Dianne Lake: Where is the Ex-Manson Family Member Now?

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that Charles Manson had such charm he earned the endless devotion of many in a mere two years before he simply took things way too far. This much has actually been evidenced in many true-crime specials over the years, amongst which is also Netflix’s ‘How to Become a Cult Leader’ through its incorporation of a first-hand account. So now, if you just wish to learn more about featured former Manson Family member Dianne Lake — with a focus on her experiences as well as current standing — we’ve got the details for you.

Who is Dianne Lake?

Although reportedly born in Hennepin, Minnesota, on February 28, 1953, Dianne Lake primarily grew up in Santa Monica, California, alongside her family before her entire world turned upside down. That’s because her father was into the rising counterculture lifestyle, meaning he wanted to completely shun the establishment by “dropping out” of society, taking LSD, joining communes, etc. Her mother, her siblings, and she herself thus got swept into it too, resulting in them living in the back of a bread truck before joining the Hog Farm group when the summer of 1967 rolled around.

However, this setup quickly proved problematic for Dianne as the commune didn’t welcome her owing to her drug consumption and sexual activities at the age of 14 — they deemed her jailbait. She hence ended up getting her parents to sign emancipation papers, shortly following which she found a place to stay with a young couple and then met “Charlie” at a party a few weeks later. So yes, this lost teen was “totally looking for acceptance” the day she met the criminal turned aspiring musician, leaving her utterly susceptible to his charm, per Oxygen’s ‘Manson: The Women.’

“[Charles] was funny,” Dianne candidly expressed in the Netflix original documentary series. “I thought he was cute. He was short, but I was short too. I don’t know; he just had a way about him.” Therefore, of course, she agreed to spend some alone time with the 34-year-old once he asked, leading them to “make love” like she’d “never experienced” for the first time in the back of his bus. Then came her interactions with the “Family” over several weeks, which ultimately concluded with her joining them without hesitation as its youngest Member — she finally felt like she belonged.

“There was something different about this group, and I knew immediately I wanted to be part of it,” Dianne conceded back in 2018. “Ever since my family ‘dropped out,’ I’d been an afterthought, and now I belonged in a way that I hadn’t anywhere in months. I could never have predicted the horrific chain of events that was about to unfold — even if I had, I doubt it would have changed anything. It was just really special. ‘The Girls’ — fellow cult members… — were like my sisters… We lived off the bare essentials — stealing leftover food from the back of grocery stores — but it was fun.”

Though there were some major red flags along the way, the most obvious of which was the kind of harem Charles had essentially formed through the women, along with the LSD sessions he handled. According to Dianne in the show, he’d hand out this drug “almost like sacrament. We would take a larger dose, he took less or none,” and in the end, they’d be left wondering if he was a messiah. Yet the worst was the personal torture he bestowed: “He said that we didn’t need to eat and that we didn’t feel pain,” she stated. “I remember him holding my fingers over a candle flame. It was burning, it hurt, but he said, ‘It’s all in your mind, there’s no pain.'”

Dianne Lake is Leading a Life Surrounded by Loved Ones

The truth is Dianne was well aware of Charles’ “loyalty tests” since he’d brought his “Creepy Crawling” project to life under no secrecy, yet she never could’ve imagined it would soon turn to murder. This project had the members involved put on black clothes before sneaking into other people’s houses, only to rearrange their furniture, eat their food, and displace some items to mess with their minds. But alas, between August 8-10, 1969, his orders evolved to the brutal stabbing homicides of 8-month pregnant actress Sharon Tata alongside four friends, plus Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

As per reports, Dianne was amongst those initially arrested during a raid at the Manson Family’s ranch following the infamous murders, driving her to gradually part ways with them for good. She actually spent more than two months in jail even though she hadn’t participated in any of the cult’s offenses before she finally broke down and told authorities her real name and age. She was thus swiftly transferred to a mental health facility, where she garnered a new perspective as well as some hobbies, which helped her transition into real life a few months later.

That’s when Dianne decided she’d unabashedly testify against her former lover and other Family members prior to moving on for good — and her statements did really help convict them. However, the most relief she felt was when the cult leader, master manipulator, and serial killer passed away in November 2017: “I had a definite sense that maybe some of this craziness could end.”

Since then, it appears as if this ‘Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties’ (2017) author is simply leading a quiet, humble life with her second husband in Ventura County, California. Dianne reportedly had successful careers in both banking as well as education, but she’s now retired and is just happy to be surrounded by her kids and grandkids whenever possible.

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