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Scientology TV gives viewers a glimpse of the church’s most secret locations — but why?

Scientology TV is still unwatchable, but since its debut more than a week ago, we’ve enjoyed keeping an eye on the reactions it’s generating on social media.

People are stunned, outraged, and downright astonished that DirecTV now has a channel for the church to spew its propaganda 24 hours a day. And some viewers are grabbing shots they find really funny or bizarre, which we’re finding pretty useful. There was this wonderful example a couple of days ago…



And there was another screen grab by a random viewer that really got our attention.

The images the viewer grabbed should be pretty familiar to longtime readers here at the Bunker. And we hope you realize just how sort of shocking it is that Scientology put these images up on its television network for the world to see.

Here they are…


These, of course, are inside scenes from one of Scientology’s legendary and super secretive underground vaults. They look very much like the photos shown to Scientologists in a 2015 copy of International Scientology News that we got a copy of. In fact, we have a feeling they come from the very same photo shoot.

These are looks inside the archiving process and the underground vault at Scientology’s most secret entity, the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), and were probably shot at its headquarters compound, which is in the mountains above Los Angeles near a place called Lake Arrowhead. The small compound goes by several names among the few Scientologists who knew anything about it, including Twin Peaks, Rimforest, and Rim of the World. CST also has two more vault locations in California, and one in New Mexico. (In 2016, we premiered amazing drone footage of all of the secret CST locations.)

In the first shot, you can see technicians lowering titanium containers into protective outer coverings. Inside the titanium containers will be stainless steel plates with the words of L. Ron Hubbard etched on them, and inert gases to keep those plates stable. In the second photo, you can see the racks inside the underground vault where those containers are stored in order to be available for centuries, in case of “civilization collapse.” In other words, if a nuclear holocaust or natural disaster wipes out civilization, at least the wisdom of L. Ron Hubbard will survive.

CST’s is a bizarre mission, and it was set in motion by Hubbard himself when he oversaw a reorganization of Scientology’s corporate structure in the early 1980s, while he was in seclusion. The late Denise Brennan, who was directly involved in that reorganization, told us that the idea for the vaults had come from Hubbard’s novel Battlefield Earth, which was just coming out at that time.

Another reason we have kept a close eye on CST and its headquarters compound at Twin Peaks is because we believe it’s the location of Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly, who was sent there in late summer 2005. Shelly was once a very visible leader of Scientology in her own right, but since she was sent to the Twin Peaks compound, she’s only been seen in public once, at the funeral of her father in the summer of 2007. (She may have also been spotted in the nearby town recently, a sighting we’re taking seriously.)

But despite the secrecy of the CST compound in general, and the risk of reminding people of Shelly’s disappearance in particular, the church decided to show these images for the public to see.

Author and former Scientology Sea Org official Marc Headley tells us he happened to be watching the Scientology TV network for a few minutes and saw these images flash on the screen. He says they were only onscreen for a moment, and the narration wasn’t talking about them.

“The whole thing was just like a giant commercial,” he tells us. The CST shots rolled by in a series of images of other impressive-looking Scientology installations and locations.

“It’s just eye candy,” Headley says.

We called up Dylan Gill to get his thoughts on why Scientology would show the outside world a glimpse of something they have generally kept very secret, even from other Scientologists. Gill is the only former CST worker to come forward and talk to the press.

He pointed out that there has always been a sort of schizophrenic dichotomy about Scientology’s handling of its CST secrets. On the one hand, even top-level Scientologists were kept in the dark about CST and its activities, including the location of its bases. But the work that CST did — the archiving of Hubbard’s words — was broadcast to everyone in the church.

“You’ve seen the pamphlets that they did before,” he says, referring to glossy advertising for the archiving that was done in the 1980s and 1990s by Hubbard’s literary agency, Author Services Inc.

“CST is the most secret of all secrets, but everyone in Scientology is told about ‘LRH Archives,'” he points out. Scientologists were hit up for donations to continue the archiving process, but they weren’t supposed to know about the Church of Spiritual Technology or where it was located.

Sure, advertising “LRH Archives” to Scientologists for donations makes sense, but showing these images to “raw public”?

“That is odd,” Dylan says.

He says it’s Scientology “showing all their MEST,” a Hubbard acronym standing for “Matter, Energy, Space, and Time” — the physical objects in the physical universe. Scientology is concerned with the spirit, not the physical, and MEST is usually spoken of in a dismissive way. But here, Scientology seems to be reveling in its expensive toys.

“It kind of reminds me of when I first moved to Denver, I went on a tour of the Ideal Org. Their biggest emphasis was on the zebrawood they used for their saunas. They wanted to show you how awesome it was to get you to come in. ‘Look at how many buildings we have,’ that’s what they’re saying. And I think it’s also part of the mindset that they feel superior to the public, who are unenlightened,” he says.

We have to admit, those are some impressive images. But as Headley points out, if they actually explained what they were, viewers would howl.

“There’s a huge backstory to those images and if you told the public about that, they’d say, you’re crazy for building that.”


Helping Ginger Sugerman

In case you missed it Tuesday, a GoFundMe website is raising money for former Scientologist Ginger Sugerman, who is recovering from being shot in the face. The amount raised largely by readers here at the Underground Bunker has surpassed $4,000 and will help Ginger with funeral costs for her husband and surgeries she’s facing.

She had a message for the Bunker: “Anything is helpful at this point, and I just feel very grateful that you guys have helped me out. You are angels.”


SMERSH Madness 2018

Today we’re continuing with the second round of our big dance featuring the people we think are working hardest to defend Scientology against its enemies. These are not only Scientologists, but also the people who enable the church as it works against its foes. Which of them do you think deserves the most recognition for Keeping Scientology Working, spreading disconnection, and litigating former Scientologists into the ground?

Our match today features our #3 seed, actor John Travolta. One of the most well known icons of Scientology, he was lured into the church while he was acting in his first movie, 1975’s The Devil’s Rain. In recent years, he’s fended off questions about Scientology’s bad press by saying he doesn’t pay attention to it. Probably the number one question we get asked about Travolta is whether he’s really a true believer or just afraid to leave the church and face its wrath with leaks about his sex life. According to our best celebrity source, “The blackmail thing? No. That’s not what keeps him in. Nobody cares. If he was open about his sex life, no one, even in Hollywood, would care. Blackmail would only make him resentful, and he’s not resentful. He’s just convinced that every success he’s had comes from Scientology, and it’s the positive things he believes he’s gotten from it that keep him from believing any criticism of it.”

He’s taking on the #19 seed, Scientology’s reclusive — almost mythical, really — international spokeswoman, Karin Pouw, who defeated Freedom magazine editor John Sugg in the first round. Now that Tommy Davis and Mike Rinder have left, and David Miscavige himself never talks to the press, Scientology has fallen back on Sea Org lifer Pouw to deliver its public pronouncements (when it’s not having one of its attorneys handle it). The funny thing is, Pouw pretty much only communicates through email, and never gives interviews. We have long suspected that David Miscavige himself may be writing press releases under her name. But we’re especially fortunate that we did get to meet Ms. Pouw in person, way back around the year 2001, when we had lunch with her at the Celebrity Centre. During that memorable meal, Pouw got a little uptight about our questions and blurted, “So we think Jesus is a figment of the imagination! So what!” Luckily, we’d brought our notepad along.


[John Travolta and Karin Pouw]

Who deserves to move on as champions of Scientology? Who has done more to perpetuate the church’s reputation in this time of crisis? Cast your votes!


Yesterday’s winner: Kendrick Moxon slipped past Kirstie Alley!


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,061 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,664 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 207 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,270 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,044 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,818 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,164 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,658 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,698 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,410 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 936 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,025 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,165 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,485 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,460 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 816 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,118 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,224 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,627 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,499 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,081 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,586 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,830 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,939 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 22, 2018 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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