Ave Satanus

From today's Rigorous Intuition post by Jeff Wells: Freak Out

Freelance author Paulette Cooper was born into one hell of a reality, in Auschwitz, to parents who didn't survive the camp. In 1971 her first book was published, entitled The Scandal of Scientology, and included an interview with the disaffected L Ron Hubbard Jr, which revealed for the first time to a general readership the relation of Hubbard Sr to Aleister Crowley, and of Scientology to the occult. The Church had already sued Cooper for an article she'd written that appeared in London's Queen Magazine in December, 1969, which was also the month she received her first death threat, so of course they sued again. And neither did it end there.

Cooper found herself frequently followed, and multiple attempts were made to break into her apartment. Her phone was found to be tapped, and calls were often obscene and menacing. Anonymous hate mail piled up. She soon felt compelled to move to a residence with higher security, and her cousin Joy took over her apartment. Soon after, Joy opened the door to an unexpected delivery of flowers, and the deliveryman "unwrapped the flowers and there was a gun in it," Paulette told a Clearwater City Council hearing on Scientology in 1981: And he took out the gun and he put it at Joy's temple and he cocked the gun, and we don't know whether it misfired, whether it was empty and it was a scare technique, what happened, but somehow, the gun did not go off. And he started choking her, and she was able to break away and she started to scream. And the person ran away.

And so she called a detective and he said, "It's a very wild attack because there doesn't seem to be any motive for it." There was no attempted rape, there was no attempted robbery, and why should somebody just suddenly try to kill her.... Then things got crazy. About a week or two later at my apartment, I received a visit from the FBI. And they informed me that the public relations person from Scientology had claimed that she had received a couple of bomb threats and asked -- and had named me as somebody likely to send bomb threats. Cooper didn't take the accusation very seriously, and consented to be fingerprinted. On May 19, 1973, she was indicted on three counts of sending bomb threats through the mail. (This is one of the letters.) And it came to that because, although she testified before a grand jury she had never before seen the letters, somehow, her fingerprints were found on them. ("I felt like a grand piano had just hit me on the head. I -- I fainted sitting up; the whole room just turned upside down and I didn't know what to do. And the, of course, the lawyers wanted more money.")

It wasn't until 1977 that the FBI, by its seizure of Scientology documents, learned that the Church had entirely forged the bomb threats to discredit its critic, and had crafted a project called "Operation Freakout" to either drive Cooper to suicide or a mental institution. Part of the plan consisted of a Scientology volunteer impersonating Cooper and making verbal threats towards the President and Henry Kissinger, and a second volunteer reporting them. Another named Jerry Levin moved into Cooper's building and befriended her during her darkest months, and reported back to the Church such things as "She can't sleep again...she's talking suicide. Wouldn't this be great for Scientology!"

Cooper very nearly lost her reality, because Scientology's reach was not exceeded by its means and intent to destroy it. And if we indwell our philosophies and make them our life rather than our lifestyle, we may evoke the same order of determined forces and find similar life and death consequence. If not, then we're more likely to merely freak ourselves out by paranoid invocation and commend ourselves as "info guerrillas."

A hard choice. But property doesn't have to choose.