A Classification system of Charles manson’s idea history (a first draft)

On of the commentators to this blog (Frank) brought up the questions of how to classify and sort through Manson’s ideas and he offered a simple breakdown. Thinking about Frank’s ideas and wishing to expand on the a bit I have come up with this:

I. Pre-Release but while in Federal Prison until 1967

II. Building the Circle (pre-H.S.) 67-68 (maybe even early 69)

III. The game of H.S. and descent into paranioa (1969 until the arrests)

iV. The Trials (1970-72)

V. Pre-ATWA Prison period (1972-86

VI. ATWA (1986 til the present) not sure when ATWA was first documented in CM’s writing but this year he made his formal announcement during a parolehearing.



  1. OK – this is a good start. A useful methodology now seems to be to try to find Manson pronouncements – recorded or written – for which we have a known date and collect these under the time headings.

    Then we can look to see if we can discern patterns within the same time period, or development over time.

    We might also look at known events and actions for which there seems fairly incontrovertible evidence. Not Sanders and Bugliosi, but court records and depositions, media and newspaper clippings (to be handled with care), etc.

    Looks like work for the blog owner LOL


  2. Great idea! As Frank says, please make sure they’re actually Manson quotes, not something ascribed to him. If it’s paraphrased, say so.

    ATWA has been around as an acronym since the early 70s. The IDEA was formed much earlier, and I’m certain it really was a main philosophy of Ranch life.

    I think you can pretty much discount the whole Helter-Skelter thing, except when Charles was using it as a metaphor for chaos. As for paranoia, well, folks around him were acting crazy, doing really dangerous crimes; the police were investigating drugs and theft, and the bike clubs were hosed about drug burns; during one winter there wasn’t any heat and everyone nearly froze; they needed to pay back taxes on the ranch and lose it; and other practical day-to-day considerations were applying pressure. In this light, I view Charles’s panic as a normal and appropriate reaction. Not to mention, he’s so tuned in, I’m sure he was aware of the war going sour, PCB in the water, the epidemic of air pollution, etc., which STILL gets him wound up.

  3. Unless I am missing something, I don’t believe that CM ever wrote a thing about the H.S. game or spoke about it to a non-circle member. Its mostly from Paul with back up support from some other circle members like Watson and Aiken. It is interesting to note that H.S. if it was so important to the circle would have been dropped immediately at the time of the trials and never picked up again.

  4. I have seen the ATWA acyroym before 86 but it seemed at the time to stand for “All the way alive” which I guess can be the same thing.

  5. Interesting concept…

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