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Leah Remini asks ‘Where is Shelly’ as the Church of Scientology turns 65!

[From tonight’s episode]

We have quite a two-fer today, campers. December 18 is an anniversary of some import, which we describe in our second item (and happy birthday, Church of Scientology!). But it’s also the day that Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is finally taking the story of Shelly Miscavige head-on.

You will remember that this website, in July 2013, broke the news that Leah Remini had defected from Scientology after some 35 years in the church. What started her on her path out? In 2006, at the wedding in Rome of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Leah noticed that Scientology leader David Miscavige was there without his wife Shelly, whom Leah had long considered a friend.

Where was Shelly? When Leah dared to bring it up, then-spokesman Tommy Davis told her she didn’t have “the fucking rank” to even ask the question.

When she left the church in 2013, Leah still wanted to know what had happened to her friend. Again, we broke the news in August 2013 that Leah filed a missing-person report about Shelly with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Leah filed her report on a Monday, we found out about it two days later and reported it on Thursday morning. But that Thursday afternoon, as other reporters called the police department, the LAPD told them that the report was “unfounded” and that Shelly wasn’t “missing.”


We called the LAPD’s Lt. Andre Dawson, who told us two of his detectives had personally met with Shelly, and that she told them she didn’t want to make a public statement. We asked Dawson if that interview had occurred in the presence of other church officials, and he quickly said, “that’s classified.”

We couldn’t help noticing that Dawson subsequently showed up fairly often in Scientology promotional materials as he was featured at community events held at Scientology facilities.

Since then, the drumbeat of “Where’s Shelly” has only grown louder as the church refuses to provide any information about where she is or why she no longer appears at church events with her husband.

But it’s true that Shelly isn’t missing. David Miscavige knows exactly where he’s keeping her, and will keep her until she dies.

We’ve written about it many times, and just confirmed yet again recently with Valerie Haney what happened — that in the summer of 2005, the relationship between Shelly and Dave became increasingly strained at Int Base, Scientology’s secretive compound near Hemet, California where they lived. When Dave went to Los Angeles that summer to work on a publication project, Shelly stayed at Int Base and made some personnel moves — Valerie says Shelly was trying to minimize contact between Dave and some of the people he abused the most. Shelly also had Dave’s things crated up so a long-planned renovation to their quarters could begin. In other words, after years of dealing with Dave’s bad behavior, she was still trying to make things go right.

When he returned to the base and saw that Shelly had taken the initiative, he blew his stack. A week later, Shelly vanished. We have four separate, independent lines of evidence that tell us where she was sent — the small headquarters compound of the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST) near Lake Arrowhead, a mountainous area about 60 miles away from Int Base. We believe she’s still there today, only confirmed to have been seen once in the 13 years since she vanished, at the funeral of her father in the summer of 2007.

In tonight’s episode, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder provide excellent background on Michele Diane Barnett Miscavige, piecing together Shelly’s upbringing in Scientology and as a true believer. Janis Gillham Grady, who has written two books about those early years with L. Ron Hubbard on the Apollo (volume one, volume two), provides great insights about who Shelly was and why she ended up married to David Miscavige, another youngster brought up in Hubbard’s shadow.

They also talk to Tom De Vocht, who was very close to David Miscavige while he was a Sea Org official. Tom repeats some amazing stories that he’s told us before, which suggested that Shelly knew full well that her husband was losing his grip on reality.

Tom also points out that everyone eventually ran afoul of Miscavige, and he raises the possibility that perhaps, Shelly had finally reached her own breaking point and, by defying Dave in even just a small way, had sabotaged herself because she could no longer take being around him.

We have our doubts about that idea. Just a couple of weeks ago, we confirmed something with Valerie Haney that we had heard from another eyewitness who was there at Int Base during Shelly’s final weeks. After Miscavige blew his stack, he went back to Los Angeles. Valerie confirms that during that last week before she vanished, Shelly took a car from Int Base and drove to Los Angeles, apparently trying to make one last attempt to reconcile with her husband. She soon returned to the base after that mission failed. Only then was she sent away to her CST prison.

In other words, Shelly had tried to save her marriage, and had tried to keep from being sent away. That’s our conclusion. And, based on what she has communicated since then to her family, we believe that she’s fully aware that she’s a prisoner and she will never leave the CST base alive.

Tonight, you’ll see what Mike and Leah are attempting to do about that.

Some additional links to have handy during tonight’s show:

February 7, 2014: REPORT: Man was hired to keep Shelly Miscavige from escaping Scientology base near L.A.


December 15, 2016: CLAIM: ‘Frail’ looking Shelly Miscavige spotted near Scientology compound in California


[People often ask us if Shelly might be a prisoner in “The Hole,” David Miscavige’s notorious prison for his upper management. That’s not possible. In this map, you can see the location of Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters, “Big Blue,” and about 90 miles east the location of its international management base, Int Base, near Hemet. “The Hole” is located at Int Base, the place where Shelly was living until 2005 when she vanished. We have eyewitnesses at Int Base for 2005 to 2016, who would have known if Shelly was being held in the Hole. She wasn’t. In 2005, Shelly was moved to the CST headquarters near Lake Arrowhead, a tiny compound about 60 miles northwest of Int Base and marked on the map. That’s where Shelly has been for the last 13 years.]




You won’t hear anything from David Miscavige about it, but today is the 65th anniversary of the creation of the first “Church of Scientology.” To commemorate it, we’re going to post what we did five years ago, with a couple of updates. Pass the cake and ice cream!

Sixty Sixty-five years ago on this date in Camden, New Jersey, the first “Church of Scientology” corporation came into existence with the signing of a document by six individuals, including L. Ron Hubbard and his son Nibs (L. Ron Hubbard Jr.).


In fact, three entities were born on that day: the Church of American Science, the Church of Scientology, and the Church of Spiritual Engineering. But you know L. Ron Hubbard — he was a marketer, if nothing else.

The following April, a newsletter based in Phoenix first appeared, calling itself The Aberree. It turned out to be an irrepressible publication that lasted another 11 years, and reflected the sense of humor that still existed in early Scientology.

In that very first issue, Scientology’s establishment as a church was announced, along with a text version of the December 18, 1953 document that created the New Jersey entities. Wrote The Aberree‘s editor, Alphia Hart…

The news was received with mixed emotions. Some were outspokenly antagonistic to the idea. Some who’d nursed the glories of self-determinism since Book One couldn’t subscribe to the new idea that the best way to win is to BECOME the enemy. Many from California feared that designating Scientology as a religion would classify it with that state’s 9,857,385,237.5 cults.

The piece goes on to make it clear that seeking refuge in religion was done primarily for fending off health officials, not tax collectors. Back then, the Food and Drug Administration was much more vigilant about quack medical claims, and Scientologists found themselves running into trouble for their promises about the healing power of the E-meter and Scientology processing. A Scientologist in Pasadena, Hart claimed, had recently spent 10 days in jail for practicing medicine without a license, and who needed that kind of trouble.

He also indicated that L. Ron Hubbard was granted a doctor of divinity degree by his new church with Certificate Number One. “This gives him legal authority to lecture, perform marriages, baptisms, and other religious rites.”

As Jon Atack explained to us previously, in April 1953 Hubbard first proposed the idea of creating a church in a letter to Helen O’Brien, who had helped him organize the Philadelphia Doctorate Course the year before. At that time, Hubbard’s movement was at low ebb after Dianetics had been a brief craze in the summer of 1950. Things had gotten so bad, Hubbard had lost the use of the name Dianetics in bankruptcy. So, in 1952, he had started over again in Phoenix, creating something he called “Scientology.” But soon enough, those pesky FDA officials were making things difficult even as Hubbard promised that his great discoveries could cure just about anything.

So, in 1953, Hubbard asked O’Brien to start looking into “the religion angle.” After all, they had little to lose at that point…

In my opinion, we couldn’t get worse public opinion than we have had or have less customers with what we’ve got to sell. A religious charter would be necessary in Pennsylvania or N.J. to make it stick. But I sure could make it stick. ­­If we were to return there [to Phoenix] we’d be able to count 10 to 15 preclears per week at $500 for 24 hours processing. That is real money. I have seen it happen before. We get more preclears at $850 per week [counseling] intensive. Charge enough and we’d be swamped. We need that money. We should not long plan to have it siphoned away.

So, with the public against them and money in short supply, they rolled the dice and formed the three church entities in Camden on December 18.

A few months later, in February 1954, another Church of Scientology was created in Los Angeles by one of Hubbard’s followers. And here’s what Atack told us about that…

To distance himself, The Hub had Burton Farber register the “Church of Scientology of California” in Los Angeles a few months later, in February 1954, and subsequently claimed that it was not his idea (though the letter to O’Brien, which has been authenticated by the cult, shows that this was yet another fraud).

And so, between the letter to O’Brien and the reaction reported in The Aberree, we can see what Atack means when he says that Hubbard was actually very apprehensive about announcing that Scientology was attempting to turn the “modern science of mental health” into a religion.

Once he knew that he wouldn’t be drawn and quartered for launching a new religion, Hubbard then created the Founding Church in DC, and at the same time made himself The Founder. The idea was to oversee the religious outlets, while the Hubbard Association of Scientologists existed alongside, in case the material had to be quickly moved under that shell.

The “Founding Church” in Washington DC was created on July 4, 1955. But to this day, Scientology itself — and the media — dates the origin of the “Church of Scientology” to February 1954 in Los Angeles.

It’s true that the Church of Scientology of California (CSC) was for many years considered “the mother church.” And we assume there will be some hoopla in a couple of months when that date comes around again. But CSC is as dead as the Camden entities — Scientology went through a complex reorganization in the early 1980s that gave it a completely different corporate structure. CSC continued to exist on paper, but after paying nearly $9 million to finish a 16-year-old legal judgment in 2002, CSC was dissolved (we’ve seen the papers).

In February, you’ll no doubt see Scientology and the media write some stories about the church turning 60 65 years old. But we know that today is the real date.

And so here’s to you, Church of Scientology — happy diamond blue sapphire anniversary!


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!


Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.



[ONE year ago] When love triumphs over Scientology: A fairy tale of New York for the holidays
[TWO years ago] Oh look, Scientology started a blog, and it already won an award
[THREE years ago] Compton scam rehab clinic definitely a Church of Scientology operation, witnesses say
[FOUR years ago] Rick Ross has a new book that will help you get someone out of Scientology
[FIVE years ago] Happy Birthday, Church of Scientology!
[SIX years ago] Joel Sappell Finds Former Scientology Enforcer Marty Rathbun To Be a Reluctant Whistleblower


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,302 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,433 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,935 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,415 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 478 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 366 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,673 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,541 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,315 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,089 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,435 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,001 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,921 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,088 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,669 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,929 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,969 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,681 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,207 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,296 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,436 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,756 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,612 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,731 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,087 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,389 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,495 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,898 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,769 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,352 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,847 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,101 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,210 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 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 Underground 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

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

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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