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Melissa McPhail: A fantasy writer’s travel through time to her Scientology Sea Org past

[Melissa McPhail]

Friday, April 15, 2022. Chariot, a film described as a “science fiction dark comedy” debuts in theaters. It stars John Malkovich, Thomas Mann, and Rosa Salazar. It is written and directed by Scientologist Adam Sigal, who told the Tampa Bay Times that he had fallen into filmmaking when he was working as a private investigator in Los Angeles. One of the film’s executive producers is Scientologist OT 6 and Delphian graduate Melissa McPhail.

February 26, 2022. Melissa McPhail dies at 50 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just weeks before. Sigal, the director of Chariot, says at his Instagram account, “My partner is gone. My soul mate. My love. I wish I had a nice poem to post or something but my heart is just broken and I wish you were not dead. We had some incredible adventures together, Melissa.”

March, 2021. At her blog, McPhail tells her readers that she is working on both Book 6 and Book 7 of her successful indie fantasy series, “A Pattern of Shadow and Light.” She’s writing both at the same time, she explains, because the story lines from her previous five books are so complex and intertwined. But she hopes to get Book 6 out in 2022.

February, 2021. Filming for Chariot takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas. McPhail explains at her Instagram account that the last scene they’re shooting is actually the first scene in the movie, and takes place in the 1840s. Chariot, a film written, directed, and produced by Scientologists, uses reincarnation, a Scientology touchstone, as its storytelling technique.

June 15, 2019. The fifth book in McPhail’s fantasy series, The Sixth Strand, is published. “From the dimension of Shadow to the realm of T’khendar, from the Empire of Agasan to the fire deserts of Avatar, Ean, Tanis, Trell, Sebastian and the rest of Bjorn’s Players will be holding their positions against immortal enemies in a game where mortal consequences hang in the balance of every choice,” says the book’s online blurb.


2017-2018. McPhail completes the first six of Scientology’s “Operating Thetan” auditing levels over a period of about a year.

October 27, 2016. The fourth book in McPhail’s fantasy series, Kingdom Blades, is published. “As Bjorn’s game intensifies and wars escalate, those serving the Fifth Vestal must mold themselves into more than mere Players. They must become his Kingdom Blades.”

June, 2015. McPhail completes “Super Power” at Scientology’s Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida.

September 27, 2014. The third book in McPhail’s fantasy series, Paths of Alir, is published. “Along the lush Caladrian coast of Agasan, the truthreader Tanis d’Giverny returns to the place of his birth and finds mysterious and wonderful workings waiting for him. But the zanthyr Phaedor warns Tanis that ominous events lie ahead, and the lad soon wonders if even his mother’s magical lessons will be enough to keep him alive.”

2013. McPhail completes Scientology’s expensive L10, L11, and L12 rundowns at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.

October 28, 2012. The second book in McPhail’s fantasy series, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, is published. “At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are disrupting the Balance and preventing Alorin’s Adepts from awakening to their gifts. Who are they? Where are they? And how can they be stopped when they wield a power meant to unmake the universe itself?”

September, 2011. McPhail becomes a Scientology Clear.

September 22, 2010. The first book in McPhail’s fantasy series, Cephrael’s Hand, is self-published, with a front cover that McPhail designs herself with Photoshop. It does so well, the rest of her series will be put out by an indie publisher. “In Alorin…300 years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand.”

Sometime in the mid-1990s. The young woman, we’ll call her Beth, had gotten pregnant. Although she was married, this was still frowned upon: She was in Scientology’s Sea Org, and it’s against the rules for women in the Sea Org to get pregnant and have children. Since the 1970s, Sea Org women who find themselves pregnant have been pressured to get an abortion or face expulsion, which can lead to many other consequences for themselves and their partner.

Beth had been feeling the heat for some time. She was now five months pregnant and definitely showing. She knew a showdown was coming about her condition and what it meant for both her and her husband, who we’ll call Jim. But this night, about midnight at the Big Blue building in Los Angeles, she just knew that she was hungry.

She went to the building’s canteen, found a single-serving box of cereal, opened it along the pre-cut creases, tore open the bag inside, and poured milk into it.

As she began eating, she noticed a figure in the doorway. A woman was standing there, blocking Beth in the small room.

Beth recognized her as a Sea Org official from CMO Gold at the secretive Int Base who was temporarily at PAC Base in Los Angeles on a special mission. Her name was Melissa McPhail.

McPhail was holding a clipboard and completely blocking the doorway, staring at Beth.


“I remember telling myself to refer to her as ‘Sir,'” Beth tells us today. But as she did, McPhail cut her off.

“Don’t speak to me,” Melissa said, and then pointed at Beth’s protruding midsection.

“How dare you,” she said. “How could you do this to Jim? How could you not make it go right?”

In the Sea Org, “make it go right” was a common expression, urging the employees, who worked 112-hour weeks, seven days a week, for pennies an hour, to get things accomplished one way or another.

“What do you mean, ‘make it go right,'” Beth remembers struggling to say with a mouthful of cereal.

“You know, take care of it,” Melissa answered. “You disgust me.”

“She just continued to stand there. I didn’t know what to say,” Beth remembers.

“Do you know how valuable Jim is? Do you know what you’re doing to the Sea Org? How dare you,” McPhail continued.

At this point, Beth remembers starting to cry. But McPhail wasn’t finished.

“I’m not just going to stand here and watch you do this to him,” she said.

“To this day,” Beth tells us, “I’m not really sure if by ‘him’ she meant Jim or if she meant L. Ron Hubbard.”

Beth decided that she’d had enough. She remembers putting one hand on her belly, another out in front of her, and pushing to the door, saying, “Get out of my way! Out of my way!”

“I couldn’t breathe. I went straight out of the building to L. Ron Hubbard Way, but she didn’t follow me,” Beth says.

Beth endured other attempts to enforce Scientology’s policy, but instead she routed out of the Sea Org, split with her husband, and had her child.


But she never forgot Melissa McPhail’s bullying attempt to talk her into ending her pregnancy to save Jim’s Sea Org career.


Scientology private eye found guilty of contempt

In case you didn’t see yesterday afternoon’s breaking news, make sure you see the finding of Judge Sharon Gianelli, who found former NYPD detective and Scientology spy Yanti Mike Greene guilty of both criminal and civil contempt. He’s looking at about $300,000 in total penalties, and that’s just part of the litigation against the private eye firm that was working for David Miscavige.


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

“Sacredity. I think it’s very amusing, if you like to laugh at funerals. I do myself. I do. The last funeral I saw in Kansas, a dead wagon went by, you know, and it was one of these hearses, you know, with the great big plate glass side windows, you know. You could see the coffin in there. Flowers all over it. And here came limousines after it, you know, one after the other. And there were people crying and people sobbing in these limousines. I pulled off to the side of the road, naturally, and I took off my hat. And all this was just automatic, you know, took off my hat. I sat there and watched this thing go by. And car by car my risibility started getting the better of me, you know. I thought here’s this bird, he kicked off, you know, and they shoved this body full of embalming juice, and this bird is sailing around here someplace or another. He probably already picked up somebody in a maternity ward or something of the sort, and he’s long gone, you know, and here’s these birds left with this piece of MEST, you know. And they’re crying and sobbing, you know, and they’re filling it full of flowers and embalming fluid, and going to take it out to the graveyard and erect some stone over the top of it, you know. The unreality of these people and their attitude and what they believed, and what I myself knew for a fact, you see, were so far apart that I’m afraid that by the time the last funeral car had passed, I was just doubled up with laughter. I just can’t take funerals very seriously. I’m sorry. It’s too silly.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 5, 1962



Avast, Ye Mateys


God Speed
And Early Return

I thank you
The Sea Org thanks you
For your good work
And Contribution

To us all.
I know
The good things you’ve done
And good intent.

Forgive the conditions
And any hardship

And carry away
No bitterness
But only pleasant
Memory of Flag.

In appreciation
And full respect:


God Speed
Soon Return

April 5, 1969”


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Several of my high school aged clients have remarked on how auditing has been a game changer in regards to their chosen career paths. The focus is not on the financial gains of MEST, but more towards ‘dealing with the futility postulates’ that many on this planet carry. They have noticed the automaticity of the adults around them leading towards the game of death rather than creating, of a paycheck rather than a purpose, and souls lost in amnesia.”


Past is Prologue

2002: “Cerridwen” reported events at the 2002 L. Ron Hubbard birthday celebration event. “The basic theme of this event was to get Scientologists ‘rehabbed’ on getting back on purpose on the 3rd Dynamic. That means to get them to be more active and especially to get them to join staff. It’s done by ‘enlightening’ and pushing lots of Scn buttons. But it’s pretty much known and unspoken that both Org and Sea Org staff think that anyone that is not on staff is a worthless piece of shit. Throughout the event the cameras panned the crowd and we got to see Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie, Nancy Cartwright, the CO Flag Debbie Cook, Sally and Craig Jensen. Scientology’s Rich and Famous get front row seats at events. David Miscavige starts in with the Wins and Expansion News and talks about ABLE. Narconon Arrowhead is the big news. Per DM Narconon Arrowhead is busting at the seams with public and they have had to build bunk beds to accommodate all the public there. Not only that but Narconon Arrowhead is the place where Narconon staff are sent to train so that they can then go back and start new Narconon’s all over the world. Some accreditation agency had a policy that they would only accredit counselors with ‘college degrees.’ DM stated that the Narconon staff did a presentation to this accreditation board and convinced them that the Narconon/LRH tech was far superior to any college degree and the Accreditation Board was so damn impressed that they certified 22 Narconon Arrowhead counselors. There are twenty new Narconon’s in the world with 2 of them in the US.”


Random Howdy

“It’s ‘nix’ on ESP and telepathy, but ‘ja’ on Telekinesis and Astral Projection? No reason or rhyme to the mind of Mother Hubbard.”



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. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 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: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

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’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
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] Former Scientology OT gets indicted on $4 million securities fraud
[TWO years ago] Whoopi Goldberg recommends Scientology’s drug rehab Narconon on ‘The View’
[THREE years ago] Scientology gets away with abuses because it has friends like author Orson Scott Card
[FOUR years ago] What do super powers smell like? For around 30 grand, Scientology can help you with that.
[FIVE years ago] Bryan Seymour: Scientology’s sniffer-dog problem is bad timing for Narconon in Australia
[SIX years ago] After their daughter died at Scientology training, a friend makes off with the funeral money
[SEVEN years ago] Saturday Night Live’s genius spoof of Scientology: Lyrics and images
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack’s final weekly column for us on Scientology, and it’s a doozy
[NINE years ago] Remembering Diane Colletto, Who Would Have Been 60 Today


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 2,625 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,130 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,650 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,670 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,561 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,868 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,736 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,510 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,841 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,314 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,630 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,196 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,115 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,283 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,864 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,125 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,161 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,876 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,401 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 756 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,931 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,482 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,631 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,951 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,806 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,925 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,281 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,584 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,690 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,088 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,964 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,547 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,042 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,296 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,405 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 5, 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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