A little known fact of Nebraska history is that convicted killer Charles Manson spent some time in the Cornhusker state – at Boys Town. Omaha author Lawson McDowell first heard the rumor about seven years ago and started researching the facts.
McDowell says, “His childhood, of course, was a disaster and Boys Town didn’t have a lot of information while in Omaha so who better to talk to than Charles Manson himself.”
McDowell says Manson was receiving about 100,000 letters a year requesting interviews. He says for six months he was thoroughly vetted by Manson’s “family”. Manson finally agreed to talk with McDowell and the rest is history.
McDowell says, “I was scared to death to talk to him. We are all very comfortable with our personal belief systems and they are strong about Manson. We know that Manson is pure evil. It took a while for me to relax and for him to relax. Eventually, after some penetrating questions, a lot of them, I eventually felt a little more comfortable in talking to him. I lost some of my fear.”
Manson arrived at Boys Town in 1949 when he was 14 years old. A judge in Indiana ordered him to the Omaha home after a string of burglaries. His stay was very short. After four days Manson and another resident disappeared.
McDowell penned the historical fiction, “Before He Became a Monster” but says it is the shell of the story is 100% accurate.