Paulette Cooper Exposes for the World the Darkest Secrets of Scientology and Cats - 2012-09-20
In honor of the release of Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, The Master, VICE will be cherry-picking articles from our vault of the peculiar and grotesque that have to do with strange sects and cults. Keep checking VICE.com throughout the week as we roll out more of these oldies but creepies.
By now everyone knows the deal: A science-fiction author named L. Ron Hubbard wrote a self-help book. Lots of people started buying it. Then he bought a boat, took a lot of drugs on it, and wrote some more. One story was about an extraterrestrial deity who transported billions of his species to Teegeeack (Earth), made them stand around volcanoes, and dropped a bunch of A-bombs. They died. We came along. Then they haunted us. Forever. According to L, it's those motherfucking Body Thetans making you feel anxious and fat and depressed and unworthy. Fifty years ago this was all top-secret stuff. So what caused Scientologists to go from arch mysterions suppressing every iota of information about their beliefs to becoming the laughingstock of the entire planet? A blond Jewish lady named Paulette Cooper. In the 70s she wrote The Scandal of Scientology and endured 15 years of court cases, death threats, and depraved harassment just to let everyone know what was up. Paulette has never agreed to an interview about her ordeal with the CoS, but for whatever reason when we asked her to chat about it she said, "OK."
VICE: You were basically the first person to seriously investigate Scientology. Do you remember the first inkling that sparked your interest?