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Sonya Bianchi, 1927-2020: Hubbard’s first ‘Clear’ who vanished from Scientology history

Sonya Adelaide Bianchi Hulswit, a woman L. Ron Hubbard presented at an August 1950 presentation at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles as the first example of a Scientology “Clear,” died last night in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her son Chris Hulswit tells us that she was 92.

In December 2018, we reported that we’d located her some 68 years after she vanished from Scientology history. Chris Hulswit was very helpful, confirming for us that his mother was indeed the Sonya Bianchi we’d been looking for, and he asked her some questions for us.

We had hoped that we might have an opportunity to meet Sonya, but that didn’t happen. We are glad, at least, that we got to learn more about what happened after that fateful August night in Los Angeles, when she then got far away from Hubbard.

Hubbard published his book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health on May 9, 1950, and it was a bestseller. In the book, he says that a reader could attain the state of “Clear” — which supposedly brought with it effects like total recall, perfect vision, and raised IQ — with as little 20 hours of the counseling techniques that he’d come up with. So there was some pressure on him to produce results.



He announced that he would demonstrate a Clear at the Shrine Auditorium event, and brought Sonya out on stage. She was only 23, and a transcript of the event suggests that it wasn’t the success Hubbard hoped for. He wouldn’t present another Clear to the public until 1966, when he declared that a man named John McMaster was actually the world’s first Clear.

But what happened to Sonya? She seemed to have vanished after that night at the Shrine.

“That’s because my father, a grad student at MIT, flew out and grabbed her and eloped with her. That’s why nobody ever heard from her again,” Chris told us. “She was a stunning redhead in those days. I can see why Hubbard brought her out on stage. She was a redhead and very attractive.”

Chris’s father Frank Hulswit was a recent MIT grad. Sonya had also recently graduated, with a B.S. in physics as the 1949 class president of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Frank and Sonya were married on Sep 11, 1950 at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. Chris’s older sister was born in 1952, and he was born in 1954.

We asked Chris if his mother remembered the event at the Shrine. “She was that woman, but she doesn’t have any real solid recollections of it. I got the distinct impression that she didn’t want to talk about it,” he said. “After that she got married and left. She lived in London for years, and she also lived in Rio. Three years, for her husband’s business.”

Meanwhile, Scientology historians had lost track of her. Some said “Sonya Bianchi” (or Sonia or Bianci) was a pseudonym and the woman’s real name had been Ann Singer. There seemed to be no way of finding her.

But then, an astute reader who goes by the name Meepthorp noticed something we published in May 2018, a letter written in 1985 by a former Dianeticist named Don Rogers which contained a reference to “Sonia Bianci” marrying a man named Frank, and that Frank’s mother had been involved in giving Hubbard the idea for a substance called “guk” that the early movement experimented with. Meepthorp pointed out that in Hubbard’s 1951 book Science of Survival, a “Mrs. Hulswit” was thanked for her help with the concept of “freewheeling.” Sarah O. Hulswit of Maine, it turned out, was an enthusiastic early adopter of Dianetics, and records showed that she had a son named Frank.

Another researcher then tracked down Frank and Sonya’s marriage certificate for us, and a third helper, Eivol Ekdal, found photographs of them. We then looked up Chris Hulswit and gave him a call and talked with him about the possibility of meeting his parents.

Frank Hulswit, however, died in December 2018 at 94, and it was then we decided to reveal that we’d managed to locate Scientology’s first Clear while she was still alive.

“She’s definitely had a good and healthy long life,” Chris told us, and assured us that she was still “sharp as a tack,” if a little hard of hearing.

Last night we expressed to Chris how sorry we were that, a little more than a year later, he’d also lost his mother.


“One thing mom taught me is to be brave and soldier on,” he said. “She was 92 and didn’t suffer.”


Source Code

“And this is what? Eleventh of Jan. The mystic month. And we are finding ourselves in the middle of — no, it’s at the beginning — What cycle are you in? Well, anyhow, it’s on a planet, on a twelfth-rate sun, and it’s the beginning of the, it’s shortly after the winter solstice. Saint Hill Special Briefing Course. Well, if you lived right and if you knew what you were doing and many other unlikely activities, you have it made. But we have to assume, we have to assume that if none of you have grown wings in the last 24 hours and you actually have had a PC on an E-Meter as an auditor and the PC hasn’t grown wings in the last 24 hours with all the tools which you’ve got, we must assume that there is some faint disconnection between what I am trying to teach you and what you are doing. I would say there’s some small gap. Maybe not a large gap. Maybe only a light year or two.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 11, 1962


Overheard in the FreeZone

“It’s a choice or at least a potential choice to introvert or interiorise into an alternative theta line at a particular point in time, or to view the past from the future, future from.the past and to zone in on a specific concurrent moment in an alternative universe. Perhaps if the person is OT 30, then OT1 — when they are actually trying to get their case handled — acts like an interiorisation. As far as I am concerned the entire phenomena reduces to unresolved theta programming as Static which is only aligned with the rehabilitation of Spiritual Reality and Native State. If instead the person chooses to plummet back into MEST, that’s their choice. In doing so they also plummet back into MEST case factors and automaticities which are only resolved at a theta level exterior to both MEST and Static.”


Random Howdy

“If Scientology could, then based solely on the words of L Ron Hubbard they would be gladly killing ‘infidels’ who refused to convert.”


Start making your plans…

Head over to the convention website and meet us in St. Louis!


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

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

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] Kansas City: Don’t panic. Your skyline is screwed, but Scientology isn’t taking over.
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s ‘scripture’ includes a thoroughly debunked mammoth-meat hoax
[THREE years ago] Last night’s family on ‘Leah Remini’ found themselves targeted by Scientology attack site
[FOUR years ago] David Bowie, 1947-2016
[SIX years ago] Yes, that was a Scientology ad you saw during the football game — we told you it was coming!
[SEVEN years ago] Paul Haggis and Lawrence Wright on NBC’s Rock Center January 17
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s “Super Power Rundown:” What is it, Anyway?


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 1,814 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,318 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,838 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 858 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 749 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,056 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,924 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,698 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,472 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,818 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,384 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,303 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,471 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,052 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,313 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,351 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,064 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,589 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,116 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,679 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,819 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,139 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,995 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,114 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,469 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,772 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,878 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,280 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,152 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,735 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,230 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,484 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,593 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 11, 2020 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, 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

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