The first time I heard the story of Charlie Manson I was 15. My cousin gave me the book Helter Skelter. I read the whole thing over a weekend, and I was hooked. I felt this strange connection to Susan Atkins. Maybe it's because the last high school she went to was a rival of my high school. Maybe it's because she seemed like an ordinary girl who just got caught up in a bad thing, or maybe it was because I wondered if I knew anyone who could ever be that evil. I have spent a few years reading everything, watching everything and going everywhere I can connected to Charlie.
I think part of me wants to understand him, and part of me is a little afraid to. Part of why I got my degree in sociology was because of Charlie. I wanted to study why people did the things they did. How could a man who was smaller than many of the women around him come to be in such control of them? As I've gotten more into the case I've decided I really don't know anything.
Every time I think I figure something out I find at least two more unanswered questions.
I've been to Spahn, Cielo, Waverly Dr, and to Sharon's grave and still I wonder why.
Why didn't Linda run and get help? How did the Bug get people to believe Helter Skelter and why after all these years are we still talking about this? I think the answer is Charlie. He is whatever people want him to be. He is a misunderstood musician, he is evil incarnate, he is just a guy who happened to be friends with murderers. He is all of these and still we hang on his every word.
I wouldn't say I like him or admire him, but I definitely feel like I want to learn from him. I still hope someday he tells us all that Helter Skelter was BS and what the real motive was before he forgets.