American Horror Story: What You Need to Know About Manson Cult Member Linda Kasabian

American Horror Story: Cult draws an interesting parallel between Winter Anderson and Linda Kasabian (both played by Billie Lourd) in the latest episode, “Charles (Manson) in Charge,” showing how they are both turning on their cult leaders because they don’t have a stomach for the crimes being committed in the leader’s name. But just who is Kasabian?

Linda Kasabian ran away from her small New Hampshire town when she was 16, married a man she barely knew, divorced, married again, and gave birth to a daughter, all before she was 20 years old. Her second husband eventually took Kasabian and their daughter to Los Angeles, which is where she fell in with Manson’s crowd.

Kasabian had intimate relationships with both Charles “Tex” Watson and Manson himself, eventually giving birth to a son who could have been the child of either of them (or even of her second husband). That child was reportedly given up for adoption. But her daughter stayed at the Manson family ranch while Kasabian was out aiding and abetting horrific crimes with other Manson family members; Kasabian eventually regained custody of her daughter from the foster system.

After the murder spree of the Summer of 1969, which included the brutal slayings of actress Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, Kasabian was the only participant not to be tried for the crimes. She didn’t actually commit any of the murders — in fact, as AHS portrays, she tried to thwart the crimes (though not very effectively) — so she was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony. As of 1994, she was living on the East Coast, a mother to four children.

But it’s because of Kasabian’s betrayal of Manson that on American Horror Story, the Charles Manson who appears as a hallucination to Kai calls Kasabian his “Judas.”

“Identify the Judas,” Manson advises Kai. “That’s how I f*cked up. I trusted too much. My Judas was Linda . . . it’s always the b*tches, man. Can’t trust the b*tches.”

This hallucination just feeds Kai’s feelings of paranoia. He’s convinced the house is bugged and that someone turned on him and is helping the feds. Ally seems like a likely suspect, but she actually brings Kai “evidence” of the surveillance, which seems to exculpate her from that particular accusation.

What’s interesting is that as part of Ally’s revenge tour, she frames Winter as the Judas; hence why it’s so perfect to have Lourd play Kasabian in the Manson flashbacks. As Winter pleads with Kai to believe her that she would never turn on him, he snaps and strangles her to death.

But unlike Kasabian, who really did turn on the Manson family, Winter doesn’t turn on Kai — not really. She wants out of the cult, yes, but she isn’t helping the feds. Guess who is?

Speedwagon. Oh, simple, stupid Speedwagon. Kai is not going to like that.

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