Renzo Lancia returned to the States minus his wife, who was still doing the Clearing Course. She was taking so long at it that Renzo thought she might be having trouble going clear. The process was a closely-guarded secret, and Felicia had told him only that it had to do with "goals" and that one audited oneself through the course. This suggested that clearing, unlike the Grades, involved some inner struggle.
The Lancias had stayed at a manor called Fyfield, near Hubbard College, Saint Hill, and while Felicia was at "the Hill" taking a preliminary course in self-auditing, and then in their room behind closed door wrestling with the clearing materials, Renzo was free to hang around the manor reading, composing, or strolling in the nearby forest.
Hubbard College was situated in the midst of radiant English countryside. A prospectus Renzo brought back included photos of a splendid acreage with stately manorhouse and bungalow-style classrooms. Here happy, carefree preclears tripped the road to the State of Clear. Prices were given for the courses and processes, along with an imperious-sounding invitation to come to Saint Hill for the "Safe, Sure Way to Total Freedom."
The prospectus announced that now there were new Upper Levels beyond the State of Clear. A Clear, divested of the reactive mind, was like a newborn babe, and still further processing was required to stabilize and reorient him. These higher states, eight in number, were called the OT (Operating Thetan) Levels. There was a drawing of an eight-runged ladder with benign-looking baby ghosts hovering in the air or balancing on the rungs. No hint was given as to the actual content of the Upper Levels. Renzo and I conjectured as to their effects. Perhaps an Operating Thetan would be a citizen of the universe, above sectarianism and drawn to philosophy, the arts and the furthering of world harmony. Renzo had met some Scientologists at the Hill who considered themselves human beings first and Scientologists second. But there were others who sounded like Fascists. To these, the poor and oppressed of the world, the dwellers in mud huts and ghettos, were hopelessly enslaved by their reactive minds and getting exactly what they deserved. The South African Scientologists Renzo had talked to were in favor of apartheid.
A frantic obsessiveness at Saint Hill had made Renzo avoid the place once he had attained his Power Release.
"They jam Scientology down your throat," he said. "If you don't go along with it you're declared suppressive. They've alienated the town of East Grinstead by putting up `declare notices' on bookdealers who won't push Hubbard's books. It's kind of ominous."
Renzo was unhappy about another thing. It had taken him just twenty minutes to complete his Grade V Power Release, at a cost of $1,000. Instead of experiencing gains afterwards, he had gotten sick and spent most of that night vomiting off the terrace of Fyfield Manor.