His family, their crimes, and the end of the 1960s
August 9, 1969: the hills of Los Angeles were so quiet, as one of the killers would later say, "You could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers" in the famed canyon houses. Those killers, disciples of cult leader Charles Manson, would soon be famous for committing a series of grisly murders at his behest. While Manson's goal was intentional—to sow race riots—his victims were random: a young actress and her friends; a grocer and his wife. Few crimes have been so dramatic, engrossing, and difficult to truly understand. Now, 50 years later, people are still fascinated by the crimes that seemed to mark the end of an era of peace and love, and the editors at LIFE present the special edition, Manson. Revisit "Manson's World"—the hippies, the forming of the Family, and the man himself. Then, explore the shocking details of "The Manson Murders." Consider "The Aftermath," including the dramatic trial, the cultural shift toward violence and fear, and Manson's life in prison. Filled with rare photographs, including images of Manson's followers living on Spahn Ranch, LIFE's Manson continues to explore, like Quentin Tarantino's new film Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, the motivations, the magnetism, and the mayhem that possessed the man behind the murders.