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PODCAST: Karen Pressley on Scientology’s radicalizing of Tom Cruise

[Karen Pressley on ‘Aftermath’]

Karen Pressley spent almost 20 years in Scientology, and then turned her experience into a terrific book, Escaping Scientology: My Journey with the Cult of Celebrity Spirituality, Greed & Power.

We’ve posted an excerpt of it in the past, but we wanted to check in with Karen because of her experience working at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre.

This week, Scientology really took it in the shorts when Judd Apatow, speaking at the Directors Guild of America Awards this weekend, aimed some barbs at Tom Cruise.

You no doubt saw reporting on it, but we wanted to go over Apatow’s zingers with Karen and ask her, how would Scientology, when she was at CC, deal with this kind of fallout? We think you’ll find her answers very interesting. (Here’s the link to the podcast.)



Technology Cocktail

“The very young preclear, up to the age of six, seven or eight, will still be found to give the auditor difficulty. The reason for this is the attention factor. This is not the same thing as the attention factor in insanity, but is handled in much the same way. The attention factor of extreme youth has been discovered to be a disorientation factor brought about by the inability to handle the body and the environment, and is not an immediate “natural state.” A child is a thetan in usually rather bad condition. The attention factor has to be widened before much processing can be embarked upon, along a line leading to clear.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1957



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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf


— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner


Source Code

“One of the things that is going to happen in the next few months: You will probably see, increasingly, the word ‘Scientology’ occurring. And that is in order to give doctors of medicine and psychiatrists and psychologists an out. It is pretty hard, after a man has made a pronunciamento about which he knows nothing, to convince him that he ought to say something else about it now that he knows something about it, because he will lose face with the people he has said this to. So if we just give him another word for a similar package and we say ‘Now it’s Scientology, and Scientology embraces the Axioms,’ why, then, two things will happen: He can say, ‘Well, Dianetics was no good and Hubbard was really crazy when he threw that one. But Scientology — now, that’s different. scientifically done. It has a great many things to recommend it. Well organized, and it works! (Dianetics didn’t!)’ And as the students who are going to graduate out of Hubbard College will discover, their degrees are in Scientology, not in Dianetics. It says that they are professional Scientologists and that they are capable of understanding mental and physical stress and are eligible for further degree work in Scientology. So I hope these graduates will feel themselves capable of understanding physical and mental stress!” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 25, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“In LA and now on Flag someone is justifying reserves and prices charged by saying ‘Ron needs it’ or ‘it goes to repay Ron.’ It isn’t true. I’ve received no 10 percents for ages. An audit of monies owed me by orgs showed about 13.5 million pounds some years ago. I long since forgave the 13.5 million. Other more recent sums aren’t included. It takes money to run things and keep the show on the road. A lot of money. Particularly in our expanding scene. It’s all for a worthwhile cause. The actual cost of L10ing someone and giving all grades is close to the price charged. A hundred million would be a low down payment for our org tech. So realise the value of what’s being bought and sold. What’s the value of health to a suffering man? What’s the value of immortality to an Earthbound eclipsed being? You’re right. It would be priceless. There isn’t that much money. It doesn’t go to me. So let’s keep the scene real in all selling and pricing. It’s for priceless results. For the pc. Not for me. I am in a relaxed frame of mind of owing no one anything and not being worried about what I’m owed. Let’s keep it cool. (And by the way did you know the psychoanalyst and psychiatrist charge ten times our total fees for delivering a long and agonizing death?)” — The Commodore, February 25, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Once I heard of a college mathematics professor who was teaching his students that it was impossible to divide by zero. Based on what I had learned from LRH about the nature of zero I said to him, ‘Sure you can, and in all cases the answer is infinity.’ He started to say ‘No, no, no,’ but then his eyes opened wide and he said, ‘Wait a minute. You’re right! How did you know that? I never heard anyone say that before!’ He thought I was a genius. But it was LRH.”



Past is Prologue

2000: Medical Examiner Joan Wood has changed her opinion of the manner of Lisa McPherson’s death. It has been changed from “undetermined” to “accidental”. From the St. Petersburg Times: “Scientology’s top executives, clearly pleased Tuesday, called the switch ‘extremely significant and a huge development that dramatically affects the state’s case.’ They said it supports their view that McPherson’s death while in the care of Scientology staffers in Clearwater was sudden, unpredictable, ‘undiagnosable’ and not the church’s fault. Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow, the lead prosecutor in the case, called the change ‘something of major significance we need to review.’ He declined to discuss how the case might be affected, adding: ‘We really need to evaluate that, and we’ll take some time to do that.’ Wood’s decision came after church officials and their lawyers spent months plying the veteran medical examiner with expert information that revealed the lengths to which Scientology has gone to defend itself. There were scientific studies on a body substance known as ketone, an elaborate accident reconstruction, even a report by an ‘anthropometric’ specialist who studied McPherson’s physical stature. Gone from the new report is the original reference to the bed rest and dehydration. Wood still traces the death to a blood clot behind McPherson’s knee. But she lists McPherson’s psychosis and a minor auto accident as major factors.”


Random Howdy

“When you tell vaLLarrr that LRH had no degrees or academic training, s/he replies that science hasn’t caught up to LRH yet and that Newton was insane and Einstein was a high school dropout. Rathbun was doing the same thing when he was trying to compare the quantum theory that nothing really exists unless you’re looking at it with Hubbard’s bullshit about subjective reality.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

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. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: March 15, 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 at least through February 7.
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.



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] Latest Capitol rioters arrested: Florida TV chef and poker player — and OT Scientologists
[TWO years ago] Scientology celeb family the Mastersons selling houses: Getting out of Dodge?
[THREE years ago] Is David Miscavige winning? Scientology seems to be on a roll, but is the law about to step in?
[FOUR years ago] No, the National Enquirer has not ‘found’ Scientology’s Shelly Miscavige
[FIVE years ago] Orlando, you’re next! Scientology makes an ‘Ideal’ move on the magic kingdom
[SIX years ago] More federal charges for Scientology family that sold rhino horn products
[SEVEN years ago] Laura DeCrescenzo, on eve of crucial hearing, explains Scientology for new judge
[EIGHT years ago] Now it’s Scientology UK that opens its books, and we have the numbers
[NINE years ago] Telepathic space-age exorcism — Let’s do Scientology’s New Operating Thetan Level Six!
[TEN years ago] Anne Archer, Terry Jastrow, and…Could It Be…Tommy Davis, At Film Reception Tonight?
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Thaumaturgy: Commenters of the Week!


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 2,951 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,456 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,006 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,996 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,887 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,191 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,062 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,167 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,644 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,956 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,522 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,441 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,609 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,190 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,451 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,488 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,203 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,767 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,082 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,257 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,808 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,939 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,277 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,132 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,251 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,607 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,910 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,016 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,414 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,290 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,873 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,368 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,622 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,731 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 25, 2023 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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