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After leaving Scientology, the 1960s band People! has a new album out!

Now here’s a comeback we’ve been looking forward to.

In the late 1960s, Geoff Levin and his brother Robbie were founding members of People!, a band that had a devoted following and at least one radio hit, and which eventually was made up of only Scientologists. In fact, its members even all joined the Sea Org at one point, and became the first band to do so, dedicating themselves to the church by signing billion-year contracts.

Geoff and Robbie had grown up in San Jose, and by the mid-60s were making music. Geoff’s first band was the Piney Creek Ramblers, a bluegrass outfit. But under the influence of a heady mix of Bay Area musicians, People! was formed, and had its one big hit with a Zombies song, “I Love You,” which charted at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968 — and got the group on American Bandstand.

But just as success seemed to be coming their way, Scientology intervened. By the time of their hit, the Levin brothers and two others in the band had fallen hard for L. Ron Hubbard’s “technology.” And when lead singer Larry Norman refused to go along, they kicked him out. They also moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the church, and then all joined the Sea Org.


“When I joined Scientology I became a zealot and helped kill the group’s success, and our memories of that were bitter and sad,” Geoff says. “To give you some idea, when we met Paul McCartney, I tried to turn him onto Scientology. What a fucking boob I was.”

Robbie quit Scientology long before Geoff did, and it came between them for some 30 years. But each of the former bandmates continued to have healthy music careers. Geoff eventually got out of Scientology more recently, and reunited with his brother. Then, they got the band back together and this week they released their new album, The Return of People!

Check out the album at Apple Tunes or Spotify, and let us know what you think!


Geoff tells us he doesn’t regret leaving Scientology.

Does Scientology miss talented members like Geoff?

Well, you tell us.



Continuing our year in review: The stories of July 2021


As July began, we were posting yet another series of deep dives by historian Chris Owen, this time about Scientology’s history of war with psychiatry.

We learned that Scientology’s expensive boarding school in Oregon, Delphi, had one of the worst Covid outbreaks in the state.

Scientology’s cruise ship the Freewinds was still going nowhere at the dock in Aruba, but we thoroughly enjoyed the new hype video the church put out for it.

On July 9 we were happy to post a remembrance of Scientology’s early days by Pamela Nickel Williams.

Sunny Pereira gave us another glimpse of the Scientology nightmare, this time about how family members who were never in still have to deal with the organization.

We noticed that Scientology was publishing home videos from its members, more than a thousand of them since the pandemic started, and so we began to keep track of where they were coming from. Those statistics turned out to be pretty surprising.

Speaking of videos submitted by Scientologists, one woman’s enthusiasm over completing a Scientology level was entertainingly over the top.

On July 20, a startling revelation: New court documents showed that when Brian Statler was shot dead by police at the Inglewood Scientology Ideal Org, he was actually unarmed at the time. And more court documents revealed that he had never been asked to leave the premises.

We shared with readers the motion that our attorneys Scott Pilutik and Graham Berry submitted to the court in order to quash the subpoena served on us by Danny Masterson’s attorney, Tom Mesereau.

Another early Scientology remembrance came our way from Cathy Mullins, including her punishment for serving L. Ron Hubbard a bad meal! She then continued the story with an account of how she got sucked back in after escaping.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2020: Covid bailout loans went to Scientology churches, front groups, and schools. Some LAPD emails demonstrating a cozy relationship with Scientology were released. Kelly Preston died at 57 and Lisa Marie Presley lost a son to suicide. Bryan Seymour’s ‘Black Ops’ series was cancelled and Leah Remini blamed Tom Cruise. Leah Remini and Mike Rinder began a new podcast series. And Leah gave us her unpublished chapter on Tom Cruise to post here at the Bunker. And a potential Biden VP pick, Karen Bass, gets called out for her Scientology support.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2019: Brendan Tighe and Sunny Pereira told us more shattering disconnection stories. Chris Owen unearthed what was really behind the 1960s FDA investigation of Scientology. Miss New York would no longer shill for a Scientology front organization after our reporting. Mike Rinder made public an LAPD report about a woman who fled Scientology after being lured in by Jason Dohring at the Celebrity Center.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2018: Photos from Maiden Voyage included what would become an infamous shot of David Miscavige getting pinned with a medal. A witness in the Danny Masterson investigation provided proof that they were being subjected to frightening harassment. With trial nearing, Laura DeCrescenzo served David Miscavige with a notice to appear. A stunning new story of Scientology financial crime begins to unfold in the tale of Efrem Logreira and an ice cream party. Chris Owen reconsidered the UK ban on Scientology on its 50th anniversary. We reported the puzzling suicide of a young Scientologist visiting the Flag Land Base. And Sunny Pereira treated us to her Scientology passport!


A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2017: Clay Irwin snagged images from the spy camera aimed at his house. L. Ron Hubbard explained how you could crush a planet between thumb and forefinger with OT powers. Scientology billionaires yoked the fortunes of the world’s biggest-selling drug to an ongoing windfall for Scientology. Tommy Davis’s Hollywood dream ended, and so did his marriage. Paulette Cooper turned 75.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2016: How the parents of a Kazakh woman got her back from the Sea Org. We marked the passing of Steve “Sarge” Pfauth at 70. We found that Joey Chait’s story was more complex than some had it. Rebecca McKee told us how she reunited with her high school sweetheart. And we said goodbye to Arlene Cordova.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2015: We wrote about Scientology’s day care from hell. Brian Sheen’s full Scientology story turned out to be pretty fascinating. Chris Shelton emceed us in Denver. And Nick Lister dished on Tom Cruise ruthlessly putting ethics in on his own family.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2014: Our Independence Day special, when Jeremy Powers defied disconnection and came home. We said goodbye to John Joseph, a man who cared. Camilla Andersson went public after 29 years in Scientology. And we live-blogged ID network’s show on Elli Perkins (which featured your proprietor).

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2013: Leah Remini defects, Shelly Miscavige speaks, Jim Lynch exteriorizes, and Christian Stolte rocks.

Six of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of July 2021

July 2: Jon Hunter

A few years after leaving the church I was referred to a psychologist to deal with pretty severe social anxiety and panic attacks (something no amount of Scientology processing, no matter how incredibly sincere I was, could resolve). After everything I was told about the mental professions, I expected to walk into the doctor’s office, lobotomized, strapped to a chair and given electro-convulsive therapy. Instead I got to chat about life for an hour and was prescribed a low dose of amitriptyline – a drug that’s been around since the 60’s. I checked out its side effects online and took it. Instead of making me feel like a zombie, for the first time in my adult life my anxiety melted away. My life actually got better! I no longer take it but it absolutely helped when I needed help. Sure, there are bad psychologists and psychiatrists out there but, overwhelmingly, these people get into the mental health field because they genuinely care about their patients.

July 6: Mat Pesch

Nothing like sitting at the dock, with no place to go, on an old steel ship with narrow hallways and LOW ceilings (I had to duck for every sprinkler head). No dolphins and waterfalls at the dock. If that isn’t bad enough you are stuck with about 150 Sea Org members all counting on your money as the only possibility to avoid another week of rice and beans and zero pay. The staff are well aware of the fact that the Freewinds lives off handouts from Sea Org Reserves. They have pounded into their heads that they are out exchange, freeloading criminals, undeserving degraded beings. They don’t exactly feel the “theta OT environment” where all their wishes and postulates just magically come true. I couldn’t wait to get off that tub. It was a NIGHTMARE.

July 9: Panopea Abrupta

Hubbard swept through the lives of people like a destructive hurricane, uprooting families, creating havoc with finances and education and mental health. What a selfish barsteward! Pamela, thank you. Still married to the same man you met as a teen, almost fifty years later, you must have found centre and balance despite Hubbard’s kiss of debt and false promises being a huge part of your childhood.

July 12: Scientia


My poor old granny died just as I was extracting myself from the cult mindset. We never did get the chance to reconcile. I had cut ties with my mother (her daughter) and she simply wanted to help…but I cast her aside without hesitation. It caused a huge rift in the family that, in part, still remains today (not everything can be forgiven, sadly). I was an ass of epic proportions. Not just to her, but to numerous friends and acquaintances along the way. Whilst I’m thankful that my mum and I reconnected (and have never been closer), the shame I feel for my actions – and all those wasted years – will always remain. Deservedly, I think. This is the under-reported story of ideological attachment – the victimisation of non believers by the rank and file.

July 17: Phil Jones

A little perspective. Just because people sent in a little 30 second video from a town or city doesn’t mean there is any real Scientology being done in that city. Take Toronto for example. There were 14 videos sent in. How many of those were actually active in practicing Scientology? How many are disseminating Scientology in their area? How many apply Conditions Formulas, or do Touch Assists, or any other Scientology activity in their environment? Toronto has one huge derelict Org building, and a hole-in-the-wall tiny little Org on some difficult to get to street with only a few hard core Scientologists who go there. Willie and I lived in Clearwater and surrounding towns, within close proximity to Flag for 25 years. Although we considered ourselves Scientologists we never went on course or disseminated or applied Scientology to our lives. Most of the Scientologists we knew were the same. Some of them would go on course occasionally but very, very little over the years. Even my OT brother and sister, who live just 10 minutes from us haven’t been on course or gotten auditing for years. The only thing they sometimes do is their bogus drug lectures for local schools. So far that hasn’t seemed to recruit any Scientologists at all. There are of course some of the faithful who can be pretty active, but mostly these days “active” means donating money. Scientology is waning and current Scientologists are just out there living their lies lives.

July 18: Patty Moher

Wow. I just have all kinds of emotions about that video. I used to be that crazy bitch. All I could think of when watching that was what was going to happen to her brain if she somehow manages to wake up from the mindfuck. About 10 years ago, I found a 1993 video recording of me being interviewed by my son. I was a full fledged cultist at the time and an OT 3. At about 10 seconds into the video I shut it off. To see myself in full delusional cultist mode just freaked me the fuck out. I was in the cult for 27 years and I’ve been out for 21 years. I still can’t watch that video. If this poor soul ever comes to grips with the fact that she’s been royally conned by one of the best cons ever, she’ll have to contend with her videos.


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Source Code

“Some people have been awfully mean to us. Now let’s knock them down the emotional curve. The way you do it is to define a miracle and then turn them out, because you can turn out a certain percentage of miracles. The lame aren’t good enough — you want somebody who can’t walk. The blind are fine, but don’t get people blind in just one eye; you want a seeing-eye-dog type of blindness. And if you follow out that line of advance you will then, as a third-, fifth- or tenth-echelon reaction, help all the others….All of a sudden it starts word of mouth all over: ‘Dianetics is turning on people’s sight.’ Everybody who is blind, who really wants some help and objects to being blind and isn’t basing all the approval of his life upon being blind, will be on the other end of a telephone, as far as you are concerned….Let’s set up shop and undo three specific problems. I know you have a lot of preclears that are hanging on your skirts and so forth. Give them the book and tell them to give you a call, and you go to work on blindness, arthritis ‘can’ts’ and children in bed with the aftereffects of polio. Just work on those categories. Don’t take children that have been all chewed up by surgery. You can make them better off but they are not spectacular.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 27, 1951



Avast, Ye Mateys

“We are moving toward AD 21 with all aces. The sequence of (1) Put Flag here (2) Put Coninental Liaison there (3) Put orgs there is working out very well. We have been about 14 months on this sequence of actions already. We’re about 2/3rds through No. 1, 1/2 through No. 2 and, assisted by the FEBC student pgm are already begun on No. 3. The targets I’m working toward is every SO tripled in size and every Scn org in the world the size and activity of SH 1967. As we have now proved out that we have the only fast effective tech on the planet that handles the sick and insane as well as everything else we have had, it is obvious that if we just keep on going the way we’re going and our people have and wear their hats, we’ll make it!” — The Commodore, December 27, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I was in contact with my son before he was born…We come from knowing everything, at least my son did, into a baby body that now is expected to need to learn everything. Seems crazy. But my son told me that he would have to disconnect our link so he could forget everything so he could then learn it again. At three days old he came to me and said goodbye, he told me it was time for him to forget and he could not do that and keep our link. For me it felt physical like a door slammed into my face and then he was gone.”


Past is Prologue

2001: The December, 2001 issue of Impact Magazine published a speech by Mike Rinder, the director of the Office of Special Affairs, at the annual IAS meeting. “Officials from the Moscow prosecutor’s office called in so-called experts from the Serbski Psychiatric Institute, notorious for its treatment of dissidents during Soviet days. Finding nothing, they invented a claim that our organizations were engaged in financial fraud, taking ‘creative accounting’ to criminal extremes to create fake evidence. Then they issued outrageous tax assessments and opened a criminal case against the Mission of Moscow. In March this year it all came to an end. The court declared the activities of our mission religious and exempt from tax, found the prosecutor guilty of extensive violations of criminal law, the governments cases were dismissed and the prosecutor was ordered to pay all our costs. Within a few short years, lawyers, justice officials, city and regional government personnel and every high level judge in the nation will truly understand Scientology. Because last month, the first official course on Scientology, using our books as the curriculum, became part of theology studies in every university and all institutes of higher learning in Russia!”


Random Howdy


“When I first read about ‘TR-Alice’ I was stunned because to me it was so obviously Hubbard laughing at his marks and laying out a huge clue that he was scamming them.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29, 2022.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), false imprisonment, aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Next hearing scheduled for January 18.
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 January 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
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.
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.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] The expensive set of nutty experiences Scientology is pushing hard right now
[TWO years ago] This year’s best Scientology shoops by readers of the Underground Bunker
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s humanitarians will continue to salvage this planet in 2019
[FOUR years ago] Looking back at July ’17: How a billionaire set up psych drugs to fuel Scientology into the future
[FIVE years ago] Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: Marc & Claire Headley on forced abortions and Sea Org escapes
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s 2015 in review: Our July travels, and the day care story we can’t forget
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s 2014 in review: For July, a stunning story of independence
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: The appeals of May and the blunts of June
[TEN years ago] Scientology Shoop of the Year — The Vote Is In!


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 2,527 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,032 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,552 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,572 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,463 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,770 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,638 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,412 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,743 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,216 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,532 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,098 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,017 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,185 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,766 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,027 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,063 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,778 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,303 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 658 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,833 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,384 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,533 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,853 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,708 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,827 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,183 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,486 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,592 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,990 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,866 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,449 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,944 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,198 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,307 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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