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Scientology’s founder in 1948: Dianetics was ‘unfrigidizing’ women into ‘nymphos’

[Hubbard in 1948]

A 1948 letter written by L. Ron Hubbard that Lawrence Wright quotes in his 2013 history of Scientology, Going Clear, is going on the auction block in New York on June 14, and it’s really fun to see it in its entirety on the Christie’s website.

The auction features two letters written by Hubbard to the man he considered his best friend at the time, another pulp writer, Russell Hays, who was from Kansas but who Hubbard met while on holiday with his first wife, Polly, in Encinitas, California in 1934.

By 1948 and the first of the two letters to Hays, Hubbard was married to his second wife, Sara Northrup, and he was working on what would become his 1950 bestseller, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, the foundational text of the Scientology movement.


Hubbard’s description of the project is surreal and very telling as he boasts that he is “making a monkey out of Freud” and can make men “twice as tall as superman” in a matter of hours with what will become his dianetic processing.

But it’s his effect on women that is really noteworthy. “I went to work and got me a flock of ambulant lunatics from a matrimonial bureau and began to work on them,” he writes. “Six out of ten unfrigidized and went practically nympho and I had a hound’s time trying to undo the over-compensation and normalize it.”


We’re reminded of another letter Hubbard wrote at about this time, a 1949 letter to another close friend and Hubbard’s literary agent, Forrest Ackerman. Hubbard told “Forrie” that with dianetics…

“…you can rape women without their knowing it, communicate suicide messages to your enemies as they sleep, sell the Arroyo Seco parkway to the mayor for cash, evolve the best way of protecting or destroying communism, and other handy house hold hints. If you go crazy, remember you were warned.”

And given the success he was having with recent “cases,” he had “not decided whether to destroy the Catholic church or merely start a new one.” Well, we know which one he eventually settled on.

The second letter to Hays was written in April 1950, just before the completed book was to come out and after the birth of Alexis, Hubbard’s child with Sara. It’s fun to see what Hubbard is hoping to do once the royalties start rolling in: “I want a good home in some sunny clime, a nice yacht small enough to keep going without much expense, a pretty steno to take care of my typing, a good smart boy to look after the business affairs and thereafter a lot of peace in which to monkey around.”

Christie’s expects to get between $10,000 and $15,000 for the two letters. We have a feeling a certain church is going to want to nab them.

Let us know how you might have reacted if you’d received the 1948 letter. Does your friend Hubbard sound like a legitimate researcher exploring a new branch of psychology? Or a harebrained crackpot using his stage hypnotism skills to gin up some controversy for publicity’s sake? Here are the two letters in their entirety…


General Delivery
El Cajon, Calif.
July 15, 1948

Dear Russell;

Went through our old home town t’other day and you’d sure have to look hard to see much change. Drug stores, theater, p.o., your place, bums on the beach and all seem to be complete to the smallest detail. Was going to stop there but somehow rolled on by it and couldn’t find my brakes until El Cajon.

Just had a fine frumpus with Sara’s family and so it goes. Her mother came down with a paralytic stroke so Sara out of misguided something or other went over to take care of her and finally I up and gave up my apartment in Hollywood and the next thing you know it looked like we were going to be five years living out of a suitcase taking care of the old woman. This I sure didn’t like but fortunately Sara’s half sister, a bit on the looney side taking after the old woman’s first husband up and pulled her freight west from Chicago on account of maybe the old lady would die and there’d be less than a hundred percent of the estate to suck up. So in comes the looney one, big fight, and me with a sigh of relief got Sara out of there quick. So here we are, neatly relieved of said responsibility if a little broke.

To rehabilitate after a couple months in that squirrel cage, I am ready to do almost anything, even go to work.

Been much titilated with a new idea about psychology — loud boos from Lawrence! — and been amusing myself making a monkey out of Freud. I always knew he was nutty but didn’t have a firm case. Recall that book that knocked me off my hinges about ten years back? Well, I sensibly kept it in moth balls as too hot to handle. A publisher offered to publish it couple months back and I broke it out and then shook my head over it. Too doggoned upsetting to the feeble minds of our fellow men. So instead I took a little section of one chapter and began to work on it and all of a sudden it seemed like I’d been awful dumb ten years back about the hooman mind — if any — because I’d overlooked the lengths one could go in that department. So I went to work and got me a flock of ambulant lunatics from a matrimonial bureau and began to work on them. So help me and hope to kiss a pig, six out of ten unfrigidized and went practically nympho and I had a hound’s time trying to undo the over-compensation and normalize it. But I seen my duty and I done it. And no illi[c]it relations either, you wicked man. Then I started on “inferiority complexes” and nightly had people writhing in my Hollywood office, sending guys out twice as tall as superman. the most satisfactory work of all was on allergies and stuttering and these were scotched in two or three hours per case. In short, although I won’t bank on it until I get a complete stress analysis on this here bridge, I seem to have cut psycho-analysis down from a two year job to about two nights. Here and there I hit a mental h[y]pochondriac who is so much in love with his mental ill health that he just plain can’t live without it. I’m working on that now.

This is an outgrowth of re-definition of the character of the mind and an examination of the exact causation and effectiveness of traumas.

I’ve got to start on my book now for this publisher and said book will probably require six weeks to write or thereabouts. The thing about such work is the lack of proper academic alphabetism. A psychiatrist, who can do practically nothing for anybody; he uses psycho-analysis; he works two to three years on a customer — you can’t say patient because nothing much is being done for him but you will admit that besides being a fool he is patient — at the rate of four visits per week of one hour each at a cost of $15 per visit and after an $8,000 expenditure ordinarily manages a few minor aberrations or maybe an allergy and discharges his customer for future reference. Well, I’ve been rolling this sort of thing back to twenty hours of work average for a total cure and complete shift of personality. Takes as high as fifty hours of work sometimes, but the thing works on about 80% of all patients, sane or otherwise. Now the question is, how do I go about doing something with it? I’ll have a book, AN INTRODUCTION TO TRAUMATIC PSYCHOLOGY, but I have no alphabet trailing L. Ron Hubbard around. I have no license to practice (really none required for psychology but it looks better); I am not connected with any institution and I have no capital to start a fancy clinic. Your advice would be extremely welcome, swami.

Sara just came home, so I will leave you amongst your anvils, channel irons, rotors and rotary drills.

My very best — Ron

Please read at least the introduction to Bolitho’s TWELVE AGAINST THE GODS if you haven’t. At last a definition of adventure.

Hi, Russell & Adele — Sara

L. Ron Hubbard
c/o Explorers Club 10 W. 72nd St.
New York, N.Y.

Box 666 Bay Head NJ 2 Apr. 50

Dear Russkell;

I’ve been meaning to indict you an eepistle here for some time but I had that book on dianetics to get out and it went about 180,000 words and then I just got rid of a 50,000 word novel and between times these wild-eyed enthusiasts keep comin’ round and makin’ my weekends miserable and I’d give one heell of a lot, my good friend, even for a snoose of snuff and some vile Kansas beer. Lately they had a book called No Place To Hide. Well, that’s me, brother, and it’s gettin’ worse quick. Pathfinder carries the first release on Apr. 6. AP releasing their story shortly. TIME and the NY TIMES both carrying a long story on dianetics. Then Ast. science fiction. Ads in publishers weekly, been in Winchell, requests from Satevepost, Scientific American for review copies and about a skillion other magazines. Goin’ to break and I just hope it don’t break me in the bargain. I formed up a foundation this week to get ready for issuing authorizations to these dozens of people who on rumor are writing in wanting to start institutes. Said foundation is to corral any loose funds any ailing philanthropist may have on the idle side of the ledger. Got a lawyer, a publisher, an editor, an engineer, a doctor, all enthusiastic, as trustees. They’re doing the work. Then I’m going to make another foundation, a family one, into which I can drop the royalties on this book and any other remuneration and put it out of circulation until I can use it on research. The Dianetics Foundation, the second one, is for little items like a euphoria drug I dreamed up, how the sex practices of the Ancient Zulus compare with Hollywood stenographic personnel, why inventors refuse to make money out of their inventions and a few other minor affairs. Book may not catch hold right away but I think it should do its three hundred thousand copies in the next couple years.

Things been happening. For instance a guy called up and said his wife was dying in an NY hospital. Doc Winter went up in a hurry, found out they’d given her up in both psychiatry and medicine and the priests were spreading their palms for the lasts rites. He brought her out of a chronic colitis, which was what was killing her, in exactly four hours of therapy. She had left the hospital and a week after treatment has gained twelve pounds, keeps gaining at 1/2 lb. per day, is walking and talking and working and feeling wonderful. This impressed hell out of the press. Couple other random cases, just as spectacular. About thirty regular therapies going on at present, none of them I’ve met, all of whom are advancing swiftly. Washington School of Psychiatry will probably adopt it as a standard therapy, etc.

All of which is good and excellent news to me because I’ve got my eye on the dollar sign. With other books, magazine articles, lectures and maybe a rich patient or two I think I can clean up a few bucks. I want a good home in some sunny clime, a nice yacht small enough to keep going without much expense, a pretty steno to take care of my typing, a good smart boy to look after the business affairs and thereafter a lot of peace in which to monkey around. If I can attain all this I shall be a happy man — indeed I think it is easier to attain that the conquest of the state and a lot easier on the nerves.

The big news is the daughter, which same arrived in March, weight of 9 lbs. 2 3/4 oz, blue eyes and reddish brown hair, very alert, name of Alexis Valerie. Five hours labor, no anasthetic or instruments or surgery. Sara and baby in excellent shape.

Hoping this will apprise you of developments and hoping you are the same —

best regards,


Bonus tidbit: Here’s the “matrimonial bureau” that Hubbard turned into raging nymphos, Frances de Mont’s Social Club. (Oldtimers may remember that Hubbard official biographer Dan Sherman also quoted from the letter to Hays in a charming Birthday Event which we wrote about in 2012.)



Make your plans now!


Wow, we’re only a little more than a month out, and Chee Chalker is working hard to make sure things are going to run smoothly at this year’s HowdyCon in Chicago, June 21-23. As in past years, we’re looking forward to meeting readers of the Bunker, culminating in Saturday night’s main event.

The biggest difference this year is that our Saturday night event is separate from that evening’s dinner. Chee is setting up an inexpensive pizza dinner that you don’t need to pay for ahead of time, after which we’ll walk over to the theater where our event, hosted by Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte, will take place. Because it’s a separate event, we’re asking that you pay $10 each to get into the Saturday night event, which will help us recoup what the Bunker paid for the venue. (We have never made a penny on our HowdyCon meetups, we only try to break even.)

Please email your proprietor (tonyo94 AT gmail) in order to reserve your spot for Saturday night’s main event. Seating is limited, and we’re going to have some really interesting people on stage and they may make a few announcements that you don’t want to miss.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,118 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,721 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 264 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 152 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,327 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,101 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,875 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,221 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,787 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,455 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,715 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,755 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,467 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 993 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,082 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,222 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,542 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,517 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 873 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,175 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,281 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,684 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,556 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,138 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,643 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,887 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,996 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 18, 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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