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Minister is asked to investigate... The case of the processed woman

Title: Minister is asked to investigate... The case of the processed woman
Date: Monday, 22 August 1966
Publisher: Daily Mail (UK)
Main source: link (237 KiB)

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THE MINISTER of Health has been asked to order an inquiry into Scientology, the pseudo-psychological cult, following the mental breakdown of a woman "student."

The woman, who has a ten-year history of mental illness, is now compulsorily detained in hospital under a 28-day order.

Her psychiatric background was known to the "highly qualified" Scientologist who recruited her to the cult and gave her forms of psychological "processing." Scientology practitioners and their "qualifications" have no official medical or academic recognition.

Among the "drills" studied by the woman, to be spoken aloud by her repeatedly during training sessions, were these statements from a Scientology textbook:

"I just realised how terrible my mother was . . . You're dead . . . I'm dead too . . . We are all dead . . . I love death . . . Kill me . . . Beat me . . . I am going to vomit on you if you don't stop . . ."

A leading consultant psychiatrist told Newsight: "One's hair stands on end at this sort of thing. These strong, positive suggestions towards death are like a barrel of dynamite to a mentally unstable person. Even mentally healthy people could be affected."

After two weeks with the movement the woman wrote to her mother: ". . . You are destroying me . . . from now you don't exist in my life. . . ."

The demand for an inquiry was made by the mother, Mrs. Hilary Henslow, 63, of Horsham, Sussex, in a letter to the Minister, Mr. Kenneth Robinson. It is backed by the psychiatrist now caring or her daughter.

The Medical Research Council and the Royal Medico-Psychological Association are also to be asked to press for an investigation.

Last February Mr. Robinson refused a Commons request for an inquiry, but added: "I am prepared to consider any demand."


SCIENTOLOGY is the invention of an American ex-science fiction writer, Lafayette Ron Hubbard, since 1959 he has run his world-wide organisation from Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead, Sussex.

There is a headquarters staff of about 250. Students attend from all over Britain, and the rest, of the world, paying up to £380 in fees for a single course.

Last year Scientology was outlawed in Victoria, Australia, after a Government inquiry had branded it "evil . . . a serious threat to the community medically, morally and socially . . . positively harmful to mental health."

Last month the Rhodesian authorities forced Mr. Hubbard to leave their country, where he was on a visit, by refusing to renew his entry permit. He returned to Britain.

It was last December that Miss Karen Henslow, 30, came into contact with Scientology, when she met Australian Murray Youdell at a dance at Crawley.

Mr. Youdell, 45, is taking a "clearing course" at Saint Hill Manor to qualify as a "Grade VII Auditor," the highest grade of practitioner in Scientology.


UNKNOWN to her mother, Mr. Youdell began "processing" Miss Henslow.

Miss Henslow has had a history of psychiatric illness since the age of 19, when she spent five months in hospital. She had further spells in hospital at 23 and 26.

Mr. Youdell knew of this. Mrs. Henslow says she mentioned it to him repeatedly. Miss Henslow and Mr. Youdell were also heard discussing it by her elder sister soon after they met.

In January Miss Henslow went to Saint Hill Manor to be interviewed by a woman there for a job.

On her return she told her mother: "I've told her all about my illness and I cried. She was sweet and she understood."

She was not offered a post at that time, and a month later Miss Henslow went to work in a restaurant. She seemed happy and is remembered as a good worker. The manageress never realised there had been a history of mental trouble.

Then in May Miss Henslow told her mother that she had been offered an £8-a-week job at Saint Hill Manor as a Progress and Filing Clerk. She started there on May 31, telling hey mother she was to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and spend three hours each evening being "processed."

Her mother wondered uneasily how her daughter could afford both £4 15s a week for, bed and breakfast plus processing fees of up to £3 15s, an hour. She went to visit her two weeks later.

She says she found the atmosphere "obstructive," and her daughter reluctant to see her.

On June 14 she received a letter from her dated June 10. It read:

"Dear Mother,

I am hereby disconnecting from you because you are suppressive to me. You evaluate for me, invalidate me, interrupt me and remove all my gains. And you are destroying me.

"I [?] from this time consider myself disconnected from you and I do not want to see you or hear from you again. From now you don't exist in my life.

"That's it. Karen."


The same post brought a second, undated letter in which Miss Henslow apologised for the other saying she wanted to "nullify it as a communication" and that it was posted without her permission.

"You are the last person I want to disconnect from," she wrote.

The word "suppressive" is Scientology jargon for a person hostile to the cult. It would have meant that Mrs Henslow must ostracise her mother.

Among Miss Henslow's belongings later were found unposted letters to four friends and relatives labelling them "suppressive."

To brand a person "suppressive" is one of the sternest measures in the Scientology disciplinary system, operated by an organisation called the "Ethics Office."

No Scientologist is permitted any contact with a "suppressive," or even to allow them to live in the same house.

An Ethics 0rder, dated May 31, issued by "Val Witney, D/ETHICS OFFICER, SH," declared that any "suppressive" living in the same house as a Scientologist must be immediately ejected from that abode."

Another order, dated May 28, 1965, issued personally by Mr. Hubbard, declared a follower suppressive for "mutiny" and ordered that all incoming mail from him was to be "disposed of without being read."

Towards the end of June Mrs. Henslow invited her daughter, Youdell and another Scientologist to lunch at Horsham. She next saw her daughter on the night of July 27-28, when she arrived at her house just before midnight with Mr. Youdell and another Scientologist.

Mrs. Henslow said there had been a startling change in her daughter appearance since their meeting a month before.

"I didn't recognize my own daughter at first," she said, "I recognised the other two before it dawned on me it was Karen standing there. She looked just like bag of bones."

Miss Henslow was dressed only in a nightdress, coat and shoes. Mrs. Henslow remembers her saying: "They've chucked me out."

Mr. Youdell and his companion stayed for 60 minutes, than drove off. Mrs. Henslow says Mr. Youdell's companion said he had "processed" Miss Henslow for three hours the previous night "to try to get her better."

Later that night Miss Henslow ran screaming from the house to Horsham police station, 400 yards away. Her mother dashed after her.


The family doctor, a psychiatrists and a welfare officer were called. Eventually she was given an injection and ordered into hospital under the Public Health Act.

The consultant psychiatrist in charge of the case later told Newsight that he was becoming "increasingly worried" about Scientology practices, which could induce a state of "mental enslavement" among followers.

"I am particularly alarmed about the hypnotic effect these sessions could have," he said. "The coercion involved in the Ethics Orders is another alarming aspect. This is all potentially very harmful to an unstable person. I am prepared to back any demand for an inquiry."

He said Scientology had "probably precipitated" Karen's relapse, despite her belief that she had benefited from it. She still wants to return to East Grinstead when she leaves hospital.

While under the 28-day order Miss Henslow is forbidden any visitors without her doctor's permission, but voluntary patients are not protected in this way.

At one nursing home in Surrey a Scientologist got into a patient's room for five consecutive days, had the door locked on the inside and "processed" the patient with a "Hubbard E-meter." The matron now refuses to accept Scientologists as patients.

Processing usually takes the form of a confessional, with the auditor (practitioner) probing deep into the preclear's (patient's) memory. The atmosphere is hypnotic, and the preclear often foes into a "reverie."


The preclear holds the terminals of an E-meter, a device which records minute changes in the electrical resistance of the skin, and which can be used as a simple, though inaccurate and unreliable lie-detector.

Scientology claims that processing can stimulate pre-natal memories and revive incidents in previous lives.

At East Grinstead Mr. Youdell told Newsight that he had taken Miss Henslow back to her mother at midnight "because she asked to go back."

He answered other questions, from two reporters and a photographer, with an unblinking stare and the comment: "I'm not interested in three conversations. This is the home of conversation."

A colleague said Mr. Youdell was "in cycle and not to be interrupted," and referred inquirers to Mr. Reg Sharpe, Mr. Hubbard's personal assistant.

Mr. Sharpe said: "We tried to help this girl. We did not know she had a mental history. We do not take on for processing anyone who has got a mental history."

In fact, Newsight has documentary evidence that he movement does process people with psychiatric histories.


An information letter, issued on March 16 by "Blanka Annakin, Act. Director of Success, Saint Hill," told the story of "Hilary," who went to Saint Hill Manor for "processing" last year.

"At that time Hilary was completely broken down in mind and body, having spent the past four years in various mental hospitals undergoing 'treatment,' " it said.

The letter concluded: "Hilary consented to the publications of her story because she feels that it might help others who are in a similar position."

Using the name "Facts For Freedom Committee, Church of Scientology," the movement has also widely circulated an appeal for "particulars and documentary evidence of anyone whose mother, wife or relative has been adversely affected by 'psychiatric' treatment."

It adds: "We do not treat the sick or insane, but grieve for those who have suffered."

In books and pamphlets Mr. Hubbard claims that he has twice risen from the dead, twice visited Heaven, and once visited the planet Venus.

* The Daily Mail published the patient's name with support and approval of her family who feel the practices of Scientology should be made fully public.