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


Scientology rehab: A new Narconon horror story that will remind you of all the others

[Narconon Warner Springs]

In July we posted another nightmare story from yet another family that was duped by Narconon, Scientology’s bogus network of rehabs.

They are almost all exactly the same. A family desperate to find a safe place for a loved one is convinced to put down tens of thousands up front to send them to a facility they have been told will provide individualized drug counseling in a safe environment with medical staff on call.

And time after the time, the family finds only after their loved one is struggling at the facility that it’s really a Scientology operation, there is no drug counseling, there is no medical staff, and the bizarre activities, like shouting instructions at ashtrays, is Scientology processing.

They then find us, finally having done some research on the place they have sent a son or daughter, and to their horror find that families have been harmed for decades by this operation, and many of them have sued.

Well, it’s happened again, depressingly. We heard from a distraught mother who, only after sending her son to the Warner Springs “Narconon Fresh Start” in Southern California found our July 2 story, confirming her worst fears.


When we asked for details of what happened, she sent us this account. We can only hope that a few families in the future bother to do an Internet search and find stories like ours before falling victim to the same scam….

My son is 38 years old and has struggled with drugs since he was in his twenties. Over the last four years it got worse and he was in an out of jail, had felony drug drug charges and was facing seven years in prison.

I tried everything and finally the judge ordered him to drug court for 18 months or he would go to prison. My son graduated and did very well and then relapsed and it was bad again. The drug he’s on is very mind-altering and it’s awful. I was at the end of my rope, afraid for my safety, his, and any innocent person that might get in the way.

Out of desperation I called an 800 hotline for people with addictions. Fresh Start is the first one I came across. Brett Yates recommended them and said they had a 75 percent success rate and talked about how my son would die if I didn’t get him help. I was told they were holistic and had medical staff available 24/7 and would be safe and didn’t use any drugs to detox the students.

They convinced me to have one of their interventionists come in and try and get my son to fly to California with him to the facility. The interventionist fee was $2,500 plus expenses. Josh Penn, the Fresh Start administrator, is the one I talked to mostly. He also told me that if I did not get my son there that he would probably die. He said he uses Matt Kinzer as an interventionist. He is the one that came to see us and try to convince my son to go.

He didn’t go with Matt but Josh convinced my son to go the the facility. The next day he was on a plane. I was told that they did not accept payments and that they had a few banks they dealt with to get approved. I was approved for the loan in five minutes. The cost was $33,000. No refund, and if the student leaves the facility they have six months to return at no cost. I was approved and the money was in my checking account the next day.

My son was there in the detox for about five days and then on to another location in Huntington Beach for a few days and then on to the facility. My son started a sauna program and did that for about a week, five hours a day. He told me that they practice Scientology there and that he wanted to send me a letter and they gave him a really hard time about sending a letter to me. Instead of them letting him mail it he had to overnight it, costing him $27.

He was there on his birthday and I sent him a package, which he did get. However, my sister also sent him one and he never received it. She just now got it returned to her home and it was a different package, so they opened it and some things were missing. His birthday was Sept 14 and she just received the package yesterday, Oct 13.

My son said that there were bugs everywhere and that the counselor that picked him up from the airport said that the interventionist gets drunk and high with his clients while he takes them to Fresh Start. Roger was one of the counselors that picked him up and provided updates to me every day on my son. Every day it was the same thing: he’s relaxing and doing great. My son said the staff was rude and he had awful roommates and it was very depressing and he would rather go back to jail then to stay there. He actually walked out, took a cab two and a half hours to the airport and flew home.

I later found out that the so called “certified counselors” were actually graduates of the program and not even certified at all. He said they had him talking to door knobs and the whole place was very bizarre. Josh told me the facility was very professional and the staff was very caring.

I feel like this place just preyed on my weakness, sadness, and desperation as a parent to get help for her son. They refuse to refund any of my money, saying there is a “no refund” policy. Basically, they are making $33,000 off of me and my son is not even there. I contacted Josh and he told me the same thing everyone else did, they don’t practice Scientology or any religion. I confronted him regarding all the lawsuits in the past and he just simply said they were dropped and it was all false. He provided me with a phone number to call to request a refund and I spoke to Donna. She was very nice. She said at one point that they would probably just charge me for the expenses while he was there and refund the rest but that did not happen. She told me three different times that the executives at Fresh Start refuse to give any refund and highly encouraged him to return to the facility.

It’s very sad and disheartening that there are companies out there and people who prey on others. I hope there is someone out there that can help me and others who have suffered the same fate as my family has. I have reached out to several attorneys and am waiting to hear back. This company needs to be held accountable for their actions. I hope some day they meet their maker and they have to answer for their actions.




SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks, the series axed by Seven News

In July the Australian Seven News network cancelled at the last minute a ten-part nightly news in-depth investigation of the Church of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks operations. All ten episodes have now been leaked to the Internet, and we’ve collected all ten links in one place. Judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


Source Code

“Why do people get so upset with a toothache, and why do they have this big nerve? The reason is that this happened again and again and again, and every time this happened, the theta facsimile would be used for new design. The things that appeared around the lips of these shells evidently appeared on the top side first, because there was more shelter, and then they appeared on the bottom lip. Every time these things would get disrupted they would say, ‘Next time we have got to have a tougher outer skin!’ And the next time they would make one, but in the meantime they got this sand — engram after engram after engram. Somewhere along the line you occasionally find a worm boring in there. Dentists are actually in the valence of these worms!” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 15, 1951


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The three songs that always struck me as straight off the Whole Track were Van Halen’s Running with the Devil, Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein and Led Zep’s Kashmir.”



Past is Prologue

1996: Scientology purchased an ad in Thursday’s New York Times, comparing the current situation in Germany with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. German and U.S. officials and Jewish leaders all condemned the ad. From Reuters: “The advertisement, headlined ‘Practicing Religious Intolerance’ and ‘Germany Then and Now’ above the eagle and swastika insignia of Hitler’s Third Reich, described Germany as the only country in the world that systematically discriminates against Scientologists. In recent months, German officials have said Scientology should be banned or at least placed under covert surveillance. Scientology is not considered a religion in Germany and the government says it exploits the gullible for profit. ‘You may wonder why German officials discriminate against Scientologists,’ the advertisement said. ‘There is no legitimate reason but then there was none that justified the persecution of the Jewish people either.'”


Random Howdy

“Scientology may be circling the drain but there’s no shortage of crazy waiting in the wings. It’s going to be a long uphill battle to get to the top and stop the billions of minds waiting in line to go down that slippery slope called ‘magical thinking’.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Demurrer filed by Masterson, arraignment delayed to October 19.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 29 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 revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.

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.’ Petition for a writ of mandate filed with Cal 2nd Appellate District, Sept 10.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Oct 26 (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 tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Update required in federal lawsuit on Oct 19.
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!

[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] Xenu-giving: We check the crowd at Scientology’s biggest org on a day of thanks
[TWO years ago] US Sheriffs, dead or alive — Scientology is happy to use them for self-promotion
[THREE years ago] David Miscavige is gambling on Birmingham for Scientology success, and who knows why
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s latest drama in Russia: The mystery woman who infiltrated an org
[FIVE years ago] Louis Theroux’s ‘My Scientology Movie’: A hilarious take on an unfunny bunch
[SIX years ago] A perplexing tale about Bob Duggan, the richest Scientologist in the world
[SEVEN years ago] Chicago’s On Fire: Jason Beghe and Christian Stolte Send Their Regards to the Bunker
[NINE years ago] Scientology Effervescence: Commenters of the Week!


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 2,090 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,594 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,114 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,134 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,025 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,332 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,200 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,974 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,778 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,094 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,660 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,579 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,747 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,328 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,589 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,627 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,340 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,865 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,395 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,955 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,095 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,415 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,270 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,389 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,745 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,048 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,154 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,556 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,428 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,011 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,506 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,760 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,869 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 15, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email