The O. J. Roos Story, by Otto J. Roos | Next | Contents | Previous

Otto Roos, in Books on Scientology

Four authors cite The O. J. Roos Story for its eyewitness account of life on the Flagship Apollo. The excerpts below elaborate some of the events and depictions in Story.

A Piece of Blue Sky, by Jon Atack (1990);
Chapter IV-2, p. 180.
Religion Inc., by Stewart Lamont (1986);
Chapter three, pp. 59-61.
L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?, by Bent Corydon (1987)
Chapter I-1, pp. 26-28; and
Chapter II-14, pp. 371-373 (376-378 in 1992 edition).
Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller (1988)
Chapter 17, p. 288; and
Chapter 18, pp. 308-310.

A Piece of Blue Sky, by Jon Atack (1990); Part 4, Chapter 2 ("Heavy Ethics"), p. 180. Although The O. J. Roos Story was written at the behest of Atack, his book never Roos by name, and paraphrases only one passage from the manuscript:

Another Ethics Condition had the miscreant put into "old rusty tanks, way below the ship, with filthy bilge water, no air, and hardly sitting height ... for anything from twenty-four hours to a week ... getting their oxygen via tubes, and with Maters-At-Arms [Ethics Officers] checking outside to hear if the hammering continued. Food was occasionally given in buckets," according to a former Sea Org executive.

Religion Inc., by Stewart Lamont (1986); Chapter 3, pp. 59-61

Ron solved the problem by making his crew into slaves. Crews mutiny, but not slaves. Penalties were draconian. "Chain-lockering" was introduced by Hubbard as a punishment. McMaster remembers once being asked by the Master at Arms to come and help her. He pulled up the wedge from the chain-locker, a dank and unhealthy part of the ship into which offenders were flung without food as a punishment. Out crawled a little girl who turned out to be a deaf-mute who had been unable to write her name and had incurred the Commodore's wrath. The bilges were another favourite punishment cell (known as "in the tanking"). Another penalty was being made to climb the dizzy heights to the crow's nest and stay there for a whole watch. But by far the most used (and abused) of the bully-boy tactics was "overboarding" -- Captain Hubbard's version of walking the plank. It originated in Melila when Dutchman Otto Roos, then Senior Auditor, had let a line slip as the Apollo was making a botched berthing. Roos is now a rich businessman. His macho manner and tough-guy approach meant that he was rarely on the side of those who were bullied. He discovered the traumatic effects of overboarding on some and declares that he ordered it stopped forthwith. But it didn't prevent McMaster being put overboard four times. The fifth and last time was on 5 November 1969. It was the last straw and when he went ashore he vowed to quit. A young lady chaplain had come to fetch McMaster from the hold because Hubbard wanted to present him with something on the poop deck to "honour all he had done." He says he knew right away it was a Judas kiss and Hubbard accused him of betrayal. His daughter Diana (who occupied a senior position on Apollo) read out a list of "high crimes" which McMaster says were all lies, and then eight burly Scientologists flung him overboard. He broke his shoulder in the fall.

Otto Roos has written a diary of those years on board ship. It is peppered with org-speak, but it is a fascinating insight into the period which is now idealized by Scientologists as a golden period when Ron was developing his higher tech and sailing around the Mediterranean discovering archaeological sites where he had lived in his past lives. Extracts from Roos' diary have been widely circulated among the independent movement, since he is now among the Suppressive Persons and "squirrels." Here are some extracts from the Flying Dutchman's log:

[Lamont extracts (with some paraphrasing)
passages A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I from "The O. J. Roos Story"]

Roos was by now a Class XII auditor, the top rank, and was auditing Hubbard himself, a dangerous task which proved his undoing. [Footnote: The auditing of members of LRH's family was case supervised by Ron himself.] The Commodore had some bad readings on the meter which were duly noted by Roos, but Hubbard would not accept these. The relationship which had flourished with LRH calling Otto up to his cabin to bounce ideas off him, deteriorated rapidly. Hubbard yelled and screamed to see his folders (which is not allowed). When Roos refused, Hubbard sent some "hefty guys" to collect them and became even more agitated when he saw some meter-reads which did not fit in with either his "tech" or his self-image. When Mary Sue Hubbard declared that LRH did not "have such reads," Roos knew his number was up. MSH had previously been an ally and had ripped up the results of several "Comm Evs" called on Roos for his sexual activities. He had been astute in avoiding supervision up to this point. Apart from LRH/MSH he had no seniors and only once had fallen foul of Hubbard when he refused a posting to run the new advanced org in Scotland and was put on pot-scrubbing duties as a penance. McMaster was the great "tech man" and was not a senior post holder. He therefore had no hold over Roos either. Indeed, the two men could not have been more different -- the fey and thespian McMaster and the tough, macho Dutch ex-merchant seaman. There was no love lost between the two and McMaster even alleges that at one time Hubbard ordered Roos to kill McMaster. But they both paint a picture of the voyages of the Apollo which make it sound like a concentration camp afloat.

Roos left with only $100 in his pocket and made a fortune in business. His verdict on Hubbard: "His great tragedy is that he finally penalized himself horribly by denying himself the only thing that could have saved him: his own creation -- auditing." McMaster is more jaundiced. When he left Scientology he was forcibly subjected to a Sec-Check before he threatened to call the police. He told his interrogators: You will never see me again. The World's First Real Clear has a right to think, doesn't he?" Indeed he does, but as McMaster finished his tale of those early years, I could not resist the conclusion that he was also the World's First Victim of Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?, by Bent Corydon (1987); Chapter I-1, pp. 26-28.

Talking about the inception of "heavy ethics" into the world of Scientology, John Ausley (a feisty Floridian who joined the Sea Org in 1968 and quickly rose to a top position) says:

     John McMaster seriously bottom lined on the chain locker. Kids would get locked up in there. To John's mind you don't take a four-year-old and put him down in a hatch, and batten the hatch so he can't get out. You don't terrorize a kid.
     Hubbard used a "shotgun" (right-hand man who did his bidding) called Otto Roos. Otto and McMaster were very different....
     There was a dude who had been slowly working out of "doubt." He was a mellow, friendly, shy guy.
     This was 1968.
     You had to do 48 hours of non-stop amends in "doubt," at which point you were upgraded to "liability." Then you'd have to do another 24 hours of non-stop amends -- I'm talking about hard physical labor -- at which point you're upgraded to "non-existence."
     You then have to do 12 more hours: with people all over your physical ass and your mental faculties. And as the person winds down, he becomes more and more vulnerable. So it's a WILL trip.
     Anyway this was a kid who stuttered. Otto didn't like him.
     I think he was about up to "non-existence" when he couldn't take it any more. So he went to bed after three days. This isn't a guy's average going to bed; when you hit horizontal you go out like a light!
     Along about the second or third day, if you didn't continue in steady physical motion, you pass out on your feet.
     Anyway, Otto grabbed this kid out of an upper bunk in the middle of a deep sleep, and body slammed him from five or six feet onto the floor. He put a knife blade to his throat and started screaming he was gonna kill him since he was a "down stat"!
     Otto seriously freaked this kid out for life right there. I mean it didn't help his stuttering at all! Some maniac with "upstat" braid, who is Hubbard's right-hand shotgun, is going to slit your throat for being a "downstat" -- and all this instantly after having already been body slammed from six feet up in the middle of a dead sleep.

L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?, by Bent Corydon (1987); Chapter II-14, pp. 371-373 (376-378 in 1992 edition).

Otto Roos had been a Dutch seaman. He got involved with Scientology in his teens. When the Sea Org was formed he joined up eagerly. He was Hubbard's right-hand man for some years during the late sixties and early seventies. To many Scientologists he is the S.P. who was responsible for the overboards and other heavy discipline and injustice they hear about from that period. He is reputed to have been the one who performed the first overboarding. In fact he was the first one tossed overboard.

There is no doubt he earned his reputation as a ruthless "disciplinarian." However, his description of the situation on the ships, and Hubbard's part and motives in creating the scene as it was on the ship, is of considerable interest.

[Corydon quotes, with some paraphrasing,
passages A, B, C, D, E, F, G (the SP is Xenu), H from "The O. J. Roos Story"]

As for Hubbard's habit of "engraving his initials" on other people's ideas, Roos explains:

[passages A, B from "The O. J. Roos Story"]

Otto proposed that a council of "class XIIs" go through them, to find possible errors that could have caused [Hubbard] to become ill [Footnote: It is believed by most Scientologists that all illnesses are mostly, if not entirely, psychosomatic and can be handled by auditing.], and to work out a series of auditing actions to handle these errors, and thus his illness.

[passage from "The O. J. Roos Story"]
     ... one day ... he sent a messenger down to me, stating that he wanted the folders.

Roos, using his authority as Case Supervisor, refused, citing the supporting policy.

     ... [Hubbard] became the "Commodore" and ordered the folders up, sending some hefty guys down to just get them.
     A few days later I was called up to his office, and upon my entry was hit, kicked, screamed and shouted at. (Even his aides were not in sight. They were in hiding, knowing that he was really mad!)
     He just blew his stack on finding the references to the "discreditable" [meter] reads, and the contents of some of his personal folders.

This is a type of E-meter needle reaction which, according to Hubbard's own writings, indicates that someone has "evil intentions." [Footnote: The jerky slashing action of needle of the E-meter called a "rock slam" is covered in the chapter "Crucifying Evil Out".]

[passages A, B, C from "The O. J. Roos Story"]

A few days later Otto Roos was called before a "Committee of Evidence" and declared a Suppressive Person.

[passages A, B from "The O. J. Roos Story"]

Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller (1988); Chapter 17, p. 288.

Beset by traitors and incompetents, Hubbard felt obliged to introduce new punishments for erring Sea Org personnel. Depending on his whim, offenders were either confined in the dark in the chain locker and given food in a bucket, or assigned to chip paint in the bilge tanks for twenty-four or forty-eight hours without a break. A third variation presented itself when Otto Roos, a young Dutchman, dropped one of the bow-lines while the Royal Scotman was being moved along the dock. Purple with rage, Hubbard ordered Roos to be thrown overboard.

No one questioned the Commodore's orders. Two crew members promptly grabbed the Dutchman and threw him over the side. There was an enormous splash when he hit the water, a moment of horror when it seemed that he had disappeared and nervous speculation that he might have hit the rubbing strake as he fell. But Roos was a good swimmer and when he climbed back up the gangplank, dripping wet, he was surprised to find the crew still craning anxiously over the rails on the other side of the ship.

"It was not really possible to question what was going on," explained David Mayo, a New Zealander and a long-time member of the Sea Org, "because you were never sure who you could really trust. To question anything Hubbard did or said was an offense and you never knew if you would be reported. Most of the crew were afraid that if they expressed any disagreement with what was going on they would be kicked out of Scientology. That was something absolutely untenable to most people, something you never wanted to consider. That was much more terrifying than anything that might happen to you in the Sea Org.

Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller (1988); Chapter 18, pp. 308-310.

At the beginning of 1972, Hubbard fell ill, suddenly and inexplicably, with a sickness that defied diagnosis and presented a bewildering range of symptoms. Towards the end of January, the Commodore sent a pathetic note to Jim Dincalci, the ship's medical officer: "Jim, I don't think I'm going to make it."

Dincalci, who had been appointed medical officer on the strength of six months' experience as a nurse before joining Scientology, was unsure what to do. He had been deeply shocked when he first arrived on the ship in 1970 to realize that Hubbard became ill just like ordinary mortals, since he clearly remembered reading in the first Dianetics book that it was possible to cure most ailments with the power of the mind. In his first week as medical officer, Hubbard began complaining of feeling unwell and Dincalci was very surprised when a doctor was called. He prescribed a course of pain-killers and antibiotics, but Dincalci naturally did not bother to collect the pills because he was convinced that Ron would not need them.

"I thought," he said, "that as an operating thetan he would have total control of his body and of any pain. When he discovered I hadn't got him the pain-killers, he flew off the handle and started screaming at me."

Fearful of making another mistake, Dincalci sought advice about the Commodore's illness from Otto Roos, who was one of the senior "technical" Scientologists on board. Roos ventured the view that the problem stemmed from some incident in his past which had not been properly audited. The only way to find it would be to comb through all the folders in which Ron's auditing sessions were recorded.

Hubbard gave his approval to this course of action, adding a note to Otto Roos: "I'm delighted that somebody is finally going to take responsibility for my auditing." Roos began calling in the folders from Saint Hill and from all the Scientology branches in the United States where Hubbard had been audited. There were hundreds of them, dating back to 1948; Roos calculated they would make a stack eight feet high. He began working through the folders, discovering, to his disquiet, numerous "discreditable reads" -- moments when the E-meter revealed that Hubbard had something to hide.

Towards the end of March, while Roos was still poring over the folders, a messenger arrived at his cabin saying that the Commodore wanted to see all the folders. Roos was dumbfounded: it was an inviolable rule of Scientology that no one, no matter who he was, was allowed to see his own folder. He told the messenger it was out of the question. A few minutes later, the door burst open and two hefty members of the crew barged in, picked up the filing cabinets and staggered out with them.

Two days passed before a messenger told Roos he was wanted by the Commodore. From the moment the Dutchman entered Hubbard's office, it was apparent the Commodore had made a dramatic recovery. Hubbard leapt up from his desk with a roar and struck out at Roos with his fist, following up with a furious kick. He was shouting so wildly that Roos was unable to make out what he was saying apart from that it was something to do with the "discreditable reads." Mary Sue was sitting in the office with a long face watching what was going on. When Hubbard had calmed down a little he turned to her and asked her, as his auditor, if he had ever had "discreditable reads." Mary Sue's expression did not alter. "No sir," she said, "you never had such reads."

Roos could see folders scattered across Hubbard's desk, open at the pages where he had noted the "reads" that Mary Sue denied existed. He said nothing. Hubbard paced the room, fretting that Roos had "undoubtedly told this all over the ship" and that everyone was talking and laughing about it. In fact, Roos had informed no one, although it did not prevent him from being put under "cabin arrest."

After he had been dismissed, Mary Sue kept running down to his cabin with different folders, trying to explain away the "discreditable reads." He had been using outdated technology, she said, and "should have known about it." Later Diana Hubbard also stopped by, pushed opened Roos's door, screamed, "I hate you! I hate you!" and stalked off.

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