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A Scientology escape saga, which includes serving L. Ron Hubbard a bad meal

I read this website every day. For a while I even commented (nobs and nobs2). But I’m not particularly good at social interactions and may even have a bit of envy for the camaraderie, so I stopped. Now I’d like to tell a few stories.

My mother got into Scientology in the mid 60s in Phoenix. She was so into it that she went to Saint Hill in England to go Clear. She left me in charge of the house and my younger siblings. On her way out the door she said, “By the way, if you’re interested, I left the address and phone number of the Scientology office on the counter.” I could not resist. I went down to the franchise (missions hadn’t been invented yet) and signed up for everything: Personal Efficiency Course, Communication Course and lots of auditing. At that point in Scientology, folks were doing what later came to be called “quickie grades”: only a small portion of all the processes for a grade were run. So a person, like me, could go all the way to Grade 4 in a few weeks, unheard of now.

When my mother returned it was my turn. Off I went to Saint Hill for Power Processing and the Clearing Course. Maybe there was something in between, like R6EW. It was a long time ago and all of it was completely weird. But just before my introduction into Scientology, I’d been a hippie and had happily been smoking dope and dropping acid. So the bizarre stuff I was asked to swallow didn’t seem like a big deal. I had actually hoped when I started, back at the franchise, that auditing would help me with lots of personal issues. It never did. Yet I stuck with it, perhaps it was that thing — “it’ll happen on the next level.” Also, you don’t realize it hasn’t done anything until that deeply buried personal junk rears up and bites you years later.

When I was getting ready to leave Saint Hill, I saw a poster of L. Ron Hubbard that said I was needed to help “clear the planet” and would I join the elite team called the Sea Organization. I didn’t join right that minute. I went home and sold everything I owned and bought a one-way plane ticket to Alicante, Spain. I was 19 years old. The first Advanced Org had been set up there and I signed my contract there. It did not phase me that it said a billion years. I think I was still high. (You may be wondering about me being allowed to join since I’d taken acid. The rule about no acid came much later.)


I’d never seen an “Org Board”, Hubbard’s convoluted layout of titles and jobs in one of his organizations. I’d never worked in one of his organizations. I’d never heard of or read an HCO Policy Letter. I had absolutely NO idea what I was expected to do. And I didn’t understand anything these folks said — it was all Hubbard-speak, a completely different language. I worked at the AO for a few weeks and then was sent to the Royal Scotman. Maybe it was in Valencia at that time. I was stunned immediately by the horrible conditions, the bad smell and the unfriendly people. My bed was a bunk in a dorm full of unwashed women and girls. The first job I had was dishwasher in the gigantic galley. That’s all I did. Wash dishes. Once, I was woken up in the middle of the night and told to get back to the galley. Something had not been completely cleaned and I was now going to thoroughly clean it and the entire galley.

A nice lady came to see me one day and asked if I could type. I said ‘yes’, she said ‘great’ and the next thing I knew I was working in something called HCO. My new job was typing the Orders of the Day working for a really nasty piece of work named Baron Berez. After that I was transferred to the Deck Force. I liked that a lot. I worked for a sweet man whose name might have been Des. I loved learning knots and sanding railings and polishing brass. While cleaning up the bridge one day I decided I would make the compass cover look like new — it had a few dents and needed polishing. I took it to the bosun’s locker, found a ball peen hammer and got busy. I hammered away until that compass cover looked like it had really horrible acne. I couldn’t very well take it back to the bridge, so I buried it under a big pile of rope.

I was bounced around job-wise, from one thing to something completely different and never, not once, was I trained or helped to learn what the job was all about. I got in a lot of trouble which could easily have been avoided if I had had only one job to do and the opportunity to learn it well and just get on with it. Every time I got into trouble I’d write to the Commodore and ask if I could please leave. I got the same answer every time: “Just wait a little while and see if you don’t feel better about staying.” Sigh. So I went along with it. Somebody got the bright idea to make me the steward to Hubbard’s highest muck-a-mucks — his Aides. These were the 7 people at the very top who ran Scientology from the ship. One of them was Mary Sue. The only other name I remember is Alex Sibersky.

I served their meals and did their laundry and cleaned their cabins and generally was not too unhappy. But one night, I was told that I was now the Commodore’s Steward. His steward, the lovely Julia Migenes, had escaped and run away to sing opera in Italy. I was promoted. My new job had a boatload of rules, in a “hat write-up” written by Mary Sue. It was a very thick book that I never had time to read. I did the best I could. Hubbard had his own private chef, a strange man who was from St. Thomas. He hated all of us but made great meals for the “old man.”

The Commodore ate dinner at midnight and then audited (solo auditing) until 3 or 4 a.m. I served him his dinner one evening and I noticed that the mood at the table (he ate with Mary Sue and the other Aides) got real quiet and a bit chilly when I took the cover off the plate. I had no clue there was anything wrong with the food. Apparently there was. Around 3 in the morning, some thugs banged on my door (I now had a small cabin to myself) and told me someone needed to see me on the well deck. Huh? Like the good do-bee I was, I went with them. As soon as we were outside they marched me to the open gate over the harbor and tossed me in the water. We were docked in Malta. It was 3 a.m. My experience with harbors before this incident was nil. I’d never seen one up close and personal like this. Floating in the water were dead animals, shit, oil and plenty of other terrifying things. Good thing I know how to swim. By the way, no one asked. I got myself back onto the ship, into my cabin, cleaned myself up and went back to bed. I was never told what caused this insane thing to happen. Not a single word was said about it or what I had done wrong. Scientology can definitely make a person go nuts.

I finally got a job I was good at — organizing and coordinating the installation of new navigation equipment. We were in Greece, just before the government tossed us out. I didn’t need to know anything about the equipment and I didn’t need to speak Greek to communicate with the crew doing the installation. The leader of the crew spoke English and he and I would meet every day and plan out the next steps. I went around the ship and told people they had to be out of their offices or whatever at a certain time. It was going really well so I wrote another letter asking to go home. This time the answer was yes. I’d asked for a year’s leave and it was granted. I didn’t do anything about it because I wanted to finish the equipment job. But then the order came to get out of Greece and we had 24 hours. I took my permission letter and ran all over the ship getting signatures so I could get off before the ship sailed. I managed to do all the “routing out,” throw together my stuff and run down the gangplank. Whew! Wait. I was standing on the dock in Corfu, Greece with exactly $5. I hadn’t had time to think past just getting off the damn boat. There was a “mission” being “fired” from Greece that day — a group of maybe eight high-ranking SO who were about to rain some heavy stuff down on the LA Org. They were headed to Athens to await their flight to California. I hitched a ride with them and they let me sleep on the couch in their hotel. I used my $5 to call my mother in Phoenix, she paid for a ticket home and I was out! Except that I went to LA a month later and continued to work for the SO at the original AOLA.

I was living in a horrible house with a bazillion other people. We were crammed into every available space. It was bad. We worked all day and most of the night every day of the week. Then a weird thing happened: a “public” asked me out on a date. For some reason I was allowed to go. I got pregnant on that date. When I told my date that I had gotten pregnant, he brought me a document to sign. It said that I would not ask him for any money and that I would not say who the father was. I tore that up and told him how pathetic he was and that I would take care of my baby myself. So now I’m pregnant and working all the time and not getting decent food or rest. I called my mom and told her about my situation. She was happy that she was going to be a grandmother. Shortly after that conversation, my sister walked into my office at the AO, an office I shared with three other people and announced that she’s there to take me home. All well and good but for the snitch who ran back to the house and told one of the big muck-a-mucks that I was about to leave.

Earlier I had asked to leave because I had a letter from the Commodore giving me a year off and had only been away a month. I was told I’d have to write again, ask again and wait for an answer. I’d been waiting a couple of months. If I recall correctly, the woman who came to “handle” me was Sue Chaleff. She sat me down in the Master-at-Arms office and told me I was in treason and would have to work my way out of that condition. She got out a pair of handcuffs and attached them both to my left wrist. Then she locked me in the basement. I sat down on the stairs and had a moment of supreme clarity. I knew exactly what I needed to say, I knew what she would say, I knew what she would do and I knew that I was going to get out. I knocked on the door and said I was ready. We had the exact conversation I had imagined. She took me out the back door and told me I would be working all night in the garage helping up-date old addresses. I sat down, she went back inside and I snuck around the building, jumped in my sister’s car and told her to drive. No stopping.

At my mom’s house I crawled into bed and slept four days. My mom fed me really good food any time I asked. Someone from the AO called several times a day saying I ought to come back, that everything was fine. I didn’t speak to them, mom did. The calls stopped after a week. Then I got bills which I trashed. It was too ridiculous.

I went about my life, had a beautiful baby girl (February 1970), finished college, worked like a regular person and forgot about Scientology.

Then, about 30 years later, I stepped back into Scientology. But that’s a story for another day.

— Cathy Mullins



Bruce Hines

Leah Remini podcast: The Bridge, part 2

Says Mike: “We continue breaking down the Bridge to total Freedom towards the level of Clear with Bruce Hines. It’s the stairway to heaven with turnstiles at every step. The State of Clear — halfway up the Bridge. What is the E-Meter?” Listen to the episode right here!


Source Code

“So you’ve got the other fellow’s universe and you got the physical universe. Now, the other fellow, in his universe, can cause you problems while communicating to you through the physical universe, and the physical universe itself can cause problems, and so we can get a thing called a present time problem that doesn’t have anything to do with a mental image picture. Doesn’t have anything to do with the reactive bank, but it can restimulate the reactive bank and make it harder to solve the present time problem. But a present time problem can actually exist. That’s one of the things that auditors don’t always notice.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 27, 1965


Avast, Ye Mateys

“CONGRATULATIONS to Bill Robertson and Nate Jessup on passing the Dianetic written examination 100 percent. Nate is the 3rd Staff student to pass the examination. Nobody on the ship part time course has taken the exam yet. You should quickly complete 3 times through the checksheet before your time expires so that if you miss out on the 100 percent you still have time to restudy and pass the exam within the 8 week period.” — Brian Livingston, July 27, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone


“If you’re a big enough Thetan and you stay on the bridge, you will be like floating, your postulates creating anything you desire pretty much and you will be completely protected from any other SP’s invalidation. It’s a mystery why in other planets Thetans can destroy all the people on them. I projected myself in full color from all around a planet and reached down and tortured all the people just before getting implanted and coming here. So there must be some sort of ‘protection’ around this planet so other Thetans can’t do that here – maybe a force screen? But still creating MEST out of thin air here is not possible and is a mystery as of yet.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Helena Kobrin, lawyer in charge of harassment for the Church of Scientology, was busy this week sending threatening letters to a.r.s posters for quoting 5 lines from the OT7 document. New recipients this week include Bruce J. Bell, Blind Carlos, Maggie Council, Jesse Garon, James J. Lippard, Old Salt, Doctorb Science, Tony Sidaway, Tim Skirvin, Keith Spurgeon, Steve, Donna Stuckert, and TarlaStar.


Random Howdy

“The regs do all the fluffing in Scientology, but there are no happy endings. It’s all a tease.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.

Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Sept 9.

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 to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
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: Third 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.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] EXCLUSIVE: The real Tom Cruise — Leah Remini exposes Scientology’s biggest asset
[TWO years ago] When your ex is into Scientology, a custody battle can get cosmically worse
[THREE years ago] Why did a 26-year-old ‘Clear’ kill herself at Scientology’s spiritual mecca?
[FOUR years ago] Derek Bloch on fighting Scientology ‘disconnection’ in an unaired TV series
[FIVE years ago] How Scientology split up teen sweethearts who reunited more than 40 years later
[SIX years ago] A new look inside Scientology’s bomb-proof vaults, and a visit to Hubbard’s final rodeo
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Nancy Cartwright countdown to godhood edition!
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack: A Case of Scientology Fair Game Deflected with Disinfecting Sunlight
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Worlds Colliding: Bert Leahy and David Edgar Love Together in Oklahoma on August 25!
[TEN years ago] Tom Cruise Proves He Has a Sense of Humor, Signs Anti-Scientologist’s Guy Fawkes Mask


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 2,374 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,879 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,399 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,419 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,310 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,617 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,485 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,259 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,589 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,063 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,379 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,945 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,864 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,032 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,613 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,874 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,912 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,625 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,150 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 505 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,680 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,231 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,380 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,700 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,555 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,674 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,030 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,333 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,439 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,841 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,713 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,296 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,791 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,045 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,154 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 27, 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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