What Happened at Delphian Academy
[This is a backup of http://www.witchhaven.com/atho/files/anti/SCIENTOL.TXT]
Part One: What Happened at Delphian Academy ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (This begins with my discontent about a private school I was going to, Pathways, a so-called "therapeutic learning environment. This background is necessary to know how trapped I was.) From "It's Still Not Weird Enough For Me" (c) 1990 M. Klein-Hass. All rights reserved...Michelle Klein-Hass is the author of this piece for purposes of the Berne Convention. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Pathways, however, was not always a bowl of cherries for me in other respects. Like everywhere else, I was picked on by some of the students. Especially when they realized that I was allowed a longer leash than most of the other students. I did not want to continue in an environment like that, so I told Mom that I wanted a change. There was also the matter of a small problem in my family by the name of "Rocco Cortes." (not his real name) Rocco was the first real boyfriend my mother had since my father's death. He worked for the studios as a prop man, and had an attitude that partially came from his half-Cuban, half-Sicilian lineage and partially came from the fact that he had a serious macho complex. I got along fairly well with Rocco until right after we went to see the premiere of "Star Wars." I said something that got him mad, and he yelled at me in front of everyone at the Wiener Factory. We never got along after that. Rocco felt that I only got in the way of his relationship with my Mom, and I was afraid that he was going to try to turn her against me. My fears wound up finding a base in reality when Mom started to talk about sending me away to school rather than find me a school in the area. She went to a place called American College Placement to find a boarding school for me. They came up with a place in Oregon called The Delphian Academy. The school promised a creative environment, self-directed learning and pristine surroundings. However, it delivered only the pristine surroundings in any sort of satisfactory manner. Everything else was colored by the mind-f**k of the Church of Scientology. Scientology is a cult. Purely and simply put, it is a cult. When P.E.I. Bonewitz came up with his Cult Evaluation Frame in the book "Real Magic" (It was also reprinted in Adler's "Drawing Down The Moon") he provided a marvelous resource for understanding what makes a cult what it is. The crux of the Evaluation Frame is that a cult is less a religious organization than a means for mass mind control. It is clear to me that Scientology was designed from the ground up as a way for "Ron" to have as much control as possible over as many minds as possible. The Scientologist way of life is as controlled as the Fundie way of life, with every decision demarcated by some sort of technical bulletin. The relationship between husband and wife, between parent and child, between teacher and student...between individuals and the church hierarchy is covered by one technical bulletin or another. The church uses classic brainwashing techniques like confession, teaching how to blank out the mind (to be there and confront) and using shock and guilt to break down confidence in the target's competence. And the result is an army of zombified "Operating Thetans" that will do anything... ANYTHING to further the aims of the Church. When "Ron" wants a best selling L. Ron Hubbard book, the Scientologists buy out whole stores at a time of their inventory of the particular book. When "Ron" wants political power, the Scientologists make unholy alliances with political groups like the Libertarian Party who crave the votes an en-masse Scientologist registration push will yield, not realizing that their very essence will be destroyed by getting into bed with such an anti-freedom organization as the Scientologists. No, "Ron" didn't die in 1984, or 1980 as there is convincing evidence pointing to that year. "Ron" is alive and well, just like "Big Brother" is alive and well in the book "1984" despite the fact that there is no one person who truly IS Big Brother. "Ron" is the hierarchy of the Church of Scientology, and any person that criticises the decisions of this hierarchy criticises their demigod "Ron". I know at this point that I am a certified "Suppressive Person", an enemy of the Church that might yet be a target of their wrath. I know that I could have died because of the abuse I suffered at their hands. And I know that until they are seen for what they truly are, a criminal destroyer of lives par excellence, they will continue to hurt people. I was almost a casualty of their machinations. Mom and I went up to their facilities in Oregon in April of 1978. They seemed nice enough...a converted Jesuit novitiate on the top of a hill, overlooking a lumber town called Sheridan...a town that the series "Twin Peaks" constantly brings to mind. (I don't mean the byzan- tine weirdness of the burghers of Twin Peaks, but the town itself) I remember vividly the sound of the steam whistle echoing through the still night air dismissing the Swing Shift and calling the Graveyard Shift to their posts. I remember the sweet taste of the blackberries growing wild along the side of the road leading to the school. I remember the avenue of trees leading from the school to a place where a shrine to the Virgin Mary stood, and the peace of that little clearing. I was pretty thoroughly "love bombed" by the faculty there...they were very, very attentive to me. Did they have a creative writing program? Oh yes, Miss Klein, of course we do! You like Science Fiction? If you write something appropriate, we might enter it in the L. Ron Hubbard "Writers Of The Future" contest! You like art? Sure, we have all kinds of facilities for art here...we have a filmmaking program, a ceramics lab, and plenty of scenery to paint or sketch! Music? Let's go down to the Corea/Clarke music lab and we'll show you the best 16-track facility this side of Seattle or the San Francisco Bay Area! I still had a feeling of foreboding...a sense that I was in danger if I agreed to go to the school. But Mom was nudging me to stay, and I knew if I did not agree to stay there I would not hear the end of it. I could read the handwriting on the wall...Mom wanted me out of the way so she could romance Rocco. Rocco wanted me out of the way because I was a "fly in the ointment"...someone who could see that one day his ill temper might drive Mom away from him. I was also an inconvenience. If I was up North, out of the way, Mom wouldn't have to agonize over the choice of leaving me alone in the house or getting a sitter. Even with the ominous sense creeping up on me, I really had no choice. The bad feelings got worse as time progressed. Walking down the corridors, I saw "Ron's" face staring at me from every wall. Occasionally a person in Sea Org uniform would pass us, all natty pressed white nautical. There were more people in "civvies" there but the para-Naval uniforms gave me the biggest chill. The faculty members we talked to swore up and down that the school had nothing to do with the Church of Scientology proper, but lo and behold, offices for this "satellite of the Church of Scientology, Mission of Davis" were right there, complete with auditing rooms with their E-Meters waiting for a counseling session to begin. The Delphian Academy was wholly owned by the Mission of Davis, and also had ties with the Mission of Portland as well. (the regional Church of Scientology hierarchies are called "Missions") This was only the first lie of many that the school faculty told. Mom asked them whether I would be forced to take Scientologist religious training. They said no, but the first class I ABSOLUTELY had to take was the Comm Course, a course in "Hubbardian Communications Theory and Study Skills." It was a prerequisite, according to the teachers, because it gave the fundamentals of the learning "tech" used in the classroom. But it also included the Training Routines, a series of exercises that are quite obviously designed to teach people to blank out, especially under stress. TR-0 Bullbaiting is the one that seems to have all the earmarks of a brainwashing technique. The subject is told that they have to "be there and confront" the person conducting the exercise, without flinching or even blinking. The person conducting the exercise would then be allowed to do anything he/she wanted, and the subject would be "flunked" if they react. The exercise was written up in the book as only using verbal stimuli and/or face-making to "push [the subject's] buttons." But the exercise in praxis entailed everything from waving hands in the person's face, removing their glasses and making motions to crush them, (this was done to me) and even, in the case of a girl a year older than I, taking her shirt off. If the person conducting the exercise found a "button"...that is, something that caused a reaction, even if it was a reflexive one like flinching when someone waved a hand in your face, it would be repeated until the person ceased to have a reaction. The truth of the matter is that the exercise does not teach a person to "be there and confront" a threatening person. It teaches a person to "blank out" and go mindless in the presence of an order by a superior. It is a classic brainwashing technique, one that has parallels in the conditioning given to soldiers in boot camp and in the harsh, abusive techniques used by e.s.t. trainers. That and other elements of the "Comm Course" were identical to the same "Comm Course" given to neophyte Scientologists. That was the second lie...my religious indoctrination in Scientology started the very first day I set foot in the classroom. The third lie was that I would be allowed to pursue my own religious convictions. When I arrived, Passover was about to begin, and Mom wanted me to go to a Reform Jewish Temple in Portland for services. The faculty member that Mom talked to assured her that I would be bused to Portland to go to services. That promise was never fulfilled. I was not allowed my own personal convictions either. In the school library I found a treasure trove of materials that were kept by the Novitiate under "comparative religion." They were unceremoniously dumped in a box awaiting incineration. One Saturday afternoon, I grabbed my steamer trunk and filled it full of books on Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, meditation, and even ritual magick. There were also Latin and Hebrew textbooks and an old "Lives of the Saints" that listed St. Joan of Arc as "Blessed" rather than a full-fledged saint. I hauled the trunk back down to my dorm room, thankful that my roommate Gabrielle Becket, the first Pagan I had ever met in my life, was sympathetic to my quest. I began to study the books on my free time. They were interesting and thought provoking...the kind of books I enjoyed reading. But they were technically verboten. Nobody knew I had them, and I wound up taking a lot of them home with me when I was kicked out of the school. My daily meditation practice was also technically verboten as well, but as long as I meditated in my dorm room there were no problems. But the huge Gothic ex-chapel that the school used as an assembly hall was way too beautiful and peaceful not to use as a place to meditate. I was deep in meditation in the chapel one day after classes when one of the faculty, Mrs. Phelps, found me. "What are you doing, Miss Klein?" I snapped back out of the Dreamtime with a sudden jolt. "I'm meditating...if you don't mind." "Don't take that tone with me, Miss Klein. We don't encourage such a...solitary practice...at the school. If you are seeking peace and serenity, a group of students go on a hike in the woods every day around this time. Meditation is not conducive to becoming Clear." "But I'm not INTERESTED in becoming...what did you say...Clear. I'm NOT a Scientologist. I do not believe in Scientology. For all I care L. Ron Hubbard can go to hell. I am only at this school because I was SENT here. My mother was assured that I could continue my own religious practices when I was signed up here." Mrs. Phelps looked at me stonily. "This is a Scientologist school. You will at least respect the tenets of Scientology. If not, I can make your life miserable. I can make your mother's life miserable. I can even destroy you if I want to, and I will have every right to do so." So began a war...a war conducted against my spirit by the Scientologist students and teachers at Delphian Academy. And this war almost succeeded in its goal to defeat me...no, destroy me. I continued to meditate, but I did it either in my bunk or in the woods. I didn't become less solitary...I became more solitary, more the loner. I spent long hours alone in the ceramics lab that practically nobody but me and two other faculty members used. I would hang for hours in the studio making tape loops using an ARP Axxe and a reel-to-reel deck. I even got the knack of doing the "Frippertronics" or "Discreet Music" technique with two reel decks. But again, it was yet another solitary pursuit. The only non-solitary pursuits I was fond of were the trips out of the school to Mc Minnville every week and Portland every month or so, and working on film technique with perhaps the only teacher I still trusted, Stephen Studebaker Deal. Steve Deal was a loner too...he was a Scientologist, true, but he seemed to be not as much of a fanatic. His main contact with the other teachers and students was the fact that his editing room was also the place where the Reverse Osmosis filter was set up to filter the very cloudy, foul tasting water that came from the school's well. He worked not for the school proper, but primarily for the Mission of Portland doing training films. Steve and I worked on a film about the school called "A Learning Experience", and I learned a wealth of information about production and especially post-production in Mag-sound Super 8. His shyness and hermit-like demeanor reminded me a lot of my Dad's brother, Uncle Jerry. I was comfortable, and I managed to learn a lot about film from him. Of all the people at Delphian Academy it was he who I missed when I was kicked out, and kept correspondence with. In mid-1979 he left the school and moved to Orange County where his family lived, and after a couple of phone calls I lost contact with him. I often wonder whether the way I was treated by the school had any effect on his leaving it. The field trips, other than the weekly trip to Mc Minnville which was the closest major town to the school, were very erratic but did happen. We went to Portland three times in the six months I went to Delphi, and once to Tigard which is a suburb of Portland. The trip to Tigard was to a youth disco, where I met a young man about two years my senior named Corbett Young. I admit, the guy was the classic stoner type, long blonde hair and all, but he was not the druggie that the school faculty told my mother he was. I was pulled away from Corbett by one of the chaperones from the school, and warned not to contact him. He had slipped me his phone number, and I called him a few times afterward on the sly. But I could never physically see him again. The trips to Mc Minnville were more along the lines of a shopping expedition. Lunch and Dinner at Delphian Academy were not bad at all usually. A lot of whole grains and fresh meats and vegetables. The cheese and butter came from the Tillamook Creamery Association, especially the succulent cheddar cheese that they used a lot of. But Breakfast, to be blunt, sucked. Usually the fare was either homemade yogurt that tasted like inedibly sour milk, oatmeal which I have never liked in my life and wasn't going to start liking now, or plain runny scrambled eggs and toast, plain eggs being absolutely inedible to me. If I was lucky there would be homemade granola or cheese omelettes or BLTs. But my luck usually was bad around Breakfast time. So what I did was take my $5 per week allowance and get some cereal, some Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ravioli or something like it in the case that Lunch or Dinner were sucky as well, and some Tab. I had gotten used to Tab because my Mom drank the s**t by the case and even though the stuff tasted horrible I got used to it. It also was a tolerable source of caffeine for a non-Coffee drinker. I would sometimes also pick up a Creem, Circus, Hit Parader or Rolling Stone magazine to keep up with the music I loved, with Led Zep and Aerosmith and Genesis and Gentle Giant and Rush and Be-Bop Deluxe and the rumblings of the Punk scene coming out of New York and London. Some of the other kids would go to the local pool hall to shoot pool and shoot the breeze with the locals. But all I wanted to do usually was get my groceries and go back to my bunk. Bunk Sweet Home. One day, about a month after my run-in with Mrs. Phelps, I got violently ill with intestinal flu. I wanted to get some chicken noodle Cup A Soup, some saltines and other "sick food" to aid in my healing. I gave my $5 allowance to a girl in my dorm who I usually considered trustworthy...let's call her Nancy. Nancy took the money and the shopping list and promised me I would get my stuff. Nancy was giggling to a friend when she left. I should have taken that as a bad sign, but I figured that she had been good to me in the past, so no big deal. She came back a few hours later. I asked her where my stuff was, and she said, "Oh, I'm SO SORRY, Sari! (that's the name I was still using at the time) I got into a pool game with this cute guy, and I thought I could beat him. I didn't, so I had to pony up your money too." I was sick, but not sick enough to raise hell. I got my robe on over my nightshirt and went down to the "Admin Office." I looked for the "ethics officer" but she wasn't there, so I went to the Dean and complained. "Oh, that's too bad...sorry to hear about it...yes, I'll tell the "ethics officer" and she'll get on it...certainly sounds like Out-ethics to me!" (NB: Out-ethics is Scientologist slang for an unethical act or an unethical person.) As far as I could tell, despite the Dean's earnest words, Nancy was never punished. I had become "Fair Game" and I did not know it yet. According to Scientology policy, a person who is declared "Fair Game" may be, and this is a quote, "...deprived of property or injured by any means by a Scientologist without discipline of the [said] Scien- tologist. May be tricked, sued, lied to or DESTROYED." (Emphasis mine) The policy of "Fair Game" was supposedly withdrawn by the Church in 1971, but evidence has surfaced over and over again that this policy, instituted in 1967, has never been abolished. As the summer wore on, I began to get more and more hassles. The incident with Corbett happened. I was told I could no longer go on field trips until "(my) attitude improved." (This from my Dorm Proctor) My mail was being opened and read, without any attempt to conceal the invasion of my privacy. And the final blow came about two weeks before my Leave of Absence was to come up. I was told by the Dorm Proctor that a fellow student had seen me smoking Marijuana out in the woods. Now drugs are about the most verboten thing there is among Scientologists, and the penalty for drugs on campus was to be turned over to the Willamette County Sheriff's Department for prosecution. My room was given a very cursory search (they ignored the books, that's how cursory it was!) and someone took a twisted-ended cigarette from my dresser drawers. I was told that the Deputies would be called, and until that happened I would be "in detention". I was put in a room in the basement level of the building that had just been repainted in anticipation of being turned into a K-3rd level library. I was given but one meal a day, and without a clock I could not be sure of what time it was but I figured it was lunch by the type of food they gave me. My lessons were given to me and picked up at the same time. I spent somewhere between one week to a week and a half cooped up in the room. I spent a lot of time in deep Alpha meditation, and might have even gone out of body a few times, although I have always had the ability to lucid dream and those experiences might have been lucid dreams. I know for sure that I have never been able to will an OOBE, that's for damn sure. As suddenly as I was railroaded into detention I was let go. No, the Sheriff's Deputies didn't show up...I have definate doubts about whether or not I was actually in any sort of legal trouble, especially with the revelation later that the "joint" contained nothing more than oregano wrapped in a cig paper swiped from one of the teachers that favored roll-your-owns. I was warned by Mrs. Phelps to not say a word of this to Mom, otherwise the both of us would be "in danger." I was then told to pack, that my Leave Of Absence was starting tomorrow and I had a plane to catch. I don't know why I obeyed Mrs. Phelps and didn't breath a word of the mistreatment that was going on at the school. Perhaps it has to do with the Stockholm Syndrome. Perhaps I truly believed that Mom and I would be in physical danger if I told anything. And perhaps I wanted to make sure that when I returned to Delphian Academy that I would be able to survive the rest of my time at the school. And I knew that with Rocco still my Mom's boyfriend that I just couldn't tell Mom that I didn't want to go back, for fear Rocco would retaliate. So I went back, steeled for more BS. The persecution continued unabated. I was ridiculed, some of my clothes began to disappear from the wash, I wound up getting Work Crew and other punishments for very minor infractions that the Scientologist kids were allowed to go scot-free on. Then came the night a week after I came back where I was told that my life would continue to be miserable unless I went in for higher-level Scientology courses. I told them "no, and I wouldn't be able to afford them anyhow..." and they said "you get the Bridge for free if you join the Sea Org." The Sea Org. The para-Naval organization with the uniforms and the Yes Sir, No Sirring. The "Billion year contract" to serve "Ron" over several incarnations. I told them absolutely not, and they said "Then the abuse will continue, and there is no guarantee that it will end after you leave here. Los Angeles is full of Scientologists." It was a multiple bind. If I told Mom I wanted out, not only would Rocco be on my butt but a bunch of Scientologist crazies wanting to fulfill the "Fair Game" declaration on me. If I stayed, I would get crap. If I ran, there would be no familiar place, no friends to stay with because Gabrielle lived in Seattle and the farthest I'd probably be able to run would be Portland but probably more like Salem or Mc Minnville. I ran to the Girls' bathroom. The windows were open due to unseasonably warm weather. I figured...well, it would be a 3 story drop, and chances were if I flung myself out the window I'd break my neck. I got up on the ledge and was ready to go when someone yelled NO! and pulled me in. As it turned out, the suicide attempt was a good idea in this case, probably the only such time when it was a good idea. I was sent back home because I was an "insurance risk" but I'm pretty sure that they sent me home because if I tried it again and succeeded the scandal would be too great an embarrassment. They talked to Mom over the phone and refused to refund the other half of the money for the rest of the year, citing an Oregon law stating that "schools run by Religious Orders are exempt from any regulations regarding secular public or private schools." You could sue a public or secular private school, but not a religious school. Not a parochial school, not a church-run school, not even one run by the Church of Scientology. They offered credit at any Apple School in Los Angeles, and Mom took it. At least I would be home and not subjected to 24 hour Scientology, despite the fact that the Mission of Los Angeles ran the chain of schools. I didn't like the prospect, but at least I would be gone from Delphi and the hideous experience I had left there. I only spent a semester and a half at Apple School before I went back to the public school system. I wound up at Jack London High, a "continuation school" designed for people who had quit public school and wanted to go back to get their diplomas. Trouble was, neither Pathways nor Apple School and especially not Delphi kept particularly good school records. So there I was, I was supposed to be in 11th Grade and I had absolutely no record of credits. My only hope to graduate and get my diploma was either the GED or the California High School Proficiency Exam. The GED was more complete and counted as a diploma nationwide, including in the Armed Forces. But then again, I really didn't want to go to war, and since Carter was talking about registering women as well as men for Selective Service, any out I could find was appreciated. The CHSPE was good in the State of California and in most other states. It would allow me to get into Valley College right away rather than slaving in the salt mines for at least a year more for the GED. So I took my chances with the CHSPE. (c) 1990 Michelle Klein-Hass. All Rights Reserved. Michelle Klein-Hass is the author of this piece as per the conditions of the Berne Convention. (Epilogue) I passed the CHSPE and went on to college. I never got a degree but at least I was in an environment by choice. I still have nightmares about Delphian Academy, and look to the day when Scientology is exposed for what it truly is...a money-getting scam and a brainwashing outfit. I know that I am not the only one who has been hurt by them.
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