The hospital treatment took three forms: talking therapy, drug therapy, and activities. Each day I looked forward to the half hour with the psychiatrist assigned to me. This seemed to hold the only hope for change. I liked my psychiatrist, a red-bearded Australian (apparently Australians played an obligatory role in my life that year), who looked as though he carried the sufferings of the ward on his shoulders. However, since there was no particularized treatment for post-cult syndrome at that time, the doctor turned my overtures to discuss Scientology back to my childhood: "I wonder what your feeling was when you were a little boy about being controlled by others."
To help the doctor grasp my situation, I wrote up a brief description of the confidential materials and gave it to him, after warning him about their danger. He would be the first non-Scientologist I told. I was surprised to see him the next day strolling down the corridor with his usual careworn expression but evidently unharmed.
"You've read my report?" I asked him. "You don't seem affect by it."
He replied, "Yes, I'm all right. But I understand better now why you were disturbed by this."
The hospital staff obligingly let me spend every possible moment at the one activity I could tolerate, painting in oils. After about two weeks they gave me afternoon passes to go to my father's apartment and practice piano.
The hospital provided temporary safety but little towards a cure. I was discharged after five weeks and went to stay with my father. I did almost nothing at his place except learn some piano pieces. Weeks dragged by, then months.
Felicia phoned me from New York. She and Gerald had visited the AO in Los Angeles and were now OT VI Class VIII Auditors; also man and wife. Class VIII was a new elite auditor's course, much of which dealt with OT III. There were lots of casualties on III, and Hubbard had made at least one major change: OT IV was no longer self-audited but administered by Class VIII Auditors.
Felicia was enthusiastic about my coming to New York. "We've got the answer to your trouble now, and we can remedy it. What's more, we can audit you through OT IV if you need it."
I told her I wanted to return to New York but had had enough of Scientology.
"But we were almost ready to chuck Scientology because of what happened to you," Felicia said. "Then Ron gave us a special dispensation to take the Class VIII course free -- otherwise it would have cost us $1,000 each. But we really went to L.A. for more than any other reason to find a way to get you out of whatever you fell into."
The moment I rang off I had second thoughts. Hubbard had admitted that Tech was imperfect, and had made the needed changes. Perhaps he wasn't really such a monster. I had gone the establishment route at the hospital, and I was still despondent most of the time. The doctors had advised me to forget my experiences in Great Britain -- which were now somewhat repressed by tranquilizers. The Tybers might still get results where the wog world had failed. In the security of their penthouse, I would triumph over my fear of auditing and the E-meter and let the new Scientology cure the old.
I also wanted to give the Tybers a chance to vindicate themselves. They felt responsible for my trip to England, and I knew Felicia was sincere about their going to great lengths to help me. We would be good friends again.
Besides, I was curious.
"One of the things Ron discovered," said Gerald, putting in an R-Factor, "was that many Upper Level students were auditing themselves over ARC breaks, present-time problems and withholds, such as in your case, where you spent weeks auditing with all your withholds and had a drastic ARC break with everything from the time you got to Saint Hill. So a Class VIII Auditor cleans them all up at the beginning of each session."
My only new withhold was my written account of the Upper Levels I had given the doctor. Gerald was concerned that it might be used by the American Psychiatric Association against Scientology. I replied that the ravings of a mental ward patient would scarcely be considered incriminating evidence.
Next, Gerald checked for lingering body thetans. "Remember that part about the `days of pictures of gods, devils and the bank' that Ron calls the thirty-day run? That's precisely what happened to you, sir; you fell into the thirty-day run."
A person is "packed-in" with other souls ... placed in a ring and hammered by electronics to get them to fuse.L. RON HUBBARD
"Ron has just discovered there can be a whole bunch of body thetans in one location. He calls that a cluster," Gerald continued. "I'm going to check for clusters. Is there a cluster? I'm getting a read. How do you feel about that?"
"I guess there's a cluster, then," I agreed.
"All right. We're going to run it on inc I."
We went at it for a while, looking for more clusters, and running them through the incident.
I was bored to the point of giddiness. "Gerald, there aren't any more body thetans. In fact, I never had any. I don't even believe they exist. It's a load of crap."
"Your needle is floating on `a load of crap.' Maybe it is a load of crap, your honor. I just want to make completely sure there are no more around."
After repeated checking and recurrent floating needles, Gerald concluded, "Now we've proven you're and OT III beyond all doubt, we're going to make you an OT IV beyond all doubt."
The specific incidents you must run ... are directed solely, at this stage, toward attaining a voluntary and controlled separation between the MEST body and the theta body. This is much easier to do than you would at first believe.L. RON HUBBARD
The OT IV materials began with more rehab or releases and cleaning up of possible ARC breaks, present-time problems and withholds since the last session. The Level proper consisted of a detailed search for engrammic recording. Gerald read down a list of types of engrams, scanning the machine for reads.
I said, "There aren't any engrams. I got rid of all my engrams ages ago -- if there ever were any."
"I just want to be absolutely sure."
"Gerald, there are definitely no more engrams."
"Are you perfectly sure."
"Then I ask you: Where are you right now?"
I thought about it. He had some reason to think that I was exteriorized, but I had no reason to think so. "I'm not sure. I don't feel too bad at the moment, but I think that I'm most likely in my body."
"Well, I have on the dial what's known as an exteriorization needle. It's a dial-wide float. Are you exteriorized in your own universe?"
"I don't know what that means."
"I have every indication," he said, "that you are already an OT IV. How do you feel about that?"
"I'm willing to accept it if that what it is."
"Great! You're exteriorized in your own universe at this moment and the rest will come in time. Congratulations, your most royal highness. I'd like to validate the fact that you're really, truly and absolutely an OT IV!"
The Tybers and I had a victory celebration at a French restaurant. Over our second bottle of wine, Gerald fractured Felicia and me with stories about his recent experiences at the AOLA. A Class VIII Auditor could handle any preclear in any situation at any time, and Gerald had encountered some dillies. One was a man who had got into difficulty on OT III. When Gerald gave him the first command, "Locate a body thetan," the man leered and said, "How can I when there is no `I'? The `I' went away during an incident. I'm one of them! HAHAHAHA!"
"Were you able to patch him up?"
"Why, certainly. I just ran incs I and II on him till I cracked his case."
Gerald's masterpiece involved none other than our old friend Marty Moussorgsky. Felica and I listened raptly as Gerald regaled us with all the details.
"Mary was almost impossible to audit. There was no one left at the AOLA who would handle his case. They pleaded with me. I said not on your life, but finally relented out of sheer compassion.
"Marty kept breaking out-of-session to criticize my auditing technique; I could see why the other Class VIIIs refused to audit him. After several hours I was just beginning to make some headway when Marty slammed his fist down on the auditing table and bellowed, `I've got it! I finally know what past-life I'm dramatizing. I'm a LION! BWAAA!'
"`Thank you. I'll repeat the auditing question -- '
"`Good. I'll repeat the auditing question -- '
"At this point Marty got down on the floor on his hands and knees and went `BWAAA!'
"Fine. Pick up the cans, please.'
"`BWAAA!' Marty roared, circling the auditing table on all fours."
"Did you ever get him out of that?" I asked weakly.
"Oh sure. Same thing, incs I and II," said Gerald, lowering his voice because people at other tables had turned to peer at us.
We sat around after dinner drinking brandies. Felicia suggested we have a little sport with the other diners. "You can expect to start turning on to your new powers any time now," she said. "You're At Cause other things. Put your awareness on that woman in the red dress over there. I bet you can make her scratch her leg."
I furrowed my brow. The woman picked up a menu.
"You see that? She moved! Soon you'll be able to narrow it down till you can -- would you believe this? -- make her have ... Gerald and I have been fooling around with this lately. We project MEST body feelings, if you dig what I'm getting at."
"You don't mean a th-theta fuck, do you?"
"You've got it."
"And you can actually do this with people?"
"Not people. One person. Gerald and I have been faithful to each other."
The pictures, by the way, are simply generalized views, stills of vacant lots, houses, back yards, of a recent Earth period...L. RON HUBBARD
The next morning I awoke with the fear. A few hours later I went to Gerald for review. We agreed it would be convenient to use the word "It" to represent my negative emotions.
"I want you to close your eyes and make a mental facsimile of `It,'" Gerald said.
"How do you mean? Imagine `It'?"
"Any way you want, okay. Got it? Now make another facsimile of `It' -- andanotherandanotherandanother. Good! Now lump them all together into one. Now destroy it. Now bring it back. Now destroy it again -- any way you want, throw it off the terrace, flush it down the toilet, I don't care, just destroy it." He had me repeat this several times.
"Why are we doing this?"
"You're creating something, the thing we choose to call `It,' compulsively. You have no control. This process restores your ability to destroy as well as to create. You must possess both abilities, you know."
I was creating compulsively even as Gerald spoke. During the first part of the session one facsimile had stuck in my mind, a snow-capped mountain, ponderous in its evocation of immovable mass. At opposite sides of its base were positive and negative poles, with charge winging back and forth between them like tracer bullets. Then the image had merged into others, which were now exploding in rapid sequences like sees in an accelerated filming of the growth of plants. Then there were pictures of rooms in various countries, in small towns, where people sat, isolated, waiting through the billions of years, encased in the mustiness of the furnishings and their own loneliness.
It is nothing to do with hypnotism, charlatanism, monkeyism, or theosophy.L. RON HUBBARD
"Put down the cans a minute. How are you feeling right now?"
"Okay. Next, I want you to go out on the street and as you see people coming towards you imagine that `It' is passing from you into them. Do that for an hour or so."
"I'm sorry, Gerald. I can't do that."
"Why in heaven's name not, man? It's for your own good."
"Maybe it s, but I wouldn't want to project what I'm going through into anyone else."
"This is perfectly harmless. It's simply to give you more control over your own universe. You won't harm a bleedin' soul doin it."
I hesitated. There was something diabolical about Gerald's suggestion. It sounded like black meditation.
"I just can't do it. Maybe it's harmless, as you say, but I won't risk it."
"Fine, Bob." He thought I was nattering from the bank. "If you won't do it, you won't do it. How about doing it on that wall over there? You can't have any objection to that."
He had me project "It" into the wall a dozen times.
The behavior of the thetan ... was often copied after something he took from the entities ... Insane people are found to be running on their entities, not their thetans.L. RON HUBBARD
"One thing has impressed me throughout this whole affair," said Felicia. "You seem to be dramatizing the two opposite poles, positive and negative. Sometimes everything is fine, other times it's like a different you. There may be two yous. If you don't mind we'll take a look at this. Let's make a list of qualities, and we'll call some of them `the positive you' and the others `the negative you.'"
She started listing in two columns. "The first column -- happiness, cheerfulness, confidence -- that's what you postulate, isn't it? That's the real you. Now doesn't it strike you that these qualities in column two that you dramatize at other times are coming from somewhere else, that you're stuck in somebody else's valence? I want to find out who or what you're dramatizing when you're column two. Can you think of anything? Who in your life has any of the characteristics in column two?"
"Some of the women I've known."
"So you've known several women you associate with the negative list. You mean they're afraid or depressed."
"Sure, at least part of the time. I mean, none of them has always been totally positive."
Felicia's eyes widened. "I've got a hunch. Maybe you're acting out a composite, a cluster of women!"
Felicia had conducted an informal Search and Discovery and found an item. Her item; the "cluster of women" was her brainstorm, not mine. If she had been on the tin cans, her needle would have floated off the dial.
The auditor should not be startled when, for the preclear, large chunks of the Environment start do disappear.L. RON HUBBARD
Felicia had another brainstorm. She asked me if I knew the term As-is-ness. I remembered it from Hubbard's Axioms as the concept underlying the crux of processing, erasure. When the preclear relived an engram or called an item, he or she made a mental image picture of it -- in the vernacular, "As-is-ed" it. This made the engram or item disappear. I had heard Scientologists talk about "As-is-ing away" colds and headaches. In Hubbard's cosmos this extended beyond one's own symptoms or the reactive mind. Hubbard postulated that one could cause matter -- the entire MEST universe -- to evaporate.
Felicia said, "I think you've been As-is-ing positive states. You are so eager to cling to the good moments that in effect you are making mental copies of them and they disappear."
"How can I stop As-is-ing?"
"Let the good times roll, then forget about it. By the same token, you're Not-is-ing -- you remember that part of the Axioms -- the bad moments. You can't stand them, you're over-anxious to not have them, and consequently you pull them in. You must allow the negative moments the right to exist. Grant Them Beingness. When `It' appears, say `Hello, It,' acknowledge `It,' greet `It' like an old friend. If you resist `It,' it means you can't have `It' -- and you must be able to have and not-have something to have it under control, if you know what I mean."
Before I left the penthouse, Gerald put me on the meter and asked me how I felt.
"Felicia just gave me some advice, but I'm not sure I can follow it. It reminds me of positive suggestion. Is that all Scientology finally boils down to?"
"You're not completely off base. There is a certain amount of suggestion to it."
"Gerald, where do we stand? I feel as if we're not getting anywhere."
"We haven't even begun this review yet, your majesty! Don't be discouraged. I've handled over 2,000 preclears and never failed to crack a case."
He gave me a technique to do at home. I was to sit in the center of my room, close my eyes and try to hold the eight corners of the room in my awareness for at least a half hour. Hubbard called the technique anchor points. When I tried it, it felt so much like spotting the light and The Objects on the Clearing Course that I had to quit after a few minutes.
That week Gerald brought up an unpleasant subject: money. "I hate to mention this, old man, but I need money occasionally and I've given you quadzillions of hours of auditing time. Can you possibly pay for it soon?"
"Didn't you tell me that this review was free?"
"My god, man! That was way back in September. You can't expect me to do all this for nothing! I've prepared a bill. Here."
On the slip he had listed the hours on OT IV, as well as subsequent review up to the present week.
"I've given you the best deal I possibly could, half price for OT IV with a discount thrown in. Review I've kept at $25 an hour, even though we've double our fees this year." The bill was for $700.
"But I've already paid for OT IV in Scotland, and I paid for all the other Levels too. You don't want me to pay twice, do you? If you need the money, don't you think you should get it from the AO? They're the ones that got it from me."
"You know how they are about money. They wouldn't give me a subway slug. I've put in the work and you should think about paying me for it."
"I don't know, Gerald. Let me sleep on it. Maybe I should pay you for the review but not for OT IV. Don't worry. You'll get something for your trouble."
Our next review session was late getting underway. The Tybers were entertaining a visitor who was dressed in the clerical garb of the Church of Scientology. I was bitterly annoyed. However, I could see why it would have been shortsighted of Gerald to interrupt the drinking and socializing. The visitor was John McMaster,[*] famed throughout Scientology as the First Clear in History and for his dissemination in every part of the globe. Gerald was trying to inveigle McMaster into working for him, a plum that would put the franchise far ahead of the org, his chief local competitor.
McMaster was excited. With exaggerated gestures and face flushed to a cadmium-dark, he was describing his spiritual moments.
"What a joy to see thetans, thousands of them, all over the place -- in stones, in wood, in little pieces of carbon. They've been trapped for billions of years because they didn't have the awareness that they could be free, and now I have the power to give them this awareness. It's like a new release for me each time I release one of them.
"Not so long ago I was walking in a beautiful forest. I felt the love all around me. I'd never been so happy in my life. Total Freedom. Suddenly I knew I could contact Lyndon B. Johnson and audit him telepathically. And I did, I audited him through his Power Release. And you remember how he just decided not to run for re-election..."
After an eternity McMaster left and review was resumed.
You can almost break a preclear's spine by asking him to contact his own tractor around his own body and yet withhold the pressor against his spine.L. RON HUBBARD
The deathly gray of late afternoon filtered through the window. I'd thought I was finished with engrams; the idea of running another one sickened me. But as Ron's saying goes, The Way Out Is The Way Through.
I was in a stone cell. A noose was being placed around my neck. I got down on the floor still holding the cans and started choking. My head jerked in spasms until I thought it would tear itself from my neck. My body went into convulsive tupping movements like a marionette jerked on a cord till its spine snapped. I gagged and turned over on my stomach, wanting to vomit on the rug. I retched. All that came out was a thick gob of spittle. I twitched for a while. Then I stopped moving and lay exhausted on the floor.
Gerald ran me through the incident again, but there wasn't much left to it.
"Congratulations, your highness. Now no one can ever try to tell you you haven't been run on an engram! How are you doing?"
"Freakishly awful. I hardly know where I am. I don't know what I'm going to do when I leave here."
"Your most royal highness, I want you to know one thing: I'm going to get you through this. You can rely on me. You have my word as an auditor and a friend. I'm going to stick by you until you come out of it. I don't care what I have to do. I only want you to get well."
I stood at the door and begged Gerald not to make me wait until the next day for more auditing.
"There's nothing more I can do for you today. I have a preclear coming in a couple of minutes. You've got to refuse to be bothered by engrams. Say `To hell with them! I'm not going to get a lousy little engram spoil my day.' Be above it, man. Be happy, put a smile on your face, laugh, joke -- okay?"
"Jesus, I -- "
"Good! Now stay happy and keep laughing and I'll see you tomorrow."
Rule out, auditor, any mumbo-jumbo of mysticism or spiritualism or religion.L. RON HUBBARD
"Can you think of anyone who'd want to put a curse on you? We mustn't overlook that possibility. Don't scoff, sire. There's a lot of things under the sun, Horatio -- and there are such things as spells and witchcraft. I know. I was into black magic before I ever heard of Scientology. And so was Ron Hubbard, by the way."
"Is this one of Ron's processes?"
"Well, yes, in a way. It's all very much the same thing, whether you're talking about body thetans or valences or dramatizations. This is just my own approach to it. We can call it Para-Scientology, or better yet, The Tyber Effect. Now, can you think of anything?"
"Just a moment ago, as you were saying `Don't scoff,' I had a thought about someone putting a curse on me. I've felt that way since last summer. It's crazy, and yet -- maybe one of those women ..."
"Is the item `one of those women'?"
"All right, sire. Now, is there anyone who's dead who might want to be near you?"
"Sure. My mother."
"Ah hah, your mother. Were you with her when she died?"
"No. I was on the opposite coast, about 3,000 miles away."
"All right. Did you happen to experience anything unusual at the time?"
" Yes, as a matter of fact; it's something I'll never forget. A day or so before my uncle phoned me about her death, I had a sort of waking dream about her."
"Did your mother enter your body at that moment?"
"How could I tell? I don't really think so."
"I wouldn't suggest anything to you. I'm just going to offer -- for whatever it's worth, as a distant possibility, as a fascinatin' theory -- that your mother entered your body during the vision. Can you accept that for a minute or two, just to see what develops?"
"Why not. Fire away."
"Good. Now, is there any reason why she should want to enter your body? I don't mean in order to harm you in any way, but with the best intentions?"
"I don't know."
"But why would she enter your body when she died? Keep it in mind, I'm not trying to plant any suggestions."
"I'd been away from home for over two years. She missed me."
"Very well, your honor. I want you to contact your mother telepathically, and when you've done so I'm going to audit her on the Grades straight up through Power Release and free her from having to be near you. Okay? We'll start directly with ARC Straightwire."
During the auditing that followed, Gerald addressed my mother. I answered the questions without hesitation, all thinking shut off. A floating needle terminated the Straightwire process after a few questions. On the next part, I -- or my mother -- gave the loss of a ring and was released on Secondaries. The engram in the following sequence was a sharp slap her mother gave her when she was a little girl.
My mother was quickly released on Communications, Problems, and the lot. I mouthed her problems, ARC breaks and overts, all of which issued forth as spontaneously as though I were the channel through which psychic contact flowed. In "auditing my mother," Gerald was as scrupulously polite and solicitous as ever, acking in his best manner and softening his voice sympathetically, almost lugubriously, as though we were amidst the heady-smelling flowers at a funeral parlor.
How far am I going to go along with this? I asked myself. Am I willing to try anything, lower myself to any depth, if there is a chance it might help my case?
"I'd like to indicate to you that you are Power Release," Gerald told my mother. "What gains have you experienced from the process?"
"`I feel happier and freer.'"
"Fine. Then I'd like to ask you, are you indeed free now to leave your son, knowing that you don't need each other any longer, that he'll be all right without you and you can be serenely off on your own?"
"Thank you. Then I'd like to indicate to you, Bob, that your mother is indeed free to leave your body and go her own way in peace. Has she done so?"
"I think so."
"Okay. That's it!"
Out in the living room, Gerald gave Felicia a knowing look to signify that he had had an extraordinary session. Over a festive luncheon at a nearby restaurant, I made a tasteless remark about a table-setting for my mother.
"You're not feeling too well today?" asked Gerald. "We're going to do something brand new." He rubbed his hands together ebulliently. "Ron's just come out with completely new material on the Grades. He's made it mandatory to rerun all of them through Power. He discovered that in addition to the two flows in some of the processes -- you know, doing something to someone, and them doing it to you in return -- there's a third flow, someone doing it to someone else. This Triple Flow Process has just been incorporated into all Grades, and all Scientologists must have it."
"That means that every Scientologist has to get to an org and pay to have it done? Even if he's in Samoa?"
"That's exactly what it means. You're lucky. The others are paying $800 for it."
"But why should those poor slobs pay an extra $800 for something Ron found lacking in his original Grades."
"Auditing time, I suspect. But it's worth it, sire. This process in fantastic! Felicia and I have already audited each other on it. The whole point of Triple Flow is that it remedies any lack of gains. After you've been run on it you'll start realizing your gains immediately."
We barrelled through the new process without stopping, Grade by Grade, rehabbing the two flows and adding the third flow with commands such as, Tell me a problem someone else has. After each Grade, Gerald asked me how many times I had been released. I didn't understand what it meant to be released on a Grade more than once, and picked numbers at random.
"More than that?"
"Thank you. The meter confirms that you've been released on Straightwire 167 times."
Some of the numbers were even larger. Communications, for example, registered several thousand releases.
When we were through, after less than an hour, Gerald wanted to know how I like the Triple Flow Process. I said I thought it might have helped. Before turning off the meter, he asked me if I were exteriorized.
"I'm not too sure."
"Well, how many times have you been exteriorized?"
"All right. Any more on that?"
"900 and something ... no, less than 900. Let's make it 873."
"Are you positive on that?"
"Good. Your needle is floating. I'd like to indicate that you're been exteriorized 871 times."
I didn't recall any of these exteriorized moments, and archly asked Gerald whether it would be required to rerun my mother's Grades on the new Triple Flow Process.
Review had been going on for about three weeks now.
The E-meter is never wrong. It sees all. It knows all. It tells everything.L. RON HUBBARD
I awoke at six a.m. with a bad case of `It,' went to the franchise and woke up Gerald after ten minutes of banging and ringing. He was furious. I'd never seen him angry before. I pleaded with him to audit me. He refused to take me before eleven, and I left feeling almost as bad as when I had committed myself to the mental ward.
A little later I visited an East Side doctor who was known to practice vitamin therapy, hoping he would give me something for sleep. Instead he injected me with vitamins laced -- without his informing me -- with methamphetamine. The shot was immediately effective. Too effective. The doctor had me back the next few mornings for his "treatment," and within a week I was hooked. By then I was suspicious that the shots contained more than vitamins and calcium, but the doctor denied it. (I remained in the dark about the injections until I withdrew three months later.)
Ironically, this misadventure signalled my return to the wog world. Whatever was in the shots, they eliminated my symptoms. If I missed a visit, the demons pounced. This put life on a new basis: The shots worked; the latest Scientology techniques, administered in a benevolent, relaxed setting, did not. Scientology had been replaced with almost farcical ease. With the ascendance of a new and more powerful witchdoctor, Gerald Tyber was no longer a significant force. I would take command of my life once more -- and perhaps do a better job of things this time around.
For several weeks I frequented both the Doctor of Medicine and the Doctor of Scientology. Feeling quick relief from the very first injection, and pleasantly high, I had called Gerald later that day. He seemed to have completely forgotten the early morning rift, and invited me right over for auditing.
At that session and those that followed, Gerald, having run out of novel ideas, resorted to the old standbys -- overts, withholds, present-time problems and ARC breaks. He kept his auditor's poise, but I knew he was at a loss, and began to see him not as an OT VI Class VIII Auditor but as a human being with his own foibles and frustrations. His methods were powerless to "clean" the "ARC break" I still felt over his dunning me for money and his early-morning rejection when I thought I needed him most. To resolve that would have required human communication and understanding. It had been misguided loyalty, faith in him as a friend and healer, plus a touch of nostalgia for the old times, not lingering faith in Scientology, that had kept me coming back.
The E-meter indicated none of this. Those last sessions were replete with floating needles, and I found that I could predict them. At one point I got a floating needle when I whimsically said "windowshade." I started responding freely with that word. If I didn't get a floating needle by the third question, I would raise my eyebrows, pause portentously and announce, "windowshade." This never failed to produce the float. The preclear actually learns to control the needle.
Disdain for floating needles was my opening for an "outsider's" look at auditing. The E-meter was the foundation of Ron's mystique, the "proof" of his theories. But a person might have floating needles while severely disturbed -- not in theory but in my own personal experience. I had got too many floating needles at such moments to believe they meant much of anything. If the mind were an iceberg, the E-meter reflected only the negligible portion above the waterline. All hell could break loose beneath the surface, but the meter wouldn't know the difference. The needle would go its merry way, drifting lazily about the dial, fooling auditor, preclear, and perhaps L. Ron Hubbard himself, alike.
Scientology was crumbling like a tissue paper castle.
"Are you still letting Gerald audit you?" asked Renzo Lancia, long finished with Scientology.
"I've been letting it run its course," I replied, "but I may be joining your ranks any day now, my fine suppressive friend."
"Oh Most Exalted OT IV, you know that your leader can do a lot more for you than god himself," said Renzo. "God only says, `I'm putting you here on earth, Brother. Now try to follow the road.' Ron says, `Forget that long hard road and come with me down my little alley. It's Safe, Sure, and Inexpensive when you compare it to the cost of a moon rocket.'"
"You should ask for your money back from the organization," said Alan Ottoman.
"Maybe I should," I said, "but I was equally responsible for what happened. If someone gives you a bag of candy and you gorge yourself sick, you have yourself to blame."
"If what they're offering you is what they say it is," Alan said. "If the candy contains strychnine you're only responsible for gluttony and they're responsible for murder."
"Why don't you write a book about your Scientology experience?" Alan's wife, Brenda, suggested. I hadn't considered that before. Several neat bourbons had preceded my telling the couple about the AOUK, still excluding any "secrets." They had noticed my voice tightening when I spoke about Ethics.
"But Brenda, there isn't really that much to write. Maybe enough for an article at most."
Her response was one of the nicest things anyone ever said to me: "You can try. When you get home make a start. I have a feeling there's a lot more to this, and you've got to get it out of your system."
It took me two days to make an outline. Then I knew I had enough for a book. I knew also what a precious gift Brenda Ottoman had given me. I now held the cure in my own hands and would soon stop seeing Gerald and eventually the doctor. The cure was direct action. As I wrote, through the weeks or months it might take, things would fall into place. I would relive the experience -- not Ron's way of reliving but my own way. Then, if I felt like getting my book published, there was no one on earth who could tell me I was not free to try.
I get sentimental when I recall my reemergence as a true wog.