The Compleat Aberree: The Non-Serious Voice of Scientology, 1954-1965
September 25, 2012 10:35 AM   Subscribe

The Compleat Aberree: The Non-Serious Voice of Scientology, 1954-1965
The Aberree was a 'zine, or newletter, published from 1954 through 1965 by a former Dianetics practitioner. The Aberree started out as "the non-serious voice of Scientology" and ultimately encompassed all kinds of spiritual and self-help interests, from psychic phenomena and UFOs to improving eyesight. It shows that convention and uniformity weren't the whole story of the 50s, by a long shot. The Compleat Aberree offers text and images from all 110 issues.

Among the cast of characters:
  • L. Ron Hubbard - Creator of Dianetics and Scientology.
  • A. E. van Vogt - A well-known science fiction writer, A. E. van Vogt was very active in Dianetics; he ran the Hubbard Dianetic Center in Hollywood in 1955. His wife, Mayne, was also well-known to Aberree readers.
  • Volney Mathison - Mathison was the inventor of the E-Meter and author of several books about self-exploration. Advertisements for his meters and books appear throughout the Aberree.
Since the Aberree publishers chose not to copyright their work, The Compleat Aberree resurrects all 11 years. Currently, only Volume 1 (issues 1-10) has been formatted and proofread. However, you can still read the later issues, if you don't mind the OCR errors and lack of formatting.

This is a very old project of mine - I created it in 2003.

I'm posting it now because it was a source of inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson in researching The Master, so I thought it might be of interest to the Metafilter community as well.
One of his Web finds was The Aberree, a Scientology-themed newsletter published from 1954 to 1965 by a Phoenix couple, Alphia and Agnes Hart, who were among Hubbard's early adopters. ("The most certain thing about Scientology is that no one can be certain what this 'Science of Certainty' will come up with next," reads the opening line of the first issue, leading off a discussion of the nascent church's efforts to legalize itself as a religion.)

"It really was the best possible way to time-travel, reading these newsletters," he says, "and to kind of get a sense of not just Hubbard, but the people who were really interested in the beginnings of this movement, because they were very, very hungry to treat themselves and get better, and they were open to anything. They were so incredibly optimistic."
Role: programmer, designer, scanner, researcher, proofreader
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