LETTERS FROM THE EYE OF THE STORM


[Picture]      “I had that book on Dianetics to get out and it went about 180,000 words,” remarked LRH to Russell Hays in the wonderfully offhand and slow-drawl style punctuating all Hubbard-Hays correspondence. Also remarked upon as of the first week of April 1950: the first Dianetics Research Foundation was then under formation with “a lawyer, a publisher, an editor, an engineer, a doctor, all enthusiastic, as trustees,” while both Time and the New York Times had slotted features on the subject. Then there were the “skillion other magazines” requesting coverage, while national columnist Walter Winchell had just declared: “There is something new coming up in April called Dianetics. A new science which works with the invariability of physical science in the field of the human mind. From all indications, it will prove to be as revolutionary for humanity as the first caveman’s discovery and utilization of fire.”

     The point, as newspaper headlines would soon proclaim: “Dianetics Taking US by Storm.”

     Still, it is probably difficult to appreciate just how intense was that storm (particularly in an age when Dianetics has become so utterly pervasive, one imagines it was always so). But the fact is, when journalists pronounced it the “Fastest Growing Movement in America,” and cited associations “springing up like wild flowers in May,” the statements were not exaggerated in the least. Nor was Ron exaggerating when referencing a storm of letters from readers, an equally demanding flurry of requests for instruction and lectures and – once more jocularly to Hays – the “wild-eyed enthusiasts keep comin’ round and makin’ my weekends miserable.” Nonetheless, he attended to all: lecturing and instructing five days a week, graciously receiving those who banged at his New Jersey door on Saturdays and Sundays and, as evidenced here, dutifully responding to those seven thousand letters to the author.

     Obviously, only a fraction of those letters have been reprinted here. Included in the sampling is an impassioned note from a Vivian Shirley, one of the first of those “wild-eyed enthusiasts” to appear on the Bay Head doorstep, a sampling of letters from readers of Ron’s Evolution of a Science, and yet another sampling from readers of Dianetics itself. Then, too, we offer a selection of correspondence to and from the first Dianetics Research Foundations, a concise LRH statement to a then popular psychological journal and a telegram on the arrival of the famous Countess Motorboat – Ron’s remarkably intelligent calico cat who kept pages of the manuscript from scattering in the breeze through the Bay Head windows.