Revelation (Chapter 9)

The Book of Revelation… Manson’s bizarre ideology combined his interpretations of Beatles’ songs with his interpretation of the Bible.

A shackled Charles Manson is led into an interview room by two Corcoran prison guards, August 1989. Manson said that he would like to kill some people if he were ever allowed out of prison. Photo credit Reuters.

  1. The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.
  2. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.
  3. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.
  4. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
  5. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.
  6. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
  7. The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.
  8. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.
  9. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle.
  10. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
  11. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
  12. The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
  13. The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God.
  14. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
  15. And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
  16. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.
  17. The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.
  18. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.
  19. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
  20. The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.
  21. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Manson’s Interpretation of the Book of Revelation (Chapter 9) (According to Prosecuting Attorney Vincent Bugliosi)

    1. Manson saw himself as “the fifth angel” (Verse 1) who would be given “the key to the pit of the abyss.”
    2. Verse 11 refers the fifth angel as “king,” whose “name in Hebrew is Abaddon.”  The Catholic Douay Version contains also a Latin name, inadvertantly omitted from other versions: “Exterminans.”
    3. Verse 3 says that “out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them.”  Manson believed that the “locusts” were in fact “beetles”–the English musical group, “The Beatles.”
    4. Manson found confirmation for the Beatles being the “locusts” of Revelation in verses 7 through 9.  Verse 7 refers to the locusts having “faces as were men’s faces,” but verse 8 says “they had hair as the hair of women”–which Manson took to be a reference to the Beatles’ long hair.  Also, verse 9 refers to the locusts as having “breastplates of iron.”  In Manson’s interpretation the Beatles’ breastplates were their electric guitars. The “horses” that they rode (verse 7) were dune buggies. Finally, Manson saw the “fire and smoke and brimstone” that came out of their mouths (verse 17) as being the powerful lyrics to their songs–especially those in the White Album.  Manson also at times saw the Beatles as “the four angels” of verse 15.
    5. The 200,000,000 persons comprising “the armies of the horsemen” (verse 16) who would spread destruction around the earth were, in Manson’s interpretation, motorcyclists.
    6. Manson interpreted verse 4–“And it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing”–as meaning that it was wrong to kill any living thing–except, perversely, people.  Manson would frequently upbraid family members for killing rattlesnakes or other creatures.
    7. Manson believed he would lead his Family to the desert, where they would wait out the coming holocaust and multiply until they numbered 144,000–a number he got from Revelation, Chapter 7 which refers to twelve tribes of Isrreal, each numbering 12,000.
    8. Manson believed that the entrance to “the pit of the abyss” (verse 1) was a forgotten cave somewhere in Death Valley.  Through this cave could gain entrace to a wonderful land “of milk and honey” lighted by glowing walls and filled with warm spring water.
    9. Perhaps most critically, was Manson’s interpretation of verse 15: “And the four angels were loosed, that had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, that they should kill the third part of men.”  Manson saw verse 15 as a prophecy of the imminent Helter Skelter in which a revolt by blacks would result in a killing of one-third of the population.  Manson may have believed that he was setting this revolt in motion in August of 1969 when he sent loose from Spahn ranch his Family members with instructions to kill.

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