Danny Trejo Recalls Bizarre Incident With Charles Manson In Jail

There is no denying that actor Danny Trejo has lived a rich and interesting life. Born in Echo Park, Los Angeles in 1944, Trejo became involved with drugs and crime at a young age. According to IMDb, he spent 11 years of his life in and out of jail on drug and armed robbery charges. However, while in prison, he took part in a 12-step program that helped him to overcome his addiction and turn his life around. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, after his release, he met an actor while attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, through which he landed a role as an extra in the film "Runaway Train." Shortly after, he was offered a job training actors in boxing, and soon he was regularly appearing on the big screen as well. He has since gone on to appear in over a dozen films, including hits like "Desperado," "From Dusk Till Dawn," and "Con Air," as well as in many popular television series like "Sons of Anarchy," "Breaking Bad," and "The Flash," according to Trejo's website

So when Trejo recently recounted to Page Six a bizarre experience involving none other than infamous cult leader and criminal Charles Manson, the story, while undoubtedly strange, is not as surprising as it might be — had it happened to just about anyone else.

Manson reportedly hypnotized Trejo while they were in jail together

Charles Manson, who was born in 1934 to a single teenage mother named Kathleen Maddox, had a turbulent childhood before going on to become the head of the infamous so-called Manson Family. According to Biography, he also spent much of his young adulthood in and out of juvenile reform schools and prisons. 

According to Page Six, in a strange twist of history, Trejo and Manson had stints that briefly overlapped in the Los Angeles County Jail in 1961. He recalled feeling sorry for Manson, who was a small guy, "greasy, dirty, scrawny," and "so poor, he didn't have a belt, and instead used a piece of string to keep his pants up." 

Initially, Trejo thought of him as someone who needed protection. However, after a few days behind bars, Manson told Tejo and the other prisoners that he could get them high by using "guided meditation." He then proceeded to hypnotize the group into feeling as though they were high on weed and heroin, and shockingly, it seemed to work. "By the time he described it hitting my bloodstream, I felt the warmth flowing through my body," Trejo recalled, adding, "If that white boy wasn't a career criminal, he could have been a professional hypnotist."

Manson would go on to become the leader of an infamous cult he called the Family

But Manson was much more than a career criminal. He would go on to become one of the most infamous cult leaders in history. After completing another stint behind bars in 1967, Manson moved to San Francisco, where he began to develop his cult following, made up predominantly of young, vulnerable women and enhanced by the use of hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD and mushrooms. He presented himself as a type of religious leader and preached about an oncoming apocalyptic race war that would leave Manson and the Family in positions of power. Soon, he had a number of devoted followers.

In 1968, Manson and his followers moved to the more secluded Spahn Ranch, a former movie set in the San Fernando Valley, according to History. They worked out an arrangement with the current owner, George Spahn, in which they would be allowed to stay in exchange for doing work around the ranch. At first, the arrangement seemed to work out well for everyone, and things seemed fairly tranquil around the ranch. "[Spahn] didn't get out much, and needed a lot of help. The girls would take turns staying in the house with him, cooking and cleaning ... All the people I've met have good memories of that time," James Buddy Day, author of "Hippie Cult Leader: The Last Words of Charles Manson," explained to History.

Manson was convicted of first-degree murder for orchestrating the brutal slayings on Cielo Drive

However, by 1969, the isolation and Manson's increased political paranoia had culminated into something violent and dangerous. Manson's teachings were predicated on the idea of an impending war between the races, which he had dubbed Helter-Skelter, but when it hadn't happened by the summer of 1969, he had gotten the idea that the Family must do something to speed it along, according to Vox.

So in August of 1969, he directed Manson Family members Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian, to drive to the house on 10050 Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills, where they brutally murdered all five people inside the home, including the actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Although he himself did not commit the murders, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in orchestrating the vicious crime. He was sentenced to life in prison and died behind bars in 2017, according to Biography.