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Another life connected to Scientology ends in despair, as so many do

[William J. Newman]

In what is becoming an all-too frequent occurrence, we have another Scientology-related suicide to tell you about today. And this one connects to another one we told you about earlier.

In 2014, we told you about Tayler Tweed, a talented 27-year-old who ended her life after spending several months posting her doubts about Scientology and the difficulty it was creating in her family. Tayler became the subject of an episode of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath which revealed that one of her close friends was Lauren Haggis, daughter to Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis, who was also, like Leah, known for leaving Scientology. In the episode, Lauren read from heartbreaking messages written by Tayler that documented the torment she was in as she tried to deal with depression as a second-generation Scientologist.

Scientology struck back at Leah’s show with video of Tayler’s mother, Cathy Tweed, taking shots at this website and Leah’s show. We didn’t hear, however, from Tayler’s father, a man named William J. Newman who had long been estranged from Tayler’s mother.

William was deeply affected by Tayler’s suicide, says his son and Tayler’s older half-brother, Troy VanAntwerp, who lives in Michigan. Troy also tells us that his father was an OT Scientologist who left the church several years ago.

On July 10, William Newman took his own life in Jackson, Michigan. He was 68.


“He was very depressed,” Troy tells us. “He was lonely by choice if you ask me. And he was very distraught about Tayler’s death.”

Like Tayler, William ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot.

“He was very high up there in the church. He always gave me Dianetics books and stuff. But he would get mad because I’m a God person,” Troy says.


[William and two of his children, Tayler Tweed and Troy VanAntwerp]

We started hearing several weeks ago that Tayler Tweed’s father had ended his life, which really shocked us. But it took some time to find out if that statement was true.

We’re grateful to Troy for helping us out with this difficult story.

“That dude was probably the best salesmen I ever knew. He sold planes, houses, motorcycles. He had a really good way with people. He could befriend anyone at any level,” Troy says about his dad, who was known to friends as “Willie.”

Troy didn’t get to see much of his dad in his childhood, but spent more time with him later on. “He lived in Los Angeles when I was 20 and in the Navy. I’d stay with him on the weekends and bring friends. We’d do Melrose and Beverly Hills in cool old cars. I was really getting to know him then. That’s my favorite memory of him.”


OT Powers, Colombian style

We’re still waiting for the Colombian media to wake up about the Freewinds docking in Cartagena. In the meantime, there’s a new development in the case of wealthy beauty products queen (and OT 7 Scientologist) Stella Durán, who was arrested last week with 15 others in a massive investigation of government corruption and the falsification of testing and licenses for the kinds of products Durán sells.

El Tiempo is reporting that one of the people arrested in the case, Claudia Lised Peñaranda Mantilla, spent about 15 years helping companies obtain those licenses from INVIMA, the government agency that was supposed to be regulating the industry. She offered to cooperate with authorities in the complex case, but according to a document obtained by the newspaper, Durán offered her 50 million pesos (about $16,000) to say that Durán had not known about what was required in the regulations she is accused of violating.

Also, El Tiempo says that this Thursday the prosecutor’s office will ask that Durán not be released before trial because it could affect the investigation since she’s known for bribing officials, which might derail the probe. Amazing.


Jeffrey Augustine interviews Robert Dam

We recently shared with you an excerpt from Robert Dam’s book The Defector: After 20 Years in Scientology, and now he talks with Jeffrey Augustine about his years as an OT and the brutal sec-checking he went through that led him to leave.



Tree sap

We try not to jump to the conclusion that David Miscavige or the Church of Scientology acts in a certain way as a direct reaction to something we’ve said here at the Underground Bunker. It’s better to assume that the Pope of Scientology is too busy to notice what goes on over here on the fringes of the Internet.

But in this case, we can’t help thinking that a couple of articles we’ve written about Scientology’s poor record of violating local rules in order to cut down healthy, mature trees for their stupid building projects or, in one case, putting up a tent for a fundraiser, has motivated the following article as a sort of response.

It’s from the latest issue of Source magazine, and it details the efforts of the church to save a mature oak tree in Clearwater, Florida by having it carefully moved. The tree is even given a name, Sam, in this heartwarming tale…


We want to thank reader Rasha for sending over the magazine, but the person who first sent us this article said to us that they’re curious how Felled Tree might feel about it.

Felled Tree was the name we gave to one of the two mature Clearwater oaks cut down by Scientology in 2013 so they could erect the giant IAS tent for that year’s fundraiser.

We asked for Felled Tree’s statement about Scientology’s efforts to save “Sam.”

Felled Tree: I knew Sam. He’s a hell of an oak. And I’m glad that he was saved.

The Bunker: So no hard feelings?

Felled Tree: Didn’t say that, monkey boy. Just glad Sam is still roots down and crown up.

The Bunker: So Sam’s preservation doesn’t change your mind about Miscavige and Scientology?

Felled Tree: Did the captain get a new chest ribbon for saving that tree? I wonder.





Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,230 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,833 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 376 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 264 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,439 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,213 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,987 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,333 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,899 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,567 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,827 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,867 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,579 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,105 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,194 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,334 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,654 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,510 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,629 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 985 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,287 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,393 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,796 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,667 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,250 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,755 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,999 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,108 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 7, 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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