be a company called Brother Recording Company and what we used to do is send them our songs. They kept giving us the run around, the hee haw and then they would come back and said we never used any of that. I said, I recognize this, and I recognize that, and I recognize “good vibrations da da dada da.....” and he sez, well I guess we owe you fifty grand, but we don’t have any money right now, so we will give you some old suits and gold records because our manager stole all the money and everyone is stealing the money, so all these real rich people don’t actually have any money all they have is the income tax. The managers write everything off to the taxes for business execs or poor people or whatever game they can get going, unprofitable business and deniable conversations and came back through another vibration and another nation and they cheat and lie and somebody runs off with the account numbers and lost ten banks man. They you blow your own village up, and then they sell that for a million bucks. They’re drunk on the blood of their own civilians. So we are trying to hook up Japan, Germany and Brazil and save a rainforest or two and try to save our lives man. You know, we are breathing the same air you and me.
Doni: We are under the same sky too.
CM: That’s right man. We are breathing the same air. We have to save our planet. Saving our planet is saving our minds.
Doni: What are you doing to save the planet?
CM: What am I doing? What the hell have I been doing? I brought my whole family into the judge, and gave it to the judge. The judge runs us all. The judge is the court, and the court is the world man. The court is all the kings and lords and our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; the insoluble Pope himself. It is still right there. It is still in the grave it is still in the mind, and in the air. We are breathing the same air girl. Ahhhhh.... That is what I am praying for, the air, my life the all my trees, family, soul, soldiers, Army, my God, my everything. That is what we’ve been doing for the last 40 years. Squeaky’s been 38 years trying to get our rights in the court of law. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written by men who knew what they were doing. Then Abraham Lincoln came and divided the country and it fell. Haven’t you noticed that country has been divided? That the North and the South are fighting was fighting each other? Does that communicate? I mean, we took it off the North and South Vietnam, and North and South Korea, and now North and South Baghdad, we just keep taking the same damn war and going on with it. You remember Ft. Sumpter? Sumpter is what started the Civil War. When somebody red on Sumpter; when someone red on them, they started the North and South War. Did that communicate to you? Okay, then whatever happened in 9/11 was the same thing that happened in Ft Sumpter. Everything goes around in a wheel. Everything goes around the wheel of my motorcycle. (he laughs). I ride Straight Satan. You didn’t know that?
Doni: No I didn’t.
CM: You didn’t watch my trial, had nothing to do with my trial at all?
Doni: I am too young to have seen any of that.
CM: You haven’t missed nothing.
Doni: My understanding is that it you didn’t actually kill or do anything like that, but you are the one serving the time for it, and that is all I have heard...
CM: Well, you’ve been lied to. You know, people are telling you what is best for them, not what is best for you. People are not telling you the straight up with it.
Doni: What’s the straight up with it?
CM: Well there’s a whole lot to it; there is more to it than a phone call. It’s involved with the end of the world... the beginning of the.. I can’t say that there is a chance to save the planet, ‘cause it is already gone. We are trying to save it, we failed, miserably. We couldn’t get no assistance; bye, bye, Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry... In other words this will be the day we all die, because they wouldn’t give no love, no help. We had to wait for another generation and the next was brainwashed with all kinds of garbage from Nixon and Clinton and real estate salesmen who gave away big chunks of the country and Carter who gave it away, and get down til there is hardly nothing left and you are trying to redeem it unless you take it into the world. You have to conquer the whole planet in order to save your own butt. You need to get a butt plug. You need a plug to cover you ass. You have to cover the way you live, continue to make your bones and your points and whatever you are doing for your god, whoever that may be, and then you have to live with yourself and be righteous, but you have to breathe the same air I am breathing. If you don’t want to let me live in my world, because you don’t understand what the hell we were trying to say because you wouldn’t let me put up a defense in a court of law. (At this point the 15 minutes were up and abruptly ended to conversation.)
Doni received some photos in the mail from Charles between the last call and the next one. Some of those photos appear in this issue. Charles asks Doni what she thought of the photos and Doni said she thought he looked very good.
CM: I look better than that now. (He and I both laugh...) I have always been a good looking dude. That’s what gets me in trouble. I am handsome...
Doni: I won’t argue with you.
Doni and Charles talk about some gangster movies with Mickey Rooney and Charles asks her about some of the movies and actors back then. Then they get into a conversation about snitching on someone and how it is basically further corruption of truth since the snitch’s testimony is contingent upon a deal, a quid quo pro arrangement, so if anything, the credibility of a snitch should be even more suspect since it’s not the truth that sets him free, but rather testimony that helps the prosecutor.
CM: Yeah man! That is why I am in prison. A lot of people that told on people don’t exist anymore. They got pushed over the edge I think. I heard that... that is what the court said anyway... (laughing) Sometimes people do things and the truth of what happened doesn’t ever really get out... they just give you what you want to believe, and say that is the way it is, but that is not the way it really is...
Doni: You said something the other day that had me pretty perplexed... I was curious what you meant, but we got cut off... you asked what I knew about your trial, and I told you and you said I got lied to. What did you mean by that?
CM: See, what happened in the underworld is that most of that has gone by, right? The Italian Mafia wanted to open up in LA and the movies, but they couldn’t because of the Mexican Mafia, like mamma, they wouldn’t let hem. They tried to open up the beach, a casino and a whorehouse, but the MA ran them off, so they couldn’t get on this coast. So what they did was used Vincent Bugliosi and my case to put them in the movie. If you know anything about the movies, you know there weren’t many Italians in the movies prior to Rambo, because he was in the mix. Tom Mix was an old movie star. Did movies for benefit, like Shirley Temple and the Good Ship Lollypop, and Charlie Chaplin and Hebrew Gangsters and Tel Aviv; he was trying to make a statement at the point in time and the movie world was fantasy dreams, and all that insanity they call reality... (laughing), that’s crazy, ain’t it?
I am here... time lag... jet lag from Israel to LA... is the difference between some people’s minds. People have things in their mind they think are there but they’re not. They are called brain dead people. I have been living with them all my life. They are called prisoners, convicts, the mind is a prison, everyone is in prison. What you believe is true that you have been told all your life and you pledge allegiance to the red white and blue. The red white and blue is real. The Marines are real, and the people that come back dead from fighting an imaginary force that doesn’t exist is still fighting the north and south war. And a lot of that runs off in motorcycles, like witness protection programs, and court rooms and things that they call justice. They say that you have rights in school and truth and all the things they teach the kids and the kids know no different and no one wants to teach them what’s real. There is a communication lag between the righteous and the phonies and the liars. Just because a guy is a District Attorney, and he has books and movies and television, that don’t make him right. It just makes people believe what he wants them to believe... does that communicate?
Doni: Yeah, how do you feel about how you have been treated? What they did to you?
CM: I have been on this train since they accused me of burning that school down in 1944...
Doni: Did you do it? Did you burn down the school?
CM: Well, I mean, I don’t really know. I was nine. Who remembers back that far? I can’t even remember breakfast. I know I went to reform school, they locked me into the all boys catholic reform school and told me I was the devil; that I sent everything on fire that I could put a match to, because I wouldn’t surrender to Abraham Lincoln. I was fighting the Confederate war because my uncle wouldn’t surrender, and his uncle wouldn’t surrender.
Doni: I am really sorry they treated you like that...
CM: Well, you know, you don’t surrender the truth, your soul won’t let you. God is the father. God is the truth. He won’t let things happen he doesn’t want to happen. That is what happens on computers now. Sometimes the screen just goes blank. You missed something they beep you out... they didn’t want you to know that.
Doni: Can I ask you a personal question?
CM: Come on...
Doni: What happened to your mom?
CM: My mom? She got back with the guy she called my step father because he would buy her whisky and she liked to drink. She drank Jack Daniels. (laughing)
Doni: Was she mean to you?
CM: No man, she was just another girl to me. I didn’t know her that well... she had just gotten out of prison and picked me out of foster care took me to Indiana and put me in the reform school, the boys school because she couldn’t deal with me. It wasn’t her fault... it was just life... mom was cool. I loved her, still do. Always will. She was a good Irish woman, her name’s Kathleen. I’d stand up for her in a minute. She is good. They lie about her, cheat, tell all that garbage... you know, like with that selling me for a pitcher of beer thing. Well, you know that is a joke. At least I was worth something. I guess being worth a pitcher of beer is better than being worth nothing at all... (laughing..) A lot of people aren’t even worth that. No, I am all the way with mamma. She is a good sister. She was my dad too.
That wasn’t the last time we spoke to Charles, but I had to cut it off at some point. Although I refrained from discussing the reason he’s in prison, I think a final commentary regarding his confinement is appropriate. Charles has always maintained that he was not present at the slayings and that he did not order the slayings. The prosecutor made a case around Helter Skelter being the motive for conspiracy to murder, yet the person who turned State evidence has said that Charles never used the term Helter Skelter, and she was a “family” member. No one disputes that he was not there. There is actually a more compelling motive that bolsters Charles claim, ignored by the prosecutor, who seemed almost out of control in his prosecution of this high profile trial.
As a result of the trial, the characterization of Mason by the prosecutor as a maniacal beast, the son of Satan and the embodiment of all that is evil, it’s hard for anyone to have an objective, impartial take on Charles Manson. And far be it from me to rob him of this reputation. When we have nothing left, all we have is our legacy, and in Charles’ case, it’s a double edged sword. On one hand, the legacy of Charles Manson will always be preserved in the annals of history, characterizing him as the most iconic criminal in history, while on the other hand, this legacy precludes any hope that he’ll ever be paroled.
When history marks you for life and beyond, it’s hard to convince a parole board that you are fit to re-enter society. Charles will never be granted parole, and he knows it. So regardless of what I think, what others may think, or what the truth may actually be, Charles has had to live with the reputation of being everyone’s worst nightmare. I hope to keep his reputation intact.
Thanks Charles for your time.
Founder of The Horse BackStreet Choppers Magazine
* Publisher’s Note: Over the year’s we continued to communicate with Charles by postal mail. Around 2016 Charles became ill while still in prison and was transferred to a hospital in Bakersfield, California. Another prisoner assisted him with writing letters to us. Charles condition worsened over time. He died in prison on November 19, 2017 of natural causes.