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The Lisa McPherson Files
July 13, 2011 10:11 PM   Subscribe

The Lisa McPherson Files
Lisa McPherson died on December 5, 1995, after 17 days in the custody of the Church of Scientology. She was 36 years old. This site catalogs the 6,700 pages of evidence the Clearwater Police Department collected in the investigation of her death.

This is actually an old site I put up years ago, but I thought it might be of interest to the MetaFilter community now because it's acknowledged in Janet Reitman's new book, Inside Scientology. Reitman gives an in-depth account of Lisa's life in Scientology. The documents at The Lisa Files - which include transcripts of police interviews, Scientology ethics reports, and medical records - provided a lot of the background.

You can browse documents by type (prosecution summaries, police statements, subpoenas) or year. You can also get brief summaries of the dozens of individuals involved in the case and read the documents related to them. On many pages (such as this police interview with Lisa's Scientology case supervisor, Alain Kartuzinski), you can mouse over Scientology jargon and people's names to learn more.

The original documents were provided by the Clearwater Police Department (at the time, they would send a CD of all 6,719 scans to anyone who requested it, for a small fee). The OCR, proofreading, and manual transcription were done by a number of dedicated volunteers (I did some of it). Various documents were hosted on different sites about Lisa and Scientology, but I wanted to see them all in one place, linked together, with some explanations and background - so I created this site.
Role: programmer, designer, writer of summaries and definitions
posted by kristi (6 comments total)

I found a few dead links. Also, have you considered allowing tags on the documents?
posted by orrnyereg at 11:39 AM on July 14, 2011


Do you remember what links were bad? I'd love to go in and fix them ...

Do you mean letting readers add tags, or adding tags myself? There are some basic tags on the documents - at the bottom - but I'm definitely open to other ideas.
posted by kristi at 10:28 PM on July 14, 2011


On the front page: The logs kept by Scientologists...

When I try to click on the .tif links on this page I get a 404 error (I think the link might be malformed?)

Thank you for collecting and sharing this - her final O/W writeup is heartbreaking.
posted by muddgirl at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2011


I wouldn't open it up to crowd tagging. Anything input you accept from the wilds will be poisoned by church members.
posted by chairface at 2:48 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the mouse overs are nice but incompatible with touch devices. There is also some issue with double-touch zooming on the interviews. It either zooms in on the dialog or the names but not both. You might want to do a pass over the site with an tablet (iPad) and see what needs to be updated for modern browsing needs.
posted by chairface at 2:55 PM on July 15, 2011


Thanks very much for the specifics about things that weren't working!

I've removed a few dead links and fixed the logs link and the .tif links.

I probably won't have a chance to check out the site on an iPad this week, but I've put it on my list - thanks for pointing that out!
posted by kristi at 11:57 PM on July 17, 2011


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