Intelligence Assignment Research Speech-Inducing Drugs
MI6 psychiatrist William Sargant used benzedrine for treating mental patients in 1936. Sargant “successfully demonstrated the value of the amphetamine benzedrine in depression”.  102  Smith, Kline & French then began advertising Benzedrine for “mild depression” in 1942.

MI6 headquarters in America was located in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center in New York City. They actually occupied the 35th and 36th floor.
William Donovan was head of the Office of the Coordinator of Information, the forerunner of the Office of Strategic Services. In October 1941, William Donovan set up the COI headquarters in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center – the exact same place that was MI 6 headquarters in America.
They wanted to obtain intelligence from German prisoners of war and thought they could use drugs in interrogation to get the prisoners to reveal secrets. They began testing drugs looking for a speech-inducing drug that could be used in interrogation. Some of the drugs tested were morphine, mescaline, marijuana, barbituates, and benzedrine.
Dr. Winfred Overholser was the Superintendent of Saint Elizabeths Hospital.
31 October 1942 – a committee was activated to investigate using drugs in the interrogation of Prisoners of War. They wanted to find a Truth Drug that would make the prisoners reveal secrets. The committee was first under the National Defense Research Council. The chairman of the Truth Drug committee was Winfred Overholser.
1 January 1943 – The Truth Drug program was put under the Office of Research and Development in the Office of Strategic Services. Per another CIA document referred to as OSS Truth Serum – George Hunter White and doctor Watson W. Eldridge were using marijuana as part of interrogating prisoners. Watson Eldridge was a doctor at Saint Elizabeths Hospital.  116
Another thing that the OSS researchers (White, Eldridge etc.) specifically advocated was combining morphine with scopalamine, in which a “state of twilight sleep” could be induced and that under such conditions a person would talk freely about things that they wouldn’t normally. They used the mental patients at Saint Elizabeths Hospital as their guinea pigs for this truth-telling cocktail of drugs.
The US Navy began Project Chatter in the fall of 1947. It researched speech-inducing drugs.
One of the drugs they tested was Benzedrine.  149
The OSS became the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, and the drug research was also being done underneath the CIA. The CIA had psychiatrists doing research into the pain-drug-hypnosis behavior modification method and PDH was being done at Saint Elizabeths Hospital. Ron Hubbard was involved in this, he spent years practicing abreactive therapy combined with PDH at Saint Elizabeths Hospital.
One drug Hubbard used at Saint Elizabeths Hospital was benzedrine.

Institutional Dianetics, an LRH lecture 23 June 1950 –
One of the ways one can take a catatonic and raise his necessity level artificially is to feed him full of Benzedrine. You are not allowed to give Benzedrine, however. You do that in liason with a medical doctor.
Hubbard was fascinated with benzedrine, he continued to recommend it in conjunction with Dianetic therapy.
Hubbard submitted an article to the Explorers Club Journal in 1949 – he recommends benzedrine.  103
(The red arrow below shows you where it is in the article.)

The purpose of the Dianetic reverie is to wake the patient up. Narco-synthesis and other drug therapies have some slight use in Dianetics. But the primary technique consists of stimulants. The best stimulant is benzedrine; In its absence an overdose of coffee will do.
There are some drugs which assist reverie, however. The commonest and most easily obtainable is plain, strong coffee. A cup or two of this occasionally alerts the analyzer enough so that it can reach through deeper layers of “unconsciousness.” Benzedrine and other commercial stimulants have been used with some success, particularly on psychotic patients.
Dianetics, Modern Science of Mental Health; Book III, Chapter IX, Part Two: Mechanisms and Aspects of Therapy; section “Drugs”
Sedation of the neurotic or psychotic is a very dangerous practice. If one must do something by way of drugs for these people, better effects, according to medical observation, can be achieved by the administration of stimulants such as benzedrine.

Science of Survival, p. 218
Case Factors, an LRH lecture 15 June 1950 –
We have to have some quick method of handling inaccessible institutionalized cases…
Leave soporifics strictly alone. He could get more thoroughly restimulated in trying to come off a soporific. I know because I made myself a guinea pig on one of those experiments, and trying to get off the soporific was a tough job.
If you have to grab hold of anything, grab hold of Benzedrine… Benzedrine doesn’t shut down the analyzer. It is said in the Handbook that as a stimulant Benzedrine helps blow emotional charges. This is true.
To handle such a case, I would put him on Benzedrine, and go back over the case and start picking up the deaths and emotional discharges…
Sara Northrup was Hubbard’s second wife. She was interviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. She said that Hubbard frequently took benzedrine.  104
* * *
20 April 1950 – CIA Project Bluebird was authorized to research interrogation methods using drugs. Project Bluebird was renamed Project Artichoke. In a CIA Project ARTICHOKE document dated October 21, 1951, it talks about all the speech-inducing drugs that they had been testing. In addition to LSD, this document also mentioned morphine, ether, ethyl alcohol, mescaline and Benzedrine.  105

Benzedrine was one of the speech-inducing drugs that was tested for use in interrogation.

27 April 1950 – the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation was incorporated.  150

The CIA sent funding for mind control and behavior modification research through various conduits –

Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology  (aka The Human Ecology Fund)
The Geschickter Fund for Medical Research
Scientific Engineering Institute
Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institutes of Health
Department of Defense
Department of the Army
Office of Naval Research

The Department of Defense did a report on its experimentation programs that had participation by the CIA. The report also gives specifics on the Office of Naval Research being used as a conduit for CIA funding.   117
Here is the beginning of the report.
This next part of the Department of Defense report says the Navy was used as a conduit for CIA funding of mind control and behavior modification research.
This next part of the Department of Defense report says the Navy contracted with a New York researcher to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war. Benzedrine was one of the drugs investigated in the project.

(5) Development and administration of speech-inducing drugs
This project apparently began in 1947 and ended in 1953.
It was performed primarily by a contractor located in New York and, in one aspect, by the Navy at a location in Europe. The involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency was apparently only as an interested observer. The project was funded by the Navy through the Naval Medical Research Institute. The Central Intelligence Agency records of this project are apparently in the BLUEBIRD .and ARTICHOKE project files.

The Navy arranged in 1950 to obtain marijuana and heroin from the FBI for use in experiments and entered a contract with a researcher in New York to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war, defectors and similar persons. The security cover for the project was a study of motion sickness. The study began with six of the researcher’s staff as knowing volunteers. The project was expanded to cover barbituates and benzedrine. Other substances were evaluated.
Bare-Faced Messiah P. 147 –
‘GUK’ was a haphazard cocktail of benzedrine, vitamins and glutamic acid which Hubbard believed facilitated auditing.
‘I recall Ron telling a meeting about this great breakthrough in Dianetics,’ said Forrest Ackerman. ‘He said he had discovered a chemical way to audit yourself called GUK. It comprised huge quantities of vitamins which you took every two hours for at least twenty-four hours. If you took enough, he said, it would release the engrams within you without the need for a partner.’
‘The Foundation rented a huge complex on Rossmore near Beverly and loads of Dianeticists were holed up there going through the GUK programme…’

Volney Mathison built the first E-Meter in 1940. He called it the Mathison Electropsychometer. He used the device with his patients to investigate their inner problems. Mathison was a follower of Dianetics. Ron Hubbard incorporated the E-Meter into Dianetics and Scientology practices.
Volney Mathison uses an E-meter to analyze a patient, circa 1951
Now we have all the ingredients for Hubbard to be assisting the Navy contract “to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war”. Benzedrine was one of the drugs tested and Hubbard had plenty of people he could use as test subjects for the experiments. Hubbard also had the test subjects for CIA projects that were interested in the same thing.
* * *
By the way, when you combine benzedrine and nicotinic acid, like they were doing – it produces hallucinations.
Another well-publicized experiment occurred in a University Chapel in Boston on the evening of Good Friday 1962. It was here that twenty theology [religions study] students took part in Walter Pahnke’s Psilocybin experiments. Ten students were given 30 mg. of psilocybin and ten others were giver 200 mg. of nicotinic acid, laced with a small amount of Benzedrine to stimulate the initial physical sensations attributed to a psychedelic experience.
– Mushroom Pioneers by John W. Allen; Chapter 7. Mushrooms and Timothy Francis Leary
(The great site Erowid made this known)

Barbara Kaye

Between his second and third marriages, Ron dallied with his public relations assistant, luscious Barbara Kaye. She would soon conclude that he was paranoid.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 2005. Holmes joined Cruise as a scientology follower before they separated in 2012, but she has since returned to the Catholic Church. 

The hospital in Tilden, Nebraska, where L. Ron Hubbard was born in 1911. His aunt Toilie, who worked in the hospital, is second from the right

Bare-Faced Messiah By  Russell Miller, Chapter 1 A Dubious Prodigy

The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder

L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

Chapter 1 A Dubious Prodigy

Although Miller implies there was no such person as 'Snake' Thompson, he did in fact exist. William Sims Bainbridge, the eminent sociologist and author of several papers on Scientology, reports this vignette of the man: 
      "Snake Thompson was the best friend of my great uncle, Con (Consuelo Seoane). Together, around 1911, they spent nearly two years as American spies inside the Japanese Empire, charting possible invasion routes and counting all the Japanese fortifications and naval guns. It was an official but top secret joint Army-Navy spy expedition, with Con representing the Army, and Snake, the Navy. They pretended to be South African naturalists studying Japanese reptiles and amphibians, and Con was constantly worried that Snake had a camera hidden in his creel, which would get them shot if the Japanese checked too closely. Thompson habitually wore a green scarf fastened with a gold pin in the shape of a snake." (private email, quoted by Rob Clark, in article <> posted to alt.religion.scientology on 25 Apr 1997) -- Dean Benjamin

The hospital in Tilden, Nebraska, where L. Ron Hubbard was born in 1911. His aunt Toilie, who worked in the hospital, is second from the right.

Ledora May Hubbard, Ron's long-suffering mother, and her husband Harry Ross Hubbard, Ron's father, in the dress uniform of a US Navy officer. Ron remembered his mother sometimes with affection, sometimes with deep dislike; his father found that promotion eluded him and debtors pursued him.

Little Ron in a sailor hat. One day he would be the self-appointed commodore of his own private navy.

Ron's grandfather was supposed to have owned a quarter of the state of Montana. Here he is seen as he really was, a struggling veterinarian, pictured with his wife and their first child (Ron's mother) at Tilden, Nebraska, around the late 1880s.

The Waterbury family photographed in their home town of Helena, Montana. 
Ledora May Waterbury, Ron's mother (left), with an unidentified relative, her sisters Toilie and Midgie and brother Ray

Abram Waterbury, L. Ron Hubbard's great-grandfather, playing the fiddle carved with a negro's head that became part of the family legend

According to the colourful yarn spun for the benefit of his followers, L. Ron Hubbard was descended on his mother's side from a French nobleman, one Count de Loupe, who took part in the Norman invasion of England in 1066; on his father's side, the Hubbards were English settlers who had arrived in America in the nineteenth century. It was altogether a distinguished naval family: both his maternal great-grandfather, 'Captain' I. C. DeWolfe, and his grandfather, 'Captain' Lafayette Waterbury, 'helped make American naval history',[1] while his father was 'Commander' Harry Ross Hubbard, US Navy.

As his father was away at sea for lengthy periods, the story goes, little Ron grew up on his wealthy grandfather's enormous cattle ranch in Montana, said to cover a quarter of the state [approximately 35,000 square miles!]. His picturesque friends were frontiersmen, cowboys and an Indian medicine man. 'L. Ron Hubbard found the life of a young rancher very enjoyable. Long days were spent riding, breaking broncos, hunting coyote and taking his first steps as an explorer. For it was in Montana that he had his first encounter with another culture the Blackfoot [Pikuni] Indians. He became a blood brother of the Pikuni and was later to write about them in his first published novel, Buckskin Brigades. When he was ten years old, in 1921, he rejoined his family. His father, alarmed at his apparent lack of formal learning, immediately put him under intense instruction to make up for the time he had "lost" in the wilds of Montana. So it was that by the time he was twelve years old, L. Ron Hubbard had already read a goodly number of the world's greatest classics - and his interest in religion and philosophy was born.'[2]

 (Scientology's account of the years 1911-21.)
*   *   *   *   *
Virtually none of this is true.

Virtually none of this is true.  The real story of L. Ron Hubbard's early life is considerably more prosaic and begins not on a cattle ranch but in a succession of rented apartments necessarily modest since his father was a struggling white-collar clerk drifting from job to job. His grandfather was neither a distinguished sea captain nor a wealthy rancher but a small-time veterinarian who supplemented his income renting out horses and buggies from a livery barn. It is true, however, that his name was Lafayette O. Waterbury.

As far as anyone knew, the Waterburys came from the Catskills, the dark-forested mountain range in New York State celebrated in the early nineteenth century as the setting for Washington Irving's popular short story about Rip Van Winkle - a character only marginally more fantastic than the Waterburys' most famous scion.

 (The Hubbards' and Waterburys' travels, 1860 to 1922.)

Shortly before the turmoil of the Civil War divided the nation, Abram Waterbury and his young wife, Margaret, left the Catskills to join the thousands of hopeful settlers trekking west in covered wagons to seek a better future. By 1863 he had set up in business as a veterinarian in Grand Rapids, Michigan and on 25 July 1864, Margaret gave birth to a son whom they named Lafayette, perhaps after the town in Indiana at which they had stopped on their journey before turning north to Grand Rapids.
Lafayette, undoubtedly thankful to be known to his friends as Lafe, learned the veterinary trade from his father and married before he was twenty. His bride was twenty-one-year-old Ida Corinne DeWolfe, from Hampshire, Illinois. Diminutive in stature, Ida was a gentle, intelligent, strong-willed young woman whose mother had died in childbirth, with her eighth child, when Ida was sixteen. John DeWolf, her father, was a wealthy banker who clung to a fanciful family legend about the origins of the DeWolfes in Europe. Details and dates were vague, but the essence of the story was that a courtier accompanying a prince on a hunting expedition in France had somehow saved his master from an attack by a wolf; in gratitude the prince had ennobled the faithful courtier, bestowing upon him the title of Count de Loupe, a name that was eventually anglicized to DeWolfe. [No records exist to support this story, either in Britain or France; Vice-Admiral Harry De Wolf, twelfth-generation descendant of Balthazar De Wolf, the first De Wolf in America, says he has never heard of Count de Loupe.[3]]

DeWolfe offered the young couple the use of a farm he owned in Nebraska on condition that Lafe would maintain and improve the property. It was at Burnett, a settlement on the Elkhorn river, one hundred miles west of Omaha, which had recently been opened up by the arrival of the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad.

Burnett was an unremarkable cluster of log cabins, dug-outs and ramshackle pine huts huddled in a lazy curve of the river and surrounded by gently rolling prairie. It might never have appeared on any map had not the homesteaders persuaded the railroad to make a halt nearby. The first train arrived in 1879 and thereafter the town developed around the railroad depot rather than the river; within a few years a general store, saloon and livery stable were in business. The Davis House Hotel, opened in 1884, was considered the finest on the whole Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad.

By the time Lafe and Ida Waterbury arrived in Burnett, soon after the opening of the hotel, Ida was heavy with child; a daughter, Ledora May, was born in 1885. During the next twenty years Ida would produce seven more children and selflessly devote herself to the upbringing of a happy, close and high-spirited family.
For a couple of years Lafe worked his father-in-law's farm, but a bitter family row developed when DeWolfe indicated his intention to exclude his other children and leave the property solely to Ida and Lafe. Rather than be the cause of strife in the family, Lafe moved out, opened a livery stable in town on Second Street and established himself as a veterinarian. His business was a success because he was well-liked and respected in the area, particularly after playing a starring role in a local domestic drama which briefly held the town gossips in thrall. Ida's sister, who had also moved to Burnett, woke up one morning to discover that her husband had left her and taken their infant son with him to New York. Lafe immediately packed his bags, set off for New York by train, tracked down the erring husband and returned to Burnett in triumph, his nephew in his arms.
When Ida gave birth to another daughter in 1886, it was a typically warm-hearted gesture that prompted them to name the baby Toilie. A young man who used to hang around the livery stable had been engaged to a girl called Toilie before he became mentally deranged; whenever he felt 'strange' he would always, for some reason, seek out Lafe and find reassurance from his company. When he learned that Ida and Lafe had had another daughter, he shyly asked if they would call her Toilie, after the sweetheart he knew he would never be able to marry. Years later the irreverent Toilie would say 'I'm nuts because I was named by a crazy man' and shriek with laughter.

Toilie was still a baby when hard times hit Burnett. In January 1887 a catastrophic blizzard swept across the plains west of the Mississippi, killing thousands of head of cattle; most of the local ranchers were mined overnight. The farmers fared no better, for that terrible winter was followed by a succession of blistering summers accompanied by plagues of grasshoppers which devastated the already sparse crops. But at a point when many of the despairing townsfolk were talking about giving up the struggle against the unforgiving elements, the climate suddenly improved and the detested grasshoppers disappeared; unlike many small towns in the Nebraska prairie, Burnett survived the crisis.

By 1899 the local newspaper, the Burnett Citizen, was able to report, as evidence of increasing prosperity, that Lafe Waterbury was among those who had built new dwelling houses in the town that year. It was a fine, two-storey, wood-frame house on Elm Street, sheltered at the front by two huge elm trees. At the rear, beyond a stand of willows, it overlooked prairie stretching away into hazy infinity; deer and antelope often ventured within sight of the back yard and at night the howls of coyotes made the children shiver in their beds. 
The Waterburys certainly needed the space offered by their new home, for by now May and Toilie had been joined by Ida Irene (called Midgie by the family because she was so small), a brother Ray, and two more sisters, Louise and Hope. Another two girls, Margaret and June, would follow in 1903 and 1905. Lafe and Ida doted on their children, thoroughly enjoyed their company and liked nothing more than when the house was full of noise and laughter. Ida was determined that her children would have a happier upbringing than her own - she never forgot being constantly beaten at school for writing with her left hand - and as a consequence the Waterburys were unusually relaxed parents for their time, encouraging their offspring to attend church on Sundays, for example, but caring little which church they attended. Surprisingly, there was considerable choice. For a small town with a population of less than a thousand people, Burnett was an excessively God-fearing community and supported four thriving churches - Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic.

Lafe and Ida always claimed they were too busy to go to church themselves, although Lafe openly declared, to his children, his ambivalence towards religion: 'Some of the finest men I have ever known were preachers,' he liked to say, 'and some of the biggest hypocrites I have ever known were preachers.' He was a large, bluff man with an irrepressible sense of humour, a talent for mimicry and a hint of the showman about him: he often used to announce his intention to put all his children on the stage. In the evenings, when he had had a drink or two, he would sit on the porch and play his fiddle, which had a negro's head carved at the end of the shaft.

Tutored by Lafe, who was considered to be one of the best horsemen in Madison County, all the children learned to ride almost as soon as they could walk and each of them was allocated a pony from the Waterbury livery stable. Also quartered with the horses was the family cow, Star, who obligingly provided them every day with as much milk as they could drink.

In 1902, because of confusion with a similarly-named town nearby, the good folk of Burnett decided to change the name of their town to Tilden, thereby commemorating an unsuccessful presidential candidate, Samuel J. Tilden, who had contested the 1876 election won by Rutherford B. Hayes. May was the first of the Waterbury children to graduate, in 1904, from Tilden High School. Tall, outspoken and independent, she was an unashamed feminist - she was outraged when she read in the newspaper that a policeman in New York had arrested a woman for smoking in the street and thrilled to learn that deaf and blind Helen Keller had graduated from Radcliffe College the same year she graduated from Tilden. It surprised no one in the family when May announced that she wanted a career, declaring her belief that there must be more to life than caring for a husband and bearing children. Accordingly, and with the blessing of her parents, she set off for Omaha to train as a teacher. But by the time she had qualified as a high school and institute teacher, certificate of Nebraska, she was writing letters home about a young sailor she had met called 'Hub'.

Harry Ross Hubbard was not a descendent of a long line of Hubbards but an orphan.

Born Henry August Wilson on 31 August 1886 at Fayette, Iowa, his mother had died when he was a baby and he had been adopted by a Mr and Mrs James Hubbard, farmers in Frederiksburg, Iowa, who changed his name to Harry Ross Hubbard.

At school, Harry was not a high flier. He briefly attended a business college at Norma Springs, Iowa, but dropped out when he realized he had little chance of a degree.

On 1 September 1904, the day after his eighteenth birthday, he joined the United States Navy as an enlisted man. While serving as a yeoman on the USS Pennsylvania, he began writing 'romantic tales' of Navy life for newspapers back home, earning useful extra income. He was posted to the US Navy recruiting office in Omaha in 1906 when he met May Waterbury and it was not long before her plans for an independent career were more or less forgotten. They married on 25 April 1909, and by the summer of 1910 May was pregnant; her husband, now discharged from the Navy, had found work as a commercial teller in the advertising department of the Omaha World Herald newspaper.
The Waterburys, meanwhile, had left Tilden and moved to Durant in south-east Oklahoma, close to the border with Texas. Lafe had seen the first Model T. Ford trundle cautiously through the main street of Tilden and realized that his livery stable faced an uncertain future; when a close friend in Durant suggested to him that the warmer climate in the south would be better for all the family, he talked it over with Ida and they decided to go, making the eight hundred-mile trip by railroad. Ray, then sixteen, travelled with Star and the horses and fed and watered the animals during the journey.
Only Toilie stayed behind in Tilden. She was twenty-three and working as a nurse and secretary for Dr Stuart Campbell, who had opened a small hospital in a wood-frame house on Oak Street, just a block away from the Waterbury family home. Toilie was reluctant to give up her job and her parents readily accepted her decision not to go with them to Oklahoma.

Campbell, who had set up a practice in Tilden in 1900, had delivered Ida Waterbury's two youngest children, but it was the fact that Toilie was working for him that persuaded May to return to Tilden to give birth to her first child. With only a little more than a year between them, May and Toilie had always been close, walking to and from school arm in arm, sharing a bedroom and incessantly giggling together over childhood secrets.
Toilie was waiting at the railroad depot in Tilden at the end of February 1911 when May, helped by a solicitous Hub, heaved herself down from the train. Although Tilden was still no more than four dirt streets running north to south, intersected by four more running east-west, May noticed plenty of changes in the short time she had been away - four grain elevators had been built, three saloons and two pool halls had opened, Mrs Mayes was competing with the Botsford sisters in the millinery trade and there was even a new 'opera house' - true, it had yet to stage its first opera, but the road shows were always popular, particularly since Alexander's Ragtime Band had set the nation's feet tapping.

May did not have long to wait for the 'blessed event'. She went into labour during the afternoon of Friday 10 March, and Toilie arranged for her to be admitted immediately to Dr Campbell's hospital. At one minute past two o'clock the following morning, she was delivered of a son. She and Hub had already decided that if it was a boy, he would be named Lafayette Ronald Hubbard.
Ida and Lafe Waterbury did not see their first grandchild until Christmas 1911, when Hub, May and the baby arrived to spend the holiday with them in Durant. Lafe, who had been out treating a neighbour's horse, burst into the house, threw his hat on the floor and leaned over the crib to shake his grandson's hand. Baby Ron smiled obligingly and Lafe whooped with pleasure, trumpeting at his wife: 'Look, the little son of a bitch knows me already.'

The biggest surprise for the family was that Ron had a startling thatch of fluffy orange hair. Hub was dark-haired and the Waterburys had no more than a hint of auburn in their colouring - nothing like the impish little carrot-top who gurgled happily as he was passed from one lap to another. Seven-year-old Margaret, known in the family as Marnie, spoke for everyone when she proclaimed her new nephew to be 'cute as a bug's ear'.
During that Christmas May told her parents that Hub had got a new job on a newspaper in Kalispell, Montana, and that they would be moving there from Omaha in the New Year. She was hopeful that it would prove to be a step up for them.

In the spring of 1912, May began writing long and enthusiastic letters from Kalispell. Perhaps missing the family, she often hinted that they might consider joining her and Hub in Montana. Kalispell was a fine, modern city, she wrote, with paved streets, electric lighting and many fine houses. The surrounding Flathead Valley was famous for its fruit and at blossom time the orchards of apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums had to be seen to be believed. One Kalispell farmer, Fred Whiteside, was so confident about the quality of his fruit that he boasted he would give $1000 to anyone finding a worm in one of his apples.
May's letters gave her parents much to think about, for they both recognized that the move to Oklahoma had not been a success. When they first arrived in Durant, Lafe bought a livery barn on the outskirts of town and for several months the whole family lived in the hayloft above the animals. They built a cookhouse on the property so they had somewhere to eat their meals and then started on a house.

None of the children minded the privations in the least - indeed, they rather enjoyed thinking of themselves as true pioneers - but Lafe found the humid summers very debilitating. It made May's description of the blossom in Montana all the more enticing.

Ida had been deeply disturbed by an incident that occurred soon after they moved into their new house. A negro raped a white woman in the town and while a posse was out looking for him, a rumour took hold that there was going to be a negro uprising, causing something approaching panic, particularly in remote outlying areas. At nightfall. Lafe and Ray took guns and went out on horses to protect the approaches to their property, while the girls waited behind barred windows, watching flares bounce through the night and listening to the rattle of cartwheels as farmers shepherded their families into the safety of the town.
Although there was no uprising, both Ida and Lafe were concerned that there might be a 'next time' and they did not want to feel that their safety depended on their willingness to protect themselves with guns. In the fall of 1912, the Waterburys once again sold their house, packed up their belongings and loaded their livestock on to railcars, this time bound for Kalispell, Montana, 1500 miles to the north-west. Long delays at railheads, while waiting with their freight cars to be picked up by north-bound trains, added days to the journey and it was a week before they were hooked on to a Great Northern Railway train labouring across the Rocky Mountains through the spectacular passes that led to Kalispell.

The family reunion was the happiest of occasions and no one received more attention than Ron, who had learned to take his first faltering steps. 'He was very much the love child of the whole family,' said Marnie. 'He was adored by everyone. I can still see that mop of red hair running around.'
letters from Kalispell. Perhaps missing the family, she often hinted that they might consider joining her and Hub in Montana. Kalispell was a fine, modern city, she wrote, with paved streets, electric lighting and many fine houses. The surrounding Flathead Valley was famous for its fruit and at blossom time the orchards of apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums had to be seen to be believed. One Kalispell farmer, Fred Whiteside, was so confident about the quality of his fruit that he boasted he would give $1000 to anyone finding a worm in one of his apples.
May's letters gave her parents much to think about, for they both recognized that the move to Oklahoma had not been a success. When they first arrived in Durant, Lafe bought a livery barn on the outskirts of town and for several months the whole family lived in the hayloft above the animals. They built a cookhouse on the property so they had somewhere to eat their meals and then started on a house.

None of the children minded the privations in the least - indeed, they rather enjoyed thinking of themselves as true pioneers - but Lafe found the humid summers very debilitating. It made May's description of the blossom in Montana all the more enticing.
Ida had been deeply disturbed by an incident that occurred soon after they moved into their new house. A negro raped a white woman in the town and while a posse was out looking for him, a rumour took hold that there was going to be a negro uprising, causing something approaching panic, particularly in remote outlying areas. At nightfall. Lafe and Ray took guns and went out on horses to protect the approaches to their property, while the girls waited behind barred windows, watching flares bounce through the night and listening to the rattle of cartwheels as farmers shepherded their families into the safety of the town.

Although there was no uprising, both Ida and Lafe were concerned that there might be a 'next time' and they did not want to feel that their safety depended on their willingness to protect themselves with guns. In the fall of 1912, the Waterburys once again sold their house, packed up their belongings and loaded their livestock on to railcars, this time bound for Kalispell, Montana, 1500 miles to the north-west. Long delays at railheads, while waiting with their freight cars to be picked up by north-bound trains, added days to the journey and it was a week before they were hooked on to a Great Northern Railway train labouring across the Rocky Mountains through the spectacular passes that led to Kalispell.
The family reunion was the happiest of occasions and no one received more attention than Ron, who had learned to take his first faltering steps. 'He was very much the love child of the whole family,' said Marnie. 'He was adored by everyone. I can still see that mop of red hair running around.'
letters from Kalispell. Perhaps missing the family, she often hinted that they might consider joining her and Hub in Montana. Kalispell was a fine, modern city, she wrote, with paved streets, electric lighting and many fine houses. The surrounding Flathead Valley was famous for its fruit and at blossom time the orchards of apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums had to be seen to be believed. One Kalispell farmer, Fred Whiteside, was so confident about the quality of his fruit that he boasted he would give $1000 to anyone finding a worm in one of his apples.

May's letters gave her parents much to think about, for they both recognized that the move to Oklahoma had not been a success. When they first arrived in Durant, Lafe bought a livery barn on the outskirts of town and for several months the whole family lived in the hayloft above the animals. They built a cookhouse on the property so they had somewhere to eat their meals and then started on a house.

None of the children minded the privations in the least - indeed, they rather enjoyed thinking of themselves as true pioneers - but Lafe found the humid summers very debilitating. It made May's description of the blossom in Montana all the more enticing.
Ida had been deeply disturbed by an incident that occurred soon after they moved into their new house. A negro raped a white woman in the town and while a posse was out looking for him, a rumour took hold that there was going to be a negro uprising, causing something approaching panic, particularly in remote outlying areas. At nightfall. Lafe and Ray took guns and went out on horses to protect the approaches to their property, while the girls waited behind barred windows, watching flares bounce through the night and listening to the rattle of cartwheels as farmers shepherded their families into the safety of the town.

Although there was no uprising, both Ida and Lafe were concerned that there might be a 'next time' and they did not want to feel that their safety depended on their willingness to protect themselves with guns. In the fall of 1912, the Waterburys once again sold their house, packed up their belongings and loaded their livestock on to railcars, this time bound for Kalispell, Montana, 1500 miles to the north-west. Long delays at railheads, while waiting with their freight cars to be picked up by north-bound trains, added days to the journey and it was a week before they were hooked on to a Great Northern Railway train labouring across the Rocky Mountains through the spectacular passes that led to Kalispell.
The family reunion was the happiest of occasions and no one received more attention than Ron, who had learned to take his first faltering steps. 'He was very much the love child of the whole family,' said Marnie. 'He was adored by everyone. I can still see that mop of red hair running around.'

Lafe found a small house in Orchard Park, a short walk from May and Hub's home and only a block from the fairground, where he hoped to find work as a veterinarian. With only two bedrooms, it was not nearly big enough for the Waterbury tribe, but it had a barn that would accommodate all the horses and still leave enough room for the long-suffering and widely-travelled Star. Marnie and June, the two youngest children, were given one of the bedrooms and Lafe built a big wood-frame tent in the yard for the other four: inside, it was divided by a canvas screen - Ray slept on a bunk on one side and Midgie, Louise and Hope were on the other. They had a stove to keep them warm in the winter and were perfectly content. On summer evenings, Marnie and June often heard their older sisters whispering and tittering in the tent and sometimes they crept outside to join them and share the cherries they stole almost every night from a neighbouring garden.
The Waterburys were happy in Kalispell: Ida and Lafe made no secret of the pleasure they took in being able to see their grandson every day; Midgie met her future husband, Bob, in the town; and Ray developed an impressive talent for training horses. Under his careful tuition, the family ponies learned tricks like counting by pawing the ground with a hoof and stealing handkerchiefs from his pocket. The Waterbury 'show horses', ridden by the Waterbury children, became a popular feature in the town parades and they always competed in the races at the fairground.

Baby Ron remained the centre of the family's attention and the star of the Waterbury photograph albums - Ron perched in an apple tree, Ron with Liberty Bill, their English bull terrier, on the porch of the Kalispell house, Ron trying to measure the back yard with a tape. Having clearly inherited something of his grandfather's showmanship, Ron thoroughly enjoyed being in the family spotlight.
Lafe was walking down Kalispell's main street one day with Marnie and Ron when he bumped into Samuel Stewart, the governor of Montana, whom he had met several times. 'Hey Sam,' he said, 'I'd like you to meet my little grandson, Ron.' Stewart stooped, solemnly shook hands with the boy and stood chatting to Lafe for a few minutes. After he had gone, Marnie, who had been neither introduced nor acknowledged, turned furiously on her father and snapped, 'Why didn't you introduce me? Don't I matter?' Lafe had the grace to apologize, but Marnie could see by his broad grin that he was not in the least repentant.

As well as being favoured so shamelessly, Ron could always count on the support of his many aunts in any family dispute. While he was learning to talk, he would frequently drive his mother to distraction by running round the house repeating the same, usually meaningless, word over and over again. One afternoon at the Waterbury home, the word was 'eskobiddle'. May, at the end of her patience, finally shouted at him: 'If you say that once more I'm going to go and wash your mouth out with soap.'

Ron looked coolly at her and smiled slowly. 'Eskobiddle!' he yelled at the top of his voice. May immediately dragged him off and carried out her threat. A few minutes later, Ida heard shrieks coming from the back yard and discovered Midgie and Louise holding May down and washing her mouth with soap to avenge their precious nephew.
Less than twelve months after the Waterburys arrived in Kalispell, May broke the news that she and Hub were going to move on; Hub was having problems with his job on the newspaper and had been offered a position as resident manager of the Family Theater in the state capital, Helena. Ida and Lafe were naturally upset but, as May said, Helena was only two hundred miles away and it was also on the Great Northern Railroad, so they would be able to visit each other frequently.

Nevertheless, it would not be the same, both doting grandparents gloomily concluded, as having little Ronald in and out of the house almost every day.

Helena in 1913 was a pleasant city of Victorian brick and stone buildings encircled by the Rocky Mountains, whose snow-dusted peaks stippled with pines provided a scenic backdrop in every direction. The Capital Building, with its massive copper dome and fluted doric columns, eloquently proclaimed its status as the first city of Montana, as did the construction of the neo-Gothic St Helena Cathedral, which was nearing completion on Warren Street. Electric streetcars clanked along the brick-paved main street, once a twisting mountain defile known as Last Chance Gulch in commemoration of the four prospectors who had unexpectedly struck gold there in 1864 and subsequently rounded the city.

The Family Theater, at 21 Last Chance Gulch, occupied part of a handsome red-brick terrace with an ornate stone coping, but it suffered somewhat from its position, since it was in the heart of the city's red-light district and could not have been more inappropriately named. Respectable families arriving for the evening performance were required to avert their eyes from the colourful ladies leaning out of the windows of the brothels on each side of the theater, although it was not unknown for the occasional father to slip out after the show had started and return before the final curtain, curiously flushed.
Harry Hubbard's duties were to sell tickets during the day, collect them at the door as patrons arrived, maintain order if necessary during the show and lock up at the end of the evening. Although his title was resident manager, he chose not to live at the theater and rented a rickety little wooden house, not much better than a shack, on Henry Street, on the far side of the railroad track. May hated it and soon found a small apartment on the top floor of a house at 15 Rodney Street, closer to the theater and in a better part of town.

Travelling road shows, sometimes comprising not much more than a singer, pianist and a comedian, were the staple fare of the Family Theater. Ron was often allowed to see the show and he would sit with his mother in the darkened auditorium completely enthralled, no matter what the act. Years later he would recall sitting in a box at the age of two wearing his father's hat and applauding with such enthusiasm that the audience began cheering him rather than the cast. He claimed the players took twelve curtain calls before they realized what was happening.[4]

When the Waterburys paid a visit to Helena, Hub arranged for them to see the show, made sure they had the best seats in the house and solemnly stood at the door of the theater to collect their tickets as they filed in. Not long after their return to Kalispell, May heard that her father had slipped on a banana skin, fallen and broken his arm. She did not worry overmuch at first, even when her mother wrote to say that the arm had not been set properly and had had to be re-broken. Indeed, her worries were rather closer to home, for Harry had been told by the owner of the Family Theater that unless the audiences improved the theater might have to close.

The news from abroad was also giving cause for concern, despite Woodrow Wilson's promise to keep America out of the war threatening to engulf Europe. On Sunday 2 August 1914, headlines in the Helena Independent announced that Germany had declared war on Russia and a despatch from London confirmed: 'The die is cast . . . Europe is to be plunged into a general war.' Closer to home, rival unions in the copper mines at Butte, only sixty miles from Helena, were also at war. When the Miners' Union Hall was dynamited, Governor Stewart declared martial law and sent in the National Guard to keep order.
It was in this turbulent climate that the Family Theater finally closed its doors, for the audiences did not pick up. Harry Hubbard was once again obliged to look for work, but once again he was lucky - he was taken on as a book-keeper for the Ives-Smith Coal Company, 'dealers in Original Bear Creek, Roundup, Acme and Belt Coal', at 41 West Sixth Avenue. May, meanwhile, found a cheaper apartment for the family on the first floor of a shingled wood-frame house at 1109 Fifth Avenue.

Back in Kalispell, Lafe Waterbury was still having trouble with his arm. He was not the kind of man to complain about bad luck, but no one could have blamed him had he done so. His arm had to be set a third time and just when it seemed it was beginning to heal he was thrown to the ground by a horse he was examining. He was never to regain full strength in that arm and although he was only fifty years old he knew he would not be able to continue working as a vet, with all the pulling and pushing it involved. Only the four youngest Waterbury girls were still at home, but Lafe did not think he could afford to retire, even if that had been his ambition. (His taxable assets were listed in the Kalispell City Directory at $1550, which made him comfortably off, but not by any means rich.) No prospects presented themselves immediately in Kalispell and Lafe and Ida began considering another move. It somehow seemed natural, since they had followed May to Kalispell, that they should now think about moving to Helena.

In the summer of 1915, Toilie, back home on a visit from the East, drove her father to Helena in the family's Model T. Ford so that he could take a look around. They stayed, of course, with May and Hub in their cramped apartment on Fifth Avenue and Lafe was delighted to have the company of his four-year-old grandson every time he went for a walk in town.
Hub presumably talked to his father-in-law about his job and the two men almost certainly discussed the ever-increasing demand for coal and the business opportunities available in Helena. As a bookkeeper, Hub knew the figures, knew the profit Ives-Smith was making and knew the strength of the market - it was information that undoubtedly influenced Lafe's decision to move his family to Helena and set up a coal company of his own.

The Waterburys arrived in 1916 and bought a house at 736 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of Raleigh Street, just two blocks from May and Hub's apartment. Lafe considered himself very lucky to get the property, for it was a sturdy two-storey house, built around the turn of the century, with light and airy rooms, fine stained glass windows, a wide covered porch and an unusual conical roof over a curved bay at one corner. It would quickly become known by everyone in the family, with the greatest affection, as 'the old brick'.
The Waterbury girls had wept bitterly on leaving Kalispell, largely because their father had insisted that Bird, the Indian pony on which they had all learned to ride, was too old to make the journey and would have to be left behind. But their spirits soon lifted as they ran excitedly from room to room in their new home and imagined themselves as fashionable young ladies of substance.

Fifth Avenue was not yet a paved road, but it was lined with struggling saplings which offered the promise of respectability and, more importantly, it was straddled to the east by the Capital Building, a monumental edifice of such grandeur that the girls were all deeply awed by its proximity. To the west, Fifth Avenue appeared to plunge directly into the forested green flanks of Mount Helena and just two blocks south of 'the old brick', Raleigh Street ended in grassy hummocks which led up to the mountains and promised limitless opportunities for play. Marnie, then thirteen years old, could hardly imagine a better place to be.
Lafe rented a yard with a stable adjoining the Northern Pacific railroad track where it crossed Montana Avenue and put up a sign announcing that the Capital City Coal Company had opened for business. It was very much a family affair, as listed in the Helena City Directory for 1917: Lafayette O. Waterbury was president, Ray was vice-president and Toilie (recalled from the East by her father - 'It's time to come home,' he told her, 'I need you.') was secretary-treasurer. Harry Ross Hubbard had also joined the fledgling enterprise, but the only vacancy was in the lowly capacity of teamster.

On 2 January 1917 Ron was enrolled at the kindergarten at Central School on Warren Street, just across from the new cathedral which, with its twin spires and grey stone facade, towered reprovingly over the city. Most days he was walked to school by his aunts, Marnie and June, who were at Helena High, opposite Central School.
Ron, who was known to the neighbourhood kids as 'brick' because of his hair, would later claim that while still at kindergarten he used the 'lumberjack fighting' he had learned from his grandfather to deal with a gang of bullies who were terrorizing children on their way to and from the school. But one of Ron's closest childhood friends, Andrew Richardson, has no recollection of him protecting local children from bullies. 'He never protected nobody,' said Richardson. 'It was all bullshit. Old Hubbard was the greatest con artist who ever lived.'[5]

Although the war in Europe, with its unbelievable casualty toll, was filling plenty of columns in the Independent, local news, as always, received quite as much prominence as despatches from foreign correspondents. Suffragettes figured prominently in many of the headlines and after the women's suffrage amendment was narrowly approved in the Montana legislature, the victorious women celebrated by electing one of their leaders, Jeanette Rankin, to a seat in the US Congress. Women voters also helped push through a bill to ban the sale of alcohol as the Prohibition lobby gained ground across the nation.
Even the news, in February 1917, that Germany had declared its intention to engage in unrestricted submarine warfare did not fully hit home until the following month when it was learned that German submarines had attacked and sunk three US merchant ships in the Atlantic. On 6 April, the United States declared war on Germany; Congresswoman Rankin was one of only a handful of dissenters voting against the war resolution.
Mobilization began at once in Helena at Fort Harrison, headquarters of the 2nd Regiment, but the wave of patriotic fervour that swept the state brought in its wake a sinister backlash in the form of witchhunts for 'traitors' and 'subversives'. In August, self-styled vigilantes in Butte dragged labour leader Frank Little from his rooming house and hanged him from a railroad trestle on the edge of town. His 'crime' was that he was leader of the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical group viewed as seditious.

Although selective draft mustered more than seven thousand troops in Montana by the beginning of August, Harry Hubbard felt, as an ex-serviceman, that he should not wait to be drafted. He had served for four years in the US Navy and his country needed trained seamen. Yes, he had family responsibilities, but he was also an American. He knew his duty and May knew she could not, and should not, stop him. On 10 October, Hub kissed her goodbye, hugged his six-year-old son and left Helena for the Navy Recruiting Station at Salt Lake City, Utah, to re-enlist for a four-year term in the US Navy. Two weeks later, little Ron and his mother joined the crowds lining Last Chance Gulch to watch Montana's 163rd Infantry march out of town on their way to join the fighting in Europe. Ron thought they were just 'swell'.

After Hub had gone, May and Ron moved into 'the old brick' with the rest of the family and May found a job as a clerk with the State Bureau of Child and Animal Protection in the Capital Building. If little Ron experienced any sense of loss from the absence of his father, it was certainly alleviated by the intense warmth and sociability of the Waterbury family. He had grandparents who considered he could do no wrong, a loving mother and an assorted array of adoring aunts who liked nothing more than to spend time playing with him.
It was inevitable that he would be spoiled with all the attention, but he was also a rewarding child, exceptionally imaginative and adventurous, always filling his time with original ideas and games. 'He was very quick, always coming up with ideas no one else had thought of,' said Marnie. 'He'd grab a couple of beer bottles and use them as binoculars or he would write little plays and draw the scenery and everything. Whatever he started he finished: when he made up his mind he was going to do something, you could be sure he would see it through.'

Hub wrote home frequently and made it clear that he was enjoying being back in the service, the war notwithstanding. He had been selected for training as an Assistant Paymaster and if he made the grade, he proudly explained in a letter to May, it would mean that he would become an officer. On 13 October 1918 Harry Ross Hubbard was honorably discharged from enlisted service in the US Navy Reserve Force and the following day he was appointed Assistant Paymaster with the rank of Ensign. He was thirty-two years old, positively geriatric for an Ensign - but it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Eleven days later, the front pages of the Helena Independent was dominated by a single word in letters three inches high: PEACE. Underneath, the sub-heading declared, 'Cowardly Kaiser and Son Flee to Holland.' The terms of surrender were to be so severe, the newspaper innocently reported, that Germany would forever 'be absolutely deprived from further military power of action on land and sea and in the air'.

Unlike most wives whose husbands had gone to war, May knew that the Armistice did not mean that Hub would be coming home; he had already told her that he intended to make a career in the Navy. It was a decision she could not sensibly oppose, for she was obliged to admit that he had been incapable of making progress in his varied civilian jobs and he was clearly happier in the Navy. Furthermore, his position with the Capital City Coal Company was far from secure, for she knew that her father was worried about the business - they were having difficulty finding sufficient supplies of coal from Roundup and a third coal company had opened up in town, increasing competition. The Waterbury girls were helping with the company's cash flow problems by knocking on doors round and about Fifth Avenue to collect payment for overdue bills.
Lafe Waterbury never allowed his business worries to cast a shadow over his family life and for the children, Ron included, weeks and months passed with not much to fret about other than whether or not the taffy [toffee] would set. 'Taffy-pulls' were a regular ritual in the Waterbury household: a coat hanger was kept permanently on the back of the door in the basement to loop the sugar and water mix and stretch it repeatedly, filling the taffy with air bubbles so that it would snap satisfactorily when it was set. Liberty Bill would always sit and watch the proceedings with saliva dripping from his jaws. Once he grabbed a mouthful when the taffy looped too close to the floor and disappeared under a bush ill the garden for hours while he tried to suck it out of his teeth.

One day Marnie and June were in the basement pulling taffy with Ron when they heard their father laughing out loud in the front room. They ran upstairs to see what was going on and found him standing at the window, both hands clutched to his quivering midriff, tears streaming down his cheeks. Outside, a young lady, in a tight hobble skirt - the very latest fashion in Helena - was attempting to step down from the wooden sidewalk to cross the road. To her acute embarrassment, she was discovering that while it was feasible to totter along a level surface, it was almost impossible to negotiate a step of more than a few inches without hoisting her skirt to a level well beyond the bounds of decorum, or jumping with both feet together. Eventually, shuffling to the edge of the sidewalk, she managed to slide first one foot down, then, with a precarious swivel, the other. By this time Lafe was forced to sit down, for he could no longer stand, and the entire family had gathered at the window.
Laughter was an omnipresent feature of life in 'the old brick'. When Toilie brought home a bottle of wine and gave her mother a glass, the unaccustomed alcohol thickened her tongue and the more she struggled with ever more recalcitrant syllables, the more her daughters howled. Then there was the time when Lafe leaned back in his swivel chair, overbalanced, fell under a shelf piled with magazines and hit his head as he tried to get up - no one would ever forget that. On the other hand almost the worst incident any of the children could remember was the day when their mother's pet canary escaped through an open window into the snow and never returned. Ida had loved that canary when she was lying in bed she would whistle and it would fly over, perch on the covers and pick her teeth.

In the summer, the children spent every waking hour after school outdoors. May, who had changed her job and now worked as a clerk in the State Department of Agriculture and Publicity, bought a small plot of land in the foothills of the mountains, about two hours' walk from the family home and paid a local carpenter to put up a raw pine shack. It had just two rooms inside, with a long covered porch at the front. They called it 'The Old Homestead' and used it at weekends and holidays, taking enough food and drink with them to last the duration, and drawing water from a well on a nearby property. Most times Lafe would drive them out in the Model T. and drop them on the Butte road at the closest point to the house, from where they walked across the fields. The children loved The Old Homestead for the simple pleasure of being in the mountains, playing endless games under a perfect blue sky, optimistically panning for gold in tumbling streams of crystal clear water, picking great bunches of wild flowers, cooking on a campfire and huddling round an oil lamp at night, telling spooky stories.
When they were not planning a trip to The Old Homestead, Ron pestered his aunts to take him on a hike up to the top of Mount Helena, where they would sit with a picnic, munching sandwiches and silently staring out over the sprawl of the city below and the ring of mountains beyond. One of the trails up the mountain passed a smoky cave said to be haunted by the men who had used it as a hideout while being stalked by Indians in the mid-nineteenth century. Marnie used to take Ron, squirming with thrilled terror, into the cave to look for ghosts.

Marnie and Ron, with only eight years between them, were as close as brother and sister. When she was in a school play at Helena High, taking the part of Marie Antoinette, he sat wide-eyed throughout the performance then ran all the way home to tell his grandma how beautiful Marnie was.
While the children remained blithely unaware of events outside the comforting confines of 'the old brick' and The Old Homestead, few adults in Montana were able to enjoy such a blinkered existence. After years of abundant crops and high wheat prices, postwar depression brought about a collapse in the market - bushel prices halved in the space of three months - and the summer of 1919 saw the first of a cycle of disastrous droughts. Every day brought further ominous tidings of mortgage foreclosures, banks closing, abandoned farms turned into dustbowls and thousands of settlers leaving the state to seek a livelihood elsewhere.
In this gloomy economic climate, Lafe Waterbury was forced to close down the Capital City Coal Company. For a while he tinkered with a small business selling automobile spares and vulcanizing tyres, but the depression meant that motorists were laying up their cars rather than repairing them and Lafe decided to retire, thankful that he still had sufficient capital left to support his family.

May helped with the household expenses, although she realized she and Ron would not be able to stay there forever. Hub had been promoted to Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in November 1919, and whenever he could, had been coming home on leave to see his wife and son. He was still intent on a career in the Navy, although he had already suffered some setbacks. He had been obliged to appear before a court of inquiry in May, 1920, while serving as Supply Officer on the USS Aroostock, to explain a deficiency in his accounts of $942.25. He also had an unfortunate tendency to overlook personal debts. No less than fourteen creditors in Kalispell claimed he left behind unpaid bills totalling $125; Fred Fisch, high-grade clothier of Vallejo, California, was pursuing him for $10 still owed on a uniform overcoat; and a Dr McPherson of San Diego was owed $30. All of them complained to the Navy Department, casting a shadow over Hubbard's record.[6] He had a long spell of inactive duty at the beginning of 1921 while he was waiting for a new posting and he and May spent a great deal of time discussing their future. Hub expected May to conform, like other Navy wives, and trail around the country with him from posting to posting; when he was at sea, he wanted her to be close to his ship's home port. May obviously wanted to be with Hub, but she was reluctant to move Ron from school to school and loath to leave her family. She had perhaps secretly hoped that Hub would tire of the Navy and return to civilian life in Helena, but the depression wiped out whatever miserable opportunities he might have had of finding work and she realized it would never happen. In September 1921, Hub was posted to the battleship USS Oklahoma as an Assistant Supply Officer. He anticipated serving on board for at least two years, much of that time at sea, and the opportunities for visits home to Helena would be severely curtailed. As a loyal wife, May felt she could no longer justify staying in Helena. She and Ron packed their bags, bade the family a tearful farewell and caught a train for San Diego, the USS Oklahoma's home port.

Although Ron must have missed the convivial domesticity of 'the old brick', he did not appear to mind, in the least, being a 'Navy brat' - the curiously affectionate label applied to all children of servicemen, many of whom needed more than the fingers of both hands to count their schools. He was a gregarious boy, quick to make friends, and starting a new school held no terrors for him. After about a year in San Diego, the Hubbards moved north to Seattle, in Washington State, when the Oklahoma was transferred to Puget Sound Navy Shipyard.

 (Scientology's account of the years 1922-24.)

In Seattle Ron joined the boy scouts, an event that would figure prominently in a hand-written journal which he scrawled on the pages of an old accounts book, interspersed with short stories, a few years later: 'The year Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Three rallied round and found me contentedly resting on my laurels, a first class badge. For I was a boy scout then and deaf was my friend that hadn't heard all about it. I considered Seattle the best town on the map as far as scouting was concerned.'

In October 1923, Lieutenant Hubbard completed sea duty on the USS Oklahoma and, after brief spells of temporary duty in San Francisco and New York, was assigned for further training to the Bureau of Supply and Accounts School of Application in Washington DC. The US Navy, which clearly despised any form of land transport, saved itself the cost of two long-distance train fares by giving May and Ron berths on the USS U.S. Grant, a German warship acquired by the US Navy after the First World War, which was due to sail from Seattle to Hampton Roads, Virginia, via the Panama Canal. It was thus December, and the snow was thick on the ground, before the Hubbards were re-united in Washington after a voyage of some seven thousand miles, three-quarters of the way round the coast of the United States. It was on this trip, it seems, that Ron met the enigmatic Commander 'Snake' Thompson of the US Navy Medical Corps, a psychoanalyst he would later claim was responsible for awakening his youthful interest in Freud, although he only made the briefest mention of the journey in his journal. His style of writing was fluent, breezy, schoolboyishly cocksure and addressed directly to the reader. 'If obviously pushed upon,' he wrote, 'I supposed I could write a couple of thousands [sic] words on that trip . . . But I spare you.'

He usually referred to himself in a gently ironic tone, perhaps to avoid giving an impression of thinking rather too highly of himself. When he arrived in Washington, two troops of local scouts were battling for a prized scouting trophy, the Washington Post Cup. Troop 100, he noted, belonged to the YMCA 'and would therefore probably lose', so he joined the other outfit, Troop 10, 'which must have sighed loudly when it perceived me crossing the threshold'.
The journal also contained flashes of humour, delivered deadpan: 'Visualize me in a natty scout suit, my red hair tumbling out from under my hat, doing my good turn daily. Once I saved a man's life. I could have pushed him under a streetcar but I didn't.'

Intent on pushing Troop 10 to victory, Ron began acquiring merit badges with extraordinary speed and dedication. In his first two weeks, he was awarded badges for Firemanship and Personal Health, quickly followed by Photography, Life-Saving, Physical Development and Bird Study. He determinedly thrust his way into the front rank of the Washington scouts (it was absolutely not his nature to languish shyly among the pack) and he was chosen to represent them on a delegation to the White House to ask President Calvin Coolidge to accept the honorary chairmanship of National Boys' Week. He noted the invitation in his journal with characteristic cheek: 'One fine day the Scout executive telephoned my house and told me I was to meet the president that afternoon. I told him I thought it pretty swell of the president to come way out to my house . . .'
Brushed and scrubbed ('even the backs of my hands were thoroughly washed') he waited with forty other boys outside the Oval Office until a secretary emerged and said the president was ready to receive them. ' With fear and trembling, we entered and repeated our names a few times as we pumped Cal's listless hand . . . I think I have the distinction of being the only boy scout in America who has made the President wince.' The great man spoke in such lugubrious tones that Ron compared the occasion to being invited to his own hanging.

In the boy scout diary he kept intermittently around this time, Ron was a lot less forthcoming than in the journal, which was clearly written with an intention to entertain. The most frequent entry in his diary was a laconic 'Was bored.' Yet he would claim in later years that the four months he spent in Washington was a crucial period of his life during which he received 'an extensive education in the field of the human mind' under the tutelage of his friend Commander Thompson.[7] He also noted - in his journal - that he became a close friend of President Coolidge's son, Calvin Junior, whose early death accelerated his 'precocious interest in the mind and spirit of Man.'[8] 

'Snake' Thompson was apparently a friend of Ron's father and a personal student of Sigmund Freud, under whom he had studied in Vienna. His inauspicious nickname was derived from his love of slithery creatures, but it was in his capacity as a student of the founder of psychoanalysis that he took it upon himself to give the twelve-year-old boy a grounding in Freudian theory as well as 'shoving his nose' into books at the Library of Congress.

[Ron would often refer to Thompson in later life, yet the Commander remains an enigma. He cannot be identified from US Navy records, nor can his relationship with Freud be established. Doctor Kurt Eissler, one of the world's leading authorities on Freud, says he has no knowledge of any correspondence or contact of any kind between Freud and Thompson.[9]]

Presumably the hours that Ron and Thompson spent closeted together in the Library of Congress were somehow dovetailed into the time he devoted to scouting, for on 28 March 1924, a few days after his thirteenth birthday, Ron was made an eagle scout.
'Twenty-one merit badges in ninety days,' he recorded triumphantly in his journal. 'I was quite a boy then. Written up in the papers and all that. Take a look at me. You didn't know the wreck in front of you was once the youngest Eagle Scout in the country, did you?'

Neither did Ron. At that time the Boy Scouts of America only kept an alphabetical record of eagle scouts, with no reference to their ages.[10]

1. Oregon Journal, 22 Apr 1943 
2. Mission Into Time, L. Ron Hubbard, 1973
3. Letter to author, 25 May 1986
4. 4. 1938 biography of L. Ron Hubbard by Arthur J. Burks, president of American Fiction Guild
5. Interview with Andrew Richardson, Helena, Montana
6.  Harry Ross Hubbard navy record
7. Facts About L. Ron Hubbard - Things You Should Know, Flag Divisional Directive, 8 Mar 1974 
8. Mission Into Time, L. Ron Hubbard, 1973 
9. Letter to author, 25 Mar 1986. Also US Govt Memorandum, 16 Nov 1966. 
10. Letter to author, 1 Feb 1986

 Chapter 2 Whither did he Wander?

Bare-Faced Messiah By Russell Miller,
The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

Chapter 2 Whither did he Wander?

​The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

Fundamental to the image of L. Ron Hubbard as prophet are the tales of his teenage travels. At the age of fourteen, it seems, the inquisitive lad could be found wandering the Orient alone, investigating primitive cultures and learning the secrets of life at the feet of wise men and Lama priests. 'He was up and down the China coast several times in his teens from Ching Wong Tow to Hong Kong and inland to Peking and Manchuria.'[1] In China he met an old magician whose ancestors had served in the court of Kublai Khan and a Hindu who could hypnotize cats. In the high hills of Tibet he lived with bandits who accepted him because of his 'honest interest in them and their way of life'.[2] In the remote reaches of western Manchuria he made friends with the ruling warlords by demonstrating his horsemanship. On an unnamed island in the South Pacific, the fearless boy calmed the natives by exploring a cave that was supposed to be haunted and showing them that the rumbling sound from within was nothing more sinister than an underground river. 'Deep in the jungles' of Polynesia he discovered an ancient burial ground 'steeped in the tradition of heroic warriors and kings . . . Though his native friends were fearful for him, he explored the sacred area - his initiative based on doing all he could to know more'.[3]

There appeared to be no limit to the young man's abilities: 'I remember one time learning Igoroti, an Eastern primitive language, in a single night. I sat up by kerosene lantern and took a list of words that had been made by an old missionary in the hills of Luzon [Philippines]. The Igorot had a very simple language. This missionary phoneticized their language and made a list of their main words and their usage and grammar. And I remember sitting up under a mosquito net with the mosquitoes hungrily chomping their beaks just outside the net, and learning this language - three hundred words - just memorizing these words and what they meant. And the next day I started to get them in line and align them with people, and was speaking Igoroti in a very short time.'[4]

Throughout this period, Ron was said to have been supported by his wealthy, not to say indulgent, grandfather and it was during his travels in the East that he became interested in the 'spiritual destiny' of mankind. 'L. Ron Hubbard learned that there was more to life than science had dreamed of, that Man did not know everything there was to know about life, and that neither East nor West, the spiritual and the material, had any full answer. To L. Ron Hubbard there was a whole field here that was begging for research.'[5]

It would, to be sure, have been an impressive start to any young man's career, if only it had been true.
 (Scientology's account of the years 1924-28.)
 (Hubbard's travels in Asia in 1927.)

At the end of March 1924, the Hubbards left Washington DC and moved, once again, from one side of the continent to the other. Having finished his training at the Bureau of Supply and Accounts School, Harry Hubbard was promoted to full Lieutenant and posted back to the Puget Sound Navy Shipyard at Bremerton, in Washington State, as Disbursing Officer.

Bremerton was a nice little town mushroomed around the great naval shipyard, the northern base of the Pacific Fleet, which sprawled along the shore of Puget Sound. Seagulls wheeled and cawed over the quiet high street and the fishing fleet in the harbour and a tangy aroma of salt, tar and oil scented the breeze off the Sound, where bustling white-painted ferries provided the town's main link to Seattle on the opposite shore. The Hubbards found a house two blocks from the shipyard and their son enrolled in the eighth grade at Union High School, on the corner of Fifth and High Avenues.
Run liked Bremerton on sight, as would any thirteen-year-old with a taste for outdoor activities. After school in the summer he invariably joined a group of boys to swim and fish and canoe in the Sound and at weekends he cadged a ride out to Camp Parsons, the boy scout camp on the north-west shore of Hood Canal. Parsons was a permanent campsite in the heart of the Olympic National Park and was considered by thousands of boys to be paradise. There were oysters, clams, shrimp and crabs to be fished from the canal and cooked over campfires; eagles soared in the thermals high overhead and the dense forest all around the camp was alive with deer, beavers, bobcats and black bears. Like countless fellow scouts, Ron's favourite trek from Camp Parsons was the 'Three Rivers Hike', which started with the 'poop-out drag' - a long climb up a sun-baked southern slope - and ended in the late afternoon at Camp Mystery at the top of the pass, where there were meadows full of wild flowers and thrilling views over the Olympic mountain wilderness. It was a boyhood idyll that was to last for only two happy years; in the summer of 1926 his parents decided to move across the Sound back to Seattle. It was no trouble for Harry to commute to work at the shipyard by ferry and they felt that Ron ought to complete his high school education in a bigger and more sophisticated school than Union High. So it was that Ron began his sophomore year at Queen Anne High, a majestic seminary built in sparkling white bricks on a hilltop overlooking Seattle.

He was barely into his second semester when his father received his first foreign posting. Lieutenant Hubbard was to take over as Officer in Charge of the Commissary Store at the US Naval Station on Guam, a remote, mountainous tropical island in the Pacific, three thousand miles west of Hawaii. Largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands, Guam had been ceded to the United States as a prize in the Spanish-American War in 1898 and, as far as the Hubbard family was concerned, was so far away it might as well have been on another planet.
May and Hub talked long into many nights about how they should accommodate their lives to this new upheaval. Guam was a minimum two-year posting and May naturally wanted to accompany her husband, particularly as there as no chance of him returning home on leave. What most worried them was what to do with Ron, who had immediately assumed he would be going too. Then just sixteen years old, he was thrilled at the prospect of exchanging the dreary routine of Queen Anne High for life on a tropical island.

But officers returning from Guam were full of lurid stories about the island and its inhabitants. Many of them concerned the charms of Guam's 'dusky maidens' and the uninhibited enthusiasm with which they pursued young Americans as potential husbands. There was also much gossip about the horrendous strains of venereal disease which were endemic. Time and time again Hub was told by ex-Guam veterans that they would never let a son of theirs set foot in the place.
In the end they made the painful decision to leave Ron behind. May arranged for him to move back into 'the old brick' with her parents and to finish high school in Helena. Ron made no secret of his disgust When his parents broke the news, although he was slightly mollified by his father's promise to try and arrange for him to travel with his mother out to Guam for a short holiday before returning to Helena.

Lieutenant Hubbard sailed to Guam on 5 April 1927; his wife and son followed several weeks later on the passenger steamship, President Madison, bound for Honolulu, Yokohama, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila, out of San Francisco. Ron took with him his ukulele and saxophone, two instruments he had been struggling to learn, and a headful of yarns, spun by his father's friends, about how anyone with red hair was instantly proclaimed king on arrival in Guam. To his great chagrin, his return passage was already booked for July, to get him back in time for the start of the junior term at Helena High School. May took sufficient books to tutor her son in history and English during the trip, to make up for him not finishing the semester at Queen Anne High School.

Considering he was still only sixteen, Ron's log of his trip to Guam was acutely observed and literate, even if the prose was occasionally artless and self-conscious ('Westward tugged the ship's twelve thousand horses'). It was also packed with information, reflecting the unashamed curiosity of an inquisitive and extrovert young man travelling abroad for the first time.
Watching San Francisco's Golden Gate disappear from view, Ron admitted to a lump in his throat, although he was soon involved in the timeless and time-wasting pursuits that comprised life on board - shuffle board and deck golf, a dance one evening, a movie the next, and obsessive discussion about who was seasick and who was not. Some of the crew tried to turn Ron's stomach by describing revolting meals of salt pork and slippery oysters, but he was pleased to record that neither he nor his mother succumbed.

First stop, six days out, was Honolulu, where the President Madison was greeted in the harbour by flotillas of small boats rowed by lithe, brown-skinned urchins who dived for quarters flipped overboard from the deck of the steamship. They used to dive for pennies, Ron noted laconically, 'thus has the Hawaiian developed his commerce'. Friends showed the Hubbards around the island while the ship was docked and Ron managed to get a swim and a ride on a surf-board at Waikiki beach. The waves were much longer than those in California, he wrote, and sometimes attained speeds of sixty miles an hour.

Outward bound from Hawaii, Ron made friends with the second engineer who took him on a conducted tour of the ship, including the galley, 'spotless with shining equipment and Chinese cooks who grinned and displayed blank teeth'.

Fifty miles off the coast of Japan, they caught their first glimpse of the 'celestial beauty' of Mount Fuji rising through the clouds and cloaked in a 'pink robe of snow' suggesting, Ron thought, a 'garment for royalty'. They stayed three days in Japan, first at Yokohama and then at Kobe. Ron made meticulous notes about everything he saw, including detailed descriptions of how the people dressed. Much of the devastation caused by the earthquake four years earlier was still evident - including the ruin of a 'hideously scrambled' fort guarding the harbour entrance in which 1700 men had died when the walls collapsed. Ron was generally unimpressed by Japan and clearly unprepared, as a young American innocent of foreign ways, for the sights and smells of the Orient - the disease and the dirt, the stinking slums and the beggars sleeping in the street. 'It doesn't look the happy land so pictured in stories,' he concluded. 'Only at cherry blossom time or in the romantic novel do I believe there is beauty in Japan.'

He was rather more cheered by Shanghai, the President Madison's next port of call, partly because the first flag to greet them as they entered the Yangtze river was the Stars and Stripes, flying from the stern of a US Navy destroyer. The bustling river traffic - 'millions of fishing boats and junks' - astonished him, as did the fact that the 'ragged and decrepit' coolies who unloaded the ship only earned fifteen cents a day and 'fifteen cents Mex at that!' They lived, he added somewhat unnecessarily, 'worse than anyone in the world'.
He and his mother accompanied the ship's chief officer, who was also from Seattle, on a drive through the town. 'Opening down the main avenue over which our car travelled were hundreds of narrow intriguing streets, teeming with life. Great fish floated here and there and paper banners hung overhead. The stores were stocked with every sort of junk. Dried fish rattled on strings in the wind. Queer looking foods and drygoods were side by side. Sikh policemen were everywhere. They are big dark bearded fellows and in their turbans and short trousers of khaki look picturesque. They carry great rattan sticks and a rifle across the back. Tommy Atkins was very much in evidence and the American Marines, as well as Japanese and British marines. On the outside of the British concession I saw a British tommy take a Chinaman by the coat and knock him across the street. On Bubbling Well Road is a beautiful hotel once the home of a Chinese gentleman. The grounds are laid out with pergolas and fountains and the hotel has tapestries and mosaic tile floors.'

It was clear that by the time he reached Shanghai, Ron had adopted some of the more obvious colonial mannerisms, for he casually reported joining the Madison crowd for 'tiffin' at the Palace Hotel later that day and would also soon be referring to the natives as 'gooks'.

From Shanghai they sailed for Hong Kong, a city that was 'very British on the surface and very native underneath' May and Ron took a tram up to the top of the mountain overlooking the harbour, but they found the heat and humidity very exhausting, not to mention the throngs of coolies 'not caring where they spit', and they were glad to leave on the last leg of their voyage on the President Madison to Manila in the Philippines.

In Manila they were to transfer, with fifteen other Navy families, to a US Navy cargo auxiliary, the USS Gold Star, which was anchored across the bay at Cavite, waiting to take them to Guam. There was considerable confusion unloading the baggage from the President Madison, which Ron blamed on the 'lazy, ignorant natives', and it was some time before their trunks were safely on their way and May and Ron could relax with a glass of lemon squeeze at the Manila Hotel.
Next day Ron went sight-seeing with a Lieutenant McCain from the Cavite Navy Yard, an acquaintance of his father. To a boy who loved blood-and-thunder adventure stories, the old Spanish forts in Cavite exercized a compelling fascination. 'All the old guns have been dismantled, but the emplacements remain. Such an awful place in which to fight. The places were traps as it takes four men to even open a door. There are tunnels connecting all of them to an ancient cathedral which is un-used and filled with snakes, bats and trash. Very mysterious. I looked it over well when Mr McCain told me that millions in Spanish gold were buried in those tunnels. Some day I am going back there and dredge [sic] the whole place. Maybe.'

That evening he was taken to 'Dreamland', one of the more respectable bars in Manila where girls were available for hire, for dancing, at five centums a dance. 'Of course we didn't dance,' Ron was at pains to record, 'because by doing so one loses cast. The Charleston has just hit them, but it's too hot (I mean the weather).'
Two days later, the USS Gold Star weighed anchor and set course for Guam, a seven-day voyage across the Philippine Sea which could not have offered a greater contrast to the comparative luxury of a passenger ship like the President Madison. The accommodation was spartan, the food was poor and the officers remained haughtily aloof from their luckless passengers, even eating at a separate table in the dining-room. To make matters worse, the weather was terrible and the ship pitched and rolled and wallowed in a grey, relentlessly heaving sea with the constant threat of a typhoon gathering on the horizon. It was, said Ron, a 'gosh-awful trip'.

When a smudge of land appeared in the far distance and word went round that it was Guam, the relief was palpable. The USS Gold Star hove to off Guam on Monday 6 June, thirty-six days after the Hubbards had left San Francisco. Hub was on the second tender that came out to the ship and Ron spoke for both himself and his mother when he noted: 'We were sure glad to see him.'

Ron's first impression of Guam, with its thickly forested green hills and little red-roofed houses, was favourable. Even the sickly sweet aroma of copra which filled the air was distinctly preferable to the stench of open drains that had predominated at all their previous ports of call. The poverty, filth and disease which had been so prevalent elsewhere were kept in abeyance in Guam by the overwhelming presence of the United States Navy, which pushed, prodded and paid the local Chamorro natives to keep the streets clean and to observe basic hygiene.
Hub had been allocated a large bungalow surrounded by banana trees in the town of Agana, about five miles from the harbour. It was still not fully furnished when May and Ron arrived, but Ron liked the cool sparse rooms with their highly polished floors of black hardwood, reflecting the light filtering through the bamboo screens. The family had two houseboys and a cook and lived in a style that none of them had ever previously experienced. May, for example, had never had servants in her life and very much enjoyed the novelty.
Ron's father had arranged for him to spend part of the six weeks he was due to stay on the island teaching English to Chamorro children in the local grade school, which was run by the Navy. Ron did not object to undertaking this chore, but found it a more or less impossible task because of his red hair. Although he had not been instantly proclaimed king on arrival, he quickly discovered that his hair caused much excitement and interest, both on the street and in the classroom. The Chamorros, dark-skinned people of Indonesian stock, seemed unable to believe that a human head could sprout such a fiery crine and Ron's students spent their entire lesson staring uncomprehendingly at the top of his head. His parents laughed when he told them what was happening and his mother, drawing on her own teaching experience, softly advised him just to do his best.

When he was not trying to be a teacher, Ron spent a great deal of his time satisfying his natural curiosity by researching the island's history and culture. Some of his notes about Guam and its people bear a strange similarity to stories that would later be incorporated into the L. Ron Hubbard mythology. The Chamorro dialect, for example, which had originally contained some two thousand words and idioms, had been reduced over the years to around three hundred idioms with an almost non-existent grammatical structure - curiously akin to Igoroti, the primitive language Ron was said to have learned in a single night by the light of a kerosene lamp. And one of the Hubbards' house boys told Ron about a devil ghost called 'Tadamona' which was believed to haunt Missionary Point, where a fast-flowing underground river made eerie moaning noises at night . . .

In Guam, as elsewhere, Ron was particularly intrigued by the forts, which held a special romance and mystery he toiled to convey in his journal: 'An especially interesting one is the fort of San Juan de 'Apra [sic] in Apra harbour. Its doors have been sealed for years and, as if to hide the structure, vines wind themselves about it. The walls were built with remarkable skill, especially the corners. Most of the prison and turret have been eroded and have falled [sic] into decay, but the powder house and firing steps remain. The walks that once heard the rhythm of the sentry's beat, and the crash of the evening gun are now the running place of lizards. One cannot imagine the solitude and depression that surrounds it. All that beauty and grandeur which surrounded it yesterday has faded as the rose which dies and leaves its thorn.'
Ron was due to leave Guam on Saturday 16 July 1927, on board an ammunition ship, USS Nitro, bound for Bremerton. His parents drove him down to the harbour in the early morning and accompanied him out to the ship to help him with his bags, now crammed with souvenirs and presents for the family back home in Helena. The three of them had a quiet breakfast together on board and at eight o'clock May and Hub said goodbye and returned ashore on a tender, hardly daring to look back at the lonely figure of their son standing at the rail. The USS Nitro sailed within the hour.
If Ron was sad to be leaving, he made no mention of it in his journal. He 'felt rather lonely' on the first day out, but the two boys with whom he was sharing a cabin, Jerry Curtis and Dick Derickson, were so homesick that both were close to tears. Ron did his best to cheer them up. He particularly liked Dick, who was from Seattle and whom he had met at Camp Parsons. 'Dick and I have been reading up on atheism,' he noted. 'Such a terrible thing to make an issue of. Something is at the bottom of it. I'll find out in the States.'

Four days out, the USS Nitro hove to off Wake Island so that the crew could go fishing and swimming. Ron went ashore in a whale boat and discovered that the island was inhabited by many strange and beautiful birds, apparently quite unafraid of the sailors walking round their nests. In the lagoon, he wrote, the multi-coloured tropical fish looked like 'a forth [sic] of July parade' and the water was so clear he could see through thirty fathoms to the rocks on the bottom.
Deprived of the recreations offered on board the President Madison, Ron found the return voyage, courtesy of the US Navy, to be unremittingly dreary. He liked to watch the stars at night ('never in my life have I seen such beauties') and during the day he enjoyed visiting the engine-room, but much of the time he was bored.
Ironically, Ron had seriously discussed with his father the possibility of a career in the Navy, although he certainly did not seem much enthused by his experience on the USS Nitro. 'If this ship is the cream of the naval duty,' he wrote, 'I'll sure stick to milk. The officers work about an hour and then sit around and look bored. The enlisted personnel bear the brunt of the work.' Nevertheless, he could not have been completely deterred, for he noted that he and Dick would be going to Annapolis (home of the Naval Academy) at the same time.

Off Hawaii, one of the officers told Ron he could go up to the lookout in the crow's nest. 'A moment later found me staring up the forward mast which looked ungodly high. I overcame a nervous tremor and climbed a rope up to the steel ladder . . . Nice prospect a fall was. Then I tackled the first fifty feet of ladder. It surely looked and felt insubstantial. About half way up I thought I'd never been so nervous before. After that ladder came an even smaller steel ladder. Up I went all confidence by this time. In a moment I reached the nest and sure enough there was the lookout reading a 'Western Story'. He invited me to climb in. The last in itself is worse than the rest of it put together. One has to dangle with nothing under him and work half way round to the other edge. Over the side of the box I swung and then in. My God what a relief!'

On 6 August, in thick fog, the USS Nitro nosed into Bremerton and moored to Pier 4A at the Navy Yard. Ron disembarked without a moment's regret, thankful to be back on dry land and away from the cramped and stultifying atmosphere of the ship. Next day he caught a train for Helena, where he was welcomed by the Waterburys like the prodigal son. In 'the old brick', savouring the heady fragrance of his grandmother's baking, which he remembered so well, he regaled everyone with the tales of his adventures and if he embroidered the account just a little, who could have blamed him?

Even a local newspaper apparently felt his exploits worth reporting in a double-column story under the headline 'Ronald Hubbard Tells of His Trip to Orient and Many Experiences'. The interview closely followed the notes Ron had made in his journal except for the surprising claim, somehow neglected in his diary, that he had witnessed an execution while he was in China. 'Ronald Hubbard has the distinction', the story concluded, 'of being the only boy in the country to secure an eagle scout badge at the age of twelve years.'
[He had, in fact, been thirteen. But this small slip-up and the curious omission of the 'execution' from his journal were not nearly as puzzling as the fact that it has never been possible to trace the newspaper from which the cutting was taken.[6] It appears to exist only as a photostat in the archives of the Church of Scientology labelled 'Clipping from Helena, Montana, newspaper circa 1929'.]
On 6 September 1927, Ron enrolled in the junior year at Helena High School, a forbidding Victorian building of rough-hewn grey stone with castellated gables and turrets, just five minutes' walk from the Waterbury home. A cousin, Gorham Roberts, who was in the same year, introduced Ron to many of his new school-mates, but no one found it easy to settle down to work, for the whole school was distracted by the frustrating knowledge that Charles A. Lindbergh was visiting Helena. He was on a triumphant tour of the country after flying the Atlantic alone in his tiny monoplane Spirit of St Louis and returning as a national hero, and there was not a boy or girl in the school who did not fervently wish to catch a glimpse of him.

At first Ron seemed perfectly happy at Helena High, perfectly happy to be back with his grandparents. In October he joined the Montana National Guard, enlisting at the State Armory on North Main Street and claiming he was eighteen to avoid having to wait months for his parents to send consent papers from Guam. As a private in Headquarters Company of 163rd Infantry he felt he cut quite a dash as he strode through the town in his uniform - broad-brimmed hat, khaki shirt and breeches, gloves tucked into the belt - to report for training at the Armory, where twin flagpoles rose from perfectly manicured patches of green grass.
At school, he managed to get himself appointed to the editorial staff of The Nugget, Helena High's bi-monthly newspaper. He would naturally have preferred to have been editor-in-chief, but as a newcomer he had to be satisfied with jokes editor, a position he held jointly with Ellen Galusha. He was photographed with the rest of the editorial staff for the year book, standing in the middle of the group on the steps of the school wearing a suit and a bow tie, eschewing the faintly raffish literary style affected by his colleagues. 'The Nugget is a really good paper . . .' the caption explained. 'The name originates from the large expensive gold nuggets which the prospectors mined in previous years on the main street of Helena.'
Although Ellen Galusha rather upstaged her follow jokes editor by winning first place in the district finals of the Extemporaneous Speaking Contest, Ron felt he kept his end up by having one of his essays selected to represent Helena High in the State Essay Contest. He had also written a short play which was performed by the junior branch of the Shriners and very well received.

After school on 2 December, Ron and a group of his friends rushed round to the showrooms of Capital Ford hoping to see the sleek new Model A. Fords which were said to have arrived in town that day. They found a crowd of around four thousand people jamming the street outside the Ford agency, all with the same idea. Replacement for the beloved Model T., the Model A. was not only a completely new design but was also available in a number of different colours, a development which caused Ron and his friends to gasp with amazement. Later, over sodas at the Weiss Café on North Main Street, the boys hotly debated which of the models - roadster, sports coupé or sedan - was preferable and which colour each of them would be purchasing as soon as they had some money.
That winter was the worst in living memory for the people of Helena. On 8 December, Ron woke to find the overnight temperature had dropped fifty-eight degrees [Fahrenheit] to thirty-five below zero, one of the coldest on record. Outside, a biting blizzard swept down from the mountains, obliterating the town and the surrounding country.

Morning editions of the Helena Independent were full of terrible stories of families marooned and frozen to death, school buses lost in the storm and entire herds of cattle wiped out.

The snow had still not melted when Ron began preparing for the annual Vigilante Day Parade, the high spot of the school year, held on the first Friday in May. Although the theme of the parade always harked back to the pioneer days, Ron plumped for a more unconventional role and decided he would go as a pirate. He somehow persuaded five doubting friends, two boys and three girls, to join him, casually brushing aside any objections based on the rather obvious absence of pirate involvement in Montana's early history. Aunt Marnie helped with the costumes by taking down her drapes and removing the brass rings to provide the pirates with suitable earrings, as worn on the Spanish Main.
Thus it was that as the Vigilante Day Parade, led by the Helena High School Band, progressed along Main Street on the afternoon of Friday 4 May 1928, the settlers, cowboys, cowgirls, miners, trappers, prospectors, Indians and sheriffs were inexplicably joined by a small band of ferocious pirates with eyepatches and painted beards, waving wooden cutlasses. At the dance after the parade, 'Pirates by R. Hubbard' won one of three prizes in the 'Most Original' category.
The report on the parade in the Helena Independent next day positively glowed with pride: 'The parade was larger, more ingenious, spectacular, striking, imaginative and suggestive of the past this year than ever before. The high school students once more covered themselves with glory - besides having a jolly good time and communicating a lot of fun to the bystanders . . . As a success the Vigilante parade was complete, and once more advertized to the world that the Helena High School and Last Chance Gulch puts on a show once a year unmatched elsewhere on the globe.'

A week later, Ron disappeared. When he did not show up for school on Monday 14 May, there were excited rumours in the junior year that he had been expelled. 'Certainly we believed he had left in a hurry, under something of a cloud,' said Gorham Roberts. 'The story was that he had got mad at a teacher and put his butt into a waste-paper basket. Old A. J. Roberts, the principal, was a German from Heidelberg and a strict disciplinarian. Ron knew that he would never put up with such behaviour, so he didn't trouble to come back.'[7]

Aunt Marnie explained it differently: 'He just got itchy feet. He wanted to see something new. He was an adventurer at heart. The wanderlust was in him and he couldn't see himself staying in a little town like Helena when there was adventure ahead. He went off to Seattle to stay with my sister Midgie and her husband Bob. They tried to talk him into staying with them, but he went south, hopped a ship and worked his way back to Guam.'[8]
Whatever the truth, Ron never returned to Helena High. Two years later, he wrote two colourful accounts of the events leading up to his departure from Helena. Although they were only separated by a few pages in his journal, many of the details do not match; indeed some passages read suspiciously like the adventure stories he was constantly scribbling in his spare time.
It seemed he was driving his friends home after the Vigilante Day Parade in his 'mighty Ford' (presumably his grandfather's Model T.) when someone threw a baseball at them and hit him on the head. He stopped the car, chastized the offenders and dealt with them so severely that he broke four 'marcarpals' in his right hand.
'That was the beginning and the end. I couldn't wait and school faded from the picture. My hand was reset four times and life lost its joy. I sold the Ford and went West, taking Horace Greeley's [sic] advice.'

He announced to his grandfather that he had decided on a 'change of scenery' and caught a train for Seattle, where he stayed with his aunt and uncle for a couple of days. On 7 June, trading on his 'scout prestige', he moved to Camp Parsons for about a week, until it became too crowded and he decided to move on.
'I set out at noon, hiking a swift pace under a heavy pack through the lofty, virgin Olympics. At nine o'clock that night I made camp about two miles down the trail from "Shelter Rock". Twelve hours later I was limp on top of a boulder pile, saved from a broken spine by my pack. I gazed at the blood pumping from my wrist and decided it was high time I went to visit herr Docteur.'
No explanation is offered for this incident or for how he managed, in such a parlous state, to find his way back to Bremerton. It was there, while being treated by a Navy doctor, he was told that a US Navy transport, USS Henderson, was due to leave for Guam from San Francisco in a week's time (in the first account), or two weeks (in the second account). That night (first account), eight days later (second account), he was on a Shasta Limited overnight train heading south for California, apparently intent on rejoining his parents in Guam.

By the time he got to the Transport Dock in San Francisco the Henderson had already sailed. With only twenty dollars left in his pocket, Ron invested a nickel in a newspaper and read on the shipping page that the liner President Pierce, bound for China, was moored at Dock 28. An hour later he was standing in line at the dock, waiting to sign on as an ordinary seaman. While in the queue, smoking to calm his nerves, he suddenly decided it would be worth a call to Twelfth Naval District to find out where the Henderson was. Perhaps, he thought, she had not yet sailed for Guam, but had just moved down the coast to another port. His hunch was correct - an officer at Twelfth District told him the Henderson was in San Diego. Within half an hour - he appeared remarkably lucky with connections - he was on a bus bound for San Diego, five hundred miles further south.
When he finally caught up with the Henderson in San Diego, 'faint from lack of sleep and food', he was told that Washington would need to approve his request for a passage to Guam. Nothing if not bold, Ron called on the Aide to the Commandant, who turned out to be extraordinarily obliging and agreed to telegraph Washington immediately. Satisfied there was nothing more he could do for the moment, Ron rented a cheap room near the naval headquarters and slept for eighteen hours. When he woke, he learned that a signal had been received from Washington saying that his father's permission would be needed before he could join the ship.

'With fear and trembling, I had a radio sent out to Guam . . . I walked the streets of San Diego all that day with Old Man Worry gnawing at my brow. Would Dad reply "No!" or would he say "Yes"? You see, I had reason to be worried. This would be the first intimation he would have of my portending return . . .'

Out in Guam, Lieutenant Hubbard no doubt wondered what the hell was going on when he received a message from Washington informing him that his son was in San Diego requesting passage on a ship to Guam. It was to his credit that he immediately cabled his permission, which arrived in San Diego, according to Ron, only an hour before the Henderson was due to sail.
This does not quite accord with the deck log of the Henderson, which records that 'L.R. Hubbard, son of Lieutenant H. R. Hubbard USN, reported on board for transportation to Guam' at 1620 hours on Saturday 30 June. The ship did not sail until 1330 the following day. Neither do the dates match Lieutenant Hubbard's navy record, which indicates that Ron wrote to the Navy Department asking about transports to Guam as early as 10 May; he submitted a formal application for a passage in the Henderson on 28 May.[9]
However, Ron never considered that strict regard for the truth should be allowed to spoil a good story and so he described how he was standing with his suitcase in his hand at the bottom of the gangway to the ship when the cable came through. He had lost his trunk, somewhere between San Francisco and San Diego, but he was unconcerned. 'The Henderson sailed with me aboard,' he noted triumphantly. 'My possessions were: two handkerchiefs, two suits underwear, one pair shoes, one worn suit, one thin topcoat, one tooth brush, two pair socks and two pennies. No wardrobe, no money . . .'
He ended this part of his journal with a jaunty little postscript addressed to the reader: 'I will tell you the secret of this strange life I had. Sssh! I was born on Friday the thirteenth.'

It was, unfortunately, not quite true. 13 March 1911 was a Monday.

1. Facts About L. Ron Hubbard - Things You Should Know, Flag Divisional Directive, 8 Mar 1974 
2. What Is Scientology?, 1973, p. xlii 
3. ibid., p. xliv 
4. Scientology: A New Slant on Life, L. Ron Hubbard, 1965
5.  Facts About L. Ron Hubbard - Things You Should Know, Flag Divisional Directive, 8 Mar 1974
6. Letter to author from Montana Historical Society, 24 Mar 1986
7.  Interview with Gorham Roberts, Helena, Montana, April 1986
8. Interview with Mrs. Margaret Roberts, Helena, Montana, April 1986
9. H.R. Hubbard navy record

Bare-Faced Merriah - Chapter 3 Explorer Manqué

The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

On the final leg of the voyage, Ron's devotion to his studies rather appeared to falter, for he began filling his journal with one-paragraph synopses of short stories that he had either written, or perhaps intended to write, for magazines like True Confession and Adventure. 

Hubbard later claimed to have spent this period 'studying music' and 'composing operettas'. -- Chris Owen
It was clear from these entries that he was already thinking of a career as a writer, the Naval Academy notwithstanding. Indeed, he gave the impression that he had been grinding away at a typewriter for years, ending one synopsis, titled 'Armies for Rent', with a nonchalant addendum that it would include the 'usual plot complications'.

The budding science-fiction writer poses at his typewriter during a visit to his parents on the island of Guam in 1928

Hubbard learned to fly a glider while at George Washington University. He acquired the uniquely appropriate nickname of 'Flash' and liked to be described as a 'daredevil speed pilot and parachute artist'
'The following years, from 1925 to 1929, saw the young Mr Hubbard, between the ages of 14 and 18, as a budding and enthusiastic world traveller and adventurer. His father was sent to the Far East and having the financial support of his wealthy grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard, spent these years journeying through Asia . . .
'With the death of his grandfather, the Hubbard family returned to the United States and [Ron] enrolled at the George Washington University in the fall of 1930. At George Washington L. Ron Hubbard became associate editor of the University newspaper, "The Hatchet", and was a member of many of the University's clubs and societies . . . Here, also, he was enrolled in one of the first nuclear physics courses ever taught in an American university.
'As a student, barely 20 years old, he supported himself by writing and within a very few years he had established himself as an essayist in the literary world . . . He made the time during these same busy college years to act as a director with the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition of 1931. The underwater films made on that journey provided the Hydrographic Office and the University of Michigan with invaluable data for the furtherance of their research.

'Then in 1932, the true mark of an exceptional explorer was demonstrated. In that year L. Ron Hubbard, aged 21, achieved an ambitious "first". Conducting the West Indies Minerals Survey, he made the first complete mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico. This was pioneer exploration in the great tradition, opening up a predictable, accurate body of data for the benefit of others . . .' (Mission Into Time, published by the Church of Scientology, 1973)
(Scientology's account of the years 1928-29.)

*   *   *   *   *
The USS Henderson arrived off Guam on 25 July 1928 in heavy squalls and lay to on the lee side of the island for five days, waiting for an opportunity to enter the harbour. The weather did not seem to bother Ron. 'That trip was the best I ever took,' he wrote in his journal, 'and the best I ever hope to take. The Navy gave me a kangaroo court martial, there were nine young grass widows aboard, we danced every other night, the movies were good.'
Ron omitted from his journal any mention of how his parents reacted to his return. After more than a year apart, Harry and May were no doubt happy to see their seventeen-year-old son again, but they could not have been too pleased by his impetuous decision to drop out of High School. Since there was no possibility of getting him back to the United States in time for the start of the senior year - even if he would agree to go - it was decided that he should stay on Guam and be tutored by his mother in preparation for the entrance examination to the Naval Academy.

In spite of the limitations of her teaching experience, May seemed undaunted by the task of bringing her wayward son up to a sufficiently high educational standard to get him through the reputedly tough and highly competitive exam. And with servants padding softly about the house, attending unbidden to every household chore, she had plenty of time to devote to her son's studies.
For his part, Ron could not have been happier to substitute the authoritarian regime of old A.J. Roberts at Helena High for what he considered to be the exotic tropical allure of Guam and the gentle coaching of his mother.
In October, the Hubbards had an opportunity to take a recreational trip to China on the USS Gold Star, the ship that had brought May and Ron to Guam in the summer of 1927. Neither of them had much liked the ship, but the prospect of ten days' sight-seeing in Peking outweighed any reservations they might have had about another voyage. Hub warned his son that he would only be allowed to accompany them on condition that he continued his studies while the ship was at sea. Ron readily agreed.

On 6 October, thirty families reported on board the USS Gold Star for transportation to the China ports and return. Like the other officers on the excursion, Lieutenant Hubbard signed on for 'temporary duty' - he was Assistant to the Supply Officer. As previously, Ron kept a log of the trip, using one of the accounts books that his father could always provide. 'It is a delightful sensation', he scrawled in an early entry, 'to once more experience the pounding of engines below me and to hear the swish of a dark-blue sea outside our port.' At the bottom of the page was a world-weary, elegiac postscript: 'Another boat caught. Is ever thus?'
After a stop in Manila, which he reported as being like 'Guam plus XXX and a few trimmings', they sailed north towards the China coast. Ron was reluctantly confined to a desk in Cabin 9, claiming good progress with his studies.

The Gold Star re-fuelled with coal at Tsingtao, a busy port on the Shantung Peninsula only recently returned to China after being occupied for some years, first by the Germans, then the Japanese. Ron took the trouble to research Tsingtao's history and concluded that the Chinese, with all their corruption, were unworthy heirs to their own territory inasmuch as they had failed to profit from the efforts of Germany and Japan to clean up their country. 'A Chinaman can not live up to a thing,' he wrote, 'he always drags it down.' On 30 October he noted thankfully: 'We have left Tsingtao forever, I hope.'
On the following day the Gold Star anchored off T'ang-ku, from where its passengers took a train to Peking.[1] Like American tourists the world over, they made sure they got at least a glimpse of all the sights, which Ron described as 'rubberneck stations'. He was decidedly unimpressed by Peking's historical and religious architectural heritage.

The Temple of Heaven, probably the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture, he considered 'very gaudy and more or less crudely done'. The summer palace was 'very cheap as to workman-ship' and the winter palace was 'not much of a palace in my estimation'.
The Lama temple, closed a few days after their visit by the newly-formed National Government, was 'miserably cold and very shabby . . . The people worshipping have voices like bull-frogs and beat a drum and play a brass horn to accompany their singing (?).'

As for the Imperial palaces in the Forbidden City, one was 'very trashy-looking' and most of the others were 'not worth mentioning'. Only the Great Wall of China seemed to fire his imagination and that mostly because it was 'the only work of man's hand visible from Mars'. If China turned it into a 'rolly coaster', he added, 'it could make millions of dollars every year.'
Neither did the Chinese people endear themselves to the opinionated young American. He found them shallow, simple-minded, dishonest, lazy and brutal. 'When it comes to the Yellow Races overrunning the world, you may laugh,' he noted. '. . . [The Chinese] have neither the foresight or endurance to overrun any white country in any way except by intermarriage. One American marine could stand off a great many yellowmen without much effort.'
Even the climate failed to please. Winter lasted from October to May, he said, the cold was intense, and it was so dry that dust formed ankle-deep in the roads and caused 'Peking sore throat', a formidable complaint that endured all winter.

'I believe that the most startling thing one can see in northern China', he wrote, 'is the number of camels. These are of a very mean breed but they resist cold and carry burdens which is all the Chinaman requires of them. Every day in Peking one can see many caravans in the streets. They have a very stately shamble. They carry their head high; their mean mouths wagging and their humps lolling from side to side. All my life I have associated camels with Arabs and it strikes a discordant note with me to see the beasts shepherded by Chinamen.'
The Gold Star stopped at Shanghai and Hong Kong before heading back to Guam, but Ron tired of further descriptive writing, apart from taking a final swipe at the luckless Chinese race. 'They smell', he concluded, 'of all the baths they didn't take. The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here.'

On the final leg of the voyage, Ron's devotion to his studies rather appeared to falter, for he began filling his journal with one-paragraph synopses of short stories that he had either written, or perhaps intended to write, for magazines like True Confession and Adventure. 
Hubbard later claimed to have spent this period 'studying music' and 'composing operettas'. -- Chris Owen

It was clear from these entries that he was already thinking of a career as a writer, the Naval Academy notwithstanding. Indeed, he gave the impression that he had been grinding away at a typewriter for years, ending one synopsis, titled 'Armies for Rent', with a nonchalant addendum that it would include the 'usual plot complications'.
Predictably, the Orient was his favourite setting and the hero was invariably a white adventurer, as in 'Secret Service': 'Adventure. All in a day's work. Casual laddie in Hankow. Saves town. Joins Brit SS to carry out such orders as "Giovinni in Mukden exciting Communists. Use your own judgement. C13".'
None of his efforts, it must be said, were startlingly original: 'Love story. Goes to France. Meets swell broad in Marseilles. She takes him to her sink, bedroom and bath where he lives until notable citoyens object. He stands them off and takes the next boat for America having received a long expected will donation.'

On page 119 of the accounts book, Ron settled down to write a complete, though untitled, story which began: 'A lazy sun peeped over the horizon to throw glittering streamers of light across the breakers on the surf. The laggoon [sic] lay blue and cool. Tropical birds winged about their daily business and two figures lay stretched on the white coral sand. Two ragged figures, several feet apart . . .'
Ron's grasp of English grammar was as uncertain as his spelling. It transpired that these two figures, a boy and a girl, were the sole survivors of a shipwreck. The girl roused the boy in traditional fashion ('Bob! Bob! Speak to me!'), whereupon Bob spoke thus: '"Their [sic] gone, all gone, they're dead and the ship is at the bottom."'

Alone on a desert island paradise, nature takes its course and they swear undying, though entirely chaste, love. But after being rescued and returning to the United States they drift apart. The story - interrupted on page 123 by the scribbled working of some hated algebra equations - ends with a poignant reunion in a San Francisco hotel lobby during which the couple laugh at their earlier foolishness. 
Although Ron's narrative writing was still immature, he demonstrated an obvious talent in the craft of short-story writing, structuring the narrative skilfully and compensating for what he lacked in literary skill by sheer productivity. 

The Gold Star arrived back at Guam on 18 December and in the weeks and months that followed Ron turned out dozens of stories and essays, filling one accounts book after another. His mother took a photograph of him as a budding young writer, sitting at a desk in the bungalow with his fingers poised on the keys of a big upright typewriter, although he actually preferred to write by hand in a large, untidy script, frequently crossing out words or sentences, sometimes even whole pages, as he progressed.

Like all writers, there were some days when it just would not come right:
'The sun was hot, the day was still, the palm trees gaudy green, lined the beach of that tropical isle . . .
'The sun was hot, the day was still and Hospital Corpsman James Thorpe surveyed his tiny domain . . .
'The sun was hot, the day was still . . .
'The sun was hot and except for the monotonous drone of the sea beating the cruel reef the day was still . . .'

At the age of eighteen, Ron was a pink-faced, lanky youth with a cowlick of red hair and a spotty complexion, but he was writing as if he was a well-travelled man of the world, a carefree, two-fisted, knockabout adventurer with a zest for life. It was an image he was able to create by using the slender experience of his brief travels in the East to provide a gloss of verisimilitude on the overheated combustion of his imagination.

In this way, he felt able to philosophize about 'the untrustworthy, lying, cruel, changeable, satirical Lady Luck', as if he had suffered more than once from her capriciousness: 'This humorist of humorists, this demon of demons has dragged men from their places in the sun into the slime of oblivion; has made beggars kings; has, with a whisper, made and crushed thousands; has laughed at the beings who supposed they ruled our destinies; and has killed enough men to patch hell's highway its blistering length.'

Only when dealing, gingerly, with the opposite sex did the pubescent man of the world lose his assurance. The story that began so tortuously with 'The sun is hot . . .' was about a male nurse in the Navy who fell for his native assistant. 'She took the chair with a sly glance at the boy and folded her slim brown hands in her lap. The Corpsman was suddenly aware that she was beautiful. He swam for a moment in the depths of her clear brown eyes and then seated himself quickly upon the grass. He was somewhat startled by his discovery and told himself fiercely that she was native, native, native.'

When, inevitably, they fell into each other's arms ('Dimly he saw Marie on the porch and in a moment he felt her in his arms . . .') Ron seemed unsure how to proceed with the story. He scored through the next four lines so heavily as to make them illegible, then abandoned it.

As his attention was so diverted by his fantastic excursions into his imagination, it was perhaps no surprise that Ron failed the entrance examination to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Mathematics, which he detested, let him down.[2] His father was disappointed but still convinced that Ron could get through the examination. Lieutenant Hubbard's tour of duty in Guam was soon coming to an end and he knew that his next posting would be to Washington DC, where he was to be Disbursing Officer at the Naval Hospital. He discovered that Swavely Preparatory School in Manassas, Virginia - which was within the Washington DC metropolitan area - ran a special course for Annapolis candidates and after a lengthy exchange of telegrams between Guam and Manassas, he managed to enrol Ron for the 1929-30 school year.
The Hubbards returned to the United States at the end of August 1929 and went straight to Helena, Montana, for a happy family reunion. (Their return was not prompted by the death of Ron's 'wealthy grandfather', as suggested in 'official' biographies, since Lafayette Waterbury was still very much alive. He died, aged sixty-seven, on 18 August 1931.) May, who had sometimes found the tropical climate in Guam exhausting, was particularly pleased to be home, filling her lungs with the sweet mountain air of Montana, and she decided to stay on for a while when the time came for Hub to take Ron to Washington.

On 30 September Ron started back at school in the leafy environs of Manassas. In Helena, May sat down to write her son a loving, but gently chiding, letter on the family's rickety typewriter:

Dearest Ronald,
Am thinking a lot about this, your first day at school. Do hope you like it and that you study every lesson thoroughly. Remember you are paying for the information and so do not hesitate to ask a teacher again and again about anything that is not clear. I want you to hold to just this one job - getting through school and passing examinations at the top. Don't write anything outside your school stuff. Don't read anything outside of school requirements. When you are through with lessons, get outdoors for your health. If you stick to this rule you will win through.
I am feeling worlds better in this mountain air. It is a wonderful change from the tropics. It is too bad that dad could not also have had it instead of going so early on the job. He did it for yon so when you feel like slacking, I want you to remember dad gave up his hard earned leave to put you where you are. There is only one way you can pay dad and that is by making good. Your success is our biggest goal in life . . .

May went on to tell her son about the weather, a two-day fishing trip and the trout she had caught, and Toilie being mad because he had not written her any letters. He was to let her know if he wanted his hiking boots. 'I am on my toes to hear all about your school . . .' she concluded. 'With love and best wishes. Mother.'

Lieutenant Hubbard's heartfelt hope that his son would follow him into the US Navy through the Naval Academy was soon to be dashed. During his first semester at Swavely, Ron went to a doctor complaining of eye-strain and was sent to the Naval Hospital for tests. These revealed him to be so short-sighted that he stood no chance of passing the medical requirements for entry to Annapolis. May, meanwhile, had arrived from Helena and moved into a small house in Oakcrest, Virginia, which Hub had rented for them. Many evenings she would sit with her husband fretting about Ron: Hub's gloom about what the future held for his son was greatly exacerbated by the Wall Street Crash, which seemed as if it would engulf the country in catastrophe.

Ron himself exhibited little regret that a career in the Navy was no longer an option. At Swavely he was made an associate editor of the school's monthly newspaper, the Swavely Sentinel, and he was also busy rehearsing for his part as Anatol in Episode, a one-act comedy which was to launch the Swavely Players' season on 13 December. In truth, being an editor or an actor was a sight more alluring to him than being in the Navy, although he would never have admitted it to his father.
While Ron was happily immersed in school life at Swavely, his father was in frequent contact with the Registrar at George Washington University to try and find a way of getting his son accepted as an undergraduate. Lieutenant Hubbard was advised that if Ron could earn sufficient credits at a recognized school - Woodward School for Boys, a YMCA 'crammer' in Washington DC, was mentioned - he would not be required to sit the College Entrance Examination for the university.

Accordingly, Ron was enrolled at Woodward in February 1930. At the beginning of May he took time off from his studies to enlist as a Private in the US Marine Corps Reserve, adding two years to his age and giving his occupation, for some reason, as 'photographer'. It seems he was unconcerned by such piffling mendacity, even on official
documents, for his bold signature appears at the bottom of his Service Record, confirming both the errors and his physical description height 5'10½", weight 165lb, eyes grey, hair red, complexion ruddy. Six weeks later he was inexplicably promoted to First Sergeant, a leap in rank that was astonishing even by his own standards of self-regard.[3]

Ron's lack of concern for literal truth was exemplified by the persistence with which he claimed he had once been the youngest eagle scout. Even when he won the Woodward school finals in the National Oratorical Contest, with a speech on 'The Constitution; a Guarantee of the Liberty of the Individual', the school newspaper did not fail to mention that he was 'at one time the youngest eagle scout in America', although it was not immediately apparent what this had to do with oratory.[4]
To the intense pleasure of his parents, Ron graduated in June. In a letter to another university (Lieutenant Hubbard was clearly determined to keep his son's options open), his father wrote proudly: 'Ronald worked day and night to prepare for the several examinations and was successful in passing all of them. In my own opinion he has covered considerably more ground than is usual in any high school course and the fact that with all the handicaps he has encountered he has succeeded, he is therefore the best possible subject for university and college work.'[5]

On 24 September 1930, Ron was admitted as a freshman to the School of Engineering at George Washington University, with a major in civil engineering - a discipline suggested by his father. He was photographed for The Cherry Tree, the university year book, standing in the back row of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers in a smart suit and spotted tie, staring solemnly at the camera, hair smarmed back and instantly identifiable by his curiously protuberant lips, which often gave him an unfortunately sullen demeanour.

The GW Campus, in the heart of Washington DC, was a lively place to be at the start of the 'thirties, despite Prohibition and the worst depression in American history. Even though the newspapers were full of stories about children scavenging for food in garbage cans and pictures of gaunt faces waiting in bread lines, civil engineering students seemed to face a bright future, for people were already beginning to talk about the new era of technocracy, the absolute domination of technology, and the 'Great Engineer' - Herbert Hoover - occupied the White House, just a few blocks from the campus. In New York, the Empire State Building, the tallest building in the world, was nearing completion, testimony to the vision, brilliance and the bright prospects of American civil engineers.
Unhappily, it was a future Ron viewed with some jaundice, for his heart was not in engineering and he had no time for worthy folk like civil engineers. While lecturers droned on about the theory of structure and stress analysis, Ron's imagination roamed the world of the adventure comic strips which were just then beginning to make an impact on American mass culture. His lusty fantasies were still peopled by spies and commissars, pirates and warlords, English soldiers of fortune with impeccable credentials and the stiffest of upper lips pitted against Chinamen of barely credible inscrutability.
His mother's advice - 'don't write anything outside your school stuff' - was quickly forgotten as he covered page after page of his notebooks with swashbuckling yarns, usually set in the Orient and always scribbled in obvious haste as if he could never wait to arrive at the dénouement. His literary interests naturally attracted him to the staff of the university's weekly newspaper, the Hatchet, but while Ron considered himself well enough qualified to be an editor, all he was offered was the job of reporter, which lowly position he only managed to endure for a few months in the spring of 1931.

However, he had become much enamoured of late with the infant sport of gliding and the idea of learning to fly and he was able to use his influence at the newspaper to stimulate interest in the formation of a university gliding club. On 1 April 1931, the Hatchet reported that an initial meeting of the George Washington University Gliding Club was to he held soon. The club had secured the use of a Berliner primary trainer and plans were being made to buy a power glider to train students for power flight. Anyone interested, the report concluded, should contact L. Ron Hubbard at theHatchet office.

Thereafter, Ron made sure that the activities of the gliding club were extensively covered. On 15 April it was reported that 'several GW men who are well versed in the science of aviation and motorless flight' were expected to attend an initial meeting the following day. 22 April: 'Glider Club Begins Training at Congressional Airport.' 13 May: 'Members of Glider Club Try Out Theories In Air.'

Ron adored gliding and spent a great deal of time hanging around at Congressional Airport in Rockville, Maryland, hoping to cadge an extra flight and a tow in the Old Ford that pulled the gliders into the air. He never hesitated to cut classes if it meant 'going up' and he relied on his fellow students to brief him on the content of the classes he missed. It was not an ideal way to qualify as a civil engineer.
Although Ron was elected president of the gliding club, it rather appeared from the reports in the Hatchet that he was in danger of being overshadowed by his vice-president, one Ray A. Heimburger. The 13 May story noted, for example, that Heimburger was the first member to release his tow-line in the air, at the height of forty feet, while Ron was still 'trying his hand at the art of making turns in the air'. Einstein's theories were a 'pipe', Ron was quoted as saying, 'compared to the navigation of a motorless ship'. A few weeks later, Heimburger won second place in a spot landing contest at the Curtis Wright Air Show in Baltimore; another GW student took third place, but Ron did not merit a mention.
If there was any jealousy between the president and his deputy, it was forgotten on 13 July when they both passed their tests at Congressional Airport. Ron was rated 85 - average - by the examiner and was awarded Commercial Glider Pilot Licence No 385.[6] By then he had completed 116 flights - evidence of the amount of time he had devoted to the sport in the two months since the gliding club began training.

It was hardly surprising that Ron's success as a glider pilot was not matched by academic achievement and his grades at the end of the second semester were disappointing. He got an A for physical education, B for English, C for mechanical engineering, D for general chemistry and Fs for German and calculus. His overall grade for the year was D average, a result which gave no pleasure at all to his parents. They were convinced that he could do better.
After a stern warning from his father that he would be expected to show a big improvement in his second year, Ron left Washington to spend the summer vacation at Port Huron, Michigan, where he had arranged to help a friend, Philip Browning, run a gliding school. While he was there, Browning taught him to fly a small stunt plane, although Ron never held a licence for powered flight.[7]

Ron was still in Port Huron when he learned in August that his beloved grandfather had died. The entire family gathered in Helena for the funeral - all six Waterbury 'girls' (Hope had died in childbirth in 1928) were there with their husbands and children and Ray came from Canada with his wife. Lafe was buried at Forestvale Cemetery, a quiet patch of prairie mid-way between the town and the mountains. Immediately after the funeral, Ron returned to Washington to report for two weeks' annual training with the 20th Marine Corps Reserve and was rated 'excellent' for military efficiency, obedience and sobriety.[8]
On the morning of Sunday 13 September 1931, the good people of Gratis, Ohio, a small farming community in Preble County, were surprised to see a small biplane swoop out of the sky and land on a field to the east of the town. The pilots, according to an awed report in the Preble County News, were Philip Browning and 'L. Ron "Flash" Hubbard, dare-devil speed pilot and parachute artist'.

The newspaper reported that the two flyers were forced down after running short of fuel. George Swisher, on whose farm they landed, must have been a phlegmatic sort of chap, because it was averred that his first words were: 'Anything I can do for you boys?' After the 'dare-devil speed pilot and parachute artist' had explained the problem, an obliging local by the name of Raymond Boomershine volunteered to run into town to get them some gas.
'Meanwhile,' Ron would recall, 'a lot of people were arriving. They wanted to know if we needed any help. And we said the plane had to be turned around and although they were all in their Sunday best they grabbed the tail and turned her around. Then Raymond Boomershine came back with the gas and helped us fill the tank. We tried to pay him and he said "Nope" and my pal said, "We don't know how to thank you." And Raymond said, "Well, if you put it that way, I always wanted to ride in one of them things. How about a short hop?" That started it. Everyone and his kids got a ride.'[9]

According to the Preble County News, a total of thirty-six 'daring souls' were given a joy-ride that Sunday, by which time it was too dark for the fliers to leave. They stayed the night with Mr and Mrs Luther Kiracofe and next day 'roared on to St Louis, headed for more adventures'.
On the same day Ron was roaring to St Louis, he was also placed on 'scholastic probation' at George Washington University because of his poor grades. When he eventually returned to Washington he appeared unabashed by this stricture, for he continued to devote much of his energy to the gliding club in the hope of raising sufficient funds to purchase a soaring plane.

A few years later Ron would provide, in his usual jaunty prose, a picturesque description of how he had become disillusioned with civil engineering: 'I have some very poor grade sheets which show that I studied to be a civil engineer in college. Civil engineering seemed very handsome at the time. I met the lads in their Stetsons from Crabtown to Timbuctu and they seemed to lead a very colorful existence squinting into their transits. However, too late, I was sent up to Maine by the Geological Society to find the lost Canadian Border. Much bitten by seven kinds of insects, gummed by the muck of swamps, fed on johnny cake and tarheel, I saw instantly that a civil engineer had to stay far too long in far too few places and so I rapidly forgot my calculus and slip stick . . .'[10]

At the end of the next semester, Ron's grades showed no improvement and he remained on probation. He was nevertheless elected a member of Phi Theta XI, the Professional Engineering Fraternity, and was photographed for the year book in formal evening dress, black tie and starched wing collar, as if grimly intent, like his fraternity fellows, on pursuing a career building bridges. On the evening of 8 January 1932, Ron could be found among the eight hundred revellers at the first Engineering Ball, held in the west ballroom at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Music for dancing was provided by Red Anderson and his orchestra - 'Mood Indigo', 'Goodnight Sweetheart', 'Minnie the Moocher' and 'When the Moon comes over the Mountain' were the popular songs of the day - and the cabaret featured The Troubadours, under the directions of one Trimble Sawtelle. The Hatchet listed Ron as one of the members of the organizing committee and declared the event to be a 'pronounced' success.
A more important event for Ron that month was the publication of his first article in a magazine. 'Tailwind Willies', in the Sportsman Pilot, described his adventures flying across country in the Midwest with his friend Philip 'Flip' Browning. 'We had three weeks' excess time before we had to get back to the college grind,' he wrote. 'Our resources were one Arrow Sport biplane, two toothbrushes and four itchy feet . . . We carefully wrapped our "baggage", threw the fire extinguisher out to save half a horsepower, patched a hole in the upper wing and started off to skim over four or five states with the wind as our only compass . . .'

The forced landing at Gratis was not apparently considered worthy of mention, perhaps because there appeared to be no shortage of spectacular, not to say unlikely, incidents. At Newport, Indiana, for example, they stopped to take on gas but got stuck in a muddy field. 'I crawled out to let Flip take a whirl at it alone. By using up half the field he managed to wish the muddy Sparrow into her element, and after building some altitude, wheeled over to the place where I stood and called down that there was another field a short distance away. After pacifying a sheriff, who was about to lock me up for trespassing, by shoving him into a mud puddle, I hopped onto the running board of a Purdue Boy's car and burned road over to Flip's new landing place - if you could call it that. The second field was little better than the first and three attempts were necessary before we willed the Sparrow up just in time to see a nine-foot telephone wire at the height of our prop. Flip threw the nose down and the wires were a scant foot above my head . . .'

Any hope of Ron knuckling down to his studies disappeared early in 1932 when the Hatchet announced its intention to publish a monthly Literary Review. Nothing could have suited him better, for it provided him with a further excuse to neglect his tedious engineering books while he wrote more short stories, and sifted through the hundreds he had already written, to find something suitable for publication.
It was unthinkable, out of the question as far as Ron was concerned, for the Literary Review to appear without a contribution from L. Ron Hubbard and the first issue, published on 9 February 1932, carried a short story eponymously titled 'Tah', about a twelve-year-old boy soldier in China on a route march to a gory death at the point of a bayonet. It was clearly a successful debut, for the third issue included 'Grounded', another bloodthirsty Hubbard story, this one a description of a naval engagement on the Yangtze river, swirling with headless corpses, in which the Commanding Officer of HMS Spitfire meets a sticky end.

In May, Ron won the Literary Review's drama contest with a one-act play, The God Smiles. Set in a café in Tsingtao in Communist China, the plot hovered uncertainly between Chekhov and farce and involved a White Russian officer and his lover hiding behind a curtain to escape arrest by a tyrannical warlord.
Ron was pleased to have his work acknowledged, but he was by then immersed in a new and consuming project that would temporarily take precedence over all his other interests - even gliding. He was making plans to lead an 'expedition' to the Caribbean.

Other, less bombastic, students might have been inclined to describe the venture as a 'summer cruise', but that was not Ron's way. No, it was to be nothing short of a fully-fledged expedition and he was to be its leader. He had already decided on a suitably grandiose title - the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition. Its dubious scientific aim was to explore and film the pirate 'strongholds and bivouacs of the Spanish main' and to 'collect whatever one collects for exhibits in museums'.[11]
The background to the 'expedition' was that Ron and his friend Ray Heimburger had discovered a big old four-masted schooner, the Doris Hamlin, berthed in Baltimore and available for charter through the summer. Two hundred feet long and 1061 gross tons, she had never been fitted with engines and was thus not exactly overwhelmed with business. Ron had a long talk with the skipper, Captain Fred Garfield, and reckoned that if he could get together about fifty other students they could afford to charter the Doris Hamlin for the whole of the summer vacation. After all, he reasoned, with unemployment in the Unites States topping thirteen million, no one could entertain much hope of finding a vacation job. It did not take him long to find enough volunteers to join him - a tribute to his enthusiasm, organizational ability and salesmanship.
The first report of the forthcoming expedition in the Hatchet, on 24 May 1932, was not by-lined but bore all the hallmarks of L. Ron Hubbard's florid literary style. 'Contrary to popular belief,' it began, 'windjammer days are not over and romance refuses to die the death - at least for fifty young gentleman rovers who will set sail on the schooner Doris Hamlin from Baltimore on 20 June for the pirate haunts of the Spanish Main . . .

'According to L. Ron Hubbard, the strongholds and bivouacs of the Spanish Main have lain neglected and forgotten for centuries and there has never been a concerted attempt to tear apart the jungles to find the castles of Teach, Morgan, Bonnet, Bluebeard, Kidd, Sharp . . . Down there where the sun is whipping up heat waves from the palms, this crew of gentleman rovers will re-enact the scenes which struck terror to the hearts of the world only a few hundred years ago - with the difference that this time it will be for the benefit of the fun and the flickering ribbon of celluloid. In their spare time, if they have any, they will scale the heights of belching volcanoes, hunt in the thick jungles, shoot flying fish on the wing . . .'
Apart from exploring and 're-enacting' pirate scenes (a perhaps questionable contribution to science), the 'gentlemen rovers' also planned to collect valuable botanical specimens, write articles for travel magazines and make a number of short movies. 'Scenarios will be written on the spot in accordance with the legends of the particular island and after a thorough research through the ship's library, which is to include many authoritative books on pirates.'

The itinerary was similarly crowded - during the one hundred-day cruise it was planned to stop at sixteen ports on the islands of Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Nevis, Montserrat, St Croix, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Gonave, Tortue and the Bahamas. More experienced expedition leaders might have paused to ponder the feasibility of attempting to sail five thousand miles in one hundred days in an old four-master with no auxiliary power, but Ron was able to draw on all the overweening confidence of his twenty-one years and would not consider anything remotely less ambitious.

The expedition certainly appeared to have impressive backing. There were reports that the University of Michigan was providing technical support, the Carnegie Institute and the Metropolitan Museum were somehow involved, a sea-plane had been shipped on board to take aerial pictures, Fox Movietone and Pathé News were competing for film rights and The New York Times had contracted to buy still photographs. Members of the expedition, it was said, would be sharing the profits from these various lucrative deals.
It seemed that young Ron Hubbard had pulled off quite a coup and it was in the spirit of the greatest possible optimism that the Doris Hamlin set sail from Baltimore on 23 June, only a few days behind schedule. As the schooner slipped her moorings, spread her four great sails and leaned into Chesapeake Bay, every man on board believed he was on the threshold of a great adventure. Ron, standing in the bows with the wind ruffling his red hair, was grinning as broadly as the rest, even though ten of the 'gentleman rovers' had entertained last-minute second thoughts and pulled out, leaving the expedition in what he would later ominously describe as a 'delicate financial situation'.
In Washington, nothing was heard of the expedition until 5 August, when the Hatchet reported that the schooner had arrived, 'with everything ship-shape', at Bermuda on 6 July. The story quoted a letter, presumably from Ron, explaining some of the expedition's early difficulties: 'We had one H--- of a time getting out of the Chesapeake Bay with the wind blowing in like the very devil. After that we had a couple of days of calm. Then a stiff breeze came along and we keeled over and ran before it nicely. But next it blew into a storm and for two days we were tossed and rolled about enough to make nearly everyone sick. After that we got a break and the last three days our bowsprit has been cutting through the brine at eight or nine knots.'

What was not explained was why, two weeks after leaving Baltimore, the Doris Hamlin was in Bermuda, six hundred miles out in the Atlantic and almost as far from Martinique, her planned first port of call, as Baltimore. It was a question that could not be answered until early in September when the Doris Hamlin sailed back into Chesapeake Bay three weeks before her expected return. In Baltimore, Captain Garfield, a man of few words but with thirty years' sailing experience, sourly declared the voyage 'the worst trip I ever made'.
Even Ron, who did his best to put a brave face on it, could barely conceal the fact that the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition had been a disaster. From the start, nothing had gone right: after leaving the east coast of the United States, storms had driven the schooner far off course and Captain Garfield had told Ron they would have to put into Bermuda to replenish the fresh water tanks, which had sprung a leak. Ron, who knew there was barely enough money in the kitty to cover expenses, ordered the Captain to stand off the island to try and avoid harbour charges. Garfield refused. A heated argument followed but the veteran skipper was not of a mind to take orders from a twenty-one-year-old and sailed his ship into Bermuda harbour.

At this first landfall, eleven members of the expedition promptly announced they had had enough adventure and intended to go home. They had been disgusted, Ron explained, by the 'somewhat turbulent seas'. It transpired that the ship's cook also suffered from seasickness and so Ron fired him and hired two Bermudans to take his place. By the time he had paid off the cook and settled the bills for fresh water supplies, mooring and pilotage, the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition was in danger of running out of money before it even arrived in the Caribbean.
Two days out from Bermuda, bound for Martinique, Ron discovered that all the fresh water which had been taken on board had leaked away and his relationship with the Captain became even more acrimonious. It took the Doris Hamlin seventeen days to reach Martinique, where she arrived a month to the day after leaving Baltimo
As soon as the anchor splashed into the blue water of the bay at Fort de France, once notorious for yellow fever, several more 'gentleman rovers' abandoned ship and made their own way home, disinterested in further roving with Ron. After they had gone ashore, Ron decided on a showdown with the increasingly surly Captain Garfield. As a result of the fresh water débâcle, he said, he would not be handing over any more money to the Captain. Garfield stomped off, muttering dark threats.
News of this development instantly reached the ears of the six-man crew, whom Ron had earlier affectionately described as 'old sea dogs'. Faced with a threat to their wages, they instantly turned rabid and demanded Ron pay them in full, in advance. The leader of the rapidly disintegrating expedition tried to placate them and promised to cable home for more money.

Meanwhile, Captain Garfield was sending his own cable home - to the owners of the Doris Hamlin, warning them that the charter fees were at risk. Their response was immediate and unequivocal. Garfield was ordered to sail the ship straight back to Baltimore. Ron pleaded for more time, swore there was no shortage of money, threatened dire retribution in the courts, appealed to the Captain's better nature - all to no avail. In desperation, he went ashore to seek advice from the US Consul in Fort de France, but was told there was nothing that could be done.
The Doris Hamlin weighed anchor and set a course for home with not a single pirate haunt explored. The 'gentlemen rovers' could do no more than stare moodily from the schooner's rails as the islands they hoped to visit passed by on the horizon and dropped astern. 'When we left Martinique, the whole aspect of the trip had changed,' Ron confessed. 'Morale was down to zero.'
Captain Garfield was obliged to stop at Ponce in Puerto Rico to take on supplies of food and water and Ron went ashore once more to make a final attempt to salvage the expedition. At the Ponce Harbor Board he was told he could take legal action against the owners of the Doris Hamlin but that it might take months to resolve. Sadly, he accepted defeat and the remaining 'gentleman rovers' were carried unwillingly back to Baltimore.

After his return to Washington, he wrote an account of the expedition's troubles for the Washington Daily News, contriving to cast Captain Garfield in the worst possible light. To head off assumptions that the whole trip had been a flop, he concluded in typically rhapsodic vein: 'Despite these difficulties, we had a wonderful summer. The lot of us are tanned and healthy and we know what few men know these speedy days - the thrill of plowing thru blue seas in a wooden ship with nothing but white wings to drive us over the horizon.'
By the time Ron and Ray Heimburger got round to preparing a report for the Hatchet on 17 September 1932, the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition had been miraculously transformed into something of a triumph. Slow sailing, unforeseen expenses and lack of experience were blamed for the cutback in the itinerary, but 'although the expedition was a financial failure, nevertheless the adventures and scientific ends accomplished well compensated for the financial deficit.'
Among the scientific accomplishments claimed was the collection of a great many specimens of flora and fauna for the University of Michigan, some of them 'very rare', the provision of underwater film to the Hydrographic Office, and 'much research work in the field of natural life while at the various islands'. The New York Times, it was reported, had bought some of the photographs taken on the expedition.

Life on board the Doris Hamlin was presented in the rosiest of lights and there was even a hint of romantic adventures ashore: 'By way of amusement on board the ship, the boys entertained themselves with chess, bridge, volley-ball tournaments, etcetera, and on land, when they weren't out catching sharks or harpooning or visiting some colourful spot, they were capably entertained by the dark-eye señoritas at the various ports.'
All in all, the report concluded that the expedition was nothing short of a 'glorious adventure'.

Curiously, no trace may be found of the many contributions to science which Ron claimed on behalf of the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition. The Hydrographic Office has no record of receiving the expedition's underwater films,[12] the University of Michigan can find none of the specimens brought back by the 'gentleman rovers'[13] and the archives at The New York Times hold no photographs from the expedition, no evidence that it was ever intended to buy such photographs, nor indeed any indication that the newspaper was even aware of the expedition's existence.[14]
Mystery similarly surrounds the West Indies Minerals Survey, that 'pioneer exploration in the great tradition' during which Ron is said to have completed the first mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico. This would certainly have been an impressive achievement for a twenty-one-year-old civil engineering student, but the US Geological Survey knows nothing about it[15], neither does the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources[16] nor Doctor Howard Meyerhoff, visiting professor in geology at the University of Puerto Rico, 1931-2.[17]

When Ron returned home from the Caribbean, he discovered that his grades for his second year at George Washington University were disastrous: a B for English, but D in calculus and electrical and magnetic physics, and an F for molecular and atomic physics. He was perhaps not surprised and as his expectation of graduating was fast receding he could see no point in wasting a third year studying a subject in which he had no interest. When he adjudged the moment to be appropriate, he announced to his parents that he had had enough of civil engineering and did not intend to return to university.
May and Harry Hubbard were mortified. As they saw it, their son was squandering a fine opportunity to enter a respectable profession and enjoy a successful career; it seemed such a waste. But Ron adamantly refused to listen to their entreaties that he should face up to his responsibilities, return to university, study hard and graduate.

Lieutenant Hubbard, accepting at last that Ron could not be persuaded to change his mind, cast about for something worthwhile to keep his son occupied until he was ready to think again about a proper career; he was determined not to allow Ron to fritter away his time scribbling more stories. At the Naval Hospital where he was still working as Disbursing Officer, he heard that the Red Cross was looking for volunteers to work in Puerto Rico. On 13 October, he wrote to the Navy Department requesting a passage to San Juan for his son, supporting his request with a note: 'The purpose of sending my son to Puerto Rico is to place his services at the disposal of the American Red Cross in their relief work on that island.' Two days later, the request was approved.

On 23 October 1932, Ron reported on board the US Navy transport, USS Kittery, at Norfolk, Virginia, for transportation to Puerto Rico. Among his fellow passengers were a number of nurses and the wife of the director of the American Red Cross. While he was still at sea, readers of the November issue of the Sportsman Pilot were entertained by a second L. Ron Hubbard article, this time about his escapades as a glider pilot. He described 'the most terrible nightmare I have ever gone through' - how his glider had folded a wing at four hundred feet, how he had battled to prevent it going into a spin and how, as he crashed, 'so many wires wrapped themselves about my neck that I was unable to wear a collar for weeks.' A few weeks later, he modestly added, he set up an unofficial world record by flying a glider at a speed of eighty miles an hour at a level altitude for a duration of twelve minutes.
The USS Kittery arrived at Port au Prince, Puerto Rico, on 4 November. The log book records that L. R. Hubbard left the ship along with his fellow passengers, but by then he had plans other than volunteer relief work. Somewhere between Norfolk, Virginia, and Port au Prince it seems that Ron decided to abandon the Red Cross and strike out into the hills in search of the gold he was convinced must have been left behind on the island by the Conquistadores.

He would later claim that he spent at least six months prospecting in Puerto Rico: 'Harboring the thought that the Conquistadores might have left some gold behind, I determined to find it . . . After a half year or more of intensive search, after wearing my palms thin wielding a sample pack, after assaying a few hundred sacks of ore, I came back, a failure.'[18]
It is possible that his real motive was not so much a genuine expectation of striking gold as a desire to escape the dreary clutches of the Red Cross. As he noted in an article written on his return to the United States: 'Gold prospecting in the wake of the Conquistadores, on the hunting grounds of the pirates in the islands which still reek of Columbus is romantic, and I do not begrudge the sweat which splashed in muddy rivers, and the bits of khaki which have probably blown away from the thorn bushes long ago.'
Quite how long he spent splashing through muddy rivers was not documented. Certainly at one point during his short sojourn on the island, he appears to have been employed as a field representative for a prospecting company called West Indies Minerals and a photograph exists of him standing disconsolately in a pith helmet, hands in his pockets, watching a party of three or four labourers digging on a hillside.
But if he was supervising the first mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico, it was a survey destined never to materialize in any archive. Indeed, it rather seems as if the 'West Indies Minerals Survey' derived from a trip undertaken, at the insistence of Ron's angry and disappointed father, more as a penance than an expedition.

1. Deck log, USS Gold Star
2.  L. R. Hubbard Service Record Book, US Marine Corps
3. 3. Ibid. 
4. Unidentified newspaper clipping 
5. Letter from H. R. Hubbard to South Eastern University, 1930
6. Certified airman's file, Federal Aviation Administration, 12 May 1986 
7. Ibid. 
8. L. R. Hubbard Service Record Book, US Marine Corps
9.  Preble County News, 21 July 1983, (reprint of original article) 
10. Adventure, 1 October 1935
10. The Hatchet, 24 May 1932
11. Letter from Oceanographic Office, Dept of Navy, 22 June 1970 
13. Letter to author from University of Michigan, 23 April 1986 
14. Letter to author from Director of Archives, The New York Times, 14 April 1986 
15. Report from Clifford Kaye, US Geological Survey, 22 June 1970
16. Letter from Dept of Natural Resources, San Juan, 10 Oct 1979 
17. Letter from Dr Meyerhoff, 11 Feb 1980
18. Adventure, 1 October 1935

Bare-faced Messiah Chapter 4 Blood and Thunder

Bare-faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October 1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

'His first action on leaving college was to blow off steam by leading an expedition into Central America. In the next few years he headed three, all of them undertaken to study savage peoples and cultures to provide fodder for his articles and stories. Between 1933 and 1941 he visited many barbaric cultures and yet found time to write seven million words of published fact and fiction.' (A Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard, 1959)
Precious little care went into compiling the many biographies of L. Ron Hubbard. Had anyone bothered to research Hubbard's published output, it would immediately have been obvious that he had not written anything like seven million words during this period. Between 1933 and 1941, he published about 160 articles and stories, almost all of them in pulp magazines. The nature of the medium proscribed lengthy literary efforts, thus pulp fiction tended to be short, with few stories running to more than 10,000 words. If he had written seven million published words, the averagelength of each of his contributions would have been an impossible 44,000 words.
A little intelligent inquiry would also have established that Hubbard never left North America during the years in question: the 'fodder' for his stories derived not from expeditions to faraway places, but from past experiences embellished by his fecund imagination. Neither did he visit 'barbaric cultures', except, perhaps, those to be found in New York and Los Angeles . . .
(Scientology's account of the years 1933-36.)

*   *   *   *
Ron arrived back in Washington DC in February 1933, not too disappointed at his failure as a gold prospector and hotly anxious to renew his acquaintanceship with a young lady he had met on a gliding field shortly before his father sent him packing to Puerto Rico.
The object of his ardour was a twenty-six-year-old farmer's daughter from Elkton, Maryland. Her name was Margaret Louise Grubb, but everyone called her Polly. She was a bright, pretty girl with bobbed blond hair and an independent streak in keeping with the age of Amelia Earhart who, nine months earlier, had become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Earhart inspired thousands of American women to take an interest in aviation and at weekends Polly used to like to walk out to an airfield near her home to watch the gliders wobble uncertainly into the air behind a tow from an aged and rusting Ford.

An only child whose mother had died years earlier, she both looked after her father and supported herself financially (she had got her first job, working in a shoe shop, at the age of sixteen). But despite her responsibilities, she was soon determined to learn to fly and was well on the way to getting her own licence[1] when a young man with startling red hair showed up at the airfield one weekend.

Polly could hardly fail to register Ron's arrival since he was immediately the focus of attention among the little group of leather-helmeted pilots waiting for a tow. They seemed to gather naturally around him, laughing frequently while he talked non-stop, slicing the air with his hands to illustrate his various aerial exploits. For his part, it was not long before Ron noticed the attractive young woman in flying gear and strolled over to talk to her.
Although she was nearly four years older than Ron, the difference in their ages did not bother Polly in the least. Other, less open-minded, women might never have considered the possibility of a romance with a man younger than themselves, but Polly found Ron to be an irresistible companion - kind, considerate, entertaining and always able to make her laugh. He talked a great deal about his travels in the East, but she was never bored; indeed, she was constantly amazed at all the things he had seen and done. He was so much more mature, so much more worldly, than the young men she knew around Elkton, a rural community of less than six thousand people close to the north-east corner of Chesapeake Bay. Most of them had never been further than Wilmington, Delaware, ten miles up the road.
Polly's father was, understandably, faintly alarmed to learn that his daughter was 'walking out' with Ron Hubbard. It was not that he did not like the young man; he, too, thought Ron was charming. Nor was he concerned that Ron was younger than Polly. What worried him was the fact that Ron had neither money nor career prospects and apparently had no intention looking for a job, since he planned to support himself by writing. In Mr Grubb's eyes, being a writer was not a job, and nothing Ron could do or say would convince him otherwise, particularly since he could only produce two articles from the Sportsman Pilot as evidence of his earning potential.
However, both Mr Grubb and Ron's parents recognized the futility of trying to oppose the match. Polly was quite as headstrong as Ron and if she had made up her mind to marry him, there was nothing anyone in the world could do to stop her. And Ron, still the adored only child, always got his own way with his parents. Blessings were reluctantly bestowed and the marriage took place in Elkton on Thursday 13 April. Many of the guests correctly speculated about the whirlwind nature of the courtship and the speed with which the ceremony was arranged. Polly and Ron moved into a little rented house in Laytonsville, Maryland, where she had a spontaneous abortion. In October, she discovered she was pregnant again.

In May Ron received an assignment from the Sportsman Pilot to cover an amateur flying competition at College Park Airport, near Washington. His report was competent enough and written in his usual breezy prose: 'Since I was, perforce and per poverty, among the spectators, I can speak only from the ground view and venture the point that those six [pylon] races suffered on only one score. They inherited the disadvantage of all conventional pylon races - we on the ground had nothing to watch save an empty sky as the ships disappeared for their swing around the course. The finishes, though, made up for that temporarily empty sky. The home stretch brought the ships down a brisk wind, through some bumps for which the field's tree-trimmed boundaries must be blamed, and down across the finish line in a power dive to fifty feet. That satisfied the spectators; it looked meteoric and heroic. And you know spectators.'
The article was published in the May/June issue of the magazine, with photographs also provided by Ron. It was his first published piece as a professional writer and he was very proud of it, but it could hardly be described as a promising start to his career. Months would pass before his by-line appeared again.
For a short while it seemed it did not much matter that Ron was finding it difficult to make a living as a writer, for on Friday 18 August, a headline in the Washington Daily News proclaimed: 'Youthful DC Adventurer Finds Gold in Nearby Maryland After Trek Fails.' The three-column story reported that L. Ron Hubbard, while on furlough from his job as general manager of West Indies Minerals Inc, had discovered gold on his wife's farm in Maryland.
Much was made of the irony of a prospector striking gold in his own back yard: 'Hubbard, still in his twenties, left here last year for Antilles, West Indies, in search of gold so that he might return and marry the girl he met shortly before his departure. He returned a short time ago empty handed and considerably weakened from fever . . . "Imagine me going 1300 miles in search of gold when it lay right at the back door of my bride-to-be," Hubbard said dejectedly.'
Ron told the newspaper that mining would soon be under way 'on a large scale' and he had also encountered several specimens of a curious white metal he believed was either platinum or iridium. Two photographs accompanied the story, one of Polly, fetchingly attired in boots and jodhpurs, panning for gold, and another of the young couple examining a large chunk of rock with an explanatory caption: 'L. Ron Hubbard, the prospector, says the boulder in the above photo is the largest specimen of gold quartz he has ever seen.'

Paradoxically, despite having struck gold, Ron's financial situation remained precarious. In September, his glider pilot licence expired and he was unable to renew it as he had not completed the necessary ten hours' solo flying in the previous six months. The problem was simply that he had no money, but in a plaintive letter to the Bureau of Aeronautics he side-stepped confessing he was broke by claiming the difficulty was that there was 'no glider within two hundred miles in which I would care to risk my neck'. The Washington Glider Club had offered him the use of their Franklin but it was in such a sorry condition he had to 'beg off' and he did not want to use a primary glider because 'I cracked one up once in Port Huron, Michigan, for the simple reason that most primaries won't fly.'
Ron was, as always, optimistic about the future. 'Here's the point,' he wrote. 'I am going to get me a glider next spring. A big Franklin. It took me two months of waiting on good flying days and inspectors the last time I took the commercial exam. I don't want to have to go through all that next springs [sic], for springs at best are fleeting. I've flown a great deal more than most glider pilots. Maybe you've seen one of my glider articles in aviation magazines. My one ambition is to get a glider of my own.

'And here's my plea. Isn't there some way you can extend this thing in view of the circumstances . . . Isn't there something you can do about it?'[2]

It was a naïve hope: no bureaucracy is structured to indulge the roseate ambitions of young men and the Bureau of Aeronautics was no exception. Its dour reply was brief: 'It is regretted that your glider pilot's licence . . . cannot be extended as requested. Also it is the policy of this Department not to extend licences.'[3] Officially it was the end of Ron's gliding career, for he never again held a licence although he would apply, a couple more times, for a student pilot's licence.
In October, Ron contributed another feature to the Sportsman Pilot, this time a profile of Chet Warrington, a well-known Washington pilot, and in November he wrote an article about the infant science of radio navigation. His lack of a licence notwithstanding, he always adopted a chatty, aviator-to-aviator style: 'Personally, I abhor navigation. It takes too much algebra and I don't speak good algebra . . . It's my ambition to step into a ship some day and take off in rain and fog with the other coast in mind as a destination. But I don't like circular rules and too many gadgets. I'm lazy, I want someone to tie a piece of string to the hub of the prop and lead me right where I want to go. That's my ambition, and I'll bet my last turnbuckle in a power dive that it's yours too.'

In addition to his three pieces for the Sportsman Pilot, Ron also sold an article titled 'Navy Pets' to the Washington Star in 1933. But that was the sum of his published output for the year.
The going rate for freelance writers around that time was a cent a word. Polly, whose thickening waistline added greatly to her worries, calculated at the end of 1933 that her husband had managed to earn, during the course of that year, rather less than $100.
There were better times ahead, however, for Ron soon discovered his natural habitat as a writer - the blood and thunder world of 'the pulps'.

Pulp magazines had an honorable literary genesis in the United States and an eclectic following: John Buchan wrote The Thirty-Nine Steps in 1915 for Adventure magazine, which at one time counted among its subscribers such unlikely fellow travellers as Harry Truman and Al Capone. Writers like C.S. Forester, Erle Stanley Gardner and Joseph Conrad were introduced to huge new audiences through the pulps, as were unforgettable characters like Buffalo Bill, boy detective Nick Cartot and the ever-inscrutable Dr Fu Manchu. The most successful of all pulp heroes, Edgar Rice Burrough's 'Tarzan of the Apes', made his first apearance in the pages of All-Story magazine and went on to spawn the longest-running adventure comic strip and Hollywood's biggest money-making film series.

By the early '30s, pulp fiction was a major source of inexpensive entertainment for millions of Americans and a convenient means of escape from the anxieties and realities of the Depression. For as little as a dime, readers could enter into an action-packed adventure in which the heroes slugged their way out of tight spots in various exotic corners of an improbable world. Good invariably triumphed over evil and sex was never allowed to complicate the plot, for no hero ever proceeded beyond a chaste kiss and no heroine would dream of expecting anything more.
In 1934, more than 150 pulp magazines were published in New York alone. Black Mask was considered the best of the bunch by writers, largely because it paid its top contributors as much as a nickel a word, but Argosy, Adventure, Dime Detective and Dime Western were all said to offer more than the basic rate of a cent a word to the best writers. As the average 128-page pulp magazine contained around 65,000 words and as many of them were published weekly, the market for freelance writers was both enormous and potentially lucrative.

Of all this L. Ron Hubbard knew virtually nothing until he began to cast around for new outlets as a matter of urgency after his first disastrous year as a writer. 'He told me', said his Aunt Marnie, 'that he went into a bookstall and picked up all the pulp books from the rack. He took a big pile home to see what it was that people wanted to read. He thought a lot of it was junk and he knew he could do better. That's how he started writing mystery stories.'[4]
More importantly, perhaps, it dawned on Ron that he had been writing in the pulp genre for most of his life. The swashbuckling short stories he had scribbled across page after page of old accounts books when he was in his teens were, he belatedly realized, precisely the sort of material that was to be found between the lurid covers of the most popular 'pulps'.
Polly was fast expanding and every week they were deeper in debt. Ron knew he had to earn money somehow and the 'pulps' seemed to offer the best hope. He began writing one story after another, winding page after page into his typewriter without a break, often hammering away all night. Typing at phenomenal speed, never needing to pause for thought, never bothering to read through what he had written, he roamed the entire range of adventure fiction with red-blooded heroes who were gunslingers, detectives, pirates, foreign legionnaires, spies, flying aces, soldiers of fortune and grizzled old sea captains. For a period of six weeks he wrote a complete story of between 4,500 and 20,000 words every day, gathered up the pages when he had finished and mailed it to one or another of the pulps in New York without a second look.
It did not take long to pay off. One morning Ron went out to collect the mail and found there were two cheques waiting for him, totalling $300 - more money than he had ever earned in his life. The first was from Thrilling Adventures for a story called 'The Green God', the second from The Phantom Detective for 'Calling Squad Cars'. More acceptances soon followed - 'Sea Fangs' was bought by Five Novels Monthly, 'Dead Men Kill' by Thrilling Detective, 'The Carnival of Death' by Popular Detective . . .

By the end of April Ron had earned enough money to take Polly on a short holiday to California. They took a cheap hotel room at Encinitas, a resort a few miles north of San Diego, but Polly, now seven months into her pregnancy, found the unaccustomed heat somewhat debilitating. On 7 May 1934, she decided to take a dip in the ocean to cool off and got caught in a rip tide. She was a strong swimmer but only just managed to get back to the beach and the exertion brought on labour. Later that day she gave birth to a son.

The baby weighed only 2lb 2oz and clung to life by the most gossamer of threads. Praying he would survive, they named him Lafayette Ronald Hubbard Junior. Ron constructed a crude incubator, first out of a shoe box, then by lining a cupboard drawer with blankets and keeping it warm with an electric light bulb; Polly wrapped the mewling mite in cotton wool and fed him with an eye-dropper. For two months they maintained a day and night vigil, taking it in turns to watch over the infant and marvelling at its will to live. While Polly was pregnant, Ron's father always used to ask her how 'his Nibs' was doing and by the time the danger period had passed L. Ron Hubbard Junior was known to the entire family as 'Nibs', a name that would stick for the rest of his life.
Fatherhood in no way moderated Ron's desire to be seen as a devil-may-care adventurer and fearless aviator and he assiduously promoted this image at every opportunity. In July, for example, he was the subject of a glowing tribute in the 'Who's Who' column of the Pilot, 'The Magazine for Aviation's Personnel', which described him as 'one of the outstanding glider pilots in the country'. The author, H. Latane Lewis II, made no secret of his admiration.
'Whenever two or three pilots are gathered together around the Nation's Capital,' he wrote, 'whether it be a Congressional hearing or just in the back of some hangar, you'll probably hear the name of Ron Hubbard mentioned, accompanied by such adjectives as "crazy", "wild" and "dizzy". For the flaming-haired pilot hit the city like a tornado a few years ago and made women scream and strong men weep by his aerial antics. He just dared the ground to come up and hit him . . . Ron could do more stunts in a sailplane than most pilots can in a pursuit job. He would come out of spins at an altitude of thirty inches and thumb his nose at the undertakers who used to come out to the field and titter.'

It was not too surprising that Ron was considered to be eminently suitable for inclusion in the 'Who's Who' column, for it was patently obvious that he had been at pains to project himself as the most colourful of characters: 'Before he fell from grace and became an aviator, he was, at various times, top Sergeant in the Marines, radio crooner, newspaper reporter, gold miner in the West Indies and movie director-explorer . . .' Among his other achievements, it seems he taught himself to fly powered aircraft ('He climbed into a fast ship and, without any dual time at all, gave the engine the soup and hopped off . . .'), then became a barnstormer and 'flew under every telephone wire in the Middle West', before settling down to become director of the flying club at George Washington University. H. Latane Lewis II concluded that Ron was 'one of aviation's most distinguished hellraisers'. It was a sobriquet with which the subject heartily concurred.
When Nibs was bawling and burping like other contented babies, the twenty-three-year-old 'distinguished hell-raiser' decided it was time to make the acquaintance of his fellow pulp writers. Leaving Polly and the baby at home, he caught a train for New York and checked into a $1.50-a-night room at the Forty-fourth Street Hotel, which he had been assured was where many visiting writers stayed.

In 1934, with the country still in the stranglehold of the Depression, there were few tourists in New York, but even before the Wall Street Crash the Forty-fourth Street Hotel had rarely attracted much tourist trade. It was a seedy establishment on Times Square largely patronized by out-of-work actors, third-rate vaudeville performers, wrestlers, touts and bookies. Frank Gruber, the only pulp writer resident when Ron arrived, accurately characterized his fellow guests as 'all-round no-goods and deadbeats'.
Gruber was an aspiring writer from Mount Morris, Illinois, who had come to New York to make his fortune on the strength of selling one story to Secret Agent X magazine and a couple more to Underworld. That he was not succeeding soon became evident when he explained to Ron how to get a free bowl of tomato soup at an Automat. All you had to do, he said, was pick up a bowl, fill it with hot water, skip the nickel slot which dispensed soup powder and grab a couple of bags of crackers. You took your bowl of hot water to a table, crumbled the crackers into it, then tipped in half a bottle of tomato ketchup. 'Presto!' said Gruber triumphantly. 'Tomato soup.'

Not entirely motivated by charity, Ron offered to buy Gruber a meal. Sitting in Thompson's Restaurant on Sixth Avenue, just around the corner from the hotel, Ron pumped the other man for information about which editors were easiest to see, who was buying what kind of material and which magazines paid most. He made a list of the commissioning editors at the most important publishers - Street and Smith, the Frank A. Munsey Company, Popular Publications and Dell Magazines.
A few days later, Gruber took Ron along to Rosoff's restaurant on 43rd Street, where members of the American Fiction Guild met for lunch every Friday. Most of the successful pulp writers in New York were members of the Guild and most of them gathered at Rosoff's at lunchtime on Fridays. They were names familiar to millions of pulp readers: Lester Dent, creator of Doc Savage; George Bruce, acknowledged ace of battle-in-the-air yarns; Norvell Page, who was said to earn $500 a month for his stories in the Spider; and Theodore Tinsley, a regular contributor to Black Mask. President of the Guild was Arthur J. Burks, who had been dubbed 'King of the Pulps' in a New Yorker profile and quoted as saying that any pulp writer who did not make at least $400 a month was not worth his salt. It was a remark that was to cause him considerable embarrassment, for it was common knowledge in the Guild that Burks never earned that much, despite turning out around two hundred thousand words every month.
Ron was not the kind of young man to be overawed by such illustrious company and he walked into the Guild lunch at Rosoff's as if he was quite as famous and successful as any man present. He was also a good deal younger than most of the members, but acted as if he had seen and done more than any of them. By the end of the lunch, he was confidently presiding over one end of the table, holding the attention of everyone within earshot with an enthralling blow-by-blow account of his expedition to explore pirate strongholds of the Spanish Main.

It was accepted, at the American Fiction Guild lunches, that members might be inclined to blur the distinction between fact and fiction. What mattered more than strict adherence to literal truth was that the stories should be entertaining, and on that score young Hubbard could not be faulted. He was a natural story-teller, able to set the scene quickly and evocatively, describe the action in rich detail, recount credible dialogue and interject humour with an acute sense of timing. Arthur Burks was happy to welcome him as a new member of the Guild, after he had paid his $10 membership fee, of course.
Ron did well in New York. He made the rounds of the pulp publishers, talked his way into the offices of the important editors, sold a few stories and generally made himself known. In the evenings he used to sit in Frank Gruber's room at the Forty-fourth Street Hotel, kicking ideas around with other young writers and holding forth, although his host eventually tired of Ron's apparently endless adventures.

One evening Gruber sat through a long account of Ron's experiences in the Marine Corps, his exploration of the upper Amazon and his years as a white hunter in Africa. At the end of it he asked with obvious sarcasm: 'Ron, you're eighty-four years old aren't you?'

'What the hell are you talking about?' Ron snapped.

Gruber waved a notebook in which he had been jotting figures 'Well,' he said, 'you were in the Marines seven years, you were a civil engineer for six years, you spent four years in Brazil, three in Africa, you barnstormed with your own flying circus for six years . . . I've just added up all the years you did this and that and it comes to eighty-four.'

Ron was furious that his escapades should be openly doubted. 'He blew his tack,' said Gruber.[5] He would react in the same way at the Guild lunches if someone raised an eyebrow when he was in full flow. Most of the other members expected their yarns to be taken with a pinch of salt, but not Ron. It was almost as if he believed his own stories.
Back home with Polly and the baby, Ron continued writing for 'the pulps' at a ferocious rate, turning out endless variations on a hairy-chested theme. His protagonists thrashed through jungle thickets pursued by slavering head-hunters, soared across smoke-smudged skies in aerial dog-fights, wrestled giant octopi twenty fathoms beneath storm-tossed seas, duelled with cutlasses on blood-soaked decks strewn with splintered timbers and held dervish hordes at bay by dispensing steel-jacketed death from the barrel of a machine-gun. Women rarely made an appearance except to be rescued from the occasional man-eating lion or grizzly bear. The titles he gave to his stories vividly attested to their genus - 'The Phantom Patrol', 'Destiny's Drum', 'Man-Killers of the Air', 'Hostage to Death' and 'Hell's Legionnaire'.
Interspersed between these gripping sagas, Ron still wrote occasional features for the Sportsman Pilot in his capacity as aerial hell-raiser. 'There are few men in the United States - nay, the world - as well qualified as I to write upon the subject of cross-country flying,' he began a piece in the September 1934 issue. 'It so happens I hold the world's record in dead reckoning. I just have to marvel about it. Probably no other pilot in the world could do it. Probably no other pilot in the world actually has done it so well.'

The braggadocio was a tease, as he soon made clear. On a fifty-mile flight from New London to Mansfield, Ohio, navigating by the sun, he claimed to have missed his destination by a record margin. 'The ship bumped to a beautiful landing. But, and but again, Mansfield was nowhere in sight. We grabbed a farmer's suspender and snapped it for attention. We asked, disdainfully, where we might be. Well, there's no use dragging this out. We were 37 miles off . . . That, I maintain, is a world record.'
In December he was offering readers tips about flying to the West Indies: 'With the long, long shores of Cuba behind you, you hit Port au Prince. Right now we start assuming definitely that your plane has floats on it, though we've been assuming it vaguely all along. Otherwise, you'll get your wheels wet. Port au Prince isn't favoured unless you can wangle the Gendarmerie du Haiti into letting you use their fields. You'd have to be a better wangler than we are . . .'
Two months after this feature was published, on 25 February 1935 Ron again applied for a student pilot's licence. He never got round to taking the test to become a qualified pilot and never actually applied for another licence,[6] but he blithely continued writing for the Sportsman Pilot, offering advice to fellow aviators and filling many pages of the magazine with dashing accounts of his aerial exploits.

Ron's published work in 1935 included ten pulp novels, three 'novelettes', twelve short stories and three non-fiction articles. In October, Adventure magazine invited him to introduce himself to readers in their 'Camp Fire' feature, 'where readers, writers and adventurers meet'. Ron began in jocular fashion - 'When I was a year old, they say I showed some signs of settling down, but I think this is merely rumour . . .' - and touched on all the familiar highspots of his dazzling career, his 'Asiatic wanderings', his expeditions, his 'barn-storming trip through the Mid-West', and so on.
Perhaps because the same issue of Adventure also published one of his 'leatherneck yarns', Ron chose to elaborate on his experiences as a 'top-kicker' in the Marines. 'I've known the Corps from Quantico to Peiping, from the South Pacific to the West Indies,' he wrote. 'To me the Marine Corps is a more go-to-hell outfit than the much lauded French Foreign Legion ever could be . . .' Expressing the hope that his thumbnail sketch would be a passport to the readers' interest, he ended with the promise: 'When I get back from Central America, where I'm going soon, I'll have another yarn to tell.'[7]
Ron did not go to Central America but to Hollywood, where one of his stories, 'The Secret of Treasure Island', had been bought by Columbia to be filmed as a fifteen-part serial for showing at Saturday morning matineés. An advertisement in the Motion Picture Herald boasted that L. Ron Hubbard, 'famous action writer, stunt pilot and world adventurer' had written an 'excitement-jammed yarn with one of the best box office titles in years'.

Ron, of course, was pleased to add the title of 'Hollywood scriptwriter' to his ever increasing roll-call of notable accomplishments and he would soon be claiming screenwriting credit for a number of successful movies, among them John Ford's classic, Stagecoach,[8] and The Plainsman, starring Gary Cooper. Most biographies of L. Ron Hubbard describe his Hollywood career, inevitably, as a triumph: 'In 1935, L. Ron Hubbard went to Hollywood and worked under motion picture contracts as a scriptwriter of numerous films making an outstanding reputation there with many highly successful films. His work in Hollywood is still remembered.'[9] He was also said to have salvaged the careers of both Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff by writing them into scripts when they were out of work. In short, Ron became another 'Hollywood legend'.[10]
Sadly, it appears he was an unsung legend for his name cannot be found on any 'highly successful films', with the exception of The Secret of Treasure Island. But this lack of recognition never prevented Ron from reminiscing about his golden days in Hollywood: 'I used to sit in my penthouse on Sunset Boulevard and write stories for New York and then go to my office in the studio and have my secretary tell everybody I was in conference while I caught up on my sleep because they couldn't believe anybody could write 136 scenes a day. The Screen Writers' Guild would have killed me. Their quota was eight.'[11]
Ron did not stay long in Hollywood knocking out 136 scenes a day and by the end of the year he was back in New York. Polly was pregnant again and mindful of what had happened with Nibs, they decided she should have the baby in a New York hospital. On Wednesday 15 January 1936, she produced a daughter, Catherine May. Unlike Nibs, Catherine was a lusty, full-term baby, perfect in every way except for a birthmark on one side of her face. Not long after she was born, the Hubbards travelled by train to visit Ron's parents in Bremerton, Washington.

Harry Ross Hubbard had been promoted to Lieutenant Commander, at the age of forty-eight, in December 1934 and the following July he was posted, for the third time, to Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, as an Assistant Supply Officer. For Ron's mother it was a particularly welcome move: her much-loved sister, Toilie, was by then also living in Bremerton and their younger sister, Midgie, lived across the bay in Seattle. May and Harry had already decided they would retire to Bremerton after he left the Navy and so they bought a small house at 1212 Gregory Way, just two blocks from the Navy Yard.
Ron's seventy-two-year-old grandmother, Ida Waterbury, was still at 'the old brick' in Helena, but in October 1935 Helena was hit by an earthquake. The first tremor was felt during one of President Roosevelt's Friday night 'fireside chats' on the radio. Throughout the following week, fifty-six further shocks were recorded, none of them serious, but at ten o'clock on the evening of 18 October a series of violent tremors shook the town, reducing many of the public buildings to rubble and generating widespread panic. 'The old brick' survived the earthquake, but in a dangerous condition. Next day, old Mrs Waterbury caught a train for Bremerton to stay with May and Hub at Gregory Way.

It was in these circumstances that Polly, Ron and their two small children were welcomed into the bosom of the Waterbury family when they arrived in Bremerton in the spring of 1936. All the Waterburys liked Polly. 'She was a lot of fun,' said Marnie, 'a good sport.' Polly reciprocated their warmth, was comfortable with the family and happy to have grandparents and great-aunts around to help take care of the boisterous Nibs while she looked after the baby.
Such was the conviviality of the milieu that Polly and Ron soon began looking for a home of their own in the Bremerton area. Property was cheap in rural Kitsap County and they found a little wooden house at South Colby, a small community with a post office and general store facing Yukon harbour to the south of Bremerton. The house was set among cedar trees on a steep hillside overlooking orchards and meadows sloping down to Puget Sound; from the front porch at nights you could see the lights of Seattle on the other side of the water. Polly fell in love with the place and named it 'The Hilltop'.
Although the house had three rooms upstairs, Ron decided he needed more privacy for writing and employed a local carpenter to build a rough pine cabin in the trees at the back of the property which he could use as a 'studio'. He put in a desk and typewriter and went back to work, churning out such stirring epics as 'The Baron of Coyote River' for All Western, 'Loot of the Shantung' for Smashing Novels and 'the Blow Torch Murder' for Detective Fiction.

The responsibilities of fatherhood weighed lightly on Ron's shoulders and he ignored any suggestion that he should adapt his working habits to accommodate family life. He liked to work all night and sleep all morning, sometimes not making an appearance until two or three o'clock in the afternoon, at which time Polly would be expected to produce 'breakfast'.
Although he was selling stories almost every week, they never seemed to have enough money and the owner of the general store in South Colby was frequently threatening to cut off their credit. Ron was completely unconcerned by the mounting bills. One day he took the ferry into Seattle and came back with an expensive phonograph that he had bought on credit at the Bon Marche department store. When Polly despairingly asked him how he was going to meet the payments he replied, with a grin, that he had no intention of making any. He figured it would be at least six months before Bon Marche got round to repossessing their property, meanwhile they could enjoy it.
Financial worries apart, Polly was perfectly content at The Hilltop. She enjoyed being a mother and was a keen gardener, spending much of her spare time clearing the ground around the house and planting shrubs and flowers. Ron was less easily satisfied by the quiet charm of South Colby and made frequent trips to New York 'on business'. As his absences became longer and longer, Polly suspected, correctly, that he might be seeing other women - she was also acutely aware that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.

It was not philandering that took Ron away from home so much as the reality that being stuck out in the backwater of South Colby was uncomfortably at odds with his perception of himself. He had spent much of his adult life vigorously and successfully promoting himself as a 'dare-devil adventurer'. It was a description that would be used about him time and time again and he never tired of it. But it was also an image that needed to be sustained, bolstered here and there, and he could hardly do that sitting in a cabin in Kitsap Country. No, he needed to be in New York holding his fellow writers in thrall with epic tales and making sure everyone knew that Ron 'Flash' Hubbard (he sometimes admitted to 'Flash' as a nickname) was 'quite a character'.
Who dared doubt it? Absolutely not the editor of Thrilling Adventure, who was pleased to share his conviction with his readers: 'I guess L. Ron Hubbard needs no introduction. From the letters you send in, his yarns are among the most popular we have published. Several of you have wondered too how he gets the splendid color which always characterizes his stories of far-away places.
'The answer is, he's been there, brothers. He's been and seen and done. And plenty of all three of them!'

In July 1936, New York literary agent and columnist Ed Bodin added a further feather to Ron's crowded cap by reporting in one of his columns that Ron had hit a staggering one million words in print. It was a claim as pointless as it was absurd, yet it would be remorselessly escalated over the years until by 1941 Ron was being variously credited with an output of between seven and fifteen million words.[12]
Whatever the real figure, Ron was certainly proud of his productivity, the sheer number of words he was able to hammer out of his typewriter, and there is no question that he was a truly prolific writer. By 1937 he was using a roster of marvellously improbable pen names - 'Winchester Remington Colt, Kurt von Rachen, René Lafayette, Joe Blitz and Legionnaire 148 among them. His legendary writing speed led to rumours that he typed on to a continuous roll of paper that fed automatically into an electric typewriter with a keyboard of his own design featuring single keys fur commonly used words like 'and' and 'the'. It was also said that editors in New York sent messengers to Ron's hotel room with a cover illustration and note asking him if he would be kind enough to write a story to fit the picture. The punchline was that the messengers would be told to wait while Ron dashed off the story, such was the prodigious fertility of his imagination.
Towards the end of 1937, Ron sold his first hardback novel. Buckskin Brigades, published by Macaulay, was said to have been inspired by his experiences as a small boy in the wilds of Montana when he became a blood brother of the Blackfoot Indians. The theme of the book revolved around the mistreatment of the Indians by the Hudson Bay Company, although the message did not perhaps get across too forcibly because the Hudson Bay Company sent Ron a case of whisky after publication.

Polly was very pleased that Ron had been able to cross the divide between pulp fiction and 'respectable' publishing, although she was even more pleased that Macaulay had offered an advance of $2500 for Buckskin Brigades. It was money they badly needed to clear their debts. They both waited - Ron was back from New York - with considerable impatience for the cheque to arrive. On the morning the local post office telephoned to say there was a money order for collection, Ron rushed out of the house and was gone for hours. He returned in the late afternoon in a state of high excitement and announced to Polly that he had bought a boat, a wonderful boat, a thirty-foot ketch called the Magician. It was a double-ended Libby hull, the kind they used to catch salmon up in Alaska. It had a small cabin and he was going to put a new engine in it and change the rigging and . . . Polly could hardly believe her ears. She had a drawer full of unpaid bills and her husband had just blown all their money on a boat!

Ron's best friend in Bremerton was a thrusting young insurance salesman by the name of Robert MacDonald Ford. 'Almost the first thing Ron did when he got the boat', Ford recalled, 'was to get some letter-heads printed. Ron was always having letter-heads printed, always on the best bond paper. The heading was "Yukon Harbor Marine Ways". There was no such company, but that didn't bother Ron - he only wanted the letter-head so he could buy things for the boat at wholesale prices.'
Ford met Ron because he was always on the look-out for new business. When one of his policy holders ran into a car owned by a Lieutenant-Commander H.R. Hubbard and caused $15 worth of damage, he delivered the settlement draft personally at 1212 Gregory Way in the hope of selling some more insurance. Ron's mother was home when Ford called. 'She was a funny little woman,' he said, 'sort of wrinkled and dried up. When I asked her if she knew anyone who needed insurance she said her son, who lived out at South Colby, didn't have any. She telephoned him right then, offered to pay half the cost and we wrote the business over the 'phone. I figured if she was going to pay I'd have a good chance of collecting the premiums.'
A couple of weeks later, Ford decided to pay his new policy holder a visit, accompanied by his wife, Nancy. It took them a little while to find The Hilltop at South Colby and when they finally arrived at the house Polly answered the door and said her husband was still asleep as he had been working all night. She apologized and invited them to return for dinner that evening.
The Fords and the Hubbards liked each other on sight and quickly discovered they had much in common. They had children of similar ages, both wives were avid gardeners and excellent cooks, and Ron and Mac were the same age, keen on sailing and loved to talk. That first evening spent together at The Hilltop ended with much hilarity when the two men skulked off to the County gravel pile in the dead of night to fill ballast bags Polly had been sewing for the boat.
Thereafter, Ford was a frequent visitor. He used to sit in the cabin with Ron drinking China tea and playing chess by candlelight, using the exquisitely carved chess set he said he had brought back from the East - even the pawns were fearsome little warriors carrying swords. Sometimes they would shoot at a target pinned to the cabin wall with Ron's air pistol; sometimes they would just talk for hours on end, well into the night. They often discussed what was happening in Europe, what Hitler was up to and whether or not there would be a war.
'He was a sharp guy,' said Ford, 'very stimulating and fascinating to be around. He was interested in a lot of things and was pretty well informed. When he talked about the things he'd done, sometimes I would think he was feeding me a line, but then you'd find out that it had actually happened. He told me once that when he was gliding a guy wire had snapped and smoothed off the ends of his fingers, leaving them very sensitive. I'm pretty sure that happened. When we went to see Stagecoach - the original one with John Wayne - he told me he'd worked on the script. I looked for his name on the credits, but didn't see it, although I didn't necessarily disbelieve him. It's possible he exaggerated his exploits a little, but he was a writer and did have a very fertile imagination. Certainly he got into a lot of things.

'He and Polly were on pretty good terms. She was an independent sort of gal, wouldn't take a lot of crap from anybody. They had their arguments, yes, but by and large it wasn't that bad. She'd take a drink, but never much. We didn't drink too much in those days. They were in fairly dire straits for money; the grocer was always pressing them to pay his bill. It would take Ron two or three nights to finish a novelette. Whenever he got some money in, he'd see the grocer was satisfied and then he'd play for a while on his boat, the Maggie.'[13]
The Fords and the Hubbards joined Bremerton Yacht Club at the same time and whenever there was a dance they could be found at the same table, usually laughing and always enjoying themselves. In some combination the two families were involved in any number of madcap projects and outings - Polly and Nancy once took a ferry across to Victoria in Canada to visit a horticultural show and returned with dozens of stolen cuttings stuffed into their bras.
On another memorable occasion, Ron and Mac decided they would build an experimental sail-boat with inflatable rubber wheels on the theory that it would be subject to less friction than a conventional hull. They constructed a crude timber frame with three axles and six wheels made out of inner tubes on wooden drums and borrowed a mast and sail from a small boat in the harbour. It was agreed that Ron, the more experienced sailor of the two, would conduct the first trials. He kitted himself out for the occasion in sea boots, cap and yachting rig, and they towed the strange craft out into the Sound with a row-boat. Ron confidently stepped on board and as he did so there was an ominous crack. One of the crucial joints of the frame snapped under his weight and the entire contraption rapidly disintegrated.

The sight of Ron in his natty sailor suit clinging grimly to the wreckage and bellowing to be taken off was too much for Ford. He collapsed in the bottom of the row-boat and the more he laughed the angrier Ron became. In the end, Ford rowed ashore and let someone else pick up his friend. 'He had a real temper and I sure as hell wasn't going to let him catch me when he had his temper up like that,' he explained. 'He would have killed me if he'd got his hands on me at the time. I stayed out of sight for a couple of hours but he soon cooled down. We had dinner together that night.'
Undaunted by the failure of the rubber-wheeled boat, the two friends could soon be found testing a model boat with an unusual V-shaped keel of their own design in Polly's washing machine, trying to figure out an accurate method of measuring the drag. Then they spent several days on the Maggie with a complicated arrangement of zips and canvas sleeves with which they hoped to improve the efficiency of the sails.
While the men were playing, it was inevitable that Polly and Nancy would spend a great deal of time together with their children. Thus Nancy knew that Polly suspected Ron of having affairs with other women during his frequent absences back East. Nancy told Mac, who said he was sure Polly was wrong.
A few weeks later, the Hubbards arrived separately at the regular Saturday night dance at Bremerton Yacht Club. Polly drove alone from The Hilltop and Ron sailed across in the Maggie, making no attempt to conceal his surly demeanour. 'They were not speaking to each other,' said Ford, 'and it took us a while to find out what had happened. It seems Ron had written letters to a couple of girls in New York and left them in the mail box to be picked up. Polly found them and got so mad that she opened the envelopes, switched the letters and put them back in the box. She didn't tell him what she had done until they had been picked up. Polly was a great girl, a lot of fun.'

Next morning, Ron packed his bag and caught a train for New York, still in a vile temper.

1. Letter to author from Mrs Catherine Gillespie, Dec 1986
2. Certified airman's file 
3. Ibid
4 Interview with Mrs Roberts
5. Frank Gruber, The Pulp Jungle, 1967
6. Certified airman's file
7. Adventure, 10 October 1935 
8. Interview with Robert Macdonald Ford, Olympia, Washington, 1 September 1986 
9. Facts About L. Ron Hubbard, Flag Divisional Directive of 8 Mar 1974 
10. L. Ron Hubbard autobiographical notes, 1974 
11. Rocky Mountain News, 20 February 1983
12.  A Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard
13. Interview with R.M. Ford

Bare-Faced Merriah - Chapter 5 Science Fictions

'By 1938, Hubbard was already established and recognized as one of the top-selling authors . . . [and] was urged to try his hand at science fiction. He protested that he did not write about "machines and machinery" but that he wrote about people. "That's just what we want," he was told. The result was a barrage of stories from Hubbard that expanded the scope and changed the face of the literary genre . . .' (About L. Ron Hubbard, Writers of the Future, Volume II, Bridge Publications Inc., 1986)
 (Scientology's account of the years 1938-40.)
*   *   *   *   *
To science-fiction fans, 1938 marked the dawn of a new era they were pleased to call the 'Golden Age'. Before then, science-fiction pulps with gosh-wow titles like Amazing, Wonder, Planet Storiesand Startling had usually been ridiculed if not ignored. Crowded into the darkest corner, or on to the lowest shelf of the news-stand, they were only sustained by the devotion of a small group of passionately loyal enthusiasts who, dreaming of time machines and space travel in the grimly haunted days of the Depression, were widely considered to be dotty.
The sad truth was that the nineteenth century heritage of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe and H.G. Wells had largely degenerated, by the early 'thirties, into trash - uninspiring tales of slavering robots and talking animals written in penny-dreadful prose, mediocre fiction without the science. Bug-eyed monsters figured prominently, either invading earth with the intention of enslaving the human race or carrying away our 'fairest maidens' for use as love-toys on some alien planet. Readers needed considerable faith to relish repeated workings of the same tedious themes, but then science-fiction fans were acknowledged to be particularly fanatical, if not particular.
It was possible to date, precisely, the metamorphosis that ushered in the Golden Age because it began with the appointment of John W. Campbell Junior as editor of Astounding magazine, at the age of twenty-seven, in early 1938. Campbell was the man who dragged science fiction out of the pulp mire and elevated it to an art form.

Opinionated, overbearing and garrulous, he was a chain-smoking intellectual dynamo bursting with ideas which he would expound at length, driving home every point by stabbing the air with his long black cigarette holder. His first science-fiction story, 'When The Atoms Failed', was published inAmazing in 1930 and he quickly made a name for himself as an original, imaginative and sophisticated writer. One of his best stories was transformed, through no fault of his, into one of Hollywood's worst movies, The Thing From Outer Space.

As an editor, Campbell used his magazine to speculate on the implications - emotional, philosophical and sociological - of future scientific discoveries. He expected style, skill, ingenuity and technical proficiency from his contributors. Few of the existing pulp writers could meet his exacting standards and so he set out to nurture new talent. Almost all the biggest names of the Golden Age - Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, A.E. van Vogt and many others - were first published in Astounding. Campbell never compromised. Faulty plots were ruthlessly rejected with pages of closely typed criticism - Theodore Sturgeon once got a story back with a seven-page explanation as to why a particular fission of light metals was not feasible. Yet Campbell's critiques to writers were always accompanied by a flood of new ideas and suggestions for other stories. 'No editor was ever more helpful,' said Jack Williamson, one of his contributors. 'He read every story submitted. Those he rejected came back with useful comments, and many a letter accepting one story also included ideas for another.'[1] The mechanical ants in Williamson's novel, The Moon ChildIsaac Asimov always remembered his first meeting with Campbell in the Seventh Avenue offices of Street and Smith, the publishers of Astounding. 'I was eighteen and had arrived with my first story submission, my very first. He had never met me before, but he took me in, talked to me for two hours, read the story that night and mailed the rejection the following day along with a kind, two-page letter telling me where I had gone wrong.'[2]

Campbell was both a visionary and a realist. He believed in supernatural power and space travel and rockets and a multiplicity of worlds, but he also fervently believed that science fiction should live up to its name. His writing was studded with extraordinary technical detail explaining how complex machines worked, yet his scientists were always real people with human emotions and foibles.

One of what he called his 'pet ideas' was that less than a quarter of the functioning capacity of the brain was used. 'Could the full equipment be hooked into a functioning unit,' he wrote in Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1937, 'the resulting intelligence should be able to conquer the world without much difficulty.' Working on this doubtful premise, Campbell made unremitting attempts to encompass telepathy, ESP and other odd psychic phenomena into a science he called 'psionics'.

As the reputation of Campbell's Astounding grew, new magazines appeared on the streets thick and fast - Marvel Science Stories was out first, closely followed by Startling Stories, Dynamic Science Stories and Fantastic Adventures. To distance his own magazine from the more garish pulps, Campbell changed the title to Astounding Science Fiction, which he thought sounded more dignified and more accurately reflected the content.

Campbell first met L. Ron Hubbard at about the time he took over as editor. Ron provided a typically bombastic account of the circumstances: 'I got into science fiction and fantasy because F. Orlin Tremaine, at the orders of the managing director of Street and Smith, brought me over and ordered John W. Campbell Jr . . . to buy whatever I wrote, to freshen up the mag, up its circulation, and to put in real people and real plots instead of ant men. John, although we became dear friends later, didn't like this a bit.'[3]

Tremaine was an editorial director of Street and Smith and might well have effected the introduction - he would certainly have known Ron, since Ron had contributed many stories to Street and Smith's stable of adventure pulps. But it was inconceivable that Campbell would have been ordered to buy everything Ron wrote. Campbell was an editor of total dedication and a notorious perfectionist - he would never have relinquished his right to edit or to ask contributors for a rewrite if he thought it was necessary. 'Those who could not meet his requirements,' said Isaac Asimov, 'could not sell to him.'

Whatever the circumstances of their meeting, it was clear that the young editor and the young writer hit it off, for in April, 1938 Campbell wrote Ron a long, funny letter, full of friendly gobbledegook, to chide Ron for not making contact when he was recently in New York. 'HUBBARD SNUBBARD: HUBBARD SNUBBARD: HUBBARD SNUBBARD,' Campbell began. 'When I was a little boy, on me fodder's knee, he says to me, says he to me (yes, I was a little boy, and I did have a fodder, and he did have a knee, and he did say to me): "Never take offense, where offense isn't meant." So thata is data . . .'

He continued in similar vein for several pages, invited Ron to contribute some anecdotes about himself for a feature he was writing on the pulp magazine industry and ended: 'My best to your wife and kiddies. I am now about to sign off. By the way, forgive the bad copy; I only learned to type a couple of weeks ago, and can't control the engine sometimes. Addio, John.'[4]

Ron's first story for Astounding, and his first venture into science fiction, was 'The Dangerous Dimension', published in the July 1938 issue. It was a diverting little tale about a mild-mannered university professor, Henry Mudge, who works out a philosophic equation enabling him to transport himself to any part of the universe by thought alone. Teleportation causes him endless difficulties since every time he thinks about a place he finds himself whisked there with no more than a 'whup!' By and large, he is remarkably unperturbed, as when he thinks himself to Mars ("Oh dear," thought Mudge. "Now I've done it!").

'The Dangerous Dimension' was followed later in the year by a three-part novelette, 'The Tramp', which also dealt with fantastic powers of the mind. The tramp, one 'Doughface Jack', falls from a train and suffers severe head injuries. After an operation to save his life during which a silver plate is inserted into his head, he discovers he has the power to heal, or to kill, with a single glance. The surgeon is so envious of his patient's remarkable new powers that he decides to have the operation, too, with less happy results.

When, by and by, it became important to promote an image of Ron as one of the world's great thinkers and philosophers, these two stories would be presented as clear evidence that L. Ron Hubbard had begun his research into the workings of the mind. Science fiction, it was explained, was 'merely the method Ron used to develop his philosophy'.[5]
It was a philosophy which was supposedly fully expounded in Excalibur, an unpublished book Ron was first said to have written in 1938.

Modestly described as 'a sensational volume which was a summation of life based on his analysis of the state of Mankind',

Modestly described as 'a sensational volume which was a summation of life based on his analysis of the state of Mankind',[6] much would be heard of this great work in later years; indeed, it would become a cornerstone of the mythology built around his life. It was claimed that the book derived from Ron's 'discovery' that the primary law of life was to survive, although, naturally, the part played by 'his explorations, journeys and experiences in the four corners of the earth, amongst all kinds of men, was crucial'.[7]

The first six people to read the manuscript were said to have been so overwhelmed by the contents that they went out of their minds. Curiously, however, few of Ron's fellow writers were aware of the existence of the book, with the exception of Art Burks: 'Ron called me one day and said, "I want to see you right away, I have written the book." I never saw anybody so worked up. Apparently he had written it without sleeping, eating, or anything else and had literally worked himself into a frazzle.
'He was so sure he had something "away out and beyond" anything else that he said he had sent telegrams to several book publishers telling them that he had written the book and that they were to meet him at Penn Station and he would discuss it with them and go with whoever gave him the best offer. Whether he did this or not, I don't know, but it is right in line with something he would do.

Ron Hubbard thought Modesty would have a greater impact upon people than the Bible.'[8]

'He told me it was going to revolutionize everything: the world, people's attitudes to one another. He thought it would have a greater impact upon people than the Bible.'[8]

Burks's recollection of the manuscript was that it was about seventy thousand words long and began with a fable about a king who gathered all his wise men together and commanded them to bring him all the wisdom of the world in five hundred books. He then told them to go away and condense the information into one hundred books. When they had done that, he wanted the wisdom reduced into one book and finally into one word. That word was 'survive'.

Ron developed an argument hat the survival instinct could explain all human behaviour and that to understand survival was to understand life. Burks particularly remembered a passage in which Ron explained how emotions could be whipped up to the point where a lynch mob was formed. 'It made the shivers move up your back from your heels to the top of your head,' he said.
Burks was sufficiently impressed by Excalibur to agree to write a brief biographical sketch of Ron for use as a preface. It was the usual 'red-headed fire-eater' material, with only one surprising new claim - that 1934 was the year Ron 'rounded off his application of analytical geometry to aerial navigation'.
The preface also mentioned a facet of Ron's character which few members of the American Fiction Guild had noticed - his unwillingness to talk about himself. 'Long ago he discovered that his most concrete adventures raised sceptic eyebrows and so, without diminishing his activities, he has fallen back on silence. We hear of him building a road in the Ladrone Islands or surveying the Canadian border and bellowing squads east and west with the perfection of a trained military man and delve though we may, that is as far as we can get.'
Burks concluded with a tactful reference to the difficulty of reconciling the adventurer with the author of a philosophic treatise: 'One envisions the philosopher as a quiet gray-beard, timid in all things but thought. It is, withal, rather upsetting to the general concept to think of L. Ron Hubbard as the author of Excalibur.'

Although Excalibur was never published - Burks was convinced that Ron was deeply disappointed he could not find a publisher - Ron assiduously stoked rumours about its existence and its content. 'He told me once that he had a manuscript in his trunk that was going to revolutionize the world,' said his friend Mac Ford. 'He said it was called Excalibur, but that's all I know about it. I never saw it.'[9]
Unquestionably, Ron himself believed in Excalibur, for in October 1938 he wrote a long and emotional letter to Polly in which he expressed his hope that the manuscript would merit him a place in history.
Polly had recently had a riding accident which resulted in her losing the tip of one finger. Ron tried to cheer her up with a funny catalogue of his own imagined ailments and promised her a jewelled Chinese fingernail holder which she could be 'snooty' about. He wrote of his frustration about his work, the constant shortage of money ('I still wonder how much money we owe in incidental bills. It's grave, I know . . .') and the need to spend so much time in New York, away from her and the children.
Then he turned to the subject which was clearly in the forefront of his mind: 'Sooner or later Excalibur will be published and I may have a chance to get some name recognition out of it so as to pave the way to articles and comments which are my ideas of writing heaven.
'Living is a pretty grim joke, but a joke just the same. The entire function of man is to survive. The outermost limit of endeavour is creative work. Anything less is too close to simple survival until death happens along. So I am engaged in striving to maintain equilibrium sufficient to at least realize survival in a way to astound the gods. I turned the thing up so it's up to me to survive in a big way . . . Foolishly perhaps, but determined none the less, I have high hopes of smashing my name into history so violently that it will take a legendary form even if all books are destroyed. That goal is the real goal as far as I am concerned . . .

'When I wrote it [Excalibur] I gave myself an education which outranks that of anyone else. I don't know but it might seem that it takes terrific brain work to get the thing assembled and usable in the head. I do know that I could form a political platform, for instance, which would encompass the support of the unemployed, the industrialist and the clerk and day laborer all at one and the same time. And enthusiastic support it would be. Things are due for a bust in the next half dozen years. Wait and see.'
Ron was clearly worried that he would be hampered by his reputation as a pulp writer: 'Writing action pulp doesn't have much agreement with what I want to do because it retards my progress by demanding incessant attention and, further, actually weakens my name. So you see I've got to do something about it and at the same time strengthen the old financial position.'
Towards the end of the letter he wrote about strange forces he felt stirring within him which made him feel aloof and invincible and the struggle he had faced trying to answer the question 'Who am I?' before returning to the theme of immortality: 'God was feeling sardonic the day He created the Universe. So it's rather up to at least one man every few centuries to pop up and come just as close to making him swallow his laughter as possible.'

Ron's nickname for Polly was 'Skipper' and hers for him was 'Red'. The letter finished with a single encouraging line: 'I love you, Skipper, and all will be well. The Redhead.'

While Ron's philosophical work languished for want of a publisher, his literary endeavours in other fields continued to find wide favour. Apart from marking his début in science fiction, 1938 was the year Ron rode the range of Western adventure. His name appeared in Western Story magazine almost every month with a series of two-gun titles designed to set the pulse racing - 'Six Gun Caballero', 'Hot Lead Payoff', 'Ride 'Em Cowboy', 'The Boss of the Lazy B', 'The Ghost Town Gun-Ghost', 'Death Waits at Sundown', etcetera.
Campbell thought Ron was wasting his time with Westerns and told him so in a letter dated 23 January 1939: 'I don't, personally, like Westerns particularly, and, in consequence, haven't read your Western stuff. But I'm convinced that you do like fantasy, enjoy it, and have a greater gift for fantasy than for almost any other type. The fact that editor after editor has urged you to do that type seems to me indication that you always have had that ability, and that, in avoiding it heretofore, you've suppressed a natural, and not common, talent. There are a lot of boys that run out readable Westerns, but only about three or four men in a generation that do top-notch fantasy.'[10]
Campbell wanted Ron to contribute to Unknown, a new magazine he was in the process of launching which was to specialize in bizarre fantasy, and promised to reserve space for him with a proviso that only 'genuinely first-rate fantasy' would be considered. In response Ron produced a story called 'The Ultimate Adventure', which was used as the lead novel in the April 1939 issue and marked the beginning of a tenure during which his name was virtually a permanent fixture in the magazine.

The protagonist in 'The Ultimate Adventure' was a favourite Hubbard stereotype - a wimp transported by magic to another, vaguely Oriental, world and miraculously mutated into a roistering adventurer. The wimp in this case was a destitute orphan. Beguiled by a mad professor, tie finds himself in a scene from The Arabian Nights, is condemned to death as a suspected ghoul, shoots his way out, falls in with a band of genuine ghouls who eat human heads, rescues a fair princess from the cliché castle and finally turns the tables on the mad professor. It was rip-roaring stuff.
A second L. Ron Hubbard story, 'Slaves of Sleep', appeared in the July issue of Unknown. This time the hero was not a penniless orphan but an heir to a shipping fortune, although quite as ineffectual. Another wicked professor (Ron did not have much time for academics) causes the young man to be cursed with eternal sleeplessness, banishing him to a world where he is a seventeenth-century sailor on the Barbary coast embroiled in hair-raising adventures. Fortunately, he has a magic ring for use in really tricky situations - as when he single-handedly defeats an enemy fleet by obdurately ordering the ships to fall apart.
Compared to previous years, Ron's output in 1939 was positively dilatory - just seven novels and two short stories. But then be had other things on his mind. A year earlier, his friend H. Latane Lewis II, who was by then working for the National Aeronautic Association, had recommended him to the War Department in Washington as the right man for an advisory post in the Air Corps.

In a letter to Brigadier General Walter G. Kilner, Assistant Chief of the Air Corps, H. Latane Lewis II unexpectedly promoted Ron to the rank of 'Captain', perhaps to enhance his case: 'When you asked me last week to procure advice on the problem of bringing a more agreeable and adventurous type of young man into the Air Corps, I did not know I would be fortunate enough to receive a call today from Captain L. Ron Hubbard, the bearer.
'Captain Hubbard, whom you know as a writer and lecturer, is probably the best man to consult on this subject due to his many connections. He has offered to deliver his views in person.
'As a member of the Explorers Club he has occasion to address thousands of young men in various institutions concerning his sea adventures and his various expeditions. Though he only pursued soaring and power flight long enough to emass [sic] story information, he is still much respected in soaring societies for the skill and daring which brought him two records. He often speaks at Harvard . . .'[11]
Nothing came of Ron's offer to deliver his views in person, possibly because the Brigadier General discovered L. Ron Hubbard was not a Captain, not a member of the Explorers Club, not a lecturer, held no flying records and had never addressed Harvard.
Ron, as ever, was unabashed but as the situation in Europe deteriorated - the newspapers were full of alarming reports that a German invasion of Poland was imminent - he became increasingly enamoured with the idea that his panoply of talents should be available to Washington.

On 1 September, the day England and France declared war on Germany, he wrote to the Secretary of the War Department: 'Because of the possibility that our nation may, in the near future, find itself at war and because I well know the difficulty of finding trained men at the height of such a crisis, I wish to offer my services to my government in whatever capacity they might be of the greatest use . . .' He continued with a resumé of his career which was, for Ron, a model of restraint and veracity. It was just possible that he inadvertently implied he had only left university in order to lead an expedition to the Caribbean, and his military experience was perhaps just a little over-emphasized, but by and large he stuck to the facts. He even had the grace to point out that though he had spent five years studying psychology and human behaviour it was purely for his own benefit. His 'pioneering' notes on emotional reactions, he added, would be published in the coming year.
Unfortunately for Ron, two days later, President Roosevelt declared the neutrality of the United States, temporarily thwarting his ambition to play a role in the defeat of Hitler.
Following the move to South Colby, Ron became accustomed to spending summers at The Hilltop, burning the midnight oil in his little cabin in the woods and sailing the ruffled reaches of Puget Sound in the Maggie at weekends, and winters in New York, where he could enjoy the amiable and cosmopolitan company of his fellow writers.
He usually stayed in the cheapest hotel room he could find, but in the fall of 1939 he scraped together enough money to rent a small apartment in Manhattan, on the Upper West Side at 95th and Riverside. To make a place where he could work without distraction, he rigged up a curtained enclosure about the size of a telephone booth, lit with a blue electric bulb to cut down the reflected glare from his typing paper.

Most of the top science fiction writers of the day tended to gather in John W. Campbell's cluttered office in the Street and Smith building on Seventh Avenue and it was there that other contributors to Astounding and Unknown made the acquaintance of L. Ron Hubbard. L. Sprague de Camp thought that he looked like a 'reincarnated Pan who had been doing himself a bit too well on the ambrosia'[12]and Isaac Asimov, who greatly admired Ron's work, became quite flustered at meeting him for the first time.
'He was a large-jawed, red-haired, big and expansive fellow who surprised me,' Asimov recalled. 'His heroes tended to be frightened little men who rose to meet emergencies, and somehow I had expected Hubbard to be the same. "You don't look at all like your stories," I said. "Why? How are my stories?" he asked. "Oh they're great," I said enthusiastically and all present laughed while I blushed and tried to explain that if the stories were great and he was not like his stories, I didn't mean he was not great.[13]
While he was in New York, Ron lobbied assiduously and moved inexorably towards the fulfilment of a long-standing ambition - to be accepted as a member of the Explorers Club. He had often hinted, over the years, that he was a member, but in reality it was an accolade that had proved singularly elusive. The club occupied a handsome red brick and stone building of suitable neo-Gothic dignity on East 70th Street, but its worth as a prime piece of Manhattan real estate was as nothing compared to the privilege of being allowed to walk through the wrought iron gates as a member. Membership of the snooty Explorers Club of New York, founded in 1904, conferred prestige, social standing and influence. Ron longed to join this exalted fraternity, not least because it would, at a stroke, forever legitimize his doubtful career as an explorer and adventurer.
He could be the most charming and sociable of men when he so desired and he worked hard to make the right connections. On 12 December 1939, he was formally proposed for membership of the Explorers Club on the basis of what appeared to be an impressive application, citing the valuable data he had obtained for the Hydrographic Office and the University of Michigan during his expedition to the Caribbean, his pioneering mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico and his survey flights in the United States, undertaken to 'aid adjustment of field and facility data'.

The club's membership committee did not, it seems, require any of these claims to be checked and on 19 February 1940, L. Ron Hubbard was duly elected, to his enormous and undisguised pleasure. Thereafter, he would rarely forgo the satisfaction of giving his address as 'Explorers Club, New York.'
It not being in his nature to blush quietly on the sidelines, Ron was soon making his presence felt. Within a matter of months the club magazine was reporting rumours that 'our red-headed Captain Ron Hubbard' liked to wrestle fully-grown brown bears. Ron wrote a good-natured denial, slyly contriving to portray himself as both sport and saint: 'I do not make a practice of going around picking on poor, innocent Kodiak bears. The day I arrived in New York City, this thing began: I picked up my phone to hear a cooing voice say, "Cap'n, do you like to wrassle with bears?" And since that day I have had no peace. How the story arrived ahead of me I do not know, I mean the whole thing is a damned lie!

'A man can spend endless months of hardship and heroic privation in checking coast pilots; he can squeeze his head to half its width between earphones calculating radio errors; he can brave storm and sudden death in all its most horrible forms in an attempt to increase man's knowledge, and what happens? Is he a hero? Do people look upon his salt-encrusted and exhausted self with awe? Do universities give him degrees and governments commissions? No! They all look at him with a giggle and ask him if he likes to wrassle bears. It's an outrage! It's enough to make a man take up paper-doll cutting! Gratitude, bah! Attention and notoriety have centred upon one singular accident - an exaggerated untruth - and the gigantic benefits to the human race are all forgotten!'
In the early months of 1940, Ron was forced to abandon the pursuit of further gigantic benefits for the human race in favour of earning a living. Working under the blue light in the curtained cubicle in his apartment on the Upper West Side, he produced three stories that would come to be regarded as classics- 'Fear', 'Typewriter in the Sky' and 'Final Blackout'.
'No one who read "Fear" in Unknown during their impressionable years would ever forget it,' claimed Brian Aldiss, science fiction writer and historian.[14] The stream-of-consciousness narrative, akin to literary psychoanalysis, charts the disintegration of an academic who writes an article debunking the existence of spirits and demons and is punished by being dragged into a nightmare of black magic and hallucinations. In contrast, 'Typewriter In The Sky' was a typical Hubbard swashbuckler about a character called Mike de Wolfe who finds himself trapped in the past as the unwilling victim of a science fiction writer named Horace Hackett. Transported to the Spanish Main, de Wolfe is saddled with the implausible name of Miguel Saint Raoul Maria Gonzales Sebastian de Mendoza y Toledo Francisco Juan Tomaso Guerrero de Brazo y Leon de Lobo and is required to duel with English sea dog Tom Bristol for the hand of the fair Lady Marion, 'flame-headed, imperious and as lovely as any statue from Greece'. It was an ingenious little tale, but hardly great literature, particularly since the protagonists were given to uttering lines like 'God's breath, milord, you jest!' and 'By gad, he's got spunk!' or even 'Peel your peepers!'

Final Blackout was a novel which many science-fiction fans considered Hubbard's finest work and led to hopeful comparisons with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. (When it was published in hardback later, Ron contrived, unsuccessfully, to appear self-effacing in a jacket note: 'I cannot bring myself to believe that Final Blackout, as so many polls and such insist, is one of the ten greatest stories ever published.')
Serialized in the April, May and June issues of Astounding, Final Blackout precipitated furious controversy in fan magazines and bitter accusations that it was Communist or Fascist propaganda. The story was set in a Europe laid waste by generations of war and populated only by marauding bands of renegade soldiers. Leading a brigade of 'unkillables', the hero, identified only as the 'Lieutenant', fights his way to England, where he establishes a benign military dictatorship until he is overthrown by his former commanding officers, with the backing of the United States.
It was a peculiarly grim and apposite story to be published in the spring of 1940. Viewed from the United States, the war in Europe seemed like a prelude to Armageddon, the potential destruction of civilized life under the heel of the jackboot. While American liberals were campaigning for positive action from the government to aid the Allies in the fight against Fascism, the anti-war neutralist lobby was equally vociferous. Partisans of both left and right read political significance into The Final Blackout: it was pro-war, anti-war, Communist or anti-Communist, depending on the reader's political inclinations.

Even Ron's friends could not agree about his intentions. Ron was a member of a war-game circle which had been started by Fletcher Pratt, a naval historian who also enjoyed writing science fiction. Using scale models of real warships made from balsa wood, they re-enacted naval battles on the floor of the living-room in Pratt's New York apartment until the group became too large and it was necessary to transfer the battleground to a hired hall on East 59th Street. While the balsa battles were being fought, they often discussed the war and its attendant politics.

'Hubbard gave a varied impression of himself,' recalled L. Sprague de Camp, who was also a member of the war-game circle. 'Some thought him a Fascist because of the authoritarian tone of certain stories. But one science-fiction writer, then an idealistic left-liberal, was convinced that Hubbard had profound liberal convictions. To others, Hubbard expressed withering disdain for politics and politicians, saying about the imminence of war: "Me, fight for a political system?"[15]

There was certainly no doubt that Ron was anti-German, for on 16 May he wrote a letter to the FBI in Washington on his exotic personalized stationery featuring his initials and a charging cavalryman: 'Gentlemen; May I bring to your attention an individual whose Nazi activities, in time of national emergency if not at present, might constitute him a menace to the state?'
This luckless individual was a German steward at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York whose sister, according to Ron, was a member of the Gestapo. Ron accused him of being anti-American, an illegal immigrant and 'definitely fifth column'. 'My interest in this is impersonal,' he added, 'though possibly shaded by the feeling of dislike which he always inspires in me.'
J. Edgar Hoover replied promptly, thanked Ron for the information and promised an investigation. But when an FBI agent called at Ron's apartment on Riverside Drive, he discovered that Ron had moved out on 1 June. The agent reported that Ron had told neighbours he was moving to Washington DC, but as he left no forwarding address, the case was closed.[16]

Ron had not gone to Washington DC but to Washington State, back to The Hilltop and to Polly and the children. There was perhaps little time for a lengthy family reunion, however, for he was deeply involved in the planning of his next great adventure - the Alaskan Radio-Experimental Expedition. He was, of course, the leader and would be carrying with him, for the first time, the flag of the Explorers Club.

The signal honour of carrying the club flag was jealously guarded and only granted to members taking part in expeditions with proven serious scientific objectives. Every application was obviously subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Flag and Honors Committee, lest the significance of its award be devalued. Thus Captain Hubbard proposed eminently laudable aims for his Alaskan Radio-Experimental Expedition, notably to rewrite an important navigation guide - the US Coast Pilot, Alaska, Part 1 - and to investigate methods of radio position-finding with experimental equipment and a new system of mathematical computation. In a committee room at the Explorers Club, these creditable aspirations clearly met with unhesitant approval.
In and around Bremerton, members of the Waterbury family had a rather more prosaic perspective on the Alaskan Radio-Experimental Expedition, referring to it simply as 'Ron and Polly's trip'. As far as the family was concerned, Ron was going to take Polly on a cruise up to Alaska. Aunt Marnie viewed the venture as a wangle entirely typical of her nephew. 'Ron dreamed up the trip as a way of outfitting the Maggie,' she said. 'His brain was always working and when he was trying to figure out how he could afford to outfit the boat he wrote letters to all these different manufacturers of instruments and equipment offering to test them out.'

The letters were written on crisply designed notepaper headed 'ALASKAN RADIO-EXPERIMENTAL EXPEDITION', with a sub-heading 'Checking data for the US Coast and Geodetic Survey and the US Navy Hydrographic Office'. The expedition's base was given as Yukon Harbor, Colby, and its address, inevitably, was the Explorers Club of New York. With such impressive credentials, it was no surprise that manufacturers responded positively to letters from 'Captain L. Ron Hubbard, Director AREE '40' asking for equipment to be submitted for scientific testing.
Aunt Marnie knew all about 'Ron and Polly's trip' because they had asked her to look after Nibs and Katie at The Hilltop while they were away. She and her husband, Kemp, were living in Spokane, but Kemp had been unemployed throughout the Depression and they were happy to move into The Hilltop as Kemp thought he might find work at the Navy Yard in Bremerton. 'It was a beautiful spot,' said Marnie. 'Polly had fixed up the house and the garden real nice. She was very clever with flowers, very good at gardening. From the garden you could see the ferry boats coming over from Seattle.'

A few days before they were due to leave, Ron offered to take Marnie and Toilie for a trip round the bay in the Maggie. It was not an outing that augured well for the Alaskan Radio-Experimental Expedition - 'We were quite a ways out', Marnie recalled, 'when the engine suddenly went phut-phut - out of gas. Polly was furious and shouted at Ron, "I thought you were going to re-fuel it." He had forgotten to do it. We prayed for a wind to blow so we could get in under sail. In the end we had to drain the little oil lamps. That gave us enough fuel to give the engine a shot to get us moving, then we would drift for a bit and give it another shot and finally we got back. That was my last trip on the Maggie.'[17]
The 'expedition' departed its Yukon Harbor 'base' in July, with May, Marnie, Toilie and Midge and their various children waving farewell from the quayside. Marnie and Kemip settled into The Hilltop with Nibs and Katie, their own two children and Marylou, the daughter of Marnie's sister, Hope. For the next several months their only contact with Ron and Polly was through letters posted from various ports in British Columbia as the Maggie sailed erratically northwards along the Pacific coast of Canada.
From the start, the Maggie's new engine, fitted only a few weeks before they left Puget Sound, gave trouble. On their second day out, nosing through thick fog in the Juan de Futa Strait, between Vancouver Island and the US coast and barely eighty miles from Bremerton, the engine spluttered and died. They very nearly ran aground before Ron could get it going again. The same thing happened in Chatham Sound, off Prince Rupert, also, coincidentally, in a pea-souper.

On Friday 30 August, the Maggie limped into the harbour at Ketchikan, Alaska, with the engine crankshaft banging ominously. Ketchikan was a small fishing and logging community surrounded by spruce forests on the southern tip of the Alaskan panhandle, some seven hundred miles from Bremerton. The Maggie's arrival merited a story in the Ketchikan Alaska Chronicle, although no mention was made of the expedition:
'Captain L. Ron Hubbard, author and world traveller, arrived in Ketchikan yesterday in company with his wife aboard the vest pocket yacht, Magician. His purpose in coming to Alaska was two-fold, one to win a bet and another to gather material for a novel of Alaskan salmon fishing.'

It seems Ron told the newspaper that friends had wagered it was impossible to sail a vessel as small as the Maggie to Alaska and he was determined to prove them wrong. 'Captain Hubbard covered their bets and, now that he has arrived, will have the satisfaction of collecting.'
Ron no doubt wished the story was true, for he had hopelessly underestimated the cost of the trip and they were already so short of money that they could not afford to get the engine repaired. More in hope than anticipation, he sent an angry cable to the engine supplier in Bremerton demanding a replacement crankshaft, free of charge. Meanwhile, they were effectively marooned in Ketchikan.
While Ron and Polly were carefully saving wherever they could, a letter arrived from Marnie saying that Nibs had been up crying all night with a toothache and she had taken him to the dentist. Ron was angry that Marnie should involve them in further expense and dashed off an irritable reply telling her it was none of her business and she should have waited until they got back. Marnie responded furiously: 'What kind of heel are you?'
Despite these trials, Ron did his best to invest the trip with scientific purpose. In mid-September, he despatched a package of sailing directions and eleven rolls of film to the Hydrographic Office in Washington DC with a note expressing the hope that they would prove of value. He was also able to report favourably to the Cape Cod Instrument Company in Hyannis on the accuracy of its 'Cape Cod Navigator', which he had tested with 721 bearings on radio beacons. 'It has at all times performed its duties like a true shipmate,' Ron wrote.
A solution to their predicament presented itself later that month in the shape of Jimmy Britton, the owner and president of the local radio station. KGBU Radio was a home-spun operation which proclaimed itself to be 'The Voice of Alaska' since it was virtually the only radio station in the area. Jimmy Britton made all the announcements, read the news, conducted interviews, played records and filled in time as best he could.

KGBU was usually so short of material that anyone in Ketchikan was welcome on the air to talk about almost anything. It was hardly surprising, then, that the arrival in town of Captain Hubbard, leader of a scientific expedition carrying the flag of The Explorers Club of New York, was nothing short of a godsend to Britton, particularly as Hubbard was not only willing to broadcast, he seemed positively eager to do so. He was soon regaling listeners with a gripping account of his expedition and his adventures navigating through fog-bound, tide-bedevilled and uncharted waters.
Britton recognized that Ron was a natural broadcaster and storyteller, with a seemingly limitless reservoir of material, and his talks on KGBU became a regular and popular feature for several weeks. In one of them he revealed how, after only a week in Alaskan waters he had discovered, with the help of his advanced radio navigational instruments, a source of interference which had baffled the local coastguard and signal station. In another he described his role in tracking down a German saboteur who had been sent to Alaska with orders to cut off communications with the United States in the event of war. And his dramatic and sometimes hilarious account of how, on a fishing expedition with a friend, he lassooed a swimming brown bear which then climbed on to their boat, had listeners everywhere glued to their sets. Off the air, at Jimmy Britton's request, Ron re-organized the station and wrote new programming schedules with all the confidence of a man who had spent a lifetime in broadcasting.

With little interference from other radio stations, KGBU's signal, on 900 watts and 1000 kilocycles, carried for hundreds of miles and could often be heard as far south as Seattle and Bremerton. It was for this reason that Ron always contrived to mention that he and his wife were stranded in Ketchikan because the Regal Company of Bremerton had refused to meet its obligations and replace their defective crankshaft. When a new crankshaft arrived in early December, Ron was convinced it was his constant needling on the air that was responsible.

As soon as the new crankshaft was fitted, Ron and Polly set sail for home. No one was more sorry to see them go than Jimmy Britton: he felt that KGBU had hardly begun to tap Ron's fund of stories. The Maggie sailed back into Puget Sound on 27 December 1940. Ron bought Marnie a yellow canary to thank her for looking after the children and not a word was said about the dentist.

Beset once more by debts, Ron went straight back to work to earn some money. For many weeks a light could be seen burning all night in the window of the little cabin at the back of The Hilltop as the stories rolled relentlessly out of his typewriter. In one of them, 'The Case of the Friendly Corpse', published in Unknown, Ron cheekily disposed of Harold Shea, the hero of a story by L. Sprague de Camp that had appeared in the magazine two months previously. Ron had his own hero meet Harold Shea and demonstrate a magic wand which turned into a serpent and proceeded to swallow up poor Harold. L. Sprague de Camp fans were outraged that Hubbard should so brusquely dispatch someone else's hero.

When he was not working, Ron spent a lot of time, as before, with his friend Mac Ford, who had recently been elected to the state legislature. During the hours they spent playing chess they talked at length about the war in Europe and the likelihood of the United States becoming involved. Ron seemed somewhat subdued after his return from Alaska; he was convinced that the Japanese were planning to attack the West coast mainland and gloomily prophesied that US forces would be driven back to the Rockies before they could stem the tide of the invasion.

Unbeknown to Ford, Ron had made up his mind to join the Navy and was making painstaking preparations to ensure he was offered a commission, tenaciously cultivating useful contacts and soliciting letters of recommendation wherever he could. Jimmy Britton of KGBU Radio was naturally happy to oblige and despatched a two-page eulogy to the Secretary of the Navy on 15 March 1941, listing Ron's abundance of accomplishments. Among them he mentioned that Ron was a 'good professional photographer' whose work he had seen in National Geographic Magazine. No one else had, for National Geographic had never published any of Ron's pictures.[18] 'I do not hesitate', Britton enthused, 'to recommend him without reserve as a man of intelligence, courage and good breeding as well as one of the most versatile personalities I have ever known.'
Ten days later, Commander W. E. McCain of US Naval Powder Factory at Indian Head, Maryland, added his support: 'This is to certify that I have personally known Mr L. Ron Hubbard for the past twenty years. I have been associated with him as a boy growing up and observed him closely. I have found him to be of excellent character, honest, ambitious and always very anxious to improve himself to better enable him to become a more useful citizen . . . I do not hesitate to recommend him to anyone needing the services of a man of his qualifications.' (McCain was the Lieutenant who had shown Ron and his mother around Manila in 1927 and whom Ron mentioned in his journal.)

Meanwhile, Ron was in touch with his Congressman, Warren G. Magnuson, who was a member of the Committee on Naval Affairs. Ron had suggested to Magnuson that the US Navy should set up its own Bureau of Information, both to improve the Navy's public relations and to counter the 'defeatist propaganda' about naval affairs which Ron claimed was 'flooding the press'. At Magnuson's request, he produced a nine-page report which the Congressman submitted with an introduction which cannot have displeased the author: 'This plan of organization has been prepared by Captain L. Ron Hubbard, a writer who is well-known under each of five different pen names. His leadership in the Authors' League and the American Fiction Guild, his political and professional connections and the respect in which he is held by writers and newsmen make his aid in this organization valuable. His participation in this organization will give to it an instantaneous standing in the writing profession, and bring to it a standard of high ideals . . .'

As if this was not enough, the Congressman also took it upon himself to write to no less a person than President Roosevelt to extol the virtues of 'Captain' Hubbard. The letter, dated 8 April, added yet another laurel to Ron's crown with the improbable claim that he held more marine licences than anyone else in the country. It also introduced an aspect of his personality that was certainly not obvious to other people who knew Ron Hubbard - his 'distaste for personal publicity'.

'Dear Mr President,' Magnuson wrote. 'May I recommend to you a gentleman of reputation? L. Ron Hubbard is a well-known writer under five different names. He is a respected explorer as Captain Bryan, Navy Hydrographer, will confirm. [Bryan acknowledged the sailing directions and films that Ron sent to the Hydrographic Office from his Alaskan trip.]

'Mr Hubbard was born into the Navy. He has marine masters papers for more types of vessels than any other man in the United States.
'He has written for Hollywood, radio and newspapers and has published many millions of words of fact and fiction in novels and national magazines. In writing organizations he is a key figure, making him politically potent nationally.
'An interesting trait is his distaste for personal publicity. He is both discreet and resourceful as his record should indicate.
'Anything you can do for Mr Hubbard will be appreciated . . .'

On 18 April, Ron reported to the Naval Reserve Headquarters in Washington DC for a physical examination. Next day, he persuaded the Dean of the School of Civil Engineering at George Washington University to write a letter to the Navy Yard recommending him for a commission. Professor Arthur Johnson complimented Ron's leadership, ingenuity, resourcefulness and personality and strove to explain why such a paragon had failed to graduate: 'His average grades in engineering were due to the obvious fact that he had started in the wrong career. They do not reflect his great ability.'
Unquestionably the most lyrical of all the letters of recommendation was that signed by Senator Robert M. Ford on the notepaper of the House of Representatives for the State of Washington. Ford was not the kind of man to be too bothered by protocol or paperwork. 'I don't know why Ron wanted a letter,' he said. 'I just gave him a letter-head and said, "Hell, you're the writer, you write it!"'[19]
Ron was unstinting in praise of himself. 'To whom it may concern,' he began. 'This will introduce one of the most brilliant men I have ever known: Captain L. Ron Hubbard.
'He writes under six names in a diversity of fields from political economy to action fiction and if he would make at least one of his pen names public he would have little difficult entering anywhere. He has published many millions of words and some fourteen movies.
'In exploration he has honourably carried the flag of the Explorers Club and has extended geographical and mineralogical knowledge. He is well known in many parts of the world and has considerable influence in the Caribbean and Alaska.
'As a key figure in writing organizations he has considerable political worth and in the Northwest he is a powerful influence.
'I have known him for many years and have found him discreet, loyal, honest and without peer in the art of getting things done swiftly.
'If Captain Hubbard requests help, be assured that it will benefit others more than himself.
'For courage and ability I cannot too strongly recommend him.'

On 19 July 1941, L. Ron Hubbard was commissioned as a Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in the US Naval Reserve.

1. Jack Williamson, Child of Wonder, 1985 
2. Isaac Asimov, In Memory Yet Green, 1979
2.  Ron The Writer, Author Services Inc., 1982 
4. The John W. Campbell Letters, Vol. I, 1985
5.  Ron The Writer, Author Services Inc., 1982 
6. L. Ron Hubbard, Mission Into Time, 1973 
7. Ibid
8. The Aberee, Dec. 1961 
9. Author's interview with Ford, 1 September 1986
10.  The John W. Campbell Letters, Vol. I, 1985
11.  Letter from H. Latane Lewis II, 14 February 1938
12. 12. L. Sprague de Camp, Elron and the City of Brass (Fantastic, August 1975) & Science Fiction Handbook, 1953 
13. Asimov, op. Cit
13. Brian Aldiss, Trillion Year Spree, 1986 
15. Fantastic, August 1975 
16. FBI files on L. R. Hubbard
17. Author's interview with Mrs Roberts, April 1986
18. Letter to author from National Geographic, 3 Mar 1986

Bare-Faced Messiah  Chapter 6 - The Hero Never Who Never Was

'Commissioned before the war in 1941, by the US Navy, he [Hubbard] was ordered to the Philippines at the outbreak of war in the US and was flown home in the late spring of 1942 in the Secretary of the Navy's private plane as the first US returned casualty from the Far East.' (A Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard)
'He served in the South Pacific, and in 1942 was relieved by fifteen officers of rank and was rushed home to take part in the 1942 battle against German submarines as Commanding Officer of a corvette serving in the North Atlantic. In 1943 he was made Commodore of Corvette Squadrons, and in 1944 he worked with amphibious forces. After serving in all five theaters of World War II and receiving 21 medals and palms, in 1944 he was severely wounded and was taken crippled and blinded to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.' (Facts About L. Ron Hubbard)
(Scientology's account of Hubbard's war years.)
*   *   *   *   *
By July 1941, the United States was effectively, although unofficially, at war. US marines had taken over the British garrison in Iceland and US warships were already escorting convoys of lend-lease supplies across the North Atlantic. The isolationist lobby bitterly accused President Roosevelt of needlessly leading the nation into the conflict, but the momentum was irreversible. When Germany invaded Russia, Roosevelt immediately promised US aid, declaring the defence of Russia to be 'vital to the defence of the United States'.
In August, as the apparently invincible Nazi Panzer divisions pushed the Red Army back towards the outskirts of Leningrad, Roosevelt met the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, off the coast of Newfoundland and signed the Atlantic Charter, confirming US-Anglo co-operation and calling for 'the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live'. A few days later, a German U-Boat unsuccessfully attacked an American destroyer, the USS Greer, south of Iceland and Roosevelt issued orders to 'shoot on sight'. In October, the US Navy suffered its first casualty when another destroyer, the USS Kearney, was sunk by a submarine in the North Atlantic. After the loss of the Kearney, the United States embarked on an undeclared naval war against Germany.
Lieutenant L.R. Hubbard, US Naval Reserve, did not exactly play a central role in these events. In moments of fantasy he could no doubt picture himself on the bridge of the Kearney, heroically choosing to go down with his ship, a wry smile playing on his lips as the last of his crew was rescued; in reality, he was being shunted from one desk job to another in public relations.
In the light of his success as a writer, it was not surprising that the US Navy assigned Lieutenant Hubbard to a job in publicity, even though the fledgling officer's literary talent was largely confined to the abstruse field of science fiction, far divorced from the sober requirements of military public relations.

But Ron naturally considered himself supremely well qualified and he had barely been in uniform five minutes before he was offering the benefit of his advice to his senior officers. On 21 July, with two full days' service completed, he wrote to Congressman Magnuson thanking him for his help in obtaining a commission and mentioning that he had already submitted three ideas to accelerate recruiting, all of which were 'going into effect'.[1] Magnuson replied; 'Glad to bear your commission went through. Know you will be right at home in your work with Navy Press Relations.'
A week later, Ron had other plans. In a second letter to Magnuson, dated 29 July and written from The Explorers Club in New York, he said that 'as Press Relations was getting along well enough' he had offered to write two articles every week for national magazines, with the aim of selling the 'American bluejacket' to the public. He had, he said, been given a 'free helm' and 'because this program will net about three times as much as Navy pay I think it no more than right that I return anything above pay and expenses to Navy Relief. So all goes along swimmingly.'
Well, not quite swimmingly: it transpired that Ron was a little over-confident about his ability to sell US Navy stories to national magazines. He might have written two articles every week, but none was published.
When it became clear to the Navy that Lieutenant Hubbard was wasting his time, it was decided to send him to the Hydrographic Office in Washington to annotate the photographs he had taken during his trip to Alaska with Polly. He arrived on 22 September and stayed two weeks. In a memo to the Assistant Hydrographer, it was noted that several dozen of his photographs were 'fairly clear' and of 'some navigational interest'. Ron had also suggested changes and amplifications to the Sailing Directions for British Columbia. Some were unimportant, the memo continued, 'but in the aggregate they represent a very definite contribution'.[2]

It was a contribution that marked the end of Ron's career in public relations. On 24 November, after six weeks' leave, he was posted to Headquarters, Third Naval District, in New York, for training as an Intelligence Officer.
Throughout this period, his father was stationed at the Navy Yard on Mare Island in San Pablo Bay, California, as officer in charge of the commissary. Now fifty-five and still a Lieutenant-Commander, Harry Hubbard's relationship with his son had deteriorated over the years and they saw little of each other. Any pleasure Hub might have experienced when he learned Ron was following him into the Navy could not outweigh his overall disapproval of, and disappointment with, his son. Harry Hubbard was a deeply conservative, utterly conventional plodder, a man ruled by routine and conformity. He could never come to terms with what he viewed as his son's eccentricities - his refusal to get a job, his habit of staying up all night and sleeping all day, his prolonged absences from home, his lack of regard for his family. Hub was extremely fond of Polly and adored his two grandchildren - Nibs, then seven years old, and Katie, who was five. Sometimes he felt he was closer to them than their own father and he was saddened that this should be the case.
As far as Ron was concerned, he had nothing in common with his father who had spent virtually his entire life pushing paper in the Navy with nothing in prospect but a pension. To Ron it was a grey and unappealing existence compared to his own world, at least as it existed in his thoughts. Ron still saw himself as an adventurer cast in the mould of his fictional heroes and never missed an opportunity to promote himself as a fearless, devil-may-care, globetrotter. It was no wonder father and son inexorably drifted apart - their characters were simply too different to be compatible.

Ron was still at HQ Third Naval District in New York when, a few minutes after three o'clock on the afternoon of Sunday 7 December, an announcer broke into a New York Philharmonic concert being broadcast on CBS: 'We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor.' At that very moment, bombs were still falling on the ships in Pearl Harbor and before the Japanese pilots headed for home, five US battleships had been sunk or beached, three others damaged, ten smaller warships disabled and some 2400 men killed. Next day, the President signed a declaration of war.

If Ron was chafing to get into action he was to be disappointed. On 18 December, he was posted to the Philippines, but got no further than Brisbane, Australia, where while waiting for a ship to Manila, he so antagonised his senior officers that in February 1942 he was on his way home again on board the USS Chaumont. 'This officer is not satisfactory for independent duty assignment,' the US Naval Attaché in Melbourne reported on 14 February. 'He is garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance. He also seems to think he has unusual ability in most lines. These characteristics indicate that he will require close supervision for satisfactory performance of any intelligence duty.' It was claimed that Ron assumed authority without bothering to obtain official sanction and attempted to perform duties for which he had no qualifications, thus becoming 'the source of much trouble'.[3]
At Headquarters Twelfth Naval District in San Francisco, it was decided that Ron's talents might be more profitably employed in censoring cables. In a despatch dated 22 April, the Chief Cable Censor in Washington recommended that no disciplinary action be taken following the report from Melbourne 'as it is thought that the Subject's qualifications may find a useful outlet in the Office of the Cable Censor, New York'.

Ron did not enjoy his desk job at the Office of the Cable Censor and in June he put in a request for sea duty on a patrol boat, preferably in the Caribbean area, 'the peoples, language and customs of which I know and of which I possess piloting knowledge.' His request was approved - he was taken off cable censorship work and ordered to report to a shipbuilding yard in Neponset, Massachusetts, to supervise the conversion of a heavy beam trawler, the Mist, into a US Navy gunboat to be classified as USS YP-422. When she was ready to put to sea he was to take over as Commanding Officer.
Here at last was his opportunity to prove he was the hero he devoutly believed himself to be. (Had he not fought and won countless battles in the pages of his fiction?) Fighting men of calibre were certainly desperately needed, for the months following Pearl Harbor saw some of the darkest days of the war for the United States. Although jukeboxes around the country were tinnily cranking out patriotic jingles like 'Goodbye, Mama, I'm Off To Yokohama' and 'You're a Sap, Mister Jap', the initial euphoria that had greeted the war soon began to fade as the Allies were routed in the Pacific: Guam fell, then Manila, then Singapore, Bataan and Corregidor.

It was, then, with a certain sense of fulfilling his destiny that Lieutenant Hubbard travelled to Neponset, his orders contained in a signal in his pocket:


The conversion work was carried out swiftly and on 9 September 1942, Ron despatched a message to the Commandant of Boston Navy Yard reporting that USS YP-422 was in excellent condition, crew training was 'approaching efficiency' and morale was high. 'As soon as a few deficiencies are remedied,' he added 'this vessel will be in all respects ready for sea and is very eager to be on her way to her assigned station or task force.'
Like his father, Ron tended to be somewhat absent-minded about personal debts. While he was supervising the conversion of the YP-422 he was being pursued by tailors in Brisbane and Washington DC for unpaid uniform bills and he still owed $265 to the Bank of Ketchikan. When the Alaskan bank reported Lieutenant Hubbard's debt to the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, Ron wrote an indignant letter to the cashier: 'You are again informed that the reason for non-payment of this note is the sharp decrease in pay which I was willing to take to help my country. Until this war is ended I can only make small and irregular payments.'

The implication was that Lieutenant Hubbard was far too busy fighting a war to be bothered by trifling debts, but sadly, when the USS YP-422 set out on her shakedown cruise, Lieutenant Hubbard was nowhere to be seen on board. On 1 October, Ron was summarily relieved of his command and ordered to report to the Commandant, Twelfth Naval District 'for such duty as he may assign you'. No explanation was contained in his orders, although earlier he had been involved in an unwise altercation with a senior officer at the shipyard. Considerable tension had developed between the officers in charge of the conversion work and those officers assigned to crew the ten YPs being converted at the Neponset shipyard, culminating in an extraordinary order prohibiting YP officers from approaching the conversion office or even speaking to any of the shipyard workers. Ron had taken it upon himself to fire off a memorandum to the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, naming the officer responsible and pointing out that the YP commanding officers were all 'startled' by the order.[4] He might have been better advised to keep quiet: on 25 September the Commandant of Boston Navy Yard sent a signal to Washington stating his view that Hubbard was 'not temperamentally fitted for independent command.'
With his dreams of glory temporarily crushed, Ron waited for his next assignment without much optimism, anticipating he would probably be put back in command of a desk. However, he perked up considerably when his orders came through - he was to be sent to the Submarine Chaser Training Center in Miami, Florida. This immediately opened up a vista of wonderful new images - 'Ron the Fox', ace sub hunter, fearless scourge of the Japanese submarine fleet, etcetera.
Wearing dark glasses, Lieutenant Hubbard arrived at the Training Center on 2 November and quickly made friends with another officer on the course - a young Lieutenant from Georgetown, Maine, by the name of Thomas Moulton. Ron light-heartedly explained that he was obliged to wear dark glasses as he had received a severe flash burn when he was serving as Gunnery Officer on the destroyer Edsel. He had been standing close to the muzzle of a five-inch gun which fired prematurely and while his injuries did not impair his vision, he found any kind of bright light painful without dark glasses. Moulton, understandably, was impressed.
By judiciously lacing his conversation with jargon and anecdotes, Ron possessed an uncanny ability to be totally convincing. It was soon 'common knowledge' at the Center that he had served on destroyers; indeed, said Moulton, he was 'used as something of an authority in the classroom'.[5]While they were training together in Miami, mastering the intricacies of tracking and attacking enemy submarines, Moulton was treated to further details of his new friend's astonishing exploits in the early months of the war. His strong recollection was that Ron was a reticent sort of hero, reluctant to talk about himself, but over the weeks his story came out bit by bit.

On the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, it seemed that Ron was landed from the Edsel on the north coast of Java in the Dutch East Indies, not far from the port of Surabaya, to carry out a secret mission. The Edsel was sunk a couple of days later [not quite accurate - she was sunk in March 1942] and went down with all hands. When the Japanese occupied the island, Ron took off for the hills and lived rough in the jungle. Once he was almost caught by a Japanese patrol and was hit in the back by machine-gun fire before he was able to make his escape. Those wounds still troubled him, he confessed. He often suffered severe pain in his right side and the bullets had damaged his urinary system, making it difficult for him to urinate. He was in bad shape for quite a while after being shot, but eventually he teamed up with another officer and they constructed a raft on which they sailed across the shark-infested Timor Sea to within one hundred miles of the Australian coast, where they were picked up by a British or Australian destroyer. It was, Moulton thought, a remarkable piece of navigation.
In January 1943, Ron was sent on a ten-day anti-submarine warfare course at the Fleet Sound School in Key West, Florida, prior to being posted to Portland, Oregon, as prospective Commanding Officer of USS PC-815, a 280-ton submarine-chaser under construction at the Albina Engine and Machine Works. Ron asked Moulton if he would be his Executive Officer. Moulton was really hoping for a ship of his own, but he so admired Ron that he agreed.

While the PC-815 was being built, the two officers found time to enjoy life a little in the pleasant city of Portland. Moulton's wife came over from the East Coast and Polly was able to visit from Bremerton, which was only 150 miles to the north. As a foursome they enjoyed each other's company and frequently had dinner together, despite rationing, in one of the restaurants overlooking the green valley of the Willamette river and the distant snow-capped peak of Mount Hood. On one well-remembered occasion, the prospective Commanding Officer of PC-815 and his Executive Officer drove up to Seattle for a dance at the tennis club. Ron was wearing his mysterious dark glasses, as usual, and was being gently teased by one of the women in their group. When he explained why they were necessary, the woman raised her eyebrows as if she did not believe him. Moulton was quite shocked. However, to prove what he was saying, Ron took off his glasses and within five or ten minutes his eyes began watering and were clearly sore. His friend was deeply gratified.

At ten o'clock on Tuesday 20 April 1943, the USS PC-815 was commissioned. Ron noted the event in a pencilled entry on the first page of the ship's log book, signing his name with a proud flourish. Two days later, the Oregon Journal published a photograph of Ron and Moulton in uniform with an article about the commissioning of the new ship. Ron wore his dark glasses and an intrepid expression, his coat collar was turned up and he gripped a pipe in his right hand: he looked just like a man ready to go to war.
In the story, Ron was described as a 'veteran sub-hunter of the battles of the Pacific and Atlantic . . . an old band at knocking tails off enemy subs'. To add a little local interest, it seems he told the reporter that he had grown up in Portland and came from a long line of naval men. He said his grandfather, 'Captain' Lafayette Waterbury, and his great-grandfather, 'Captain' I.C. DeWolfe, had both helped make American naval history, although naturally he did not elaborate on their contribution. [His great-grandfather's name was Abram; 'I.C.' were his grandmother's initials.]
His membership of the Explorers Club received a prominent mention, of course, along with the fact that he had commanded three 'internationally important' expeditions. He was also persuaded to reveal that during the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition he had become the first man ever to use a bathysphere for underwater filming.
When the reporter asked Ron for a comment about his new ship, he obliged with a picturesque quote that began by sounding like Humphrey Bogart and ended like the President: 'Those little sweethearts are tough. They could lick the pants off anything Nelson or Farragut ever sailed. They put up a sizzling fight and are the only answer to the submarine menace. I state emphatically that the future of America rests with just such escort vessels.'

On the evening of 18 May, the USS PC-815 sailed from Astoria, Oregon, on her shakedown cruise. Her destination was San Diego, but she had only been at sea for five hours when, at 0230 hours off Cape Lookout on the coast of Oregon, she encountered at least one, perhaps two, enemy submarines in the middle of a busy shipping lane!

Ron provided a graphic account of the engagement that followed in a secret Battle Report to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet:[6]
'Proceeding southward just inside the steamer track an echo-ranging contact was made by the soundman then on duty . . . The Commanding Officer had the conn and immediately slowed all engines to ahead one third to better echo-ranging conditions, and placed the contact dead ahead, 500 yards away.

'The first contact was very good. The target was moving left and away. The bearing was clear. The night was moonlit and the sea was flat calm . . . The USS PC-815 closed in to 360 yards, meanwhile sounding general quarters . . . Contact was regained at 800 yards and was held on the starboard beam while further investigation was made. Screws were present and distinct as before. The bearing was still clear. Smoke signal identification was watched for closely and when none appeared it was concluded the target must not be a friendly submarine. All engines were brought up to speed 15 knots and the target was brought dead ahead . . .'

On its first attack run, the USS PC-815 dropped a barrage of three depth charges. When it had re-established contact, a second attack was made at 0350 hours, this time laying down a pattern of four depth charges.
Ron lapsed into rather unmilitary lyricism to describe the ensuing events: 'The ship, sleepy and sceptical, had come to their guns swiftly and without error. No one, including the Commanding Officer, could readily credit the existence of an enemy submarine here on the steamer track and all soundmen, now on the bridge, were attempting to argue the echo-ranging equipment and chemical recorder out of such a fantastic idea . . .

'At 0450, with dawn breaking over a glassy sea, a lookout sighted a dark object about 700 yards from the ship on the starboard beam. When inspected the object seemed to be moving . . . Although very probably this object was a floating log no chances were taken and the target was used to test the guns which had not been heretofore fired structurally. The gunners, most of whom were men of experience, displayed an astonishing accuracy, bursts and shells converging on the target.

'The target disappeared for several minutes and then, to test the guns not brought to bear on the first burst, the ship was turned in case the object reappeared. The object appeared again closer to the ship. Once more fire was opened and the target vanished.'
Ron stressed that he considered it likely this target was no more than driftwood, but he thought it was good for the morale of the gunners to ensure the newly-installed guns worked. The USS PC-815mounted four further attacks on the elusive submarine in the hope of forcing it to the surface, without success. At the end of the sixth attack the ship's supply of depth charges was exhausted. Urgent signals requesting more ammunition at first met with no response.

At nine o'clock in the morning, two US Navy blimps, K-39 and K-33, appeared on the scene to help with the search. By noon, Ron believed that the submarine was disabled in some way, or at least unable to launch its torpedoes, since the PC-815, lying to in a smooth sea, presented an easy target and had not been attacked. In the early afternoon a second, smaller, sub-chaser, the USS SC-536arrived, but was unable to make contact with the target.
On the bridge of PC-815, Ron offered to lead the other ship on an attack run, blowing a whistle to signal when to drop its depth charges. 'With the bullnose of the SC nearly against our flagstaff,' Ron wrote, 'we came to attack course . . .' Five depth charges were dropped on the first run and two on the second.

"The observation blimps began to sight oil and air bubbles in the vicinity of the last attack and finally a periscope. This ship also sighted air bubbles . . . At 1606 oil was reported again and this ship saw oil. Great air boils were seen and the sound of blowing tanks was reported by the soundman . . . All guns were now manned with great attention as it was supposed that the sub was trying to surface. Everyone was very calm, gunners joking about who would get in the first shot.'

But the submarine did not surface. Far from being discouraged, it seemed that Ron was by then convinced that there was not just one but two submarines lurking somewhere beneath them. His sonar operator had reported making a second, separate, contact a few hours earlier.
Shortly before five o'clock, a Coast Guard patrol boat brought in further supplies of ammunition. Manoeuvring alongside, twenty-seven depth charges were transferred on to the USS PC-815 and made ready for firing. Not long afterwards, a second Coast Guard patrol boat, the Bonham arrived, followed by another sub-chaser, the USS SC-537. There was now a total of five ships and two observations blimps involved in the search for the enemy submarines off the coast of Oregon.

All through the next day, sweep and search operations continued, although not all the Commanding Officers were as keen or convinced as Ron. 'Neither the SC-537 nor the Bonham', he noted 'showed any understanding whatever and refused by their actions to cooperate.' The SC-537, he added with barely concealed disgust, failed to drop a single depth charge. As if in compensation, the USS PC-815made one attack run after another, forging back and forth at high speed, dropping barrage after barrage.
Still no wreckage, no bodies, floated to the surface. Ron was not in the least deterred. 'Because we had three times found two sub targets on the previous day, we considered from her failure to surface that one sub was gone down in 90 fathoms. The other still had batteries well up for it made good speed in subsequent attacks . . .

'All during the following night, the USS PC-815 kept the area swept as well as it could. The moonlight showed up an oil slick which we investigated, though the slick was too thin for samples . . . A report that the sub had surfaced off Sand Lake caused all vessels except the Bonham to go flying north to that position. But before flank speed was attained the reported "sub" was reported as a fishing vessel . . .

'At 0700, May 21, 1943, being near the area of the attacks the night before this ship stopped to search . . . Suddenly a boil of orange colored oil, very thick, came to the surface immediately on our port bow . . . The Commanding Officer came forward on the double and saw a second boil of orange oil rising on the other side of the first. The soundman was loudly reporting that he heard tanks being blown on the port bow.
'Every man on the bridge and flying bridge then saw the periscope, moving from right to left, rising up through the first oil boil to a height of about two feet. The barrel and lens of the instrument were unmistakable . . . On the appearance of the periscope, both gunners fired straight into the periscope, range about 50 yards. The periscope vanished in an explosion of 20mm bullets.'
The USS PC-815 made one further attack run and dropped its last two depth charges. At midnight, after being in action for some sixty-eight hours, Ron received orders to return to Astoria.

He noted in his report, rather sourly, that they were greeted with 'considerable scepticism' on their return. Nevertheless, his conclusion was unequivocal: 'It is specifically claimed that one submarine, presumably Japanese, possibly a mine-layer, was damaged beyond ability to leave the scene and that one submarine, presumably Japanese, possibly a mine-layer, was damaged beyond ability to return to its base.
'This vessel wishes no credit for itself. It was built to hunt submarines. Its people were trained to hunt submarines. Although exceeding its orders originally by attacking the first contact, this vessel feels only that it has done the job for which it was intended and stands ready to do that job again.'

Despite the scepticism, the US Navy mounted an immediate investigation of the incident. Ever since Pearl Harbor, Americans had been jittery about the possibility of an attack on the mainland by Japanese submarines. In February 1942, a lone enemy submarine had surfaced about a mile offshore north of Santa Barbara, California, and lobbed twenty-five shells at an oil refinery. If it happened once, it could presumably happen again and the Navy certainly needed to know if the USS PC-815had indeed stumbled across enemy submarines close to the coast of Oregon.
The Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of PC-815 were ordered to report immediately to Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, Commander Northwest Sea Frontier, in Seattle. Fletcher studied Ron's eighteen-page Battle Report and interviewed the Commanding Officers of the four other ships and two blimps involved. The tape from the PC-815's attack recorder, which recorded the strength and characteristics of the sonar signals, was evaluated by experts. When all the reports were in, Fletcher swiftly came to the conclusion that the hundred depth charges dropped during the 'battle' had probably killed a few fish but no Japanese.

In a secret memorandum to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, dated 8 June 1943, Fletcher stated: 'An analysis of all reports convinces me that there was no submarine in the area. Lieutenant Commander Sullivan [Commander of the blimps] states that he was unable to obtain any evidence of a submarine except one bubble of air which is unexplained except by turbulence of water due to a depth charge explosion. The Commanding Officers of all ships except the PC-815 state they had no evidence of a submarine and do not think a submarine was in the area.'[7]
Fletcher added that there was a 'known magnetic deposit' in the area in which the depth charges were dropped. The implication was clear: Lieutenant Hubbard, Commanding Officer of USS PC-815, had fought a two-day battle with a magnetic deposit.
Neither Ron nor Moulton would accept this verdict. They believed that denying the existence of the submarines was a political decision taken to avoid spreading alarm among the civilian population. Moulton pointed out that the Reader's Digest had recently published a story about the attack on the oil refinery near Santa Barbara and it had caused something approaching panic among people living along the coast of California. It was hardly surprising, they concluded, that the top brass wanted to hush up the fact that US Navy ships had been fighting enemy submarines only about ten miles off the coast of Oregon.

The disconsolate crew of the USS PC-815, who had no doubt expected to return home as conquering heroes, had to be satisfied with this explanation and forego public recognition of their battle. It was a bitter pill for them to swallow. The only reward their Commanding Officer could arrange was a rare treat recorded in the ship's log on the day they returned to Astoria: 'Ice cream brought on board.'

As Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Hubbard's record was unquestionably blighted by the Admiral's damning report, although there was no suggestion that he should be relieved of his command. There was plenty of good-natured joshing in the service about the man who had attacked a magnetic field, but it would probably have been forgotten eventually and need not have affected Ron's career, except that the luckless USS PC-815 was soon in even worse trouble.
Towards the end of May, the PC-815 was detailed to escort a new aircraft carrier from Portland to San Diego. Thankfully this voyage was completed without incident. On arrival in San Diego Ron said goodbye to his friend Tom Moulton, who had been transferred to HQ Thirteenth Naval District in Seattle for further assignment.

San Diego is the most southerly coastal town in California, only ten miles from the Mexican border at Tijuana. Just offshore from Tijuana there is a small group of islands known as Los Coronados, used by local fishermen to dry their nets.
On the afternoon of 28 June, the PC-815 steamed unknowingly into Mexican territorial waters and fired four shots with its 3-inch gun in the direction of the Coronados islands. She then anchored off the island and fired small arms - pistols and rifles - into the water.
The Mexican government may not have considered that the United States was launching a surprise attack, but the incident was deemed sufficiently serious for an official complaint to be lodged. Lieutenant Hubbard, fresh from his notorious battle with a magnetic deposit, was not exactly well placed to be forgiven for this new blunder.

On 30 June, a Board of Investigation was convened on board the PC-815 in San Diego Harbor. Lieutenant Hubbard was first to give evidence and stoutly denied that he had done wrong. He had ordered the gunnery practice because he was anxious to train his crew and he believed he had authority to be in the area. When asked why he had anchored for the night he admitted that he had not wanted to spend the entire night on the bridge. 'On three separate occasions,' he added, 'when leaving my officers in charge of the bridge they have become lost.'[8]

The next witness was the Gunnery Officer, who cheerfully confessed that he thought the Coronados Islands belonged to the United States. After listening to more than thirteen hours of evidence, the three-man Board of Investigation concluded that Lieutenant Hubbard had disregarded orders, both by conducting gunnery practice and by anchoring in Mexican territorial waters without proper authority.
It was recommended, in the light of the short time he had been in command, that he should be admonished in lieu of the more drastic disciplinary action that the offences would normally have deserved.[9] But it was also decided that he should be transferred to other duties.
On 7 July, after just eighty days as Commanding Officer of his own ship, Ron signed his last page of the PC-815's deck log: '1345, Signed on Detachment, L. R. Hubbard.'

In a fitness report covering his brief career as a Commanding Officer, Rear-Admiral E.A. Braisted, Commander, Fleet Operational Training Command, Pacific, rated Lieutenant L.R. Hubbard as 'below average' and noted: 'Consider this officer lacking in the essential qualities of judgement, leadership and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable results. He is believed to have been sincere in his efforts to make his ship efficient and ready. Not considered qualified for command or promotion at this time. Recommend duty on a large vessel where he can be properly supervised.'[10]
Ron was posted to temporary duty in the Issuing Office at Headquarters, Eleventh Naval District in San Diego, where he almost immediately reported sick with a variety of ailments ranging from malaria to a duodenal ulcer to pains in his back. He was admitted to the local naval hospital for observation and remained there as an in-patient for nearly three months. He wrote home to inform the family that he was in hospital because he had been injured when he picked up an unexploded shell from the deck of his ship; it had exploded in mid-air as he threw it over the side.[11]
In later years Ron would tell a story of how he had helped the staff at San Diego Naval Hospital during this period.[12] It seemed a regiment of marines had been shipped home with a disease called filoriasis about which the doctors knew nothing. Ron, because of his experience in 'the South Pacific', advised them that although there was a serum available to treat the condition, his understanding was that a spell in a cold climate would work equally well. Accordingly, the regiment was despatched to Alaska where, Ron said, 'I am sure they all recovered.'

This good deed done, in October 1943 Ron was sent on a six-week course at the Naval Small Craft Training Center on Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. In December he learned he was to be given another opportunity to go to sea - as the Navigating Officer of the USS Algol, an amphibious attack cargo ship under construction at Portland, Oregon.
To judge from an entry in his private journal, he was not particularly thrilled about going back to sea, nor indeed, about being in the Navy at all. 'My salvation is to let this roll over me,' he noted gloomily on 6 January 1944, 'to write, write and write some more. To hammer keys until I am finger worn to the second joint and then to hammer keys some more. To pile up copy, stack up stories, roll the wordage and generally conduct my life along the one line of success I have ever had.'[13]
'The only thing that ever affected me as a writer,' he recalled years later in a newspaper interview,[14]'was the US Navy when their security regulations prohibited writing. I was quiet for about two years before I couldn't take it any more and went and took it out on a typewriter and, wearing a stetson hat in the middle of a battle theater, wrote a costume historical novel of 60,000 words which has never seen the light of day.'

For the first six months of 1944, Ron remained in Portland during the fitting out of the Algol. News of the war in the Pacific was of bitter fighting and heavy casualties. US Marines were working their way from island to island towards Japan, but at shocking cost. In the attack on Tarawa Atoll, more than a thousand Americans were killed and two thousand wounded: news pictures of the beaches littered with dead Marines shocked the nation and brought home the terrible reality of war. On 15 June, two divisions of US Marines began an assault on Saipan in the southern Marianas, and in the battle that followed 16,500 Americans were killed or wounded.
The USS Algol was commissioned in July and immediately put to sea for trials. Through August and most of September she was exercizing at sea; as Navigating Officer, Ron signed the ship's deck log every day, but there was little to report except 'under way, as before'. He seemed to have had second thoughts about wanting to see action, for on 9 September he applied for an appointment to the School of Military Government, citing among his qualifications his education as a civil engineer, membership in the Explorers Club, wide travel in the Far East and experience of handling natives. The Algol's Commanding Officer approved Ron's application, noting on his fitness report that while Lieutenant Hubbard was a capable and energetic officer, he was 'very temperamental and often has his feelings hurt'.

On 22 September, the Algol was at last ordered to Oakland, California, to start taking on supplies in preparation for sailing to war. The excited rumour among the crew was that the ship was to take part in a major new offensive in the Pacific aimed at the final defeat of the Japanese.
At 1630 on the afternoon of 27 September- the day before Ron was due to leave for Princeton - the ship's deck log recorded an unusual incident: 'The Navigating Officer reported to the OOD [Officer On Duty] that an attempt at sabatage [sic] had been made sometime between 1530-1600. A coke bottle filled with gasoline with a cloth wick inserted had been concealed among cargo which was to be hoisted aboard and stored in No 1 hold. It was discovered before being taken hammer keys until I am finger worn to the second joint and then to hammer keys some more. To pile up copy, stack up stories, roll the wordage and generally conduct my life along the one line of success I have ever had.'[13]
'The only thing that ever affected me as a writer,' he recalled years later in a newspaper interview,[14]'was the US Navy when their security regulations prohibited writing. I was quiet for about two years before I couldn't take it any more and went and took it out on a typewriter and, wearing a stetson hat in the middle of a battle theater, wrote a costume historical novel of 60,000 words which has never seen the light of day.'

For the first six months of 1944, Ron remained in Portland during the fitting out of the Algol. News of the war in the Pacific was of bitter fighting and heavy casualties. US Marines were working their way from island to island towards Japan, but at shocking cost. In the attack on Tarawa Atoll, more than a thousand Americans were killed and two thousand wounded: news pictures of the beaches littered with dead Marines shocked the nation and brought home the terrible reality of war. On 15 June, two divisions of US Marines began an assault on Saipan in the southern Marianas, and in the battle that followed 16,500 Americans were killed or wounded.
The USS Algol was commissioned in July and immediately put to sea for trials. Through August and most of September she was exercizing at sea; as Navigating Officer, Ron signed the ship's deck log every day, but there was little to report except 'under way, as before'. He seemed to have had second thoughts about wanting to see action, for on 9 September he applied for an appointment to the School of Military Government, citing among his qualifications his education as a civil engineer, membership in the Explorers Club, wide travel in the Far East and experience of handling natives. The Algol's Commanding Officer approved Ron's application, noting on his fitness report that while Lieutenant Hubbard was a capable and energetic officer, he was 'very temperamental and often has his feelings hurt'.
On 22 September, the Algol was at last ordered to Oakland, California, to start taking on supplies in preparation for sailing to war. The excited rumour among the crew was that the ship was to take part in a major new offensive in the Pacific aimed at the final defeat of the Japanese.

At 1630 on the afternoon of 27 September- the day before Ron was due to leave for Princeton - the ship's deck log recorded an unusual incident: 'The Navigating Officer reported to the OOD [Officer On Duty] that an attempt at sabatage [sic] had been made sometime between 1530-1600. A coke bottle filled with gasoline with a cloth wick inserted had been concealed among cargo which was to be hoisted aboard and stored in No 1 hold. It was discovered before being taken on board. ONI, FBI and NSD authorities reported on the scene and investigations were started.'[15]
No further mention was made of the incident. There was no explanation of why Lieutenant Hubbard, the Navigating Officer, was poking around in cargo being loaded on to the ship or of how he had managed to find the 'petrol bomb'. Neither was the result of the investigations recorded. Shortly after ten o'clock that evening a brief signal was received 'Lt Lafayette Ron Hubbard, D-v (S), USNR 113392, is this date detached from duty.'
On 4 October, the USS Algol sailed for Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands, from where she would take part in the invasion of Luzon in the Philippines and the landings on Okinawa, earning two battle stars. Her erstwhile Navigating Officer, meanwhile, was on a four-month course in 'Military Government' at the Naval Training School, Princeton, prompting him to claim ever after that he finished his education at the venerable Ivy League university of the same name.

While he was at Princeton, Ron was invited to join a group of science-fiction writers who met every weekend at Robert Heinlein's apartment in Philadelphia to discuss possible ways of countering the Kamikaze menace in the Pacific. They were semi-official, brainstorming sessions that Heinlein had been asked to organize by the Navy, in the faint hope of coming up with a defence against young Japanese pilots on suicide missions. 'I had been ordered to round up science fiction writers for this crash project,' Heinlein recalled, 'the wildest brains I could find.'[16]
Heinlein's apartment was only three hundred yards from Broad Street Station in downtown Philadelphia and the group gathered on Saturday afternoons, arriving on Pennsylvania Railroad trains which ran every half hour into Broad Street. 'On Saturday nights there would be two or three in my bed,' said Heinlein, 'a couple on the couch and the rest on the living-room floor. If there was still overflow, I sent them a block down the street to a friend with more floor space if not beds.'
Heinlein tried to avoid asking Ron to walk down the street as Ron had said that both his feet had been broken when his last ship was bombed. 'Ron had had a busy war - sunk four times and wounded again and again,' Heinlein explained sympathetically.
Sunday morning was set aside for the working session, after which everyone sat around swapping stories and jokes. Ron often got out his guitar and entertained them in a rich baritone voice with songs like 'Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest' and 'I Learned about Women from Her'. He could also reduce the assembled company to helpless laughter with his repertoire of fast-moving burlesque skits in which he played all the roles.

On Saturday 2 December, Jack Williamson, then a Sergeant in the US Army, hosted a dinner in Philadelphia for fellow science-fiction writers and their wives. He was to be sent overseas in a couple of days and this was his farewell party. Among those present were the Heinleins, the de Camps, the Asimovs and L. Ron Hubbard. 'The star of the evening', Isaac Asimov recalled, 'was Ron Hubbard. Heinlein, de Camp and I were each prima donna-ish and each liked to hog the conversation - ordinarily. On this occasion, however, we all sat as quietly as pussycats and listened to Hubbard. He told tales with perfect aplomb and in complete paragraphs.'[17]
The host was less impressed. 'Hubbard was just back from the Aleutians then,' said Williamson, 'hinting of desperate action aboard a Navy destroyer, adventures he couldn't say much about because of military security.
'I recall his eyes, the wary, light-blue eyes that I somehow associate with the gunmen of the old West, watching me sharply as he talked as if to see how much I believed. Not much.'[18]

Heinlein's group never came up with any ideas about how to prevent US Navy losses from Kamikaze pilots, but it did not matter much because the war was drawing to a close and Japan was running out of aircraft and pilots to fly them. The last big Kamikaze strike was launched in January 1945 against the US fleet (including Ron's old ship, the USS Algol) taking part in the invasion of Luzon. That same month Ron was transferred to the Naval Civil Affairs Staging Area in Monterey, California, for further training, having finished about mid-way among the 300 students on his course at the school of Military Government. In April he again reported sick and a possible ulcer was diagnosed.

On 2 September 1945, after the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese signed the surrender instrument on the quarterdeck of the USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. Three days later, Ron was re-admitted to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, not as a result of heroic war wounds, but to be treated for 'epigastric distress'. It was in this rather inglorious situation, suffering from a suspected duodenal ulcer, that the war ended for Lieutenant L. Ron Hubbard, US Navy Reserve.
He, of course, saw it somewhat differently: 'Blinded with injured optic nerves, and lame with injuries to hip and back, at the end of World War Two I faced an almost non-existent future . . . I was abandoned by family and friends as a supposedly hopeless cripple and a probable burden upon them for the rest of my days . . . I became used to being told it was all impossible, that there was no way, no hope. Yet I came to see and walk again . . .'[19]
If his own account of his war experiences is to be believed, he certainly deserved the twenty-one medals and palms he was said to have received. Unfortunately, his US Navy record indicates he was awarded just four routine medals - the American Defense Service Medal, awarded to everyone serving at the time of Pearl Harbor, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War Two Victory Medal, this last received by everyone serving on V-J Day.

1. Memorandum from Hubbard to Magnuson, 22 July 1941
2. Memorandum for Assistant Hydrographer, 22 October 1941
3.  Despatch from US Naval Attaché, Melbourne, 14 February 1942
4. Memorandum from C.O. USS YP-422, 12 September 1942
5. Moulton testimony in Church of Scientology v. Armstrong, 21 May 1984
6. USS PC-815 Action Report, 24 May 1943
7. Memorandum from Commander NW Sea Frontier, 8 June 1943
8. Record of proceedings, Board of Investigation, USS PC-815, 30 June 1943
9. Letter of admonition from Commander, Fleet Operational Training Command, Pacific, 15 July 1943 
10. Report on the Fitness of Officers, 29 May - 7 July 1943 
11. Letter from L. Ron Hubbard Jr., 26 January 1973 
12. L. Ron Hubbard autobiographical notes, 1972
13.  Ron The Writer 
14. Rocky Mountain News, 20 February 1983
14. Deck log of USS Algol, US National Archives 
16. Foreword to Godbody by Theodore Sturgeon, 1986
17. Asimov, op. cit. 
18. Williamson, op. cit. 
19. Hubbard, My Philosophy, 1965 and passim

Bare-Faced Messiah  Chapter 7 Black Magic and Betty

'Hubbard broke up black magic in America . . . because he was well known as a writer and philosopher and had friends among the physicists, he was sent in to handle the situation [of black magic being practised in a house in Pasadena occupied by nuclear physicists]. He went to live at the house and investigated the black magic rites and the general situation and found them very bad . . . Hubbard's mission was successful far beyond anyone's expectations. The house was torn down. Hubbard rescued a girl they were using. The black magic group was dispersed and never recovered.' (Statement by the Church of Scientology, December 1969)
(Scientology's account of the years 1945-46.)
*   *   *   *   *

Hubbard was a patient at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital for three months after the war, although the doctors were undecided as to precisely what was wrong with him. He was certainly neither blind nor crippled, but seemed to be suffering from endless minor aches and pains. His medical record shows that he was examined exhaustively, almost every week, complaining of headaches, rheumatism, conjunctivitis, pains in his side, stomach aches, pains in his shoulder, arthritis, haemorrhoids . . . there seemed to be no end to his suffering. Sometimes the doctors could find symptoms, sometimes they could not. In September, for example, he was declared 'unfit for service' because of an ulcer, but in November his ailments were described as 'minimal'.

It may be, of course, that Ron was simply preparing the ground to claim a veteran's disability pension, for he certainly wasted no time putting in his application. Lieutenant Hubbard was 'mustered out' of the US Navy on 5 December 1945, and on the following day he applied for a pension on the basis of a sprained left knee, conjunctivitis, a chronic duodenal ulcer, arthritis in his right hip and shoulder, recurrent malaria and sporadic undiagnosed pain in his left side and back.[1]

On the claim form, Ron said his wife and children were living with his parents at 1212 Gregory Way, Bremerton, until he was able to get a house of his own. He described himself as a freelance writer with a monthly income of $0.00; before he joined the Navy he claimed his average earnings had been $650 a month.

Satisfied he had presented a convincing case for a pension, Ron drove out of the Officer Separation Center in San Francisco at the wheel of an old Packard with a small trailer in tow, both of which he had recently acquired. Home and the family were to the north, up in Washington State. But Ron headed south, towards Los Angeles, to a rendezvous with a magician in a bizarre Victorian mansion in Pasadena.

John Whiteside Parsons, known to his friend as Jack, was an urbane, darkly handsome man, not unlike Errol Flynn in looks, and the scion of a well-connected Los Angeles family. Then thirty-one years old, he was a brilliant scientist and chemist and one of America's foremost explosives experts. He had spent much of the war at the California Institute of Technology working with a team developing jet engines and experimental rocket fuels and was, perhaps, the last man anyone would have suspected of worshipping the Devil.

For Jack Parsons led an extraordinary double life: respected scientist by day, dedicated occultist by night. He believed, passionately, in the power of black magic, the existence of Satan, demons and evil spirits, and the efficacy of spells to deal with his enemies.[2]

While still a student at the University of Southern California, he had become interested in the writings of Aleister Crowley, the English sorcerer and Satanist known as 'The Beast 666', whose dabblings in black magic had also earned him the title 'The Wickedest Man In The World'. Crowley's The Book of the Law expounded a doctrine enshrined in a single sentence - 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law' - and Parsons was intrigued by the heady concept of a creed that encouraged indulgence in forbidden pleasures.

In 1939, Parsons and his young wife, Helen, joined the OTO, Ordo Templi Orientis, an international organization founded by Crowley to practise sexual magic.[3] A lodge had been set up in Los Angeles and met in a suitably sequestered attic. Meetings were conducted by a priestess swathed in diaphanous gauze, who climbed out of a coffin to perform mystic, and painstakingly blasphemous, rites.[4] Parsons quickly rose to prominence in the OTO and by the early '40s he had begun a regular correspondence with Crowley, always addressing him as 'Most Beloved Father' and signing his letters 'Thy son, John'.

When Parson's father died, his son inherited a rambling mansion and adjoining coach-house on South Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena. South Orange Grove was where the best people lived in Pasadena in the '20s and '30s, and although its discreet gentility was fading by the end of the war, most of the large houses in the area were still in single occupancy, the paintwork had yet to peel and the lawns were regularly watered and manicured.

The residents of South Orange Grove Avenue did not welcome the arrival of young Jack Parsons, for the elegant three-storey family mansion, shaded by huge palms and flowering magnolias and set in its own grounds, was rapidly transformed, under his ownership, into a rooming-house of dubious repute - the only way he could afford to keep the house was by renting rooms. This might not have caused too much upset in the neighbourhood, except that when he advertized for tenants in the local newspaper, he specified that only atheists and those of a Bohemian disposition need apply. Thus were the myriad rooms at 1003 South Orange Grove Avenue occupied by an exotic, argumentative and peripatetic assortment of itinerants and ne'er-do-wells - out-of-work actors and writers, anarchists and artists, musicians and dancers, all kinds of questionable characters and their equally questionable friends of both sexes. Noisy parties continued for days on end, guests slept on the floor when they could not find a bed and sometimes they simply forgot to leave.

Understandably the neighbours were outraged, although they would undoubtedly have been even more alarmed had they known that the house was also destined to become the headquarters of a black magic group which practised deviant sexual rites. Parsons converted two large rooms into a private apartment for himself and a temple for the OTO lodge. In his bedroom, the biggest room in the house, there was an altar flanked by pyramidal pillars and hung with occult symbols. The other room was a wood-panelled library lined with books devoted to the occult and dominated by a huge signed portrait of Crowley hanging over the fireplace.

No one was allowed into these two rooms unless specifically invited by Parsons; when members of the OTO turned up for a meeting, the doors remained firmly closed. Other residents sometimes glimpsed Parsons or one of his followers moving about the house in black robes, but no one really knew what went on in the 'temple'[5] On one occasion, two smirking policemen arrived at the front door to investigate a complaint that the house was being used for black magic orgies. They had been told, they said, something about a ceremony requiring a naked pregnant woman to leap nine times through a sacred fire, but they made it so obvious that they considered the whole thing to be a joke that Parsons had no difficulty convincing them he was a bona fide and respectable scientist, and persuaded them to leave without conducting a search.

Among his other interests, Parsons was also a science-fiction fan and occasionally turned up at meetings of the Los Angeles Fantasy and Science Fiction Society, where devoted fans gathered every week to meet the top science fiction writers. Jack Williamson, a regular contributor to Science Wonder Stories, encountered Parsons at a meeting in 1941 and was surprised to learn he was a scientist. 'He had read my novel Darker Than You Think, which deals with the supernatural,' Williamson recalled. 'I was astonished to discover he had a far less sceptical interest in such things than I did.'[6]

To Parsons there was an attractive affinity between magic and science fiction and on Sunday afternoons in the summer his science-fiction friends tended to congregate in his kitchen for endless discussions about the relative merits of sci-fi writers, their ideas and stories. One of the fans who regularly took the streetcar to South Orange Grove Avenue on Sunday afternoons was a young man called Alva Rogers, who would eventually become a 'semi-permanent resident' - an arrangement that was not in the least unusual. On an early visit be met and fell in love with a young art student who was renting a room in the mansion and thereafter he would spend the night with her whenever he could.

Rogers was fascinated by the house, its owner and the occupants. 'Mundane souls were unceremoniously rejected as tenants,' he said. 'There was a professional fortune teller and seer who always wore appropriate dresses and decorated her apartment with symbols and artefacts of arcane lore. There was a lady, well past middle age but still strikingly beautiful, who claimed to have been at various times the mistress of half the famous men of France. There was a man who had been a renowned organist in the great movie palaces of the silent era. They were characters all.'

According to Rogers, Parsons never made any secret of his interest in black magic or his involvement with Aleister Crowley. 'He had a voluminous correspondence with Crowley in the library, some of which he showed me. I remember in particular one letter from Crowley which praised and encouraged him for the fine work he was doing in America, and also casually thanked him for his latest donation and intimated that more would shortly be needed. Jack admitted that he was one of Crowley's main sources of money in America.

'I always found Jack's insistence that he believed in, and practised, magic hard to reconcile with his educational and cultural background. At first I thought it was all fun and games, a kick he was on for its shock value to his respectable friends. But after seeing his correspondence with Crowley, and the evidence of his frequent remittances to Crowley, I had to give him the benefit of the doubt.'[7]

In the summer of 1944, Helen Parsons left her husband and ran off with another member of the lodge, by whom she was pregnant.

Parsons consoled himself by transferring his affections to Helen's younger sister, Sara Northrup, who was then eighteen, a beautiful and vivacious student at the University of Southern California. Within a few months, Sara dropped out of her course and moved in with Parsons, to the great distress of her parents. At South Orange Grove Avenue she became known as Betty (her middle name was Elizabeth). Completely under the spell of her lover, she was soon inculcated onto the OTO and assisting in its ceremonies. In accordance with the teachings of 'the Beast', Parsons encouraged Betty to enjoy sex with other members of the lodge, or indeed any man who took her fancy. It would not affect their relationship, he loftily explained to anyone who cared to listen, since jealousy was a base emotion unworthy of the enlightened and fit only for peasants.

'Betty was a very attractive blonde, full of joie de vivre,' said Rogers. 'The rapport between Jack and Betty, the strong affection, if not love, they had for each other, despite their frequent separate sextracurricular activities, seemed pretty permanent and shatterproof.'[8]

It was soon to prove an illusion. One afternoon in August 1945, Lou Goldstone, a well-known science-fiction illustrator and a frequent visitor to South Orange Grove Avenue, turned up with L. Ron Hubbard, who was then on leave from the Navy. Jack Parsons liked Ron immediately, perhaps recognized in him a kindred spirit, and invited him to move in for the duration of his leave.

Ron, ebullient as always, was not in any way intimidated by the egregious company and surroundings; on the contrary, he felt instantly at home. Most evenings he could be found dominating the conversation at the big table in the kitchen, where the roomers tended to gather, telling outrageous stories about his adventures. One night he unbuttoned his shirt to display the scars left by arrows hurled at him when he encountered a band of hostile aborigines in the South American jungle.

Like almost everyone in the house, Alva Rogers thought Hubbard was an enormously engaging and entertaining personality. Rogers also had red hair and Ron confided to him his belief, confirmed by extensive research he had undertaken at the 'Royal Museum' in London, that all redheads were related, being descended from the same line of Neanderthal man. 'Needless to say,' Rogers recalled, 'I was fascinated.'

For a while, Ron shared a room with Nieson Himmel, a young reporter who had also met Parsons through a shared interest in science fiction. Perhaps because of the inbred scepticism of newspapermen, Himmel was less impressed than most by his new room-mate: 'I can't stand phoneys and to me he was so obviously a phoney, a real conman. But he was certainly not a dummy. He was very sharp and quick, a fascinating story-teller, and he could charm the shit out of anybody. He talked interminably about his war experiences and seemed to have been everywhere. Once he said he was on Admiral Halsey's staff. I called a friend who worked with Halsey and my friend said "Shit, I've never heard of him."

'I was not one of his favourite people because I liked to try and trip him up. One time he told a story about how he was walking down a corridor in the British Museum when he was suddenly grabbed by three scientists who dragged him into an office and began measuring his skull because it was such a perfect shape. I said, "Gee, Ron, that's a great story - didn't I read it in George Bernard Shaw?" Another time he said he was in the Aleutians in command of a destroyer and a polar bear jumped from an ice floe onto his ship and chased everyone around. I recognized it as an old, old folklore story that goes way back.

'He was always broke and trying to borrow money. That was another reason he didn't like me - I would never lend him a cent. Whenever he was talking about being hard up he often used to say that he thought the easiest way to make money would be to start a religion.'[9]

Parsons shared none of Himmel's mistrust. He considered that Ron had great magical potential and took the risk of breaking his solemn oath of secrecy to acquaint Ron with some of the OTO rituals.[10] Betty, too, was much enamoured with the voluble naval officer, so much so that she soon began sleeping with him. True to his creed, Parsons tried to pretend he was not concerned by this development, but others in the house thought they detected tension between the two men. Himmel, who was himself in love with Betty, was furious that she had been seduced by Hubbard. 'Betty was beautiful, the most gorgeous, intelligent, sweet, wonderful girl. I was so much in love with her and I knew she was a woman I could never have. Then Hubbard comes along and starts having affairs with one girl after another in the house and finally fastens on to Betty. I couldn't believe it was happening. There he was, living off Parsons' largesse and making out with his girlfriend right in front of him. Sometimes when the two of them were sitting at the table together, the hostility was almost tangible.'[11]

Alva Rogers, too, sensed that Parsons was suffering. 'Jack had never boggled at any of Betty's previous amorous adventurings, but this time it seemed somehow different . . . although the three of them continued to maintain a surface show of unchanged amicability, it was obvious that Jack was feeling the pangs of a hitherto unfelt passion, jealousy. As events progressed, Jack found it increasingly difficult to keep his mind on anything but the torrid affair going on between Ron and Betty and the atmosphere around the house became supercharged with tension.'

Nevertheless, Parsons clearly remained convinced that Ron possessed exceptional powers. After Ron had left to report back to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Parsons wrote to his 'Most Beloved Father' to acquaint him with events: 'About three months ago I met Captain L. Ron Hubbard, a writer and explorer of whom I had known for some time . . . He is a gentleman; he has red hair, green eyes, is honest and intelligent, and we have become great friends. He moved in with me about two months ago, and although Betty and I are still friendly, she has transferred her sexual affection to Ron.

'Although he has no formal training in Magick, he has an extraordinary amount of experience and understanding in the field. From some of his experiences I deduced that he is in direct touch with some higher intelligence, possibly his Guardian Angel. He describes his Angel as a beautiful winged woman with red hair whom he calls the Empress and who has guided him through his life and saved him many times. He is the most Thelemic person I have ever met and is in complete accord with our own principles . . . I think I have made a great gain and as Betty and I are the best of friends, there is little loss. I cared for her rather deeply but I have no desire to control her emotions, and I can, I hope, control my own. I need a magical partner. I have many experiments in mind . . .'[12]

In early December 1945, Ron showed up again at South Orange Grove Avenue, still in uniform, having driven directly from the Officer Separation Centre in San Francisco. He parked his Packard and his trailer at the rear of the house and walked back into the complicated, enigmatic lives of Jack Parsons and Betty Northrup. To Parsons's secret distress, Betty and Ron immediately resumed their affair.

Alva Rogers and his girlfriend were perhaps the only two people in the house who really knew how much their friend was suffering. 'Our room was just across the hall from Jack's apartment,' Rogers recalled, 'and in the still, early hours of a bleak morning in December we were brought out of a sound sleep by some weird and disturbing noises as though someone was dying or at the very least was deathly ill.

'We went out into the hall to investigate the source of the noises and found that they came from Jack's partially open door. Perhaps we should have turned around and gone back to bed at this point, but we didn't. The noise, which by this time we could tell was a sort of chant, drew us inexorably to the door, which we pushed open a little further in order to better see what was going on.

'What we saw I'll never forget, although I find it hard to describe in any detail. The room, in which I had been before, was decorated in a manner typical of an occultist's lair, with all the symbols and appurtenances essential to the proper practice of black magic. It was dimly lit and smoky from a pungent incense; Jack was draped in a black robe and stood with his back to us, his arms outstretched, in the centre of a pentagram before some sort of altar affair on which several indistinguishable items stood.

'His voice, which was actually not very loud, rose and fell in a rhythmic chant of gibberish which was delivered with such passionate intensity that its meaning was frighteningly obvious. After this brief and uninvited glimpse into the blackest and most secret center of a tortured man's soul, we quietly withdrew and returned to our room, where we spent the balance of the night discussing in whispers what we had just witnessed.'[13]

Rogers was convinced that Parsons was trying to invoke a demon in order to despatch his rival, or harm him in some way. It clearly did not work, however, for Ron remained in the best of spirits. Despite what Alva Rogers and his girlfriend had seen on that unforgettable December night, the fragile three-cornered relationship continued. Parsons seemed determined to try and overcome what he considered to be an unworthy emotion. 'I have been suffered to pass through an ordeal of human love and jealousy,' he noted in his 'Magical Record', adding, 'I have found a staunch companion and comrade in Ron . . . Ron and I are to continue with our plans for the Order.'[14]

Their plans were unprecedented. Parsons wanted to attempt an experiment in black magic that would push back the frontiers of the occult world. With the assistance of his new friend, he intended to try and create a 'moonchild' - the magical child 'mightier than all the kings of the earth', whose birth had been prophesied in The Book of the Law more than forty years earlier.

Aleister Crowley professed 'the great idea of magicians of all times' was to bring into being an Anti-Christ, a 'living being in form resembling man, and possessing those qualities of man which distinguish him from beasts, namely intellect and power of speech, but neither begotten in the manner of human generation, nor inhabited by a human soul'.[15] To find a mother for this new Messiah, Parsons envisaged invoking an elemental spirit of the 'whore of Babylon', the scarlet woman of St John's Revelation: 'I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots . . .'

On 4 January 1946, Jack Parsons began a series of elaborate mystic rituals, known as the 'Babalon Working', which he hoped would lead to the invocation of a scarlet woman whose destiny was to be mother to the moonchild. For the benefit of future magicians, he kept a detailed, day-by-day account in a manuscript be called the 'Book of Babalon'.

Magical rites began in the temple at South Orange Grove at nine o'clock that evening, with Prokofiev's Violin Concerto playing in the background. First Parsons prepared and consecrated various magical weapons, tablets and talismans, then he carried out eleven separate rituals, beginning with 'Invoking Pentagram of Air' and 'Invocation of Bornless One' and ending with 'License to Depart, Purification and Banishing'.

The nightly ritual of incantation and talisman-waving continued for eleven days, at first without much effect. Parsons noted that a strong windstorm blew up on the second and third days, but he had obviously been hoping for rather more startling results. 'Nothing seems to have happened,' he wrote in a letter to Crowley. 'The wind storm is very interesting, but that is not what I asked for.'[16]

On the seventh day, Parsons was woken at midnight by seven loud knocks and he discovered that a table lamp in the corner of his bedroom had been thrown violently to the floor and smashed. 'I have had little experience with phenomena of this sort,' he recorded. 'Magically speaking, it usually represents "breaks" in the operation, indicating imperfect technique. Actually, in any magical operation there should be no phenomena but the willed result.'

Not until 14 January was the frustrated magician able to report an encouragingly mysterious occurrence. 'The light system of the house failed at about 9 pm. Another magician [Hubbard] who had been staying at the house and studying with me, was carrying a candle across the kitchen when he was struck strongly on the right shoulder, and the candle knocked out of his hand. He called me, and we observed a brownish yellow light about seven feet high in the kitchen. I brandished a magical sword and it disappeared. His right arm was paralyzed for the rest of the night.'

Next morning, the magicians had more prosaic business to attend to. For some time, Ron, Betty and Jack had been discussing the prospect of going into business together, buying yachts on the East Coast and sailing them to California to sell at a profit. On 15 January the three of them signed their names to an agreement setting up a business partnership with the hopeful title of 'Allied Enterprises'. It was not exactly an equitable financial arrangement, since Parsons put up more than $20,000, Ron only managed to vouchsafe $1200 and Betty contributed nothing. Under the articles of co-partnership, it was vaguely stated that Allied Enterprises would indulge in activities of a 'varied and elastic nature', presumably with an eye to subsequent expansion into other fields.[17]

That evening, the new business partners resumed their magical activities and there was a further strange incident involving Ron who was by then occupying the role of 'scribe'. Parsons noted that the scribe had 'some sort of astral vision' and saw one of his old enemies standing behind him clad in a black robe with an 'evil, pasty face'; Ron promptly launched an attack and pinned the phantom figure to the door with four throwing knives. 'Later, in my room,' Parsons wrote, 'I heard the raps again and a buzzing, metallic voice crying, "Let me go free." I felt a great pressure and tension in the house that night.'

The tension continued for four days, until the evening of 18 January. The magician and his scribe had ventured out into the Mojave Desert on some unexplained mystical mission and, at sunset, the stress that Parsons had recently been experiencing drained away. He was suffused instead with a sense of well-being and turned to Ron and said simply: 'It is done.'

When the two men returned to South Orange Grove Avenue, they found the 'scarlet woman' waiting for them. Her name was Marjorie Cameron and in truth she was not very much different from many of the unconventional and free-spirited young women who had gravitated to the Bohemian lodging-house in Pasadena. But Parsons was convinced that she was his libidinous elemental spirit, not least because it transpired she was not only willing, but impatient, to participate in the magical and sexual escapades he had in mind. 'She is describable', he wrote in the 'Book of Babalon', 'as an air of fire type, with bronze red hair, fiery and subtle, determined and obstinate, sincere and perverse, with extraordinary personality, talent and intelligence.'

A few days later he wrote exultantly to Crowley: 'I have my elemental! She turned up one night after the conclusion of the Operation and has been with me since . . . She has red hair and slant green eyes as specified . . . She is an artist, strong minded and determined, with strong masculine characteristics and a fanatical independence.'

Crowley replied: 'I am particularly interested in what you have written to me about the elemental, because for some little time past I have been endeavouring to intervene personally in this matter on your behalf . . .'

Towards the end of February, Ron went on a trip to the East Coast, perhaps to investigate the yacht market on behalf of Allied Enterprises. On 28 February Parsons drove alone into the lonely reaches of the Mojave Desert to perform an invocation of the goddess Babalon. During this invocation, he said, the presence of the goddess came upon him and commanded him to write a mystical communication, couched in picturesque biblical terminology and beginning: 'Yea, it is I, Babalon. And this is my book . . .'

The seventy-seven clauses Parsons excitedly scribbled in his notebook became the centrepiece of the 'Book of Babalon'. He believed he was taking instructions for the impregnation of his scarlet woman, although it would not have been immediately obvious to nonbelievers: 'Now is the hour of birth at hand. Now shall my adept be crucified in the Basilisk abode. Thy tears, thy sweat, thy blood, thy semen, thy love, thy faith shall provide . . .'

Some of the message was also suspiciously contemporary: 'Thou fool, be thou also free of sentimentality. Am I thy village queen and thou a sophomore, that thou should have thy nose in my buttocks?'

Parsons returned to Pasadena in a state of considerable agitation which was greatly increased when his magical partner arrived back the next day and announced he had had a vision of a 'savage and beautiful woman riding naked on a great cat-like beast' and had an urgent message to deliver.

That night, in the temple at South Orange Grove, the two magicians made preparations to receive the message. Candles were lit, incense burned and a magical altar was laid with flowers and wine. Hubbard, the scribe, wore a white-hooded robe and carried a lamp; Parsons, the high priest, wore a black robe and carried a cup and dagger. An automatic tape recorder was set up and at Hubbard's suggestion Rachmaninoff's 'Isle of the Dead' was played as background music.

At eight o'clock, Hubbard began to intone his message from the astral world: 'These are the preparations. Green gold cloth, food for the Beast, upon a hidden platter, back of the altar. Disclose only when the doors are bolted. Transgression is death. Back of the main altar. Prepare instantly. Light the first flame at 10 pm, March 2, 1946. The year of Babalon is 4063 . . .'

After a few minutes, Parsons noticed that his scribe was pale and sweating profusely. Hubbard rested for a few moments, then continued: 'Make a box of blackness at ten o'clock. Smear the vessel which contains flame with thine own blood. Destroy at the altar a thing of value. Remain in perfect silence and heed the voice of our Lady. Speak not of this ritual or of her coming to any person . . .

'Display thyself to Our Lady; dedicate thy organs to Her, dedicate thy heart to Her, dedicate thy mind to Her, dedicate thy soul to Her, for She shall absorb thee, and thou shall become living flame before She incarnates . . .'

When Hubbard finished dictating, the scarlet woman, naked under a crimson robe, was brought into the temple. 'Oh circle of stars,' the high priest informed, 'whereof our Father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space . . .'

Marjorie Cameron had been well rehearsed in the necessary response. 'But to love me is better than all things . . .' she chanted. 'Put on the wings and arouse the coiled splendour within you. Come unto me, to me! Sing the rapturous love songs unto me! Burn to me the perfume! Drink to me for I love you! I am the blue-lidded daughter of sunset, I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky . . .'

With passions mounting, the three black magicians intoned a chorus: 'Glory unto the Scarlet Woman, Babalon, the Mother of Abominations, that rideth upon the Beast, for She hath spilt their blood in every corner of the earth and lo! she hath mingled it in the cup of her whoredom . . .'

The scribe remained at the altar declaiming and describing what was supposed to be happening on an astral plane while the high priest excitedly inserted his 'wand' into the scarlet woman and they began copulating furiously.

At midnight the unholy troika retired to bed, exhausted. Next morning one of the lodgers in the house disturbed Parsons while he was meditating in the temple - he flew out in a rage and put a curse on the man, who, he said, was very soon taken ill. After this incident, Parsons confessed that he succumbed to a black mood. His temper cannot have improved when he discovered that the roof of the guest-house had caught fire and been partially destroyed the previous night while he was otherwise occupied. He darkly deduced that the fire had started at the very moment, during the night's black festivities, when he had smashed an image of Pan.

'That evening,' Parsons wrote, 'the scribe and I resumed our work.' This time a white sheet smeared with menstrual blood was laid out on the floor of the temple and a red star, cut from the high priest's robe, was symbolically burned on the altar. As Parsons performed the 'Invocation of the Wand' on the naked body of the scarlet woman, the scribe droned: 'Embrace her, cover her with kisses. Think upon the lewd lascivious things thou couldst do. All is good to Babalon. All . . . The lust is hers, the passion yours. Consider thou the Beast raping.'

On the third and final day, the rituals began four hours before dawn and ended with a long poem titled 'The Birth of Babalon' extolling 'holy whoredom':

Her mouth is red and her breasts are fair and her loins are full of fire, 
And her lust is strong as a man is strong in the heat of her desire,And her whoredom is holy as virtue is foul beneath the holy sky, 
And her kisses will wanton the world away in passion that shall not die. 
Ye shall laugh and love and follow her dance when the wrath of God is gone, 
And dream no more of hell and hate in the birth of Babalon.[18]

In the 'Book of Babalon', Parsons was completely convinced that the magic had worked and that his scarlet woman would be delivered of a moonchild in nine months. 'Babalon,' he wrote confidently, 'is incarnate upon the earth today awaiting the proper hour of her manifestations.'[19]

But in his 'Magical Record' he was less assured: 'For the last three days I have performed an operation of birth, using the air tablet, the cup and a female figure, properly invoked by the wand, then sealed up in the altar. Last night I performed an operation of symbolic birth and delivery. Now I can do no more than pray and wait.'[20]

On 6 March, Parsons sat down to compose a letter to his Satanic Master in England, apprising him of the momentous events that had recently taken place. 'I can hardly tell you or decide how much to write,' he began. 'I am under command of extreme secrecy. I have had the most important, devastating experience of my life . . . I believe it was the result of the IXth degree working [the class of sexual magic designed to produce a higher being] with the girl who answered my elemental summons. I have been in direct touch with One who is most Holy and Beautiful as mentioned in The Book of the Law. I cannot write the name at present. First instructions were received direct through Ron, the seer. I have followed them to the letter. There was a desire for incarnation. I do not yet know the vehicle, but it will come to me bringing a secret sign. I am to act as instructor guardian for nine months; then it will be loosed on the world. That is all I can say now . . .'[21]

Crowley, who was by then in his seventies, chronically addicted to heroin and facing death, was irritated by his disciple's secrecy. On 19 April he despatched a terse reply: 'You have got me completely puzzled by your remarks about the elemental . . . I thought I had a most morbid imagination, as good as any man's, but it seems I have not. I cannot form the slightest idea of what you can possibly mean.' On the same day he wrote to Karl Germer, head of the OTO in the United States: 'Apparently Parsons or Hubbard or somebody is producing a Moonchild. I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts.'

While Parsons fretted over Crowley's letter, his faithful scribe was facing more earthly, and much more familiar, problems. Having contributed his meagre savings to Allied Enterprises, Hubbard was badly in need of money. He had written virtually nothing since leaving the Navy and his wife was rapidly losing patience with his repeated excuses as to why he was unable to send any money home to support her and the children.

Polly recognized by this time that there was little chance of saving her marriage. Towards the end of the war, she and Ron had briefly discussed moving to California when he was discharged from the Navy, but Polly refused to uproot the children. She had a nightmare vision of trying to raise a family while trailing forlornly after her husband, backwards and forwards from one coast to the other.[22]Nibs and Katie were happily settled in Bremerton, enjoyed school, and had friends and family all around. Polly had left The Hilltop and moved in with Ron's parents to be closer to the facilities of Bremerton; it was an arrangement she found perfectly satisfactory. Both Harry Hubbard, who had retired from the Navy and found a job as manager of Kitsap County Fair, and his wife enjoyed having their grandchildren around.

But while Polly was content to live with her in-laws, she still needed money to feed and clothe herself and the children and, not unreasonably, she expected her husband to provide it. Ron's problem in this regard was not just that he was broke (nothing unusual), but that he had reached the limit of his credit with the residents of 1003 South Orange Grove Avenue, having borrowed from everyone who was prepared to lend.

In February, the Veterans Administration had awarded him a pension of $11.50 a month for a ten per cent disability caused by his ulcer. Ron did not consider this miserable amount to be nearly sufficient and on 18 March, two weeks after completing his duties as a black magic scribe, he lodged an appeal, producing a dramatic new disability which he had somehow neglected to mention on his original claim form. 'I have lost between sixty and eighty per cent of my vision,' he claimed in a letter typed on his distinctive initialled notepaper, 'and as my profession is that of writer, my present inability to read or use my eyes seriously affects my income. I cannot work either long hours or under the slightest adverse conditions. My income at the present time, due entirely to service connected injuries, is zero. Would you please advise me as to the steps I should take to gain further pension?'[23]

After his years in the Navy, Ron was well aware of the speed with which the wheels of bureaucracy moved and his need for money was urgent. His solution was to persuade Parsons that the time had come to activate Allied Enterprises. Towards the end of April, Ron and Sara [she was only called Betty at South Orange Grove] left for Florida with $10,000 drawn from the Allied Enterprises account at the Pasadena First Trust and Savings Bank. Parsons approved the withdrawal so that the partnership could purchase its first yacht in the east; it was agreed that Ron and Sara would then either sail it back to California for re-sale, or transport it overland, whichever proved to be cheaper.

It seemed a perfectly simple and sensible business arrangement, although Parsons presumably did not know that on 1 April Ron had written to the Chief of Naval Personnel requesting permission to leave the United States to visit South America and China.[24] However, not many weeks passed before Parsons began to worry, for he heard not a word from either Ron or Sara. He realized, with mounting frustration, that they had gone off with $10,000 of his money and he had little idea of where they might be. He confessed his concern to Louis Culling, another member of the OTO lodge, and swore he was going to get his money back and dissolve the partnership.

The next day Ron telephoned from Florida, reversing the charges. Culling was at South Orange Grove when the call came through and he was amazed to find that Parsons was completely dominated by Hubbard. After what had been said the previous day, Culling expected Parsons to be cool towards his wayward partner at the very least. But Parsons made no mention of his disquiet, did not complain about being kept in the dark and said nothing about dissolving the partnership. He was soon laughing happily into the telephone as if he had not a care in the world and the conversation ended with Parsons saying, 'I hope we shall always be partners, Ron.'

Greatly disturbed, Culling took it upon himself to make some inquiries and on 12 May he wrote to Karl Germer: 'As you may know by this time, Brother John signed a partnership agreement with this Ron and Betty whereby all money earned by the three for life is equally divided between the three. As far as I can ascertain, Brother John has put in all of his money . . . Meanwhile, Ron and Betty have bought a boat for themselves in Miami for about $10,000 and are living the life of Riley, while Brother John is living at rock bottom, and I mean rock bottom. It appears that originally they never secretly intended to bring this boat around to the California coast to sell at a profit, as they told Jack, but rather to have a good time on it on the east coast . . .'[25]

Germer naturally informed Crowley, who replied by cable on 22 May: 'Suspect Ron playing confidence trick. Jack evidently weak fool. Obvious victim prowling swindlers.' In a letter seven days later, Crowley wrote, 'It seems to me on the information of our brethren in California that Parsons has got an illumination in which he has lost all his personal independence. From our brother's account he has given away both his girl and his money. Apparently it is the ordinary confidence trick.'[26]

While Crowley and fellow members of the OTO were already in agreement that Brother Parsons had been conned, Brother Parsons was painfully arriving at a similar conclusion and at the beginning of June he packed a case and caught a train East, determined to track down the errant lovers and get his money back.

In Miami, Parsons discovered to his astonishment that Allied Enterprises had already purchased three boats - two auxiliary schooners, the Harpoon and the Blue Water II, and a yacht, the Diane. It seemed that Ron had raised mortgages totalling more than $12,000 to buy the schooners.

Parsons traced the Harpoon to Howard Bond's Yacht Harbor on the County Causeway, but there was no sign of either Ron or Sara. The Blue Water was found at the American Ship Building Company docks on the Miami river; again, there was no one on board.

One evening a few days later, Parsons received a telephone call from the harbour. The Harpoon, he was told, had set sail at five o'clock that afternoon, with Ron and Sara on board apparently intent on making an escape. In his Miami hotel room, Parsons donned his magic robes and traced a circle on the floor with his magic wand. At eight o'clock, he stepped into the ring and performed the 'Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram', the preliminary to all magic, followed by a full invocation of Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars, whose help he sought to restrain his fleeing partners. In a letter to Crowley describing his actions, he was able to report a highly satisfactory result: 'At the same time, so far as I can check, his ship was struck by a sudden squall off the coast, which ripped off his sails and forced him back to port, where I took the boat in custody.'[27]

On 1 July, the magician sought redress through more conventional means: he filed suit in the Circuit Court for Dade County, accusing Ron and Sara of breaking the terms of their partnership, dissipating the assets and attempting to abscond.[28] A receiver was appointed to wind up the affairs of Allied Enterprises and a restraining order was placed on the defendants, preventing them from leaving Miami or disposing of any of the partnership's assets.

'Here I am in Miami pursuing the children of my folly,' Parsons wrote gloomily to Crowley on 5 July. 'I have them well tied up. They cannot move without going to jail. However, most of the money has already been dissipated. I will be lucky to salvage $3000 to $5000.'

On 11 July, the three partners signed an agreement, drawn up by Parsons' lawyer, dissolving the partnership. Ron and Sara handed over the Blue Water and the Diane and agreed to pay half Parsons' legal costs. For his part, Parsons allowed Ron and Sara to keep the Harpoon in return for a $2900 promissory note which covered his financial interest in the schooner. Jack Parsons returned to Pasadena satisfied that he had made the best deal he could under the circumstances and not too distressed at the loss of his former lover and his former best friend. He never saw either of them again.

In Miami, Ron and Sara were returned to their accustomed state of penury after their brief fling at the expense of Allied Enterprises. Their most immediate and pressing problem was how to maintain payments on the $4600 mortgage still outstanding on the Harpoon. Ron, who had never allowed money matters to worry him over-much, clung to the belief that he would eventually be able to wheedle a larger pension from the Veterans Administration. On 4 July, Independence Day, he had spent part of the holiday composing yet another stirring appeal against his pension award and introducing a further hitherto unmentioned disability, this time a 'chronic and incapacitating bone infection'.

On the claim form, he painted a harrowing picture of a veteran gamely struggling against disabilities which he rated at one hundred per cent. His original duodenal ulcer had mysteriously multiplied; his 'ulcers', he pointed out, had caused him to abandon his old profession of 'ship-master and explorer' and severely hampered his work as a writer. 'I can do nothing involving nervous strain without becoming dangerously ill.' As for his failing eyesight, he now found it difficult to read for more than three or four minutes without suffering from headaches, making it virtually impossible for him to do any research. His problems had begun, he noted, after 'prolonged exposure to tropical sunlight in the Pacific'. Furthermore, he was lame as the result of a bone infection in his right hip, contracted at Princeton University because of 'the sudden transition from the tropics to the slush and icy cold of Princeton'. He was unable to walk without suffering severely.

'My earning power, due to injuries, all service connected,' he concluded, 'has dropped to nothing. I earned one thousand dollars a month prior to the war as a writer. I cannot now earn money as a writer and attempts to find other employment have failed because of my physical condition.'

To support his case, Hubbard persuaded Sara to write to the Veterans Administration as an old friend to provide independent corroboration of his rapidly deteriorating health. She put her parents address in Pasadena on the top of the letter.

'I have known Lafayette Ronald Hubbard for many years,' she began, inauspiciously and untruthfully, 'and wish to testify as to the condition of his health as I have observed it since his separation from the Navy.

'Before the war, he was an extremely energetic person in excellent health and spirits . . . Since his return in December last year he is entirely changed. He cannot read because of his eyes, which give him much pain. He is rather lame and cannot take his accustomed hikes . . . He has tried to work at three different jobs and each he has had to leave because of an increase in his stomach condition. He seems to need an enormous amount of rest . . .

'I do not know what he is going to do for income when his own meagre savings are exhausted, because I see no chance of his condition improving to a point where he can regain his old standards. He is becoming steadily worse, his health impaired again by economic worries . . .'[29]

In fact, a short-term solution to his economic worries was immediately and obviously at hand: the Harpoon. Faced with the impossibility of repaying the mortgage, Ron decided to sell the boat in the hope of clearing his most pressing debts. Solvent again, temporarily at least, he asked Sara to marry him. She accepted unhesitatingly. At the beginning of August the lovers left Florida and caught a train for Washington DC. On 10 August 1946, twenty-one-year-old Sara Northrup and L. Ron Hubbard were married in a simple ceremony at Chestertown, Maryland.

By a curious coincidence, Chestertown was only thirty miles from Elkton, where L. Ron Hubbard had married Polly Grubb in 1933. Sara knew nothing of Polly and had no idea that her new husband had been previously married. Still less did she know he had never been divorced.

Similarly, Polly, in Bremerton, had yet to learn her husband was a bigamist.

Back at South Orange Grove in Pasadena, Parsons sold the old mansion for development and moved into the coach-house with his scarlet woman, Marjorie Cameron, whom he subsequently married. It was to be a tragically brief alliance. On the afternoon of Friday 20 June 1952, Parsons was working alone in the garage of the coachhouse, which he had converted into a laboratory. At eight minutes past five there was an enormous explosion. The heavy stable doors were blasted from their hinges, the walls blew out and a huge hole was torn in the floor timbers. When the dust had cleared, a partially dismembered body could be seen still bleeding in the rubble.

Further horror was to follow. Police traced Parsons's mother, Mrs Ruth Virginia Parsons, to the home of a crippled woman friend in West Glenarm Street. Informed of the accident and her son's death, Mrs Parsons returned to the room where her friend was sitting in an armchair. She sat down in another chair out of reach, unscrewed a bottle of sleeping tablets and, watched by her helpless and appalled friend, rapidly swallowed the entire contents. Unable to move from her chair, the terrified cripple watched her friend slowly die.[30]

The inquest found that the explosion had been caused by Parsons accidentally dropping a phial of nitro-glycerine. But because of his known interest in the occult, there were inevitably rumours of suicide or even murder; none of his friends could believe that a man so experienced in handling explosives would have dropped nitro-glycerine accidentally.

Whatever the truth, no black magician could have wished for a blacker departure from the world.

1. L. R. Hubbard Claim 7017422, Veterans' Administration Archives
2.  Alva Rogers, Darkhouse, 1962 
3. John Symonds, The Great Beast, 1971 
4. Letter from L. Sprague de Camp to Symonds, 5 August 1952
5.Interview with Nieson Himmel, Los Angeles, 14 August 1986
6. Letter to author from Jack Williamson, 1 November 1986 
7. Rogers, op. cit.
8. Rogers, ibid.
9. Interview with Himmel. 
10. Kenneth Grant, The Magical Revival, 1972 
11. Interview with Himmel.
12. Symonds, op. cit.
13. Rogers, op. cit. 
14. Parsons file, O.T.O. archives, New York 
15. Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law
16. Grant, op. cit.
17. Parsons v. Hubbard & Northrup, Case No. 101634, Circuit Court, Dade County, Florida.
18. Book of Babalon, O.T.O archives, New York 
19. ibid. 
20. John Parsons, 'Magical Record', O.T.O. archives, New York 
21. Symonds, op. cit.
22. Letter to author from Mrs Catherine Gillespie, November 1986 
23. Hubbard file, VA archives
23. L. R. Hubbard navy record 
25. O.T.O archives, New York 
26. ibid.
27. Grant, op. cit. 
28. Parsons v. Hubbard & Northrup
29. Hubbard file, VA archives. 
30. Pasadena Star News, 21 Jun

Bear Faced Messiah - Chapter 8 The Mystery of the Missing Research
The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

'In 1948, Mr Hubbard's first writings on the nature of life and the human mind began to circulate privately. Passed from hand to hand, word quickly spread that he had made a revolutionary breakthrough . . .' (L. Ron Hubbard, The Man and His Work, 1986)
 (Scientology's account of the years 1946-50.)

After their wedding in Maryland, Hubbard and his young bride returned to California and found an apartment at Laguna Beach, a resort much favoured by artists and writers, half-way between Los Angeles and San Diego. John Steinbeck lived there when he was writing his first major novel, Tortilla Flat, a factor Ron no doubt took into consideration when he was looking for a place to settle down and resume his career as a writer.

The problem was that he could neither settle down nor write. Indeed, to judge from his bulging file at the Veterans Administration, in 1946 Ron largely directed his literary talents to the diligent pursuit of a bigger pension. On 19 September, he limped into the VA medical centre in Los Angeles with a miserable litany of by now familiar complaints: 'Eyes are sensitive to bright sunlight and I can't read very much and I have severe headaches . . . My stomach trouble keeps me on a very rigid diet - can only eat milk, eggs, ground meat and strained vegetables . . . I tire quickly and become nauseated when I work hard . . . My left shoulder, hip - in fact the entire left side is bothered with arthritic pains - can't sit any length of time at typewriter or desk . . .'

Once again, the doctors did not seem to be able to find anything markedly wrong with the veteran, other than calcified bursitis, a touch of arthritis in his ankles apparently causing him to walk with a 'hobble-like gait' and 'minimal duodenal deformity'. On the examination report it was noted that there were no scars or indications of gunshot wounds or other injuries.[1]

It was perhaps just as well for Ron that the Veterans Administration did not have access to his private journals, for a very different picture was presented therein. Several scrawled pages were filled with

'Affirmations', many of which concerned his health. Had he been a little more circumspect, the 'Affirmations' could have been viewed as a brave attempt to make light of his ailments, or to cure himself through sheer strength of will, for in some of them he seemed to be trying to convince himself that he was fit:

'Your ulcers are all well and never bother you. You can eat anything.

'You have a sound hip. It never hurts.

'Your shoulder never hurts.

'Your sinus trouble is nothing.'

Unfortunately for his place in posterity, he frequently chose to elaborate. Thus he confessed that his stomach trouble was a device he had used to get out of punishment in the Navy, his bad hip was a pose and his foot injury was an alibi: 'The injury is no longer needed. It is well. You have perfect and lovely feet.' A few of the Affirmations were also stamped with the faintly sinister mark of Aleister Crowley, as in 'Men are your slaves' and 'You can be merciless whenever your will is crossed and you have the right to be merciless.'

VA doctors would undoubtedly have found them fascinating reading, not least for the insight they provided into Hubbard's psyche and his attitude towards the VA:

'When you tell people you are ill, it has no effect upon your health. And in Veterans Administration examinations you'll tell them how sick you are; you'll look sick when you take it; you'll return to health one hour after the examination and laugh at them.

'No matter what lies you may tell others, they have no physical effect on you of any kind. You never injured your health by saying it is bad. You cannot lie to yourself.'[2]

By October, Hubbard was once again down to his last few dollars and when a friend offered him a temporary job taking care of a boat at the yacht club on Santa Catalina Island he jumped at the opportunity. After less than six weeks at Laguna Beach, Sara uncomplainingly packed their bags and prepared to move on. It was a situation with which she would become all too familiar in the months ahead.

While staying at the Catalina Island Yacht Club, Ron managed to stir himself to write an article about fishing for the local newspaper, the Catalina Islander, but this was his only published work in 1946. On 14 November, he wrote to the Veterans Administration from the Yacht Club to complain that his last two pension cheques had not been forwarded. 'I need this money, little as it is, very badly,' he wrote 'and would appreciate any expedition which the matter can be given.'

A week later, he wrote again to explain why he had failed to show up for another medical examination which the VA had requested in October. 'I was unable to report for further examination because I was both ill and broke . . . I certainly hope you can scare me up something by way of a pension for I am not eating very well these days and this job I have will vanish shortly.'[3]

Vanish it did and by the beginning of December Ron and Sara were in New York, staying at the Hotel Belvedere, West 48th Street. On 8 December he wrote on hotel notepaper to acknowledge receiving orders to report for another examination, explaining his expensive address by saying that a friend had financed his trip back East in return for his advice on an expedition then being planned.

While he was in New York, Ron naturally looked up his old science fiction friends and one of them introduced him to Sam Merwin, who was then editing the 'Thrilling' group of magazines. 'I found him a very amusing guy,' Merwin recalled, 'and bought several stories from him. He was really quite a character. I always knew he was exceedingly anxious to hit big money - he used to say he thought the best way to do it would be to start a cult.'[4]

Ron also called on his old friend and mentor, John W. Campbell, in his familiar office in the Street and Smith building. Campbell was delighted to welcome Ron back from the war; he had written to him a year earlier[5] pleading for contributions ('Astounding is in a mell of a hess. I need - and but bad - stories. Any length.') and now he urged Ron to get back to work. He was constantly getting letters from readers, he said, asking when the magazine was going to publish more stories by L. Ron Hubbard. Before he left the building, Ron accepted an assignment to write a five thousand-word feature about the consequences of man landing on the moon for Air Trails and Science Frontiers, a new non-fiction magazine which Campbell had recently launched.

Despite his terrible eye-strain and rheumatism and ulcers and everything else, Hubbard managed to put together an imaginative and informative piece. He prophesied that the first moon landing would take place within five or ten years and argued that a lunar military base would have enormous strategic value. 'It is entirely within reason', he wrote, 'that the nation which demonstrates the courage, intelligence and industrial proficiency necessary to establish a base on the moon will rule the world.'

'Fortress in the Sky', under the byline of Captain B.A. Northorp, was the cover story in the May 1947 issue of Air Trails. The reason Hubbard did not use his own name could be found buried deep in the text. Although he packed the feature with authoritative and impressive detail about the composition and environment of the moon, he simply could not resist the opportunity for further self-aggrandisement. In a section discussing the technical problems of reaching the moon by rocket, he wrote: 'Here and there throughout the world many men have been thinking about rockets for some time. I recall that in 1930, L. Ron Hubbard, a writer and engineer, developed and tested - but without fanfare - a rocket motor considerably superior to the V-2 instrument of propulsion and rather less complicated.'

Campbell was still a meticulous editor and a stickler for accuracy. If he believed that his friend was developing rocket motors in 1930 at the age of nineteen, he was also extraordinarily naïve. It is more likely that he turned a blind eye to keep Ron happy in the hope that he would soon return to the pages of Astounding.

Ron and Sara only stayed a matter of weeks in New York. In the New Year they were on the move again, this time to the unprepossessing environs of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, just south of the Pocono Mountains. There Ron fulfilled Campbell's hopes by writing a novel, The End Is Not Yet, about a young nuclear physicist's attempts to prevent the world being taken over by constructing a new philosophical system. It was serialized in three parts in Astounding later in the year, although it was not as well received as some of Ron's earlier work.

On 14 April 1947, the long-suffering Polly filed for a divorce in Port Orchard, Washington, on the grounds of desertion and non-support. She was still unaware that her husband had 're-married'; she did not even know he was living with another woman. That situation was soon to change.

Three weeks after Polly set divorce proceedings in motion, Ron scandalized his family by moving into The Hilltop with Sara. 'It was an awful slap in the face for his mother,' said his Aunt Marnie. 'Hub and May deeply disapproved. It was very difficult for them as they had Polly and the children living with them. The family clammed up about it and never mentioned it. When Ron took Sara up to The Hilltop I said to my sister, "Well, we loved him as a child, Midgie, but he's a perfect stranger to us now."'[6]

The family would have been even more shocked had they known that Ron had married Sara; only Ron's friend, Mac Ford, knew the truth and he kept quiet. 'I ran into Ron one evening when he was taking the children to the theatre in Bremerton,' Ford said. 'We hadn't seen each other since before the war and when we were talking in the lobby he mentioned something about marrying again. I thought it was strange because I knew that he was not divorced from Polly, but I did not say anything because I didn't want to get involved.'[7]

Hubbard filed an agreement to the divorce on 1 June and an interlocutory decree was awarded on 23 June. Polly was given custody of the children, costs and $25 a month maintenance for each child. Knowing Ron, she did not cherish much hope of the maintenance payments arriving regularly, if at all.

Ron and Sara left The Hilltop in July and returned to California, to a rented trailer on a lot in the seediest section of North Hollywood, where he began writing the first of the popular 'Ole Doc Methuselah' stories - rousing yarns about a Soldier of Light and his devoted four-armed slave, Hippocrates, who travel around the universe in a golden spaceship saving entire civilizations from death and disease and overthrowing despotic inter-planetary dictators as a sideline.

In August, the month The End Is Not Yet began serialization in Astounding, Ron acquired a literary agent. Forrest Ackerman was not a big-time Hollywood agent with a fat cigar, but a young man with thick horn-rimmed spectacles who had been addicted to science fiction ever since he first picked up a copy of Amazing Stories at the age of nine.

'Forrie' Ackerman would one day be the proud owner of the world's biggest collection of science-fiction magazines and would drive around Los Angeles in a red Cadillac with SCI-FI on the licence plate, but in 1947 he was still struggling to capitalize on his devotion to the genre by persuading science-fiction writers that he could represent them. Then thirty years old, he had actually met Hubbard ten years earlier in Shep's Shop, a second-hand bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard which specialized in science fiction.

'I was browsing in Shep's Shop one night in 1937 when I got into conversation with this young red-haired man who told me he held a world record in gliding. He said his name was L. Ron Hubbard and that he had had a lot of adventure stories published in pulp magazines. I asked him if he had ever tried his hand at science fiction and he said, no, oddly enough, he hadn't. But right there, on the spot, he began to outline the plot for a science fiction story set in California 25,000 years in the future, during a second Ice Age. I never saw that story in print, but it seemed to plant a seed in his mind . . .'

Ackerman liked to believe that their brief encounter in Shep's Shop was the spur that started Ron Hubbard writing science fiction. His first act on his new client's behalf was to take him to meet G. Gordon Dewey and Peter Grainger, two Los Angeles businessmen who wanted to diversify into publishing. The meeting was not a marked success: there was some desultory discussion about buying rights to some of Hubbard's novels, but nothing was concluded. Afterwards, Ron offered to drive Forrie back to his apartment in New Hampshire. It was a journey Ackerman would never forget, for on the way Ron began to tell him the incredible story of how he had died on an operating table during the war.

'I remember he had an old rattletrap of a car and he was chewing tobacco. As he drove he would open the door with one hand and squirt tobacco juice out onto the road. When we got to my apartment we sat outside in the car while he continued with the story. It was after five o'clock in the morning, and the sun was coming up, before he had finished.

'Basically what he told me was that after he died he rose in spirit form and looked back on the body he had formerly inhabited. Over yonder he saw a fantastic great gate, elaborately carved like something you'd see in Baghdad or ancient China. As he wafted towards it, the gate opened and just beyond he could see a kind of intellectual smorgasbord on which was outlined everything that had ever puzzled the mind of man. All the questions that had concerned philosophers through the ages - When did the world begin? Was there a God? Whither goest we? - were there answered. All this information came flooding into him and while he was absorbing it, there was a sort of flustering in the air and he felt something like a long umbilical cord pulling him back. He was saying "No, no, not yet!", but he was pulled back anyway. After the gates had closed he realized he had re-entered his body.

'He opened his eyes and found a nurse standing over him looking very concerned. Just as a surgeon walked into the room, Ron said, "I was dead, wasn't I?" The surgeon shot a venomous look at the nurse as if to say, "What have you been telling this guy?" But Ron said "No, no, I know I was dead."

'The next part of the story I would find very difficult to direct realistically if I was a movie director. According to Ron, he jumped off the operating table, ran to his Quonset hut, got two reams of paper and a gallon of scalding black coffee and for the next 48 hours, at a blinding rate, he wrote a work called Excalibur, or The Dark Sword.

'Well, he kept the manuscript with him and when he left the Navy he shopped it around publishers in New York, but was constantly turned down. He was told it was too radical, too much of a quantum leap. If it had been a variation of Freud or Jung or Adler, a bit of an improvement here and there, it would have been acceptable, but it was just too far ahead of everything else. He also said that as he shopped the manuscript around, the people who read it either went insane or committed suicide. The last time he showed it to a publisher, he was sitting in an office waiting for a reader to give his opinion. The reader walked into the office, tossed the manuscript on the desk and then threw himself out of the window.

'Ron would not tell me much about Excalibur except that if you read it you would find all fear would be totally drained from you. I could never see what was wrong with that or why that would cause anyone to commit suicide.'[8]

Ackerman was frankly incredulous, but was impressed by the sincerity and conviction with which Ron told the story. He also recognized, as an aspiring literary agent, that Excalibur could be just the kind of thing to get a new publishing venture off the ground.

Later that morning he telephoned Gordon Dewey and Peter Grainger, repeated the story Ron had told him and asked them if they would take a look at the manuscript. His sly hint of the potential risk only served to whet their appetites. 'They were mad keen to see it,' Ackerman said. 'I remember Dewey saying, "No combination of words, ideas or philosophy will have that effect on me!"'

Ackerman reported the good news to his client, but Hubbard, suddenly and uncharacteristically bashful, refused to produce the manuscript. 'He said it was in a bank vault and it was going to stay there. I think he was quite sincere. He seemed like a man who had seen too many people go crazy or commit suicide, who had enough on his conscience already. I never did get to see the manuscript or show it to any publisher. In fact, I never encountered anyone who said they had seen it.'

Despite Forrie's best efforts, Ron did not make anything like a living wage as a writer in 1947. After The End Is Not Yet, he sold two Ole Doc Methuselah stories to Astounding, a short story, 'Killer's Law', to New Detective and a novel, The Chee-Chalker, to Five Novels Monthly. The income generated from these five stories was barely sufficient to support himself, let alone his present wife, his former wife and his two teenage children.

In October, Ron discovered he could qualify for $90 a month subsistence from the VA if he enrolled at college. He promptly signed on as a student at the Geller Theater Workshop on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire, but he was still determined to pursue a better disability pension. Two weeks later he composed a letter to the VA in Los Angeles unquestionably designed to tug at bureaucratic heartstrings by painting a pathetic picture of a confused and helpless veteran on the brink of a total breakdown:


This is a request for treatment . . . 
After trying and failing for two years to regain my equilibrium in civil life, I am utterly unable to approach anything like my own competence. My last physician informed me that it might be very helpful if I were to be examined and perhaps treated psychiatrically or even by a psychoanalyst. Toward the end of my service I avoided out of pride any mental examinations, hoping that time would balance a mind which I had every reason to suppose was seriously affected. I cannot account for nor rise above long periods of moroseness and suicidal inclinations, and have newly come to realize that I must first triumph above this before I can hope to rehabilitate myself at all.

I cannot leave school or what little work I am doing for hospitalization due to many obligations, but I feel I might be treated outside, possibly with success. I cannot, myself, afford such treatment. 
Would you please help me?

Sincerely, L. Ron Hubbard[9]

To its credit, the VA responded to this dramatic cry for help with commendable speed and arrangements were made for Hubbard to attend Birmingham VA Hospital in Van Nuys for another examination. By this time, his medical records were hopelessly confused as he had given so many different versions of his service career, his injuries and ailments. He took the opportunity of this consultation to add another injury to the record, claiming that he had fallen from a ladder on a ship called the USS Pennant in 1942, injuring his back, hip, left knee and right heel.

While he was waiting for the results to come through, Ron was greatly discomforted to receive a demand from the VA for $51 which he had been overpaid in subsistence - he had dropped out of college on 14 November, claiming he was too ill to continue studying, but had collected subsistence until the end of the month.


'I cannot imagine how to repay this $51', he whined in a letter to the VA dated 27 January 1948, 'as I am nearly penniless and have but $28.50 to last me for nearly a month to come. Since leaving school in mid-November I have made $115 from various sources - about $40 from the sale of two bits to magazines in late November and the repayment of a bad debt for $75. These comprise my income to date except for the sale of a typewriter tonight for the above $28.50. My expenditures consist of $27 a month trailer rent and $80 a month loud for my wife and self, which includes gas, cigarettes and all incidentals. I am very much in debt and have not been able to get a job but am trying to resume my pre-war profession of professional writing. My health has been bad and I feel that if I could just get caught up financially I could write a novel which has been requested of me and so remedy my finances. It would take me three months and even then I would not be able to guarantee solvency. Is there any provision in the Veteran's Administration for grants or loans or financing so that I could get back on my feet?'
Nothing came of this hopeful inquiry. A few days later the results of Ron's medical examination arrived, but offered little encouragement that he would he awarded a higher pension. As before, nothing too serious was diagnosed, other than arthritis and myositis, an inflammation of the muscle tissue. There was not even, any longer, any evidence of a duodenal ulcer and no evidence at all of the injuries he said he had sustained when he fell from a ladder.

However, bureaucracy works in strange and unfathomable ways. Despite the findings of his most recent medical, Ron's bewildering portfolio of infirmities and his dogged determination to be disabled finally paid off. On 27 February he received a letter from the VA regional office with the good news that his combined disability rating had been re-assessed at forty per cent and his pension increased to $55.20 a month.[10] With that, Lieutenant Hubbard USNR had to be satisfied.

Forrest Ackerman, who had noticeably not been getting rich from his ten per cent of Ron's earnings, nevertheless remained on good terms with his client. When Ron came bounding up the stairs to his apartment one afternoon, sweat trickling from under the band of his white straw hat, and said he needed money to get out of town because his ex-wife was after him for alimony, Forrie good-naturedly handed over everything he had in his wallet - $30. 'It was a small fortune to me then,' he recalled.

For some time, Forrie had been trying to persuade Ron to make an appearance at one of the meetings of the Los Angeles Fantasy and Science Fiction Society, of which he was naturally a founding member. The meetings were held every Thursday evening in the basement room of a small hotel on South Bixel Street in downtown Los Angeles and were often attended by writers with an eye to future sales.

Ron first turned up at a 'Lasfas' meeting on 15 April and, as a distinguished guest, was invited to address the members. He gave an impromptu, entertaining little talk about himself and his work, mentioning his 'shame' that he was only able to write about five thousand words a day and touching briefly on his philosophical opus, Excalibur, which he had locked in a bank vault when he 'finally realized how dangerous it was'.

'The real surprise of the evening', the club magazine reported, 'came when Hubbard was talking about his friend, Arthur J. Burks. Someone mentioned Burks's story, "Survival", which had been judged one of the best of 1938 when it appeared that year in Marvel Tales. "Survival?" questioned Hubbard. "I don't remember reading that one. What was it about?" It concerned an invasion of America by the "yellow men of the East", he was told. "What?" said Hubbard. "And how did they escape the peril?" By burrowing under the ground, he was told. Mr Hubbard was surprised at this. In fact, he said, "Good God! That dog! Wait till I get hold of Burks . . ." He explained the outburst: "Back in '38 I wrote a movie treatment of a story called 'Survival'. It concerned an invasion of America by the yellow men of the East. They escaped by burrowing under the ground! I gave that story and four others to an agent to sell. He lost them. And now I find that Burks has written and sold a story just like it!"'[11]

Among the fans present that evening was a young teletype operator by the name of Arthur Jean Cox. He admitted to mixed feelings about meeting the famous Ron Hubbard for the first time: 'He was an amusing, lively, animated, dynamic man who dominated the conversation, although I had the feeling that he told more lies in the club room in the first half hour than had been told there in the previous month. He talked a lot about his past - I heard the story about the polar bear jumping on his boat dozens of times - but I thought it was all fantasy.

'At that time he was one of the most famous science fiction writers in America, certainly in the top ten. Most of the members of the club were very young and in awe of him, but I didn't like him. His face was pock-marked, as if he'd had smallpox as a child, and I thought he looked like a wolf; he was a very predatory sort of man.'[12]

Hubbard returned to the Los Angeles science fiction society two weeks later to give a talk about immortality and the future of medical science. He had become interested in medical matters, he explained to a mainly spellbound audience, after he had 'died' for eight minutes as a result of wounds received in the war. He was brought back to life 'by the use of several emergency measures'. While convalescing he had plenty of time to satisfy his natural curiosity and he had become convinced that bio-chemists were capable of lengthening life to the point of 'limited immortality'. Joseph Stalin was only being kept alive, he claimed somewhat obscurely, because of a particular serum that had been developed by the Russians.

Afterwards, Ron demonstrated a surprising talent as a hypnotist with a repertoire of parlour tricks. He hypnotised almost everyone in the clubroom: one young man looked at his hand with utter astonishment, convinced he was holding a pair of miniature kangaroos in his palm; another rapidly removed his shoes when he felt the floor getting hot and a third spent a hysterically funny ten minutes on an imaginary telephone trying to fend off a persistent and non-existent car salesman.

It was probable that Hubbard had learned hypnosis from Jack Parsons and he appeared to have no difficulty inducing hypnotic trances - all he needed to do, with some people, was count to three and snap his fingers. But he sometimes forgot to bring a subject out of hypnosis. He told Cox's younger brother, Bill, that he would fall asleep every time he (Hubbard) scratched his nose. Under hypnosis, Bill dutifully obeyed. But later in the evening Hubbard absent-mindedly scratched his nose while he was standing in the centre of a group of fans and Bill Cox instantly collapsed, fortunately falling into the arms of Forrest Ackerman, who was standing behind him.

Hubbard also played a cruel, post-hypnotic trick on Bill Cox. He took him to one side at the meeting and told him that the following afternoon, at two o'clock, he would drop whatever he was doing and meet Hubbard at a building site on the corner of Wilshire and Lucas. Hubbard was waiting there next day when, at precisely two o'clock, Cox showed up. Under Hubbard's instructions, Cox first found he could not take his hands of his pockets. Then he was ordered to take hold of a nearby railing and discovered he could not let go. As he struggled to release his grip, Hubbard told him the rail would get hotter and hotter until it was red hot. Considerably distressed, Cox writhed in agony until at last Hubbard laughed, patted him on the shoulder, told him he could go home and that he would not remember anything that had happened.

This incident only later came to light because a fellow science fiction writer, A.E. van Vogt, shared Hubbard's interest in hypnotism. One night at a Lasfas meeting, someone described a particularly vivid dream and Hubbard immediately claimed responsibility for it, saying it was a hallucination he had caused while he was 'out strolling in Astral form'.

Van Vogt did not necessarily disbelieve Hubbard but thought it was more likely that he had induced the dream by post-hypnotic suggestion. With the help of a professional hypnotist friend, he decided to check if any members of the club had been hypnotized by Hubbard without being able to remember it. They started with Bill Cox, put him in a deep trance and quickly learned of the ordeal that Hubbard had put him through. Although van Vogt gravely disapproved, he continued, curiously, to hold Hubbard in the highest esteem.

In the world of science fiction, A.E. van Vogt was considered to be in the very top rank of writers and it was Hubbard who requested that they should meet at the end of the war. Van was invited to dinner with Hubbard at Jack Parsons's house in Pasadena and was instantly dazzled by the force of his personality; like everyone else around Hubbard, he rapidly found himself in a vaguely supplicant position. Very soon he would be running around at Hubbard's beck and call.
'When we were first introduced, a hand of steel grabbed mine and squeezed it so hard that I braced myself. He was physically very strong and in fine physical condition. He had been in command of a gunboat in the Pacific. Once he sailed right into the harbour of a Japanese occupied island in the Dutch East Indies. His attitude was that if you took your flag down the Japanese would not know one boat from another, so he tied up at the dock, went ashore and wandered around by himself for three days. Everyone else was scared except Hubbard; he was a brave man, no question about it.

'I knew his work as a writer, of course, and enjoyed it. He wrote about a million words a year, straight on to the typewriter at incredible speed. My guess was that he typed at about seventy words a minute. It just poured out - I have seen typists working at that speed, but never a writer. I was in his apartment a couple of times when he said he had to finish a story and he would sit typing steadily for twenty minutes without a break and without looking up. That would have been totally impossible for me.
'When he was out in the evenings, he would begin to think of a plot for a story and throw ideas around, asking people around the table what they thought of this or that. By the end of the evening he would have it worked out in his mind and when he got home he would spend the night writing, tearing the pages out of the typewriter and throwing them all over the floor. Sara told me it was her job when she got up in the morning to collect the pages and put them in order. He left a note to tell her where to send it and he never looked at it again.
'He never told me where he learned hypnotism, but he was certainly a great hypnotist. There were certain people he could hypnotize instantly. He would talk to them for a few moments, take their mind in a certain direction, then just say "Sleep!"'[13]

Hubbard's efforts to use his facility in a more constructive fashion at the science fiction society were somewhat less successful. He once hypnotized a member who was taking a college examination the following day and ordered him to get straight A's, without that happy result. Another attempt to help someone who felt he had a 'block' about spelling similarly failed. By the time a fan approached Ron to ask if hypnosis could help with his emotional problems, Ron could only lamely suggest he tried reading Dale Carnegie's How to Make Friends and Influence People.

That summer, 1948, Hubbard ran into a spot of bother with the law. A trifling misunderstanding over a cheque led to the embarrassment of his being arrested by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, fingerprinted and charged with petty theft. He was released on bail of $500 while the Sheriff's Forgery Detail investigated the circumstances of the offence. On 19 August 1948 he was arraigned at San Gabriel Township Justice Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and waived trial by jury. However, by the time the trial date came around on 31 August, Hubbard changed his plea to guilty and was fined $25. Remarkably, he did not need time to pay.[14]

Ron never mentioned the incident to his friends and the court files were destroyed in 1955, so it will never be known precisely what he had done wrong. He was also fortunate that none of the local newspaper reporters was a science-fiction fan and so no one realized that the L.R. Hubbard charged with petty theft at San Luis Obispo was a famous sci-fi writer.

Shortly afterwards, Ron and Sara left California for Savannah, Georgia, where, Ron would claim later, he embarked upon another important stage of his pioneering research into the unexplored recesses of the human mind.


Within a couple of years it would become imperative for L. Ron Hubbard to play down his career as a pulp writer and establish for himself a rather more sober reputation as a scientist, philosopher and guru. Lesser men might have hesitated to undertake such a radical metamorphosis, but not Ron Hubbard, who effortlessly contrived to make it appear as if his whole life had been dedicated to unravelling the mysteries of the psyche.

The story of his childhood in the 'wilds of Montana' and his adoption as a blood brother of an Indian tribe presented a picture of a boy unusually in tune with nature and primitive cultures. His tutelage by a 'personal student' of Freud, his 'wanderings' in the mystic East and his expeditions as an explorer all suggested an upbringing and career of extraordinary dimensions, constantly directed towards a quest for deeper understanding of life's mysteries. Writing science fiction was downgraded to no more than a convenient device designed to finance his 'research'.

During the 'year' he had spent in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Ron would claim he had had the run of the medical library and access to the medical records of former prisoners of war. He began experimental psycho-analysis on ex POWs, 'using a park bench as a consulting room', and his research continued ever more intensively through the post-war years. In Savannah, he said, he worked as a volunteer lay practitioner in a psychiatric clinic, helping charity patients no one else would treat.

There was, perhaps, no reason why anyone should question the veracity of Hubbard's research, but his friends must have been puzzled that they knew nothing of it. Mac Ford, for example, who had spent so much time with Ron in the late '30s, sailing on Puget Sound and often talking through the night over a bottle of whisky, had never realized that his friend was engaged in research of any kind. In the heated and wide-ranging discussions that took place in the kitchen of Jack Parsons's house in Pasadena, the ideal forum for Hubbard to talk about his theories, he had said not a word about them. Alva Rogers had frequently heard him tapping away at a typewriter in his room, but there was nothing to indicate he was writing anything but fiction. Not even the amiable Forrest Ackerman had any idea that Ron was about to abandon science fiction in favour of philosophy, although in January 1949 he received an amusing letter from his client hinting at the possibility.

Addressing Ackerman, as always, as '4E', Ron wrote from Savannah to say that he had set up an office in the apartment building where he was living on Drayton Street. It was a very nice place, he said, and could easily become a den of vice, 'so I only allow women over 16 in there'. He had acquired a dictaphone machine which Sara was 'beating out her wits on' transcribing not only fiction but his book on the 'cause and cure of nervous tension', which he was going to call either The Dark Sword or Excalibur or Science of the Mind. He was writing so much fiction, Sara was having to work on the manuscript in fits. 'So far, however,' he wisecracked, 'she has recovered easily from each fit.'

If Ackerman did not take the letter too seriously he could hardly be blamed, for its tone was largely facetious throughout. Ron promised that among the 'handy household hints' contained in the book was information on how, to 'rape women without their knowing it, communicate suicide messages to your enemies as they sleep, sell the Arroyo Seco parkway to the mayor for cash, and evolve the best way of protecting or destroying communism'. He had not decided, he added casually, whether to destroy the Catholic Church or 'merely start a new one'.

Although he continued in similar vein, suggesting promotion gimmicks like requiring readers to sign a release absolving the author of any responsibility if they went crazy, it was clear that he expected the book to he a success: 'Thought of some interesting publicity angles on it. Might post a ten thousand dollar bond to he paid to anyone who can attain equal results with any known field of knowledge. A reprint of the preface, however, is about all one needs to bring in orders like a snow storm. This has more selling and publicity angles than any book of which I have ever heard . . .'

(Publicity angles notwithstanding, he could not have been too confident of the book's success, because shortly after writing to Forrie he wrote to the Bureau of Naval Personnel asking for a transcript of his sea service in order to apply for a licence in the merchant marine. He asked for the request to be dealt with quickly as he had a 'waiting berth'.[15])

The first sci-fi fans knew of L. Ron Hubbard's intention to write a philosophic treatise was an interview with him that appeared in the January 1949 issue of a magazine called Writers' Markets and Methods, during which he mentioned that he was working on a 'book of psychology'. But he added that he was also working on a rewrite of a Broadway play, no less than ten novels and a serial for Street and Smith.

This was the conundrum. In 1949, the year in which Hubbard's 'research' was presumably approaching fruition, he once again began writing fiction at a prolific rate: 'Gun Boss of Tumbleweed' and 'Blood on his Spurs' for Thrilling Westerns, 'Gunman' and 'Johnny the Town Tamer' for Famous Westerns, 'Plague' and 'The Automagic Horse' for Astounding, 'Beyond the Black Nebula' and 'the Emperor of the Universe' for Startling Stories, and many more.

Not a month passed in 1949 without the name of L. Ron Hubbard appearing on the cover of one of the pulp magazines. Nevertheless, rumours began to circulate among science-fiction fans in the summer of 1949 that Ron Hubbard was also writing a book about philosophy and was intending to unveil an entire new 'science of the mind'. What was most surprising to the fans was that Hubbard had found the time to produce such a science, for it had long been expected by science fiction devotees that one of their number would eventually come up with some world-shaking discovery. Many of the technological developments of the previous twenty years, including the atom bomb, had been predicted with uncanny accuracy by science-fiction writers and to the fans it was entirely logical that science fiction should give birth to an important new science.

The rumours were fuelled by the fact that no one had seen Hubbard for months - he had not attended any of the recent gatherings of the Los Angeles science fiction society, neither had he made an appearance in any of the magazine offices in New York. It was said he was holed up somewhere in New Jersey and that John W. Campbell was somehow involved in his plans. But no one knew exactly where Hubbard was or precisely what he was doing or what the new 'science' might entail, although everyone was agreed that Hubbard was on to 'something big', whatever it was.

The first tantalizing details were revealed in an editorial in the December issue of Astounding Science Fiction. With an implicit sense of history in the making, Campbell announced that an article was in preparation about a new science called Dianetics. 'Its power is almost unbelievable; it proves the mind not only can but does rule the body completely; following the sharply defined basic laws set forth, physical ills such as ulcers, asthma and arthritis can be cured, as can all other psychosomatic ills . . .' On the facing page, by a curious coincidence, there was a story titled 'A Can of Vacuum' by L. Ron Hubbard, about a practical joke which results in remarkable scientific discoveries.

By January 1950, the rumours had reached the ears of Walter Winchell, the syndicated columnist on the New York Daily Mirror. 'There is something new coming up in April called Dianetics,' he wrote in his column on 31 January. 'A new science which works with the invariability of physical science in the field of the human mind. From all indications it will prove to be as revolutionary for humanity as the first caveman's discovery and utilization of fire.'

In the April issue of Astounding, Campbell announced that the long-awaited article was at last ready for publication: 'Next month's issue will, I believe, cause one full-scale explosion across the country. We are carrying a 16,000 word article entitled "Dianetics - An Introduction to a New Science", by L. Ron Hubbard. It will, I believe, be the first publication of the material. It is, I assure you in full and absolute sincerity, one of the must important articles ever published. In this article, reporting on Hubbard's own research into the engineering question of how the human mind operates, immensely important basic discoveries are related. Among them:

'A technique of psychotherapy has been developed which will cure any insanity not due to organic destruction of the brain.

'A technique that gives any man a perfect, indelible, total memory, and perfect, errorless ability to compute his problems.

'A basic answer, and a technique for curing - not alleviating - ulcers, arthritis, asthma, and many other nongerm diseases.
'A totally new conception of the truly incredible ability and power of the human mind.
'Evidence that insanity is contagious, and is not hereditary.

'This is no wild theory. It is not mysticism. It is a coldly precise engineering description of how the human mind operates, and how to go about restoring correct operation tested and used on some 250 cases. And it makes only one overall claim: the methods logically developed from that description work. The memory stimulation technique is so powerful that, within 30 minutes of entering therapy, must people will recall in full detail their own birth. I have observed it in action, and used the techniques myself . . .
'It is not only a fact article of the highest importance; it is the story of the ultimate adventure - an exploration in the strangest of all terra incognita; the human mind. No stranger adventure appeared in The Arabian Nights than Hubbard's experience, using his new techniques, in plowing through the strange jungle of distorted thoughts within a human mind. To find, beyond that zone of madness, a computing mechanism of ultimate and incredible efficiency and perfection!'
Rarely can any editor have penned such a fulsome and glowing testimonial. The world, or at least the world of science fiction, waited with bated breath.

1. Report of Physical Examination, VA file, 19 September 1946
Transcript - Church of Scientology v. Armstrong
 Hubbard file, VA archives 
4. Interview with Merwin, Los Angeles, August 1986 
5. The John W. Campbell Letters, Vol. 1 
Interview with Mrs Roberts 
7. Interview with Ford  
8.Interview with Forrest Ackerman, Hollywood, 30 July 1986
9. Hubbard file, VA archives
10. ibid. 
11. Shangri-La, LASFAS club organ, No. 6, May-June 1948 
12. Interview with Arthur Jean Cox, Los Angeles, 18 August 1986
13. Interview with A.E. van Vogt, Los Angeles, 22 July 1986 
14. FBI memo, 13 April 1967
15. L.R. Hubbard navy record


Bear Faced Messiah - Chapter 9 The Strange Début of Dianetics
The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

Dianetics makes its inauspicious début, in the pages of a pulp science fiction magazine.

'My vanity hopes that you will secure credit to me for eleven years of unpaid research, but my humanity hopes above that that this science will be used as intelligently and extensively as possible, for it is a science and it does produce exact results uniformly and can, I think, be of benefit.' (Letter from L.R. Hubbard to Dr Joseph Winter, August 1949)
 (Scientology's account of the years 1949-50.)

In the spring of 1949, Ron and Sara had moved to the New Jersey shore, to a beach cottage at Bay Head, a discreetly genteel yachting resort on the northern tip of Barnegat Bay. Rich New Yorkers who could not quite afford the Hamptons kept large summer houses at Bay Head where they sailed the ruffled blue waters of the bay, played tennis and attended each other's cocktail parties. The Hubbards' rented cottage was one of the smallest properties, but Sara, who suspected she was pregnant, was delighted with it. She was weary of their peripatetic lifestyle; she calculated that in only three years of marriage they had set up home in seven different States and had never stayed in one place for more than a few months. Bay Head, with its country club aura, did much to lift her spirits.

John Campbell had persuaded them to move from Georgia and had found them the cottage which was less than a hour's drive on the Garden State Parkway from Plainfield, where he and his wife lived. He wanted Ron close by because he wanted, passionately wanted, to be involved in what he considered to be the historic genesis of Dianetics.

It was predictable, in the course of their working relationship as science-fiction editor and science-fiction writer, that Campbell and Hubbard would spend time together discussing ideas and that Ron would test his theories on a man as responsive as the editor of Astounding. Campbell was an intellectual maverick: he had studied physics and chemistry at college, had a mechanistic approach to psychology and was fascinated by gimmicks and technology, but he also flirted with psychic phenomena like dowsing, telekinesis, telepathy and clairvoyance. Ron could not have had a more attentive audience when he first began to propound his theory that the brain worked like a computer which could be made markedly more efficient by clearing its clogged memory bank.

Always a persuasive talker, Hubbard possessed a natural ability to marshal a smattering of knowledge into a cogent and authoritative thesis, interwoven with scientific and medical jargon. His 'scientific' approach to unravelling the mysteries of the human psyche precisely accorded with Campbell's own view that humanity could be investigated with the techniques and impersonal methodology of the exact sciences,[1] and although Ron's ideas stemmed more from his exuberant imagination than from any research, to Campbell what Hubbard had to say was tantamount to a revelation on the road to Damascus.

He compared individual memory to a 'time-track' on which every experience was recorded. Using a form of hypnosis, he believed painful experiences could be recalled and 'erased' with consequent beneficial effects to both physical and mental health. Ron offered to demonstrate on a convenient couch at Campbell's home in Plainfield. He drew the blinds, told Campbell to relax, close his eyes on a count to seven and try to recall his earliest childhood experience. Gently prompted by Ron to produce more and more details, Campbell was surprised to find he could resurrect long-forgotten incidents with such clarity that it was as if he had physically returned to the time and place. After a couple of sessions, he seemed to be able to go back far enough to actually re-live the astonishing experience of his birth and at the same time he discovered that the chronic sinusitis that had plagued him all his life was much improved.

Thereafter, Campbell was the first committed disciple of Dianetics, utterly convinced that L. Ron Hubbard had made profound discoveries about the workings of the mind and that the fundamental nature of human life was about to be changed for the better. [Hubbard himself was perhaps as concerned to make money as he was to help humanity and he had some interesting ideas about how to do it. Around this time he was invited to address a science-fiction group in Newark hosted by the writer, Sam Moskowitz. 'Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous,' he told the meeting. 'If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be to start his own religion.'[2]]

Determined to help Ron propagate his new 'science', in July 1949 Campbell wrote to Dr Joseph Winter, a general practitioner from St Joseph, Michigan, who had contributed occasional articles on medical subjects to Astounding: 'L. Ron Hubbard, who happens to be an author, has been doing some psychological research . . . He's gotten important results. His approach is, actually, based on some very early work of Freud's, some work of other men, and a lot of original research. He's not a professional psychoanalyst or psychiatrist, he's basically an engineer. He approached the problem of psychiatry from the heuristic viewpoint - to get results.'

Campbell described the case of an amputee veteran suffering from severe depression who had been helped by Hubbard after conventional psychiatry had failed to alleviate his condition. Psychiatrists had injected sodium pentothal to enable the veteran to re-live his war experience, taking him through the moment he was hit by a mortar shell to the moment he recovered consciousness in the aid station, but he continued to be depressed and insist he would be better off dead. Using Dianetics, Hubbard had also taken the veteran back through the shell burst but discovered that while he was unconscious medics had said, 'This guy's hopeless, he's better off dead anyway' and chosen to move other casualties first. This incident, it transpired, was the cause of his problems.

Winter was intrigued: he had never considered before that an unconscious patient could in any way be aware of what was going on around him. He wrote to Campbell asking for more information and back came another long letter elaborating on the theory and concluding: 'With cooperation from some institutions, some psychiatrists, he [Hubbard] has worked on all types of cases. Institutionalized schizophrenics, apathies, manics, depressives, perverts, stuttering, neuroses - in all, nearly 1000 cases. But just a brief sampling of each type; he doesn't have proper statistics in the usual sense. But he has one statistic. He has cured every patient he worked with. He has cured ulcers, arthritis, asthma.'

While Winter was avowedly incredulous at the idea that a man with no medical training of any kind was able to cure one hundred per cent of his patients, he did not share the tendency of his medical colleagues to dismiss all lay practitioners as dangerous cranks. He had always been fascinated by the enigmas of human behaviour and believed in a holistic approach to medicine which was amenable to unconventional hypotheses. He contacted Hubbard, suggested that he present his findings to the medical profession, and offered to help.

Hubbard quickly replied, promising to forward an 'operator's manual' for Winter's use and thanking him for his interest. When his manual arrived, Winter made several copies and gave them to psychiatrist friends in Chicago, but was disappointed by their negative reactions. They were interested in the ingenuity of Hubbard's ideas, but strongly sceptical of their efficacy. However, Winter still felt the subject was worth pursuing and made arrangements to visit Bay Head to observe Dianetics 'in action'. Ron, who was acutely aware  of the potential value of recruiting a doctor to the Dianetic cause, invited Winter to stay with him and Sara at the cottage on the beach.

He arrived in Bay Head on 1 October 1949, and Sara, now several months into her pregnancy, did her best to make the young doctor welcome, despite somewhat cramped conditions. Winter discovered that Hubbard was spending much of his time testing his theories by 'running' science-fiction fans brought in by Campbell. The purpose of 'running' a patient, Hubbard explained, was to send them 'down the time-track' to uncover their 'impediments'.

Winter sat in on several sessions, then agreed to Ron's suggestion that he should be 'run' himself. 'The experience was intriguing,' he said. 'I felt, in general, that I was obtaining some benefits from Hubbard's methods of therapy. I was also aware of the possible inaccuracies of a subjective evaluation of my own progress: I therefore endeavoured to make up for this by observing the other patients closely. It was possible during this short period of observation to note only the differences in their behaviour before and after each therapy session. The changes were obvious: before a session I would see agitation, depression and irritability; after a session the patient would be cheerful and relaxed.'[3]

Although he had some reservations, particularly about Hubbard's absolutism and inclination to make sweeping generalizations, he was unquestionably impressed. He noted the emotional discharge that resulted when patients recalled painful experiences; he himself re-lived the terror he had felt as a child on learning of his grandmother's death and found it dissolving in a fit of sobbing and weeping, after which he felt a great sense of relief.

Winter did not return to Michigan until Thanksgiving, when an incident occurred which finally convinced him of the validity of Dianetics. He arrived home to discover that his six-year-old son was having problems: the boy had developed a paralyzing fear of the dark and of ghosts, which he believed were waiting upstairs to strangle him. Winter recalled that his wife had experienced considerable difficulties during the boy's birth and decided to apply Dianetic techniques to see if there was any connection. He was flabbergasted by the result.

The doctor persuaded his son to lie down, close his eyes and try to recall the first time he had ever seen a ghost. To Winter's amazement the boy described in detail the white apron, cap and mask of the obstetrician who had delivered him and how he felt he was being strangled. Winter and his wife discussed what had happened and concluded with certainty that the only time their son had seen that doctor in his surgical gown was at the moment of his birth. It was evident to them that the boy's fear was connected with his struggle to be born and his phobia soon disappeared.

Believing himself to be at the possible dawn of a 'Golden Age of greater sanity', Winter returned to Bay Head after the holiday enormously optimistic about the prospects for Dianetics. 'I immediately became immersed in a life of Dianetics and very little else,' he recorded. Hubbard and Campbell were deeply involved in the projected article for Astounding and Winter began work on the preparation of a paper explaining the principles and methodology of Dianetic therapy, intended for presentation to the medical profession. Ron, who made no secret of his contempt for the medical establishment (often to the considerable embarrassment of Dr Winter), was not in the least surprised by the reception it received: the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Psychiatry both rejected the paper for publication on the grounds of insufficient clinical evidence of the technique's effectiveness.

Undeterred, the three men continued developing and refining Dianetic theory, slowly bringing into their orbit other converts, notably a young electrical engineer by the name of Don Rogers and Art Ceppos, head of Hermitage House, a small medical and psychiatric textbook publisher who had contracted, at Campbell's instigation, to publish a book about Dianetics. The 'Bay Head Circle', as it came to be known, devoted many hours to discussion of terminology. Ron was still using the word 'impediment' to describe painful past experiences, although they all agreed that a new word was needed to avoid confusion. For a while, impediment was replaced by 'norn', the name of the Norse goddesses said to control Man's destiny, but in the end they plumped for 'engram', which was defined in Dorland's Medical Dictionary, as a 'lasting mark or trace'.

Meanwhile, Ron found time to dash off a feature about Dianetics for the Explorers Club journal, in which he explained that he had developed the therapy as a tool for expedition commanders to maintain the health and morale of their men. 'That it apparently conquers and cures all psychosomatic ills', he added with barely feigned modesty, 'and is of interest to institutions where it has a salutary effect upon the insane, is beyond the province of its original intention.' Untroubled, as always, by facts, Ron nonchalantly informed his fellow members that details of the science could be found, 'where it belonged', in textbooks and professional publications on the mind and body.[4]

[Credit for the inspiration for Dianetics would be variously and fancifully attributed over the years; at one point Hubbard claimed his interest in the mind had been stimulated while at university by comparing the rhythmic vibrations of poetry in English and Japanese, in which language he was, of course, fluent[5].]

Shortly before Christmas 1949, Hubbard finished the article for Astounding, but Campbell agreed to delay publication so that it would come out shortly before the book was available and help promote sales. Despite his lingering misgivings about the extravagance of Ron's claims, Winter agreed to write a foreword to the article, an endorsement which would greatly add to the credibility of Dianetics. 'I sincerely feel', he wrote, 'that Ron Hubbard has discovered the key which for the first time permits a true evaluation of the human mind and its function in health and in illness - the greatest advance in mental therapy since man began to probe into his mental make-up.'

In the midst of all this accelerating activity, of writing and revising, proof-reading, 'running patients' and answering the inquiries that were beginning to arrive as a result of the advance editorials in Astounding, Hubbard became a father for the third time. On 8 March, 1950, Sara gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Valerie, in the local hospital. Winter, conveniently on hand, supervised the delivery. When she cradled the baby in her arms for the first time, Sara registered with considerable pleasure that her daughter had flaming red hair.

By the beginning of April, Campbell's editorials had stimulated so much interest that it was decided to establish a Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation to disseminate knowledge of the new therapy and stimulate further research. The Foundation was incorporated in the unlovely environs of Elizabeth, New Jersey, a grimy industrial town on the shores of Newark Bay, opposite Staten Island. The board of directors was made up of Ron and Sara Hubbard, Campbell, Winter, Don Rogers, Art Ceppos and a lawyer by the name of Parker C. Morgan. Dr Winter, who had by then sold his practice in Michigan to devote himself full-time to Dianetics, accepted the post of medical director 'without qualms'.

The Foundation rented the top floor of an old office building on Morris Avenue and furnished it with second-hand sheet-metal desks, Navy surplus lecture-hall chairs and Army surplus cots. Ron and Sara rented a small frame house at 42 Aberdeen Road, Elizabeth, and moved in with the baby. Sara very much regretted leaving Bay Head and viewed Elizabeth with unconcealed distaste, but Ron persuaded her that it was vital for him to be on hand to direct the affairs of the Foundation.

Campbell's wife, Dona, was similarly suffering from her husband's obsession with Dianetics, so much so that she walked out of their marriage, declaring Dianetics to be the 'last straw'. Regular contributors to Astounding also began to express concern that the editor no longer seemed interested in anything but Ron Hubbard's wonderful new science and many of them failed to share his enthusiasm. Isaac Asimov read an advance copy of the Dianetics article and thought it was 'gibberish'[6] while Jack Williamson said he thought it was like a 'lunatic revision of Freudian psychology'.

But Campbell's ardour could not be cooled. In a letter to Williamson be said he had witnessed Ron restoring sanity to a 'raving psychotic' in thirty minutes and curing a Navy veteran of ulcers and arthritis. 'I know dianetics is one of, if not the greatest, discovery of all Man's written and unwritten history,' he added. 'It produces the sort of stability and sanity men have dreamed about for centuries.'[7]

The May 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction appeared on the streets in the third week of April. A hairy, ape-like alien with yellow cat's eyes glowered menacingly from the cover. Readers would discover that he was the evil Duke of Kraakahaym, special envoy from the Empire of Skontar to the Commonwealth of Sol, but everyone knew there was something much more diverting in the magazine that month - the long-awaited introduction to Dianetics, the first science ever to be launched in a pocketbook pulp magazine.

So startling were the tidings that Campbell felt obliged to emphasize that the author was entirely serious. 'I want to assure every reader, most positively and unequivocally,' he wrote, 'that this article is not a hoax, joke, or anything but a direct, clear statement of a totally new scientific thesis.'

Hubbard might have wished for a more venerable medium in which to launch his new science, but he could hardly have found a more receptive forum. Many science-fiction fans at that time had an engineering and science background and as far as they were concerned Hubbard's dissertation, filling more than forty pages and seemingly resulting from years of diligent research and study, was logical, enticing and thoroughly persuasive.

It was certainly very different from his previous writing. The customary narcissistic swaggering was notably absent and his usual racy prose was replaced by a sober, textbook style sometimes too worldly to be immediately comprehensible: 'When exterior determinism was entered into a human being so as to overbalance his self determinism the correctness of his solutions fell off rapidly.'

Hubbard's approach was that of an engineer seeking practical, scientific solutions to the mysteries of the human mind, constantly testing his postulates against a single, simple criterion: does it work? He began by drawing an analogy between the brain and a computer with an infinite memory bank and perfect function. Every human brain, he argued, had the potential to operate as this optimum computer, with untold benefits to the individual and to mankind, not least restoring sanity to the insane, curing all manner of illnesses and ending wars.

Constraints were presently imposed on the brain by 'aberrations', usually caused by physical or emotional pain. Since pain was a threat to survival, the basic principle of existence, the sane, analytical mind sought to avoid it. Evolution had provided the necessary mechanism by means of what he called the 'reactive mind'. In moments of stress, the 'analytical mind' shut down and the 'reactive mind' took over, storing information in cellular recordings, or 'engrams'.

He provided an example of how an engram was stored. If a child was bitten by a dog at the age of two, she might not remember the incident in later life but the engram could be stimulated by any number of sights or sounds, causing her inexplicable distress. It might be a similar noise to that of the car driving past when the dog attacked, the smell of a dog's fur, or the scrape of skin on concrete when she was knocked to the ground.

The purpose of Dianetic therapy, he explained, was to gain access to the engrams in the reactive memory banks and 're-file' them in the analytical mind, where their influence would be eradicated. To 'unlock' the reactive memory bank it was necessary to locate the earliest engrams, which he claimed were often pre-natal, sometimes occurring within twenty-four hours of conception! A foetus might not understand words spoken while it was in the womb, he asserted, but it would be able to recall them in later life.

Having cleared the reactive mind, the analytical mind would then function, like the optimum computer, at full efficiency - the individual's IQ would rise dramatically, he would be freed of all psychological and psychosomatic illnesses and his memory would improve to the point of total recall.

Dianetics was easy to apply, he asserted, once the axioms and mechanisms had been learned, and he envisaged the science being practised by 'people of intelligence and good drive' on their friends and families. 'To date, over two hundred patients have been treated,' he claimed; 'of those two hundred, two hundred cures have been obtained.'

It was certainly an alluring prospect - a simple science available to ordinary people that invariably succeeded and claimed amazing results. But Hubbard knew better than to reveal, in a twenty-five-cent magazine, how to practise his wonderful new science; readers were specifically warned that the article would not contain sufficient information for them to become Dianetic operators. All the techniques would be explained, they were told, in a forthcoming book soon to be published by Hermitage House, price $4.00.


On 9 May 1950, Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard appeared without fanfare in bookstores across the

nation. Hermitage House was not optimistic that it would be a big seller and set the initial print run at a modest six thousand copies.

The book, dedicated to Will Durant, esteemed author of The Story of Philosophy, displayed none of the restraint evident in the Astounding article. Indeed, Hubbard introduced his new science with breathtaking magniloquence. 'The creation of Dianetics', he declared in the opening sentences of the book, 'is a milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and the arch . . . The hidden source of all psychosomatic ills and human aberration has been discovered and skills have been developed for their invariable cure.'

Significant among the maladies Hubbard claimed he could cure were the complaints that had figured so prominently in his Veterans Administration file: arthritis, eye trouble, bursitis and ulcers. He also added to the list the most intractable ailment known to medical science - the common cold.

Optimism and confidence in the ability of Dianetics to deal with almost all human problems were the abiding themes of the book. Hubbard's seductive message was simple - a dramatic breakthrough had occurred in psychotherapy. The techniques were easy to learn, were available to everyone and, most important of all, always worked!

The first challenge of Dianetics was to get through the book, for the text was abstruse, rambling, repetitive, studded with confusing neologisms and littered with interminable footnotes, which Hubbard seemed to think added academic verisimilitude. Fellow science-fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp frankly admitted he found the book incomprehensible and quoted W.S. Gilbert to explain why a fiction writer who was fluent, literate and readable should produce such impenetrable non-fiction:

'If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me, 
Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!'[8]

Hubbard's anxiety to invest his work with intellectual authority should have deterred him from laying bare his own fierce prejudices, but he could not be restrained. The book exposed a deep-rooted hatred of women, exemplified by a prurient pre-occupation with 'attempted abortions', which he claimed were the most common cause of pre-natal engrams. 'A large proportion of allegedly feeble-minded children', he wrote, 'are actually attempted abortion cases . . . However many billions America spends yearly on institutions for the insane and jails for the criminals are spent primarily because of attempted abortions done by some sex-blocked mother to whom children are a curse, not a blessing of God . . . All these things are scientific facts, tested and rechecked and tested again.'

When the women in Hubbard's 'case histories' were not thrusting knitting needles into themselves, they were usually being unfaithful to their husbands, or they were being beaten up, raped or otherwise abused. Almost without exception, they allowed the wretched embryos in their wombs to be grievously mistreated. 'Fathers, for instance, suspicious of paternity, sometimes claim while trouncing or upsetting mothers that they will kill the child if it isn't like Father. This is a very bad engram . . . it may compel an aberee into a profession he does not admire and all out of the engramic command that he must be like the parent. The same engram, he added mysteriously, could also cause premature baldness or lengthen the child's nose.

Hubbard gave many illustrations of the problems caused by pre-natal engrams, some of which might have strained the credulity of even his most gullible readers. If a husband beat his pregnant wife, for example, yelling, 'Take that! Take it, I tell you. You've got to take it!', it was possible the child would interpret these words literally in later life and become a thief. Or a pregnant woman suffering from constipation might sit straining for a bowel movement muttering to herself, 'Oh, this is hell. I am all jammed up inside. I feel so stuffy I can't think. This is too terrible to be borne.' In this case, he explained, the child might easily develop an inferiority complex from a engram which suggested to him he was too terrible to be 'born'.

Some of the worst pre-natal engrams were caused by naming the child after the father. If the expectant mother was committing adultery, as so many of Hubbard's pregnant women were wont to do, she was likely to make derogatory remarks about her husband while engaged in sexual intercourse with her lover. The foetus, obviously, would be 'listening' and if he was given the husband's name he would assume in later life that all the horrible things his mother had said about his father were actually about him.

After women, Hubbard's secondary target was the medical profession, towards which he directed almost rabid hostility, accusing neurosurgeons of reducing their 'victims' to 'zombyism' either by burning away the brain with electric shocks or tearing it to pieces with a 'nice ice-pick into each eyeball'. 'In terms of brutality in treatment of the insane,' he wrote, 'the methods of the shaman or Bedlam have been exceeded by the "civilized" techniques of destroying nerve tissue with the violence of shock or surgery . . . destroying most of his personality and ambition and leaving him nothing more than a manageable animal.'

Indisputably the most portentous section of the book was that which explained to the reader how to put Dianetics into practice. Artfully employing the jargon of modern technology, Hubbard called the process 'auditing'. The practitioner was the 'auditor' and his patient was a 'pre-clear'. To become 'clear' of all engrams was the goal devoutly to be pursued for 'clears' were free from all neuroses and psychoses, had full control of their imaginations, greatly raised IQs and well-nigh perfect memories.

Auditing began in a darkened room by inducing in the pre-clear a condition Hubbard described as 'Dianetic reverie', which could apparently be recognized by a fluttering of the closed eyelids. It was not so much a hypnotic trance, he was careful to point out, as a state of relaxation conducive to travelling back along the time-track. Once the reverie had been induced, the auditor placed the pre-clear back in various periods of his life, moving inexorably towards birth or conception. Most pre-clears, Hubbard advised, would eventually experience a 'sperm dream' during which, as an egg, they would swim up a channel to meet the sperm. Once the earliest engram had been erased, later engrams would erase more easily.

An average auditing session should last about two hours and Hubbard estimated that a minimum of twenty hours' auditing would be needed before the pre-clear began to reap the rewards.

To a nation increasingly inclined to unload its problems on an expensive psychiatrist's couch, the promise of Dianetics was wondrous. It all seemed so eminently logical, pragmatic and alluring, as if human life was about to take on a new sparkle. With the book in one hand, what problems could not be solved? Here at last was a do-it-yourself therapy for the people that friends could offer to friends, husbands to wives, fathers to children. Any doubts were swept aside by the book's overweening absolutism: who would dare make such sweeping claims if they were not true?

Even the immoderate tenor of the author's attack on the medical profession struck many chords. Electric shock therapy and pre-frontal lobotomy were frightening and mysterious techniques disturbingly reminiscent of the experiments that had taken place in Nazi concentration camps, horrors only recently uncovered and still fresh in the mind. It was understandable that people wanted to believe in Dianetics, if for no other reason than to relegate such seemingly medieval practices to history.


For the first few days after publication of Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health, it appeared as if the publisher's caution about the book's prospects had been entirely justified. Early indications were that it had aroused little interest; certainly it was ignored by most reviewers. But suddenly, towards the end of May, the line on the sales graph at the New York offices of Hermitage House took a steep upturn.

The first purchasers of Dianetics were mostly science-fiction fans and readers of Astounding. Primarily they wanted to see if Hubbard's new science really did work. Typical among them was Jack Horner, a psychology graduate at a college in Los Angeles: 'I had been a science-fiction fan since 1934 and I was fascinated by Campbell's editorials in Astounding. I ordered the book as soon as I heard about it. I got it on Monday, read it by Tuesday and was auditing on Wednesday. I sat down and audited five people and boy, it worked just like Hubbard said it would. I said to myself, "Gee, he may not have it all, but he's sure got a good piece of it."'[9]

A. E. van Vogt knew the book was coming out because Hubbard had been telephoning him every day from Elizabeth to try and get him interested in Dianetics. Van insisted he was a writer, not a therapist, and had no intention of reading Ron's book. But when an advance copy arrived in the mail he could not resist taking a look and he was piqued to discover how well Dianetic theory dovetailed with his own fiction. His most popular novel, Slan, had been about supermen evolving fantastic new powers of the mind very much in the way envisaged by Dianetics.

Van Vogt read Dianetics twice, then decided to experiment on his wife's sister, who was visiting them at the time. He began auditing her, following the instructions in the book, and to his utter astonishment found she was soon re-living the moment of her birth. She had been a breech baby and Van and his wife, Edna Mayne, watched in awe as she went through the motions of being born, screaming and yelling as she 'felt' the forceps pulling her out. Next day, Van invited Forrie Ackerman and his wife over.

'Van was the first in town to get Ron's book' said Ackerman. 'He told me that his 'phone was ringing off the hook all day. Everyone wanted to know if Dianetics was phoney or if there was really something in it.

'I was his second guinea pig. He asked me to lie on a couch and explained about the time-track. He said I could think of it as if I was in an elevator going down and stopping at floors equating to different years, or I could imagine I was on a train and watching signs with different dates flash by the window. I got the idea and lay there waiting for something to happen. Suddenly, on a sort of velvety background I saw two disembodied eyes, hard-boiled eyes like those of the actor, Peter Lorre. I said, "I see these popping eyes . . ."

'Van said to concentrate on that and keep repeating "popping eyes". I kept saying it and it gradually got abbreviated to "Popeyes", then "poppies". When I was in High School we memorized a poem about World War One: "In Flanders fields the poppies grow, by the crosses row on row . . ." I suddenly thought of the poppies growing row on row and in my mind I went right to the grave of my dear brother, Lorraine Ackerman, who didn't quite make it to twenty-one. When I learned he had been killed, I remember I just went round with an empty feeling. All those years later, the sorrow that I had been holding at bay came gushing out and I got it all out of my system. It was quite astonishing to me at the time and gave me the feeling there was certainly something to it.[10]

All over the country the same thing was happening: science-fiction fans were buying the book and auditing their friends, who then rushed out to buy the book so they could audit their friends. In this first flush of enthusiasm, Hubbard's insistence that Dianetics worked seemed indisputable: everyone could uncover an engram somewhere down their time-track and only the most churlish pre-clears would not admit to feeling uplifted after an auditing session. If auditing worked, it was perhaps not unreasonable to give credence to the whole science of Dianetics.

At the offices of Astounding Science Fiction in New York, more than two thousand letters had arrived in the fortnight following publication of the Dianetics article and mail continued to pour in by the sackload. Campbell, who liked statistics, calculated that only 0.2 per cent of the letters were unfavourable. At Hermitage House, Art Ceppos was frantically trying to arrange for more copies of the book to be printed and distributed; bookstore owners everywhere were complaining that they were running out of supplies. In Los Angeles, the demand was so great that Dianetics was only available on an under-the-counter basis.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation was inundated with inquiries when it was announced in June that L. Ron Hubbard would be teaching the first full-time training course for Dianetic auditors. Hopeful trainees travelled thousands of miles to New Jersey in the hope of getting a place on the course. Jack Horner was one of them. 'I got hold of Hubbard's telephone number and called him and said I wanted to take the course. He said, "It's awful crowded out here, but you're as welcome as the flowers in May." I had a friend with a Cadillac who was also interested and we drove non-stop across the country to get there in time.

'The course cost $500, which was an immense amount of money in those days, but it was worth every cent. There were about thirty-five to forty people on the course, all sorts, men and women. They were a well-educated, literate bunch and if there was a common factor among them it was probably an interest in science fiction.

'Ron lectured every day. He was very impressive, dedicated and amusing. The man had tremendous charisma; you just wanted to hear every word he had to say and listen for any pearl of wisdom. We never discussed where he had got all his knowledge. To me, the source of his data was irrelevant. I'd been in college studying recent discoveries in psychology and they were not worth a damn compared to what he had come up with and what it would do.

'I guess it would be true to say that the early 'fifties was the right moment to launch Dianetics. The atomic bomb had been dropped, there was a sense of hopelessness around and there was a great deal of fear about a nuclear war - people were building cabins out in the wilderness. McCarthyism was rife and our troops were fighting a war in Korea which seemed completely unreal to most of us. Then along comes Hubbard with the idea that if we could increase the overall sanity of man just a little bit, it would be a partial solution to the threat of nuclear war. It was no wonder that people wanted to listen to him.'

While Hubbard was lecturing in Elizabeth, Dianetics became, virtually overnight, a national 'craze' somewhat akin to the canasta marathons and pyramid clubs that had briefly flourished in the hysteria of post-war America. Dianetic groups sprang up everywhere, in every small town and every college; on the West Coast 'Dianetic parties' became the rage; in Hollywood, where neuroses and dollars lay thick on the ground, the movie colony joyfully embraced the idea of a therapy that did not involve all the tedious hours demanded by psychoanalysts. Everyone wanted to audit everyone else and right across the nation Americans were excitedly reliving their births, courtesy of the new guru, L. Ron Hubbard.

The media had so far largely chosen to ignore L. Ron Hubbard and his new science, but it was clear from the rising level of public interest that he could not be ignored forever. On 2 July, Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health - now known to converts simply as 'The Book' - reached the top of the bestseller list in the Los Angeles Times, where it would remain for many months. On the same day the book received its first major review, in The New York Times. It was a predictable savaging by Rollo May, a noted psychologist and writer.

May could find no merit in Dianetics. It was, he said, an oversimplified form of regular psychotherapy mixed with hypnosis. He wondered if the author was not writing with his tongue in his cheek and searched in vain for scientific evidence to support the book's bizarre theories. 'Books like this do harm', May concluded, 'by their grandiose promises to troubled persons and by their oversimplification of human psychological problems.'

In Scientific American, a professor of physics at Columbia University declared the book contained less evidence per page than any publication since the invention of printing. 'The huge sale of the book to date is distressing evidence', wrote the professor, 'of the frustrated ambitions, hopes, ideals, anxieties and worries of the many persons who through it have sought succor.'[11] New Republic weighed in by describing the book as a 'bold and immodest mixture of complete nonsense and perfectly reasonable common sense, taken from long acknowledged findings and disguised and distorted by a crazy, newly invented terminology'.[12]

Following close on the heels of the media pundits came the outraged ranks of the medical profession. The American Psychological Association, pointing out that Hubbard's 'sweeping generalizations' were not supported by empirical evidence, called for Dianetics to be limited to scientific investigation 'in the public interest'.

'If it were not for sympathy for the mental suffering of disturbed people,' Dr Frederick Hacker, a Los Angeles psychiatrist declared, 'the so-called science of Dianetics could be dismissed for what it is - a clever scheme to dip into the pockets of the gullible with impunity. The Dianetic auditor is but another name for the witch doctor, exploiting a real need with phoney methods.'[13] Many medical experts sourly pointed out that there was nothing new in Dianetics and that Hubbard was simply applying new words to common phenomena long known and accepted in psychoanalysis. The 'engram' theory, they explained, was no more than a form of 'abreaction', the psychiatric term for releasing emotions associated with the suppressed memory of some past event.

In the face of such criticism, Dianeticists rose en masse to defend their founder and his ideas, bombarding the offending publications with indignant letters. Leading the protest was Frederick L. Schuman, a distinguished professor of political science from Williamstown, Massachusetts, who had visited Hubbard in New Jersey and been instantly converted. 'History has become a race between Dianetics and catastrophe,' he wrote to The New York Times. 'Dianetics will win if enough people are challenged, in time, to understand it.'[14]

The constant publicity spread the word as effectively as a nationwide advertizing campaign and the more the medical profession railed against Dianetics, the more people became convinced there must be something to it. Only two months after the publication of the book, Newsweek reported that more than fifty-five thousand copies had been sold and five hundred Dianetics groups had been set up across the United States.[15]

If the cause of all the fuss was in any way bewildered by his sudden change of circumstances, he was certainly not going to show it. In truth, Hubbard had certainly not anticipated that the book would ever be a bestseller, but he acted as if it was pre-ordained and slipped effortlessly into the role of luminary. He was, naturally, much in demand for interviews and he proved to be a natural interviewee providing reporters with a multitude of picturesque quotes about his colourful life and exhausting years of research 'in the laboratories of the world'.

He was unfailingly polite, amusing, ready to answer any question and always willing to pose for a photograph. He also contrived to provide every reporter with a tit-bit of new information. Parade magazine was able to reveal exclusively, for example, that 'the man behind the new mental health craze' was also 'the father of the world's first Dianetics baby'. Alexis Valerie Hubbard, Ron explained, had been carefully shielded in her pre-natal life from noise, bumps and parental conversations in order to protect her from engrams. The result, Ron happily announced, was that the baby was talking at three months, crawling at four months and was free from all phobias.[16]

'Since the overnight success of his book Dianetics,' the Los Angeles Daily News reported, 'Hubbard has become, in a few swift months, a personality, a national celebrity and the proprietor of the fastest growing "movement" in the United States.'[17]

1. The Universe Makers, Donald Wollheim, 1971 
2. Los Angeles Times, 27 August 1978
3. A Doctor's Report on Dianetics, Joseph A. Winter, 1951
4. Explorers Journal, Winter/Spring 1950 
5. Hubbard's autographical notes, 1972
 6. Asimov, op. cit. 
7. Williamson, op. cit. 
8. Fantastic, August 1975
9. Interview with Jack Horner, Santa Monica, 24 July 1986
10. Interview with Ackerman
11. Scientific American, Jan 1951 
12. New Republic, 14 August 1950 
13. LOOK, 5 December 1950 
14. The New York Times, 6 August 1950 
15. Newsweek, No. 36, August 1950
16. Parade, 29 October 1950 
17. Los Angeles Daily News, 6 September 1950



Bare-Faced Messiah - Chapter 10 Commies, Kidnaps and Chaos

The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

Between his second and third marriages, Ron dallied with his public relations assistant, luscious Barbara Kaye. She would soon conclude that he was paranoid.
Richard de Mille and Barbara Kaye at the house in Palm Springs where Hubbard plotted to kidnap his daughter Alexis.

'The United States Government at this time [1950] attempted to monopolize all his researches and force him to work on a project "to make man more suggestible" and when he was unwilling, tried to blackmail him by ordering him back to active duty to perform this function. Having made many friends he was able to instantly resign from the Navy and escape this trap. The Government never forgave him for this and soon began vicious, covert international attacks upon his work, all of which were proven false and baseless.' (What is Scientology?, 1978)
 (Scientology's account of the years 1950-51.)
*   *   *   *   *
California, ever enchanted by fads and facile philosophies, was the natural habitat of Dianetics and it was to California that Hubbard returned in triumph at the beginning of August 1950, to be feted by joyful Dianeticists waiting to meet him at Los Angeles airport. Two years earlier, he had left as a penniless pulp fiction author; now he was back as a celebrity with a book firmly lodged at the top of every bestseller list and a growing legion of followers who truly believed him to be a genius.

He had a busy schedule ahead: apart from personal appearances and interviews, he was to lecture at the newly-formed Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation of California, all the big bookstores wanted him for signing sessions and, most important of all, he was to attend a rally on Thursday 10 August at the Shrine Auditorium. It promised to be Dianetics' finest hour, for on that evening the identity of the world's first 'clear' was to be announced.

The Shrine was a vast, mosque-like building with white stucco castellated walls and a dome in each corner, unforgettably characterized by the music critic of the LA Times as being of the 'neo-penal Bagdad' school of architecture. Built in 1925 by the Al Malaikah Temple, it was the largest auditorium in Los Angeles and could seat nearly 6500 people under a swooping ceiling designed to resemble the roof of a tent. When the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation booked it for the meeting on 10 August, few people expected more than half the seats to be filled.

Arthur Jean Cox, the young teletype operator who had met Hubbard at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, left early for the meeting by streetcar and was surprised how crowded it was. 'More and more people got on at every stop,' he said. 'I couldn't believe that everyone was going to the meeting but when we arrived at the Shrine on Royal Street, everyone got off. I was absolutely amazed. By the time I got inside there were only a few seats left.'[1]

The audience was predominantly young, noisy and good-humoured. Many people carried well-thumbed copies of 'The Book', in the hope of getting them signed by Hubbard, and there was much speculation about 'the world's first clear' and what he or she would be able to do. Dozens of newspapers and magazines, including Life, had sent reporters and photographers to cover the event and those cynics who had predicted a sea of empty seats looked on in astonishment as even the aisles began to fill.

When L. Ron Hubbard walked on to the stage, followed by A. E. van Vogt, whom he had recently recruited, and other directors of the Foundation, there was a spontaneous roar from the audience, followed by applause and cheering that continued for several minutes. Hubbard, totally assured and relaxed, smiled broadly as he looked around the packed auditorium and finally held up his hands for silence.

The meeting opened with Hubbard demonstrating Dianetic techniques. With the help of a pretty blonde, he showed how to induce Dianetic reverie and then he 'run a grief incident' on a girl called Marcia. While the audience obligingly responded when Hubbard spread his arms for applause at the end of each demonstration, it all seemed a little too well rehearsed and there was a murmur of approval when someone stood up in the audience and called out: 'Ladies and gentlemen, somehow I can't help but feel that all this has been pre-arranged.'

Immediately people began shouting for Hubbard to demonstrate on someone from the audience and when a young man jumped on to the piano in the orchestra pit, a chant went up: 'Take him! Take him!' Hubbard, not in the least flustered by this turn of events, invited him up on to the stage. The young man introduced himself as an actor whose father had studied with Freud, which fortuitously gave Hubbard the opportunity of mentioning his own connection with the great analyst, through his old friend 'Snake' Thompson.

Sitting on facing chairs at the front of the stage, Hubbard made a determined attempt to audit the man, but he proved an unresponsive subject, answering almost every question in the negative. The audience soon became bored and restless and began calling, 'Throw him out, throw him out!' Hubbard, perhaps somewhat relieved, shook the man's hand and he stepped down.

The atmosphere throughout had remained perfectly cordial, even if the shouted comments from the audience were increasingly irreverent. When Hubbard was explaining the multitude of mental and physical benefits arising from successful auditing, someone yelled, 'Are your cavities filling up?' and caused a good deal of laughter.

As the highlight of the evening approached, there was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation in the packed hall. A hush descended on the audience when at last Hubbard stepped up to the microphone to introduce the 'world's first clear'. She was, he said, a young woman by the name of Sonya Bianca, a physics major and pianist from Boston. Among her many newly acquired attributes, he claimed she had 'full and perfect recall of every moment of her life', which she would be happy to demonstrate. He turned slowly to the wings on one side of the stage and said: 'Will you come out now please, Sonya?'

The audience erupted once more in applause as a thin, obviously nervous, girl stepped out of the wings and into a spotlight which followed her to centre stage, where she was embraced by Hubbard. In a tremulous voice she told the meeting that Dianetics had cleared up her sinus trouble and cured her 'strange and embarrassing' allergy to pain. 'For days after I came in contact with paint I had a painful itching in my eyebrows,' she stammered. 'Now both conditions have cleared up and I feel like a million dollars.' She answered a few routine questions from Hubbard, who then made the mistake of inviting questions from the audience: they had clearly been expecting rather more spectacular revelations.

'What did you have for breakfast on October 3 1942?' somebody yelled. Miss Bianca understandably looked somewhat startled, blinked in the lights and shook her head. 'What's on page 122 of Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health?' someone else asked. Miss Bianca opened her mouth but no words came out. Similar questions came thick and fast, amid much derisive laughter. Many in the audience took pity on the wretched girl and tried to put easier questions, but she was so terrified that she could not even remember simple formulae in physics, her own subject.

As people began getting up and walking out of the auditorium, one man noticed that Hubbard had momentarily turned his back on the girl and shouted, 'OK, what colour necktie is Mr Hubbard wearing?' The world's first 'clear' screwed up her face in a frantic effort to remember, stared into the hostile blackness of the auditorium, then hung her head in misery. It was an awful moment.

Hubbard, sweat glistening in beads on his forehead, stepped forward and brought the demonstration swiftly to an end. Quickwitted as always, he proffered an explanation for Miss Bianca's

impressive lapses of memory. The problem, Dianetically speaking, was that when he called her forward, asking her to come out 'now', the 'now' had frozen her in 'present time' and blocked her total recall. It was not particularly convincing, but it was the best he could do in the circumstances.

Forrie Ackerman, who was at the Shrine that night to see his client perform, summed up the feelings of many people who were there: 'I was somewhat disappointed not to see a vibrant woman in command of herself and situation. She certainly was not my idea of a "clear".'[2]

It would be some time before Hubbard produced another 'Clear' although his followers, in their enthusiasm, would frequently declare that their own protégés had reached that blissful state. One of these was a fifteen-year-old girl of such remarkable powers that she was said to have made her bad teeth fall out and grown new teeth in their place.[3] But no one suggested presenting her at a public meeting.

The débâcle at the Shrine was no more than a hiccup in the rising fortunes of L. Ron Hubbard. When, after the meeting, Ackerman called on his client in his suite at the Frostona Hotel in Los Angeles, Hubbard clapped him on the shoulder and boomed happily: 'Well, Forrie, I'm dragging down Clark Gable's salary.'

It was true: money was literally pouring in. For the first few weeks after van Vogt agreed to take over as head of the Los Angeles Foundation, he recalled doing little but tear open envelopes and pull out $500 cheques from people who wanted to take an auditor's course.[4] Only a few days after the Shrine meeting, the Foundation moved its headquarters into the former official mansion of the governor of California, a sprawling building shaded by palm trees on the corner of South Hoover and Adams, known as the 'Casa' because of its Spanish appearance. Although it cost $4.5 million, enough money had already come in for a down payment. Other branches of the Foundation had opened in New York, Washington DC, Chicago and Honolulu.

But while money was pouring in, it was also pouring out and there was no accounting, no organization, no financial strategy or control. 'One day the bank manager called me,' said van Vogt. 'He told me Mr Hubbard was in the front office and wanted to draw a cashier's cheque for $56,000 and was it all right to give it to him. I said, "He's the boss."'

Trying to hold all the reins, refusing to delegate, Hubbard became ever more authoritarian and suspicious of the people around him. 'He was having a lot of political and organizational problems with people grabbing for power,' said Barbara Kaye [not her real name], a public relations assistant at the Los Angeles Foundation. 'He didn't trust anyone and was highly paranoid. He thought the CIA had hit men after him. We'd be walking along the street and I would ask, "Why are you walking so fast?" He would look over his shoulder and say, "You don't know what it's like to be a target." No one was after him: it was all delusion.'

Barbara Kaye knew a lot about Ron's problems because she was having an affair with him. She was just twenty years old, an exceptionally pretty blonde and a psychology major. 'I wanted to get into public relations and an employment agency sent me along to the Foundation. They were looking for someone to answer the scurrilous attacks that the Press was making on Dianetics. Ron interviewed me for the job and hired me straight away.

'My first impression was of a husky, red-haired man with a full, flabby face - not by any means what one would call handsome. If I'd seen him on the street I wouldn't have given him a second look, but I soon learned he was a very creative, intelligent and articulate individual. He had a marvellous personality and was very dynamic. There was a lot going on in the office at that time and sometimes when I worked late he took me home. One night he kissed me and, well, one thing led to another. That's how it all started. I knew he was married, but I was very young at the time and not as concerned with other men's wives as perhaps I should have been.'

It was an affair squeezed into a hectic timetable. Hubbard was lecturing at the Foundation every day, seven days a week. A. E. van Vogt, who had temporarily abandoned science-fiction writing, got up at 5.30 each morning to drive down to the Casa to open the office. Hubbard arrived an hour later and chaired a daily meeting of the staff instructors, most of whom had received their initial training in Elizabeth, New Jersey. At eight o'clock the first students arrived. Hubbard lectured from eight to nine and demonstrated from nine to ten.

'We had an auditorium that could seat 500 people,' said van Vogt, 'but the lectures were always crowded. You see there was nothing available for ordinary people at that time in the way of therapy. Analysts were a lost cause because they were already charging too much and we offered a complete course for $500. What sticks in my mind was how fluently Ron talked off the top of his head. Every morning it was something different. It amazed me. Where had it all come from? That was the question in my mind. The only thoughts I ever got from Ron were that he had observed things they were doing in China and thought they were pretty good. I think he modified Chinese ideas.'

When he was not lecturing in the evenings, Hubbard spent his time with Barbara, who soon found herself hopelessly in love. She was thrilled when he rented a 'love nest' apartment for them at the Chateau

Marmont Hotel, a fake castle on a hill overlooking Sunset Strip which was a favourite haunt of movie stars. The first night they spent there together, Ron seemed to want to reassure her of the permanence of their relationship. He put his arm round her shoulders and took her through the apartment. 'This is your closet,' he said, 'this is your dressing-table, this is your toothbrush . . .' Barbara was deeply touched.

Two days later, Sara and the baby arrived in town from the East Coast and moved into the love nest. When Barbara turned up for work at the Foundation next morning, she found her toothbrush on her desk, along with the few personal possessions she had left at the apartment. While she stood staring at the pathetic little bundle with tears welling in her eyes, Hubbard came over and hissed his apologies, whispered that his wife was a 'bitch' and that there was nothing he could do. 'I miss you,' he croaked. Then, to Barbara's amazement, he asked her if she would like to have dinner with him and Sara that evening. Speechless, she could do no more than shake her head.

Despite the hurt, Barbara could not bring herself to break off the affair. 'I was completely infatuated. I remember I said to my room-mate - we had a small apartment in Beverly Hills - "If I ever tell you I am marrying this guy I want you to tie me up and not let me out of the door because he's a lunatic." But I didn't trust myself not to do it because I was so enchanted by him. Being with him was like watching a fascinating character playing a role on a stage. I was never bored with him. He was a magical, delightful man, a great raconteur, very bright and amusing and a very gentle, patient and sweet lover.

'At the same time I recognized early on that he was also deeply disturbed. Some of the things he told me were really bizarre, but I never knew what to believe. He said his mother was a lesbian and that he had found her in bed with another woman and that he had been born as the result of an attempted abortion. He talked a lot about his grandfather who could really hold his liquor and played a fiddle with the head of a negro carved on the end, but he never talked about his father and never once mentioned he had children. I did not know he had a son until I read it in the newspapers years later.'

Towards the end of September, Barbara accompanied Hubbard on a lecture tour in the San Francisco area in her capacity as public relations officer of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation. To her acute embarrassment, Sara came to see them off at Union Station and ostentatiously kissed her husband goodbye, at the same time sweeping her eyes up and down Barbara's figure. Hubbard, too, was discomforted and drank a great deal in the club car of the train as it rattled north.

His spirits improved greatly when they arrived in San Francisco and he discovered that a welcoming barbecue party had been arranged at the home of a local Dianeticist. Barbara, however, had an unhappy time - during the course of the evening she wandered into the kitchen and found Hubbard kissing his host's wife. Later that evening when she refused to sleep with him he lost his temper and bellowed, 'They're all against me!' That night, Barbara wrote in her diary: 'I see him now as vain, arrogant, self-centred and unable to tolerate any frustration.'

They soon made it up, as a subsequent passage in her diary recorded: 'Things were better in Oakland. He took a penthouse apartment, I was with him constantly and he fell in love with me a little again and I felt closer to him than ever. He drank excessively and talked in proportion to his intake. Grotesque tales about his family mostly and his hatred of his mother, who he said was a lesbian and a whore . . . He is a deeply unhappy man. He said the only thing to show him affection for the last few years, before he met me, was Calico, his cat.'[5]

In October, Hubbard returned to the East Coast for a few days and was greeted at Elizabeth with the news that the Foundation was approaching a financial crisis - its monthly income could no longer even cover the payroll - and Joseph Winter, the man who had done so much to validate Dianetics, was about to resign.

Winter was deeply disillusioned with the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation. He no longer believed that Dianetics was free from risk - two pre-clears had developed acute psychoses during auditing - and he was extremely worried by the Foundation's continuing willingness to accept anyone for training as an auditor.

'People had breakdowns quite often,' said Perry Chapdelaine, a Sears Roebuck clerk from Mason City, Iowa, who was a student at Elizabeth. 'It was always hushed up before anyone found out about it. It happened to a guy on my course, a chemical engineer. They wanted to get him out of the school and I volunteered to stay with him in an adjoining building. He never slept or ate and was in a terrible state, no one could do anything with him and in the end they took him off to an asylum.'[6]

Apart from what he considered to be inherent dangers in allowing anyone to audit anyone, Winter had also begun to doubt whether the state of 'clear' was realistically obtainable. Finally, he was frustrated by the fact that the Research Foundation was making absolutely no attempt to conduct any serious scientific research, which was one of its avowed aims. He had voiced his growing concern on several occasions, only to be airily dismissed by Hubbard. It became clear to Winter that he had no alternative but to resign.[7]

Art Ceppos was largely in sympathy with Winter and also submitted his resignation. Hubbard's reaction was typically immoderate. Angry and bitter at what he considered to be a betrayal by two of his earliest supporters, he spread the word that Winter and Ceppos had been plotting to seize control of the Foundation and had consequently been 'forced' to resign.[8]

It was not Hubbard's style to be satisfied with simply blackening the reputation of his enemies - he wanted revenge. An opportunity presented itself in the unlovely form of Senator Joe McCarthy, the self-seeking demagogue who, in February 1950, had accused the State Department of being riddled with Communists and Communist sympathizers. The atmosphere of fear and suspicion generated during the witch-hunts that followed cast a shadow across America; almost nothing was worse, during the era of McCarthyism, than to be a 'Commie', or be thought to be a 'Commie'. On 3 November 1950, the general counsel of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth contacted the FBI and said that Art Ceppos, president of Hermitage House, was a Communist sympathizer who had recently tried to get hold of the Foundation's mailing list of sixteen thousand names which would be 'valuable to anyone interested in circulating Communist party literature'.[9]

Hubbard stayed less than a week in Elizabeth and made little attempt to resolve the financial crisis facing the Foundation. He had absolutely no interest in balance sheets and operated on the optimistic, if unrealistic, belief that somehow everything would come out all right in the end. Further problems, of a more personal nature, arose when he returned to Los Angeles: he began to suspect his wife was having an affair. One evening he had insisted on an outlandish double date with his wife and his lover. Barbara, who hated the idea, reluctantly showed up to meet Ron and Sara at a Los Angeles restaurant in the company of Miles Hollister, one of the instructors from the LA Foundation. 'I think Sara must have known what was going on,' said Barbara. 'She was very hostile. At one point in the evening we were talking about guns and she said I looked like the type to carry a Saturday night special.'

The dinner party back-fired on Hubbard - his lover's date became his wife's lover. Miles Hollister was twenty-two years old, tall, dark-haired and strikingly handsome, a graduate of Bard College in New York State, where he had been president of the student body, and a sportsman of some repute - he was the first man to land a swordfish off the coast of Florida using light tackle. In short, he was everything that Hubbard was not: young, attractive, sporting and well-connected. It was hardly surprising that Hubbard conceived a passionate loathing for the young man and predictable that he would retaliate. His first move was curiously elliptical - he summarily fired two of Hollister's closest friends at the Foundation, claiming they were Communists.

Jack Horner, who was by then working at the Los Angeles Foundation, attempted to intervene on their behalf. 'They were both nice guys and highly trained instructors and I tried to get them off the hook. I went and confronted Hubbard in his office and said, "You can't fire those guys, you don't have any evidence." He ranted and raved, pacing up and down, and said, "You don't understand. I'm fighting a battle here. I might lose some people on the way, but I'm going to win."

'Hubbard was willing to do anything, for him it was any means to an end. A couple of weeks later he got mad at a fellow named Charlie Crail, who had helped set up the LA organization. They had some disagreement about how the place should be run. He called me and another guy into his office and told us to go and steal Charlie's Dianetics certificates. We told him we wouldn't do it and that he shouldn't count on us for that kind of operation. He couldn't understand it. As far as he was concerned, because he had signed the certificates they belonged to him. There were lots of incidents like that, but I was usually prepared to go along with them because I felt his genius far outshone his craziness.'[10]

With his suspicions festering, Hubbard's relationship with Sara deteriorated rapidly. One night they had a violent row and Sara shouted at him, 'Why don't you just go off and spend the weekend with some pretty girl!' Hubbard stormed out of the house, picked up Barbara Kaye and drove to a motel in Malibu, where he spent much of the weekend moodily swigging whisky.

'He was very down in the dumps about his wife,' said Barbara. 'He told me how he had met Sara. He said he went to a party and got drunk and when he woke up in the morning he found Sara was in bed with him. He was having a lot of problems with her. I remember he said to me I was the only person he knew who would set up a white silk tent for him. I was rather surprised when we were driving back to LA on Sunday evening, he stopped at a florist to buy some flowers for his wife.'

Barbara kept a meticulous diary in which she constantly analyzed and re-analyzed her affair with Hubbard, speculated on his mental condition and recorded day-to-day drama. On Monday 27 November, she noted that Hubbard burst into her office that morning 'tremendously emotionally disturbed'. Sara had tried to commit suicide over the weekend by taking sleeping pills, he said, after Barbara had spoken to her on the telephone. He assumed Barbara had told her about their affair.

It was not true. Barbara had telephoned to speak to Hubbard about Foundation business and had only exchanged a few words with Sara after learning Ron was not at home. Hubbard would not believe it: he had audited Sara and 'recovered an engram' indicating that her suicide attempt was triggered by Barbara's telephone call.

An argument inevitably followed and Barbara reconstructed the extraordinary 'highlights' in her journal, very much as if she was writing a pulp romance:

'ME: You make a habit of instilling engrams, too, don't you? That's fine. That's good behaviour for the founder of Dianetics. 
HE: Isn't it exciting for you being a pawn on such a grand chess board? You are playing for the world. Can you think of anything more exciting? 
ME: I don't give a good God damn about the world. I want a single, gratifying, human relationship. 
HE: You couldn't have one. You're an ambitious woman. You crave power. You're a Marie Antoinette, a Cleopatra, a Lucretia Borgia . . . you must have a Caesar or an Alexander. 
ME: No, I don't need a Caesar, though Caesar may need me. I know you now, Ron, and at this moment am closer to you than anyone has ever been. 
HE: (Head hung low) And knowing me you don't care for me any more. 
ME: I care for you in a different, new and exciting way. (He put his hands on my shoulders and drew me to him.) 
HE: I shouldn't do this. (He kissed me.) 
ME: You still care for me. 
HE: How do you know? 
ME: You can't find your hat. You're distracted. 
HE: That makes you feel powerful, doesn't it? 
ME: It makes me aware of something interesting. You still want me. 
HE: Why? 
ME: Because you need me. You need me more than I need you. 
HE: In 1939 I was very much in love with a girl. She felt that way too. When I knew she had a boyfriend coming up, I waited on the stairway with a gun, just for a moment. Then I said they are flies. I realized who and what I was and left. I told her I would leave her free to marry a sharpie with a cigar in his mouth from Muncie, Indiana. Would you like to be left free? 
ME: The alternative is a sharpie with a Kool cigarette from Elizabeth, New Jersey. 
HE: That was unwise, very unwise, of you to say that.'

Barbara discovered just how unwise it was when, two days later, she received a terse message via Western Union: 'Would advise you to

forget all about me and the Foundation - Ron.' 'I was in shock,' she recalled. 'Here was the man I was supposed to be having a great love affair with telling me I was fired.'

A.E. van Vogt, meanwhile, was striving to keep the Los Angeles Foundation in business. He calculated that the six Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundations had spent around one million dollars and were more than $200,000 in debt. At the beginning of November, while Hubbard was away on the East Coast, van Vogt cut the staff of sixty by half in an attempt to stay solvent. Hubbard was furious and began hiring indiscriminately the moment he returned: within a week, the payroll was back up to sixty-seven people. Van Vogt remonstrated, but Hubbard insisted that the extra staff was needed for research. 'Financial disaster was inevitable,' said van Vogt.[11]

One of the research projects about which Hubbard was very excited was the aptly named 'GUK' programme. 'GUK' was a haphazard cocktail of benzedrine, vitamins and glutamic acid which Hubbard believed facilitated auditing. 'I recall Ron telling a meeting about this great breakthrough in Dianetics,' said Forrest Ackerman. 'He said he had discovered a chemical way to audit yourself called GUK. It comprised huge quantities of vitamins which you took every two hours for at least twenty-four hours. If you took enough, he said, it would release the engrams within you without the need for a partner.

'The Foundation rented a huge complex on Rossmore near Beverly and loads of Dianeticists were holed up there going through the GUK programme but it didn't last too long - I think it was a dead end.'

In December, Look magazine published a scathing article under the headline 'Dianetics - Science or Hoax?' The text left the reader in little doubt as to which the magazine thought it was. 'Half a million laymen have swallowed this poor man's psychiatry . . .' it began. 'Hubbard has demonstrated once again that Barnum underestimated the sucker birth rate.' The tens of thousands of people who had swallowed Hubbard's doctrine were characterized as 'the usual lunatic fringe types, frustrated maiden ladies who have worked their way through all the available cults, young men whose homosexual engrams are all too obvious . . .' The article referred to the 'awe, fear and deep disgust' with which the medical profession viewed Dianetics and quoted a doctor at the famous Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, who conceded that sufferers from mental malaise might find temporary relief from 'Dianetic hocus pocus' just as they sometimes do from hypnotism or voodoo. 'But,' he added, 'the greatest harm to a person would come not because of the vicious nature of Dianetic therapy but because it will lead them away from treatment which they may badly need.'

Hubbard's primary attraction, Look concluded, was that his ersatz psychiatry was available to all. 'It's cheap. It's accessible. It's a public festival to be played at clubs and parties. In a country with only 6000 professional psychiatrists, whose usual consultation fees start at $15 an hour, Hubbard has introduced mass-production methods. Whether such methods can actually help you if you're sick is a moot point.'

As always in the face of an attack, particularly from the direction of the despised media, committed Dianeticists closed ranks and there was no lack of cheer at the LA Foundation's Christmas party, attended by staff and students alike. Barbara Kaye turned up and was asked to dance by Hubbard. 'I need some counselling, doctor, 'she whispered in his ear. 'What do you do with a pre-clear who keeps dreaming she is in bed with you?' He grinned broadly and replied, 'I have been thinking of beginning a series of empirical tests on the result of substituting the reality for the dream.' Within a few days, their affair resumed: on New Year's Eve, Hubbard missed the party he was supposed to attend with Sara and spent the night with Barbara at her apartment on Dale Drive in Beverly Hills.

In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, accusing it of teaching medicine without a licence. The Foundation hired an attorney who was confident he could defend the suit, but there was a strong feeling among the directors that they should 'skip'; inquiries were instituted to find a state where they would be more welcome.[12] Hubbard, who clearly thought the prospects in New Jersey looked bleak, asked two reliable students at Elizabeth - John Sanborn and Greg Hemingway, the youngest son of the writer - to load all his personal possessions into his black Lincoln limousine and drive it to Los Angeles.

In the interim, perhaps still hoping to save his marriage, he persuaded Sara and the baby to accompany him to Palm Springs, where he had rented a single-storey adobe house with a small garden of flowering shrubs on Mel Avenue. He wanted to get away from the distractions of Los Angeles, he explained, to start writing a sequel to Dianetics. It was to be called Science of Survival and would introduce faster, simplified auditing techniques.

Hubbard, Sara and Alexis were joined in Palm Springs by Richard de Mille, son of the film director Cecil B. de Mille, who had recently been appointed Hubbard's personal assistant. 'Although it never occurred to me at the time, I think my name had something to do with it,' de Mille acknowledged. 'He liked to collect celebrities. I had got into Dianetics as early as possible after reading the article in Astounding and I was working at the LA Foundation making publications out of Hubbard's lectures when he asked me to go with him to Palm Springs.

'There was a lot of turmoil and dissension in the Foundation at the time; he kept accusing Communists of trying to take control and he was having difficulties with Sara. It was clear their marriage was breaking up - she was very critical of him and he told me she was fooling around with Hollister and he didn't trust her.'[13]

Predictably, Sara did not stay long in Palm Springs - the tension was more than she could stand. Hubbard did not try to detain her and as soon as she and Alexis had departed for Los Angeles, he sent a telegram to Barbara Kaye telling her he loved her and needed her. She caught a bus for Palm Springs on 3 February and was met by Hubbard at the bus station. 'As he walked towards me,' she said, 'I could see that he was ill.'

Kaye, who would later become a psychologist, said she made a clinical diagnosis of Hubbard during the weeks they spent together in Palm Springs. 'There was no doubt in my mind he was a manic depressive with paranoid tendencies. Many manics are delightful, productive people with tremendous energy and self-confidence. He was like that in his manic stage - enormously creative, carried away by feelings of omnipotence and talking all the time of grandiose schemes.

'But when I arrived he was in a deep depression. He had been totally unable to work on his book, which had been originally scheduled for publication that month. That's why he had called me - he was hoping I could help him get through his writers' block. He was very sad and lethargic, lying around feeling sorry for himself and drinking a great deal. Sometimes he would go to the piano and fiddle around, improvising weird melodies of his own composition. He thought that Sara had hypnotised him in his sleep and commanded him not to write. He told me that the people in Elizabeth had tried to "slip him a Mickey" in his glass of milk and another time they attempted to insert a fatal hypo into his eye and heart to try and stop him from ever writing again. Those were the engrams he was running.

'I tried to help him by using a technique I had learned at college, breaking down the problem into small parts and presenting it a step at a time. I got a block of butcher's paper and said to him, "Look, you don't have to write. Just sit down at this table and look at the paper and when you don't want to look at it any more, get up and leave." He sat there for ten minutes on the first day and this went on for several days until one day he picked up a pencil and began to write. Next day he was back at work, very excited and enthused about what he was doing. He was singing and horsing around, talking, laughing and discussing ideas in the kitchen until three o'clock in the morning.'

One of Hubbard's favourite topics of conversation was psychiatrists. One night over dinner at Mel Avenue, he told Barbara about an occasion when he had demonstrated auditing techniques to a group of psychiatrists and one of them had said to him, 'If you claim to cure people by doing that, if you're not careful we'll lock you up.' He laughed excessively, took a bite out of a chicken leg and spluttered, 'They called me a paranoid, can you imagine it?' That night Barbara wrote in her diary: 'My blood ran cold as he was saying that. It was all I could do to keep from weeping.'

Barbara had been in Palm Springs for nearly three weeks when Ron began fretting that 'something was brewing' in Los Angeles. He decided that they should return immediately, even though the book was not yet finished.

'I didn't see him for a week after we got back,' Barbara said, 'then he turned up at my place at about five o'clock one afternoon, very distraught and pale, with his hair all over the place. He paced up and down in my room and told me he had discovered Miles and Sara in bed together. He was afraid that they were plotting with a psychiatrist in San Francisco to get him committed to a mental institution. Sara had telephoned Jack Maloney, the general manager in Elizabeth, and said a doctor had recommended he should be treated for paranoid schizophrenia. He said he had found letters proving that Miles was conspiring with Ceppos and Winter to get control of the Foundation. "Please don't ask me anything," he said. "I'm in a very bad way. I'm going to the desert for a few days alone. Things are very bad."'

Hubbard did not go off into the desert alone. He had other plans: he was going to get Sara committed before she committed him. But first he had to kidnap Alexis.

On the evening of Saturday, 24 February 1951, John Sanborn was babysitting for eleven-month-old Alexis Hubbard at the Casa on Hoover and Adams in Los Angeles. Several of the staff, Sanborn included, lived in one wing of the building. Sanborn and Greg Hemingway used to hang around with Hank and Marge Hunter, who worked in the research department; they'd usually eat together in a little joint down the road called 'The Bread Line'. Marge, who was a friend of Sara's, had a baby daughter the same age as Alexis and Sara occasionally left Alexis with Marge when she wanted to go out.

This particularly Saturday evening, Sanborn was tired and when there was a suggestion that they should all go to the movies, he offered to stay behind and look after the kids. He had done it lots of times before, knew all about changing nappies and giving them bottles. Marge was grateful and went off with the others, happy to have a night out, leaving Sanborn in charge of her daughter, Tam, and 'Lexie'.

At about eleven o'clock there was an urgent rapping at the door. Sanborn opened it and found Frank Dessler, one of Hubbard's aides, standing on the doorstep wearing a long topcoat and wide-brimmed felt hat. His hands were thrust into his coat pockets in such a way that Sanborn was positive he was carrying a gun. 'Mr Hubbard's coming,' Dessler rasped. 'He's here to get Alexis.' Sanborn thought it was a hell of a time of night to do it, but said nothing.

A few minutes later, Hubbard came in, also wearing a topcoat and felt hat. 'We're just taking Alexis,' he said. Sanborn led the way to the room where both children were sleeping. Hubbard leaned over and picked up a toy from Alexis's crib. 'This hers?' he asked. Sanborn shook his head and Hubbard threw it on the floor. While they were getting the baby's things together, Sanborn started to say, 'Listen, if she wakes up in the night there's a certain routine . . .' but Hubbard cut him short. 'I don't care about that,' he snapped. 'We've got a nurse for her and we're taking her to Palm Springs.' He picked Alexis out of her crib, still asleep, and hurried away into the night.

Sanborn wondered idly what was going on, but he went to bed soon afterwards. At one o'clock in the morning he was woken by someone shaking him violently and he sat up with a start to find Miles Hollister standing over his bed. If he had not been so sleepy, he would have laughed: Hollister, too, was wearing a long topcoat and felt hat and also appeared to be carrying a gun. 'Where did Ron take Lexie?' he demanded. Sanborn rubbed his eyes and mumbled, 'Palm Springs.' 'When did they leave?' Hollister asked. It seemed that Sanborn did nut respond quickly enough, for Hollister shouted 'When did they leave?' Sanborn told him and he hurried out of the room. A few minutes later, Sanborn heard Hollister revving his car outside.

Hollister headed out of town at high speed in the direction of Palm Springs, which was exactly what Hubbard had intended him to do. By then, Alexis had been handed over to the twenty-four hour Westwood Nurses Registry in Los Angeles. Hubbard, posing as a businessman by the name of James Olsen, had asked the agency to arrange for his child, Anne-Marie, to be put in the care of a competent nurse for about a month because his wife had suddenly been taken seriously ill and business commitments required him to leave immediately for the East Coast. Melba McGonigel, the owner of the agency, was deeply suspicious but agreed to take the baby after 'Mr Olsen' had signed a 'To whom it may concern' statement releasing the agency of any responsibility.

Shortly after one o'clock on the morning of 25 February, a black Lincoln drew up outside the Hubbards' apartment at 1251 Westmoreland Avenue in West Los Angeles. Richard de Mille was at the wheel, Hubbard and Frank Dessler were in the back. Inside the house, Sara sat in her nightgown by the telephone, weeping into a handkerchief as she waited for news of Alexis. She jumped up in alarm when she heard a key scraping at the door, but her fear turned to anger when her husband and Dessler appeared in the doorway. 'Where's Lexie?' she screamed. Neither man said a word. They grabbed her by each arm, one of them clamped a hand over her mouth and they bustled her out of the house, across the sidewalk and into the back of the car, which drove off at speed.

Sara fought like a cat in the back of the car, screaming and shouting at Hubbard, who in turn was shouting at her. At one point, when the car stopped at traffic lights, she tried to leap out and thereafter Hubbard gripped her round the neck in a stranglehold while the argument continued. 'She was enraged at being hauled off and was fulminating insults in all directions,' said de Mille. 'She was very bitter about their marriage and his conduct and Ron was fulminating against Miles Hollister and her conduct.'

At Los Angeles city limit, Dessler was dropped off and the Lincoln sped on towards San Bernardino, where Ron hoped to get Sara medically examined and declared insane. 'She was eager to get the same opinion about him,' de Mille declared, 'but Ron held all the cards at that point.' There followed a ludicrous farce as they toured the dark streets of San Bernardino trying to find a doctor while Sara alternately screamed at, and pleaded with, her husband to tell her where he had taken Alexis. Eventually, Hubbard went into the county hospital while de Mille guarded Sara in the car. He returned after some few minutes, apparently surprised and disgusted that there was no doctor available in the early hours of the morning willing to declare his wife insane.

At dawn, the Lincoln could be seen trailing a cloud of dust as it headed east across the desert towards the Arizona border; Hubbard had ordered de Mille to drive to the airport at Yuma. The angry squabbling in the back of the car had not let up for a moment. Sara swore again and again that she would have Ron arrested for kidnapping the moment she was free and he swore that if she did she would never see Alexis again. The mutual threats and recriminations continued while Hubbard was thinking hard how he could extricate himself from the situation.

Parked in the watery early morning sunshine in a quiet corner of Yuma airport, the warring couple at last agreed on a temporary truce. Hubbard promised to release Sara and tell her where Alexis was if she signed a piece of paper saying that she had gone with him voluntarily. Sara tearfully signed and Hubbard scribbled a note to Dessler: 'Feb. 25. To Frank - This will authorize Sara to take Alexis to live with her when she has a house. L. Ron Hubbard.' He jotted down the name of the agency he said was caring for Alexis - 'Baby Sitters Inc, Hollywood phone book' - and added, 'Give Sara the baby's address now so Sara can see her.'

Hubbard and de Mille got out of the car and Sara, still in her nightgown, drove back to Los Angeles clutching the piece of paper she believed would enable her to be re-united with her baby. But Hubbard had no intention of permitting such a reunion. 'He believed that as long as he had the child he could control the situation,' de Mille explained.

While Sara was on her way back to Los Angeles, Hubbard was standing in a telephone booth at Yuma airport giving urgent instructions to Frank Dessler. He was to arrange for Alexis to be collected from her nurse before Sara got there. No matter what it cost, he was then to hire a reliable couple to drive the baby to Elizabeth, New Jersey, where Hubbard would meet her.

It did not take long for Sara to discover that Ron had misled her but by the time she had persuaded Dessler to reveal the baby's whereabouts it was too late. She arrived at the Westwood nursery just two hours after Alexis had been taken away. Sara filed a kidnapping complaint with Los Angeles police department, but Hubbard was lucky - the police dismissed the incident as a domestic dispute which was nothing to do with them.

Hubbard did not go directly to Elizabeth because he wanted to block any further attempts Sara might make to have him committed. Accompanied by the loyal de Mille, he caught a commuter plane to Phoenix and from there they flew to Chicago, where Hubbard presented himself for examination by a psychiatrist and a psychologist, both equally bemused.

'He wanted a testimonial from a professional who would say he was OK and that he was not a paranoid schizophrene,' said de Mille. 'He and I went first to a psychiatrist who didn't like the smell of it. He obviously thought he was being manipulated, so we just paid him $10 and left. Then we went to a prominent diagnostic psychologist of that era who did some projective testing on Hubbard and produced an upbeat, harmless report, saying that he was a creative individual upset by family problems and dissension and it was depressing his work and so forth. It was very bland but Hubbard was delighted with it. The main value of it to him was that it didn't say he was crazy, so he could claim he had been given a clean bill of health by the psychiatric profession.'

Before leaving Chicago, Hubbard called at the offices of the FBI to alert them of his suspicions that one of his employees was a Communist. The man's name, he was far from reluctant to reveal, was Miles Hollister.[14] Hubbard and de Mille then flew to New York and caught a taxi to Elizabeth, where the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation was still in operation, although besieged by creditors. They checked into a hotel and waited for Alexis to arrive.

While they were there, a further complication entered Hubbard's already entangled private life: Polly Hubbard filed suit in Port Orchard, Washington, for maintenance, alleging that her former husband had 'promoted a cult called Dianetics', had authored a bestseller, owned valuable property and was well able to afford payment of maintenance for his two children, Nibs, then sixteen, and Katie, fifteen. Hubbard responded by claiming that his first wife was not a fit and proper person to have control of the children because she 'drinks to excess and is a dipsomaniac'.

On 3 March 1951, Hubbard, in his role as patriotic citizen, wrote to the FBI in Washington to provide the names and descriptions of fifteen 'known or suspected Communists' within his organization. Heading the list were his wife and her lover:

'SARA NORTHRUP (HUBBARD): formerly of 1003 S. Orange Grove Avenue, Pasadena, Calif. 25 yrs. of age, 5'10", 140 lbs. Currently missing somewhere in California. Suspected only. Had been friendly with many Communists. Currently intimate with them but evidently under coercion. Drug addiction set in fall 1950. Nothing of this known to me until a few weeks ago. Separation papers being filed and divorce applied for.

'MILES HOLLISTER: Somewhere in the vicinity of Los Angeles. Evidently a prime mover but very young. About 22 yrs, 6', 180 lbs. Black hair. Sharp chin, broad forehead, rather Slavic. Confessedly a member of the Young Communists. Center of most turbulence in our organization. Dissmissed [sic] in February when affiliations discovered. Active and dangerous. Commonly armed. Outspokenly disloyal to the U.S.'

FBI director John Edgar Hoover replied promptly: 'I wish to thank you for the information you have made available to this Bureau.'[15]

Four days later, Hubbard kept an appointment, arranged at his request, with an FBI agent from the Internal Security Section. His intention was to press home his accusations against Hollister, as was evident from the agent's report: 'Hubbard advised that he felt that Communists within his organization were undermining its structure. He advised that he had turned over the names of several suspected Communists to the FBI office in Los Angeles. Hubbard could only recall the name of one of these individuals. He stated Miles Hollister was one of the individuals he suspected of being Communistically inclined. Concerning Hollister, Hubbard stated that he was instrumental in driving Hubbard's wife, Sara Elizabeth Northrup, to the point of insanity. Hubbard expressed considerable concern in connection with Hollister's influence on his wife. He stated that his wife, as well as his Army .45 automatic, had been missing for several days  Later in the interview, Hubbard disclosed that Russia was interested in his work. 'Hubbard stated that he strongly feels that Dianetics can be used to combat Communism. However, he declined to elaborate on how this might be done. He stated that the Soviets apparently realized the value of Dianetics because as early as 1938 an official of Amtorg, while at The Explorers Club in New York, contacted him to suggest that he go to Russia and develop Dianetics there.

'In an apparent attempt to give credence to his statements, Hubbard advised that he was recently psychoanalyzed in Chicago and was found to be quite normal . . .'[16] The FBI agent conducting the interview could not agree: he concluded that Hubbard was a 'mental case'.[17]

During his short stay in Elizabeth, Hubbard managed to alienate his old friend and mentor, John W. Campbell, who resigned from the Foundation and thus joined Hubbard's lengthening list of enemies. In Campbell's view, Hubbard had become impossible to work with and was responsible for the ruinous finances and complete disorganization throughout the Dianetics movement. (Dessler wrote to Hubbard on 9 March to say that none of the staff at the LA Foundation had been paid for more than two weeks, but Hubbard seemed unconcerned.)

Soon after Alexis arrived, Hubbard announced to de Mille that they were going to go south, where it was warmer, so that he could continue with his book. It had been snowing for weeks in Elizabeth and de Mille was not in least the sorry to leave, even though Hubbard had made it clear that it would be his responsibility to care for the baby.

They were unlikely fellow travellers: a large, forty-year-old man with a florid complexion, flaming red hair and a Kool cigarette constantly between his lips; his diminutive companion, twenty-nine years old, rather shy and very much in awe of the older man; and a gurgling twelve-month-old baby in nappies just learning to walk. The three of them arrived in Tampa, Florida, in the middle of March. They took two rooms in a small hotel: Hubbard had a room to himself, de Mille and the baby shared. 'It never crossed my mind that the baby should go in with him,' said de Mille. 'He was the leader and I was the follower. He gave the orders; I was privileged to serve.'

Hubbard pretended to look for property in Tampa, but de Mille noticed that he seemed nervous and ill at ease much of the time. 'One evening I knocked on his door and he opened it carrying a loaded .45 service automatic. I must have looked a bit surprised because he said, "You shouldn't creep up on me like that, Dick." I didn't even know he had a gun until that moment.'

A couple of days later Hubbard said to de Mille: 'I don't like the way things feel around here. I want to go to a place where I can breathe free. We're going to Havana.'

Havana in the early 'fifties, before Castro, was the fun capital of the Western hemisphere - a corrupt, colourful, hedonistic, wide-open city where tourists with money were guaranteed a good time. Americans did not even need a passport to enter Cuba and no one raised an eyebrow at the two men who arrived from Florida in the company of an apparently motherless baby. They took a taxi downtown and checked into a hotel on the Paseo Marti, Havana's bustling main street.

'Hubbard managed to rent a very old Spanish typewriter', de Mille recalled, 'and was madly banging away on it all night, while I was taking care of the baby and trying to sleep with the water pipes rattling in the wall. After we had stayed there a couple of nights, we went to a real estate agent and rented a ground-floor apartment in the Vedado district, the Beverly Hills of Havana. Once we had moved in, we hired two Jamaican women to look after Alexis, which was a great relief to me.'

Comfortably installed in the apartment, Hubbard began working intensively in his book, dictating into a recording machine. As was his usual habit, he worked all night with little to sustain him but a bottle of rum, which was usually empty by dawn.

In the afternoons, he would often sit and talk with de Mille. 'He talked about himself a lot, but as is often true with that kind of person he didn't really give me any confidences: he was telling me his story as he thought I ought to know it. He told me about Jack Parsons and Aleister Crowley and all that. He didn't take any responsibility for the black magic rituals and blamed them on Parsons, but he admitted he was there.

'What I didn't understand about him at the time was his lack of personal attachment. He thought people were there to be used, to serve the user and didn't have any importance in their own right. I don't think he abducted Alexis, for example, with any intention of keeping her; he was just using her to keep control of the situation.

'When I first saw him at the meeting at The Shrine auditorium I was very impressed. I thought he was a great man who had made a great discovery and whatever his shortcomings they must be discounted because he had the answer. He promised heaven. He said I have the key which can open the door, do you want to go there? It did not matter that his qualifications were suspect; he held the key. Actually, he was very widely read, a sort of self-made intellectual. I don't think he did any research in the academic sense, but he knew a lot about Freud, hypnosis, the occult, magic, etcetera, and Dianetics grew out of that knowledge.

'I don't think Dianetics were necessarily successful because the time was right. The time is never wrong for a cultist movement. People present new ideas which they say are going to change the world and there are always a certain number of people who believe them. Lenin was the Hubbard of 1917. Hubbard was the Madame Blavatsky of 1950.'

Hubbard's ability to concentrate on his work was subjected to a severe setback when the American newspapers of Thursday 12 April arrived in Cuba. Sara had at last blown the whistle and filed a writ at Los Angeles Superior Court demanding the return of her child. The headlines told the story: 'Cult Founder Accused of Tot Kidnap', '"Dianetic" Hubbard Accused of Plot to Kidnap Wife', 'Hiding of Baby Charged to Dianetics Author'. Most newspapers carried a picture of the distraught mother, smiling broadly.

After digesting this less than welcome news, Hubbard sat down and wrote a letter to Sara. It was dated 15 April and contained all the pulp writer's flair for fantasy:

'Dear Sara,

I have been in the Cuban military hospital and I am being transferred to the United States next week as a classified scientist immune from interference of all kinds.

Though I will be hospitalized probably a long time, Alexis is getting excellent care. I see her every day. She is all is have to live for.

My wits never gave way under all you did and let them do but my body didn't stand up. My right side is paralyzed and getting more so. I hope my heart lasts. I may live a long time and again I may not. But Dianetics will last 10,000 years - for the Army and Navy have it now.

My Will is all changed. Alexis will get a fortune unless she goes to you as she would then get nothing. Hope to see you once more. Goodbye - I love you.


The next day, Hubbard marched into the US Embassy in Havana, insisted on seeing the military attaché and asked for protection from Communists who, he said, were trying to steal his research material. He appealed, as one officer to another, for help. The attaché, clearly sceptical, murmured something about 'seeing what he could do' and cabled the FBI in Washington for 'any pertinent information' about his wild-eyed visitor. Back came the reply that Hubbard had been interviewed on 7 March last and that 'agent conducting interview considered Hubbard to be mental case'.[17]

De Mille had not noticed the paralysis Hubbard mentioned in his moving letter to Sara, nor indeed was he aware that Hubbard was interned in a military hospital, but he certainly registered a drooping in his spirits. 'He began to get very nervous again and complained that be wasn't feeling well. He said he had to move downtown, so we broke our lease and moved into the Packard Hotel, which faced the park and overlooked the entrance to the harbour and the prison. There he proceeded to get sick. It was probably an ulcer, but he said it was the result of pain-drug hypnosis which Sara and Winter had done way back.'

The news from Los Angeles was not calculated to make him feel any better. On 23 April, Sara filed for divorce, citing 'extreme cruelty, great mental anguish and physical suffering'. Her allegations were sensational. Apart froth charging Hubbard with bigamy and kidnapping, Sara claimed he had subjected her to 'systematic torture, including loss of sleep, beatings, and strangulations and scientific experiments'. Because of his 'crazy misconduct' she was in 'hourly fear of both the life of herself and of her infant daughter, who she has not seen for two months'.

All the salacious details were included in the divorce complaint. While they were living at the Chateau Marmont, Sara said Ron had told her he no longer wanted to be married to her but did not want a divorce as it might damage his reputation. His suggestion was that she 'should kill herself if she really loved him'. Subsequently he prevented her from sleeping for a period of four days and then gave her sleeping pills 'resulting in a nearness to the shadow of death'.

Sara accused her husband of frequently trying to strangle her; on one occasion, shortly before Christmas 1950, be had been so violent he ruptured the Eustachian tube in her left car. The following month, at Palm Springs, he had started his car in gear while she was getting out and knocked her to the ground. As a result of Hubbard's behaviour, the divorce complaint continued, the 'plaintiff and her medical advisers . . . concluded that said Hubbard was hopelessly insane, and, crazy, and that there was no hope for said Hubbard, or any reason for her to endure further; that competent medical advisers recommended that said Hubbard be committed to a private sanatarian for pshychiatric observation and treatment of a mental ailment known as paranoid schizophrenia . . .'[18]

Caryl Warner, Sara's flamboyant Hollywood attorney, did his best to ensure the case received maximum publicity. The reporters covering the Divorce Court for the LA Times and the Examiner were both women and early feminists. 'Before the case I made stare they knew what a bastard this guy Hubbard was,' said Warner. 'I told them he was a sadist, that he'd kept his wife awake for days and burned her with cigarettes and that he was crazy, crazy like a fox. They could hardly wait for me to file the complaint.

'I liked Sara and Miles a lot. They eventually married and got a house in Malibu and we became friends; I remember they introduced me to pot. I believed Sara absolutely; there was no question about the truth in my opinion. When she first came to me with this wild story about how her husband had taken her baby I was determined to help her all I could. I telephoned Hubbard's lawyer in Elizabeth and warned him: "Listen, asshole, if you don't get that baby back I'm going to burn you."'[19]

The first singe was inflicted by the damaging headlines in newspapers across the country the day after the kidnapping complaint was filed on 11 April. (The only unforeseen setback to Warner's carefully laid plans was that President Harry S. Truman inconveniently chose the same day to sack General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination in Korea and thus rather hogged the front page.) The divorce itself received more extensive coverage and was better handled: the pictures of Sara smiling broadly were replaced by pictures of her weeping pitifully and being comforted by her attorney.

In Cuba, Hubbard's condition regressed. 'I think what really caught up with him,' said de Mille, 'was that he felt he was losing control of the organization. That's what it amounted to.'

There was no question that Hubbard's fortunes had undergone a radical revision in the twelve months since his emergence as the adored founder of Dianetics. His personal life was in disarray, the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundations in Elizabeth and Los Angeles were disintegrating, most of the money had somehow been frittered away, he was months behind with his second book and he was stuck in Cuba with Alexis and he had no idea what to do with her.

What he needed was a saviour, preferably a saviour with plenty of ready cash. And there was one obvious candidate - Don Purcell, a businessman in Wichita, Kansas. Mr Purcell was not only an enthusiastic Dianeticist, he also happened to be a millionaire.

Towards the end of April, Hubbard sent a telegram to Purcell from Havana saying he needed help. De Mille followed up with a long-distance telephone call urging Purcell to 'do something' because Ron was dying. Purcell acted without delay. He sent a private plane to Cuba with a registered nurse on board to collect Ron and Alexis and bring them back to Kansas. (De Mille had been instructed to stay behind and finish transcribing Ron's plastic recording discs. )

As a follower of Dianetics, Purcell was delighted and honoured to be able to play host to L. Ron Hubbard in Wichita. It was a pleasure that would be short-lived.

Interview with Cox and letter to Martin Gardner, 30 April 1952
2. Interview with Ackerman 
3. Cults of Unreason, Christopher Evans, 1973 
4. Interview with A.E. van Vogt

Interviews with Barbara Kaye, Los Angeles, 28 July - 5 August 1986 
6. Interview with Perry Chapdelaine, Nashville, 25 April 1986 
7. Winter, op. cit.

Letter to Barbara Kaye from Hubbard, 21 Oct 1951 
9. US Govt memo to Director FBI from SAC Newark, 21 Mar 1951

10.Interview with Horner

11. Dianetics and the Professions, A.E. van Vogt, 1953

12. A Factual Report on Dianetics, John W. Maloney, Feb 1952

13. Interview with Richard de Mille, Santa Barbera, 25 July 1986

14. US Govt memo to Director FBI from SAC Chicago, 27 April 1951

15. Letter in FBI files, 10 Mar 1951

16. US Govt memo 62-116151-70, 7 Mar 1952 
17. Letter in FBI files, 10 Mar 1951

18. Airgram to Legal Attaché, Havana, 27 April 1951

19. Divorce complaint No. D414498, 23 April 1951, Los Angeles Superior Court

20. Interview with Caryl Warner, Hollywood, August 1986

Bare-Faced Messiah Chapter 11 Bankrolling and Bankruptcy

The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

'The money and glory inherent in Dianetics was entirely too much for those with whom I had the bad misfortune to associate myself . . . including a woman who had represented herself as my wife and who had been cured of severe psychosis by Dianetics, but who, because of structural brain damage would evidently never be entirely sane . . . Two of the early associates, John W. Campbell and J.A. Winter, became bitter and violent because I refused to let them write on the subject of Dianetics, for I considered their knowledge too slight and their own aberrations too broad to permit such a liberty with the science . . . Fur coats, Lincoln cars and a young man without any concept of honor so far turned the head of the woman who had been associated with me that on discovery of her affairs, she and these others, hungry for money and power, sought to take over and control all of Dianetics.' (L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: Axioms, October 1951)

 (Scientology's account of the years 1951-52.)

*   *   *   *   *
Don Purcell was a shy, unassuming man who was once a short-order chef in a little fourteen-stool café opposite the Orpheum Theater in downtown Wichita before he made his fortune in oil and real estate during the post-war boom. Very tall and thin - he was usually described as all 'skin and bones' - he turned to Dianetics in the hope of finding a cure for his chronic constipation.[1]

He attended an auditor's course at Elizabeth with his wife in the autumn of 1950 and returned to Wichita brimming with enthusiasm for the new science. Although he never mentioned if it had eased his constipation, he did frequently claim that Dianetics had given him the ability to work a twenty-two-hour day, which was useful to a real estate developer in Wichita in 1951. The farming town in the heart of the winter wheat belt had been transformed by the arrival of the oil and aircraft industries and it was expanding at a phenomenal rate. Roads, houses, schools, churches, office blocks and factories were being built everywhere. Between 1950 and 1951, the population of Wichita rose by more than 30,000, pushing the figure above 200,000 for the first time.

Purcell's real estate company, Golden Bond Homes, was building 150 houses in the south-west of the city, an ambitious development which put him in the burgeoning ranks of Wichita's post-war millionaires. Yet despite his success and wealth, he never aspired to social prominence in the town; imbued with the quintessential hardworking, god-fearing values of the mid-West, he preferred to remain quietly in the background, perfectly content with his reputation as a businessman of integrity and a good Christian.

Like most early Dianeticists, Purcell was a true believer, both in the efficacy of the science and the genius of its founder. When he heard the Elizabeth Foundation was in difficulties, he immediately offered to 'lend a hand', with both short-term finance and practical business advice. He also provided the funds to set up a branch of the Foundation in Wichita, in a two-storey building sandwiched between Hope's Hamburger Hut and an auto repair firm at 211 West Douglas Avenue, Wichita's main street.[2]
It was, then, entirely to be expected that Purcell would respond unhesitatingly to Hubbard's dramatic plea for help. Ron told him over the telephone from Havana of his plans to set up the headquarters of the Dianetics movement in Wichita and, as far as Purcell was concerned, if the great L. Ron Hubbard chose to make his home in Wichita, it could do the town nothing but good.
Hubbard stepped from Purcell's chartered aeroplane at Wichita airport wearing a lightweight tropical suit and a cream silk Ascot, an item of apparel not often seen in Sedgwick County. Purcell was waiting to greet him, along with a reporter from the Wichita Eagle, to whom Ron delivered a carefully prepared statement designed to appeal to the good folk of Wichita. After Los Angeles and Havana, Wichita might have appeared somewhat lacking in glamour, but Hubbard had the good sense not to make invidious comparisons. 'Dianetics is a pioneer mental science,' he announced, 'therefore it is only natural that we should prefer to centralize where the American pioneering spirit and cultural interests are still high. It is impossible to take Dianetics to every interested person, so we have established our headquarters here where those interested can come to Dianetics.'[3] He also took the opportunity to point out that seventy per cent of insane people throughout the world could be returned to normality with Dianetics. 'Hope for Insane is Claimed for Dianetics by Founder' was the headline in the evening edition.

Hubbard checked into the Broadview Hotel, where Purcell had reserved and paid for a suite for him. Alexis, who was becoming accustomed to a succession of surrogate mothers, remained in the care of the nurse who had looked after her on the plane from Havana. The two men were soon discussing plans for the consolidation of Dianetics in Wichita, plans that would be speedily brought to the attention of the FBI.

On 4 May, 1951, the FBI agent in Wichita received an anonymous letter: 'Investigate No 211 West Douglas, under the "Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation", they are conducting a vicious sexual racket. There are four women and a larger number of men. If they have moved go after them. They are bad, I know because I am one of the victims . . .' This execrable piece of rumour-mongering was added to Hubbard's FBI file, along with a memo from the special agent in charge in Wichita noting: 'General gossip at Wichita has it that the Los Angeles branch of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation went broke and the cost of operation in New Jersey necessitated establishing headquarters of the organization in the central United States . . .'[4]

Hubbard did not know he had been accused of running a 'vicious sexual racket', which was probably just as well because he already had so much to worry about that he was finding it exceedingly difficult to give his full attention to the affairs of the Foundation. The main problem, entirely of his own making, was that his private life remained in complete turmoil.

While his first wife was pursuing him for maintenance and he was still involved in a messy divorce from Sara, Hubbard invited his lover in Los Angeles to be his third wife. Almost as soon as he arrived in Wichita he had telephoned Barbara and asked her to join him, following up with a cable: 'DO NOT THINK I SHOULD OFFER YOU ANYTHING LESS HONORABLE THAN MARRIAGE. SHOULD YOU CONSIDER IT I MUST DOUBLY CLARIFY EXISTING STATUS TO BE SURE. WITH ALL MY HEART AND MUCH LOVE. RON.' Barbara realized that Ron remained as paranoid as ever, as a second cable arrived at her Beverly Hills apartment two hours later: 'BETTER KEEP OUR PLANS A CLOSE SECRET AS I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WOULD TRY TO DO TO YOU IF THEY KNEW. BE VERY CAREFUL. ALL MY LOVE. RON.'

Barbara had no idea who 'they' were and was understandably concerned about marrying a man accused of bigamy, kidnapping and torture. 'Darling, yo sho is in a mess o' trouble,' she replied by letter. 'Do you dare give me any idea of the sort of future awaiting us? God knows I don't want what could be a wonderful and productive partnership between us to wind up with you in jail or continually on the lam from the law . . .'[5]

While Barbara was pondering Ron's proposal, Sara filed a further complaint in Los Angeles, claiming she had been unable to serve divorce papers on her husband because he had fled to Cuba. To support her petition, she included the letter Hubbard had written to her from Havana and a letter, dated 2 May, that she had received from his first wife in Bremerton. Polly had read about the divorce in the newspapers and felt moved to offer her sympathy. 'Sara, if I can help in any way, I'd like to,' she wrote. 'You must get Alexis in your custody. Ron is not normal. I had hoped you could straighten him out. Your charges probably sound fantastic to the average person, but I've been through it - the beatings, threats on my life, all the sadistic traits which you charge - 12 years of it.'

The newspapers were happy to report this further development in the domestic troubles of the 'mental-movement mogul', as Hubbard was described with laboured alliteration in the LA Times. In Wichita, State Marshal Arthur W. Wermuth was surprised to read that Hubbard had 'fled to Cuba' because he had just read of his arrival in Wichita in the Evening Eagle. Wermuth, who happened to be a well-known local war hero, sent a message to Los Angeles acquainting the authorities with Hubbard's whereabouts. Next day the newspapers reported that the 'missing mental-movement mogul' had been 'discovered' in Wichita by the 'legendary one-man army of Bataan'.
Prompted by the news from Wichita, on 14 May Sara's attorney filed another petition asking for Hubbard's assets in Los Angeles to be placed in receivership. The petition noted that Hubbard had been found 'hiding' in Wichita 'but that he would probably leave town upon being detected'.
Coincidentally, on the same day Hubbard despatched a seven-page letter to the Department of Justice in Washington, clearly seeking revenge against Sara. Even for Hubbard, the rambling, venomous missive was a breathtaking concoction of lies, vituperation and wild allegations rendered all the more dangerous by the rise of McCarthyism.
Describing himself as 'basically a scientist in the field of atomic and molecular phenomena', he accused Communists of destroying his half-million dollar business, ruining his health and withholding material of interest to the US Government. The architect of his misfortune was none other than 'a woman known as Sara Elizabeth Northrup . . . whom I believed to be my wife, having married her and then, after some mix-up about a divorce, believed to be my wife in common law'.

Sara, he stressed, was responsible for breaking up the 'American Institute of Advanced Therapy', an organization he had established in 1949, and the following year she was the primary cause of all the trouble at the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, along with Art Ceppos, who was '"formerly" a member of the Communist Party' and Joseph Winter, who 'seemed to have Communist connections' and was a 'psycho-neurotic' who had been discharged from the US Army Medical Corps.
Playing the role of fearfully browbeaten husband, he said his 'alleged wife' had caused him to make out a will leaving her shares in the copyrights and Foundations. Later, when he was asleep at his home in New Jersey he was 'slugged'. He had unwisely done nothing about it at the time as he had no witnesses, but his health had been poor thereafter. Arriving in Los Angeles, his wife left their baby unattended in a car and be was arrested for it - 'I could never understand why.'

Much worse was to come. 'On December 5, while asleep in my apartment on North Rossmore in Los Angeles, I was again attacked and knocked out. When I woke I debated considerably about going to the police but was again afraid of publicity for again I did not know who might have done this. It never occurred to me to suspect that my wife had any part in this.

'I had become so ill by January 1st and was so long overdue in writing my second book that I went to Palm Springs. I returned from Palm Springs in late February to find my wife apparently ill, in bad mental condition, and my baby more or less forgotten in a back room of the Los Angeles Foundation. I instantly took steps, what steps I could, to give my wife help. She seemed to recover.
'I was in my apartment on February 23rd, about two or three o'clock in the morning when the apartment was entered, I was knocked out, had a needle thrust into my heart to give it a jet of air to produce "coronary thrombosis" and was given an electric shock with a 110 volt current. This is all very blurred to me. I had no witnesses. But only one person had another key to that apartment and that was Sara.'

Hubbard went on to describe how he had found love letters to his wife from Miles Hollister, a 'member of the Young Communists', and an ominous telegram containing the phrase 'Lombardo should live so long'. Lombardo, he explained, was a name Sara sometimes called him. Then he described how they had plotted to have him committed and how he had tried to get his wife away by taking her to Palm Springs. She consented to go with him, he said, and he had her signed statement to prove it. Sara's real motive in filing for divorce, he claimed, was to get control of the Foundation.
All the attacks she had mounted against him had held up research he was intending to offer to the Government. 'In August 1950 I found out a method the Russians use on such people as Vogeler, Mindszenty and others to obtain confessions. I could undo that method. My second book was to have shown how the Communists used narcosynthesis and physical torture and why it worked as it did. Further, I was working on a technology of psychological warfare to present it to the Defense Department. All that work was interrupted. Each time I tried to write, a new attack was launched.'

Hubbard declared his concern to prevent Dianetics falling into the hands of Communists and appealed for a 'round-up' of the 'vermin Communists or ex-Communists' who were trying to take over the potent forces of the Foundation. He suggested the 'round-up' should start with Sara:

'I believe this woman to be under heavy duress. She was born into a criminal atmosphere, her father having a criminal record. Her half-sister was an inmate of an insane asylum. She was part of a free love colony in Pasadena. She had attached herself to a Jack Parsons, the rocket expert, during the war and when she left him he was a wreck. Further, through Parsons, she was strangely intimate with many scientists of Los Alamo Gordos [Alamogordo in New Mexico was where the first atomic bomb was tested]. I did not know or realize these things until I myself investigated the matter. She may have a record . . . Perhaps in your criminal files or on the police blotter of Pasadena you will find Sara Elizabeth Northrop, age about 26, born April 8, 1925, about 5'9", blond-brown hair, slender . . . I have no revenge motive nor am I trying to angle this broader than it is. I believe she is under duress, that they have something on her and I believe that under a grilling she would talk and turn state's evidence.'

Hubbard made it clear he felt his life was in danger and concluded: 'Frankly, from what has happened, I am not certain I will live through this. If I do not, know that I have only these enemies in the entire world.'[6]

If Hubbard's letter had been a little more moderate and his FBI file not already voluminous, his letter might easily have resulted in Sara's arrest. The 'Red Scare' was at its height and the American people had succumbed to an irrational fear of subversion and disloyalty encouraged by McCarthy, the cold war, Korea, a series of sensational spy trials and the Truman administration's loyalty programme. Many reputations and careers were destroyed by accusations a great deal milder than those levelled by Hubbard against his wife.

But by 1951, Hubbard was well known to the FBI. The opinion of the agent who had interviewed him in Newark that he was a 'mental case' figured prominently in his file, as did Sara's divorce allegations that he was 'hopelessly insane'. It was a diagnosis with which the FBI was inclined to concur and Hubbard's letter was tucked into his file and ignored, no doubt after the filing clerks had had a good laugh.

At the end of May, Barbara Kaye arrived in Wichita, having decided that she would marry Ron. 'If love can break men's hearts it can restore them too,' she had written to him. 'Yours shall be regenerated with my love and it will grow stronger.'

She found a hand-written note from Ron waiting for her at the Broadview Hotel: 'Hello! I am happy you are here! I love you! Ron.'
Its cheery tone encouraged her greatly and she was thus doubly shocked by Hubbard's appearance when he showed up at the hotel soon after she had checked in.

'He had visibly deteriorated both physically and mentally. He was extremely unkempt, like a street person. His fingernails were uncut and his hair was long and stringy; he looked like Howard Hughes in his last days. He talked in a monotone all the time and seemed on the verge of tears; he was obviously clinically depressed. He told me he had borrowed $50 from Purcell to pay for my room but no one was to know I was in Wichita because Purcell had opposed me coming.'

Hubbard took her out to a jewellery store to buy her an engagement ring, but she was already having second thoughts. 'I felt extremely distanced from him because he was so strange, he was like a different person. I began to think I could never marry this man; I was frightened of him.' Next morning, Barbara hurriedly returned to Los Angeles, leaving Hubbard a note saying she didn't want to come between him and his patron.

As the prospective third Mrs Hubbard swept out of town, Sara arrived to parley for the return of Alexis. 'She got the baby back', said Richard de Mille, who had by then joined Hubbard in Wichita, 'by agreeing to let him divorce her and by not saying anything bad about him.'[7]

On 9 June 1951, Sara signed a handwritten statement scrawled on the notepaper of The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation Inc of Wichita agreeing to cancel her receivership action and divorce suit in California in return for a divorce 'guaranteed by L. Ron Hubbard' in mid-June.

Two days later she signed a typed statement categorically retracting the allegations she had made against her husband:

I, Sara Northrup Hubbard, do hereby state that the things I have said about L. Ron Hubbard in courts and the public prints have been grossly exaggerated or entirely false.
I have not at any time believed otherwise than that L. Ron Hubbard is a fine and brilliant man.
I make this statement of my own free will for I have begun to realize that what I have done may have injured the science of Dianetics, which in my studied opinion may be the only hope of sanity in future generations.
I was under enormous stress and my advisers insisted it was necessary for me to carry through an action as I have done.
There is no other reason for this statement than my own wish to make atonement for the damage I may have done. In the future I wish to lead a quiet and orderly existence with my little girl far away from the enturbulating influences which have ruined my marriage.
Sara Northrup Hubbard.

The statement bore all the hallmarks of having been written by Hubbard, even down to the use of one of his own invented words, 'enturbulating'. The English language was insufficiently rich and diverse for Hubbard and he often made up new words to compensate for its inadequacies - to 'enturbulate' was a neologism meaning to 'bring into a confused state'.
On 12 June, Hubbard was awarded a divorce in Sedgwick County Court on the basis of Sara's 'gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty'. The court agreed to an emergency hearing after Hubbard testified that the breakdown of the marriage had brought about severe damage to his health and peace of mind and he feared that any delay would cause him to 'suffer further nervous breakdown and impairment to health'.[8]

Sara did not give evidence in court. All she cared about was that she was awarded custody of Alexis. Clutching her baby, she caught the first Greyhound bus out of Wichita and out of the life of L. Ron Hubbard.

It did not take Don Purcell long to discover the role Hubbard expected him to play as president of the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation of Wichita - to provide money, uncomplainingly.
Hubbard, the vice-president and chairman, was spending Purcell's money at a prodigious rate. He had moved into a large, comfortably furnished frame house on North Yale opposite the snooty Wichita Country Club and in the heart of a select residential area called Sleepy Hollow. Following Barbara's abrupt departure he hired a comely housekeeper, a lady in her early forties, who very soon succumbed to his advances and as a consequence was summoned to his bed most nights. 'Ron enjoyed women,' explained Richard de Mille. 'He didn't see any point in having an attractive woman around without making use of her.'

At the Foundation on West Douglas, staff were hired and fired arbitrarily as Hubbard's attention and enthusiasm flitted from project to project, from one grandiose scheme to another. He had a fiction writer's gift for dreaming up impressive titles for every venture, even if it only existed as an idea. Thus, courtesy of Hubbard, Wichita was briefly the home of an organization called 'The International Library of Arts and Sciences', which no doubt caused some head-scratching among the local farmers and factory workers.

Five-hundred dollar training courses for Dianetic auditors were run on a continuous basis and although there was still a reasonable number of applicants making their way to Wichita, the excitement of the previous summer had faded away. To thousands of people across America, Dianetics was no more than a passing whim.

A major conference of Dianeticists organized in Wichita at the end of June 1951 only attracted 112 delegates, but Hubbard continued to behave as if the movement was going from strength to strength. Heedless of demand, the Foundation published a never-ending stream of booklets, bulletins and pamphlets on arcane elements of the science - 'Child Dianetics', 'Handbook for Pre-clears', 'Lectures on Effort Processing', etcetera - which piled up at 211 West Douglas despite the best efforts of the staff to press them on to every visitor.

Hubbard's second book, Science of Survival, was published by the Wichita Foundation in August. Dedicated to 'Alexis Valerie Hubbard, For Whose Tomorrow May Be Hoped a World That Is Fit To Be Free,' it delved into metaphysics and reincarnation and elaborated on what Hubbard called the 'tone scale', a device for measuring an individual's emotional state and a key to the interpretation of personality. Hubbard provided a veneer of authority for the book by acknowledging the influence of a long list of philosophers from Aristotle and Socrates, through Voltaire and Descartes, to Freud and Korzybski. But despite their contribution, Science of Survival significantly failed to follow Dianetics on to the New York Times's bestseller list.

For students taking courses at the Foundation, the highlight of the week was the lecture Hubbard delivered every Friday evening. Helen O'Brien, a young woman from Philadelphia who had negotiated a bank loan in order to train as a professional auditor, described the scene: 'He would appear at the back of the crowded hall and walk down the centre aisle to the platform, amid applause. It was well staged. He spoke against a background of rich drapes, bathed in spotlights that set off his red hair and weird, enthusiastic face . . .

Hubbard was a marvellous lecturer, and he spoke quite frankly then, introducing the soberest and wildest ideas without apology, seeming to share the uproarious delight of some of the members of his audience at his flights of intellectual audacity. His rhetoric had a tempo that usually carried everyone along in at least pseudo acceptance of everything he said, although some of it was far afield of the "science of mental health" which had brought us all together.'[9]
Helen O'Brien soon became a member of Hubbard's 'honour guard', a small group of awed, intensely loyal admirers who considered it the highest privilege to be in Ron's presence. 'It was not like being with a human being,' she said. 'He was shaking with energy and there was a sort of light around him, a cloak of power.
'Sometimes at his house be would play the organ and sing songs he had composed in college. Ron told me quite a bit about his life. He said his father was some sort of conman, a very shadowy kind of character, who he suspected was trying to take over Dianetics. Ron said he'd destroy the whole thing if that happened. He talked a lot about Sara. When she ran off with another man Ron followed them and they locked him in a hotel room and pushed drugs up his nose, but he managed to escape and went to Cuba.
'He was not promiscuous, but he was available sexually. I had sex with him one night. Several of us were working late with him, taking notes and we all went out to a coffee shop. Ron and I left the others there and went up to bed. It was real matter of fact.

Among the motley collection of well-meaning people who trekked to Wichita in the summer of 1951 was a slim, pretty girl from Houston, Texas, by the name of Mary Sue Whipp. Born in Rockdale, Mary Sue was a nineteen-year-old coed at the University of Texas intent on making a career in petroleum research. She arrived in Wichita with a friend, Norman James, who had read about Dianetics in Astounding and had persuaded her to join him on the course. Blue-eyed and auburn-haired, Mary Sue aroused predictably mixed feelings at the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation. Most of the men liked her; most of the women did not. 'She was a nothing,' said Helen O'Brien sourly. 'Her favourite reading was True Confession.'

It did not take long for Hubbard to register the arrival of this attractive pre-clear from Texas and he took a particular interest in her progress. Mary Sue was flattered by the great man's attention and within a matter of a few weeks she had moved in with him at 910 North Yale, to the fury of the housekeeper, who found herself relegated to more conventional duties. Mary Sue rapidly qualified for her Hubbard Dianetic Auditor's Certificate and joined the staff of the Foundation as an auditor, all thoughts of a career in the petroleum industry abandoned.

Auditing was the major activity at the Foundation, for staff and students alike. Everyone was auditing everyone else and someone, naturally, had to audit Hubbard. This dubious honour was variously bestowed and on one occasion it passed to Perry Chapdelaine, who was working as a research assistant at the Wichita Foundation. 'I assumed I would have to stick rigidly to the techniques we had been taught at the Foundation,' said Chapdelaine, 'but it was very different from what I expected. He just lay down on the bed in his bedroom, closed his eyes and started to talk. I sat on a chair by the bed and snapped my fingers a time or two, like we had been taught, directing him to go back to the earliest moment he could recall but he opened his eyes, glared at me, closed his eyes again and continued talking. He was relating, very vividly, what was happening to him as a clam or a jellyfish, in terms of effort and counter-effort. It was fascinating, but I didn't know what to make of it. I learned then, pretty well, what he meant by research - it was him talking and the auditor listening.

'The problem for many people involved in Dianetics was that they accepted every word Hubbard said as literal truth, rather than a framework around which you could do things. I remember at a lecture one night he told people if they did this or that they would no longer need to wear glasses and that they would be able to throw them away forever. He pointed to a big bowl at the bottom of the steps leading up to the rostrum and at the end of the lecture people were throwing their glasses into this bowl. Don Purcell was one of them.

'Hubbard thought it was a great joke. He told me about it afterwards, making a snide remark about Purcell and describing how he took off his glasses, threw them into the bowl and groped his way out of the lecture hall. Hubbard was laughing that people would do something like that just because of what he said. Of course, it didn't work. Like every one else, Purcell had a new pair of glasses in a couple of days.

'There was no question Hubbard had an extraordinary ability to transmit to other people. He audited me once in his front room in Wichita and it was the one and only time in my life I had a perfect perception of being in embryo. I'll never forget it, it was the most amazing experience of my whole life.'[11]

In August, Hubbard had to submit to the indignity of another medical examination to avoid losing his pension from the Veterans Administration. 'This veteran gives a long history of three years of sea duty,' the examining physician noted in his report. 'It was gathered from what he says that the duty was rather strenuous, his first assignment in 1942 being with a merchant ship which was assigned to transporting troops. Later, he states, he served with escorts in the North Atlantic. On one occasion, in 1942, he fell down a ladder and struck his right hip, but there were no facilities aboard ship and it was necessary for him to go on without any aid . . . He is a writer by profession and states he has some income from previous writing that helps take care of him.'

Hubbard presented his usual laundry list of injuries and ailments, but the doctors could find symptoms for none of them. 'This is a well nourished and muscled white adult', the examination report concluded, 'who does not appear chronically ill.'[12]

Understandably, the VA saw no cause to increase the veteran's pension, but on this occasion the veteran was perhaps not too concerned since Don Purcell was still providing ample funds for his activities, even though their relationship was fraying. It had been agreed between them that Purcell would be responsible for the management and business affairs of the Foundation while Hubbard looked after training, processing and research, but a simple division of responsibility proved to be unworkable.

'Things went along fine for a while, then Ron began to encroach on my territory,' Purcell recorded. 'The more he did this the ornerier I got. Ron established an overhead structure that far exceeded the gross income. I began to hold out for an organizational structure that could exist within its income with the idea of expanding the structure as our income increased. This idea did not satisfy Ron. He kept telling me that I had agreed to pay off all the old debts and underwrite a new start for the Foundation and why didn't I go ahead and do it?'[13]

Purcell's Wichita lawyer, Jean Oliver Moore, was present on many occasions when money was discussed. 'The bills were reaching astronomical proportions,' he said. 'Ron believed one thing should be done and Don another and there was a divergence of opinion. But in the end it had to be a matter of prudent business judgement - the Foundation was losing money hand over fist at a rate faster than Purcell could replace it.'[14]

Money was not the only problem. Purcell and Hubbard were in fundamental disagreement over the issue of 'past lives'. From the earliest days of auditing, pre-clears invited to travel back along the time-track had occasionally progressed beyond birth or conception to previous, often romantic, existences, recalling their adventures as medieval knights or centurions in ancient Rome. It happened to Helen O'Brien, who received the experience of being a young peasant woman in Ireland in the early nineteenth century who was killed by a British soldier when she tried to prevent him raping her.

Hubbard was at first ambivalent about the validity of 'past lives', but by the time he got to Wichita he had embraced the concept so enthusiastically that he showed up for one of his regular Friday night lectures with a dreadful limp; he explained to the audience that he had returned on his genetic time-track to a moment when he was shot in the leg during the Civil War and had not had time to complete 'running' the incident.

Purcell, who was still hoping that Dianetics would achieve academic and professional recognition, considered the notion of 'past lives' to be unscientific and wanted it dropped. Hubbard resented his interference in his 'research' and was anyway disinclined to heed the views of a pragmatic real estate developer. 'Ron's motive was always to limit Dianetics to the authority of his teachings,' Purcell noted. 'Anyone who had the effrontery to suggest that others beside Ron could contribute creatively to the work must be inhibited.' Friction between the two men increased markedly.

Meanwhile, the FBI, ever vigilant, continued to fret about what Hubbard was up to, at the same time displaying a remarkable talent for obfuscation. On 1 October 1951, for example, the FBI office in Kansas City, which apparently did not read newspapers, asked Washington for any information about a school or clinic of 'Dyanetics' operated by an L. Ron Hubbard in Wichita. The reply indicated that the FBI was quite as paranoid about Hubbard as Hubbard was about the FBI. Prominent mention was made of allegations that the activities of the Foundation were of 'particular interest to sexual perverts and hypochondriacs' and that Sara had accused her husband of being 'mentally incompetent'. The file failed to note that she had retracted her accusations.[15]

In November and December, Hubbard played a starring role in FBI communications when he became enthused, temporarily, by an extraordinary enterprise straight from the pages of his own science fiction and smacking faintly of world domination. His idea was to establish an alliance of leading international scientists and to store all the latest scientific research on microfilm in an atom-bomb-proof archive somewhere in Arizona. In this way, he argued somewhat obscurely, individual nations would be denied the technical capacity to wage a nuclear war. Hubbard called the project 'Allied Scientists of the World' [the name of an organisation that had featured in his novel 'The End Is Not Yet'] and chose Perry Chapdelaine to supervise its inauguration.

'Ron telephoned me at three o'clock in the morning and said he needed me real bad,' Chapdelaine recalled. 'I got dressed and went over to his house and we sat in the front room where he told me all about his plan for Allied Scientists of the World. His stated goal was to stop war in the world. He thought with Allied Scientists he could control war and in that way control the world. That was what he wanted, no question.'

Chapdelaine was despatched in great secrecy - 'Hubbard told me to make sure no one knew he was behind it, I've no idea why' - to Denver, Colorado, where the headquarters of Allied Scientists of the World was to be established. His orders were to organize a mass mailing of scientists and technicians who would be informed that they had been awarded fellowships in Allied Scientists of the World in recognition of their scientific achievements and invited to send in annual dues of $25.

The timing could not have been worse. 'Thousands of leaflets went out,' said Chapdelaine, 'but only one or two came back.' Instead, the FBI was deluged with requests from recipients of the mail-shot to investigate the organization as a possible Communist front organization - such was the power of McCarthyism. The FBI soon established that L. Ron Hubbard was behind Allied Scientists: inter-Bureau memoranda now contained the information that 'several individuals' alleged he was 'mentally incompetent' and a report from the Kansas City office noted that he had 'delusions of grandeur'.[16]

When Post Office inspectors began an investigation of Allied Scientists for possible violation of mail fraud statutes, Hubbard beat a rapid retreat and abandoned the venture. But he was, as always, untroubled by trouble. At the Foundation's New Year party, which was held in a Wichita hotel and featured a live orchestra and a floor show, he was the life and soul of the festivities. 'He danced a great deal,' said Helen O'Brien, 'with a light and exact rhythm that was completely without grace. There was something attention-arresting in the way he handled himself. Many almost worshipped him in those days, but there were other individuals who looked at him askance, with something close to fear.'

For Don Purcell, the Allied Scientists fiasco was almost, but not quite, the last straw. According to Chapdelaine, Purcell was 'frantic, almost hysterical' over the ill-starred enterprise. 'He was scared to death that it would reflect on him,' said Chapdelaine. 'He was afraid of what Hubbard might do next.'

With the relationship between the two men at its lowest ebb, it full to lawyers to deliver the final blow. Ever since Hubbard's arrival in Wichita, Purcell had been fending off creditors who had been left in the lurch as, one after another, the original Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundations closed their doors. At one point he had had to lodge an $11,000 bond with the district court to prevent the Wichita Foundation being placed in State receivership.

'During this time,' he noted, 'I was negotiating with attorneys trying to effect a settlement of the State receivership. I purchased all of the accounts involved in the deal and heaved a sigh of relief. The mess was cleaned up.'[17]

His relief was premature. Early in 1952, a court ruled that the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation in Wichita was liable for the very considerable debts of the defunct Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It was a disaster. Purcell, now deeply suspicious that his partner had all along deliberately suppressed the truth about the financial situation in Elizabeth, believed the only option was to file for voluntary bankruptcy.

Hubbard would not countenance such a move, but was outvoted at an emergency meeting of the board of directors held on 12 February. He resigned immediately and announced his intention to establish a 'Hubbard College' on the other side of town. After some discussion, he shook hands on a 'gentlemen's agreement' to continue co-operating with Don Purcell and the Wichita Foundation.

The 'gentlemen's agreement' was worthless, for Purcell had crossed Hubbard and had thus become an enemy to be attacked and harassed at every opportunity. The millionaire got a taste of what lay in store ten days later when, on the day the Foundation filed for bankruptcy, he received a telegram from Hubbard: 'YOU ARE ADVISED THAT A $50,000 BREACH OF FAITH AND CONTRACT SUIT IS BEING FILED AGAINST YOU PURSUANT TO FAILURE TO DISCHARGE CREDITOR OBLIGATIONS AND THAT ANOTHER SUIT FOR BAD MANAGEMENT FOR A SIMILAR AMOUNT IS BEING FILED. I AM SORRY TO BE PRESSED TO THIS EXTREMITY. SORROWFULLY, L. RON HUBBARD.'

The final accounts for the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation of Wichita revealed an income of $142,000 and expenditure of $205,000. Hubbard had received fees amounting to nearly $22,000 while salaries for all the remaining staff only accounted for $54,000. The assets of the Foundation largely comprised copyright of all the tapes, books, techniques, processes and paraphernalia of Dianetics, including the name.

Both Purcell and Hubbard claimed ownership and during the bitter feud that inevitably followed, Hubbard mounted a campaign of vilification against his former partner and took to referring to him as 'that little flatulence'. He accused Purcell of plotting to steal Dianetics and of accepting a $500,000 bribe from the American Medical Association to destroy the movement. Purcell was out of his depth: one day be arrived at the Foundation offices on West Douglas and found that all the address plates for the mailing list were missing. Later James Elliott, a Hubbard aide, admitted 'inadvertently' removing them. (They were kept in three boxes, each two feet long and three feet high and weighing more than twenty-five pounds.) Subsequently a number of taped lectures went missing and when a court ordered the tapes to be returned Purcell discovered every third or fourth word had been erased.[18]

In March, Hubbard took a break from hostilities to marry Mary Sue Whipp, who was by then two months pregnant. To avoid the three-day waiting period required by the state of Kansas, they drove across the state line into Oklahoma where it was possible to be married instantly by a Justice of the Peace. Mary Sue would later provide friends with two versions of the circumstances: one had Hubbard knocking on her door in the middle of night shouting, 'Susie, you're the girl I'm going to marry. Get your things, we're leaving.' In the other, they eloped with her parents in hot pursuit and got a JP out of bed to perform the ceremony, still in his pyjamas.[19]

Back in Wichita, the new Mrs Hubbard assumed partial responsibility for running the Hubbard College, which occupied the second floor of a modern office building on North Broadway. It only stayed in business for just six weeks, but it was long enough for the founder to gather together, by telegram, as many loyal followers as he could find to attend a convention at which he promised to present 'important new material'.

About eighty people turned up for the event, which was held in the banqueting hall of a Wichita hotel. Hubbard first introduced an ingenious little gadget called an E-meter, which he claimed was capable of measuring emotions accurately enough to 'give an auditor a deep and marvellous insight into the mind of his pre-clear'. It was a black metal box with a lighted dial, adjustment knobs and wires connected to two tin cans. He demonstrated how it worked by inviting a member of the audience to hold the tin cans and then pinching him - the needle of the dial flickered in response. Then he asked him simply to imagine the pinch and the needle fluctuated again!

The excitement generated by the E-meter was as nothing compared to Hubbard's next revelation. He had, he said, discovered an entirely new science which transcended the limitations of Dianetics. It was a science of certainty and he already had a name for it - he was going to call it Scientology.

1. Interview with de Mille
2. Diane Lewis research report, Wichita, January 1987 
3. FBI memo, 15 May 1951
4. Wichita Eagle-Beacon, 26 Mar 1983 
5. Interviews with Kaye

FBI file, 14 May 1951
 Interview with de Mille
Case no. A36594, District Court of Sedgwick County, Kansas
Dianetics in Limbo, Helen O'Brien, 1966
Telephone interviews with Helen O'Brien, Los Angeles, August 1986
 Interview with Chapdelaine 
12. Hubbard file, VA archives

13. Dianetics Today, Don Purcell, January 1954 
14. Interview with Moore, Wichita, November 1986

15. US Govt memos, 1 Oct 1951 and 16 Oct 1951 
16. FBI Dn File 100-6136

17. Purcell, op. cit.

18. Hubbard Dianetic Foundation Inc. in Bankruptcy no. 379-B-2, District Court of Kansas 
19. Non-attributable interviews in Los Angeles, August 1986, and Haywards Heath, Sussex, May 1986

Bare-Faced Messiah By  Russell Miller, Chapter 12 Phoenix Rising
The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard
Bare-Faced Messiah By  Russell Miller,Chapter 12 Phoenix Rising

The portly Nibs (second from right) posing with his father and friends in a London garden in the 1950s - the smiles would soon turn to tears when father and son fell out.
'Many awards and honors were offered and conferred on L. Ron Hubbard. He did accept an honorary Doctor of Philosophy given in recognition of his outstanding work on Dianetics and, as an inspiration to the many people . . . who had been inspired by him to take up advanced studies in this field.' (Mission Into Time, 1973)
 (Scientology's account of the years 1952-54.)
*   *   *   *   *
At the beginning of April 1952, Hubbard packed his belongings into the back of his yellow Pontiac convertible and headed out of Wichita on the Kansas Turnpike with his teenage bride of four weeks beside him on the front seat. Their destination, one thousand miles to the west, was Phoenix, Arizona, where loyal aides had already put up a sign outside a small office at 1405 North Central Street, announcing it as the headquarters of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists.
Phoenix was so named because it was built on the ruins of an ancient Indian settlement on the Salt River, which had risen like the legendary phoenix. Hubbard, who had had more than enough of Wichita, could not think of a more appropriate location for the rise of his astounding new science from the still-smoking ruins of Dianetics.
The word Scientology was derived from the Latin scio (knowing in the fullest sense) and the Greek logos (study). Hubbard erroneously believed it to be his own invention: but curiously and coincidentally, almost twenty years earlier in 1934, a German scholar by the name of Dr A. Nordenholz had written an obscure work of philosophical speculation titled Scientologie, Wissenschaft und der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens (Scientology, the Science of the Structure and Validity of Knowledge). It was unlikely, however, that Hubbard was plagiarizing Dr Nordenholz - the book had not been translated into English and Hubbard's knowledge of German was rudimentary.

Hubbard would introduce Scientology as a logical extension of Dianetics, but it was a development of undeniable expedience, since it ensured he would be able to stay in business even if the courts eventually awarded control of Dianetics and its valuable copyrights to 'that little flatulence', the hated Don Purcell. The difference between Dianetics and Scientology was that Dianetics addressed the body, whereas Scientology addressed the soul. With his accustomed bombast, Hubbard claimed that he had 'come across incontrovertible, scientifically-validated evidence of the existence of the human soul'.[1]

To underpin his new science, Hubbard created an entire cosmology, the essence of which was that the true self of an individual was an immortal, omniscient and omnipotent entity called a 'thetan'. In existence before the ...beginning of time, thetans picked up and discarded millions of bodies over trillions of years. They concocted the universe for their own amusement but in the process became so enmeshed in it that they came to believe they were nothing more than the bodies they inhabited. The aim of Scientology was to restore the thetan's original capacities to the level, once again, of an 'operating thetan' or an 'OT'. It was an exalted state not yet known on earth, Hubbard wrote. 'Neither Lord Buddha nor Jesus Christ were OTs according to the evidence. They were just a shade above Clear.'[2]

Throughout the early summer months of 1952, Hubbard promulgated the theory of Scientology at a series of lectures delivered at the Hubbard Association of Scientologists in Phoenix. He was addressing, for the most part, committed Dianeticists, people who truly believed him to be a genius, and so the audiences tended to be somewhat uncritical. But if validation of the cosmology was needed, it was constantly provided by the 'past lives' which were by now a prominent and fascinating feature of auditing.

Thetans were obviously not restricted to this universe and auditing sessions revealed innumerable accounts of space travel and adventures on other planets very similar to those found in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction, to which the founder of Scientology had so recently been contributing. One report described how a pre-clear had arrived on a planet 74,000 years ago and battled 'black magic operators' who were using electronics for evil purposes. 'He now goes to another planet by spaceship. A deception is accomplished by hypnosis and pleasure implants (rather like opium in their effects) whereby he is deceived into a love affair with a robot decked out as a beautiful red-haired girl . . .'[3]
'Past lives' were further confirmed by the flickering needle of the E-meter, which was enthusiastically adopted as propitious technological support. Invented by a Dianeticist called Volney Mathison, the E-meter was basically a device which measured galvanic skin response - the changes in electrical conductivity of the skin that occur at moments of even quite slight excitement or emotional stress. It proved to be such a useful auditing tool that it would eventually become invested with an almost mystical power to reveal an individual's innermost thoughts. It also provided a useful source of income, for every self-respecting Scientologist wanted to have his own E-meter and the only place to buy them was from the Hubbard Association of Scientologists.

In July, the Scientific Press of Phoenix (another Hubbard enterprise) published a book originally titled What To Audit and later re-named The History of Man. Introduced as a 'cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years', Hubbard intended the book to establish the foundations of Scientology and he had no desire to be unduly modest about its potential. With the knowledge gained by Scientology, he wrote in the third paragraph, 'the blind again see, the lame walk, the ill recover, the insane become sane and the sane become saner.'
Even judged by the standards of his science fiction, The History of Man was one of Hubbard's most bizarre works and possibly the most absurd book ever written, although it was treated with great reverence by his followers. An amalgam of mysticism, psychotherapy and pure science fiction, the content invited the derision which was inevitably forthcoming. 'To say it is an astonishing document does not adequately convey the peculiar qualities or contents of 
The History of Man . . .' one government report[4] noted. 'For compressed nonsense and fantasy it must surpass anything theretofore written.'

In a narrative style that wobbled uncertainly between schoolboy fiction and a pseudo-scientific medical paper, Hubbard sought to explain that the human body was occupied by both a thetan and a 'genetic entity', or GE, a sort of low-grade soul located more or less in the centre of the body. ('The genetic entity apparently enters the protoplasm line some two days or a week prior to conception. There is some evidence that the GE is actually double, one entering on the sperm side . . .') The GE carried on through the evolutionary line, 'usually on the same planet', whereas the thetan only came to earth about 35,000 years ago to supervise the development of caveman into homo sapiens. Thus the GE was once 'an anthropoid in the deep forests of forgotten continents or a mollusc seeking to survive on the shore of some lost sea'. The discovery of the GE (Hubbard hailed every fanciful new idea as a 'discovery') 'makes it possible at last to vindicate the theory of evolution proposed by Darwin'.
Much of the book was devoted to a re-working of evolution, starting with 'an atom, complete with electronic rings' after which came cosmic impact producing a 'photon converter', the first single-cell creature, then seaweed, jellyfish and the clam. This knowledge was important to Scientologists since it enabled them to identify the kind of engrams a GE might have picked up when occupying a prehistoric life form.
Many engrams, for example, could be traced back to clams. The clam's big problem was that there was a conflict between the hinge that wanted to open and the hinge that wanted to close. It was easy to restimulate the engram caused by the defeat of the weaker hinge, Hubbard pronounced, by asking a pre-clear to imagine a clam on a beach opening and closing its shell very rapidly and at the same time making an opening and closing motion with thumb and forefinger. This gesture, he said, would upset large numbers of people.

'By the way,' he warned, 'your discussion of these incidents with the uninitiated in Scientology can cause havoc. Should you describe the "clam" to some one [sic], you may restimulate it in him to the extent of causing severe jaw pain. One such victim, after hearing about a clam death, could not use his jaws for three days.'

After the clam came the 'Weeper' or the 'Boohoo', a mollusc that rolled in the surf for half a million years, pumping sea water out of its shell as it breathed, hence its name. Weepers had 'trillions of misadventures', prominent among them the anxiety caused by trying to gulp air before being swamped by the next wave. 'The inability of a pre-clear to cry,' Hubbard explained, 'is partly a hang-up in the Weeper. He is about to be hit by a wave, has his eyes full of sand or is frightened about opening his shell because he may be hit.' Fear of falling also had its origins in the luckless Weepers, which were frequently dropped by predatory birds.
Progressing along the genetic time-track, evolution arrived at the sloth, which 'had bad times falling out of trees', the ape and the famous Piltdown Man, which was the cause of a multitude of engrams, ranging from obsessions about biting to family problems. These could be traced back to the fact that 'the Piltdown teeth were enormous and he was quite careless as to whom and what he bit.' Indeed, so careless was the Piltdown Man, Hubbard recorded, that he was sometimes guilty of 'eating one's wife and other somewhat illogical activities'.
(Unfortunately for Hubbard, just twelve months after The History of Man was published, the supposed fossil remains of primitive man found in gravel on Piltdown Common in the south of England were exposed as a hoax. The Piltdown Man had never existed. Hubbard was describing engrams caused by GEs occupying a fictitious early life form dreamed up in 1912 by Charles Dawson, the English amateur archaeologist responsible for the Piltdown fraud. )

The History of Man drifted into pure science fiction when Hubbard came to the point of explaining how thetans moved from body to body. Thetans abandoned bodies earlier than GEs, it appeared. While the GE stayed around to see the body through to death, thetans were obliged to report to a between-lives 'implant station' where they were implanted with a variety of control phases while waiting to pick up another body, sometimes in competition with other disembodied thetans. Hubbard revealed that most implant stations were on Mars, although women occasionally had to report elsewhere in the solar system and there was a 'Martian implant station somewhere in the Pyrenees'.
After publication of the epoch-making The History of Man, Hubbard was not of a mind to rest on his dubious laurels. The Hubbard Association of Scientologists and the Scientific Press of Phoenix produced a veritable avalanche of publications during 1952, including another book, Scientology: 8-8008, which appeared only a few months after The History of Man. Continuing his tradition of audacious introductions, the author wrote: 'With this book, the ability to make one's body old or young at will, the ability to heal the ill without physical contact, the ability to cure the insane and the incapacitated, is set forth for the physician, the layman, the mathematician and the physicist.'
Both books were required reading for new Scientologists and were studied as if they were serious scientific textbooks, indicating the extraordinary hold Hubbard was beginning to exert over his followers. Non-Scientologists could never understand how he achieved a position of such omnipotence, but the power he wielded was far from unprecedented. Scientology already exhibited the classic characteristics of a religious sect, offering salvation through secret knowledge and totally dominated by a leader claiming a monopoly over the source of the knowledge. Many such 'manipulationist sects' flourished at different periods of Christian history.[5]

There were also striking parallels between Scientology and the quirkier pseudo-sciences like phrenology, Count Alfred Korzybski's general semantics and 'iridiagnosis', which taught that all physical ailments could be diagnosed through the iris of the eve. Many such pseudo-sciences were built on a structure of the wildest assumptions, yet attracted a devoted following. They were invariably the creation of a single, highly charismatic, individual viewed by his followers as a genius of divine inspiration. Absolute power was vested in the leader, critics were derided, successes loudly trumpeted and failures ignored. Opponents were darkly accused of ulterior motives in wanting to prevent the advancement of the human race - Hubbard's frequent plaint.

While Hubbard was writing and lecturing in Phoenix in the summer of 1952, a somewhat unexpected event occurred - his son, L. Ron Hubbard Junior, turned up in town apparently intent on becoming a Scientologist. Nibs was then eighteen years old, a plump young man with a shining, cherubic countenance topped by wispy curls of pale orange hair. He had been living with his grandparents in Bremerton for the previous two years, but had been unable to settle down in high school and had decided to join his father in Phoenix. Mary Sue, preoccupied with her thickening waistline, raised no objection when her husband suggested that Nibs should move in with them, in the modern house they had rented near Camel Back Mountain, on the outskirts of town. And since she was only about a year older than Nibs, she felt under no obligation to be a dutiful stepmother.
Nibs enrolled at a correspondence school in an attempt to complete his high school education and his father gave him a job at the Hubbard Association of Scientologists, at the same time arranging for him to be audited intensively. As the son and namesake of the founder, Nibs was treated with some deference by other Scientologists and made rapid progress in the organization - he was soon designated as 'professor' of the 'Advanced Clinical Course', one of a number of courses on offer to ambitious Scientologists in Phoenix. He also acquired a number of initials after his name to support his professorial status.

In September 1952, Hubbard and Mary Sue left Phoenix for their first visit to Europe. The trip was explained to follow Scientologists somewhat illogically: 'Amid the constant violence of the turncoat Don J. Purcell of Wichita and his suits which attempted to seize Scientology, Mary Sue became ill and to save her life, Ron took her to England.' It was never spelled out why taking Mary Sue to England would save her life; indeed, since she was eight months pregnant it would have been much safer not to travel. But Hubbard wanted to go to London to establish his control over the small Dianetics group which had formed there spontaneously and Mary Sue insisted on accompanying him. The Hubbards' first impressions of London were gloomy. As they drove into the city from the airport, they were shocked by the extent of the bomb damage which they could see from the back of their taxi. The people on the streets seemed drab and dispirited, the shop windows were empty - rationing was still in force - and Hubbard thought there was an air of 'quiet desperation' about the place. He was also quietly desperate himself, having discovered that American cigarettes were unavailable. However, their spirits lifted somewhat when the taxi drew up outside 30 Marlborough Place, Maida Vale, the house that had been rented for them by local Dianeticists. It was a handsome, double-fronted late Edwardian villa with light, airy rooms, not far from Regent's Park and the West End.
Two nights later, Ron and Mary Sue were guests of honour at a welcoming dinner party arranged by a member of the Dianetics group who had an apartment only ten minutes' walk from Marlborough Place. Among the guests was a woman called Carmen D'Alessio who, like most of those present, admitted to being 'totally fascinated' by Dianetics. She was, of course, greatly looking forward to meeting Hubbard, not least because she was hoping that he might be able to cure her of the unexplained attacks of panic she had suffered since she was a child.

'My first impression was of a big, tall man with a highly coloured face and brilliant red hair combed back from a high forehead. He was a very magnetic, powerful man, not really very attractive, but you couldn't ignore him. He dominated the evening, talking about energy, electronics, tractor beams, etcetera. I heard him say he'd been in the Navy and had some trouble with his leg and got the impression he was talking about a war injury.
'After dinner, when we were all sitting around, I told him about my problem and he immediately began to audit me. I was sitting on a sofa against a wall and he told me to do something that would prompt most people to think he was mad, although I thought I knew what he was talking about. What he said to me was, "Be three feet back of your head"- those were his exact words. I thought I would have to go into the wall, or the room behind, but I attempted to do it in my imagination. He gave me quite a long session, with everyone sitting around completely silent, but it did nothing.'

Not long afterwards, Carmen D'Alessio attended Hubbard's introductory lecture at his house in Marlborough Place. 'About 30 or 40 people were foregathered in the sitting-room and when Hubbard walked in it was obvious to me he had a bloody awful cold,' she recalled. 'He had a very high colour, much more so than normal, he was sweating profusely, his eyes were streaming and he kept blowing his nose. He even talked like man with a cold, but he told us that he was suffering from the effect of leaving his body and visiting another planet. While he was advancing across the floor of this other planet, he said, something like a bomb blew up in his face. Everyone was taking it very seriously, but I didn't believe it. I thought, "the man's a thumping liar." I was right. A nurse was living in the house at the time because Hubbard's wife was extremely pregnant. She was a friend of mine and she told me afterwards that he had flu. She'd even given him an injection for it.'

The nurse was soon obliged to direct her ministrations elsewhere: on 24 September, less than three weeks after arriving in London, Mary Sue gave birth to a daughter, Diana Meredith de Wolfe Hubbard. Ron cabled the good news back to Phoenix, adding a terse plea for cigarettes: 'SEND MORE KOOLS.'
Miss D'Alessio, meanwhile, was continuing to be audited by Hubbard, at his instigation, despite an unnerving experience during a second session at Marlborough Place. 'While I was sitting there trying to do what he told me, I suddenly opened my eyes and saw that he was sitting opposite me laughing silently. I didn't like that at all.'

She was disappointed to register no improvement in her condition. 'It seemed quite useless, it wasn't helping at all. Two or three days afterwards I was feeling very disorganized, ragged and out of sorts. Friends kept telling me to ring Ron, but I didn't want to bother him. Eventually someone rang him and he said, "Put her on the line." He gave me a long session over the telephone lasting at least two hours, possibly three.

At that time he was very interested in energy. He said, "I want you to mock up a small amount of energy, like a little ball and tell me when you have done it." Then he said, "Now blow it up, make it explode." This was going on subjectively in my imagination; I had no difficulty doing it. Then he said, "Now you have exploded it, gather it all together again and reduce it all down to the small ball of energy, make it solid again." I did that and he said, "Now explode it again." That is all the session consisted of.

'After I had been doing this for a while, possibly half an hour, my physical body began to react in an extraordinary way. It began of its own accord to jerk about unintentionally, first quite gently. I told him what was happening and he told me not to worry but continue doing what he told me. The jerking became stronger, almost out of my control. I felt quite frightened, but he remained very calm and gentle. Finally it seemed my body was being flung out of the chair and I had to hold the chair and the telephone with might and main. I could not possibly have made my body do what it was doing, I would have had to have been an acrobat or trained contortionist. I thought my heart was going to burst. My friends sitting in the room watching me were aghast, terrified.

'The explosions, which had become more and more violent, became less violent by degrees and in the end instead of violent explosions of vast energy it was more like a stone thrown into pond sending out ripples. The ripples became very pleasant and as they did so my body calmed down and became quite tranquil, as if I was lying in the sun on a hot day. All around me were beautiful colours like the Aurora Borealis, colours out of this world, very soothing and harmonious and completely restorative. This went on until I felt quite all right and then he said it was the end of the session.'

Hubbard was clearly pleased by the results he had obtained with Carmen D'Alessio and at his next public lecture, in a small hall near Holland Park, he invited her to tell the audience about her experience. Unfortunately, Miss D'Alessio began her account by describing how her heart had nearly stopped and Hubbard hastily interrupted. '
He didn't want me to say any more,' she recalled. 'He never allowed anyone to say anything negative about him.[6]

In October, a British edition of Scientology: 8-8008 was published, with a note about the author from an unnamed editor
: 'Some think of his work as the only significant enlargement of the mind since Freud's papers in the late 19th century; others think of it as the Western World's first workable organization of Eastern philosophy. It has been called by two of the leading writers in America: "The most significant advance of mankind in the 20th century" . . . Probably no philosopher of modern times has had the popularity and appeal of Hubbard or such startling successes within his own lifetime.'

At the end of November, Hubbard returned to the United States, with Mary Sue and the baby, to deliver a series of lectures in Philadelphia, where the Scientology franchise was being run by Helen O'Brien and her husband, who paid ten per cent of their gross earnings to Hubbard for the privilege. The O'Briens agreed to pay Hubbard a $1000 fee for the lectures; in addition they arranged a car for his use and rented an ultra-modern terraced apartment at 2601 Parkway, high above River Drive. Hubbard was pleased with it, declared it to be a 'science-fiction writer's dream' and at the same time tried to manoeuvre Helen O'Brien into signing the rental agreement. She knew him too well to be caught out like that. 'I told him, "It's your apartment, you sign the lease,"' she said. 'He was tricky like that.'[7]

Hubbard lectured for a total of seventy hours in Philadelphia to an audience of thirty-eight devotees, speaking without preparation or notes on three evenings and six afternoons each week between 1 and 19 December. Every word was recorded on high-fidelity tapes and later lucratively marketed as the 'Philadelphia Doctorate Course', along with a spiral-bound book of the fifty-four crayon drawings with which he illustrated his talks. Many of the seventy hours were devoted to elaborating the cosmology of Scientology, but he also talked about ways of 'exteriorizing' from the body and demonstrated a new auditing technique called 'creative processing', similar to the 'mock-up' routine he had tried out on Carmen D'Alessio.
'What made it interesting,' said Fred Stansfield, one of the students on the course, 'was the feeling that you were involved in the birth of a new, developing science. It looked like something you could do something with, not just some theory that was utterly useless.'[8]

The only small hiccup in the smooth running of the Philadelphia Doctorate Course occurred on the afternoon of 16 December, when US marshals thundered up the stairs of the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation at 237 North 16th Street, Philadelphia, waving a warrant for the arrest of L. Ron Hubbard. Nibs, who was present and who had inherited something of his father's talent for story-telling, would later talk about an 'incredible Western-style' fight ensuing, with two hundred Scientologists battling on the stairs against FBI agents, US marshals and Philadelphia police.[9]

Helen O'Brien can recall no such mêlée. 'I was on the door so I know what happened. There was no fight. Two detectives in plain clothes and a policeman in uniform came in. I asked them what they wanted and they said, "We are here to arrest Ronald Hubbard". We were always apprehensive about plots to arrest Ron and I ran upstairs and told him what was happening. He went up to the third floor, but there was no escape. One of the students who had only one arm waved his hook at the cops and they backed down a bit, but they said, "We've got a warrant for Hubbard and we are going to take him". My husband and I got in the paddy-wagon with Ron. They fingerprinted him and put him a cell - it was the only time he was ever behind bars. I called my brother, who was a lawyer, and he got Ron out on $1000 bail later that afternoon.'
The cause of this spot of bother was Don Purcell, who was still doggedly pursuing Hubbard through the courts in an attempt to get some of his money back and keep the Wichita Foundation in business. When he heard Hubbard was in Philadelphia, Purcell filed an affidavit in Pennsylvania District Court accusing him of wrongfully withdrawing $9286 from the bankrupt Wichita Foundation. 'Throughout his Dianetic career,' the affidavit noted, 'Hubbard has displayed a fine talent for profiting personally although his firms and institutions generally fail.'[10]
Hubbard was examined before the bankruptcy court on 17 and 19 December, agreed to make restitution and was discharged. Very soon afterwards he flew back to London, where the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International, or HASI, had opened for business in a couple of draughty rooms above a shop in Holland Park Avenue in West London. They were unprepossessing premises for a science offering immortality, but Hubbard was not finding it easy to establish a base for Scientology in Britain. Helen O'Brien received a despairing letter from a friend describing the HASI offices in London: 'There was an atmosphere of extreme poverty and undertones of a grim conspiracy over all. At 163 Holland Park Avenue was an ill-lit lecture room and a bare-boarded and poky office some eight by ten feet, mainly infested by long-haired men and short-haired, tatty women.'

In February 1953, Hubbard decided it was necessary to bolster his status with the phlegmatic British by acquiring some academic qualifications. He knew precisely where they were available - from Sequoia University in Los Angeles. The 'university' of Sequoia was owned by Dr Joseph Hough, a chiropracteur and naturopath who ran a successful practice from a large house in downtown Los Angeles and conferred 'degrees' on whoever he thought merited them. Richard de Mille was awarded a Ph.D. from Sequoia, somewhat to his surprise, for a slim volume he had written under the title An Introduction to Scientology.

On 27 February, de Mille, who was then living in Los Angeles, received an urgent telegram from Hubbard in London:


De Mille found Hough thoroughly agreeable and replied the following day:


It was in this way that Hubbard acquired the distinction of appending letters to his name - a mysterious 'Doctorate of Divinity' would follow shortly, along with a 'D. Scn'.

It was clear from correspondence around this time that Hubbard was beginning to ponder the future of Scientology. Few of the franchises in the United States were generating much income and the organization had grown haphazardly into a cumbersome conglomeration of corporations spread around the country and increasingly difficult to control. He was also facing the relentless, if covert, opposition of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Hoover's agents rarely failed to mention, in answer to inquiries about Hubbard, that his former wife claimed he was 'hopelessly insane'.[11]

At the beginning of March, Hubbard wrote to Helen O'Brien from London and asked her to go to Phoenix, close down the publishing operation and move it to Philadelphia. On the day she arrived, she learned that burglars had broken into Hubbard's house on East Tatem Boulevard, near Camel Back Mountain. She drove out there and found the house had been ransacked. Although she had no way of knowing what had been stolen, she assumed the thieves had been looking for the fabled manuscript of Excalibur. Two guns were certainly missing and she reported their serial numbers to the FBI.
With her usual efficiency, O'Brien packed up the 'communications center', shipped everything to Philadelphia and assumed editorship of the bi-monthly magazine, the Journal of Scientology, which was the primary channel of communication between Hubbard and his followers. In truth, editing the magazine was not too onerous a task, since almost everything was written by Hubbard. (Whenever he wished to discuss his own wondrous work in glowing terms, he signed the articles 'Tom Esterbrook'.)
On 10 April, Hubbard wrote another long letter to Helen O'Brien discussing the possibility of setting up a chain of HASI clinics, or 'Spiritual Guidance Centers'. They could make 'real money', he noted, if each clinic could count on ten or fifteen pre-clears a week, each paying $500 for twenty-four hours of auditing. He had clearly previously discussed the prospect of converting Scientology into a religion. 'I await your reaction on the religion angle,' he wrote. 'In my opinion, we couldn't get worse public opinion than we have had or have less customers with what we've got to sell. A religious charter would be necessary in Pennsylvania or NJ to make it stick. But I sure could make it stick.'

Perhaps inspired by such considerations, Hubbard's next published work bore a distinctly Old Testament flavour. The Factors was a summation of his '30-year examination' of the human spirit and the material universe: 'Factor No. 1: Before the beginning was a Cause and the entire purpose of the Cause was the creation of effect.' At the end of the thirty factors was a valediction reading, 'humbly tendered as a gift to Man by L. Ron Hubbard.'
Three weeks later, the humble tenderer of gifts to mankind was writing to Helen O'Brien in a rather less pious fashion about a particular member of the species who continued to be a thorn in his side - Don Purcell. 'The obvious intention of Purcell is to attack and wipe out by public odium anything and everything he can in Dianetics, thus leaving him, he thinks, with a monopoly on the subject. Sooner or later it is quite obvious that this man . . . who is probably the most hated man in the city of Wichita because of his business dealings, will run up against somebody insane enough to put a bullet through him . . . Patently the man is insane. He has actively refused processing many times. He's about as safe to have around as a mad dog . . . The only surprising part of all this is that the American public by their attention to Purcell and what he says, demonstrates their complete incompetence and their desire to be swindled.'
At the end of May, Hubbard announced his intention to stir up some interest in Scientology on the continent and he left London for Spain by car, with Many Sue, who had recently discovered she was pregnant again, and baby Diana, then eight months old. They stayed first in Sitges, a small resort on the Mediterranean coast, then drove further south to Seville. It seems they did little other than enjoy an extended holiday, although Helen O'Brien, who was virtually running Scientology in the United States, continued to receive long, rambling letters in Hubbard's untidy scrawl.

On 19 July, he wrote nine pages asking her to get one of her 'electronic eager beaver' friends to construct an extraordinary machine with which he believed he would be able to cure insanity. The device was to be disguised as an ordinary briefcase with the trigger incorporated in the lock and it was to be capable of delivering a concentrated supersonic beam alternating approximately between breathing and heart rates, thus inducing hypnosis. He wanted to be able, he said, to walk into a sanatorium with his secret machine, confront an insane patient and make him sane in a few seconds. 'This would mean', he wrote, 'the immediate end of psychiatric resistance to Scientology.' O'Brien was to get the machine made up as a matter of urgency and air-freight it to him in Spain with a spurious explanation of its function for the benefit of the Customs officials.

On 15 August he wrote again, pleading with her to make sure the machine was finished by the time he arrived back in the United States in mid-September. He added that he had been working with children very successfully: 'I can make kids walk in a few minutes who were crippled . . . I can solve any case and teach people to solve any case without failure. I know the mind like a surveyor knows a map. That sets me free, like the genie of the uncorked bottle.'
The 'genie' returned to Philadelphia at the end of September in time to address the three-day International Congress of Dianeticists and Scientologists at the Broadwood Hotel. With more than three hundred delegates attending, the event was a great success, but by this time the organizers, Helen O'Brien and her husband, were exhausted and disillusioned. They had been at Hubbard's beck and call for most of the year, receiving little in return. 'As soon as we became responsible for Hubbard's interests,' Helen O'Brien recorded, 'a projection of hostility began, and he doubted and double-crossed us, and sniped at us without pause.' They had no desire to take it any more and resigned. Helen O'Brien would forever recall her parting, regretful words to Hubbard: 'You're like a cow who gives a good bucket of milk, then kicks it over.'

In October and November, Hubbard lectured to the Hubbard Association in Camden, New Jersey, just actress the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Mary Sue would normally have been present at every lecture, but she was forced by her pregnancy and the endless demands of an active toddler, to spent most of the time at home - yet another rented house, this time at Medford Lakes, about twenty miles from Camden. Nibs, who had recently married his long-time girlfriend, Henrietta, in Los Angeles, came to visit and was given a job in the Camden 'org', a Scientology abbreviation for organization.
The Hubbards returned to Phoenix for Christmas, to the house near Camel Back Mountain, and on 6 January 1954, Many Sue gave birth to her second child, a son, Geoffrey Quentin McCaully Hubbard.
Deprived of the services of Helen O'Brien, Hubbard tried to entice Richard de Mille back into the fold, only to discover that he, too, had become disillusioned. 'I wanted to find the true answer to everything,' de Mille explained, 'but I didn't like all the contradictions and I was becoming more and more sceptical of the whole thing. There was a constant pyramiding of claims, but the performance was always deficient. The answer to the deficiency was that we didn't have a particular step quite right, but now we had another step and this time it's going to be right.

'When Hubbard called me and said, "I miss you. Why don't you come back?" I was somewhat critical and expressed my scepticism. His reaction was typical. "Who's gotten to you, Dick?" he asked. To him, there was no such thing as simply being unconvinced.'

Despite the defections, Scientology prospered in Phoenix, so much so that in April 1954, the HASI moved into sumptuous new premises on a corner site at 1017 North Third Street. Formerly an apartment building, the new headquarters had wide Spanish-style colonnaded porches offering shade from the fierce Arizona sun on both first and second floors. Outside there was a large parking lot lined with palm trees and inside an auditorium with the latest recording facilities, more than twenty auditing rooms, comfortable offices for the executives and a swimming pool. In a brochure printed to celebrate the move, a picture of a beaming L. Ron Hubbard, C.E., D. Scn., D.D. could be found on the inside front cover and a similarly beaming L. Ron Hubbard Jr., H.G.A., D.Scn., on the inside back cover. 'Ten thousand years of thinking men have made this science possible,' the introduction proclaimed. 'L. Ron Hubbard has spent more than 30 years perfecting Dianetics and Scientology to the point of practical application .'

The house at Camel Back, where the Hubbards were enjoying an unaccustomed period of residential stability, became a gathering place for whichever courtiers happened to be in favour at the time. One of them was an Englishman by the name of Ray Kemp, who had no doubt that Hubbard possessed supernatural powers. 'He could certainly move clouds around in the sky,' said Kemp. 'I saw him do that. If there were a lot of little puffy clouds in the sky he could move one in one direction and one in another and then get them to join up. It was nothing particularly special for him; it was just a fun thing to do.'

Kemp liked to say he had found Scientology in a wastepaper basket. He was serving as a Royal Navy radar technician in Malta and was looking for something to read at a dull party when he spotted a discarded copy of Astounding Science Fiction. It was the Dianetics issue. He read it avidly, then bought the book and enrolled for an auditing course at Holland Park Avenue when he was next in London on leave. By 1954 he had made his way to Phoenix, where he was working for the org as an auditor.

'I spent quite a bit of time with Ron and Mary Sue out at Camel  Back. We used to swap war stories and try to cap each other's yarns. He was a wonderful story-teller and he'd make a story fit whatever point he was trying to make. I don't think he ever expected me to take his war stories seriously, although I knew he had been wounded because one night he kept complaining of a pain in his side and when he stood up a little bit of shrapnel fell out from under his shirt. He said it was something that often happened - fragments of shrapnel still in his body were slowly working their way out.
'One of the things he liked to do was ride his motorcycle - he had an Indian, a real monster - out into the desert. He played a game he called point to point. He'd pick a spot on the horizon and go for it, straight as he could, without deviating, regardless of what was in the way, cactus or whatever. Nibs and Dick Steves, from the org, used to chase him on their motorcycles, but Ron's favourite trick was to put up dust devils behind him. That's another thing he could do - manipulate dust devils. He could whip them up and move them around at will. I often saw him do that.'[12]
Ray Kemp exemplified a propensity in Hubbard's disciples to build myths around him. There was also a marked tendency to treat everything he said as gospel, which led to frequent misunderstandings as Hubbard liked to make jokes. Once, during a lecture in Phoenix, he made a crack about a Colt .45 being an 'enormously effective' method of exteriorization. As this ludicrous piece of wisdom was disseminated, a story grew that Hubbard had drawn a gun during the lecture and fired a round into the floor. Nibs swore later that he had seen the hole in the floorboards.
Jack Horner joined the circle close to Hubbard that summer of '54. Like so many of the early Dianeticists he had fallen out with Hubbard, in his case after Hubbard had accused him of fiddling the accounts, but typically he found he could not stay away. He pretended he was in Phoenix to see some friends who were working for the org and naturally ran into Hubbard.
'He asked me what I was doing and I said "teaching school" and he said, "we'll soon fix that" and he began to run a process on me right there and then. He told me to go and touch certain things in the room and then sit down at a desk. Then he said, "Now you go touch them" and I knew exactly what he meant. While I was sitting there I suddenly found myself looking at the underside of the desk. I had a definite, certain reality of myself out of my body. I said "Oh my God, I'm out of my body!" At that point I knew what he meant by exteriorization.
'Later, when I was working for him doing research in Phoenix, I was out at his home late one afternoon with Jim Pinkham, who did all the recording at the org, and someone knocked at the door. Ron went and talked to a guy outside for about five minutes and came back with a big grin on his face. He said the guy at the door wanted to give him a cheque for $5000 for a copy of Excalibur. Then he laughed out loud and said, "One of these days I'll have to get round to writing it." We cracked up. It was the only time Ron ever admitted there was no such book.
'It didn't matter too much to us. From our standpoint at that time Scientology was the only game in town and it was Ron's game. It was like exploring the moon, like being in the space programme, except that we were exploring the mind instead of space. Religion didn't cut it, psychology didn't cut it. If Ron wanted to tell tall stories about himself to make himself look good, so what? We didn't worry a whole lot about it. His genius outflowered his craziness.'[13]

Many of Ron's most fervent admirers, Horner included, found it difficult to include Mary Sue in their devotion. 'I hated her,' said Horner. 'She was a real tight-lipped Baptist. One night I got into a fight with her because she called my girlfriend a whore. I really tore into her verbally and Hubbard threw me out of the house.'

Hubbard would never allow anyone to criticize Mary Sue and although he rarely showed much affection for her in public, it seemed, after two failed marriages and innumerable affairs, that he had at last formed a stable relationship, improbable as it had first appeared. They were indeed an unlikely couple - a flamboyant, fast-talking extrovert entrepreneur in his forties and a quiet, intense young woman twenty years his junior from a small town in Texas. But anyone who underestimated Mary Sue made a big mistake. Although she was not yet twenty-four years old, she exercized considerable power within the Scientology movement and people around Hubbard quickly learned to be wary of her. Fiercely loyal to her husband, brusque and autocratic, she could be a dangerous enemy. She also had a remarkable capacity for motherhood; only four months after Quentin was born, she was pregnant again.

In June, the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International produced an imaginative re-working of Hubbard's biography in a letter to the Better Business Bureau in Phoenix, clearly designed to improve HASI's standing in the town. Much new information was included, not all of it entirely comprehensible.

The mysterious Commander Tompson [sic], for example, was said in the letter to have 'instituted psychoanalysis in the US Navy for use in flight surgery'.

A Dr William Alan White, superintendent of St Elizabeth's, a government asylum in Washington, made his debut as someone under whom Hubbard had trained and mention was made of a hitherto unmentioned book: 'In 1947 Hubbard published a book for the Gerontological Society and the American Medical Association called Scientology. A New Science.'

This non-existent publication, it seemed, was 'politely received', but thereafter events had conspired against the scientist-author. Like 'almost any nuclear physicist' be had often written science fiction 'for amusement' and unscrupulous publishers took advantage of this fact. While poor Ron wanted nothing for himself but to be left in peace to continue his study and research, he was pressurized to produce a popular book for Hermitage House, who then 'unwisely' published an article in a pulp magazine. The sorry tale continued with Hubbard constantly being taken advantage of by all and sundry, with everyone but Ron trying to make money out of his discoveries and his wicked estranged wife threatening to stir up a 'great deal of scandal'.

However, the biography had a happy ending in Phoenix in the Hubbard Association of Scientologists - the first organization in the field to be under Hubbard's sole control and therefore untainted by all the previous manoeuvrings. It had established a two-year record of good repute and responsibility, paid its bills promptly 'as any Phoenix business firm with which it deals can attest' and was following a policy of quiet, orderly business. It was soon intending to make Scientology available to the disabled 'as a public service'.
The letter was signed by John Galusha, the secretary of the HASI board of directors. It was, no doubt, written in good faith, for Galusha was a thoroughly decent, deeply committed Scientologist. He had been working on the railroad in Colorado when he first heard about Dianetics and had thrown himself into it wholeheartedly. 'I thought it was a privilege to work for Ron,' he said. 'Maybe he was a charlatan and a liar - I didn't care. The point was that the tech was good. It worked.'[14] The 'tech' was the commonly used contraction for what Hubbard, the engineer, liked to describe as 'the technology' of Scientology.
Galusha did not get to know Hubbard particularly well, but then very few people did. Jack Horner recalled a strange remark Hubbard once made: 'We were out the back of his house and he was draining the radiator of his car because it was going to be unexpectedly cold that night. I said to him, "You know Ron, it would be nice if we could be closer friends." There was a silence for a moment, then he replied, "Yeah, it would be nice, but I can't have any friends."'
For Hubbard, the best news of 1954 came towards the end of the year when he heard from Wichita that Don Purcell was giving up the fight for control of Dianetics. Purcell had tired of the seemingly endless litigation and the constant attacks from Scientologists. He had also became interested in an offshoot of Dianetics called Synergetics and when he decided to devote his future resources to Synergetics he handed the Wichita Foundation's copyrights and mailing lists back to Hubbard, thankful to disentangle himself from the man he had once considered a saviour.
Purcell's retreat could not have come at a more apposite moment. With Dianetics and Scientology at last firmly under his control, Hubbard was ready to follow his own often-voiced advice: 'If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be to start a religion.'

1. What is Scientology?, 1978 ed. 
2. Ability no. 81, 1959 
3. Have You Lived Before This Life?, ed. L. Ron Hubbard, 1968
 Report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, State of Victoria, Australia, 1965
 Religious Sects, Bryan Wilson, 1970
 Interview with Carmen D'Alessio, London, Jan. 1986 
7. Interviews with Helen O'Brien 
8. Interview with Fred Stansfield, Burbank, July 1986
Evidence of L. Ron Hubbard Jr. at Clearwater hearings, May 1982 
10. Bankruptcy file 23747, Federal Records Center, Philadelphia
Letter from office of J. Edgar Hoover to Senator Homer Ferguson, 2 Mar 1953
Interview with Ray Kemp, Palomar, CA., Aug 1986
Interview with Horner
14. Interview with Galusha, Denver, Colorado, March 1986

Dianetics makes its inauspicious début, in the pages of a pulp science fiction magazine.
'My vanity hopes that you will secure credit to me for eleven years of unpaid research, but my humanity hopes above that that this science will be used as intelligently and extensively as possible, for it is a science and it does produce exact results uniformly and can, I think, be of benefit.' (Letter from L.R. Hubbard to Dr Joseph Winter, August 1949)

William_Wiseman, the head of MI6 in the United States, was an Intelligence ROOM member, who Ron Hubbard Worked up as an MI6 Agent

Ledora May Hubbard, Ron's long-suffering mother, and her husband Harry Ross Hubbard, Ron's father, in the dress uniform of a US Navy officer. Ron remembered his mother sometimes with affection, sometimes with deep dislike; his father found that promotion eluded him and debtors pursued him.

Little Ron Hbbard in a sailor hat. One day he would be the self-appointed commodore of his own private navy.

Richard de Mille and Barbara Kaye at the house in Palm Springs where Hubbard plotted to kidnap his daughter Alexis.

The Waterbury family photographed in their home town of Helena, Montana. 
Ledora May Waterbury, Ron's mother (left), with an unidentified relative, her sisters Toilie and Midgie and brother Ray

Explorers Club Journal in 1949 

Ron Hubbard was fascinated with benzedrine, he continued to recommend it in conjunction with Dianetic therapy.
Ron Hubbard submitted an article to the Explorers Club Journal in 1949 – he recommends benzedrine.  103
(The red arrow below shows you where it is in the article.). The purpose of the Dianetic reverie is to wake the patient up. Narco-synthesis and other drug therapies have some slight use in Dianetics. But the primary technique consists of stimulants. The best stimulant is benzedrine; In its absence an overdose of coffee will do.

Dr. Winfred Overholser was the Superintendent of Saint Elizabeths Hospital.

Ron Hubbard who founded the Church of Scientology in 1954. 

Joseph_c_thompson1917_Commander Joseph Thompson was a medical officer (neurosurgeon) in the US Navy, who was was invilved in helping, training and arranging Rob Hubbard to be become involved with working as an intellgence agent for MI6 the MI6 controlld CIA. Ron Hubbard was used to front for MI6 and the CIA and powerful people and organisations to set up Scientology which was based on the Mind Control Techniques and Technology which included therapies used in Scietology such as Dianetics which is from Greek dia, meaning "through", and nous, meaning "mind",  being a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body, which was developed on concepts developed by the Society for Psychical Research, and the Tavlistock Society before L. Ron Hubbard was even born.  

Mind Control Technology such as 'Lilly Wave' is now much more far advanced beyond what we know

​"It used to be the case that the authorities had to utilize censorship and propaganda to keep the population in check and make sure that they were thinking the ‘right’ way. Of course, these techniques are still in use today, but the means of control have grown far more sophisticated. According to various whistle blowers and insiders, the American government has made extraordinary steps in mind control technology over the past few years, and this technology is affecting the population in ways that cannot even be fathomed."... 

Intelligence Assignment Research Personality Testing
The British nobility wants to be the ruthless ruler of the entire world. They have a problem, most men do not want to live under the boot and say-so of the British nobility. They want to live as free men who live under their own free will and say-so. Thus the British slavemasters seek and use methods to modify behavior, to transform men into what the slavemasters want them to be.
During World War I, psychiatrist John Rawlings Rees and some other psychs were brought into the British Army to handle officer selection and to treat soldiers who did not want to fight. 106  Their interest was in how to make men into killers and how to choose men to lead and influence others to be killers.
That was their interest in personality testing, to identify the men who would lead others to kill.  107
A two-pronged devil’s fork developed, for modifying behavior. One prong was the soft psychiatry approach, which was personality testing and talking therapy. The other prong was brutal psychiatry, which is using horrible drugs, electroshock, brain operations, and pain-drug-hypnosis methods to modify behavior.
After the war ended they decided to apply these behavior modification methods to the general population. They call it social psychiatry and social engineering. 108 Social engineering methods include using propaganda and religious front groups to modify thinking and behavior.
During World War II, John Rawlings Rees and his psych pals performed the same services as they did in WW I

John Rawlings Rees
The Office of Strategic Services was an American intelligence agency, but it was really a rat-nest of British intelligence agents operating inside the American government. The OSS Psychology Division was formed to study people and their ideas to learn how to manipulate them. Margaret Mead and her husband Gregory Bateson were British agents who worked for the OSS Psychology Division. 109
Margaret Mead

Wikipedia Exposed Media - WEM


The Department of Defense did a report on its experimentation programs that had participation by the CIA. The report also gives specifics on the Office of Naval Research being used as a conduit for CIA funding.   Here is the beginning of the report

The budding science-fiction writer poses at his typewriter during a visit to his parents on the island of Guam in 1928.

COI headquarters in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center –
the exact same place that was MI 6 headquarters in America.William Donovan was head of the Office of the Coordinator of Information, the forerunner of the Office of Strategic Services. In October 1941, William Donovan set up the COI headquarters in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center –
the exact same place that was MI 6 headquarters in America.
They wanted to obtain intelligence from German prisoners of war and thought they could use drugs in interrogation to get the prisoners to reveal secrets. They began testing drugs looking for a speech-inducing drug that could be used in interrogation. Some of the drugs tested were morphine, mescaline, marijuana, barbituates, and benzedrine.

The portly Nibs (second from right) posing with his father and friends in a London garden in the 1950s - the smiles would soon turn to tears when father and son fell out. 'Many awards and honors were offered and conferred on L. Ron Hubbard. He did accept an honorary Doctor of Philosophy given in recognition of his outstanding work on Dianetics and, as an inspiration to the many people . . . who had been inspired by him to take up advanced studies in this field.' (Mission Into Time, 1973)

Margaret Mead and her husband Gregory Bateson were British agents who worked for the OSS Psychology Division. 109

 William Talbot who had worked for the OSS Psychology Division..

In 1946 the Stanford Research Institute was created, headed by William Talbot  as a network of think tanks for hatching social engineering methods  as part of the slavemaster social engineering network.

This next part of the Department of Defense report says the Navy contracted with a New York researcher to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war. Benzedrine was one of the drugs investigated in the project.
 Development and administration of speech-inducing drugs
This project apparently began in 1947 and ended in 1953.
It was performed primarily by a contractor located in New York and, in one aspect, by the Navy at a location in Europe. The involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency was apparently only as an interested observer. The project was funded by the Navy through the Naval Medical Research Institute. The Central Intelligence Agency records of this project are apparently in the BLUEBIRD .and ARTICHOKE project files.
The Navy arranged in 1950 to obtain marijuana and heroin from the FBI for use in experiments and entered a contract with a researcher in New York to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war, defectors and similar persons. The security cover for the project was a study of motion sickness. The study began with six of the researcher’s staff as knowing volunteers. The project was expanded to cover barbituates and benzedrine. Other substances were evaluated.
Bare-Faced Messiah P. 147 –
‘GUK’ was a haphazard cocktail of benzedrine, vitamins and glutamic acid which Hubbard believed facilitated auditing.
I recall Ron telling a meeting about this great breakthrough in Dianetics,’ said Forrest Ackerman. ‘He said he had discovered a chemical way to audit yourself called GUK. It comprised huge quantities of vitamins which you took every two hours for at least twenty-four hours. If you took enough, he said, it would release the engrams within you without the need for a partner.’ ‘The Foundation rented a huge complex on Rossmore near Beverly and loads of Dianeticists were holed up there going through the GUK programme…’

Volney Mathison built the first E-Meter in 1940. He called it the Mathison Electropsychometer. He used the device with his patients to investigate their inner problems. Mathison was a follower of Dianetics. Ron Hubbard incorporated the E-Meter into Dianetics and Scientology practices.

Volney Mathison uses an E-meter to analyze a patient, circa 1951
Now we have all the ingredients for Hubbard to be assisting the Navy contract “to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war”. Benzedrine was one of the drugs tested and Hubbard had plenty of people he could use as test subjects for the experiments. Hubbard also had the test subjects for CIA projects that were interested in the same thing.
* * *
By the way, when you combine benzedrine and nicotinic acid, like they were doing – it produces hallucinations.
Another well-publicized experiment occurred in a University Chapel in Boston on the evening of Good Friday 1962. It was here that twenty theology [religions study] students took part in Walter Pahnke’s Psilocybin experiments. Ten students were given 30 mg. of psilocybin and ten others were giver 200 mg. of nicotinic acid, laced with a small amount of Benzedrine to stimulate the initial physical sensations attributed to a psychedelic experience.

– Mushroom Pioneers by John W. Allen; Chapter 7. Mushrooms and Timothy Francis Leary
(The great site Erowid made this known)

This next part of the Department of Defense report says the Navy was used as a conduit for CIA funding of mind control and behavior modification research.

Gregory Bateson – Tavistock
In 1946, Alan Gregg, the Medical Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, was interested in finding out if there was a group committed to undertaking, under conditions of peace, the kind of social psychiatry that had developed in the army under conditions of war.
John Rawlings Rees and his psych pals decided to form a group that Alan Gregg was looking for. They were given the Rockefeller grant which led to the birth of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, in London. 110, 111
A network of think tanks for hatching social engineering methods was created. In 1946 Stanford Research Institute was formed as part of the slavemaster social engineering network. It was headed by William Talbot who had worked for the OSS Psychology Division.

Wild Bill Donovan

​William Donovan was head of the Office of the Coordinator of Information, the forerunner of the Office of Strategic Services. In October 1941, William Donovan set up the COI headquarters in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center – the exact same place that was MI 6 headquarters in America.
They wanted to obtain intelligence from German prisoners of war and thought they could use drugs in interrogation to get the prisoners to reveal secrets. They began testing drugs looking for a speech-inducing drug that could be used in interrogation. Some of the drugs tested were morphine, mescaline, marijuana, barbituates, and benzedrine.

Mind control technology 'Lilly Wave' is far advanced beyond what we know​

It used to be the case that the authorities had to utilize censorship and propaganda to keep the population in check and make sure that they were thinking the ‘right’ way. Of course, these techniques are still in use today, but the means of control have grown far more sophisticated. According to various whistle blowers and insiders, the American government has made extraordinary steps in mind control technology over the past few years, and this technology is affecting the population in ways that cannot even be fathomed.

Secret mind control technology exposed
One of the ways that the government can control human beings through mind control technology is the Lilly wave. The Lilly wave was developed by a Dr John C Lilly during his time at the US National Institutes of health. In the course of his work, Lilly discovered that a certain form of wavelength could manipulate the water molecules within a subject’s brain which could essentially change the way that they think and feel. According to Lilly’s friend Patrick Flanagan, the technology can be utilised using frequency waves of 40hz and did not require the use of electrodes. Flanagan claimed that the US government had immediately decided to weaponise the technology as soon as it came to light.

According to Melissa and Aaron Dykes of Truthstream Media, the Lily wave is only the tip of the icebergs. The couple claim that a man named Hendricus G. Loos patented an extraordinary invention called Nervous System Manipulation by Electromagnetic Fields from Monitors. Writing in the patent paperwork, Loos claims that the invention can alter a human’s emotional state by altering the electromagnetic fields around them via devices such as television screens and computer monitors. Loos wrote, “It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulling images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or TV set.” Perhaps the most sinister aspect of this invention is that it can be used without the subject of the mind control ever being aware of what has happened.
Melissa and Aaron Dykes have also exposed the brain mapping technology which is said to be a priority for the controllers of the Davos network. According to the team at Truthstream Media, this technology will be capable of decoding a human brain – essentially this will mean that it will give the users power to read the thoughts of other people. This is particularly worrying, Melissa and Aaron Dykes say, as there is no legal protection such as mental privacy on the books at this current time. This means covertly monitoring the thoughts of others is completely legal.
Perhaps the most disturbing mind control technology used by the US government was exposed by Dr Robert Duncan, formerly of the CIA. He claimed that the US Army used a sinister mind control technology during the Iraq War which bears the name ‘The Voice of God’. According to Duncan, the technology piped voices into the brains of enemy combatants and urged or commanded them to drop their weapons and surrender to the Americans. While he did not say which organisation was responsible for creating this potentially incredibly dangerous invention, many suspect that it was created by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) which has admitted that it is interested in the field of mind control technology for use in a military context.
It is worth bearing in mind that these sinister inventions are likely to only be the tip of the iceberg. These are the inventions which have been exposed to the general public by concerned individuals or by whistle blowers. It is very likely that there are many more covert means of control in use by institutions such as the United States government that have so far managed not to be brought into the public domain.

The article The Lilly Wave And Psychotronic Warfare states:

“[The Lilly wave] is a bi-phasic electric pulse which stimulates the neurons of the brain to resonate at a certain frequency, thus the Lilly wave has the ability to control the brainwave patterns of the brain. There is however a far more advanced form and a largely unknown and suppressed purpose in the use of the Lilly Wave. The water molecules within the brain can be made to resonate at a desired frequency thus causing the electrons that comprise the brains electrical voltages to also resonate at the same frequency.
It is not a requirement, as is understood by the majority of science, to implant electrodes to cause the brains water molecules to be entrained to a certain frequency, it can also be accomplished by any waveform that can penetrate the skull and cause the entrainment of the brains water molecules. For example, radio waves emitted at a frequency of 40hz, targeted at a persons brain, will entrain the water molecules to a degree of 40hz and thus the rest of the brains electrons will resonate at such a frequency.
In this manner it is possible to stimulate and control the brains wave patterns remotely, with electromagnetism and also acoustic waves … in short, the Lilly Wave is best described as a targeted resonance of the brains molecules.”

Hubbard learned to fly a glider while at George Washington University. He acquired the uniquely appropriate nickname of 'Flash' and liked to be described as a 'daredevil speed pilot and parachute artist'.

Facial recognition is coming to US schools, starting in New York
Mariella Moon  30/05/2019

The Lockport City School District in New York will start testing a facial and object recognition system called "Aegis" on June 3rd. According to BuzzFeed News, that will make it the first in the US to pilot a facial recognition surveillance system on its students and faculty. The district installed cameras and the software suite back in September, using $1.4 million of the $4.2 million funding it received through the New York Smart Schools Bond Act. Funding provided through the Bond Act is supposed to go towards instructional tech devices, such as iPads and laptops, but the district clearly had other plans.
BuzzFeed News got its hands on a copy of a letter distributed to the students' parents, and it describes Aegis as "an early warning system" that can notify officials of threats. The system, created by Canadian company SN Technologies, can apparently keep track of certain individuals in school grounds. They include level 2 or 3 sex offenders, anyone prohibited from entering the schools and anybody believed to pose a threat based on credible information.
The system can also identify students and staff who've been suspended, but it's unclear if Lockport will use it to monitor those who've been suspended over non-violent offenses. According to the letter, though, Aegis will delete footage after 60 days and it won't record the movements of students, staff and visitors that aren't in the list of individuals to monitor. That said, the system will have to analyze everyone's faces to identify people it has to keep an eye on.

Gallery: US states with the most and fewest school shootings (Reuters)

In addition to being able to recognize certain individuals, the software was designed to recognize 10 types of guns. The letter even talks about the necessity of a facial recognition system in the context of school shootings. Part of the letter says that while "acts of violence in schools continue to occur in our country," parents can "be assured that the Lockport City School District continues to make school security a priority."
As you can guess, the pilot test is a controversial one, seeing as the technology is facing more and more scrutiny now that companies are treating information as currency. Facial recognition systems continue to show gender and racial bias, frequently misidentifying women and persons of color. They're far from perfect: In fact, when New York City tested it to spot terrorists on the road in 2018, it failed to detect a single face.

Stefanie Coyle, education counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union, told BuzzFeed News that the organization asked the New York State Education Department to block the project. After all, San Francisco banned the technology, and it's a city filled with tech companies that understand it best. "Why in the world would we want this to come to New York," she added, "and in a place where there are children?"
State Assembly Member Monica Wallace has also introduced a bill that would prohibit the district from using the technology. But if it fails to pass, then Lockport will be able roll it out to all its schools on September 1st. Before that happens, though, district officials have to make any adjustments needed based on Aegis' performance during the pilot period. They'll figure out the best camera angles and lighting during the testing phase and will also train people on how to use the system.

Abram Waterbury, L. Ron Hubbard's great-grandfather, playing the fiddle carved with a negro's head that became part of the family legend

Volney Mathison uses an E-meter to analyze a patient, circa 1951

Ron's grandfather was supposed to have owned a quarter of the state of Montana. Here he is seen as he really was, a struggling veterinarian, pictured with his wife and their first child (Ron's mother) at Tilden, Nebraska, around the late 1880s.

The Bill Franks interview - Into the Scientology Twilight Zone
Blue Sky, Published on Jan 1, 2014
 Bill Franks as the First Executor Director International of Chairmand of the board of the Church of Scientology was asked to muder someone as a way of proving his loyalty to the organization of Scientology and knew about other murders that were planned and orderd by those running Scientology, with such orders coming from Ron Hubbard and other excutives,  which included the planned murde of at least three people which were Member of Parilianment in England in late in late 1979 ...... Bill Franks goes onto say that at least one of the British male MP's was murdered as a result of the orders of Ron Hubbard and other executives ....
Bill Franks state that there wre a lot of Fair Game Orders were given by Ron Hubbard to do whatever to destroy what Scientology considered were Suppressive Persons .. one such case was Paulette Cooper .. the Fair Game attacks against Paulette Cooper was personally handled by Ron Hubbard.... Bill Franks stated that Ron Hubbard wanted his wife Mary Sue to take as much personal blame for any criminal activities that were discovered being carried out by Scientology .... 
Bill Franks states that in the 1970's Scientology had around 110 Attorney in the USA paying over $2 million per month in legal fees when Bill Franks was as the Executive Director of Scientology of the Sea Organization was only earning around $15 per week ,
Bill Franks called a meeting of all the USA Attorneys and thus he knew how many there were ...

​The Edge, June 2010 - Tom Smith interviews Bill Franks who was the first Executive Director International and Chairman of the Board of the Church. Among the topics discussed are Fair Game, Paulette Cooper, the framing of Mary Sue, orders issued against elected officials of a major Western government, Miscavige's psychopathy, Hubbard's psychopathy, etc. The way Bill explains the story of the Hubbard dispatch that admitted people blow due to ARC Breaks (upsets) rather than transgressions, and giving that story the full context, is very good. Take a visit to Scientology's version of the Twilight Zone. The story about Bill Franks is a story about another highly trained Sea Org executive who served directly under LRH, and was later busted by David Miscavige and his team. It is worth noticing that most of the highest Sea Org Executives who was appointed and trained directly by LRH have been SP declared or removed by the current management: David Mayo (Snr C/S Int), Bill Franks (ED Int), Mary Sue Hubbard (Captain and chief of Guardian Office), Bill Robertson (Captain and special missionaire for LRH). Bill Franks joined Scientology in 1968 studying the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course at Saint Hill UK, directly under LRH. He joined staff and went up the Org Board. He was CO AOLA and ended up as ED Int, appointed for life personally by LRH. He was also the Chairmann of the Board of Directors, Church of Scientology International. He was Class IX auditor, OT VII and OEC FEBC graduate. He reached the highest level of administrative training, doing the FEBC directly under LRH on the Flag ship. In December 1981 he was voted out by the Board of Directors, David Miscavige was on the Board. On 12th August 1982 he was SP declared by Watchdog Committee (also David Miscavige).

Category News & Politics

Mary Sue Hubbard was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 until his death in 1986. She was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life.
Mary Sue Hubbard (née Whipp; June 17, 1931 – November 25, 2002) was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 until his death in 1986. She was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life. The Hubbards had four children; Diana (born 1952), Quentin (born 1954), Suzette (born 1955), and Arthur (born 1958).
She became involved in Hubbard's Dianetics in 1952, while still a student at the University of Texas at Austin, becoming a Dianetics auditor. She soon became involved in a relationship with Hubbard and married him in March 1952. She accompanied her husband to Phoenix, Arizona, where they established the Hubbard Association of Scientologists – the forerunner of the Church of Scientology, which was itself founded in 1953. She was credited with helping to coin the word "Scientology". She played a leading role in the management of the Church of Scientology, rising to become the head of the Church's Guardian's Office (GO). In August 1978, she was indicted by the United States government on charges of conspiracy relating to illegal covert operations mounted by the Guardian's Office against government agencies. She was convicted in December 1979 and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and the payment of a $10,000 fine. She was forced to resign her post in July 1981 and served a year in prison from January 1983, after exhausting her appeals against her conviction. In the late 1990s, she fell ill with breast cancer and died in 2002

Early Life of Mary Sue Whipp and her involvement in Dianetics

Mary Sue Whipp was born in Rockdale, Texas, to Harry and Mary Catherine (née Hill) Whipp. She grew up in Houston, where she attended Rice University for a year before moving on to the University of Texas at Austin, from which she graduated as a Bachelor of Arts. She originally intended to work in petroleum research, but a friend persuaded her to travel with him to Wichita, Kansas, in mid-1951 to take a Dianetics course at the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation. She soon began an affair with Hubbard, who had just been divorced from his second wife Sara, and moved in with him within only a few weeks of arriving in Wichita. She obtained a Hubbard Dianetic Auditor's Certificate and joined the Foundation's staff.
Mary Sue Whipp  became pregnant in February 1952 and married Hubbard the next month. By this time the Foundation had filed for bankruptcy, and Hubbard's erstwhile backer, Don Purcell, was left to deal with its substantial debts. A bitter dispute broke out between the men over the ownership of the Foundation's remaining assets, with Hubbard resigning to start a rival "Hubbard College" on the other side of Wichita. Mary Sue was given partial responsibility for running the new Dianetics establishment. After six weeks of operation  it was replaced in April 1952
 by the Hubbard Association of Scientologists, established in Phoenix, Arizona to promote Hubbard's newly announced "science of certainty"

Mary Sue Whipp’s involvement in the Establishment and expansion of Scientology
The Hubbards traveled to England in September 1952 when Mary Sue was eight months pregnant. According to the Church of Scientology, the reason for the trip was that "amid the constant violence of the turncoat Don J. Purcell of Wichita and his suits which attempted to seize Scientology, Mary Sue became ill and to save her life, Ron took her to England where several Dianetic groups had asked him to form an organization." Russell Miller gives a different explanation: "Hubbard wanted to go to London to establish his control over the small Dianetics group which had formed there spontaneously and Mary Sue insisted on accompanying him." Three weeks later, on September 24, 1952, she gave birth to her first child, Diana Meredith de Wolfe Hubbard. The Hubbards returned to the United States in November when their visa expired and moved into an apartment in Philadelphia.
They went back to London in December on a fresh visa and stayed there until the end of May 1953, before departing for an extended holiday in Spain. In October 1953 they returned to the US where Hubbard gave a series of lectures in Camden, New Jersey and established the first Church of Scientology. By this time, Mary Sue was well advanced with her second pregnancy and remained largely confined to a rented house at Medford Lakes, New Jersey. They traveled to Phoenix for Christmas 1953 and it was there on January 6, 1954 that Mary Sue gave birth to her second child, Geoffrey Quentin McCaully Hubbard.
The Hubbards lived at a house on Tatum Boulevard (now 5501 North 44th Street) on the slopes of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix for the remainder of 1954. By this time, Mary Sue had become a key figure within the nascent Scientology movement. Although Hubbard himself was much admired by Scientologists, his wife was said to be much less popular. Russell Miller notes:
They were indeed an unlikely couple – a flamboyant, fast-talking extrovert entrepreneur in his forties and a quiet, intense young woman twenty years his junior from a small town in Texas. But anyone who underestimated Mary Sue made a big mistake. Although she was not yet twenty-four years old, she exercised considerable power within the Scientology movement and people around Hubbard quickly learned to be wary of her. Fiercely loyal to her husband, brusque and autocratic, she could be a dangerous enemy.
A family friend, Ray Kemp, later recalled: "their relationship seemed OK, but there never seemed to be a lot of love between them. She was not the affectionate type, she was more efficient than affectionate. They used to have fierce husband and wife domestic arguments." Joan Vidal, a friend of the sculptor Edward Harris, who was commissioned by Hubbard to create a bust of him, described Mary Sue as "a rather drab, mousy, nothing sort of person, quite a bit younger than him." Ken Urquhart, who worked for the Hubbards as their butler in the 1960s, commented that Mary Sue "could be very sweet and loving, but also very cold." Cyril Vosper, one of the Saint Hill staff at the time, noted the differing impressions left by the Hubbards: "I always had great warmth and admiration for Ron – he was a remarkable individual, a constant source of new information and ideas – but I thought Mary Sue was an exceedingly nasty person. She was a bitch."
Mary Sue became pregnant again four months after Quentin's birth and on February 13, 1955, in Washington, D.C., she gave birth to her second daughter, Mary Suzette Rochelle Hubbard. Following the birth, the Hubbards moved into a house in Silver Spring, Maryland. A "Founding Church of Scientology" was established in Washington, D.C. and Mary Sue became its first Academy Supervisor.
The Hubbards returned again to London at the end of September 1955, where they took over the day-to-day management of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International. They remained there until 1957, when Hubbard returned to lecture at the Academy of Scientology in Washington, D.C., with Mary Sue and the children following later. By this time Mary Sue was pregnant for a fourth time and gave birth to her final child, Arthur Ronald Conway Hubbard, on June 6, 1958.
A change in the visa regime in the UK enabled foreigners to remain indefinitely if they had sufficient means to support themselves. The Hubbards moved back to London in February 1959, settling for a while in Golders Green.[18] Not long afterwards Hubbard bought Saint Hill Manor at Saint Hill Green, near East Grinstead, West Sussex.[19] The manor, a country house formerly owned by Sawai Man Singh II, the Maharajah of Jaipur, became both the new home of the Hubbards and the world headquarters of Scientology.
The Hubbards continued to carry out auditing of each other and in February 1960 Mary Sue wrote to a friend to inform her that her husband had discovered that she had been the writer D.H. Lawrence in a past life. She intended to make use of this discovery by writing a book that would be "completely anti-Christ". The protagonist, "a bastard child", would be the son of the three most virile men in the town (a satire of the Holy Trinity). The mother had slept with all three men on the same night but as she did not know which had fathered the child, had "thereupon decided to call him Ali, son of ----, son of ----, and son of ---- which impressed the local inhabitants and created a stir throughout the country."
By this time, Mary Sue was working as the chief course supervisor at Saint Hill Manor. The Hubbards' relationship was unconventional, as their butler, Ken Urquhart, later recalled: "Neither Ron nor Mary Sue lived the way one might have expected in a house like that. They spent most of their time working; there was very little socializing. They would go to bed very late, usually in the small hours of the morning, and get up in the early afternoon ... [Mary Sue] had a separate bedroom, but usually had breakfast with him – scrambled eggs, sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes. After breakfast he would go into his office and I would rarely see him again until six-thirty when I had to have the table laid for dinner. At six-twenty-five I would go into his office with a jacket for him to wear to table and after dinner they would spend an hour or so watching television with the children and then he and Mary Sue would return to work in their separate offices."
On January 26, 1967, Mary Sue was confirmed as a Scientology "Clear", a somewhat elite rank at that time. Her achievement was commemorated in a special tribute edition of the Scientology newspaper The Auditor, titled simply: "Mary Sue Hubbard – Clear #208". In it, she thanked her husband "for having given the most precious gifts of freedom and true beingness to me and my fellow man. Without him, none of this would have been possible; and so to Ron goes my everlasting gratitude for having provided for all of us the road to Clear."
Mary Sue Hubbard was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 until his death in 1986. She was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life.
Mary Sue Hubbard (née Whipp; June 17, 1931 – November 25, 2002) was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 until his death in 1986. She was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life. The Hubbards had four children; Diana (born 1952), Quentin (born 1954), Suzette (born 1955), and Arthur (born 1958).
She became involved in Hubbard's Dianetics in 1952, while still a student at the University of Texas at Austin, becoming a Dianetics auditor. She soon became involved in a relationship with Hubbard and married him in March 1952. She accompanied her husband to Phoenix, Arizona, where they established the Hubbard Association of Scientologists – the forerunner of the Church of Scientology, which was itself founded in 1953. She was credited with helping to coin the word "Scientology". She played a leading role in the management of the Church of Scientology, rising to become the head of the Church's Guardian's Office (GO). In August 1978, she was indicted by the United States government on charges of conspiracy relating to illegal covert operations mounted by the Guardian's Office against government agencies. She was convicted in December 1979 and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and the payment of a $10,000 fine. She was forced to resign her post in July 1981 and served a year in prison from January 1983, after exhausting her appeals against her conviction. In the late 1990s, she fell ill with breast cancer and died in 2002

​Mary Sue’s Life at Sea
During the late 1960s, Scientology was faced by an increasingly hostile media and intensifying government scrutiny in a number of countries, notably Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Hubbard decided to take to the high seas in a bid to liberate Scientology from the attentions of hostile governments.On November 22, 1966, the Hubbard Explorational Company Limited was formed with Hubbard and Mary Sue as directors – Hubbard being described as expedition supervisor and Mary Sue as company secretary. Several ships were purchased to serve as the quarters of the newly created "Sea Org". The flagship of the Scientology fleet was the 3,280 ton vessel HMS Royal Scotsman – accidentally renamed the Royal Scotman due to a clerical error,a former cattle ferry on the Irish Sea run.
After the vessel had been renovated by Scientologists, Mary Sue and the children moved into the upper-deck accommodation in November 1968. The difference in the quality of living conditions between the Hubbards and the crew was stark:
Most of the crew lived in cramped, smelly, roach-infested dormitories fitted with bunks in three tiers that left little room for personal possessions. Hubbard and Mary Sue each had their own state-rooms in addition to a suite on the promenade deck comprising an auditing-room, office, an elegant saloon and a wood-paneled dining-room, all off-limits to students and crew. Hubbard had a personal steward, as did Mary Sue and the Hubbard children, who all had their own cabins. Meals for the Commodore and his family were cooked in a separate galley by their personal chef, using ingredients brought by couriers from the United States.
In April 1969, Mary Sue was promoted by Hubbard to serve as the captain of the Royal Scotman and ordered to cruise up and down the coast of Spain to train the vessel's inexperienced crew of Scientologists, who had made a string of mistakes that infuriated Hubbard. The trip had the air of a punishment detail and was dubbed the "liability cruise"; conditions on board were reportedly appalling. According to Russell Miller, "The crew worked to the point of exhaustion, the food was meager and no one was allowed to wash or change their clothes. Mary Sue enforced the rules rigidly but shared the privations, and was scrupulously fair and popular." The entire crew was forced to wear gray rags to symbolize their demotion; it was said that even Mary Sue's corgi dog, Vixie, had a gray rag tied around her neck. The "liability cruise" ended in June 1969. The Royal Scotman was later renamed the Apollo.
Apart from captaining the Royal Scotman for a period, Mary Sue's duties included managing the sprawling empire of the Guardian's Office agency within the Church of Scientology and serving as the chair of an executive group known variously as the Commodore's Staff Aides, the Aides Council, and the International Board of Scientology Organizations. This body was responsible for overseeing each of the seven organizational subdivisions of the Church of Scientology. She played a central role in the financial management of the Church of Scientology's two principal corporations, the Church of Scientology of California and the United Kingdom Church of Scientology. She was a sole signatory to the Church of Scientology's trust accounts and was also a director of the Operation Transport Corporation (OTC), a company established in 1968 that served as a conduit for cash transfers from the Church of Scientology to L. Ron Hubbard personally; it was characterized by US Tax Court as a "sham corporation" whose role was the enrichment of the Hubbards. She personally handled large quantities of cash on Hubbard's behalf. In the summer of 1972, Hubbard ordered that around $2 million in cash be transferred from OTC bank accounts in Switzerland to the Apollo, where it was stored for the next three years in a locked file cabinet to which Mary Sue Hubbard had the only set of keys. Her salary was relatively modest, amounting to $30,430 ($150,732 in 2007 prices) between 1970 and 1972, though she did also benefit from tens of thousands of dollars a year in living expenses paid for by the Church of Scientology.
The Hubbards moved ashore in March 1972 after three years traveling aboard their ship from port to port in the Mediterranean. They set up home in a villa on the outskirts of the Moroccan city of Tangier. Their sojourn in Morocco ended abruptly in December 1972 when it became clear that the Church of Scientology was about to be indicted in France for fraud, and that Hubbard himself was potentially at risk of being extradited to appear in court if the case went to trial. Hubbard returned to the United States, living under a false name in New York City while Mary Sue and the children remained aboard the Apollo. They were reunited in September 1973, when the possibility of extradition had passed. When it became known in October 1974 that the FBI wished to interview Hubbard, Mary Sue persuaded her husband to avoid going ashore in the United States and the Apollo spent the next year sailing from port to port in the Caribbean.
The Scientology fleet was finally disbanded in 1975, when Hubbard decided to move ashore and establish a "land base" in Florida. He and Mary Sue moved initially to Daytona Beach, Florida in August 1975. They lived there incognito for a few months before moving into an apartment in Dunedin on the west coast of Florida, a few miles north of the town of Clearwater where a Scientology front company had bought the old Fort Harrison Hotel to serve as Scientology's new headquarters. The presence of the Hubbards was meant to be a secret, but in January 1976 he was recognized by a science fiction fan while on a shopping trip. Fearing arrest, he fled to Washington, D.C. with a handful of aides while Mary Sue was left behind in Florida continuing her day-to-day management activities.
In October 1976, Hubbard's eldest son by Mary Sue, Quentin, died by suicide at the age of 22. Mary Sue was grief-stricken, though she later attempted to persuade friends that Quentin had died from encephalitis. Her husband's reaction was one of fury, blaming Quentin for – in his eyes – letting him down

Mary Sue Whipp’s involvement in the Guardian’s Office Scandal
Also see  Main article: Operation Snow White

On July 8, 1977, 134 agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation simultaneously stormed the Church of Scientology's offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, seizing nearly 50,000 documents and other evidence. The raids were in response to the federal government's discovery that the Church of Scientology had been carrying out a secret and highly illegal "dirty tricks" campaign against government agencies, individuals, and institutions deemed to be enemies of Scientology. A year later, on August 15, 1978, Mary Sue Hubbard was indicted by a grand jury, accused of masterminding a conspiracy against the government in her capacity as head of the Church's Guardian's Office.
Mary Sue was appointed by her husband as Guardian (later Controller) of the Guardian's Office (GO) in March 1966. Established in response to the battering that Scientology was receiving at the time from governments and the media, the GO was tasked with tackling any "threat of great importance" to Scientology. This work took a variety of forms, including public relations, legal actions, and the gathering of "intelligence" on perceived enemies. In the UK alone, it issued hundreds of writs against the media for publishing negative reports on Scientology. It carried out an international campaign against psychiatry, Interpol, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and various other government agencies. Its eventual downfall was to result from the use of illegal methods, ordered and authorized by Mary Sue, to further its campaign.
Mary Sue was promoted to the position of Controller "for life" of the Guardian's Office in January 1969, with one of her subordinates, Jane Kember, being appointed to Mary Sue's old post of Guardian. Mary Sue continued to manage the GO from her various residences aboard the Apollo, and the villa in Tangier. At the order of both of the Hubbards, the GO ran scores of operations against Scientology's enemies. The targets were not just external enemies but dissident Scientologists; in 1969, Mary Sue wrote an order directing the GO to cull information from the confessional folders of Scientologists, breaking a rule of confidence that was supposedly sacrosanct. L. Ron Hubbard was said to have been fully aware of the GO's actions; the US government would later declare him to be an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the GO's illegal activities.
One of their primary targets was the IRS, with which Scientology was engaged in a bitter battle over tax exemptions. As part of a wider strategy codenamed Operation Snow White, the GO succeeded in infiltrating a Scientologist into the IRS to steal files about the government's litigation strategy against Scientology. Mary Sue was closely involved in the strategy; a letter written by her, approving the thefts, was later used in evidence against her. In March 1976, she approved an illegal plan to obtain "non-FOI data" from the government, meaning classified documents not available through the Freedom of Information Act. The GO's agent in the IRS, Michael Meisner, was ordered to obtain all files concerning L. Ron and Mary Sue Hubbard from the IRS Office of International Operations, which he succeeded in infiltrating.
The espionage continued for another three months before Meisner's luck ran out and he was caught in June 1976. Although he bluffed it out initially, a warrant was issued for his arrest in August. The situation was potentially disastrous for the GO and caused panic among the leadership. Mary Sue conspired with her subordinates to concoct alibis for Meisner and work out how to keep him out of the hands of the authorities, keeping him in hiding under a series of false identities. Meisner became increasingly reluctant to cooperate with his GO handlers and in April 1977 he was forcibly taken by GO staff to a new hiding place. He succeeded in escaping in May and turned himself in to the FBI, making a full confession. The raids of July 1977 were the result.
The case eventually came to trial in September 1979, following months of delay occasioned by a fierce rear-guard action by the Church of Scientology's lawyers. On October 8, a deal was struck between the government and the Church that the nine defendants – including Mary Sue – would each plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy if they agreed to sign a written stipulation by the government (essentially a public confession) of what they had done, thus avoiding a lengthy trial. They were formally found guilty on October 26, 1979. Mary Sue and two others received the heaviest penalties, a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. The other five defendants received lesser sentences and fines. Her husband avoided being indicted but was extremely concerned that Mary Sue would betray him. One of his aides, David Mayo, was dispatched by Hubbard to suggest that Mary Sue might consider a divorce. According to Mayo:
She was really offended and very upset. I thought she was going to blow my head off. I went back several times later to make sure that she wasn't going to rat on him. That's what he was really worried about, that she would reveal during the case that she was only relaying his orders. She had covered up for him so much, and there had been so many opportunities for her to betray him, that she couldn't believe he would think that. She kept saying to me, 'What is he worried about?' I thought to myself, 'My God, I can't tell her.'"

Mary Sue Whipp’s Downfall
Despite her conviction, Mary Sue remained in her post as Controller of the Guardian's Office (GO). There was no shortage of work for her to do; further legal difficulties were anticipated, as there was a New York grand jury investigating Operation Freakout, the GO's campaign against New York author Paulette Cooper, and a Florida grand jury looking into Scientology's activities in Clearwater. Around the end of February 1980, Ron Hubbard went into hiding[52] and remained in seclusion in the small town of Creston, California, for the remaining six years of his life. Mary Sue, who had last met with her husband a few months before his disappearance, never saw or heard from him again.
Hubbard nonetheless remained active in the management of Scientology. The criminal conviction of the GO's top executives triggered a lengthy power struggle at the top of the Church of Scientology, which would lead eventually to Mary Sue being forced into retirement. Under his doctrine he believed that "mistakes do not just happen, somebody causes them, always". A disaster on the scale of the GO criminal case was clearly the result of the activities of someone hostile to Scientology – a Suppressive Person – operating within the GO. He issued an internal directive in 1979 asserting that major failures must result from the presence of multiple Suppressives, who would need to be rooted out along with their "connections".The downfall of the GO led Hubbard to distrust it, believing it to be riddled with Suppressives; he severed his communications with it and put his reliance instead on the Commodore's Messenger Organization (CMO), a group which he had formed in 1968 whose purpose was to relay messages to and from church staff as Ron's personal representatives. The Messengers, who were mostly in their teens and early twenties, became Hubbard's sole means of communication with the Church.
In 1981, the "All Clear Unit" was established within the CMO, tasked with the purpose of making it "All Clear" for Hubbard to come out of hiding. One of its principal figures was David Miscavige, a 21-year-old Messenger who had worked as a cameraman for Hubbard. In May 1981, he met with Mary Sue to tell her that her position as Controller of the Guardian's Office was untenable. She reacted angrily; in a 1992 trial in Canada, Miscavige told the court that she had called him "some pretty nasty names" and threatened him with a large ashtray held close to his face, but she had eventually agreed to step down. She subsequently changed her mind, believing that she had been tricked, and wrote to her husband to complain but received no response. Numerous other Guardian's Office personnel were purged as well.
In July 1981, all remaining GO staff were ordered to join the Sea Org, which would thus secure the CMO's control of the Guardian's Office, and the current Guardian, Jane Kember – who was one of those convicted on conspiracy charges – was to be removed. Mary Sue strongly opposed these changes and reappointed herself Controller, rescinding the CMO's permission to investigate the GO. CMO staff investigating the GO were physically expelled from the Church of Scientology's Los Angeles headquarters, and the Controller's files were guarded day and night. Mary Sue attempted to contact her husband to rescind the CMO's takeover bid but failed, and admitted defeat when the Messengers produced an undated dispatch from Hubbard instructing the GO to be put under the CMO when its senior executives went to prison.[60] She stood down again, being replaced by a South African Scientologist named Gordon Cook,[61] and Jane Kember was replaced by David Gaiman, a British Scientologist.[62]
Miscavige provided a first-hand account of these events, in an affidavit submitted in a case heard in 1994 in California, Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman and Uwe Geertz. He stated:
In 1981, a Church investigation was begun into the activities of the GO. That investigation was prompted by the existence of a number of civil law suits which had been filed at that time against Church of Scientology of California and Mr. Hubbard, and which the GO was supposed to be responsible for handling. Not only was the GO not handling these suits, the GO, and particularly Mary Sue Hubbard, even refused to answer our questions about the suits because they viewed themselves answerable only to persons within the GO ...
Our attempts to get information were thwarted by Mary Sue Hubbard. She informed us that she did not appreciate our investigation of the GO and that if one were needed she would do it. In March 1981 she cut all of our communication lines to the GO, except through herself. It must be noted that Mary Sue Hubbard believed her position as Controller and as the "Founder's wife" to be unassailable and beyond reproach by anyone but Mr. Hubbard – who was not around at the time, a fact that she was well aware of. This, plus her absolute control of the GO, made it difficult for the Church missionaires [Sea Org staff dispatched to achieve a target or specific goal] to get anything done.
[It] was made clear that we had no choice but to overthrow the GO and dismiss everyone who had violated Church policy or the law. These activities ultimately led to a complete disband of the GO. I gathered a couple of dozen of the most proven Church executives from around the world and briefed them on the criminal and other unethical conduct of the GO. Together, we planned a series of missions to take over the GO, investigate it and reform it thoroughly. On July 13, 1981, a matter of weeks after we had uncovered what was going on, and with no advance warning to the GO, a coordinated series of CMO missions were sent out concurrently to take over the GO. However, there were a number of obstacles to overcome before the termination of the GO could be accomplished. Mary Sue Hubbard was still asserting her authority over the GO from her position as Controller.
Mary Sue Hubbard was removed from her post before she went to jail. I know, because I personally met with her and obtained her resignation ... At first, Mary Sue Hubbard was not willing to resign. Eventually she did so. Mary Sue Hubbard and the GO, however, did not simply capitulate. Within a day of Mary Sue Hubbard's resignation, senior GO officials secretly met with Mary Sue Hubbard and conspired to regain control of the GO. Mary Sue Hubbard signed a letter revoking her resignation and condemning the actions of the CMO. Scores of GO staff responded, locking the missionaires out of their premises and were intending to hire armed guards to bar access by me and the other Church officials who had ousted them. I then confronted the mutineers, and persuaded Mary Sue Hubbard to again resign, which ended the last vestige of GO resistance.
Speaking several years later to the St. Petersburg Times newspaper, Miscavige commented:
I knew if it was going to be a physical takeover we're going to lose because they had a couple thousand staff and we (the "messengers") had about 50. That is the amazing part about it.
According to the Church of Scientology, Hubbard himself did not find out about Mary Sue's resignation until five months later.
The convictions of Mary Sue Hubbard and the other GO staff executives were upheld by a federal appeals court in October 1981, and in November seven of those convicted dropped their appeals – but not Mary Sue, who continued to fight the charges. She lost her final appeal in April 1982 and was ordered to begin a prison term in January 1983. The original sentence of five years imprisonment was not carried out, and the court ordered a study of her claimed medical problems, before eventually replacing her sentence with a four-year term of imprisonment, with parole set at 40 months.[69] She was sent to the federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky, to serve her sentence, though in the end, she was released after only a year of imprisonment.

Mary Sue Whipp’s life after the Guardian’s Office

After her resignation from the GO, Mary Sue Hubbard ceased to have any involvement in the management of the Church of Scientology. She did, however, resurface on a few occasions during the remaining years of her life. In 1984 she acted as an "intervenor" in the Church of Scientology of California's lawsuit against Gerry Armstrong. He had worked as an archivist for the Church of Scientology, gathering source material for a planned biography of L. Ron Hubbard. He became disillusioned with Scientology and left the Church, taking with him copies of biographical material, including Hubbard's letters to Mary Sue over the years. The Church sued in 1982 and Mary Sue joined the suit, charging that Armstrong had committed an "invasion of privacy"When the case came to trial in May 1984, she told the Superior Court of Los Angeles County that she had been "mentally raped" and "emotionally distressed" knowing that others had seen the documents. She told the court that she had not seen her husband since January 1980, "but I've written him personal letters ... but I don't believe he's getting them" as he had not replied to them. In June 1984, Judge Paul G. Breckenridge ruled against the Church and Mary Sue Hubbard, criticizing her credibility as a witness:
LRH's wife, Mary Sue Hubbard is also plaintiff herein. On the one hand she certainly appeared to be a pathetic individual. She was forced from her post as controller, convicted and imprisoned as a felon, and deserted by her husband. On the other hand her credibility leaves much to be desired. She struck the familiar pose of not seeing, hearing or knowing any evil. Yet she was the head of the Guardian Office for years and among other things, authored the infamous order "GO 121669" which directed culling of supposedly confidential P.C. files/folders for purposes of internal security ... It is, of course, rather ironic that the person who authorized G.O. 121669 should complain about invasion of privacy. The practice of culling supposedly confidential "P.C. folders or files" to obtain information for purposes of intimidation and or harassment is repugnant. The Guardian Office was no respector of anyone's civil rights, particularly that of privacy.
A month later, in the English High Court of Justice, Mr Justice Latey declared in a case in which Scientology was a prominent issue that "Mr Hubbard is a charlatan and worse, as are his wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, and the clique at the top privy to the cult's activities."
In October 1984, Mary Sue filed a $5 million lawsuit against her husband's first son, Ronald DeWolf, accusing him of "massive fraud" for attempting to have his father declared legally dead or mentally incompetent. L. Ron Hubbard died on January 24, 1986, at his ranch near Creston, California.
A Scientology spokesman informed the press that she had been left "a very generous provision" in her husband's will, though the details were kept secret. Mary Sue Hubbard continued to be active in Scientology well into the 1990s; in a 1994 Scientology magazine, she was listed as a "Patron" of the International Association of Scientologists, indicating a donation of $40,000. In December 1995, Hubbard had a mastectomy of her left breast. In 1998 she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in addition to her existing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Mary Sue Hubbard died on November 25, 2002, aged 71, at her home in Los Angeles. Her body was cremated two days later and her ashes were scattered at sea off the California coast, where L. Ron Hubbard's ashes had similarly been scattered in January 1986.

Bare-Faced Messiah  by British journalist Russell Miller
The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. Originally published: 26 October1987 Author: Russell Miller, Genre: Biography, Page count: 380, Publisher: Michael Joseph, Subject: L. Ron Hubbard

John Rawlings Rees

What is Scientology and who was L. Ron Hubbard? 
Telegraph Reporters  6 OCTOBER 2016

What is scientology?

According to their official literature: "Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being."
What are the origins of scientology?
It claims to have roots in the beliefs of “all great religions” and thus encompasses “a religious heritage as old and as varied as Man himself” and could be considered 50,000 years old.
What are the actual origins?
It was founded by a man named Lafayette Ron Hubbard, (known as L. Ron Hubbard) from New Jersey, US, who wrote a book on “dianetics” in 1950. Four fans, described as an attorney, a publisher, a doctor and an engineer, then formed a Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation.
The first Church of Scientology was established in February 1954, with more than a dozen new churches springing up over the next decade.
L. Ron Hubbard, a former science fiction writer, died in 1986. His former assistant David Miscavige, 56, has been leader of the church ever since.  
22:57 - 3 Oct 2016

What is the basis of their beliefs?
Scientology begins with the concept that man is “basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself, his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.”
The fundamental principles are threefold:
• Man is an immortal spiritual being.
• His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime.
• His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realised.
What is the appeal of scientology?
According to the church, people believe in scientology because of an "absence of answers" from science. They claim scientology supplies “workable methods of application, that made it possible for Man to reach the ancient goal he has been striving toward for thousands of years: to know himself and, in knowing himself, to know and understand other people and, ultimately, life itself.”
What does scientology mean?
Scientology means "knowing how to know”. It is a contraction of the LatinScio ("knowing, in the fullest sense of the word”) and Greek logos ("study of”).
Where is it based?
In a 500-acre compound about 100 miles from Los Angeles, California known as the 'Gold Base'. The desert site was bought by the church in 1978 and at least £30 million has been spent redeveloping it. 
It also has a 60-acre UK base – the former home of L. Ron Hubbard – called Saint Hill Manor, in East Grinstead, Sussex. It's also now the home of Hollywood megastar and scientology devotee Tom Cruise, according to reports. 
Do they celebrate any holidays?
Yes: L. Ron Hubbard's birthday in March, the anniversary of the first publication of Dianetics in May, and Auditor's Day in September.

How do they deal with pain?

They believe the spirit can alleviate “injury, trauma or discomfort” by “putting the spirit in communication with the body”. The church advises a method of detoxification involving saunas, exercise, vitamins, the drinking of oils, as well as light jogging."
PHOTO OF THE DAY: The Church of Scientology, Milan 20:57 - 4 Oct 2016

How do they view human beings?
They believe life is compartmentalised into eight “dynamics”. The First Dynamic, experienced by babies, is explained as an “urge towards existence” and the Eighth is an “urge toward infinity”. They call a spiritual being “Thetan”, meaning “the source of all life or life itself”.
Do they believe in God?
They have a concept of God or Supreme Being, but no set dogma. They explain: “Scientologists take the maxim quite to heart that God helps those who help themselves.”
Do they believe in reincarnation?
They believe in “past lives”, with a person being born again. One cannot progress unless “aberrations” from past lives are dealt with. The concept of heaven or hell therefore relates to a future life, with experiences being earned by behaviour.
“In other words, the individual comes back,” they say. “He has a responsibility for what goes on today since he will experience it tomorrow.”
Do they believe in charity?
Tentatively, and with caveats. They explain: “Some form of exchange is necessary in any relationship. If a person only receives and never gives, he will lose his own self-respect and become an unhappy person."
How do they raise children?
Scientologists believe children are spiritual beings occupying young bodies, and should be given the same respect as adults.
Can they cure drug addicts?
They claim so. They have established rehabilitation centres in more than 40 countries practising “narconon”, meaning “no drugs”.

Can they help criminals?
They also have a rehabilitation programme called “criminon”, or “no crime”.
What is their relationship with the media?
They say:  "In recent years, church representatives have met with the editorial boards of major media outlets to brief them on Scientology, its policies and its activities. These meetings help dispel the rumors and false allegations that have gathered in reference files over the years. Such meetings have been very beneficial for both the Church and journalists."
The media says: "Very weird cult… Something creepy, maybe even evil, about these people." (Rupert Murdoch)
Do they believe in aliens?
It has been reported that scientologist believe in xenu, an extra-terrestrial dictator who brought billions of people to Earth in a spacecraft 75 million years ago. The essence of these people remains, causing spiritual harm to those in the modern day, it is claimed.
An official statement from the church, however, says “absolutely not. Scientology holds no such belief. Any suggestion otherwise is as absurd as asserting that those of the Christian faith believe themselves descended from aliens because they believe there is a Heaven.”
How is it funded?
Through donations from members. The church explains: “Scientology does not have hundreds of years of accumulated wealth and property like other religions; it must make its way in the world according to the economics of today’s society.”
Are there any famous scientologists?
Yes - lots. Tom Cruise is probably the most famous. John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Lisa Marie Presley have all been said to believe in scientology.
Has it been involved in any controversy?
Yes, a lot.

Among the numerous court cases, reports and rumours involving scientology are allegations of human trafficking, holding people against their will and members cutting ties from their families.
The church says: "Like all new ideas, Scientology has come under attack by the uninformed and vested interests. The so-called controversy of Scientology is merely the bitter old resisting the ambitious new."
The Church has its own cruise ship, the MV Freewinds, based in Curacao, for the most committed members. 

A former member claims she was held against her will on board for twelve years, and forced to perform hard labour.
An Australian senator called Scientology a "criminal organisation" and accused it of embezzlement and blackmail.

At a glance | Five Scientology scandals
David Miscavige’s father Ron publishes Ruthless in May 2016, detailing his relationship with the Scientology leader. The Church accuse Ron of trying to make money from their surname, saying “any father exploiting his son in this manner is a sad exercise in betrayal.”

Going Clear
A highly-critical documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the prison of belief, airs on US television network HBO in March 2015. Those interviewed are dismissed by the Church as “a collection of deadbeats, admitted liars, self-admitted perjurers, wife beaters and worse.”
Leah Remini
Remini, an American actress, publishes her memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology in November 2015. She accuses Miscavige of being controlling and oppressive. The Church says she is simply regurgitating discredited myths, and describes her as pathetic, bitter and angry.
The Apostate
Oscar-winning film director and producer Paul Haggis is interviewed for a 25,000 word article in The New Yorker in February 2011, in which he describes his 35-year membership of “a cult”. The Church brought 47 volumes of research material to an all-day meeting with the author, editor and fact-checker but has never taken legal action against the explosive article.
Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise, who was introduced to Scientology in the late 1980s by his ex wife Mimi Rogers, is interviewed on US breakfast chat show Today. Cruise, believed to be second in command only to Miscavige, gets into a furious argument in June 2005 with the host Matt Lauer about prescription drugs. He has since refused to discuss his religion.
Does it require any commitment?
The official scientology website says that members sign a "a one-billion-year pledge to symbolize their eternal commitment to the religion."
Where can I learn more about scientology?
There are more than 15,000 pages of technical writing and more than 3,000 taped lectures on scientology. The church claims: “Its truths are self-evident, its principles are easily demonstrable and its technology can be seen at work in any Church of Scientology.”

David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology
13 March 1911
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, known as L. Ron Hubbard, born in Nevada.
May 1950
Hubbard, by now a successful science fiction writer, publishes his first article explaining his theory of how the mind works, which he called dianetics.

1952 :Hubbard announces the creation of the Church of Scientology – describing Scientology as a religion focused on the spirit, while dianetics he defined as a science that addressed the physical being.
1960s and 70s
Hubbard sets sail with his followers to travel the world and live at sea. He styles himself as the Commodore, and his devotees are known as the Sea Org. They sail until a slew of countries, including the UK, close their ports to him.
1975: Hubbard returns to the USA and spends much of the rest of his life in seclusion in the California desert.
1980Miscavige is put in charge of the unit which deals with legal issues relating to Scientology. He gains in influence, taking control of financial affairs and reorganising the management hierarchy.
24 January 1986
Hubbard dies, and Miscavige takes over. He expands the organisation from his base in Hemet, California, and a massive centre in Clearwater, Florida.
1998: Miscavige gives his first ever newspaper interview, to the St Petersburg Times, in Florida. Following six hours of interviews he is described as being the Scientology equivalent of the Pope.
2000 : Miscavige’s brother Ron leaves the organisation. His father, also Ron, and two sisters, Denise and Lori, remain in the Church.
November 2006
Miscavige is best man at Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes.
May 2007: British journalist John Sweeney makes a documentary for Panorama in which he famously was engaged in a shouting row with Tommy Davis, Scientology representative. He produced a follow-up three years later.
August 2007: The last time Miscavige’s wife Shelly, a fellow Scientologist, is seen in public. The Church says she is simply doing work for the Church away from the public eye.
January 2008: Tom Cruise is presented with a medal for his services to Scientology, and praises Miscavige as the most “intelligent, tolerant, compassionate being” he has ever met – adding: “and I have met the leaders of leaders.”
The St Petersburg Times publishes a series of articles entitled “The Truth Rundown”, with a group of high-ranking former Scientologists making damning accusations of tyranny and physical violence.
February 2011
Oscar-winning film director and producer Paul Haggis is interviewed for a 25,000 word article in The New Yorker, in which he describes his 35-year membership of “a cult”. The Church issued its own response in its magazine, Freedom.
September 2013
Jenna Miscavige Hill, David’s niece, publishes a book about her experience of Scientology. She describes the Church as “evil”. The Church hits back at her “ludicrous” book of “tabloid tales.”
March 2015
A highly-critical documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the prison of belief, airs on US television network HBO. Those appearing in it are denounced as bitter ex-Scientologists with an axe to grind.
November 2015
Leah Remini, an American actress, publishes her memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. She accuses Miscavige of being controlling and oppressive. The Church says she is bitter and attention-seeking.
March 2016
Louis Theroux’s documentary, My Scientology Movie, premieres at the TriBeCa film festival.

Major Ian McBean was involved in encouraging and helping to arrange Ron Hubbard to become involved for the Intellifence Services such as MI6 the  CIA 

The Church of Scientology, Milan

This next part of the Department of Defense report says the Navy contracted with a New York researcher to develop drugs and instrumentation for use in interrogation of prisoners of war. Benzedrine was one of the drugs investigated in the project.