Killer Charles Manson alive as reports swirl of illness
For nearly 50 years Charles Manson has been the living personification of evil, a demonic presence captured in scores of photos, each of them marked by his piercing dark eyes and the crude Nazi swastika he carved into his forehead.
That personification re- turned to the public consciousness again this week, complete with a prison mug shot of a now-elderly but still evil- looking Manson, after a report by TMZ.com that the killer of glamorous actress Sharon Tate and six others is seriously ill and hospitalized in Bakersfield.
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to confirm that Thursday, saying only that Manson, who turned 83 on Sunday, is still alive.
To reveal more, spokeswoman Vicky Waters told The Associated Press, would violate federal and state privacy laws.
A career criminal and con artist, Manson had reinvented himself during the Summer of Love as a Christ- like figure who attracted young peo- ple to a commune he established at an old, abandoned movie ranch on the edge of Los Angeles.
Manson was particularly fascinated by the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.”
He saw the song as predicting the coming race war, although its lyrics mainly seem to reference a childhood playground slide of that name.