DERANGED cult leader Charles Manson's so-called "Family'" had a hit list of celebrities who they wanted to murder in a rampage across Hollywood.
Over two days in August 1969, Manson's hippy cult murdered six people including actress Sharon Tate and daubed blood on the walls as part of their twisted plan to start an apocalyptic war in the US.
Eventually, they were caught and cult was broken up – but the sickos had chilling plans to murder other Hollywood celebrities if they weren't stopped.
Although the attacks on the two expensive properties seemed random, it has been alleged that the targets were in fact carefully picked.
According to a book on the killings, Manson's plans for the apocalypse included a hit list of Hollywood superstars including Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Elizabeth Taylor.
"What would have more impact than killing an eight-month-pregnant Hollywood actress?" investigative journalists Dylan Howard and Andy Tillett write in their book The Last Charles Manson Tapes.
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"Manson would ensure the beautiful young actress who had everything, her spoiled pals, and her rich, successful husband knew the party was over. Manson, the perpetual outsider looking in at Hollywood glory, would have his revenge on those who had shunted him aside."
On August 8, 1969, several of Manson's cult members entered the home of 26-year-old model and actress Sharon Tate, who had married Hollywood director Roman Polanski the previous year.
Tate, regarded as one of Tinseltown's most promising young stars, was also eight months pregnant at the time.
She was brutally murdered alongside three of her friends who were in the house at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles.
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The house was owned by Terry Melcher, record producer and son of actress Doris Day who almost signed frustrated rockstar Manson, although Melcher had rented it out to Tate.
On August 9, the 'Family' broke into the nearby home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, torturing and killing the couple.
At both murder scenes, the bodies were horrifically mutilated and slogans were daubed on the walls in the victims' blood.
This was all part of Manson's twisted and racist plot to trigger a devastating race war which would bring about the end of the world.
The 'Family' planned to frame the Black Panthers for their murders, hoping to trigger a destructive conflict between black and white people.
While this was happening, they would hide out in an underground city he told his followers could be found via a secret entrance in California's Death Valley.
When the race war was over, black people would have taken over, but Manson claimed they were too stupid to know how to run it, so The Family would seize power.
She was going to take her knife, burn the end of it until it was red hot, and put it on the side of Elizabeth Taylor's face, to leave her mark
Manson named his bizarre plot 'Helter Skelter' after The Beatles' song of the same name from 1968's White Album.
He claimed that the band were communicating directly with The Family through their music.
In order to make his cult of young, impressionable hippies follow his every word, Manson kept them constantly dosed on LSD, as well as subjecting them to a vicious campaign of physically, psychological, and sexual abuse.
The news of the gruesome Tate and LaBianca murders sent shockwaves across the US and is often regarded as marking the end of the hippy era.
As Howard and Tillett write: "The citizens of Los Angeles, especially its entertainment class, were thrown into a panic. By the end of the weekend, gun sales throughout the city had skyrocketed. Additionally, the cost for highly trained guard dogs tripled."
One of the family members Susan Atkins, who took part in the killings, later claimed to her fellow prison inmates about how the cult had planned to torture and murder some of Hollywood's biggest stars.
WHO WAS CHARLES MANSON?
TWISTED cult leader Charles Manson inspired his hippy followers to murder seven people in 1969.
- Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1934, Manson had a difficult and violent childhood, moving from one juvenile institution to another.
- He learned how to play the guitar while in prison for pimping, and when released, he moved to San Francisco in the midst of its hippy boom.
- He quickly gathered a small group of young, mostly female devotees from the counter-culture, preaching a bizarre mix of Christianity, Scientology, and hippy 'free love'.
- Manson was desperate to become a rockstar, and when his dreams of success were thwarted, his sermons became darker and more apocalyptic.
- He talked of a violent race war that he called 'Helter Skelter'.
- On August 8, 1969, Manson ordered four of his disciples to a house on Beverly Hills' Cielo Drive and kill everyone inside.
- Sharon Tate and three others were killed: hairstylist Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger.
- Less than 24 hours later, the gang tortured and murdered the wealthy LA couple Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
Virginia Graham, a former cellmate of Atkins, told the court on October 9, 1970: "She [Atkins] told me she had decided to murder Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
"She said she had given great thought to this and that she wanted to do something she thought would be unusual and again would shock the world."
Graham, 37, went on: "She told me she knew how to gouge people's eyes out; that Charlie [Manson] had shown her how to do it – so she decided that she would take Elizabeth Taylor's eyes out.
"She was going to take her knife, burn the end of it until it was red hot, and put it on the side of Elizabeth Taylor's face, to leave her mark."
Howard and Tillett wrote: "According to trial testimony by Virginia Graham, Atkins planned to castrate the famously virile Richard Burton."
They went on: "Atkins also described special punishments for crooners who might compete with Manson, such as Tom Jones (having sex with him at knifepoint and then cutting his throat) and Frank Sinatra (suspending him upside down from a meat hook, skinning him alive while playing his music in the background, then tanning his flesh and turning it into purses)."
They added: "The Family took pride in being bloody killers. They would not, however, have wanted Manson to tell them they were unoriginal.
"While some of these scenarios sound like jailhouse bragging, there is no question that after the Tate killings Manson instantly grasped the newsworthy benefits of slaughtering celebrities."
Thankfully, Manson was arrested in October 1969 before he could continue his deadly murder spree, spending the rest of his life in prison before he died in November 2017 aged 83.
In her lengthy testimony, Graham said that Atkins had described the bizarre twisted rituals The Family would hold at their home at Spahn Ranch west of Los Angeles.
"She described to me that on various occasions Charlie would put himself on a cross and that a girl would kneel at the foot of the cross and that he would moan, cry out and know he was being crucified.
"They also would sacrifice animals and drink their blood as a fertility rite because Charles wanted the girls to produce children, because they were trying to form a new type of society – a new type of human being."
Atkins, 22, is also reported to have told her cellmate that "anything went in the sex orgies" that the cult members held while under the influence of LSD.
"Boy with boy, girl with girl – this was immaterial because there was no difference."
She described Manson as their "father, their leader, their love," and compared him to Jesus "who was going to lead them to the desert".
Graham said: "There was a very large hole in Death Valley that only Charlie knows where it is. But right now there is a civilisation, of people living under the Earth."
Atkins claimed Manson was going to take the "family" and the chosen few there to live.
In September 2009, Atkins died aged 61 at the Central California Women's facility, the longest-serving female inmate in the state.
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Last week, one of the killer cult members Patricia Krenwinkel learned she will be freed after 50 years behind bars.
Krenwinkel, 74, who was previously denied parole 14 times, stabbed Leno LaBianca in the stomach with a fork before writing "Helter Skelter", "Rise" and "Death to Pigs" on the walls in his blood.
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