As Bugliosi rightly said, Manson mostly
went on to do his own thing. Rather than anything else, the strength
of Manson's hold was mostly due to his own imagination. Even when he
borrowed concepts from other sources, he often "enhanced" their
appeal to fit in his own devious belief system. An example would be
the "bottomless pit" legend, found for example among the Hopi
Indians and in the Bible. Manson took this as a basis, but built
around it a whole universe that included imageries such as that of a
tree that bears a different fruit each month or that of glowing
The belief that Scientology was part of
the mix, however, is shared by several actors in this drama, even
though they would otherwise acknowledge that they never heard Manson
mention Scientology, and even though they base their belief of
Scientology influence in vague and general terms.
Charles "Tex" Watson:
Charles Watson was one of Manson's
'right hands" and participated in the Tate murders. He is serving
life sentence in prison and is now a fundamentalist Christian. He
also maintains his own web site.
We already quoted Watson saying Manson
never mentioned Scientology, and that the only time he had heard of
it was because of Paul Crockett:
I never heard Manson mention
Scientology or The Process Church. He did meet up with a
Scientologist named Crockett, in the desert. Crockett was
instrumental in deprogramming Poston and Watkins, and stood
toe-to-toe with Manson. This was the only mention of Scientology.
I remember them arguing back and forth for hours.
Watson, however, considers Scientology
a form of Satanism, and believes Manson used it as part of his
Manson used a cult mentality, drugs, music,
psychology, Scientology, sorcery and a combination of mystical
skills to beguile his followers so that they would be willing to
kill, and give their lives for him. To this day, Manson has
followers around the world who carry his message of hate,
deception and destruction forward.
Life on the deepest level was very demonic,
and we didnít even know it. Several members of the family had
experience in Satanism and Scientology. The use of drugs opened up
our very souls not only to these philosophies, but to demonic
forces. There was something very evil slowly capturing our souls.
Notes: apart for Bruce Davis, who had
done some Scientology courses in London before being kicked out for
his use of drugs, I never heard of any other Family member who had
experience with Scientology.
Manson was reportedly studying Scientology
in prison, and he could have been in contact with The Process
Church at that time. An ex-Scientologist started the Process
Church, and its members worship both Satan and Christ. I find that
interesting because I felt Manson was both at times.
Notes: Robert Moore, the founder of the
Process Church, was indeed an
ex-Scientologist, but the church he founded has no
resemblance with Scientology. The very fact that the Process Church
worshiped both Satan and Christ would be a perfect example of the
complete antinomy with Scientology.
As for Bugliosi and others, Watson,
though believing there must have been some Scientology influence,
simply cannot tell for sure which it was, or even if there was any
such influence after all:
Q: Do you think Manson was influenced by these cults?
Maybe Manson was influenced by these, maybe
not, who knows? There is a lot of evidence for it. I know he was
into mind control and good at programming us with his beliefs, and
some of those beliefs seem to have been very close to those of The
Process Church, which is a satanic cult.
Brooks Poston, the member of the Family
"deprogrammed" by Crockett, also believes Scientology was part of
the philosophy Manson used to control his members. However, he does
not says much else beyond a simple affirmation:
Gregg Jakobson, another Manson's
follower, brings more precision, but it is to confirm that Manson
never mentioned Scientology and mostly used the Bible and the
Beatles as reference:
Vincent Bugliosi himself was very
interested in whatever influence Scientology or other philosophies
might have had on Manson. So much so that Bugliosi mentions this as
one of the main topic he wanted to speak with Manson in one of the
few encounters he had with him:
Strangely enough, though, Bugliosi
doesn't tell us what the outcome on this subject was, and what was
Manson's answer, if any. However, we have already seen that Bugliosi
went to great length to state that his extensive investigation lead
him to believe Manson mostly had gone on to do his own thing after
his release from prison and to dissociate it from Scientology
involvement. Nevertheless, he does believe that Scientology might
have had some sort of influence:
Anymore than Manson's followers or even
Paul Crockett, however, Bugliosi could not come up with anything
convincing in that respect. We have already quoted the most specific
elements he came up with in his book:
Even here, several things aren't quite
correct. First of all, the 1974 version mentioned "auditioning"
rather than auditing, just like it mentioned "beta clear" rather
than "theta clear". These were corrected in the 1994 edition.
Secondly, "cease to exist" is not really a typical Scientology
expression. "Coming to Now" isn't either, as the correct expression
is "coming to Present Time". Being in the present time or in the
now, is also a very widespread and basic concept in many other
spiritual approaches and hardly the exclusivity of Scientology.
Note, however, that Manson did indeed seem to regain a
couple of Scientology expressions. This can be seen in the address he
made to the Court in
November 1970 (link http://www.4a4r.com/11-1970.html doesn't work anymore):
You can't bring the past back up and postulate or mock up a
picture of something that happened a hundred years ago, or 1970
years ago, as far as that goes. You can only live in the now, for
what is real is now.
In this sentence, "postulate" and "mock
up" could be said to be typical Scientology expressions. "Postulate"
could be roughly translate into "wish", and "mock up" into
These expressions, however, are used in the same text
in other sentences and concepts that have little to nothing
to do with Scientology. It illustrates once again the limited extend of
whatever influence there might have been. Manson just seems to use
these words simply because it sounds good.
In conclusion, Bugliosi believes in a vague and
general manner that Scientology might have had some influence on
Manson, even though he really can't bring up anything convincing
enough. However, he made clear the distinction between this
hypothesis and a direct link with Scientology, as we have seen
This is the exact contrary than what
Scientology critics are trying to do. Rather than make appropriate
distinctions in an area frown with ambiguity and danger, they on the
contrary will indulge in unwarranted amalgams and try to link in the
public mind a serial killer like Charles Manson with the million of
people who once were, or still are, involved in Scientology.
Bugliosi rightly warned about that, and
knowing that this warning, which we already quoted above, was done 30
years before critical activities on the net, it takes on
Any attempts to link Manson and his crimes to Scientology is
a sorry and spurious attempt to create controversy where there is