The Scandal of Scientology, by Paulette Cooper | Next | Prev | Cites | Index

Chapter 3

Life and Sex in the Womb

Please pick up the somatic at the beginning and roll the engram.
-- L. Ron Hubbard{1}

The purpose of Scientology "auditing" or "processing" is to help the preclear get rid of his "engrams," which Scientologists say are a type of impression imprinted on the protoplasm of the cell itself.

Hubbard believes that these engrams are stored in the "reactive mind" (roughly comparable to Freud's unconscious) and that before a person can solve his problems, the engram has to be refiled in the "analytic" mind (in other words the conscious mind). By transferring the engrams in this manner, a person is supposed to become aware of his problems and is presumably able to resolve them.

These engrams are said to have been recorded on the cells during moments of unconsciousness or extreme pain. In addition, they begin to record not from the moment we were born, but from the moment we were conceived, sometimes earlier.

Some Scientologists are able to remember being a sperm or even the egg eagerly waiting to be met by the sperm. Thus it is obvious that Scientologists believe that many of our problems started long before we were born.

Hubbard's theory never makes it really clear, at least in a manner that would be accepted by most medical doctors, exactly how engrams can be planted before a foetus had developed a nervous system or the sense organs with which to register an impression, or even how a person could retain or "remember" verbal statements before he had command of a language. Scientologists simply accept his theory on faith, that if a husband beats his pregnant wife and shouts "take that" as he hits her, a "take that" engram can be planted in the womb. Thus, when junior grows up, he might react to this statement literally, and become a thief whose goal is to "take that."

In fact, if you examine Hubbard's view of marital life as reflected in the case studies of his first book, you discover that most fathers spent a good portion of their marital lives giving engrams to their unborn children by beating their wives while they were pregnant with junior or while in the act of conceiving him. But the fathers weren't the only villains.

Many of the mothers Hubbard depicted made Medea look like the Madonna. When these mothers weren't being knocked up or knocked down by their husbands, they were usually giving their unborn children engrams with AA (Attempted Abortion). Hubbard wrote that "twenty or thirty abortion attempts are not uncommon in the aberee," and there are so many attempted abortions in Hubbard's case histories that it sometimes seems to be a miracle that any of us got here at all.

Those children who did make it though, despite the attempted abortion, suffered later in life, not only from the traces of whatever the mother used to try to abort him -- usually knitting needles according to Hubbard -- but because when he grew up, he was condemned to live with murderers whom he knows reactively to be murderers through all of his weak and helpless youth -- because he could "remember" the abortion attempt.

Readers should not be alarmed if they are unable to remember their life in the womb, or conception. The earliest a non-Scientologist can remember, according to most doctors and psychiatrists, is approximately eighteen months. Hubbard says that we can remember earlier, and one of the reasons we think we can't is -- of course -- attempted abortion.

"The standard attempted abortion case nearly always has an infanthood and childhood full of Mama assuring him that he cannot remember anything when he was a baby. She doesn't want him to recall how handy she was, if unsuccessful, in her efforts with various instruments. Possibly prenatal memory itself would be just ordinary memory ... if this guilty conscience in mother had not been rolling...."

Hubbard also said that another reason the mothers encouraged the child either to forget or think they couldn't remember was that "Mama often has had a couple of more men than Papa that Papa never knew about." He also implied that this is why mothers might not want their children to go into Dianetics, so that as early as Hubbard's first book, where this appeared, Hubbard was saying that people who fought Dianetics had crimes that they were trying to conceal -- a theme which later becomes almost an obsession with him.

When Hubbard's mothers weren't trying to abort themselves, or being beaten, they were often having affairs. This situation could also give the unborn child an engram, especially if the child in the womb was ultimately to be named after the father.

Hubbard believed that many of these unfaithful wives made unpleasant remarks about their husbands to their lovers, and that junior, who was being knocked practically unconscious in the womb by the sex act, would "hear" these remarks and think they were aimed at him.

It is obvious that with all the lovers trysts, attempted abortions, beatings, etc., life in the womb was no joy for junior. Hubbard wrote that there were even more problems since there were "intestinal squeaks, groans, flowing water, belches" all making continual sounds for the foetus or embryo.

It was also quite tight in there, a situation which was aggravated if the mother had high blood pressure. In addition, if the mother sneezed, the "baby gets knocked unconscious." If the mother ran into a table, "baby gets his head shoved in." If the mother was constipated, "baby in an anxious effort gets squashed." If the mother took quinine -- presumably for an attempted abortion -- the child could have a ringing sound in his ears throughout his life. And if the parents had intercourse, the child had the additional sensation of being put through a washing machine.

Not only was the foetus or embryo supposed to be aware of the sensation of intercourse between his parents, or whomever, but the engram could record what they were saying as well. The following case was allegedly remembered by a preclear.

GIRL: I wonder what they're doing? (Then a pause.) I hear a squishing sound! (Then a pause and embarrassment.) Oh!

AUDITOR: Recount the engram please.

GIRL: There's sort of a faint rhythm at first and then it gets faster. I can hear breathing. Now it's beginning to bear down harder but a lot less than it did the first time. Then it eases up and I hear my father's voice: "Oh honey, I won't come in you now." ... and my mother [says] "I don't want you in there at all then. You cold fish."

When the parents have intercourse, it not only has an adverse effect on the child at the time, Hubbard claims, but the results could be quite dangerous later in life. Hubbard says that many patients remember having been raped by their fathers (Freud came across many such cases and recognized them as fantasies). According to Hubbard, a preclear who remembers being raped by her father may be right, only she may have been in the womb at the time.

To show us how bad life in the womb really was, Hubbard tells us the story of a man who "had passed for `normal' for thirty-six years of his life." Through Dianetics treatment, they discovered that while the man's mother was pregnant with him, she had had intercourse seventy-six times with her husband (who was sometimes drunk) and her lover ("all painful because of enthusiasm of lover"). In addition, she masturbated eighty-one times ("with fingers, jolting and injuring with orgasm"), and douched on twenty-two separate occasions.

Like most of the other mothers, she also tried AA (Attempted Abortion) with twenty-two surgical abortions, a couple of home-made jobs with paste and strong lysol, a few desperate attempts by jumping off a box, and on another occasion by having her husband sit on her stomach.

In addition, she was constipated fifty-two times, had three colds, one case of grippe, one hangover, thirty-three cases of morning sickness, thirty-eight fights (presumably with her husband) which led to three falls, five incidents of the hiccups, eighteen various accidents and collisions, nineteen visits to the doctor, premature labor pains and ultimately twenty-nine hours of labor. And to top it all off, she talked to herself, which Hubbard says gave the man even more engrams to work on. Hubbard tells us that this man who had had all these awful things happen to him while in the womb, took 500 hours to cure. Hubbard also said he picked the case because it contained "the usual problems."

It would seem that the engram sees all, hears all, and registers everything, but sometimes it is incorrect. One auditor reported that a rash on the backside of his preclear -- and it was not stated how the auditor found out about that rash -- started when the preclear was in the womb and his mother frequently asked for an aspirin. The engram was said to have accidentally misrecorded this as "ass burn."{2}

Ira Wallach, who wrote a book called Hopalong-Freud, poked fun at these theories in a special chapter he devoted to "Diapetics."

Picture the mind as a refrigerator (gas or electric). Now diapetics demonstrates that part of the mind retains concepts not available for immediate use or analysis. These concepts have been frozen in the mind's ice tray. In another section of the mind we find the crisper. The crisper keeps ideas and concepts fresh, edible, and not too damp. (Green ideas should be left on the window sill for a few days.) Controlling both the ice tray and the crisper is the defroster.{3}

Wallach then poked fun at the "clear" -- a Scientologist who has gotten rid of his engrams and problems -- calling him a "crisp." He called the "preclear" a "precrisp."

In such a patient you will find the ice tray empty, the crisper full, and a dozen eggs behind the can of peaches. He is what we call in diapetics, a crisp.... People who have not undergone therapy are precrisps ... a person whose ice cubes have melted to the extent that they can be moved without resort to hammer and screwdriver.... Thus we can see at a glance that Diapetics realizes a centuries-old dream: it is a science that explains the mind.

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Citations & Notes

{1} Everything including all quotes [6]
{2} exceptions are story of rash on backside [264]
{3} quote from Diapetics [265]