Manson Family murders were sparked by botched drug deal, new theory suggests

It's been 52 years since actress Sharon Tate's body was found on the floor of her Beverley Hills home in what has become one of the most infamous murders in modern history.

The pregnant star had been stabbed 16 times while the corpse of her former lover and friend, Jay Sebring, lay nearby. He had been shot and knifed.

Sharon's friend, Wojciech Frykowski, had tried to flee the bloodbath. He struggled with their attackers and nearly made it out of the front door but was clubbed repeatedly with a gun, stabbed 51 times and shot twice.

Abigail Folger, the heiress to a coffee fortune, also almost escaped and made it to the front lawn where she was stabbed 16 times.

Outside, in a car, was a fifth body. Stephen Parent had been visiting the property to see the caretaker when he was shot twice.

The murder spree did not stop there.

The next night members of the Manson Family cult broke into another home. Leno LaBianca was butchered with a chrome-plated bayonet and the word 'war' carved into his abdomen. His wife, Rosemary, bravely kept her attackers at bay with a lamp before she was stabbed a total of 41 times.

In both cases words like "Rise", "Death to pigs" "Healter Skelter" and "pig" were scrawled in blood on the walls.

The "Manson Family murders" of August, 1969, have now entered history as one of the most infamous crimes of the modern age.

Charles Manson, the group's leader, grew up bad, committing crimes from an early age, before concentrating on robberies and becoming a paedophile rapist who preyed on boys. After spending more than half his life in prison and other institutions, in 1967, aged 32, he was released from jail.

Manson was obsessed with the idea there would be a race war between America's black and white populations. He believed the black population would win and, despite being white himself, he would be chosen to lead this new nation.

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Despite this crackpot theory, he began attracting a group of largely female followers, ranging from a librarian to a porn actress, and the "Manson family" cult was formed.

Following the murders in August 1969, it was widely accepted they had been carried out as Manson tried to start the race war.

However, a book based on the last interviews with him before he died in prison of a heart attack aged 87, claim the real reason was all about a botched drug deal, not some mad cult racist plot.

In Hippie Cult Leader: The Last Words of Charles Manson, by James Buddy Day, it is claimed the timeline to tragedy began a month earlier.

On July 1, Manson's friend, Charles “Tex” Watson, stole money from another drug dealer who was a member of the black power organisation, the Black Panthers.

The dealer then threatened to come to the ranch and kill everyone, so Manson went to his home, the two fought and Manson shot him, believing he had killed him even though the wound did not prove fatal.

Manson returned to the ranch fearing the Black Panthers would kill them all in revenge. He invited the Straight Satans motorbike gang to live there, enjoying the sexual favours of his female followers, in exchange for protecting them.

Then along came Bobby Beausoleil who wanted to join the Straight Satans. He volunteered to buy them drugs and purchased some from a friend.

When the drugs were found to be bad, he and Manson confronted the dealer. Manson slashed his face with a Confederate sword and fled the scene while Beausoleil stabbed him to death.

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Trying to cover his tracks, Beausoleil wrote “Political Piggy” and drew a black cat paw on the wall in blood, and told police the Black Panthers had committed the crime.

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When Beausoleil was later arrested, Manson was fearful he would be tied to the crime, and the earlier 'killing' of Bernard Crowe, and that some of his cult followers might grass him up.

It is claimed Manson then ordered them to carry out a copycat crime to throw police off the scent and implicate themselves in murder so they could not reveal his own crimes, leading to the bloodbath at Tate's home.

The motive for the second murder spree – which Manson actually participated in – was another chance to mislead police as well as steal cash.

Whatever the truth, the wicked "Manson family murders" will live on in infamy.

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