A BBC reporter and longtime rival of the controversial Church of Scientology said he has found and traveled to an “alien space cathedral” it built in rural New Mexico, according to the British newspaper The Daily Mail.
John Sweeney said he went to the site, allegedly known as Trementina Base, along with former Scientologist Marc Headley in the course of researching a book about the controversial religion, best-known for drawing in a number of Hollywood stars.
“I press an intercom button. A voice says ‘Hello’ in what sounds like a Scandinavian accent,” he wrote in the book. “I announce that I’m John Sweeney and ask nicely for a tour. We are not invited in and the intercom simply spouts white noise. We drive back to civilization, wondering what kind of religion builds a space alien cathedral underground.”
The centerpiece of Sweeney’s accusation is a set of symbols on top of the rock formation housing the alleged center, two interlocking circles he said are connected to the group’s belief in extraterrestrial life.
“If I’m wrong about the church believing in aliens, then why have they built these giant symbols in the middle of the desert that can only be seen from outer space?” he said.
According to the newspaper, church officials have condemned Sweeney as “a bigot, a liar and psychotic,” but the reporter has countered that Scientologists have been tailing him since 2007, an ordeal he described in a first-person account published earlier this year.
“Five years ago, I spent weeks at the centre of the church’s attention,” he wrote. “Private investigators who, I believe, were working for the church chased me around the streets of Los Angeles, invaded my hotel at midnight and put me under surveillance. Strangers spied on my wedding and knocked on the doors of my neighbours.”