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Scientology admits in planning docs it expects only 6 walk-ins daily at new facility

We have a great new report from our man Graham in England…

On a recent visit to Manchester we swung by the former Duckworth’s Essence Distillery, Scientology’s long neglected Ideal Org-to-be, to take a few photos. As a bonus we found public notices attached to lamp-posts pointing us in the direction of their current planning applications. Having scoped out the neighbourhood and dived quite deeply into a mass of over 170 documents, I’m going to summarise as follows…

It’s a beautiful building and I’m very impressed with Scientology’s plans for it. They must already have spent a small fortune just on planning and if they follow through they’ll have done the building proud. A pity then that the area’s so grotty. Ultimately a building’s only as good as its surroundings and this one is set in an urban wilderness. Opposite is a decent row of terraced houses all converted into offices, but to the rear it’s all dereliction and fly tipped rubbish. Unlike Birmingham, this one is not set in the leafy suburbs, and when Scientology finally turns the lights out there are unlikely to be any serious buyers.

And oh the irony of Scientology being forced to comply with disability legislation and supply disabled parking spaces and wheelchair access to the building.


To answer the most urgent question: When and where will Dave be doing his rope yank? Well not any time soon it would seem. Plans have been granted for a temporary breach to the rear wall, to allow heavy vehicles onto the site during renovations, and Scientology reckons this will be needed for “up to 18 months” from February 2019. And given the scale of the work involved this seems realistic, so we could be looking at 2021 for the grand opening. As to where, I reckon Dave will get his photo op and be allowed to yank his rope in front of that magnificent facade. The road in front is wide and no longer a main thoroughfare, having been by-passed by a nearby dual carriageway. My photo was taken on a busy week-day and as you can see it’s almost traffic-free, so I doubt there would be problems getting a temporary closure for the inauguration of a religious building.

Respected independent consultants Curtins were brought in to assess the traffic impact and parking needs. They chose to use Scientology’s Birmingham Org as a comparator, asking Scientology for estimates of traffic based on actual usage, then backing this up with a week long survey of their own at the gates of Pitmaston House. Comparing results, Curtins felt Scientology’s figures were realistic, and here they are!

“The total number of people attending the church for religious purposes is 143. This is an average of 20 a day… People would arrive either for 9am, 1pm or 7pm.” People walking in because of an interest in finding out about Scientology is estimated at “less than 6 per day.” In addition, 50 volunteer staff working 9 to 6, with a further group of 50 working 6.30 to 10.30 week-days, with only the day shift being covered at week-ends. With Manchester having a smaller car park they add that for special events (“generally attracting 100-200 people”) mini-buses would bring people in from nearby public pay-and-display car-parks.

This paints a bizarre picture of 100 staff per day serving the needs of 20 parishioners and a maximum of 6 walk-ins. Overall these are tiny figures for Pitmaston House’s impressive 3,741 sq m. floor space. Yet here in Manchester they are anticipating similar numbers for a building that’s a massive 27 percent larger at 5,135 sq m. I wonder what fellow Bunkerites make of these figures?


Front view (The smaller building to the right has been converted into apartments).


Signs of neglect everywhere when you look up close (Fine red brick from Ruabon in North Wales).


A road to the front with little traffic, and certainly no body-routing potential.



To the rear Dave’s inherited some world class protective fencing. Plans are to rip down the external fire escapes and replace with architect designed enclosed stairwells.


The rear car park. The plans show that the low building to the right of the fire escape will include some residential accommodation (A caretaker’s flat?).


Every other plot to the rear is in a state of abandonment.

— Graham

Those numbers are definitely eye-opening, and compare favorably with traffic-impact reports we’ve seen in the past.

Paul Burkhart pointed out on his episode of ‘Aftermath’ that Scientology is paying something like $15 to $20 million on each of these cathedrals, and yet they admit that in Manchester they’re expecting only about 6 walk-ins a day? (And that’s pure fantasy, of course. The true number will be closer to zero.)

Great work, Graham!


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. We have something in mind, but for now we’re not giving out information about it.

Friday night we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22.



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

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

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!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology buys another derelict building in order to pretend that it’s expanding wildly
[TWO years ago] You tell us: What’s the current condition of the Church of Scientology?
[THREE years ago] Brian Sheen continues to fight Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ in unique and unusual ways
[FOUR years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige had private eyes watching his father, say police
[FIVE years ago] Mike Bennitt shares with us a creepy e-mail he received after filming Scientology events
[SIX years ago] An Interview with Brandon Ogborn About His Play, The TomKat Project
[SEVEN years ago] Marty Rathbun is Big in the U.K., Still Waiting for Major U.S. Treatment
[NINE years ago] Aaron Saxton, Scientology Enforcer, Stops By For a Chat


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,410 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,539 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,043 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,523 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 586 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 474 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,781 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,649 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,423 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,197 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,543 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,109 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,029 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,196 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,777 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,038 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,077 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,789 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,315 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,404 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,544 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,864 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,720 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,839 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,195 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,497 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,603 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,005 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,877 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,460 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,955 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,209 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,318 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 8, 2019 at 07:00

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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. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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