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Video proof that Scientology’s cruise ship is the happiest place on earth

OK, this is pretty cool. Not only did we get a rare look at activity on the decks of Scientology’s private cruise ship the Freewinds at a dock in Aruba, but the footage sent in by one of our readers is pretty fresh.

As in, it was shot yesterday.

Pretty great, right? And what a fun look. You will see a few different things going on here. On the lower deck you’ll see various people running around doing laps. Is that part of the “competence and leadership course”?

But then above them, you’ll see some guy taking selfies, and then he’s joined by others who seems absolutely thrilled to be there, like they’re walking out onto the deck of the ship for the first time, and pose for photos to memorialize it.


Do we have anyone here who spent time on the Freewinds or was on its crew, who might explain what’s going on?

And a big thanks to the reader who took the footage and sent it in.


Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was a Navy lieutenant in World War 2, and then between 1967 and 1975 he ran Scientology from a ship at sea, plying the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Caribbean. He died in 1986. Then, in 1988 the Freewinds held its maiden voyage as Hubbard’s successor, David Miscavige, looked to revive Scientology’s naval heritage. The Freewinds became the location where Scientologists were required to go in order to achieve the organization’s highest auditing level, “Operating Thetan Level Eight,” or OT 8. The original OT 8 was a disaster that lasted only a few months: It was a shocking document written by Hubbard in which he claimed to be the Antichrist from the Bible. Miscavige ditched it and replaced it with “New OT 8,” which has been administered ever since.

On New OT 8, Scientologists learn that the past-life memories they have been recovering for many years in previous auditing levels turn out to be the memories of other people, and now they know who they aren’t and can start all over from the beginning. Former OT 8s have characterized it to us as a massive prank. None of the superpowers that Scientologists believe they will attain by becoming OT 8 turn out to materialize.

If OT 8 is still the main reason that the Freewinds exists as Scientology’s expensive floating cathedral, not enough people coming to the ship for that ultimate level on the “Bridge to Total Freedom” can justify its expense. So in more recent years we’ve seen other Scientologists, not just those seeking OT 8, encouraged to come to the vessel for seminars on things like “prosperity” and public relations.

Are the people we’re seeing in this video there for OT 8? For a public relations seminar? Or for some other reason? It’s hard to tell.


Spanky Taylor and Mike Rowe

We certainly remember when, after our friend Spanky Taylor appeared in Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ one person who spoke out in support of her was TV star Mike Rowe.


Spanky works with celebrities, helping them handle their communications with their fanbase, and Rowe had been one of her longtime clients. He spoke up for the courage she showed getting out of Scientology and then become a part of Gibney’s documentary.

And now, he’s had her on his own podcast to talk about Scientology. Give it a listen here.


TODAY: Your proprietor and the academics

We’re reminding you again that today, we hope you have a little time to join us.

The good people at Emory University were kind enough to invite us to a thing, and we were crazy enough to accept.

The result is that your proprietor has submitted a short article and will be giving a (mercifully) brief presentation during a webinar today along with a bunch of academics who actually understand this stuff.

“The Promise and Perils of Religious Arbitration: New Research, Emerging Trends, and Practitioners’ Perspectives” is the title of the webinar, and we’ll be speaking for a few minutes about what we’ve personally witnessed covering the contentious “religious arbitration” issues in recent lawsuits filed against Scientology by former members.

The webinar begins at noon Eastern today and we’ll be going around 45 minutes later or so. We have just a few minutes to say something, and we will hope to represent the Bunker as best we can.

It would be nifty if some of you could tune in and beef up the webinar’s audience. You can register to listen in here.


Sign up for a daily email when we post a new story on Scientology.


Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.


Source Code

“Scientology has various ends. Out of Scientology you could formulate, for instance, a very fine type of ‘thought warfare’ which — much better than an atom bomb. No, an atom bomb just kills people — but you could take in ‘thought warfare,’ you could enslave them utterly. You could, you’d make complete slaves out of them, with a very simple contraption. Very simple. We’re doing it the honest way in Scientology, because with a very simple contraption, with the greatest of ease, we could go around and anybody who was opposing Scientology would all of a sudden start being madly, insanely in favor of it. But that’s the easy way to do it, and that’s what’s wrong with the race, is everybody has tried it the easy way — control, restraint, more engrams, more punishment.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 3, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“From the inspection of the ship for sea, the decks, bridge, Commodore’s and Aides areas, E/R, most Div III area, Tweendecks, and interior areas looks good. The most glaring outnesses were in personal cabins and a few unsecured items in office area. The MAA has the list and all is to be ready by 0900 for his further inspection. Each crew member in his own time will thoroughly clean his cabin for an inspection tomorrow at sea. Well it will be good to get to sea. After the all hands, Watch E will take her out. Lets have a great trip and bring home the bacon!” — Capt. W.B. Robertson, Capt. Yacht Apollo, (1970)


Overheard in the FreeZone

“All of history of man is about off-world implanting during the past long amount of time. It’s quite apparent that meatballs aren’t dead in the head because they made a mistake in 3rd grade about the nature of consciousness. If you push the matter of consciousness is NOT brain, your preclear may die that night. It has happened to me.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Graham Berry announced that he has formed a new law firm to continue his practice and his cases against Scientology. “Since late 1991, I have been engaged almost continuously in the handling of numerous large cases filed by the Scientology organization. During those seven years, various major insurance carriers have invested nearly $5 million in developing my experience, skills and education in matters involving cults, coercive indoctrination and psycho-terror groups. I have decided to establish my own law firm to aggressively handle demanding and dangerous litigation. The Law Offices of Graham E. Berry, at least initially, will be a general litigation boutique available to handle last-minute trials and emphasizing matters involving cults, coercive indoctrination, psycho-terror groups and other dangerous and difficult opponents.”


Random Howdy

“Seeing as how boxers get knocked out more than any other group, RTC is missing a golden opportunity to prove the efficacy of Dianetic theory by grabbing some punch-drunk pugilist off of Skid Row and giving him six months of auditing and then calling a press conference where the former rummy could recite Shakespeare and explain quantum theory to all present. Why doesn’t C.O.B. think of these things?”


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] Here’s the full appeal petition in the lawsuit against Danny Masterson and Scientology
[TWO years ago] Expert: Scientology’s Grant Cardone ‘helping sell fake stem cell products to the public’
[THREE years ago] Scientology claims to be the experts on drugs — their actual materials beg to differ
[FOUR years ago] Garcias ask for hearing on farcical ‘arbitration’; Scientology files 600 pages in Laura D case
[SIX years ago] Scientology, in forced-abortion case: It’s not abuse if you don’t complain when it’s happening
[SEVEN years ago] How’s this for a gift on L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday? ‘Going Clear’ in theaters March 13
[EIGHT years ago] John Travolta’s fun night at the Oscars
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Get Your Infant Audited!


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 2,592 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,097 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,617 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,637 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,528 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,835 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,703 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,477 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,808 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,281 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,597 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,163 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,082 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,250 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,831 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,092 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,128 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,843 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,368 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 723 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,898 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,449 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,598 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,918 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,773 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,892 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,248 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,551 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,657 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,055 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,931 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,514 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,009 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,263 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,372 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 3, 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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