Here Be Monsters Podcast

The Podcast About the Unknown

HBM085: Ascended Fiction

There’s an office in every church of Scientology dedicated to the founder.  It’s a full reconstruction: desks, chairs, books and memorabilia.  The church says these offices are traditional, a way of honoring the memory of L. Ron Hubbard, who died back in 1986.  

L. Ron Hubbard’s office in Copenhagen, Denmark sits on a busy street.  There’s a big window that allows passersby to speculate on its utility.  

Elisabeth Pedersen heard a rumor that the office was more than traditional.  She heard that it might be needed by the author upon his alleged reincarnation and return to earth.  

Sussing out the veracity of this claim is difficult, because Hubbard and his successor David Miscavige choose to keep much of Scientology’s scripture out of the public’s reach.  And therefore, many of the Church of Scientology’s core beliefs must be sifted either through church officials, court documents, or the religion's detractors.

One of those detractors is Tony Ortega, who’s been writing on Scientology since the 1990’s. He thinks Elisabeth’s rumor is a garbled understanding of a belief that might be held in an secretive wing of Scientology known as the Church of Spiritual Technology.  The CST is the group that holds and protects the copyrights to Hubbard’s body of work.  Tony says a defector from the CST told him about preparations being made for the return of L. Ron Hubbard.  His source later denied this.  

When a religion has scriptural gatekeepers, how can you know if a rumor’s been debunked?  A friendly person at the church’s info center pointed out that the internet is full of misinformation about scientology and suggested that listeners of this podcast consult Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination for factual information about the religion and its beliefs.  They also suggested Freedom Magazine.  Scientology’s press officers were contacted several times in the months before release, but never responded.  

Jeff Emtman produced this episode with help from Bethany Denton.  This episode’s title was inspired by TV Trope’s article on Ascended Fanfic.

Music: Serocell | | | The Black Spot


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HBM052: Call 601-2-SATAN-2 [EXPLICIT]

Christian prayer hotlines are common in the United States. Less common are prayer hotlines for the other guy.  Since 2012, the Satanic Missionary Society in Olympia, Washington has managed a Satanic prayer line on their blog and receive prayer requests from people all over the country.  They ask for help with things like miscarriage, a romantic affair with a mother-in-law, a successful rap career, and more.

Among those callers is Tyler Higgins, a young man from New England asking for Satanic prayers to get into The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (aka. AMDA), his dream acting school. But Tyler was raised a Seventh Day Adventist.  And his whole life, his pastors and parents told him that all popular actors sold their souls to Satan in exchange for fame and success. With that in mind, Tyler researches Satanism online and found the Satanic Missionary Society and their prayer line. Desperate to follow his dream of acting, Tyler calls and asks for Satan's help to get into AMDA. A few weeks later, his devout Christian parents stumbled upon email exchanges between Tyler and the Satanic mission. They call the pastor over immediately to perform an exorcism.

The Satanic Prayer Hotline was started by a man who calls himself "The Anti-Chris" in Olympia, Washington. It is no longer active, but you can still hear the entire archive of prayer requests. And if you're feeling frisky, you can purchase a one-of-a-kind Faustian Bargain kit, including tools and instructions on how to sell your soul to the Prince of Darkness himself.

Below are varying depictions of hell and Satan.  Click images to enlarge and read about their origins.

Special thanks to The Anti-Chris, Ashlee the Blind Satanist and Lillith Starr for their help on this episode. 

This episode was produced by Bethany Denton with editing help from Jeff Emtman. Our editor at KCRW is Nick White.

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Music by The Black Spot ||| Serocell ||| Swamp Dog

HBM043: Last Chance To Evacuate Earth

Marshall Applewhite met Bonnie Nettles in 1972, and together they built a religion. It was called Heaven's Gate, and it drew heavily from the bible, astrology, and Star Trek. Applewhite and Nettles believed they were placed on Earth to deliver a holy message. They were the leaders of their new religion, and they changed their names to Do and Ti (pronounced "doe" and "tea"). After Nettles' death, the group developed a larger, stronger following, its doctrine evolved—incorporating more and more elements of outer space and astronomical phenomenons. In 1997, Heaven's Gate became known to the public as the world's most infamous UFO cult, when 39 members (including Applewhite) ate poison and died in their Californian mansion.  They believed that the comet Hale Bopp was their exit to a higher life.  

But before all this, Heaven's Gate supported itself financially through web design. The cult created a small company called Higher Source, and together, members of the group would travel to different businesses and build them their first websites. It was through Higher Source that Heather Chronert met the members of Heaven's Gate. She was an employee of the San Diego Polo Club, and it was her job to work closely with two Higher Source web designers on the design and execution of the polo club's website.

Steven and Yvonne Hill of Cincinnati, Ohio found Heaven's Gate online. The two were unhappy with their lives in Ohio, and when they happened on heavensgate.com, it seemed like they'd found a religion tailor-made for them. Steven and Yvonne abandoned their lives in Ohio and moved to California to join the cult.  Steven was one of the last people to defect from Heaven's Gate before the comet lit up the sky and the believers of Heaven's Gate killed themselves. 

If you're feeling suicidal, or know someone who is, help is available for you. Suicide is preventable.  We recommend reaching out to The Samaritans, who operate a 24 hour hotline at (877) 870-4673.  Callers outside of the US can look at organizations available in their country on this list from Suicide.org

For background on this story, Lina Misitzis emailed a living representative (or representatives) of Heaven's Gate.  This document is their correspondence.


This episode was produced by Lina Misitzis.  The episode was edited by Jeff Emtman, Bethany Denton and Nick White.   Special thanks to Amy Isaacson. 

Music: Flowers ||| Swamp Dog ||| Serocell ||| The Black Spot  

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