[August 8, 2018] It was a hot summer in 1969 when I was delivering newspapers in Abilene, Texas, a neighbor told me about a massacre in California. Later police determined the murders to be by an unheard of cult and lead by a man named Charles Manson. I remember it clearly, almost like it was yesterday.
“From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.” – Charles Manson, American criminal, cult leader
The year 1969 was a violent year with protests against the U.S. for its participation in the Vietnam War. Soldiers were being attacked by peace protestors, riots occurred often during the summer months, and college students disrupted classes and joined many of the protests.
Forty-Nine years ago today, August 8th, 1969, Charles Manson’s cult members murdered five people in movie director Roman Polanski’s Beverly Hills, California home. Two days later the group murdered two more people in their home. The savagery of the crime shocked the nation and a criminal icon was created. 1
Our interest here is what the leadership characteristics were that allowed Manson to lead his cult members to murder:
- Highly charismatic and especially good at attracting young, socially-stunted adults
- Cunning, manipulative, and intimidating
- Quick-tempered with poor self-control
- Believed he was Jesus (this gave him special insight into the future)
- Believed a race war was coming and tried to help it begin (Manson claims this was the reason for the murders)
- Thought that rules did not apply to him
- Mentally disturbed (diagnosed with paranoid delusional disorder and schizophrenia)
Charles Manson died in prison in November 2017. He will be a legend for many for years to come because of his personality. Manson was a leader, just the wrong kind to use his talents for good.