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On Sunday, November 19, Charles Manson died of natural causes inside a Bakersfield hospital. He was 83. The undeniably disturbed man who captured the attention of the United States in the summer of 1969 spent the last forty years of his life serving a life sentence for orchestrating the murders of seven people over two terror-filled nights. His influence over the troubled youth in his quasi-cult, the Manson family, has remained an object of fascination in the years since, and his death isn’t likely to curb that obsession. How is it possible that a man held people in such sway that they were willing to kill for him without hesitation? Perhaps you might gain a little bit of insight into the mind of a diseased cult leader with these little known facts.

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1. No, Manson’s Mother Wasn’t an Unwed, Alcoholic Prostitute

Manson always claimed that he was the son of a teenage prostitute who once tried to sell him for a pitcher of beer. In fact, Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati in 1934 to Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender, a woman who was very much around. Apparently, Manson’s mother went to prison for armed robbery when her son was 5 years old. When she was released from prison, she tried to keep young Charles on the straight and narrow to no avail. Of course, that’s not as romantic as the whole Virgin Mary of the gutter thing.

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