The Manson Crime Family, which is what I call it instead of a cult, because of all the crimes they committed and people they either seriously hurt or killed, is one of the worst crime families of all time with regard to their large number of victims. Charlie Manson, the leader of this family, was a professional criminal and, until he put the Manson Family together, wasn't a very successful criminal because of all the time he had already spent in prison.
Charlie Manson, even though he was not an educated man (I believe he didn't even make it to high school) is very intelligent and talented, has a quick mind, and knew how to use his mental skills, charm, and narcotics to make people do exactly what he wanted them to do as in the case of middle class, talented, educated, and intelligent people like Tex Watson and the Manson women.
Charlie Manson felt he had been screwed his entire life and searched for a way to express his anger and get his payback. He found the perfect cast of characters to do his evil work, a group of people who felt lost, didn't fit into the establishment, and were looking for a leader. They found Charles Manson instead and he led them to ruin their lives and those of the victims and their families.