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A grim anniversary that should remind us Scientology has no business ‘testing’ anyone

[Vitkovic, mid-massacre]

On December 8, 1987 — 30 years ago today — a 22-year-old man named Frank Vitkovic went looking for a former friend he wanted to kill.

On Queen Street in Melbourne, Vitkovic entered a high-rise office building and took an elevator to the fifth floor, where he knew his target worked at a credit co-op. After confronting the man, Vitkovic pulled from a bag a military rifle — a sawed-off M1 carbine — and began firing, but the man ducked in time and then ran away. Instead, Vitkovic shot and killed another employee, a young woman named Judith Morris.

Vitkovic then took the elevator to the 12th floor, where there was an office for Australia Post, the nation’s mail service, and he opened fire again, killing three people before running down a stairwell to the 11th floor, where he killed four more.

His killing spree ended when three brave office workers, two of whom had already been shot, jumped on the gunman and wrestled his rifle away. A woman then stashed the firearm in a refrigerator.

After being disarmed, Vitkovic crawled towards a window on the 11th floor that had been shattered by his rifle fire. One of the men who had tackled him tried to hold on to his ankles, but Vitkovic kicked him away and then fell to his death.


In Australia, what is known as the Queen St. Massacre is still marked yearly by the press, and still resonates with the public as a horrific incident in a country that doesn’t have the frequency of mass killings that happen in this country.

What isn’t always remarked on, even by the Australian press, is that two months before he began his murderous rampage, Vitkovic had taken part in something that had reportedly deepened his depression, and left him brooding. It was something he was apparently still thinking about up to the day he went on his killing spree.

Vitkovic had taken a Scientology personality test.

In an official enquiry held about a year after the killings, testimony was heard about Vitkovic and his history. Vitkovic had left behind a suicide note and a detailed diary, which contained his descriptions of living for years with deepening depression and fits of rage.

And among the things found at his apartment were the results of the Scientology personality test he had taken two months before his shooting spree, which he had kept.

The enquiry heard testimony from Scientology member Eleanor Simpson, who had administered the test to Vitkovic at the Melbourne org. According to press reports, she testified that his results were the worst she had ever seen, and that it was obvious he was suffering badly from depression. But rather than direct him to a mental health professional — Scientology reviles the psychiatric profession — she offered him instead an introductory Scientology course, “Overcoming Ups and Downs in Life.”

The court heard testimony that Simpson’s blunder had a significant impact.

After studying the 22-year-old law student’s diaries, Dr. [Alan] Bartholomew [a forensic psychologist] said Vitkovic was a paranoid schizophrenic, and that there was no doubt the personality test had worsened his depression, and might have contributed to the decline in his mental state. In his closing submission, counsel assisting the coroner, Mr. Joe Dickson, said the personality test could have contributed to the murders.

Scientology’s “Oxford Capacity Analysis,” its 200-question personality test that actually has nothing to do with Oxford University, is how many people first encounter Scientology. The OCA is outdated and unreliable, copied by L. Ron Hubbard from a test written by a eugenics professor in 1941. As our own Rod Keller explained earlier this year, “Scientology’s personality test cannot be considered scientific. Like Scientology itself, there is no testing for accuracy, no debate, or experimentation… The Oxford Capacity Analysis is used as a recruiting tool.”

In the case of Frank Vitkovic, the results of his test, interpreted by the Melbourne Org, apparently only reinforced what he’d been saying in his diary, that he was in a tailspin of depression, and that his life wasn’t worth living.

We’ve written about other cases where Scientology not only doesn’t deliver what it promises, but it can actually make matters worse. This is an organization pushing pseudoscience, and it shouldn’t be anywhere near people with real mental health issues.

Meanwhile, we’re told that Eleanor Simpson, who testified in that 1988 enquiry, is still actively involved with the Melbourne org, which went “Ideal” in 2011.

We sent her a message, asking her if she might want to discuss Frank Vitkovic and his personality test. If she gets back to us, we’ll let you know.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,957 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 103 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,166 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,940 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,714 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,060 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,554 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,594 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,306 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 832 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,921 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,061 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,381 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,356 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 712 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,014 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,120 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,523 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,396 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 977 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,482 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,726 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,835 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 8, 2017 at 07:00

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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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