Tabloid reports circulated over the weekend that Tom Cruise believes his 10-year-old daughter is controlled by an "evil spirit" and wants the child to undergo a Scientology exorcism -- which immediately begs three questions.
The first, "LOLWUT?" is quickly followed by, "Scientology has exorcisms?" -- and then followed by, "What would that even be like?"
The answers to those questions are, in order: "I know, right," "Yes," and "Pretty weird."
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard revealed in a series of handwritten notes that humans are infested with "body thetans" -- which he taught were the disembodied souls left behind on Earth during an intergalactic genocide.
Hubbard taught that these cosmic demons would detach themselves from the human body and leave after they -- and their host -- were forced to relive events from as many as 4 quadrillion years ago.
Scientologists believe humans are immortal beings who've lived for trillions of years, and Hubbard's technology allows them to re-experience events throughout that immeasurable existence.
They undergo audits, which are essentially pseudoscientific exorcisms, to expel thetans after training for years to heighten their senses to experience events from these past lives as vividly as possible.
Claire Headley, a former Scientologist who oversaw Cruise's audit, explained the process to Tony Ortega, the former executive editor of Raw Story who has reported extensively on Scientology.
Auditors walk Scientologists through past traumatic experiences and issue telepathic commands to the body thetans -- and the audit subject will monitor a device called an "e-meter" to see whether the alien spirits have left his or her body.
Headley said thetans may take up anywhere from 10 seconds to five minutes to "blow," or leave the body, and the $800-an-hour auditing sessions can last from 10 minutes to about an hour.
"Most Scientologists generally 'feel' that good things are happening during any auditing session," Headley said. "One believes that bad things are leaving or dissipating. Is it placebo effect? Wishful thinking? Positive suggestion? Cognitive dissonance? Endorphins? Some kind of hypnosis? I’m not sure."
Cruise has reportedly not seen his daughter, Suri, since 2013 after divorcing her mother, actress Katie Holmes, the year before.
Sources have said Scientology leader David Miscavige, who is very close with Cruise, has convinced the actor his daughter has been "infiltrated by a bad Thetan," and should therefore be avoided.
But Cruise reportedly wants the girl, identified by the church as a "potential trouble source," to go through an audit process to bring her back to Scientology and pry her away from her mother -- who is considered a "suppressive person" after leaving the church.
The auditing process is lengthy, and Scientologists must undergo more rigorous training and increasingly experience audits to completely rid themselves of thetans.
Headley said some of those advanced sessions can cost up to $9,000 an hour -- and Ortega reported that Scientologists may pay more than $278,000 to achieve the final "Bridge to Total Freedom."