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Jim Dincalci, 1946-2021: Medical officer to Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard on the high seas

[Dincalci, in a 1997 Channel 4 documentary about L. Ron Hubbard]

Hana Whitfield let us know last night that yesterday afternoon, Jim Dincalci slipped away after a lengthy fight with cancer. He was 75.

Dincalci will be remembered by many people as a caring, benevolent force in the lives of many people, a principled man who was driven to help others achieve peace in their lives. His influential book, How to Forgive When You Can’t: The Breakthrough Guide to Free Your Heart & Mind, went through four editions and was published in nine languages, he promoted peaceful conflict resolution through his organization the Forgiveness Foundation, and he had taught methods of forgiveness counseling while a member of numerous college faculties over the years.

But Dincalci will also be remembered for his involvement in Scientology, which he told one interviewer in 2015 was a decade of his life that was wasted.

Thankfully for us, he was willing to tell us about those years, and one of those years in particular: When he and L. Ron Hubbard and Hubbard’s bodyguard, a man named Paul Preston, went to hide out in New York from December 1972 to September 1973.


[One of the notorious photos shot by Jim Dincalci of Hubbard, hiding in New York in 1972-73]

In our book about Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, we described how, at the same time that Paulette was going through some of the most hellish harassment at Hubbard’s direction while she was living in Manhattan, Hubbard himself had flown in to New York under an assumed name. After a scare with a customs agent at the airport, Hubbard, Dincalci, and Preston began looking for a place to hide out for a while. From our book…

The three were in New York because things in Morocco and Portugal had gotten too hot for Hubbard. Since 1967, he had been at sea, the “commodore” of his own small navy consisting of three ships, the flagship Apollo, the Athena, and the sloop Diana, which was not only the name of a Greek goddess but also the name of one of Hubbard’s daughters.

One country after another had proved to be unfriendly to Scientology, and Hubbard was running out of safe ports. He had left the US for England in 1959, had tried to establish a presence in (and had hopes of taking over) Rhodesia in 1966, and then had launched his navy. In turn, governments in Greece and North Africa had chased out the aging science fiction writer and his crew of several hundred young followers. In 1972, after more than five years at sea, the Apollo needed serious repairs and was in dry dock in Lisbon. For several months, Hubbard, his wife Mary Sue, and some of their crew had lived in Morocco and had become involved in political intrigue there. But then they received intelligence that French agents were moving in to arrest Hubbard on fraud charges. Hubbard, Mary Sue, and the rest of the crew packed quickly and headed for Lisbon. Finding that it wasn’t safe there, the next day Hubbard had flown with Dincalci and Preston, bound for Chicago with a layover at JFK. After the incident with the customs agent at the airport, they decided to stay put in New York. Now, accompanied by just Dincalci and Preston, and with his wife and the rest of the crew back in Lisbon, Hubbard decided to wait things out for a while.

Dincalci soon found a sizable place in a 13-story building in Forest Hills, Queens on 112 Street, called “Executive House.” Hubbard, who had not been in the US for 13 years, seemed mesmerized by how much the country had changed since 1959 and sat for hours at a time, watching television.

Not only was it remarkable to think that for several months Hubbard was living secretly in the same city as Paulette, but it was also during this time that Hubbard hatched one of his biggest ideas for Scientology: The Snow White Program.

For the last few years, Hubbard’s armada had been kicked out of one country after another, and now they were running out of available ports. If something wasn’t done about it, what kind of future could Scientology have?

In 1967, the Freedom of Information Act had gone into effect after being signed into law the year before by President Lyndon Johnson. Scientology had been one of the first to make extensive use of it, ordering its attorneys to find out how much information government agencies had about Hubbard in their files (it turned out to be a great deal).

While he sat in the apartment in Queens, Hubbard worked out an ambitious plan that he thought might take care of all these problems at the same time. If the negative information about Scientology could be retrieved and expunged from files in major countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, it would stop the damaging reports going to smaller countries like Greece and Morocco and Portugal that were turning away Hubbard and his ships.

On April 28, 1973, after much back and forth with the Guardian’s Office, Hubbard finalized plans for the new project — numbered GO 732 — which would target documents in 17 countries. Hubbard called it the “Snow White Program”…

The document talked about “legally” expunging files, but in its details, it talked about suing psychiatrists for genocide, “clearing” files in countries around the world, and obtaining documents “by any means.”

Hubbard had given his worldwide espionage organization an audacious new goal. By any means, his operatives had been instructed to infiltrate every government organization on Earth that might harbor negative information about him—and destroy it.

In Queens that spring, however, the scene hardly resembled a spy thriller. After Dincalci prepared dinner, Hubbard would regale him with yarns about his past. About how the press was wrong that he’d never finished college, and that he had been one of the first casualties of the Second World War. (His war record didn’t reflect it, however.) He told Dincalci that the cyst on his forehead was filled with shrapnel from that injury, but Dincalci had it X-rayed and didn’t find any shrapnel in it. Hubbard also went into the wild exploits of his past lives on other planets. When he went into these tales, Hubbard looked off into space, and Dincalci noticed that the 62-year-old man went into a kind of reverie while he spoke. Then, after a lengthy narrative, he’d come out of it, blinking his eyes and smacking his lips while he looked around, like he was trying to remember where he was. Dincalci thought it was odd.

We told Dincalci how grateful we were that he gave us those details, about what it was like to take care of Hubbard in a Queens apartment while the Great Thetan dreamed up Scientology’s massive espionage caper, one that would ultimately produce the largest FBI raid in history and send Hubbard’s wife, along with ten others, to prison.


Dincalci told us that he’d first encountered Scientology in 1968, when he was a medical student in New York. He was so enthusiastic about the scene at the Hotel Martinique, where the org was then, just off Herald Square, that he dropped out of medical school to join. He gave us a great insight on what Scientology’s New York scene was like then, with a packed ballroom filled with eager young students. Leonard Cohen was there with his two gorgeous girlfriends, he said with a laugh. “You could go in day or night, it didn’t matter, it was full. But especially at night,” he said. “The staff looked beleaguered, but everyone was pretty uptone. We had the thing. This was it. We were going to do the planet up. And I totally agreed with Hubbard about psychology at the time. Later, I became a psychologist.”

By 1970 Dincalci had joined Hubbard himself on the Apollo, and was appointed Hubbard’s medical officer. At his blog last night, Mike Rinder reminisced about the time in 1974 he and Dincalci were assigned together for a project in Madeira.

I became friends with Jim when we were both assigned to a short unit from the Apollo on the island of Madeira in 1974. We were the only two males out of the seven members of the unit, so we shared an apartment. We also spent most of our work days together as the women were all off doing surveys of tourists as part of a plan Hubbard had to ingratiate ourselves to the Portuguese government. We became close and I came to know Jim as one of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever had the pleasure of calling a friend. He was truly a remarkable, soft-spoken man who never seemed to have an unkind word or thought for anyone. I saw Jim again a few years ago and we shared some laughs about old times and he sent me some photos he had taken of me back in Madeira, the only photos I have from those years. It was a real delight to see him again.

Looking back on his years in Scientology and on the ship, Dincalci later said that it surprised him, as Hubbard’s medical officer, to see that the Scientology leader didn’t exhibit the traits of “Clear” that he promoted. Dincalci said that Hubbard admitted to him that he’d never been exteriorized — out of his body, the hallmark of an upper-level Scientologist — during the nine years they knew each other.

In 1997, Dincalci took part in a Channel 4 documentary about Hubbard called “Secret Lives.” In 2015, the raw footage from Dincalci’s interview was leaked to the Internet, and the leakers allowed the Underground Bunker to premiere the footage, in which Dincalci described Hubbard as paranoid and depressed.


We’re grateful to Jim that he came forward to fill in so many important details about Hubbard in that era. In recent years, we’ve seen his photos of Hubbard attributed to other people and other time frames by various publications. We tried to set the record straight: It was Jim Dincalci who captured Hubbard in New York in 1972-73 in several black and white photos, working at his writing with long, unkempt hair.

Thanks for that great work, Jim.


[Dincalci with the Carters at their home church in Plains, Georgia, in 2015]



Today in court, we may get a better sense of when the Danny Masterson trial will start

We were looking forward to this day in the Danny Masterson criminal case for a number of reasons.

One of the things scheduled for today was a motion by Masterson’s defense to overturn the result of the preliminary hearing held in May, and to dismiss the case. This is known as a “995” motion, and it was scheduled to be heard by Judge Ronald S. Coen at 8:30 am Los Angeles time.

Yesterday afternoon, however, he learned that a motion to continue the 995 hearing has been filed. Instead of things starting at 8:30 in Judge Coen’s court, the parties will assemble at 9:30 am at Judge Olmedo’s courtroom. Will the 995 hearing be set back? We suspect that is likely.

Another reason we were anticipating things today was that it was supposed to involve Leah Remini. If you remember, in August Judge Olmedo granted our motion to quash a subpoena by Masterson’s defense, and she also quashed subpoenas against several others, including the LAPD and the women accusing Masterson of raping them. Olmedo ruled that the subpoenas were overbroad and they were an attempt by Masterson to use her court to gather information for a civil lawsuit that Masterson and the church are battling in another court.

You may also remember that although the subpoenas were quashed, there was one that Masterson had served on Leah Remini personally that hadn’t been dealt with. Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau told the court that Leah had not responded, and he wanted a “body attachment” — something like an arrest warrant — to haul the actress into court. Olmedo granted his request, but “held” the body attachment, and said Leah’s subpoena could be handled without her being present in court at the November 10 hearing.

When we checked with the court to see if Leah’s subpoena was still on the schedule, we learned that prosecutor Reinhold Mueller filed a motion to quash the subpoena on September 2, and that Mesereau then withdrew Leah’s subpoena on October 19.

Which makes some sense: Olmedo had already struck down all the others.

So what does that leave for today? We’re not sure what will be discussed in Judge Olmedo’s courtroom today, but we think it might involve setting a more firm date for Masterson’s trial.

Olmedo has set tentative start dates in November and then February, but we think those were temporary placeholders, and that a more firm date needs to be set by all sides. We think they may attempt to work that out today. They may also discuss discovery issues, and perhaps some other things. We’ll be hoping to get a report soon after the hearing and relate it to you as soon as we can.

UPDATE: The court confirmed to us that it was the defense that asked for a continuance of the 995 hearing, and it was granted. It has been moved to February 8.

Danny can focus on his holidays!


SECOND UPDATE: Got more information about what happened in Los Angeles today. Danny Masterson’s defense team did convince Judge Coen to give them more time before the 995 hearing (a motion to dismiss based on what was heard at the preliminary hearing in May) and the hearing was moved to February 8. But over in her courtroom, Judge Olmedo set what she characterized as a firm date of August 29, 2022 for the start of Masterson’s trial, or up to 10 days after that date.

We’re told that even if the 995 motion is denied and Danny seeks appeals, Judge Olmedo is determined to get the trial underway and any appeals on side matters won’t make her budge.


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Source Code

“Every man there is, is a universe. You talk about God: The most you will know about God for probably a long time to come is you. If you want to know what God is all about, or if you want to know what you’re all about, you want to know what the fourth dynamic is all about, you consult the essential elements of ‘you-ness.’ Not buried, unconscious, submotivated, libido-icated, bypassed symbolizations of the left hind ruddy rod, which we therefore graph and say, ‘It’s all mysterious and you can’t understand you, so therefore we can own you.’ We’re not running that operation.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 10, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“We may or may not have been responsible for the demise of the scandal sheet l’Opinion which was suddenly shot down and seized, statedly because it had printed adverse materials on corruption in the government. This was a vehicle used by MI-6 (British Intelligence), and CIA, the US agency that specializes in false reports. We have clashed with l’Opinion a few times in the past and have generally gotten the better of them. We were about to clash with them again but why bother with a dead body. The other newspapers in that area have now been nationalized and the former company which ran them has been bought out or pushed out by the government.” — The Commodore, November 10, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology’s infinite theta journey is the road to infinity which goes nowhere except the in-between lives Saturnian implant station which no one remembers because they didn’t download those pictures into your mind. I wonder if they’re trying to hide something.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Chris Owen reported his trip to visit and tour Saint Hill. “I went in via the south entrance – the gate was wide open, the gatehouse deserted and a sign next to the main gate listed the owners of the Manor (the last being LRH, of course). A couple of Sea Orgers pointed the way to the reception desk, in Saint Hill Castle, just beyond the Manor. The Castle is quite plush inside. The first destination was the north wing, which my guide said had been built in 1985. A long corridor, called the Cloister, runs almost the whole length. A curious feature along the walls was the row of maybe a dozen or more carved lions’ heads, each one standing guard over a stone protrusion filled with sand and a great number of cigarette butts. The people inside the Practical room were doing a variety of things. My attention was immediately drawn to a man, a few yards from the entrance door, who was sitting in a chair with a book in his lap, having an impassioned debate with a wall. ‘What’s that?’, I whispered to Alison. ‘He’s applying LRH Study Tech,’ she replied; ‘LRH found that by giving information to a wall you can learn how to communicate better.’ After the interview, Alison took me downstairs to ‘reg’ me – that is, to persuade me to sign up for a course. I explained that Tottenham Court Road’s efforts to reg me had bounced off, that I was for now interested primarily in the phenomenon of Scientology rather than in becoming part of it, and that there was in any case no point in my signing up for a Saint Hill course as the transport would be too difficult. She accepted this with a good grace and handed me a brochure detailing the various courses available, asking me to contact them if I had any queries. This was a marked contrast to the almost desperate insistence of the ‘regger’ at TCR and left me with a far better taste in my mouth.”


Random Howdy

“Past life Scientologists have to do the Basics all over again just like everybody else. Fair is fair, ya know?”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for November 10. Trial tentatively scheduled for February.
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 December 17 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for November 19.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

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.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
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 held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 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 June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.



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] Trouble in the Scientology FreeZone! Even ‘Indies’ are suing each other
[TWO years ago] Scientology promotes its expensive propaganda TV channel one flier at a time
[THREE years ago] Bent Corydon on Scientology’s Sunday night massacre: ‘We all clapped at the right places’
[FOUR years ago] If Trump is serious, he has a clear path to go at Scientology — through his Treasury Secretary
[FIVE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard on the run: When the Daily Mail was hounding Scientology’s founder in ’66
[SIX years ago] Narconon is dead, long live Narconon! How Scientology solved its drug rehab addiction
[SEVEN years ago] Ryan Hamilton’s next move: Consolidating his Narconon litigation into one big case
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Attacks Garcia Filing; Marc Headley Schools Clearwater’s Mayor
[NINE years ago] A Scientology Knockoff That Considers Children ‘Sexy’? Great Xenu’s Ghost!
[TEN years ago] Scientology Thursday Stats: This Week’s Roundup!


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 2,480 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,985 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,505 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,525 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,416 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,723 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,591 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,365 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,695 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,169 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,485 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,051 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,970 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,138 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,719 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,980 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,016 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,731 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,256 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 611 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,786 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,337 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,486 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,806 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,661 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,780 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,136 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,439 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,545 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,943 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,819 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,402 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,897 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,151 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,260 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 10, 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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