FROM THE FILES OF THE FBI 196
[newspaper clipping, from "THE PEOPLE", London England, 2/21/68, by Len
Adams, submitting office: London; xerox is in poor condition and partially
---it's the craziest cruise on earth!
By Len Adams
HEAVE TO, me hearties, while I tell you a seafaring tale. A tale, me
dears. Of queer goings-on aboard ship and of swift and strange promotion
on the high seas.
The world of Scientology--the mind-bending cult that has set up home in
Sussex--is a crazy world, indeed, with its preposterous jargon of "comms,"
"cleats" and "orgs".
When its leader, Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, took over the 3,300-ton Royal
Scotsman and set sail two months ago with 50 of his faithful, one could
only imagine the maritime burlesque that must be taking place...
[?] Mr. Stanley Churcher, seaman, late of the Royal recounted something
of life aboard, surely, the strangest ship afloat.
When the Scotsman sailed from Southampton under a Sierra Leone flag, [?]
ship's carpenter. By the time she docked in Valencia, later, he was the
ship's chief officer!
Now Mr. Churcher, back home in Fareham Hants, after being sacked for
so-called "mutinous conduct," has revealed to me that he was one of only a
handful of professional seamen aboard, including a chief engineer and a
"But there were seven officers of this Scientology lot who used to swank
about in blue-and-gold-braid uniforms," he said. "I reckon they knew next
to nothing about seamanship. Four of them were women."
Certainly the captain of the vessel was none other than Mr. L. Ron Hubbard
himself--a wartime officer in the United States Navy. "He called himself
commodore and had four different types of peaked cap," said Mr. Churcher.
Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the cult which has been described in
Parliament as "potentially harmful," has claimed to have visited Venus and
This time his travels were less ambitious. After a call at Monaco and
Sardinia, the Scotsman was docked at Valencia, where it is a floating
college for men and women Scientology students, mostly American.
Mr. Churcher, who is 24, had no idea what sort of vessel she was when he
joined the Scotsman at Southampton.
"I began to suspect things were a bit odd the minute I met this captain,"
he said. "He told me he thought I was a reporter and at first refused to
have anything to do with me. Only when he checked my seaman's log book
did he take me on."
That same log
[two column heading: The chief officer was a carpenter and the skipper
says he's been to Venus]
[full face, head shot photograph: Mr. L. Ron Hubbard]
[full face, head shot photograph, Mr. Stanley Churcher]
[photograph caption: Mr. Stanley Churcher (right) found many things
unusual on the Royal Scotsman, captained by Mr. L. Ron Hubbard (above),
head of the Scientologists]
now records Mr. Churcher as a "Chief Officer."
Mr. Churcher found that the passengers also were very unusual.
"Every day they went below for lectures but we seamen were never
admitted," he said. "It was all so blooming mysterious I tried to find
"I offered to give them seamanship lectures and they were so pleased at
these that they gave me a free beginners' course in Scientology.
"I was given a test on their E-meter, a sort of lie detector, and a woman
officer asked me a lot of personal questions, including details of my sex
"I could never make head or tail of their instructions but I played along
because it made life easier."
All the time, the Scotsman was sailing through the Mediterranean in the
hands of Almighty God--and Commodore Ron Hubbard.
Then, however, Mr. Churcher's co-operation was rewarded--by promotion to
"I had once taken a course in navigation so I set the course mostly," he
said. "Hubbard's wife, who has now had an officer's uniform made for her,
often used to send my instructions
[photograph, full figure of woman in uniform standing in front of a boat]
[photograph caption: Believe it or not but you are looking at the "third
officer" of the 3,300-ton Royal Scotsman (tied up in the background at
Southampton)> She is Jill van Staden, anther disciple of the Scientology
down to the engine room. She seemed to enjoy playing sailors.
"When we reached port, a pilot would come out and take over."
Most of the students were young. "Some paired off in romances," said Mr.
Churcher. "But the oldest student was a woman of 75 who told me she was
convinced that Mr. Hubbard would fix her up with a new body when she
Scientology has its own grades of punishment. Said Mr. Churcher: "Some
students who hadn't done their homework were placed in what is known as a
Condition of Doubt."
"Others were put in a Condition of Non-Existence. This meant they had to
sleep on the floor instead of a bunk and were forbidden to talk to
And eventually, at Valencia, where the Scotsman took on some Spanish
seamen, the strange Scientology discipline fell on the British seaman.
Mr. Churcher was in a "Condition of Doubt" for "defying an order,
encouraging desertion, tolerating mutinous meetings, and attempting to
suborn the chief engineer."
His friend, the boatswain, was placed in a "Condition of Enemy" for
"undermining the Spanish crew, habitual drunkeness, holding nightly and
morning meetings and derogating Scientology."
Said Mr. Churcher: "By this time we had had enough of their mumbo-jumbo.
I told them what I thought of them. I was sacked."
A Board of Trade officer told me: "As the Royal Scotsman is technically a
foreign vessel we have no jurisdiction over it or its crew."
Then it is time someone, somewhere, DID have some jurisdiction over this
daft sect who are seeking recruits among Britain's young people.
At sea and in Sussex, the sooner Scientology is in a Condition of
Non-Existence the better.