Remembering the Summer of 1969: Part 2 – the Manson Murders

This past Wednesday, we took a look back fifty-years ago to the heady days of the summer of 1969, when many young people naively saw the Woodstock music festival as a part of the dawning of a new era of peace, love, and universal brotherhood. See here. But just one week prior to the festival, a communal hippie “family” was wreaking havoc twenty-eight hundred miles away in Los Angeles, California; a calamity that would subsequently help to deflate the dreams of the “Woodstock Nation.”

Charles Manson (1934-2017) had been in and out of prisons throughout his young life, beginning in 1951 at the age of seventeen. When he was released from prison in 1967, he had spent more than half of his life behind bars. Manson, a charismatic personality, gradually attracted a large number of followers to his clan, mostly young, female runaways. Manson convinced his impressionable disciples that he was the “second coming” of both Jesus Christ and Satan, and they submitted to his absolute control. In Manson’s twisted mind, he believed the United States was headed towards a race war and that his role was to incite it.

An aspiring singer, songwriter, and musician,* Manson had previously been rejected by influential LA record producer, Terry Melcher (producer of five of the Byrds’ twelve albums). On August 8th, Manson sent four of his communal “family” members to Melcher’s former home to murder the occupants as part of his race-war strategy and probably also to instill fear into Melcher. Actress, Sharon Tate, eight-months pregnant, and four others were brutally killed. The following evening, Manson drove the same four followers plus two others to another house, eleven miles from the previous homicide, where they murdered a married couple and staged the scene as another faux racial attack.

Following the two grisly “events,” the entire Los Angeles area went into panic mode. The police investigation was slow going, but clues eventually led to the Manson clan and arrests were finally made in the first week of December 1969. The trial began on June 15, 1970 and the proceedings turned into a daily media circus with Manson and his brainwashed followers performing on cue for the press. But on January 25, 1971, Manson and the direct perpetrators of the LA murders were convicted and subsequently sent to prison for life.

The young people of the nation scratched their heads. Hippies living in communes were NOT supposed to be mass-murderers. The Manson murders revealed the Aquarian ideal of peace, love, and universal brotherhood had a very dark underside. In addition to the Manson killings, the Altamont Free Concert festival, held on December 6, 1969, which was planned as a “West Coast Woodstock,” was also marked by violence and murder.

The hope of the Aquarian dream of the summer of 1969 turned out to be a mirage. But there is real hope and His name is Jesus Christ! The Bible, God’s Word, says that we are all sinners and that we all deserve eternal punishment. But God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died for our sins on the cross. But He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and now offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Won’t you trust in Jesus?

Postscript One: Convicted Manson family killers, Charles “Tex” Watson and Susan Atkins both professed to have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior while in prison. I read Atkins’ book, “Child of Satan, Child of God,” thirty years ago. She died in prison in 2009. Were Atkins’ and Watson’s professions of faith genuine? I don’t know, but I do know Jesus Christ will save ANYONE who repents of their sin and trusts in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Postscript Two: The entire nation was shocked fifty-years ago by the brutal and ritualistic Manson “family” murders, but murder has since become quite commonplace in the United States. There were 17,000 murders in the U.S. in 2017. Mass-shootings are becoming an everyday occurrence. As of Aug. 5, there have been 255 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. And let’s not forget the GENOCIDE of 60,000,000 babies killed since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

*Two rock artists who had tried to help Manson land a recording contract were Dennis Wilson (d. 1983) of the Beach Boys and Neil Young.

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29 thoughts on “Remembering the Summer of 1969: Part 2 – the Manson Murders

      1. I put together a nice recovery after a weak work-from-home-Friday start. 8.1K steps after mowing the back lawn! But now I’m bushed The ol’ batteries don’t hold a charge like they used to.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, sister! The lost will deem themselves morally superior to a “cold-blooded killer” like Manson, but don’t accidentally cut them off in traffic on the highway! Here’s another one: People still express righteous indignation over the Manson clan members brutally stabbing Sharon Tate to death while she was 8.5 months pregnant, killing her and her unborn baby, but nobody better dare mess with women’s “reproductive rights.”

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow that was a crazy summer in 1969 and I enjoyed how you narrated it. Mansion is such a creep! I never knew he tried to start a race war, somehow I never knew that side to the history of Mansion nor did I learned before this post that it happened the same summer as Woodstock, what a summer 1969 was!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jimmy! Yeah, that was a wild summer and I remember it well. The other big event was the Apollo 11 moon landing in July. Five years after the Manson murders, the LA prosecutor wrote a book, “Helter Skelter,” which thoroughly covered the whole nasty story.

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      1. I could write s whole post about “Helter Skelter” and Manson. He believed the Beatles were prophets and had hidden meanings in their songs’ lyrics that only he could decipher. There was one song on the Beatles’ White Album, “Helter Skelter,” by which Manson believed the Beatles were instructing him to incite the race war via violence.

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      2. Yeah, it’s an interesting story (with some very brutal aspects). The LA prosecutor, Bugliosi, became a bit of a national celebrity because of his skill in getting Manson convicted, even though he wasn’t directly involved in the murders. They could have used Bugliosi at the O.J. trial. Bugliosi did write another book about how the O.J. prosecutors completely bungled the case.

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      3. Yes it was, except for in the middle of the book, Bugliosi suddenly got on his soap box and expounded on atheism for a page or two. Right out of the blue with no connection to the subject matter. Very strange.

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    1. I average 10K steps daily but it took me several weeks to work up to that when I started. I sit in a cubicle all day so I have to take two 20 min. walk-breaks and that gets me the bulk of my steps for the day. Hope you hit your goal, Wally! I have a post coming up next Friday about fighting the inevitable diet rebound. It’s been almost 2 months since I hit my goal and I’ve been able to stay at my weight (with a few small spikes here and there). The daily weigh-in doesn’t lie and keeps me on track.

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