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Rough seas? Tough cookie, sailor. In Scientology, you upchuck at your own peril

In response to my essay on the Azores hurricane of October 1970, two of my shipmates at the time wrote in to say that what they remember most was being seasick. Their comments shed light on this additional burden that so many of my Apollo shipmates endured, in addition to the other hardships of their lives aboard. So it got me thinking about my own experience, and sent me digging for related Sea Org policies, as well as for current information.

20-24 November 1971 1969 – At sea, enroute to Lisbon. This is a very exciting time for me. A few days ago the sea trial concluding the Casablanca refit was completed to great success. Aside from engine tests, it was also a lavish social affair, with various dignitaries invited to spend the day aboard for the occasion. I was deputized to assist the Ship’s PR personnel in hosting our guests, for which I was commended by the Port Captain in the Orders of the Day.

Finally, the ship takes to sea, enroute to Lisbon, my first seagoing experience since my arrival aboard. Alas, as a steward in the Officers’ dining room, I don’t get to stand sea watches but I am required to remain on my post. Luckily the dining room is quasi-deserted at lunch time. Some are on watch, or sleeping off their night watch, some are evidently not in the mood for a meal. The other steward is a no-show.

The ship’s movement is uncomfortable in the windowless galley, pitching up and down and rolling side to side all at once, so it seems. As I open the heavy steel door of the upper fridge to return the butter to its usual place, I am holding on to the dish with one hand and steadying myself with the other. Unexpectedly, the ship rolls and the heavy door slams shut violently, missing my temples by inches as I drop the dish and jump back. An experienced sea hand would have seen that coming, but not I. Frightened, in a cold sweat, I realize that a direct hit from that heavy moving object slamming shut on my head could have maimed me or worse.


(Today, I realize there was no way to secure that door open while reaching in to the fridge. A simple latch would have done the trick. The negligence in that simple deficiency is painfully apparent to me.)

There is no supervision in the galley, the place is deserted. Strangely, the cooks aren’t here either. I am feeling increasingly queasy and vaguely scared. Holding on to the bare stainless steel counter, I make my way on the slippery floor toward the aft door of the galley. Finally, some fresh air.

The wind and sea spray are assaulting my face on the aft well deck, so I climb one level up and I settle in the relatively protected corner of the starboard quarterdeck. I’m on the windward side facing the oncoming waves, and any old hand would have known to make her way to the downwind side, but not I.

I am vaguely aware that being prone to seasickness would be a non starter, if I am to live and work on a ship at sea. For a long, long time, I fix my gaze on the far away horizon which disappears and reappears with every crest. Fascinated and scared, I watch tensely as each mountain of solid water comes at the ship, the cresting top almost level with my gaze, four stories up from the waterline, and I fear it will break on the hull and flood the deck. But miraculously, at the last moment, the ship heaves like a cork, up and sideways, and the wave passes under the hull with a roar. There is a pattern to it. Soon I sense the dance of the ship with the ocean, like a violent tango, and I come to trust the motion of the ship. I have tamed the beast of seasickness.

On the next day, on November 20, while we are still at sea, LRH has this to say in the Orders of the Day:

There was an anti-cyclone (a high pressure area storm) outside the port. That was the rock and roll. We seldom stagger around like that. Of course we were running at its center.

Recalling this incident now, I remember that there exists a Flag Order specifically about seasickness, but I have as yet been unable to locate it. From what I remember, it does state that deserting one’s post due to seasickness was a serious ethics offense. People who were prone to it were advised to get some Dramamine from the medical officer – an unfortunate catch-22 since the medicine induces serious drowsiness, thereby encouraging the victim to beat a hasty retreat to their bunk. That of course was not allowed, and sick people were required to stay on deck.

This seems corroborated by this sarcastic posting in the Orders of the Day by the 3rd Mate (responsible for Ethics) during this same passage:

ORDERS. You are reminded that at sea that [sic] if off post = seasickness, this = liability = no rights whatever. So be up and about and see the MO for pills or suppositories if needed. Div 1 will assist with the right ethics condition if any offenders are found. W/O Ray Thacker 3rd Mate.”

Then I found this passage as part of Flag Order 80 Sea Org Org Board, of 31 August 67:

Sea-sickness is first and foremost lack of confidence. It is almost [sic] bad food at sea in times past restimulated. And it is of course motion sickness. But it is fear, and a well drilled crew in a sound ship is confident and unless badly aberrated or very badly knocked about they don’t get seasick.

At the time, I did not question the assertion that seasickness was restimulation from past lives. I suppose I just assumed that LRH knew more than I did on these matters, on which I had no personal knowledge to either verify or counter his statements. Even today, I am agnostic as to whether we humans live more than once, given that it is beyond the purview of science.

I did become aware very early on that being seasick did not exempt one from carrying out one’s post duties as well as sea watches. Since I was not prone to seasickness personally, I did not give much thought to the hardships that were endured by the people who were. I have no merit in this in that I was raised on the water from an early age, and my guess is that I would not have self-selected a life at sea if it felt uncomfortable just being there.

To be charitable, we know a lot more today about the mechanism of seasickness than we did in 1970. The inner ear contains a liquid which moves with our body and ensures our balance. This liquid movement is picked up by tiny hairs which then forward this information to the brain. But if we are for instance in a closed cabin with no view of the horizon, the ear and brain tell us we are moving but the cabin moves along with us and so our eyes tell us we are not moving in space. This discordance between the ears and the eyes causes the dizziness. It seems that the dizziness in turns triggers the same reflex as that of having eaten something poisonous, a vestige from our hunter-gatherer epoch.


Nowadays people who go to sea in small boats know of two immediate remedies, aside from drugs: you can either lie down with your eyes closed, or you can stay alert and watch the horizon so that the eyes perceive the true movement. This second option seems to be what I did intuitively on my first day at sea.

But in hindsight I believe that the ethics dictates about seasickness on the ship constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Were they a carry over from our commodore’s days in the US navy? Perhaps, but if so that was misguided.

The decree that seasickness was restimulation from past lives led directly to the conclusion that it was “case on post,” a big no-no in the Sea Org, and the unfortunate victim of the mal de mer was out-ethics and personally at fault if they succumbed to it in the least. That is par for the course in Scientology. Whatever its lofty claims, it just ends up making you feel bad about yourself as you are never good enough, capable enough, powerful enough, uptone enough as the “tech” says you should be to validate that it works on you.

— Louise Shekter


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Source Code

“It’s the inability of the Catholic Church, and the inability of the Methodist and Angelican and other faiths, to unravel the why that lay behind human-emotion-and-reaction that convinced them utterly that man was a sinful being and that was born in sin, and he was conceived in sin and born in sin and would die in sin, and that he was evil. You can see them now on the rostrum, on the platform shaking their fingers at their congregations and how they were evil sinners, and they were all sinners. That’s just all, they didn’t have the right why. So, your own future morale pursuing a line as an Establishment Officer actually is greatly dependent on your ability to penetrate a situation and discover a correct why.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 2, 1972



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Al Bornstein is ordered to thorough daily 2 hour study on his post hat. I have already sent Org Officer FAO a full checksheet on promotion for use in his hat.” — Lt. Cmdr. Diana Hubbard, Distribution Aide, March 2, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Able Body Bill said (in the UFO lecture) that siding with the EU and its Marcabian masters was better than siding with the USA and its gray Andromedan masters. Marcab controls the population through economics and tax, while the grays from Andromeda use brain chips and implants.”


Past is Prologue

1997: In preparation for next week’s protest in Clearwater, members of Scientology’s OSA began calling on a.r.s participants this week. From Maggie Council: “I got mine on Tuesday. I didn’t particularly want to talk to Bennetta Slaughter, who claimed to be Lisa McPherson’s best friend, but I spent a few minutes on the phone with her. It was the things she didn’t tell me that bothered me. Like that she also was Lisa’s boss at AMC Publishing in Clearwater. Like that she had been sent to ‘handle’ me, to convince me not to attend the candlelight vigil. And it bugged me that, for someone who just lost her best friend, she was more interested in dead-agenting Lisa’s family than finding out what really happened to her friend, amid all the contradictions. She didn’t tell me anything substantial, anything that could be independently verified, or anything to make me wonder anything other than why she was wasting my time telling me all this. I felt sorry for her. OSA has given her a tough job and I don’t think she’ll succeed.”


Random Howdy

“Even after all this time I’m still shocked at how this ‘religion’ is able to turn people into the biggest bunch of liars, bullies and amoral a-holes I’ve ever come across. I’m use to associating with junkies, prostitutes, and various other sundry shady types, but generally speaking, those people have more of a moral compass than your militant Scientologist.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. 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 March 25 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

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.’ Valerie asks for March 15 hearing on motion for reconsideration.
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. 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] Save the date: Special ‘Cult City’ tour with Marc Headley for L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday
[TWO years ago] DRONE FLYOVER: The Gold Country mine where Scientology stores its scriptures
[THREE years ago] Mike Rinder on Scientology’s smears, Miscavige’s fears, and waiting for ‘Aftermath’ news
[FOUR years ago] Scientology TV is now installed at the Ideal Orgs — when do the rest of us get to see it?
[FIVE years ago] Leah Remini’s ‘Troublemaker’ finally gets a UK publisher — and you can probably guess who!
[SEVEN years ago] NEW TODAY: Memoir with shocking claims by notorious Scientology spy, Merrell Vannier
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology nuttiness on Oscar Day!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Mythbusting with Jon Atack: That L. Ron Hubbard TV Ad!
[TEN years ago] Scientology on the High Seas: Three Major Enemies Scalped!


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 2,591 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,096 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,616 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,636 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,527 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,834 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,702 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,476 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,807 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,280 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,596 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,162 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,081 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,249 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,830 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,091 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,127 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,842 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,367 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 722 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,897 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,448 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,597 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,917 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,772 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,891 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,247 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,550 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,656 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,054 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,930 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,513 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,008 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,262 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,371 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 2, 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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