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John Travolta sells Clearwater house: What are the Scientology ramifications?

We really can’t blame the media folks and the Scientology kremlinologists who are greeting news of a sort-of John Travolta house in Clearwater being sold for $4 million in light of his standing with the church. It’s a natural question: Is Travolta ditching the organization along with his lavish waterfront home in Scientology’s spiritual mecca?

There’s been a lot more speculation than usual about Travolta since the death of his wife Kelly Preston last year, and it’s understandable. But let’s try to be as factual as we can here.

First, we have to acknowledge that there has always been speculation that Travolta might bolt from Scientology, and it’s based on some pretty solid ground. As Spanky Taylor and Lawrence Wright explained in the Alex Gibney HBO movie Going Clear, Travolta wavered about his involvement way back as early as the 1970s, and Spanky told us herself that she had encouraged him to rethink his dedication to the cabal.

On the other hand, we keep in mind that Scientology managed to hold on to Travolta not only through that tough time, but also after a later tragedy in his life, namely the death of his son Jett in 2009.


Travolta himself revealed in an interview that after Jett’s death Scientology for two years moved some auditors into their house to make sure that John and Kelly had the help with their grief that they needed. Our experts said that Travolta had made a huge disclosure there, because they said the real reason those auditors would have been around the Travoltas at that time would have been to make sure that they did not ditch the church in their time of grief.

Now, a decade later, Travolta has been hit with another personal tragedy, and we would have to assume that Scientology has deployed its troops in the same way.

However, we did point out that at the same time that John had lost Kelly, his old friend Lisa Marie Presley at almost the some moment was going through her own nightmare, the suicide of her son Ben Keough, 27.

Based on what we knew about Lisa Marie’s past attempts to get John to wake up about Scientology, we theorized that if these two old friends sought solace in each other, it might mean that Travolta’s involvement in Scientology might be in jeopardy.

However, a year later we have no evidence that such a meeting has occurred.

Also, we think it was a big mistake for one of the more breathless tabloids to claim that because Travolta in his social media post announcing Kelly’s death had thanked the cancer treatment center MD Anderson and had not mentioned Scientology, that this was somehow a slam on the church and a sure sign that Travolta was leaving the organization.

We have big doubts about that. First, there’s no doubt that some Scientologists resist legitimate medical treatment based on L. Ron Hubbard’s aversion to doctors, but the church doesn’t stand in the way of Scientologists getting legitimate cancer care, and especially in the case of a celebrity. Also, Travolta knew exactly what he was doing with that announcement, because he knew there would be speculation about whether Kelly’s involvement in Scientology (and she was much more hardcore than Travolta) would have prevented her from seeking real care, and he ended that speculation with a single announcement. It was smart, and we think it would have been strange for Travolta to say anything about Scientology at that moment. That he didn’t mention Scientology said nothing about his involvement in the church.

OK, so with all of that as background, what about the house? Let’s keep in mind that it was Tracey McManus who broke the news that a trust headed by Travolta’s sister Ellen Bannon bought the deluxe waterfront mansion, and only four years ago, in 2017.

Did we think at the time that it could be, along with Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley also investing in Clearwater properties, evidence of an increased celebrity focus on Scientology’s mecca? Sure, we did.

But we also have to keep in mind that Travolta’s main base is in Ocala, about 120 miles north, where he has a house that includes a driveway for his personal jet, and where he personally financed a local Scientology mission.

So sure, we understand why some are including the Clearwater house sale as evidence that John might be pulling away, but we think it’s just as likely that it’s simply a real estate transaction involving a house a family trust bought just a few years ago that John personally may never have stepped foot in.

OK, kremlinologists, your turn. Tell us what you’re thinking.



Erin Hodges Plumb still making waves

How nice it was to hear again from Erin Hodges Plumb, who provided us with some very entertaining encounters with Scientology when she lived near its secretive headquarters compound in Southern California.

Two years ago she moved to Central California for her work, and she tells us that she figured her encounters with the church were over. But not so! Here, we’ll let her tell the story:


Tonight was the seventh annual community Night Out sponsored by the police department and held at the fire department, and so I decided to come and meet some people in the neighborhood. There were lots of different kinds of booths here: Farmers Insurance, High School cheer, the hospital, the local children’s groups, and lots aimed at kids. Imagine my surprise to see a Scientology booth for Drug-Free World. Of course it doesn’t say Scientology. I enquired, and they admitted that this was a separate program. I then walked around the entire rest of the booths again and told everyone there, especially the ones that had to do with children, that there was a Scientology group selling lies about their drug knowledge. I took pictures of their booth and when the woman saw me taking pictures she tried to slyly pull her camera out and take my picture. I walked up to her and said, “Here I am, take my picture and let me give you my name.” She said she wasn’t taking a picture of me, that she was taking a picture of the display table. I told her yeah, right, I know that you’re taking a picture of me. I let the police department and the fire department who are sponsoring and throwing this thing know that Scientology was here and they might want to look further into who they allow at their events. While I’m dictating this I just saw some guys with cameras and paper. I asked if they were local news. Yes, so I stopped to tell them all about that Scientology booth.

Well, that’s some classic Erin right there. Thank you for the update!


Source Code

“The admiral’s office thinks very poorly of a person who gives any understanding to a crew about what they’re about, and who thinks very poorly of a ship that has fairly good morale. To have good morale is a condemnation. Got this? Now, that expediency goes up to a final peak where, man’s walking down the street, he’s picked up, he’s taken down to a spaceship, he’s laid in a bunk, he’s strapped down, given an injection. A speaker-phone starts going yap-yap-yap at him, indoctrinates him as a member of the crew, wipes out all former memory, works him over in general and he’s now part of the navy. Get the idea? It goes down to total no-determinism. Now, you just think I’m showing you a few of my engrams. They’re not my engrams; they’re the engrams of this race, and of all races in all times.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 5, 1958


Avast, Ye Mateys


“LONG VOYAGES: WE will sail on the 12th on a 450 mile voyage. The radio direction finder must be checked for operation and accuracy. Freight etc must be all in hand in this country. Various ports need notifying of new schedule. MEA will have to be alerted. Should remaining TRCs be brought aboard? The awnings come down. Lot of work to do on all this. The Capt FSO should schedule such cycles and get them done on a realistic basis so its not a last minue flat out. A nice long sea voyage followed by others will get your sea legs working. It’s a calm part of the year.” — The Commodore August 5, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Here is my success story. I found myself in the restimulated being of the ‘intergalactic mercenary.’ I realized that it was because of this restimulation that I have no feeling of Home — a road and a constant movement are my home, no ties to any cozy place. The coolest one is my house on Alpha Centauri: I once woke up in the morning at the age of 18 with a clear confidence in this, I had only these words in my head: ‘my house is on Alpha Centauri.’ I had no idea what it was. Only when the Internet and the possibilities of Google reached me, I found complete information about this star and constellation. I also discharged a lot of electronic incidents and incidents connected with shells and those times when the human body was not yet created on Earth. The sensations are the most amazing after the releases!”


Past is Prologue

1997: Lawrence Wollersheim and Joe Harrington posted updates on the Factnet copyright violation case in Colorado. “A Factnet status conference took place before Judge Abram. Scientology said they were filing a Summary Judgment within the next few hours. I believe that Scientology’s new filing is mostly designed to make Factnet spend more money as Judge Kane has already made it VERY clear to Scientology that he does not believe this is a case that will be resolved through Summary Judgment motions. Factnet anticipated this action and will shortly be filing several interesting tiny surprises for Scientology’s litigation team. Our focus remains to get Miscavige on the stand and show that Scientology is not the owner of the copyrights as it has claimed. Bridge Publications’ summary judgment motion was rejected as being improperly served. And I doubt if any knowledgeable attorney would authorize the public release of documents and motions they consider invalid and without standing in court. Judge Kane clearly stated he does not believe this case will be solved by summary judgment yet Scientology jams another Summary judgment motion in his face. He also has warned about burying the court and the case in reams of paper. Then Judge Abram warned against any motion over ten pages will not be welcome. What does Scientology do? They file a 36-page summary judgment motion with about 10 bankers boxes full of exhibits. That’s about 120,000- 140,000 pages. Then to top it off they don’t even serve it correctly on all the attorneys of record. In a premeditated action of extreme bad faith, Scientology now expects us to bear the cost of copying almost 500,000 pages plus shipping cost to two out of state attorneys.”


Random Howdy

“One man’s moonbat is another man’s freedom fighter. Winning is the only thing that truly matters.”



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, 2020 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 23. Appeal hearing scheduled for Aug 23-27.

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] As Los Angeles schools prepare to reopen, Scientology keeps trying to worm its way in
[TWO years ago] Scientology is the coolest religion on earth, video proves
[THREE years ago] California is on fire, and Scientology naturally sees a golden recruiting opportunity
[FOUR years ago] An unusual Scientology advertisement leads to new intel on secretive ‘Int Base’
[FIVE years ago] Florida man sues medical sleep testing company after its dapper CEO forced Scientology on him
[SIX years ago] What really happens at a Scientology rehab? Nick Lister dishes on the Narconon experience
[SEVEN years ago] Mareka Brousseau compares growing up in Scientology to The Hunger Games
[EIGHT years ago] Will Shelly Miscavige Be Trotted Out at the Celebrity Centre Gala As a PR Stunt?
[NINE years ago] Movie Night at Scientology’s New York “Org”: The Village Voice Gets Proselytized!
[TEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology


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 2,383 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,888 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,408 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,428 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,319 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,626 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,494 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,268 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,598 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,072 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,388 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,954 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,873 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,041 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,622 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,883 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,921 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,634 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,159 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 514 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,689 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,240 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,389 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,709 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,564 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,683 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,039 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,342 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,448 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,846 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,722 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,305 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,800 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,054 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,163 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 5, 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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