“Gold Base” is a facility in California owned by Scientology, the secretive religion based on the works of science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard.
Hubbard died in 1986, but there are Scientology bases and buildings around the world where followers are encouraged to buy his works.
In short, Scientologists believe that “thetans” cling to human souls and are the cause of psychological issues. They say that thetans were spread over the universe in the fallout of an intergalactic war caused by an alien dictator named Xenu.
Scientologists believe in a form of therapy called “auditing” that uses an electro-magnetic “e-reader” to revisit past memories. They reject tradional psychotherapy in favour of their own form of therapy.
Gold Base is one of the largest and most secretive Scientology compounds in the world, and is essentially the religion’s headquarters. The church and its members have publicly identified the location as belonging to the religious organisation. It’s protected by a sturdy fence and microphones to detect intruders.
But someone has been able to fly a drone over Gold Base and record two 4K-quality videos showcasing life inside Gold Base. Scientology journalist Tony Ortega has published an in-depth examination of the footage with the help of former Scientologists.
Here’s a look inside Gold Base:
Here's the first video in full, but we're going to break down what you see here.
Many former Scientologists claim that life in Gold Base is not a pleasant experience. Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, recently published a book in which he claims that people are too exhausted to play sports.
So how come people are out on the playing field? Ortega includes some speculation on his blog that the leader of Scientology was away and people had a rare bit of free time.
Right at the top of Gold Base is 'Bonnie View,' the mansion built for Scientology's dead founder L. Ron Hubbard in case he reincarnates.
Next door is The Religious Technology Center (RTC) Building, which is basically the command centre of Scientology and the office of its leader David Miscavige.
'The Hole' is a facility that people have claimed is used to contain Scientology members and punish them.
There's a swimming pool on Gold Base with a building next to it that's been decorated to look like a boat.
The Castle sits on the outskirts of Gold Base. It includes two soundstages that Scientology uses to film movies and TV shows.
As the drone leaves Gold base, we see that people have stopped playing football. Did they realise they were being filmed?
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.