Tales from The Bunkerlow Part 1

I have received a lot of feedback since my last “Questions and Answers with Kev”, and have a lot of questions to answer from readers, which I am working my way through.

One criticism which has been leveled at me – quite justifiably – is that when Sean encouraged me to give that salute for the camera I should have a) refused, and b) walked out. I should have done both, I agree. But to help readers understand better how I came to be in that situation in the first place, I thought maybe I should give a bit more background information about the cloistered world of the Bonky One and his high security Bunkerlow.

It is an extraordinarily strange world, about as far removed from genuine Christianity and even the average family domicile as it is possible to get.  It is very difficult to even know where to begin to describe that odd, insular world, but I shall try. 
Let me begin with the dictionary definition of a cult:

·  a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members

·  a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing

We have all heard of cults such as Scientology, the Manson Family and the Branch Davidians. And I am sure we have all thought to ourselves when reading or hearing about these whackos that WE would never get mixed up with a cult. After all, who wants to bow down to some self-appointed  guru and sign over their wealth and liberty for the reward of … er what exactly?

But the nature of cult indoctrination is such that slowly but surely one becomes more and more caught up with the group and its practices without even recognizing the processes of control and sublimination that one is being subjected to.

Getting mixed up with a cult to can happen to the best of us – and I should know: it happened to me!

Now – and this is news to me – apparently in all the years I was visiting the Bunkerlow, according to Sean I was inadvertently visiting a retreat for survivors of Satanic cults. I never met any of these people or saw any evidence that they had been staying – rather like the complete lack of evidence of any church services ever taking place on or off the premises, any congregation or priests etc. These survivors/imaginary house guests were never mentioned in principle or in passing. The first I ever heard of Sean’s house being a retreat was when I read some old rubbish he had written on the internet about it. Like most things that Sean says, if you invert it you get straight to the truth about himself, not the person or concept he is degrading or attacking. The truth is that far from being a retreat for survivors of cults the Bunkerlow is in reality the operational headquarters of one! The cult of Bonky!

But how did this cult develop, and who are its members?

Over the years I knew Sean, I disregarded many of his eccentricities, such as when he decided overnight that he was going to start calling himself a lord, and the Highgate vampire hoax and his imaginary ancestor Byron. When he decided to start calling himself a bishop, and set up his own ‘church’ I went along with it, humouring him as usual.   I was never quite sure how much of it he believed himself. He has a cold way of ‘joking’ as if he is always testing how gullible someone is, and it does instill a feeling that one should play safe and not risk laughing lest one commit a faux pas which will be unforgiveable. And so the lies get piled on one another, with the complicit encouragement of those too polite or frightened or socially indoctrinated to challenge them. Although initially I think he knew full that these were all complete fabrications, over the years the lines between reality and fantasy seemed to become increasingly blurred for him.  As eccentricity blossomed into a complicated set of mental health conditions, so the need became greater for Sean to assuage his growing paranoia that the rest of the world thought he was nuts and was against him, by surrounding himself with an ever tighter-knit group of who he considered to be ‘loyal followers’. The distinction between followers and friends here is very important. To Sean they are the same thing. How can I explain this? Whether due to difficulties making friends at school, some developmental problems, or perhaps some kind of autism Sean does not really seem to understand what real friendship is about. For him friendship seems to be some kind of contract, some perfunctory almost legal arrangement devoid of any natural feeling and mutual respect and focusing only on what use other people can be to him. 

He is genuinely unable to place himself on a par with other people, and to see his place in the universe as a part, not as centric. I am sure this correlates to some Freudian stage. I have heard him repeat often the phrase ‘if you’re not with me you’re against me’, and this underpins his whole philosophy of life (a weird one, but there you are!)

How can I explain how it felt to be part of this world? It might help to point out that I did not enter the ‘friendship’ with any knowledge of Sean’s developing mental health problems. Sean is a consummate actor (although his skills seem to slipping with age). He is also extremely, EXTREMELY secretive. In a manner typical of the way cult leaders operate, he compartmentalises his entire life, including his friendship circles, and circles within circles. This ensures that he can get away with all sorts of things which he only wants certain people to know about, whilst controlling his public image to those left in the dark. Part of this strategy (although all of it is about control) is intended to convey a feeling of being ‘special’ to certain people, and to others that they ‘must try harder’. This involves making some people feel as though they should be honoured to be bestowed with this bit or other of information, or this special task to undertake. I have seen this strategy deployed many times to play off gormless but ever faithful ‘Br’ Keith against handcuffed ‘alpha friend’ Eggmanne for example. I am sure ‘Br’ Keith still labours under the illusion that one day he will be granted Eggmanne’s privileges within Sean’s cult, whilst not realizing that Eggmanne did not have to earn his status as he could undermine Sean’s at any time. Divide and conquer, show favouritism, get them fighting amongst themselves and you will always be able to keep pulling strings and exerting control from above. Perhaps Sean should have been a prison governer.  The subtle layering of this effect combined with his dominant personality and extremely vociferous views on the perceived wrongness of ‘outsiders’’ actions or beliefs is hard to explain, but I am trying my best to give you all a window ... before one knows it one has been royally conned – I would go so far as to say brainwashed – into thinking that poor Sean is the victim of a cruel world, and one is lucky to be given the chance to stand next to him and help him fight for his wondrous principles. Be they vague things about Christianity which one does not really understand, or his crusade against those terrible, unprovoked people out there who seem to make it their mission in life to cause him harm.

In this respect he was quite convinced that he was the victim of some world-wide conspiracy by Freemasons and / or Satanists, and this conviction over time shifted from conflicting principles to a full on personal campaign involving hundreds of enemies round the world. He had somehow convinced himself in addition that all these perceived enemies and imaginary people were in cahoots with the devil. 

Of course all of the above is complete b******s. There WAS and IS no conspiracy against Sean. If people dislike him it is entirely down to his own behaviour. And the only ‘principle’ which his minute flock of sheep are helping him defend is his own malicious ego. But somehow, when one is on the inside of Sean’s cult of personality, one just can’t see it, and any sniff he might get that one is exploring free thought initiates a group effort directed by him to get one back ‘on the right track’. These group military ops involving secret phonecalls, meetings and emails in order to evolve and execute a plan whereby NO one EVER abandons Sean or the cult are yet another example of the control which Sean so carefully exercises in his desperate attempts to maintain his imaginary life and its mirror in the real world – both of which are dangerously and  progressively self-sustaining.

It seems with hindsight that when politics and religion became enmeshed in his head with this ‘Holy Grail’ church nonsense he really started to lose the plot, sculpting an imaginary role for himself as some kind of divinely chosen carrier of the cross in Albion (with associated perks). And we all had to play along, as if we were in some kind of cardboard castle in the schoolroom where Sean was lord of all he surveyed and we should all trust him to tell us what to think, how to vote, who we could be friends with, who we could communicate with etc. As things got increasingly strange at Chateau Bonky, on occasions Bev and I even wore crucifixes when visiting for a quiet life, although the Christian side of it all seemed to have not very much to do with Jesus but a lot (cryptically) to do with some kind of lost vision of England. Most of Sean’s ideologies in this regard were so contrived and convoluted that we tried not to get into conversation about them. The majority of house guests I knew just paid lip service to him so he would drop these subjects and move on. At the same time, Sean was becoming increasingly paranoid about the outside world, perceiving himself to be under threat from a plethora of imaginary enemies – and as I now realise most likely some real ones.

I have had sight of an email which was sent to a Catherine Fearnley from a Fr John Kersey who has connections with the old catholic church, and was published by her on a blog which she was running in 2007. Kersey makes some very shrewd observations. I do not believe that Kersey has ever met Sean in person, but as someone who has known Sean for over three decades I note an eerily accurate insight in Kersey’s words when he says:

“I do think there is a strong possibility that a number of the things observed point to behaviour that is consistent with mental illness in my opinion. I do not find some of the behaviour I have observed to be at all rational, and I do think that many of the things seen here indicate a man who has many problems and who is deeply troubled. I also have information obtained privately that I will not disclose at this point that supports this opinion.

If I were in touch with him and believed that he would take advice from me I would strongly recommend that he seek psychiatric help. I see things in the style of his website that I also saw in Colin Hamer’s website, which is not a good sign. Unfortunate though it is, I think there is little that can be done until either he acknowledges that there are problems (which is unlikely) or some crisis develops. I feel concerned for his wife as she is part of the “isolation plan” that he has evolved through paranoia. You know, I take it, that he believes their lives are in danger if he does not maintain this level of secrecy? This is not normal behaviour.”

Kersey is quite right when he mentions the isolation plan, and I do now see the irony in the fact that a stranger could observe from a distance what was going on whilst we were so used to it that it had become normal.  We all went along with him when, as guests arriving for dinner and so on, he locked the front door behind us and turned on the intruder alarm. We even went along with him when he convened as many people at the Bunkerlow as he could muster on false pretences because he feared that a friend of David Farrant’s was going to turn up on a horse and challenge him to a duel with sabers – obviously a wind up – and ride off with his biretta as a trophy. I suppose sometimes when someone acts SO strange some part of one’s brain thinks ‘Well there must be something in it’, ‘Or perhaps its all true, I mean I’D be upset if everyone was out to get ME.’ And as a friend ‘Well I know its probably not as extreme as he makes out, but its bad enough if ANYONE wants to cause him harm. He doesn’t REALLY want to hurt anyone….’  But Sean certainly has a very real fear of the outside world, there can be no mistaking that.

When David Farrant sent a book to the Bunkerlow rebutting Sean’s lies, Sean was so flustered that he seriously began looking at property all over the south of England, with a view to moving. And yet at the same time and in fact prior to this he was posting Farrant’s own address all over the internet along with many other people’s (and latterly my own), with a view to inciting violence against them. Such behaviour is baffling, and yet again demonstrates Sean’s habitual projection of his own intentions onto others. You can bet your bottom dollar that for every paranoid thought or fear he expresses – real or imaginary – he is actually talking about something despicable which he fantasises about doing or has tried to do to someone else.

And this is where is gets really weird and impenetrable. I can just about understand that because of his own conceit he would not think that other people would be capable of recognising his projections and deflections in an attempt to conceal his own attitudes and behaviour. But I now wonder just how many ‘Seans’ are actually inside that poisonous brain. For on one hand he knows full well and boasts in private about the tissues of lies he weaves in an attempt to falsely accuse others of what he himself does or wishes to do. But on the other hand, some part of him actually seems to believe some of his own lies. Could it be multiple personality? It has been mooted many times. The thing that gets me is, in most classic cases of MPD at least one of the personalities is half way decent, and gets dominated by the nasty ones. In Sean’s case they all seem to be thoroughly evil. 

But I suppose when one is a monomaniac, evil is relative to anything which interferes with the full expression of one’s ego and whatever it desires.

His paranoia in my opinion stems largely not just from mental health problems, but from a simple guilty conscience. Whilst I was aware of some of the hate campaigns which he was waging by post and on the internet, I was not until the last few years aware of just how many people he has gone out of his way to trash and damage. His attempts to sequester himself from the outside world therefore not only demonstrate his need to not confront reality – that he is a nobody with no right to command respect or wield control over anyone – in order to sustain his fantasy world. They also reflect his internal recognition of the injustices he has wreaked upon so many people who quite possibly might want some payback. WHEN he has his lateral not his red mist head on.

But that is not to say that SEAN considers his actions to be unjust. His monomania does not permit him to experience guilt, or self-doubt. In which regard he makes the perfect cult leader. He must view the world very much like an autist does, memorizing and learning the constructs which others live by in order to get by successfully in their world but in his case feeling NOTHING but that which causes HIM personal dismay or pleasure. This is why I do not believe for a minute that my ‘Judas’ act as he describes it has hurt any genuine feelings of his at all. At least not ‘feelings’ as normal people recognize them. Our relationship was not, as I now recognize, built on a mutual exchange of brotherly love and an extension of unconditional care to each other. That was just what I was manipulated to think. It was based on Kev the puppet and Sean the puppet master. I may as well have been an automaton to Sean for all the selfless emotion he is capable of experiencing by recognizing the humanity in others, and I would extend that metaphor to everyone he has ever come into contact with. Would I go so far as to say he is a psychopath? I am not a psychiatrist so I really don’t know. But I do know the effect that these tendencies can have on caring and feeling normal people. It hurts.   

As a cult, the cult of Bonky certainly has very few members. Even less since Bev and I jumped ship! And in most ways, it is a cult which only exists in Sean’s head – and to some degree those who go along with it all for a quiet life. Having seen what happens when Sean doesn’t get his own way, in some regards I don’t blame them. Sean is not very tall, and the years he has spent hiding indoors have laid waste to his previously stocky frame. In fact these days he looks decidedly pallid and sick. But he does have a very loud, commanding presence when he gets angry. With the majority of Sean’s longterm friends (my fellow ‘comrades’ or ‘brothers’ as Sean insisted on referring to us), I used to swap stories and joke about the imaginary kingdom which he seemed to think he ruled over, and the odd things that went on in it. Some of these exchanges of information were quite amusing, such as the time we divined that Bonky had approached at least three of us separately to ask if it was normal for one’s manhood  to shrink in length as one got older and whether he should go to the doctor about it and could it be reversed. In the Bunkerlow such conversations were a breath of fresh air and helped maintain a degree of sanity. But there is one person apart from the mysterious Russians who we instinctively left out of these conversations – and that is teachers pet ‘Br’ Keith, Sean’s most devoted cult follower and possibly albeit unintentionally one of the worst influences on Sean’s enormously overinflated ego of all time. You see, unlike the rest of us, ‘Br’ Keith actively embraced (and presumably still embraces) the idea of being in a cult, under the guidance of his beloved great leader.

More on this incredibly unenigmatic foot soldier in Tales from the Bunkerlow Part the Second, coming to a computer screen near you soon ….

Water pistol time! Kev cooling off in the Dubai heat (c) Kev Chesham

But for now I must go and sun myself on the beach some more!

Pip pip,

Kev (Feb 2013)

[Adapted from Kevin Chesham’s forthcoming autobiography, now in preparation] 

1 comment:

  1. Hi kev,
    Flattered to hear that my imminent 'arrival' on a destrier, waving a sword and a biretta-sized burlap sack, should cause Sean to go into full blown siege mode. Brilliantly cheering titbit. Thanks so much.