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Ron Hubbard before he put on a very different face and told the world that he’d made the most significant scientific advance since man’s discovery of fire — which is the actual boast that he makes at the start of Dianetics.
Our posting of the letter produced a lot of interesting reactions.
“I think he always was that way, but when he wanted to make a good impression or get something out of somebody he put on a first-class charm act,” de Camp writes.
To recap: Hubbard and his friend Johny Arwine visited Caltech near the end of 1945 and, honest to goodness, every important atomic scientist in the land gathered to hear these two soon-to-be demobbed middling Navy men give them a lecture about what a bunch of reckless morons they were and how they ought to get a grip on that there bomb of theirs. Leslyn warns Catherine to keep Sprague away from Hubbard and his new wife Betty Northrup, who she says is Hubbard’s latest “Man-Eating Tigress.” They had tried to warn John Arwine about going near Hubbard, but Arwine had stopped answering their letters, she says.
The scientists, for their part, took umbrage and lashed out at Hubbard, admitting to him that what they actually had in mind was to use the doomsday weapons at their disposal to overthrow the government of these here United States! We sure are glad Hubbard and his Navy pal turned in these scoundrels, who were then punished and the country was saved from their treachery. “You see, Ron is working the Poor Wounded Veteran racket…and Johnny is a sucker for the Our Boys stuff,” she writes.
Heinlein was apparently aware of Hubbard’s involvement in 19 with Jack Parsons, the Caltech rocket scientist who was into the occult and with Hubbard got up to some pretty strange sex magick rituals.
After Hubbard took Jack’s girlfriend Sara “Betty” Northrup away from him, the three of them cooked up a scheme to buy sailboats, sail them to Florida, and then sell them at a profit. Heinlein appears to have been aware of some of these details and warned Arwine not to get involved with Hubbard if he ran into him in New York.Russell Miller paraphrased the letter in his 1987 book Bare-Faced Messiah, but the full text of the letter has never been published in a book or news article, as far as we know.