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‘Aftermath’ fan gets into party at Scientology’s ‘Int Base,’ brings Karen Pressley’s book along

[Tropical Scientology fun on a ship in the desert]

With Leah Remini’s A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath well into its second season, we expected the Church of Scientology to increase its attacks on the show. But what we didn’t expect was a sudden charm offensive.

Is David Miscavige finally starting to learn that playing the creep all the time isn’t going to turn things around? In Clearwater, Florida, Sea Org members made nice recently as they boarded up local businesses, at their own expense, in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Two hundred tons of building supplies are on their way to Corpus Christi for relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey. And near Hemet, California, Scientologists recently invited some members of the public to mingle at secretive Int Base.

Karen Pressley told us about that last one. And she’s got quite the story about it today. Karen was featured last week in an episode of Aftermath because of her experience as a celebrity recruiter for the Church of Scientology, and it coincided with the release of her book, Escaping Scientology. We’ll let her explain what happened….


I heard from Erin Hodges Plumb, a Hemet resident, who had recently attended a local community event at the Golden Era Golf Course held by Community Events director Linda Greilich, a Sea Org member at Scientology’s Int Base and also a former vocalist of the Gold musicians. Linda invited the event guests to a mixer on the base at the “clipper ship,” the Star of California, which took place last night.


A Scientology critic, Erin chose to attend the mixer and brought along a copy of my book. She watches Leah’s series, and she wasn’t happy about the video the church posted about me after I appeared on the show, which featured my ex-husband, musician Peter Schless, saying disturbing things about me.

The Star of California is one of those really strange things about Scientology that oldtimers just sort of take for granted. But it’s pretty odd. It’s a “ship” built in the desert as an homage to L. Ron Hubbard’s years leading Scientology at sea. And the idea of members of the public being invited to a party there is pretty unusual.


[Scientology publicity photo of the ‘Star of California’]

When Erin got there, she walked around and posed the copy of my book in various places for photos. Anyone who worked at the base will recognize the captain statue, the historic parrot’s cage, and the rowboat that’s propped up on the side of the ship.


Erin then took the opportunity to take a selfie with Linda Greilich, the woman who had invited her, and who also appeared in Scientology’s attack video on me.


Linda didn’t look so happy after Erin handed her a copy of my book.


Incredibly, my ex-husband Peter Schless was playing background music on keyboards for the event, and Erin stopped to talk to him.

She told him that she knew he had written Jeffrey Osborne’s hit 1982 song “On the Wings of Love.” He asked her how she would know that, so she told him she Googled him. He asked why she would Google him, and that’s when she pulled out the book and showed him.

She placed the book on Peter’s keyboard near his hand, as the picture shows. Erin said he looked quite annoyed. Peter, looking ashen and thinner than I have ever seen him, had his hand near the book but looked away.


Erin even placed the book on the door prize table as a give away item to the guests! Until, of course, it was discovered.


Eventually, Linda asked Erin to leave, and escorted her all the way from the ship to her parked car.

As Linda was escorting her, she asked Erin if she had come to the event just to harass her. Erin said no, that she was curious about the base and wanted to find out more about what she had been hearing about. Linda must have thought she was cultivating an ally in Erin, and she told her that she didn’t like it that Erin was talking to me. Linda told her to visit the Scientology website where she could actually learn the truth about it. Erin said she had been to the website, where she saw the critical attack video on me, and she preferred to learn both sides before making decisions.

Erin also commented that Peter Schless didn’t look well, and wouldn’t look at her after she showed him the book.

She said a car followed her after she drove out the gate, and she went through a yellow light as it turned red so she could lose that car. Her night ended at Starbucks, excited to support the cause, as she texted me these details. I thanked her for her courage.

All during this event, Erin texted me to let me know she was OK. Who would have ever believed that an Aftermath fan with an Escaping Scientology book could have infiltrated the Gold base within less than a week after they posted the attack video on me starring the two people who had my book put in their face tonight?

Well, no one can deny that this happened — we’ve got the shots. And now Peter knows his former spouse has written a critical book on Scientology. Not something he or they are going to be able to sweep under the carpet. In fact, this might just cause a shitstorm.

Erin is proud and excited to have pulled this off.

I never thought I’d see something like this happen in a billion years.

— Karen Pressley

Thank you, Karen. That is pretty stunning, for Scientology’s Int Base regulars to invite the public in like it was no big deal. Shocking, actually. Although our previous reporting has suggested that Scientology leader David Miscavige himself hasn’t been to the base — which used to be his primary residence — in the last four years.

“A Scientology photographer told me that the ship hasn’t been used in a long time and not usually for the public,” Erin tells us. “I met the mayor of Hemet — Linda Krupa — and when I mentioned how interesting the place is, she said she’s seen lots of the compound. They also offered us tours of the music studio.” The event was hosted by they local Chamber of Commerce, she adds.

Erin says that several of her friends tried to talk her out of going. We told her to keep us updated in case she experiences any retaliation.



Chris Shelton and Aaron Smith-Levin

Says Chris: “Aaron Smith-Levin has recently started the ‘Supporters of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath’ Facebook page and we’ve had many questions coming in from new members who are not familiar with Scientology and were never involved with it. One of those we decided to do a video answer to since it’s an involved subject and that is ‘How do people coming out of Scientology/Sea Org get a job or get on with their lives.’ Aaron and I had some fun discussing this and related topics in our rambling fashion. We hope you enjoy and learn some things from this one.”



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,887 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 33 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,096 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,870 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,644 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,990 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,484 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,524 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,236 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 762 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,851 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,991 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,311 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,286 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 642 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,944 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,051 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,453 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,326 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 907 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,412 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,656 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,765 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 28, 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 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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