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EXCLUSIVE: An eyewitness account of the place where Scientology is keeping Shelly Miscavige

[A drone’s-eye view of the Twin Peaks compound, first published here in 2017]

Bruce Hines has another terrific narrative for us, this time about his trip to a place very few people in Scientology ever got to visit. It’s a small compound in the San Bernardino Mountains where, years after Bruce’s visit, Shelly Miscavige was sent in 2005. We believe she is still there today, being kept out of sight for the past 17 years.

It was a bit like going into a submarine. I admit I have never been in or on one, but it is how I imagine it to be. I climbed down a ladder into a very large, metallic cylinder. Inside, it was well lit. I stood on a platform that ran the length of the tube, which was at least 50 feet long, probably more, maybe 10 or 12 feet in diameter, with plenty of headroom for me.

I was at the headquarters of the Church of Spiritual Technology, or CST, or, more commonly, it was referred to as “Archives.” That is a pretty strange name for a “church.” For me the name “Church of Spiritual Technology” conjures images of seances, eerie music, and electronic screens with flashing lights in a 1950s movie. Actually it was part of Scientology’s complicated international network. It was made up of Sea Organization members. Interestingly, for several years relatively few Sea Org people knew of its existence, and fewer still knew where it was located nor much about its purpose.

It was located in the mountains just north of San Bernardino, California. Two towns that are nearby are Crestline and Twin Peaks. I was driven there by a guy named Rich Gilbert. He was CST staff and came to the Int Base near Hemet to pick me up. The CST people were some of the relatively few Sea Org members who had the necessary security clearances to go to Int. This was in the early 90s. I rode along in a Honda, probably a Civic, which was one of the CST staff cars. I enjoyed the scenery, especially as we got up into the higher mountains along very winding roads, similar to ones I was familiar with in Colorado. There were some nice panoramas of parts of the Inland Empire along the way.


I had known Rich and his wife, Linda, since 1978, when he worked at the Westwood Mission in LA at the same time as my sister. At the time I was working as an electrician for my brother-in-law, Joe Duncanson. After I went into the Sea Org, Rich went to work for Joe and eventually became a partner in his electrical contracting business. They were very successful — so much so that they, their wives, plus a third partner named Evan Malm and his wife, all paid their way up the Bridge to “New OT VIII,” which was (and still is) as high as one could go. The auditing hours alone that they had to purchase for six people cost a huge amount of money. I’ve heard of estimates of around $300,000 for a person to go from the bottom to the top of the Grade Chart. The amount varies from person to person, since some people complete auditing actions in fewer hours than others.

Regardless, they had to pay huge amounts. Add to that the cost of multiple trips to Clearwater and to the Sea Org ship for all of them, including flights, accommodations, food, and arrangements for getting their kids looked after. They had a good setup. When one had to go off to get some auditing the others could cover their work. Also, when one had to audit oneself at home on “Solo NOTs” the time to do so could be much more easily arranged. A person on Home Solo NOTs is expected to give themselves at least a few sessions every day.

Anyway, after those six people had made it to the top of the Bridge, they started looking at other ways to be involved in Scientology. This included the option of joining the Sea Org. I know my sister was pretty serious about it. That would be a big life-style change for those people, as they were all pretty well-off financially. For example, a couple would have to move from a large, comfortable house into a small room with just a bed and little other furniture. They would be separated from their children, excepting brief visit periods.

There was a problem with that idea though. They had taken LSD prior to getting involved in Scientology. There was express policy from founder L. Ron Hubbard, in the form of a “Flag Order,” which forbade an LSD-taker from joining the Sea Org. I know that many public Scientologists would use that as an out when talking to Sea Org recruiters, who can be incredibly persistent. “Sorry, I can’t join, I took LSD.” Even taking it once was enough to disqualify someone. Recruiters usually responded by saying, “Are you sure it was LSD and not something else like mescaline or psylocybin? Did someone give you something they said was LSD when it actually wasn’t?” The recruiters would even make up lists of the effects of various drugs to try to establish whether the person really experienced the things that LSD produces.

Around that time there was a new “pilot project” being run at Archives. The idea was to allow LSD-takers to join the Sea Org, if they were otherwise qualified and passed security clearances, and to be posted at the Crestline facility of CST. And then see how they did. I don’t know who was behind this project, but I can’t imagine it would have happened without David Miscavige’s approval. But why at CST and not some other Sea Org facility? All I can think of is that it was a relatively small organization that was isolated from other Sea Org units. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want these LSD-people messing up the important work, in the eyes of top management, that CST was doing. Hubbard thought that LSD made people incapable.

There are Sea Org members who had taken LSD before the policy prohibiting it was issued in 1979. One such person was Ray Mithoff, who was a huge Grateful Dead fan before getting involved in Scientology. A lot of people who got converted to Scientology had been college students in the late 60s and early 70s, where the use of psychedelic drugs was pretty common. I don’t know the details, but in the end Rich and Linda Gilbert did join the Sea Org, while my sister, her husband, Evan Malm, and his wife did not. My recollection is that there was at least one other person, Midge Hunt, who was an LSD-taker and joined the Sea Org at CST as part of that pilot project.

It was a bit surreal that Rich, whom I had known for years and who had close ties with my family, was driving me to the CST headquarters. It is about an hour’s drive from Int to Twin Peaks. I was looking forward to seeing the place. I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard of it and knew that relatively few people had ever been there. We arrived on a narrow road, CA-189, and drove into the property through a security gate. We were in the middle of an evergreen forest. There were trees everywhere with buildings, none of them very big, scattered here and there. It struck me as being very green, especially compared to the terrain around the Int Base. I don’t remember exactly, but there were maybe 20 buildings on the property, which covered a few hilly acres. The buildings were log-cabin-like. It was a whole different vibe compared to Int.

Rich gave me a brief tour of the property and its various activities. I don’t remember a lot about that. One thing was that they had some very large audio tape machines called Studers, which were just like ones in Gold. Those were used to produce tape cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, and CDs from a master tape, if I recall correctly. There was also lots of other equipment used to accomplish CST’s purpose: to put all of Mr. Hubbard’s writings and spoken words into a very long-lasting and nearly indestructible form. The written words were to be etched onto metal plates (stainless steel, I think), the spoken words were to be recorded on special, high-tech CDs, and all of it was to be placed in sealed titanium capsules. The capsules then were to get stored in underground vaults.

Why go to all that trouble? Well, Scientologists believe that the words of Hubbard are so valuable, making possible the only salvation of mankind, that they should be preserved for thousands of years. Potentially, they might be discovered by future generations, after an apocalypse or something, to rebuild civilization the right way. I can imagine some poor person trying to make sense of it from scratch in some future time. Good luck! Also, since CST started on this huge task, Hubbard’s writings and recorded lectures have been often revised. Do the steel plates and CDs then have to get switched out?

Like all Scientology organizations, which are set up in a particular pattern as laid out by Hubbard, it had a Qualifications Division (usually referred to as Qual) — the part that is supposed to make sure that the products delivered by the organization were of sufficient quality. At least that is the theory of it. One of Qual’s functions was to train, audit, and correct the staff of the org. At that time, that division of CST at the Crestline facility had a couple of auditors, a case supervisor (responsible for overseeing the auditing), a course supervisor, and a cramming officer (who got staff to re-study things they had been trained on after they had made some kind of mistake). But because CST was so isolated from the rest of the Scientology world, these people in Qual had been operating without any oversight. I got an order that I should go there, inspect the auditing and training records, and correct things found to be wrong. The order came to me because at the Int Base that had been my job as the Technical Correction Director International.

Rich’s tour included seeing the submarine-like structure, mentioned above. This was one of the vaults. It was still under construction. It was buried in the ground, but still partially exposed at that time. It was designed to withstand harsh conditions. I climbed through a hatch and down a ladder, looking around in some amazement. It was big. It was somewhat like an old-time file room, except the shelves did not hold boxes with paper in them. They were to hold the titanium capsules.


[A more recent image of the vault contents, from a Scientology magazine]

After the tour I went about my business of looking at auditing folders and student files, and interviewing the Qual staff. During that time we had lunch in their cafeteria (mess hall) and later ate dinner. I found that they had been doing pretty much what they were supposed to. The problem with that kind of inspection is that if one of the executives of CST got in trouble later, meaning if Miscavige got mad about something, it would be assumed that errors had been made in their auditing and training. And then I could have gotten trouble for having missed those errors. Luckily, that didn’t happen.


Rich then drove me back to the Int Base in the evening. Some time later I ended up spending a lot of time with Rich on the RPF (the Sea Org’s prison program) and on the RPF’s RPF. We were even “RPF twins” for a while. We did a lot of manual labor together. In 2001 when the RPF at Int was disbanded (because of a lot of bad publicity about it), Rich got put on a post in Gold. I got sent to New York City, supposedly to work on the renovation of the premiere building there, half a block from Times Square. The last I knew, Rich was still in Gold.

His wife, Linda, also ended up in Gold, though she didn’t spend time in the RPF. I don’t know what happened to Midge Hunt. I don’t believe anything became of that LSD pilot project. The last I knew, one still could not join the Sea Org if they had taken LSD. The way that CST was structured, passers-by or curious persons could not see in. The staff could go about their work without prying eyes. It is situated on a hill with fairly rugged terrain, surrounded by tall fences, many of which had razor wire or ultrabarrier strung along the top. The buildings where sensitive work was going on were in the interior area of the property with large trees around them, not visible from the outside.

That is, until someone got the idea to fly a drone with a high-resolution camera over it. Now that there is a good chance that Shelly Miscavige is interned there, I imagine the security measures are even more extreme.

— Bruce Hines


Technology Cocktail

“People nearly always overestimate what needs to be done to a child for good gains. And they nearly always underestimate how long it takes to really flatten just one thing! (Hours and hours.) Any really simple process could be adapted but would not flatten totally unless the itsa was in totally. That’s a tall order. I feel zero-zero run flat on a child is the biggest gift a parent can give him.” – L. Ron Hubbard, 1965


Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 8 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and it’s a conversation with Patty Moher about her amazing career as a Scientology spy and then her years leaking great info about the church. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 7 available to everyone, with Geoff Levin on Scientology’s celebrities, 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

“You’ve heard time and again how dangerous it is. You mustn’t fool around with the mind! Perfectly all right to take a meat ax to the brain, but you mustn’t fool around with the mind! I got my belly so full in 1950 of psychoanalysts telling me how dangerous it was to fool around with the mind. But I finally more or less rejected it with laughter, because I looked at who was talking. And when he said fool around, man, he meant fool around, because I found out he could not study Dianetics; he could not do it. And do you know our main departure from training psychoanalysts and psychiatrists and medical doctors is not really based on the fact we are antipathetic toward them at all. It’s the fact that they can’t seem to duplicate study materials. And it’s just so hard, it’s so tough.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 18, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“CONDITION: Bill Blundell, on Dep LRH Comm data of 3 days absence from Qual as an auditor, and from Dir Rev on insolence and refusal to audit is assigned DOUBT. If Bill persists with his SO record of invisibility, the condition will be lowered. There comes a time when all men have to stand up and be seen and do their jobs in life. That time has arrived for Bill Blundell.” — The Commodore, August 18, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“So how come you keep bashing LRH 2.0 (Justin)? Have you talked to him, have you studied the tech he is putting out, have you run the processes? I have done all three. I have known the being that is LRH for many, many years and lifetimes. I tell you and all who listen that he is LRH and this new tech of LRH’s is magic. Magic that works in days not years. His game had been to find a one-shot Clear process. He never got that, came close on SCS. But this tech is as close to a one-shot OT as has ever been created. So instead of giving your opinion get some of the facts then talk.”


Past is Prologue

1997: The St. Petersburg Times ran two letters to the editor about Scientology, the first from OSA PR Mary Story. “The growth in popularity of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater and elsewhere in the world continues to expand more now than ever before in our history. That growth has never been halted by biased media reports such as what often occurs in the St. Petersburg Times. The Times article on Aug. 10, Scientology launches massive PR campaign, attempted to criticize the church for promoting its beliefs and advertising books written by the founder of the Scientology religious philosophy, L. Ron Hubbard, saying that the church must be promoting itself in response to some negative publicity. It is ironic that the Times does not realized something the church learned decades ago. People become interested and come in to find out about Scientology for themselves even in the face of inaccurate or slanted reporting. The author mentioned that some obscure detractors have criticized the church on the Internet. Were it not for the Times, which makes these people appear important even when they aren’t, they would remain hidden in obscurity where their lack of knowledge and understanding has rightfully relegated them. So, if the Times wants to talk about Internet sites, then it should put matters in perspective by including that the church’s own Web site has generated millions of hits since it was erected last year and has already won numerous awards. By comparison, the sites of so-called ‘critics’ arouse negligible interest.”



Random Howdy

“Not only are there numerous loopholes allowing dangerous cults to operate freely, there are numerous loopholes allowing idiots to buy wild, endangered animals. A portion of these animals end up at canned hunting operations in Dumbfuckistan where they are gunned down by Dick Cheney and evil fucks of that ilk. It’s gotta stop.”


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.
‘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 filed 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] Laura Prepon claims she’s out: ‘For Scientology this is catastrophic’ says Mike Rinder
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini’s podcast: Paulette Cooper, Scientology’s ‘OG of Fair Game victims’
[THREE years ago] Scientology is staffing its Narconon in Ireland like it’s already won court approval
[FOUR years ago] From Jon Atack’s ‘Blue Sky’: Reorganizing Scientology as L. Ron Hubbard’s life waned
[FIVE years ago] As he predicted, Pastor Willy Rice gets the Scientology ‘Fair Game’ treatment
[SIX years ago] New Scientology financial disclosures reflect the dire state of its chief drug rehab
[SEVEN years ago] Google helps Scientology huckster Per Wickstrom bury a rehab patient death
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology graduation videos from Copenhagen? Yes, please!
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: A Scientology Advertising Bonanza!
[TEN years ago] Former President of Narconon Oklahoma Now Calls It ‘Watered-Down Version of Introductory Scientology’
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Watching Hits the Beach!


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 2,760 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,265 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,815 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,805 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,696 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,001 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,871 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,645 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,976 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,449 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,765 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,331 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,250 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,418 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,998 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,260 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,296 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,011 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,536 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 891 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,066 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,617 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,748 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,086 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,941 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,060 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,416 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,719 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,825 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,223 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,099 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,682 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,177 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,431 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,540 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 18, 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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