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Victim in the grip of 'mind control' // I went mad for a week, claims ex-cult's member

Title: Victim in the grip of 'mind control' // I went mad for a week, claims ex-cult's member
Date: Thursday, 13 July 1995
Publisher: Lancashire Evening Telegraph
Main source: link (747 KiB)

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ITV'S The Big Story tonight goes undercover in the Church of Scientology. And as the programme was being prepared, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph spoke to a former East Lancashire man who spent two years with the cult.

The organization is so sensitive to publicity that during the making of The Big Story, the offices of Carlton television were picketed by member of the Church.

"There are about 10 of them outside," said press office Mr. Keith Nurse on Tuesday. "They were here last Friday too. Our awyers have been very busy and the programme is going ahead as scheduled."

Reporter Ali Davies infiltrated the Poole Mission in Dorset, and, according to the programme makers, "reveals the high pressure selling technique, and mind control methods which have been used to persuade some clients to part with £35,000 in two months."

Davies was recruited into the elite Sea Corps whose mission "is to convert the planet to scientology" says the programme.

The cult formed by American L. Ron Hubbard was branded as "corrupt, sinister and dangerous," by Mr Justice Latey in the High Court in 1984. And despite numerous public calls for something to be done about the organization, the Big Story says still no action has been taken.

* The programme goes out on ITV at 7:30pm.

OUTWARDLY, David looks like any other student.

He wears a well worn T shirt and jeans, and the only indication of his nightmare past is the nervous habit he has of constantly running his hand through his hair.

But just over 12 months ago he was lying in a hospital bed in traction, his pelvis shattered and an optic nerve damaged.

He had survived an attempt to throw himself under a train.

Today he can remember bits surrounding the event and he sanely says: "I went mad for a week."

The reason for his madness he claims is the Church of Scientology and their techniques.

Harass

David spent two years within the cult organisation which calls itself a religion yet has been outlawed in several countries.

It is the first time David has spoken publicly about his ordeal.

"I have not spoken until now because of fear of personal and family harassment," he said.

He is also worried about personal counselling files from the Church being used against him.

"I do not know 100 per cent if this would happen, but I have heard about it happening," he added.

David was a carefree teenager living in London. He admits to having used drugs. He was working, as a windscreen washer in Knightsbridge, when his life changed.

Although he had given up drugs, he met a man who suggested he try a rehabilitation course," he explained.

The course which was to cost him money involved taking vitamins, running for half-an-hour a day and spending four-and-a-half hours a day in a sauna.

David read books and leaflets and signed up for more courses — it cost £2,000 in two years.

"In my opinion, it seemed very plausible and I was trying to sort myself out," he said.

Some of the doctrines include regression and claims of past lives on another planets.

David continued working in pubs and restaurants and carrying on the courses part time studying at the centre in Westbourne Grove, London, on a one to one basis.

He says of the studies based on founder L. Ron Hubbard's works: "In my opinion, I was pushed and pressured. In my experience, they made Church members wary of others, no-one trusted anyone.

Wrong

"They even have their own language and need a dictionary to look up words invented by Hubbard."

But at the end of the courses, he says he failed the grade demanded by the Church and was told he would have to shell out more money to continue.

It was then David went "mad for a week."

His father had visited him and realised something was wrong: "He was chain smoking" but he left him in London, expecting to see him shortly.

But the next time he saw him was in hospital after he had tried to jump under a train. He had been hit by the front of the train and amazingly ended up between the tracks.

It was a knock on the head that was to bring him to his senses although at first he was quite prepared to go back to the Church.

"In my experience it was mind control. I was in a dissociated state. In my opinion it was all suggestion. I was not coerced or programmed, I lost reality completely" he said.

But still he couldn't escape the clutches of the church whose members visited his sick bed.

His parents, worried about the future, managed to get him psychiatric treatment with a consultant who specialized in cults.

Debrief

His sister managed to get him in touch with EXIT counsellors who are ex-Scientology members.

David, originally from East Lancashire, eventually ended up at Ticehurst in Sussex where he was cared for Dr. Gordon Turnbull, who was responsible for debriefing people such as Terry Walte and other victims of traumas. but he is looking forward to putting the past two years behind him.

A spokesman for the Church at their East Grinstead headquarters said he could not comment on the case unless we revealed David's true identity.

* David is not his real name, we have changed his identity for his on protection.