Perry Chapdelaine's reflections about Dianetics

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Perry Chapdelaine's reflections about Dianetics
First name Perry
Last name Chapdelaine Sr.
State Tennessee
Country USA
Started in Scientology December, 1950
Org. affiliation(s) Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, Inc.
Technical training HDA
Quit the Church 1954
Perry Chapdelaine-2.jpg

Looking backward I always see a lot of mistakes I’ve chosen to make. Still they were always made with an intent to do right even though some of the results have been disastrous for me and my growing family.

I had a lot of problems growing up. The big surprise is that here I am now, nearly 90 years of age. I truly thought I would not live longer than Jesus Christ at 33. He died an old man, I believed. Then along came John W. Campbell, Jr. and his touting of Dianetics. Dianetics had to be true because Campbell believed in it so strongly. (He and his wife Peg both practiced Dianetics until they died.) The fact that Campbell also believed in the Dean Drive – antigravity produced by mechanical vibrations – never crossed my mind as a conflict, my belief that Campbell was always right and never wrong!

A science of the mind would, of course, clear up all of my inherent weaknesses. I was ready to sacrifice anything except my family. Although I had received a Master’s degree in mathematics and was an able teacher, and although I much admired and enjoyed mathematics, nothing could be seen as better than finally being the person I was meant to be and not just a shell of a person going through a whole lot of stimulus response patterns just to survive.

In many ways I was a “believer” not just of Campbell but also in L Ron Hubbard, especially after I had personal contact with him. But, little by little I began to understand that it was the interplay of personality between himself and his preclears that made his work so effective – and that he was engaged in an effort to understand that interplay himself so that it could be codified for the use of others; and, I saw that he was also engaged in touting huge unfounded claims so that others would pay for his developments. Whether or not that was wise I still can’t conclude, but I do know that it took many years and an ungodly number of Hubbardian lectures to reach a point where he could rightly say “I can make a clear and this is how you do it.”

Hubbard, like so many of us, was not a perfect human being. He had many very serious faults, especially during his younger days and older days. I remember when working directly with Hubbard acknowledging to myself that he was not a moral person, but rather amoral. He was not a social person, but asocial. He thought and behaved outside of society”s restrictions. He had to do so in order to develop Dianetics.

Don’t get me wrong, LRH was a geniuses genius, but he had flaws big enough to drive a huge semi-truck through. He used people. He used society. He used anything he could get his hands on to get his own way. I saw this first hand and I’m sure there are dozens on shipboard who saw the same thing when they served him.

The fact that he was a pulp fiction writer never bothered me. It would take someone with his organization and writing skill to put together the tremendous insights he came out with. And, the fact that he rewrote a great deal of other folks’ works without clear acknowledgement -- as I was taught to do in graduate school -- never bothered me too much, mainly because he was able to clarify so well and to add something of his own that was new and sparkling to the mix. The fact that he was sexually active -- and to some extent promiscuous, also never bothered me because I was much the same way, as were many I knew in those very early years. Nor did it bother me that, contrary to all I’d been taught about the “objective scientific method,” that Ron’s method was diametrically opposed, a method that searched inside his own subjective mind for truths.

What did bother me was his assertions that if you would do so and so you’d have attributes a, b, and c, but that , in truth, these attributes happened only rarely among preclears, if at all! For example, consider Ron’s teachings about that “Out of Body Experience.” Even when he had began his first tentative descriptions of this phenomena he was claiming magical properties when one can “be three feet behind your head.” Today those magical properties are touted again and again in his many lectures, in the belief structures of Church of Scientology members, and even in the rear of a newsletter printed by the church periodically, where church members write in to describe their “Operating Thetan” magic. Here’s one simple example: “I needed a parking spot so I just postulated it, and when I got there, there was a parking spot!”

During my travels in those early, long ago days, I met my first genuine believer. He’d accomplished, he said, the ability to separate thetan from his body at will. “Now I can make those clouds above me move whenever I desire it.” “Show me” I quickly said. “I don’t choose to do so right now!”

There it is, the summation of all those magical properties. Just be three feet behind your head and you can do not just outward magic, but also you can repair everything that’s wrong with your body!

Are out of body experiences real? Are they a sign of insanity? Can they be performed willingly? The founder of the Philosophy of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, made quite an issue of the phenomena of exteriorization. Exteriorization, I was taught, comes in two forms. (1) Pull up any memory, any memory at all where you were present. Do you see yourself in the memory pictures? If so, it means that you’ve got lots of emotion stored somewhere and those emotions, particularly fear, are forcing you to remember from outside of yourself instead of from your own eyes as really occurred. That’s one kind of exteriorization. Here’s another: (2) Can you deliberately move your awareness of awareness unit outside of your body? If so, you’re performing a different and, presumably, a more valuable type of exteriorization.

Hubbard developed a “bridge,” a series of mental exercises and characteristic accomplishments that one will achieve as they partake and complete ever increasing levels of these mental exercises.

There are three main success levels on this bridge with a number of intermediate accomplishments in-between. The first major level is that of “Clear.” To achieve the level of clear one must confront and eliminate all stored moments of pain and emotion that came with life experiences and which created stored stimulus/responses in your body. Hubbard’s book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health discusses this level and was his first book in the field of the human mind and behavior.

Beyond that first book Hubbard developed a second major level which he called “Operating Thetan.” He defined the Operating Thetan as a person who could remove himself — his awareness of awareness unit — now called the “thetan” — from one’s body and can stay outside one’s body, or return to one’s body, even if the body were in pain.

I will discuss this second level, and will not describe the third level, titled “cleared operatimg thetan.”

My first knowledge of some people’s ability to step outside their bodies came from a book published in 1943 which described the terrible, painful experiments performed on Jewish people by Hitler’s doctors. Under the guise of science Hitler’s doctors performed the most horrible tortures ever designed by man, certainly exceeding the tortures of The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (Spanish: Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition established by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Castile in 1478. but under Papal control.

In Dachau, German Air Force physicians placed prisoners into high pressure chambers and also into freezing experiments and they forced prisoners to drink water presumably made potable from sea water.

At the German concentration camps of Sachsenhausen, Dachau, Natzweiler, Buchenwald, and Neuengamme “scientists” tested immunization compounds and sera for preventing disease. Of course they had to have “near humans” — Jews — with diseases for the tests, and so they inoculated the Jews with malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis.

Jewish prisoners were subjected to phosgene and mustard gas to test possible antidotes.

Bone-grafting experiments were performed on Jews with unbroken bones. German “scientists” would break the bones, cut some bone out, and then they’d try to repair the bones again. Anesthesia was unnecessary as, of course, these were “animals,” not human beings like the supermen Germans. At Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck many tests were made to create a mass sterilization of the Jews. And, of course, many “scientific” experiments were performed to demonstrate that Jews were inferior.

A major pseudo-scientific study was that of pain. How much and what kind of pain can this animal — that looks so much like us German supermen — handle? Some Jews had their skin peeled off without any anesthesia. The skin made nice lampshades for the German brass.

Some Jews had their testicles crushed, many were operated on without anesthesia and, once their internals were exposed, various organs would be cut out or charged with electricity. Results were duly recorded as would that of any “real scientist.”

Imaginative ideas for administering and “testing” pain were encouraged and anything one could imagine went under the guise of “science.”

I don’t remember who wrote this 1943 book, but I do clearly remember that the Jew narrating the book suffered through fiendish experiments. He had miraculously escaped and, for the first time, was telling the true story of Nazi atrocities. His words were validated when Russian troops encountered the first extermination camp in Poland. Eisenhower was so moved that he required all German citizens in nearby towns to walk there way through a camp uncovered by Americans.

When being experimented on, the Jewish writer said, his pain and degradation was so huge that he suddenly found himself outside of his body staring down at his body’s desecration. He watched the doctor’s work over his body, and he could painlessly, easily view the terrible results. He thought to himself, “Now isn’t that interesting, what they’re doing to my body!”

My second experience with this kind of exteriorization occurred during the one week vacation between my junior and senior college years. I asked for, and received, a week at the ending of my junior year and a week at the beginning of my senior year — in all three weeks — so I could have an experimental operation for stomach ulcers. A rib was to be removed and the vagus nerve was to be cut in an attempt to solve my ulcer problem. (Sure, now I know it was stupid.)

I was anesthetized and during the operation I found myself painlessly peering down on the operation. I could observe a doctor and two nurses cutting and sopping up my blood. Just like the Jew described above, I thought to myself, “Look how they’re ruining my body.”

Although my eyes were closed, I could see it all; and, although I didn’t use my ears, I knew what was being said. Of even more importance, “I knew.” After observing the mess being made of my body I made a decision that I wasn’t coming back to it! I knew that my mother was sitting in the hall outside the operating room. I moved out to the hall and looked at her. Then I “knew” that my mother wanted me to come back and so I instantly decided to return to my body, and that’s exactly where I was again. What I’ve described here is what L. Ron Hubbard defined as “postulates.” I “postulated,” my viewpoint moved.

Fast forward five or so more years. Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health had been published. His first set of research foundations had bankrupted. The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation was set up in Wichita, Kansas with the help of Don Purcell. I found myself working for Hubbard. (See During the Dawn of Dianetics and Scientology at Kindle, or Nook, Barnes and Noble.) I was sitting in Hubbard’s front room when Bud Eubanks, a young fellow about my age, rang the doorbell. Hubbard opened the door and invited Bud inside. There, almost immediately, Hubbard commanded Bud to “Be three feet behind your head!”

Apparently Bud could do so, which made Hubbard quite delighted.

This was my introduction to Hubbard’s experiments with this kind of exteriorization.

Bud Eubanks for the next three weeks exhibited strange behavior and even stranger comments. I didn’t talk to him at all after this which I’m sorry to report as his experiences would have been filled with important lessons. In those days we called this phenomena as “climbing up the pole.” It lasted three days as a rule. Since then many have learned that they acquire a headache when, without intervening preparation. Hubbard designed a “rundown” to prevent the headache from happening.

I did talk to Hubbard, the experimenter. He found Eubanks’ three day eccentric behavior quite amusing while “up the pole.” I assume this kind of phenomena is where Hubbard got his information that one should be cleared of stimulus/response mechanisms before “standing three feet behind your head,” and thus the reason the goal post of clearing these stored stimulus/response mechanisms (called engrams) first came to be written up further in his bridge.

When Purcell and Hubbard had a falling out, and the Wichita Hubbard Dianetic Center, too, was about to fail, I traveled to Minneapolis, MN at the request of Sadah Field, to work with the Minneapolis Dianetic Club. (Again see During the Dawn of Dianetics and Scientology at Kindle, at or Nook, Barnes and Noble.) After I returned to Wichita, Kansas I received a call from Sadah Field that one of the members of the Minneapolis group had separated himself from his body. I think it was Thomas Rother. The main problem, according to Sadah, was that Tom was standing outside in subzero Minneapolis weather with no clothes on. Seems like he felt he didn’t need the clothing.

From Wichita, Kansas, I called Ronald B. Howes in Minneapolis and got immediate help to get Rother back inside.

There have been numerous university studies of the out-of-body experience. Conclusions reached are that there are many more ways that such an experience can be induced. Among those ways are (1) during/near sleep, (2) near-death experiences, (3) resulting from extreme physical effort, (4) induced by various mental/ emotional/physical techniques, (5) various forms of mental induction, (6) mechanical induction (drum beats for example), (7) chemical induction — one person reported that every time he took LSD of stronger dosage, the more aware he was of being exteriorized — (8) psychological or paranormal techniques, (9) neurological such as stimulating the right temporal-parietal junction, and (10) magnetic stimulation.

In general psychologists and psychiatrists seem to believe that a person who wanders around out of his/her body is in a form of insanity. Which would certainly agree with Hubbard’s early experimental results — which also convinced him to develop techniques providing for sanity while experiencing this phenomena; i.e., removal of engrams.

During my seventies, many years after living through the preceding, I surprisingly read that psychologists had been able to bring about this state simply by use of a mild electric stimulus to the temporal lobes. Wikipedia has much to say about this state at experience, but notice that very few “experts” claim to have firsthand experience with it. Developing a good theory doesn’t make for good knowledge unless one can demonstrate the truth of the theory.

Hubbard, of course, felt that full control of this phenomenon would make for a freer and saner human being. He therefore worked diligently for many years to design a bridge of exercises that would permit any person to go exterior. He gave many lectures on the subject. In all, he wrote more than 40,000,000 words, many on exteriorization. I heard numerous lectures directly from Hubbard at Wichita, Kansas, and I personally witnessed some of his earliest “experiments.”

If one were to exteriorize, he said, one can “know” things easily. One can reach into one’s body and repair whatever is wrong with the body. One can travel wherever one wishes (not astral walking), and come back again. One can influence other beings via thought alone. Edgar Cayce was born in 1877 and died in 1945. I wish I could have met him. In a book of his life it’s reported that his father would beat him if he didn’t come up with certain answers; and, that one day, after falling asleep on his school book he awoke with all the knowledge in the book although he hadn’t actually read it. He was very adept at healing the sick.

Edgar Casey was an excellent example of a “natural” Operating Theta. According to many reports he could reach into a huge pocket of data elsewhere and withdraw exactly that which was needed to bring about relief or a cure for someone’s sickness. I’ve met some modern-day trained medical doctors who pay close attention to Casey’s remedies!

These abilities are surely prizes worth reaching for — but are they deliberately attainable? Has anyone else attained them through the use of Hubbard’s bridge?

I earlier mentioned the Operating Thetan level, as defined by Hubbard. “One can be exterior to the body at will and can return to the body even when the body is under intense pain.”

There are levels on Hubbard’s bridge greater than this. Each achievement level beyond Operating Thetan should, therefore, bring about ever increasing abilities as an Operating Thetan.

I regret to report that I’ve yet to meet anyone who has climbed this long and expensive bridge who can exteriorize at will and, while outside, reach in and repair their body!— or repair anyone else’s body! These same people do swear to receiving benefits, however.

I’d greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who can demonstrably exteriorize and repair their body or mine.

Well, that has been my challenge! A friend who has finished the last level (OT8 according to 2014) of Hubbard’s bridge told me the following after reading portions of this article: “I’ve been mostly exterior -actually surrounding my entire head/body most all of the time.

“Reparations of body problems are tough in terms of persuading scientists and mathematicians such as you. It’s not ‘psychic-surgery per se’. It’s more like just looking at something that’s not right and then postulating (or deciding to oneself) that it’ll be fine tomorrow or just saying it’ll be okay soon. That’s my reality on the phenomenon, based on actual and ongoing experience.”

In South Africa is the Kalahari Desert, 350,000 square miles of semi-arid sandy Savannah. Natives to this region claim to be the first human stock and some DNA tests may support their claim.

I recently saw motion pictures of these natives on the History channel dancing, singing and beating drums to the point where their shamans claimed to become exterior to their bodies. While in the exterior state pictures showed one native chewing on burning coals and one other holds his hand in the flames. Neither party was harmed in the least.

Clearly Hubbard had witnessed similar phenomena. His research in the direction of exteriorization was not pathological. However, the effectiveness of his bridge techniques might be questioned, at least by me. Don’t misunderstand me. Many I’ve talked to who’ve gone up Hubbard’s bridge feel like they’ve benefited considerably. But my correspondent is correct. It’s tough convincing me that those who are daily exteriorized can postulate changes to their bodies and lo!such changes occur. I see exteriorized people with tooth aches, arthritis, allergies and numerous other bodily problems. Extremely sick COS members are left in their rooms to suffer and sometimes die. When given attention it is in the form of the “touch assist” a magic set of motions that true believers feel will solve almost every physical ailment.

In particular, L. Ron Hubbard, himself, had serious bodily problems when he died. Nowadays the true believer justifies his neglect of his own body by numerous rationalizations. As humans are great rationalizing machines I’ve not become much impressed!

Why don’t people who are genuinely sick simply “postulate” bodily corrections?

Their frequent answers, “I don’t choose to do so!” reminds me of the very early days of Dianetics when one person sought to convince me that he could postulate to change the position of the clouds above. When I asked him to show me, he said, “I don’t choose to do so right now!” So the clouds don’t get moved.

Hubbard’s written and spoken promises were far, far stronger than this. Hubbard’s exteriorized person would not only respect his/her body but s/he would also be able to keep the body healthy by making good choices as well as by reaching inward and correcting mis-functions. Furthermore, it’s clear s/he could also reach into other people’s bodies and assist them to reach the same level of health.

The fairy tale, that Hubbard consciously went on to experiment at a higher level when he died, belongs in the Brother’s Grimm book.

Looking backward over many years, and thinking the preceding thoughts, I’d welcome any factual correction to my conclusions from those who’ve climbed Hubbard’s bridge.

Again I repeat: Hubbard was a geniuses genius. He was the world’s greatest con artist. One had to be the greatest con artist to sell the self-improvement courses that he designed. I’m very grateful for what I gained from his work and how I was able to apply it to myself. I’ve spent the last 32 years of my life telling folks how to get well from so-called “incurable” rheumatoid disease, so that you can understand that I’m very disappointed that Hubbard never conquered the scientific rules that permits one to become a self-healer by achieving Operating Thetan levels.

Perry Anthony Chapdelaine Sr.
October 18, 2014