Biggi Reichert: Does Scientology Have Another Lisa McPherson On Its Hands?

Categories: Scientology

BiggiReichert.JPG
Biggi Reichert: What happened to her before her 2006 suicide?
When I talked to Marty Rathbun after his return from Germany recently, he mentioned that one of the things he and Ursula Caberta hoped would come from their new friendship was cooperation on a mysterious death involving a German Scientologist.

Today, Rathbun held up his end of that bargain, going public with what he knows in the apparent suicide of a woman named Biggi Reichert, and asking for the public's help in solving some strange unanswered questions in her death.

Rathbun had told me that Caberta, a German government official who has been working since 1992 to curb Scientology's influence there, considers this a very troubling and potentially damaging situation for the church.

And I can't help wondering: Does German Scientology have a Lisa McPherson on its hands?

Marty Rathbun may be in a very good position to help Caberta. Until 2004, he was the second highest ranking executive in Scientology before defecting. Since 2009, he's been writing a very influential blog which, we hear, reaches deep into the ranks of current church members. There may be no better way to canvass for information about what might have happened to Reichert when she made a trip to Scientology's spiritual headquarters just a few days before her death.

Rathbun writes that Reichert was an "OT VIII" -- which means that she had reached the ultimate level of Scientology spiritual training, Operating Thetan level eight. But after reaching that goal, she still had trouble with her marriage and with debts.

In 2006, she traveled to Clearwater, Florida to "handle" those concerns. Experienced Scientologists are encouraged to travel to the town to take upper level training and other counseling at the church's most lavish facilities and at exorbitant prices. In this case, however, just a few days after returning home to Germany, Reichert was found dead in her car in an apparent suicide at a friend's horse ranch:

On the final day of her visit Biggi was found dead in the garage in her car. Sleeping pills were spread about the front seat. The car was fitted with a hose directing the exhaust into the seating compartment. Autopsy determined she died of carbon monoxide poisoning; and that though she had consumed sleeping pills the dosage was not enough to have caused her death. A will of sorts was left behind in Biggi's hand distributing what few possessions she still owned.

Things got stranger, however, when an autopsy was done, and a dozen third-degree burns were found on Reichert's scalp.

While each burn was about the size of a cigarette ember, they were determined forensically to not be cigarette burns. Her hair did not appear to be burned; leading to the conclusion the burns were carefully administered. The burns were determined to most likely have occurred while Biggi was in Florida.

Rathbun writes that Scientology has been uncooperative. (He should know: he has admitted to helping destroy documents in the McPherson matter when he was still working as Scientology leader David Miscavige's fixer.) But he also notes that the U.S. government has not been helpful, which he presumably would have heard from Caberta.

Rathbun is hoping that his blog will reach someone who would have known what happened to Reichert in Clearwater five years ago before she took her own life.

Rathbun alerted me to the story with a text this morning, but I'm still trying to get him on the phone to learn additional details.


The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
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SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]



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72 comments
Processed
Processed

So many deaths by carbon monoxide involving scientology. Anyone else see a pattern here?

AnonymousNow
AnonymousNow

This does show that a certain percentage of the population has a difficult time spotting sarcasm.

robert
robert

Some people just can't read sarcasm.  

scilonschools
scilonschools

Tony, Looks like your bunker is going to need some additional shielding for your 'next' article, I see Marty R is taking on the FBI and the DoJ in his latest posting!!!

candace6
candace6

I once made a planet radioactive.

Endscientologynow
Endscientologynow

Anyone that follows Rathbun and thinks he is a hero should watch Gerry Armstrong's talk in Germany.  It is on YouTube.  Make up your own mind as to who is telling the truth.

Schockenawd
Schockenawd

Can you say "tip of the iceberg"?  Do any of us really think the untoward deaths among dedicated Scientologists are limited to just a few?  L. Ron Hubbard prescribed some pretty whacky shit.  The Introspection Rundown led directly to Lisa McPherson's death.  Whatever preceded Reichert's death, one thing is for sure: going to Flag didn't solve a single problem for her as it was supposed to do.  Her own fault, right?  She didn't apply the tech as it was meant to be applied?  Then, is the same thing true for the children Scientology has lost?  There was a story some years ago -- maybe true, maybe not -- that one very-high-level Scientologist lost a baby, partly as a result of having fed it nothing other than the LRH-sanctioned "formula" that consisted of karo syrup and not much more.  It's stories like this that make one want to shake all of Scientology by the shoulders and yell, Wake up, People!  For the love of God, WAKE UP!

candace6
candace6

What are your crimes, Miles!?

PattyMoher
PattyMoher

I'm really happy that Marty has posted this information on Biggi in his blog but honestly, I'd be a lot happier if he and Rinder posted about all the suicides they knew about and were involved in covering up. 

Time to come clean Marty and Mike.  Stop giving up other peoples overts (harmful acts in Scn) and start telling us what YOU know about people driven to suicide while you were in charge.

bulldogSP
bulldogSP

Maybe we should start a collection and post a REWARD for the truth. You never know, maybe someone will come forward.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Well, *I* totally got your sarcasm...and I would have even if I HADN'T already seen you make enough critical-of-CO$ posts to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are just as disgusted by the cult as the rest of us thinking people in here.

mjm and Aragorn, you completely called this one wrong. Miles Biondo is one of us. Trust me on this.

MarkStark
MarkStark

This incident probably points out a startling difference between Scientology & other religions and psychiatry. If a person is having suicidal thoughts and expressed them in counseling, they would not be rushed out of the building and sent home so they don't kill themselves on "church" property. For Scientology, they can't have OTVIIIs killing themselves at Mecca, just as Lisa M was too well-known in Clearwater, for being vivacious and enthusiastic.

Scientology has the answer for debt. More debt, and kill yourself.

V for Vacation
V for Vacation

I wish Anderson Cooper would pick this up, and the other deaths, and the human trafficking issue. He's been doing some FLDS stories on his new daytime show. Maybe we could write in and suggest it. These stories need to blow up.

Jgg
Jgg

  CCHR should build a museum entitled "Scientology: Industry of Death"

David
David

Someone in an earlier article here had asked where L Ron Hubbard received official stationary to write a fake letter of recommendation for himself to the U.S. Navy.

The letterhead was from the office of U.S. Representative Robert M. Ford.  And of course the forged letter was full of ridiculous lies.

Jgg
Jgg

  I hope Co$ gets the same presumption of guilt Susan Anthony got.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Funny, I thought that spelling was part of the standard LRH protocol.

Very well then—proceed to enturbulate the masses with your well-practiced entheta.

WOLFNSHEEPSKIN
WOLFNSHEEPSKIN

Imagine the horrors we will never know about.   Without question there are many!

Fr. Ionel Popescu
Fr. Ionel Popescu

In additional to Biggi Reichert there is another death that is potentially another scandal on the magnitude of Lisa McPherson, that of 20-year-old Catholic college student Kyle Brennan from Charlotteseville, VA, in February 2007 while visiting his fanatical Scientologist father in Clearwater, whose celebrity Scientologist auditor is the twin sister of David Miscavige.

Kyle was a triple SP. He had been under the care of a psychiatrist since January 2006 for major depression and was taking an anti-depressant; he was a critic who had told his father only an idiot would believe in L. Ron Hubbard; and he had information upon which he alleged to the FBI that his father had committed arson to destroy documents to cover up embezzlements from a family business. 

Kyle's mental state deteriorated precipitously with bouts of paranoia after he bolted from home after a family tiff around Thanksgiving of 2006 and wandered from Iowa, to California and Hawaii. He grew weary of his ordeal and decided to rest up visiting his father in Clearwater and then return to his family and college in Clearwater. Eight days after his arrival his father seized his anti-depressant and locked it in his truck. Two days later Kyle was found dead in his father's bedroom of a bullet-wound to the head from his father's handgun. The police did not find Kyle's fingerprints on the weapon nor gun powder residue on his fingers, nor did they find the bullet that killed him. Reading the documents relevant to the case it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Kyle was either driven to commit suicide by the actions of Scientologists or was the victim of homicide.Kyle's mother Victoria Britton has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of Kyle's estate. There has been an ongoing circus over the right of laywer Ken Dandar to represent her, which has obscured the underlying story embedded in the documents.Kyle's father told the police he had no religion. In fact, he was baptized and raised as a Catholic. His mother said prayers with him as a child, and he went to Mass. The college chaplain priest in Charlottesville who presided at Kyle's Mass of Resurrection, as the Catholic funeral liturgy has been known in the fifty years since the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, declared to the mourners that Kyle Brennan died a martyr.When the story comes to light Kyle Brennan will most likely become the Lisa McPherson of our day. The case is far more scandalous than the deaths of either Lisa McPherson or Biggi Reichert.They were Scientology's own, one a member of the Sea Org, the other an OTVIII. Kyle was a sweet, talented twenty-year old college student. He was an innocent bystander who could have been the son of any mother in America. Victoria Britton has created a moving memorial site with stories and pictures of this wonderful young man at www-dot-kylebrennan-dot-com.  May he rest in peace, and may justice be done.

xoxoxoxoxoxox
xoxoxoxoxoxox

Wow this is brilliant. I've been waiting for Marty to give a full account of his knowledge of how scientology handled the Lisa McPherson cases. Well done Marty.

MarcAbian
MarcAbian

Hubbard's homosexual son was found dead in a car from carbon monoxide poisoning with a hose from the tailpipe into the cabin.Scientology critic Shawn Lonsdale was found dead in a car from carbon monoxide poisoning with a hose from the tailpipe into the cabin.Now high-level Scientology client Biggi Reichert is found dead in a car from carbon monoxide poisoning with a hose from the tailpipe into the cabin.All three were proclaimed to have been suicides, yet all three were somewhat suspicious.

Endscientologynow
Endscientologynow

How many more people have to commit suicide before people realize that the beloved 'tech' is very dangerous to some people?

How many more people have to die before Marty Rathbun changes his well professed stance that no law enforcement/US governmental agency should dismantle this horrible cult?  Why do his Indie followers not question him about this?  What is he really protecting?

Jgg
Jgg

  Yeah, it works--it helps people "discard" their bodies.  We wogs call this murder.

johnny d
johnny d

Your sarcasm was not lost on me Miles, i found your comment pretty freakin funny!!!!

Becks
Becks

The last several posts I think may establish an internet meme, called "reverse trolling."  The technique would be replying to sarcasm with dumbfounded prostestation, intentionally missing the joke.  This could be fun!

Becks
Becks

LOL, looks like you have another whack-a-mole expert below!  Perhaps people are missing your sarcasm because it's a fresh infusion of budding $camatology watchers, learning the ropes!   Welcome one and all !!!!

robert
robert

And you'd think regular readers would have recognized your name, Miles. Geesh!

Xenu
Xenu

I saw posts from Graham Berry about that 28 hours before Marty posted.

Nice work, Graham!

robert
robert

I had sex with a doll body.  But it was inflatable, so that was alright.

veritas
veritas

Sooooooooo True.  Just because there was progress in Germany does not mean that Rathbun (and the history of his behavior that we know about) isn't working his own agenda.  He can wait patiently while all of his moves are scrutinized..................only then we will know if there is remorse.

johnny d
johnny d

no candace, $cientology Works and it Helps people !!

Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

Marty and the two Mikes didn't 'reveal' this information; it was revealed more than two months ago, at least on ESMB.

What Marty *is* doing is attempting to control the information and steer the 'investigation'.  I'd bet that anyone contacting him with more information is being told to 'keep it under your hat and confidential, because we're doing lots of 'secret stuff' in the background'.

William Burke
William Burke

 Don't hold your breath.  Mike and Marty, if they were there, were involved in any criminal activities and in the cover up.  They know any proof that the Church of Scientology was guilty of crimes has been destroyed because they were undoubtedly the ones who directed the "shredding parties".

If the church is guilty, then THEY are also guilty.  We all know the church would claim that Mike and Marty acted alone.  Without any proof, nothing would actually happen to the church but it could backfire badly on M&M.  The church would do ANYTHING, including perjury, to ensure M&M went to jail.

No, M&M are not going to say anything to self-incriminate themselves if they can help it.

TheGuest
TheGuest

If I might,  I would add:  "Scientology:  Industry of Death and Model of Fraud"

The two go hand in hand.  The above Reichert case, as well as the Brennan case, and most of any mysterious deaths, suicides and "accidents,  you will find the thread of financial fraud and/or crimes woven intimately throughout each horror.  Sometimes it ends up a business crushed but that just means many more people were harmed.  DM and his lawyers and accountants don't care about tech, they care about keeping their $ books closed and the cash spigots open at any cost. 

Scientology is Only about money.  Any mystery can be understood if you know to follow the money and don't get distracted.  Look what it has taken in Australia to crack open even a few of those financial pages.  Even sci public members get caught up in the fraud, per their own stories about agreeing with staff to rack up debt with intention to bankrupt, or simply falsifying purpose of loans.  Now,  sci has blackmail/coercion information on that person.

And there's no mystery about why there's  so many depressed scientologists after cooperating, aiding and abetting in these schemes, or overbearing debt, lost business or career, homes,  slamming doors on family and friends, daily stress and fear, mostly about money. All that's left at that point is "volunteering" for spying, harrassing, infiltrating, you know, religious activities, in a last begging on knees gesture for permission to continue to live.  Then  OSA, reminiscent of those wild and jokester Romans, gives their thumbs up or thumbs down decision.  Scientologists are Owned.  Whatever one of them does, I just don't believe it was Their decision at all. 

Jgg
Jgg

Sorry, that should be Casey Anthony.  What do you think Nancy Grace would do with these suicide stories?

Clarkle
Clarkle

I would also like to know how Miscavige's mother in-law committed suicide by shooting herself four times with a rifle.

W32
W32

Scientology is rife with suspicious "suicides" - a good example being David Miscavige's mother-in-law, who supposedly shot herself in the head and chest with a RIFLE FOUR TIMES. (I wonder if any Scientologists have "committed suicide" by shooting themselves in the back)

It's also widely believed that the death of cult lawyer Ken Moxon's daughter was no accident.

Sock
Sock

Except the reponses weren't from trolls!  Back on Course and chill a bit. 

Yourimage
Yourimage

Wouldn't it be interesting if the Marty Rathbun / Mike RInder /  David Micavage mud slinging show of the last few years playing out in the press was just another $$$Scamology PR caper to gain awareness? Pervested? YES Possible? YES 

candace6
candace6

"Helps" like it "helped" Rex Fowler?  Or "helps" like it helped Lisa McPherson?  Or maybe you mean "helps" like it helped Elie Perkins?

You know, for a "religion" with so few adherents there sure are a lot of suicides/mysterious deaths among its members.  What's the average life span for a Scientologist-45?

That's one hell of a "technology" you got there thetanx.

AnonymousNow
AnonymousNow

Another truly bizarre death, by electrocution!!?? WTF.

Death follows this cult.

Becks
Becks

I obviously realize that, you chill first, Boss.

Endscientologynow
Endscientologynow

I don't think Miscavige's ego would allow him to have people like Rathbun eviscerate his character in public as Rathbun has done....although it would be an interesting Arnie Lerma-like conspiracy theory twist (if this was all just a PR strategy), ultimately the tiny dwarf has too fragile an ego for anything like that to happen.

veritas
veritas

Thought has definitely crossed my mind.  Oh so careful to cover their own asses and then the love-bombing blog on Rathbun's site following Tony's ranking/coverage of Rinder on the countdown.  "you're great" "no really your just great"  " I mean you couldn't be greater" Must make Gerry want to "GAG"!!

LocalSP1
LocalSP1

Not to mention the mysterious death of the guy that stole Tom Cruises wedding photos. Hung himself because he got a year in jail? I don't think so.

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