Books | July 8, 2021 1:47 pm

Danny Trejo Says He Was Once Hypnotized by Charles Manson in Jail

The actor and the cult leader crossed paths behind bars in 1961

Actor Danny Trejo, who writes in his new memoir that he was once hypnotized by Charles Manson while in jail
Danny Trejo visits Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood, pretty much the opposite of what he was up to in the '60s.
Getty Images

Actor Danny Trejo has led a pretty remarkable life, going from being a teenage heroin addict who spent time in and out of prison to a beloved character actor who has appeared in dozens of films. But according to a Page Six, his new memoir Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood features one particularly crazy tale about a run-in with one of America’s most notorious criminals.

In the book, Trejo, now 77, recalls meeting Charles Manson in 1961 while they were both incarcerated in the Los Angeles County Jail. The Machete star describes Manson as “greasy, dirty, scrawny” and writes that the future cult leader was “so poor, he didn’t have a belt, and instead used a piece of string to keep his pants up.” He admits that at the time he felt sorry for him because Manson was “so small, he required protection,” and he recounts one particular incident in which the infamous criminal convinced him and his friends that he had hypnotic powers and “could get us high.”

“It was like a guided meditation,” Trejo explains in the book, noting that Manson first convinced him and his buddies that they were smoking weed, then heroin. “By the time he described it hitting my bloodstream, I felt the warmth flowing through my body. If that white boy wasn’t a career criminal, he could have been a professional hypnotist.”

Of course, Manson’s ability to manipulate people would go on to become far more sinister in the years after he and Trejo crossed paths behind bars. He was released from jail in 1967 and subsequently founded the Manson Family cult. In 1969, he talked his followers into committing the brutal “Helter Skelter” murders, killing seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate.