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Trouble for Scientology in 1966: When the Daily Mail called L. Ron Hubbard’s degrees ‘bogus’


Our helper is back who dives through obscure newspaper archives in search of forgotten Scientology history. Last time, he found for us a really remarkable 1968 interview of L. Ron Hubbard when a Daily Mail reporter, Peter Smith, tracked him down on his ship in Bizerte, Tunisia.

Our tipster kept digging, and found that the Daily Mail was also hot on the trail of Hubbard and Scientology two years earlier, and produced three substantial pieces that year about the movement as it existed then. At the time, there was growing pressure in the UK about doing something about the stream of young people who were coming to East Grinstead from various parts of the world to do something weird they called Scientology.

Today we have the first of those three pieces, published on February 14, 1966 as a Daily Mail “Newsight” investigation into Hubbard’s academic claims. We’ve done our best to preserve the original text as closely as we could. We found it a pretty good general description of Scientology and debunking of Hubbard some 20 years before writers like Russell Miller and Jon Atack and Bent Corydon were able to dive into matters in much greater length with their books after Hubbard’s 1986 death.

Dig in, and let us know what struck you about this drubbing of Hubbard at the hands of this crusading newspaper…



The pseudo-psychological cult of Scientology is based on the teachings of an American ex-science fiction writer whose claims to academic degrees are bogus. To outsiders the most astonishing fact about it is the way it has spread around the world. It has many thousands of devoted adherents.

Scientology was founded by Nebraska-born Lafayette Ron Hubbard in America in 1950.

It was based on a book he had written two years earlier called Dianetics, a science by which he claimed the human mind could be processed back to previous lives. [Underground Bunker note: Dianetics actually came out in 1950 not 1948, and Hubbard came up with ‘Scientology’ two years later in 1952 when he was regrouping in Phoenix after Dianetics had a disastrous 1951.]

Scientology branches, known there as Founding Churches, were opened across the U.S., then Hubbard moved to Britain.

In 1959 he bought Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead, Sussex, with its 30 acres of garden and park, swimming pool and lake, and made it his international headquarters. The house previously belonged to the Maharajah of Jaipur.

It is equipped as a large-scale enterprise with photographic equipment, tape recorders and a telex machine to communicate regularly with 16 main branches throughout the world. There is a headquarters staff of 200.

Today there are Scientology groups not only in Britain and the U.S., but in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hawaii. Scientology claims to have “millions” of followers in the world with between 5,000 and 10,000 (“possibly many more”) in Britain.

IN DECEMBER the State of Victoria, Australia, outlawed Scientology after an official inquiry branded its methods there as “evil.”

The inquiry revealed there were 4,000 personal files on followers in Melbourne alone. It also showed that 10 percent of the money they paid was remitted to Saint Hill Manor, a total of £26,166 from July 1958-June 1963.

In Britain, fees for study and “processing” courses range from £2 to £360. The London branch office in Fitzroy Street, Bloomsbury, is well attended and free introductory lectures are given five nights a week.

Hubbard, 54, describes himself as a writer, student, explorer, pioneer in horticulture and many other fields, nuclear physicist, civil engineer, glider pilot, master boatsman, philosopher, and “one of the prime movers in the U.S. effort of getting man out into space.”

He claims to have “many degrees and is very skilled by reason of study.” He commonly uses the title “doctor.”

A SEARCHING inquiry by Newsight found his only doctorate to be a self-invented, self-bestowed D.Scn. — a Doctor of Scientology.

Hubbard’s claims are sprinkled throughout his writings. (He is said in one of his books to have written 15 million words.)

They are listed in his biographical entry in the American publication, Who’s Who in the South and South West, 1965-66 edition.

The publishers say these details were supplied and verified by him. They were also checked by Newsight. These are the findings:

B.S. in Civil Engineering, George Washington University, 1934, where Hubbard says he was in the first nuclear physics class. The university says he was there from autumn 1930 to spring 1932, and has never received any degree whatsoever in civil engineering, nuclear physics or any other subject.

Ph.D. Sequoia U., 1950: No Sequoia University is listed in the U.S. There is a College of the Sequoias in California, but it is a junior college which confers no degree above Associate in Arts. There is no record that Hubbard ever attended it.

A private institution, housed in a Los Angeles residence, used to call itself Sequoia University. It was unaccredited, its degrees unrecognised.

Student, Princeton School of Government, 1945: Hubbard has never been enrolled as a student at Princeton University either as graduate or undergraduate. An undated entry in the Registrar’s Office says: “L. R. Hubbard Military Government,” suggesting a war service study course.

Master of motor vessels, master of sailing vessels (all oceans), radio operator: Hubbard’s last license (No. 12523) for uninspected sail vessels, under 700 tons gross, issued on April 4, 1946, is no longer valid. There is no record of any radio officer license.

Commander of the Caribbean Motion Picture Exhibition and W.I. Minerals Expedition, 1935: The Motion Picture Association Inc. can trace no reference to this expedition.

Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition, 1940: The State of Alaska’s Department of Public Works, the Federal Communications Commission and the University of Alaska can find no trace of this expedition.

Mem. 163d. Inf. Mont. N.G. 1927-28: “Ronald Hubbard” enlisted in the Montana National Guard on October 19, 1927. At his discharge on October 29, 1928, he was a private.

Lt. U.S.N.R. 1941-46, commanding escort vessels and navigating in all theatres: Hubbard did serve as a lieutenant in U.S. Naval Reserve.

Fellow, Oceanographic Foundation: The Oceanographic Society Inc. of New York knows of no such Foundation, but does not dispute that it may exist.

Hubbard is a member, in good standing, of The Explorers Club, New York, and the Capital Yacht Club, Washington.

His claim to be one of the prime movers in getting man into space was put to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington. They state he is not connected with NASA “in any capacity.”

Scientologists stress their “philosophy” cannot be effectively explained to outsiders. The non-scientologist is baffled by Hubbard’s prolific invention of words (engram, anaten, thetan).

Its purpose is succinctly laid down in his publication: Scientology: the Fundamentals of Thought (5s.). Chapter 10, two sentences long, is headed “The Goals of Scientology” and states:

“The end object of Scientology is not the making into nothing of all existence or the freeing of the individual of any and all traps everywhere. The goal of scientology is the making of the individual capable of living a better life in his own estimation and with his fellows and the playing of a better game.”

NOT the most modest of Hubbard’s claims for Scientology is his statement (Chapter 7, Fundamentals of Thought):

“Probably the greatest discovery of Scientology and its most forceful contribution to the knowledge of mankind has been the isolation, description and handling of the human spirit. Accomplished in July 1951 in Phoenix, Arizona, I established along scientific rather than religious or humanitarian lines that the thing which is the person, the personality, is separable from the body and the mind at will and without causing bodily death or mental derangement.”

Hubbard’s name for the spirit is the thetan. His discoveries about the thetan are remarkable: it appears to be from “a quarter of an inch to two inches in diameter,” normally inhabits the skull of the MEST body (MEST: Matter, Energy, Space, Time). It is subject to deterioration, is usually either blind or dim-sighted at first.

By Scientology processes the thetan can be separated at will from the MEST body. It is then capable of extraordinary achievements.

In his book, Scientology: A History of Man (15s.), Hubbard makes a solemn appeal to “cleared thetans”:

“Let’s not go upsetting governments and putting on a show to prove anything to homo sapiens for a while: it’s a horrible temptation to knock off hats at 50 yards and read books a couple of countries away and get into the rotogravure section and the Hearst Weeklies — but you’ll just make it tough on somebody else who is trying to get across the bridge.”

A History of Man, first published in 1952, begins with the statement:

“This is a cold-blooded and factual account of your last 60 trillion years.” The knowledge it contains will make “the blind see again, the lame walk, the ill recover, the insane become sane and the sane become saner.”

DELVING back into pre-history, Hubbard discovered a “clam-like animal that may be the missing link in the evolutionary chain.” This he names the “Weeper” or the “Boo-Hoo,” so-called because it had to pump salt water to obtain food. The pumping tubes were later to become the eyes in the human being.

The Boo-Hoo marked the transition from life in the water to life on land. Its plights were “many and pathetic.”

On reaching the beach the Boo-Hoo was menaced by “too much salt water, the boiling hot sun, volcanic eruptions and even preying birds.”

(Since the Boo-Hoo was the first life to emerge from the sea, the presence of preying birds remains unexplained.)

The Piltdown Man is also discussed:

“The PILTDOWN contains freakish acts of strange ‘logic’ of demonstrating dangerous [sic] on one’s fellows, of eating one’s wife and other somewhat illogical activities. The PILTDOWN teeth were ENORMOUS and he was quite careless as to whom and what he bit and often very much surprised at the resulting damage.”

(The Piltdown Man, found in Sussex between 1911-1913 and thought to be 600,000 years old, was exposed in 1953 as a scientific hoax. The Piltdown reference is still contained in the Fifth Edition, 1965, of Hubbard’s book.)

HUBBARD believes that people are affected, mentally and physically, by memories of being eaten by animals in previous lives. He states: “Psoriasis (a skin disease) may be caused by the action of digestive fluid in some incident where the preclear was being eaten. Subject to test.”

These discoveries were apparently made by searching back through previous lives. Using this technique Hubbard has twice visited Heaven, the first occasion was “43,891,832,611,177 years, 344 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes and 40 seconds from 10:02 1/2 p.m. Daylight Greenwich Time, May 9, 1963.” The second was some years later.

Heaven was described by Hubbard in his bulletin of May 11, 1963:

“The gates of the first series are well done, well built. An avenue of statues of saints leads up to them. The gate pillars are surmounted by marble angels. The entering grounds are very well kept, laid out like Bush Gardens in Pasadena, so often seen in the movies.

“The second series, probably in the same place, shows what a trillion years of overt acts does (or is an additional trickery to collapse one’s time). The place is shabby. The vegetation is gone. The pillars are scruffy. The saints have vanished. So have the angels. A sign on one (the left as you enter) says: ‘This is Heaven.’ The right has the sign ‘Hell.’…”

(At Saint Hill, Hubbard’s personal spokesman explained that the technique involved in this process could not be explained to the layman: “You are going up into the higher realms.”)

SCIENTOLOGY, which was “born in the same crucible as the atomic bomb,” is claimed to be “the principle [sic] agency that is preventing and treating people for radiation at this time.” This statement is made in a book published in 1957, called All About Radiation (15s.), which is on sale at Scientology branches.

In this, Hubbard discloses the formula of a substance he calls Dianazene which he says proofs people against radiation and cancer.

The formula is given as: Nictonic [sic] acid 200 mg.; Iron ferrous gluconate 10 grains; Vitamin B1 25 mg.; Vitamin B2 — Riboflavin 50 mg.; Vitamin C — Ascorbic acid 200 to 500 mg.; Dicalcium phosphate 25 to 35 grains.

A leading medical authority commented: “The proportion of iron is high and might give some people indigestion. The inclusion of nicotonic acid is surprising and its only known therapeutic value, and this is doubtful, is for chilblains.”

At Saint Hill Manor, Hubbard lives with his wife, Mary Sue, and four of their six children, looked after by a cook, Brown the butler, and a small personal staff. Hubbard was “not available” to Newsight.

At any time, about 120 students are undergoing processing at Saint Hill, the international Mecca of Scientology. This involves the “preclears” (patients) being “audited.”

The auditor is “one who listens, computes, and guides another with the intention of helping the preclear resolve the problems of his life.”

Frequently an electrical instrument called a Hubbard E Meter, which measures changes in the resistance of the human body, is used. Hubbard buys the meters for £17 each, and offers them for sale at £50 each (£40 to international members).

HUBBARD’S personal assistant and spokesman, Mr. Reg Sharpe, wearing the gilt and blue badge of a clear (a person released from all mental aberrations), said that unless preclears were audited by students (when it was free) the standard charge was £28 for a course of 160 hours.

Newsight has details of far more expensive courses. For example: Power processing; To Grade 5 release (second stage)(no rebates) £360 minimum or 1,000 dollars: Special briefing course £275, 775 dollars, Class VII interne course (staff members only) £275, 775 dollars.

Mr. Sharpe said the Australian report was “scurrilous and biased,” that in every case where Scientology is alleged to have harmed someone the true cause has been shown to be something else: “Produce them. Produce the people who have been harmed.”

He was confident that Scientology would go on from strength to strength and would not be outlawed.

He said: “We are just a bunch of guys who are trying to do some good on this planet. You won’t stop us. You can’t stop two people talking — and that’s all we do.”


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 4, 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | 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 | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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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