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A Helter-Skelter Legal Fight Begins Over Charles Manson’s Estate

Charles Manson, infamous 1960s’ cult leader and imprisoned gadfly, passed away behind bars in November of 2017, bringing some closure at last to the victims of the murders his cult of misguided hippies perpetrated. But now in a fittingly ironic twist, Manson’s remains and property have become the focus of a legal battle in California. The man who preached his whole life about fighting against the system will have his final Earthly affairs go down in a hail of petitions and court rulings.

At odds are Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, on the one side and several pen pals and social climbers who befriended Manson during his long incarceration on the other. Both Freeman and the pen pals state that their sole intention with Manson’s remains are to cremate the body and scatter the ashes in a secretive location. Charles Manson’s body is currently in cold storage at the morgue while the legal battle over his final resting place transpires.

As for Manson’s personal belongings and other material items, both Freeman and the distant friends of Manson are laying claim to Manson’s property. Chief among the pen pals is Michael Channels, who maintained a correspondence relationship with Manson for thirty years and now claims to be in possession of Manson’s last will and testament bequeathing everything to Channels. Channels also runs a website where, it is hinted in one section, he intends to put possessions and memorabilia from Manson up for sale. It is not yet clear what Manson’s grandson intends to do with Manson’s personal effects.

Charles Manson is notorious for leading a band of hippies in the California desert on a savage murder spree which assassinated several actors and other celebrities in 1969. The news at the time spawned an enduring cult of personality around Manson, who was mythologized in later books and documentaries. Several modern day fans of Manson’s cult maintain websites and other media in Manson’s memory. As late the the 2010s, various women even proposed Manson’s hand in marriage, such was the extent of his cult following. But as Manson’s legacy now winds down, a monster that was arguably created by the media will be slowly digested through it.

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