Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Wally Hanks, Scientology ranch terror recently portrayed on ‘Leah Remini,’ dies at 70

Wally Hanks, the employee at the 1990s Scientologist-run Mace-Kingsley Ranch in New Mexico who was heard terrorizing a child on an audio tape played back for an episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath that aired on October 10, died Friday night at a hospital in Southern California. He was 70 years old.

“We were expecting it for a while,” says Brian Hanks, 34, whose father, Michael, was Wally’s older brother. “He had a stroke a few months ago, and kidney failure. The past ten years have been hell for him.”

Wallace Earl Hanks was born in August 1947 and grew up in a Dallas orphanage with his brother and a sister. “They had it rough,” Brian tells us. But even though he knew about his uncle’s reputation at the ranch, he knew a man most others didn’t get to see. “He was a Vietnam vet. He had his issues, but I loved him. He always treated me right.”

At Mace-Kingsley Ranch, Wally Hanks was known for dishing out punishment to the Scientology kids who had been sent there for rehabilitation by their parents. As former Ranch kid Nathan Rich explained in the Leah Remini episode, Hanks had a paddle that he used to hit children as discipline. In the audiotape, Hanks can be heard terrorizing a child named Marco who would not stand still for his paddling.


We asked Brian, was Wally aware that earlier this month his legendary cruelty at the ranch became the subject of a national television program?

“No. He was barely conscious and he couldn’t talk. But knowing him, he wouldn’t have given a damn even if he had known,” he says.

Brian confirmed what we had heard from another source, that his uncle still had that paddle from Mace-Kingsley on his wall. Brian himself spent a few months at the ranch in 1996. “I was a hellion. My father had had a heart attack, and I agreed to go while he recovered. It was kind of fucked up when I was there, but it wasn’t too bad.”

We asked him if his uncle ever talked about the ranch with him in later years. “We never talked about it,” he said.

Brian says his uncle was married multiple times and had children, but Brian wasn’t in touch with them. In his final years, Wally was being cared for by a much younger girlfriend and his sister. Before he got too sick to work, Wally had been managing a trailer park.

“I went out there to help out when he had both knees replaced,” Brian says.

“He had his faults. But he was a good guy, once you got past the asshole.”


Jazz lovers in Clearwater, prepare to be pulled aside by Scientologists

Now, we bring you Rod Keller’s regular Sunday report…

The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is being held this weekend in the Florida Gulf Coast town that is also the spiritual mecca — the “Flag Land Base” — for the Church of Scientology. Headliners include Kenny Loggins, the Temptations and the Four Tops. Scientology has booths nearby for their Fourth Dynamic, or 4D groups. A leaked email shows that these groups are not the independent organizations they pretend to be. Scientologists are being urged to volunteer to staff the booths, and it doesn’t much matter which one.

Here’s the email:

Are you AMAZING?! Yes you are & we need your amazingness. There is a Jazz Festival this weekend in Clearwater & we need some awesome theta volunteers — which mean you of course. In return you get to create a “something can be done about it” impact on your community & of course you will be highly commended! This festival is happening in Coachman Park, but the 4D campaigns are having all their tents up in the OSCEOLA PARK on the corner of Fort Harrison and Drew, this is where we need some assistance from volunteers and public, for the Human Rights Campaign and the other Campaigns:

– Setup at 2:30pm
– Volunteer times between 3:30pm to 5:00pm
– Setup at 11:30am
– Volunteer times between 12:30pm to 11:30pm
– Break down at 11:30pm
– Setup at 12:00pm
– Volunteer times between 1:00pm to 10:30pm
– Break down at 10:30pm

(Break down: meaning that we are taking down the interiors of the tents like TVs, materials, banners etc, leaving the tent structures up). Volunteer activities include manning the tent/booth, signing people up for Educational Packages, collecting petition signatures or 8Cing people into the Human Rights Center for briefings.


[United for Human Rights building in Clearwater]

The 4D groups each have an office nearby on Fort Harrison Ave., and they are United for Human Rights, The Way to Happiness, Criminon, Foundation for a Drug Free World, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and Scientology Volunteer Ministers. In particular the term “8C” deserves some explanation.

8-C is a process in the Upper Indoc TRs and means “infinite control.” It is a training routine where a preclear controls another person, guiding them around the room and instructing them to look at a wall, touch a wall, turn around and repeat. But it’s much more than that, staff members drill on it extensively to develop their powers to control others. It is the use of a command and physically guiding a person to where you want them to go. It is meant to be gentle guidance, but it can result in significant force, particularly when used on a Scientologist. 8-C is used to force a preclear to return to the auditing chair when they want to leave without permission. It’s used when a registrar puts a pen into a potential donor’s hand and commands them to sign a check. It’s used in recruiting, called “body routing,” where a person is physically guided into the org for a personality test or to buy a copy of Dianetics. Whenever a Scientologist tries to exert control to force somebody to do something, it’s 8-C.

The late Robert Vaughn Young wrote about 8-C, “From day 1, you are put under some form of control, from the time you start the registration process and especially when you hit the first course. It is called ‘8C’ in Scientologese, Hubbard’s slang for control, and you are being told you are learning control when really you are giving into it, day by day.”

When Lisa McPherson was having trouble at her job she was put under “tight 8C” as recalled by co-worker Brenda Hubert. Lisa later had a psychotic break and died under Scientology’s care.

Prior to us leaving for Orlando on Wednesday morning, Katie came to me and told me that Lisa was having some difficulty with her ethics cycle; that she was still mid-cycle on her O/W write-up and was frequently dispersed and generally ‘in the middle of it’. She wanted me to run tight 8C on Lisa at the trade show and product officer her to get the work done at the show.


[The Way to Happiness tent in Clearwater]

For this event 8-C means that the volunteers will physically guide attendees from the Jazz Holiday event to the United for Human Rights building for a briefing. They will attempt to use “perfect intention” as they use their powers of control to force people where Scientology wants them to go. 8-C is how Scientology makes people do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.

— Rod Keller


Daily Mail helps us get the word out about Priscilla Presley

You’ll forgive us if we’re a little less than impressed by the Daily Mail’s “exclusive” that Priscilla Presley has left Scientology.

If you’ll remember, we reported in April 2016 that two years before, in September or October 2014, Lisa Marie Presley tried to have a showdown with David Miscavige at Scientology’s Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, after he ordered his sister, Denise Miscavige Gentile, to “disconnect” from her father, Ron Miscavige Sr.

David failed to show up at that meeting, and sent instead his sisters Denise and Lori to have an epic shouting match with Lisa Marie. That same day, when she went back to her hotel, Lisa Marie announced that she was no longer a Scientologist.

The Underground Bunker is still the only media outlet which has reported this incident, and we also pointed out that Lisa Marie pulled out her mother, Priscilla, and daughter, Riley Keough, at the same time.

In September 2016, when we wrote about the Scientology celebrities most likely to defect, we didn’t list Priscilla Presley because we pointed out in the introduction that she was already out.

Since then, Lisa Marie has been through a nightmare of a time as she’s had substance abuse problems (again) and she’s going through a nasty divorce with her husband Michael Lockwood. We believe she may have taken the Purif, perhaps at the new Narconon in Ojai, but we agree with Mike Rinder, who doesn’t believe that she’s actually gone back on lines in Scientology, as some tabloids want you to believe. And while Priscilla has remained out, we have heard, sadly, that Riley may have gone back into the church.

Of course, we’re still trying to bolster those stories with more evidence, but it’s really not news that Priscilla Presley left the church. However, you’ll no doubt be hearing from the usual Daily Mail repeaters today that it’s a blockbuster new idea.


UK Scientology royalty at yesterday’s Ideal Org opening

Our thanks to Andrea Garner and Pete Griffiths and others for their coverage yesterday at the Birmingham Ideal Org. It’s on to Amsterdam for David Miscavige as he opens yet another soon-to-be-empty org next weekend.

But we were struck by this photo which was featured at Scientology’s own news website of the rope-pull at yesterday’s ceremony.

Please note the presence of UK Scientology royalty, namely Sheila Gaiman in the blue and behind her, her daughter Lizzy Calcioli. Sheila is the mother to noted fantasy/sci-fi author Neil Gaiman, and Lizzy is his sister. And this particular location must have a lot of meaning for the family — Neil himself was Executive Director of the Birmingham Org back in the 1980s. We’re sure he won’t utter a peep about his family’s involvement in this ceremony.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,910 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 56 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,119 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,893 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,667 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,013 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,507 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,547 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,259 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 785 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,874 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,014 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,334 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,309 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 665 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,967 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,073 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,476 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,349 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 930 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,435 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,679 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,788 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 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 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email