Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology in 1952. One of the main beliefs of the church is that a person’s soul is already damaged and the goal of someone’s life is to shed harmful memories to better themselves through a process called auditing. Souls are damaged because the souls of 3.5 trillion aliens were banished to Earth by a warlord named Xenu. The aliens, called thetans, were put into volcanoes and then destroyed by nuclear bombs.
Needless to say, Scientology is a religion with unorthodox beliefs. It has also has some concerning and unusual deaths connected to it.
10. Shawn Lonsdale
One notable nemesis of the Church of Scientology was a man named Shawn Lonsdale, who lived in Clearwater, Florida, home to the Spiritual Headquarters of Scientology. Lonsdale first got on the church’s bad side in 2006 when he started videotaping Scientology workers outside their offices and then airing the footage on public access television. Lonsdale was also known to stand outside of the church’s headquarters with a sign that said “Cult Watch.”
At other times, he got into arguments with church members, including a shoving match. Lonsdale charged the man, but the case was thrown out because it looked like Lonsdale was just as aggressive as the man who attacked him. Lonsdale’s interaction with the church became so notorious that he was even interviewed by the BBC program Panorama about the church.
Looking to silence him, the church hired a private investigator to dig into Lonsdale’s past. The sleuth found that he had two convictions from 1999 and 2000, both misdemeanor convictions related to having sex with men in public. Using the information, the church plastered fliers around town with Lonsdale’s mug shot, warning people of him and they made mention of his two convictions. Members of the church also called his landlord and his employer and told them that he was a religious bigot who was possibly dangerous.
On February 16, 2008, neighbors called the police to report a terrible odorcoming from Lonsdale’s house. The police entered the house and found Lonsdale, who was 39, dead. There was a garden hose leading from his car into his house, and his death was ruled a suicide.