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New letter about Scientology by J. Edgar Hoover shows up in FBI records search

[Hoover in 1959]

In three weeks, it will be 19 years since we wrote one of our favorite stories of all time, about Tory Christman’s wild defection from Scientology which happened live on the early Internet, and thanks to a friend she had made on the other side of the planet, the generous, patient, and wise Andreas Heldal-Lund.

By 2001, Heldal-Lund was already a longtime veteran of the Scientology online wars. The computer engineer in Stavanger, Norway had created — titled “Operation Clambake” — in 1996, an encyclopedic site about Scientology and its controversies, and for years he fought off Scientology’s attempts to have his site censored or pulled down. For Scientologists like Tory, Heldal-Lund and his site critical of her church was like Satan himself. She was a public Scientologist who had volunteered to fight with critics on the Internet, and when Andreas reached out to offer her some friendly advice on how to express herself more clearly, it threw her for a loss. His kindness was just the thing she needed to get a larger perspective on what she was doing, and before long, after getting to know him online, she publicly announced her departure from the church.

Although the anniversary of that story is still a few days away, we’re thinking of it now because we heard this week from the man himself, and it’s been a long time. Heldal-Lund dropped us a line to let us know that some old Freedom of Information Act requests had produced some results, and he has some new FBI documents posted at Clambake.

There’s stuff there from the 70s about Snow White, and more recent stuff about RTC. But what caught our eye was a 1956 letter from the FBI director himself, J. Edgar Hoover, that we hadn’t seen before and that doesn’t appear to be online.

The situation appears to be that the government in Melbourne had reached out to the FBI for information about L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics, and Scientology, which was making inroads in Australia at that time. They were also apparently asking about a booklet that Scientology had published in 1955, supposedly a how-to manual on brainwashing written by the head of the Soviet Union’s secret police. (As Chris Owen explained in a piece here at the Underground Bunker, the brainwashing manual was a hoax written by Hubbard himself.)


Here’s Hoover’s reply to that query, with some fun info about Hubbard, some of it not entirely accurate. But you get the gist: Hoover is warning the Australians about this unbalanced crackpot who has been practicing medicine without a license…

September 21, 1956

Brigadier C.C.F.Spry, D.S.O.
Director-General of Security
Attorney-General’s Department, D Branch
Box 5105BB, G.P.O.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

My dear Brigadier Spry:

Reference is made to your letter dated August 27, 1956, bearing your stamp number 7580, wherein you requested that you be furnished information available in the files of this Bureau regarding “The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation” and the American citizens who are connected with that organization.

According to the records of this Bureau, “The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, Inc.,” was incorporated on June 1, 1950, in the state of New Jersey for the alleged purpose of furthering the work of La Fayette Ron Hubbard, an author whose book, “Dianetics,” had been published in 1948. In 1951 the organization moved to Wichita, Kansas, later to Phoenix, Arizona, and within the recent past to Silver Spring, Maryland. The foundation has reportedly encountered difficulty with the police authorities in New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, and Washington, D.C., for allegedly conducting a school in those areass, in which school a branch of medicine and surgery was taught without a license.

In regard to Hubbard himself an inquiry was initiated by this Bureau on February 26, 1951, after information was received that he had been taken into custody in Chicago, Illinois, for kidnapping his wife and daughter and taking them out of the State of California. No investigation of this alleged violation was conducted, however, since United States Attorney at Los Angeles, California, stated that this was a family matter and did not warrant invest[igation.]

The Los Angeles, California, “Times Herald” in its issue of April 24, 1951, related that Hubbard’s wife accused him of subjecting her to scientific torture experiments. The news story reported that Mrs. Hubbard, in a divorce suit, claimed that he was “hopelessly” insane. Her complaint stated in part that the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation did more than a million dollars worth of business in 1950.

No information is available in the records of this Bureau to indicate that the booklet entitled “Brainwashing” has at any time been banned or restricted in the United States. Actually the authenticity of the booklet appears to be of a doubtful nature since it lacks documentation of source material and contains no quotations from well-known communist works which would normally be used in a synthesis of communist writings. In addition the alleged author of the publication admits he cannot vouch for the authenticity of the booklet.

No data identifiable with [redacted] or Mary Sue Hubbard nee Whipp was located in the files of this Bureau.


Sincerely yours,

John Edgar Hoover

Hoover would have known Hubbard had moved to Silver Spring in 1955 because from there Hubbard kept up a busy correspondence with the FBI, offering tips about his enemies. From Russell Miller’s essential biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah

The Hubbards moved into a two-storey house in the leafy Maryland suburb of Silver Spring, just outside the Washington DC metropolitan area, and it was from there that Ron resumed his correspondence with the Communist Activities Division of the FBI. On 11 July 1955, he wrote a maundering three-page letter, about Communists and wicked accountants conspiring with renegade IRS agents to destroy him, so inane that the recipient at the FBI scribbled on it a notation ‘appears mental’. Thereafter, the FBI no longer acknowledged communications from Hubbard ‘because of their rambling, meaningless nature and lack of any pertinence to Bureau interests’. No doubt somewhat to the Bureau’s chagrin, Hubbard was not in the least deterred from writing.

Our thanks to the great Andreas Heldal-Lund for dropping us a line about these new files. What a treat it is to hear from him at any time. Or to drop in at the local Scientology org with him.


SF Org prepares to reopen with intense pre-screening

In their social media feeds, we’ve seen that, like their leader David Miscavige who called the coronavirus a “planetary bullbait,” Scientologists don’t think much about wearing masks and consider the virus a hoax. So it’s a jarring disconnect that Miscavige has ordered the orgs to pretend like Scientology is the most pandemic-conscious organization on earth. Get a load of this intense pre-arrival screening that the SF Org posted…




Source Code

“Back about 1605, something like that, I was set up, I won’t go into the story in any great degree. But it took a warship and a company of marines and a broadside to kill one girl. She was protected by four redcoats and me. And of course, we caught it in the first three seconds of play. Don’t you see, that was the end of us. But it was such a terrific ferocity against this girl, who by the way, was blind. And her face was so disfigured through a bomb assassination attempt, when she was a child at seven, that she had to wear a mask. A whole man-of-war and a company of marines landing in boats and a full broadside to kill this one girl. She was the last of the family of Charles V. She was the granddaughter aspirant of the old Holy Roman Empire, and one of the innumerable French that lived down here about sixty miles had decided she was a great menace to the throne. Well, I was being audited one day. I found myself sitting around with a picture of a girl on a rock, apparently about 1870. Didn’t compare with any track I had. Nice exterior view. It just didn’t make sense. Here was a girl, sitting on a rock in exactly the same location, in exactly the same place, and I knew what happened to the girl and I knew all about it and so forth, but I hadn’t ever known the girl. Fascinating. Apparently I’d kept a spot of attention on this person as a thetan for the next couple of hundred years. It was very intriguing. Funny part of it is that this girl, picking up another body after that, had gone along for a very long time and had then happened accidentally to be taken by her parents to exactly the same rock that she was killed on in 1605. And she became very ill and she sickened and she died! Just keyed her in complete. You possibly know the place. It’s right across from Gibraltar, and the Hotel Reina Christina is on the Spanish coast side. And it’s one of those rocks right close to the Reina Christina Hotel. And of course, it’s a tourist resort and her parents had taken her back there. What a dirty trick. That must have been some vacation, man!” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 6, 1961


Overheard in the FreeZone

“That awkard moment when you do an OCA to somebody and discover she’s crazy.”



Random Howdy

“The church that never forgives and never forgets. The Scientologists always pay their debts.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 5 in White Plains, NY. Jeffrey’s is set for October 24.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29, bond raised to $350,000 on Aug 27.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Motion for reconsideration denied on August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Sept 29 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.


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

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

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] Elisabeth Moss snows another reporter about Scientology, but this one really hurts
[TWO years ago] Finally, Captain David Miscavige’s faux-military Scientology ribbons, described and decoded!
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s ultimate prize: For the first time online, the current ‘OT 8’ materials laid bare
[FOUR years ago] As Louis Theroux’s Scientology movie hits theaters, its main subject accuses it of deception
[FIVE years ago] VIDEO LEAK: Rare look at Captain David Miscavige giving shipboard Scientology briefing
[SIX years ago] Deputy ambassador of a small African nation? Scientology wants to buy you lunch!
[SEVEN years ago] VIDEO: Scientology Leader David Miscavige’s Weird Explanation for the IRS Victory
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology to Marc and Claire Headley: Spy For Us and We’ll Forget the $43K You Owe


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 2,052 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,556 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,076 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,096 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 987 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,294 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,162 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,936 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,740 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,056 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,622 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,541 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,709 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,290 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,551 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,589 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,302 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,827 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,357 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,917 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,057 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,377 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,232 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,351 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,707 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,010 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,116 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,518 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,390 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,973 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,468 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,722 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,831 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 6, 2020 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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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