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Prepare to Be Audited: Claire Headley Takes Us Through Scientology’s “ARC Straightwire”

Wise, Beard Man?

Wise, Beard Man?

Claire 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.

We’re excited about this next step on the bridge, Claire. It’s time for some auditing.

CLAIRE: The next stop on the processing side of the Bridge is the first of the “expanded grades” and is called “ARC Straightwire.”

“ARC” because it deals with the subjects of affinity, reality, and communication — Scientology’s notion of understanding.

“Straightwire” because it mainly consists of simple recall processes.

I thought it might be interesting to give an insider’s view of what one would expect when sitting down to an auditing session. (And this is the first auditing that involves the use of the E-meter.)


THE BUNKER: Please do.

CLAIRE: You go to an auditing room, a small room with a table and two chairs seated across from each other. An E-meter is set up, with cans and a shield. The shield is to cover up the worksheets, where the auditor records everything said and done in each session.

Whether or not you see a camera, the room will be rigged to record the session. This is a much more recent development in terms of the history of Scientology. My understanding is that all auditing rooms were equipped with video and audio surveillance systems beginning in 1995.

Up_The_BridgeThe next thing you will notice is that the auditor has his back to the door. This is to ensure he’s in the most strategic position to prevent you from leaving the session. As we’ve discussed earlier, these are the rules of auditing: Get the “preclear” through it, “what turns it on will turn it off,” and “the way out is the way through.” In other words, the auditor won’t let you out until you’ve got where he wants to get you.

A sign, “In Session,” is placed on the door while you receive auditing. It is a “High Crime” in Scientology to interrupt an auditing session.

The auditor will seat you and make sure you are comfortable.

Then you will be asked to do what’s referred to as a can squeeze, where the auditor sets the sensitivity of the E-meter for you by having you gently squeeze the cans.

Next you do a metabolism test. “Take a deep breath, hold it for a moment, and let it out through your mouth.” This will produce a fall of the needle if you are well fed and rested. (And you’ll then be asked if you are well fed and well rested.)

Then: “Is there any reason not to have a session?” And then the auditor will say, with Tone 40 (a strong, steady voice): “This is the session.”

The first step is to get your “rudiments in.” Specifically, you will be asked:

— “Do you have an ARC break?” That’s Scientologese for, “Is there something you’re upset about?”

— “Do you have a present time problem?” For example, some problem keeping your attention elsewhere.

— “Has a withhold been missed?” In other words, have you done anything you don’t want known about.

Each of these questions is checked for a read — a reaction of the needle on the E-meter in response to the question. If it reads, you will be asked another series of questions depending on which item you reacted to.

You will become extremely familiar with the rudiment process in your auditing career, since these questions are asked at the start of every single auditing session.

Once you have a floating needle, and VGIs (very good indicators), you are ready to run your first process of ARC Straightwire.

The auditor asks a question. It might be, “Recall a time you felt affinity for someone.” If there’s a reaction on the E-meter, then that process will be “run.” (The question will be asked again and again.) Otherwise, you move on to the next question…

Has anything been suppressed?
Has anything been invalidated?
Is there anything you have been careful of?
Is there anything you failed to reveal?
Has anything been misunderstood?

And so on.

If any of the above questions react, you will run the process. The auditor will give you the command over and over again and acknowledge each answer you give.

And this will be repeated until you have a cognition, have very good indicators, and have a floating needle on the E-meter. When you’ve finished the process, the auditor will tell you he is going to end the session. “Is there anything you care to say or ask before I end the session?”

“End of session,” said in Tone 40.

And you go to the examiner, who will make sure you have a floating needle and very good indicators. The stated “Ability Gained” for this level on the Bridge is: “Knows he/she won’t get any worse.”

Perhaps this is true for some.

My personal experience was that when I arrived at the Int Base and in the years that followed, I became much much worse off than I had ever imagined possible.

THE BUNKER: Claire, was your perception that the needle was actually reading something other than skin galvanism, which can be affected by things like sweat and grip?

CLAIRE: I never questioned the meter, really. After all, several sec check (interrogation) questions are oriented around “Don’t you think the E-meter works?” This question is asked as an accusation, and if you admit that you do question the machine, the next step is to find out what crimes you’ve committed. So I just shut it out of my mind.

I think there is a benefit to real communication, and evaluation of one’s experiences, actions, thoughts etc. But honestly, I felt I gained so much more from therapy than I did from auditing, long term benefits that significantly improved my outlook on life. Probably more so because I was free to think through all aspects, good, bad, and ugly, and question things

In retrospect, it just seemed there were so many variables and a lack of consistency, that yes, I’d think a lot of it was skin galvanism, etc., and the rest of it was a lie detector-type reaction.

Something could react because you had an answer, or react because you protested the question, or react because you were thinking of something entirely different.

I hope that answers your question. I haven’t given this any thought in a really long time!

THE BUNKER: Can you give us an example of one question that might be asked over and over? And what happens to your responses over time?

CLAIRE: An example of a question asked over and over is: “Recall a time that is really real to you.”

I think there were a few times I felt better. Overall, however, there was a lot of repetition and pressure that I felt personally always to feel better and have a cognition. I can remember having the vague feeling of pressure as to what my cognition would be. And also an expectation that I had to feel better or there was something wrong with me.

This is the start of my personal resolution that many things in Scientology reflect a situation of pluralistic ignorance: “no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes.”

THE BUNKER: So, when an auditor asks, “Recall a time that is really real to you,” and he asks it and asks it, do you come up with 20, 30, 40 different answers? Or do you give the same answer again and again, but with slight differences? And how do you get a “win” from that?

CLAIRE: Each time the command is given, it’s a different answer, so 20, 30, or 40 different answers. The idea is that you will “release charge” by recalling past memories.

THE BUNKER: Can you give us an example from your own career when you answered a series of questions and got a “win”?

CLAIRE: For “Recall a time you were in good communication with someone,” I revisited several conversations with my grandmother and it reminded me of happy times, so I felt better thinking about those. Not rocket science by any means.

THE BUNKER: No, but we’re starting to get into rocket science prices. A single intensive (12.5 hours of auditing) for ARC Straightwire, according to our 2001 price list, is going to run us $8,470. [Update: Claire tells me $3,000 is closer to the truth, depending on the number of intensives, so we’ll go with that.] Our total so far: $25,697.


TOMORROW: Prepare For an Epochal Meeting of the Minds


Pharyngula goes whole track! Has PZ Myers met his match in the genius of L. Ron Hubbard and biological evolution, Scientology style? Join us tomorrow morning to find out!


Mission Creep: Los Feliz Will Soon Be Cleared!

We want to thank the tipster who snapped this photo of Scientology’s newest mission, which looks like it’s going to open up any day now. It’s in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, at the corner of Hillhurst Avenue and Avocado Street, and the building is looking lovely after a renovation. Just imagine how much theta flow this place is going to generate for the neighborhood!

Speaking of which, just a few blocks away is a major source of entheta — the home of Karen de la Carriere, where she, J. Swift, and Angry Gay Pope have been making so many great videos lately. Is the power of a Scientology mission going to cause a downward spiral for the video enterprise, or will Karen be free from the mission’s overwhelm?


East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Damn, we are so jealous that David Love, Bert Leahy, and Colin Henderson are going cross-country on a documentary drive. (We will be fortunate enough to hook up with them this weekend.) Watching this old-school-looking footage at the St. Louis arch, we had the irrepressible urge to watch the Cardinals play the Expos. Hell, let’s play two!



Posted by Tony Ortega on August 7, 2013 at 07:00

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