March 13, 1999 - Gypsyblue
The alarm rang at 8:00 a.m.,(a time of day I didn't even know existed) and
I awoke to sunny skies, not the greyness the weather guy had predicted. A
good start. Quickly got myself together and grabbed the subway to our
pre-arranged meeting spot, Starbucks. There was Wulfen, standing by the
door, a bunch of picket signs beside him. I quickly learned that the sign
I had made was no good because on one side it said "Scientology Kills". I
had seen that on so many picket signs on the net, I didn't even stop to
think it would be considered inciteful in Canada. But not to worry, there
were extras and I went to battle well armed.
I went in for my morning fix and slowly the rest of the gang arrived. I
met Artemis, Android Cat, two guys, cousins, I think, named Rob and Dave
(hope I got that right), one of whom picketed and the other who acted as
general benefactor for the pickters, bringing batches of tasty goodies to
us as we paced our route. Gregg arrived and we headed to pick up some
extra signs and then on to the Org.
The Toronto Org., an ugly, square building smack dab in the centre of
Toronto's famous and funky Yonge Street, is a great place to attract
attention. People are constantly walking by, and many of them are
Before we started, Wulfen, who was hosting the picket, had a few quiet
words with the officer on duty. Officer Thompson (someone correct me
please, if I got his name wrong) then came over to the rest of the
supressives. He asked our names, and explained, very business like, that
he did not know, nor did he care about the issues we were protesting.
Neither did he care about Scientology's point of view. His job was to
make sure everything ran smoothly. Fair enough, I thought, it's not like
he could take sides, even if he wanted to. He also stated that he would
be on picket detail for the rest of the season, that the regulars would
soon become familiar to him, and that the better behaved we were, the more
pleasant it would be for everyone, during each picket. Later he spoke to
each of us individually, getting our names, ages, general descriptions,
addresses, etc. He did this with all the scienos as well.
And the march was on....we paced our patch of sidewalk basically without
incident. It seemed like every scieno had a camera or a video camera. As
I walked by one of the vid-cams, I looked and yes, there was a tape
spinning in the spinny thing. There were more members of the church there
than I, personally, have EVER seen at any given time. Usually, on a good
day, there might be one, poor lost-looking soul, sitting alone amongst
rows and rows of shiny paperback books.
At one point a woman came out of the door and asked my name. I said, ever
so politely, "I'm sorry, I'm not giving that out today", "Oh", she huffed
and turned back inside.
At around 11:00 am, a rumour began to circulate that we might be expecting
a guest picketer known only as 'Mystery Chick'. I think I may have gotten
just a tad too exuberant, because I practically squealed "Ohhh, who,
Kady??". Wulfen was not impressed (sorry Wulf). And, riding in on the 12
o'clock from her own home town was the waif-like Kady. I was quite
pleased to meet her, after having read her web-pages, her posts, and of
her escapades. I like her style. DeepWog also showed up around this
time, hurling himself into the fray.
It was 1:00 and lunch time. We headed to a pub just across the street
where we ate and talked; a lively bunch of supressives, entheta so thick
you could cut it with a knife. Rob and Dave had both been members and
told us a bit about their experiences. It's funny how many questions
there are when one actually gets a chance to sit down with an ex-scieno.
After our lunch break we walked back. When we first arrived, none of the
scienos or their photographic equipment were to be seen, but that changed
quickly. They sure seemed to want alot of pictures of us all. Aside from
that, there was no unpleasantness between the pros and the antis. Aside
from quiet conversation, we mostly all kept to our own jobs. They were
walking up and down Yonge Street, and standing in front of their building,
handing out slips for "a free personality test.....it only takes two
minutes". I handed the slip receivees a Xenu leaflet, telling them to
also read the other side of the story, "it's fascinating".
For the most part, the public was very supportive, thanking us for taking
the time to protest such an evil org., or saying they had read about
Scientology and thought it was whacky. One man asked me if I'd heard any
news on the Lisa McPherson trial and another informed me that A & E is
re-running it's Investigative Reports doc. on Scientology. The truth
about Scientology is getting out there, seeping into people's
psyche....the mere mention brings sneers to many. It was a wonderful
thing to see.
At one point, when I had slightly detached myself from the group, standing
alone on the other side of the street, a woman came up to me and asked if
she could ask me a few questions. I said sure, she seemed pleasant
enough, no hostility showing.
"You look" she said, "like a nice person. What are you doing with
"Well, I AM a nice person, and I'm with those guys because I believe the
truth about Scientology should be spread". "But what's your goal, what is
it you (meaning 'the group') want to accomplish"?
I explained that, in my opinion, the critics of Scientology are not a
group, just a collection of individuals who each protest for their own
reasons. I told her I have absolutely no animosity toward Scientologists,
everyone is free to believe whatever they want, I'm a firm believer in
"live and let live", but that Scientology doesn't do that. She asked if
I have ever known any scientologists. I said yes. Had I read any
Scientology literature? I admitted to have started Dianetics but to have
found it so poorly written that I could not finish it. She
conspiratorily, in a half-whisper, replied that she'd had trouble reading
it, as well. I asked her if she knew about Lisa McPherson and she said
yes, but that the Scientologists were only trying to help her. To the
credit of this woman, I think she believed what she said. She asked me if
I knew of any of the good things Scientology, through Narcanon and work
with criminals, has done. I told her I'd read of the groups that claim
to help people, but that I believe they're a recruitment technique. I
asked her if she knew about Sterling Management, and the dental office
employee who was fired for refusing to take courses. She did not. We
exchanged questions for about 10 minutes, and then shook hands and parted
on totally lovely terms.
To be honest, after having read past picket reports from my fair city, I
was expecting more hostility from the Scientologists. They were
exceedingly well behaved. Gregg said it was quite a change from the last
picket, the famous Minton/Brooks picket, when the Scientologists flew in
special handlers all the way from Boston to show the little folks up north
how it's *really* done. I heard of a woman named Maureen, I heard she was
quite a charmer (cough cough). Perhaps that had to do with the two cops
who floated around the scene or perhaps they were all in a good mood
'cause of a birthday party. Maybe they even had cake and ice cream
awaiting. I did notice lots of children running in and out of the org. I
felt sorry for them.
Unfortunately I had to leave shortly after my conversation with the nice
scieno lady. I would have loved to have stayed but.......
And so goes the tale of my first picket. I am looking forward to the
next. Kady - don't forget, dinner next time you're in town. And Wulfen,
thanks for hosting the picket; and I promise I'll bring my arscc badge
thing back next time. It was great to finally meet some faces to attach
to the names I've been reading since I began my research. Power to the
(I was Xenu's love child)