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When L. Ron Hubbard assigns you to the deep: A slice of Scientology in new book

Debbie Norwitz reached out to us last year with some questions about Paulette Cooper and Scientology’s Snow White caper, telling us that she was working on putting together a memoir.

That self-published book has just been released now, and we gave it a look. Debbie was involved in Scientology from 1963 to 1973, and her experiences in it are just a small portion of her memoir, which dives into her upbringing in New York to immigrant parents from Lithuania and Ukraine, her summers in the Catskills, and then moving to Los Angeles and then Las Vegas to work in a casino.

She eventually got into Scientology in 1963 after she had returned to New York and was starting a relationship with a man named Allan who would become her second husband. She still has warm memories about her first experiences in the church (as so many do who later leave), and by 1964 she and Allan and her 2 and a half year old son, Michael, had moved to England to become dedicated Scientology students at Saint Hill Manor.

After being declared Clear, Debbie and Allan were then sent to the ship Apollo to take the legendary Class VIII training course with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and Debbie even got the infamous punishment of being tossed overboard in the harbor at Corfu, Greece.



At 4-foot-8, Debbie remembers her oversized uniform pulling her underwater, and she may have drowned if two other students in the water hadn’t pulled her to the surface.

But rather than be discouraged, Debbie admits that graduating from Class VIII only made her and her husband feel “arrogant” about their status, and when they were then sent to Miami to help run the organization there, she gladly turned a hose on people as punishment in the local version of “overboarding.”

“It wasn’t unusual for me to order an auditor to the back of the building and hose them down as a corrective measure for their auditing errors… My goodness, I was only following L. Ron Hubbard’s methods. Of course, I didn’t have an ocean to throw anybody overboard, but I did have a garden hose. God, I was a horrible person!”

She and Allan were so dedicated and wanted to defend Scientology against external attacks, they applied for and were accepted to work for the Guardian’s Office, Scientology’s shadowy spy wing that would several years later carry out the Snow White Program, infiltrating government offices and resulting in a massive FBI raid.

Debbie was assigned to go to Chicago, she remembers, to harass Paulette Cooper. This is what she had asked us about last year. She said she was told to go to Paulette’s office in Chicago to cause her trouble. But Paulette never lived in Chicago and she never had an office — she lived in Manhattan and was a freelancer, working from her own apartment.

“I flew to Illinois and made my way to Chicago. I wasn’t supposed to confront Cooper personally, but I was told to make trouble for her at her place of work. I made an anonymous phone call from a telephone booth to Paulette Cooper’s office. I related some nasty gossip about her to someone in her office. I wish I remembered what I said, but I don’t. I then left Chicago and returned to Miami.”

Paulette wasn’t in Chicago, but she did receive many nasty phone calls in this period (1970-1972) at her apartment, and so did her publisher, so Debbie may have been instructed to call those places.

After her short time with the Guardian’s Office expired, she was separated from Allan for a year as he worked for the Guardian’s Office in Buffalo. When it became plain the church was going to keep them apart even longer, they rebelled and ditched Scientology, moving to Arizona and becoming involved in local politics.

Scientology ended up being only a brief part of a fascinating life of relationships, travel, and exploration. (Debbie is 84 now.) But we appreciated that glimpse of what it was like to get tossed overboard by the Old Man himself.



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Source Code

“We find our people, as we process them, further and further along on this curve of create, through survive, to destroy. And when we get well past survive, we get to an individual who can think in no terms but suicide. He tries to kill himself and those around him. He would not even dream of getting, you might say, out of the body. All he can think of is being in the body and destroying things. He has bought the physical universe. Well, we try to process this individual. We normally find him in sanitariums, and so forth, because he’s no longer able to promote the biological line; and we find his anxiety on the subject of sex very, very great, but it’s very destructive. It’s not the type of sexual activity that would lead to an unending stream of protoplasm. Quite on the contrary, it would be a type of sexual activity which said ‘The unending stream of protoplasm must now end,’ which is to say homosexuality, other misconducts. And we’d find him over on the physical universe side of the ledger over here. And he would be very involved with rocks and solid masses of various things. He’s really left the biological line.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 22, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The VIP Party was a huge success, Governor, Lord Mayor and all. Div VI must receive full cooperation on set ups and drills, however. We are at our best in Billing and Drilling. It’s been an awful long time since I heard the rush and pound of feet getting a drill drilled. Guest drill is just another drill. The Supercargo is reponsible for having a well drilled ship. The smartest ships ever were the heavily drilled Enchanter, Avon River and the pre-Melilla RSM! So WE DRILL 1700 to 1800 DAILY HEREAFTER, at sea or in port Supercargo and Ship LRH Comm Take note please.” — The Commodore, April 22, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Over the last 10 years I have been on a structured, methodical, examination of my past. I do positive work as well to stay well and fully in PT, but discovering and understanding my experiences has been the bulk of my activity. With over 10,000 hours of looking, I have built up a fair understanding of my timeline with a pretty good knowledge of the key eras of our existence. These major eras seem to have the greatest affect on who we have become, with additional various incidents acting as locks, solidifying the primary postulates, decisions. For example, most recently the rise of large, common universes and how we were drawn into, then locked into this system of existence.”



Past is Prologue

1999: Keith Henson reported revenge flyers posted near his home. “Yesterday a friend of mine pointed me to some bright yellow flyers put up on community announcement boards about two blocks from my house. They are the usual DA business (with a nearly black picture of me) but at the bottom they do admit (in small type) to be associated with scientology. But get this: They misspelled their own URL!”


Random Howdy

“At least two thirds of the people who showed up on the top five anti-Scientology vids on YouTube from 2008-2010 representing themselves as Scientologists were in fact FAKE. And I was usually the person who busted them.”


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 May 5.
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. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
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] Why Danny Masterson’s attacks on Leah Remini aren’t helping him in court
[TWO years ago] Even a pandemic can’t stop Scientology from tracking you down, apostate!
[THREE years ago] Where is Scientology dying most Ideally? Could it be our neighbor to the north?
[FOUR years ago] Everything — even Scientology — is up to date in Kansas City, and here’s who’s responsible!
[FIVE years ago] Scientology denied twice in wrongful death lawsuit as parents grieve for Tabatha Fauteux
[SIX years ago] Another depressing piece of evidence that Scientology advocates splitting apart families
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology: Making fools of your local elected lunkheads since 1952
[EIGHT years ago] The Garcias take one more shot at Scientology before their fraud suit will live or die
[TEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Jake and Elwood Want Your Cash!


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 2,642 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,147 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,667 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,687 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,578 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,885 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,753 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,527 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,858 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,331 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,647 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,213 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,132 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,300 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,880 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,142 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,178 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,893 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,418 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 773 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,948 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,499 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,648 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,968 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,823 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,942 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,298 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,601 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,707 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,105 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,981 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,564 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,059 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,313 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,422 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 22, 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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