Testimony of Charles Manson...
The State of California v. Charles Manson; Los Angeles, California, November 19, 1970
Linda Kasabian's Testimony | Paul Watkin's Testimony | Virginia Graham's Testimony | Susan Atkins's Grand Jury Testimony
| The Testimony of Charles Manson (above) in The State of California v. Charles Manson; Los Angeles, California, November 19, 1970|
THE COURT: Do you have anything to say?
MANSON: Yes, I do. There has been a lot of charges and a lot of things said about me and brought against me and brought against the co-defendants in this case, of which a lot could be cleared up and clarified to where everyone could understand exactly what the family was supposed to have been, what the philosophies in regards to the families were, and whether or not there was any conspiracy to commit murder, to commit crimes, and to explain to you who think with your minds.
It is hard for you to conceive of a philosophy of someone that may not think. I have spent my life in jail, and without parents. I have looked up to the strongest father-figure, and I have always looked to the people in the free world as being the good people, and the people in the inside of the jail as being the bad people. I never went to school, so I never growed up in the respect to learn to read and write so good, so I have stayed in jail and I have stayed stupid, I have stayed a child while I have watched your world grow up, and then I look at the things that you do and I don't understand. I don't understand the courts, and I don't understand a lot of things that are brought against me. You write things about my mother in the newspaper that hasn't got anything to do with anything in particular. You invent stories, and everybody thinks what they do, and then they project it from the witness stand on the defendant as if that is what he did.
For example, with Danny DeCarlo's testimony. He said that I hate black men, and he said that we thought alike, that him and I was a lot alike in our thinking.
Most of the people at the ranch that you call The Family were just people that you did not want, people that were alongside the road, that their parents had kicked them out or they did not want to go to Juvenile Hall, so I did the best I could and I took them up on my garbage dump and I told them this, that in love there is no wrong. I don't care. I have one law and I learned it when I was a kid in reform school. It's don't snitch. And I have never snitched, And I told them that anything they do for their brothers and sisters is good, if they do it with a good thought. It is not my responsibility. It is your responsibility. It is the responsibility you have towards your own children who you are neglecting, and then you want to put the blame on me again and again and again. Over and over you put me in your penitentiary. I did not build the penitentiary. I would not lock one of you up. I could not see locking another human being up.
You eat meat with your teeth and you kill things that are better than you are, and in the same respect you say how bad and even killers that your children are. You make your children what they are. I am just a reflection of every one of you. I have never learned anything wrong. In the penitentiary, I have never found a bad man. Every man in the penitentiary has always showed me his good side, and circumstances put him where he was. He would not be there, he is good, human, just like the policeman that arrested him is a good human. I have nothing against none of you. I can't judge any of you. But I think it is high time that you all started looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in.
I sit and I watch you from nowhere, and I have nothing in my mind, no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But you stand and you play the game of money. As long as you can sell a newspaper, some sensationalism, and you can laugh at someone and joke at someone and look down at someone, you know. You just sell those newspapers for public opinion, just like you are all hung on public opinion, and none of you have any idea what you are doing.
You are just doing what you are doing for the money, for a little bit of attention from someone. I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you. You haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves because you are all crazy.
And you can project it back at me, and you can say that it's me that cannot communicate, and you can say that it's me that don't have any understanding, and you can say that when I am dead your world will be better, and you can lock me up in your penitentiary and you can forget about me. But I'm only what lives inside of you, each and every one of you. These children, they take a lot of narcotics because you tell them not to. Any child you put in a room and you tell them, "Don't go through that door," he never thought of going through that door until you told him to go through the door. You go to the high schools and you show them pills and you show them what not to take, how else would they know what it was unless you tell them? And then you tell them what you don't want them to do in the hopes they will go out and do it and then you can play your game with them and then you can give attention to them because you don't give them any of your love. You only give them your frustration; you only give them your anger; you only give them the bad part of you rather than give them the good part of you.
You should all turn around and face your children and start following them and listening to them. The music speaks to you every day, but you are too deaf, dumb, and blind to even listen to the music. You are too deaf, dumb and blind to stop what you are doing. You point and you ridicule. But it's okay, it's all okay. It doesn't really make any difference because we are all going to the same place anyway. It's all perfect. There is a God. He sits right over here beside me. That is your God. This is your God. But let me tell you something; there is another Father and he has much more might than you imagine. If I could get angry at you I would try to kill every one of you. If that's guilt, I accept it. These children, everything they have done, they done for love of their brother. Had you not arrested Robert Beausoleil for something he did not do...
I have killed no one and I have ordered no one to be killed.
I may have implied on several occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven't decided yet what I arn or who I am. I was given a name and a number and I was put in a cell, and I have lived in a cell with a name and a number. I don't know who I am. I am whoever you make me, but what you want is a fiend; you want a sadistic fiend because that is what you are. You only reflect on me what you are inside of yourselves, because I don't care anything about any of you and I don't care what you do. I can stand here in front of this court and smile at you, and you can do anything you want to do with me, but you cannot touch me because I am only my love, and it is all for me, and I give it to myself for me, because I look out for me first and I like me, and you can live with yourselves and your opinion of yourselves. I know what I have done. If I showed someone that I would do anything for my brother, include give my life for my brother in the battlefield, or give where else that I may want to do that, then he picks his banner up and he goes off and does what he does. That is not my responsibility. I don't tell people what to do. If we enter into an agreement to build a house, I will help you build the house and I will offer suggestions for that house, but I won't put myself on you because that is what made you weak, because your parents have offered themselves on you. You are not you, you are just reflections, you are reflections of everything that you think that you know, everything that you have been taught. Your parents have told you what you are. They made you before you were six years old, and when you stood in school and you crossed your heart and pledged allegiance to the flag, they trapped you a in truth because at that age you didn't know any lie until that lie was reflected on you.
No, I am not responsible for you. Your karma is not mine. My father is the jail house. My father is your system, and each one of you, each one of you are just a reflection of each one of you, and you all live by yourselves, no matter how crowded you may think that you are in a room full of people, you are still by yourself, and you have to live with that self forever and ever and ever and ever.
To some people this would be hell; to some people it would be heaven. I have mine, and each one of you will have to work out yours, and you cannot work it out by pointing your fingers at people. I have ate out of your garbage cans to stay out of jail. I have wore your second-hand clothes. I have accepted things and given them away the next second. I have done my best to get along in your world and now you want to kill me, and I look at you and I look how incompetent you all are, and then I say to myself, "You want to kill me, ha, I'm already dead, have been all my life!" I've lived in your tomb that you built. I did seven years for a thirty-seven dollar check. I did twelve years because I didn't have any parents, and how many other sons do you think you have in there? You have many sons in there; many, many sons in there, most of them are black and they are angry. They are mad, and they are mad at me. I look and I say, "Why are you mad at me?" He said, "I am mad at you because of what your father did." And I look at him and I say, "Well," and I look at my fathers, and I say, "If there was ever a devil on the face of this earth I am him."
And he's got my head anytime he wants it, as all of you do too, anytime you want it. Sometimes I think about giving it to you. Sometimes I'm thinking about just jumping on you and let you shoot me. Sometimes I think it would be easier than sitting here and facing you in the contempt that you have for yourself, the hate that you have for yourself, it's only the anger you reflect at me, the anger that you have got for you. I do not dislike you, I cannot dislike you. I am you. You are blood. You are my brother. That is why I can't fight you. If I could I would jerk this microphone out and beat your brains out with it because that is what you deserve; that is what you deserve.
Every morning you eat that meat with your teeth. You're all killers, you kill things better than you. And what can I say to you that you don't already know? And I have known that there is nothing I can say to you. There is nothing I can say to any of you. It is you that has to say it to you, and that is my whole philosophy; you say it to you and I will say it to me.
I live in my world, and I am my own king in my world, whether it be a garbage dump or if it be in the desert or wherever it be. I am my own human being. You may restrain my body and you may tear my guts out, do anything you wish, but I am still me and you can't take that. You can kill the ego, you can kill the pride, you can kill the want, the desire of a human being. You can lock him in a cell and you can knock his teeth out and smash his brain, but you cannot kill the soul. You never could kill the soul. It's always there, the beginning and the end. You cannot stop it, it's bigger than me. I'm just looking into it and it frightens me sometimes.
The truth is now; the truth is right here: the truth is this minute, and this minute we exist. Yesterday you cannot prove yesterday happened today, it would take you all day and then it would be tomorrow, and you can't prove last week happened. You can't prove anything except to yourself. My reality is my reality, and I stand within myself on my reality. Yours is yours and I don't care what it is. Whatever you do is up to you and it's the same thing with anyone in my family; and anybody in my family is a white human being, because my family is of the white family. There is the black family, a yellow family, the red family, a cow family and a mule family. There is all kinds of different families. We have to find ourselves first, God second, and kind, k-i-n-d, come next. And that is all I was doing. I was working on cleaning up my house, something Nixon should have been doing. He should have been on the side of the road picking up his children. But he wasn't. He was in the White House sending them off to war.
I don't know the different people that have got on the stand; one friend said I put a knife to his throat. I did. I put a knife to his throat. And he said I was responsible for all of these killings. I have done the best I know how, and I have given all I can give and I haven't got any guilt about anything because I have never been able to say any wrong. I never found any wrong. I looked at wrong, and it is all relative.
Wrong is if you haven't got any money. Wrong is if your car payment is overdue. Wrong is if the TV breaks. Wrong is if President Kennedy gets killed. Wrong is, wrong is, wrong is you keep on, you pile it in your mind. you become belabored with it, and in your confusion. I make up my own mind. I think for myself. I look at you and I say, "Okay, you make up your own mind, you think for yourself, then you see your mothers and your fathers and your teachers and your preachers and your politicians and your presidents, and you lay in your brain with your opinions, considerations, conclusions." And I look at you and I say, "Okay, if you are real to you it's okay with me but you don't look real to me. you only look like a composite of what someone told you you are.
You live for each others' opinion and you have pain on your face and you are not sure what you like, and you wonder if you look okay." And I look at you and I say, "Well, you look alright to me," you know, and you look at me and you say, "Well, you don't look alright to me," Well I don't care what I look like to you. I don't care what you think about me and I don't care what you do with me. I have always been yours anyway. I have always been in your cell. When you were out riding your bicycles I was sitting in your cell looking out the window and looking at pictures in magazines and wishing I could go to high school and go to the proms, wishing I could go to the things you could do, but oh so glad, oh so glad, brothers and sisters, that I am what I am. Because when it does come down around your ears and none of you know what you are doing, you better believe I will be on top of my thought. I will know what I am doing. I will know exactly what I am doing.
If you ever let me go before you kill me. And then I don't really particularly care anyway, because I still will be there and I will still know what I am doing. In my mind I live forever. In my mind I live forever, and in my mind I have always lived forever. I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you. I have done everything I have always been told. I have mopped the floor when I was supposed to mop the floor. And I have swept when I was supposed to sweep. I was smart enough to stay out of jail and too dumb to learn anything. I was too little to get a job there, and too big to do something over here. I have just been sitting in jail thinking nothing. Nothing to think about.
Everybody used to come in and tell me about their past and their lives and what they did. But I could never tell anybody about my past or what my life was or what I did because I have always been sitting in that room with a bed, a locker, and a table. So, then it moves on to awareness: how many cracks can you count in the wall? It moves to where the mice live and what the mice are thinking, and see how clever mice are.
And then, when you get on the outside, you look into people's heads. You take Linda Kasabian and you put her on the witness stand and she testifies against her father. She never has liked her father, and she has always projected her wrong off to the man - figure. So, consequently, it is the man's fault again, and the woman turns around and she blames it on the man. The man made her do it. The man put her up to it. The man works for her, the man slaves for her, the man does everything for her, and she lays around the house and she tells him what he should do, because, generally, she is an extension of his mother. His mother told him what to do and she trained him for twenty years and passed him on to the wife. Then the woman takes him and tells him what to wear, when to get up, when to go to work. Then when she gets on the stand and she says when she looked in that man's eyes that was dying, she knew it was my fault.
She knew that it was my fault because she couldn't face death. And if she cannot face death, that is not my fault. Why should she blame it on me? I can face death. I have all the time. In the penitentiary you live with it, with constant fear of death, because it is a violent world in there, and you have to be on your toes constantly. So, it is not without violence that I live. It is not without pain that I live. I look at the projection that comes from this witness stand often to the defendants. It isn't what we said, it is what someone thought we said.
A word is changed: "in there" to "up there," "off of that" to "on top." The semantics get into a word game in the courtroom to prove something that is gone in the past. It is gone in the past, and when it is gone, it is gone, sisters. It is gone, brother. 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.
The words go in circles. You can say everything is the same, but it is always different. It is the same, but it is always different. You can "but" it to death. You can say, "You are right, but, but, but." You sat here for nineteen days questioning that girl. She got immunity on seven counts of murder. She got. I don't know how much money she is going to make in magazines and things. You set her up to be a hero, and that is your woman. That is the thing that you worship. You have lost sight of God. You sing your songs to woman. You put woman in front of man. Woman is not God. Woman is but a reflection of her man, supposedly. But a lot of times man is a reflection of his woman. And if a man can't rise above a woman's thought, then that is his problem, it is not my problem. But you give me this problem when you set this woman against me. You set this woman up here to testify against me. And she tells you a sad story. How she has only taken every narcotic that is possible to take. How she has only stolen, lied, cheated and done everything that you have got there in that book. But it is okay. She is telling the truth now. She wouldn't have any ulterior motive like immunity for seven counts of murder.
And then comical as it may seem, you look at me, and you say, "You threatened to kill a person if they snitch." Well, that is the law where I am from. Where I am from, if you snitch, you leave yourself open to be killed. I could never snitch because I wouldn't want someone to kill me. So, I have always abided by that law. It is the only law that I know of, and it is the law that I have always abided by. But she will come up here and you enshrine her, you put her above you, and you strive to be as good as something below you. It is circles that just don't make any sense in my reality. But of course again that is my reality and it has nothing to do with you, because you have got your reality and you have to live with what you believe in.
But this woman has got here and she has testified. She said she wasn't sure, but maybe. Then the magical mystery tour wouldn't be able to be explained to you. A magical mystery tour is when you pick up somebody else and play a part. You may pick up a cowboy today, and you go around all day and play like a cowboy. You put on a hat and you ride a horse.
This is all we have done. We have played like mom and dad. We have loved each other. We have done everything we could to stay outside the frame of the law, the shakedowns. Nothing has been stolen. I have got better sense than to break the law. I give to the law what it has coming. It is his law. If I break his law, he puts me back in the grave again. I haven't broken his law yet but it seems as if somebody lays around and somebody needs to fulfill a spot, they snatch it up and say, "This will do. We will put this over here, we can hang this on him. Or we can do this to that." Then the words go into another meaning and another level of understanding. Why a woman would stand up and project herself on to a man and say, "Actually he never told me anything, but I knew it all came from him." Her assumption. Am I to be found guilty on her assumption? You assume what you would do in my position, but that doesn't mean that is what I did in my position. It doesn't mean that my philosophy is valid. It's only valid to me. Your philosophies, they are whatever you think they are and I don't particularly care what you think they are. But I know this: that in your own hearts and your own souls, you are as much responsible for the Vietnam War as I am for killing these people. I knew a guy that used to work in the stockyards and he used to kill cows all day long with a big sledgehammer, and then go home at night and eat dinner with his children and eat the meat that he slaughtered. Then he would go to church and read the bible, and he would say, "That is not killing." And I look at him and I say, "That doesn't make any sense, what you are talking about?" Then I look at the beast, and I say, "Who is the beast?" I am the beast. I am the beast. I am the biggest beast walking the face of the earth. I kill everything that moves. As a man, as a human, I take responsibility for that. As a human, it won't be long, and God will ask you to take responsibility for it. It is your creation. You live in your creation. I never created your world, you created it.
You create it when you pay taxes, you create it when you go to work, then you create it when you foster a thing like this trial. Only for vicarious thrills do you sell a newspaper and do you kow-tow to public opinion. Just to sell your newspapers. You don't care about the truth. You take another Alka-Seltzer and another aspirin and hope that you don't have to think of the truth and you hope that you don't have to look at yourself with a hangover as you go to a Helter Skelter party and make fun of something that you don't understand.
THE COURT: Mr. Manson, please stick to the issues of this case.
MANSON: The issues in this case? The issues in this case?
The issues are that Mr. Younger is Attorney General, and I imagine he is a good man and does a good job. I don't know him. I can't judge him. But I know he has got me here. He set me in this seat. Mr. Bugliosi is doing his job for a paycheck. That is an issue. He is doing whatever he is doing. Whether he thinks it is right or not, I couldn't say. That is up to him. The only way that I have been able to live on that side of the road was outside the law. I have always lived outside the law. When you live outside the law it is pretty hard, you can't call the man for protection. You have got to pretty much protect your own. You can't live within the law and protect yourself. You can't knock the guy down when he comes over and starts to rape one of the girls, or starts to bring some speed or dope up there. You can't enforce your will over someone inside the law. I gave everything I could think of to that old man and that ranch for permission to stay there, and I have given the people that stayed on that ranch my all. When no one wanted to go out in front and fight, I would go out and fight. When no one else wanted to clean the toilets, I would go and clean them. People would see me and they would see what I do and see the example that I set.
They see, when I am cleaning out a cesspool, that I am happy and smiling and making a game of it. Like I was on a chain gang somewhere once upon a time and they come and pass the water. I make a game out of it, or I make a pleasure out of a job. We turn it into a magical mystery tour. We speed down the highway in a 1958 automobile that won't go but fifty, and an XKE Jaguar goes by, and I state to Clem, "Catch him Clem, and we'll rob him or steal all of his money," you know. And he says, "What shall we do?" I say, "Hit him on the head with a hammer." We magical mystery tour it.
Then Linda Kasabian gets on the stand and says: "They were going to kill a man, they were going to kill a man in an automobile." To you, it seems serious. But like Larry Kramer and I would get on a horse and we would ride over to Wichita, Kansas, and act like cowboys. We make it a game on the ranch. Like, Helter Skelter is a nightclub. Helter Skelter means confusion. Literally. It doesn't mean any war with anyone. It doesn't mean that those people are going to kill other people. It only means what it means. Helter Skelter is confusion.
Confusion is coming down fast. If you don't see the confusion coming down fast around you, you can call it what you wish. It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says, "Rise!" It says, "Kill!" Why blame it on me? I didn't write the music.
I am not the person who projected it into your social consciousness, that sanity that you projected into your social consciousness, today.
You put so much into the newspaper and then you expect people to believe what is going on. I say back to the facts again. How many witnesses have you got up here and projected only what they believe in. What I believe in is right now. I don't believe in anything past now. I speak to you from now. Because there is nothing here to worry about, nothing here to think about, nothing here to be confused over. My house is not divided. My house is one with me, myself. Then I look at the facts that you have brought in front of this court and I look at the twelve facts that are looking at me and judging me. If I were to judge them, what scale would that balance? Would the scale balance if I was to turn and judge you? How would you feel if I were to judge you? Could I judge you?
I can only judge you if you try to judge me. That is the fact. Mr. Bugliosi is a hard - driving prosecutor, with a polished education. Semantics, words. He is a genius. He has got everything that every lawyer would want to have except one thing: a case. He doesn't have a case. Were I allowed to defend myself, I could have proven this to you. I could have called witnesses and showed you how these things lay, and I could have presented my picture. You are dealing with facts and positive evidence. If you are dealing with things that are relative to the issues at hand, then you look at the facts. What else do you look at? Oh, the leather thong. How many people have ever worn moccasins with a leather thong in it? So you have placed me on the desert with leather clothes on and you took a leather thong from my shoe. How many people could we take leather thongs from? That is an issue. Then you move on and you say I had one around my neck. I al ways tie one around my head when my hair is long. It keeps it out of my eyes. And you pull it down on your neck. And I imagine a lot of long-haired people do.
There are so many aspects to this case that could be dug into and a lot of truth could be brought up, a lot of understanding could be reached. It is a pretty hideous thing to look at seven bodies, one hundred and two stab wounds. The prosecutor, or the doctor, gets up and he shows how all the different stab wounds are one way, and then how all the different stab wounds are another way; but they are the same stab wounds in another direction. They put the hideous bodies on display and they say: "If he gets out see what will happen to you." Implying it. I am not saying he did this. This is implied. A lot of diagrams are actually in my opinion senseless to the case.
Then there is Paul Watkins' testmony. Paul Watkins was a young man who ran away from his parents and wouldn't go home. you could ask him to go home and he would say no. He would say, "I don't got no place to live. can I live here?" And I'd say, "Sure." So, he looks for a father image. I offer no father image. I say, "To be a man, boy, you have got to stand up and be your own father." And he still hungers for a father image. So he goes off to the desert and finds a father image. When he gets on the stand, I forget what he said, whether it had any relative value, oh, I was supposed to have said to go get a knife and kill the Sheriff of Shoshone. Go get a knife and kill the Sheriff of Shoshone? I don't know the Sheriff of Shoshone.
I don't think I have been there but once. I am not saying that I didn't say it, but if I said it, at that time I may have thought it was a good idea. Whether I said it in jest and whether I said it in joking, I can't recall and reach back into my memory. I could say either way. I could say, "Oh, I was just joking."or I could say I was curious. But to be honest with you I don't ever recall saying "Get a knife and change of clothes and go do what Tex said." Or I don't recall saying, "Get a knife and go kill the sheriff." I don't recall saying to anyone "Go get a knife and kill anyone or anything." In fact it makes me mad when someone kills snakes or dogs or cats or horses. I don't even like to eat meat because that is how much I am against killing. So you have got the guy who is against killing on the witness stand, and you are all asking him to kill you. You are asking him to judge you. Because with my words, each of your opinions or diagrams, your thoughts, are dying.
What you thought was true is dying. What you thought was real is dying. Because you all know, and I know you know, and you known that I know you know. So, let's make that circle. You say, "Where do we start from there?" Back to the facts again. You say that the facts are elusive in my mind. Actually, they just don't mean anything. The District Attorney can call them facts. They are facts. You are facts. But the facts of the case aren't even relative, in my mind. They are relative to the Thirteenth Century. They are relative to the Eighth Century. They are relative to how old you are or what kind of watch you wear on your arm. I have never lived in time. A bell rings, I get up. A bell rings and I go out. A bell rings, and I live my life with bells. I get up when a bell rings and I do what a bell says. I have never lived in time. When your mind is not in time, the whole thought is different. You look at time as being man-made.
And you say time is only relative to what you think it is. If you want to think me guilty then you can think me guilty and it is okay with me. I don't dislike any of you for it. If you want to think me not guilty it is okay with me. I know what I know and nothing and no one can take that from me. You can jump up and scream, "Guilty!" and you can say what a no good guy I am, and what a devil, fiend, eeky-sneaky slimy devil I am. It is your reflection and you're right, because that is what I am. I am whatever you make me.
You see, it is what happens inside the now that... the words just lose meaning. A motion is more real than a word. The Indians spoke with it. They could explain to you with motions what they felt. This is what I intended to do if I could represent myself. Explain to you what is inside of me, how I feel about things. Because words are your words. You invented the words, and you made a dictionary and you gave me the dictionary and you said, "These are what the words mean." Well, this is what they mean to you, but to someone else, they have got a different dictionary. And things mean different things to different people, and to match the symbols up as you talk back and forward.
Then you put a witness up here to say what you said. I could never say what someone else said. I could only say what I said. You tell me something and, tomorrow, I try to repeat it, if I didn't write it down, I couldn't tell you what you said. Let alone a year ago, let alone eight months ago, let alone a week ago. I am forgetful. I forget one day to the next. I forget what day it is or what month it is or what year it is.
I don't particularly care because all that is real to me is right now. But then, the case is real to me, and I say, "What do I have to do to make you people let me go back to the desert with my children?" You have your world. You are going to do whatever you do with it. I have got nothing to do with it. I don't have the schooling in it. I don't believe in your church. I don't believe in anything you do. I am not saying you are wrong, and I hope that you say I am not wrong for believing what I believe in. Murder? Murder is another question. It is a move. It is a motion. You take another's life. Boom! and they're gone. You say, "Where did they go?" They are dead. You say, "Well, that person could have made the motion." He could have taken my life just as well as I took his. If a soldier goes off to the battlefield, he goes off with his life in front. He is giving his life.
Does that not give him permission to take one? No. Because then we bring our soldiers back and try them in court for doing the same thing we sent them to do. We train them to kill, and they go over and kill, and we prosecute them and put them in jail because they kill. If you can understand it, then I bow to your understanding. But in my understanding I wouldn't get involved with it.
My peace is in the desert or in the jail cell, and had I not seen the sunshine in the desert I would be satisfied with the jail cell much more over your society, much more over your reality, and much more over your confusion, and much more over your world, and your word games that you play. And each witness got up here and only testified for what was best for them, they did not testify for what was best for me. They testified for what was best for them, their own benefit. So you say, "Okay, and then what else did she say?" She said, "You only see in me what you want to see in me." you only see in her what you put in her, because when you take LSD enough times you reach a stage of nothing. You reach a stage of no thought.
An example of this: if you were to be standing in a room with someone and you were loaded on LSD and the guy says, "Do you like my sports coat?" And you would probably not pay any attention to him. About two or three minutes later the guy loaded on LSD will turn around and say, "My, you have a beautiful sports coat" because he is only reacting. He is only reacting to the individual terminology, the person that he has in the room. As you would put two people in a cell, so would they reflect and flow on each other like as if water would seek a level. I have been in a cell with a guy eighty years old and I listened to everything he said. "What did you do then?" And he explains to me his whole life and I sat there and listened, and I experienced vicariously his whole being, his whole life, and I look at him and he is one of my fathers. But he is also another one of your society's rejects. Where does the garbage go, as we have tin cans and garbage alongside the road, and oil slicks in your water, so you have people, and I am one of your garbage people. I am one of your motorcycle people. I am one of what you want to call hippies. I never thought about being a hippie. I don't know what a hippie is. A hippie is generally a guy that's pretty nice.
He will give you a shirt and a flower, and he will give you a smile, and he walks down the road. But don't try to tell him nothing. He ain't listening to nobody. He got his own thoughts. You try to tell him something, and he will say, "Well, if that's your bag." He is finding himself. You, those children there were finding themselves. Whatever they did, if they did whatever they did, is up to them. They will have to explain to you that. I'm just explaining to you what I am explaining to you. Everything is simple to me. It is what it is because that is what it is. It doesn't go anv farther. What? That is all there is. Why? Why? Why comes from your mother. Your mother teaches you why, why, why. you go around asking your mother why and she keeps telling you, "Because, because" and she laces your little brain with because and: "Because." "Why?" "because." "Why?" And you don't know any different.
If you had two mothers, one to tell you one thing and one to tell you another, then your mind might be left where mine was. If you had a dozen parents that you went around with and couldn't believe anything you were told and then you couldn't disbelieve anything you were told. And it's the same thing with this court. I don't believe what these witnesses get up here and say but I don't disbelieve them either. I won't challenge them. If the guy says, "You're no good," I say, "Okay." If that's what you want me to believe it's okay with me. I don't care what you believe. I know what I am. You care what I think of you? Do you care what I think of you? Do you care what my opinion is? No, I hardly think so. I don't think that any of you care about anything other than yourselves because when you find yourself, you find that everyone is out for themselves anyway. It looks that way to me here, the money that has been made, the things that I cannot talk about, and I know I can't talk about, I won't talk about and I will keep quiet about these things.
How much all money has passed over this case? How sensational do you think that you have made this case? I never made it sensational. I was hiding in the desert. You come and got me. Remember? Or could you prove that? What could you prove? The only thing you can prove is what you can prove to yourselves, and you can sit here and build a lot in that jury's mind, and they are still going to interject their personalities on you.
They are going to interject their inadequate feelings; they are going to interject what they think. I look at the jury and they won't look at me. So I wonder why they won't look at me. They are afraid of me. And do you know why they are afraid of me? Because of the newspapers. You projected fear. You projected fear. You made me a monster and I have to live with that the rest of my life because I cannot fight this case. If I could fight this case and I could present this case, I would take that monster back and I would take that fear back. Then you could find something else to put your fear on, because it's all your fear. You look for something to project it on and you pick a little old scroungy nobody who eats out of a garbage can, that nobody wants, that was kicked out of the penitentiary, that has been dragged through every hellhole you can think of, and you drag him up and put him into a courtroom. You expect to break me? Impossible! you broke me years ago. You killed me years ago. I sat in a cell and the guy opened the door and he said, "You want out?" I looked at him and I said, "Do you want out? You are in jail, all of you, and your whole procedure. The procedure that is on you is worse than the procedure that is on me. I like it in there." I like it in there - it's peaceful. I just don't like coming to the courtroom.
I would like to get this over with as soon as possible. And I'm sure everyone else would like to get it over with too. Without being able to prepare a case, without being able to confront the witnesses and to bring out the emotions, and to bring out the reasons why witnesses say what they say, and why this hideous thing has developed into the trauma that it's moved into, would take a bigger courtroom, and it would take a bigger public, a bigger press, because you all, as big as you are, know what you are as I know what you are, and, I like you anyway. I don't want to keep rehashing the same things over. There are so many things that you can get into, Your Honor, that I have no thoughts on. It is hard to think when you really don't care too much one way or the other.
I was released from the penitentiary and I learned one lesson in the penitentiary, you don't tell nobody nothing. You listen. When you are little you keep your mouth shut, and when someone says, "Sit down," you sit down unless you know you can whip him, and if you know you can whip you stand up and whip and you tell him to sit down. Well, I pretty much sat down. l have learned to sit down because I have been whipped plenty of times for not sitting down and I have learned not to tell people something they don't agree with. If a guy comes up to me and he says, "The Yankees are the best ball team," I am not going to argue with that man. If he wants the Yankees to be the best ball team, it's okay with me, so I look at him and I say, "Yeah, the Yankees are a good ball club." And somebody else says, "The Dodgers are good." I will agree with that; I will agree with anything they tell me. That is all I have done since I have been out of the penitentiary. I agreed with every one of you. I did the best I could to get along with you, and I have not directed one of you to do anything other than what you wanted to do.
I have always said this: You do what your love tells you and I do what my love tells me. Now if my love tells me to stand up there and fight I will stand up there and fight if I have to. But if there is any way that my personality can get around it, I try my best to get around any kind of thing that is going to disturb my peace, because all I want is to be just at peace, whatever that takes. Now in death you might find peace, and soon I may start looking in death to find my peace. I have reflected your society in yourselves, right back at your selves, and each one of these young girls was without a home. Each one of these young boys was without a home. I showed them the best I could what I would do as a father, as a human being, so they would be responsible to themselves and not to be weak and not to lean on me.
And I have told them many times, I don't want no weak people around me. If you are not strong enough to stand on your own, don't come and ask me what to do. You know what to do. This is one of the philosophies that everyone is mad at me for, because of the children. I always let the children go. "You can't let the children go down there by themselves." I said, "Let the children go down. If he falls, that is how he learns, you become strong by falling." They said, "You are not supposed to let the children do that. You are supposed to guide them." I said, "Guide them into what? Guide them into what you have got them guided into? Guide them into dope? Guide them into armies?" I said, "No, let the children loose and follow them." That is what I did on the desert. That is what I was doing, following your children, the ones you didn't want, each and every one of them. I never asked them to come with me - they asked me.
There's been a lot of talk about a bottomless pit. I found a hole in the desert that goes down to a river that runs North underground, and I call it a bottomless pit, because where could a river be going North underground? You could even put a boat on it. So I covered it up and I hid it and I called it "The Devil's Hole" and we all laugh and we joke about it. You could call it a Family joke about the bottomless pit. How many people could you hide down in this hole? Again you have a magical mystery tour that most of the time there's forty or fifty people at the ranch playing magical mystery tour. Randy Starr thought he was a Hollywood stunt man. He had a car all painted up and like never done any stunts. Another guy was a movie star, but he had never been in any movies, and everybody was just playing a part, you know, like most people get stuck in one part, but like we were just playing different parts every day. One day you put on a cowboy hat and say, "Shoot somebody," or the next you might have a knife fighter, or go off in the woods for a month or two to be an Indian, or just like a bunch of little kids playing. Then you establish a reality within that reality of play acting. And then you get to conspiracy.
The power of suggestion is stronger than any conspiracy that you could ever enter into. The powers of the brain are so vast, it's beyond understanding. It's beyond thinking. It's beyond comprehension. So to offer a conspiracy might be to sit in your car and think bad thoughts about someone and watch them have an accident in front of you. Or would it be a conspiracy for your wife to mention to you twenty times a day, "You know, you're going blind, George, you know how your eyes are, you're just going blind; we pray to God and you're going blind, and you're going blind." And she keeps telling the old man he's going blind until he goes blind. Is that a conspiracy? Is it a conspiracy that the music is telling youth to rise against the establishment because the establishment is rapidly destroying things? Is that a conspiracy? Where does conspiracy come in? Does it come in that? I have showed people how I think by what I do. It is not as much what I say as what I do that counts, and they look at what I do and they try to do it also, and sometimes they are made weak by their parents and cannot stand up. But is that my fault?
Is it my fault that your children do what they do? Now the girls were talking about testifying. If the girls come up here to testify and they said anything good about me, you would have to reverse it and say that it was bad. You would have to say, "Well, he put the girls up to saying that. He put the girls up to not telling the truth." Then you say the truth is as I am saying it, but then when it is gone, tomorrow it is gone, it changes, it's another day and it's now truth, as it constantly moves thousands of miles an hour through space.
Hippie cult leader; actually, hippie cult leader, that is your words. I am a dumb country boy who never grew up. I went to jail when I was eight years old and I got out when I was thirty-two. I have never adjusted to your free world. I am still that stupid, corn-picking country boy that I always have been. If you tend to compliment a contradiction about yourself, you can live in that confusion.
To me it's all simple, right here, right now; and each of us knew what we did and I know what I did, and I know what I'm going to do and what you do is up to you. I don't recognize the courtroom, I recognize the press and I recognize the people.
THE COURT: Have you completed your statement, Mr. Manson?
MANSON: You could go on forever. You can just talk endless words. It doesn't mean anything. I don't know that it means anything. I can talk to the witnesses and ask them what they think about things, and I can l bring the truth out of other people because I know what the truth is, but I cannot sit here and tell you anything because like basically all I want to do is try to explain to you what you are doing to your children. You see, you can send me to the penitentiary, it's not a big thing. I've been there all my life anyway. What about your children? These are just a few, but there is many, many more, and they're coming right at you.
THE COURT: Anything further?
MANSON: No. We're all our own prisons, we are each all our own wardens and we do our own time. I can't judge anyone else. What other people do is not really my affair unless they approach me with it. Prison's in your mind ... Can't you see I'm free?
Linda Kasabian's Testimony | Paul Watkin's Testimony | Virginia Graham's Testimony | Susan Atkins's Grand Jury Testimony