This article was originally published on Dreamsendweb.com on February 19th 2008, a couple of days after Shawn Lonsdale was found dead in his home. For reasons unknown, the article, along with the website, disappeared from the Internet. If the author of the article reads this, I hope you’re doing OK.
Here’s a PDF version of that article that you can download and keep.
The following is a reprint of that disappeared article.
For a brief time, Shawn Lonsdale, 39, was a fixture outside Scientology’s infamous Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida (the hotel in which Lisa McPherson died under the “care” of Scientologists). He was filming what he called a pseudo-documentary and stood for hours at a time gathering footage. He also posted frequently on various anti-Scientology discussion forums and was a well known activist.
He endured death threats and smear campaigns. He worked for a brief time in his younger days as a male prostitute, and flyers with this information were posted all over town. He was undeterred by these tactics. You can read more about him here. You can also see Lonsdale featured in a BBC documentary about Scientology, including a scene in which uberhandler Tommy Davis rushes onto the scene to make sure that reporter John Sweeney knows about Lonsdale’s minor criminal convictions. The link takes you to a compilation video of what Sweeney endured in filming his documentary. Lonsdale’s bit starts at around 2:45.)
And now, one week after the most widespread anti-Scientology action in history, he is dead from what police are calling an “apparent suicide.”
The circumstances of his death are strange by themselves. He was found dead in his home with a hose leading from his car’s exhaust pipe into his house. Why he didn’t simply stay in the car is the first question everyone asked. It seems to be a suicide plan with a high probability of failure. The entire house would have to fill with CO2 before the car ran out of gas or someone noticed the odd details.
According to the Times report, Lonsdale had backed off of his anti-Scientology activities, or at least the public ones. Perhaps he was editing his hours and hours of footage, or perhaps he simply pulled back from the stress of the battle with the “fair-gaming” Church. He’d found a job and was thinking about going back to school to get a private investigator’s license.
But the timing is quite strange. On Feb. 10 the single largest, worldwide Scientology protest action was held and the momentum shown by the “anonymous” movement against Scientology showed no signs of slowing. Why would he pick the days following the sort of victory he’d been working so hard for to take his own life?
Unfortunately, it’s likely that the Clearwater Police may not be the most objective in handling this investigation. Please see this excellent Mark Bunker documentary about the incredible amount of influence Scientology has gained over Clearwater and with the Clearwater Police Department.
(Correction. In a previous version of this article I pointed to some online evidence that the Clearwater police spokesperson, Elizabeth Daly-Watts was involved in Scientology and married to a high level Scientologist. This was an error. There was an Elizabeth Daly who did some Scientology courses in 1994. Ms. Daly-Watts is married to Sgt. Carl Watts of the Clearwater Police Department. There is also a Carl Watts who took some high level Scientology classes and was declared a “clear” back in 1978. This is not the same person to whom Elizabeth Daly-Watts is married. I regret the error and apologize to Ms. Daly-Watts for posting the assertion. If you see older versions of this article reprinted anywhere without this correction, please pass this information along. )
Are we being unfair? Would Scientology ever deliberately murder or at least attempt to drive someone to suicide? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is a definitive yes. As part of their fair game policy, for example (which the Church now claims is no longer in effect), investigative reporter Paulette Cooper was harassed with the intention of inducing suicide.
The most bizarre documents (recovered in FBI raids on Scientology offices) referred to “Operation Freakout.” Its goal, they wrote, was to “get P.C., [me] incarcerated in a mental institution or jail or at least to hit her so hard that she drops her attacks.” It appeared that after the first frameup had failed to silence me or land me in prison, they plotted again to make it look like I was making bomb threats against Scientology and others. Sounding eerily like the ‘72 letters, these new missives were going to go out to Scientology, to Henry Kissinger, to Arab embassies (because I’m Jewish) and also to a Laundromat! Go figure.
Other pages in the documents also brought back unhappy memories. There was a strange diary of what I did each day during the “frame-up” period, and how close I was to suicide. “Wouldn’t that be great for Scientology?” the person wrote. And then I realized the writer could only have been Jerry Levin. He had to have been a Scientologist, someone who infiltrated my life specifically to spy on me and help Scientology set me up.
And it’s worth at least mentioning the L. Ron Hubbard’s own son, thought to be gay (Scientologists don’t like gays much) and otherwise embarrassing his father, allegedly committed suicide in 1976 in a similar manner. Quentin Hubbard was found dead in a car in the desert with a hose leading from the tailpipe to nearby the car. The police assumed it had fallen out of the window after Hubbard died from carbon monoxide poisoning. But I hope the medical examiner does a thorough job on Lonsdale’s body because it turned out that there was NO carbon monoxide in Hubbard’s body, though there were needle marks on both arms. You can read the coroner’s report here as well as an account of the story fro someone who was inside Scientology at the time.
The story gets even stranger. That is to say, the way the story first surfaced on the internet is very strange. Reminiscent of the Theresa Duncan death, the story first emerged on an internet discussion forum. The oddity about this that no one knows who made the original post nor how this person came to know of Lonsdale’s death before the police announced it or the media covered it. The poster claimed to be part of “anonymous” though made several gaffe’s which suggested to longterm anons that he or she had simply adopted the lingo. Here’s the original post:
The orginal post 36 hours ago:
Just received word from a reliable source that he heard from a reliable source that Shawn Lonsdale is dead of apparent suicide. Anyone can confirm?
More options Feb 17, 12:28 am
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2008 21:28:37 -0800 (PST)
Local: Sun, Feb 17 2008 12:28 am
Subject: Shawn Lonsdale suicide?
Reply | Reply to author | Forward | Print | Individual message | Show original | Report this message | Find messages by this author
Just received word from a reliable source that he heard from a
reliable source that Shawn Lonsdale is dead of apparent suicide.
Anyone can confirm?
This post was about 12 hours after the police found the body. So while it is not proof that the poster had anything to do with the crime, no one can figure out how this person, if not someone associated with the police or Scientology, could have known this before anyone else.
One more odd point which is probably just a coincidence but worth keeping an eye on. It’s another post on alt.religion.scientology, but the poster had a bit more of a history of posting the sort of things you’d expect.
It’s 8:24 AM in my part of the world (the posting time is listed as 3:24 pm on Feb. 15).
Within 12 hours there will be felt a huge disturbance in the Force.
After more than 50 years, we’re now on the homestretch.
The next day Lonsdale was found dead, though he could have been dead for some time.
Suicides happen. And they happen around Scientology a lot*, though often it’s just folks who realized they spent their life savings for a scam. But what is known in this case is enough to convict the Church in the court of public opinion if nothing else. Lonsdale…a single guy with a video camera and no operating budget to speak of, was harassed, threatened and defamed in a coordinated campaign to destroy a critic of the Church. They say they don’t “fair game” anyone anymore. All that tells me is that they changed the terminology.
Follow the latest developments at the Enturbulation forum**. They’ve done all the research here and I’ve simply compiled some of it here to help keep the pressure going for a real investigation.
Also, due to the nature of this topic and the litigious nature of the Church, I print this article with no copyright protection of any kind. You can reprint it all or in part, with or without attribution and with or without linking back to this page. So, feel free to make copies and if this site bites the dust for some reason, just slap it back up somewhere. This right is strictly reserved, however, for individuals, entities and organizations which are not affiliated with the Church of Scientology.
*The article originally linked to whyaretheydead.net, which also no longer exists.
**The Enturbulation Forum is also gone.