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The life and death of Scientology ‘Clear’ Lisa McPherson, told in real time


As the 20th anniversary of the death of Lisa McPherson approached in 2015, we decided to remember this grimmest of Scientology’s scandals by recounting it in real time. Starting in mid-November, we looked at the final three weeks of Lisa’s life using documents from the original police investigation as well as new interviews with people like Marc Headley and Tom DeVocht.

Covering it day by day, we got a real sense of the tragedy as it unfolded. We hope the series will help you understand how Scientology’s rigid rules and assumptions about mental health turned a physically healthy 36-year-old woman into a critically dehydrated and cruelly neglected victim.

Nov. 12: Countdown to Room 174: Remembering, in real time, Scientology’s grimmest scandal
Nov. 13: Why it was Scientology leader David Miscavige who declared Lisa McPherson ‘Clear’

Nov. 15: Tom DeVocht: Watching David Miscavige watch Lisa McPherson and her faulty ‘needle’
Nov. 16: Lisa McPherson in Orlando: What her hotel roommate witnessed, and the Slaughter rule
Nov. 17: Our Scientology tech experts review Lisa McPherson’s grim cycle of guilt and self-blame
Nov. 18: Lisa McPherson’s last opportunity for standard care ended 20 years ago today
Nov. 19: ‘Babywatch,’ day one: Lisa McPherson raves out by Scientology’s holiest swimming pool
Nov. 20: Day two (Second item)
Nov. 21: Day three (Second item)
Nov. 22: Day four (Second item)
Nov. 23: Day five (Second item)
Nov. 24: Day six (Third item)
Nov. 25: Lisa McPherson and the doctors: Hamstrung by the ‘spiritual’ needs of a thetan
Nov. 26: Day eight (Second item)
Nov. 27: Day nine (Second item)
Nov. 28: Day ten (Third item)
Nov. 29: Day eleven (Fifth item)
Nov. 30: Day twelve (Second item)
Dec. 1: Day thirteen (Second item)
Dec. 2: Day fourteen (Second item)
Dec. 3: Day fifteen (Fourth item)
Dec. 4: How Scientology ‘caretakers’ could stand by and watch Lisa McPherson deteriorate
Dec. 5: Twenty years ago today: The final hours of Lisa McPherson’s Scientology life


E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page. Background on this website and its proprietor can be found at our About page.

Our book, 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. Our collaboration with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’, is also available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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