This imposing structure is the largest building in Clearwater, Florida. Officially called the “Flag Building,” it’s known informally as the “Super Power Building,” a nickname which is a key to its apparent function. The building was constructed and is owned by the powerful Church of Scientology, whose headquarters, Gold Base in Hemet, California, I also profiled on this blog a while back. As you can plainly see it’s extremely elaborate and somebody pumped a lot of money into constructing it. The story of its construction, as well as the building itself, is somewhat mysterious.
Tomorrow evening (March 29, 2015) a new documentary will premiere on HBO called Going Clear, based on the 2013 book by Lawrence Wright, which I reviewed. According to Wright–who won a Pulitzer Prize for his amazing book on Al-Qaida and 9/11, The Looming Tower–the Super Power Building was intended by the Church of Scientology to be a place to train high-level church members, known as thetans, to enhance their perceptions through the application of techniques established by L. Rob Hubbard. Scientologists do occasionally claim that their “tech” can give them super powers, though exactly what those powers are is somewhat unclear. According to Going Clear, the Super Power Building, which was originally projected to cost $25 million when it was first proposed in 1993, remained unfinished for a long time “because no one knew what super power was.” The book asserts that the Church used the Super Power Building as a boondoggle to raise funds from members, to the tune of $145 million. Exactly how much the building cost is not known.
After years of delay, the Super Power Building was supposed to have been opened in a gala ceremony in October 2013, but Scientology chief David Miscavige abruptly canceled the event. The building opened in a much quieter event on November 17, which Church stalwarts Tom Cruise and John Travolta reportedly in attendance. Exactly what goes on here, and whether people who enter this building really do develop “super powers,” is something Scientology has not reported.
The Super Power Building is connected by a sky bridge to the Fort Harrison Hotel, another property owned by the Church of Scientology. It was at this hotel where Scientologist Lisa McPherson starved to death in 1995 under mysterious circumstances.
I’m greatly looking forward to the film version of Going Clear, and I may review it this week on this blog.