Excerpted from http://www.scientology-lies.com/re.cgi?http://www.snafu.de/~tilman/mystory/940131_1.txt . Please see that page for the full text.
Emphasis added in red . Editorial comments, when added, are in purple .
The Independent reports on the Introspection Rundown and the Purification Rundown, two Scientology practices that appear to involve the illegal practice of medicine
The Prisoners of Saint Hill
The Scientologists call it "baby-watching", but it has nothing to do with looking after infants. TIM KELSEY and MIKE RICKS investigate the potentially dangerous, and possibly illegal, secret treatment that the world's largest cult uses to deal with difficult members.
The middle-aged German student started screaming. He seemed to have lost control. He was a Scientologist, a member of the world's largest cult, on a course of study that, he had been promised, would bring him closer to the secrets of the universe and, eventually, give him the key to eternal life.
According to eyewitnesses, the man, whose name is known to the "Independent", was taken to an isolated room in a communal building not far from Saint Hill, a 17th-century manor house in East Grinstead, West Sussex, and the UK headquarters of the cult.
For two weeks, the room was locked. The German had been placed on an "isolation watch" - or what Scientologists more informally refer to as a "baby watch". It is a treatment that was prescribed by the founder of the cult, L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer, for members showing signs of psychosis or mental ill- health -- people who are, literally, plagued by evil spirits. It is the last resort for dealing with difficult Scientologists. It is a treatment that the organisation has so far kept secret.
The subject of the watch is observed at all times, and not allowed to talk to anybody. He or she is, in the language of the cult, "muzzled". Our witnesses, who have asked to remain anonymous, remember that the German was sometimes incontinent and that they had to wash him down at the sink in the otherwise bare room. The five people who guarded him were only allowed to communicate with him in writing. Eventually he was allowed to return to Germany.
Scientology stand accused of many things: of warping people's minds, of financial corruption, of preying on the vulnerable. Thirty years ago, a group of Members of Parliament tried to have it banned in the United Kingdom after a girl with a history of mental illness was found wandering around East Grinstead, having a nervous breakdown. Finally, the Government banned all foreign nationals coming to the UK to work or study in Scientology, until 1980.
For the past few months, the "Independent" has been investigating claims that the cult employs quasi-psychological techniques that are possibly illegal and potentially dangerous to the long-term health of its more vulnerable members. Disturbing new evidence, provided, at some risk to themselves, by existing and former members of the cult may renew calls for Scientology to again be banned from the UK. In the United States, the cult was recently granted the tax exemption enjoyed by genuine churches, but this may soon be overturned. In November, in a landmark ruling, the Californian Court of Appeal agreed that the the techniques of Scientology constitute "brain-washing" and "thought- reform" similar to that practised by the Chinese and North Koreans against American prisisoners of war.
The "baby-watching" incident with the German student occurred in 1991. But the technique has been used more recently, according to confidential church documents dating from September 1993, which have been leaked to the "lndependent". These show that the Scientologists mounted an internal investigation after a baby watch conducted on another German, again at Saint Hill, last year. The investigation was instigated because the woman put in isolation was already suffering from an acute mental disorder - in the terminology used by the investigating officer, she was Type III, which translates as "insane". She went insane, according to the document, while she was working for the organisation in Europe. In early 1993, she arrived in Saint Hill and was put on a baby watch because she was thought to be a "security risk". Her boyfriend was put in charge of the watch. But something went badly wrong, and the watch was "very extended" because of incompetence by local officials, reports the document. It is not clear whether she was locked in a room throughout or allowed, as is sometimes the case, to walk around during the watch. There seems to be some dispute about whether the local staff were adequately trained to deal with such a case, and permission for her "treatment" finally had to come directly from the American leadership of the cult.
One former senior cult official who worked in the Californian section of the organisation was involved in several baby watches. On one occasion, a woman staff member was put in isolation after she started throwing furniture out of the window of her flat, which overlooked Hollywood Boulevard. She was then locked in her room. "We had to take all the furniture out of the room, strip it completely and leave her in there on her own for more than a week," the official said. "She was just crazy, talking to herself and screaming." This woman had been engaged in one of the most demanding of the Scientology courses, during which students are taught that 75 million years ago the earth was part of a galactic confederation ruled by an evil prince called Xenu. He shipped the inhabitants of 76 planets to earth. The spirits (or thetans) of these extra-terrestrials inhabit the souls of contemporary human beings and have to be exorcised.
Dr Betty Tylden, a retired consultant psychiatrist who is regularly called as an expert court witness on cults, has treated Scientologists recovering from the effects of baby watches -- both the victims and the guards. She has seen several in the past six months alone. "People are terribly frightened of it," she said. "They come out of it suffering from something very similar to Post- traumatic Stress Disorder, the "prisoner" syndrome. There is hyper- arousal, flashbacks, fear and obsessions. It is very nasty, and even if it doesn't break a law, it is a gross curtailment of an individual's liberty."
It is not just baby-watching that is causing concern. One Zimbabwean man, Noel Matarandirotya, who has now left the organisation and has been advised by his legal counsel that he may have grounds to seek compensation from the Scientologists for, among other things, false imprisonment, claims that he collapsed as a result of intensive interrogation. He came to Saint Hill in 1991, on a ticket paid for by the cult, but the following year he was suspected of subverting the interests of the organisation. He alleges that he was interrtogated for two or three hours every day often with a lie detector connected by electrodes to his hands.
His concerns about the cult started before this, while he participated in a Scientology course called a "purification rundown" -- during which members spend long periods in a sauna and take large quantities of vitamin pills. According to Dr Tylden, the massive quantity of pills, combined with the physical stress of spending long periods at high temperatures, could be fatal. "I found it very difficult," said Mr Matarandirotya. "There were some children doing the course when I did it. I saw at least two, the youngest around 10, and they were taking the vitamins, too."
This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.