Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology has its dukes up for Boxing Day, but we’re still thinking of warmer days

We know that Boxing Day, celebrated in numerous countries where we have readers and correspondents, has nothing to do with the sport of boxing, but here in the U.S. December 26 has no other significance than the day we pay for all of the overeating, imbibing, and general madness of Christmas.

But even our holiday making didn’t keep us from pondering just what a pugilistic few weeks its been for us Scientology Watchers as we observe Scientology going to the mattresses once again with its high priced lawyers and scorched-earth legal team.

Just think about it. A few months ago, when a series of lawsuits was being filed by women who say they were victimized, raped, kidnapped, intimidated, slandered and harassed by this organization that calls itself a church, it felt like Scientology was being hit with a tidal wave of litigation and major press.

But true to form Scientology has come back at these women with stunningly tone deaf and vicious legal moves, doing what they can — asking for sanctions over how the process servers handed them papers, for Xenu’s sake! — and with bullying letters and legal briefs containing snarling prose in order to give the impression that these women and their lawyers are in big, big trouble and will end up paying badly in reputation and compensation for daring to take on David Miscavige.


Funny how the press that was so attentive to the filing of these lawsuits isn’t paying attention to that part, isn’t it? You can bet that Scientology was counting on that.

But we’re paying attention, and we’ll keep bringing you the latest as we anticipate even more lawsuits coming and more outrageous counterattacks coming from Scientology.

Anyway, we’re certainly feeling hungover from a festive day yesterday here in chilly New York, so it’s some consolation for us that in our ongoing year in review, we’re up to one of our favorite months, when late spring slides into summer here in the northern half of the planet we happen to inhabit.

And what a month it was. Early in June we heard from a father who was desperate to keep his child out of Scientology, and we asked our readers for advice, which they happily provided.

Historian Chris Owen visited South Africa and got the goods on L. Ron Hubbard, showing that he had actually sought to prop up the apartheid government there.

We found some photographic evidence that tended to confirm what we’d suspected, that although Lisa Marie Presley may have convinced her daughter Riley Keough at one point to leave Scientology, it appears that Riley is now back in.

For our ‘Scientology Lit’ series, we had a fun look at L. Ron Hubbard’s 1957 book, ‘All About Radiation’ and its claims for Scientology’s ability to cure radiation sickness.

We noted that if Justin Bieber really did want to get Tom Cruise in the octagon, he’d have trouble with the Top Gun actor’s OT super powers.

A new issue of Advance! magazine brought us another set of OT Scientology miracles. We can never get enough of them.

We learned in June that Mark Bunker planned to run for city council in Clearwater, Florida. So we asked him to explain why he would be running.

On June 18, a bombshell: The first of several planned lawsuits by a powerful national legal team was filed against Scientology and leader David Miscavige. The plaintiff in this first lawsuit is Valerie Haney, who worked closely with Miscavige in his private quarters for years, but then had to escape from Scientology’s secretive Gold Base by hiding in the trunk of a car. Oh, it’s on.

An apologist academic journal (in Italy, of all places) has been making a concerted effort to rehabilitate L. Ron Hubbard by claiming that us journalists have him all wrong. Hubbard never claimed that he had an engineering college degree, the journal claimed. So we provided a letter written and signed by Hubbard himself in which he does exactly that. Do you think that will motivate the journal to issue a correction? Ha.

This year, we took HowdyCon back to our original home, Los Angeles, and kicked things off with a great performance of her show by Cathy Schenkelberg.

Historian Chris Owen debunked yet another L. Ron Hubbard myth, taking apart Hubbard’s claim of being a ‘provost marshal’ in the military.


We took a close look at Valerie Haney’s lawsuit against David Miscavige and searched for some clues in other recent lawsuits for what Scientology might do to counter it.

We’d told the story of Katrina Reyes coming to Scientology from Siberia and losing her mother to disconnection. But now she had a surprising new twist to her life post-Scientology.

We learned that Tommy Davis had planned to get married again, and this time his wedding would take place in Morocco. Exciting! Sadly, we didn’t get an invite.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2018: Chris Owen uncovered a previously unpublished and damning testament by the ‘world’s first true Clear,’ John McMaster. Actress Erika Christensen dropped a few interesting details in a conversation with Dax Shepard. HowdyCon was held in Chicago, and we revealed the cover of our new book with Paulette Cooper. Actor Christian Stolte was the star of the show with a song about Scientology. Sunny Pereira had three big pieces about a shooting in Portland, more about how children are raised in Scientology, and another slice of Sea Org horror.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2017: Leah Remini’s stepmother Donna Fiore was being hounded by Scientology for dirt on her stepdaughter. Handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff stepped up her support of Scientology front groups. Marty Rathbun started posting attack videos against his former allies, prompting responses from your proprietor, Gary Morehead, Victoria Britton, Paul Haggis, and John Brousseau. And HowdyCon 2017 went down in Denver.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2016: We marked Muhammad Ali’s passing with a look at a Scientology video he was in. We published Dani Lemberger’s “declare.” And we broke the news that Leah Remini was shooting a television series.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2015: We wrote about that time Jim Jones talked about Paulette Cooper from his Guyana compound. We wrote about a person in our book, the inspirational Len Zinberg. We did some live-blogging from the epic Toronto conference organized by Jon Atack. We broke the news that Scientologist Ponzi schemer Reed Slatkin had died. Some poor schlub went to prison after trying to hack Mike Rinder and your proprietor on behalf of Scientology. And we had our biggest audience yet with Paulette Cooper in Clearwater, the belly of the beast.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2014: Another distressing disconnection story: Where is Sami Sterne? A rare audio recording captures L. Ron Hubbard and his wife Mary Sue using an e-meter to come up with the space cooties portion of Scientology. Why we think Original OT 8 is not a hoax — the George White story.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2013: Channel 4’s documentary about Marty Rathbun, Scientologists at War, Neil Gaiman’s Scientology history behind his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Joe Childs on Denise Gentile’s blunts.

Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of June 2019

June 3: Sunny
Scientology is hard ass and tough. Be the opposite of that for your child so when he is older, he will remember that love. I know it sounds cheesy but unfortunately Scientology doesn’t teach love and compassion. If you have it, it is to your advantage to let your child know it. Then they know they have something to fall back on later. I wonder if this child is doing this on their own. I think a child this young is too young to make such a determination. Hubbard does state in policy and bulletins that they have to want to be there. Anyway, my best suggestion is showing lots of love and compassion for your child. Getting them out of Scientology’s grips can be difficult.


June 6: Newiga
The fact that Hubbard said Thetans are ageless, genderless and have no skin color or race but was a still a huge LGTBQ+phobe, racist and misogynist has always infuriated me. Mankind’s greatest friend indeed.

June 8: UTR
It has been difficult to read this and think that I used to not only believe this baloney, but I also C/Sed many people on the Purif. In defense of those who have come to their senses, study tech is a powerful brainwashing technique. 1. You read this stuff and of course think WTF? 2 You are then required to clear all your “MU’s” and still think “huh?” 3. Since you are still not on board you will be made to do various other things such as demoing, clay demoing. false data stripping, crashing mu finding, etc etc Finally, your mind gives up and a new neural pathway is created for all this crap. When people can’t see how we all fell for it, please be reminded how powerful this self brainwashing actually is. The good news is that it can be undone, although more difficult the longer you are exposed.

June 16: Mat Pesch
Scientology should be embarrassed to even hear the words “Saint Hill Size.” I spent 2 weeks at Saint Hill in 2004. It was a ghost town. Every day there was the same lone student sitting in the empty courseroom. The HGC area wasn’t much better. The place felt asleep. After decades of hearing about the mighty Saint Hill, I was shocked. I wrote a report to management pointing out what I’m sure they already knew. The person responsible for Saint Hill was on a tour in Italy trying to drum up business. Pathetic.

June 18: J. Swift
David Miscavige is obsessed with putting up libelous and salacious hate webpages and websites on people. Glad to see the hate site on Valerie Haney was introduced into the lawsuit. This goes to a larger pattern in which dozens of people have been libeled by David Miscavige and CSI. Scientologists cannot rise up and demand that their leader, a violent and degraded high school drop out, be driven from Scientology. They are stuck with their leader whose atrocious personal conduct has once again resulted in a lawsuit.


Leaked document of the day

From the Mace-Kingsley Ranch documents release comes this item.

Oh look, Hanna wanted to go home for her birthday and see her actual, you know, family and friends and stuff. But Rigel talked her out of it and convninced her to stick with the program at the barbaric ranch. Somebody get that kid Rigel a Freedom Medal!



Source Code

“A good manager or executive works hard hour by hour to keep the show on the road but always with a long-term view as well. And he intends that org and staff will prosper. The auditor in Post Purpose Clearing will get a lot of glib answers. The stats, the honest ones, and the true long-term performance of the executive, measured by the health of his zone of responsibility, tell the tale and should be consulted when in doubt.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 26, 1981


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I’ve been told (scouting various sites and listening to interviews) that certain ‘aliens’ envy human bodies for their sensitivity and ability to emote and feel with sensitivity. Apparently theirs are constructed for war and space duty, and have a pretty drab existence (but less pain and injury — the apparent trade-off in this place and time). That said, auditing doesn’t seem to work as well on bodies being loaded down with animal flesh and animal products and chemicals that the body wasn’t designed to process. Living in such a body can sometimes indeed, fit the description of ‘hell.’ Expecting auditing to make a well and happy body without some attention to detox (Purif), seemingly can’t go too far for too long. Hence, the Purification Rundown.”


Random Howdy

“You’re better off trying to kick dope or booze at home than going to a Narconon. It would be safer and a hell of a lot cheaper. For 100 bucks you could get some benzos, Imodium, and prilosec and you’d be better off and safer than going to a Narconon cold turkey death camp.”


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

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

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] Nation of Islam takes a bigoted swipe at Leah Remini and the ‘Jews’ behind her show
[TWO years ago] 2017: In June, Rathbun became Scientology’s attack dog, but we got mile high in Denver
[THREE years ago] Why would an academic speak up for Scientology? Dr. Stephen Kent has an answer.
[FOUR years ago] On Boxing Day, we remember the last time Scientology tried to knock out the press
[FIVE years ago] Give Scientology $1,000 and all you’ll get is this lousy T-shirt
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: Madness set in as spring arrived!
[SEVEN years ago] Narconon Georgia Facing Closure: It Shouldn’t Have Taken a Death
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Video of the Year: The Vote Is In!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,799 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,303 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,823 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 843 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 734 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,041 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,909 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,683 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,457 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,803 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,369 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,288 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,456 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,037 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,298 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,336 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,049 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,574 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,101 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,664 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,804 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,124 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,980 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,099 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,454 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,757 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,863 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,265 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,137 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,720 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,215 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,469 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,578 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 26, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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, 14 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email