253

  The stage is set for Scientology’s Ideal Org grand opening in Detroit today at 1 pm. We hope to have live reports from a couple of correspondents on the scene.

This is the first Ideal Org opening in the US since Orlando in May. Scientology was very secretive about that shindig, but it [...]

254

[The fabulous Kate Bornstein]

  One of our favorite stories at the Village Voice was the chance we got to write about Kate Bornstein’s unique journey in Scientology and later as a well-known New York transgender performance artist, captured in the 2012 memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger. Kate has had an amazing year with [...]

253

  Pete Griffiths brought our attention to something interesting yesterday. He noted that Scientology, as usual, posted numerous pretty photos from its most recent big event at its various websites. In this case, we’re talking about the annual gala for the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) held in a giant tent at Saint Hill [...]

255

[Dave Richards and Ron Miscavige, after the Eagles Super Bowl win in February]

We were saddened to learn from Ron Miscavige and Becky Bigelow last night that Dave Richards died unexpectedly yesterday at his home in Phoenix. He was 69.

Dave Richards was one of the most congenial of the longtime former Scientology executives to [...]

254

  Jeffrey Augustine continues his look into the history of Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds…

As covered in our previous article, the Church of Scientology proclaimed the imminent release of the highest auditing level on the Bridge, OT 8, in 1971. “Imminent,” however, turned out to be another 14 years of waiting before [...]

253

  Once again we had a correspondent on the scene at last night’s event on L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles as Scientology celebrated the premiere of its second “season” of propaganda airing at Scientology TV. Here’s their report…

LRH Way is entirely blocked off, from Fountain to Sunset, for the event. It’s [...]

253

[David Miscavige in Stuttgart last month]

Scientology never gives up. We have pointed this out to you countless times, and now more than ever we can demonstrate how true it is.

Sure, the press for Scientology is as miserable as ever, and we see plenty of signs that the organization is still shrinking, is having [...]

250

Rod Keller has a couple of different dispatches from correspondents for us this week…

There are many demands on a Scientologist’s time, even those that are not on staff at an org or mission. They need to come in for processing and training, there are big events such as this week’s IAS Anniversary in [...]

253

[Our man in Hungary, Péter Bonyai]

This week in our Scientology book series, we have a bonus for you — not one, but two excerpts from Péter Bonyai’s book about his life in the Sea Org, Money, Power, Servitude: Adventures in the Wonderland of Scientology. In the first, he gives us a glimpse about what [...]

250

[Judge Stanley S. Harris]

It’s another red-letter day here in the Underground Bunker, thanks to the tireless work of researcher R.M. Seibert. After years of persistence, she coaxed another eye-opening release out of the US government about Scientology, in this case a collection of documents from the US Justice Department that have never been made [...]

252

[Ready for your trophy?]

We learned recently that Scientologists can not only become “patrons” and “laureates” and “meritorious” based on how much money they give to the IAS (Scientology’s main slush fund), but they can also become “ambassadors” and “luminaries” if they help pay for book dissemination campaigns.

There are so many ways Scientologists [...]

253

[Jesse Prince at the 2015 Toronto conference]

You’ve seen the excerpt and read our review of Jesse Prince’s book, The Expert Witness. Now it’s Jeffrey Augustine’s turn to get in on the fun, with his podcast interview with Jesse.

Says Jeffrey: “Jesse Prince describes the events in RTC surrounding the death of L. Ron [...]

252

[Heather Ruggeri at 22]

In April, Heather Ruggeri celebrated ten years free of Scientology. But a decade isn’t enough to erase the things that she went through as a child growing up in Scientology and working in the Sea Org. She’s put portions of her story on the Internet before, but this is her first [...]

253

[The Birmingham Ideal Org]

We were super fortunate to have reports come in this weekend from two of our great correspondents. In England, Graham updated us on the Birmingham org, and in California, Erin Hodges Plumb had another of her upstart adventures. We hope you enjoy them both…

It was nearly a year ago, on [...]

253

[Narconon Holland]

For a couple of years we’ve been keeping an eye on the ailing Narconon rehab in the Netherlands, which has served only three patients in two years. Rod Keller tells us that Scientology has plans for a new clinic there.

Joanna Kluessien retired as the Executive Director of Narconon Zutphen in July. The [...]

252

  We told you a couple of weeks ago how much we enjoyed Jesse Prince’s book The Expert Witness: My Life At The Top Of Scientology, and now it’s your turn to get a glimpse of it for yourself. Our thanks to Jesse for allowing us to reproduce this excerpt. It takes place a [...]

251

[Ivan Matsitsky and Kristina Arriaga]

On June 5, 2017, agents of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) made one of numerous raids it has carried out on Scientology facilities. This one took place at the St. Petersburg org, and it resulted in the arrest of five Scientologists who were working there.

One of them [...]

252

  Before continuing on with the history of Scientology’s current vessel, the Freewinds, Jeffrey Augustine has an interesting aside about its predecessor…

L. Ron Hubbard’s original flagship, the Apollo, met a freak ending when it was hit and destroyed by a 3,750,000 pound freight train. This is somewhat ironic when you remember Hubbard’s 1963 [...]

250

  You’ve seen a portion of his book, Scythe Tleppo, now enjoy a conversation with Nathan Rich as he fills in Jeffrey Augustine about his experience in Scientology and beyond.

Says Jeffrey: “Nathan Rich was born into Scientology. He endured hell as a teenager at Scientology’s infamous Mace-Kingsley Ranch, operated by the abusive Wally [...]

250

  Our thanks to Nottrue for sending us the latest Celebrity magazine, which features Scientologist soap opera actress Michelle Stafford on the cover.

Now, before you scoff we just want to say that we have a lot of respect for soap actors. They might have to slog through some dubious scripts, but these are [...]

251

[Lajos Fritzlauf, 1963-2018]

Our man in Hungary, Péter Bonyai, has a special piece for us today that, sadly, fits in with a history of similar remembrances here at the Underground Bunker, where we memorialize Church of Scientology figures that the church itself never will.

Lajos Fritzlauf, a former prominent official and high profile member of [...]

255

  Jeffrey Augustine dives into the background of Scientology’s private cruise ship the Motor Vessel Freewinds, which has quite a colorful history. Rod Keller has the week off.

Built in 1968 at the Wärtsilä Turku Shipyard in Turku, Finland, the ship that would become Scientology’s MV Freewinds was originally designed as a North Sea [...]

253

  Nathan Rich really made an impression on us with his appearance on Leah Remini’s series discussing his time at the Mace-Kingsley Ranch. But then he really knocked our socks off with his book, which we wrote about last week. He’s generously given us an excerpt of his memoir, Scythe Tleppo: My Survival of [...]

254

  One of our tipsters forwarded this message to us that showed up on Facebook. It appears to claim that Scientology’s Sea Organization now requires new members to be at least 16 years old and to have a high school diploma.

  We’ve talked to former Scientologists who signed their billion-year Sea [...]

253

  This photo shows the day my mom disconnected from me.

My parents literally had a shotgun wedding. My mom was pregnant with my brother, my dad refused to marry her. My grandmother forced them to marry, literally, with a shotgun. Yeah, that’s Texas for you.

My mom became a Scientologist at the [...]

251

  Back in January, we told you how tickled we were to see that longtime Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon had reached the pinnacle of Hubbardian achievement and had completed Operating Thetan Level Eight (OT 8).

Here’s how we described the attorney then…

Moxon is a very longtime and loyal soldier for Scientology whose work [...]

250

[Things are really busy here underground]

We have some really significant stories coming soon, and we want as many people as possible to see them. So we’re trying something a little different today, and we hope we can count on your help.

Yes, the Underground Bunker is finally dipping its toes into the world of [...]

255

[Richard wants you to watch Scientology TV]

What a treat we have for you today. Over in London last night, the UK Auxiliary Unit of the Underground Bunker — our clever correspondents Pete Griffiths and Andrea Garner — were showing around Beth Pearson on a visit from the U.S. when they came by the Scientology [...]

252

  Rod Keller is on top of Scientology’s attempts to cash in on Hurricane Florence and its continued plans for opening new Narconons around the world…

Hurricane Florence is weakening over South Carolina as of this writing, and Scientology has a plan to provide disaster relief. Meet Mirit Hendrickson, President of Scientology Volunteer Ministers [...]

255

 

  Nathan Rich has led one fucked-up life. There’s no escaping that conclusion after you read his unique autobiography that comes out on Tuesday, with the unusual title of Scythe Tleppo.

To say that Nathan’s book is merely raw is to do it a disservice. Reading this book is going to leave you [...]

254

  About halfway through Jesse Prince’s book, The Expert Witness: My Life at the Top of Scientology, it suddenly dawned on us why we were enjoying it so much — this, we realized, was the book Marty Rathbun should have written years ago.

In 2013, Rathbun, who was once the second-highest ranking official in [...]

251

  Today we have a remarkable account from a woman who asked not to be named. We’re also not identifying by name the business she has written about. But considering stories we’ve done recently (and some in years previously), we feel that her narrative is very timely and provides a really stunning look inside [...]

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