Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard
founded the Church of Scientology in 1952.
One of the main beliefs of the church is that a
person’s soul is already damaged and the goal
of someone’s life is to shed harmful memories
to better themselves through a process called
auditing. Souls are damaged because the souls
of 3.5 trillion aliens were banished to Earth
by a warlord named Xenu . The aliens, called
thetans, were put into volcanoes and then
destroyed by nuclear bombs.
Needless to say, Scientology is a religion with
unorthodox beliefs. It has also has some
concerning and unusual deaths connected to
10 Shawn Lonsdale
One notable nemesis of the Church of
Scientology was a man named Shawn
Lonsdale, who lived in Clearwater, Florida,
home to the Spiritual Headquarters of
Scientology. Lonsdale first got on the church’s
bad side in 2006 when he started videotaping
Scientology workers outside their offices and
then airing the footage on public access
television. Lonsdale was also known to stand
outside of the church’s headquarters with a
sign that said “Cult Watch.”
At other times, he got into arguments with
church members, including a shoving match.
Lonsdale charged the man, but the case was
thrown out because it looked like Lonsdale
was just as aggressive as the man who
attacked him. Lonsdale’s interaction with the
church became so notorious that he was even
interviewed by the BBC program Panorama
about the church.
Looking to silence him, the church hired a
private investigator to dig into Lonsdale’s
past. The sleuth found that he had two
convictions from 1999 and 2000, both
misdemeanor convictions related to having
sex with men in public. Using the
information, the church plastered fliers
around town with Lonsdale’s mug shot,
warning people of him and they made
mention of his two convictions. Members of
the church also called his landlord and his
employer and told them that he was a
religious bigot who was possibly dangerous.
On February 16, 2008, neighbors called the
police to report a terrible odor coming from
Lonsdale’s house. The police entered the
house and found Lonsdale, who was 39, dead.
There was a garden hose leading from his car
into his house, and his death was ruled a
9 Patrice Vic
Patrice and Nelly Vic of Lyon, France,
received a brochure about Scientology that
convinced Patrice to give it a try. He was
involved with them for a short time, and even
though Nelly thought that the group was
harassing them, Patrice agreed to meet with
Jean-Jacques Mazier, the head of the Lyon
chapter, on March 23, 1988. While in the
meeting, Mazier pressured Patrice to do a
“purification” treatment for 30,000 francs (US
$6,000). Mazier kept insisting that Patrice go
through with it, even suggesting that they
take out a bank loan if they didn’t have the
money. Nelly refused, and the couple
returned home and continued to bicker.
Patrice demanded to see Nelly’s pay stubs,
and she refused. Throughout the night,
Patrice tossed and turned until about 5:00 AM.
Then the father of two got out of bed, said
“Don’t stop me; it’s the only way,” and
jumped out the window of the family’s 12th-
floor apartment. He did not survive the fall.
Eight years later, Mazier and 22 other
members of the church were charged in
connection with
the death. The church
slammed the trial, saying that Scientology,
which is considered a cult in France, was on
trial and that the trial was a sham.
Nevertheless, Mazier was found guilty of
involuntary manslaughter and given 18
months in prison. Twelve others who were
involved with the church were charged with
theft, complicity, and abuse of confidence.
They were given suspended sentences that
ranged from 8 to 15 months. The charges
against the remaining 10 members were
8 Quentin Hubbard
Born January 6, 1954, Quentin Hubbard was
the eldest son of L. Ron and his third wife,
Mary Sue. Ron had seven children altogether,
and his oldest son, Ron Jr., was supposed to
take over leadership of the church after Ron
passed away. But Ron Jr. left the church in
1959, so Ron chose Quentin to be his
successor. Quentin, however, didn’t really
take Scientology seriously, even though he
had risen to be one of the top-ranking
auditors. (Auditors guide people through
processes so that they can be considered
“clear,” a state in which Scientologists believe
they are free of inhibitions that are caused by
painful images in their subconscious.)
When Quentin was 22, he apparently said
that the practices his dad came up with didn’t
work and that he just faked the results.
Quentin also said that he thought his father
was crazy.
Saying something like this was one of the
worst things that you could do in the church,
even if you were the son of the leader, and
Quentin was told he would have to hand over
his credentials and start all over again. This
type of re-training would take years, but
Quentin didn’t seem to care. That night,
Quentin disappeared from the Scientology
compound in Clearwater, Florida. He left
behind a rambling note about UFOs and said
he was going to Area 51 in Nevada to fly spy
planes. Three hundred operatives from the
church’s Guardian Office, a Scientology
organization that is compared to the CIA and
KGB, were sent to find him.
On October 28, the Las Vegas police found a
white Pontiac without license plates. A young
man was unconscious inside. The engine was
still running and there was a tube going from
the exhaust pipe into the car. The young man,
who didn’t have any identification on him,
appeared to have had sex sometime before he
lost consciousness as there was semen in his
rectum. He stayed in a coma until November
12, when he finally passed away.
On November 22, the body was identified as
that of Quentin Hubbard. Apparently when
Ron was given the report on his son’s death,
he said, “That little s–t has done it to me
again!” The first autopsy said Quentin had
died from asphyxiation from carbon
monoxide. Mary Sue was devastated and
ordered three more autopsies to be
performed. The final one came back as
inconclusive. Mary Sue also told people
Quentin had died from encephalitis, which is
an inflammation of the brain. Hubbard
believed that the death was a murder to get at
him. Others believe that Quentin may have
committed suicide because he was gay, a
violation of the teachings of Scientology.
L. Ron Hubbard died 10 years later, and
David Miscavige became the leader of the
church, a position he holds to this day.
7 Theresa Duncan And
Jeremy Blake
Forty-year-old Theresa Duncan and her
boyfriend of 12 years, 35-year-old Jeremy
Blake, were well-respected artists and
bloggers who started dating in New York,
then moved to Los Angeles in 2002 before
returning to New York in 2007. By the time
they returned, they were both acting
paranoid. For example, they claimed that they
were being terrorized by Scientologists.
While a joint paranoid psychosis is quite
possible, Duncan and Blake did have a real
connection with the church. Blake had
designed an album cover for a famous
Scientologist, the singer-songwriter Beck. It
was during this time that the couple started
to talk more about Scientology. It was also
during this time that the couple got a two-
movie picture deal with Fox Searchlight. They
planned to make a movie called Alice
Underground, which would star Beck. Then
Beck said in an interview that he never
agreed to act in the film.
That may not have been exactly true. Beck did
say in an Italian newspaper that he was
excited to make his acting debut in a movie
with a plot that was very similar to Alice
Underground and that it would be directed by
a first-time director who was a friend of his.
According to emails from Duncan to a friend,
Beck apparently wanted to use the movie in
New York to get away from the Los Angeles–
centric Church of Scientology. But since Beck
said he never planned on doing the movie, it
folded and moved to another studio. After
losing the film, Blake wrote a 27-page
document for an intended lawsuit against
none other than Tom Cruise, whom Blake
blamed for the movie failing.
With their lives seemingly out of control,
Blake found Duncan’s lifeless body in their
apartment on July 10. She had overdosed on
over-the-counter medication. A week to the
day after Duncan’s death, Blake went to
Rockaway Beach in Queens, undressed, and
walked into the Atlantic Ocean. A business
card was found saying, “I am going to join
the lovely Theresa.” His body was found five
days later.
One final oddity about the story surrounds
the authorship of the high-profile article of
the deaths for Vanity Fair . One writer was
taken off the story after writer Nancy Jo Sales
was put on it. What’s weird is that Sales had
an unusual personal connection to the story.
When the couple moved to New York, they
rented an apartment (the one Duncan would
eventually die in) in an Episcopalian church.
The priest of that church was Sales’s ex-
husband. People have questioned why
someone personally involved in a case like
that would write the story. One strange theory
is that Scientologists secretly had an editor
working at Vanity Fair and that Sales was put
on the story to distance the Church of
Scientology from the deaths.
“The Golden Suicides,” as they have come to
be called, are still unresolved. Was the couple
experiencing a joint psychosis and paranoia?
Or were Scientologists, who have a history of
secrecy and harassment, actually terrorizing
the couple? After all, people like Duncan and
Blake are exactly the type of people the
church wants to attract. Just how sinister
were their deaths?
6 Alexander Jentzsch
In 1982, Heber Jentzsch became the president
of the Church of Scientology International.
Two years later, his wife, Karen de la
Carriere, gave birth to the couple’s only child,
Alexander. The couple’s relationship with the
leader of the church, David Miscavige, was
apparently rocky. According to de la Carriere,
Miscavige forced Heber to divorce her in
Over the years, Heber was the face of the
church, but in 2004, he had fallen out of
favor with Miscavige and he was forced to go
to “The A to E Room,” now known simply as
“The Hole” (pictured above) at the
International Base in Los Angeles. The Hole is
described as an office prison with bars on the
windows and the doors, where 60–100
executives , both male and female, are forced
to stay all day and all night. They only leave
the room to go to the showers. The rest of the
time is spent doing intense training and
confessing. In 2010, Karen de la Carriere, who
was a 40-year member of the church and
studied directly under Hubbard, spoke out
against the church due to the treatment of
her husband. For that, she was ex-
communicated. Her son, Alexander, cut her
out of her life and de la Carriere never spoke
to him again.
On the night of July 1, 2012, 27-year-old
Alexander went to bed at his in-laws’ home.
The next morning, they noticed him sleeping
in the bed but didn’t see him get up. Twelve
hours later, at 9:00 PM, they saw that he was
still motionless in the bed. He was discovered
unresponsive the next morning, which was
July 3, by his father-in-law. Instead of getting
help right away, his father-in-law drove a
child to school, returned home, and then
finally called 911. Alexander was taken to the
hospital and pronounced dead.
Members of the church were told (before the
coroner had even finished investigating) that
Alexander had died from a reaction to a
“ prescribed painkiller.” The official cause of
death was listed as a combination of
methadone and pneumonia .
What is so strange about Alexander’s death is
that the church tried to keep it a secret.
Shortly after the death, Alexander’s wife had
his body cremated before Alexander’s mother
could see the body. They weren’t going to do
a memorial service but then decided to do a
private one after the death garnered media
attention. Karen de la Carriere was not
allowed to attend. Heber Jentzsch was allowed
to attend the funeral of his son, and he gave
a eulogy. It was the first time that Heber had
been seen at a church function since 2004,
but he has yet to be seen in public. According
to one of Heber’s brothers, Heber said he
thinks he won’t ever get out of The Hole
5 Edward McBride
Thirty-year-old Edward McBride was training
to be a Special Forces commando with the
Australian Army when he decided to
withdraw in 2005 because he had injured his
knees. During that time, he lodged two
complaints and applied for a medical
discharge, but it would take four months for
that to happen.
Around the same time that he injured himself,
McBride was getting heavily involved in
Scientology. In August 2006, McBride took out
a $20,000 bank loan to pay for three classes.
By the time he finished the classes, he was
going to church three nights a week and all
day Saturday. He was also going through the
auditing process. The last part of the process
involved being measured by an
electropsychometer, or an “E-meter” (pictured
above). This is a low-level electrical reader
that, according to Scientologists, detects
changes in the human psyche.
On February 7, 2007, two days after finishing
the auditing process and the day before the E-
meter test, McBride, who was a trained
electrician, threw a rope over an electrical
tower and caused a 110,000-volt charge to
surge through his body. The explosion was so
strong that it left burn marks 10 meters (33 ft)
When piecing McBride’s final hours together,
the state coroner asked the Church of
Scientology for the files on McBride, but they
refused and shipped the files to the United
States. What the coroner did find out was that
in the last 48 hours of his life, McBride had
been called or texted 19 times by members of
the church. The police said many of the calls
were “forceful in nature,” demanding that he
return for the final test and saying that L.
Ron Hubbard would not approve of McBride’s
actions. When the members of the church
were interviewed, they claimed that they just
encouraged McBride to come in and finish
administrative work. However, the police
countered that the messages sounded much
more urgent and aggressive than the church
members made them out to be. The police
wanted to know what difference it would
make if he postponed it for a day?
The Church of Scientology denied any
wrongdoing in McBride’s death, and the
church was never charged in connection with
his death.
4 Susan Meister
In 1970, Susan Meister joined the Church of
Scientology and seemed to be happy. She got
more involved and in 1971, she went to live
on their ship Apollo , which was just off the
coast of Morocco. In 1967, Hubbard had
started the Sea Organization, a group of
facilities on boats that were used to train its
most dedicated members. Apollo was one of
those ships.
On June 25, 1971, Susan apparently shot
herself . Her father, George Meister, flew to
Morocco to find out more information. When
he went to the church, they refused to show
him his 23-year-old daughter’s body. Instead,
they only showed him a picture of her body.
She had died from a gunshot wound in the
middle of her forehead, and on her chest, the
gun was clutched in both hands. George said
that it would not have been possible for Susan
to shoot herself in the middle of the forehead
and still hold on to the gun with both hands
on her chest.
George Meister returned home after four days
without seeing his daughter’s body and for
the next several months, he and the church
fought over Susan’s body. Her body was not
shipped back to the United States until
December 1971. After being shipped home, an
official from the church offered George a
settlement, and George rejected it. He thought
it was odd that the Church of Scientology
would make him an offer, because if Susan’s
death was just a suicide like they claimed,
why would they need to make a settlement?
After George rejected the settlement, he said
that he and his wife started getting
threatening phone calls, saying that they were
going to get the same thing their daughter
3 Mary Florence ‘Flo’
In 1981, Michelle “Shelly” Barnett, a longtime
Scientologist, married David Miscavige
(pictured above), who worked directly under
L. Ron Hubbard. After Hubbard’s death in
1986, Miscavige became the leader of the
church, a position he still holds.
On September 8, 1985, Shelly’s mother and
David’s mother-in-law, Mary Florence “Flo”
Barnett was found shot to death. She had
been shot three times with a long-range rifle,
twice in the chest and once in the head.
Despite the number of gun wounds, the death
was ruled a suicide. Flo had previously
attempted suicide and her wrists had fresh
slashes that were healing. Despite that bit of
history, it’s a bit baffling to conclude that the
51-year-old woman, who was 160 centimeters
(5’3″) tall and weighed just 51 kilograms (113
lb), fired four shots and hit herself three
times with a long-range rifle.
After the death, not much was made of the
case. That was until 1991, when Time released
an expose on Scientology that led to a court
hearing about the church’s policies and
practices. According to court documents, a
former high-ranking church executive
testified that Flo had joined a splinter group
that opposed Miscavige. At the same trial,
another former member of the church
confirmed that Flo was part of the splinter
group at the time of her death. Also,
according to multiple witnesses, both
Miscavige and Shelly were disgusted with Flo.
After she was dead, Miscavige supposedly
said , “The bitch got what she deserved.”
David Miscavige denied in court that he had
anything to do with the suicide. None of the
evidence, including the medical and police
reports, points to him as a suspect. It’s also
interesting to note that Shelly has been off
the radar for a while. While the Los Angeles
Police Department confirmed that she was
alive in 2013 , she has not been seen in public
since August 2007.
2 The Australian Mass
One of the most concerning aspects of the
Church of Scientology is that they are strongly
against psychiatric help , including
medication. This, of course, has become a
problem when people who are mentally
disturbed are either members or try to join
the church. Two of the most notable of these
incidents happened in Australia.
Scientology first took root Down Under in
1955 . In October 1987, a man named Frank
Vitkovic did a church personality test that
said he had hit rock bottom. The volunteer
who gave him the personality test said it was
obvious that Vitkovic was mentally disturbed.
So she encouraged him to enroll in one of
their classes. On December 8, Vitkovic, who
was 22, walked into an Australian postal
office with plans to murder his friend. When
Vitkovic fired at his friend, the gun jammed
and his friend escaped. Eight other people
weren’t as lucky and were shot to death.
Seventeen minutes after the massacre began,
Vitkovic jumped to his death. During the
inquest into the mass murder, it was argued
by the coroner that Scientology was a factor
in the mass murder. Vitkovic, who was
obviously mentally unwell, met with the
Scientologists who told him that his life was
at rock bottom, and the only help they offered
was a pamphlet and a course. This could have
worsened his already fragile mental state.
Another incident happened in late 2006, in
Revesby, New South Wales. Twenty-five-year-
old Linda Walicki was diagnosed with mental
illness, but her devout Scientologist parents
wouldn’t let her get psychiatric help. Instead,
the church sent them drugs from the United
States. It seems the drugs didn’t have a
calming effect: Walicki later stabbed her 15-
year-old sister and her father to death and
injured her mother as well. Walicki was
found covered in blood wandering around the
neighborhood. When police arrested her, she
said that she had butchered her mother,
father, and sister.
1 The Fort Harrison Hotel
The Fort Harrison Hotel is located in
Clearwater, Florida, and besides being an
exclusive Scientology hotel, it is a high-level
training center and the spiritual headquarters
of the church. The church bought the 220-
room hotel secretly in 1975 and since then, it
has witnessed a number of unusual deaths.
The most notable one is that of Lisa
McPherson. McPherson had been a
Scientologist for 18 years when, in 1994, the
Scientology publishing company she worked
for moved to Clearwater. She moved with it.
In September 1995, after five years and
175,000 of Scientology counseling, McPherson
was declared “clear.”
On November 18, 1995, McPherson was
involved in a minor car accident. After the
collision, she got out of the car, took off her
clothes, and said she needed help. She was
taken to a psychiatric hospital but signed out
a short time later against doctors’ orders. She
was taken back to the hotel where a woman
named Janice Johnson was put in charge of
her care. But Johnson didn’t have a license to
practice medicine in Florida. The license she
had was for Arizona and even that was
restricted after disciplinary problems.
Seventeen days later, McPherson’s health was
much worse, so the people who were caring
for her took her to a hospital where a
Scientologist doctor worked.
In the process, they passed four other
hospitals. When the doctor saw McPherson,
she was bruised, looked unkempt, and wasn’t
breathing. The doctor pronounced her dead.
There was no obituary or police report; the
church just quietly buried the body. Eleven
days later, news of McPherson’s death leaked
out. Officials at the church said that
McPherson had come for rest and relaxation
and then suddenly fell ill. The medical
examiner said that wasn’t possible and that
she would have been showing signs of
dehydration five days before her death. In
fact, she probably was not responsive 24
hours before she was pronounced dead.
The family sued the church and the State
Attorney’s office opened an 11-month
investigation. The church was initially
charged with two felonies. In the end,
McPherson’s family and the church settled for
an undisclosed sum, and the charges against
the church were dropped.
But that was not the only death in the hotel.
Before McPherson even came to Clearwater,
there were problems at the hotel. For
example, in 1980, in the span of 11 months,
161 calls were made to 911. There were also
at least seven other deaths of physically
healthy people who stayed in the hotel. Then
there are strange deaths like those of
Josephus Havenith (who was found drowned
in a bathtub full of scalding hot water) or
Roger Nind (who came from Australia to get a
$70,000 refund and was killed in an accident
the day after his arrival).
What is most baffling about the deaths is how
uncooperative the church is with the
authorities. Besides trying to keep the deaths
quiet, whenever someone calls 911, the police
respond to the call, but the church’s private
security does not allow them to enter the
hotel. The church claims that the calls to 911
are caused by most international guests trying
to dial 011 to make an international call after
dialing 9 to get an outside line.
Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance
writer. You can friend him on Facebook ,
follow him on Twitter or on Pinterest, or visit
his website .

Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *