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A shaky day handling life and death at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre

I had just finished an interrogation session that I was doing on a Scientology registrar, because she wasn’t making enough money for the org. It wasn’t even actually my job, interrogations, but I was the preferred auditor for whatever reason.

My job and area of responsibility at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre was not only overstretched, it was impossible for such a large org.

My senior came up to me and told me that one of the course supervisors, someone I had known since I was a very young child, had a fever of 104 and she needed to go to the hospital. I couldn’t drive, and I had no car. There was absolutely no way I could call an ambulance. That would be allowing non-Scientologists onto the property. So I needed to arrange transport.

I managed to convince someone to drive us, with the agreement I would give them some gas money (I had $200 float weekly for staff medical for a CC staff of 250, plus Manor Hotel staff of another 50). So $20 worth of gas got us to Olive View hospital, in Sylmar, Ca. We waited in the waiting room for about two hours, then they gave her a bed and started tests on her. Long story short, she had Stage IV colon cancer and had only two weeks to live.


Wait, what? She had been on post all the way up to that morning, doing 16-hour days like the rest of us. How had this sneaked up on all of us? Surely these doctors had no clue what they were talking about. And so I requested all of her medical information. I needed to get all of this over to Dr. Denk and Dr. Shields for a second opinion.

Olive View, the county hospital, wanted to move her to another facility for better care, but instead my sweet friend wanted to go home. Let’s call her Nelly. We didn’t want her to be far from the CC property, so we set her up to be in an apartment across from CC (on the Tamarind side, a dumpy place called the “Shangri-La”). I didn’t want her being on her own, so I set up for another unwell staff member (we will call him Sam), who had a massive leg ulcer, to stay with her, 24/7. This was convenient because I could check on her throughout the day, make sure they were fed and had the basics of what they needed.

Meanwhile I was still expected to cover the course supervisor position for staff, which was three study periods per day, for a total of nine hours of the day. In addition, I was still required to do daily interrogations on the non-producing registrar (which averaged 2.5 hours per day), keep track of 300 staff with their training, auditing (which was mostly non-existent) and medical care. It was beyond a full time job. I could have had a staff of 20 and still not had enough. I was running all the time, and trying to keep things going by the skin of my teeth. It was stressful and frustrating. I’ve been called a bitch more times than I can remember, I’ve been physically assaulted (for anything from not finding an auditor to give sessions to someone, to not having money to pay for someone’s toothache).

I’d take off to get away any chance I could. It was tough being in that situation of being constantly screamed at, like every problem with the staff is my personal fault and I made them sick somehow.

I managed to meet up with Dr. Gene Denk, who basically told me the same thing as the doctors from Olive View hospital. He thought maybe Nelly had less than three weeks. The cancer had just taken over everything. I asked him about the cancer treatments we had heard of in Mexico, and also about some device that some were using to remove cancer (which was all written up in a book of case studies, 100 cured cancer patients). Dr Denk, in his always blunt way, said “The best way to know if a treatment worked or not is to see how the patients are now.” It had been a year since the studies, Denk said. “They are all dead.” Sigh.

I’m all of about 23 and I am going to be the one to tell Nelly that there is nothing we can do? Ugh.

It had been a long day, and I decided I would talk with her the next day.

But then we had that massive Northridge earthquake. Some of the interior walls came down in our berthing building, but otherwise, according to our CC gardener (who also just happened to be a civil engineer) it was still structurally sound.

All of the staff, in the middle of the night, had evacuated the building, located at Wilcox and Selma, which was closer to the Hollywood Guaranty Building than It was to CC. They were all across the street in the post office parking lot, mustering up to account for everyone and get anyone who was missing (some didn’t even wake from the earthquake and had to be gotten up).

The sun was just starting to come up, and the highest executive from CC came up to me and said “reporting for duty.” What? Oh yeah, in times of emergency, we switched over to special functions and guess what? This little 23-year-old kid was in charge of medical. So I was in charge of everything and everyone, and I was expected to make all the calls on everything. Everyone lined up for assignments from me. We had a couple of head injuries that needed to be checked out, so I sent a couple of staff to take the injured to the hospital for check ups. I was glad nobody was asking for gas money because I was out. $200 is gone pretty fast for staff medical. I noticed there were “wogs” (non-Scientologists) wandering around the parking lot too, and I assigned most of the staff to do locational assists and touch assists on the injured. I sent the civil engineer to go check on CC (which had one of the top of the chimneys break loose and was threating to fall seven stories straight into the Rose Garden Café, and probably take out the Purif sauna underground too). I assigned about 25 staff to go to CC and start filing up all the bathtubs (every room in the building still had bathtubs). We had more staff trickle out of the building, resulting in more needing medical care. I tried to figure out which seemed urgent and which were band-aids. Who was I to know? I have no idea. I sent a few for doctor visits.

Then my husband came up to me and told me that all the PC folders in the CC archives had fallen over and were all mixed up, and there was also some flooding in the archives. We are talking about thousands and thousands of files. Millions of pages. They would all have to be gone through by hand to put them back in proper order. I already knew that would be a job that would take all day for weeks and weeks and weeks. I did not have that kind of time. Thankfully they were not only staff folders, but public too, so that meant I would get some help. And so I set of from the Wilcox building to CC to see what the archives area looked like. And yes, total disaster.

CC was closed off on the Rose Garden side. Because of the chimney. So we had to enter from the alley, which goes directly into the archives area. I started working on cleaning up the files. I hadn’t eaten at all and I was quite exhausted. It was probably 4 or 5 pm by this time. As we were all going through files, my husband asked me “How’s Nelly?”

OH MY FUCKING GAWD, I FORGOT TO CHECK ON NELLY AND SAM! I am SUCH an asshole. I am the biggest asshole in the world. I deserve all the hate and critical comments about my poor job performance. What kind of a jerk ass would forget about these two very ill people? Me. That’s who. Not only had I forgot to check on them after the earthquake, but I didn’t feed them for breakfast or lunch.

I called over to them, because thankfully they had a phone. Sam answered and said they were fine. He was always chipper and happy. I apologized and told them I would bring dinner right away, which I did. Sadly, Nelly was not well enough to eat anything. She was very, very weak, and throwing up. Her fever was creeping back up.


I couldn’t sleep that night. It was just a very long and bad day. And I was worried about Nelly. I had to work out a ride to the hospital for her. I lay awake all night trying to figure out what I could do for her. Early the next morning, I got a ride set up and headed out with her back to the hospital.

Nelly, being the Sea Org member that she was, did not want to be trouble. She kept telling me, and her seniors that came to visit, that she would fix it and get better and be back on post soon. Her seniors were happy to hear that.

I sat with her as the doctor offered to her a surgery to remove the cancerous tumors from her colon. They said the surgery would take at least eight hours and was very risky. She would also have very little bowel left after the surgery. The doctor indicated that it might prolong her life. Nelly immediately agreed to the surgery and the doctor stepped out into the hallway. I followed him and asked him to tell me straight. He did. She probably would not survive the surgery. Either way she likely only had a couple of days.

Meanwhile Nelly is making it go right and trying to get better. She was trying so, so hard to overcome the body. She lay there, so weak, barely able to move her head. She mostly kept her eyes shut. She was small and frail, not the Nelly super-nanny that I remembered. As I looked at her, I thought I was it. I’d be the one to have to tell it to her straight. And so I did. I explained about the surgery and how risky it was, and how she only had a few days left. And that we wanted to make her comfortable and make sure she had what she needed. “I need a new body!” she said. I’d say she was right. After much talking, she understood and accepted her diagnosis.

I went down the hall to call the org. I had to let my seniors know she would be declining surgery. I spoke with my senior’s senior, a lady named Renee, who had already, on multiple occasions, indicated that she hated me, and explained that Nelly would decline surgery and accept her fate. Renee sneered a “thank you” and hung up.

I headed back to the org later that evening, still reeling from the overwhelming responsibility of what I had just done. Was it my place to do that? I don’t know. This was my friend. My nanny and someone I cared for deeply and I hated to see her in so much pain, trying to fight through it to go back on post! I guess I thought if I were in her shoes, I would have wanted a straight report on the situation. And it only felt right to do that for her.

As I walked in to the front door of the org, I heard “murderer.” I turned around. Renee, calling me over, had found her new nickname for me. A few days later, Nelly passed away peacefully in her sleep, and I was left with a strange nickname for the rest of my years at CC Int. Murderer was what I was called, as my name.

— Sunny Pereira


Technology Cocktail

“In all the years I have been engaged in research I have kept my comm lines wide open for research data. I once had the idea that a group could evolve truth. A third of a century has thoroughly disabused me of that idea. Willing as I was to accept suggestions and data, only a handful of suggestions (less than twenty) had long-run value and none were major or basic; and when I did accept major or basic suggestions and used them, we went astray and I repented and eventually had to ‘eat crow.’ On the other hand there have been thousands and thousands of suggestions and writings which, if accepted and acted upon, would have resulted in the complete destruction of all our work as well as the sanity of pcs. So I know what a group of people will do and how insane they will go in accepting unworkable ‘technology.’ By actual record the percentages are about twenty to 100,000 that a group of human beings will dream up bad technology to destroy good technology. As we could have gotten along without suggestions, then, we had better steel ourselves to continue to do so now that we have made it. This point will, of course, be attacked as ‘unpopular,’ ‘egotistical’ and ‘undemocratic.’ It very well may be. But it is also a survival point. And I don’t see that popular measures, self-abnegation and democracy have done anything for Man but push him further into the mud. Currently, popularity endorses degraded novels, self-abnegation has filled the South East Asian jungles with stone idols and corpses, and democracy has given us inflation and income tax.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1965



Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 7 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and it’s a conversation with Geoff Levin about Scientology’s celebrities and which ones are most likely to defect. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 6 available to everyone, with Pete Griffiths on running a mission, Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, Bruce Hines on the crazy life in the Sea Org, Jeffrey Augustine on recent Scientology court cases, Claire Headley exposing Tom Cruise, and Marc Headley on what it must be like for David Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida. Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“Apparently transfers from the Galley without apprenticeship or replacement and Quadruple hatting the food purchaser so he simply used the food chandler ashore are some of the obvious whys back of the sudden recent drop in food quality. The WHYs being advertised are the wrong whys — low allocation is a wrong why. The food isn’t kept to allocation and has become VERY expensive for very low quality due to using a chandler. This would not remedy the increased allocation as the allocation is already not followed. Advertising this as the why or remedying it will not restore food quality.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 12, 1971


Avast, Ye Mateys

“SURVEY: A great job was done in the E/R, by D/Capt, Ship’s Rep and 1st Mate and others in passing the survey. Possibly we even get our Lloyd’s Yacht Class. We are a yacht by registry. A Lloyds yacht class is different and useful. But true enough, in dismantling working installations for survey and reassembly, when we tried to start up one engine just wouldn’t start. A valve had been reversed! And an injector bleed valve was leaking. Two tugs were on hand as a precaution. Our E/R guys put it right quickly. Must have been an awful shock to push the starting lever and have nothing happen. That’s how it goes when working installations get dismantled!” — The Commodore, August 12, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Currently, most of the world has been ordered to shut down. People are told to stay in their homes and no go out. Freedom curtailed. Told not to touch others. Told there is a pandemic and millions may die, Driving people down the tone scale to Fear. Deprived of income due to no work. Financial problems. Heavy fines (in some countries such as Australia) in the thousands if one is caught outside of home without a ‘justifiable’ reason. Penalty for Being. Media and news channels constantly emitting a barrage of bad news on deaths and how bad it is and the favourite phrase to imply agreement and stick all at the same level, ‘We are all in this together.’ Enforced agreement. These are the hallmarks of driving people PTS. This means that the driving force behind this must be an SP or group of SPs. Just knowing this can de-PTS someone who is familiar with the technology. One does NOT have to go into agreement with this socially enforced culture.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Scientologists held a demonstration in Frankfurt this week to protest alleged discrimination in Germany. From dpa newswire: “Several thousand adherents of the Scientology organization have demonstrated for religious freedom in Frankfurt am Main on Monday after a European march. According to a statement by the police, there were about 6,500 people at the protest until evening. Representatives of Scientology said it was 8,000 people. At the demonstration, the participants demanded that all forms of religious discrimination be ended. Scientology brought up 19 notifications by governments and human rights organizations which they say confirmed a climate of intolerance in Germany. According to the Scientology statement, signers of the proclamation included several members of the European Parliament.”


Random Howdy

“Refusal to accept one’s own mortality and a belief by humans that they are something more than just another species of animal is what drives this insanity.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial scheduled for October 11, pretrial conference August 17.
‘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: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filing amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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] Scientology in England faces huge tax bills on its properties, and keeps failing to evade them
[TWO years ago] Valerie Haney’s suit against Scientology back to square one after court setback
[THREE years ago] My brother, the Scientologist: Trying to bridge the gap when Hubbardism is in the way
[FOUR years ago] If Scientology is hurting, have its ‘expansion’ plans slowed down? Here’s our assessment
[FIVE years ago] Garcia case update: Has Judge Whittemore managed to fill a Scientology arbitrating panel?
[SIX years ago] Former workers file EEOC complaints saying Grant Cardone forced Scientology on them
[SEVEN years ago] Scenes from the increasingly desperate straits Scientology finds itself in
[EIGHT years ago] Mark Bunker: Clearwater is being pressured to knuckle under to Scientology (again)
[TEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Bowl With The Valley Girls!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Sees Fundraising Gold in the UK Riots: ‘We Have a Strategy’


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 2,754 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,259 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,809 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,799 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,690 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,995 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,865 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,639 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,970 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,443 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,759 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,325 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,244 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,412 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,992 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,254 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,290 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,005 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,530 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 885 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,060 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,611 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,760 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,080 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,935 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,054 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,410 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,713 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,819 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,217 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,093 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,676 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,171 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,425 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,534 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 12, 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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