The gathering featured a large poster of a black and white headshot of the 30-year-old woman whose face has become so familiar (pictured, above). Memorial brochures were printed up, but they were careful not to mention the location. Guests were asked to rsvp, but weren’t told where to go until the last minute.
As much secrecy as possible was maintained so that only a vetted guest list of people were invited to last night’s secret Scientology wake held for Cathriona White at the eccentric and legendary Zorthian Ranch in Altadena, California.
Jenny Burpee was there. And Tiber McCormick and his sister, Tama Leia Stewart. So was Cyril Helnwein and others in the social group of young Scientologists we told you about on Sunday, who had befriended Cathriona White after she emigrated from Ireland to California in 2009 and then encouraged her to begin taking Scientology courses at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre.
We sent an email to Burpee last night, asking her if Mark Burton attended the gathering. Burton, a Scientologist who was also part of the Hollywood clique, married Cat White on January 15, 2013 in Las Vegas, after, apparently, her five-month relationship with comedian Jim Carrey had initially ended. She and Carrey took up again this year, after she and Burton, 38, separated. But when Carrey reportedly broke up with her on September 24, Cathriona apparently took her own life and was discovered by Burpee on September 28.
As Cat’s husband, Burton by law was in control of her remains, but he reportedly released her to her family to be taken back to Ireland for burial. Jim Carrey met with Cathriona’s sister Lisa, who flew to Los Angeles, and he is expected to fly to Ireland for the ceremony.
But in the meantime, the Scientologists who had encouraged Cat to take her own journey on the “Bridge to Total Freedom” gathered to have their own secret ceremony last night. We asked Burpee if words by L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote ceremonies for Scientology funerals, were read aloud. We’ll let you know if she gets back to us.
Meanwhile, we’re hearing other odd things from our Los Angeles sources. For the past week, for example, private security men have kept watch at Cathriona’s house, and when they’ve been asked who they are or who they work for, they’ve refused to answer. Are they there at Carrey’s request? Scientology’s? We don’t know. One local reporter told us they found it odd that the coroner’s blue tape sealing the house was broken after three days, and not by police.
That also could have an innocent explanation, but we can say that we’ve never talked to so many spooked reporters — from around the world — who are calling us and saying they keep running into strange problems reporting this story.
In the meantime, we keep running into some strange things ourselves, things that the Underground Bunker community may understand the significance of better than just about anyone else.
Take Mark Burton’s family, for example. Mark Damian Burton’s mother is Paula Marie Burton, 61, and for many years she’s worked at David Morse and Associates (DMA), a Glendale, California insurance investigations firm. In a brochure put out by DMA in 2005, there’s a photo of Paula, and her last name reflects that she’d remarried after a divorce…
We called DMA yesterday and were told that Paula was in a meeting. We left her a message and we hope she gets back to us. We want to ask her about DMA’s CEO, whom she married, and who is the stepfather to her son, Mark. Here’s her husband’s photo from the same 2005 brochure put out by the company…
As you can see, DMA’s CEO, who happens to be Mark Damian Burton’s stepfather, is a man named Duke (Wake) Snider, 68, and he’s a very familiar face, at least to some longtime Scientologists.
Mike Rinder, Scientology’s former spokesman, told us that he had met Snider in Scientology, and positively identified him from this photograph. So did former longtime Scientologist Karen de la Carriere. They both told us that, without question, this Duke Snider is the same Duke Snider who was among the eleven Guardian’s Office Scientologists who were prosecuted and sent to prison as part of the notorious “Snow White Program” of the 1970s.
Maybe it means nothing, but it sure seems odd that the mysterious young man who married Cathriona White was not only a Scientologist who had grown up in the church, but one whose stepfather was one of Scientology’s most legendary spies, a man who had gone to prison for being part of Scientology’s yearslong conspiracy to infiltrate and burglarize federal agencies.
We couldn’t help feeling it was no accident yesterday that news organizations around the world were having so much trouble finding information about Burton, with some of them mistakenly chasing a 51-year old man with a similar name. (We were fortunate. Our source knew both Cathriona and Burton and was present when they met. We posted Burton’s photos knowing we had the right guy, but most news outlets are still not posting photos, and they’ve called us in frustration about it. The stepson of the Guardian’s Office spy is proving to be very slippery.)
We can’t help wondering if Cat White knew about the fascinating past of her husband’s family, or that her famous boyfriend, Jim Carrey, had been the subject of Scientology spying himself. Was she in over her head, both from what her Scientologist friends were getting her into, as well as the on-again, off-again nature of her relationship with Carrey? More than a week now after her death, it feels like we’re still far from getting any satisfactory answers about Cat White’s life and demise.
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 7, 2015 at 07:00
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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