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French-kissing Wilt Chamberlain: Adventures of a teenager in the skeezy world of Scientology

[The Big Dipper, and Rebecca McKee at 16]

 
Last year, we told you a unique love story, about a 16-year-old girl, Rebecca McKee, who had to give up her boyfriend, Tom McCaffrey, because of her family’s involvement in the Church of Scientology. Some 43 years later, Rebecca and Tom finally got a chance to meet again. By then, Rebecca was no longer in Scientology, and their meeting led to the two of them getting married.

Rebecca’s father, Brown McKee, was also an interesting part of that story. An MIT-educated engineer who embraced Dianetics and met L. Ron Hubbard, he eventually testified in the 1982 Clearwater Commission hearings after Scientology had been exposed in an FBI raid. In that testimony, McKee told a devastating story about his wife’s death to cancer after they followed Scientology procedures and kept her from getting proper medical care.

The McKee family story is fascinating, but recently Rebecca got in touch with us again because she’s been so affected by Leah Remini’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. Watching the accounts of Chantal Dodson and Sherry Ollins, she thought about the things she went through as a child growing up in the church. She decided to send us this account of her experience as a child in Scientology.

 

—————–

 
I was born in 1954 to parents who were already practicing Dianetics. In 1959, they moved me and my two younger sisters — Inge and Cindy — to Los Angeles to be part of the Scientology movement.

Mom joined the Los Angeles Org staff, they both trained as “Class VIII” auditors, and they went on to set up Scientology missions in various places. Dad was also an MIT engineer and worked on Moon landing vehicles for NASA, among other projects.

Their lives revolved around a busy social and intellectual life with fellow early Scientologists. Weekly cocktail parties were held in packed living rooms full of lively debates about auditing techniques. We were surrounded by fascinating people. I remember Beatniks reading poetry while playing bongo drums, magician Ray Kemp and his beautiful wife Pamela, concert pianist Mario Feninger, former opera singer Luzette Sparrin, jazz musicians like Dave Brubeck, LA Org executive director Julia Salmon, the aristocratic Hana and Guy Eltringham, to name a few.

Mom became good friends with Kathy Talent, mother of Mimi Rogers, who later became first wife to Tom Cruise. Mom often babysat Mimi, and the four of us girls played together. Later, Mimi repaid this friendship by attempting to get me fired from a job she wanted at the Scientology mission in Albuquerque.

Kathy was a beautiful brunette with a figure that eclipsed Jayne Mansfield’s. At one point, I overheard Kathy telling my mom that she was upset about being divorced and replaced by a younger woman. She missed her children, had no money, and then resorted to working as a stripper. She was in her 40s the last time I saw her, sick, broken down, and still stripping in LA’s seedy clubs on Western Avenue. I would never have allowed such a thing to happen to my mother.

In 1962, Dad encouraged Mom to do the Special Briefing Course at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England. Hubbard had purchased a mansion and moved there in 1959, setting up training in the basement. He personally taught the new Saint Hill Special Briefing Course. Later, listening to his taped lectures from the SHSBC that became course curricula, I could hear Mom’s infectious laugh in the background.

Inge and I were sent to live with friends. Cindy stayed with Dad. We had a live-in housekeeper, Elsa, with whom Dad started an affair. Mom found out and turned to her friend, Mary Sue Hubbard, for help. Mary Sue had LRH instruct Julia Salmon to get Dad to stop. I have to thank the Hubbards for helping our family at that time.

We girls were required to do the Communication Course and its Training Routines, including long periods of staring and “bull-baiting.” Our folks would also make us do this. We were also subjected to auditing. It was unsuccessful. Too young to have developed problems or committed offenses that needed to be confessed other than stealing cookies, we girls learned to “float our needles” on the E-meter. We faked a good reaction to get our parents to leave us alone. This ability served us well later in order to avoid vicious Scientology security checks (interrogations) and internal witch hunts, also known as committees of evidence.

UFO researcher (and Scientologist) John Otto was another unique friend. In the early ’60s he and his daughter Lisa, our family, and some other die-hards convoyed out to Death Valley at night to camp and look for things in the sky. One night we saw some. The adults were running around, shouting and flashing bright lights at the sky for hours.

It was absolutely terrifying for us kids. We all hid in the car under the seats with our arms around each other and with our frightened dog Marshmallow. The adults found us in the morning, stiff from cold and hungry from no dinner. They told us how one of them was spiritually kidnapped by a tractor beam, and the others managed to mentally pull them out of the space ship back into their body. We kids refused to go on these adventures again, paranoid we’d be tractor beamed by aliens. We all subsequently had bad dreams for years.

 

[L to R: Cindy, Rebecca, and Inge McKee]

 
In 1966 my folks set up a mission in Fountain Valley, a bedroom community in Orange County, California. The courses were initially run in our garage and later in rented office space.

I was forced to take auditor training courses at the LA Org during summer vacation from age 11 to 14. Since Mom was on staff, she’d frequently bring my two younger sisters as well, and they were allowed to play pretty much unsupervised while she was working.

Inge, who was two years younger than I, told me a story of when she and Cindy, 4 years younger, were bored and wanted to get some clay to play with. Scientology uses clay as a teaching method on all courses and one does “clay demos” to prove understanding of subject matter. We girls often played with clay.

There was a local art supply shop a few blocks away on Alvarado Street near McArthur Park, where many LA Org students and staff purchased course supplies. Mom gave them money to buy clay and Inge and Cindy walked to the store. Alvarado was a busy street and the park full of winos, and not the safest part of town.

The female employee at the store tried to entice them to a back room. She showed them photos of nude children and promised them candy if they’d take off their clothes and let a man take pictures. Just 9 years old, Inge thankfully had her wits about her, grabbed Cindy and they ran out of the shop chased by the lady.

I can’t help thinking of other kids and perhaps older Scientology adolescents and young women in need of money these perverts managed to trap. My sisters never told anyone, as our folks relied on us to “keep your ethics in,” to behave like adults and accept responsibility for anything bad that happened to us. Mom wasn’t purposely neglectful, she was just applying LRH’s twisted child technology, which considered kids to be ancient beings in small packages.

We also knew Luzette Sparrin, an old time Scientologist and former opera singer. By the mid-’60s she’d fallen on hard times as a result of spending her fortune on Scientology and, she claimed, making loans to L. Ron Hubbard. My folks tried to help by hiring her to give us music lessons. At age 80 then, she’d reminisce for hours about her career highlights. We listened to be polite. I was sad to read she died alone in a pitiful state in her late 90s.

Scientology teaches that you cannot study beyond a misunderstood word. One must clear the word before continuing. While on course, I came across the word “masturbation” in the Dianetics book. At age 12 I had no idea what it meant. The Merriam Webster dictionary definition was too vague, so my instructors tried to explain it, for hours. I finally said I understood to get them off my back, but I had no clue. One instructor asked what it meant. I said “excitement,” since they were so excited about my having to understand it. I passed.

When I was 13 and 14, Dad would send me out of the house on weekends with a stack of 500 or 1,000 Scientology fliers promoting our Fountain Valley mission. I was expected to distribute them by end of the day, and he’d often send Inge with me. To do so we hitchhiked up and down Beach Boulevard. Dad knew about it and didn’t care. The goal was to get new people into the mission. Inge and I ended up in a few pretty dicey situations and we learned to run fast.

While studying at the LA Org, at age 13 I was encouraged to be the “girlfriend” of a young teenage son of one of the staff who had Parkinson’s and trembled. I refused. Nevertheless, he’d sneak kisses when I wasn’t suspecting it. It was sad.

My sisters and I rarely saw doctors or dentists, thanks to Hubbard’s paranoia about the medical profession. Cindy had an earache for months, which Mom treated by bobby-pinning geranium leaves near her ears. Cindy also was quite pigeon-toed, which Mom treated by putting a left shoe on her right foot and right shoe on the left foot. Cindy now has very serious leg and knee problems. Inge had foot pain for a year when she was 8. Mom finally took her to the doctor and an X-ray revealed a 4-inch needle in her foot. She still has trouble with that foot.

 

[Rebecca, left, with her father and his second wife Julie, and Rebecca’s sister Inge at a Scientology event]

 
Dad was extremely charismatic, and women were attracted to his intelligence and rousing Scientology lectures. He was somewhat unfaithful as a result. Once Mom bundled us girls in to the car and took us to his employer while he was away on a trip. I believe she’d cooked this plan up with the Ethics Officer at the LA Org to “handle” Dad. She demanded to see Dad’s girlfriend (and secretary). She then instructed my sisters and I to sob and plead with her “Please don’t take our daddy away!” We enjoyed that bit of playacting and probably overdid the dramatics. But Mom sure was happy.

Dad left that job and ultimately had to file for bankruptcy. Later he divorced Mom after finding another beautiful woman, Julie, an ex-Broadway dancer, singer, and ballerina. Scientology forced Mom to submit to the divorce without alimony or child support. She was devastated and reluctantly left us with my Dad and his new girlfriend. He promised to take good care of us. Mom moved to St. Louis and later worked at the Boston org.

Dad was OT 6 and a Class VIII auditor by now, a senior member of Scientology. In a sense we were Scientology “royalty.” Once Mom was gone, Dad would often line up my sisters and I for hour-long inspections. We had to walk back and forth as he studied our posture and physical appearance. At ages 13, 11 and 9, we were ugly ducklings and didn’t have Mom to ease us into understanding our body changes. Dad would launch into hour-long lectures about how ugly we were, that we didn’t deserve to be in the family or be supported by him. Afterwards we’d retreat in shame to our respective bedrooms and hide under our beds for the rest of the day, going without dinner.

He would assign Scientology “ethics conditions” to us, such as “liability” or “enemy.” Often we had to sleep on the garage floor and wear dirty grey rags around our arms to signify we were no good. Many other Scientology parents did the same thing; I think they all compared notes on what was most effective.

I developed an attitude and rebelliously defended my sisters. No amount of disciplinary action could break my spirit. So Dad got rid of me. I was forced to quit high school at the end of my junior year (unfortunately the high school allowed it) and he enrolled me on the Special Briefing Course in Los Angeles. The course was held at ASHO — the American Saint Hill Organization — which was then on Temple Street, across from the LAPD Rampart Division police station. I wanted to finish high school but had no choice.

He found me a slummy rooming house near the LA org, in the vicinity of Alvarado Street and Olympic Boulevard. To get to course I would have to walk miles and take buses.

The first time I got to the course room, it was packed with what seemed to be more than 200 students. Smoke hung in a grey haze in the air as almost everyone smoked. It smelled stale and dirty. The room was large, crammed with long rows of card tables and metal folding chairs. The cracked linoleum floor was a dirty gray. The back wall was lined with dozens of tape recorders on tables for listening to Hubbard’s taped lectures. All eyes turned to me as I was introduced to the class. I wanted to sink into the floor and can’t remember being more embarrassed. I was also the only teenager on the course that I could tell. It was completely overwhelming.

Next, I was seated with the senior course instructor, Connie. She was in her late 30s, a thin peroxide blonde whose mouth, teeth, and hands were stained yellow by nicotine. She reviewed the course hours, the rules, and procedures. She asked me what I intended to do with my nights and weekends in addition to being on course weekdays.

I happily informed her I had a (non-Scientology) boyfriend and we often went to the beach. In fact, why couldn’t I plan a beach party for all the students on a free weekend? I waited for her to realize what a wonderful idea it was and agree.

Connie just stared at me, poker-faced. She slowly squashed out her cigarette, and then began to scream at me. “You dilettante! What do you think you are doing here? You are here to study!” The angry noise and personal attack continued but I didn’t hear her. I was in shock, all I could do was stare at her yellow jagged teeth as she frothed at the mouth and spat bits of tobacco.

She finally stopped, glaring at me. I looked around the room. All the students were trying not to watch, a few looked at me with real pity and frowned at Connie. I was unceremoniously escorted to a table and chair and told “Start!” I sat there and realized I had walked into a lunatic asylum. I had given up my freedom and was in a prison that I would not escape from for two years.

Dad then moved to the US Virgin Islands to run the mission on St. John, taking his girlfriend Julie and my sister Inge with him. Cindy was farmed out with my Dad’s sister, Dolly. She and her Navy captain husband and family lived at the Pt. Loma Navy Base. I was now on my own.

A good friend of Mom, Yvonne Jentzsch, was running LA’s Celebrity Centre. One of her young staff members was having a relationship with basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain to try to get him into Scientology. Shortly after I started the Special Briefing Course, the staffer introduced me to Wilt when they met me in the hall of the slummy boarding house. I guess he liked what he saw and later asked her to ask me to go on a date. Again, I was only 15.

 

 
I didn’t want to, I was in love with my boyfriend Tom (to whom I am now married). But I was pressured by Celebrity Centre and finally agreed to meet Wilt for lunch. He picked me up and took me to Bob’s Big Boy on Wilshire Blvd. It was boring. I had no idea who he was. I didn’t understand why people kept coming up to him asking for autographs. I didn’t like him, and when he dropped me off I tried to get away quickly. But he grabbed me, forcing an awful slimy kiss on me and stuck his tongue down my throat. I nearly threw up. I refused to see him again, even though I was pressured and he kept calling. I told Tom, and he was furious that I had been used as bait. Later, Celebrity Centre told Tom to leave me alone and he finally gave up on me, joining the Army to go to Vietnam. I was then completely unprotected.

At lunch time many students would go to local restaurants, such as the Intersection Armenian place across the street. I could only afford super cheap sandwiches at a little hole in the wall deli a few blocks west on Temple Street. The owner was a big fat greasy older guy with a dirty white apron and a cigar clenched in his teeth. He’d always try to chat with me and finally asked me to go up his attic stairs to help retrieve some boxes.

Trained to be polite and helpful, I went to look at the attic stairs. I had on a mini skirt. I noticed him getting too close and tried to leave. He restrained me by grabbing my arm and offered money to take pictures of me climbing the stairs from below. He told me other girls from Scientology did it, including Sea Org members to make extra money. I refused and literally ran out, never going there again. I was still just 15.

Two students, Dottie and Janet, supported themselves as strippers at night. At one point they were dancing at the sailor bars in Long Beach harbor. They made it clear to me I could make money that way and they’d help me. I was repulsed by the idea.

A good friend, Becky, had a full time job as a secretary. In order to pay for Scientology she took a night job with other Scientology girls who needed money by posing in a skimpy bathing suit in LA’s Skid Row. Men were given cameras and a few seconds to take photos and peek. She told me I could get a job and she’d take care of me. I refused. Despite the fact that Dad was always late with support payments and I often went hungry, I never considered selling myself.

Connie’s son and ex-husband were also on course. I liked her ex, Don. He treated me with respect and we often worked together on study projects. He is a famous Puerto Rican jazz musican, still playing in his late 90s. Their son Arthur asked me out and I said no, after which she really had it in for me for two years solid. She gave me extra course assignments and arranged for ruthless “bull-baiting” sessions.

All students were required to do daily “TRs” which involved “bull-baiting.” This is when another student sits across from you and shouts all manner of awful, painful and disgusting things, and pretends to strike you, stopping within an inch of your face to solicit a reaction. Two-hour sessions were frequently required. If you reacted or even blinked, the clock was reset and the two hours started again. No bathroom breaks allowed, which was also abuse. Once I had to sit there for six hours solid. I think my later eye problems go back to those two-hour sessions of not being allowed to blink.

The reality was that bull-baiting was horribly perverted hazing. It turned children and women into objects. Male students especially enjoyed bull-baiting me on sex. One pervert in particular, Richard, just loved to bull-bait me. He’d go on for hours, describing in slow, excruciating detail what the girls in the peep shows on Alvarado Street did with their legs spread wide. He related how one woman could smoke a cigarette there, and described other things that they did, the objects they inserted, and so on. He told long tales of sex shows in Tijuana with women and donkeys, waiting to get a reaction out of me. He talked about seducing me, having others participate, and so on. Again, I was just a child at the time.

I felt filthy each time I had to endure it, like someone had covered me with black tar. I sure lost my sexual innocence fast at 15. I was shocked and appalled, and there was no one to help me. All the other students heard the bull-baiting and no one stuck up for me.

It was mental rape and sexual abuse of a minor. And LRH had developed it. He wrote the technique. In a sense this may indicate he was a bit of a pervert and pedophile himself. I mean, who would want to do this to his own children? I know the four Hubbard children had to do the same training routines as everyone else. Diana Hubbard had been my pen pal. Everyone has to pass bull baiting, children and adults alike.

Inge told me she had the same kind of experience while doing her Scientology training and she was younger than me. All three of us were abused as minors over time by dozens of men with this type of mind rape.

Scientology kids learn to be increasingly robotic and hide their feelings when they are continually denied love and acceptance. Scientology parents expect their children to be self sufficient, to operate without “human emotion and reaction” and to “make it go right.” When my sisters or I would fall down and get hurt, we’d be asked, “What did you do to pull that in?” We learned to say nothing.

 
— Rebecca (McKee) McCaffrey

 
Thank you, Rebecca.

Rebecca shared this account with her sister Inge, who, in an email, said that it agreed with her memory of their past. As for the specific allegation about Wilt Chamberlain, in her account Rebecca said she had told her boyfriend Tom McCaffrey about it, and that it angered him.

Yesterday, we spoke to Tom McCaffrey, who says that’s the way he remembers it too, that a day or two after Rebecca’s 1969 date with Chamberlain, she told him about it. “My opinion was that they were using her as fresh meat to bring him in,” he says. Not too long after that, he had to give up on the idea of being Rebecca’s boyfriend, and before long he was on his way to Vietnam.

Chamberlain caused a stir in 1991 with the publication of his book A View from Above, which contained his claim that he’d slept with 20,000 different women in his life. He died of heart failure in 1999 at 63.

As for the way Scientology sexualizes children and subjects them to mental abuse, we will remind readers of the story we told in January about Serge Gil. As a teenager, Gil’s job as an auditor at the Flag Land Base was to quiz older men about the most intimate details of their sex lives, and in particular, about what they thought about during masturbation. Often, he told us, he had to keep his composure as an older man told him about sexual fantasies he’d had about Serge himself.

And once again, we will remind you of the words of L. Ron Hubbard in Scientology’s most important single volume, 1950’s Dianetics: “The seven-year-old girl who shudders because a man kisses her is not computing; she is reacting to an engram since at seven she should see nothing wrong in a kiss, not even a passionate one. There must have been an earlier experience, possibly prenatal, which made men or kissing very bad.”

If Leah Remini’s second season of Scientology and the Aftermath has done nothing else, it has made the world more aware of Scientology’s unnatural consideration of children, and that for decades it put kids in harm’s way time and again.

 
——————–

Chris Shelton on Scientology basics

Chris takes us through the eight “dynamics.”

 

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,928 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 74 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,137 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,911 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,685 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,031 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,525 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,565 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,277 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 803 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,892 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,032 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,352 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,327 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 683 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,985 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,091 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,494 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,367 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 948 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,453 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,697 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,806 days.

——————–

3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 9, 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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