Astra Woodcraft Interview

Part Six

"Lisa McPherson"

Video Interview - January 20, 2001


Transcript of Part Six

Stacy: Did either of you ever hear anything about Lisa McPherson?

Zoe: I did keep hearing these rumors and when the picketers came, I was, like, "Lisa McPherson? Who's that?" Even though she had died in the Church, it seemed very clearly that they had…they had caused her death. But they kept that completely from the staff. And I mean, and especially as a Cadet, I had no idea. But one day, I asked my mother, "Who was Lisa McPherson?" And she said, "Oh, she was just some crazy girl. She got in a car accident and she ran down the street naked." She said it like that. Like, it didn't matter because she had gone…You know, I don't know…but my mother hated her it seemed. Like, when she talked about her, she was sneering. And I later I found out…

Astra: She just said, "She's just some crazy person."

Zoe: Yeah. "She's some crazy person!" And I later found out on the internet that my mother watched her and was in charge of people that watched her for her stay in the Fort Harrison. And I could not believe that! Because if I had watched a girl…If I had known a girl, I had watched her and I had been in charge of people that watched her for days and later, after that, she died…I would certainly, even if I did think she was crazy, I would certainly never speak of her in terms like that. Never! I mean, I would…I think you should show respect for the dead. And especially if it seemed that your church had caused their death but my mother sneered.

Astra: And then I recently, a few weeks ago, my mother was flown to LA to stop me from doing a newspaper article about Scientology. And she was very verbal in expressing how bad some of the critics of Scientology were. And I wasn't trying to say anything to her that was mean because she was my mother. And I was just saying, "I don't want to talk about that. I'm doing the article. If you want to speak to me as my mother, that's fine."

Zoe: The newspaper article.

Astra: But she kept pushing me and pushing me and saying derogatory things to me so I finally, I asked her, I said, "Well, mom, what about Lisa McPherson?" And I said, "You watched her and you were the direct senior of the other people who watched her and she died. What about that?" And she said, "Well, do you know what she really died of?" And I said, "I know the story that you are going to give me. The Church's story is that she died of a blood clot that she got when she was hit by the car and later died of the blood clot." And I said, "But I've seen the autopsy photos. I've seen the reports. I know that she died of dehydration and…" etcetera.

Zoe: She had bruises all over her.

Astra: Yeah. Yeah. She had bites on her and bruises, etcetera. And she said to me, I said, "Don't you have any remorse? She died! Don't you feel bad?" And she wouldn't say she felt bad. She just kept saying…then she went into the, "Well, she was crazy. She got hit by a car. She took off her clothes." And then she said, "Well, she was put in a psychiatric institute. Did you want that?" Because Scientology hates psychiatry.

Stacy: You know that's not true. She wasn't put in a psychiatric institute.

Astra: Right.

Stacy: She was taken to the hospital.

Zoe: Yeah.

Astra: And put in, like, the mental ward of the hospital or something.

Stacy: They were trying to treat her.

Astra: Yeah. Exactly. I don't have anything against that. Not at all. That's where she should have been. She had…poor girl. She needed help, you know? If that's not a cry for help, what is? So, she said to me, "She was put in a psychiatric institute. Is that what you wanted?" And I said, "Mom, she died. Anything would have been better than that. She's dead. That's the result of what you did is she's dead. Don't you feel bad about it?" She wouldn't answer me. She wouldn't answer. She wouldn't. She couldn't admit she was wrong because I later found out-I assumed and then found out-that she was reporting back every word I said to her back to OSA. Because OSA told the reporter who did my story-did our story-OSA told the reporter the things my mom had told them. So she had been reporting back everything I told her. So she couldn't admit any wrong.

Stacy: Well…

Astra: Because then I would tell the reporter she admitted that, you know, it was wrong and that she admitted it.

Stacy: Yeah. And she would have gotten in a lot of trouble for that.

Astra: And I know that David Miscaviage made a statement saying, "We're very sorry for what happened and if we had the chance to do it differently, we would." But that's not really how they felt. Because my mom couldn't even say to me, "Yeah, we made a mistake." It was just, "She was a crazy woman. She was put in a psych institute. We took her out. She died of a blood clot." And I'm sure that's what my mom believes.

Stacy: But maybe you got her thinking.

Zoe: Oh! Maybe…

Astra: I hope so.

Stacy: Maybe you got her thinking.

Astra: Because then, I said to her, "Mom. Something's wrong here. I wanted to kill myself. Zoe wanted to kill herself. We were miserable for years. We're your children. Does that make you feel bad?" I was trying to get to her. I was almost crying. I was, like, "Does this have any affect on you? I wanted to kill myself! I'm your daughter! I hated it so much! I was so miserable! I am now so happy! Happier than I've ever been in my life! I have a beautiful daughter. I'm doing what I want to do. Something must have been wrong with Scientology! Something must have been wrong!"

Zoe: No…it must have been wrong with us.

Astra: She just said nothing. She just stared at me. And that was one of the last times I saw her. So…

Stacy: Well, you two are awfully lucky.

Zoe: Yeah. (laughs) I think so.

Stacy: You have your lives back.

Astra: Yeah. And we have our whole lives ahead of us. Well, I work for my dad. And he has an architectural practice. I work for him.

Stacy: What do you do?

Astra: Well, for the past couple years, mainly I've been…I get…he draws out the projects and then I take it down to the City and get approval on it. So I love doing that. I have a lot of fun and I've met everyone there and I have a lot of friends that I met doing that. And then I took a class, actually I took it when I was pregnant on the GED, which is a high school equivalency. And then I took the exam a while later. And I passed really well. I was really happy actually.

Stacy: That's great.

Astra: I got, like, 99 percentile.

Stacy: Good for you!

Astra: I was really happy with that because I felt that I wouldn't even pass. That's another thing my mom has said to me, "Oh, if Scientology is so bad, how are you so smart?" And I mean, I don't think I'm so smart but I'm very insulted by the fact that she thinks if I have any intelligence, it's because of Scientology." (interviewer laughs). You know, the reality is that I'm lucky to have gotten away with any education and any intelligence. And really, what it is, is I studied like crazy to take the GED. I took a course for six weeks and I kept studying and I kept reading and I kept doing things and I passed. And then, about six months ago, I enrolled in my first class in college in a drafting class in architectural drafting. And I learned how to do computer aided drafting and my instructor told me I was one of the best students he ever had.

Stacy: Good for you!

Astra: And he gave me an A on everything I ever did on all my assignments. And I'm starting my next class right now. I only intend to do one class at a time. But hopefully, I'll have time for more in the future. But two mornings a week, I go to class. And the rest of the time I work. So, my next class starts in a week and I'm going to just keep taking one class at a time until Kate's a bit older and she starts school and then I can work towards getting my degree and then taking the architectural exam license exam.

Stacy: That's great!

Astra: Yeah.

Stacy: How do you feel about your life now?

Astra: I feel lucky, really. I mean, for one I can regret everything that happened but I have my daughter and I have my family. So, I don't. And I also am in a position to stop other people from going through what I went through. And, you know, I came out alive. No one is injured. And yeah, I regret missing my childhood but there's nothing…I can never get it back. Education I can never get back-I'm trying to go forward so I can't go back and, like, study history that I never learned. But I read the newspaper, I read books and, you know. So I make it. I get by. And I'm just really, really happy. Like, one day, I remember I was riding my bike, I had Kate in a little trailer behind. And, I was like, "I can go and ride a bike whenever I want to." And I was so happy! Just to be able to just ride my bike and I was, like, "I can go anywhere." One day, I just thought, "I want to go to Santa Barbara." And it's like, 2 hours up the coast. I called the hotel. I made a reservation. I got in the car. I drove up there and I spent the weekend there with my daughter. It was just like so…I felt so free! It was just like unbelievable because it's hard to understand for the average person but you can't do anything! You can't leave the building without permission when you're in the Sea Org. So, to be able to drive off and do anything, you know, is just, like, unbelievable! And I mean, I think I'm doing well. Because I'm working on education. I work. I have my daughter. I have a boyfriend. He knows all about Scientology. He's very supportive. He's got a little daughter too. And I'm just really happy now and that Zoe's out, that was, like, the last thing. And my mother and my grandmother and my brother never speak to me and won't ever speak to me again but that was their choice because I never said to them, "I'm not going to speak to you." But they chose not to speak to me again and that was their choice. So, I can live with that even. I mean, it's upsetting but, you know, at least I have my sister. I have my dad and I have Kate, you know? And they're the ones, the only ones that have been there for me. So, that's what I care about the most. So, I'm just happy. Happy to be out. Happy to have met some other people who have gone through similar experiences. And happy to be able to say anything, to do anything to help other people who have left or stop other people from getting involved in it before they know what really goes on there.


Part One xPart Two xPart Threex Part Four xPart Five xPart Six


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