The Lisa McPherson Story: How The Church Of Scientology "Helps" Those In Need

Since its inception, Scientology has bred a collection of awful stories about the way the church treats its members. They harass, brow beat, and cover up the truth about people who escape from the church. They even go so far as to label former members who speak out about the church as being “suppressive people.” One of the biggest Scientology cover-ups is the story of Lisa McPherson.

On December 5, 1995, McPherson died from a blood clot while the in care of Scientologists at one of their hotels in Clearwater, FL. Even after a team of forensic pathologists took a look at her body, no one knew what really happened to Lisa McPherson. Did the Church of Scientology kill Lisa McPherson? Her family thinks they did, but the organization claims she just happened to die on their watch.

As you’ll come to find, Scientology has enough money to cover up their religious crimes and cloud the Lisa McPherson death facts. Was Lisa McPherson murdered? You’ll have to come to your own conclusions.


  • Lisa McPherson's Body Was Covered In Bruises And Cockroach Bites When She Was Taken To The Hospital

    Lisa McPherson's Body Was Covered In Bruises And Cockroach Bites When She Was Taken To The Hospital
    Photo: Estate of Lisa McPherson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    On December 5, 1995, longtime Scientologist Lisa McPherson appeared to go into shock. Her caretakers in the hotel where she'd been for the last 20 days thought she had an infection and weren't sure what to do. When they finally got in touch with the last doctor to treat her, he suggested she be taken to the emergency room. By then it was too late. 

    When the county medical examiner saw Lisa's body, he noted she was covered in bruises, scratches, and what was later determined to be cockroach bites. A nurse who tried to revive the woman said, "She was thin, she was unkempt, dirty, just not taken care of." The county medical examiner believed McPherson died of a blood clot in her pulmonary artery due to dehydration; he believed she had been deprived of water for "at least her last five to 10 days."

    The Scientologists taking care of McPherson also opted to pass three hospitals en route to New Port Richey Hospital, a facility where Scientologist Dr. David Minkoff was on duty. Had they taken her to the Morton Plant Hospital, which was only six minutes away from the hotel, they may have been able to save her. 

  • McPherson Went To A Scientology Center For Some Rest, But She Was Rigorously Audited Instead

    The catalyst for McPherson's death was when she agreed to spend a few weeks getting some R&R in a hotel owned by the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, FL. McPherson was obviously dealing with a series of mental issues but rather than help her sort out her problems, her Scientologist caregivers isolated her and put her through a rigorous series of auditing

    According to the church, McPherson was in Room 174 for ample rest and relaxation, but the church logs from her stay there from November 18 until she died on December 5 state differently. Instead, she was put on the introspection rundown Scientologists use to 'help' people who clearly need psychological evaluation and medical help. She continued to lose touch with reality during her three weeks there and started refusing food and water. At points, some of her caregivers gave up and wouldn't even bother offering her sustenance. Some of the logs went missing, and a former Scientologist revealed many of the documents were destroyed to keep the church from getting in trouble

    This wasn't the first time McPherson had gone through a rundown, but it appears the rundown that took up the final weeks of her life was much more intense than anything she'd experienced before. 

  • McPherson Had A Full Mental Breakdown Before Her Death

    McPherson Had A Full Mental Breakdown Before Her Death
    Photo: Estate of Lisa McPherson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    After being taken to Room 174 of the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, FL, McPherson's mental health went from bad to worse. Despite people who were present saying she was fine while in the hotel room, pages of handwritten notes that surfaced after McPherson's family filed a lawsuit against the church tell a different story. 

    Shortly after she was moved into Room 174, McPherson stopped being able to keep her food down; she would either spit or vomit it up. She became feverish and violent. In just under a week, she began to hallucinate she was L. Ron Hubbard and began to bang on the walls of the hotel. 

  • The Church Of Scientology Swiftly Hired Lawyers And Bribed Anyone Who Could Pin McPherson's Death On Them

    After McPherson's death, the Scientologists who treated her went into full cover-up mode. They ousted the coroner before he could complete his initial report and after McPherson's death was ruled a homicide, the church brought in a team of lawyers to gum up the legal system. 

    Nearly 20 years after McPherson's death, Scientologists were still defending their actions and attempting to sway investigators in any way possible. The organization has allegedly spent $20 million since 1995 just to cover their tracks on this case. According to former high-ranking member Marty Rathbun, that money was spent on lawyers, cufflinks, Super Bowl tickets, and anything they could use to bribe investigators to look the other way. 

    Supposedly, the church even made John Travolta put in a personal appearance with an investigator's wife who was a big fan. During a testimony Rathbun said: "Miscavige found out through bonding with (the lawyer) that his wife and he were sort of goo-goo ga-ga over John Travolta. So Dave very carefully arranged that Travolta would go up to their table and give them personal face time."

  • She Stripped Naked After A Car Accident Weeks Before Her Death

    She Stripped Naked After A Car Accident Weeks Before Her Death
    Photo: Joseph Nicolia / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    According to her friends and family, Lisa McPherson had been in the throes of a downward spiral for quite some time. On November 18, 1995, she was involved in a minor car accident, after which she got out of her car and stripped off all her clothes

    Paramedics on the scene tried to get her into an ambulance but she insisted she was okay. When they asked her why she'd taken off her clothes, she said: "'I wanted help. I wanted help.'' 

    After being taken to the hospital, McPherson refused psychological treatment on the grounds it was against her religion. She only wanted to be treated by fellow Scientologists. Unfortunately, her wishes were granted and she was allowed to go on her way. 

  • The Church Hired Their Own Forensic Pathologists To Investigate The Case

    During the investigation into McPherson's death, Scientology hired their own team of investigators to look into whether or not the church was responsible for what happened. The two men that they hired, Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Cyril Wecht, concluded it was the minor car accident which caused the blood clot that killed McPherson, and not the nearly three weeks she spent in bed without food or water. 

    Baden, a former member of O.J. Simpson's "dream team" later said, "This is Forensic Pathology 101. This is not complicated."