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Claire Headley Shows Us That in Scientology, You Just Can’t Shout at Ashtrays Enough

KoolAshtray2Claire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology’s International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology’s “tech,” and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.

Claire, the farther you take us up the bridge, the more it feels like we’ve been here before. Are you telling us that we’re back to yelling at ashtrays again this week?

CLAIRE: The next step on our journey is Upper Indoc TRs (Upper Indoctrination Training Routines). We did cover some of this earlier, when I first did these on the HQS course.

However, the Upper Indoc TR course is a prerequisite to auditor training. It’s essentially where one is required to do these TRs to professional passing standard.

Up_The_BridgeAs with previous courses, the sequence is first to study the theory behind the Upper Indoc TRs, also known as TRs 6 to 9. (TR 6 and 7 involve physically moving another person around a room, with and without resistance. TR 8 is giving verbal instructions to an ashtray. And TR 9 has you ordering someone to move around verbally.) And of course, at this level, the very first policy letter is KSW #1. [Keep Scientology Working Series #1, a mantra about keeping Hubbard’s “technology” pure.]

By the time I left Scientology, I had studied, word-cleared and “Chinese Schooled” KSW #1 so many times that many parts of it are indelibly committed to memory, much to my chagrin.


After studying the theory, you get to see another tech film. This time it’s the Upper Indoc TR film, originally starring Lyman Spurlock and Al Mase, both of whom were staff at Gold, Scientology’s management headquarters east of Los Angeles.

Next is to clay demo each of the TRs.

THE BUNKER: So you not only spend time shouting at an ashtray, but also create a clay model of yourself shouting at an ashtray. How…spiritual.

CLAIRE: And then you do each TR to a supervisor pass, and get your twin through each TR to a supervisor pass.

At some point early in my Scientology career, I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t understand why I had to keep doing drills and studying materials over and over again.

But then the oft-repeated Hubbard statement came to mind: “Number of times over equals certainty and results.”

And at some point, I just stopped thinking about it.

THE BUNKER: So it sounds like more conditioning, just like before.

When we realized that yelling at ashtrays was coming up again, we were reminded of what Marty Rathbun said about this training routine in his latest book, Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior. Here’s the quote…

This drill has been criticized — and misunderstood — as “yelling at an ashtray.” In fact, the student does speak toward an ashtray, and then raise his voice at it. But the purpose of the drill is to step outside of the physical universe mechanics of sound, so as to distinguish and perceive intention as something separate from the intention’s “carrier wave” — the voice. Having earlier experienced non-verbal transmission of intention while playing basketball, the concept was real to me. After several hours of communicating intention to a material object, I developed a keen perception of the intention I was able to project, separate and apart from the carrier wave, the sound waves issuing from my mouth.

Oh, well that clears things up.

How does Marty’s explanation read to you now, given your current feelings about Scientology?

CLAIRE: I think that if someone truly believes that something or someone can help them, then there is a very good chance that that it will help them. The studies on sugar pills come to mind.

THE BUNKER: The placebo effect, right. That’s a very polite way to address Rathbun’s theories about the physical universe.

CLAIRE: Well, if Marty believes the TRs helped him, perhaps they did. Or, perhaps he realized the power of intention when playing basketball, and perhaps he was reminded of that when doing these drills.

I’m not saying intention doesn’t exist. I believe it does. I’m just not of the view that these drills are, necessarily, the be-all-and-end-all of learning intention.

And, you are, in fact, yelling at an ashtray. I believe the exact words used are “shout as loudly as you can.” I could be wrong on that, but I’d be willing to bet money that at least five of those six words are definitely used in explaining how to do the drill.

For me, any benefits of Scientology did not outweigh the damage it does. If a contradiction exists, I no longer set it aside. I am now a firm believer that critical thinking is a good thing.

THE BUNKER: Thank you, Claire. Our price list indicates $1,500 for this course. Total so far: $15,697


New Zealand to be Graced by Scientology Public Relations Handling

Our Kiwi readers will be thrilled to learn that the Church of Scientology will finally get a chance to tell its side of things when Face Television has on Auckland spokesman Michael Ferris for what should be a thrilling program of non-information on July 15.

From the press release: “Scientology claims to be truly unique in that it is the only new major religion to emerge in the 20th century. Scientology has attracted followers, loyalty, scepticism and downright denunciation. In an attempt to present a balanced view of Scientology, the guest this week In Conversation with Noel Cheer on Face Television is Michael Ferris, a spokesperson in Auckland for the Church of Scientology. ‘In Conversation with Noel Cheer,’ Face Television, Monday July 15th at 7:00pm, repeated on Tuesday July 16th at 12 noon.”

Given the long track record that Scientology spokespeople have for a “balanced view,” this should make for cracking good telly.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 9, 2013 at 07:00

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