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Inside Marilyn Manson's Dark Childhood

Updated July 1, 2019 24.2k views12 items

Before he became the Antichrist Superstar, singer Marilyn Manson was a kid named Brian Warner. Even though there are rumors about Manson’s life - his removed rib, his time spent on network television - the true stories about Marilyn Manson's childhood are weirder than anything someone could make up. 

From the beginning of his career, Manson has courted controversy - but what was Marilyn Manson like growing up? Did he wear a back brace and run around like a monster or was he normal? Manson’s formative years are like something out of a David Lynch film. While there was a normalcy to many of his childhood surroundings, the people in his life were incredibly strange. 

  • Photo: Marilyn Manson - God Is in the T.V. / Interscope Records

    He Feels Like He Was Terrible To His Mother

    Manson claims his mother emotionally tormented him throughout his childhood, but he also thinks he was awful to her when he was growing up. He admits to being a "mama's boy," but says that even though they had a weird relationship, she couldn't exert any control over him. In 1997, he told Rolling Stone

    I was kind of a mama’s boy. But I had a weird relationship with my mom as a kid because it was kind of [harmful] - but on my part. I wish I could go back and change the way I treated my mom because I used to be really rude to her, and she didn’t really have any kind of control over me.

  • A Neighbor Allegedly Took His Dog’s Life

    The discography of Marilyn Manson is filled with creeps and unsavory characters. While it's not a stretch for someone to invent odd stories and even odder people like those in Manson's work, it becomes clear after reading stories of the singer's childhood that he's drawing on his past to imbue his creativity with an unsettling kind of truth.

    While speaking with Vice, Manson explained that he's a cat person because a neighbor once did away with his dog: 

    I was a dog person when I was a kid. But then a neighbor [ended] my dog and it kind of ruined the idea of having a dog for me forever. But I was actually considering having a dog again recently, I'm just not really sure yet. 

  • He Went To Christian School And Hated It

    It's clear from Manson's Antichrist Superstar album (and pretty much everything else in his career) that the singer has an antipathy for the church. It's likely that much of his hate comes from the fact that he was forced to attend a Christian school as a young person, where he had to put up with peak satanic panic-era Baptists. 

    While speaking with Rolling Stone in 1997, Manson discussed the education he received, and much of it had to do with the perceived evils of rock music. He said: 

    They had these seminars where they’d tell you about the music you weren’t supposed to be listening to. And they would play heavy-metal songs backward. And they’d show you pictures of the bands, and I was like, "I like this. This is what I want."

  • Manson Had His Own Vinyl Record Black Market

    While enrolled in an Ohio Christian school, Manson found an easy way to make money off his peers whose parents didn't allow them to listen to "demonic" rock music like W.A.S.P. and Mötley Crüe. His scheme was to buy heavy metal records, sell them to his fellow students for a jacked up price, and then take the record back whenever possible. He explained his enterprise to Rolling Stone

    I started going to the record store and buying, like, a W.A.S.P. record for seven bucks and then selling it for, like, 20 bucks to some kid whose parents wouldn’t let him go to record stores. We didn’t have locks on our lockers because we were on the honor system, so later in the day I would go and [take] the album back and keep it for myself. I didn’t realize it at the time, but there’s always been this underlying theme in the stuff that I do: It’s teaching people not to be so stupid.