William S. Burroughs, Scientologist

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William S. Burroughs: even weirder than we thought.
​Picture it: Tangiers, 1959. William S. Burroughs, author of the newly published Naked Lunch (and, incidentally, scion of a wealthy St. Louis family), is visiting his friend Brion Gysin's restaurant when he meets John and Mary Cooke, a pair of wealthy American proto-hippies who appear to the author as vividly as if they are holograms. Burroughs realizes instinctively that this is to be a significant juncture in his life.

The Cookes, it turned out, were devotees of the Church of Scientology, then in its infant stage. John Cooke would be the first person to attain the status of "Clear." They were eager to spread their gospel, and Burroughs was an ardent recipient.

Over the next decade, Burroughs would prove a devout student of Scientology. He, too, would reach "Clear" status, and he would write about Scientology frequently during the 1960s, most notably in his 1962 novel The Ticket That Exploded.

Eventually, he would break with the church over what he called founder L. Ron Hubbard's "fascist policies," though he believed that some Scientology concepts could prove useful. Burroughs' defection led to a public feud with Hubbard, complete with rage, denunciation and angry articles from both sides.

Novelist Lee Konstantinou has the whole weird-ass story over at the science-fiction blog io9. Konstantinou claims it's all there at the New York Public Library. No kidding.

Here's Towers Open Fire, Burroughs' Scientology-inspired film from 1961. Parts of it, like the masturbating guy, may be NSFW. Most of the rest is incomprehensible.

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MarkStark
MarkStark

Burroughs -- from scion to scilon, to where all the bright ones end up, realizing it is a group of control freaks, with a creepy mission to "clear the planet" and mow down anyone who gets in their way.

tom cruise
tom cruise

 scientology, like planned parenthood was founded by racist nut jobs.   i could do with out either of them today.  those nazi's at planned parethood use the same harassment techniques as the scientologists.

anonymous
anonymous

margaret sanger held questionable racial views a hundred years ago, so planned parenthood is a nazi organization. i'm sure every woman who has been there for a free cancer screening would agree

Cloud 9
Cloud 9

The Scientology Corporation acts like it OWNS every person who ever bought a service there. Wrong. Sorry but reading books and doing a few rituals does not make a person a "Scientologist" nor does it give their goony squad the right to violate peoples human rights with their libel and intimidation tactics (They have a whole office dedicated to that works around the clock)

Jerim Sams
Jerim Sams

I think Burroughs made the smart choice. He was able to see the difference between things in the philosophy and practice he could utilize, and drew the line at that but rejected the invasion of human rights.

Jerim Sams
Jerim Sams

Scientology has no place for writers and geniuses who can think. Notice their "celebrities" are pasty squashed robot mouthpieces with big egos.

And WIlliam Burroughs was right -- the Scientology cult has become aggressive and even more facist. I Googled "Rex Fowler Murder" and Scientology "Black Propaganda" and am surprised more hasn't been done to make the unethical actions of this organization more accountable to society. They think they are above the law.

They drive any bright people away

It's too bad they sucker in young artists who believe the purported creeds. How long can Scientology Inc hold up Tom Cruise as its best example of "greatness"...give us a break!! People sign up thinking they will become such (questionable) "super stars" (uh for blowing up cars and having tantrums on screen) (?!) but an organization that is criminal and two-faced with all the sinister stuff running in the background cannot really help people. They have lost my respect.

Mike
Mike

I bet that Burroughs didn't have to fear harassment as an ex-Scientologist, though.

Gary Lee-Nova
Gary Lee-Nova

Mr. Burroughs was very fond of firearms. 

$cientologi$t$? Not so fond.

Jerim Sams
Jerim Sams

Very very good point, Mike. I feel sorry for the people who have to deal with the harassment and libel and stalking intimidation tactics if they think for themselves. the Scientology Corporation has become famous for that. It seems to think it can own people, even when people are paying them through the nose.

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