Setting The Scene – Part 2

One of the problems I’m having here already, is ‘telling it the way it really was’ thirty-five plus years ago, because my account is being continually influenced by my present viewpoint. But, for the time being at least, I am just going to have to be ‘ok with that’ (and so will you) otherwise I’m not going to get any further here. I should also add that – looking at those past events now – it is obvious to me that I didn’t really know what I was doing back then.  But at that time, I really thought I did ..

What sorts of people, in my opinion at least, become interested in the things that Eugene Halliday spoke and wrote about? Well, I see them falling into two major groups. The first group has an interest in subjects such as: psi phenomena – telepathy, etc; psychic phenomena – contacting the dead, etc.; ‘matters esoteric’ – astral travel, etc; and ‘things that can’t be explained by science generally’; and I would also include here those who have a morbid fear of death. And although I don’t belong to this group, I do appreciate how they come to listen to, and read, Eugene Halliday’s material, because I have always had an interest in these subjects myself. To give you just a few brief examples, as a teenager I was fascinated by the writings of Charles Forte and his skepticism re ‘the scientific method’ (I still have my copy of ‘The Books of Charles Forte’); I was an avid reader of Science Fiction from the age of about 14 (and had one of the biggest collections in the UK by 1970, with many first editions (Oh, how I wish I had them now!). As a teenager I read many ‘non-mainstream’ books at that time, such as ‘An Experiment With Time’ by J. W. Dunn and ‘Flying Saucers Have Landed; by George Adamski. During my late teens I bought my own copy of the Condon Report (‘The Blue Book’), published in the early 1950’s – the infamous American Air Force report on UFO’s; I read semi-academic stuff by authors such as Carlos Castaneda; I have had a forty plus year interest in C G Jung’s ‘Analytical’ or ‘Depth’ Psychology, which first prompted my continuing interest in Gnosticism and Alchemy; etc. etc. And, in case you think I might now have left all this stuff behind me, my last Kindle purchase (in March of 2012) was Phillip K Dick’s ‘Exegesis’ …. So yeah! It isn’t like I don’t know what it’s like to have these interests. But understand that I do view all of this material skeptically – but that’s how I view almost everything else! And I should also add that I am acutely aware of the power and control that self-styled experts in these areas (particularly where it concerns the more esoteric subjects here) can so easily assume over the more gullible and vulnerable members of society – often with tragic results.

But having these interests myself, to some degree at least, was not at all why I was (and still am) interested in the ‘Work’ of Eugene Halliday!

So I’m in ‘The Other Group’ then, and that’s not so easy to describe. But I will try, by attempting to tell you here how this all started for me …

For as long as I can remember, a number of really pressing questions have always been uppermost in my mind. However, it’s not like these questions initially presented themselves to me as politely articulated inquiries, or that they emerged gradually. Rather, they have always seemed to me to have been muttering away autonomously ‘in the back of my mind’ there, and I experienced them as being all connected thematically.

Broadly speaking, they are “What am I?; What am I doing here?; Where am I?”; “Who are all these other people?”, and are accompanied by a vague feeling that, “This has all been some sort of dreadful mistake.”

There is one other question however, that you could add to those above, and it’s the one I believe that all of us are presented with – all the time – voiced or unvoiced. And that’s, “What is going on right now, and what should I do about it?”.

The attempt to provide the answer to this particular question can involve on the one hand, delving into subjects such as Religion and Metaphysics, and on the other, Science and Engineering (to say nothing of the Arts), and is exquisitely formulated to get us caught up in anything that takes our fancy that happens to be going on ‘out there’ from Word Wars and Global Politics, to problems involving attempts to lose weight, or to tackle premature baldness… It is – if you will – the one question we are all continuously being presented with, whether we are consciously aware of it as a particular formulated enquiry or not… And so events – which you can believe are either sent ‘from above’, or are merely the consequences of Darwinian evolution – do appear to have conspired to place human beings at least, in a position to explore their own existential search for ‘meaning’ from moment to moment.

How these questions – and my responses to them – have ‘evolved’ over the years would be extremely difficult for me to describe right now. But to give you some idea, a question such as, “What is ‘in-ness’, and ‘out-ness’?”  evolved quite naturally, in my case, from ‘Where am I?” In that it was not asked of me by anyone else, but was formulated from ‘out of myself’ – it simply ‘rose up’ in me if you like. And I also experienced it as ‘coming to me at the right time’ such that, along with its appearance, I also had the distinct impression that it was also now possible for me to come up with some kind of answer to it….


If I happen to meet a ‘fellow enquirer’ in the same situation as me, we seem to be able to recognize each other almost immediately; and we also know when someone else is ‘faking’ these questions. I mean here that, although many might say that they find these questions ‘really interesting’, they are clearly only of passing interest here – a diversion in the moment, and nothing more than that.


The urgency of requiring some sort of answers to these pressing questions did appear to diminish later in life somewhat, as I become more and more embroiled in the ‘game of life’. So much so, in fact, that I sometimes forgot about them entirely for short periods.  But, sooner, rather than later, they would come back to haunt me again.

However, there is a kind of ‘upside’ to this, in that this relentless existential ‘prodding’ seemed to come with an abundance of free energy that I could use to help me here. Some saw this in me as an unseemly ‘manic enthusiasm’, and would find it extremely unsettling when I ‘turned up the wick’ from time to time, although others appeared to enjoy the spectacle.

A ‘downside’ to all this (which I also experienced very early on) was that if I did attempt to ‘avoid the quest’, then the ‘free energy’ I was blessed with would very soon tangle me up in all sorts of trouble.

By the way, please don’t imagine that I believe all this makes me somehow superior. It’s just the way it is, and I’m simply pointing out here that you either do have these questions gnawing away at you, or you don’t – which is rather obvious if you care to think about it for a moment 🙂 ….  And also, I hope I haven’t given you the impression that in earnestly seeking answers to these questions, I’ve necessarily discovered any!

The reason why some of us do, or don’t, have these questions in us in this way, is another matter entirely …. And, yes, I am well aware that the answer here could simply be that we’re insane!

By the way, if you don’t have these questions ‘in you’, or, to put that another way, if you are not, in some fundamental sense, these questions themselves, then the few paragraphs I’ve written above here won’t really have made that much sense to you…

….Finally, I feel I should also tell you that there are also a number of other things that happen to me that other people might find odd. But, for the moment at least, I don’t have any intention of writing about them here..

That being said … On with the tale. …

I first heard of Eugene Halliday sometime during the mid-1970’s, when Martin Mathieson, a close friend of mine, gave me a number of audio-cassette of Eugene’s talks that were recorded sometime between the late 1950’s and the mid 1960’s, at meetings of the ‘The International Hermeneutic Society’ (IHS) which were held at the Liverpool home of Ken (he changed the spelling to Khen) and Barbara (she changed the spelling to Bhar) Ratcliffe. Eugene Halliday was, at that time, the IHS President, and Ken Ratcliffe was the IHS Secretary.

Shortly after giving me these cassettes, Martin took me and my wife, Jean, to ‘Tan-Y-Garth Hall’, a large house in North Wales. This Hall was the new home of the IHS, which, since October of 1971, had become an officially registered charity.

By this time, Eugene Halliday appears to have severed his official connection to the IHS, and also, interestingly enough, sometime during this early period, the IHS had morphed into the IHS(V) or IHS(VAL) – ‘The International Hermeneutic Society (Validations)’. It is also important to point out that, from the time that Tan-Y-Garth became the ‘headquarters’ of the IHS in 1971, until his death in 1987 (some 15 years later), Eugene Halliday never stepped foot in the place, although he could have done so at any time – a state of affairs that I still, to this day, find interesting.

I have no idea where the (V) here came from by the way – but during the next decade or so, I could not help but notice that these same letters kept cropping up elsewhere: IHS(V) or IHS(VAL); and ISHVAL; closely followed by the very mysterious SIHVAL – The Society for the Investigation of Human Values – registered as a charity in September of 1972, and more commonly referred to by folks ‘in the know’ (who lived in South Cheshire, UK, and made use of it) as ‘Toft Hall’, and which seems to have been, bye and large, what was known at that time as a (local) ‘convalescent home’. (More of that in a later post. perhaps).

Ken Ratcliffe presided over an informal mid-week discussion group at Tan-Y-Garth, the major purpose of which (during the time I attended at least) was to discuss some of Eugene (or Gene – as Ken called him) Halliday’s concepts.

Ken made it very clear during the time I attended these talks that what he was doing here was simply attempting to work with Eugene Halliday’s ideas. And he certainly was not claiming that he had, in some way, already absorbed them – quite the opposite in fact.

There were never more than half-a-dozen or so people maximum attending this mid-week group, and although it appeared to me that one or two of them were clearly ‘traveling on the other coach’, this didn’t seem to matter too much (but telling you this here should dispel any suspicion you might harbor that I imagined we were all engaged in some sort of ‘Brains of Britain’ thing).


Attempting any discussion of Eugene Halliday’s ideas, as I see it, would reasonably  suppose that those doing so had some sort of ‘passing acquaintance’ with them at least, which in my case was a consequence of listening to recordings of his talks, and also reading some of his essays. Indeed this form of ‘studying’ was the approach that Ken appeared to me to be using at Tan-Y-Garth – in that he listened to the tapes, read the essays, and tried to remember the stuff.

So, during the time that I attended these meeting, in my opinion, Ken wasn’t ‘bringing up these ideas from himself’. In fact, often he was clearly having just as much difficulty getting them ‘straight, in his head’, as everyone else. And although he had a great deal more information available (from his close personal connection with Eugene Halliday for 20 years or so, and also his continuous striving to remember this material), it was obvious that these ideas and concepts that we were discussing were not his – and that what he was doing, at these group meetings at least, was musing over them out loud, and using the rest of us as a sounding-board, as it were.

That was fine with me, as I did have a good memory then, and remembering this stuff wasn’t that difficult for me. So I did spend  a few years here just discussing Eugene’s concepts with both Ken and the group, and I consider this time to have been extremely formative and important to any understanding I imagine I now have of this material.

I had not yet focused on the idea of embodying these ideas at this time – because I would not have had the faintest inkling of what that might have meant. And It was only after listening to Ken’s accounts of Eugene’s advice to him it began to dawn on me, that without this practical (embodying) side, no real progress was ever going to be made. But, as I say, this was not at all obvious to me in the beginning – that is, when I first began listening to the tapes, and reading the essays.

Although this situation, by and large, was to continue for the next decade or so, at the time though (luckily for me) none of this mattered, and I was (and still am) simply grateful to Ken for the opportunity to have been able to discuss these ideas in some depth with anybody at all. I should also perhaps make it clear that I believe I benefited from my visits to Tan-Y-Garth and taking part in these discussions, far more than my later visits to ‘Parklands’ – where I had many opportunities to listen to Eugene talking in person, and to do other stuff as well.

So, to recap briefly. As far as my impressions at this time were concerned, after listening to a number of Eugene Halliday’s recorded talks, and having read a few of his essays, I had become very interested at the way in which he explained: who we were; what we were doing here; how we got here; who these other people were; etc. I was now talking about these ideas with others who also claimed to be interested in them (but, unfortunately, not for the same reasons that I believed I was).

I must admit that my attitude to what it was that others were doing here did irritate me at the time. As it did seem fairly obvious to me that many of them were desperately looking for ‘someone’ in their lives – someone to ‘follow’ as it were – and who, in the main, also favored the current, trendy, emerging ‘New Age-ish’, approach to life. I, on the other hand, wasn’t looking for ‘anyone’ particularly; or any group of people to socially interact with.

This perspective of mine on what it was these people were ‘up to’, set the pattern for any further discussions I was to have with almost everyone else involved here for the next five or six years – and was ultimately the main reason why I had no problem ‘moving on’ in 1984.

But let me make it absolutely clear here that I had no sense at all Eugene Halliday himself was promoting ideas and concepts that endorsed, or were even sympathetic to, current, trendy, ‘spiritual’ enquiries involving ‘mysterious’ topics such as: ufo’s; crop circles; spirit beings from another planet; previous lives; Yaqui Indian sorcerers; astral travel; divination; transcendental meditation/contemporary ‘yoga’; quack medicine; ‘special’ diets; mysterious oriental practices; etc. etc. Quite the reverse in fact.

Indeed I was relieved to find someone who clearly wasn’t resorting to all that fashionable nonsense. But who, rather, seemed to believe (as I did) that the very fact of ‘being’ itself was ‘magical’ enough and worth investigating – without the introduction of any smoke and mirrors, or trickery and mumbo-jumbo, to ‘spice it up a bit’; and who was presenting an interesting, helpful, and self-affirming area of study and contemplation.

Eugene Halliday did, of course, use contemporary metaphors and mise-en-scènes to illustrate his ideas, and I’m fine with that – because I don’t see how else you could get these ideas across, unless perhaps you produce them in an exclusively academic setting – which would defeat his whole purpose here, in my view.

So I  vacillated between being really grateful that I had come across this material, and being intensely irritated with many of those that I was having to come in contact with!

It was fortunate for me though that I stuck with it, because this aspect of group relationships, and the dynamics it produced began to fascinate me, eventually more so even than just thinking about Eugene Halliday’s concepts themselves. And I would say that the study of the behavior of various disparate social groups, ‘read through’  Eugene Halliday’s concepts, would eventually provide me with far more material about the nature of the human condition (vis-a-vis those ‘questions’ of mine) than simply the contemplation of Eugene Halliday’s concepts ‘in abstraction’, as it were. But this was all to come about at some considerable time in the future.

To continue here though …. I was also lucky enough to have a number of lengthy private conversations with Ken during the few years that I was regularly attending Tan-Y-Garth. Perhaps this was because I had spent a few years at sea, but I couldn’t really say for sure. Anyway, I always felt that he was ‘on the level’ with me, and I agree with those others I have spoken with who knew him from his time in Liverpool, that he was definitely a ‘man’s man’, who also appreciated a ‘well-turned ankle’.

I also soon found out that, luckily for Ken, his son-in-law, Richard, (who had married his daughter, Janet) was professionally qualified to restore, and archive, the many recordings of Eugene Halliday’s talks that had taken place at Ken and Barbara’s home in Liverpool, and which were, at that time, in a real mess, as Ken (so Richard told me) had never bothered to give them titles, or ever attempted to rewind any of the tapes he had listened to (they were quarter-inch reel-to-reel) And I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever (as I was also qualified in this area) that without Richard’s dedicated work (which took him decades by the way) this material would never have been preserved.

As well as I can recall it, Ken told me that he had met Eugene Halliday just after the war, when he was living in Manchester.  As he was about to marry his wife-to-be, Barbara (called ‘Bar’ by one and all) at the registry office, he discovered that he needed a ‘Best-Man-cum-witness’ for their wedding. He asked Gene, who he told me lived in a flat in the same house, if he would do the job. Gene agreed, and they subsequently became friends.

Ken had served in WWII – in the Fleet Air Arm I think – and he told me that he was wounded at Dunkirk – strafed by machine gun fire from a German fighter plane while attempting to sail a dingy across the English Channel.

As a consequence he was sent to South Africa to recuperate, and he told me that this was when he first became interested in Yoga.

He also told me that the first book he ever read on the subject of Yoga was this one (I’ve provided a link to it here if you’re interested) – The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka 

I don’t know when he actually read it, but significantly though, his copy (which I now have in my possession) was pressed in 1960, so obviously he read this particular edition after this date. The author’s name ‘Yogi Ramacharaka’ is a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson who, as you’ve probably guessed, was neither a ‘Yogi’ (whatever that actually might be) or Indian – he was American.

I also understood from Ken, that even before the war, he had been interested in Charles Atlas’s system of Dynamic Tension, and in Body Culture in general.

It is clear that Ken and Gene were close friends after the war, so much so, that Ken and Bar’s two daughters, Janet, and Shelagh Ratcliffe (who, when representing England as a swimmer, won silver and bronze medals at the 1970 Commonwealth Games) also referred to Eugene Halliday as ‘(Uncle) Gene’.

Indeed, Eugene appeared to be known as Gene to one-and-all at this time, including his second wife, Margret. The habit of referring to him as (the more formal) ‘Eugene’ apparently began quite late in his life; and I understood, from Zero Mahlowe, that she was the first person to regularly call him Eugene – because she said that she didn’t really like the name ‘Gene’!

Ken also told me that he and Gene would go over on the ferry to the Isle of Man during the summer season, where they would sell casts of miniature painted models that Gene had carved in soft stone, using a filed-down, sharpened, six inch nail. From this original model, a rubber mold would be made, then plaster copies would be cast. Friends of theirs, who I understood lived in (or perhaps near) the large house where Eugene lived in Manchester would paint them. During this period, Ken and Gene would also both head up to Blackpool, where they would also sell these figures on the famous ‘Golden Mile’. Ken also told me that Gene was also in the habit of  giving ‘talks’ to groups of people ‘on the beach’ at the IOM.

I’ve videoed a short clip of four of Eugene’s models that I have in my possession – here it is. Eugene Halliday – Models I have no idea how many he actually produced. Personally, I find them valuable, as they provide me with a glimpse of  the ‘flesh and blood’ Eugene Halliday.

Ken said that, when gathering a crowd at these British North-English holiday resorts  he would also do some card tricks to entertain them, and on one occasion, at a ‘Tan-Y-Garth weekend I attended, he demonstrated a few ‘passes’ to me using a standard deck of cards. And although he was clearly a bit rusty, he obviously knew what he was doing.

Ken made no secret of the fact that he was continually studying Eugene’s material (that is, the written and recorded material). And because, I believe, of their close association for what was a significant length of time, this must surely have allowed Ken to ask Eugene for any amount of practical advice. Thus I believe that the advice Ken passed on to me (and almost certainly to others) about how to interact with some of Eugene’s ideas, came originally from the man himself. Here are a few early examples of exercises that  Ken gave me:

  1. Concerning words. Attempt to introduce new words into your vocabulary. First select a word and then research it’s definition and etymology. Use this word in as many different situations as you can during the coming week and then come back to the group and present some sort of account.
  2. Concerning general awareness. Attempt to remain aware of parts of your body while engaged in conversation. For instance, no matter how stimulated you become, try to remain aware of the soles of your feet against the floor, or if you’re sitting down, of your back against the chair.
  3. Also concerning general awareness. Upon retiring to bed, make yourself aware of your body. Start with the soles of the feet and move up to the crown of your head. After a few weeks or so of practicing this, you should find you are able to ‘traverse’ the length of your body and heighten your awareness of it very quickly, at any time, and anywhere.
  4. When walking down any road, try to retain as much information regarding the interiors of the houses you are passing – particularly if you are engaged in conversation with someone at the time.

Ken gave me quite a few more of these practical exercises later, and this ‘grounding approach’ (if I can put it that way) to working with Eugene’s ideas was to became an essential part of all this to me. And everything I have attempted in this area since, has had a physical component.

Of all the people I ever came across who claimed to be working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas, Ken’s approach here was the most convincing – to me at least.

Making this experiential, practical, aspect of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ an essential component for yourself is also an efficient way of discovering if someone else who claims an interest in Eugene’s ideas is doing anything more than just trying to impress you with little bits and pieces of his stuff that they have managed to remember. You can, very quickly, ‘cut through all the rubbish’ though by simply asking, “So what were the practical, experiential, consequences of your understanding of this concept of Eugene Halliday’s, that you claim is so important to you?”  This question can often save you being the victim of hours of interminable sermonizing; pointless half-baked exterpolizing; or being forced to listen to endless de-contextualized ‘aphorisms’ (my particular ‘pet hate’). Just ask the question’ “So what?”, as soon as you can.

The significant writings that Ken would center his discussions on, during the time I was going to Tan-Y-Garth at least, were (I have provided links to this material here) Truth   The Four-Part Man   The Tacit Conspiracy (Eugene’s ‘take’ on the sexes).   Reflexive Self-Consciousness , and ideas that centered around ‘Sentient Power’.  The Pursuit of Power  is a good introduction to his thoughts on ‘power’ itself.

Ken also recorded a reading of what was, in my opinion, one of Eugene’s most important introductory writings, and is a great place to start any consideration of his ‘take on things’. Here’s the text –  Five Things To Do  and here’s the reading – Five Things To Do (audio). You can hear Ken acknowledging his debt to his friend Gene as he reads – what he refers to as – ‘an introduction to Hermenuitics’.

Amongst the many recorded talks that I found most relevant, where it concerned ‘power’ at least, was ‘Energy’, which is a reasonable first tape to listen to. Here’s the audio file and transcript of that talk Energy   Energy (transcript) . [I’ll be going over my own interaction with any linked material I post here in more detail later on by the way].

However, even then, my perception of Eugene Halliday’s ‘work’ was that there was an over-all ‘shape’ to it: that it all seemed to emanate from the same place. Such that, if you could get there yourself, you could view all this ‘stuff’ in one go, as it were. So, instead of wanting to ‘do a Eugene Halliday’, by absorbing as much of his tapes and writings verbatim somehow (which, even then, I believed was a silly thing to attempt; impossible to do in principle, and so, doomed from the outset), I wanted to, somehow, get to ‘that place’ myself, and then ‘all would be revealed’… …

Simple, hey? …. But I had no idea how to get there at that time… And also, as someone here famously said, “Simple does not mean easy!”…

On the down side during this time, Ken – along with a significant number of other folk I spoke with who claimed to know Eugene at that time  – told me that Eugene had predicted something really nasty would be going on by 1984, which, ‘those in the know’ here, interpreted as being a major conflict – along the lines of  World War III.

1984 was almost ten year in the future at that time, and this ‘bad vibe’ was, I believe (as did others I have spoken to about this), a significant component in Ken’s decision to move away from (Swinging) Liverpool … bury himself in the middle of nowhere, in North Wales … and take up residence in a very large house … with a very large vegetable garden … and very large, thick, stone walls.

As someone who never bought into the whole ‘Ban the Bomb’ thing, or ever believed, back with others in the 1960′ and 70’s, that we were all on the brink of a nuclear armageddon  – I viewed these negative ‘vibes’ with some skepticism. (Although Everton did manage to win the FA cup in 1984 – but I don’t suppose Eugene meant that). …

The only dissenting personal voice I ever came across, regarding this whole 1984 thing, was Zero Mahlowe’s, who told me, when I asked her about it in 2006, that Eugene did not specifically say that there would be a Third Word War in 1984 – only that the world would be (as she put it) “Significantly out of balance.” But she offered me no extended perspective on what she thought Eugene might have meant here.

Be that as it may, I have no doubt that many others at that time thought Eugene Halliday was of the opinion –  from at least the late 1960’s – that in 1984, a traditional military ‘nasty event’ was ‘on the cards’ (to put it in the vernacular). Consider this final paragraph from SIHV’s brochure from the 1970’s (that mysterious ‘Society for the Investigation of Human Values’ that I mentioned above).

Should it be that World War III were not avoidable, then the salvation of Human Hearted Intelligence will be required. If such a conflict should develop it is probable that there would be pockets of people remaining and it is essential that these people relate Humanely and Intelligently with the recognition of Human Solidarity throughout the world.

I have nothing whatsoever against the sentiments here, but they do seem a little over the top for the brochure of an organization that was, essentially, running a convalescent home.

I’m not concerned here about this (assumed mistake) re Eugene Halliday’s supposed ‘predictive abilities’ either. But, I do happen to believe that divination is impossible, – in the sense that ‘occultists’ use the term anyway – and that the motives for claiming one can do so are often reprehensible in my opinion…If you don’t know what I mean here, think Jim Jones, Jonestown, Guyana, 1978, and ‘The People’s Temple’. …

The over-riding need for a sizable percentage of those who take an interest in Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ to ‘bolt on’ a supernatural element is something that I believe he was always clearly aware of, but could do little to prevent. I also believe he was equally aware that this perspective is freely chosen by those people who engage in this sort of thing; and that he saw it as something that these people had to ‘go through’ themselves, and not something he could, necessarily, simply persuade them about, one way or the other. Regrettably then, this aspect of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ seems to ‘go with the territory’, and one just has to put up with it.

It’s not my intention here to deliberately extend this section even further, but I feel I should point out here that by 1984, the world was in the middle of a full-blown AIDS pandemic – and it has killed tens of millions of people since (after a peak of around 2,000,000 per-year in 2004, deaths by AIDS are still up there around 1.8 million-per-year mark) – and it still is.

Personally I would say that AIDS would qualify as something ‘really, really, really, really, nasty going on’. Far more so than those endless military conflicts that seem to have been doing the rounds since the time of Adam and Eve… … But a ‘plague’?…

In the ‘ Swinging 60’s and post-60’s ‘, with its endless, ‘Summers of Love’, a sexually transmitted disease was not at all the thing that its members – who were far too busy proclaiming that they had finally smashed the chains of their ‘Victorian misogynistic heritage’ – wanted to ponder over …  Anyway, most ‘doom merchants’ at that time were far too busy anxiously ‘watching the skies’ for nuclear missiles, to bother ‘glancing down’ and perhaps notice that things were starting to go amiss ‘below the belt’.  … But then, as the old Liverpool maxim would have it, ‘Never try to educate a mug’.

Essential components of any normal learning process are skepticism and disagreement, and anyone here should feel completely free to analyze and explore any misgivings they might have, and not be made to feel constrained, or that they’re ‘rocking the boat’ for others. Everyone makes mistakes, including Eugene Halliday. And a passively accepting, totally acquiescing, group of people, who have clustered around a person they have deluded themselves into believing is some sort of ‘all-knowing’ leader-cum-‘father figure’ is simply one more example of a pathetic cult – a variety of organization that, regrettably, has, and will always, be with us.

Anyway …. back to the story. …. I see now that I had become addicted to poking at those damned questions of mine (it was like having a pebble in my shoe all the time) and I was able to ‘pick-up’ stuff that contained pertinent material. But I wasn’t too interested in the ‘medium’ really – in that I didn’t really care who’s ideas they were – I was only interested in the ‘message’. And I was also confident  that, even if this ‘message’ was buried under a mountain of prima materia , I could dig it out.

At this stage of the game then, my impression of Eugene Halliday as a ‘flesh and blood human being’ was constructed almost entirely from my listening to him speaking on recordings of his talks, and my reading of his various essays (‘serialized’; short, and extended). Importantly, there were an awful lot of these talks and a significant number of essays.

It was also very obvious that the people I had met who had been ‘exposed’ to this material had obviously been very stimulated by it. However, it also seemed to me also that the overwhelming majority here did not appear to me to have any clear idea at all about any over-all structure to Eugene Halliday’s perception of things, or even about the major concepts contained in  this material.

The fact that Eugene Halliday gave talks in Liverpool, to what appeared to be a small group of people in Ken’s front room, also fleshed-in my mental portrait of him a little. And there was also that ‘background-sort-of-biographical-filling-in’ from Ken, that centered around trips to various sea-side resorts in order to ‘make a few bob’, that I also found interesting, etc.

I had no idea, at that time, that, even as early as the late 1940’s (or perhaps even earlier), Eugene Halliday had been giving talks to a group of people in the kitchen of his home in Manchester, or that he was extremely active in the (distinctly Christian) Healing Ministry of the Congregationalist Church during the late 1950’s, writing for both the Cavandish Review and the Healing Quarterly (which is when ‘The Four-Part Man’ and other important early essays of his were first published). Or that he was introducing his own methods of alleviating the mental problems afflicting many young men who had suffered CSR from their experiences during WWII (and also civilians suffering from depression who didn’t fancy having to take mountains of pills, or having their brains zapped by Electroconvulsive therapy) – and that he was doing this, essentially, by just talking with them!

Factoring in this material would take me a great deal of time later, in fact I did not start to attempt any understanding of this part of his life until fairly recently (around 2004).

As I say, looking back, I see I was far more interested in the ‘message’ here, than the ‘messenger’. And Eugene Halliday was, at that time to me,  somone who was very, very, smart and seemed to know a great deal about a lot of interesting subjects. This view of him would metamorphose considerably as I soldiered on, until eventually it became very clear to me that things were never what they seemed to be here.

The only thing I would add here re my thoughts at that time, was that Eugene/Gene sounded to me  as if he had a slight speech impediment, and this intrigued me, as no one else ever mentioned it to me, not, at least, at that time – so I didn’t either. And anyway, it was no ‘big deal’ to me ….. not then anyway. However, later on, it became of central importance to my personal view of Eugene Halliday’s own journey, even if, from the mid-seventies, up until the present day, I have never heard anyone else endorse this view-point of mine.

I came to view Eugene Halliday’s physicality as THE essential component to focus upon, at least if I were to  arrive at an (even facile) understanding of what it was that made him tick’…

To be continued …

Bob Hardy

April, 2012.

  2 Responses to “2. Setting The Scene (cont.) … ‘Let’s Get Away From It All’.”

  1. Thanks Bob. Keep on going.

    Thanks too for the images of the models……..heard about them but never seen them. Great

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