On Sunday, Brad Halsey took his own life. He was 56.
Many of you know him for the 11-minute video he posted last year to YouTube, calling out Tom Cruise for the way Scientology was declaring people “suppressive persons” — excommunicating them, sometimes for no reason at all.
Brad was also a critic of the Underground Bunker. He had left the Church of Scientology because of his unhappiness with its leader, David Miscavige, but he still believed strongly in L. Ron Hubbard and the ideas behind Scientology. So he would skewer us, usually at our Facebook page, about the way Hubbard’s ideas tend to be criticized here. We really got into it with him a few times, trading barbs and zingers — and he usually ended up calling us “bro” in a sarcastic manner.
We only wish we had the chance to spar with him again. Brad Halsey was a talented man and a colorful character.
Last night, we had a lengthy conversation with Brad’s brother, Eric Halsey, who had come down to Tampa from Gainesville after his brother’s body was discovered by neighbors on Tuesday.
“I was living with him when he got into Scientology. He seemed to be into it. But then he seemed to shift gears when the new guy came in,” Eric says, referring to Miscavige. “Brad got labeled an ‘SP’ two years ago, and I think that prompted the videos he was making.”
On June 6, Halsey would have turned 57 years old. But for the past seven years, he’d been living with acute pain.
“Brad had a near fatal motorcycle accident in 2006. His right leg, the knee was completely shattered, his pelvis was shattered. Through some excellent surgery, they were able to put him back together. But he was never whole to the extent that he could live his life pain-free,” Eric says. “And he didn’t believe in taking any medication for the pain. He was a drinker. He wasn’t really an abusive drinker, per se. He was always the life of the party. But he did confide in me that he was in constant pain.
“I lived with him for a period of time, where I was around him a lot. He had a lot of discomfort. The way he dealt with masking the pain was through medicating himself with Scotch,” Eric says.
And Brad found a way to exit that was pain-free.
“He did it with helium gas. He took his life with two helium tanks, with a bag over his head and a hose from the two tanks. It knocks you out in about 15 seconds. You die in like 15 minutes. He did it Sunday, and the body was found two days later. His neighbors heard loud music coming from his apartment, a video playing, so they looked into it and found him,” Eric says. “He died with his feet up on a chair, his legs crossed, his arms folded, his head back, and the police told me he looked very peaceful.”
Halsey had been methodical, leaving behind a four-page note with various instructions for his family.
“Reading the note, his life was just getting to the point that it was becoming too much to bear. From the pain, and the mental standpoint, from the alcohol,” Eric says. “Brad had beliefs that we are all immortal and that we all live lots of lives. So the idea of holding on to one inevitable end that was painful didn’t make a lot of sense to him.
“One of the first statements on the letter was, hallelujah, I’m finally out of this body,” he says. “I came down from up north, and my brother showed up, and my mother and father. And we’re here just picking up the pieces.
“I’ll miss him, man. What can I say? Not being able to talk to your brother who you’ve known all this time is hard. But I knew there were complexities in his life that he was dealing with.”
Brad Halsey didn’t have children, but he was married for 17 years. His ex-wife, Eric says, is still a member of the Church of Scientology.
“When he got declared a suppressive person two years ago, it took a toll on him when she told him she couldn’t have any more contact with him. I know that was one of the things that motivated his YouTube video to Tom Cruise. As if to say, how dare you call me a suppressive person — which should have been the name of that video, and leave Tom Cruise out of it.”
Brad worked for BMC Software out of its Tampa branch. But his passion, Eric says, was motorcycling.
“Before he had his accident he was a very accomplished motocross rider on local tracks here. He would go over triples, in the air for 85 feet. He rode a Yamaha 450. When he had his accident in 2006, it pretty much shattered his motocross career. Then he developed a fondness for street bikes. He loved to go down to the beach, let the wind blow through his hair, and be totally free. That’s when he was happiest,” Eric says. “And he taught himself to be a very accomplished musician. He’s got some pretty good recordings out there.”
We asked him if he had a favorite.
“‘Fallen’ is the song that I like a lot, because I think it explains a lot about where he was at,” Eric says. And here’s the video…
“Brad was was an unusual, eccentric guy, what can I say.”
We thanked Eric for giving us such a detailed look at his brother. He asked that we post his Twitter handle, (@EWHalsey) if people wanted to contact him.
And to Brad, thanks for keeping us on our toes. Bon voyage.
Posted by Tony Ortega on March 7, 2014 at 07:00
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