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The delightful result when Scientology was infiltrated by a reporter — in Hawaii

[Intrepid reporter Bob Jones]

We have been stunned to see the devastation on Maui from wildfires, and we assume you probably have been as well. If you are interested in sending aid, the New York Times put together a handy guide to where to send your donations so that it has the most impact as the people there try to recover.

We suspect that Scientology will try to capitalize on the disaster in Lahaina by sending its “Volunteer Ministers.” And we have posted fliers from Scientology in the past indicating that they are pushing wealthy members to donate money for an “Ideal Org” in Honolulu.

But it turned out there was another reason to put Hawaii and Scientology together for a story here at the Underground Bunker, thanks to our special researcher who digs through old newspaper archives. Once again, he’s found a gem.

On January 4, 1963, the FDA raided Scientology in Washington DC and seized hundreds of E-meters and many more documents.

It turned out that the federal government had been investigating Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard since at least 1958 for making health claims about his “technology” and the E-meter in particular. The FDA had even sent in an undercover investigator to join the organization and find out what it was doing.


The raid produced major headlines around the country, which resulted in people wondering what Scientology was up to in their area.

One newspaper which grew curious after the FDA raid was the Honolulu Advertiser, which decided to send in its own undercover operative.

On December 3, 1963, the newspaper published a story about its infiltration by reporter Bob Jones.

We find it as charming and startling today as it must have been then.

Curious Writer Probes Mystery of Scientology
By Bob Jones

In a $150-a-month room at 1481 S. King St., 12 people sat in straight-backed chairs and faced a blackboard. Except for the chairs, two filing cabinets and two card tables, the room was bare.

On one table was a small machine labeled the “Hubbard Electrometer.” Over it was a chart called the “Tone Scale.” The scale showed electrometer readings from minus 8 (“hiding”) to plus 40 (“serenity of beingness”).

The 12 people were there for a “classroom” meeting on the fourth floor of the Professional Center.

It was a session of “scientology” — a controversial cult which claims about 500 practitioners in Honolulu and 100,000 on the Mainland and in Australia.

I was in the session in the role of a student paying his $7.50 for a therapy meeting.

The class leader was James L. Watson, a 31-year-old former elevator-installation man from Salt Lake City.

Watson, of 140 Dowsett Ave., Nuuanu, and his wife, Diana, conduct a scientology group here, charging $7.50 for group sessions and $25 for private audiences. Classes meet each Monday and Thursday for about 16 weeks.


An extroverted and personable man, Watson calls himself a “Hubbard certified auditor,” one of scientology’s therapists.

He began his class by pointing to the electrometer, which, he said, pinpoints emotional stress by showing body resistance to electricity as a student holds two electrodes.

Then he wrote on the blackboard.

“Everyone,” he said, “fits in somewhere on a Charge Scale. It has eight increments.”

He listed them as:

(1) No track, (2) Full control of track, (3) Spotty track, (4) Invisable (his spelling), (5) Dub in, (6) Dub of dub in, (7) Awareness of own evaluation, (8) Unconsiousness of Thetan (his spelling).

A “no track” student, Watson said, “dismisses all ‘charges’ from his past life. They forget the time they got their fingers smashed or their heads chopped off.”

He said students who have “full control of their tracks can run up and down their time tracks. They can remember when you ask them, ‘What was you doing in 1808?’”

The students took notes, looked like they understood what Watson was talking about.

An “invisable” student “can’t remember living on the American prairies, say, in the 1800s,” Watson said.

In the case of a “no track” student, he continued, “he can remember the last 50 bodies he had.”

Watson and his scientologists say that everyone has had prior lives, both on Earth and on other planets. Remembering those lives, he says, is one of the keys to mental health.

“If you remind John Doe of a prior life,” he lectured the class, “and his attention falls on the time he had his head chopped off and it fell in a basket, 24 hours later he gets an ache in his gut.”

Then Watson cautioned the class: “Of course, you don’t go out and talk to people about this prior life stuff. They aren’t ready for it. You’ll get a very hostile reaction. If you remind John Doe about the time his head was chopped off, he’ll think you’re pretty nasty.”


Then Watson switched to two new subjects: “Reality” and “solids.”

Most important in “reality” to the scientologist is the “communication line,” he told the class.

The students still took notes.

“Sex is a solid communication line. This is where things really get real, you know. Oui, oui and all that stuff.”

A student, a middle-aged woman from a well known Honolulu family, raised her hand.

“What is the definition of a ‘solid’?” she asked.

“Well,” Watson answered, “like sexual intercourse. When two bodies come together.” He drew two parallel lines on the blackboard. “That’s about as solid as you can get.”

Then Watson broke up his class into two segments. One was students, the other coaches. I was a student.

My coach identified himself. His job was to sit in front of me and make faces, wiggle his ears and laugh. If I laughed with him, I wasn’t in full control, in scientology terms.

Across the room from me, an elderly matron was being coached by Mrs. Watson.

“Who have you been sleeping with?” Mrs. Watson was asking her. “Who have you been…around with? Where have you…?”

This is part of scientology’s “therapy,” the Watsons say, which will help people better confront life.

Next to me, an attractive dress-shop operator was being coached by a young man.

“I’ll bite you…,” he was intoning. “I’ll bite you…” If the girl flinched or snickered, she wasn’t in control.


There was laughter, crying, shouting in the room.

According to Watson, it’s all part of scientology therapy and the students will feel better adjusted when the session is over.

The sessions meet twice a week. The posted rules say no drinking for 18 hours before class, and no drugs.

The class broke up at 10:30 p.m. It broke up with the students sitting in a semicircle and shouting “hello! hello! thank you!” to each other.

Then everyone left with this admonition from Watson:

“When you are coaching a student, stick to questions about the present. After all, you don’t know how long he’s been on this planet.”

Sidebar: Watson Terms Story Accurate

James L. Watson, who conducts a scientology group here, was given an opportunity to read and comment on this article. He said:

“This is an accurate report, but since Bob Jones attended a class which came one-third of the way through the current course, the article does not reflect the full scope of scientology. I feel it would have been better had h started at the outset of the course and continued with it for the 14- to 16-week schedule.”

Watson said he came to Honolulu about three years ago and since has reached about 300 persons with his lectures and classes.

“I do not claim to be a psychologist,” he said.

The Personal Relations Center, with which Watson has been associated, was listed under “Psychologists” and also under “Scientologists” in the Yellow Pages of the 1963 Honolulu telephone directory.

Watson said he did not have a State gross income-tax license at the time reporter Jones attended the class. State tax records show that the tax license for the Personal Relations Center, including Watson, was canceled in July, 1962, and since has been listed as delinquent because no income report ever was filed.


Asked about this by The Advertiser, Watson yesterday paid $3 at the Tax Office and was issued license No. 38526 to conduct “communication classes.”


[Scientology was no match for Bob Jones]

We were unable to find what happened later with Scientology evangelizer James L. Watson. However, the reporter of this story, Bob Jones, was another matter.

An Air Force veteran, Jones had been a police reporter in St. Petersburg, Florida and Louisville, Kentucky before he arrived at the Honolulu Advertiser in 1963.

He really made a name for himself reporting in Vietnam for NBC the next year, and then returned to Hawaii to become a well-known news anchor for the NBC affiliate there until his retirement in 1994.

Sadly, he passed away two years ago at the age of 85, but until just a few months before his death he had been writing a fiery blog, “The Bob Jones Report: Red-Hot Opinion Erupting From Diamond Head.” (He didn’t have much patience for the resistance to mask-wearing and vaccines as the pandemic wore on. We hear you, Bob.)

Bob Jones was noted as an old-fashioned news reporter who was very popular in Hawaii, and we’re glad to remember his excellent exposure of Scientology’s nonsense, way back in 1963.


[Bob Jones, 1936-2021]


Technology Cocktail


“We see in ‘science’ as currently practised a nearly total identification by the ‘scientist’ of mass with thought. ‘Man from mud’ is a natural conclusion by anyone who has all his thought bound up in mass. The reason a clear’s needle is so free (and you’ve seen, certainly, how an E-Meter needle gets sticky, then freer and freer) is that his thought is separated from a matter,
energy, space, time consequence.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1960



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 [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner


Source Code

“We come along to this bird and we say, ‘Hey, bud, you’re a convict. You live on a planet called Earth; it’s part of the Marcab Confederacy….Now, is there some other planetary system, is there some other empire system which is deeper in to the heart of this galaxy which is going to backfire against this one? I would say probably yes. Probably yes. There, probably this is coming right up over the hill. I mean it probably is not long. Maybe this confederacy or this activity right now is in trouble. But conquerors nearly always spare the jails. Did you realize that? The Allied troops going in — Auschwitz, Belsen, places like that — they didn’t knock those apart. They knocked apart the belligerents’ property, but they didn’t knock apart their jails. All kinds of political situations complicate this picture.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 22, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“I’ve just okayed the recommendation to sell the Commodore Queen as unsuitable and too costly to repair. They need the Apollo and we need a new ship.” — The Commodore, August 22, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“LRH made it very clear many times that the goal is to have responsible OTs who are no longer producing Overt actions. Yes, there must be OTs that are evil but use OT abilities — in the Star Wars Universe they are called ‘Sith’ — those guys who trapped us all and overwhelmed us with an intense force like LRH said.”



Past is Prologue

1996: Alvin Brattli reported this week that Scientology is distributing L. Ron Hubbard mouse pads. “Did you all know that the COS is handing out L. Ron Hubbard mousepads for free? Neither did I, until they gave one to me. My friends in Chicago took me out sightseeing, and asked me whether there were any particular places I wanted to visit. An idea popped into my mind, and I decided that I wanted to visit the local org to ask them if they knew this Xenu guy, just for the hell of it. Being very helpful, my friends drove me to the org (which is located on 3009 N. Lincoln, btw.) and parked nearby. I then strolled over to the org and stopped, looking innocently at their window display. Then this friendly woman started talking to me, asking me if I knew anything about Scientology, if I knew anything about L. Ron Hubbard or not, and so on. She asked if I had access to the Internet. I answered ‘yes’, and then she started running around the whole org, looking for one of their mousepads (with their URLs printed on them). On seeing the mousepad, I get these strange associations with North Korean propaganda. More than half of the area of the mouse pad is dedicated to L. Ron Hubbard, and the rest is divided evenly between the Scientology and Dianetics logos. Also, the three URLs,, and are printed in their respective part of the pad. The pictures on the mousepad are identical to the ones you will find on those web sites.”


Random Howdy

“You should have seen me on stage. I could move, baby!”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentencing on Sep 7.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, hearing on proof of service on Oct 3.
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 sentencing of Masterson on Sep 7.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing Nov 6.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] Academics line up to help Scientology gaslight the US Supreme Court
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 8: Recovering unspeakable acts from the past
[THREE years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 20: Gensler
[FOUR years ago] The FBI wants recent cases of Scientology fraud? We’ve got them right here, for crissakes
[FIVE years ago] Colombian senator cites Xenu, ‘the Hole,’ in wild televised hearing about Scientology scandal
[SIX years ago] Tonight on ‘Aftermath’: Suicide in Scientology, where sympathy and compassion are outlawed
[SEVEN years ago] Trump is drawing comparisons to L. Ron, but will Hillary favor Scientology as much as Bill did?
[EIGHT years ago] A revealing look inside the warped ‘kingdom’ of Scientology leader David Miscavige
[NINE years ago] Scientology skates (so far) as OK grand jury says ‘keep investigating’ Narconon Arrowhead
[TEN years ago] Report From the Fringe: Underground Bunker Night at The TomKat Project
[TWELVE years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 18: Amy Scobee


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 3,129 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,644 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,194 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,184 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,065 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,369 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,240 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,345 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,792 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,134 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,700 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,619 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,786 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,368 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,629 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,665 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,381 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,945 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,260 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,435 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,986 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,117 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,455 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,310 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,429 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,785 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,088 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,194 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,592 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,468 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,033 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,546 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,800 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,909 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 22, 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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