Author: Miller, Russell
Book title: Bare-faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard
Publication date: 1987
Description: Barbara Kaye's diary entries regarding her assessment of L. Ron Hubbard's mental condition.
Kaye, who would later become a psychologist, said she made a clinical diagnosis of Hubbard during the weeks they spent together in Palm Springs.
‘There was no doubt in my mind he was a manic depressive with paranoid tendencies. Many manics are delightful, productive people with tremendous energy and self-confidence. He was like that in his manic stage – enormously creative, carried away by feelings of omnipotence and talking all the time of grandiose schemes.
‘But when I arrived he was in a deep depression. He had been totally unable to work on his book, which had been originally scheduled for publication that month. That’s why he had called me – he was hoping I could help him get through his writers’ block. He was very sad and lethargic, lying around feeling sorry for himself and drinking a great deal. Sometimes he would go to the piano and fiddle around, improvising weird melodies of his own composition. He thought that Sara had hypnotised him in his sleep and commanded him not to write. He told me that the people in Elizabeth had tried to “slip him a Mickey” in his glass of milk and another time they attempted to insert a fatal hypo into his eye and heart to try and stop him from ever writing again. Those were the engrams he was running.
‘I tried to help him by using a technique I had learned at college, breaking down the problem into small parts and presenting it a step at a time. I got a block of butcher’s paper and said to him, “Look, you don’t have to write. Just sit down at this table and look at the paper and when you don’t want to look at it any more, get up and leave.” He sat there for ten minutes on the first day and this went on for several days until one day he picked up a pencil and began to write. Next day he was back at work, very excited and enthused about what he was doing. He was singing and horsing around, talking, laughing and discussing ideas in the kitchen until three o’clock in the morning.’
One of Hubbard’s favourite topics of conversation was psychiatrists. One night over dinner at Mel Avenue, he told Barbara about an occasion when he had demonstrated auditing techniques to a group of psychiatrists and one of them had said to him,
‘If you claim to cure people by doing that, if you’re not careful we’ll lock you up.’
He laughed excessively, took a bite out of a chicken leg and spluttered,
‘They called me a paranoid, can you imagine it?’
That night Barbara wrote in her diary:
‘My blood ran cold as he was saying that. It was all I could do to keep from weeping.’