All of us have been a fool in love at some point, but notorious cult leader and spree-killing mastermind Charles Manson was apparently hoodwinked a little harder than most. The New York Post reports that Afton Elaine Burton, the 80-year-old inmate's 27-year-old fiancée (who goes by "Star"), filed a surprise marriage license with him in November. But Star wasn't after Manson's heart after all.
She was after his corpse.
Huh? Journalist Daniel Simone, who is working on a book with fellow Manson acquaintance Heidi Jordan Ley, tells the Post that Burton and a male accomplice named Craig Hammond had conspired to gain the rights to Manson's corpse upon his demise.
The two then allegedly planned to construct a glass tomb around Manson's preserved remains, hoping that the gruesome exhibition would constitute a lucrative tourist trap. The attraction would generate money from the notoriety surrounding Manson, who headed a criminal group and cult dubbed the Family that killed nine people in 1969 under his orders as part of an plot to bring about a racial war and subsequent apocalypse, as predicted by the Beatles song "Helter Skelter."
It's admittedly a lot to take in.
According to Simone, Burton and Hammond first attempted to get Manson onboard by having him sign a document naming them caretakers of his body upon his death. When that failed, the marriage plot was hatched. Burton and Manson obtained a marriage license in November that had to be exercised within 90 days or be dissolved, but Simone says Manson has "finally realized that he's been played for a fool."
Further complicating Burton's plans for a permanent Lenin's Mausoleum-style tomb (exit through the gift shop!) was the fact that "he feels he will never die; therefore, he feels it's a stupid idea to begin with."
So the accuracy of Simone's story is not totally verifiable.
For what it's worth, a post on fan site MansonDirect.com explained that Manson and Burton's failure to complete a wedding ceremony resulted from an "unexpected interruption in logistics."
The website also reposted a 2013 statement from Manson focusing on the environmental beliefs he now professes to hold: "Your perspectives are off-base. This marriage is far less important than air, trees, water and animals. We're running out of water. We're constantly polluting the air that we breathe. We're destroying the very thing our life is dependent upon. All life is one life."