OT III Scholarship Page
Return to the Secrets of Scientology web site.

Founded Jan. 19, 1997, by David S. Touretzky (dst@cs.cmu.edu)

Q: Why can't Lisa McPherson read this page?

A: Because she's dead. Our sympathy to her family, and the families of all Scientology victims.

Space Opera as Theology: Scientology's OT III

This page is dedicated to the analysis and criticism of what Scientologists must consider to be the most significant document in the history of the human race: L. Ron Hubbard's "OT III". (See legal notes below.) The first page of this historic work, jotted down in Hubbard's own hand, is presented herewith:


          Data (1)            (1)
The head of the Galactic
Confederation (76 planets around
larger stars visible from here)
(founded 95,000,000 yrs 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 volcanoes (Incident 2)
and then the Pacific area ones
were taken in boxes to Hawaii
and the Atlantic Area 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 6 years of battle
and put him in an electronic
mountain trap where he still
is. "They" are gone. The place (Confed.)
has since been a desert.

How do you know this was actually written by L. Ron Hubbard?

Scientology sued Karin Spaink for publishing OT III, claiming she violated their copyrights to their "advanced spiritual technology". In addition, the document displayed on this web page was authenticated by Helena Kobrin, lawyer for Scientology's Religious Technology Center, in a letter sent to Carnegie Mellon's legal counsel on January 24, 1997. Her assistance is much appreciated.

Do Scientologists really believe this stuff?

Yes, they do. This essay by Bob Minton describes the Scientology world-view that emerges from OT III. And here's an excerpt from a piece by Stacy Brooks describing her reactions upon first reading OT III:
I sat there for a long time after I read this startling revelation. It was a profound turning point for me. I will describe what went on in my mind as well as I possibly can. Here I had finally made it to the Wall of Fire, I had just been given the Secrets of the Universe. This was Reality! I distinctly remember feeling like I was in a state of suspended animation; as if I were watching myself to see how I was going to react to this news. I almost let the thought form: "You've got to be kidding!" But I caught it just in time and squelched it. I did allow myself to think that I didn't understand what he was talking about. But having already installed L. Ron Hubbard in my mind as the unerring dispenser of Truth, there was no way for me to reject the information. I remember feeling completely numb and making sure to arrange my expression so that the course supervisor would not realize how stunned I was.

Mercifully, it was soon time for dinner. I remember walking toward the galley (the dining room), which was in the basement of what is now Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles, trying to digest what I had just learned. As I walked over a small bridge I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks, frozen by the thought that I was crawling with millions of disembodied creatures. I had to restrain the urge to wipe my hands over my whole body to get them off!

What comes after OT III?

After OT III comes NOTs, or NED for OTs (New Era Dianetics for Operating Thetans), which covers levels OT IV through OT VII. More body thetan stuff. You can learn about NOTs at the NOTs Scholars Home Page.

Was Xenu a drug-inspired hallucination, or a rip-off from Gurdijeff??

Prignillius contributed this interesting posting concerning how Hubbard's drug use may have contributed to OT III.

A reader writes to inform us that "... the body thetans idea is similiar to Gurdjieff's `Organ Kundabuffer': an organ supposedly implanted (long ago) in human bodies in order to twist their perception of reality. The whole of Gurdjieff's work was aimed to destroy the consequences of this Organ (as repeated many times in his Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson book)."


  1. Funny that there is no date on this page. Hubbard dated everything. Two later pages of the 20 page handwritten manuscript bear the date October 28, 1968, but the first three pages have no date. Was he too spaced out when he wrote this to remember such details? Why did he write (1) twice at the top of the first page?
  2. The penmanship in this document is poor. Hubbard switches between cursive and printed styles seemingly at random. Notice the "b" in "billion" is printed the first time and cursive the second. And reader Jeff Lee points out that "[Hubbard's] punctuation is atrocious. He also shows some inconsistency in dotting his i's and crossing his t's."
  3. He underlines three words, presumably for emphasis: the word "then", and the place names Hawaii and Las Palmas. It's hard for a lay reader to see why emphasis is needed here. However, location is very important in Scientology auditing: they believe it necessary to "date/locate" an incident in order to properly identify it and "blow the charge" from the engram. Hubbard's definition of "truth" is the exact time, place, form, and event. Hence, location is emphasized here because this information will be needed later to identify which implant station the person (thetan) was taken to. Note that Teegeeack and Earth are not underlined.
  4. Hubbard writes "volcanoes" where my preferred spelling (and the one used in Wakefield's book and the Fishman Declaration) is "volcanos". However, the version of OT III in Scamizdat #5 has "volcanoes". Dictionaries list both spellings. Equally acceptable spellings are listed in alphabetical order, so "volcanoes" appears first, but it is not marked as the preferred form. But a reader in the UK, where Hubbard spent some time, advises that "volcanoes" is the preferred form over there.
  5. Most of the volcanos cited in the "data" section of OT III (later in the document) did not exist 75 million years ago. See the list at http://www.xenu.net/archive/ot/peter_forde.html
  6. Hubbard capitalizes "H Bomb" where the convention (at least now) is "H-bomb".
  7. Note that Hubbard uses the correct spelling of "principal". He does not appear to be a bad speller. (It would be impossible to check this by looking at printed Scientology literature, since his output was checked and edited by underlings before publication.)
  8. Note the reference to "Incident 2". In both the Fishman Declaration and Wakefield versions of OT III this is transcribed as "Incident II", i.e., using roman numerals, and this convention is also followed in the Vorlon edition of the FLAG NOTs pack. Martin Ottman's transcription says "Incident 2". In Hubbard's original document, arabic numbers or the words "One" and "Two" are used, but never roman numerals.
  9. The heavy use of parenthetical interjections gives the page the tone of a verbal report, but examining the actual document shows that a couple of these were inserted later, so this cannot be a verbatim transcript. The first one, "(founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera)", appears to be an insert because it uses smaller letters and smaller inter-line spacing than the rest of the text. The second one is "(Confed.)", which clarifies the meaning of "place". This is expanded to "(Confederation)" in the typeset versions of OT III I've seen, such as Wakefield's (cited below.)
  10. On the RJ-67 tape (Ron's Journal #67), Hubbard uses "Confederacy" rather than "Confederation".
  11. Two other insertions are noteworthy. The "with his crime" phrase, the only interjection not parenthesized, indicates that it was Xenu who was "through", rather than the implanting of an individual reaching completion. And the "(to the people)" comment clarifies that the officers were loyal to Xenu's victims, not Xenu. The visual appearance of this comment shows that it could not have been inserted later. On the other hand, it is ungrammatical, suggesting that Hubbard realized the ambiguity at the moment he finished the preceding line, and stuck in the parenthetical comment to resolve it.
  12. Attorney Douglas M. Johnson suggests (see bottom of page) that the word I've transcribed as "loyal" may actually be "Royal".
  13. The document has a telegraphic style in places, suggesting it was scribbled down in haste. One example is the abbreviation "yrs" in the first parenthetical comment. (All the typeset versions of OT III I've seen expand this to "years".) Another example is the ungrammatical "(to the people)" insertion.
  14. On pages 2-3 Hubbard suggests he may be the only person in 75,000,000 years to have discovered the implant and lived to tell about it. The raw, breathless tone of this document, and the fact that it is still presented to Scientologists in its original handwritten form, heighten the reader's sense of being there with Hubbard in 1967 when he emerges "very knocked out but alive" to scribble down his momentous discovery.
  15. It's hard to see how a galactic confederation could become a "desert" except in a highly metaphorical sense. What happened to all the folks who defeated Xenu's renegades? Is Xenu, still locked in his mountain trap, the lone survivor of his race?
  16. Logical contradiction: how can there be 250 billion "or so" per planet if the average number was 178 billion?

The Xenu/Xemu Controversy

Legal Notes

Isn't this material a trade secret?

No, it's not, according to the sworn testimony of Warren McShane, president of Religious Technology Center, in civil action no. 95-B-2143, Religious Technology Center v. F.A.C.T.Net, Inc., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

24 A The very first tab under Tab No. 1. You can see there are
25 references to the Galactic confederation, 76 planets, but

page 229
1 within that there is information on what are called incidents
2 that you see there, Your Honor, in parentheses. Those itself
3 are trade secret. Any descriptions in that first page which
4 actually described what happened to the individual himself is
5 a trade secret.
6 But it may be easier to explain what's not. The
7 discussion of the -- of the volcanoes, the explosions, the
8 Galactic confederation 75 million years ago, and a gentleman
9 by the name Xemu there. Those are not trade secrets. The
10 officers mentioned there are not. But the -- the parts in
11 there that actually described what happened to the individual
12 and how to handle it, especially when it goes onto page 2 from
13 that point forward, that is trade secret.
14 Q Everything thereafter?
15 A Yes.
16 MR. KELLEY: Is page 2 Tab 2?
17 THE WITNESS: Tab 2, I'm sorry.
And later in his testimony:
18 THE WITNESS: This particular exhibit I am looking at
19 is O.T. III. And as I explained to the court the other day,
20 when we were talking about what's generally known in the 75
21 million years ago and Xemu and the volcanoes, which is
22 knowledge that has been known for years, that is contained in
23 bits and pieces in the first paragraph of page 1. This is
24 page 3. Your Honor, if you look at the first full paragraph,
25 it starts with "one's" on the handwritten part.

page 472
1 THE COURT: All right.
2 THE WITNESS: First full paragraph where it says
3 "one's body." From that point on -- at least on that point is
4 what's trade secret. Mr. Hubbard describing what has occurred
5 to the individual, not the general description of what events
6 happened 75 million years ago, but what happened to the
7 individual person. That is a trade secret. That's what's not
8 published in any works. From that point forward is a
9 description of the actual technology itself and how to undo
10 that great catastrophe that occurred.
And here's Warren talking about
mention of Xenu in Ron's Journal 67 in the FACTNet case. See also the statement by Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon, during the deposition of Jeff Jacobsen in the Arnie Lerma case, that the Xenu story "has been a matter of public record for many years".

McShane is mistaken when he says the OT III data beginning "one's body" remains a trade secret. This material has been published in several places, including Margery Wakefield's book, where the first three pages of the OT III document are quoted in full. And see Jon Atack's OT 3 for Beginners for a synopsis that spills all the secrets.

A similar exorcism procedure is practiced in Avatar, a Scientology offshoot invented by former Scientology franchisee Harry Palmer. Avatar's version of the procedure can be viewed here. Scientology has not sued Avatar, possibly because doing so would require admitting that the "advanced spiritual technology" of L. Ron Hubbard was in fact a form of exorcism.

Isn't this material subject to copyright?

It may be. The copyright registration number is TXu-290-496. The copyright is currently owned by the Church of Spiritual Technology, and licensed to Religious Technology Center, both Scientology shell corporations. However, the US Copyright Code provides for "fair use" quotation for purposes of comment and criticism, and this web page clearly falls in that category. There is also some evidence that the copyright filing might be fraudulent.

Is this drivel worth anything at all?

Scientology thinks it's worth thousands of dollars. Check out this advertisement and price list for their ``OT III Wall of Fire'' course. Scientology has gone to great lengths to keep OT III secret, as detailed in this 1985 LA Times article.

Where can I read the rest of OT III?

The following list, filed as an appendix to an injunction in the Erlich case, sets out the contents of the OT III course:
OT III - including but not limited to the following works:

HCOB 4 May 1968                         Character of______
HCOB 4 May 1968                         ________ Auditing
UCOB 4 May 1968R                        ________ Auditing
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 4 May 1968           Issue II      Overrun on III
HCOB 4 May 1968R          Issue II      Overrun on III
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 23 August 1968                     Arbitraries
HCOB 2 October 1968                     OT III
HCOB 2 October 1968R                    OT III
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 26 August 1969                     OT III Case Supervision
HCOB 26 August 1969R                    OT III Case Supervision
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 13 October 1969      Issue II      OT III Errors
HCOB 13 October 1969R     Issue II      OT III Errors
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 25 October 1969R                   Formation
HCOB 25 October 1969RA                  Formation
Revised 20 September 1978
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 5 February 1970                    The Basic
HCOB 5 February 1970R                   The Basic
Revised 16 August 1983
HCOB 5 February 1970      Issue II      Definitions, Sec. III
HCOB 12 April 1970                      Running OT III
HCOB 9 July 1971                        Section III Running
HCO PL 14 January 1972    Issue I       The Green Green Form Revised
HCOB 14 September 1978                  Dianetics Forbidden on Clears and OTs

HCOB 2 November 1978R                  Dianetics Deleted from OT III Materials
Revised 10 December 1978
HCOB 10 December 1978                  Addition to OT III Pack
HCOB 4 July 1979                       Handling Correction Lists on OTs
HCO PL 19 November 1980                OT 3 Solo Auditor Training Course
HCOB 14 August 1983                    C.C. Implant
HCOB 15 August 1983                    Flying Ruds on Solo OT III and Above
HCOB 16 August 1983                    Ruds Going Out
HCOB 17 August 1983                    List of LRH Handwritten Materials on OT III Course
                                       Attachment No 1 - Data
                                       Attachment No 2 - 2nd Note
                                       Attachment No 3 - 1st Note
                                       Attachment No 4 - Instructions
                                       Attachment No 5 - Section III OT
                                       Attachment No 6 - 3rd Note
                                       Attachment No 7 - Important Note
                                       Section III
HCOB 2 July 1984                       Issue II Assessment
HCOB 8 June 1970                       Issue II Secret


  1. Atack, Jonathan. (1996) OT 3 - Scientology's "secret" course rewritten for beginers.

  2. Fishman, Steven. (1993) Declaration filed April 9, 1993 in connection with civil case 91-6426 HLH (Tx), Church of Scientology International v. Steven Fishman and Uwe Geertz, US District Court for the Central District of California. Pages 76-100 contain the text of OT III.

  3. Hubbard, Lafayette Ronald. (1968) Operating Thetan Section III. Handwritten manuscript. Available online courtesy of Andreas Heldal-Lund.

  4. McShane, Warren. (1995) Transcript of testimony in civil action no. 95-B-2143, Religious Technology Center v. F.A.C.T.Net, Inc., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Proceedings before the Honorable John L. Kane on September 11, 1995.

  5. Ottman, Martin. (1996) Posting to Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology titled "New (old) OT III material". Posted in November, 1996, under the name phariz@aol.com. Contains a transcript of the first handwritten page of OT III, and several HCOBs comprising the OT III Course Pack.

  6. Scamizdat Staff. (1995) Scamizdat #5. Contains a partial transcript of L. Ron Hubbard's "Class VIII Course, Lecture #10", commonly known as the Class VIII Assists tape, a lecture delivered October 3, 1968 aboard the Scientology ship Apollo. Hubbard discusses Xenu/Xemu by name. Scamizdat #5 was published on the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology in May, 1995.

  7. Spaink, Karin. (1996) Summary of OT III. Ruled legal by a Dutch court.

  8. Vorlon. (1996) The FLAG NOTs Pack. This is referred to as the "Vorlon edition". For more information, see the NOTs Scholars Home Page.

  9. Wakefield, Margery. (1991) The Road to Xenu. The first three pages of OTIII are quoted in chapter 13 . This chapter also gives the full descriptions of Incidents 1 and 2, which are referred to in OT III auditing.

Other Resources

  • Message from Xenu music video, by the Truth Rockets.

  • South Park Scientology episode "Trapped in the Closet"

  • Wikipedia article on Xenu

    The Quiz

    Test your knowledge of OT III by taking a quiz. Level 1 is funny and easy. Level 2 is much harder, but anyone who has truly earned their OT III certificate should pass it without trouble.

    Note: This image is freeware: you may freely copy it, put it on your own homepage, print it etc., as long as you don't ask any money for it and don't alter it in any way, and as long as you put this note next to it. All rights reserved. The publication of this cartoon in printed or digital magazines, books or any other form of media is prohibited without prior permission of Waa.