One of our most reliable sources, former Scientology executive Claire Headley, tells the Underground Bunker that in 2001 she was personally involved in a high-level project to entice actor Jim Carrey to begin taking Scientology courses, a project that not only involved the now-disappeared wife of Scientology’s leader, but it also made use of a spy in Carrey’s personal life.
Scientology and Jim Carrey are currently in the news after we broke a story on Wednesday that Carrey’s girlfriend Cathriona White, who took her own life last week, had been a Scientologist. According to one report, her involvement in the controversial organization had become an issue in her relationship with the actor.
White left Ireland for California in 2009 and about a year later became involved in Scientology through its Hollywood Celebrity Centre. In 2012, she met Jim Carrey and began dating him, and her friends tell us that Carrey was aware of her involvement in the church. After about five months they broke up, but then earlier this year they started dating again. By then, our sources say, Cathriona had been paired with a Scientology actor, Travis Case, as her “twin,” and she had completed Scientology’s grueling “Purification Rundown” and had begun her “objectives,” part of a course called the “Survival Rundown.” She stalled on the course, we’re told, and then, after Carrey reportedly broke up with her on September 24, she took her own life, and was discovered on September 28 by friends.
On Sunday, we described the group of young Scientologists who had befriended Cathriona after she arrived in California and encouraged her to begin taking courses at the Celebrity Centre. After we published that story, we heard from numerous former Scientologists who had known Jenny Burpee, Josh Shultz, and the other young church members. Burpee, they pointed out, spent several years as a Sea Org member at Scientology’s Advanced Organization Los Angeles (AOLA), and would have been thoroughly trained in Scientology’s many policies regarding membership and outsiders.
At the minimum, former Scientology’s former spokesman Mike Rinder tells us, Cathriona would have been called down to be questioned by Scientology ethics officers once it became known that she was dating Carrey, a comedian who had ridiculed Scientology in the 1990s.
And now, Claire Headley says that Scientology’s interest in Jim Carrey was even more overt. She says that in 2001, Scientology launched a major effort to get him in, fueled by the news that Carrey was thinking seriously of trying out the Purification Rundown.
Despite his earlier jokes about Scientology, by 2001 Carrey had become interested in what the “Purif” — Scientology’s vaunted “detoxification” program of sauna use and massive niacin intake — might do for him. Headley says Scientology knew this because it had someone very close to Carrey who was feeding the church information, a standard Scientology method.
Claire says she found out about it from Shelly Miscavige, wife to the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige. Shelly was a hard-as-nails executive in her own right, and had the power, as an officer in the Religious Technology Center, the nominally controlling entity of the church, to run complex operations. Claire also worked in RTC, an elite inner group in Scientology’s “Sea Organization” that worked out of the secretive international base near Hemet, California, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
“Shelly said that Jim Carrey was considering doing the Purif, but she’d been told by the inside source feeding them info that there was a problem,” Claire tells us. We asked her how Shelly described the problem.
“Jim Carrey’s interested in doing the Purif, but he’s on psych drugs,” she remembers Shelly saying.
Scientology demonizes psychiatry and, in particular, anti-depressants and other “psych drugs,” and it would be forbidden for someone taking such drugs to participate in any Scientology course, let alone the “Purif,” which supposedly cleanses the body of such substances.
But Claire says that Shelly was so interested in convincing Carrey to start the sauna regimen, she charged Claire with researching everything Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard had said about the process, hoping to find a loophole.
“Shelly had me do a big research project, and it was all about the Purif and psych drugs. I was looking through Hubbard’s ‘advices’ on the Purif, sending Shelly quotes. I got the impression that she was looking for a justification to allow Jim Carrey to keep taking drugs while he started the Purif, just so they could hook him in,” she says.
Claire says she was surprised that Shelly had such detailed inside information about Carrey. “That’s pretty private stuff. So I knew that someone pretty close to him was getting information out to us. I don’t know who that was,” she says.
Later, Carrey would go public with his dissatisfaction with Prozac, a drug he said he’d been on for years to treat depression. He told 60 Minutes in 2004 that he’d weaned himself off of the drug and was able to replace it with “spirituality.”
That might explain why, in 2001, Carrey was thinking of trying out Scientology’s methods, but wasn’t ready yet to stop taking meds altogether.
Claire Headley says that at the time, Shelly Miscavige was focused on bringing two big stars into Scientology’s celebrity-hungry culture: Carrey, and Nicolas Cage.
“I knew Shelly was also working with [Scientology executive] Greg Wilhere on Nicolas Cage. She was trying to arrange for Greg to do some auditing with Jim Carrey. I don’t know if that ever happened, but I do know they were very actively trying to get him hooked in,” she says. “I know that Cage did a bunch of auditing with Greg. I don’t know just how far they got, but I do know that Greg would go off base for a while, and it was all a mystery, and we’d get small bits of information. But I know that Cage was getting auditing.”
A year later, in 2002, Nicolas Cage married Lisa Marie Presley, who was then an active member of Scientology. They filed for divorce just three months later. Viewers of the movie Going Clear will remember Wilhere as the Sea Org official who in late 2004 prepared Nazanin Boniadi for her role as Tom Cruise’s girlfriend.
Carrey, however, remained a fish that got away. And within a few years, things changed in a big way for Claire and her boss.
Early in 2005, Claire escaped from the base after her husband, Marc Headley, made his own mad dash for freedom, which he describes in his 2009 book Blown for Good. Then, in late August or early September, according to our eyewitnesses at Int Base, Shelly herself suddenly left.
It’s now been ten years since Shelly suddenly disappeared, banished to an even more secretive Scientology compound in the mountains above Los Angeles after she apparently fell out of favor with her own husband. Except for a couple of days in the summer of 2007 to attend the funeral of her father, Shelly Miscavige has not been seen in public or at Int Base or other less secret Scientology facilities or events. Multiple lines of evidence convince us that she’s been held for the past decade at the small Church of Spiritual Technology headquarters compound near Lake Arrowhead, California. CST is the most secretive of Scientology’s many entities, and the one that’s charged with digging bomb-proof vaults for storing L. Ron Hubbard’s words and lectures so that they can survive a nuclear holocaust. Shelly has been reportedly working on the project ever since, and is likely resigned to her fate.
We asked Claire if, based on Scientology’s efforts to bring Jim Carrey in more than a decade ago, the church might have considered using Cathriona White to make another attempt at landing him.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t put anything past them in that regards,” she says. “We know that they’re getting desperate, and one of the few things they can do is get some more celebrities in. That’s always been one of their massive hooks to get people in. They tried it in the past, and they would do it again,” she says.
Melbourne venue announced, and tickets going FAST
Hey, our Australia events are coming up quickly, and we’re getting pretty excited about it. Yesterday, our Melbourne venue was finally revealed when the Wheeler Centre announced that it was hosting our talk on October 25, and with ABC journalist Steve Cannane. The Wheeler Centre is at 176 Little Lonsdale Street, our event will take place at 3 pm (it’s a Sunday) and tickets are free. But grab them quick. Steve emailed us last night and said 250 seats are already spoken for!
We’re starting our tour in Sydney on Friday night October 23 at the Giant Dwarf Theater, a premiere venue that will be filming us, so there’s a door charge. Kickass Australian TV journalists Steve Cannane and Bryan Seymour will both join us on stage. (Unfortunately, Senator Nick Xenophon’s schedule prevents him from attending, but he’ll join us in his home district in Adelaide on October 28.)
Now, if we could just get some word of what’s happening in Perth. We think a venue is close to being secured!
Bonus photos from our tipsters
Hanging with Ronaldo in Mexico…
Bodhi Elfman posted this, calling his wife Jenna and mother Rhonda his “power chicas.” So it doesn’t look like the rumor that he’d disconnected from his mother turned out to be true. Any of our insiders know the full story?
Get a load of this poster in the Bogotá Ideal Org: “What can Scientology do for you?” Ha, ha! What can Scientology do for YOU? You mean, how many more toilets can you clean with your tongue and then thank Scientology for taking in your miserable thetan ass for the next billion years? Start writing that check, you pathetic worm!
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.
Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…
Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Steve Cannane and Bryan Seymour)
Oct 25: Melbourne, The Wheeler Centre, 3 pm, free but reservations recommended (with Steve Cannane)
Oct 28: Adelaide, Wheatsheaf Hotel, (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)
Oct 30: Perth
Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29)
Posted by Tony Ortega on October 6, 2015 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield