A while back I finished reading Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall and like many things in my quest for esoteric knowledge the reality was not anything like the idealized vision I had built up in my head. Very early in my research into Freemasonry I became a big fan of Mr. Hall. I started out, like many searchers of hidden knowledge, with The Secret Teachings of all Ages. It was a revelation and although I have still not finished the entire book Manly's writings stirred something in me and spoke directly to me. Sometimes it seemed that he wrote in my thought pattern. It soon became an obsession of mine and the large stack of his books began to grow on my nightstand. Melchizedek and the Mystery of Fire (Adept Series),Words to the Wise: A Practical Guide to the Esoteric Sciences,The Secret Destiny of America,Twelve World Teachers: A Summary of Their Lives and Teachings,The Lost Keys of Freemasonry (Also Includes: Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians / Masonic Orders of Fraternity) books, pamphlets, websites, I devoured them all. I repeatedly went on to the Philosophic Research Society's website and even dreamed of entering it's degree program. My highlighter has only gotten more work when I was given a script for a play.
The knowledge of this man seemed unbelievable and still does. He traveled the world studying our search for more meaning and must have read more arcane and obscure books than anyone ever. His library at PRS is still nearly second to none. As I read more and more I had a picture of this amazing man (definitely helped by his mysterious head shots) like some kind of dalai lama-guru in California living the enlightened life of a chosen one. As only a chosen one can, he never was unhappy or sad, and with all of his secret knowledge he lived a life of bliss until he re-merged with the source of all being. Reality was reality.
I sort of wish I had never read his biography so that my image of him remained unspoiled but like all things idealized, expectations can be overreaching and romanticized. Nothing about his writings has changed for me, they still hit a chord in my soul, but I am very sad for what happened to him. He deserved better.