Who is Charles Manson

Charles Manson - through murders to a gloomy icon

Status: 02.11.2019 4:03 p.m.

Actress Sharon Tate was 26 and nine months pregnant when she was murdered. In the early morning of August 9, 1969, four members of the sect-like community "Family" murdered the wife of the director Roman Polanski on her estate in Los Angeles. Four of her friends died with her. The initiator of this mass murder was the leader of the "Family", Charles Manson, who suddenly became world famous through this massacre. The so-called Tate murders were exactly 50 years ago, but they and their creator Charles Manson are still present in the media.

Charles Manson, later convicted of multiple murders, was brought to trial in 1969.

Charles Manson initially wanted to conquer the world with his music. "Pretty girl, cease to exist, give up your world and say that you love me", he demanded in his song "Cease to Exist". A wish that many young women later fulfilled by joining his "family" and sometimes even walking over corpses for him. By then, Charles Manson's original dream of becoming a successful musician had failed.

Tate murders: Manson family becomes a source of inspiration

Film director Roman Polanski and actress Sharon Tate married on January 20, 1968.

He made his way into pop culture in a bloody way. After the Tate murders, bands covered his songs and wrote songs about him. The American musician Brian Hugh Warner invented his alter ego Marilyn Manson - a fictional character between Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. And for writers and filmmakers too, Manson and his "Family" served as a source of inspiration. In the past 50 years countless books, films and series have been made about them - documentary and fictional, from horror to drama, even for comedies and musicals, the material has been cannibalized.

In the NBC series "Aquarius", David Duchovny investigates Charles Manson as a fictional cop, and director Quentin Tarantino brings the sect leader back to the screen in the film "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood", which will hit German cinemas on August 15th comes.

Charles Manson - manipulative and charming

Where does this unbroken fascination come from? "Normally knitted people are of course bound by boundaries, namely the boundaries of their ethical feelings, conscience, compassion, guilt and fear. And perpetrators who tick like Charles Manson do not have these boundaries," says criminal psychologist Lydia Benecke . This limitlessness, according to Benecke, makes him appear superhuman. What in Charles Manson's case is supported by the power he wielded over his followers.

"Manson did a kind of brainwashing with these people, so that they believed he was the new Jesus Christ," explains the Göttingen psychiatrist Borwin Bandelow, adding: "It is very common to find in people with antisocial personality disorders that they have a manipulative charm to have."

Manson markets himself through the media

Manson was just a person with a massive personality disorder, but the media turned the five-foot-tall man into a demon - the "personification of evil", "the devil of Hollywood", "Antichrist Superstar". He enjoyed every new infusion of his story and never missed an opportunity to put on a show in front of the cameras and spread his confused messages was easy to market, "says Lydia Benecke:" So a kind of unholy alliance of the needs of the staging of the perpetrator and the needs of the marketing of the media. "

In 2017, Charles Manson died in prison at the age of 83 - not as a great pop musician, but as a somber pop culture icon.

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NDR culture | Classic in the day | 08/09/2019 | 06:40 am