Charles Manson is one of the most notorious killers in US history – and now a former member of his cult has shed more light on life in the ‘family’.
Manson himself was only found guilty of killing two people – his most terrifying trait was the control that he had over those around him.
He was such a forceful personality that when he asked his followers to commit mass murder they acted without hesitation.
Seven people died in two days of horror when Manson’s cult broke into an affluent house and murdered everyone inside – including film director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate.
Sharon Tate was an actress and model and her husband Roman Polanski was at the height of his fame so her death made sure the murders were hugely public.
Which was exactly what Charles Manson wanted. His twisted vision was to spark a race war by making people think African Americans had killed wealthy white people.
He developed his disturbing plan by taking LSD and listening to Beatles songs on repeat – most notably Helter Skelter which he believed was a prophecy about the coming race war.
The youngest member of Manson’s ‘Family’ was Dianne Lake, aged just 14. She didn’t take part in the murders and left the cult when she realised the horror of what had happened.
Dianne testified against Manson at his highly publicised trial and went face-to-face with her former cult leader across a packed court room.
She didn’t speak about her experiences as a teenager in the years since trying to put it behind her and move on.
But now, aged 64, Dianne has decided to share her experiences in a new book, Member of the Family.
Diane spoke to ABC News about her experiences as a teen:
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In her book Dianne describes how she met Manson at a party and that he’d seduced her within hours of meeting.
She described having sex with the mass murderer in a specially converted bus full of mattresses and cushions:
He took his time to explore my body. He avoided the places that made me purr until I could barely stand it.
After a few minutes, he put himself inside me while staring into my eyes. He was tender as he held me up to meet his deep thrusts.
When he finished, he sighed; I exhaled and realised I was hooked.
Dianne was just 14 and Manson was 34-years-old, making the encounter statutory rape. The age of consent in California has been 18-years-old since 1913.
Regardless of the age difference, Dianne fell in love with the ‘cute, impish’ Manson and lived with him and his cult for two years:
He made you feel like you were his one and only love, and yes, there were other girls, but we all shared him. He made you feel really special, and specially loved.
It was later that Manson’s hippy vision of peace turned dark, when he’d fully ensnared his followers.
Lake claims Manson allegedly told the family the race war was near and handed out knives to each of them.
It was August 1969 when members of the family decided to try and spark the race war themselves by murdering Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, Stephen Parent, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring and Sharon Tate.
While Dianne Lake never took part in the murder spree, the family told her about their crimes when they returned to their commune:
What I remember is that they gave me the gory details with a certain amount of glee or almost like bragging, which just made me feel even worse.
It was, like, ‘What? How could you do that?’
Despite the horror, the murders led to Dianne escaping the cult and going on to live a more normal life.
She had a lot of trauma to process in the coming years but went on to become a special-education teacher and mother of three.
Dianne wrote her book and shared it with the world to finally unburden herself from her troubled teen years.