In my teens / twenties the Essenes were regarded very much as children of the New Age, helped by books like The Essene Gospel of Peace by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely (which I used to have, and might still), supposedly an ancient Aramaic manuscript (4 volumes, entire!) discovered by him in 'the Secret Archives of the Vatican'. A hoax. There is no record of Szekely ever visiting the Vatican library, nor quite how he might have managed to 'liberating' the original Aramaic texts therefrom. Nor have any such documents ever come to light from other sources (one was the library at Monte Cassino, a monastery destroyed during WWII). Szekely was the co-founder of the International Biogenic Society and the Jesus of the Essene Gospel cannily matches Szekely's opinions on vegetarianism, colonic irrigation, etc., etc. Later scholarship has since identified that the Essenes were not quite so peace-loving nor new-agey as was supposed; in fact they were quite rigorously fundamentalist and even militant.