The Beatles and the Bible

Charles Manson interpreted that ‘Helter Skelter’ was something to do with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I still don’t know what all that stuff is; it’s from the Bible, Revelation – I haven’t read it so I wouldn’t know. But he interpreted the whole thing – that we were the four horsemen, Helter Skelter the song – and arrived at having to go out and kill everyone.
Paul McCartney

Manson’s theory of Helter Skelter was closely bound to a belief that ‘Revolution 9’ was an aural depiction of chapter nine in the book of Revelation in the Bible. He saw The Beatles as embodying various facets of the book.

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 9, verse 1

This was variously interpreted by Manson as being about Stuart Sutcliffe, or about Manson himself.

And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth; and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Revelation 9, verse 2-3

Locusts were taken by Manson to represent The Beatles. The reference to scorpions was deemed a reference to Manson, whose zodiac sign was Scorpio, and the rest of the Family. The bottomless pit was representative of the underground city where the Family was meant to retreat while Helter Skelter took place.

…and their faces were as the faces of men.

And they had hair as the hair of women…

Revelation 9, verse 7-8

Like Charles Manson, The Beatles – particularly John Lennon and George Harrison, had long hair.

And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
Revelation 9, verse 15

The four angels were The Beatles; the “third part of men”, in Manson’s mind, represented the destruction of white people.

And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
Revelation 9, verse 17

Manson thought the ‘breastplates of fire’ were The Beatles’ electric guitars; the ‘fire and smoke and brimstone’ were the lyrics which he thought would initiate the Helter Skelter scenario.

There were numerous other references from Revelation 9 which Manson saw as anticipating the Helter Skelter scenario. However, these are the only ones directly connected, in his eyes, to The Beatles.

It’s The Beatles, the music they’re putting out. They’re talking about war. These kids listen to this music and pick up the message. It’s subliminal.
Charles Manson, 1970