Prison's in your mind. Can't you see I'm free?
Charles Milles Manson (born 12 November 1934) is a convict who led the "Manson Family," a quasi-commune that arose in the U.S. state of California in the later 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the cases which became known as the Tate-LaBianca murders, which members of the group carried out at his instruction.
- We're all our own prisons, we are each all our own wardens and we do our own time. I can't judge anyone else. What other people do is not really my affair unless they approach me with it. Prison's in your mind. Can't you see I'm free?
- Trial testimony (19 November 1970)
- Rubin, I am not of your world. I've spent all my life in prison. When I was a child I was an orphan and too ugly to be adopted. Now I am too beautiful to be set free.
- As quoted by Jerry Rubin in recounting his visit with Manson in We Are Everywhere (1971)
- A lot of you young people, even though you go through college, you still don’t understand that courtroom. That courtroom is the court of the kings and lords of the world. We as human beings can invoke the ground here called the United States of America. And the reason our system has perpetuated in such a way is because all the powers of Europe and England and monarchies and all those big people; we have come over here and started another world where each man in the United States has that power because he has that courtroom. That courtroom belongs to every human being in the United States. And if you take that courtroom away from one human being, you’re taking that courtroom away from all human beings. Then what follows is you got kings and queens of yesterday – they’re gonna come and play croquet with your heads. They’re gonna take your courtrooms. They’re gonna take your money and they’re gonna take your country. They’re gonna take your resources. They’re gonna rip you off in every way you can think of because you didn’t give your own children the benefit of the courtroom that your fathers fought in battles and died for.
- Will of God.. whatever you wanna call it.. you call it Jesus, call it Mohammed, call it goobybob, call it nuclear mind, call it blow the world up, call it your heart. Whatever you wanna call it, it's still music to me. It's there. It's the will of life.
- I've been 15 years in the nut ward, for trying to stop the trees from being cut down, from trying to rearrange the lifestyle of a bunch of people who don't want to change. But they're gonna change because a cold wind is blowing. You're gonna change or else there's going to be no life left on the planet Earth.
- We use the word God. God hooks all the other words up. I'm the pope. I'm ten times the pope. I'm sixty times the pope. But I'm the pope in the hills and in the mountains.
- I'm nobody. I'm a tramp, a bum, a hobo. I'm a boxcar and a jug of wine, and a straight razor if you get too close to me.
- You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.
- If you are going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy.
- I wanna say this to every man that has a mind, to all the intelligent life forms that exist on this planet Earth. I wish the British would say this to the Scottish Rites and the Masons and all the people with minds who have degrees of knowledge, and who are aware of courts, laws, United Nations, governments.
In the 40s, we had a war, and all of our economies went towards this war effort. The war ended on one level, but we wouldn't let it end on the other levels. We kept buying and selling this war. I'm not locked in the penitentiary for crimes, I'm locked in the Second World War. I'm locked in the Second World War with this decision to bring to the World Court - there must be a One World Court, or we're all gonna be devoured by crime.
Crime, and the definition of crime comes from Nuremberg, when the judges decided that they wanted to call Second World War a crime. Honor and war is not a crime. Crime is bad. When you go to war and you're a soldier, and you fight for your God and your country, that's not criminal. That's honorable. That's what you must do to be a man. If you don't fight for your God and your country, you're not worth anything. If you have no honor, then you're not worth petty's pigs.
Truth is, we've got to overturn this decision that you made in the Second World War, or the Second World War will never end. Degrees of the war was written in Switzerland, in Geneva, at conferences that were made by the men at the tables, clearly stated that anyone in uniform would be given the respect of their rank and their uniforms. Then when the United States and got all the Germans in handcuffs, they started breaking their own rules. And they've been breaking their own rules ever since. War is not a crime, but if you judge war as a crime in a court room, then turn around: If 2 + 3 = 5, and 3 + 2 = 5; if you say war is a crime, then crime becomes your war. I am, by all standards, a prisoner of war.
I've been a prisoner of war since 1944 in Juvenile Hall, for setting a school building on fire in Indianapolis, Indiana. I've been locked up 45 years trying to figure out why I got to be a criminal. It matters not whether I want to be; you've got to keep criminals going to keep the war going because that's your economy, your whole economy is based on the war. You've got to get your dollar bills off the war, you've got your silver market sterling off of the war, you've got to take your gold and your diamonds off of the war - You've got to overturn that decision, that hung 6000 men by the neck.
You killed 6000 soldiers for obeying orders. It's wrong. And the world has got to accept that's wrong. When you accept you're wrong, and you say you're sorry for all the things you've done, then that will be a note on that court, and we'll have some harmony going on this planet Earth, now.
- Interview with Bill Murphy (1994) 
- I was so smart when I was a kid that I learnt that I was dumb fast.
- Interview on the album All the Way Alive (2003)
- Progress? There's no such thing as progress. There's only change. You dig a hole in the ground, you build up a city, and you fight a war, and you call it progress?
- Interview track from Charles Manson Sings (2006)
- As long as there's hate in your heart, there'll be hate in the world. You can't fight for peace and you cannot capture freedom.
- Interview track from Charles Manson Sings (2006)
- Look down at me and you see a fool; look up at me and you see a god; look straight at me and you see yourself.
- As quoted in 101 People You Won't Meet in Heaven: The Twisted Achievements of the Most Brutal and Sadistic Individuals the World Has Ever Known (2007) by Michael Powell, p. 148
Rolling Stone interview (June 1970)
- If I had a desire, it would be to be free from desire.
- They're looking for something dirty in everything, and if you're looking for something, you'll find it. You have to put up some kind of face for them, and that's the only face they understand.
- A baby is born into this world in a state of fear. Total paranoia and awareness. He sees the world with eyes not used yet. As he grows up, his parents lay all this stuff on him. They tell him, when they should be letting him tell them. Let the children lead you.
- Anything you see in me is in you. If you want to see a vicious killer, that's who you'll see, do you understand that? If you see me as your brother, that's what I'll be. It all depends on how much love you have. I am you, and when you can admit that, you will be free. I am just a mirror.
- I'm probably one of the most dangerous men in the world if I want to be. But I never wanted to be anything but me.
- Have you ever seen the coyote in the desert? Watching, tuned in, completely aware. Christ on the cross, the coyote in the desert — it’s the same thing, man. The coyote is beautiful. He moves through the desert delicately, aware of everything, looking around. He hears every sound, smells every smell, sees everything that moves. He’s in a state of total paranoia, and total paranoia is total awareness.
NBC interview (1987)
- Interview by Heidi Schulman
- Maybe I should have killed four, five hundred people. Then I would have felt better. Then I would have felt like I really offered society something.
- If I wanted to kill somebody, I'd take this book and beat you to death with it, and I wouldn't feel a thing.
- Do you feel blame? Are you mad? Uh, do you feel like wolf kabob Roth vantage? Gefrannis booj pooch boo jujube; bear-ramage. Jigiji geeji geeja geeble Google. Begep flagaggle vaggle veditch-waggle bagga?
- I lived in Hollywood and I had all that, the Rolls Royce and the Ferrari and the pad in Beverly Hills. I had the surf board and the Beach Boys and the bishkis and the Neil Diamond and the ramskam and the Jimmy shriffen and the Elvis Presley's best of bestlies and all them guys. The Dean and Martins and the Nancy Sinatras and the goffs and sofrins, "Will you do it to me? I hear you do it good honey" and all that kind of "Will you come up to my house later?" So I went through all that and I seen that was a bigger prison than the one I just got out of and I really didn't care to go back in prison. See, prison doesn't begin and end at the gate. Prison is in the mind. It's locked in one world that's dead and dying, or it's open to a world that's free and alive.
- I've never killed anyone. I don't need to kill anyone. I think it. I have it here. [points to head]
- There's nothing wrong with being incompetent.… It just means you don't have to do as much.
- Believe me, if I started murdering people, there'd be none of you left.
Quotes about Manson
- I don't believe you're leaving 'cause me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream.
- Charlie was always preaching love. Charlie had no idea what love was. Charlie was so far from love it wasn't even funny. Death is Charlie's trip. It really is.
- Let's clap our hands for the president and Jesus Christ and did I mention Charlie Manson and everybody else, who was nice.
- While I was working on Downward Spiral, I was living in the house where Sharon Tate was killed. Then one day I met her sister. It was a random thing, just a brief encounter. And she said: "Are you exploiting my sister's death by living in her house?" For the first time, the whole thing kind of slapped me in the face. I said, "No, it's just sort of my own interest in American folklore. I'm in this place where a weird part of history occurred." I guess it never really struck me before, but it did then. She lost her sister from a senseless, ignorant situation that I don't want to support. When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, "What if it was my sister?" I went home and cried that night. It made me see there's another side to things, you know?