This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. For today’s blog, I’m returning to the visit I conducted on May, 1 , 2016 (“How ‘May Day’ at Scientology’s PAC Base Turned into ‘Mayday,’ Part 1”) at the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters. That day, Cece Marie Gangle Smith, her dog, Simi, and their support circled PAC Base, carrying the heartfelt message from Phil and Willie Jones, “To my loved one in scientology… call me.” As a result, scientology blew a gasket, called the police on me (“Mayday”), and, within 48 hours, sent a goon to my residence in an attempt to disrupt my life.
Photo Caption: The day’s festivities began when the Center for Inquiry’s James Underdown came onstage to introduce the event’s first guest, Jamie DeWolf (followed by Chris Shelton). For a few moments, Mr. Underdown wore a Tom Cruise mask that drew considerable laughter from the audience.
Photo Caption: In the Center for Inquiry’s courtyard stands a sculpture that displays various icons in the realm of superstition, including a voodoo doll; a hexagram; the number “13”; a crystal ball; a “Crazy 8” ball; a spider and its web; a horseshoe; a tarot card; a dice; a pyramid; astrology; a ghost, and…
Photo Caption: … a scientology symbol! (Click here for a better picture of the sculpture, although you won’t be able to see the scientology symbol from that angle.)
Photo Caption: This is the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”), located at 1306 L Ron Hubbard Way (“LRH Way”). AOLA’s front door is off-camera and to the right. Everyone in this picture must be a scientologist; they’re so in communication with each other that it’s almost too much. Granted, I took this photo during the afternoon break (3:00—3:15 PM) from course, but they appear to have been told to pose for non-scientologists attending the event, “Celebration Weekend,” on LRH Way.
Photo Caption: I’ve zoomed in on another photo taken in front of AOLA of a man and woman, both wearing dark pants and a purple shirt. Why? Because over an hour later, they’re still hanging out in front of AOLA, no doubt “props” for scientology’s event. Coming up are a couple of photos that should prove that. I took this one at 3:07 PM.
Photo Caption: Guess what 2016 marks? The 66th anniversary of Dianetics! That’s what this Body Router’s (“BR”) t-shirt declares. For this photo, she’s walking, empty-handed, west along Sunset Blvd. toward LA Org. Behind her, a couple of blocks away, is the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Vermont Ave., a BR’s haven. In her left hand she holds two different “free” tickets: one is to see a Dianetics film and the other is for a Personality test. Notice that her t-shirt is incorrect; it states that it’s the “60th Anniversary” of dianetics!
Photo Caption: More than an hour after scientology called the police on me on May 1, our party of six ex-scientologists left L.A. Rose Cafe and walked west along Fountain Ave. As we crossed LRH Way, one of our party looked up the street, noticing the “props” and non-props alike and exclaimed, “Look at ’em all!” That comment threw all six of us into gut-busting laughter. When we stopped to look at those people, we realized that one thing was missing in their crowd: laughter (or even a smile). The “props” in front of AOLA just stared at us. The man and woman who I mentioned in an earlier photo, are right of center. Here, Doug takes a picture of the “props.” He is, by the way, an Operating Thetan (“OT”) III, and called AOLA his org for a while.
Photo Caption: Hoping to see at least one “prop” crack a smile, Doug joined them. Soon, almost everyone started taking pictures of each other, especially when Doug danced a little jig. When a guy started snapping pictures without removing his lens cap first, Doug pointed that out. The woman in the dark pants and purple shirt stands to Doug’s left, holding a good-sized camera. The “prop” holds a “prop”!
Photo Caption: Cameraman Doug Kramer challenged the “props” in front of AOLA in an effort to liven them up a bit; instead, they hovered between apathy and anger on the Emotional Tone Scale. Suspicions flew as the woman in the dark pants and purple shirt aimed a Nikon at Doug. The man in dark pants and purple shirt stands in the background, to the woman’s right.
Photo Caption: The best that cameraman Doug could get out of this guy looks like a growl.
Photo Caption: This reminds me of the 1956 sci-fi movie, Invasion of the Body [Thetan] Snatchers. I’ll never forget the warning the lead character gives at the end of that movie: “You’re in danger! Can’t you see them? The Scientologists? They’re going to get you! They’re after us! Our children, our wives, everyone! They’re here! Everywhere! She’s next! He’s next! They’re next! I’m next! We’re next! You, too! You, too! You, too!”
Photo Caption: For this photo, cameraman Doug and I have moved in front of Pacific Grill & Barbecue, where we weren’t the only ones livened up by our high spirits. Even the lady holding a plate of food gets into the act. Finally, someone to smile with!
Photo Caption: We’re about to induct cameraman Doug’s vehicle into the “call me” drive-by Hall of Fame!
Photo Caption: As we drove slowly south along LRH Way, we earned glances from people at the Pacific Grill, eager to catch the loving message from Phil and Willie Jones.
Photo Caption: After our first drive-by, Doug turned around and drove north along LRH Way, where we caught people looking at our “call me” sign. The “props” tried to ignore us, but we cracked their bubble.
Photo Caption: Sea Org member Jeff Mintz wouldn’t even give Doug the time of day, no matter how many times Doug said “hello,” “how are you doing,” and “great to see you.” (But how many times in the past has Jeff taken Doug’s money for services?) Jeff’s name tag reads: “Flag Service Consultant.”
Photo Caption: These tables are outside LA Org as part of “Celebration Weekend.” Notice, however, that the tables are empty; each had its own little treasure for us ex-scientologists to discover. Notice Doug at a table near the entrance to LA Org. We eagerly investigated and took photos of the promotional and marketing material held down with stones (to keep the wind from blowing them away) on most of the tables. Our fun ended when a Sea Org member realized what we were doing and spiritedly away our finds away (but not before we took pictures).
Photo Caption: Here is one such booklet sitting on a table outside LA Org: “How to Make Good Choices (Based on The Way to Happiness).” The signpost that the young man faces on the cover reads: “Happiness?” pointed in three different directions.
Photo Caption: Another marketing tool setup as a prop on another table in front of LA Org is an HCOB (“Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin”), dated January 3, 1980RB (each letter indicates the number of times it’s been revised, I believe), reissued March 13, (LRH’s birthday), 2013, “Purification Rundown and Atomic War,” part of the Purification Rundown Series 2.” In the first paragraph under the date, it reads, in part, “… to remove references added by another…” as well as “… the revised Purification Rundown Series.” Below the title of the document, it reads, in part, “We are not concerned with handling bodies with the Purification Rundown. Our concern is freeing the individual up spiritually. The only dosages recommended are those classified as food. There are no medical recommendations or claims for the Purification Rundown. The only claim is future spiritual improvement. This data is released as a record of researches and results noted. It cannot be construed [as] a [recommendation] of medical treatment or medication…”
Photo Caption: For this photo, I’m standing on Catalina St., facing west, between Sunset Blvd. and Fountain Ave. “Big Blue” is behind me. The newly planted trees and freshly-painted wall (painted blue, as in “Big Big”) is the handiwork of new SO members on the Estates Project Force (“EPF).
Photo Caption: Taken recently on a weekday, here are four SO members walking east along Sunset Blvd., half a block away from Scientology Media Productions (“SMP”). I took this picture just before 9:00 AM; their “post,” or job, in the Sea Org may be at SMP.
Photo Caption: For this picture. I’m standing on LRH Way, where everyone (except the Security Guards) is pretending that I’m not there. I’m looking west, with the Pacific Grill to my left and LRH Way behind me. At the table in front of me are three scientologists who appear to be public. The guy holding the empty food basket looks as if he has just enjoyed “food, glorious food” (as Mike Rinder has called it; for today’s event we have BBQ, ice cream, cotton candy and popcorn), all in one fell swoop. Notice the woman who hands another woman cash. It looks like she just raised her “status” at the International Association of scientologists (“IAS”) by buying a sheet of IAS stickers (Cece later told me that they’re bumper stickers). Meanwhile, notice the stare that I seem to be getting from the woman sitting on the bench. Maybe a crack has formed in that lady’s bubble, and she’s wondering who I am, why am I there and what am I going to do with the pictures I’m taking?
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.
Screen grab courtesy A Night to Remember (The Rank Organisation, UK, 1958).