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Scientology Sunday Funnies: Portland Is Now Cleared, On to the Rest of Earth! UPDATE: PHOTOSHOPPING?


[UPDATE: See our Editor’s Note, below.]

Yesterday’s events in Portland turned out to be a riot here at the blog as we followed the adventures of Mark “Wise Beard Man” Bunker.

Bunker was there to witness David Miscavige (right, on stage) open up the newest “Ideal Org,” the Scientology leader’s program of acquiring and renovating expensive downtown landmarks even as the church is suffering internal schisms and dwindling membership.

We have more photos of yesterday’s event, and then our usual Sunday collection of wacky Scientology mailers and fliers sent in to us by our network of tipsters.

UPDATE: Mike Rinder just notified us about the blatant Photoshop job done by the Church of Scientology, which has a history of doing this. Here’s a photo of yesterday’s event that they posted to their main website,…


As Rinder points out, the entire right side of that image contains people who weren’t actually at the event. We’ve added a red line to show where the line of rented trees actually was and the part of the crowd that wasn’t actually there. Compare it to this photo taken from a different angle by Omnom which clearly shows the row of trees…


That touch-up job is pretty bad, and we’re kind of amazed that they tried to pull this off with so many of our correspondents on the scene. The church is claiming an attendance of 2,500 people — but our eyewitnesses estimate it was closer to 450 to 750.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Washington Times reported that the Church of Scientology denies that it doctored this photo. We compared Scientology’s photo of the crowd (which it estimated at 2,500) against photos taken by our correspondents (who said the crowd was more like 450 to 750 people) and pointed out that an entire row of shrubs had somehow been erased and there were people seemingly standing in a street that was actually empty. The church has been caught manipulating crowd shots in the past to inflate attendance at its events. Some of our own commenters pointed out that a very wide angle lens in the right position might create the effect in Scientology’s image. We’ll be interested to see further analysis of the image by experts. UPDATE: Please see our latest statement about Scientology’s photo.

Over at WWP, one of the researchers there noticed something fishy going on with the balloons in the image…


See a larger version of this photo here.

UPDATE TWO: Mark Bunker just posted his preliminary video of Miscavige after his odyssey yesterday to find a place to use his camera without interference. Take a look…


Hey, we have more coming from Portland, probably in our Wednesday post. Sign up for our e-mails (look on the left rail) and you’ll get a message every time we put up a new story. Now, back to our post from this morning…

We enjoyed several photos from Portland posted by “Omnom” at the Ex-Scientologist Message Board. There was this classic shot of stacked chairs, reflecting the poor showing at the event. (Jefferson Hawkins tells us he estimates a turnout of about 400 to 450 people. Missionary Kid counted rows and came up with a number closer to 750). Apparently, they were expecting many more…


Here’s an overhead shot by Omnom of the full crowd that filled NW 3rd Avenue. As protesters learned, Scientology had acquired a movie permit that allowed them to shut down several blocks around the building…


Here’s a video put together by Jefferson Hawkins. No sound, but some good views, especially of Miscavige on stage…


And this morning, we now have the side-splitting claims of the church’s own press release about the event. One of the things we wanted to know about this Ideal Org grand opening was the roster of local dignitaries who joined in. Sacramento’s event lured in the city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, and Denver’s Ideal Org attracted the chief of police, Robert White. So how did Portland do?

Not too well. Here’s the lineup: “Cornelius City Manager and former Mayor of Beaverton, Mr. Rob Drake; Executive Director of the Portland Marathon, Mr. Les Smith; Chair of the Inter-Religious Action Network of Washington County, Ms. Annie Heart; and Host for the national ‘Voice of Freedom’ television and radio programs, Reverend Jim Nicholls.”

What, no elected officials at all? Come on, Miscavige, you’re slipping.

And Scientology’s own estimate for the attendance of the event? 2,500. Which is about three to five times the reality.

So let’s move on to our Sunday funnies. Hey, New York, get ready to have a The Way to Happiness booklet shoved into your hand while you’re at the Puerto Rican Day parade next month!


Hey, who doesn’t want a sane planet! Join the most ethical people on earth as they bring back malingerers into the fold…


We had noticed that several different video versions of an IAS song had been showing up lately. Now we understand the reason why — orgs were competing with each other in a karoake contest! And look who won — Rome!


You’ve heard about the problems at Narconon’s flagship facility in Oklahoma, and you’ve read about the raid of Narconon in Georgia. But what’s happening out in California? Apparently, they’re having a whale of a time out there, as this video attests…


Thanks again to our great tipsters — keep those mailers and fliers coming in!


Changes at the Peacock Network

NBC has cancelled Rock Center, which is disappointing for those of us who had been enjoying its segments on Scientology and its drug rehab network, Narconon. However, NBC also just announced a spin off of its popular show Chicago Fire that will be named Chicago PD, and will star ex-Scientology actor Jason “Let’s see a motherfucking clear” Beghe.

And finally, a programming note: On Friday, we scrambled to post a story about Scientology’s motion to disqualify the attorneys for Luis Garcia in his federal fraud lawsuit. We could tell from the comments that the documents we posted were tough to interpret. So tomorrow morning, we plan to have more about the motion, with some analysis by Scott Pilutik.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 12, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to 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.

If you’d like to help support The Underground Bunker, please e-mail our webmaster Scott Pilutik at


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  • Horseradishes

    Evidence for shoop on far side too: Jefferson’s video shows at 0:38 that the LH tree line is exactly in line with the left boundary of the CoS building frontage. In the CoS shots, the tree line is way further back, in line with the far side of the next plot.

    I’d also point to funny things elsewhere in the CoS pix. e.g. in one CoS shot there’s a tall building right behind the CoS. In another, head-on shot from them, it’s gone.

  • overall

    Awesome news about Jason Beghe. His interview and famous tag line “Let’s see a motherfucking clear” was the final nail in the coffin of my loyalty to the Church. He had said loud and clear what I had been thinking for years. So I am glad he has landed what sounds like a very good gig.

  • 0tessa

    Scientology and its owner Miscavige are the living proof that Scientology does not work.
    When a technology uses PR to prove itself, things go wrong. Nature cannot be fooled.
    (Thanks to Feynman.)

  • Bella Legosi

    Here is a link to the pix from downtown “celebration”

  • I’m not so sure that picture is photoshopped. I think it may, instead, be a panorama view. That would explain the distorted perception of the size of the crowd.

    Look at this zoomed-in shot ( The people on the right look blurrier, but that is consistent with panorama. The confetti concentrated there also looks starkly different than the rest of the crowd, but take a look at 1:30-1:40 of Jefferson Hawkins’ video. It shows the confetti concentrated in exactly that area. Also, in the broader picture (, notice that many balloons are caught in the trees and some others on the right side (in the area of the alleged photoshop) are rising just above the trees. That is exactly what the video shows at about 1:40.

    Now, look at the clear, overhead picture ( If you look very closely, you can see two people (males, I think) in blue shirts standing beside each other on the near-side about halfway between the stage and the back of the area. There appear to be about 3-4 people between them and the trees, though it is difficult to see if there are others who might be hidden by the trees.

    Now look at the alleged photoshop. ( Two people in blue shirts standing next to each other with about 3, 4 or (generously) 5 people between them and the edge. And if you look (very, very closely) at the video, right after the confetti comes down, you will be able to make out two people in blue shirts who appear to be holding their arms up, clapping and turning slightly, just like the blue-shirts in the video.

    If you look REALLY closely — zoom in — you will see two people standing beside them, one wearing a dark (black, gray?) shirt, the other wearing a white shirt. Those two are also visible in the legitimate picture by omnom. (

    Bottom line: While I couldn’t say that NO photoshopping has been done to this picture, I’m pretty sure that the near side was not photoshopped to look larger. It’s just a panorama picture.

    • Ian

      I agree. If it is shopped, it hasn’t added much. If you look carefully through the confetti, there are only perhaps another forty people on the right of that red line. And if you draw a line up from the jumbotron on the aerial shot, you can see there’s probably roughly that number seated ‘around the corner’.

      Hardly an epic inflation.

      I suspect you’re right, it is the use of a very short focal length lens, and timing exactly to the confetti to break up the person outlines and suggest a bigger crowd off to the right. Check out the seriously squashed heads in the bottom right. Exactly what you’d expect from massively wide angle lenses.

      I also looked at the usual tell tales of bringing in shots from another source and this doesn’t seem to be. But I’m in no way an expert in that!

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        Ian, there were NO PEOPLE further up to the right. Whether it looks like forty, four hundred, or four thousand is immaterial. They were added through clumsy digital photo manipulation. That much is clear.

        • Ian

          Not clear to me. Not impossible either, but not clear. The features folks are pointing too don’t require photoshop – not that it couldn’t have been used, just that it would be required if the camera set-up and timing was right.

          Just ‘cus you disagree, doesn’t make other people idiotic. Have a sense of proportion. Photoshopping isn’t the only way you can lie with photography! Clearly at a minimum these were heavily engineered to give a false impression.

          If it is shopped, it certainly isn’t clumsy. There’s no repeats, no clone blur artefacts, no sharp clone artefacts, no notable histogram bias in the two regions, no change in compression artefacts, no change in lens focal length, no change in shadow bias. Seems like a pretty good job to me. As I said, I’m not a forensic photo guy, so there may be a smoking gun in there somewhere, but it passes the normal tests and passes the automated tests I can run. So it shows a significant level of skill, if nothing else. Certainly I’ve never been able to shop two images together in a way that has no detectable bias across the join.

          Your focus objection is simply not true. And there are green patches under the right screen in the legit photos.

          I could definitely be shopped, and it certainly *looks* fake, I agree. But it isn’t quite so clear cut if you look very carefully at the images.

          • Douglas D. Douglas
            • Ian

              Good to have another view. I’m still not convinced, from a close looking at the shot. And I can’t get my software to agree with his histogram data. But, its not a big deal for me. As I said, even if not shopped, it seems pretty obviously misleading to me. There just is no reason to take shots wide lenses like that unless you want things to appear much bigger. Its a trick used by real estate agents too. But rarely quite so blantantly!

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      Your analysis is idiotic. Sorry to be so blunt. In any photo, panorama or not, the foreground will tend to be clearer than the background. The foreground of the obviously Photoshopped section is more out of focus than in the legit section. And the large crowd is shown extending up the street, far above the two guys in blue shirts. There is also the matter of the trees and shrubs that have mysteriously appeared. Look in front of the jumbotrons. No shrubs in the legit photos. Yet, there they are in the “official” scam photos.

      I don’t know you and don’t know why it is so important to come here making “reasonable” arguments about something that is quite plain. But you are wrong. Not a matter of opinion. You’re wrong.

      • The sides of the panoramic image appear somewhat blurrier than the center. The motion of the confetti especially contributes to the blurriness in that section. The crowd appears to extend well beyond the guys in blue shirts because a) those guys were about halfway back from the front, and b) the edge is exactly where a panoramic photo of this sort will tend to give the impression of additional space.

        As far as the shrubs in front of the jumbotron, you are incorrect. They clearly show in this photo by Mark Bunker —

        I use my own name. You don’t know me, but a number of the other people here do. I think they will affirm that I am not exactly sympathetic to Scientology. I just think this image is an example of a panoramic view rather than a Photoshopped one.

        As far as my analysis being idiotic, I would only point out that I cited specific reference points and an alternative hypothesis that explains both the misleading appearance of the photograph and the reference points that can be seen in photographs that were taken by non-Scientologists.

    • media_lush

      don’t know what you’re smoking but this pic pretty much nails it

      • media_lush

        or this…..

      • Ian

        Only the red area and the circled area wouldn’t be in the same place if you were taking the picture from the back corner of the tree line with a very wide angle lens.

        As for the history of the church photoshopping – I’m very willing to believe it. And I’m very willing to believe that this image is shopped, I just don’t see the evidence. But even if not, the image is obviously very carefully engineered to give a false impression.

      • No, the image just shows that a panoramic lens gives a false impression of the space, especially of the width of the area. I’m not suggesting there were more people. I’m suggesting that a panoramic image gives that impression without requiring photoshop.

    • aquaclara

      If you take a look at the Scientology website photos on their main screen, two of them show serious all-around shooping. There is a front-on photo shown where the two large screens have been moved out to extend beyond the building on either side, and the crowd also extended outward on both sides.

      The other photo they show is that left side, with people, not trees. Again, it extends way out beyond the buildings.

      I have not figured out how to link a picture, but if I can figure it out, I’ll attach them and you’ll see it clearly
      Edit: ok, I posted them above, but they are so huge. Sorry.

      • Ian

        My first thought was that the crowd extended far too far down Oak, and I looked at this for a couple of hours along side reference shots of the area, and google street view. I wanted to show the far end was shopped as well as the near side.

        But actually if you look at the image, and in particular look at the streetlamps, you see in the shot that the crowd only just reaches past the Silverado on both legit and CoS images. Its just that the lens is so wide on the CoS shots that the people down there appear tiny, even though its only a few tens of yards away. But after looking carefully at the correspondence between fixed landmarks, it does appear that the end tree line is in the right place.

        As for the shots of too wide jumbotrons, again, that was my first thought. But if you look at the legit pictures there’s a lot of room behind the screens. The screens look about a quarter of the way from the building to the back of the crowd. And if you set a camera 7/10 rows back in the middle of that, crowd, with a 12mm lens, say, I think you might well be able see the corners of the building.

        Again, this isn’t to say the images are honest, just that you can get similar effects without photoshop.

      • I agree with Ian. And actually, the picture you pointed me to — — is an excellent example of a panoramic photo. You can easily see the distortions around the sides of the picture. In the very middle, people look normal, but around the edges they start looking distorted.

        These spacing issues are all a function of panoramic view. I’m not suggesting there really were more than 400-500 people there. I’m saying the lens distorts the spaces.

        • Ian

          Check out the overhang of the roof of the building in this shot to see how drastic the perspective is. If the screens are 10-12 foot from the building, and the one on the right is level with the curb (10 feet to the right of the line of the building), based on other legit photos, then this shot is 100% possible.

        • Jefferson Hawkins

          Look. The jumotrons have been moved from in front of the building to the side. That’s not “lens distortion.” Look. There are people seated to the right of the right-hand jumbotron, and to the left of the left hand one. There were no people there. There was no seating there. There were lines of trees which WOULD HAVE BEEN VISIBLE in a true wide-angle shot. Give it up Jon.

          • aquaclara


        • Douglas D. Douglas

          Answered this one above. The two Jumbotrons are not “distorted,” they have been digitally cut and moved to the left and right. A big clue is the mullion (black vertical sash) in the show window on the extreme right of the building. It is now a broad black band, whereas all the others are thin. This architectural element is also plainly visible in other photos taken before the event (in the CoS’s own photos). When the ‘tron was digitally cut ‘n pasted, the vertical mullion was apparently incorporated into a remnant of the actual location. There’s also an awkward attempt to visually “smoothe” this whole thing with a confetti burst that does not remotely match the corresponding burst on the left. And look at the distortion of the tree canopy on the right.

          If this was something that was caused by a camera lens, then it should be consistent on both sides, as well as from the top to the bottom of the photo. The Sherlock building itself should be distorted wildly at the sides. This is not the case. It is perfectly straight, indeed, slightly narrower at the top, a well-known distortion when shooting tall structures. Note that the cornice is straight– it extends over the sidewalk on the right hand side, and ends even with the building at mid-block on the left.

          Even the narrow windows on the top floor of the building are in precise parallels. The ONLY architectural element that is screwy is that window mullion. That is not caused by camera distortion. It’s BAD PHOTOSHOP.

    • Jefferson Hawkins

      Definitely photoshopped. There were no people to the right of the building, it was blocked off by trees. To quote John Sweeney “You were not there.”

      • I’m not suggesting that there were people to the right of the building. I’m saying that a panoramic photo distorts the image in ways that make certain parts of the image (which can vary) look like they did in this image.

        The two people in blue shirts and the two beside them were definitely there in the real picture and in the panoramic/photoshopped picture. I find it more likely that this was a panoramic image which distorted the side views than that they shopped those four people out of the original photograph, then photoshopped them back into the photograph on the side.

      • Ian

        The legit photos show several rows of people to the right of the curb, into the intersection, and from google maps the curve appears to be about 10 feet right of the building. So it isn’t true nobody was to the right of the line of the building. You might mean nobody was down Oak street on the right hand side of the building. But if you look at the shot in question, you can see that it doesn’t actually show that. I’m trying to post a reference image above, but Disqus is being pathetic.

      • Jefferson Hawkins

        Here’s the simplicity: The lines of masking trees came out straight from the corners of the building. The jumbotrons were in front of the building, not to the sides. No “lens distortion” is going to move them to the side. In the Church pictures, there are people appearing where it was impossible for them to be, such as to the right of the right-hand jumbotron. There was no seating there. No “lens distortion” will put people where THERE WERE NO PEOPLE. This isn’t simply a wide-angle lens distortion, it’s outright Photoshop fakery.

        • I just spent some time examining multiple pictures and I think you’re incorrect here. I sincerely mean no disrespect here. I deeply appreciate the work you have done criticizing and exposing Scientology.

          The line of trees actually appears to begin about 8-12 feet beyond the speaker (which itself is a few feet to the side of the jumbotron). See Mark Bunker’s picture here:

          You can definitely see a few people between the mounted speaker and the trees. This is consistent with this images from the Scientology website, which also shows some people between the mounted speaker and the line of trees.

          I think the confusion is about where the trees were located. They were not coming out from the side of the building. They were positioned much farther out than that. If you look at the portion of your video starting about 1:30, you can see the sidewalk to the side of the building much farther in than the line of trees. I *think* the mounted speaker is positioned approximately in front of the traffic light. The trees appear to be positioned in approximately the middle of the intersection. (note the position of the white lines, compared to those in this picture.

        • Ian

          The legit photos show at least three rows of people further to the right of the right-hand screen, right the way down to the tree line level with the face of the buildin

    • Captain Howdy

      Hey, aren’t you right wing political consultant “Jonathan Henke”and friend to Greta Van Susteren and Sharron Angle?

      • I use my own name. I have never met Susteren or Angle.

        • Captain Howdy

          So you were at an “Americans for Prosperity” conference that Sharron Angle attended but you didn’t get a chance to meet her? Sorry to hear that.

          • Nope. Didn’t meet her. I don’t think I even knew about her Scientology connection until well after that. That was not a race I followed at all.

            I’ve been a participant in this CofS-watching since back in Tony’s Village Voice days. Are you seriously suggesting I might be a Scientologist or working to help them?!?

            • TonyOrtega

              Jon’s a loyal reader from way back. Give him a break.

            • Captain Howdy

              Sure thing Tony. I just happen to have the same opinion of the Koch Bros and their OSA style front group “Americans for Prosperity” that I have of CofS..they’re Evil. Ill let it go.

            • Douglas D. Douglas

              Not doubting Jon’s sincerity. And I always enjoy a spirited debate. I was finally able to look at a very high res image of the “head on” shot, and can see that there is definite distortion. But there are too many odd, odd elements that are not consistent. I am inclined to agree that distortion + stitching is at play here.


            • Sure. I do think this is a panoramic effect, but I make no guesses as to whether it was just a wide angle lens or images stitched together. My understanding is that panoramic shots can be done both ways, though I don’t know how to distinguish between them based on the images.

            • Douglas D. Douglas

              Hey Jon, I was wondering, until I went and looked at your Twitter Feed. I see that you were reacting to an isolated item, without the context that the Bunkerites have. It’s an honest mistake all around.

              I do hope you have been persuaded that there has been some mighty inept photo diddling going on, though…

            • I’m very familiar with the context, including Scientology’s long history of manipulating images. I do not doubt for a moment that they will manipulate images with the intent to deceive, and I can document many other ways in which they have shaded (or erased) the truth. I assure you, I have been well aware of Scientology’s bad behavior for a very long time.

              I am NOT arguing that there were more people at that event, nor am I arguing that the image is not misleading. I am simply arguing that the problem is one of panoramic lens rather than of photoshop. It is also possible that they took panoramic pictures and stitched them together after the fact to give the impression given in this picture, though again that is a problem with panoramic images rather than a Photoshop.

              I wholeheartedly agree that the image presents a misleading perception of the crowd. We only disagree about how that effect was created.

            • Douglas D. Douglas

              I will agree with that!

            • Captain Howdy

              No, I was just wondering if you’re Jon Henke the fairly well known right-wing political consultant?

            • As far as I know, I’m the only right wing (libertarian-Republican) political consultant with my name. Given that this is a category of one, I think it’s far to say that I’m the best known of the contenders.

    • Guest

      Here’s what I see looking closely through the confetti haze. The tree line is there in the right place, the curb line is in the right place, and there appears to be at most one extra row in that side section from the legit photo and the CoS photo.

      • Ian

        This was my photo, but some of the text got eaten. I deleted it, and now it is showing up as ‘guest’. Sorry, corrected version is below.

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    No one looking at actual photos from the day can come to any other conclusion than that there is pretty bad PhotoShopping going on. The image below will make it clearer. This is the four city blocks that the CoS purchased for the day. The ONLY area where there was seating is marked in blue. The platform is shown in red.

    The photos distributed by the CoS show crowds in the areas marked in yellow. We have abundant photo proof, from the ground and from above, that these areas were kept completely empty during the event.

    And why does it matter? It’s just a bit of PR puffery, no? Why it matters is because the CoS and its spokesmen loudly proclaim themselves the “most ethical people on the planet.” If this were true (and we know it is not from abundant examples), then silly, easily exposed stuff like this wouldn’t be going on.

    And there is that other nagging thought: If they would go to these lengths to lie about something so ultimately inconsequential, what else are they going out of their way to lie about?

    (P.S. The numbers on the diagram refer to Bunker’s camera locations: 1. Upstairs in the Outdoor Store, 2. On the roof of the Silverado, 3. A guest at the condo terrace.)

    • Captain Howdy

      I gather that this blog is being to fed to more sites now and we’re getting “drive bys”, which means people who aren’t long time Scn watches, but are more likely people who just like hanging out on the net all day passively aggressively “debating” anything to prove how brilliant they are.

      • Ian

        I suspect you’re referring to me. I’ve been a lurker since VV days, but as a CoS noob, not had much to contribute but the odd question. But I have looked at plenty of photoshops from years on skepticism forums. I’m no more trying to prove my brilliance than you are, just wanted to contribute. But it is interesting that raising issues with the general sentiment draws ad homs: “idiot”, “passive aggressive”, “anything to prove how brilliant they are”. I’d say you have a case of projection there. But hey, I don’t know you, perhaps you’re a fire first, ask later kinda guy!

    • Bella Legosi

      The yellow area on the right is were the two rows of arbavidas were placed, the blue indicates where the crowd was placed, and the yellow area on the right is where the arbavidas were set up in the middle of the street, but only up to the corner of the building.

    • Ian

      The yellow area on the right does not go that deep on the CoS photo, you can see it stops before the crossing lights, which is in line with the building. Look more carefully at that image.

      Also, in the legit overhead photo of the crowd, the crowd is further than you show it in blue, but a little less than in the yellow. Again hitting the photos and google street view allows you to line this up pretty accurately.

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    A review of Saturday’s little show from a French blogger: “Le Flop.”

    • aquaclara

      Two shots from the Scientology website show more shooping. The first shot shows the two large screens moved way outside beyond the building, with the crowds extended outward as well. And the second shot shows the left side with people, not trees. Hey, those people weren’t there!!! Trying to post pics. see if this works.

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        This is now in the realm of the nakedly shameless. I hadn’t looked closely at that head on view before. The ‘trons HAVE been digitally moved. Amazing fail.

        • John P.

          This is now in the realm of the nakedly shameless.

          Uh, no. They have always been in the realm of the nakedly shameless. They’re just more incompetent at it than ever before.

        • aquaclara

          So lovely to look at though! There’s more. Weren’t the chair rows all aligned when we saw them set up in the vids and photos? Now, we have this lovely arc shape. The balloons are all off-scale here, too. I believe the 4 big trees that sit in front of the building are also extended outward in this first shot, too, but I’ll have to look at the other shots again.

  • Captain Howdy

    Anybody who is bored waiting for the next article and has a youtube account can go “debate” vaLLarrr who has hanging around fairly steadily the last few days.

    • Sherbet

      I’m glad you put “debate” in quotation marks. What Val says bears no resemblance to intelligent give-and-take discourse. It’s like George Baillie without the horselaugh.

      • Captain Howdy

        S/he use to put more of an effort into it. S/he’s burnt out and needs to be re-stimulated.

        • Sherbet

          Aw, poor thing is just plain tuckered out.

      • Douglas D. Douglas


        It was Sam Wainwright who had the horselaugh. Or, “HEE HAW,” to be absolutely accurate!

        • Sherbet

          I think we’re talking about two different George Bailey/Baillies.

          • Douglas D. Douglas

            The only George Bailey I know of lives in Bedford Falls. (Or, as the CoS likes to call it, Potterville.)

            • Sherbet

              Here you go, D3. You’re in for a treat. This George ain’t Jimmy Stewart! Horse laugh and horse’s a**, that’s this George Baillie.


            • Douglas D. Douglas

              What can I say? I am old.

  • An expert’s verdict is back: The CoS image is definitely photoshopped.

    From the article: “We added a Glowing Edges filter in Photoshop Elements to the image. Notice the areas circled in red. See where the sun is coming down? It is causing some major warm light to be cast onto the trees in front of the building, but the entire crowd is somehow or another untouched by it. However, the crowd in the lower right hand corner is being touched by the sun’s ray, though subtle and they also have confetti mixed in. The problem though is that the tree right next to them doesn’t have any sun on it at all. The blue lines show the clear sun diffusion, while the red shows where the sun is actually hitting–and that’s really not possible, even with very little cloud activity over the city this past weekend.”

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      My favorite comment from the discussion thread that follows this:

      “The image analysis also does not discuss the fact that, in a line with where the trees are in the photo you offer, the apparent size of people to the right of that line is dramatically smaller than the people to the left of it. Did Scientology fly in a platoon of dwarfs and make them sit together?”

      So, does David Miscavige have an Honorary Dwarf Platoon?

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    And another example of PhotoShop Fail.

    The first photo in this group is a detail of the “official” (faked) photo from the CoS PR package. Note that both show windows to the right of the stage are clearly visible, despite the fact that on the day of the event the window closest to the street corner was partially obscured by a Jumbotron. And there is something strange about that window. Look closely at the mullion, the black vertical element that runs up the center. It is much wider than the mullion on any other window on the building.

    But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a detail of the video that Bunker shot that same morning from the roof of the Silverado across the street. The angle is further to the left, allowing us to see behind the Jumbotron. And yes, the vertical mullion is just as thin as all the others.

    But don’t take my word for that, either! The third photo is a detail of the CoS’s own publicity shot of the building, showing the same window, on the same street corner, with the same thin black mullion.

    Clearly. the faked photo shows a remnant of the digitally altered Jumbotron, which has been moved to the right. If the lazy fakers had bothered to finish the task, they would have tidied up the window mullion in a more pleasing way.

    • Captain Howdy

      That seals it for me 3-D. Great job. I think I’ll have a piece of caek “Fake..Fake..FAKE!”

    • aquaclara

      Clearly, to me as well. I don’t know why there are people refuting it, but the comments they pose make little sense.

    • Ian

      Seems a bit odd to stretch the mullion and leave the window the same size: doesn’t actually buy you any width. So I had a close look to check for artefacts.

      Really zoom into the shot:

      You can see the mullion is the same width, but part of the adjacent window is obscured, and there’s something in front of it.

      Also while you’re in close, look at the perspective lines of the sidewalk. by the last sidewalk slabs you can see, the front of the sidewalk is already 26px to the right, so the tree (which is 40px ish to the right of its window location) is roughly correct, which puts the screen also in roughly the right place.

      And on Bunker’s shot the screen isn’t obscuring the right window. As long as the CoS is taken somewhere on the line from Bunker’s shot to the corner, you’d get the same offset.

      To be sure, you’d mock it up in 3D and take a render with a <20mm lens, but still. I can't see the edit. Though whatever the black curtain in the window is, is suspicious, it doesn't seem obvious what benefit adding it would be if you did want to shop it.

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        I spent some time “nosing around” behind the Jumbotron via other photos. I could not find any objects back there that would explain what this broad black band is. Regardless, I am not suggesting that the mullion was “stretched,” rather that what we see is a remnant of something that had been removed via digital cropping.

        Here is a rather startling image from ESMB member Omnom. It shows the view looking dead center at the set up, before the event began, and shown ON the Oak Street Jumbotron. Note that this lens also distorts the outer edges of the image, even the foliage on the tree to the right. There is no explanation for the mullion in this image, though. There is a small, blurry dark object. But it does not appear in any other photos I have seen.

        The other major clue that does point toward a distorting lens in the “official” photo is the very deformed balloons we see in the upper right and left corners. If they were simply added later, it would be assumed they would have been properly proportioned. They may be from a later image– as the balloons and confetti at the event were released simultaneously. The balloons took their time, rising slowly, as the confetti moved rather faster. In the “official photo, they are sort of all mixed up together.

        • Douglas D. Douglas

          And another one to add to the confusion…

          Here are two images pulled from the video that was shot from an oblique angle on Oak Street. Note that in the first the balloons have just begun to rise from behind the Jumbotron, while the confetti has blasted pretty high into the air.

          In the second, the confetti has settled down over the crowd (similar to what is seen in the “official” photo), while the balloons have not quite cleared the tree. Yet in the “head on” official shot, the confetti is still rising as the sky is filled with balloons.

          It’s a puzzlement, that’s for sure.

          • Ian

            It is a quite fun puzzle. I’m finding it addictive mostly because it appeared to me so clearly faked, but I’m still struggling to find a smoking gun. I went through the still image from this angle, and the one from CoS and lots (but not all) of the people in the confetti area match with people in this side on crowd. Enough not to be chance, at least (i.e. there are missing people, but most match). So I’m more sure than ever that the right hand side wasn’t added wholesale. Its a pain to document all this, especially, since it seems we’re the only people left on the ‘puzzle’.

            • Douglas D. Douglas

              What is sad is that this came up at all. If the CoS didn’t have well documented cases in the past, no one would have even considered any of this. Instead, it was almost the first response as soon as the “official” press material was released. The CoS– their own worst PTS.

            • Ian

              Oh definitely. And I think it is rather funny. Because, it really takes some careful looking to see that the shots aren’t obviously shopped. Which is a pretty impressive level of incompetence: to make genuine shots look really obviously fake. The distortion alone makes it look totally fake, regardless of any extra people. That was my wife’s first reaction “its obviously fake, those people aren’t even the right *shape*.”

              Whether they were edited or not, though, the official shots were taken in such a way as to give the wrong impression. My first (and second, and third) reaction was to think the original shot showed a huge crowd going all down Oak around the building. Which I can’t imagine was an accident. So, whatever the specifics, I don’t think it gets them off the hook.

        • Ian

          But this does show both screens well outside the building, from a camera at the back of the crowd – or is this image faked too?

    • Ian

      Seems a bit odd to stretch the mullion and leave the window the same size: doesn’t actually buy you any width. So I had a close look to check for artefacts.

      Really zoom into the shot:

      You can see the mullion is the same width, but part of the adjacent window is obscured, and there’s something in front of it.

      Also while you’re in close, look at the perspective lines of the sidewalk. by the last sidewalk slabs you can see, the front of the sidewalk is already 26px to the right, so the tree (which is 40px ish to the right of its window location) is roughly correct, which puts the screen also in roughly the right place.

      And on Bunker’s shot the screen isn’t obscuring the right window. As long as the CoS is taken somewhere on the line from Bunker’s shot to the corner, you’d get the same offset.

      To be sure, you’d mock it up in 3D and take a render with a <20mm lens, but still. I can't see the edit. Though whatever the black curtain in the window is, is suspicious, it doesn't seem obvious what benefit adding it would be if you did want to shop it.

  • Bella Legosi

    So these assholes blared their “Not Getting Busted……Not Getting Nabbed” country song and then turned down the sound for Little Boots? That really pisses me off…….Their 1985 song goes down as the creepiest, worst, musical torture on record with Bella, and that saying something cuz Bella’s mom subjects her to Christian rock radio when ever she can!

    Co$…….I bite my thumb at you all

    • Captain Howdy

      What song is this?

      • Bella Legosi

        I am going to upload that vid to my youtube. It was some country=esk song they played at the beginning of the “celebration”. Not sure what it is called. When I get it uploaded I will link it for ya.
        Since I was on the corner away from most the sound there were people talking, I am hoping someone out there can enhance the sound for the song. I will make sure that I make it so anyone can download it.

      • Bella Legosi

        Here ya go Captain!

        Excuse my laughing and jokeing!

        here is a link to them all

        • Captain Howdy

          Thanks Bella. Now I’m going to be obsessed until I find the original.

          • Bella Legosi

            Captain O my Captain…… never have to thank me 😉

  • John P.

    A little late but worth noting: apparently, Scientology is out of the running for the #1 lame Photoshop effort for May 2013. Not even the North Koreans would try to pull one off this pathetic, but surprisingly, the South Koreans did:

  • clam_in_a_halfshell

    “A lot of create from all who participated.” ::cringe:: ::FACEPALM:: How is that even an English sentence? Is that $cientologistese, or just what happens if you translate $cilon into Italian and back into sorta-English? Where’s my red pen? The grammar gods are angry with this one.

  • Ian

    On the photoshopping –

    I think it is pretty safe to say it wasn’t photoshopped now.

    Which is annoying, because, regardless of the shopping, the press images show no more than 500. So the shopping was a sideshow, while everyone jumped on that, nobody was emphasizing that their own photos contradicted their account.

    • TonyOrtega

      Actually, the video provides proof that photoshopping was used in the image. Look at the frame you’ve provided here. What’s missing? Balloons in the sky. As the image from WWP which we provided above shows, images of balloons were duplicated and added to the sky portion of the frame. So what we have, in the end, is a misleading photo that was produced through the use of a wide angle lens and photoshopping.

      • Ian

        Tony, come on man, why photoshop balloons into the sky? Also, there are tests for image cloning, and the image passes, the ‘cloned’ balloons appear similar, but the underlying data is not duplicated, so they are either not cloned, or else its been done in an extraordinarily sophisticated way. As for timing, the balloons are still rising, the confetti is blowing into the intersection, the film is totally consistent with the still, if the film stops a second or two before the photo was taken.

        But, really, is adding a couple of balloons the argument you want to have with the church here? Doesn’t it strike you as rather silly to be holding out on the possibility that someone duplicated a handful of balloons? Doesn’t it sound a bit desperate?

        I know we all want to be right, and it sucks to give a minor PR win (I’m sure the church would harp about the mistake if it was admitted). But aren’t we just looking petty squabbling over the balloons? Or saying “we know its been shopped, we just have no idea where, except the balloons”.

        I’m not shilling for them here, and I’m definitely not disrespecting you (its clear you’ve done more to combat this evil than I’ll ever do – I 100% appreciate your devotion to the cause). I’m just saying: isn’t it better to take the moral high ground at this point, concede on the substantive shopping of the crowd and point out forcefully that their own photos only show 500 people in attendance?