The concept of "OT" (operating thetan) is important in Scientology, as it is the promises made for the OT Levels that motivate many Scientologists to remain in the organization and work their way up the Grade Chart, otherwise known as "The Bridge to Total Freedom."
The concept of "OT" is similar to that of the "Ubermensch" used by Hitler to signify the superior Aryan man, the superman.
In the Scientology cosmology, eons ago, at the beginning of the universe, we existed as thetans, but possessing superior psychic powers. Over the millenia, as we became involved in the physical universe, called the MEST universe by Hubbard (the acronym for matter, energy, space and time), we gradually lost our superhuman abilities as we became involved with physical bodies, and were subjected to the crippling electronic incidents known as "implants."
Enter Scientology. For the first time in recorded history, Hubbard promises his followers, a way has been found to restore human beings to their long forgotten superhuman abilities, known in Scientology as "OT abilities."
The OT levels, and the "OTs" who are on them, are highly regarded by Scientologists still on the lower grades. The awe inspired by "OTs" in Scientology is somewhat like the respect given to PhDs in a university setting, but with an added aura of religious reverence.
So, I was about to enter into this hallowed realm of Scientology.
I reported to the Advanced Organization with my briefcase in hand, and picked up the materials for OT1.
The instructions said to go to a crowded place, so I took a bus to a nearby suburban mall. I took out my instructions. There was a single command: "Spot a person," and I was to do this until I had reached a cognition.
I walked around the mall, spotting people for an hour or so, and soon had some sort of realization, to the effect that I was unique, that I was not like any other person on earth.
I rushed back to the AO (Advanced Org), and went directly to the Examiner to attest, and I turned my paperwork in to the C/S (Case Supervisor).
I waited anxiously in the lobby. Shortly afterwards, it was announced: I had passed OT1.
For this I had paid $2,750.
OT2, which I started the next day, was a bit more complex and also more expensive at $5,225.
On OT2, one is supposed to gain "the ability to confront the Whole Track." OT2 is a preparation for doing the very important and dangerous level of OT3, on which one will confront the "Wall of Fire," and learn the great hidden secret of "this sector of the universe."
On OT2, I soon discovered by reading the required bulletins, I would be auditing out more implants. Some of these implants were:
Each implant was described in detail in the bulletins. I had to sit down at the E-meter and read each of these items out loud, marking down the "reads" of the needle on the E-meter, until that item no longer read.
It was a long and tedious process.
The descriptions of the incidents didn't make much sense, but I was in no position to question Hubbard's writings. After all, he must know.
For example, the "Dance Mob GPM" was described as follows:
"The duration is 7/8ths of a second. There is a pole that pulls one in. One is caught on the pole. The actual incident is in connecting with this thing and trying to get off it. The dancing comes after the actual incident, and consists of a mob dancing around one, chanting various things. In running this, get the phrases that are chanted..."
Somehow I managed to get through this level. I wasn't allowed to discuss what I was doing with any other person, so there we were, a collection of brainwashed Scientologists, locked in a room, carrying out these absurd instructions, everyone too frightened to question the sanity of what he or she was doing.
Too much was at stake. I had invested too much to ask any questions at this point. I was well beyond the point of no return. Hundreds of hours of mind-numbing TRs had turned me into a "Rondroid," an unquestioning, unthinking Scientologist.
If Hubbard had told me to kill myself, I probably would have. It is hard to explain this to someone who has not been in a cult, but you simply get to a point where you no longer question. You become a psychological hostage to the cult.
The third OT Level, OT3, known in Scientology as the "Wall of Fire," is the level to which I looked forward most eagerly, for it is on this level that Hubbard promises one will at last learn the great secret of this sector of the universe. According to Hubbard, it is this secret that accounts for the current degraded condition of man. Once you know this secret, you will then understand the world today and why it is the way it is.
At the time I started OT3, I was living in the suburb of Studio City, where I was having a live-in affair with an architect-Scientologist named Lee Cambigue.
He was already OT3.
On the big day, the day I was to start the level, he volunteered to come and sit in on the course with me for the first day. I was grateful, as I was really frightened of what lay ahead.
As we drove into the smoggy city, he asked me if I was scared.
Yes, I nodded.
I was given the secret materials in a brown folder and let into the locked room where OT3 was taught. I opened the folder and began to read:
The head of the Galactic Confederation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here, founded 95,000,000 years ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet -- 178 billion on average) by mass implanting.
He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H-bomb on the principal volcanos (incident 2) and then the Pacific ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic ones to Las Palmas and there "packaged."
His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits, etc., was placed in the implants.
When through with his crime, Loyal Officers (to the people) captured him after six years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. "They" are gone. The place (Confederacy) has since been a desert.
The length and brutality of it all was such that this Confederation never recovered. The implant is calculated to kill (by pneumonia, etc.) anyone who attempts to solve it. This liability has been dispensed with by my tech development.
In December '67 I knew somebody had to take the plunge. I did and emerged very knocked out but alive. Probably the only one ever to do so in 75,000,000 years. I have all the data but only that given here is needful.
In the subsequent OT3 bulletins, Hubbard explains further. It was very hard reading. Other students in the classroom were watching me as I read to see my reaction, to see if I "got it."
According to Hubbard, millions of years ago, an evil dictator named Xenu decided to solve the overpopulation problem in his galaxy by rounding up people, freezing them, and shipping them to earth on space ships.
They were deposited on two volcanos, one at Las Palmas and one in Hawaii. Then nuclear explosions were set off, blowing these frozen souls into the stratosphere where they were collected by "electronic ribbons" (force fields) and brought back to earth where they were packaged into clusters.
After packaging, they were subjected to implants in which they were shown many different scenes on huge screens. Then they were released.
And so, according to Hubbard, the great secret of this sector of the universe is that each person on earth is not just a single person, but a collection ("cluster") of hundreds of different entities.
What I was going to learn on OT3, was how to telepathically locate these other entities of mine and audit them through the nuclear explosion and implanting that occurred 75,000,000 years ago. Then these entities would be freed, and able to fly off and find a body of their own.
I hardly heard the Supervisor when he announced the lunch break. My mind was spinning.
I went outside with Lee.
"You mean that's all there is?" I asked him. "The great secret is that I'm not just one person?"
"You got it," he chuckled. "But wait until you do the auditing. You'll feel terrific!"
As we walked to lunch, I had a peculiar sensation. I felt like my mind had just locked up, frozen in time. I couldn't believe what I had just read, it was too incredible. But I was too brainwashed to disbelieve. So my mind simply froze, unable to process anything at all.
It was at this point that my symptoms, the terrifying anxiety attacks, began to return in full force. I went to the Examiner and complained. But I was told just to continue with the level, and the symptoms would take care of themselves. I was told that this sort of "restimulation" was common while doing the OT levels.
"The way out is the way through," was a common Scientology adage that was quoted to me that day.
So I dutifully tried to carry out the complex instructions of the OT3 auditing.
I took my E-meter into a small room at the Org and sat down at the table. My notepaper was placed to my left and I held the Solo can with my right hand while I made my notes with my left. With my left hand, I also manipulated the dials of the E-meter, keeping the needle on the face of the dial so I could note all the "reads" of the needle.
I closed my eyes as instructed and tried to locate an entity. I had been instructed that I would begin to feel pressures on various parts of my body, and that these pressures would be the entities I had to audit.
I was amazed when I did, in fact, feel a pressure on the top of my head.
I opened communication (telepathically) with the entity. I tried to find out his name. I asked him if he had been implanted at the Las Palmas or the Hawaii volcano. I watched the E-meter for the reads which would give me my answers. In theory, the entity that I had contacted was the one who was actually registering on the E-meter.
Then I guided the entity through a complicated set of questions, taking him or her slowly through the explosion and the resulting implant. I did this over and over with the entity until I felt a lessening and then a release of the pressure, and the needle on the E-meter was floating.
I had just released my first entity!
Suddenly, I heard an electrical crackling all over the room. I was startled, and I didn't know what to do, but I remembered the words of the Examiner, "The way out is the way through," and I decided to continue. The crackling sounds continued to bother me for many sessions.
I went on this way for days, auditing the invisible entities. After each session, I would turn in my folder to the C/S and would be given instructions to continue.
The boundary between reality and unreality was beginning to disappear for me.
Another event at this time also contributed to my sense of unreality.
On one of my lunch breaks from class, I was swimming in a nearby pool with another student from the course. His name was Al. He lounged at the shallow end of the pool with his arms resting on the ledge of the pool. I was in the deep end of the pool, turning somersaults in the water. Suddenly, Al was right there with me under the water.
I surfaced, and he was still lounging against the shallow end of the pool. He threw back his head and started to laugh.
"How did you do that?" I sputtered. He just kept laughing.
"It has something to do with atoms," he answered.
"Never mind," I told him. "I don't want to know. Just don't do it again."
This event only served to reinforce my beliefs in the power of OT3.
One night when I was leaving the Advanced Org, I experienced a peculiar sensation. I looked around me. As it happened during the experience on the way to Mario's many years earlier, the colors around me were again unusually bright. The stars shown clearly as points of light against a velvet sky. I had a feeling of euphoria.
"This is it," I thought to myself excitedly. "I must be finished with OT3."
I went to the Examiner.
I was allowed to attest to OT3. I had gone through the Wall of Fire and come out unscathed. I was now free of my other beings. I was alone, and the world was clear and beautiful.
The next morning I woke up with a splitting headache and an intense panic attack.
What was wrong? This wasn't supposed to happen.
I went to the Director of Processing and reported my symptoms.
My folders were taken in to the C/S.
I was called in for a "D of P interview."
"What is happening," he told me, "is that you are keying in your next level. The only thing that will handle your symptoms for good is to do your next level."
"What level is that?" I asked him.
"Well, normally you would go to OT4, but Hubbard has just introduced a new level that is to be done after OT3. It's called NED for OTs (for New Era Dianetics). But right now it's only being done in Clearwater."
Clearwater, Florida, was the U.S. headquarters of Scientology, and all experimental levels were done there first.
The cost of the new level: $16,000.
I went back to living with Lee. My symptoms were just getting worse and worse.
I was desperate.
Fate intervened. At this time, my grandmother died, leaving me a sum of money. I called my father and told him I needed the money to do a level to help me with my anxiety attacks.
My mother arrived in L.A. with the check. As usual, she tried her best to get me out of Scientology, and she was reluctant to give me the check. But Lee helped me to convince her that this was really what I needed.
Finally, she gave in.
I had the money. I could now go to Clearwater to do my NED for OTs. I flew to Clearwater in November of 1979, just before my birthday, in pursuit of the "Total Freedom" promised by Hubbard.
I had high hopes for this new level. It would work. It had to.