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Charles Manson: Serial Killer Profile Essay (Critical Writing)


The psychological history of Charles Manson suggests that the offender’s behavior is heavily contingent on his childhood memories. Moreover, Manson’s psychological disorder can be characterized as a gradually developing ailment that led to a number of dire consequences (Guinn, 2014). The evaluation of the offender showed that he could be well-defined as a sociopath and a psychopath at the same time. Despite the complexity of Manson’s case, his psychological history can also suggest that he was critically influenced by a number of external sources such as family and peers (Fox & Levin, 2015). The analysis of the offender’s behavior showed that he suffers from cognitive impairment and cannot be a member of society.

Manson was mostly abused by his parents, so there were numerous factors that led to the development of a mental disorder that could not have been described in a definite manner. Manson’s behavior largely depended on his childhood sufferings, and the very first crime that he committed was a gas station robbery at the age of 16 (Shanafelt & Pino, 2015). The majority of environmental influences are concealed by the abuse (several times, Manson was dressed like a girl and was obliged to go to school like that simply because his aunt’s husband believed that he was not man enough). Behavioral factors cannot be separated from their psychological counterparts, but Manson’s cognitive impairment is still one of the biggest mysteries in forensic psychology (Guinn, 2014).

Moreover, the psychological history of Charles Manson includes a number of events that can be rightfully considered the triggers of his ultimate delinquent behavior. First of all, he was the son of a prostitute. Manson did not even know who was his birth father, and this put a lot of pressure on him throughout his childhood (Forbes, 2016). His personality was formed under the influence of the mother’s illicit behavior. One of the first crimes that he committed was connected to a stolen car that Manson took to have some fun and visit his relatives. Even though he was captured and sent to prison, he managed to escape (Fox & Levin, 2015). After that, he was captured one more time but was later released for being a model prisoner.

One of the examples of behavior that can be associated with psychological influences is Manson’s insanity. Regardless of his high level of IQ, he could easily lose his composure over trivial things and showcase his temper. In other words, Manson was rather an improviser than a planner (Forbes, 2016). Also, we can relate to the offender’s view of the world and reach a verdict regarding Manson’s perception – he is a visionary that is basically detached from real life. Manson’s prophetic delusions are the result of his behavior, and he cannot tell these signs of nuclear war from an actual threat. Manson is also remembered for his mad eyes that are considered to reflect what he has in mind (Forbes, 2016).

When it comes to the discussion of the treatment that was received by Manson in accordance with his mental disorder, there is not a lot to discuss because the majority of the treatment options are not even seen as effective by healthcare specialists (Shanafelt & Pino, 2015). One of the underlying factors that seriously impacted the development of Manson’s antisocial personality disorder was his willingness to conceal the committed crimes for the sake of keeping the integrity with his own behavioral patterns (Fox & Levin, 2015).

As seen in Manson’s example, there was not much eagerness for treatment. This happened because the effects of the treatment were short-term and so common that Manson abandoned treatment and returned to his socio- and psychopathic behavioral patterns after his anxiety were eradicated. Even though Manson was prescribed a number of medications that were previously seen as effective, the impact was minimal, and even continuing psychotherapy did not help to deal with Manson’s mental illness.

It can be concluded that the psychopathic disorder present in Manson was successfully identified by forensic psychologists, but they were not able to provide an efficient treatment due to the grave background of Manson’s mental condition (Guinn, 2014). It was decided to put him in prison and simply observe his behavior throughout the imprisonment period. Nonetheless, despite his unpredictability, Manson was seen as a calm prisoner with rather infrequent outbursts (Shanafelt & Pino, 2015).

One of the most well-known cases related to the name of Charles Manson is the killing of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski’s wife. This crime is currently considered to be one of the most brutal homicides in the history of the US criminology. The victim was slashed numerous times, and some of Tate’s features were detached from her body (Shanafelt & Pino, 2015). Additionally, Tate was pregnant, and the Manson family cut an X on her stomach. Charles Manson is an infamous murderer that will be forever remembered as one of the most violent offenders that were not devoid of intelligence.


Forbes, R. (2016). Criminal psychology: Understanding the criminal mind and its nature through criminal profiling. New York, NY: Kimmers Publishing.

Fox, J. A., & Levin, J. (2015). Extreme killing: Understanding serial and mass murder. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Guinn, J. (2014). Manson: The life and times of Charles Manson. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Shanafelt, R., & Pino, N. (2015). Rethinking serial murder, spree killing and atrocities: Beyond the usual distinctions. London, UK: Routledge.

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IvyPanda. "Charles Manson: Serial Killer Profile." September 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charles-manson-serial-killer-profile/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Charles Manson: Serial Killer Profile." September 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charles-manson-serial-killer-profile/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Charles Manson: Serial Killer Profile'. 6 September.

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