Needless to say, even before the Tate-LaBianca murders in the summer of 1969, Manson’s cult was a dangerous group to be a part of. According to author Jeff Guinn in his book “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson,” intense and frequent drug use throughout the cult was common, with Manson encouraging his followers to take heavy doses of LSD.
Because of the dangers that the cult leader posed, Lansbury told her then-husband, Peter Shaw, that the family needed to move. She wanted their children, especially her daughter, as far away from Manson’s influence as possible, as her drug addiction was getting worse under his influence. She decided on County Cork, Ireland, which she still visited up until her passing.
“I was drawn to Ireland because it was the birthplace of my mother and it was also somewhere my children wouldn’t be exposed to any more bad influences,” she explained. “So I refused all work for a year and simply kept house.”
Thankfully, the drastic change in scenery worked. Lansbury recalled Anthony recovering fairly quickly, and although Deidre took a bit longer to heal from her addiction, she eventually fully recovered. While she was grateful, she couldn’t help but fear what could have happened if they hadn’t intervened.
“Certainly, I have no doubt we would have lost one or both of our two if they hadn’t been removed to a completely different milieu,” Lansbury said. “We were so very, very lucky we spotted what was happening just in time.”