Manson's bizarre ideology combined his
of Beatles' songs with his
interpretation of the Bible's Book of Revelation.
Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
Apocalypse: The Fifth and Sixth Angels
Apocalypse: The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit
(American Standard Version)
1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven
the earth: and there was given to him the key of the pit of the abyss.
1. Manson saw himself as "the fifth angel" (Verse 1) who would be given "the key to the pit of the abyss."
2. Verse 11 refers the fifth angel as "king," whose "name in Hebrew is Abaddon." The Catholic Douay Version contains also a Latin name, inadvertantly omitted from other versions: "Exterminans."
3. Verse 3 says that "out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them." Manson believed that the "locusts" were in fact "beetles"--the English musical group, "The Beatles."
4. Manson found confirmation for the Beatles being the "locusts" of Revelation in verses 7 through 9. Verse 7 refers to the locusts having "faces as were men's faces," but verse 8 says "they had hair as the hair of women"--which Manson took to be a reference to the Beatles' long hair. Also, verse 9 refers to the locusts as having "breastplates of iron." In Manson's interpretation the Beatles' breastplates were their electric guitars. The "horses" that they rode (verse 7) were dune buggies. Finally, Manson saw the "fire and smoke and brimstone" that came out of their mouths (verse 17) as being the powerful lyrics to their songs--especially those in the White Album. Manson also at times saw the Beatles as "the four angels" of verse 15.
5. The 200,000,000 persons comprising "the armies of the horsemen" (verse 16) who would spread destruction around the earth were, in Manson's interpretation, motorcyclists.
6. Manson interpreted verse 4--"And it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing"--as meaning that it was wrong to kill any living thing--except, perversely, people. Manson would frequently upbraid family members for killing rattlesnakes or other creatures.
7. Manson believed he would lead his Family to the desert, where they would wait out the coming holocaust and multipy until they numbered 144,000--a number he got from Revelation, Chapter 7 which refers to twelve tribes of Isrreal, each numbering 12,000.
8. Manson believed that the entrance to "the pit of the abyss" (verse 1) was a forgotten cave somewhere in Death Valley. Through this cave one could gain entrace to a wonderful land "of milk and honey" lighted by glowing walls and filled with warm spring water.
9. Perhaps most critically, was Manson's interpretation of verse 15: "And the four angels were loosed, that had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, that they should kill the third part of men." Manson saw verse 15 as a prophecy of the imminent Helter Skelter in which a revolt by blacks would result in a killing of one-third of the population. Manson may have believed that he was setting this revolt in motion in August of 1969 when he loosed from Spahn ranch his Family members with instructions to kill.