(Los Angeles 1985) Fifteen hundred Scientologists crowded into the courthouse, trying to block access to the documents. The church, which considers it sacrilegious for the uninitiated to read its confidential scriptures, got a restraining order, but the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the material and printed a summary.

“A major cause of mankind’s problems began 75 million years ago,” the Los Angeles Times wrote, when the planet Earth, then called Teegeeack, was part of a confederation of ninety planets under the leadership of a despotic ruler named Xenu. “Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was overpopulation.” Xenu decided “to take radical measures.” The documents explained that surplus beings were transported to volcanoes on Earth. “The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits—called thetans—which attached themselves to one another in clusters.” Those spirits were “trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol,” then “implanted” with “the seed of aberrant behavior.” The Times account concluded, “When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.”

The NewYorker
February 2011