Inside Scientology/Dianetics, by Robert Kaufman - Next - Previous

The Upper Levels

I rented a room in a quiet neighborhood and went out for a walk around the downtown area. After dinner I bumped into a young man who had completed Solo Course just before I did. He was now an OT IV. From the avenue he pointed out the location of the Advanced Org, in a row of old buildings across a large bridge. I saw the shapes of towers looming over the embankment., silhouetted against the night sky. He noted my hesitation and said, "Come on over. The sooner you start the sooner you'll be OT."

We walked across the bridge, which spanned the Edinburgh railroad yards, stopping briefly to lean on the parapet and watch the switching operations below.

The Advanced Org was two blocks down from the bridge on a main thoroughfare. There was a single white door with a rim of blue painted around the frame and a sign above it: HUBBARD COLLEGE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. We climbed a long, winding staircase and he left me at Reception, an aperture in the wall of the foyer, near the stairs, that had been in former days the registration window of Suttie's Hotel, what must have been a rather seedy lodging situated above some small shops.

All I could see from Reception was a small anterior lobby, a few closed doors, and a corridor. There were clashing odors from a defective gas heater and the white paint newly splashed on every wall.

It was 9 p.m. and the AOUK was quiet. There were a few men sitting in the outer lobby, subdued-looking and motionless. One of them, Jim Fergus, got up to shake my hand and let me know he had made OT II. He looked weary and his eyes had a faraway glint. Another, an OT IV, appeared somewhat wilted. I glanced at the others. Their eyes were glassy, their faces transfixed, as though they were exteriorized from their bodies.

I went to Reception to start lines. The portable nature of the Sea Org was in evidence. The AOUK had been in operation only a week or two, yet all of the Scientology machinery was there: bookstore, offices, and lines. I signed up for the Clearing Course with Registrar, and gave Accounts $760 in pounds. Then I registered with Housing, who took my passport as "security."

AO students were restricted to lodgings that were registered at Housing as a Safe and Secure Environment. This meant that the house had already been a haven for at least one Scientologists, and that one's room included a locking cabinet or closet for the security of the confidential materials. I was the first Scientologist to ever rent a room at Mrs. Blake's, but while unpacking I had noticed a key in the cabinet door, and Housing allowed me to stay there, at least temporarily.


The man who gave me my incoming sec check was, like all Sea Org personnel, dressed in white from head to toe, except for his black boots and thick black belt. He was serious and methodical about his work, taking his time to adjust the E-meter precisely, making me think of a surgeon about to probe a patient's vitals with a delicate instrument. The questions were of the same sort as on previous sec checks. I quaked inwardly throughout the ordeal.

"Is there anything you should tell me that you haven't?" he probed, dropping his eyes to the meter face like a destroyer commander scanning the surface of the water for ripples. "That reads. What do you consider it is?"

"I don't know," I said. There was something wrong with my needle again.

"Look at it," he urged. "There it is -- that!"

"I'm nervous about being here."

"All right. Any more on that?"


"It reads."

"I had a lot of trouble at the Hill while I was on Solo." My eyes watered with this disclosure.

His face softened into a half-smile. "Got you! Is there anything you should tell me that you haven't? That's clean now. Have you tried to keep anyone from being audited? Clean. Has anyone tried to keep you from being audited? That reads. What is it?"

I saw my father's face, the faces of friends in New York. None of them had the suppressive traits listed in the bulletin.

"I can't imagine."

"Fine. Has anyone tried to keep you from being audited? Big read. Better have a look at that."

Suddenly I came to an understanding. "Ann ... Ann didn't want me to come here."

"Thank you. Any more on that?"

"She and her husband Nicholas are friends of mine in London."

"Thank you. Any more on that?"

"In Granleigh."

"Thank you. Anything more?"

"Fleetwood Crescent ... number 53."

"Thank you."


Before receiving the Clearing Course instructions, I sat with several others in a small room watching Ron Hubbard on film. Ron demonstrated an actual Clearing Course session, with E-meter and worksheets. In one sequence he showed us how to record reads. We viewed on the screen the face of a meter, with worksheet beside it and a fleshy hand holding a ballpoint pen poised above the paper. Ron explained that since he was not going to divulge the secret items just yet, he would identify them by number only and get his reads simply by thinking of them.

"You'll get big reads on this material," he said. "It's all highly-charged ... there's a fall now" -- as the needle scooted two inches to the right. The pen jotted an "F" next to the item designated "1."

"There's a long fall" -- and "LF" was placed after the "F." Next came a short fall, "sF," and a very long fall, "LLF," covering half the dial. Soon Ron had a column of numbers, each followed by various-sized reads.

Each read was charge blown off the bank, and when we were given the secret materials we would take up each item in proper sequence and get off all reads, all charge, until he had erased the reactive mind.

Ron's face flashed onto the screen to give us a final word. His features were more toad-like than I had remembered them.

"The clearing process is just a matter of routine, good hard work," he advised. "Think of it as digging a ditch."

Leaving the AOUK with a large envelope the Director of Processing had given me, I thought about the film. The conclusion was inescapable: Not only the structure but also the content of the bank were identical in every preclear. In the Clearing Course materials Ron would reveal to us what lay in the depths of our minds and the minds of every other uncleared human being. By erasing these items we would erase our old goals.

The Clearing Course, then, was unlike anything I had been led to believe. In Ron's Never-Never Land one never knew down which passageway one was being led. As I mused on the irony of it, the hours I had spent at the Hill studying data I was never to use, a further implication -- that Ron would soon have the power to replace our old goals with something else -- was lost on me.


In a coffeeshop, I ran into Richie Blackburn, just up from Sussex and in need of a lodging. I took him to Mrs. Blake's, where he rented a room on the ground floor.

Behind the locked door of my room, I found that the large envelope contained a pack of bulletins and a booklet of final instructions.


Those who have achieved these higher states must be genned in on the tremendous responsibility they face. They have far greater power than a human being and must learn to use it not for selfish purposes but for the betterment of this planet.

I gaped at the next bulletin.


One in Condition of Liability must work 24 hours straight for the organization plus another 8 to get through Condition of Non-Existence.

One in Condition of Doubt must work 48 hours straight, then 24 hours more to get through Condition of Liability, and another 8 to get through Condition of Non-Existence.

During a penalty one is not allowed to sleep, bathe, or leave the premises.

This order applies to everyone at the AO, visitors as well as staff.

I read the next clause over and over, turning back to stare at it several times that night.

One in Condition of Enemy is classified Fair Game; may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologists without any discipline of the Scientologists. MAY BE TRICKED, SUED, OR LIED TO, OR DESTROYED.

Between 8 and 9 the next morning Richie and I met the other three boarders for the first time in the lounge-breakfast room. They were university students, holding night jobs to pay their room and board, and they came to the table one at a time, looking tired and wasted. Richie tried to raise the breakfast-time tone level by proselytizing Scientology. The boarders were indifferent. At that hour I was scarcely in the mood to hear talk of "goals and gains" either, but, wishing to avoid a confrontation with Richie, I prompted him from time to time when he turned to me for support. After breakfast I went to my room to read the final processing instructions.

Theta clearing is about as practical and simple as repairing a shoelace.

The Clearing Course material is in five parts:

  1. The 7s
  2. Basic End-Words
  3. Confusion GPMs (Goals-Problems-Mass)
  4. The Objects (hollow)
  5. The Objects (solid)

The whole set occurs ten times in the bank, so you run them ten times. If you don't erase all the material on the first run you will need additional runs. You must stay in the correct run at all times.

Whenever you run an item spot yourself as a thetan at the earliest moment in time. This is called, simply, "spotting." Don't make a big fuss about "how to spot." Just do it -- it's like pointing to something and saying "There!"

You must keep accurate records of your auditing sessions. It is crucial when you start a session that you pick up exactly where you left off in the previous one, neither skipping items nor going back too far and repeating previously-run items.

Mark a rerun item with a slash in your report. If that item doesn't read, go back still farther. Then place a number of slashes corresponding to the number of rerun items. This leaves a record of how far you went back. When the non-reading item is again reached this time it will read. Never go past a non-reading item. An item doesn't read generally because there is still charge left on a previous item.

The Objects are spotted coming towards and going away from you at about shoulder height. You will spot The Objects appearing and receding to your left, to your right, to the front and back of your head, and finally in all four directions simultaneously.

Periodically there is a light. It occurs at the end of each of the 7s, the middle of the Basic End-Words, and at several other places. The light was used to daze the thetan. It is spotted by looking a few feet ahead and slightly to the left. It is not so much "seeing" the light as realizing it is there. Plenty of reads will be gotten off this. The light should be treated as an item. You will be penalized for by-passing a light.

If you are not clear by ten runs go back to the beginning and do as many more runs as necessary to erase the material.

If you get sick on course you have made some blunder in running the items.

If your eyes tear on course you are invalidating yourself.

When you finish a session drop the matter and get on with the business of living.

Remember, it's all in your mind.

The AOUK worked by fast-flow system to churn out new releases. Students no longer had to check each other out; they simply wrote their attestations on forms. Films were viewed and attested to; process instructions were carried home in locked briefcases, studied and attested to; even releases were attested to. Release on the Clearing Course was left solely up to One's Certainty on the Matter.

I attested to the instructions and took the Clearing Course envelope back to my room.

Next to the window was a bureau with a large mirror. Not wishing to see my own image in the glass while spotting the thetan, I pulled the end-folds of the drawn curtain over the mirror, pinning the fabric against the bureau with a chair. Leery of glimpsing the secret material out of proper order, I opened the envelope, removed the lists of items on sheets that Ron called platens, and quickly covered them with the envelope.

At the top of the auditor's report form was printed "Preclear ... Auditor ..." I wrote my initials after both, the date, and the place on the Clearing Course I was starting with, Part 1, Item 1. I turned on the meter, adjusted it, noted the time, picked up the single can and took my first tone-arm reading. Now I could have a look at the first item. I slid the envelope down the platen a fraction of an inch:

Part 1. The 7s: BE

Another fraction:

1a. to be nobody

I spoke the item softly, my eyes glued to the needle. Nothing happened. I called the item again, and tried to visualize the thetan at the earliest moment in time. The needle quivered. I called and spotted again and got a half-inch fall to the right. I wrote "1a. sF" -- for "small fall" -- on the worksheet.

Gradually the needle warmed up. I started getting reads both on calls and between them. The reads got larger and more frequent. After a few minutes they covered several lines across the page. When their size dwindled to several consecutive "sFs," I inched the envelope down another fraction:

1b. to be everybody

A series of short falls and tics prompted me to return to "1a." and place a slash there to mark my backtracking. I was greeted with a falling needle on my first call; there was charge left on the item. When the reads tapered off I resumed "1b." and now it read, just as Ron said it would. I got long falls, long long falls, and small blowdowns.

Whenever the needle action slowed I went back and milked "1a." for more reads. Within an hour my notations covered half the worksheet.

I slid the envelope down a fraction:

2a. to be me 2b. to be you

After a few reads on these items I ended session, switching back to the auditor's report form to note my stopping place and the time and tone-arm reading.

Under the printed heading Goals and Gains, I wrote "to finish the 7s," said "That's it!" and turned off the meter. My only remaining tasks were to make out the summary report -- I observed that there was "good needle action" and that "the preclear is doing fine" -- and fill in a green time slip.

I stuffed the reports and platens into the envelope, sealed it and locked it up in the briefcase, which in turn I locked up in the cabinet. Then I went downstairs to find Richie, who had also just completed his first session, watching TV in the lounge.

Next morning I got up at 6 and immediately went into session. Again it took a while for the meter to warm up, but I went backwards and forwards on the platen until items read. After breakfast Richie and I agreed to audit in our rooms until about 11, then take a break together.

That day we each had several sessions, punctuated by short walks to the shopping street in the neighborhood for coffee and snacks. After supper we got in yet another session and took the mile walk to the AO to turn in our green time slips before closing of lines for the night. On our way back Richie and I kept a long stride, to more choruses of "Lay down your head, Tom Doo-oo-ly" than I would have liked.

The rest of the week followed the same pattern. My miseries of Fyfield Manor were forgotten. Each morning at 6 I bounded out of bed, businesslike, to continue "digging the ditch." Richie and I would breakfast at 8, and at 9 put do-not-disturb signs on our doors and go back into session. We generally ended our stints at about the same time, met in the lounge and went out for a snack or meal. Our appetites were insatiable, "because," Richie said, "so much mass is coming off the bank."

Richie was not expecting a protracted stay in Edinburgh. Of course, it was forbidden to "discuss case," but on one of our strolls he gave me to know he was on the verge of going clear. A few blocks later he admitted to wondering how he would know when he had gone clear, then reversed himself again, asserting that he'd know for damn well and sure.

Richie had brought up something I hadn't really wished to think about: Whatever else was included in the Clearing Course Instructions, there was no mention made as to how a preclear would know when he or she was a Clear. The end phenomenon might be the usual floating needle; then again, it might not be -- nothing about a floating needle appeared in the instructions. Moreover, since the AO fast-flow system permitted students to attest unchallenged, there was no examination or checkout to confirm the validity of a release -- or otherwise. Was it possible that there were Clears walking about Edinburgh who were not really clear at all?

I wished to hear no more about Richie's dilemma, preferring to leave release up to my own certainty at some future moment, and I asked to shut up about the Clearing Course. The "ditch" Ron spoke about was a thousand miles long. I marveled at the number of reads I was getting each session. My stack of reports had swollen till rents appeared at the sides of the envelope. I ended one session with surges on the large dial that might have been a floating needle but for the high tone-arm. An enormous amount of charge was blowing off the bank. I constantly craved food.

Richie, still maintaining he was on the brink of going clear, wanted to discuss some further confusion about the process. I was beginning to find these out-on-the-street exchanges distasteful. I sensed the danger. Richie's weakness was leading us into forbidden territory, and a little voice told me to protect myself, not to get involved in his problems. As we neared Mrs. Blake's one afternoon, he confided that the light troubled him. I dutifully referred him to the instruction booklet -- by then I could cite specific pages -- and insisted that it seemed straightforward enough to me. He cajoled me into going with him to his room to point out the particular passage about the light.

Richie had managed to draw me into a discussion. Actually, any "discussing" had been on his part alone -- I had merely referred him to authority in the prescribed manner -- but he had made me a party to his uncertainties, and this sort of thing was contagious! To add to it, Richie disclosed his uneasiness about the Sea Org, with its militaristic uniforms, chain of command, and Ethics. He had heard a chilling tale of punishment aboard Hubbard's ship. A crew member who was declared in Condition of Treason was kept in the chain-locker for three days on bread and water, with the anchor chain whizzing inches away from his head at ninety miles per hour.

Aside from inaccessible persons and psychotics in general, most cases should become MEST-clear in a few weeks of hard auditing.

I was getting impatient to finish the course. Several students who had watched the training film with me had already attested clear, and I was still on Part I. Once the initial excitement wore off, the Clearing Course was plain drudgery. Constant alertness was necessary to keep spotting the thetan while calling an item perhaps for the twentieth time. Each spotting called for a kind of mental contortion to make the needed effort. Reads were innumerable and each one had to be caught and noted on the worksheet. I also did a great deal of backtracking, covering the sheets with slashes next to rerun items. I began to wonder if I was committing technical errors, and reread the instructions several times.

Richie had infected me with doubt. His outpourings had made me aware of my own uncertainties about the Clearing Course. There was the light, for instance. During one session, spotting the light had been painful, producing eyestrain, and with no good reads. Determined to do the net light correctly, I spotted for twenty minutes, and felt the mass building up in my forehead as I stared at a point a few feet in front of me and slightly to the left. Suddenly I had a vision of a flashing bulb -- immediately the needle sheered violently to the right. Then I had to leave off because of pain behind my right eye.

That night I managed to finish the 7s: to be, to do, and to have, seven pairs of items for each. I went quickly through the next part, eighteen Basic End-Words: the now, the past, the future, the time the space...

Richie knew I was auditing late at night, and accused me of violating a rule of the Auditor's Code: Do not process a preclear after ten o'clock at night." He said, "After all, you're the preclear." I argued that the time slips we took to the AO each night were our auditing states; he should know that eight hours of auditing a day was Condition of Normal Operation, six hours Condition of Emergency, and less than six Condition of Danger. Richie suggested auditing 6-8 and 9-11 a.m., and 1-3, 4-6, and 8-10 p.m. "That's enough to raise us to Condition of Affluence, and if we stop spendin' so much time on meal breaks we'll go into bleedin' Condition of Power!"


Part III combined the Basic End-Words with the verbs to create and to destroy in peculiar pairs called Confusion GPMs:

1a. creating to destroy the now

1b. destroying to create the now

These items read so poorly I returned frequently to Part II, marking my trail of reruns with a welter of slashes. However, the Basic End-Words had also stopped reading. I pounded away at items for minutes at a time, getting only a couple of short falls or less. I went back still farther, finally electing to rerun the entire Part II. Part III still wouldn't read. The material couldn't be flat; the tone-arm was getting higher each session, the needle harder to move. I obsessively searched to instructions for clues.

When nothing read anymore, I decided not to do any more auditing until I found out what was wrong. I went over the thick pile of worksheets for the place I'd stopped getting good reads. The number of possibilities confounded me. Due to my many rerunnings -- hundreds of slashes covered my worksheets -- I couldn't find the original sequence. In order to retrace my path through the materials I would have to start way back, perhaps at the very beginning, and pursue each read on each item in its given order on the sheets. But the task of working through the maze of reads and slashes, the goings-ahead and back, the picking up of threads, would be almost impossible. Although I thought I had followed the instructions faithfully, the worksheets were as tangled looking as piles of knotted twine, and my own notations swam before my eyes.

Trivial things started worrying me. I was afraid I would run out of ink, and rushed out to the avenue to buy four ballpoint pens. I got compulsive about recharging the E-meter and plugged it into the wall socket every few hours whether it needed it or not. The tin can had gotten rusty and my hand bore marks from it that wouldn't wash off. I spent an hour rubbing the can with scouring pads, trying to get it back to its original state. The process was constantly on my mind. Out walking or lying in bed at night, I stewed over my lost location amongst the items.

Maybe I'd done the whole thing wrong! I would have liked to return to the first item of Part I and do the course all over again, but was reluctant to ask the Director of Processing for this special privilege. Perhaps the only solution would be to rewrite the entire batch of worksheets! There might be a way to track the reads with colored pencils. This would take several days, and my poor auditing stats would put me in Liability. I pored over the worksheets far into the night, trying to find the missing thread.

I selected a place on the platens at random and went into session. The strain of conjuring up the thetan and spotting the light, the very act of auditing, filled me with disgust. I had become quite dazed at this point, and somewhat unhinged, with the apprehension that if I continued to audit I would damage my mind. The mind was put together in a precise order, as given on the platens. Mistakes could have horrendous effect.

I would have to take all of the Upper Levels after all. The price was $3,200 and the organization offered a package deal of $2,800 to those who paid in advance. I called my broker across the Atlantic. My stocks hadn't risen, and some were lower, but I directed him to sell every share.


Richie called me into the lounge to watch a science fiction story on television. The black and white images on the screen terrified me, keying in something in the bank which irresistibly pulled me down the Time Track to a loathsome incident. I felt myself sliding and had to leave the room, Richie shouting after me, "Hey, mate, when we go in tonight I'm gonna attest!"


Richie stood near Reception. "I've 'ad it," he rasped in my ear. "They've put me in Liability. They looked over me worksheets and found out I skipped a light. I'm in for it now."

I was petrified at the thought of similarly incurring a long penalty while adrift in the materials, and, back in my room, tackled the worksheets again. I had to find the mistakes lurking among my notations and face up to them, if not to the organization then at least to myself. I took a clean sheet of paper, wrote the heading "Possible "Mistakes," and quickly listed "too much backtracking, too quickly going ahead, too many reads between calls, not enough reads on the light, too many small falls and other poor needle action, possibly getting into a wrong run." Further scrutiny revealed that on an early rerun I had completely missed a light, the same goof that had undone Richie. Then I found an even worse error. Several times when a few item hadn't read, I had jumped to the next one to loosen the needle. I had gone past non-reading items.

This realization made me want all the more to do the whole course over again. If I could get a few reads and make it through The Objects, I could start at the beginning again, this time as the second run, although my location in the materials might still be suspect and punishable because of all the errors.

As I walked through the streets near Mrs. Blake's bed-and-breakfast, I thought of my Scientology friends in New York. Suddenly I flashed on it. I'd reached this state of confusion because of them! I was afraid to go in for review and the help I needed because of the withholds I had against the organization, withholds acquired at the franchise: our late evening discussions, our poking fun at other Scientologists. I'd been covering up for Felicia and Gerald. I knew I could not withstand the compulsion to tell the auditor the very things I wished to conceal; I would betray them as I had betrayed Marilyn the cook and Ann and Nick Dalmas.

They would deserve this. They had spoiled me with their lax instruction, their failure to observe Ethics at the franchise. They had sent me to England ill-prepared, and I had been paying for it ever since. My trust in them had been misplaced. Perhaps they were not real friends after all. Still, I didn't wish to betray them. I would go in for review -- after giving them warning.

I placed my call for 7 a.m. New York time, from the local branch of the Edinburgh Post Office.

"Gerald!" I shouted into the mouthpiece at the drowsy auditor. "I'm in a real mess. I'm going in for review."

There was a pause, then, "So you're going in for review."

"But there's more to it than that. I'm afraid for your sake. I don't want to give away your withholds on the organization."

"I don't have any blinkin' withholds on the organization. You can say anything to them you damn well please."

"Are you sure?"

"Sure I'm sure. In fact I'm positive. I have nothing to hide."


Reception made out a form and took me to Qualifications Office, where the review auditors were given their assignments.

The Examiner at Qual that day was a short, stocky, hazel-eyes young man who kept a Buddha-like composure and smoked miniature cigars. He looked through my worksheets.

"You've done some nice work here," he purred. "I tell you what: I'm going to give you a List L-7 to do on yourself to get off all the by-passed charge." My morale seeped back at the prospect. "You've just raised my tone level ten points," I said.

List L-7 was three pages and eighty questions long. The questions dealt with ARC breaks, withholds and the technical aspects of the Clearing Course, mercilessly pinpointing the dozens of things that could go wrong on the process, for instance, Did you get into the wrong run? Seeing these in boldfaced print made me feel more culpable than ever. I hurriedly went down the list with my E-meter, and wrote up a summary which I took back to the Examiner.

"Look, this is a by-passed charge assessment," he said. "When you get a read on a question you have to get off your considerations. Where are your considerations? I don't see them on your worksheets. Like here, it says, Do you have an ARC break with auditing? You had a read on that, but you didn't do anything to get off the by-passed charge. Go home and run L-7 again. This time get off all your considerations and write them down on your worksheets."

Now all my withholds would have to be pulled. By me. Chains of forbidden thoughts bobbed to the surface. It was agony writing them down. They looked dreadfully awkward and incriminating on the worksheets, and my voice sounded whiny as I repeated them to myself. The most innocuous questions called forth self-reproaching statements. I would appear obsessively guilty in their eyes. My hands started to tremble, making writing almost impossible. I stopped looking for reads and poured out about Felicia and Gerald.

The Examiner took one look at my L-7 worksheets, locked up my confidential materials and sent me to Reception. I gave twenty dollars to Accounts, and settled down in the review waiting room, which served as "ship's mess" during crew dining hours. The room was crowded; review that night was out of the question.

I got back to Mrs. Blake's at eleven o'clock. Richie's door was open. He was lying half on, half off his bed. His clothes were filthy.

"Richie," I shouted. No answer. I smacked him on the face several times, pulled off his boots, hauled him under the covers, closed the window, through which a grim breeze was blowing, and shoved a coin in the electric heater. "Richie, you old bastard, say something, anything -- just say `hello.'" His eyes half opened. "Hallo," he said.


Mid-afternoon the next day, a jovial-faced young woman crooked a finger at me and led me into an auditing cubicle, where she gave out such rays of warmth that my troubles dissolved. She read down L-7, or a similar list. Some of the questions made my stomach sink, but there were only a few embarrassing reads. Halfway down the list she said, "You have a floating needle. That's it!" and, "Has the review been complete?"

"Oh yes!" I replied gratefully, and went to attest that fact at Certs and Awards, my mood considerably lightened. My auditor ran past me to get to the Certs desk; she was handling that post that day also.


That evening Richie informed me that he had just attested clear. He had gotten a good sleep, washed up and changed clothes, and remedied the damage on the course. He told me about the penalty he had received for Out-Tech.

"Those bulletins ain't kiddin' -- I never worked so 'ard in me life. I painted rooms and scrubbed the 'ole fuckin' front staircase. I was so beat when I got through I didn't think I'd be able to make it back. Thanks for puttin' me in bed, mate."

Richie still had an undercurrent of doubt running through his soul. "I just can't believe it. Am I really a Clear, Bob? Is it really true? Do I look any different?"

This annoyed me. I had been going through L-7s and paying extra for review while he was blundering his way to the prize. I repressed the impulse to tell him about my struggles; even if such confessions were not forbidden, I didn't want to mar his beautiful moment. He was just a young punk who didn't know his own luck -- and he did look different; his usual combative expression had softened into the bewildered radiance of a shipwrecked sailor in an old movie cast up on a strange shore. He needed validation now and I gave it to him: "Of course you're a Clear, buddy-boy. Sit back and enjoy it."

"I just can't believe I finally made it. Now I can go back to Austraylia without a reactive mind."

"Right! Dig it, man. Live it up. It's all there, and you know you earned it!"

I felt ambiguous about this exchange. As far as Richie was concerned, our friendship had deepened; he looked to me with puppy-like trust. But I wondered why he couldn't accept his win without the validation of another. I suspected, as I humored him, that I was also condescendingly, even a bit maliciously, "pushing his buttons," as though in pampering and praising him somehow I was covertly getting back at him for the case of the jitters he had caused me.

We were joined at a coffee house by Radcliff Jones, the South African, who had completed his Solo Audit on schedule and just arrived from the Hill. We walked about town, Richie still evincing post-clearing trauma, Rad and I repeatedly assuring him that he "looked beautiful," and stopping every few blocks to slap him on the back and exclaim, "You're clear, baby, really clear.


The Objects were geometric figures, ranging from simple triangles to polyhedrons and coils. The preclear spotted them first as hollow, then as solid, trying towards or away from his head in various directions. I tried a few of them and got only small falls on the dial. Imagining objects around my head moving simultaneously in different directions produced a strange effect, an alternating expansion and contraction of something in my head. I was quite conscious at this point of mass building up in my head. I was sick again. Another review would be humiliating as well as costly, but perhaps unavoidable.


Sea Org posts had rotated once again. The Qual Examiner that afternoon was a bosomy, down-to-earth redhead.

"Let's see ... you've already had one review." She thumbed my worksheets. My mistakes were transparently visible, but she wasn't going to be too rough on me to start with.

"Robert, I don't want you to keep coming in for review. That wouldn't be good for you or for us. Now, what are we going to do?"

I hoped she wouldn't declare me an Ethics case. "I don't know. Everything was fine for a while after the last one."

"All right. This means business. You're going to have a Search and Discovery. Let's get this thing straightened out once and for all."

I stood up to leave for Reception. "Don't worry," she added. "This'll be an Upper Level Search and Discovery. You're going to get some high-power stuff that'll take you way back on the Time Track."

I gave Accounts $100 for a Search and Discovery.

A cuddly-looking brunette beckoned me out of the waiting room. It was Third Mate, the crew member who had put Richie in Liability.

Third Mate was a whiz auditor, toying with her meter and reports like she was playing a game of mah-jongg.

"What are they trying to do to you?" she asked, her warm brown eyes dancing delightfully.

"Make me afraid," I offered, as she began making up a list. "Make me sick, lose sleep ... give me headaches ... make me dislike auditing ... make me dislike Scientology ..."

She nulled down the list, looking for the item.

"Good," she said, after several minutes of x-ing out items. `Make me dislike Scientology' is your remaining item. I'm going on to the next part. Who or what is trying to make you dislike Scientology?"

The item might possibly turn out to be a friend or family member in present-time. I flinched at the threat of having to disconnect from someone close, but names were already erupting in my brain.

"My father," I blurted. "My sister. Anita. Alan. Lynn."

"Good!" Third Mate exclaimed. "Any more on that?"

"Radcliff, Richie, Bruce, Gerald, Felicia, Marty, Olga, Danny, Edward, Max ..." I spewed out names of preclears and Upper Level Scientologists alike.

"Fine. Any more on who or what is trying to make you dislike Scientology?"

I remembered an unpleasant feeling I had once noticed in my chest on hearing some bad news.

"A black lump," I said.

"Thank you. Is the list complete?"

A picture came to mind.

"I see a man walking down a sidewalk on a nice spring day."

"Fine. What date is this?"

"It's ... 1870."

"Thank you. Now tell me everything that happens."

"He's walking along ... there are trees blossoming ... he's about to enter a house and go up the stairs ... there's a porch with a glider, like the place my grandparents used to live."

"Okay. Any more on that?"

"Yes. There's something very sympathetic about him."

"Thank you. Tell me about it."

"That's all I can give you on that. I feel a kind of warmth for this guy walking down the street. He reminds me of a character in an old comic strip -- it's Poppa Jenks in `Gasoline Alley.'"

"Fine. Let's call this item `The Man in the Picture,' okay? Is the list complete?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Good. Then I'll assess it on the meter." She went down the page, x-ing and /-ing the items. My heart jumped when she repeated the names of loved ones, but they all nulled out on second or third calling. Only two items were left, "The Man in the Picture," and "The Black Lump." My feeling was that our quarry might be "The Man in the Picture"; there was something in the incident that I couldn't quite place.

She called that item and decisively placed an "x" next to the row of slashes. "The Man in the Picture" had nulled out!

"There's your item!" whooped Third Mate. "It's `The Black Lump'!"

I gazed at her in stupefaction. A black lump, not a person, had been behind the recent disasters.

"But what is it?" I asked.

"I don't know. I mean, I can't tell you."

"You mean, you have an idea what it is?"

"I can't say one way or the other," she said impishly.

I was totally in the dark, but happy with the results of the Search and Discovery. Surely we had found the correct item, and nobody was suppressive to me, there would be no disconnection. It had been a black lump all along.

I was limp with relief. Third Mate contentedly watched the tension ooze out of me. She smiled at me across the table.

"God, it's fantastic," she mused, "Ron's Tech is so incredible!"

The glow of her eyes warmed me; tears flooded mine.

"You're great!" I squawked blissfully, and headed down the hall to tell the Examiner, "Do you know what it was all along? A black lump!"

The Examiner smiled at me knowingly. A black lump just carry some special import for Upper Level Scientologists. They knew what it was all right. But I would just have to wait for the next level -- or the next after that, if necessary -- to find out for myself.

I told everyone I saw at the AO that day that the Sea Org auditors were sensational, and could be relied upon all the way; one should never hesitate to seek help from Qual Office when they might need it; those Sea Org members would really see one through. Of course, I disclosed to no one the precise nature of the item that was found; only that it was not a person. Richie informed me, "It's nothin' unusual to get a `thing' on a Search and Discovery. Me mother 'ad to 'ave on last year and 'er item turned out to be a giant yewcalyptus!"


The E-meter was jammed again. I just couldn't finish the Clearing Course. Something was wrong with my Ethics Condition. It seemed fated that I work through a Liability penalty before the machine wold function for me again. Indeed, I didn't have to wait for Ethics action; I was already in Liability, having put myself in that Condition. Through one's own foibles one came to a true understanding of Ethics. One placed oneself in a Condition, Higher or Lower, at all times, whether or not he or the organization knew and acted upon it. Certain folks at the AO were extremely conscientious about this and whenever they realized they were in a Lower Condition reported themselves to the Ethics Officer. Then why in Ron's name didn't I go in and take my punishment? Was it a lingering, foolhardy desire to be different, the death-throes of a haughty ego struggling to remain above the rest, that kept me from turning myself in? Or was it simply fear? I didn't think it was the latter; Richie had survived his penalty in fine shape. But something inside me resisted being pigeon-holed under their Conditions. I had done my best to follow instructions, and was doing everything I could to straighten myself out. There had to be a difference between their Conditions and my condition. I would present myself at Qual once more and let my fate be decided there.

I saw Third Mate in the hallway. "How's it going?" she asked, no doubt referring to our incredible session of just two days ago.

"I don't know what's happening anymore. I'm stumped. I was just on my way to see the Examiner."

"I know what to do. Come with me and I'll fix it up."

She peppered me with questions from a green-colored form. auditing at top speed, she soon came to a question I'd never heard before.

"Are you a former release?"

She sat back in her chair watching me. "There was a big read on that," she said. I didn't comprehend. Her enigmatic expression slowly changed into a beatific smile and the meaning of the question and read finally dawned on me.

"A former release ... does that mean ... I'm clear?"

She continued to gaze at me, her smile widening. She couldn't evaluate a read for me. I had to grasp this thing myself. It was up to me to drop my uncertainty that very instant and accept the fact that I was clear.

I hesitated a long moment, not wishing to think, to add anything to the simplicity of my choice.

"Well, I'm not going to fight it," I said feebly, and at this, my acceptance, the currents passing between Third Mate and myself filled me with such warmth that I felt drugged and weak. We rose from the auditing table simultaneously and I collapsed into her embrace.

"You're beautiful," I murmured.

"You're beautiful," she replied.

We stood in the auditing cubicle holding onto each other, my legs barely supporting me.

"Just one second," she said, interrupting the delicious interval. "I want to check one more thing. Sit down a moment and pick up the cans. Now, when did the release occur?"

Something shot into my awareness. It was that session almost two weeks ago when the needle had surged on the dial and I'd felt so on top, and afterwards Richie and I had walked down the street towards the glorious setting sun without a care in the world, in quest of coffee and cakes. The tone-arm at end-of-session had been a trifle high, but where in the instructions had Ron said anything about tone-arm? It was also possible that the tone-arm was out of alignment, my meter in need of adjustment. If so, there had been an authentic floating needle.

Whatever about the needle, at end-of-session I had been clear. In fact, I had been clear for well over a week without realizing it!

"Okay, that's it!" Third Mate warbled. "Let's go over to Qual. Then you'll go and attest."

"Review is complete," Third Mate told the Examiner. "Like WOW!"

"I had a feeling something was going on in that cubicle," said the chesty, redhaired Examiner. I put my arms around her shelteringly, barely touching her, as though she, not myself, were the newborn Clear. A world of tenderness -- strange, these embraces had a new, totally satisfying quality. My skin, my body, felt new, everything felt new.

The Examiner led me to Certs and Awards, where I attested and received a certificate. She marched me into the foyer and cried jubilantly, "Now hear this, now hear this: Robert Kaufman ... CLEAR!"

There was applause from all sides. Several students stuck their heads out of the nearby classroom to see who had been released from the bank. I hadn't recovered from the shock yet. It had all happened so suddenly. Now I was in the Director of Processing Office adding my name in big letters to the rapidly growing list of Upper Level releases.

I wanted to rest for a couple of days, wallow in the state of clear, see more of Edinburgh, take a bus ride to Saint Andrew's to see the historic golf course. But the Director of Processing handed me the OT I Pack. There was to be no time out. Ron wanted the planet cleared son, and the organization needed OTs to help things along.

On the walk home, explanations for the past week came to mind. With the tremendous number of reads I had got for a while, I had taken off enough charge to go clear within a few days. Then, due to that old uncertainty, that universal character flaw, self-invalidation, I had gone right past the moment of release with a floating needle at or near 3 with all Good Indicators In. Of course everything after that had been a maelstrom. Small wonder items stopped reading; there was nothing left to read! For more than one week I had been overrunning myself on the process. Overrun means trying to clean something that has already been cleaned -- in the vernacular, cleaning a clean. The preclear who overruns past a release point recreates the material he has just erased, and the process boomerangs on him. Overrun makes the preclear disgusted with auditing and perhaps physically and mentally ill.

Back in my room I was amazed to find the Clearing Course Instruction booklet in the OT I Pack. Since it was, if anything, over-familiar to me by now, I decided to glance through it just once, have a good dinner, and return to the AO for the OT I materials. I no longer dreaded auditing. OT I will be fun, I thought -- like the words of a jingle. I was only sorry that Richie had already left for Australia so I couldn't fill him in on the tragi-farcical happenings and happy conclusion.

The full glory of the state of clear was beginning to manifest itself. I had my choice of restaurants, and this having-to-choose was wonderful. I took off my glasses and details around me popped into focus. The sidewalk paving -- I had never noticed before -- had a texture, a grain to it. It was beautiful, and I was seeing it for the first time.

I must have a steak to celebrate. I drifted into a restaurant, one I'd never been to before, a comfortable dining room with tablecloths, carpet, and fireplace. The act of seating myself was slow-paced, deliberate, each movement separate and distinct, with no semi-conscious fidgeting. Whenever I wished to move a part of my body the idea transmitted itself with miraculous ease into the desired action. A Clear is At Cause over MEST -- Matter, Energy, Space, Time -- His Own Physical Universe. I asked the waitress for a newspaper. The front-page turmoil struck me as a mildly ludicrous, poorly-played game. Each morsel of my dinner had a separated quality, each cut of the knife was detached from the other. The strands of meat were an attractive mosaic.

I had always wanted to be like this. Now it was here, without effort, thought, desire. My Clear Speech began to take shape. Next Success Night at the AO I would tell an eager audience in the waiting room-cum-chapel about the patterns in the sidewalk, the help of the devoted Sea Org crew, and, above all, the staggering, Heaven-shaking Technology of L. Ron Hubbard.


The OT I materials consisted of the Clearing Course platens. My last batch of worksheets was included in the envelope. An "unnecessary correction" -- my rerun of Part I -- was circled in pencil. This made it obvious why OT I, as rumored, was a necessary follow-up to clearing. It was a way to double check that all charge had been removed. The preclear went over whatever he had missed on the Clearing Course, starting at the right lace, eliminating any doubt that the items were erased. Fantastic! This was what I'd wanted to do anyway! The discrepancy between this repetition and the warnings about the danger of overrunning a process eluded me.

The Confusion Goals-Problems-Mass stared me in the face. I worked quickly through several items, not minding the scarcity of reads, and went to bed to sleep the sweet, untroubled sleep of a Clear.

At 7 a.m. I headed down the hall to take the first Clear leak of my first Clear morning. As a straddled the toilet bowl, the state of clear vanished. Panicky, I looked around at walls and fixtures, but it wasn't like the night before. I was trying again.

I breakfasted with Radcliff Jones, who had taken Richie's old room, acting as light-hearted as I could ("Do I look any different today, Rad?").

The Objects wouldn't read. After two sessions I accepted the non-reads as the end-phenomenon of the process and, leaving OT I with a high tone-arm, went to the AOUK to attest. It was out of my hands now. I shook as I stood in Qual Office. My clear state had evaporated like a dream, and now I was to be impelled on a dizzying climb through the Upper Levels.

The Examiner sent me to Certs and Awards with no questions asked, and I took the OT II Pack home with me.

The envelope contained the familiar Clearing Course Instructions once again, supplemented by two bulletins. One, titled "Whole-Track Implants," delineated the first ten parts of the OT II materials. Included among the fanciful headings were The Electric GPMs and The Tocky Player-Piano. The other bulletin was a warning to the auditor not to run himself on a bombing incident or on the question of his identity. Any injury done himself by violating this order would be patched up by the organization only upon payment of a $2,000 fine.

What does it take to aberrate a thetan? Thousands and thousands of volts ... poured into destructive wave-lengths and thrown straight in his face. What does it take to get him into a position where he can be aberrated? Trickery, treachery, lies.

The OT II materials were as thick as the Edinburgh telephone directory. In removing the platens from their envelope, I inadvertently glimpsed the words rivers, lakes, and islands. These must be some of the items. A single page preceding Part I, The Electric GPMs, provided a further note of instruction: When the word shock appears next to an item the auditor is to think or feel shock.

I turned over the instruction sheet to the first platen, covering the items carefully with the envelope, and pulled the envelope slowly down the page:

1a. creating to destroy (shock)

It was uncanny. A violent shock passed through my upper body, and the needle almost tore itself off its pins as it rocketed across the dial towards the right.

1b. destroying to create (shock).

I reeled with the force of the shock that racked my body.

Ninety minutes later I stopped getting shocks and reads. The tone-arm needle was stuck high on its dial and I felt tingly from the electrical impact, but I could do no more on the process. With a fuck-it-all attitude, I went to the AO to attest to my third Upper Level in as many days -- disappointed at having finished too soon to run the rest of that novel material: the lakes, the rivers, the islands, and that Tocky Player-Piano banging away through the light years of a Whole-Track implant.

I hereby sign this waiver to the effect that neither the Scientology Organization, its branches, churches and members, nor L Ron Hubbard are responsible for anything that might happen to my mind or body on OT III, The Wall of Fire.

I signed the form. Then, smiling her solemn mystical smile, the Director of Processing placed the instruction pack on my upturned palms.


Here you encounter body thetans, leech-souls that have affixed themselves to your body. While they are not outright malicious, you are MUCH better off without them. You get rid of them by auditing them through two incidents (incs) that occurred billions or trillions of year ago.

First locate a body thetan and run it on inc I. If that doesn't do the trick, run it on inc II. Do the identical with the next body thetan and the next and the next until all body thetans have left (there may be hundreds of them).

If a body thetan turns suppressive on you, audit it through Power Processing. If you are not qualified to audit Power, then go to Qual Office for review.

If you find yourself in the middle of an inc, you must run it on yourself. Always be sure you are auditing only one body thetan at a time. You may make the mistake of starting with one and kicking in another during the running of an inc. Another mistake would be not to notice that a body thetan has left during inc I and to run it on inc II.

The consequences of such mistakes are severe. You may suffer from lack of sleep, contract pneumonia or die.

I blinked at the page. The instructions were written in a forceful but clumsy longhand which somehow made me think it was L. Ron Hubbard's. Some of the words were illegible. I locked the instructions in my briefcase and headed for the AO and the Cramming Office.

I must stay in Cramming until I fully understood about body thetans. As things stood, the process was a blur in my mind. It would have been humorous if it were a science fiction tale and not something happening to me in real life.

Cramming was a small room containing several chairs, a selection of Ron's books, and three folding tables covered with oilcloth for clay demos. There was a nominal fee for a day in Cramming -- about eight dollars. I had heard that Cramming was a good place to avoid. One could send a whole day there trying unsuccessfully to get one's questions answered.

I sat in a corner to wait for the Cramming Officer, being careful not to let others in the room spot a stray word of the OT III Instructions. Cramming that day was the jolly young woman who had given me my first review session. She had little time to spend on us, since she was also auditing and wearing the Registrar's hat that day. After lunch break she finally got around to me. There were no offices available in which to discuss highly dangerous data, so we used a bathroom, Cramming perched on the edge of the tub, myself astride the throne.

"What don't you understand about these instructions?" she asked.

"I can't even begin to tell you. For one thing, it says, `First locate a body thetan.' Now, how in hell do you locate a body thetan?"

She told me to do clay demos. I spent the rest of the afternoon at that exercise, using my body as a screen to hide the volatile material from the gaze of others. I rolled out a figure of an auditor, with a lump of clay squashed on his back to represent a body thetan. Comm-lines and labels indicated the running of an engram.

The next morning Cramming took me into the bathroom again. I asked her how I could be sure I was auditing the correct body thetan. The demos hadn't given me a glimmer on what one said to these creatures, or on how to run the process. I began to wear her down with questions.

At last she said, "It's not that difficult. Why don't you go home and tackle it?" She sounded as if it were a challenging game that might be fun to try. In any case, little was being accomplished by our discussions. I signed out of Cramming and went to the Director of Processing for the OT III materials. At least I knew now one thing I hadn't known before. I had managed to find out that body thetans were located while watching the E-meter. I was to mentally scan myself until I got a read. And at that part of my body was a leech-soul...

Few are the preclears whose bodies do not react vigorously to the suggestion that some of these incidents may exist, so violent is the charge.

The two incidents were written out in longhand. One was the bombing incident. I visualized my face, scanning it up and down in my mind's eye while looking for read on the machine. At the area of my right eyebrow I got a read. I wrote on the worksheet "body thetan over right eye," and directed the thing to the beginning of inc I.

inc I occurs at the beginning of the time track -- it is dated at 405 trillion years ago:

there is a snap -- a chariot appears -- turns right -- then left -- and vanishes -- a cherub carrying a horn is seen -- he raises it to his mouth and blows on it -- he advances getting closer and closer -- suddenly he whirls around and retreats -- there is a volley of snaps -- blackness falls on the scene.

I ran the body thetan through the incident several times. The picture on my mental screen kept changing. On one run the chariot careened across a dusty field, on the next a grassy meadow with tapestries of flowers, and on others the horse winged through a cloudy sky, in the dark of night or full sunlight, like Pegasus. The cherub's horn call sounded in various registers, high and low. Once it gave out a Bronx cheer, resembling a fart.

I wrote down everything on my worksheets. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was mocking the whole thing up ... a cognition! The body thetan was free to leave -- had indeed left already. I made a notation to that effect and located another one on my left side between the ribs. After a few inc Is it stopped reading. I hunted about for another but I was uneasy. Suppose the last one were still around? There had been no cognition, no unequivocal sense that it was gone. Was the body thetan playing hide-and-seek with me?

The next body thetan was just above my left eye. I ran it on inc I a number of times. For a moment I suspected that I was imagining the process. However, this thought struck me as abstraction, not vivid, unmistakable cognition. Unconvinced that the creature had departed, I ran the inc repeatedly. Needle action dwindled; the inc must be flat by now.

A list of volcanos was included in the materials, divided up into two columns, one for each hemisphere. I got a read when I called "Eastern Hemisphere," went down the column and got a read on "Java." I addressed the body thetan above my left eye -- "Are you the body thetan I've been auditing?" -- got a read, and reached for the bombing incident.

35 billion years ago an evil prince named xenu solved the problem of over-population on another planet by taking two billion thetans to earth which was then known as teegeeack -- very space opera -- he stuffed them into hydrogen bombs which he dumped into volcanic craters and exploded -- the thetans were blown up into the air attached to electric bands -- then they were implanted with the bank loaded on an airplane and dropped back on earth -- the worst possible disasters came to anyone who attempted to detect this plot until ron managed to expose it -- ron nearly came to a terrible end himself but somehow survived though very whacked-out -- xenu was punished for his crime by imprisonment in an electric box which was stored inside a mountain somewhere in the western part of the north american continent where he has remained to this day -- the body thetan is freed on the cognition of seeing a grinning airplane pilot saying `he's mocking it up' -- if the body thetan isn't gone by then there follows a thirty-day run of pictures of gods devils and the whole bank.

I directed the body thetan to the beginning of inc II, checked it on the meter to see that it was still there, and told it to go through the incident to the end.

Inc II didn't run well; maybe I shouldn't be on it, having gone on to it prematurely. After a few runs I went back to inc I to make sure it was flat. It was balkier than when I'd left it before. I tried flattening a list of buttons which Ron had supplied with the instructions in case the incs didn't run properly.

"Is there an effort to stop?" I called, reading from the list. "Is there an effort to avoid the incident?"

By now I had run inc I at least thirty times. The tone-arm was getting higher and my head was splitting. Several times as the chariot raced by I caught a glimpse of the driver. As he frenziedly whipped the horses forward his face swiveled towards me in a fiendish, cannibalistic grin. Once I thought I saw the pilot in his cockpit taxi-ing down the airstrip. I was concerned over the body thetan's whereabouts; perhaps it had gone many runs ago and I had summoned it back. I called out buttons in profusion. Music was playing in my head, I noted on my worksheet. I slogged through one run after another until the meter was completely packed.

I had done 63 runs. This was impossible; no engram could require that many. Feeling ill, nauseated with what I'd been doing, I ended the session.

Early the next morning I awoke with the frights. The thought of further auditing was unbearable. Maybe the same thing that had happened on the Clearing Course was happening now, and I had overrun the process. If so, the body thetan that I had freed in the first session was the only one. I would not make the same mistake of continuing on for days past a release-point, overrunning a process and making myself sick to death.


The Examiner, now, by rotation of posts, the hazel-eyed young man again, went to a filing cabinet and got out all my worksheets for clearing, OT I and OT II.

"Hmmm. You know you left I and II with a high tone-arm. Now, what does the tone-arm indicate?"

"The mass of charge supporting the needle?"

"Good. And what does leaving a Level with a high tone-arm mean?"

"That I left it with a lot of charge."

"Fine. Now I'm not going to invalidate your Levels I and II -- you've definitely completed them, you've attested to that -- but I notice here at the end of Level II you also went past some non-reading items. On I also, as a matter of fact. Whatever made you do that?"

"Just stupidity, I guess."

"Okay. But you know that stupidity isn't any kind of reason for misduplicating Ron's instructions, it's not a valid excuse. You're a member of the group and you must Put In Your Postulates. What you do to your preclear affects the group. Your Ethics are Out. I'm going to have to assign you a Condition of Liability for Upper Level Out-Tech."

It was almost a relief of sorts to have the long-dreaded punishment meted out at last. With the premonition this might occur, I had been wearing wash-pants and an old shirt for the past few days. The Examiner wrote out a Liability order and sent me to Ethics, a ravishing blond, who tied a dirty gray rag around my right upper arm and sent me to the scullery.

The Steward, a former British naval officer, handed me the scullery hat-book, a complete coverage of the post. Among the duties set forth were dishwashing and bringing up coal from the cellar bin to stoke the oven fire. The hat-book went into maddening detail, including a diagram of the tiny scullery and a directive about the correct detergent to use.

The AOUK as a unit was in Condition of Normal Operation that day, so my shift was to last only twelve hours. I washed dishes, set the Sea Org table, scoured pots and pans, toted coal, and carried a garbage can labeled "pig food" down to a side exit where it would be picked up in the morning by the "pig man."

The Steward was a kind soul. He carried out his duties quietly and humbly, as though seeking redemption, perhaps, for sins he had committed while in the British Navy. I was wary with him at first, but after I had conscientiously carried out several chores I could feel him warming up to me, and towards the end of the stint he treated me to coffee, sweets and cigarettes.

Starvation was not part of the penalty; a plate of hot food was served on the back stairs leading to the garbage dump. At night I cleaned all the bathrooms and laid bright blue carpets in the new Qual Office upstairs. The only remaining task then was to help the Steward set late tea.

Being assigned the correct Condition was supposed to bring a members Good Indicators In. One came out of a penalty more "beautiful" than when one went in, and the harsher the penalty the deeper the cleansing. One of the top-ranking Sea Org members was known to go through all the Conditions, from Enemy up to Power, mentally, each day before breakfast, as a spiritual exercise. I had heard several people aver that while working through a Condition they experienced cognitions about the Ethics system, the organization and L. Ron Hubbard. I enjoyed no such revelation, but merely relief at being put to some physical activity for a change.

My penalty ended at 1 a.m. I spent the rest of the night stretched out on the floor of the front waiting room, because of the rule prohibiting those in Liability from leaving the premises until they had a petition okayed by Ethics and had then worked through Condition of Danger to Condition of Non-Existence. Sea Org members began leaving their rooms on the upper floors at 7 a.m. I had my petition ready for signing. Having seen and signed several petitions during easier times, hanging around the lobby, I knew how one should look:

I, Robert Kaufman, having been assigned Condition of Liability for Upper Level Out-Tech, have applied the Liability Formula as follows:

(1) I realize that Ron is my friend;

(2) I have delivered a paralyzing blow to the Enemy, in this case my own stupidity and inability to duplicate instructions;

(3) I have made reparations to the group by working twelve hours in the scullery, the bathrooms, and Qual Office.

(4) I now ask the permission of the members of the AO for me to rejoin the group.

One of the first I approached for a signature was the fetching blond, Ethics for that day. "You're not giving people any choice," she said. "Draw a line down the middle of the page and make one side for the `yeses' and the other for the `nos'."

Petition in hand, I hovered in the foyer with a young man who had just come off a three-day Doubt penalty and was practically asleep on this feet. We met students at the top of the stairs with, "May I have your permission to rejoin the group?" Some grabbed the petitions and affixed their names without so much as a glance. Others read the Formula carefully. No one placed their name in the `no' column.

I entered the office of the Commander of AOUK to get his signature. He pointed at the pencilled line and said, "What's this?"

"Ethics wanted me to include a column for possible `nos'."

"That's total invalidation! Scratch that column. Do you wish to Put In Your Postulates for no?"

The consenting vote of every member of the group was required by rule -- the Conditions Board in the main corridor included about 200 crew members and visiting students -- but Ethics accepted my petition at 60 names. She went to the Conditions Board, moved my nametag up to Non-Existence, and sent me to Central Files for four hours to work up to Danger, the next Condition. I passed the Steward standing in the hall, a padlock chained to one of his wrists. The padlock was part of a new Sea Org crew Doubt Penalty Formula tacked up on the bulletin board. I wondered what the Steward had done since I'd last seen him a few hours ago.

After a penalty one hour of review and a day in Cramming were mandatory. I gave Accounts $28 for both, and went to the review waiting room. It was a depressing place. Morose preclears, Clears and OTs studied Ron's Conditions Formulae bulletin or stared into space. Conversation was sparse. Periodically an officious young woman, determined to raise her stats, came by and dropped stacks of envelopes to be stuffed onto our laps. That day the only person in the room with a happy face was the young man who had just worked three days up from Doubt. From time to time I glanced up at him from my envelopes and painfully returned his smile. During a security check he had confessed to false attestation of an Upper Level, as well as an Outness all the way back on his Solo Audit. This meant that he would have to do everything from and including Solo all over again, as cost. Now that he had been found out and had started making reparations to the group with his 72 hours of straight work, his face held a look of dopey contentment. As he put it during one of our exchanges of smiles, "I've never felt better in my life."

Some of the people had been sitting there for days. The only ones showing their impatience were a few chain smokers. We would wait there for as long as we had to for review. The next session might be the one. The auditor would finally ask the question that would resolve everything. And auditing was communication not to be found elsewhere. Pure communication -- question, answer, acknowledgment, controlled gaze -- that spread through body and mind like a candy-sweet narcotic. No matter how lonely and alienated we felt, for the brief time we were being audited, we belonged. For those of us who had known the unspeakable disillusionment that clearing and the Upper Levels brought no gains and Scientology might never work, auditing itself was now the main fix.

Scientology accepts to free. That which one cannot accept chains one. A ruler's motto could be `make them resist' and his people would become enslaved. Resistance and restraint are the barbed wire of this concentration camp. Accept the barbed wire and there is no camp.

The Org Board stretched across the corridor wall near the waiting room door. It was an enormous chart giving the Scientology chain of command. Directly below L. Ron Hubbard, Founder and Commodore, was Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, Guardian Worldwide. Further down was Commander of AOUK, and lines branching down to the various hats, or posts, of the Sea Org crew members -- First, Second and Third Mates, Bosun, Steward, Purser, Cook, and so on.

Ron had designed the Org Board not just for AOUK but for the total population of planet Earth. In volumes of Policy Letters he delineated the structure and functions of this mind-numbing creation.

Changes of post, known as rotation of hats, occurred frequently. Crew members ordered to wear two or three different hats at once had to dash around the AO to cover all of their responsibilities; but the regulations forbade one person from carrying out a task assigned to another, regardless of how minor -- an infraction that Ron termed wearing another's hat, or Dev-T (developed unnecessary traffic). Deviations from proper order in going through lines were also classified Dev-T. Ron claimed to have traced Dev-T to suppressive "outside forces" who had eventually succeeded in infiltrating and destroying every great civilization of the past.

To join the Sea Org one signed a billion year contract with the Scientology organization. No one made these people sign. They chose to be pinned up on the Org Board. Thus they were spared the torment of having to think for themselves, and no longer had any problem filling in the hours, finding companions, making decisions. Their living space was meager. I saw some of their upstairs rooms when I was working out of Liability. The rooms were barely large enough for upper and lower bunks, a change of white uniform and small foot-lockers containing personal effects wedged under the bunks.

There was always plenty of work to do for Ron; no one could ever really do enough. Each morning at 9:30 when I arrived at the AO, Sea Org members were just leaving the Academy classroom, having already put in an hour or two studying tapes and bulletins; and when I left late in the evening they were still busy with paper work, auditing, or fixing up the old hotel.

I felt the threat of danger in the Org Board, sharpened by the disquieting presence of certain crew members. One was the Commander of the AOUK, a tall, broad-shouldered man with a crewcut, who barked orders in military fashion. Another was a cadaverous man who was conducting sec checks that week. With fierce mustache on weaselly face, he was the last person I would want to have interrogating me over an E-meter.

The most frightening crew member, though, was an OT VI who was called Master at Arms. He was at least as tall as the Commander, and heavier, well over 200 pounds, with tiny mustache on deficient upper-lip, pouting, surly lower-lip, jowls, and malignant little brown eyes. His presence smacked of physical peril.

With all my shrinking revulsion at what I had found at the AOUK, I also felt the compelling attraction of a microcosm whose smallest detail and most menial task had a crucial significance often lacking in the wog world, the world outside Scientology.

Wog-like incongruity occasionally obtruded on this rarified atmosphere. One episode stands out in my memory, the appearance of a fat, sleek franchise holder from Chicago, who looked like an ex-professional wrestler, and had just completed OT VI. Following at his heels and acting as his stooge was a diminutive OT IV Britisher. I liked them both on sight. I was in the large front office paying Accounts for review when the pair strode in and looked around the room.

The large OT addressed everyone at once in a loud horsefly voice: "I got a great one for ya. Why do turds pop out in cylinders?"

The little OT who accompanied him giggled deliriously. Sea Org members at their desks and students standing in lines made valiant efforts to hold their TRs; no one wished to invalidate the certainty of an OT. It didn't work. The big man was too much for them. Some vestigial memory of their former wog lives betrayed them by the expressions on their faces. There was silence. The big man looked leisuredly around the room again at each face. Several heads lowered, several mouths uttered "Why? Why do they?"

To the coyote's refrain of his sidekick's lunatic laughter, the big man slammed home his punchline: "Why? So your asshole won't bang shut!"

The Sea Org faces banged shut. There was another stunned pause, then general confused scurrying as the crew got back to its paper work and lines.


After I had waited another day, an auditor put me through the green-form, and Qual Office sent me to Cramming. The task awaited me of sorting out body thetans.

"It's not as difficult as you're making it," said Cramming. It was late in the afternoon, and we had barely scratched the surface of my confusion. I was now most in the dark about the buttons. The working of the instructions seemed ambiguous. Did one make the incs run by flattening one button at a time or by calling all of the ten buttons on the list without interruption? And how could simply calling a button flatten it?

I had no more confidence now in my ability to audit body thetans than when I first saw the instructions. The instructions didn't cover how to talk to a body thetan or how the self-auditor knew which one he or she was talking to. Those sounds and visions: Were they "real"? I might have imagined them. Ron had suggested that the whole thing was a mockup. Did the pre-OT pretend that it was real until he got bored and admitted to himself that he was merely imagining the lethal scene as he'd been told? Or had there really been a bombing incident...?

I didn't ask Cramming such questions, and the ones I did ask she couldn't answer satisfactorily without breaking the rule by adding her two cents to the instructions. The data I needed weren't there and Cramming couldn't help me. The OT III process was dangerous, whether "real" or "mockup." I looked at Cramming imploringly. She had done all she was allowed to do for me, and now her eyes were half-closed with fatigue.

"Do you know what you're doing?" she said. "You're trying to gain from me the certainty you lack. I can't give you that certainty. You'd better go talk to the Examiner."


The Examiner stared at me. "You still don't know how to do the process?"

"Maybe another day in Cramming."

She eyed me ominously. "Robert, you've been in Cramming two solid days now. We can't do your Upper Levels for you. There's one thing you'd better realize about OTs: They're the bravest people in the world. They have guts. Getting to be an OT isn't easy, and if you think it is then you're never going to make it. We're going to teach you to toughen up here. You'll be grateful for it later. NOW GO HOME AND AUDIT!"

I slouched out of Qual and went down to the street. Out in the fresh air my spirits made somewhat of a recovery. How could I have made such a shameful spectacle of myself before the very souls who were trying to help me? I must make my mind up. I would not embarrass myself again before the Examiner, even if I fell into The Wall of Fire.

Hell-bent and out of control, I returned to my room to plunge into the nightmare waiting on OT III.


While getting meter and reports set up, I concentrated on keeping my determination to get through the process, but a new paralyzing confusion assailed me. Not only was it a mystery which body thetans had gone and which still needed auditing. I was no longer sure who the preclear was. Was I the preclear or was it a body thetan? I had written "Preclear: Robert Kaufman" on my auditor's report forms. But how could I still be a preclear after I had attested clear? Then again, if a body thetan, not myself, was the preclear, if I didn't set it free then I was the one who must suffer, not alone from the guilt of leaving the preclear in the middle of an engram but from acute physical and mental pain as well. And if more than one preclear was involved, the pain was compounded.

That body thetan over my left eye: I'd left the preclear stranded. I called to it. There was a faint rustling on the meter -- the thing was still there. I felt compassion for the creature. It had meant me no harm to begin with. Was it suffering as I was?

"Go to the beginning of incident I and go through it to the end," I commanded. Nothing moved. I called one button after another. Still nothing moved. The needle was frozen in the middle of the dial. The tone-arm was stuck fast at 4.5. The meter had packed. I turned it off and wrote up a summary report. The session had lasted ten minutes.

My thoughts raced. I must get away from this, go out for a walk or a movie. But driven by self-destructive madness I went back into session moments later.

The needle tugged laboredly towards the left. The tone-arm climbed to 5 as I felt the pressure building up in my head. After a few minutes I had to stop. I paced up and down the floor.

Darkness. It was late in the evening. I lit a cigarette. Why not smoke while auditing? Whatever happened in session, I would be soothed by tobacco. I whipped into session, the cigarette between my lips.

So I wasn't sure about the body thetans. All right, then I must find one I can be sure of. I will scan my body until I get a definite read which leaves no doubt.

I sat at the meter for twenty minutes, in a trance, smoking and scanning, as my body gradually turned into a field of electric charge and my head bloated with the pressure. The body thetans were there now. I had left several of them restimulated in prior sessions and at last they were rebelling. I was kicking them up all over me, making them crawl around on my skin and inside of me.

I stopped looking at the dial and continued to sit there, clutching a tin can and a ballpoint pen, methodically destroying myself. I keyed in devastation in every area. After a while the leech-souls were swarming in and out of every particle of flesh in my body.

The tone-arm reached 6. The machine had turned despicable. It was persecuting me for the wrongs I had committed. Of course: The loathsome material was housed in the E-meter! From Solo Audit on it had been traveling through the tin can into my hand and thence to my brain. Now it was inside me. The E-meter was the nasty little storage box for all the offal of the galaxy. The implants were locked up in the electric box until the outcome of procedures designed to test the worthiness of a thetan. Only one who had learned of the implants from Ron was infected with the vile material; only one who was pure in his devotion to Ron escaped the havoc. That explained those irremovable rust marks on my hand. Session after session I was being branded. And somewhere in the back of my brain was the echo of a shattering hydrogen bomb blast deep within a volcanic crater billions of years ago...

I was an OT III casualty, as described in the bulletin, in line for complete case-review. The Sea Org must find out what was tearing me apart and patch me up again.


The young man with the hazel eyes and the miniature cigar gazed lovingly at me. "How much sleep have you been getting?"

"About two or three hours."

"That's not quite enough. Before you can have review you must go to where you're staying and get at least four more hours."

I winced. "That's impossible. I couldn't sleep now."

"You know it's in the Auditor's Code that anyone who hasn't had enough sleep can't be audited. It's 10 o'clock now. Go and rest. Even if you can't sleep, lie in bed. Then get something to eat -- that's also in the Auditor's Code. Have yourself a good meal. You can come back late this afternoon."

I took a cab to my room and huddled up in bed trembling, my traveling clock nearby where I could stare at it as the minutes went by. At 1:30 I went to an Italian restaurant downtown. I had been taking most of my meals in cheap, self-service places. Here, a boy in livery brought me bread and butter and water. I was the only customer in the restaurant. The waiter, a warm-eyed little man, seemed pleased about giving a patron special attention during the off-hour. He placed an old 78 on a gramophone next to the expresso machine. The music started up with a scratch. A tenor sang "Martha." It was Caruso. I had never heard anything so beautiful in my life and began to weep.


Third Mate reached for the green-form. I got reads on innocuous questions. None of them gave me that sick sensation in my stomach; I no longer cared what I said, what they found out. We toiled down the form.

"Has a withhold been missed? There's a read on that. What do you consider it could be?"

"I don't know."

"It's reading. That ... that!"

"I'm afraid I'm dying."

"Thank you!" piped Third Mate. "You had a floating needle on `I'm afraid I'm dying.' All right, that's it!" She smiled warmly. "Is the review complete?"

"I'm not sure. I feel very strange."

"Okay. Sit still a moment. I want to have a talk with you. You know, your trouble right along is that you haven't had enough training. You don't know how to audit. Do you realize that the Special Briefing Course used to be a requirement for the Upper Levels? Ron softened that rule to Get Fast-Flow In. He thought students would be able to Duplicate and make it through to the top. You didn't take the course, and it's showing now. You want to be a great auditor, don't you? You want to Get Tech In, Be At Cause Over Your Case and audit yourself through to OT, don't you? Then go and sign up for the Special Briefing Course immediately!"

This would mean leaving the preclear, or preclear, stranded in the Wall of Fire for several months.

"There's no question about it, you've got to learn how to audit to do the Upper Levels," she concluded, wrapping up her argument with a triumphant smile. "Come with me. We'll go see the Examiner."

"It's really the only thing for you," said the Examiner, who in the space of a few hours, due to rotation of hats, had metamorphosed back into the buxom redhead, over whose face incomprehension was now spreading that I hadn't already rushed to sign up for the endless course. I had nothing to say. I wished to sort out the situation, but I needed some time to myself for that. I stood at the desk gawking at her.

She smiled. "Come! I'm taking you to Registrar!"

With that she sprang out of her chair, hooked her arm in mine, and half-pulled me down the corridor.

I stood in the large office that might once have been the hotel main lobby and now accommodated Registrar, Accounts, and Certs and Awards. People congratulated me from all sides of the room. Cramming smiled contentedly at me from her desk at Certs and Awards. Another auditor was in the making.

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