This Interview “An Interview with Jason Freeman: Charles Manson’s Grandson” was the first article that Jason and I worked together on. It was published in January of this year but we worked on it for many months. It’s funny because at first I think Jason felt like he was just doing a favor for a small time blogger/aspiring writer. I don’t think he realized that this little Interview would actually reach people all over the world nor did he realize that it would bring inspiration to those who read it.
Till it did.
This all started with a simple Interview. I had no idea that people would respond to it the way they did. I had no idea that it would all soon led me to be able to do more of what I love and aspire to do the most …. write. People are reading Freeman’s stories through my work. They are responding with such positive feedback that it has given me what I have been lacking most over the last few years: Confidence, Motivation and Purpose.
Thank you to each and every one of you who read our Interview and shared it with others.
And thank you Jason Freeman for giving me a chance, for trusting me to use your words honestly and for believing in me enough to allow me to continue on as your writer here on your new bog.
– AmberTurner –
By Jason Freeman
“I am the grandson of Charles Manson. Before all the hype, before all the murders and before the so called “Manson Family” my grandma Rosie married Charlie Manson and my father, Charles Manson Jr was born shortly after. I am proud that I made the decision to get to know and become closer to my grandfather within the last three years. I was always told not to open the door to my past but as I look back at my Journey – I do not regret my decision. I did not choose to be the son or grandson of either Manson but their blood runs through my veins.
I do not fully buy into the image that the Media has given Charlie or the image surrounding the “cult members.” Talking to him has opened my eyes spiritually. Most people would not think of him as a man of faith or wisdom.
Back in the 1960’s, it was more of a dog eat dog lifestyle. Many people did a lot of traveling and maybe even had to play a “Billy the Kid” type role as means for survival. In my generation, we have more opportunities to be successful. We don’t have to face a lot of what our grandparents had to.
I’ve been on a mission for a very long time but instead of the complete vision being laid out in front of me, God has revealed just enough to keep me asking and wanting to know more.
I believe that God has a plan. He has been moving through me for a very long time. He has slowly been opening my eyes to life and to my grandfathers life, that the rest of the world doesn’t see… yet.
My story, in all reality, consists of the aftermath of my fathers walk to the 3rd generation walk. That is my focus in moving forward. There has been too much mumbo jumbo with all that mess from years ago. I am on a different path now.
Stay tuned as my life unfolds. Walk with me through my journey, as I uncover even more.
Q. (Amber) – At what age did you find out that Charles Manson was your grandfather?
A. (Jason) – ” I learned that Charles Manson Jr was my real father when I was 11 years old. He contacted my mom and step dad and set up a visitation to meet me. My step dad cried….. It was almost as if he was afraid my father might try to take me away.
It wasn’t until the 8th grade that it hit home for me who my grandfather was. We had a history class on Charles Manson and at this time I did not have much interest in who he was or the details involving the murders. I do recall wondering how many of my classmates knew that I was his grandson… there were only a select few that did know and we would just look at each other and smile knowingly. We were just kids. At the time, I also suspected that maybe the teacher knew… and was hoping I would tell what all I knew. I did not participate though.
My reality with this secret was that my family wanted it to be kept hidden and sealed forever. Back then, I didn’t question it. As a kid, I just had faith that my Grandma Rosie got away from Charlie for a reason and it was just never to be talked about.”
Q. (Amber) – How old were you when you first had contact with Charlie? How did it happen? Was he accepting of you as his grandson?
A. (Jason) ” I personally contacted him in 2009 after I won a MMA Championship. I was proud and just wanted to share the experience with him. I sent a letter and a picture but he never responded. I know now that he did get the letter but at the time he just didn’t believe I was who I claimed to be.
I was 35 years old when my grandfather first contacted me, which was 3 years ago. He had heard about and read my first book “Knocking Out The Devil” and wanted contact. The phone call between us was set up through Star, Charlie’s fiancée, and Gray Wolf, his friend. They gave me an exact time to be by my phone so that I wouldn’t miss his call. I was on the oil rig, where I work, at this time. Although I was really excited and nervous to talk to him…. I was still holding a grudge deep inside… In the case of “look what you left behind to swallow the shit you created.”
Although I wasn’t expecting open arms at first, I was a little shocked to feel rejection from him. I didn’t expect all the questions that was thrown my way or the fact that I had to go through so much to prove who I was for him to finally relax on the fact that we really were family. I have my father’s death certificate and my birth certificate – and family verification ….but it still took a solid year for him to gain complete trust. In all reality, it was a very smart move for him. Anyone can write a book and claim to be anybody.
It was then that he began opening up to me on a real life level and I finally started gaining some respect for him. I remember one of the first things he ever shared with me when he began to trust that I wasn’t out to hurt him. He said to me “I would have never left your grandma Rosie…. I would have never left a marriage. She is the one who left me.”
Q. (Amber) – How often do you guys correspond?
A. (Jason) – ” My grandfather and I talk monthly, sometimes more. When we first started communicating, we exchanged letters more but now its mostly phone calls. Charlie Manson is most likely one of the most popular inmates who is serving life in prison. The mail he gets is unreal!”
Q. (Amber) – Can you share some of the things that you and Charlie talk about?
A. (Jason) – ” Our conversations cover many things. We go over a lot of scripture together. We talk a lot about Ephesians 6: 10-13… the whole armor of God. He often tells me about his childhood and what it was like growing up being raised by his grandmother and uncle. He has told me that he wishes there was just one book that revealed the true story behind his childhood. Facts such as his steps in life with the proper timelines, schools that he went to and the real way that certain events took place.
Three years ago, I wanted him to get the full picture of who I was and the life I had built. I wanted him to know about my beautiful wife, our 2 boys and the one we had on the way. I sent him pictures of my family and things I do in life. By doing that, it has helped create many conversations between us.
After the first year of getting to know each other, which was hard work by the way, he finally accepted me and our friendship took a turn for the better. I couldn’t help but to start calling him “grandpa.” He told me once “I don’t know how to be a grandfather” to which I responded “You’re doing it now.”
Every time I talk to the old man in the box he is so energetic and full of life. It is amazing to see that he has not been broken. People don’t believe nor do they understand the spiritual side of him. I believe that life behind bars can change a man’s way of thinking.
I’ve also been able to find out who he is as a person by keeping in contact with Star. He seems to have a good out look when it comes to ATWA: Air, Water, Trees and Animals. He has always been quite the environmentalist.”Q. (Amber) – Upon learning that Charlie was your grandfather how did you apply it as part of your life growing up versus now?
A. (Jason) – “Growing up, the fact that my grandfather was a world known “Cult Leader” held no place in my life. My goal was to follow my own path and not one with a criminal mindset. What I do know now, is that the path my grandfather walked was not his choice.
As for now? I have fully accepted him in my life as my grandfather. I am very happy to be where I am at with him today. It has been quite a challenge.”
Q. (Amber) – Has the Media tried to dramatize and/or interrupt your life?
A. (Jason) – “They have tried but I do not give the Media or anyone else that chance. I am determined that me and my family do not get hurt. I will not allow my story to be twisted.
Hollywood has built my grandfather up to be the boogeyman and a monster. I want to expose the fairytale/nightmare image that they have created.”
Q. (Amber) – Lets talk about your wife, Audrey Freeman. How does she feel about Charles Manson and your choice to form a relationship with him?
A. (Jason) – ” 10 years ago when I met Audrey, I just laid it all out there for her. Bluntly, I said “Audrey, you should know that Charles Manson is my grandfather.” I felt I needed to give her a heads up before we went any further and before she heard it elsewhere. She was so amazingly open minded. She immediately started laughing and said “Well… lets not tell my parents that…yet.”
Even throughout the years, she has still kept an open mind. We do not allow the same kind of negativity or polished stories about my grandfather that has captured society to affect us. The choice I made to get to know him was a little hard for her at first. The more we talked about it, the more it became clear to her why I wanted and even needed to do it. I did not have answers that were important to me to uncover. SO she accepted it for what it was…. that Charles Manson is my bloodline and for us to know each other meant the world to me.”
|Jason and his wife, Audrey Freeman
Q. (Amber) – Have you always been so open and honest about your family history?
A. (Jason) – ” I have always been honest about it but only became more public about it when we started getting to know each other 3 years ago. Growing up my mother never wanted to talk about Charlie or answer any of my questions. The topic was so taboo that I eventually found myself letting go of the search of who I truly was and became my own person. I’ve only added the reality of my true bloodline into who I have become. It does not define me. I am not ashamed of who I am or where my roots lie.
Q. (Amber) – Lets talk about “you” … Outside of being a 3rd generation Manson … Summarize for us some of the positive and negative aspects in your life that brought you to where you are today.
A. (Jason) – ” As I became a young man, I had this fire of anger inside of me. I always had this fear of failing. Ironically, I spent a lot of my childhood and young adult years in the system and on probation. In my mind, the fight was on. It was always a constant battle to stay out of trouble. I went from Juvenile Jail, to County Jail and eventually …. prison.
In 1999, Prison time was it for me. I was tired of failing and it was time to put an end to my path of self destruction.
I was a good wrestler and football player throughout my school years so after I was released I decided to join some fight leagues. Years of pent up anger and my natural “never give up” mentality took me through an amateur fighting record of 112 wins and 5 losses. I carried a 12-6-1 professional fight record. I also carry a 1st degree black belt in mixed martial arts.
Black Belt Certificate of Achievement
I kept my mind focused on training instead of trouble and finally … at the age of 27 I got off probation for good and closed that chapter of my life.
I was still living in my hometown of Dennison, Ohio at this time and I found that the mindset of dealing drugs was still somehow looming over me. I knew deep down that if I was ever going to escape this thought process than it was in my best interest to leave.
So I did. I continued to pray for change and wisdom. I prayed that I would meet a good woman and God brought me Audrey. I am now a mentor and public speaker to the youth of our communities across Ohio and the East Coast. We created a Non Profit organization called “Frontline Warriors Inc.” It gives teaches young kids life skills and spiritual understanding as we grow to understand who they are along with helping them find purpose in life.
These are all a few things that have saved me and brought me to where I am today …. 38 years old and 10.5 years later.”
I want to thank every interested reader for taking the time to follow me on my journey. All though this is a short message of who I am as a man, husband and father, my trip through following my fathers footsteps and then my honest efforts to understand my grandfathers footsteps has not been easy.
My greatest accomplishment has been the trials through life I can now talk about freely. Taking hold of what once held me back in life and putting those strong holds under my feet were hard but I did it. The enemy had me at one point in my life…you could say I worked in his corner. Unfortunately for him…one of his main guys had to go.
I can recall many times I felt The Lord laying his hands on my heart. He really opened my physical and spiritual eyes. It feels as though it was just yesterday that I stood in my gym, Vander Fighting Systems, and the people and the lights were slowly fading away as God pulled me out of a selfish lifestyle as a Martial Arts Fighter and revealed the true meaning of life all in seemingly one breath. I looked at my family, then back at the empty gym. I wanted to punch myself in the face. For years I was living a “me” lifestyle. I looked back at all the years that was wasted. The lord revealed to me that the stage of fighting was merely a stage for Him to work through me on. My wife and I both lived that fast pace life style and it caught my eye just not long after it caught her eye that life was changing for the better. We were a growing family. We had some good changes coming our way. I was getting a chance at being a father!!! This is something my historical bloodline roots never had a chance to relax and enjoy. It was awesome.
Ajay made our third boy! At this point in my life, I was 35, clear and level headed. I remember the day she gave birth to this little boy. The doctor turns to me and hands me a pair of scissors and said “Your turn.” I thought… my turn for what? This experience was another life changer. I cut the life line from my wife to my newborn boy. When he took his first breath of air I cried “Thank you, Lord.”
In my life, I’ve come to realize that change is not over night and perfection doesn’t happen. All we need is growth and maturity as we grow and pass down what has been given to us. We all need to find that purpose in life. If your passion is racing horses or helping out the elderly, chase that dream down and enjoy the love that it carries as long as you can. We’re only here for one trip through this walk on earth. Leave a positive mark…and help make an everlasting change.