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Remembering Dan Sherman, Scientology’s bad biographer and worse speechwriter

One thing that’s changed over our years of covering Scientology is that we used to get more videos from big events that featured David Miscavige giving speeches.

And over the years, we noted repeatedly how crazy Miscavige’s sentence structure was in these hours-long stemwinders.

Miscavige is a high school dropout, and it turned out he was relying on a speechwriter named Dan Sherman for his high-falutin’ prose stylings. (Here’s a great piece from Mike Rinder pointing out the crazy Shermanspeak phrases in a typical Miscavige speech.)

And Dan’s influence on Dave’s lingo was confirmed when we got a chance to see Dan himself speak at a 2012 L. Ron Hubbard birthday event and got a load of his bizarre phrasing and sideways sentences that could be really tough to untangle.


We also dug his shaggy mullet, and Dan was also notable because he was Scientology’s official L. Ron Hubbard biographer, and was forever working on a book about the founder that we knew would never see the light of day.

Now there’s a report that Dan has passed away, and we’re working to get some confirmation of that (while flying back to New York after a family vacation), but in the meantime we thought we’d remind you of one of Dan’s finest performance.

It was something we wrote about at the Village Voice in 2012, and featured Dan telling a whopper about how Hubbard had prevented US atomic scientists from using the early A-bomb to overthrow the government! And who was the ringleader of this crazy scheme: Why, US Congressman Richard Nixon!

Seriously, enjoy Dan’s crazy ideas about sentence structure as you watch again this short clip from the 2012 LRH Birthday event, above. And here’s the transcript:

There are a couple of ancillary notes relevant to what transpired on the 15th of November [of 1945] in the basement of Caltech’s Atheneum Hall. In the first place, those participating in what is remembered as the Nuclear Scientists’ Revolt most definitely suffered severe punishments. Specifically and summarily, a full 64 were stripped of security clearances, thus effectively ending their careers in government research departments. Well, for another telling footnote, the henchman was none other than future American president and Watergate villain, Richard Nixon. In the second place, those in attendance indeed represented the cream of America’s atom bomb project, including a chief engineer who designed the triggering device, and no less than three Nobel Laureates for theoretical physics. Not in attendance but not far away in sentiment was A-bomb father Robert Oppenheimer who, when the first mushroom cloud arose was overheard whispering, “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” But the overriding point, and vastly so, is simply this: How is it, LRH asks, did these brilliant minds come to believe America would never actually drop the bomb? How is it they swallowed the story that went something like this: The government was to build a grandstand where Hitler and the Japanese emperor would sit, whereupon, as LRH described it, “They were going to press a button, they were going to have an atom bomb go off, and they were going to say, ‘See what we’re going to do to you’.” To which he adds, “And these dopes fell for that. These so-called great brains fell for that story.” But in so far as the bomb was now an inexorable fact of existence, and, as Heinlein so colorfully phrased it, “You can’t turn the sausage back into a hog,” we come to the next turn in our LRH trail.

Here’s how we reacted to that word salad in 2012:

How is it this isn’t in every school book in this great land of ours? L. Ron Hubbard stopped Richard Nixon from leading a group of rogue scientists to overthrow the U.S. government. Oh, and the Manhattan Project was going to fly Hitler and Emperor Hirohito over to watch an A-bomb demonstration from a giant grandstand in the New Mexico desert. Yeah, we didn’t hear about that one either.

These tall tales from Sherman were really something, and they were a staple for every LRH Birthday event for years. But now, well, like the rest of Scientology, Dan has faded away, and we’ll miss him.


Technology Cocktail

“On the whole track, radiation was dangerous for the good reason that there was more radiation in those times that could be exploded. However, radiation is a half-life matter and the older the universe gets the less radiation there is available to throw at people. And a good thing, too.” — 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 [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane


Source Code


“There’s a population explosion going on and I wish to Christ somebody would inform me how men are far scarcer in l972 than I ever found them in 325 B.C. How could they expend them back then? I remember around the turn of the millennia and so on, there were just mobs unemployed. Well, right now they keep them all that way with relief and dough and this and that and the other thing, and they’ve got some workable scheme or another. One of the silly ones which you hear, we did a survey, we did a survey on people, what they liked and so on, just a general survey in the Scandinavian area, and we found what they liked best was welfare and what they hated most was taxes. Oh, brother. Outpoint to end all outpoints.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 5, 1972


Avast, Ye Mateys

“INCOME: As Income at Flag in actual money not just credit is creeping steadily up, I think we should get alert to fully establishing org form and appearances of all three orgs especially the FSO. A mission just concluded shows the FSO in need of improvement in form and appearance, both of ship and FSO members. The basic and reasonable recommendation is that an LRH Comm FSO be appointed so that LRH orders and projects will get compliance by the senior officers as these orders and projects have built what was there. With rising Flag income potential, real meaning is given to this recommendation.” — The Commodore, March 5, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“A Rons Org dude said to me Miscavige is in a Marcabian valance but didn’t want to directly say this because it was such special deep high gradient data which only Rons Org OTs know. You know how OTs act like they have superior knowledge and do that cheeky smile look. Anyway, it’s so silly because CBR’s ideas about Marcabians are exaggerated imagination delusions based on a fact that aliens do exist. He takes conspiracies too far. So it’s funny saying Miscavige is in a Marcab valance when the truth is that he is actually in an LRH valance which LRH made popular throughout Scientology and that’s why we have these hardcore angry Sea Org members and the severe reality adjustments. Want to know what LRH was like sometimes? Listen to the stories about Miscavige.”


Past is Prologue

2001: “Realpch” reported a protest in San Francisco. “Our handlers were somewhat testy and pesky for this picket. Perhaps they were still upset by last month’s picket which was well attended and featured those notorious suppressives Keith Hensen and Tory Bezazian. Maybe they thought that she would grace the picket again, because Nasty Mark was there for the event, and behaving badly. After remarks about med dosages and queries about my general state of happiness and marital status, he resorted to reading me a list of ‘Psych Atrocities.’ He also worked heavily on Phr, doing the crowding routine and more bullbaiting. Luckily Phil was there, and occupied much of his time with congenial chat. Craig the Scientologist was there too, with his video camera and the usual ‘Religious Bigot’ flyers. Lately he has taken to taping Jour quite a bit at pickets, and dogging her every step. He was a bit at a loss, with her absence, and resorted to videotaping me and Phr. He was overheard exclaiming, ‘These people are against all religions! Ask them about other religions!’ I handed out an unknown number of flyers, since I didn’t count what I had started with. Phil informs me that Nasty Mark told him that he (Mark) was ‘a major player in the OSA ops.'”



Random Howdy

“Seeing as how Scientology is the only ‘religion’ that doesn’t have theologians, there’s no worry about theological inconsistency. As far as plot-holes in the story go, the one thing that keeps them in is this steadfast assertion that they have observed auditing and the rest of the tech to actually work. If they can’t get past this and realize they have been tricking themselves, then at best they’ll be indies/FZ for the rest of their lives.”


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] Scientology is trying extra hard to get you to fork over more money, you pesky thetan!
[TWO years ago] Danny Masterson: They called me an ‘agent’ of Scientology, so I get to sit in on arbitration
[THREE years ago] Naturally, shady Scientology operators are drawn to the gold rush of stem cell therapy
[FOUR years ago] What’s creepier than a Scientology street fair? Apparently, not much.
[FIVE years ago] Scientology turning to focus groups in anticipation of its TV ‘network’ premiering
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s Narconon rehabs haven’t changed in the least, even after dozens of lawsuits
[SEVEN years ago] Outfront Media rescinds contract for Scientology ‘disconnection’ billboard in Hollywood
[EIGHT years ago] ‘Will Smith is not a Scientologist’ — we elaborate on our quote the press went wild for yesterday
[NINE years ago] Larry Anderson: Scientology’s pitchman becomes a Bunker regular
[TEN years ago] Today, You Begin Your Training as a Scientologist
[ELEVEN years ago] Paulette Cooper, With Help From the Voice, Discovers Her Heartrending Past


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 2,959 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,464 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,014 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,004 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,895 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,199 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,070 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,175 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,652 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,964 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,530 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,449 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,617 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,198 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,459 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,496 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,211 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,775 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,090 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,265 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,816 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,947 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,285 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,140 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,259 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,615 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,918 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,024 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,422 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,298 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,881 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,376 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,630 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,739 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 5, 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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