After Charles Manson, pop culture's favorite white supremacist cult leader, died late Sunday night, a majority of Americans praised the passing of the infamous swastika-tattooed figure. But some neo-Nazis who identified with Manson's "Helter Skelter" vision of a post-race war white utopia were less celebratory.
“A great revolutionary," read one comment from the IronMarch neo-Nazi forum, as transcribed by the Huffington Post.
"Near, far, wherever you are I believe that the heart does go on," read another, quoting Celine Dion's famous song.
"The world really does feel a little emptier," said yet another.
The majority of these users mourning the death of such a widely-reviled subject of macabre fascination, HuffPost's report notes, are members of the secretive neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division.
"A particularly bloodthirsty and anti-American branch of the so-called alt-right that has made worshipping Manson a part of their cultish devotion to violent insurrection," Atomwaffen (which translates to "Atomic Weapons" in German) are known for their "ISIS-style propaganda videos" where members' faces are half-covered by skull bandanas.
At the heart of their adulation was Manson's vision of "Helter Skelter," his prophesied race war between white and black people that he said came from The Beatles' "White Album."
"Manson was motivated by an apocalyptic belief in the imminent end of the world through a race war in which the White population was doomed to defeat,” author Jeffrey Kaplan wrote in his Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. “The victorious Black population would in time realize that the White man is genetically more fit to govern, and would seek in vain for White survivors of the racial Holocaust to assume the reins of power. The Manson family, having survived the apocalypse by hiding in a timeless cave at the center of the world, would then emerge to take power."
He then led his followers, which he called the Manson Family, to murder seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant in 1969. The pseudo-ritualistic act of violence was echoed by Atomwaffen's own members and by Manson's lesser-known prison pen pal James Mason, an American neo-Nazi who has become a resurgent point of interest by alt-righters and Atomwaffen.
"For Mason and other white supremacists," HuffPost's report notes, "Manson was almost a divine being, an atavistic incarnation of hate. The cult leader fit neatly into a strain of fascist magical realism called 'Esoteric Hitlerism' that became popular after World War II when the Greek writer Savitri Devi proposed that Hitler was the ninth avatar of Vishnu and racist dupes somehow bought into it."
Earlier this year, a former Atomwaffen member in Tampa, Florida who converted to "a violent, fundamentalist version of Islam" killed two of his friends who attacked his new faith. Soon after the double homicide, police discovered killer Devon Arthurs' roommate Brandon Russell had bomb-making equipment in his room.
As the HuffPost report notes, Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, the webmaster of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, claimed to know Arthurs but have blocked him from the site.