Fred Haseney here, reporting on the Church (Cult) of Scientology’s activities. In an earlier posting at JennyAtLAX (“Scientology After Going Clear—Los Angeles Field Operations—April 18, 2015”), I reported that I had been “escorted” from Scientology’s Celebrity Centre International (“CC Int”; more specifically, from the corner of Franklin and Bronson Avenues) to the corner of Franklin and Western Avenues. Earlier that day, I had visited various historical religious locations in Hollywood (including the Protection of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church and the Monastery of the Angels), and as I returned home, I innocently walked past CC. Within the time it takes to walk just half a block, however, I had attracted two Scientologists: a CC Security Guard (who I called “Arnie,” because of his Arnold Schwarzenegger-like build and rugged good looks) and a man with a hook for a right arm (who identified himself as “Scott” and had been in Scientology for 45-years). While Arnie interrogated me about my intentions as well as for the photographs that I had taken of CC earlier that week (“Scientology After Going Clear—Los Angeles Field Operations—April 17, 2015”), Scott kept in the background, all the while listening to our every word. When Arnie bicycled away, Scott stepped up to the plate, so-to-speak, and we engaged in a ten-minute conversation for a walk that covered eight blocks.
I couldn’t quite figure Scott out; I’ve never been escorted like that before, and by such a friendly person willing to communicate with me (yet under such strange circumstances). “Does Scott stand with or against Scientology?” I wondered. After Arnie departed, Scott proceeded to walk with me along Franklin Ave., heading east. As I had been wearing earphones, Scott asked me about the music I enjoyed, and for the next couple of minutes we talked about music (he enjoys slightly esoteric electronic-type music from the 1970’s, if I remember correctly). All the while, I wondered “Why is this one-armed man walking with me? Who is he? What are his intentions?”
Our conversation that April day soon turned to Scientology. Scott said something as esoteric as his musical likes: “If the world were to end tomorrow as we know it and was to plunge into a kind of ‘Dark Ages,’ only Scientology could pull mankind out of that mess and rescue it.” “Without Scientology,” Scott later concluded, “there is no hope for mankind.” (I’ve paraphrased his statements here.) Earlier that month, Tony Ortega had reported (“AUDIO: Full police interviews of Scientology spies and their stalking of Ron Miscavige Sr.”) that David Miscavige (“DM”), the leader of the Cult of Scientology and Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center (“RTC”) had hired a private investigator (“PI”) to secretly spy on his father, and then when it looked as if his own dad might be having a heart attack, DM advised the PI to not interfere (that is, to let his own father die by not calling paramedics). So I asked Scott if he had heard about that and for what his thoughts were about the allegations. Scott apparently hadn’t heard about DM’s actions, or at least had nothing to say about the subject.
Later, I consulted a couple of key ex-Scientologists in order to get feedback on Scott and who he could be. I quickly learned that my meeting Scott had not been a coincidence; that it most likely had been planned by the Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) so as to quickly get me away from CC.
On Thursday afternoon, December 17, 2015, I went for a walk, hiking along Western Canyon Drive in Griffith Park, taking photographs of the approaching sunset as I headed for the Observatory. I’ve been hiking in Griffith Park for decades, yet came across a marker set in stone a little over one hundred years ago (see item #1 in the map; map courtesy Google Maps) that I’ve never seen before.
Photo Caption: A map which covers today’s journey and related area.
Photo Caption: This marker, “One Mile Tree Planted By L.A. City Club June 12, 1915,” sits along Western Canyon Rd., in Griffith Park.
That marker graces the foot of a tree that stands tall even after one hundred years.
Photo Caption: “This is the “One Mile Tree” today, December 17, 2015, originally planted on June 12, 1915, by the L.A. City Club.
A mile before the marker is a sprinkler with an active leak which doubles as a bird bath and watering hole.
Photo Caption: A Yellow-rumped Warbler sits on a leaky sprinkler in Griffith Park.
Further on, I photographed evidence of an approaching sunset.
Photo Caption: The sun’s rays highlight foliage along Western Canyon Road, in Griffith Park.
A mile after the marker, I approached a man on foot heading in the opposite direction (I had been heading in a southeasterly direction; see map item #2). Prompted by the discovery of the marker, I offered that information to my fellow traveler. He politely stated, however, that he would not be traveling that far. He stopped and we began a light conversation and while he talked, my eyes traveled from his down to his right arm where I saw that he had a hook for an arm.
Photo Caption: Scientologist Scott! (Does anybody know his last name?)
This brings to mind the comic mystery/thriller motion picture Foul Play (1978), and the scene in which a stranger warns Goldie Hawn’s character, “Beware of the dwarf,” before dying.
Photo Caption: A close-up of Scott.
Photo Caption: Another close-up of Scott. (What is it that he’s carrying?)
Because I am one to never mince words, I declare, “Say, you’re the one who escorted me from Celebrity Centre to Franklin and Western Ave. some months back in an attempt to keep me from saying bad things about Scientology.”
His wordless response reminded me, oddly enough, of a scene from another movie. In Conan the Barbarian (1982), a fantasy motion picture starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Thulsa Doom (portrayed by James Earl Jones), a wizard and leader of a snake cult, picks up a snake and straightens it out with his hand. He raises the snake as if it’s an arrow and shoots it from his bow, mortally wounding Valeria.
Years ago as I hiked in Griffith Park on a hot summer day, I came across a low wall on which sat a rattlesnake. The snake, a foot long, laid perfectly still, resembling more a plastic toy than something which could easily take your life. Its position reminded me of the snake that Thulsa Doom had straightened out in Conan the Barbarian. When I picked up a long, thin branch and gently touched the snake nothing happened. I touched it again. Nothing. But then, all of a sudden, the snake didn’t look as straight as it had been when I first saw it.
That’s the type of expression I saw on Scott’s face: a slight smile had appeared across his rather solemn expression. “Does he not notice the camera I’m holding in my hand?” I wondered silently to myself.
Scott then declared how absolutely perfect and wonderful Scientology is to planet Earth; nay, he corrected himself: to the universe. That’s when I snapped his photo and declared, “I’ve been wondering who you are ever since meeting you last April. Now [with the photo I’m posting here], I have the opportunity.” It never crossed my mind to simply ask him for his name. He is, after all, enamored with the cult of Scientology while I’m more than happy to be free of the narcissistic hold it had over my life for 37-years (1977-2014).
With a desire to write a Success Story (as one would do in Scientology after completing a course or an auditing action), I continued on my hike. At Griffith Observatory (see map item #3), I found that day’s sunset as promised.
Photo Caption: A sunset embraces a young couple at the Observatory in Griffith Park.