Between the Rockefeller Redwood Preserve on the east and the mighty Pacific Ocean on the west is a sleepy tiny town called Petrolia. It's south of Eureka off Highway 101 in California. The loop road that goes through Honeydew, Petrolia and Ferndale before linking back up with 101 is now a favorite road trip for me. God looked down on this part of California and smiled. But I wasn't there to interview God, so let's move on.
A few miles west out of Petrolia is the Old Mattole Road that veers uphill. You can go maybe a mile or so before coming across a "No Trespassing: Violaters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law" sign. If you stop here you can look down about 2000 feet to the ocean not far away. It's a spectacular view. If you look up you can see a large 8,100 square foot split level "home" higher up on the mountain, and maybe even the "bunkhouse." These buildings on the 3,000 acres owned by Church of Spiritual Technology are assessed at $2,024,570. Farther down the hill is an atomic-bomb proof 374 foot underground vault that is assessed at $8,429,259. This is used to store Hubbard's writings on golden CDs and etched on metal plates and put in titanium capsules in case of- what?- a catastrophe of some huge proportions I guess. I hope it's earthquake proof too because Petrolia has had up to 6.9 earthquakes in the past few years and is on a "triple junction" of fault lines. One newspaper quoted an earthquake expert as saying there *will* be a 7.5 to 9 scale earthquake around Petrolia within the next 200 years (Eureka Times, 3/31/92).
The Petrolia and Honeydew folk seem quite willing to talk about the vault, and many of them worked either there or on the house. Shy Sea Orgers live year around in the house.
If you go to the Humboldt County Assessor's Office, you will find the assessed total value of the property and buildings to be $13,461,884.50. However, $8,178,523 of this amount is listed as exempt, for religious use I suppose. COST's address is listed as 419 N. Larchmont #86, Los Angeles CA 90004.
Most of this property was bought in 1983, when Hubbard was still alive but most likely not in control anymore. The rest was purchased in 1988.
Remember now that this $13 million does not include the cost of what is *in* that vault! We're talking several millions more for acid etched metal plates in titanium capsules filled with argon gas. And this is only one of at least 3 of these sites! Las Vegas New Mexico has one. Creston California has one. And I even heard of something similar near Santa Barbara somewhere but this has not been confirmed.
I'd like to know why that $2 million house that is to be used for conferences was built smack in the middle of nowhere on an earthquake faultline that is expected to have a 9 scale temblor? How often is it used? Who gets to look out at that gorgeous view of the ocean? Is this a hideout? How do such extravagent expenses get approved? Do lowly Scientologists get to vote on such expenses? Could DM be removed for such extravagence and lack of skill in finding a safe stable location?
view of property before the logo was plowed into the ground
Aerial view of property after the logo was plowed into the ground can be seen at http://maps.google.com
TRIP 2 - 11/05
Church of Spiritual Technology property entrance west of Petrolia. Notice the directional camera on the right and the call-box on the left. The gate appeared to be remotely operable. You can just see the building to the left of the clump of trees on the left.
Church of Spiritual Technology building, just visible from the gate.
View from the gate looking down to the ocean. I believe the property you see here is part of the several thousand acres CoST owns.
The original ranch house, now torn down.
Petrolia from the hill on the way to the ocean. It's a small place with one store, one church and scattered housing.
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