Manson Told Him to Die, Youth Says

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27 – A former member of Charles Manson’s hippie clan said today he once tried to starve himself to death after Manson ordered him to die.

Brooks Poston, 21, in his second day on the stand at the Tate-LaBianca murder trial, testified that he tried to kill himself by going without food and water and curtailing all physical activity. However, he added, he couldn’t die because “I found I didn’t want to.”

The young Texan said he joined the Manson family in June 1968, and that Manson often spoke of death, telling his followers, “you’re all going to die.”

Poston was called by the prosecution in an attempt to demonstrate the hold Manson had over his “family”.

Poston admitted that the long-haired cult leader had never used physical violence against him, but he declared Manson once explained to him: “You are a lifetime behind — you really don’t know what’s going on and you have to die.”

Manson, 35, and three female followers have been on trial since last June for the August 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

Poston said Monday that when he was 19 and first met Manson he thought the hippie leader was Jesus Christ. He said the Christ image was formed when he saw Deane Morehouse kneeling at Manson’s feet and heard the cult leader promise Morehouse eternal life.

Morehouse, it was learned, had come to Los Angeles to “get” Manson for running off with his then 16-year-old daughter, Ruth. Instead, he became a devoted follower of Manson.

It was June 1968, Poston said, and Morehouse had just told Manson he was “ready to die” that instant. Manson then said, Poston testified, “You can live-forever.”

“That’s the way I wanted to go,” Poston declared.

Poston said it was the first time he had met Manson and admitted “at the time, I was on LSD.”

Poston related another incident that reinforced his belief that Manson was Jesus Christ.

The incident was a time when Manson gathered the “family” and told them about a “psilocybin trip” he had taken in which he experienced the pain of dying on the cross.

“He said he fought it,” Poston testified, “but finally gave up and experienced death. Then he said he saw the world through everybody else’s eyes.”

From then on, Poston said, Manson would drag out his name Charles Milles Manson, to Charles Mill is Man’s Son.

Poston said he was supposed to make love to the girls in the family, but never did.

He claimed, “Charlie said all the girls were good for were to make love.”

At this point the three girl defendants — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — who had been listening intently to Poston’s testimony bowed their heads over notepads and began to write.

The “family” moved to the Barker Ranch in Death Valley on Oct. 31, 1968, Poston said, but Manson would leave periodically. When he returned to the family’s desert retreat on Jan. 31, 1969, he brought with him the Beatles’ latest album in which the song Helter Skelter is featured.

“He said the Beatles are telling it like it is…Helter Skelter is coming down.”

“Charlie said Helter Skelter from the Beatles was telling the black man to rise. He said the Beatles were talking to him through the record…that Helter Skelter was coming down. They were telling the young loves to go to the desert and hide.”

Poston said Manson described how there would be race wars in “Helter Skelter” and in the end control would wind up in the hands of the hippie “family.”

“Charlie, said,” Poston testified, “there would be 144,000 people in the desert hiding underground during Helter Skelter — the original 12 tribes of Israel — and when , Helter Skelter was complete, they’d take back the world and tell the black man to go pick cotton again.”

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