Charles Manson: An Icon of Evil

Essay by sdherin August 2009

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Known as one of the most sinister and evil criminals of all time, Charles Manson organized murders of innocent people. His name still strikes fear in the hearts of Americans. Manson's childhood, personality, and uncanny ability to control people led to the creation of a family-like cult and ultimately to the murders of numerous innocent people.

Charles Manson's life began in November 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio when he was born to Kathleen Maddox, a promiscuous 15-year-old. His biological father, who was thought to be Colonel Scott from Ashland, Kentucky, left his mother when she was still pregnant with him. (Petersen, 2005) Soon after Charles was born, Kathleen married a man named William Manson, in order to give her bastard son a name. Soon after Kathleen and William were married, William abandoned Kathleen and Charles. After Kathleen's husband left her and Charles, she began neglecting Charles. At one point, Charles and his mother were in a café, when the waitress came up to Kathleen and asked her how much she wanted for Charles.

Kathleen looked up at her and told her, "A pitcher of beer and he's yours." (Bardsley, n.d., para. 1) After this was said, the waitress set Kathleen up with a pitcher of beer. Kathleen stayed long enough to finish that pitcher of beer then got up and left without Charles. Charles' uncle had to search the town they lived in for the waitress in order to bring Charles home.

Charles' mother then tried to place him in a foster home. When those arrangements fell through, she ended up sending Charles to school in Terre Haute, Indiana. When Kathleen failed to make the payments to school, Charles was sent back to his mother's abuse. At only 14 years of age, Charles left his mother and began supporting himself...