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This is a question Join us... come join the cult

A friend of mine recently floored me with the admission that he'd spent several years in Eastern Europe with the Moonies. And he seemed so normal. Have you or your mates disappeared into a cult? Now that the brain-washing has worn off, tell us all about it.

(, Thu 26 Jan 2006, 17:46)
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Bunch of deluded 'cults'. (Bet that one hasn't been used yet!)
Some years ago, a friend of mine worked as a broadcast engineer for a firm that hired equipment to TV shows, corporate events etc. As I was not working many hours at the time, he'd often ask me along to various places to pick up equipment after shows and confrences. Company for him, and an excuse to raid the hospitality areas for me. Lot's of free beer and bacon rolls.

Anyway, one Saturday, he phones me and tells me he has to make a pick up from the UK headquarters of the Scientology movement. Did I wanna go?

Bear+Shit+Woods.

The heavy weekend traffic alowed me a couple of hours to fill him in, L. Ron Hubbard, Sci Fi books, Founder dying a mentalist recluse, Cruise/Travolta, I even made up some shit about abduction and ritualistic murder in the 70's.

Hook, line, and their weighty chum, sinker.

As we approached the HQ, I was expecting some kind of converted semi, with an ill-kept path. Something befitting the status of this joke 'religion'.
How wrong I was.

We pulled up at the tank proof gates of a HUGE estate. After some serious faced verification of our reason to be there, we was allowed in. The place was amazing. It appeard to be the size of Richmond Park, but a lot better maintained. many, many acres of very expensive S.E. UK land. The buildings all resembled mansions of royalty, or garish castles of Dracula.

I believe Hubbard once said something along the lines of "The easiest way to become a rich man is to invent a religion". He certainly appeard to be right.

More distracting than the vulgar display of wealth that appeard to be reaching the horizon in every direction was, the presence of heavy (in both senses) security. Real menace with a smile type stuff. They were all wearing unseasonally heavy, long coats. We were a little confused about the gun carrying laws on private property, but they all certainly appeard tooled up in some fashion. This was the south of England, yet was starting to feel like 'Escape From New York' with better lawns and tuxedoed gangs. Actually, I promise you it was quite sinister.

We parked up, checking for potential escape routes as we did, and found our way into an area behind the scenes. The staff/volunteers/robots were milling around us, all busy with menial tasks and empty stares. I was recently reminded of this when playing 'Resident Evil 4', for anyone whose played it, just think of the villagers at the start of the game.

After a while, one of them sensed we was lost and approached us asking if we were "Joiners", to which I replied with grossly mis-calculated wit "No, mate, I work in mental health, so I'll probably be seeing you soon."

Not even a flicker. The po faced android. My friend explained why we was really there, and we was taken through some tunnelly areas into a main confrence hall, the centre piece of which was an enormous portrait of Hubbard.

We made our way up into the speakers area, on a raised, Godly platform. My chum found his company's equipment and started to disconect it. I amused myself by spying down on the various AGM attendees still milling about in the hall wondering how I could mess with 'em.

To my left, the P.A. system, including, from what I could tell, the still wired in microphone. I couldn't could I?

Fuggit. Why not.

I saw that I could duck out of site and speak to them all without them seeing who, or where the voice was coming from.

I started mentally composing what I was going to say, in a deep Orson Welles voice: "THIS IS THE VOICE OF L. RON HUBBARD. I'M WATCHING YOU ALL FROM MY ASCENDED PLAIN. MY CHILDREN, I WANT YOU ALL TO DISROBE. THE DISCO BEGINS IN FIVE MINUTES."

One hand holding the mic stem, the fingers hovering over the 'transmit' button...

"Are you ready to leave?"

My scrotum jumped a good eight inches into my stomach as the voice of the glassy eyed freak who had lead us here came very unexpectedly from stage left. He'd been watching and obviously still had enough unregulated thought to realise what I was about to do, as did my friend who made a wide-eyed, silent and panicked "NO!" motion with his mouth.

Probably time to leave.

You've never seen and underpowered broadcast engineers van make such an A-teamesque dash as what we decided would probably be useful at that point.

Well, I can assure you it was exciting and funny at the time.

Thanks for reading, apologies for length.
(, Sat 28 Jan 2006, 10:00, closed)

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