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Scientology’s Shiny New Mark Ultra VIII E-Meter


One of the more exciting results of Scientology’s new product release was the slick new E-meter that all church members will now be expected to purchase, and for the low price of only $5,000!

We asked the one person who probably knows more about this device than anyone else to give us the lowdown on its history — welcome back to the Bunker, Marc Headley!

Marc is the author of Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology, one of the best escape narratives ever written about the church. Before he left the Sea Org in 2005, Marc and his wife Claire had worked at Scientology’s secretive International Base near Hemet California. And while he was there, Marc was an audiovisual specialist who oversaw or participated in many of Scientology’s technical projects — including the manufacturing of E-meters.

Even though it’s been eight years since Marc was in the church, he still can give us the lowdown on the new E-meter — because they’re even older than that!

MARC: That’s right. The initial design work was done in 2003/2004 by Reiko Abo (now Morrison). She worked with CST staff directly on the design and finishes for the meter, case, and accessories.


THE BUNKER: The Church of Spiritual Technology, CST was involved. Fascinating. And you had personal knowledge of this design work being done?

MARC: I met Reiko when she was designing the meter. She came to the Gilman Hot Springs property several times. There was a possibility she and the CST staff might do some design work for the AV systems as well and I was working on those. I ended up designing them myself and having one of the staff there make up renderings for me. I was assured that if I did not come up with some designs that worked, I was expendable and an outside pro would be hired to do my job. They are still using my AV systems designs to this day.

THE BUNKER: Fascinating. And after the machine was designed, what then?

MARC: GE/Fitch of Hong Kong oversaw the design development and production of the meter. The meter was made in a factory in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

According to David Miscavige and Russ Bellin, at least $20 million was spent on just the design phase.

THE BUNKER: Twenty million just to design it?

MARC: That was a figure that was mentioned frequently by both Dave and Russ in meetings and conversations regarding the meter.

THE BUNKER: Why would it cost so much to design such a simple device?

MARC: Colors, finishes, design elements and any and all aspects were constantly changed and tweaked over the period of at least 2 to 3 years. This was all done in the early 2000s. In fact most if not all of the design work was done under extreme pressure and constant monitoring changes and last minute fixes all the way until the meters themselves were produced on a rush basis. All so they could be produced and sit in a warehouse for almost a decade.

Marc_HeadleyDavid Miscavige himself said that the production costs for the meter were brought down to $40 each. After seeing the meter and accessories, I find this a bit hard to believe. I think that they are probably in upwards of a few hundred dollars with the cases, cans, and other items included. There is no way these devices are worth $5,000 each, but I would not be surprised if they were paying at least $500 for all items. No way production costs are only $40.

The electronic aspect of the meter was updated in terms of what the Mark VII had by simply 20 years of electronic advances. What took 4 to 5 boards in the 1980s was made into a tiny board that did everything the old one did and more. Still, the meter is a very primitive design and function. You could do everything the new meter does on an iPad better and cheaper with an app.

Not long ago, the mistake of including an RS232 (DB9) interface port was redesigned and swapped out for the newer USB interface in all units stored in Los Angeles.

In fact, you could take everything that Scientology has in terms of films, lectures, books and courses and put all of it on to an iPad for under $1,000. I think this itself proves that they are not interested in getting people help but making money.

The Mark VIII Ultra meter is being touted as the “OT” meter that L. Ron Hubbard always envisioned. But there is an actual prototype of the meter LRH supposedly envisioned in his newly rebuilt mansion at Gilman Hot Springs. It is a non-working “wireless” meter that does not require one hold any cans. This new Mark VIII Ultra meter is not what LRH envisioned. This meter is what David Miscavige envisioned would get a whole lot of cash out of Scientologists.

THE BUNKER: What about the software that comes with it, Marc? We noticed that some of the researchers over at have been putting it through its paces. Apparently, with this machine, you’ll be able to plug into the Internet for remote testing of your machine.

MARC: I have seen the speculation about the more nefarious software elements in the new meter. I think until someone gets a hold of a meter, there is no way to know for sure what has been loaded onto them. I would not doubt that there is a time bomb switch that can be activated by the church in order to kill meters of disaffected members. I know that the software they have for download appears to be outdated already and would not be surprised if this was something they designed in 2004 and just left it alone.

These are the same people who spent millions on a massive printing plant just about the time digital books overtook hard copy printed books on sales. These are the same people who bought and set up hyper expensive CD printing machines when digital downloads are the common and most popular audio medium.

And here is one last tidbit. After a brief burst in sales of my book after Leah Remini’s stunt of walking out in front of the paparazzi with a copy, the sales have been slowing down. But since David Miscavige released the Golden Age of Tech Phase II, we have seen the book sales pick up again. Scientologists are back on the ‘net and looking for answers.


Eric Tenorio

Eric Tenorio

Eric Tenorio’s Shocking News

Eric Tenorio was featured in an episode of NBC’s Rock Center last year and he was first introduced to Scientology watchers here at this blog. He was a former Narconon official who had broken away and was spilling the truth about Scientology’s drug rehab system and its deceptive practices.

We hadn’t heard from Eric in some time, and now we know why. Last night, he posted a distressing tale about how he fell into addiction again this summer, and sank so low, he came close to enrolling at Tranquility Detox, one of the Per Wickstrom-owned Michigan businesses we’ve written about, and which Tenorio had previously denounced.

Instead, he checked himself into a 12-step facility and only yesterday finished its program. You can read his entire story at the Reaching for the Tipping Point Forum.

We are rooting for Eric to keep his recovery going.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 4, 2013 at 07:00

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