254

[If anyone symbolizes the best of 2018…]

It’s been another crazy year of news here at the Underground Bunker, and a decidedly mixed one. But when we thought about a single story that symbolized the year as strongly as Leah Remini’s show did for 2017, one really great, optimistic, sensational piece of good news from the [...]

251

[Bill Franks, left with former mission holder Bent Corydon last year]

We spoke with Bill Franks a few weeks ago on the phone after we heard he had entered hospice care. We wanted him to know how much we appreciated the help we got from him on our book about Paulette Cooper. He was characteristically humble [...]

255

[Coming back from Target Two?]

An unexpectedly mirthful moment during Tuesday night’s Scientology and the Aftermath episode about Shelly Miscavige was Tom DeVocht’s explanation that remaining wretches like Norman Starkey put up with imprisonment and abuse from Scientology leader David Miscavige because they are waiting for L. Ron Hubbard to return and put things right.

Hubbard died [...]

252

 Last night, we kept checking Scientology’s main anti-Aftermath website obsessively. We couldn’t wait to see what kind of attack the church would make on the episode in Leah Remini’s series when she was finally taking on the “Where is Shelly?” question head-on.

Would they post something from Shelly herself, David Miscavige’s wife who vanished in 2005 [...]

250

[From tonight’s episode]

We have quite a two-fer today, campers. December 18 is an anniversary of some import, which we describe in our second item (and happy birthday, Church of Scientology!). But it’s also the day that Leah Remini is finally taking the story of Shelly Miscavige head-on.

You will remember that this website, in July 2013, [...]

253

  On Thursday, we told you that an Underground Bunker reader in Greece revealed to us that an entire Michael Chan lecture had been uploaded by Scientology to YouTube. This was something we were very excited to get a look at, we explained, because Michael Chan is just about the only thing Scientology has [...]

250

 

  Rod Keller keeps his eagle-eye on David Miscavige’s building efforts around the country…

We reported in April that the org in Columbus, Ohio was nearing their target to pay for renovating their Ideal Org. That target has been reached and they are asking for volunteers for organizing the central files. It’s an [...]

250

  We have a real treat for you this week in our ‘Scientology Lit’ series, an excerpt from the excellent book Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia by Steve Cannane. One of the best researched and written books about Scientology in any era, Steve covered a vast amount of territory. [...]

252

  We’re sad to report that on December 5, Frank T. Hulswit died before we had a chance to talk with him. He was 94.

His wife Sonya is 92, and her son Chris says she is doing poorly. We don’t know if we’ll get a chance to meet her, something we’ve been trying [...]

253

[Scientology barnstormer Michael Chan]

We want to thank our reader in Greece who alerted us to a pretty amazing situation. An entire 2-hour Michael Chan talk given to Scientologists in Athens had been posted to YouTube, and if we hurried we could get a look at it before Chan pulled it down (which Chan said [...]

250

[Tiponi in July, with (L to R) Ishmael Bey, Mike Rinder, Leah Remini, and Hector Falu-Muhammad]

On Tuesday night, viewers of Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath were stunned when the episode finished with the words, “In Memoriam, Tiponi Grey.”

We were stunned too. We wrote about Tiponi in 2016, when she very publicly [...]

251

[Minister Louis Farrakhan and the woman whose name he can’t recall correctly]

In 2010, Louis Farrakhan formally made the call for his followers in the Nation of Islam to embrace Dianetics. A year later, at the Village Voice, we remarked for the first time on what a bizarre idea it was — that two small [...]

250

[Our man Down Under is once again on the case]

Yesterday we spotted a story in the Australian press about a local school that sounded familiar. Then we remembered that it was a school that had been exposed by our friend and colleague, Bryan Seymour. We asked him for comment on the new story, and [...]

251

  Rod Keller has the scoop on David Miscavige’s first real expansion in three decades…

Scientology leader David Miscavige will ring in the new year under African skies having accomplished something for the first time since he assumed power 31 years ago. The long awaited Advanced Org & Saint Hill for Africa will open [...]

252

[Westbrook appeared on Reza Aslan’s ill-fated CNN series]

Your proprietor spent a lot of time in academia and has a huge respect for the scholar who wants to advance knowledge in a particular area by doing the scholarly thing — investigating, listening, measuring, while trying to be as objective as possible.

That, however, does not [...]

251

[Miscavige at the IAS event in October]

On Monday, we had a lot of fun bringing you the latest list of Scientology donors who were celebrated at the October IAS event in East Grinstead, England. But the richies and their big donations are not the only reason for celebration at the annual shindig held under [...]

251

  While we’re dealing with the roller coaster ride of Leah Remini’s third season, the fun things tipsters send us keep rolling in.

So, as we wait for another devastating episode, we’re going to distract you with something odd that came across the hopper recently.

Our correspondent was perusing the wares of a thrift [...]

254

[Cierra Westerman]

Before last night’s episode of Scientology and the Aftermath even aired, Cierra Westerman…

— Was called a bigot by the Church of Scientology for wearing a Confederate Flag visor.

— Was told by a former colleague that she was likely to be sued by a former employer.

— Was told she could never [...]

250

[Cierra Westerman]

In one of our favorite moments from tonight’s episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, Leah Remini admits to an emotion she hasn’t felt before as she and Mike are on their way to another of their stunning interviews with a Scientology whistleblower.

This time they will be talking not to a former [...]

253

[Nancy Cartwright and her daughter Lucy Mae Murphy]

Each October, the whales return to East Grinstead, England in an annual migration that we find absolutely fascinating.

We’re talking, of course, about the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) events that take place each year over an October weekend in England, when Scientology leader David Miscavige gathers [...]

253

[Current Adelaide org; Mike Rinder’s brother, Scientology donor Andrew Rinder and his wife Pat]

Rod Keller gives us a glimpse of Scientology fundraising happening on the other side of the planet…

Adelaide is Australia’s fifth largest city, and is known as the “city of churches.” This week Scientology raised the money needed to purchase a [...]

255

[President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in October 1991]

Unlike L. Ron Hubbard, George Herbert Walker Bush was an actual World War II veteran with combat experience, a decorated Navy pilot who would go on to a distinguished political career as congressman, CIA director, UN ambassador, vice president and then president of [...]

251

  Actress Leah Remini tells us she’s had enough. More than two years ago, the first of four women came forward and reported to law enforcement that they had been violently raped by Scientologist actor Danny Masterson. The police investigation is complete. By February, the managers of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office had [...]

251

  Valerie Haney provided a stunning opening to Leah Remini’s third season in its premiere episode Tuesday night. After working in Scientology’s Sea Org for 22 years, she had escaped the church’s international management compound, Int Base east of Los Angeles, by hiding out in the trunk of an actor’s car as he drove [...]

252

[Leah Remini, expressing frustration at the lack of government action]

From the beginning of A&E’s series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, its two co-stars have repeatedly said that they not only want to expose Scientology’s alleged abuses, but also convince the government to do something about it.

With the premiere of the show’s third [...]

253

  While last night’s season premiere of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was airing on A&E, Scientology quietly posted a 12-minute smear video that may be the apotheosis of the genre.

As Mike Rinder pointed out in the episode last night, Scientology never disappoints — David Miscavige can’t help but confirm everything the [...]

255

[Valerie Haney]

After two “special” episodes — one about Jehovah’s Witnesses and one about the emotional pain of leaving Scientology — A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath officially kicks off its third season tonight with an absolute blockbuster of an episode.

Valerie Haney’s story is one that we’ve been waiting to hear for a [...]

253

[Sunny and a Clear]

We have a very special item for you today, one of Sunny Pereira’s best pieces yet. There were few people in a better position to raise these questions about one of Scientology’s central mysteries — the ‘Clear.’

  I must have had an amused look on my face. My boss, the [...]

254

  Rod Keller keeps his eye on Scientology front group operations, and he landed a doozie this week…

There are two main fires in California, the Camp Fire that destroyed most of the town of Paradise in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in the south that destroyed over 1,500 structures in Ventura and [...]

252

 

  Robert Kaufman, a talented Broadway piano player, ditched his life as a musician to chase ‘Clear’ and beyond in Scientology, leaving Manhattan for what was then the newly opened ‘Advanced Org’ in Edinburgh, Scotland. He came home a broken man, checked himself into a mental hospital, and then began writing about his [...]

252

  We’re very glad to see that the CBS program 48 Hours is taking on the bizarre story of Casey Kasem’s final days, and that they appear to be taking seriously the work done by a private investigator on behalf of Jean Kasem — work that has revealed new facts so troubling, a Washington [...]

255

[Self-discovery isn’t easy, pilgrim]

To our American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a swell day with your loved ones. We plan to do the same. Now, on to today’s story…

Two years ago this month, Leah Remini premiered her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. And before she did, knowing what a major [...]

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