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A visit to Int and Happy Valley

Discussion in 'General Scientology Discussion' started by pomfritz, Jan 16, 2008.

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  1. pomfritz

    pomfritz Patron with Honors

    Twin A posted about her recent trip to Int in her post here.

    I was there with her and I wanted to share a few thoughts on this trip. We were quite surprised to see so many of the crew out on the streets doing clean up and laying mulch. It looked like maybe 200 or so were out there. It was not the RPF. We thought it might have been clean up from recent storms but now with all the reports about the cult in the media from TC's bio, I realized it might be for another reason. I think with all the mention of Int and TC's visits there that they are sprucing it up for all the people they think will be driving out to check out the place. And maybe ya should!

    I thought back on how secret the location of Int was when I was in. I had no idea of where it was and it was not something you asked about for fear of out-security. Then to find out that more non-scienos knew where Int was located was absurd. It was just another layer of this mind control BS they lay on you, to make you think you are part of something really special and are entrusted with privileged knowledge.

    So after so many years of being in and hearing of this fabled place called Int, I wanted to see it for myself. Maureen was a wonderful tour guide and I think we all got a lot out of this trip.

    It took about 1.5-2 hrs to make the trip out of LA. Maureen said there is a driver who makes this trip 2-3 times a day shuttling the latest Hill 10 project orders back and forth.

    Gilman Hot Springs Road cuts through Int so there are buildings and fences on both sides. Because the crews were out there working the cars had to drive through very slowly, so we did and could take a number of pictures while driving by. We made a couple of passes through. The film studio that looks like a castle is the first thing you'll see driving in, because of it's size and height. Naturally it's surrounded by a solid wall so only the tops of the building is visible. Maureen spent many years there so she can detail that in her story.

    To the left you'll see the swamp and the current RPF site (no visible activity), the chapel, RTC, the tops of the landlocked clipper ship. On the right is the main GEP entry and security booth, more fences and gates, you can see the blue and white berthing buildings, but not too much more.

    A little further down the road is the entrance to the Golden Era Golf Course. It is closed to the public and was empty when we drove in. There are houses along the road that open out onto the course. Evidently the homeowners were promised golf course views and so that part of the course has been kept in good shape. Hard to tell about the rest of the course. But maintaining a gold course with no green fees coming in must cost the cult quite a bit in maintenance. I seem to recall it was sold recently, but didn't see any signs indicating this.

    We drove into San Jacinto which is the town closest to the base and where Int rented out apartments to berth the staff for a number of years. The town is growing quite a bit with lots of new construction. It must be due to the casino down the road. We located one old complex Vista Gardens and checked it out, nothing too special just an average place. Maureen said married couples would get a room and 4-5 single crew would share a room. This was within code guidelines. The cult was kicked out of this one place we saw but I don't recall what the reason was. We drove around and Maureen shared stories of her time while in, which you can read in her thread.

    Later we drove out to Happy Valley, aka Castile Canyon School. It is a separate location from Int about 5-10 miles or so away. This is where the Int cadet org was located, also the RPFers were kept here, (this is the location of the documentary where the helicopters flew over). The site was also were an organic farm was tended. Maureen said the property had been sold awhile back and we were not sure what we would expect. We drove down Castile Canyon Road until it dead-ended. There was an open gate at the road we needed to take. There were not any Keep-Out or No Trespassing signs posted, it looked like it was open to the public, so off we went. It's a somewhat windy, dirt road to get there about 1 mile or so. Flash floods would sometimes come through here. The tribe has since put up a white fence along one side of the road.

    When we arrive the original gateway sign saying Castile Canyon School is still there. Signs saying it is The Oaks are also there. It looks like a sports complex. Oak trees are all around, as one might guess. We park in the new parking lot and wander around. The first place we see is the old Campbell House, off by itself. Maureen spent some time living in there so we go and check it out and she is having all sorts of memories coming back about her time there. From what she says this was actually a very nice time for her and from the circumstances that brought her there I can imagine it was. She sees the grove of olive trees to the left and recalls taking care of them.

    To our right is a large berm with plantings and on top of the berm are a number of softball fields. It all looks pretty new and in great shape, the grass is a beautiful green and lush. The mountains are all around us and in this context the setting is quite beautiful. I try and imagine how I would have felt as an RPFer in the midst of this. Would I see this as just as beautiful or as being in a desolate and isolated place, cut off from the world?

    Past the ballfields we see an old greenhouse. Maureen says they used it before, raising plants. There are still tables with seedling trays filing the inside but it does not appear to be currently in use and there are many sections of the top missing. It's "non-op" in SO parlance.

    Nice concrete walkways are all round so we stroll up a small incline to the football field and main buildings. The field has fencing and bleachers on both sides, once again the field is in great shape. There is a banner underneath the scoreboard that says this is the training facility for the LA Avengers, an Arena Football League team. You get an positive overall impression on the condition of everything. From my experience with SO berthing and other non-public facilities, you know it was nowhere near this nice when the SO owned it. The buildings are have a nice renovated look to them, fresh paint, materials, landscaping. New storage facilities have been built. We see the old cadet berthing building, a U shaped building. I hate to imagine the condition they were in before. Looking in the windows they have double beds, nice comfortable furniture. These are rooms you can rent.

    There are approximately 3-4 other buildings nearby, all painted the same red with white trim and looking in very good shape. A grove of redwood trees is the the middle of the buildings. They look new and Maureen does not recall them there before.

    Onto the RPF site...

    We follow a dirt road for about 1/8th of a mile and come across an area that has both clearings and a number of trees. The tribe has not done much in this area from what we can tell. Old stones mark out past pathways and sites. The site has not been used for at least 6 years, weeds and brush are taking it back. There are no buildings in this area, trailers and tents were used for berthing and other purposes.

    As an ex-Scientologist a strange feeling comes over me to see this. To me, though having never been here before, it is part of my history. I can imagine what life must have been like here. A number of people thrown together and making the best of the situation. There would be good times and bad. I've seen the RPF in PAC and there is a comraderie that will naturally develop in such a insane situation, but also the desperation and feelings of uncertainty that the RPF represents. Maureen tells us about what she went through and the things that happened to her and it's hard to digest how this group has evolved into the very thing they supposedly fight against. I feel like I'm walking through the remains of a concentration camp and it needs to be preserved for history.

    She points out where the trailers and tents were located. There is a flat open area that they laid stones on to create a floor. The stones are gone now. On this a tent was placed and this is where they ate. She sees a broken picnic table and recalls one time they roasted a snake and ate it on this table.

    A creek bed runs along the site and meanders off towards the canyon and later ends up towards the town. This is the route that some RPFer's used to escape. Maureen tells us she used it also after she heard of someone else escaping that way.

    She sees a large rock that had been given a name, it had some significance to her and the others there. I don't get the full story of it and don't press her on it. I don't think I would appreciate the significance of this personal memory. I know I have many memories of my time in Scientology and though likely insignificant to others are really quite precious to me and who I am.

    Overall the site of the camp is not large, perhaps 500 ft by 500ft bounded by creek beds, trees and hills. Overall a very nice and potentially relaxing setting so long as you are there willingly.

    We walk away from it, my thoughts going back and forth between what I imagine the past was and what I am now seeing. Maureen points out that the film "Setting up a Session and E-meter" which was made to look like it was in Africa, was filmed here. She points out where the helicopter flew in over the mountains, how the telephone poles had to be kept out of the picture and where the village was located. I asked her about the video clips they would show at events of those who knew Hubbard at Saint Hill or during the war, etc. She said these were heavily edited, naturally, and sometimes finding the parts they could show was tricky. Think only the media edits to the story they already know they want to publish? And remember what the criminal mind is always accusing others of.

    We head back passing the football field to the car. The field is elevated from the entry road and one end is nearby the entrance. At that end is a small one man security building with steps leading up to it from the road. This was the security building the cult used. It's empty now, the significance of it and it's current non-use is metaphorical to me. Maureen mentions more than once the feeling like a security guard is going to appear. Strange, I don't feel that at all, so how different must've our experiences in Scn have been.

    We head back out and pass by Int once again on the way home. The crew is now gone, we stop a few times along the road to take a few pictures and look, but not long enough to attract a visit from security. I don't doubt that my license plate was recorded and they know who this visitor was. No big deal, it's been four years since I left the cult. I no longer have any family in there, (now there is a story, I'll share it soon, maybe on Father's day).

    I hoped you enjoyed this little narrative of my trip, it was therapeutic and another step on my recovery. I don't post much anymore, I got a lot out of my system when I first left and the need for me to do so has lessened considerably, yes the charge has almost blown.

    Photos can be seen at this link.

    Still working some captions. I would love for those of you to add comments to them.

    Thanks Maureen for spending time with us, I know you got a lot out of it too!
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  2. programmer_guy

    programmer_guy True Ex-Scientologist

  3. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    Dear French Fry, (Pomfritz)

    Thanks for your detailed description of your trip to INT. I went there a couple months ago...I was breaking out in a cold sweat (it was over a hundred degrees) and shakey and teary, so scared they would get me on camera I wore a baseball cap and big huge shades.

    To me, the place is haunted. Oddly enough, I wrote a post about it just today.

    I have a whole bunch of pictures...this is the only one I managed to upload...but I think it gives a sense of the desolation I felt at that place.


    I am not surprised there is an "all hands" "hill 10" handling going on to make the place look "pretty" since it is safe to assume they will be having some uninvited visitors in the near future.

    Here is my post of today about Gold:

    Any one who has ever been to "Golden Era Productions" knows there aren't lush "meadows" naturally springing up in the desert...there isn't a "dairy farm" (another false cult claim) across the road either. There are a few bony half dead cows sucking on sagebrush. There is NOTHING lush around there, and the only reason that road exists is because it is the only way to get to the Soboba Indian Casino. (Where David Miscavige is said to spend a lot of parishioners tax deductable contributions.)

    The property is unkempt, weedy, and exudes nasty ugly vibes, what with the high fences topped by razor wire, uniformed aggresive armed guards, 100's of cameras, few windows, guard towers, it is just icky and gross beyond words. (unless you are a celeb or friend of DM, they are the only ones allowed to the nice parts)> Not to mention it IS in the Southern California desert, and it is HOT!!! Hotter than hell! I doubt Miscavige is spending any money on basic utilities like running water, air conditioning, food, etc. for all his prisoners (oops, parishioners) there.

    My suggestion to reporters or investigators would be to just go there...The INT base outside Hemet California is one of the nastiest ugliest evil places I have ever been to , and there are still people there being "volunteers" who have no idea how they are being used and abused. Many have been cut off from the real world for years.

    Think "Rip Van Winkle".


    PS: It is the rainy season the place will look better than usual, especially after 200 hundred "parishioner volunteers" were ordered to fix it up. That is the ONLY break DM has gotten this year!
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  4. pomfritz

    pomfritz Patron with Honors


    I recognize some of the buildings in the pics you posted. The film studio being the biggest and most obvious building there. It's hard to see some of the other ones as the are more hidden behind fences and trees. The chapel is not hidden and is very prominent as you drive by. The berthing buildings are pretty clear also from the road.

    LB, I know where you took that shot from, I took some from almost the same spot. There also seemed to be big piles of dirt all around and think there were some landslides in the area awhile back due to fires and subsequent rains.

    I did not find the area as desolate as you did. True it's no lush paradise but I thought there was quite a bit of plants and trees that gave it it's own unique look and feel. I think a person's personal experiences change how they look at an area. I have no prior history there, but I find Clearwater, where I spent some time at the FSO, to be a flat, dumpy, decrepit place. Yet people spend actual money to vacation there, go figure. I also find the more times I go to a place it becomes more mundane.

    Hmm, I tried to add a pic to my post but could not figure that out. It did not seem to be a simple cut and paste matter.
  5. programmer_guy

    programmer_guy True Ex-Scientologist

    You can't just copy-and-paste images into this message board, as far as I know.

    I upload my pics to photobucket and then link to it from there.

    I can tell you how to do it if you want to know.
  6. pomfritz

    pomfritz Patron with Honors

  7. programmer_guy

    programmer_guy True Ex-Scientologist

    Yeah, that's interesting.

  8. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    No, that is not how INT looks to me, it is not usually green for one thing...and I am sure you are right that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

    I actually liked Clearwater, much more than this hell hole. I wish I could find the castle Photo. Did you notice there is something really off about the steeple? I always felt it was crooked.

    Here is another picture I took:


    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  9. Lulu Belle

    Lulu Belle Moonbat

    That castle basically has no windows.

    What is it used for?
  10. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Thanks for making those available.

    I didn't see any razor wire, although lots of fences. Fences are normal. Was the razor wire not visible, or not there?

  11. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Isn't it a film studio? The TV studios I sometimes went to in Hollywood and Burbank didn't have any windows either.

  12. pomfritz

    pomfritz Patron with Honors


    I did not see any razor wire anywhere. I read about it also.
  13. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Interesting. Maybe they have touch-sensitive nerve gas nozzles in the normal-looking but secretly-electrified fencing. :)

    When I first got back to the UK two years ago I was surprised by many signs on walls facing streets saying "Warning: Anti-Climb Paint". I had never seen such in the US. Having read much science-fiction and not really knowing what characteristics made such paint "anti-climb", it was an interesting time while I speculated about it.

  14. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    When I was in the cult of scientology, the insider "joke" was that "HAPPY VALLEY" was called that because the only way someone could wake you up in the middle of night was to actually come out there in person to the middle of nowhere.

    Heh...we all thought we could finally get some sleep.

  15. pomfritz

    pomfritz Patron with Honors

    I heard there are sensors placed that detect ground movement.
  16. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    In my humble opinion; DM is going to do everything possible to make Golden Era in Hemet, California (aka; INT Base) look like a paradise. That is probably why pomfry saw so many people out and about when he was there. That is also probably why none of them were wearing grey armbands or black boiler suits. I bet those people were really happy and thought they were getting a chance for a reprieve from their assignment to the "SP HALL" or RPF. I am sure they were happy campers, getting out in the sun and wearing clean clothes.

    Scientology is nothing BUT a false Public Relations image, and where better to create a mirage than in a desolate desert.

    There are tons of pictures of the cameras and guards and razor wire on the net. There are many court documents and affidavits.

    You want I should look them up and feed them to you on a silver spoon?

    FFs pics are real, and so are mine. His were taken 2 months after mine which would be date coincident with DM finding out he had a problem with Andrew Morton and his book.

    BTW...have any of you ever walked in the desert after a rain? It is beautiful and a miracle because that is not what the desert usually is like. Some people love the desert, but I am not sure why. It looks kind of nice only if you spend a ton of money watering your cactuses.

    None of my business, I am just saying...
  17. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I know there was razor wire. I just didn't see it in the recent pix and was wondering if it was still there. Maybe they replaced it with a minefield. :)

  18. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    Now that makes sense, Paul. Really. Appearance is everything when you are running a confidence scam.
  19. Barbz

    Barbz Patron with Honors

    Looks like they were hit

    I noticed several burned pine trees, it looks like a fire came down the hill
    and stopped at the road. Are the pine trees that block the view of the big stone houses on the east side still standing?

    I recognize those red buildings at Happy Valley from when I flew over in a private plane several years ago.

    My first visit to HV was with Magoo. There was a wrought iron arch over the gate, with a SO emblem at the top. We were followed out of Castile Canyon by a white SUV.

    A subsequent visit showed they'd replaced the big gate with a smaller, friendlier looking swinging barrier, and the entrance was nicely landscaped. Again, we were followed out by a white SUV which had been parked under the oaks by the entrance.

    My third visit, the landscaping was going to hell, and the guard shack had a broken window. The arch with the SO logo was gone. Shame, I kind of wanted it.

    Our last visit, the place was pretty forlorn. We found out later it'd been abandoned by the cult. I don't know if they quit the area due to the new casino, encroaching civilization or what. Maybe holding the RPF at Big Blue makes it easier to control them. Plus, there would be no tasty snakes to throw on the barbie. (I've eaten rattlesnake. It's good!)
  20. Ladybird

    Ladybird Silver Meritorious Patron

    I did not mean to be rude, Paul. It was just upsetting to me to see all the pretty pictures of INT when that is NOT the way it really or usually is.

    I feel really sad that with the attention Tom Cruise and Dainty David Miscavige are drawing upon themselves and their cult...they are using the very people they are taking advantage of to cover up their crimes by making them do yardwork!

    This just really makes me more than a little angry.

    I think I will go back to the joke thread.