Hellier: Season Two’s End

This is the third part of a short series. The first part may be viewed here, and the second part, here.

What good can I say of Allen H. Greenfield? I no longer think he actually initiated this or manipulated this from the start. I do, however, know that Allen has built a large network of devotees about the United States and, to some extent, the world. He’s an amazing salesman, though what he pedals is his own peculiar brand of pseudo-gnostic snake oil, a potent-looking nostrum that does absolutely nothing but waste the time of the idly wealthy.

When we last left the Hellier team, they had found a tin can and a spent mylar balloon, the obvious omen and ultimate clear indicators that something deep was happening in the lives of the three four intrepid “researchers” and that the team was close to something big. They’ve decided that they like bright lights and city streets to the tall pines and winding curves of rural coal-country, and that the latter makes them feel physically and spiritually threatened. They’ve played around with some high-tech toys, any one of which costs as much as a month’s total living expenses for some of their interviewees in the titular rural town, and have given voice to some of their own themes by listening to white noise while wearing a blindfold. Oh, how droll.

But then they travel to Atlanta, Georgia to meet Allen Greenfield, former devotee of Thelema and author of the book from whence the dubious “cipher” is taken. (While the title of that book is known to me, I do not wish to advertise it here). As stated elsewhere, I know Allen Greenfield. Allen was present at several of my initiations in the OTO and was a large reason for why I left the organization; his mercurial behavior and willingness to turn a blind eye to critical situations coupled with the trust placed in him by people who barely knew him spelled ruin for not one but two lodges.

On the morning after my first degree initiation at Eulis Lodge in Atlanta during the summer of 1991, I attended my first gnostic mass. Allen was serving in the role of deacon, Bill Padgett was the priest, and Susan Padgett was the priestess. The mass occurred in the basement of a married couple in the Order, Pat and Carol (I think it was Carol, at least). This was to be Bill’s final mass as Priest as he was stepping down as the master of Eulis Lodge and the two obvious candidates to replace him were Allen and Pat. Several people showed up and packed the not-so-tiny home temple the husband-and-wife team had built in the basement of their house. At least thirty attendees showed up to receive one final cake of light and drink one last goblet of wine with Bill–and to see if they could learn something else….

The OTO is an animal that devours loyalty and shits intrigue. Eulis Lodge was just another digestive tract in a beast that has more assholes than mouths and more mouths than eyes. If anyone had any doubt that something would be said of line of succession, then it was cleared-up that day when, prior to the commencement of the Mass, Allen announced in a very firm yet pleased tone that all officers in the ritual were duly consecrated bishops of the OTO’s ecclesiastical wing.

That was the last time I ever saw most of those people. Allen took mastership of Eulis Lodge and even Pat and Carol faded into the woodwork. The large body of students from the mass never returned to the rituals of the new Eulis Lodge, save for the odd unfamiliar faces who would float through at random intervals but seldom if ever return. Even I found myself serving as an officer at several initiations despite my low rank. There were lots of first and second degree members, almost no thirds, and above them all Allen–newly minted Bishop and initiate of the fifth degree–calling the shots with seeming absolute certainty. The mezzanine degrees needed for Mass and Initiation were absent.

That should’ve been the first warning sign….

Of course, others have been to Eulis before me and have different tales to tell. In the end, the lack of faith shown in Allen after that moment by the former members of the original incarnation of Eulis Lodge proved correct. Less concerned with advancing the narrative of the occult, Allen simply allowed the original Atlanta OTO lodge to fall into a moribund state until the more vibrant, more potent Syntaxxis Lodge arose; then he shuttered the doors, boasting he did so without leaving behind a debt. O Great Victory in Occult Accounting, Thy Name is Eulis Lodge!

But this is the man whom the Hellier crew have finally met. And for once I don’t think Allen Greenfield is behind the events that have directed the crew to this point. In truth, I think Allen was somewhat surprised and definitely delighted to think that his little UFO book was having an impact in people’s lives. That said, I don’t think it would be wise to say that Allen was wholly ignorant of the author of the Hellier incident, nor that he does not fancy that he has been offered a chance to intervene in what is transpiring. That is, I think Allen Greenfield is now in a unique position to dabble in the crew’s misguided and economically tone-deaf meanderings across a self-manufactured analog to Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map.

The issue of hypnosis arose and I was completely put off by the side-show hypnotist’s routine as opposed a deeper, more therapeutic method. But then I was also grateful as the stage hypnotist’s routine is truly just a test of suggestibility, while hypnotic interventions often require several sessions. What passed for the implanting of a “false memory” was a side-show effort that relied as much on the hypnotist’s presentation skills as the subject’s willingness to go along with what’s happening. False memories are framed on actual trauma and not simply implanted by suggestion.

For students of psychology and recent history, the sudden emergence of false memory syndrome in the 1980s fueled the Satanic Panic mentioned in the previous installment of this series. Created by a cadre of therapists using hypnosis in their practice, false memories always centered on claims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), often with a ritual or Satanic feature. The practice signaled a brief but troubling trend in counseling as the untenable assumption that all people had suffered some form of CSA demanded that therapists go ever further to retrieve a memory of the suppressed trauma; the Satanic ritual component of such false memories is archetypal and serves to telegraph the account’s innate dishonesty as it comes clad in the colors of the Prince of Lies.

To the Hellier crew, there is no apparent difference between stage hypnosis and therapeutic hypnotic interventions. They erroneously believe that all hypnosis produces a form of memory loss or amnesia (it doesn’t) and that a false memory can simply be implanted in anyone (it can’t). But who needs actual science or an understanding of recent events when you’ve got a trust fund and some pretty toys.

A further look at some of the bogus technology employed by the Hellier crew (notably the Koren helmet) will be coming in the future. Scrutiny of the methodologies (or lack of methodologies) will also be reviewed. For now, however, it is enough to say that the show remains a disappointment at best and a showcase of everything wrong in America and New Age spirituality at worst.

Shriek into the Void...

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