Helter Skelter

Possible Motive for the Charles Manson Murders…

The famous “Helter Skelter” door was evidence of the term’s supposed importance to the “Manson Family”. On the lower portion of the door it ads “[Helter Skelter] Is Coming Down Fast.

Helter Skelter: The Helter Skelter motive is a bizarre story and very hard to believe. While many reject it as a motive for the murders, no one can deny that Helter Skelter was something that the family talked about, a lot. There is loads of testimony from various family members that confirmed Manson talked about it constantly.

In fact, after the Tate murders, Charles Tex Watson, the main participant in the murders, told Manson:

“Boy, it sure was Helter Skelter.” – Charles Watson

Susan remembered, “Charlie obtained The Beatles’ so-called White Album in late 1968. It had a tremendous impact on our lives, especially Charlie’s. One night when many of us were playing records and listening to the album, Charlie said, “They’re speaking to me.”

“Charlie was preaching constantly about the end of the world and the need to flee into the country, specifically the desert.” – Susan Atkins

Watson also recollected, “It was violent death, physical death that he meant when he told us that death was beautiful, because it was the thing people feared the most. Yet, he said, death was nothing but an illusion in the mind anyway, so killing a human being was merely destroying a fantasy. He kept repeating that the spirit, the soul, can never be killed; it is one and eternal – the illusion of physical death merely opens the resistant spirit to realization of its essential oneness with all that is.”

  • Helter Skelter Lyrics: When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide, where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride.
  • Significance: A reference to the Family’s emergence from “the Bottomless Pit”, the underground Death Valley hideaway where the group will escape the violence of Helter Skelter.
  • Helter Skelter Lyrics: Look out… Helter Skelter… She’s coming down fast… Yes she is.
  • Significance: The upcoming explosion of race-based violence is imminent.

Manson’s testimony on Helter Skelter: At his 1970 trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders, Manson was permitted to speak for over an hour where he said the following:

“[Helter Skelter] It means confusion, literally. It doesn’t mean any war with anyone. It doesn’t mean that some people are going to kill other people… Helter Skelter is confusion. Confusion is coming down around you fast. If you can’t see the confusion coming down around you fast, you can call it what you wish.” – Charles Manson

As to there having been a conspiracy, of which he was alleged to have been a part, to commit the murders, Manson said this:

“Is it a conspiracy that the music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment because the establishment is rapidly destroying things? Is that a conspiracy? The music speaks to you every day, but you are too deaf, dumb, and blind to even listen to the music. 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.” – Charles Manson

In various press and parole board interviews, Manson has dismissed the Helter Skelter conspiracy as an invention by the trial prosecutor to tie him to the murders. At about the one-fifth point of his 1992 parole hearing, Manson said the following:

“As far as lining up someone for some kind of Helter Skelter trip, you know, that’s the District Attorney’s motive. That’s the only thing he could find for a motive to throw up on top of all that confusion he had. There was no such thing in my mind as Helter Skelter.” – Charles Manson

Did Manson and the family really believe in Helter Skelter? And was it the actual motive behind the murders? There are indeed alternative motives. Nonetheless, this was the motive presented at the trial and this is the motive the convictions were based on.

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