Editor’s note: Lisa McPherson was a 36-year-old Scientologist living in Clearwater, Florida. After showing signs of a mental breakdown in late 1995, she was taken to a psychiatric hospital by emergency responders. A group of fellow Scientologists arrived at the hospital, told staff that psychiatry was against McPherson’s religion, and, with McPherson’s consent, took her from the hospital to a local Scientology-owned hotel for 24/7 observation.
After seventeen days in the hotel, Lisa McPherson died. Her cause of death was listed as a blood clot brought on by severe dehydration; apparently, she’d been deprived of water for at least five to 10 days while at the hotel. Criminal charges were brought against the Church of Scientology, but they were eventually dropped. The Church later settled a civil lawsuit with McPherson’s family, the terms of which are sealed.
Kristin Marie Snyder was a married environmental consultant who went missing in February 2003. The 35-year-old Alaskan had been attending a 16-day intensive Nxivm/ESP course at an Anchorage hotel. Snyder’s spouse, Heidi Clifford, told a news outlet that Snyder was “suddenly sleep-deprived, delusional, and suicidal.” Snyder was last seen leaving the hotel, reportedly in a state of distress. She left a mysterious note in her vehicle and has never been seen again.
[See “The Lost Women of Nxivm” to find out more about Kristen Snyder’s mysterious disappearance.]
Unlike Kristin Snyder, Lisa McPherson’s body didn’t vanish.
No one amongst the Scientologists assigned to sequester her so radically has ever been held accountable for what occurred. But, if you have seen photos of her after her death, you won’t be able to forget them. It’s simply heartbreaking.
For the most complete info about Lisa McPherson and her experiences as a Scientologist, one can refer to the Underground Bunker, Tony Ortega’s platform. There are many articles about Lisa and the circumstances prior to and surrounding her death. Please be ready to feel outrage and deep sorrow. If this is anyone’s first look at the story of Lisa McPherson, it is not easy to imagine, never mind to face.
It’s Essential to Study Cults and Look for Patterns
One of the main things about investigating cult dysfunctionalities is to study many cults, the world over. Then, certainly, you start to be able to observe many prevalent patterns of behavior throughout these group dynamics. There are distinct patterns to be analyzed concerning these personality characteristics, those characteristics to be found within not only cult leadership but also in those who fall for their purported delusions.
When I say that I’ve seen Nancy Salzman’s behavior and her typology before, this is no joke. Two women more “prominent” than Nancy Salzman, within two different organizations, both of whom were playing leadership roles in the guru game, have tried personally to scoop me into their ego crap, masquerading as ”spirituality.”
One interesting factor is that both women were vengeful when it was understood that I will not ever “surrender” my will or comply, or be told what or how to think, to pray, to love or anything else – what to wear, lipstick or no lipstick, how one eats, blah blah blah.
First, you are courted. An attempt is made at smooth recruitment to some kind of a “cause.” Then, if you keep aloof and don’t melt into a pile of butter, the marvelous “you,” who was oh so wanted (for WHAT, really?) is on Someone’s shitlist. So when you do not produce the required reactions, evidently your splendor and marvelousness evaporate. Unh huh. Well, fuck that nonsense! Do not be available to be captured. Stay true to yourself, because essentially you are just FODDER, worth worse than nada if you do not comply with imprisoning yourself.
Lisa McPherson was breaking down, emotionally and mentally. She received the exact opposite of any genuine help. It is almost too painful to even begin to describe. She was also Scientology leader David Miscavige’s personal student leading up to her demise.
This cannot be hidden.
Nor can what happened to Lisa be hidden.
Many ex-Scientologists have fought for the truth to emerge about Lisa’s treatment by the Clearwater, Florida-based Scientologists and specifically regarding those individuals who are known to have guarded her and kept her isolated during the weeks leading up to her death. Lisa has family who have never recovered from this tragic loss although some pathetic form of recompense was offered to them, eventually and without any acknowledgment about how Scientologists treated Lisa.
In Clearwater, there’s a small memorial to Lisa. It has been relocated at least once because some people in Clearwater are compelled to damage it, even to this day.
Lisa died on December 5th, 1995. She was only 36. Unforgettable. Yet, as you study the antics of other groups who tolerate fascism as their governance, you learn how many “Lisas” have been lost. These are people who were seeking knowledge and ways to understand themselves and our world, and who instead were destroyed. Destroyed by cruelty, deception, concealment and lies, way beyond coldhearted.