” I also learned from the documents that they were suing me for things that were true. For example, they repeatedly sued me for saying that Charles Manson was a Scientologist, and there were fifty to a hundred documents showing how they were trying to hide the fact that Charles Manson-had studied Scientology.”
Paulette Cooper, Clearwater Hearing, 1982
One celebrity Scientologist that the cult would prefer we all forgot about is Charles Manson, the convicted murderer of Sharon Tate and her friends, and several other individuals. But the connections between serial murderer and cult leader Charles (“Charlie”) Manson and the cult established by L. Ron (“Elron”) Hubbard are not insignificant.
Manson appears to have been interested in Scientology before his incarceration in 1961 in the McNeil Island Penitentiary in Washington as in his entrance documents he states that he is seeking an answer to his questions in the new mental health cult known as Scientology. In the Sixties, Scientology, evolved by pulp-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, was becoming popular. In prison his teacher or auditor was another convict, variously named as Lanier or Lafayette Raimer, Rayner or Palmer, who was a trained Scientology auditor. Raimer’s wife was in training at the Los Angeles Org in 1965-66, though by then she had disconnected from her husband.
Raul Morales who arrived on McNeil Island in 1962 was a cell mate of Lafayette Raimer. Of the ten men in the cell, seven or so were into Scientology. Charles Manson joined them later and among other courses received approximately 150 hours of auditing from Raimer. According to Raul, “Manson got super-energetic and flipped out when he’d been audited and would, for a time, talk about nothing but Scientology to the extent that people avoided his company. After a while, however, Manson was screaming to get away from his auditor.” In Raul’s opinion, he’d been severely over-run or something. He eventually managed to get put in solitary confinement. Then prison officials got suspicious of the group’s activities and broke it up.
But Raul Morales reported that after Scientology was banned in the penitentiary, another friend, Marvin White, sent Manson books on hypnotism and black magic. Which is pretty much the same thing.
Manson, who was illegitimate, had spent seventeen of his first thirty-two years in prison. He was a small-time crook who moved around a lot. But, as Bugliosi noted, his criminal record up to 1961 and his incarceration on McNeil Island showed no sustained history of violence. “Burglar, car thief, forger, pimp,” he wrote, “was this the portrait of a mass murderer?” Was it Scientology auditing that converted Charles Manson from a small-time crook into a full-blown psychotic with Master-of-the-Universe delusions? If so, he shared his delusions with L. Ron Hubbard, the full-blown psychotic who had created the program.
Manson claimed to have achieved Scientology’s highest level of “Theta Clear” in prison. He had absorbed the occult design, the brain-washing and the hypnotic methods on which Scientology is based. If he moved on to other topics, this was only to fill in a few gaps. Flo Conway and Jim Siegleman also concluded that Scientology was the formative influence on Manson: that its techniques had turned this minor delinquent into “a mass murderer with occult motivation” and the ability to control minds.
By the time he was released from prison in 1967, he understood all there was to understand of Hubbard’s techniques, not as a victim but as a fellow-adept. Manson was beyond doubt the most talented pupil that Hubbard ever had. His evolution down this path to enlightenment may have had something to do with the prison environment and the lack of the normal controls applied outside. Ron DeWolf mentioned his father’s fear that someone studying Dianetics might find the gateway. It looks as if Charlie found it.
Charles Manson was not the only one to recognise the occult power-source hidden in Scientology. In 1964 in England, two other Scientologists – Mary Ann McLean, the illegitimate daughter of a Scots mill worker, and Robert Moore – married, changed their name to de Grimston (‘of the devil’) and left the Scientology movement to found their own cult which came to be called The Process. After several setbacks and several moves they found a niche in Sixties California where they preached a violent Armageddon, as predicted in the Book of Revelation.
After he left prison Manson began to formulate his grand delusionary and messianic schemes and began to demonstrate his uncanny ability to exert influence and control over other people. But by then he had experienced a serious set-back.
As one of the elite, top-of-the-tree, he expected to be welcomed by Scientology with open arms, but Scientology did not share this view. As Bugliosi tells the story, when Manson was released in 1967, he went first to the Scientology center in San Francisco. Family member Paul “Tex” Watkins (one of the more ferocious murderers of the twentieth century) went with him. “Charlie said to the receptionist: ‘I’m Clear – what do I do now?’ When she was unable to tell him anything he hadn’t already done, Manson walked out.” He tried again in Los Angeles where he went to the Celebrity Center. “Now this was more like it. Here he could mingle with the elite.” But the log entry for 31 July 1968 reads: “Charlie Manson, Devt., No Address, In for Processing = Ethics = Type III.” Type III is Scientology shorthand for “psychotic”. The receptionist sent Manson, the superClear, to the Ethics Office but of course he never showed up. Did he harbor a lasting grudge against Scientology for this insult?
Vincent Bugliosi, who was prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, downplayed the importance of Scientology to Manson. “Undoubtedly,” he wrote “he picked up from his ‘auditing’ sessions in prison some knowledge of mind control, as well as some techniques which he later put to use programming his followers.” Bugliosi attributed numerous elements in Manson’s world-view, such as his “distorted attitudes toward life and death, the worshipping of fear and violence, and a variety of satanic delusions and black revolutionary schemes” to the Process. This seems unlikely. Manson had all he needed before he left prison; the Process were a later and peripheral phenomenon. But whether or not Manson joined them, picked their brains, or had no dealings with them is barely relevant. All the elements listed exist in the hidden satanic levels of Scientology, from which both Manson and de Grimston drew.
Arnie Lerma also recognised the importance of Scientology’s influence: “What cannot be debated is that there was something in Scientology that a serial killer criminal mind found very appealing and useful. It was a tool that empowered him, that provided the means, that made him capable of being not just a lone monster like The Son of Sam, Jeffery Dahlmer, but one who was able to mould a group that would follow his every instruction and go out and do exactly what he had told them to do. And they did!”
The cult naturally argues that Scientology was for Manson a passing phase but this is far from the truth. Manson believed he had reached the highest level and had absorbed everything Scientology could teach him and one has no reason to doubt him. Police found a Scientology e-meter and literature at the Spahn Ranch where the Family lived. Levenda notes that “at the Spahn Ranch, Manson eclectically combined his version of Scientology auditing with post-hypnotic techniques he had learned in prison, with geographical isolation and subliminal motivation…”
One of Manson’s converts, Susan Atkins described the profound personality change induced by Manson, exploiting her trance-like mental state. “Suddenly I experienced a moment unlike any other,” she wrote. “This stranger and I dancing, passed through one another. It was as though my body moved closer and closer to him and actually passed through him. I thought for a second that I would collapse. What had happened? Was I crazy? It was beyond human reality.” This is the supreme achievement of black magic, a process Ron DeWolf described as “soul-cracking”. His father used drugs and pain to achieve the same result.
The murders of Sharon Tate and her friends on 9 August 1969 and of Leno and Rosemary Bianca and several others in the following days – the Family killed at least nine people over a short period – were an exercise in remote control by hypnotic persuasion. Manson himself was not directly involved but he controlled those responsible as closely as if he had been there in person. Hubbard used his followers in exactly the same way, sending them out to intimidate, ready to murder if they had to.
An equally sinister event that Scientology would probably like to forget took place on 23 November 1969. This was the murders in Los Angeles of Doreen Gaul (19), James Sharpe (15) and Jane Doe, a third person who has never been identified. Doreen and James were Scientologists who were on their way to a Scientology meeting. According to The New York Post, all three were brutally beaten, ritualistically stabbed and had their right eyes cut out (leaving a single eye). The bodies were then dumped 100 yards from the Scientology commune in which Doreen Gaul and James Sharpe lived. Doreen Gaul was naked except for a strand of Indian beads but had not been sexually molested. The only known link between the two known victims was Scientology.
They were clearly the victims of some satanic ritual. Scientology, which is a satanic cult, denied any involvement. But it was clearly involved at some level. Hubbard used black magic and had belonged to various occult groups in the 1940s. Dianetics is a magical (or magickal) working which he used, as did Charlie, to convert his followers into brain-washed robots. And in Los Angeles at that precise moment in 1969 there were two groups of young people whose ability to torture and kill, induced under mind-control using Hubbard’s own methods, was beyond doubt.
Several things about the murder of these two young Scientologists suggest that the self-taught Scientology reject, Charles Manson, was settling a score in terms that Hubbard would be certain to understand. For several years he had carried a grudge against the Scientology organization for failing to acknowledge his brilliance and importance.
Manson was more intelligent, if also more crazy, than Hubbard, and the psychopathic personality which came into being in prison under Scientology training was certainly more evil. But they were two of a kind. If Manson felt he had been rejected by an organization in which he had a legitimate interest, as a first-class adept -a Clear Thetan – it would seem natural to avenge himself by killing Scientologists.
But there are suggestions of a different or more specific involvement. John McMasters, the first Clear, disassociated from Scientology in part because of these deaths. He wrote a letter to Hubbard, and sent copies to various SPs (suppressives) and critics in which he declared: “I shall never withdraw my allegiance to Ron or Scientology” but in fact he did just that: announcing that he was leaving Hubbard’s ships to spread Scientology in Africa, because of his “horror at what such people on the Sea Org could do to mankind.” He criticized Hubbard and Scientology for their “savage and vicious ethics” and seemed particularly disturbed over the death of the three Los Angeles teenagers Doreen Gaul, James Sharpe and Jane Doe. Did he accuse GO of these killings? Or was he suggesting they provoked them by some other atrocity?
“Somehow we are violating our basic ethics for such things to happen to us,” he wrote. “These last two ghastly murders of our students, one of whom was a clear, need never have happened if we hadn’t been mocking up [making] enemies so solidly.” This must reopen speculation about why these three people died and who was ultimately responsible. The Cult certainly knew more than they told. Hubbard was far away at the time, on his boat in the Med, but from Hana Whitfield’s testimony we know of at least one GO murder squad armed and sent for a specific purpose to the USA.
Bugliosi sums up Manson’s relationship with Scientology: “I knew…that Manson was an eclectic, a borrower of ideas. I knew too, both from his prison records and from my conversations with him, that Manson’s involvement with Scientology had been more than a passing fad. Manson told me, as he had told Paul Watkins, that he had reached the highest stage, ‘theta clear’, and no longer had any connection with or need for Scientology. I was inclined to accept at least the latter portion of his claim.”
Manson wrote a standard success story about his case gains in Scientology: “I read whatever books I could find (and understand) that dealt with mind development. A cell partner turned me on to Scientology. With him and another guy I got pretty heavy into Dianetics and Scientology. Through this and by other studies, I came out of my state of depression. I was understanding myself better, had a positive outlook on life, and knew how to direct my energies to each day and each task.’ It would have been better for a great many people if he had not learned so much”.
There are a few further links between Manson and Scientology. Bruce Davis, a convicted member of Charles Manson’s Family, was Foundation Staff at St. Hill from 1968 to April 1969 when he was kicked out of the organization for drug use. Scotland Yard confirmed that “Davis is recorded as embarking at London airport for the United States of America on 25th April 1969 while holding United States passport 6122568. At this time he gave his address as Dormer Cottage, Felbridge, Surrey. This address is owned by the Scientology Movement and houses followers of this organization.” He returned to the Manson Family in time to participate in the Hinman and Shea slayings. Vincent Bugliosi and others assert he had a relationship with Doreen Gaul, the teenage Scientologist murdered in Los Angeles in November 1969.
Davis’ whereabouts at the times of the murders of Sharp, Gaul and Jane Doe in November 1969 are not known. He disappeared shortly after being questioned in connection with another death. On 1 December 1969, Joel Dean Pugh, husband of Family member Sandy Good, was found in a London hotel room with his throat slit. Local police ruled the death a suicide. All in all, a persuasive tissue of links suggests that Charlie Manson was the volcano that erupted, that he was a channel for the repressed black magical and satanic impulses that Hubbard coded into Scientology for his own evil purposes, but which it would take a true adept only a few minutes to recognize, absorb and put to his own use.
Charlie dabbled to some purpose. He was perhaps the most effective Scientologist the world has ever seen, a real OT.
Sources and Further Reading
Vincent T Bugliosi with Curt Gentry, Helter Skelter, 1974.
Flo Conway and Jim Siegleman, Snapping; America’s epidemic of sudden personality change, 1978.
Peter Levenda, Sinister Forces, 2005.