Just when we thought documentary filmmakers had covered everything there is to know about notorious cult leader Charles Manson, Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures fame promises to explore an angle of Manson’s life that audiences have never seen before.
Jason Freeman’s grandmother Rosalie had married Manson in 1955, giving birth to Freeman’s father and Manson’s first child, Charles Manson, Jr. For years, Manson’s biological grandson had been forbidden from speaking of his family ties to Manson. Though Freeman had always been aware of his family lineage, mentioning his grandfather had been considered a taboo subject, even with family, but it wasn’t until his teen years that Freeman understood why.
According to Freeman, his father, who later changed his name to Jay White, had been absent throughout his life. In 1993 White committed suicide. It is Freeman’s belief that White had been trying to shield him from the stigma of being a part of Manson’s bloodline and ultimately ended his own life trying to escape the grim legacy left in the wake of his father and Freeman’s grandfather, Charles Manson.
Freeman, an oil rig worker who moonlights as a professional fighter, says that he’s ready to come out of the shadows and confront the so-called “family curse” head-on. In the series Sins of the Father, Freeman will come face-to-face with his forbidden family history through a series of prison conversations with Manson, himself.
While other details on the series are still under wraps, Bagans tells Reelscreen that getting the film crew inside the prison walls of California State Prison-Corcoran, where 82-year-old Manson serves out his life sentence, will be the most challenging aspect of the series. Bagans says, “We have our legal counsel and law enforcement experts, and ultimately were going to make this work. We’re right in the thick of it now, and Jason will be going out to California soon.”
Producers for the series say that it is the family of notorious criminals who are often the unseen victims of their crimes. Forced to carry on knowing what their loved ones did can be emotionally traumatic and shameful.
In February of 2016, Sue Klebold, whose son Dylan was one of the two boys who orchestrated the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, was met with both praise and criticism for her decision to publish her book A Mother’s Reckoning. In her book, Sue tells the story of how her son went from a bright and loving child to the angry and deeply depressed young man who would stage one of the worst mass shootings in US history. Sue also speaks of her shame as one of the most hated mothers in America and how she was able to overcome the stigma that continues to surround her.
Producers of the series hope that by coming forward with Freeman’s story audiences can understand what it’s like to have the black cloud of being related to a notorious criminal looming over their head and how they are able to come to terms with the knowledge that evil exists within their own bloodline.