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DRONE FLYOVER: Saturday’s Scientology ‘Ideal Org’ opening in Ventura, California

An anonymous drone pilot captured the scene at Saturday’s Scientology ‘Ideal Org’ grand opening in Ventura, California, providing some stunning views of the event.

Scientology is normally extremely tight with security at such events, keeping out local press and other onlookers, so it’s always fascinating to get a view of what’s going on thanks to someone getting a perch from across a road, as in Atlanta, or through infiltrations by our readers, such as at the New Year’s Event.

But having a bird’s eye view of a lavish David Miscavige production is a real treat. Soak in these views and then we’ll discuss our impressions of this grand opening, which was billed as Scientology’s success at making California “all-Ideal.”



We expected a sizable crowd this weekend. This location is only an hour drive north of Los Angeles, home to the world’s largest concentration of Scientologists. If worldwide the organization has dwindled to only about 20,000 people, perhaps as many as a quarter of them live in the LA area.

And because of the hype over Ventura making California “all-in,” we expect that few Scientologists in the state were going to want to face sec-checks later for why they didn’t show up.


Our drone pilot says he counted 1,800 seats and another 200 or so people standing for an overall estimate of about 2,000, which looks about right to us. Scientology, naturally, exaggerated and in its press release about the event said that the crowd was 4,000.

Either way, a crowd that size for a major Scientology event in Los Angeles is not a sign that the organization is growing. And, like other Ideal Orgs, we expect that the Ventura org will soon be an empty shell.

The drone footage gives us a good idea why: This is another major facility, costing tens of millions of dollars, that Scientology has put in a business park or on a frontage road that will have zero foot traffic.

And speaking of the remoteness of it, did you catch how far the latecomers were being made to walk, all the way around the building? That was some hike.

The other thing we’re always curious about, besides the crowd size, is the list of local luminaries who shill for Miscavige and sing Scientology’s praises. And wow, were they scraping the bottom of the barrel this time.


Scientology says this is Councilman Steven Gama of the City of Port Hueneme. Miscavige scores with an elected official! And Dave must have loved the way Gama praised the Vounteer Ministers: “Your Way to Happiness volunteers have already been out with us all along Ormond Beach at our cleanups. From early morning until we’re done for the day, you are there taking care of our precious environment and helping it to thrive. So not only will this new Church help preserve all that is good about our incredible home, it will be a beacon inspiring an even better environment, better neighbors and a better community for us all.”


Scientology describes Sharon Byrne as an “advisor to the 4th District of Santa Barbara County,” which means nothing, of course. But she’s actually an active community organizer who heads the Montecito Association, representing one of the wealthiest districts in the country, so, you know, Miscavige smells money.


John Chavez is a former Marine who is a “voluntary agency liaison” with FEMA. He too sang the praises of Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers.



Barbara Gaughen-Muller is president of the “Santa Barbara & Tri-County Chapter” of the United Nations Association. Sounds major. She shilled for Scientology’s “human rights” cynicism.

What, no “interfaith” shills this time? And not so much as a state senator or even a county-level elected official? Well, Dave, this was a real bust.


But Scientologists everywhere can be comforted by the thought that another lavish cathedral has been completed with their donations, and L. Ron Hubbard has another new office that he can use if he ever shows up again…



Source Code

“The gross divisional statistic of HCO is letters out and letters in. Why? Because the Existence of an org is real to the public mainly by writing in and getting answered. The volume of letters out and letters in is wholly in the ability of HCO to control. After all, it is the HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. When letters don’t go out in volume, the public and field don’t know the org is there. When letters come in and aren’t answered then the public jolly well knows the org isn’t there and gets ARC Broke about it as well! You can advertise. You must send out mags and these also say the org is there. But that personal communication to Joe, Joe’s reply and answering Joe is vital vital vital for Joe now knows you’re there.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 24, 1966


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The last time I saw Jack Parsons he was now this lifetime an OT 5 and still living in Pasadena, and he did recall an explosion.”


Random Howdy

“I seem to recall that a fear of heights is an engram caused by the thetan-occupied clam remembering being dropped by a seagull.”


Start making your plans…

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


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] In Scientology, every dollar you own is under constant attack
[TWO years ago] Scientology fires back at the Garcias, but reveals absolutely bonkers ‘arbitration’ instructions
[THREE years ago] Whale watching, 2017 edition: Who’s keeping Scientology from sinking?
[FOUR years ago] Monique Rathbun is on the clock at the Texas Supreme Court, and more in our legal roundup
[FIVE years ago] New government release contains a surprise: L. Ron Hubbard flunked out of high school, too!
[SIX years ago] Monique Rathbun files motion for contempt against Scientology defendants
[SEVEN years ago] OSCAR NIGHT LIVE-BLOGGING: Scientology on the Hot Seat with John Travolta and ‘The Master’
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology on the High Seas: Hubbard Welcomes the New Meat!


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 1,858 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,362 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,882 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 902 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 793 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,100 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,968 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,742 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,516 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,862 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,428 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,347 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,515 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,096 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,357 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,395 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,108 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,633 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,160 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,723 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,863 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,183 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,038 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,158 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,513 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,816 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,922 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,324 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,196 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,779 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,274 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,528 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,637 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 24, 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

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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