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L. Ron Hubbard’s galactic adventure: 36 years since the Scientology founder left the planet

January 24, 1986. That’s the day that a 74-year-old man in poor health had another stroke and perished in a motorhome parked at a ranch in Creston, California.

L. Ron Hubbard had spent the last several years of his life in hiding, and his final years at the Whispering Winds ranch, being taken care of by just a few people. The rest of the Scientology world, a movement he had created in 1950, wouldn’t learn of his death for another three days.

At that point, on January 27 at the Hollywood Palladium, Scientologists were called in for a special event. A young David Miscavige came out to announce the news: Hubbard had voluntarily left his earthly body in order to pursue his research on a higher plane. In order to help sell the story, Hubbard’s attorney Earle Cooley was brought out to claim that Hubbard had actually been a healthy man and that his body could have served him for many more years.



We are told that there are Scientologists who believe this story to this day, and expect that Ron is off at “Target Two,” another planet somewhere else in the galaxy, seeding it for Scientology. Once Earth is finally under total Scientology control (the planet has been “cleared”), then loyal Scientologists will go off to Target Two to join him.

(The idea that Ron would return to earth was a separate tradition, popular among some Sea Org officials, but it wasn’t what the general membership was told.)

In 2016, one of our drone pilots provided our first good view of the Creston ranch from the air, and we zeroed in on the exact spot where the Bluebird motorhome had been parked when Ron breathed his last.


Also in 2016, R.M. Seibert found for us an interesting item, an obituary of Hubbard written by his literary agent and longtime friend, Sci Fi figure Forrest Ackerman. It gives a good sense of Hubbard by someone who truly knew him. We’re posting it here again on the 36th anniversary of Hubbard’s death.



As far as I know I was the first science fiction person to meet Lafayette Ron Hubbard. It was in the now non-existent “Shep’s Shop” on Hollywood Blvd., the nearest thing to A Change of Hobbit in its day, and the day was one night in 1937. I believe I was the catalyst that started him writing science fiction: on the spot, when I discovered he was a pulp writer and asked if he’d ever written any science fiction. (I think we were still calling it that then), he began spinning a yarn about a new Ice Age 25,000 years hence in California. If such a story was ever written it was never published that I am aware of, but if for nothing else you can perhaps thank me that he gave the field “Final Blackout”, “Fear” and the Ole Doc Methuselah series.

One memorable night LRH came to the LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) and hypnotized just about everybody in the club except me and my wife. One fan, with cupped hands, came to me and showed me the little kangaroo hopping about which Ron had induced in his mind. Arthur Jean Cox’s brother Bill was given a post-hypnotic suggestion: when Ron would casually rub his nose, Bill would instantly fall asleep. A cluster of fans had surrounded Ron when his nose actually itched; he scratched and fortunately I was directly behind Bill because he slumped dead to the world backward into my arms.

During the hypnosis demonstration a forgotten fan was told that a few minutes after he was brought out of his trance he would hear the phone on the clubroom wall ring, he would answer it and the (imaginary) voice on the other end of the line would make him a fantastic offer on an automobile. But no matter how great the deal he would come up with some reason to refuse it. The monolog went something like this:


“A brand new Cadillac? Only $500? Well, gee, yes, that is a bargain, but I only have $400. Oh, you’d take $400? But, you see, I have bills to pay and half that money is already spoken for. — You’d let me have it for $200? My Mother told me…” And so it went. Even when he offered it free he came up with some excuse to turn it down.

Several years later Ron recommended people not play around with hypnotism.

Early in my agentorial career I was both fortunate and unfortunate in acquiring LRH as a client. He was the only Big Name Author from whom I deliberately divorced myself because I felt he was more trouble than he was worth. The problem was, I was supposed to be his exclusive agent but he would be having dinner with a Dutch agent in Washington, DC, and the Dutchman over drinks would excite Ron with promises of how he could sell his work in the Netherlands and the next thing I’d know I’d hear a yelp from my subagent saying, “Do we or don’t we represent Ron Hubbard? I walked into a publisher’s office the other day and there sat an agent with a lapful of Hubbard’s books — !” Double agents (no pun intended) could obviously cause considerable confusion. I explained to Ron why he couldn’t do that and he said he got carried away and he understood and he wouldn’t do it again. And the next thing I knew he’d done it again. I tried patiently to point out to him that such actions were fraught with danger — unbeknownst to each other some day two publishers might print the same book and then he’d be in hot water.

Result: solemn oath not to break the rules.

Reality: he broke ’em.

Consequence: I broke with him.

About the early 70s we got back together again. He made a generous offer I couldn’t refuse: “Just get me in print. Forry, I don’t care about the money: you keep half of it.” He caused me no further trouble but half of nothing was nothing in the case of one anthologist who justified using a Hubbard story without paying because he considered LRH in the same class with Hitler and Satan (not necessarily in that order).

About LRH, Dianeticist & Scientologist. I prefer to say very little, except that I saw some small wonders worked by early Dianetics and, as a secular humanist, I have no belief in past lives, especially lives contactable millions of years ago when one saw Flying Saucer people land on Earth or one was a primordial clam lying on a prehistoric seashore being irritated by a grain of sand, end result, a pearl.

I’m told that 1500 L.A. acolytes were assembled to receive the news that Ron had decided to “drop his body.” He didn’t die. I heard further from an inside source that several days before his demise he told his closest associates that his work in this lifetime was complete and a few nights later he went to bed, voluntarily shut off the flow of oxygen to his brain and shrugged off this mortal coil. The newspapers reported that he died of a stroke. Take your choice. Scientologists may not be too pleased with my attitude; science fiction fans — who knows?

His charismatic daughter Diana and dynamic son Arthur I like a lot. Ditto Scientologists Virgil Wilhite (Hollywood) and Irene Thrupp (England).

In summation:

He was one of the consistently entertaining writers of SF’s Golden Age.

He was a controversial character to the mundane world (and to a certain extent the supermundane world of Sci-Fi) but through all a good friend to me.

As a human being I regarded him as neither saint nor devil but an extraordinarily complex unique individual whom I would rank in the “odd genre”, with Eric Frank Russsell, Ralph Milne Farley, Manly Wade Wellman, Leo Zagat, George Allen England, Victor Rousseau, Otis Adalbert Kline, and Jack Williamson.


You were perhaps the world’s fastest typist Ron: Keep that Typewriter in the Sky blazing!

— Forrest Ackerman

And finally, in the last couple of years we’ve provided another memorial to Ron: A daily posting of something he said on this day in history, which we call “Source Code.” Our aim has been to expose more people to Hubbard’s actual writing and ideas, which tend to be left out of Scientology news coverage.

It quickly became one of the most popular features here at the Bunker, and something that tends to generate quite a bit of discussion, day in and day out.

So we put to you, our readers who have been reading and discussing L. Ron Hubbard’s own words: What impression do you have of him on this anniversary of his galactic translation?


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Source Code

“A psychiatrist tells you that people aren’t really insane, because insane people could snap out of it if they wanted to, and this, therefore, is their reason for punishing people who are insane. See, their logic just goes haywire halfway through. They almost have an answer and then they miss it. Almost touch it, miss it. Once in a blue moon some psychotic will — well, this is not even a technique — but some psychotic will suddenly get sane on this statement made to him: ‘You don’t have to be insane, you know.’ You know, he all of a sudden gets sane. It’s quite amusing. Much more often, psychotics turn sane on this one: ‘Come up to present time, please.’ They do and they say, ‘Hello!’ They’re not insane anymore; just pull them out of an engram.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 24, 1957



Avast, Ye Mateys

“LOY AND CANDY: These two were doing all right until they came to Flag at which time their parents anti-Scn attitude keyed in and they became as cases ‘Troublesome Sources.’ They have been sent back at Flag expense to handle their parents and report to AOLA and complete their retrain at which time their Class VIII will be restored.” — The Commodore, January 24, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I spent 40 years in Scientology. Only 9 months ago did I begin to understand who I was really. So, one would have to, without difficulty, be able to step in and out of theta/mind. The construct recedes so it’s different from exteriorization. There’s no written technology to do it so one would simply have to intend if one is interested. Yet, one does not have to be at effect: In your soul cause/effect is no longer applicable. A soul, little by little can be strengthened and theta/mind does not disappear. It remains with you until physical death.”


Past is Prologue

2002: Deana Holmes posted to a.r.s this week to report that the Estate of Lisa McPherson has lost a case in Texas for breach of contract. “There was an attempt to add David Miscavige personally to the Lisa McPherson estate’s case as a defendant. A Florida appellate court found last year that since Miscavige had never been served, he had never been added to the case, therefore Scientology was not to get the attorneys’ fees they requested in defending Miscavige. The cult had started a similar action against the estate in Texas federal court since Dell Liebreich, the executor of the estate, lives in Dallas. Despite the appellate ruling from Florida, the federal court judge let this case go forward. The jury did not give Scientology everything it asked for: Rosen’s fee was cut in half, and it may be eliminated entirely since Rosen violated federal rules in bringing this case. The Estate plans to appeal, since the Texas court does not have jurisdiction over the estate, which is in Florida. To collect on this judgment, RTC and David Miscavige have to go to Florida and start an action in Florida courts, where there is already an adverse judgment against them. And it should be noted that the award is rather hollow, since the Estate has no funds.”



Random Howdy

“If you believe that the Church of Scientology is a criminal organization, that makes David Miscavige the most successful crime boss in the world.”


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.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.
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 27 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Next hearing February 15.

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: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
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] AUDIO: Tommy Davis, as Scientology spokesman, secretly recorded discussing ‘disconnection’
[TWO years ago] Scientology files anti-SLAPP, says stalking and smearing Valerie Haney is free speech
[THREE years ago] Thirty-three years later, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is still surfing the galaxy
[FOUR years ago] The Battle of Portland: How Scientology turned a nightmare court verdict into a major victory
[FIVE years ago] Another Leah, inspired by her namesake, comes forward with a harrowing Scientology escape
[SIX years ago] On the 30th anniversary of L. Ron Hubbard’s galaxial soul ejection, an obit by an old friend
[SEVEN years ago] First time in full: 1997 interview of Barbara Klowden, L. Ron Hubbard’s PR agent and lover
[EIGHT years ago] Eric Idle and Kirstie Alley discuss Scientology!
[NINE years ago] Lawrence Wright: “Scientology Is Heading for a Reckoning”
[TEN years ago] Scientology: L. Ron Hubbard Still Surfing the Galaxy


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 2,555 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,060 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,580 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,600 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,491 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,798 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,666 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,440 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,771 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,244 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,560 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,126 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,045 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,213 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,794 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,055 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,091 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,806 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,331 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 686 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,861 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,412 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,561 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,881 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,736 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,855 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,211 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,514 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,620 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,018 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,894 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,477 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,972 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,226 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,335 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 24, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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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