Xenu's head was a rubber space alien mask with huge, bulbous, almond-shaped eyes, deep purple in color. The mask had a silver mesh back so the wearer's entire head was concealed. He looked quite disturbing as he waved to the crowd, even though he was wearing a friendly nametag that said "Hi! I'm Xenu". Xenu wore a blue robe, a space-alien collar of blue metallic material with a conical neck, a chest-piece with a silver star, a ray-gun with holster, silver elbow-length gloves, and soft black leather shoes. (His combat boots were at the cleaners.) Xenu did not speak; he merely waved at people, fired his raygun (which made great sound effects), and stopped to shake hands with every little kid who crossed his path, just like Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.
Five ARSCC members participated in this event. The role of Xenu was played by M, who had previous experience working in an animal costume for a local business in Ann Arbor. The original plan had called for a mime, but none could be located; M's performance, however, was first rate. The second team member, J, had the role of Xenu's bodyguard, because we were a little worried about being hassled (or even assaulted) by the clams. J is 6'3" and wore dark sunglasses; he did his job very well. He stayed close to M all the time, which made M feel safe enough to concentrate on playing Xenu with maximum enthusiasm.
The third and fourth members of the entourage were R and S, who handed out flyers to anyone who looked interested in this bit of street theater. Our fifth person, B, was the cameraman. He carried a camcorder which was to be used to document any harassment that might occur. He also took lots of crowd reaction shots, which were fun to review later. Xenu would be in this huge stream of people going one way, and folks walking the other way would catch a glimpse in passing and do these hilarious double takes. R and S, who were trailing behind, would catch these reactions and immediately offer the person a pair of flyers.
An orange flyer told Xenu's story---quoted straight from OT III---and gave some highlights of the weird beliefs of Scientology. (Body thetans; Christ was an implant; etc.) The flip side had an answer key to the OCA (the free personality test), and a list of web sites starting with Ron Newman's. Since this was Ann Arbor, we called special attention to Margery Wakefield's book The Road to Xenu being available on the web; she was recruited right there in town.
The blue flyer, headed "Scientology: End the Harassment", had the more serious stuff: quotes from the Reader's Digest and TIME Magazine articles, the "lawsuit is to harass" quote, some bits about harassment of Paulette Cooper and Margery Wakfield, the "fair game" order, and a mention of the cult's current raids and lawsuits against critics on the Internet, with a list of URLs. We handed out the flyers in pairs to everyone who'd take one. Copies will be available on a web page soon.
J, R, S, and B were wearing identical gray t-shirts with the 1991 TIME Magazine cover ("Scientology: the Cult of Greed") on the front, and "DIANETICS CULT SCAM" on the back. Because they kept close to M, this created the impression that there was a crowd around the space alien, which made him more interesting to passersby. Also, a lot of folks read the t-shirts and got a laugh out of them. In some cases they walked up and asked for flyers.
Unlike the other nonprofit groups, the Scientologists didn't have an actual booth at the fair, just a table. Hence the boys from the org had to work in bright sunlight while the rest of the pitchmen relaxed in the shade. The evening before, three team members briefly visited the table right around closing time. The Scientologists had been demonstrating their e-meter and handing out tickets to a free screening of their latest propaganda film, "Orientation". The team spoke with a young clam who tried to sell them a Dianetics starter kit. He was a typical org staffer: young (mid 20s), hadn't gone clear himself yet, but was convinced that Dianetics was wonderful stuff and assured us it worked 100% of the time. He gave J, S, and B free tickets to see Orientation back at the org, which they gladly accepted. When he saw their interest in his wares, he even offered to unpack his e-meter, which he had just put away, to give them a demo, but they said they didn't want to put him to any trouble; they'd come back tomorrow. And they did....
The next day, as the team of five was making its way through the art fair crowd, entertaining people and distributing flyers, we ran into our salesclam, who was heading in the opposite direction distributing tickets to his film. R took one. M, who hadn't been present the night before, walked right up to him in full costume and was handed a ticket. Then Mr. salesclam recognized J and S, who had spoken with him the previous evening, and greeted them warmly. A few seconds later the t-shirts registered, and perhaps he saw the "Hi! I'm Xenu" nametag on M's chest. He got this confused look on his face and snatched Xenu's ticket back! He also took back the ticket he had given to R. Then he said to S, "What are you doing? This is not good." S said something noncommittal, R chimed in with a remark about Scientology being a religious cult, and Mr. Clam got really agitated. He started shouting "Dianetics works! Scientology is the fastest growing religion in the world; how can it be a cult?"
This made for great theater; all the parents who had been watching Xenu entertain their kids now saw their friendly space alien being hassled by an outraged Scientologist. Where would your sympathies lie?
S offered the clam a copy of the flyers, which he refused to take. Since Xenu was moving on, S moved to keep up, and Mr. Clam loudly complained "Why are you running away? Why won't you talk to me?" Whereupon S said with honest enthusiasm, "It's okay. You can come with us!" (S really wanted the guy to keep on ranting; he was putting on a great show.) But Mr. Clam thought better of the offer and decided to go his own way. He did, however, give R another ticket to the movie, perhaps hoping to save one of these sorry suppressives in spite of themselves.
Finally we made our way to the nonprofits section, where we met the most clueless clam we had ever seen. Xenu walked right up and waved to him, even whispered a few words to him, and this clam had no idea what he was looking at. He was busy touting Dianetics to a somewhat skeptical couple. Xenu caught the male customer's eye, pointed to the clam, then made a circle beside his own head with his finger, the Earth-man's sign for "nut case". The guy laughed; the clam kept up his sales pitch. Then Xenu spun S around so the guy could read the back of S's t-shirt, and he laughed again. He happily accepted a pair of flyers and was delighted when S pointed out the answer key to the Dianetics personality test on the back ("Your Guide to Instance Mental Health"). With all five of us crowding up to watch the clam's sales spiel, passersby could see nothing but a wall of t-shirt backs saying "DIANETICS CULT SCAM". So we moved on. We did not want to be guilty of harassing the clams, or of blocking access to their table.
We spent about two hours working the crowd and handing out close to 200 pairs offlyers. We made one more pass by the Dianetics table but not much happened; the clueless clam still had no idea what we were doing. The original spokesclam had returned as well, and he grudgingly acknowledged our presence. He began speaking loudly about how Dianetics was a best-selling book. S decided to be helpful and asked, "How long was it on the bestseller list? About a year, wasn't it?" The clam was taken aback by this preclear origination, but agreed that S was probably correct. As we were about to move on, the spokesclam insisted that S acknowledge that Dianetics works. S was happy to oblige. "Yes, it works", which elicited an abrupt and stern "Thank you!" Wow, that TR 2 nearly took S's head off! (S reflects that of course Dianetics works. It made Hubbard a very rich man. That was what it was designed to do, wasn't it?) We left the clams to their table. We weren't there to be drawn into a fight.
Near the end of our sojurn, a man in the crowd noticed B's shirt and said "You aren't a Scientologist, are you?" B assured him that he was not; we were Scientology critics. Thus reassured, the man started telling B about how his brother had gotten on a CoS mailing list twenty years ago, and even though he had moved away many years since, he was STILL getting mail from them. This guy had tried writing to the org, explaining that his brother no longer lived there and that he did not want all these magazines and ads filling up his tiny mailbox, but to no avail. He couldn't get off the damned list. S walked up and joined the discussion, and suggested that the man write to the org and tell them he's a declared SP. Communication with an SP is a crime in Scientology, so they'd have to stop. He was very grateful for this advice and said he'd give it a try. S also advised him to include one of our orange flyers with his letter, so he took an extra one for that purpose.
After leaving the fair, we took time out for refreshments and a review of the videotape before moving on to the victory lap: we drove up to the org on West Stadium Boulevard and posed for group pictures in front of the big blue "Hubbard Dianetics Foundation" sign. Xenu and his band of SPs waved happily for the camera, then we giggled all the way back to the house. Afterwards we had a great barbecue and told our compatriots about our adventure. Pictures (and perhaps a video clip) will be on a web page soon. This was the first stop in Xenu's world tour, and it was a resounding success.
The next day we got a report that Xenu's appearance and the misdeeds of Scientology had been discussed on the University of Michigan campus radio station, WCBN. My, those flyers do get around.
Lord Xenu's own explanation for this dissemenation action was brief and to the point: "We are intending to make Our full story clear to all Public on the planet." Look for further appearances by Xenu on his World Tour soon. He's quickly becoming a popular guy.
Back to Xenu's World Tour