gold base

This is Gold Base, not far from Hemet, California. It is one of the most heavily-guarded and mysterious places on planet Earth. Here is the world headquarters of the Church of Scientology, a highly controversial and secretive organization.

At this compound, Scientology chief David Miscavige lives in splendor. He is often visited here by one of his close friends, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise (he of couch-jumping fame) and other high-ranking celebrity Scientologists. It is rumored–but officially denied by the church–that here at Gold Base there are dungeons and punishment cells that exist for the castigation of Scientologists who have done something wrong, such as talking to “Suppressive Persons.” I wouldn’t have believed any of this was true, but the shocking inner workings of the church have been extensively documented, most recently in Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear.

It is also rumored that here at Gold Base, and at other Scientology facilities, there’s an empty office kept waiting and perfectly prepared for the return of L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction author who founded the religion. Supposedly Scientologists awaiting his return from some sort of galactic purgatory have Thom McAnn shower sandals and his favorite Louis Lamour novel waiting next to his bed. Hubbard died in 1986.

Given how secretive and hostile the Church of Scientology is, I’m surprised I even found an image of Gold Base on Google Earth. There are even street views–at least from the outside–but none are very interesting.