'SECRET CULT' Introduction to the 1985 Book by Peter Hounam

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
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'SECRET CULT' Introduction to the 1985 Book by Peter Hounam

Postby Justice » Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:25 am

SECRET CULT (First published in 1985)

Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg

Back Cover:

When the London Standard newspaper?s top investigative team began to look into the School of Economic Science, they met a wall of secrecy. What they found is a cause for public concern:

? Marriages are broken up, people brought close to breakdown.
? Schools educate their children in a religious philosophy their parents know nothing about.
? Political parties and churches are infiltrated by people hostile to their fundamental tenets.

All this is in the name of what claims to be a wholesome philosophy with Christian overtones. But in reality it is a strange, eccentric, essentially Eastern cult?


The School

If religion were to be looked at as an industry, Britain?s record in producing new products seems dismal in recent times. Imports have arrived here from overseas ? the Moonies, Children of God, Scientology, Rajneesh ? all profiting from a gap in the market provided by the young, the lonely and the spiritually disaffected.

But the trade has not all been one way. Secretly, but with formidable efficiency and success, a wealthy religious cult ? British-born and-bred - has established a world-wide following. Its headquarters is in the heart of London?s fashionable Kensington district, and its name is the impeccable-sounding ?School of Economic Science?.

For nearly forty years this establishment, in keeping with its academic image, has offered to the general public night school courses in philosophy and economics. Many thousands of people from all walks of life have been through its doors, including barristers, housewives, policemen, students, journalists and labourers. Even a present British High Court Judge was a student for many years.

But despite its apparent respectability, in recent years the SES has found itself under attack, not just in Great Britain but in a number of other countries where offshoot branches have been started. Former members have claimed that the ?School? practises subtle brainwashing techniques to ensure absolute obedience. Its disciples put in many hours of unpaid work each week looking after the movement?s large property and holdings, and taking part in group activities. They are encouraged to isolate themselves from influences outside the movement, they are discouraged from discussing the School?s activities with non-members, and if they leave the movement they become pariahs to those that remain. The demands placed on members are so strong, it is claimed, that marriages fail, families split up, and some students develop serious mental problems.

The first mention of the cult appeared in Britain?s Daily Mail in 1968 when the paper investigated Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the ?Beatles? Guru, who at one time had close links with the SES. The story mentioned the cult?s secrecy and the absolute obedience demanded from members ? but surprisingly it took the matter no further. And there the matter rested until the mid 1970s after the movement had opened for business in Malta. Opposition to them grew steadily on the island until eventually the Roman Catholic Church there produced a pamphlet warning of the dangers of the school. They claimed that, instead of offering a straightforward introduction to philosophy or economics, the movement was a cult, simply out for new members. This was a remarkably accurate summary.

At about the same time, The News of the World, the raciest Sunday newspaper in Britain, found a story which was right up their side of Fleet Street. A man in the north of England was complaining bitterly that he had lost his wife to a philosophy group. Following her enrolment at a local SES branch, the marriage had gone seriously wrong. Presuming, probably quite rightly, that their readers were not so very interested in the finer points of philosophy, The News of the World concentrated their attention on the unhappy marriage. Little mention was made of just what the woman had been studying which had altered her feelings for the disconsolate husband, who by then was suing for divorce. Tucked away on an inside page, the story attracted scant interest.

In 1982 the SES were once more in the news, this time in New Zealand where the well established Wellington branch had purchased for their activities a large mansion, something of a local landmark. Journalists who began to ask what the movement was all about soon stumbled on disgruntled former members. For the first time the word ?brainwashing? appeared in print to describe the cult?s activities.

Coincidentally The Standard newspaper in London was also in pursuit of this mysterious organisation. As investigative reporters we began to take an interest after hearing of a marriage break-up where the wife blamed the matrimonial problems on her husband?s involvement with the SES. The information we began to uncover was startling, so much so that it took more than a year of intensive research before the newspaper felt ready to publish.

We discovered a groundswell of very real concern about the SES. Several senior members of the Church of England were particularly forthright in their criticism, especially Michael Marshall, who at that time was Bishop of Woolwich. His concern stemmed from the early 1970s when, as Vicar of a central London church, part of his counselling ministry had been devoted to a number of former SES members. From his experience he considered the movement ?evil? and ?corrupt?, and at one time he even asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to issue a public warning about its dangers. His plea was met with silence.

Later we were to learn that as far back as 1977 the Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers, had banned the SES from using their large meeting-house in London?s Euston Road. They had been concerned over reports of members leaving the organisation with emotional or psychiatric disturbances, and had heard that the SES encouraged family rifts. When they met senior SES members to discuss these reports, they were further disenchanted with the secrecy surrounding the movement.

A number of organisations which investigate cults, such as Britain?s FAIR (Family Action, Information and Rescue) and another Christian group Deo Gloria Outreach, also had grave misgivings. Their suspicions were reflected on the other side of the Atlantic with the Toronto-based Council on Mind Abuse also expressing anxiety.

We learned that in recent years the movement had been investigated by the Special Branch of the British Police. Although they could find no evidence of illegality, we were told in private conversation of continuing disquiet about the movement?s activities.

As our research progressed we came to share all the fears and suspicions that had arisen. But the horror stories told by the many ex-members whom we contacted were not the full picture. We also grew to realize that SES members were playing key roles in several public organizations.

We discovered that the Chairman of the National Liberal Party, one of Britain?s major political parties, was a senior SES member, along with several of the party?s candidates at recent general elections. It also emerged that there were several vicars within the Church of England who had been members of the SES and appeared still to support the movement. And an official church organization, the European Christian Industrial Movement, which boasted the Archbishop of Canterbury?s chief of staff as president, consisted mainly of SES members.

Particularly worrying were the four children?s schools which the SES had set up in London. Ostensibly straightforward independent educational establishments, they introduced children to the rudiments of SES philosophy and encouraged senior pupils to join the movement. A sizeable number of parents knew nothing of the links between the SES and the schools, and some had noticed inexplicable character-changes in their children. A number of children were removed on the strength of The Standard?s stories.

As we prepared to publish our findings, the Dublin paper the Daily Independent carried a lengthy investigation into the activities of the SES in the Irish Republic. Following that article and the stories which appeared in Britain, the Dutch and Belgian press also took up the debate, and there was renewed press interest in New Zealand.

The only material the SES has ever published about itself for public consumption has been pamphlets aimed at recruiting new members, and letters to newspapers objecting to criticism. Neither give the remotest clue about the organisations true nature.

In this book we examine the hidden side of the School of Economic Science: its philosophy, its idiosyncratic practises, its growth world-wide. We report the claims of its critics, and the counter-claims of some members. But regrettably we cannot present the views of the cult?s mysterious leader, a former British barrister. He has consistently refused to be interviewed.

ross nolan
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secret cult etc

Postby ross nolan » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:07 pm

Justice! -- It's good that you have posted the cover blurb and opening introduction to secret cult , I am not sure what you expect to come of it though in relation to your call for people to respond to the media,papers etc ( I sent an email right away to the times ) -- I have had a copy for about a year and provided it to the local paper's reporters (the fearless investigating team ...) who kept it for months along with a lot of other supporting documentation and failed to return it when asked and eventually gave it back with a petulant and ill mannered gesture -- they have done absolutely nothing by way of a story or any follow up but still carry the ads for the SOP. Likewise the local council who provide the SOP with resplendent lodgings at an unknown rent (if any) and claim to have no rental agreement,application or indeed any written records concerning their exclusive occupation of ratepayer funded premises. Mayor at the time was an ex copper and couldn't care less if any child abuse was occurring or anything else.

They are also housed by the Royal Society in it's handsome head office and historic building --I made a special trip complete with 'secret cult' and showed the society secretary who had friends in it, thought it was a cult but got a very curt response telling her it was 'misrepresented' -- result nothing, now advertising for the 2006 season still in the royal society.

Went to Melbourne University to give the professor in charge of the Earth sciences dept (and Royal Society member) the book and other info -- find he is leaving to take up a post in Adelaide the book gets locked up and get it back with great difficulty (holidays shut down) --{ the Professor was a crusading anti creationist who had taken a charlatan claiming to have found Noahs Ark to court under trade practices act and was likely to have insisted on the Royal Society ridding themselves of these charlatans as well}

Rang the major dailys that carry their ads to advise them of the true nature of the SOP -- got mealy mouthed replies that we cannot discriminate against religions or prevent people advertising -- up to the consumer affairs to take action.... Consumer affairs don't get involved with matters of religion (exasperated to try to get them to understand that they don't admit to being a religion or advertise as such -- to no avail )

ETc ETc ETc .... you will find that the 'bushy tailed' young journos eager to make their name exposing some scam will drop any interest when they find "it has already been done" (secret cult is old hat and yesterdays news) -- they are only interested in 'scooping' the opposition .

The 'hard bitten' crusty old journos will probably roll out anecdotes about some other nasty group that bites the heads off babies etc that still get away with it and are much worse ... (scientology gets a mention often) and no one is forced to join some fringe cult anyway .... the councillor responsible for renting the building said that until I could give personal proof of child abuse she " did not give a shit, it's only heresay ..." If you can provide a time machine so that I personally can experience child abuse first hand maybe she would do something .... more likely the reaction would be the same as those who have just testified of their own childhood abuse and been given little more credibility .

What is the moral ? 1. Pay that parking fine or they will pursue you to the gates of hell itself with unrelenting vigour. 2. Start a scam that makes millions of dollars,defrauds people openly,breaks as many laws as you care to name, destroys lives and childhoods and you will get away scot free in fact you will be protected and assisted by the authorities.

Secret Cult says all the things that have come out in the Townend report , only 20 years ealier, he claims to have read it but makes no comment, it did not seem to bother the SES then or now.

I will keep trying on the basis that the media are like sheep in that if one "does" a story they all have to follow suit -- they then flog it to death and rush off to the next amusement ... Maybe someone will be the first and it will get investigated . Don't get burned out by this sort of reaction but do expect it (try contacting Peter Hounam perhaps -- I sent an email many months ago without reply )

Best of British to you. Ross

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Postby Justice » Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:47 am

Thanks for your reply.

Its good to see that so many people are taking an interest in this.

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Postby Justice » Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:07 pm

I would be interested to know how many other people have read this book and what they think about it.

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Secret Cult

Postby AntonR » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:03 am

Post deleted
Last edited by AntonR on Wed May 17, 2006 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Justice » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:59 pm

Has anyone else read the book recently?

Tom Grubb
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Location: London

Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:30 pm

I re-read it recently. I first read it after coming across it in a second-hand bookshop about 10 years ago, just when I was trying to come to terms with my horrible memories of St Vedast. It gave me a great sense of vindication and a determination to do something about the SES's vile influence.

There's never been a better time for a sequel!

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Postby Matthew » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:28 am

Justice! wrote:I would be interested to know how many other people have read this book and what they think about it.

Put Secret Cult into the BB's search engine and you'll see the results!

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'Secret Cult' Introduction to the 1985 book by Peter Hounam

Postby Justice » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:32 pm

Dear Matthew,

Thanks for your comments.

Looking at other postings I see that both Peter Hounam and his co-author Andrew Hogg have now joined this Bulletin Board.

If the entire book were to be reproduced here then clearly the authors and/or their publishers would need to grant copyright permission.

I wonder how they feel about this?

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Re: 'Secret Cult' Introduction to the 1985 book by Peter Hou

Postby Goblinboy » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:19 am

Justice! wrote:Looking at other postings I see that both Peter Hounam and his co-author Andrew Hogg have now joined this Bulletin Board.


Feel free to ask them via a PM.



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'SECRET CULT' Introduction to the 1985 book by Peter Hounam

Postby Justice » Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:26 pm

Dear Goblinboy,

I did ask them and they are currently considering it.

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Re: 'SECRET CULT' Introduction to the 1985 book by Peter Hou

Postby Daffy » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:36 pm

In addition to that of the authors, the publishers' permission would also need to be obtained.

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'SECRET CULT' Introduction to the 1985 book by Peter Hounam

Postby Justice » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:40 pm

The authors say that the copyright reverted to them some years ago, in which case the publishers permission isnt necessary.

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