Until a few years ago, Star hadn’t heard of Manson despite his infamy. (He’s serving a life sentence for conspiring to kill Roman Polanski‘s pregnant wife Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and five others in the ’70s.)
Then one day, Star’s friend shared Manson’s environmental writings with her, Erik Hedegaard writes for Rolling Stone. She liked what he said — “Air is God, because without air we do not exist” — and began writing him. In 2007, she put some clothes in a backpack and took a train from her home on the Mississippi River to Corcoran, Calif., where Manson is doing his time.
Now, Star is a devotee of Manson who visits every weekend and holds onto the delusion that he’ll be free one day and that the two will get married. (Manson told Rolling Stone they are not in fact getting married.)
“My parents parents like Charlie,” Star, who was raised Baptist, told Hedegaard. “We were just talking and they said, ‘If Charlie gets out, you guys can come stay here. You could stay in the basement for a while, and you could maybe build your own little house down by the creek.”
It’s not hard to see why a naive person might find Manson charming. Hedegaard himself finds Manson magnetic, writing, “I will never know or understand why when Manson rested his hand on my arm, it felt so good, not passively good, but actively, like leave it there, leave it there some more.”
Indeed, Manson charmed the drug-addled members of his cult “family” back in the 70s. A 1976 court opinion in his case has an excellent description of Manson and his influence:
Sometime in 1967 Manson found his way to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. While there he became associated with young … girls and women who were runaways, drop outs or otherwise disassociated with conventional society. He obtained a Volkswagen bus, collected some of his female companions, and began travelling about the country.
Ultimately, he established a commune of about 20 people at Chatsworth, California. Composed of Manson’s companions from Haight-Ashbury and others, the members were mostly young women, three of whom had young children.
At almost 80, and in a high-security prison, Manson still has his charm.
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