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Scientology and the Great American Eclipse, 2024 edition

Is it really less than a week away, this singular day that we’ve been looking forward to for nearly seven years now?

In August 2017, your Proprietor flew to Portland to join his stepbrother, and we then picked up author, former Scientology marketing genius, and Underground Bunker luminary Jefferson Hawkins for a drive into the Oregon backcountry.

The next morning, the three of us, standing in a farmer’s field with hundreds of other people, witnessed the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017, with just over two minutes of totality.

It was an incredible experience, and one we’d hungered for ever since we were clouded out in France in 1999 (long story).


Jefferson snapped this great shot of the sun’s corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere, which only becomes visible after the moon lines up perfectly in front of it.

And although we were a bit frantic, trying to make the most of our two minutes of totality, we had time to take this shot of Jefferson himself with the eclipsed sun behind him.

What an experience that was, and we’ve been hungering to stand once again in the shadow of the Moon ever since.

On Monday, we’ll hopefully get that chance, and once again we’ll be with another Underground Bunker leading light. Who? We’re not telling just yet!

And we say “hopefully,” because at this point, the weather is not looking very good for April 8. We are making offerings to the weather gods and hoping things turn out OK.

We want to encourage our readers, if any of you have the chance to get into the totality zone by Monday, please consider it. A partial eclipse, even one with over 90 percent of the sun covered, just isn’t anything like what it is to stand under a totally eclipsed sun. And no, you don’t need cameras or any other kind of equipment.

We did snap some photos and take some video in 2017, but honestly, we’re so glad we had the sense to reserve some of the time simply to stand and look around and soak up the feeling as the moon moving in front of the sun made us feel more connected to the solar system and galaxy we live in than anything else we’ve ever experience. Seriously, it’s incredible!

OK, so we have our fingers crossed that things go well Monday, and we look forward to your reports from the field.

In the meantime, we know this is a news website about Scientology, and experiencing eclipses with former Scientologists maybe doesn’t quite count.

So, just for fun we searched through L. Ron Hubbard’s entire library of lectures, and found that only one time did he refer to a solar eclipse (rather than simply using the adjective “eclipsed”).

It was in 1962, as part of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, and when we dug it up, we actually thought it was a real hoot.


From “3GA Goal Finding, Part 1,” October 11, 1962

Remember, a thetan can look, but a machine can’t look unless a thetan is looking at the machine to read the answer off of the machine. This is something that the scientist uniformly overlooks.

The psychologist’s dissertation on how the eye works is one of the damnedest pieces of buffoonery which has ever been perpetrated as a hoax — I mean, as a fact, it is! It’s a piece of buffoonery. According to this, the eye looks out here, it points in that direction, and by some focal system of images — which of course he gets out of the science of optics — there is some kind of a screen back here which registers the image. And then we don’t say any more about it.

But carrying through this, reductio ad absurdum, we get a screen looking at a screen and then we would get another screen looking at a screen. And then we’d get another screen looking at that screen, and another screen looking at that screen. And at no time anywhere do we have an observer. In this whole system there is no observer. I think the reason for this is the psychologist has never been able to observe. So he just discounts this very necessary thing, an observer.

You know, I did this one time with a UNIVAC, ENIAC smick-smack thingamabob whatnot that was going round and round and its wheels were churning, and its valves were popping, and I think it had cooling systems and so forth to cool off its fevered brow. And it had all kinds of instrumentations which crossed instrumentations.

I busted the machine by the way. I did. I fed it “two times two equals . . .” and it was unable to solve this problem. That was the end of it. The things went round, and they went round, and there was no ‘W’ to fall out, see?

It was set up to have a more complex equation. And that was too fundamental an equation. Now, it could have said, “Two times two equals four,” if you had first said, “The derivative integral of Y in its ratio to X is the distance between G and its square root of Q. And if this were true, then two plus two or two times two equals what number?” See, the machine is set up to take that many.

This just left all the blank files over here, see. And the machine looked in vain, it couldn’t find anything there, so it looked again. And couldn’t find anything there. And it looked again, you see, and it never would pick up the “Two times two.” The cams were going mad inside the thing. They had to shut the thing off.

Spoke to me rather crossly. And they said, “This machine was not designed to solve things of that character.” It was an astronomical computational machine. It had the distances to the moon, and the lunar positions thereof, as expostulated from the eclipse of something or other, you know, and this was all fed in. And of course the cams couldn’t “Two times two equals four.”

“Well, let me point out something,” I said. “Let me point out something here. The machine never has seen an answer.”

“Ho-ho-ho-ho, nah-ha-ha-ha, nah-ha-ha-ha.’ nah-ha … !’

I said, “Wait a minute now. That machine has never seen an answer.”

“Well,” they said, “seeing you’re just using some offhanded trickery or … It’s your writing background showing up, you know, just using semantic trickery, or . . . ”

“No, no. It never has. Who reads the answer when given up by the machine?”


“Well,” they said, “the operator.”

I said, “Then the operator is part of the machine.”

“No! No, no. No! No, no.”

“All right, then if the operator isn’t part of the machine, then the machine has never inspected the answer.”

“No, that couldn’t be true.”

You see, that just led up the garden path on this. You had. you put an observer into any of these systems and they go to pieces. You’ve got to have an observer.

Oh, that Ron. Outsmarting early computers with his basic math. We’re sure this happened, just the way he told it. Sounds legit.

Anyway, we hope you have plans to see the eclipse, and we’ll tell you more about our plans as the big date nears.

Clear skies!


Technology Cocktail

“Dianetics and Scientology may be a century ahead of their times but still they are just in time before we all go up in smoke.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1969




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 [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman [55] Mark Bunker [56] Trish and Liz Conley [57] Trish Conley [58] Alex Barnes-Ross [59] Alex Barnes-Ross [60] Alex Barnes-Ross [61] Alex Barnes-Ross [62] Alex Barnes-Ross [63] Alex Barnes-Ross [64] Tory Christman [65] Tammy Synovec [66] Dennis Erlich [67] Alex Barnes-Ross [68] Valerie Ross [69] Kat in Austin [70] Mark Bunker [71] Phil Jones



Source Code

“Now, if you were to duplicate teeth on a preclear, you just say, ‘All right. Now, let’s duplicate teeth.’ And he starts duplicating teeth, teeth, teeth, teeth, teeth, till he gets lots of teeth, lots of teeth, lots of teeth. First thing you know out of this big pile of teeth which he’s gotten out there, he’ll start to get the emotion ‘Whee! Let’s all be teeth. Let’s fill the whole universe up full of teeth. Everything’s got to be teeth.’ Well, of course this is the central motive as far as teeth are concerned. Everything must duplicate teeth. Any object has this as an obsession. It must be duplicated. If it goes downhill it gets down to a point, finally, where, of course, it must not be duplicated, which is it must hide, withdraw, get very small, be hard, compact.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 2, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“I hope no desperate casualties resulted from the APRIL FOOL OOD. All Fools Day originated when they changed the Gregorian Calendar in 1564. The first day of the year was April 1st before then. When New Years Day became January 1st, those who persisted in celebrating it as April 1st became targets. It originated in France where they are called APRIL FISH and went to Scotland where they are called APRIL GAWKS. Through the English speaking world it is APRIL FOOLS. All from a PR stunt to teach the new Calendar! So when Al Bornstein, FAO PR wrote up an April Fool OODs with Geoff Barnes and Gorman the Management carried out a reversal even on them. In the Immortal Words of Product Officer FAO Amos Jessup, ‘Anyone who was taken in by that OOD had better review his Data Series!’ So would the FEBCs do a Data Analysis on that April Fools OOD as an exercise. Self preservation demands they be able to recognize real OUT POINTS when they get back to their orgs. People were in stitches over the results of the joke, so I hope no bruised feelings remain.” — The Commodore, April 2, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“PCs don’t return to auditors if the results are poor. So the Freezone is sort of self-qualifying. Auditors that are still in practice have to be good auditors. There are many auditors to choose from who have held their space. It could be compared to a free market, people go out of business when they sell faulty products.”


Past is Prologue


1997: Lars Westergren posted a transcript of a show on Scientology from BBC World. “Buildings like this aren’t cheap. Scientology founds itself by a doctrine of exchange. Members can pay thousands of dollars to complete all their courses, in payments that are called donations, but are in fact obligatory. Few churches prompt more antagonism than this one. A Greek judge has called scientology dangerous. The German government says that its financial demands can read to ruin and even suicide. But here in America, critics are more concerned with the Church of Scientology’s relentless bid, for public recognition. David Rodier is a professor of religion at American University. ‘They feel if you attack they attack in kind, and perhaps even more violently. And I think many people find this very threatening. New religions are by their very nature strange and odd, and we feel uncomfortable around them. And then when they, in addition to that, don’t behave according to our stereotypes the way religions should behave, then we _do_ get very uncomfortable.’ Sylvia Stanard: ‘The church has dealt with criticism, because we feel that people need to know what scientology is. And its also just – sociologically it is a very interesting phenomena that all new religions go through this. I mean, we’ve researched and gone through what they said about the Catholics in the 1700s, and all sorts of _wild_ accusations. I mean, the Mormons were killed. And that was a hundred years ago.'”


Random Howdy

“Why would Scientologists feel love for each other? According to Hubbard they are just random thetans occupying random meat bodies. Your children aren’t really ‘your’ children. That’s one of the reasons it seems so easy for some Scientologists to disconnect. Your relatives are merely other pod people.”


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. Sentenced to 30 years to life 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. Next pretrial hearing May 17, 2024.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Some defamation claims were removed by Judge Hammock. Leah seeking to amend her complaint.
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: motion to file new complaint, hearing on May 29.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration, hearing on April 16.
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] Tampa Bay Times identifies developer acting as Scientology’s front in Clearwater
[TWO years ago] Academic forum caves to scary Scientology attorneys, spikes our presentation
[THREE years ago] SNL produced the best parody of Scientology ever — and then hired a Scientologist
[FOUR years ago] Scientology is dying to keep you well from the pandemic it doesn’t believe in
[FIVE years ago] Thetans in the Jungle: Scientology in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands
[SIX years ago] Mike Rinder: Scientology is ‘disappearing at a consistent unchanging unwavering rate’
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology for your plants? In the grand tradition of L. Ron Hubbard, yes!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s demonology: Where L. Ron Hubbard got the idea for your space cooties
[NINE years ago] Robert Vaughn Young on L. Ron Hubbard’s final days — another ‘Secret Lives’ video outtake
[TEN years ago] Florida attorney Ken Dandar hit with $1 million penalty for taking on Scientology
[ELEVEN years ago] Why Isn’t Scientology More Open About Its Space Opera Beliefs? It’s the Best Part!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Tammy Synovec has not seen her daughter Julia in 2,858 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,353 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,868 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,418 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,408 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,289 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,593 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,464 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 5,016 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,357 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,924 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,843 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 5,011 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,592 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,853 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,889 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,605 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,169 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,484 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,659 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,210 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,341 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,679 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,532 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,653 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 3,009 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,312 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,418 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,816 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,692 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,257 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,770 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 4,024 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,133 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 2, 2024 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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