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Scientology watchers, we’re kicking off the new year by revealing the poster for HowdyCon 2016

Creation_Human_AbilityAnd now, the event you’ve all been waiting for. You probably know that reader Miss Tia recently called for entries in a contest to decide the logo for this year’s inaugural convention of Underground Bunker readers.

She intended to reveal the winner some time ago, but we asked her to wait. We thought it would be a special way to bring in the new year and get everyone thinking ahead about the meet-up if we saved the winning entry for today.

But let’s back up, for those not sure what we’re talking about. At some point during our book tour this summer, one of our readers said she was surprised how many cities we were visiting. We joked that it was the only way we’d figure out where to have our first convention. Readers then ran with the idea, and decided to hold a vote about where such an the event should be held. Cleveland won out, and our point person there, Miss Tia, took over.

In the meantime, the question of naming the thing came up, and we then suggested that it might honor Captain Howdy, a/k/a Steven L. Cox, a singular commenter who used the cover of L. Ron Hubbard’s book The Creation of Human Ability as his avatar, and whose passing we noted earlier this year. We suggested that the meeting be called HowdyCon, and now it had a name.

We asked the winner of the contest, Observer, to use the logo she’d come up with and create a poster that we can use to promote the event. We want to thank everyone who entered the contest, and we hope you like the poster that Observer came up with.

And without further ado, here it is…



Miss Tia and your proprietor are still conspiring over what actually might transpire at this confab of degenerates. But if you are going, you should probably start thinking now about booking your travel and lodging. We’re hearing that mostly, readers want to meet and hang out. But your proprietor may invite a Big Being or two and ask them to sing for their dinner. If you have ideas, send them our way.


Scientology debuts what will probably be its Super Bowl ad of 2016

One of our sharp-eyed readers noticed that at some point last night, a new ad debuted on Scientology’s official website. It’s a lot like the ones in the past, with the Apple Computer-like style and professional gloss, and the same narrator they’ve used the last couple of years. We’re guessing you’ll start seeing this ad soon during national television broadcasts and especially during sporting events.


We live in an age of technological wonder
Extended life
Endless connections
Limitless possibilities
At the touch of a button
In a fraction of a second
The world’s knowledge at our fingertips
A seemingly infinite source of answers
To any question we might ask
Except for one
The one we thirst for
The one that leads to understanding
Our world
Our choices
The question that lies at the intersection of technology and spirituality
Who am I?

Some of the media have understood what we learned about the annual Super Bowl strategy that Scientology employs. It does not buy a national ad during the game for what will be as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot. Instead, during the game, there are a few spots reserved for local advertisers, and those spots cost far less. Scientology buys those spots in some cities, and an expert told us they might spend a total of about $1 million to place them. They tend to show up during the pre-game show and right at the end of the first half.

As soon as Scientology puts the ad, “Technology Spirituality,” on its YouTube channel, we’ll embed it. For now, you can get a look at it on the official page,, where it automatically plays.


Bonus photos from our tipsters

New Year’s Eve at the Fort Harrison!


Yet another photo of Tom Cruise with a fellow Freedom Medal winner. Can anyone make out what kind of pin Tom is sporting? (We’re told this was taken at the IAS gala in 2009.)


Youth for Human Rights puts kids in Puebla to work. Thanks, Legoland.


It’s Scientology TV! Well, in Argentina, anyway. Come on, Dave. When are you going to pull the trigger on your new “Scientology Media Productions” at the old KCET studios?



3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 1, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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

Other links: The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | 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


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