Charles Manson, the sinister hippie cult leader who declared himself 'the devil' and dispatched his followers to commit a series of Hollywood murders in 1969 that shocked the country, died Sunday night in a California hospital. He was 83. For many Americans, Manson became the living embodiment of evil, and he was once dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine 'the Most Dangerous Man Alive.' Even behind bars, he exerted an almost magnetic influence over other members of the 'Manson Family,' and the madness and depravity of his crimes continued to intrigue generations of people who were born long after 'Helter Skelter' became part of the vernacular.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.