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Our thanks once again to Observer, who has worked tirelessly to help us get the word out about our second annual gathering, HowdyCon 2017. We’ve really enjoyed her 70s-themed images of some of the illustrious folks who will be joining us in our little meetup.

Last year, we met for the first time in Cleveland, Ohio. And what a time we had. Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky flew out in his private plane, Pete Griffiths and Johnny Tank came all the way from Europe, and the little Fly larvae honored Steve “Captain Howdy” Cox with a shark costume.

Some of the early arrivals are flying and driving to Denver today. The reliable Kim O’Brien has arranged everything, and she wanted us to give out her email address (kimob924 AT gmail DOT com) and she’ll let you know where this evening’s festivities are.

What we can tell you is that we’ll be at a venue where we can imbibe while watching My Scientology Movie, and one of the stars of the film, Marc Headley, will be on hand to answer your questions about it. The show starts early, at 5:30 pm.


Please come on by and get your ASC membership card, er, we mean your official HowdyCon 2017 pin, provided to us by the generous Colin Henderson. This thing is a beauty and will soon be a collector’s item, we have no doubt…

OK, the quick recap for those who don’t know what in tarnation we’re talking about. Back in 2015, we were on a barnstorming book tour, visiting cities all over the place in support of our book about Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely. At some point, one of our commenters asked why we were stopping in so many places, and we quipped that we needed to see them all before choosing one for holding a convention. That joke took on a life of its own, and soon our readers were voting for where they wanted a convention to take place. Cleveland was chosen, and that’s where we got together last year. About 50 regular readers of the Underground Bunker toured the town and talked and laughed, and on Saturday night we had our big catered dinner, and brief addresses from several invited guests.

We named the gathering “HowdyCon” in remembrance of Steve “Captain Howdy” Cox, a beloved commenter who died in 2015. We also dedicated it to Mary “sugarplumfairy” Marinelli, another favorite commenter who had recently passed away.

This year, we’re in Denver, which is a particularly good city for running into prominent ex-Scientology figures. We look forward to seeing them, and posting photos of them for you. For now, here are a few shots from last year. (And thank you to Aegerprimo for archiving them for us.)



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,789 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,546 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,892 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,386 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,426 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,138 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 664 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,753 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,893 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,213 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,188 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 544 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,846 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 953 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,355 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,228 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 809 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,314 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,558 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,667 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 22, 2017 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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