The contents of Charles Manson's will have just been revealed
Last week Charles Manson had passed away at the age of 83. He was serving a life sentence in Corcoran State Prison in California, when he was hospitalised a week prior to his death. Now, amidst various claims to his estate, it has been reported that Manson's will leaves all his possessions and a "small fortune" to an anonymous pen pal.
The infamous leader of the "Helter Skelter" gang in California, Manson had spent nearly 50 years in prison after his arrest in 1969. As a cult leader, he ordered members of the "Manson Family" commune to conduct several murders, including that of Sharon Tate, a pregnant actress married to Roman Polanski.
He preached that an apocalyptic race war was coming, which he tried to instigate and escalate by committing murders and crimes. He believed that African-Americans were due to rise up and take control over the U.S, while in-fighting between white Americans would ultimately destroy them.
He believed that The Beatles' White Album was directed at the Manson Family, giving them instructions through code. It was his firm belief that they should help bring about this chaos, so that they could rule over those that remained after the war, riding out the conflict in a secret city beneath Death Valley. He described this supposed collapse of society as "helter skelter", a term borrowed from a Beatles song and found written in blood at one of the crime scenes.
He and three of his followers went on trial in 1970, a 10-month trial in which his followers held vigils outside the courthouse. In prison he shaved his head and grew his beard, telling reporters: "I am the devil, and the devil always has a bald head", and later carved a swastika onto his forehead.
His estate is valued at an estimated net worth of $400,000 as of 2017.
But how does a man imprisoned for so long, and hated by millions, have so much money? In his time in prison conducted various interviews in the following decades, while his face and name found its way onto t-shirts, and songs he had written were covered by bands across the world. "Charlie was always a con man," Sandi Gibbons, a reported who covered the trial, said in 1999, "And now he’s managed to con a whole new generation of people."
Now, according to TMZ, he constructed a will in 2002 which leaves his entire estate to his pen pal. They reported that he had exchanged letters and phone calls with this pen pal for two decades, eventually meeting in person. This pen pal, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed that he spoke to him the last time on October 21, mere weeks before his death.
TMZ claims that they verified the document is authentic, that it is his handwriting, and it disinherits his known and unknown children, ex-wives, family members and friends. As well as his personal belongings, his "exclusive music catalog", and the image rights and use of his name, they would have claim to the aforementioned fortune. He supposedly earned this money through selling paintings, t-shirts, photos, interviews and other merchandise.
However, this pen pal isn't the only one to lay claim to Manson's estate. His friend Ben Gurecki claims he received a 2017-dated will from Manson that names Matthew Roberts, his self-proclaimed son, as the main beneficiary.
Gurecki and the pen pal have separately said they intend to claim Manson's body next week. If they don't do so within 10 days of his death, it will be cremated by the prison.