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No, RadarOnline did not discover a new underground bunker at Scientology’s Gold Base

[Circled, the non-scandalous non-story’s location]

We want to start out by saying that we have had a fine relationship with RadarOnline in the past. Sure, it’s the online sister to the National Enquirer and very tabloidy, but it has employed people who were passionate about getting Scientology stories right and who enjoyed working with us.

You might remember, for example, that it was Radar’s Melissa Cronin who gave us our first taste of the actual FBI investigative documents from the agency’s 2009 probe into labor trafficking at Scientology’s Gold Base, near Hemet, California. She generously shared with us the documents she obtained before we were able to post the entire file on our own.

This week, however, it’s a shame that Radar didn’t reach out before posting a breathless story claiming that they had spotted from aerial photographs a newly constructed underground bunker at that same Gold Base, leading to all kinds of wild speculation about Tom Cruise or David Miscavige becoming subterranean recluses, or something…



Radar went so far as to check with the county to see if Scientology had applied for any recent construction permits, which they hadn’t, so it was an especially scandalous scoop: Scientology had not only built a new hidey-hole, they had done so illegally!

Even before we checked with people who actually, you know, lived and worked at the base, we could see an immediate problem with Radar’s claim just by looking at the photo they were talking about…


The discoloration on that concrete lid makes it quite clear that this is not new construction. And indeed, Gary “Jackson” Morehead, who was the chief of security at Gold Base in the late 1980s and early 1990s, says that feature has been there for almost 30 years.

“I literally stood there and watched James Hall and Alan Poval build that enclosure and install the elaborate trap and then fine tune it,” Morehead tells us.

What appears to be an underground bunker entrance to Radar is actually a simple concrete box that was used to house a skeet thrower on a rifle range built out behind the Bonnie View house at the base.

“James used to sit in it and reload the machine during use. Tom Cruise bought the machine and of course used it many times in the early 1990s. I used to stand there and watch him and David Miscavige use it. Someone used to go up and lay out all the guns just before their arrival,” Morehead says.

Cruise, as far as we know, hasn’t been to the base in more than 20 years. And even Miscavige himself, according to recent escapee Valerie Haney, stopped going to the base some five or six years ago.

The skeet-shooting apparatus and its concrete enclosure, in other words, are relics of a previous era, not new construction or a door into an underground hiding place.

Radar’s story also perpetuates a lot of bad information about Shelly Miscavige, David’s wife who hasn’t been seen in public or at Scientology events in 14 years.

She had been living and working at Gold Base until late August or early September 2005, when she vanished from the base.


Since then, except for being out to attend her father’s funeral in the summer of 2007, she’s been kept out of sight at a smaller, more secretive Scientology compound, the CST Headquarters near Lake Arrowhead, California. (Here’s a more complete story about her fate and what we know about it.)

So, Radar is completely wrong when it says, “the common consensus among qualified Scientology experts [of Shelly’s location] has generally been Gold Base.”

No, Gold Base is where she vanished from, not where she is being held now. No “qualified Scientology expert” would say that she has been held at Gold.

“I don’t think Shelly was whisked away from the place she lived at 20 years to be hidden at the same place in a skeet shooting range,” says Marc Headley.

Anyway, it’s just a shame that an outlet with a large reach like this wouldn’t do a little homework before putting up such a mistake-filled piece. No one who ever stepped foot at Gold Base is quoted in the story, and although a quote from us does appear in it, it’s apparently from one of our older stories. We weren’t contacted for the story.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Meanwhile, in Canada…



Source Code

“Handling Security Checks in a society of this particular character, then, runs into a little bit of heavy weather. And you very often run into some heavy weather. Somebody’s sitting there and, good God, they’re the fellow who did it, you know, and what are you going to do as the auditor, you know?…What is your responsibility as an auditor? Well, it’s, your responsibility as an auditor is first and foremost as an auditor, is get the person out of it. You’re not the police force. Don’t you see? And then you actually are not honor bound from that point there on to be under a stamp and seal of total secrecy with regard to the fact that the First National Bank was robbed by Joe, you see. But don’t go calling up the police. They’re on the wrong road. Cops never get a society anyplace. Cops are a short-term proposition, strictly. The more cops, the more crime.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 13, 1961


Overheard in the FreeZone

“About 18 months ago, I began to wake up to the fact that I was in the Church of Scientology in my last lifetime. After more auditing and more mind expansion, I realized, ‘oh, maybe I am/was Clear.’ So, I came to believe I was Clear. Today, I don’t think I was Clear, but, I’m almost sure I did believe I was Clear in my last lifetime. In fact, I kind of see I reached OT2. As I said, I’m not sure, and I speculate that I had good auditing, but also bad auditing. I also was probably subjected to Black Scientology.”


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

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

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] How a Scientology-run business preyed on Silicon Valley icons in the name of ‘wellness’
[TWO years ago] Ford Greene responds to Marty Rathbun, and brings up a previous Scientology secret deal
[THREE years ago] Co-writer Dan Koon answers accusations about the accuracy of Ron Miscavige’s ‘Ruthless’
[FOUR years ago] Paul Haggis, Lawrence Wright react to Alex Gibney’s Emmys sweep for ‘Going Clear’
[FIVE years ago] Ryan Hamilton files 20th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network
[SIX years ago] MONIQUE RATHBUN VS SCIENTOLOGY, DAY 2: Texas Showdown Shifts Gears
[EIGHT years ago] Marty Rathbun, Ex-Scientology Exec, Back from Germany: “The U.S. Media Has No Balls”


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,567 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,696 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,200 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,720 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 740 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 631 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,938 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,806 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,580 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,354 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,700 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,266 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,185 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,353 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,934 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,195 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,234 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,946 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,472 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 998 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,561 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,701 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,021 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,877 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,996 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,351 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,654 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,760 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,162 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,034 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,617 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,112 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,366 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,475 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 13, 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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