As far as scary cults go, Charles Manson‘s Family is up there. While other cults (Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate) may have caused the death of many more people, Manson’s LA killing spree – the one in which a very pregnant Sharon Tate was horrifically stabbed to death – remains infamous.
Manson was eventually convicted – along with the participating Family members – and sent to prison for the murders, and part of that is due to the testimony of other Family members not involved in the crime. One of those was Dianne Lake, the youngest member of the Family at just 14.
“He was extremely intelligent. He had the incredible ability to pick up on other people’s weaknesses and their needs and their desires, and he could fulfill those,” she said of Charles Manson.
Lake met Manson at 14, and says he quickly picked up on her need for connection.
“I needed love and affection, and I needed a family. I needed to feel like I belonged somewhere,” she told PEOPLE. “And he perceived that from the get-go.”
Lake followed Manson for two years, leaving in August of 1969 after Family members Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten talked about how they’d murdered for Manson.
“You have the [Beatles’] White Album, throw in a little acid and drugs and a little Scientology and the Bible and stir it all up with a madman being the dance master,” she said. “It just went crazy. It escalated into horrible chaos, and I’m so glad I was not a part of it.”
It was when Lake was institutionalised after she left, and then a year later faced Manson again – this time in court to testify against him.
“He just looked crazy, but I was able to look at him. I had been pretty deprogrammed at this point, so I felt pretty safe.”
Lake’s book, ‘Member Of The Family‘, goes on sale in the States on the 24th October.Source: PEOPLE
Image: Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Stringer.