Inside the Manson Cult: The Lost Tapes (2018) Script

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Yeah, every girl ought to have a daddy like Charlie.

Should--deserves to have a daddy like Charlie.

[camera shutters clicking] male narrator: Charles Manson:

Hippie guru, would-be rock star, and, until his death in 2017, the most notorious prison inmate in America.

You can't prove anything.

Now is the only thing that's real. narrator: Manson was the leader of a cult called The Family.

narrator: They murdered nine people, including movie actress Sharon Tate in the summer of 1969.

It was one of the worst things I've ever seen.

There was blood all over her. narrator: The murders sent shockwaves through Hollywood.

No one was safe.

Entertainers out there are hiring bodyguards.

It put the fear of God in them. narrator: The court argued that Manson had brainwashed his followers and programmed them to kill.

They had no idea that where Manson was leading them was mayhem and murder.

[laughs] narrator: But could one man have this much power?

And if so, how?

For the first time, we can see how.

Shortly after his arrest, Manson gave a group of young filmmakers led by Robert Hendrickson exclusive access inside his cult.

Scene one, take two, roll 53. narrator: Hidden away for decades, the original footage has now been found:

More than 100 hours of film, and with it reels of unheard audio...

We've seen Charlie do things that no human being has ever done. Or no human being has... narrator: And dozens of unseen photographs.

No, we've seen miracles.

This is dynamite information to have.

Where's it been all these years, all this stuff?

Some people are making a movie. narrator: Today, former cult members can see themselves as they once were.

Did you ever think of Sharon Tate's baby?

-I didn't know her.

I never met her.

Anybody watching this would think I was a monster. narrator: Never-before-seen interviews give us a firsthand view of the programming process.

I am Charlie.

And if he dies, I die. narrator: And long-forgotten film provides shocking revelations about how Manson's followers lived, loved...

[gun cocks]

And ultimately, how they were turned from regular, peace-loving kids into brutal and brainwashed killers.

-I didn't want to believe the things I heard.

I'm ready to die.

I didn't want to believe the things I saw.

They're persecuting what they can't stand to look at in themselves:

The truth.

When somebody needs to be killed...

[knives thud]

There's no wrong. You do it.


And you kill whoever gets in your way.

This is us.

[dramatic musical sting]

♪ Your home is where you're happy ♪

♪ It's not where you're not free ♪ narrator: In the hills above Hollywood, California, lives a small band of young men and women about two dozen in all.

They share a love of music and each other.

They call themselves the Family.

Roll 136.

All we ever did amounted to smoking grass and taking acid and making love as much as we could.

If we weren't doing that, we was leading up to it.

If we weren't leading up to it, we was doing that. narrator: The group's leader is a career criminal with a rap sheet containing multiple offenses from forgery to armed robbery:

32-year-old Charles Manson.

Manson never knew his father.

His mother was a petty thief who was in and out of jail.

And Manson followed in her footsteps.

His latest sentence: a seven-year stretch for forgery and breaking parole.

[ambient music]

He's released on March 21, 1967.

He heads to California... and the Summer of Love.

My name's Peter Coyote.

I'm the last ancient hippie, and I was a serious player in the counterculture.

It was wonderful to wake up in the morning.

You could get food, friendship, whatever you needed.

People of like minds got together and they formed extended families.

My name is Aesop Aquarian.

There was a lot of talk about going to the Summer of Love and we did love each other in those days.

We believed in peace and love and that things actually could get better.

[cheerful music]

Charlie saw the hippie movement and saw the power in it; saw the power behind the young people; could see a huge revolution starting.

And there really is a revolution.

And Charlie wanted to take this power and turn it into his own game.

When Charlie was released from prison, he had spent over half of his life in jail.

So he had no family.

For him, recruiting followers was creating the family that he never had.

narrator: Guitar in hand, Manson sets up at street corners and starts playing.

Gradually, he attracts followers.

♪ People say that I'm no good ♪ In the late '60s, music led kids off the suburban sidewalks to hear the sounds of authentic voices for whom the American dream didn't work.

The counterculture was this idea that young people had been led astray.

What did it mean to be a human being in a capitalistic society?

Young people had been fed a myth about American exceptionalism and American democracy that was untrue.

narrator: And Manson knew just how to get the kids to listen.

My name is John Douglas.

I'm with the FBI, former criminal profiler-- developed criminal profiling-- and I interviewed Charles Manson as part of the serial murderer research project.

When Charles was in prison, he was fascinated by the pimps.

Because these pimps didn't look anything extraordinary.

So how are you able to, you know, master, have this control, you know, over others?

These pimps told him where to find these girls.

They look like a broken wing.

A broken wing meaning that something was wrong.

There was this rejection.

So Manson had the ability to approach these so-called broken wings and talk to them.

My name is Dianne Lake.

I was one of the first and the youngest member of the Manson Family.

I was 14 when I met Charlie.

♪ Say a little prayer?

He expressed his love and adoration for me.

It was a high. It was magic.

It was an incredible upwelling of love, and, you know, joy.

My mom and dad were not the warm, fuzzy hugging variety. They really weren't.

And I think that I needed to feel that.

-♪ As long as you've got love in your heart ♪ Charlie invited me to be a part of their family.

It was what I was looking for.

[cheerful music] narrator: By the spring of 1968, Manson has gathered half a dozen girls.

The lost tapes show how he uses them to lure men.


What is your name? Paul Watkins.

How did you get in?

How did I get in to The Family?


I was walking through Topanga Canyon and it was starting to get dark.

I needed a place to sleep.

And there was this little house in the clearing in the woods.

Who came to the door was one of the prettiest girls I'd ever seen.

I go answer the door and it's Paul.

Big puff of marijuana smoke hit me in the face.

And that smelled good to me.


Charlie told me, "I want you to reel him in."

[soft music]

There was 15 people sitting around in there.

And it was a big room that had mattresses all over it and a little table in the middle.

Charlie, he was playing the guitar.

He laid all his girls out in front of me and says, "They're yours.

What are you gonna do with them?"

And uh...

I was flattered.

Nancy and I made him feel welcome and had sex with him.

I agreed that I would stay with them for the summer

'cause he said he needed some help; he was all alone with them and he couldn't handle them all by his own, couldn't keep them satisfied.

Charlie said that The Family was my family forever.

narrator: The lost tapes show how Manson broke down The Family members' inhibitions and used sex not just to seduce, but also to control them.

We all had to go through lots and lots of changes.

All the guys had to get over all their homosexual things by doing everything that you could possibly think of doing with guys. And all the girls had to do everything they could possibly think of doing with girls.

He would have them talk while he's having sex.

Was there anything, sexually, that went on that you feel disgraced by or embarrassed by?

By doing that they just felt better about themselves, although he had, now, all the intelligence information on them, and then would know what kind of buttons to push. narrator: Manson's technique is finding the thing each of his followers really feels they need and giving it to them.

He'd mirror people.

He did that the very first day with me.

He just mirrored me.

And he told me, "You're me.

We're the same."

He knew people. He knew human nature.

So he made me feel that this was just meant to be.

And he made me feel important.

[ambient music]

People would say, "Well, how come you didn't leave?"

I stayed with Charlie because Charlie captured my heart.

And like heroin addicts the first time they take heroin, I was addicted to that initial feeling of love and adoration and acceptance.

I wanted that again and again and again.

[rock music plays] narrator: As he gathers his followers around him, Manson pursues an idea first dreamt about during his years in prison:

A career in music.

He sends his girls out into the streets, hoping to meet people with connections to the business.

On some level, Manson's entrance into the LA music scene is rooted in a chance encounter.

Two of the women in The Family happen to meet Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, one of the central figures of rock music in Los Angeles in the late 1960s.

Wilson takes the girls home.

And shortly afterwards, Manson follows.

I was at Dennis Wilson's house.

It astounded me at that time because I'd never seen a place like that.

It was like a fairy tale.

And Charlie comes dancing out of the house, and I said, "Wow."

[swinging music plays]

There's no other way to put it.

Dennis Wilson falls in love with Charles Manson and falls in love with the women.

Both Charlie and Dennis, I think that there was a mutual admiration going on between them.

They were both wild, liked women, liked music.

Dennis was very much impressed with the fact that Charlie could get his girls to participate. narrator: They party. They hang out.

They even record together.

[men laughing]

On one occasion, captured in the lost tapes, Manson gives his home-spun philosophy on life.

[guitar strumming]

The way out of a room is not through the door, partner.

Because then you just go into another room which leads into another room, which leads into a bigger room and you're still inside your cage, man.

Dennis was kind of looking for some kind of spiritual guidance, and I think that you know, Charlie kind of fit the bill.

That's not the way out. The way out is to give it all up and love every bit of it as being perfect.

Manson couldn't have scripted it better.

Wilson introduces him to his good friend Terry Melcher, one of the hottest rock-and-roll producers in America.

He's the music producer who has produced The Byrds, and Paul Revere and the Raiders.

He's got a number of hits behind him. narrator: Melcher has it all: a superstar mom in Doris Day, a superstar girlfriend in Candice Bergen.

And at the time, he even rents a superstar's mansion in Beverly Hills with an address Charlie and the world will never forget:

10050 Cielo Drive.

Coming up on "Inside the Manson Cult"...

Anyone in that house on Cielo Drive...

On Cielo Drive, over.

Was going to die that night.

They were all going to die. narrator: The real inside story of America's most shocking cult.

It was just pandemonium in Los Angeles.

[gun clicking]

It was terrifying, the idea of testifying against them.

He's programming us.

-We are sneaking in a county jail.

He's telling us to break him out.

[dramatic musical sting]

male narrator: Hidden and forgotten for more than 40 years, the lost tapes take us inside the Manson cult and show how Charles Manson turns a group of hippie runaways into brainwashed zombies, some capable of mass murder.


[rock music] narrator: It is spring of 1968.

The whole world is rock-and-roll crazy.

In that era, music's a talking newspaper.

Music is a way that young people were processing the conflicts that were all around them in the culture.

It wasn't a secret code.

It was another language, and it was a language that thousands and thousands of young Americans spoke fluently. narrator: Manson speaks the language too, and fame would bring him the widest possible audience for his ideas.

He's living with California music legend Dennis Wilson, drummer of the Beach Boys.

He knows the power rock stardom can bring.

Now he gets a taste for the life.

Charlie evolved.

He didn't want money or fame, because he never had money or fame.

But then when he sees Dennis Wilson, people are fawning over him, he's got this beautiful house.

And Charlie thought, "Hey, this is something I want." narrator: Wilson hooks Manson up with top Hollywood music producer Terry Melcher.

Melcher is rock-and-roll royalty.

♪ Just come and say you love me ♪ Manson thought Melcher was there to audition him for a record contract.

I think Charlie was very nervous, but I don't think he wanted to show that.

♪ Come on and look at me narrator: Melcher holds the keys to Manson's musical dreams.

But a sound recording from the lost tapes reveals what Melcher thinks of Manson's music.

-When Charlie was rejected by Terry Melcher and the music industry, it festered with Charlie.

It's something he focused on and fixated on for a very long time afterwards.

He talked about all these Hollywood people.

"They're all liars."

narrator: Manson has had it with show business and the people in it.

It marks a turning point in the Manson story.

From now on, Hollywood is the enemy.

Their dreams dashed, The Family pack up and hit the road.

[acoustic guitar plays]

They settle at a horse ranch around 30 miles north of Los Angeles.

Spahn Ranch was private.

You know, it had that interesting little flair because it's been in a lot of Western movies but there also was, like, a façade of a saloon and, you know, they rented horses for horseback riding.

Spahn Ranch sat on old Highway 70.

It was a place...

Yeah, it had its own magic.

My job was looking after horses and the cowboys, the people that worked on Spahn's Ranch.

A place like that isn't actually a job.

It's a way of living. narrator: A way of living that is about to change.

In comes this little guy who bangs through the door like he thought he was God, and he screamed at us, "I'm Charles Manson!"

And I was like, "I don't give a hell who you are, Get the hell out of my house!" narrator: But it isn't Windy's ranch.

It belongs to 80-year-old George Spahn.

And Manson makes a deal with him.

The Family can stay free of charge if the girls help out.

We helped out renting the horses, shoveling horse poop.

Charles Manson took two of the girls and he assigned them to keep George Spahn happy... in any way they could.

And they did. narrator: Manson's commune attracts more and more followers, including 25-year-old musician Catherine Share, nicknamed Gypsy.

To me, it was beautiful.

I didn't see the dust.

I just saw the quaintness of it.

And it just looked almost dreamlike to me.

I was told by one of the girls that everybody picked new names, and I could pick whatever name I wanted, and I said, "Oh, okay, then I'll call myself Gypsy."

We didn't need food.

Charlie showed us how to get food out of the dumpsters at the back of the grocery stores.

You wouldn't believe what we got out of the garbage cans today.

We got a whole watermelon, six boxes of bananas, four boxes of oranges, um...

Don't forget the artichokes. Artichokes...

We'd wash it off and make fruit salads.

We ate very well, actually.

Playing music and making love and getting to know everyone...

It was quite ideal for quite a long time.

But beneath the surface there was a monster that was lurking.

narrator: The lost tapes reveal the tightening grip Manson has on his followers' minds.

I am Charlie.

And if he dies, I die.

You said you are Charlie?

I gave up my personality and become what he showed me I can be.

And that is what?

Total love.

So in this clip we can see more about the mindset of Manson's followers; that, in essence, they had eliminated their identities.

They have nothing else to go upon except what Charlie had provided, and this instills this idea of groupthink, where all they know is the benefit of the group.

We didn't talk about our inner feelings or emotions because we weren't supposed to have any.

It was one mind with a lot of hands.

And there was no discussing it. narrator: Somehow The Family seemed to believe they're actually living the dream Manson had sold them.

But those outsiders close enough to witness see something very different.

Manson had a bunch of ragtag... dirty little girls.

They were kind of pathetic.

They sure were strange.

The men all carried knives.

When I went up there, I always carried a gun. narrator: Coming up, the lost tapes reveal how Manson takes his cult a step closer to killing.

Everybody just went stark raving mad, I mean, just completely crazy. narrator: And startling recordings show that he is bending their minds to believe he is God.

We've seen Charlie do things that no human being has ever done.

We've seen miracles.

male narrator: It is the summer of 1968.

Charles Manson, wannabe musician and ex-con, has established a commune on a run-down ranch

30 miles outside of Los Angeles...

[all humming]

And he's turning it from commune to cult.

Every now and then, them girls would ask me why I didn't throw away my bras and run like them half-naked around the ranch.

Didn't I feel like I should be free?

I said, "You're not free. You're slaves." narrator: Along with sex, music, and mind-control, Manson throws one more ingredient into his cult-creating cocktail: isolation.

At the ranch there are no calendars or clocks; no magazines or newspapers.

Manson's word is the only word.

We were totally reliant on Charlie's idea of what our family should be doing.

[solemn music]

The isolation that Manson imposed upon his followers by taking them out into the Ranch was pivotal.

In that environment, he controlled everything they saw, everything they heard.

He could create an absolute bubble.

In hindsight, it was the perfect breeding ground for his philosophy to grow and our commitment to him to deepen.

narrator: The lost tapes contain a unique record of Manson's preaching.

You're born with a survival instinct to be selfish.

So the first thing that happens, man, is they start giving you their thoughts and making things out of you that they want out of.

And then by the time you reach 30, you're exactly what they want.

You're a free soul standing in a cage who has to die because he was taught.

[chuckles] Yeah.

We would listen to everything he had to say.

We never joined in, commented, disagreed.

He would seem to just answer your questions before you had any. narrator: Manson's Family is now about 30 strong.

Some have been with him more than a year.

He has bent them to his will with sex, isolation, and domination.

And the lost tapes show one last vital ingredient.

We took things like belladonna and smoked hashish a lot and smoked marijuana all the time, and... and psilocybin and mescaline...

When I was with Charlie we took anywhere between 30 and 40 trips on acid alone.

[rock music]

Everybody just went stark raving mad.

I mean, just completely crazy.

People are jumping in and out of the fireplace, flying through windows, hitting other people in the face.

Arms and legs flying in every directions and people screaming, "Charlie! Charlie!"

♪ One too many trips

♪ To the moon and back

♪ Feel like I'm shot through

♪ From green to black

♪ Had so many highs The LSD was fun.

Everything became more animated, the songs, you know, the words, I felt totally disconnected from reality. narrator: But not everybody in the cult is high.

Manson was smart enough to know how to dose out LSD.

I've interviewed Manson three times.

He told us in the interview at San Quentin he would take drugs, but not that much.

But what about your flock?

"I gave them the full dosage of it."

You know, "Why?"

"Because I felt I could have more of an impact over them."

The shadow side of psychedelics is that you're nakedly innocent and vulnerable.

And someone can weasel their way inside your mind and alter your perspective. narrator: With The Family drugged and under his spell, Manson takes his power to a whole nother level.

-Charlie never just said he was Jesus Christ, but then he always said it.

He said it in every other way except for just coming flat-out and saying

"I am Jesus Christ."

He said that 2,000 years ago he'd hung on a cross and died for everyone's sins, and it didn't do a [bleep] bit of good, so now he's up again.

[solemn music]

He started using subliminal messages such as, "They won't kill me this time because I've already died."

But he'd say it very quickly with a lot of other things.

The most extreme form of grandiosity and power and narcissism is to be godlike.

You look the part.

You got the hair, you got the beard, and now you start talking and it's very, very convincing.

Before you know it, you're Jesus.

You're Christ.

It looked to me like he was hanging on the cross and... you know, bleeding from his hands.

It seemed very real.

It seemed like other people were, you know, believing it.

We've seen what's possible.

We've seen Charlie do things that no human being... has ever done.

Or no human being has revealed that he could do these things.

No, we've seen miracles.

He often talked about the significance of his name, Man-son.

That he was Man's Son.

The Son of Man.

We saw him bring a bird back to life.

We know that anything's possible.

narrator: It's taken two years of sex, mind-control, drugs, and domination for Manson to turn regular kids into a cult of worshippers ready to obey his every command.

The question now is what will he make them do?

Manson knew where he wanted to go.

He knew where he was taking these people.

But they had no clue.

They had no idea that where Manson was leading them was mayhem and murder. narrator: Coming up, the lost tapes show Manson as he prepares for war...

We're always ready. narrator: And the killings start.

He was the commander now and we were all in boot camp. narrator: And an incredible confession never broadcast before.

He said that one day in Beverly Hills, there would be some atrocious murders and people would be chopped to pieces.

There'd be things written on the walls in blood.


narrator: June 1969.

Charles Manson is becoming increasingly obsessed with one extraordinary vision.

I think Charles Manson was looking for some chaotic Armageddon into which he could take even more advantage of disorder, and rally people behind a common threat.

Charlie used to say the blacks would fight against the whites, and everyone would fight against everybody else and that everyone would get killed except for Charlie and a few blacks who'd be left to be their servants.

He became increasingly, you know, paranoid about that, and started preparing us for that event.

Manson is imbibing what's happening in terms of popular and political culture in the United States.

When we think about the late 1960s, the Civil Rights movement, Malcolm X, the Black Panther party, the Vietnam War, there were really hundreds of civil disturbances.

And there was a real fear that race war was coming to the United States.

It seemed as if the end of the world was coming.

narrator: Manson dubs his race war prophecy

"Helter Skelter," a name he takes from a most unlikely source.

Male announcer: You guessed it, the Beatles!

This rock-and-roll group has taken over as the kingpins of musical appreciation among the younger element. narrator: In November 1968, the Beatles release their "White Album."

Manson becomes obsessed.

Charlie played it forwards and backwards and he played it over and over again.

He said, "The Beatles are sending me a message...

That it's time."

Black man was gonna take over the world.


There was a song called "Helter Skelter"...

[guitar riff]

About people who were at the bottom of the slide of society getting back to the top.

According to Manson, these were the blacks.

The Beatles now were confirming that it was all true.

[guitar riff]

It was crazy, crazy thinking.

[guitar riff] narrator: Now free love transforms to boot camp as Manson readies his Family for Helter Skelter.

Mark it. Sandy, Brenda, Squeaky, six, take one, roll 210.

-We're always ready.

The new thought is to be a strong reflection of the father.

Now, I'm just finding out about this, see.

And it feels good.

It feels good to know.

He issued us all buck knives and showed us the most effective way to kill someone.

He said it...

"You have to be willing to kill in order to not be killed."

♪ If you want it

♪ Here it is

♪ Come and get it [all laughing]

♪ But you better hurry Because it won't be here long, you [bleep].

He told us you stab and then you rip up.

You know, you--that's what I remember.

It's like, you know, so, the reason being that you would hit as many organs-- you know, vital organs as possible.

He was the commander now.

And we were all in boot camp.

I think the dangerous side of Charlie was that he would do anything... to survive. narrator: While Manson's Family think they're getting ready to defend themselves, in reality, their leader's intentions are very different.

At that time, I was staying with a man named Pete Nell who was president of the San Francisco Hell's Angels.

And I got to his house one day just as Charles Manson had left, and he was flabbergasted.

Charles Manson had come to them to try to get the Hell's Angels to begin a race war; to just go start randomly shooting black people.

And Pete had said, "You know, if you want a race war, go start it yourself."

narrator: A chilling piece of audio captured on the lost tapes when the cameras stopped rolling and never broadcast before reveals that Manson now does plan to start that race war himself.

And the place he's chosen?

The very heart of Hollywood's elite:

Beverly Hills.

He said that one day, up in the mountains of Beverly Hills that they just, uh... go in and have a bunch of mass murders.

That they would be so atrocious.

That there would be blood splattered all over everything.

That people would be chopped to pieces and cut up with knives.

There'd be things written on the walls in blood.

And, uh, the white man would get all uptight about it and blame the [bleep] for it.

narrator: Coming up on "Inside the Manson Cult"...

He confided in me about killing people.

About how groovy it was to take a gun and blast some guy in the stomach. narrator: And a former cult member has to face her younger self from half a century before.

Did I ever think of her baby?

I've pictured her pregnant.

Anybody watching this would think I was a monster.

narrator: Early summer, 1969.

Charles Manson is convinced a race war is coming down fast.

The ranch changed completely after that. narrator: And the lost tapes show how his world view turns dark.

He confided in me about killing people.

About how groovy it was to take a gun and blast some guy in the stomach just because he was black.

About how far out it would be to go into a house and... cut the [bleep] out of women and cut the [bleep] off of little boys and just have pools of blood everywhere.

Manson addressed the issue of the pending race war by creating what he thought would be the circumstances to ignite it.

narrator: As Manson hones his master plan, the tapes show how he's conditioned his followers to commit the ultimate crime by conquering their deepest fears of death.

-There is no death.

There's no such thing. When you die, you die with the thoughts that you have in your head.

Their reality was such that oh, you know, death was no big deal.

When somebody needs to be killed, there's no wrong.

You do it.

And then you move on.

[gun clicking]

Manson had weaponized his followers to use--like a knife, like a gun, like a rope, to kill the people that he had targeted.

narrator: Manson has trained his Family to be able to kill for him.

But are they ready to really do it?

It's time to find out.

-Gary Hinman had his ear chopped off... along with being killed and stabbed and tortured... everything else he had done to him.

We'd been to Gary's house you know, several times.

He lived in Topanga Canyon. narrator: Gary Hinman has sold Bobby Beausoleil some drugs.

Beausoleil sells them on but his buyers think the drugs are bad.

Beausoleil needs the money back.

So, uh, Bobby was driven over there to make it right with two girls that knew Gary very well.

In fact I think he had slept with both of them.

Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner.

Hinman denies he did anything wrong.

He doesn't have any money, he swears by it.

But he's getting loud, he's getting angry.

The women get on the phone with Manson and tell him what's going on and Manson decides that now he has to ride in again and solve the situation.

Charlie gets a samurai sword.

He takes the sword to the house.

Once you show up with a sword, things will not end well.

Manson makes a swipe.

He made a slice from the ear down to the face.

It was bleeding a lot.

Pretty much what he's telling Beausoleil is, "Come on.

You know what you have to do."

Bobby Beausoleil takes one of the cars and leaves the area.

Beausoleil is found in the car, asleep, arrested, charged with the crime of killing Gary Hinman.

Manson gets a call letting him know that Beausoleil has been arrested, and this is where the chaos really sets in.

This is when things start getting really dire.

I mean, really murderous. narrator: Manson's Family are now murderers and, it seems, ready to give up everything for him.

It's time to put his master plan into action.

The Helter Skelter race war won't start on its own.

But his family can start it for him, and he knows just where and how he wants them to do it.

It has taken over two years, but he has created an army of followers ready to kill to please their master.

On the evening of August 8, 1969, Charles Manson selects his most trusted for a mission that will haunt U.S. history.

Manson told his followers that this would be the ignition point for Helter Skelter. narrator: Charles "Tex" Watson, 23-year-old ex-high school football star.

Patricia Krenwinkle, 21, a onetime church choir member.

And Susan Atkins, also 21, a former Girl Scout.

They'll be driven to the onetime home of Terry Melcher, the man who rejected Manson for a record deal:

10050 Cielo Drive.

Coming up on "Inside the Manson Cult"...

Manson brings terror to Tinseltown...

The gore. The blood.

This was what Charles Manson wanted. narrator: And the threat of more murder to come on the lost tapes.

If you had to kill more, you'd kill more?


Whatever we have to do. Whatever.

We leave our house open to the soul.

narrator: Charles Manson has turned his young followers...

We're always ready. narrator: Into killers.

There is a deed to be done.

There is something that has to be taken care of here. narrator: The murder spree has begun.

-When somebody needs to be killed, there's no wrong.

You do it.

woman on radio: Man down, man down, at 10050 Cielo Drive, over.

August 9, 1969.

9:00 a.m.

Bob Burbridge is a 25-year-old cop on patrol for the LAPD.

Well, I just got out of roll call at West Los Angeles Police Station and the call was a man down call, a call of a drunk or it could be a dead body.

So I rolled on the call...

[indistinct radio chatter]

We're turning onto Cielo Drive.

This is the way I came up on that day.

[woman speaking on radio]

We're approaching the driveway going up to the mansion, the Sharon Tate mansion.

As soon as I went through the gate, I discovered a body in a white car.

I looked on the lawn, and there were two more bodies laying on the lawn.

We decided that there might be a sniper involved, so we asked one of the policemen to go get a shotgun to cover us while we went running across this open area to the house.

[indistinct radio chatter] narrator: By the summer of 1969, Terry Melcher had moved out of the Cielo Drive house.

Manson knew pretty damn well that Terry Melcher no longer lived there.

What you have here is you have a resonance-- it's a symbolic resonance.

And there's gonna be revenge on whoever is there: men, women, children.

It didn't really matter. narrator: The people now living at 10050 Cielo Drive are Hollywood director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate.

Sharon Tate was a rising young movie actress.

She had not starred in any A movies but she was certainly headed in that direction. narrator: Polanski is in London working on a movie.

But Tate is at home with friends.

[guitar riff]

Three of Charles Manson's most trusted followers had paid them a visit.

Charles "Tex" Watson, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Susan Atkins.

[radio chatter]

The LAPD is just about to find out what horrors they had inflicted inside the house.

We got to the living room.

We saw two more bodies-- towels over their head and a rope wrapped around both of their necks.

One of them was Sharon Tate.

She was obviously eight to nine months pregnant. man's voice: A movie actress and four of her friends were murdered.

And the circumstances were lurid.

I just remember she was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

And there was blood all over her and... it was awful.

It was just awful.

I--I hate to even think about it.

Identification of the persons are as follows:

Sharon Polanski, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger...

Jay Sebring was an internationally famous hairstylist.

Abigail Folger was the heiress for the Folger coffee fortune.

Wojciech Frykowski was good friends with Roman Polanski.

Steven Parent had just been there to visit the caretaker.

The victims suffered 102 stab wounds.

Three of the victims were shot.

One of the victims was pounded on his head with a gun butt.

Sharon Tate was hung from a high beam going across the living room ceiling.

The Manson followers, they leave "pig" scrawled in blood to try to convince investigators that the Black Panthers had done this.

The Panthers call police officers pigs because they're trying to dehumanize law enforcement in the same way they argue law enforcement has dehumanized black people.

The gore. The blood.

Manson told his followers that this would be the ignition point for Helter Skelter.

The revolution is waiting for a spark.

Everybody's ready.

Everybody's got their-- their guns together.

All right, this is beautiful.

Okay, you'll be able to...

You have to have this thing to where it just slides right out with your own motion.

Everybody's waiting for somebody to... have enough love to start it. narrator: Not content with one bloodbath, on the following night Manson decides that the killing spree must continue.

The Family drove around Los Angeles county for 4 1/2 hours looking at random for people to murder.

Then Manson started giving more specific directions, and they ended up at the LaBianca house at 3301 Waverly Drive.

[heart beating] narrator: The house belongs to supermarket owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.

[tense music]

He said, "Don't move. This is just a robbery."

He assured them that he wasn't going to hurt them.

He took Rosemary LaBianca's wallet because he wanted to have it planted in a black area and he wanted a black person to find the wallet and use the credit cards and get blamed for the murders.

He said, "Don't let them know that you're gonna kill them."

In a personality-driven cult, whatever the leader says is right is right, and whatever the leader says is wrong is wrong.

His ideas, his prescriptions are absolute and must be accepted without question.

No "why?"

We never ask why.


Whatever we have to do. Whatever.

We leave our house open to the soul.

We leave our mind open.

[guns clicking]

In the LaBianca house, above the inside of the front door is written the word "rise."

On the living room wall in Leno LaBianca's blood is written "death to pigs."

Well, that was the whole point of it.

Staging the murder scene the way it was staged was so that it would be believed that this was a race war.

That this was the disenfranchised lashing out at the rich and the privileged.

And it's the people that will cause a revolution.

And it's the people that will cause a change in the country.

And on the refrigerator at the LaBiancas in Leno LaBianca's blood is written the words "Helter Skelter."

narrator: Coming up on "Inside the Manson Cult," news of the murders spreads through The Family...

Tex tells me, "I did this.

Charlie told me to."

They were almost like lethal.

They didn't seem to have any remorse. narrator: And a new member shares an extraordinary confession for the first time.

One of the girls came up to me and said

"We want you to go to the courthouse and...

Kill the judge."


Male announcer: The latest murders were discovered during the night.

Leno LaBianca, a supermarket owner, and his wife had both been stabbed to death, repeated stab wounds.

It was just pandemonium, in Los Angeles especially.

People were so scared that gun sales went up tremendously.

People are buying extra locks on their doors.

Entertainers out there are hiring bodyguards to be--to be with them, you know, 24/7.

So it put the fear of God in them.

Charles Manson accomplished his goal of terrorizing Los Angeles.

No one was safe. narrator: Back at Spahn Ranch, news of the murders spread through The Family.

Tex tells me, "I did this.

Charlie told me to."

Patty said that she had stabbed somebody and at first, you know, it was hard but then it got to be more fun.

They were almost like boastful or gleeful.

I mean, it's like they... they didn't seem to have any remorse.

Despite the violence and the brutality of these murders, the people that had committed them of this following were still very proud of what they had done.

For them, it was a way to sort of say, "Hey, look at what I did.

This is how loyal I am for Charlie."

narrator: For the first time in decades, Catherine Share, known in The Family as Gypsy, sets eyes on her younger self.

She was filmed shortly after the Tate murders.


Did I ever think of her baby?

I've pictured her pregnant.


No, I've--I've only pictured her pregnant.

That's the only way I can picture her.

I was so cut off that I couldn't feel... what I should have felt for another pregnant woman and her child.

And it's very disturbing to watch me put that out.

The baby?

No, I picture Sharon Tate pregnant at times. Yeah.

Anybody watching this would think I was a monster.

I didn't know her.

I never met her.

How can you tell what's in a picture?

It's not even living.

And there was part of me that still believed that he had all the answers and he was the one.

There was another part of me that was starting to know better.

But I was keeping it just deep down inside.

Because if I showed it, my life would be in danger.

narrator: While Manson plots his next move, the cops are fumbling their investigation.

The police had no idea who committed these murders.

They had one team working on the Tate murders, and another team working on the LaBianca murders.

They didn't think these cases, ah, were related, you know, at all.

I mean, this is obvious to me.

Here's the signature.

Here's the symbolism of this.

What are the probability that someone else is perpetrating the same crime, the same way?

[upbeat music]

narrator: As the investigation stumbles along, Manson leads his followers to the desert to hide out from the Helter Skelter race war he still insists is coming.

But then things start to go wrong.

Charlie decided that he was gonna burn up an earth-mover.

Not a very swift move when you, when you want to hide.

I was washing my hair.

Get your hands up!

Everybody up, turn around!

And I had a gun pointing at me, "You're under arrest."

Quiet, give me your other hand.

I said move!

Charlie disappeared.

Just-- [whistles]

You know, he made himself invisible.

[tense music]

-Get up! Get up!

So the police found Charlie under the sink cupboard.

narrator: To The Family's relief, the cops aren't hunting for the Tate and LaBianca killers.

They're looking for the people who burnt the earth-mover.

We got arrested for vandalizing government property.

narrator: The police have no idea that they have America's most wanted killers in their care.

Coming up, exclusive lost tape footage with the prisoner who blows the Sharon Tate murder case wide open.

She told me she just kept stabbing her until she stopped screaming. narrator: And shocking evidence of the power Charles Manson has over his followers.

I'm ready to die for Charlie.

I'm ready to die.

[dramatic musical sting]

narrator: Charles Manson and some of his most faithful followers are in jail after burning an earth-mover.

But they also just may be getting away with murder.

It wasn't until Susan Atkins got transferred to Los Angeles County Jail Sybil Brand that she started talking to her cellmate about Charlie, and, you know, Helter Skelter. narrator: Susan Atkins, known in The Family as Sadie, was at the Hinman murder and also at the Tate mansion on Cielo Drive.

Susan Atkins came from a, uh, middle-class family.

Unfortunately her mother died at a very, very young age, which devastated her.

She wasn't getting the attention anymore from the mother who she loved, she loved dearly and she sought out others to get some type of attention. narrator: While in jail, Atkins latches onto cellmate Ronnie Howard.

Roll 159.

What is your name?

My name is Ronnie Howard. narrator: And the lost tapes reveal how Atkins unwittingly gives the game away.

She was telling me about different things that she thought would shock me.

And I told her, "Nothing shocks me."

And she said, "Well, I think I can tell you a few things that would shock you."

[solemn music]

She confessed to Ronnie Howard about her participation and Charles Manson's participation in these murders.

I asked her, "If you were really there,"

I said, "Who really killed Sharon Tate?"

And she told me that she killed Sharon Tate.

She said she was the one that stabbed her.

Every time she screamed she'd stab her again and... she just kept stabbing her until she stopped screaming.

And she said it sent a hot rush all the way through her body.

And she told me that to stab somebody is better than having a climax.

But she--she told me that the future murders would be more gruesome.

They wanted to do something to really shock the world.

A few of them were celebrities.

Which celebrities were they going to kill?

Steve McQueen.

Tom Jones.

Frank Sinatra.

Liz Taylor.

Ronnie Howard called LAPD and said, "Hey, this is what this woman has told us," and that broke the case.

narrator: On December 9, 1969, the charge against Manson is changed from arson to first-degree murder.

Male announcer: A wandering band of members of a so-called religious cult with a leader they call Jesus has had three of its followers arrested in the investigation of the murder of Sharon Tate and six others. narrator: But Manson's arrest for the murders does not signal the end of his Family.

In fact, it gains a new member at a crucial time.

I walked away from my house and everything that was in it.


And, uh, went to the ranch. narrator: 24-year-old Aesop Aquarian is a musician and aspiring actor.

The lost tapes show him playing guitar with the Family just days after the murder charge is filed.

I was, "part of The Family."

I was living on the ranch, working the ranch.

I was taking care of the girls, I was driving the girls, I was making sure they were safe.

And the love that was there was... undeniable, anybody who came on the ranch even for a second, you know, caught the love that we had.

[all laughing]

Even when he was in jail, Charlie was still able to manipulate and have power and control over his followers. narrator: New recruit Aquarian can see firsthand how Manson's power is getting, if anything, stronger.

These girls loved Charlie so much that they literally would do anything for him.

Literally would do anything for him.

Whenever we need to, we respond.

We respond with our knives.

We respond with whatever we have.

[indistinct chatter] narrator: Among Manson's most loyal disciples on the outside are Nancy Pitman, known as Brenda, Lynette Fromme, known as Squeaky, and Sandra Goode, known as Sandy.

We could respond so quickly.

Teeth... Anything.

Whatever. Whatever's at hand.

Because we are animals.

We are.

[indistinct speech]

And I know that if they ever laid a finger on Charlie, if we were unarmed, we would chew their necks off, anything. Claw their eyes out.

And they know it.

Those members that stayed to the very end with Charles Manson were in love with him.


The idea that they might imagine another life did not occur to them.

I'm ready to die for Charlie.

He's ready to die for me.

He has died for me.

I'm ready to die.

I'm ready to die for-- to protect my own.

narrator: The Manson trial begins on July 24, 1970.

I have no, uh, absolute knowledge, but I don't think any case in history has received this much pre-trial publicity throughout the world. narrator: Stephen Kay was a rookie prosecutor working on the case.

At age 27, I had been assigned to be a prosecutor on what was then considered the crime of the century. narrator: Kay's job will be tough.

Manson left no fingerprints at the locations.

There was nothing at the scene of the crimes to tie Manson into the crime so it was all testimony.

So what basically had to be proved was that Charlie had manipulated his followers so much that he himself was culpable of these murders. man: You want Mr. Kanarek to challenge the jurors or are you ready to accept anyone that's put in the box?

You've already tried the case. narrator: To bring Manson down, the prosecution needs someone on the inside to turn against him.

But getting a Family member to break ranks will be no easy task.

In the visiting room he said to a Family member, "If Gypsy tries to get away, "I want you to...

"tie her behind a car

"and drag her slowly

"back to the ranch. Don't kill her, but you can get close."

And then he looked at me and said, "Are you going anywhere?"

And I said, "No."

narrator: Another potential witness is Dianne Lake, known in The Family as Snake.

She's now 16.

Still under Manson's control, Lake has kept her true identity hidden from the prison authorities...

Until now.

They sent us to testify in front of the Grand Jury and that's when I finally felt safe enough to say...

"My name is Dianne Lake.

I'm 16, and I want my mommy." narrator: But after two years of near-daily LSD use Lake is in no position to testify.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she's sent for emergency psychiatric treatment.

They committed me to 90 days observation at Patton State Hospital.

And then the 90 days turned into nine months.

It was like he was in my head telling me, "Turn left. Turn right."

You know, "Turn the light off."

"Don't say that" or "Don't talk to that person."

There was one officer in particular that really treated me with--with respect and like a tenderness.

He made me feel safe enough to start telling... telling the truth.

Sandy, Brenda, Squeaky, four, take one, roll 209. narrator: As Lake prepares to testify against Manson the tapes reveals what her former friends think of her.

-She's a very young girl, and by the time the, the DAs had gotten through with her she was speaking their language.

She's just like a baby.

She can be molded whatever way anyone chooses to mold her.

I'm sure that's what they believed, you know, that I had been, uh, swallowed up.

You know, that I was being manipulated by the courts. narrator: The big question is: will Lake be brave enough to testify?

Snitches will be taken care of.


-Oh, that's to be seen.

That's to be seen.

narrator: Still to come on "Inside the Manson Cult," secretly filmed footage of Manson in prison...

We are sneaking in the county jail.

Looking under the door to see if the man is there.

He's telling us to break him out. narrator: And an extraordinary command to young member of the cult:

Kill the judge.

I felt my jaw drop to the ground.

[dramatic musical sting]

narrator: Charles Manson is on trial for multiple murders.

Teenage cult member Dianne Lake might be key to convicting him if she can escape his control.

It was like he was in my head.

[laughs] narrator: A unique moment from the lost tapes shows just how hard that's going to be.

Secretly, the filmmaker smuggles a camera into Manson's jail cell.

And the cult leader takes his chance to speak directly to his followers.

We are sneaking in the county jail.

Looking under the door to see if the man is there.

Sneaking like little children out of town.


Sneaking... [laughs]

Sneaking all around the courthouse.

He's programming us.

Telling us what to do.

Everything is sneaky up around Sneakyville.


He was telling us to break him out of jail.

To learn where the vents are, learn how to get in and out of the building and learn how to set him free.

You gotta sneak to get to the truth.

The truth is condemned.

The truth is in the gas chamber.


Manson had a very powerful personality.

When he was in a room, you could almost feel the electricity pouring off of him.

And he would kind of command the room.

[indistinct chatter]

Manson one time came into court, and he had taken a razor blade and put an X on his forehead.

And the next day, the girls all had Xs on their foreheads.

They said they were going to X themselves out of society.

Some of the behaviors that the girls exhibited during the trials really was frightening.

Because you can see that despite being back in reality back in society, they're still totally under Charlie's spell.

narrator: The tapes show how Manson's followers may be ready to threaten anyone involved in the prosecution.

Sandy, Brenda, Squeaky.

Ask me a question.

What if they execute Charlie?

Well, they'll have to contend with us. narrator: Just how far the cult is prepared to go is made frighteningly clear to new member Aesop Aquarian.

One of the girls came up to me and said

"We've got to get Charlie out.

"We want you to," uh...

"To go the courthouse and...

Kill the judge."

I felt my jaw drop to the ground.

"You want me to what?"

Said, "We want you to kill the judge."

"That'll show them that we're serious and that'll get Charlie out."

"Are you for real?"

And she said, "Yeah."

My first thought was, "What the hell am I doing here?"

I don't think that was the next day that I left but it could have been.

[ambient music]

narrator: Manson's power over his followers may be giving Dianne Lake second thoughts.

It was terrifying, the idea of going by the girls and testifying against them.

And I was always afraid that I was going to have mind control by Charlie again.

That was a big fear.

And also that fear of wanting that... you know, that original feeling of love and adoration from him.

I thought that was going to be a weakness.

The truth has not been in your courtrooms.

Never has been in your courtrooms.

All you have is confusion in your courtroom.

We went in, like, the back door, and there was still a lot of press but they kind of snuck me in.

You can't prove anything that happened yesterday.

Now is the only thing that's real.

The girls were outside the Hall of Justice.

I was scared.

We were on pins and needles.

We didn't know how the jury was gonna respond to Dianne Lake.

We felt that she had been a great witness.

Believable, but... she had spent eight months in a mental hospital.

We didn't know what the jury was going to do.

narrator: Still to come on "Inside the Manson Cult"...

He's waiting in a cage.

He's looking down like I'm one of his disciples.

[laughs] narrator: An astonishing revelation...

I don't believe Charlie believed in Helter Skelter.

It was just a crazy story.

[dramatic musical sting]

narrator: One of Charles Manson's earliest converts has testified against the man she loved.

It was terrifying, going by the girls and testifying against them. narrator: Time for the jury to decide. man: The jury, hearing the charges against Charles Manson and three girl members of his so-called Family brought in its verdict this afternoon.

All were found guilty of murder in the first degree.

[indistinct chatter] narrator: The trial has lasted seven months and is, at the time, the most expensive in U.S. criminal history.

The jury takes ten days to reach a verdict. man: Manson then shouted at the jurors, "You're all guilty!"

narrator: On Monday, March 29, 1971, Manson is sentenced to die for the murder spree that shocked the world.

Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkle will also be given the death sentence.

[women singing]

I couldn't understand how they could be so happy and cheerful when they were facing the death penalty.

It would be years later that I would see that look in other eyes of cult followers and I would realize this is the way that people look when they're under undue influence and they're not thinking for themselves.

[ambient music]

narrator: In 1972, Charles Manson and his three female accomplices have their death sentences commuted to life in prison when California temporarily abolishes the death penalty.

After Charlie Manson was locked away for life, he became the most popular prison inmate in the United States measured by the amount of fan mail that he received.

For a lot of young people, he was like the ultimate outlaw, the counterculture icon...

And he continued to live on in that sense and continued to have a cult following in the broader population.

I think within the psychodrama of his own mind Manson tapped into this idea of a fear of black-led racial violence.

And I think that idea was something that is a carry-over from the '60s even to this day.

Charlie Manson wanted to be rich and famous.

When he couldn't do it in the music business, he figured out another way to be famous.

Manson frequently said he wanted to be bigger than the Beatles.

And it could be argued that he did have even more of an impact than the Beatles on our lives, on American culture.

It did something to us.

We're no longer as free and able to just... think that we're safe in our homes.

Roll N-72, scene four girls A, take one. narrator: Over the years, many of Manson's followers remained devoted to their Messiah.

Again and again I've gotta pay for your sins.

I've been laying up here paying for your sins for 2,000 years. narrator: Others managed to break free.

Do I feel that Charlie Manson conned me?

As time went on, absolutely.

Charlie had learned to be a very good manipulator.

A shark, it will eat whatever to survive.

And it will kill whatever to survive.

I lost some innocence for sure.

But I--I survived and I thrived, and, um, I'm very thankful for that.

narrator: In the space of two years, Manson brainwashed dozens of followers and even convinced some to kill for him.

Behind it all lay his twisted world view, the Helter Skelter race war.

But did Manson ever truly believe in this philosophy or did he simply use it to frighten and control The Family?

In 1979, when FBI profiler John Douglas met Charles Manson in prison, they had a revealing exchange.

He's waiting in a cage.

He's looking down, he's looking down like I'm one of his disciples.

Like, you know.

You gotta sneak to get to the truth.

The truth is condemned.

The truth is in the gas chamber.

At the end of the day, I don't believe Charlie believed in Helter Skelter at all.

It was just a crazy story.

And I didn't believe it, I told him he didn't believe it, and he laughed when I told him, "I don't believe your BS here, Charlie, "Come on, man.

You're just into sex, drugs, and rock and roll."


And he was nodding his head, he was smiling, laughing, you know.


♪ Pretty girl

♪ Pretty, pretty girl

♪ Cease to exist

♪ Just come and say you love me ♪

♪ Give up your world

♪ Come on, you could be

♪ I'm your kind

♪ Oh your kind

♪ And I can see Um, as far as these things go, um...

You have to make love with it.

♪ Walk on, walk on

♪ I love you, pretty girl

♪ My life is yours

♪ And you can have my world

♪ Never had a lesson

♪ I ever learned

♪ But I know

♪ We all get our turn

♪ I love you

♪ Never learn

♪ Not to love you

♪ Submission is a gift

♪ Go on, give it to your brother ♪

♪ Love and understanding

♪ Is for one another

♪ I'm your kind

♪ I'm your kind

♪ I'm your brother

♪ I never had a lesson

♪ I ever learned

♪ But I know we all

♪ Get our turn

♪ And I love you

♪ Never learn

♪ Not to love you

♪ Never learn not to love you ♪

♪ Never learn

♪ Not to love you

Thanks for watching.

And here are a few more shows to check out from Fox.

Buckle up, Buttercup.

It's real, and it pulls people together.

-♪ We're breaking waves♪ -[siren wailing]

♪ Shooting stars♪

♪ We live for glory not forever♪ MAN: Touchdown!

♪ Reach out♪

-♪ Make this right here right now♪ -[laughing]

♪ Stand up♪

♪ Here right now♪ That sounds like fun.