Previously Unseen Charles Manson Childhood Photos Are Creepy Because They're Normal

When you think about really, really bad guys, it’s hard to imagine that they were probably pretty “normal” once upon a time. Everybody’s born naked, right? I mean, someone potty-trained Adolf Hitler at some point. On the other side of it, it’s really hard to imagine some cute little kid growing up to be Benito Mussolini or Joseph Stalin.

That’s why the newly released, never before seen photographs of murdering psychopath Charles Manson are so unnerving. Even more unnerving are the accounts from family members that remember Manson as a child and adolescent.


Apparently he was a “disagreeable” child from a young age -- lying about everything, never taking responsibility for any of his numerous misdeeds, and was obsessed with being the center of attention. That was when he was 5.

His cousin JoAnn, whose parents Manson lived with for several years, recalls, “There was never anything happy about him. He never did anything good.” She also tells a story about when they were children and she was making a bed. He found a razor sharp sickle and purposefully got in her way. The scene ended when she pushed him out of the room and closed the screen door, and he slashed it. She was “certain he meant to use the blade on her.”

By the time he was 12, he was bouncing around different reformatory schools. In order to avoid being raped and otherwise abused by the older boys, he acted crazy, with facial tics, screeches, and wild twitching.

It kind of makes you wonder if some people are just born evil or if it develops over time. Manson certainly didn’t have the greatest start to life -- he was born to a 15-year-old girl that cared more about going out drinking and dancing than mothering a young son. By the time he was 4, she was in prison for her involvement with a brutal yet botched robbery. Hmm, that might make the case for genetics, huh?

It’s hard to reconcile what we know about the evil that lurks in Charles Manson with pictures of a fresh-faced kid. I guess it goes to show that you can never judge a book by its cover.

Do you think Charles Manson always had a black soul -- even as a child?


Image via Bettmann/Corbis

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