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NARCONON SHRINKAGE: Scientology lists only five US locations as ‘Fresh Start’ is removed

[The Warner Springs Narconon Fresh Start, yesterday]

In 2015 we reported that the entire Northern California Narconon rehab network had cut ties with Scientology, and some longtime Narconon critics were skeptical. But then we watched as Per Wickstrom’s Midwest centers also pulled out of Scientology’s network.

Rod Keller pointed out numerous times for us that while Narconon seemed to be in retreat in the US, David Miscavige was pushing for more centers overseas and a few new “boutique” rehabs in the US in places like Ojai, California.

Narconon’s downsizing in the US appeared to be the direct result of three patient deaths in a nine month period in 2011-2012 at Narconon Arrowhead, the flagship clinic in Oklahoma, and large number of lawsuits filed in the ensuing two years.

Well, recently we heard from Lucas Catton, the Narconon whistleblower who at one time was president of Narconon Arrowhead, and he told us he had heard that Narconon Fresh Start, a company based in Glendale, California that ran Scientology’s rehabs in that state as well as in Nevada and Texas, was in trouble.

At about the same time, we heard from reader Science Doc, who occasionally drives by Fresh Start’s main outlet in Warner Springs in San Diego County, and he reported that it had dumpsters outside as it seemed to be going through a major cleaning out.


Yesterday he went by and took the photo you see above: “Six or seven years ago they would have had about 18 private vehicles plus three or four of their vans. There’s no one outside on a 69 F sunny afternoon.”

We called the Fresh Start headquarters in Glendale last week and got a receptionist. When we asked if the Fresh Start location in Warner Springs was shutting down, she said that it was “going through changes,” but then said she wanted someone else to call us back. No one did.

However, just yesterday we went to the main Narconon website to see what locations they now list and found this surprising image:


Yes, Narconon itself is now listing only five US locations and has de-listed Narconon Fresh Start’s final locations, in Warner Springs, in South Texas, and in Caliente, Nevada.

In 2002, there were 21 Narconon locations in 14 US states.

Catton says that as recently as 2012 there were about 14 locations in the country.

He says he was surprised to see that only five locations are now listed on Narconon’s website, and he predicts that state and federal investigators have those remaining clinics in their crosshairs.

He recently put out a video explaining that a 2018 change in federal law put one of Scientology’s chief Narconon strategies in jeopardy: Paying commissions for referrals to drug rehabs is now illegal.

“I am certainly willing to bet that Narconon Suncoast [in Clearwater, Florida] has paid out FSM commissions to someone in the past three years, and likely one of the local church entities. Additionally, some other Narconons have probably paid commissions to one or more church entities locally in the past three years,” he says.

And are authorities listening? “I have personally reported it to law enforcement. I’ve spoken to some state investigators and I’ve reported it to the FBI. It’s going to have to be taken up on the federal level,” Luke says.

Here’s Luke’s video about the change in the law.



At one time Scientology leader David Miscavige had major ambitions for Narconon. Its flagship clinic Narconon Arrowhead had plans for more than 200 beds for “students.” He had Scientology celebrities like John Travolta and Kirstie Alley praising Narconon and trying to give the impression that it would be able to make a dent in the country’s addiction problem.

But since the Oklahoma patient deaths and dozens of lawsuits, Miscavige pivoted to a very different strategy in the US, embodied by the upscale “boutique” clinic in Ojai, housed in Larry Hagman’s former hilltop estate, where only six beds for patients exist, small enough that it flies under any state regulation at all.

We have not heard much lately about its east coast counterpart, a new clinic that was being planned for Maryland at a place called Trout Run. We’d expect Miscavige will go through with it and expect that it will eventually join the list at Narconon’s website.

And even if Scientology has only five clinics operating today, they are still businesses built on deception that families looking for a clinic for a loved one should avoid at all costs. Narconon claims that it provides individualized drug addiction counseling in a safe environment and with medical staff on hand. None of those things is true. Narconon is actually a dangerous cold turkey regimen with quack medical ideas that gives addicts Scientology training, not drug counseling, and in an unsafe environment staffed by former addicts, not nurses or physicians. This has come out time and again in court case after court case.

Scientology relies on families being so desperate to get help for a loved one that they don’t take the time for a simple online search on the name Narconon. As long as any of them is still open, they pose a risk. We hope state and federal investigators take Luke Catton’s reports seriously and shut down the last remaining clinics.


Source Code

“You want to make a Clear Clear. You want to make somebody who won’t have any trouble with the Goals Problem Mass or any trouble with the bank from there on out, and all of his fondest hopes, and so forth. And of course, if you keep doing that in extremis and then straighten out the Whole Track, and take up all fragments of the Goals Problem Mass in their turn and handle all them, you’ll make an OT. You couldn’t help it. So you probably could make a Dynamic Clear or a Clear Clear, a stable, a very stable Clear by moving straight on through the Goals Problem Mass and getting these valences parked in their proper places on the Track so they’re not troubling the pc, and so forth. And he’d stay that way. It’s taken trillennia to get these things assembled into a black sponge. And it’ll take him more trillennia to get them back together again because it’s quite accidental that they remain in that weirdly balanced balance. You mean somebody has got a package that comes from 10 trillion years ago, beautifully poised and balanced against a package that came from 110 trillion years ago, and he’s got a 100 trillion year loop in the Goals Problem Mass. And these two things are opposing each other gorgeously. How does he do it? I ask you. Thetans are skilled, but I never expected them to be that clever. But they actually can do it.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 8, 1962



Avast, Ye Mateys

“MIMEO FILES FB: DOUG LEWIS is removed as I/C and demoted in the same unit for being unable to handle people and neglecting to study the project or clarify intention. Robert Williamson is restored to Mimeo Files I/C with orders to get the files set up. Doug Lewis, Robert Williamson, Mort Smithberg and Richard Bunnell are affected by this order. It is noted that Smithberg, a speed typist, should never have been assigned to this unit and should be replaced soonest. The project has no typing or stencil cutting duties. Its sole duty is to set up and to file all loose mimeos on the ship NOW, NOW, NOW. I haven’t seen such an enmest mess for a long while!” — The Commodore, February 8, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The problem in the indie and Freezone field is an Ethics Situation developing into a catastrophe. The tools are assignment of High Crimes and putting heads on a pike to cool things out and build ethics with gradients.”


Past is Prologue

2002: BBC News reported that Tom Cruise took time from promoting his latest movie to lobby the American ambassador to Germany on behalf of Scientology. “He met with US ambassador Dan Coats while in the country promoting his new movie Vanilla Sky with co-star and girlfriend Penelope Cruz. Germany refuses to recognise Scientology as a legitimate church, claiming it is a fake religion based on making money from its followers. Scientology was put under official scrutiny in Germany in 1997, followed by France which outlawed it as a cult. Following Cruise’s hour-long meeting with Mr. Coats the star signed autographs and chatted to embassy staff, who remarked on how friendly and patient he was. Mr. Coats later attended the German premiere of Vanilla Sky, but would not comment on the meeting.”


Random Howdy

“Stan Lee, Forrest J Ackerman and Hugh Hefner are the Holy Trinity of my adolescence.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Next conf to set prelim, March 24.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to March 2.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Charged in Brooklyn federal court on February 4.

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 writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration. March 8: Status conference.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] War on wogs is hell: A peek inside Scientology right now, and it’s not pretty
[THREE years ago] David Palter, 1952-2018: Remembering a Scientologist who became a steady critic
[FOUR years ago] Ron Miscavige on life at Scientology’s secretive Gold Base (and getting thrown in its lake)
[SIX years ago] Ryan Hamilton’s plan to consolidate his lawsuits against Scientology rehabs is denied
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack on Scientology’s methods of ‘thought stopping’
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Atlanta Drug Rehab Buys Its Way Out of Courtroom Nightmare
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Gag Reflex: The Church’s History of Enforcing a Vow of Silence


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 2,206 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,710 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,230 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,250 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,141 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,448 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,316 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,090 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,894 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,210 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,776 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,695 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,863 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,444 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,705 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,743 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,456 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,981 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 336 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,511 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,062 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,211 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,531 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,386 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,505 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,861 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,164 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,270 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,672 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,544 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,127 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,622 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,876 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,985 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 8, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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, 15 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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