Nostalgia Magazine Articles

Weird History: The Manson Hop?

By Garrin Hertel

Imagine this: It’s the 1927 National Air Derby at Felts Field. A special guest arrives in his world famous Spirit of St. Louis aircraft. Over the public address system comes an announcement followed by wild applause. “Charles Manson has landed in Spokane!”

What!?

Don’t you mean, “Charles Lindbergh, the famous flight pioneer?”

Yes, we do, but there’s more to it.

Local history sleuth, Chuck King, was reading old copies of the Spokesman-Review recently - as he is inclined to do on an almost daily basis - and he found an oddball clip from 1934, which we’ve posted here.

Back in 1934, no one would’ve been “weirded out” by the story that Ola Mansson, a Swedish-American farmer, and grandfather of Charles Lindbergh, had changed his name when he immigrated to the United States.

But for anyone living after about 1970, the name Charles Manson will always be associated with the psychopath who led the “Manson Family” crime harem. Charles Manson was named “The Most Dangerous Man Alive” by Rolling Stone that year, and he began a life sentence for killing musician Gary Hinman. Manson died while still serving time in 2017.

If it weren’t for good ol’ Ola’s name change, not only would we have some confusing history to teach to youngsters today, but swing dancers might have been dancing the “Manson Hop” all these years.

How weird is that?

First Photo Above: Charles Lindbergh, second from left, is greeted by Spokane Mayor C.A. Fleming at the 1927 Air Races at Felts Field. Photo courtesy of Tony and Suzanne Bamonte.

Second Photo Above: Charles A. Lindbergh, public domain photo.

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