Charles Manson’s twisted philosophy drew from many sources, including Hinduism, environmentalism, the hippie movement, and Christian apocalypticism. One less well-known influence on Manson was his involvement with the Church of Scientology. The following document, seized from the cult by the FBI in the 1970s, gives their perspective:

On 18 June 80 the following report was received by me.
Report of interview with Raul Morales, Re: Charles Manson.
According to Raul: Raul arrived in prison on McNeil Island, Washington in 1962 and became a cell mate of Lafayette Raimer allegedly a trained Scientology auditor (about Level I in Raul’s estimation) and was 4introduced to Scientology at that time. Raimer was auditing in prison at that time and in one 10 man cell had managed to gather a group of about 7, all in Scientology. Charles Manson entered later and studied, did TRO etc. along with his cell-mates and received approximately 150 hours of auditing from Raimer. Processes used were CCH’s, Help processes (Who have you helped-Who have you not helped) and other Dichotomy processes (Rauls terms, such as What can you confront, what would you rather not confront), Havingness (Such as “What can you have?” “Look around and find something you can have. Look around and find something you’re not in.” Rainer kept records of his auditing. Manson got super-energetic & flipped out when he’d been audited and would, for a time, talk about nothing but Scientology to the extent that people avoided his company. After a while, however, Manson was screaming to get away from his auditor (in Raul’s opinion, he’d been severely over-run or something). He eventually managed to get put in solitary confinement to get away from his auditor. Eventually prison officials got suspicious of the groups strange activities and broke up the group. Subsequently, Raul was released from the prison in 1965. Raimer’s wife was in training here at the L.A. Org in 1965-66; she had disconnected from Raimer. Raul just found out yesterday that another friend, Marvin White, later sent Manson books (after the Scientology group was broken up) on hypnotism and black magic…

It would, of course, be a mistake to simply blame Scientology for Manson’s madness. However, it is claimed that Scientology was incorporated into the twisted doctrine he taught his followers, and it is doubtful something for which he evidently has so much passion could have simply been forgotten without influence. In particular, as pointed out by Arnie Lerma:

Charles Manson, having grown up in reform schools and penitentiaries, was trained by professional criminal minds, I bet his insight made it instantly apparant to Charles Manson, that Scientology was a useful tool to control minds. He valued it so much he even acquired a scientology E-meter so he could practice scientology.

What cannot be debated is that there was something in Scientology that a serial killer criminal mind found very appealing, useful.. it was a TOOL that empowered him, that provided the means, making him capable of not just being a lone monster like The Son of Sam, Jeffery Dahlmer, but one who was able to mould a group that would follow his every instruction and go out and do exactly what he had told them to do. And they did!