manson’s followers, and what they reveal about human nature, are his true legacy
by nikki meredith
Sociopaths are a dime a dozen but we would not even know Charles Manson’s name without the young people he attracted and manipulated. Manson’s legacy is not only the violent, senseless deaths of innocent people, it’s the way normal people – people like you and me – came under his spell. We dismiss those people at our peril: the methods ISIS uses are the same, the methods Jim Jones used were the same. There are bloody examples throughout the modern world from Nazi Germany to Rwanda. What attracts people to them, crazy as it sounds, is the false promise of a better world. These relationships are fueled by a twisted idealism that puts the objects of their focus in grave danger. Manson was very good at telling people in search of meaning and family what they wanted and needed to hear. The legacy of his notoriety should be studying ways to interfere with the influence malevolent charismatic leaders have so we can better predict and prevent the violence they perpetuate.
My book, The Manson Women and Me, will be published in March, 2018.