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SHELLY MISCAVIGE ON VIDEO: Never-before-seen footage from before her disappearance

We have something very special for you today: The first new footage of Shelly Miscavige in many years and the best look at her on video ever, a brief glimpse from the year 2001, four years before she vanished.

On January 18 we brought you some new photos that had been taken at the September 29, 2001 opening of a new Scientology mission in San Francisco. It was just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, when Scientology leader David Miscavige had put out a “wake up call,” urging Scientologists to step up their involvement in the wake of what had happened in New York and Washington.

So the event in San Francisco was packed with Scientology celebrities who had answered Miscavige’s call. The occasion was the opening of a minor mission south of Market Street (hence, the “Soma” mission), which had been paid for by wealthy Scientology donors Joe and Cindy Feshbach, and actress Jenna Elfman.

Among the crowd were celebs Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Danny Masterson, Juliette Lewis, Catherine Bell, and others.


When one of our readers saw those photos, she tells us that she realized it reminded her of something she’d seen on a DVD-R she picked up years ago at a garage sale. She reviewed it, and realized the footage was from the same event. So she sent it to us.

What we have is 31 minutes of footage shot by someone at the event, showing the setup, the speeches, the ribbon pull, and then, at the end, David Miscavige walking around with his wife Shelly and his “communicator” Laurisse “Lou” Henley-Smith Stuckenbrock.

We’ve decided to break out the video into several different parts. If you’re itching to see Shelly, skip to the final segment.

Part 1: The setup

Missions used to be a huge part of how Scientology recruited new people. And they were moneymakers for the people who owned and operated them. Even under David Miscavige at this time, 2001, putting up the cash to open a mission was still a sign that a donor had truly arrived.

In the last two decades, Miscavige has decimated the mission system, and Scientology has shrunk drastically overall. We’re estimating that current worldwide membership is only 20,000 or less. But in 2001, Scientology was more robust and still held greater sway in Hollywood.

Our video begins with shots of the stage outside the mission being set up for the grand opening. You’ll briefly see Joe and Cindy Feshbach, who were the mission holders (with Jenna Elfman) and had financed the facility.


[Joe and Cindy Feshbach, on the right]

They are the parents of Jessica Feshbach, who was at one time a Scientology spokeswoman and was married for several years to her counterpart, then-spokesman Tommy Davis. Tommy also attended this event, but if he’s visible in the video it’s only for a second later on, and we didn’t spot Jessica. Sadly, Joe Feshbach died of a heart attack during an Idaho bicycle ride in 2011.



Part 2: The celebs gather

The video then turns to the Scientology celebrities waiting for the event to start. Initially, we can see Danny and Christopher Masterson, Lynsey Bartilson, and then Catherine Bell joins them.


Who else do you recognize? Near the end of this segment, Juliette Lewis comes in, and we can see that she’s shorter than the others.

Then, about 1:15 into this segment, the angle shifts as John Travolta and Kelly Preston arrive.


Part 3: Cindy Feshbach’s speech

Now the event begins as Joe and Cindy Feshbach, Scientology leader David Miscavige, and Jenna Elfman take their places on the stage.

Cindy is up first, thanking the crowd for attending, and she begins her remarks about the mission. She then calls up San Francisco Police Department Capt. Tony Parra to hand him a proclamation, and he helps out with a few words of his own. What would a Scientology grand opening be without a local shill.



Part 4: David Miscavige’s speech

Cindy then turns over the podium to the diminutive David Miscavige, who gives one of his more boring speeches. And having seen so many of these things over the years, that’s saying something. We present it here just for completeness.


Part 5: Jenna Elfman’s speech

Jenna Elfman is less of a stiff than Miscavige, and her enthusiasm is plain. She has clearly put a lot of effort into opening this facility. Sadly, only a few weeks later Scientology will sell the building, and the mission was moved around to various locations. It’s never amounted to much.


Part 6: The ribbon pull

After finishing her speech, Jenna then calls up the other celebs to join her on stage so they can pull the ribbon, officially opening the mission. Tom Cruise bounds up first, naturally, followed by Kelly Preston, John Travolta, Bodhi Elfman, Kirstie Alley, Catherine Bell, Juliette Lewis, and then Eduardo Palomo, a Mexican telenovela star who died in 2003 of a heart attack at only 41.



Then everyone pulls in tight for a photo…


Jenna invites everyone into the facility for a tour, and the last thing we see on this segment is Travolta and Kelly Preston boogying down the stairs…


This is definitely a fun segment and one of the greatest concentrations of Scientology celebrity in one place ever caught on film.



Part 7: Shelly Miscavige

And now for the big finish. The camera keeps recording, and catches David Miscavige walking around as people are going into the mission. As he walks inside, behind him you’ll see a slender and smartly dressed woman in black slacks and a tan top with her hair up. When they come back out moments later, you can see that the smartly dressed woman is, in fact, Shelly Miscavige. (See photo at the top of the story.)

With them is a woman in a dark navy suit and short hair. She’s Lou Stuckenbrock, Dave’s “personal communicator,” who sticks closely with them.

You’ll see the three of them huddle at some stairs to discuss something.

Then the scene jumps and Dave and Shelly are walking out of the mission. They stop to say something to two women, and then walk out of the frame, and we get one last good look at Shelly.


It’s only a brief shot, but as we’ll explain, it’s just about the best images on video we’ve ever seen of her.



Four years later, in late August or early September 2005, Shelly Miscavige was put into a car at Scientology’s secretive “Gold Base” (also known as “Int Base”) near Hemet, California, and wasn’t seen again until she was allowed to attend the funeral of her father Maurice “Barney” Barnett in the summer of 2007. Other than that, she hasn’t been seen in public or at Scientology’s events.

We believe that during that entire 15 years, her husband has kept her in a small very secretive Scientology compound in the San Bernardino Mountains which is the headquarters for its subsidiary called the Church of Spiritual Technology.

For our complete rundown of why we believe Shelly is there and why we believe she’s still alive, please see our complete story on her whereabouts which we publish each Christmas Day.

As for previous images of Shelly, when we first started writing about her disappearance about nine years ago, there were almost no photos of Shelly online at all. Just a group shot in the Sea Org and one very bad and very tiny photo from her wedding to David Miscavige in the early 1980s.

Then, in the summer of 2013, we made a trip to Italy and paid a visit to Dave and Shelly’s former tailors, Claudio and Renata Lugli. They revealed to us that they had taken wonderful photos of Shelly posing in their clothes in the 1990s, and they let us bring several of them back with us. Most of the photos you’ve seen in magazines since then came from that trip to see the Luglis, and we’re still very indebted to them. Here are a few of them…


The next new images of Shelly, which were actually taken earlier, in the 1980s, were released by Shelly’s father-in-law, Ron Miscavige, when he went public with his escape from Scientology in 2016.



As for video, the only other footage we’ve seen that captured Shelly at all were glimpses in the infamous “We Stand Tall” video from 1990, and just a few seconds at the 2004 Madrid Ideal Org grand opening, the event where Tom Cruise gave a speech in Spanish. You can see that very brief glimpse of her here in the short video we put together about her disappearance.


So, with that background, you can see that although today’s new footage is brief, it really is just about the best look we’ve ever had of Shelly Miscavige. And, as several people who knew her have told us, it confirms that she was a stylish woman who cared very much about her appearance.

For the last 15 years her husband has had her confined to a small mountain compound, working at a project archiving L. Ron Hubbard’s words so they last thousands of years in underground vaults.

We have said repeatedly that she may be resigned to her fate. But does she really choose to live, year after year, without any contact with the outside world, or with any time spent with her family?

We hope these new images raise even more awareness of her situation, and result in more calls for Scientology to produce evidence that she is well and chooses to have no contact with the outside world.


Source Code


“Christ bore the burdens of all man and the world, didn’t he? So, if a person keeps on offending, offending, offending against the seventh dynamic, he will eventually offend so wrongly and so widely and broadly that his only solution to it is to wind up as Christ. This isn’t saying that’s the route that Christ went although some of the lost books of the Bible tell you how he spent his early youth using his powers to destroy those around him. You may not be aware of these early accounts. There’s one story, in these lost books of the Bible, about his blinding a playmate merely by telling him to go blind.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 8, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“THE RUMOURS: The landing ships out in the harbour ‘briefed’ their men on how this ship was out of bounds as ‘full of draft dodgers, marijuana smokers, free love, hypnotism,’ said to have been briefed by their ‘upper echelon.’ We are sending Ensign Dunleavy and a boat out (the sea sled) to call on their senior captain to get it handled. Their men are upsetting the Greeks also. We’ll take care of it. Captains in the US Navy who ‘can’t handle their men’ (the one thing Admirals in the US go bonkers about) are seldom promoted any more. We hold all the aces. We’ll handle it on the lower echelon level and run it back to some psychiatrist they’ve got aboard, I’m sure. Poor old SMERSH.” — The Commodore, March 8, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“KSW is hard core. It keeps people from squirreling the tech. It is under attack right now and if I follow logic it tells me that the folks attacking it want to squirrel. That’s OK, but go somewhere else and do it. If someone wants to be free with the tech — go ahead, but if you kill someone or maim someone with Black Dianetics or Black Scientology, you are no different than DM. How a piece of paper can ‘stop thought’ is beyond my comprehension. That is such nonsense it makes my head hurt. And about people being victims of Scientology: No one can be a victim of Scientology. LRH said in the tape ‘LRH Talks to Ethics Officers WW’ that if a pc gets sick after an auditing session he is PTS to the auditor and/or the C/S who apparently suppressed him with out-tech. Does that mean the auditor and/or the C/S are suppressive? No. They just committed out tech on the pc and he got sick. So if someone had ill-effects from the ‘Sea Org’ or the ‘Church’ or ‘Scientology’ it was not because of the subject of the ‘Sea Org’ or the ‘Church’ or ‘Scientology,’ it is because of people. A group can be suppressive, like the IRS or the NSA, but when you peel it back it is one person who dictates what to do. Same with the Church, if you take out DM and his connections (SPs) you will have a calmed down scene that would be easy to reform. It is just insanity to say that KSW #1 cuts across thought. LRH busted his ass to get us good workable tech and all he is saying is ‘do it the right way or get the hell out of here.’ That’s all. And people call it ‘thought control.’ My head actually hurts from this stupidity.”


Past is Prologue

2002: Prosperity Magazine reported news from the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, including the opening of new facilities in Los Angeles and New York. “CUTTING THE RIBBON ON A NEW FUTURE – The New Hubbard College of Administration Special Grand Opening. Mr. Sky Dayton, founder of Earthlink the largest independent Internet Service provider in the United States, was the first speaker. ‘By diligently applying Mr. Hubbard’s administrative technology; from setting my original life goals to constructing the plans and organizations to achieve them, I have been able to make my dreams a reality. The Hubbard College will graduate and endless stream of managers and administrator who know the laws of organizations and how to win the game with intelligence and integrity. This has the potential not only to change the face of business and government, but also of society’.”



Random Howdy

“I’d bet the farm that this isn’t the end of the battle for the mind of poor Suri. This was only round one. Things will get ugly, real ugly, further down the road.”


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 April 13.
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 Feb 4. Arraigned on Feb 9. Pretrial conference set for Apr 29.

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.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
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] Forcing Scientology ‘arbitration’ on rape victims would be US courts imposing religion
[TWO years ago] Can Scientology be tripped up by consumer protection? You must hear this pitch.
[THREE years ago] While in hiding, Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard sent advice to newly elected Ronald Reagan
[FOUR years ago] Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress, but will LAPD answer the call?
[FIVE years ago] BACK ON: Scientology ‘disconnection’ billboard OK’d by competitor after Outfront Media bails
[SIX years ago] Scientology really, really, really doesn’t want you to see this movie
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack: Why it takes so long to recover from Scientology
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Targets Aussie Kindergartners, Swedish Grade Schoolers
[NINE years ago] Scientology + Nation of Islam Charter School to be Exorcised from the Earth Forever and Ever


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 2,234 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,738 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,258 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,278 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,169 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,476 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,344 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,118 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,922 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,238 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,804 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,723 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,891 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,472 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,733 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,771 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,484 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,009 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 364 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,539 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,090 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,239 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,559 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,414 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,533 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,889 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,192 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,298 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,700 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,572 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,155 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,650 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,904 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,013 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 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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