L. Ron Hubbard’s Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition

aka his first real intelligence mission


This Library article covers Hubbard’s attempt at doing a ‘sailing expedition’ aboard the Doris Hamlin. It includes Library of Congress records that I personally obtained (September 2013). This article published March 19, 2016.


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You are about to read –

L. Ron Hubbard’s Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition

also known as

His first intelligence mission


By Virginia McClaughry


~ Library of Congress pic of the Doris Hamlin ~



The year is 1932 –

L. Ron Hubbard had already been busy embarking on a career of writing propaganda disguised as fiction, working together with Paul Linebarger as editors for a small George Washington University circular called The University Hatchet Monthly Literary Review.

Hubbard’s first story – with Paul Linebarger adding his bit to it – was called: Tah. It was published February 9, 1932.


Hubbard Linebarger Tah GWU Hatchet Vol28 No18 Feb91932.

Hubbard would publish a total of three stories for the Hatchet prior to his adventures aboard the Doris Hamlin, and one more would show up in November of 1932.

During WWII, the Special Operations Executive (British intelligence) had sent back some training materials with OSS man Major Garland H. Williams, who also happened to be a good buddy of George Hunter White’s. There are a couple of declassified CIA documents that I have loaded into our CIA declassified document Library, but one of them in particular is quite interesting in relation to Hubbard and Linebarger’s writings. It had to do with training on Subversive Psychological Warfare Techniques.

One of the main vehicles for subversive propaganda was…fiction!

4.  A good channel for disguised propaganda is through patriotic and popular fiction.

Subversive propaganda, such as Ron Hubbard and Paul Linebarger were being trained in, requires that you be “able to speak to the enemy as though you were one of his fellows.

Look at this other part of point 3 (which I already quoted from above).

…“Patriotic but pessimistic” material

That’s certainly what Hubbard was doing throughout his Tah story, just about perfectly!

Point 3 of a CIA declassified document about psychological warfare is also particularly appropriate as a description of what Hubbard was doing in his first propaganda as fiction piece.

3. Weaken the enemy’s will to resist, either by suggesting to his fighting men and civilians that their lot will be a far happier one if they will lay down their arms…

Robert Cresswell to Major David K. E. Bruce December 14, 1942. Office of Strategic Service document, part of what was brought back from British intelligence Special Operations Executive as ‘training’ materials for the OSS staff.


Now we’ll move on to the Doris Hamlin, the schooner Hubbard would sail on in 1932.


A little history of the Doris Hamlin


Walter Hayford owned the schooner. It was built and launched at the Frye-Flynn Co. shipyard.

Weighing in at 960 tons, it was the third to the last ship launched in the Washington County community of Harrington. The Doris Hamlin hit the water in 1919, near the end of more than 100 years of shipbuilding in the region.

Ref – Maine Memory website


The Northeast Historic Film Edna Frye collection video of the launch


The Maine Memory website also had this to say about the Hubbard voyage –

In 1932, Captain William Burke Vane, then owner of the Doris Hamlin, took her on a voyage organized by a George Washington University student, L. Ron Hubbard, later founder of the Church of Scientology.

The trip offered undergraduates a chance to serve as crew and to conduct scientific research, historical exploration, treasure-hunting and other activities.

Some students jumped ship and the remainder were broke. The captain had to wire from Martinique for funds to return to the U.S.

Wooden schooners had lost their place in the shipping world, but new owners, in January 1940, sailed from Hampton Roads loaded with a cargo of coal for Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The ship was never seen again and may have been sunk by a German submarine.

Here’s a couple pictures taken by Robert Burgess on his cruise aboard the Doris Hamlin in 1936.



The Doris Hamlin was one of the last of the motorless four-masted schooners-—as such it was a rather romantic throwback to a different time, a different world, one in which the British Navy reigned supreme on the High Seas.

No wonder Ron Hubbard chose it.

* * *


The Expedition begins


First I’d like to offer an extant example of what you see the “critical but scholarly” angle out there to be concerning this expedition. You have things like this –

During Hubbard’s final semester, he organized an expedition to the Caribbean for “fifty young gentleman rovers” aboard the schooner Doris Hamlin, commencing in June 1932. The aims of the “Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition” were stated as being to explore and film the pirate “strongholds and bivouacs of the Spanish Main” and to “collect whatever one collects for exhibits in museums”.

It’s all very colorful sounding, isn’t it?

Back then, ye old favorite intelligence cover of the British (besides newspaper ‘correspondent’ or passport control officer) was the adventurous swashbuckling ass.

Kind of like this –

Adventurer - 1920s swashbuckler film

They even had it in their manual to ‘act like an ass’.

Never confide in women…never give a photo to anyone, especially a female. Cultivate the impression that you are an ass, and have no brains.

– An older British Secret Intelligence Service manual excerpt

Hubbard later wrote that the expedition “was a crazy idea at best, and I knew it, but I went ahead anyway, chartered a four-masted schooner and embarked with some fifty luckless souls who haven’t stopped their cursings yet.”[1]

However, one thing this expedition most certainly did do, was establish quite well Hubbard’s particular take on the “bumbling but colorful ass” routine.

In my as yet unpublished library article called: Covert British Intelligence Organizations in the U.S. – The ROOM – I give several examples of people that Ron Hubbard would come to know and the types of covers they used.

In 1925, just before the ROOM secret society was formed, Kermit and Ted Roosevelt Jr. went on an intelligence mission across the Himalayas, over uncharted mountain passes rising from the Vale of Kashmir through the ancient Silk Route into China. Their cover was that they were “in search of the legendary big-horn wild sheep called Ovis Poli“.

In 1927, Theodore Roosevelt Jr acquired several Naxi manuscripts while ‘looking for giant pandas‘ (that was his cover) during a visit to China. It just so happens that one of the areas visited while looking for these pandas, was the most powerful Chinese air-base in Lanchow.

I’m sure that was just a coincidence. (not)


Theodore Roosevelt Jr. in China – (center) holding rifle

theodore_roosevelt_jr_in_chinaLibrary of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division,
Kermit Roosevelt Collection. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-120237

In 1939 Quentin Roosevelt II visited Lijiang Prefecture. His cover was that he was collecting more Naxi manuscripts.

Quentin examining scrolls


He looks so serious about it, doesn’t he?

Too bad that it just so happened that his visit was arranged by Chiang Kai-shek himself, courtesy of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) – so what his trip was really about was certainly not some fricking manuscripts.

One thing should be really made clear here for you, and that is that all of these men were working to orchestrate (for British and the rest of the slavemasters) a controlled asset to take control of the Chinese independence movement – and that was Chiang Kai-Shek, who was a big-time drug trafficker, by the way, opium/heroin to be precise.

None of any of this political maneuvering was about ‘communism’. This was about keeping control of the stupid slavemaster drug network, primarily.

But, notice that Chiang Kai-Shek’s rise to power is rather coinciding with Kermit and Teddy Roosevelt Jr’s expeditions to China, particularly the 1927 “looking for giant pandas” one, where they went to the air base.

That’s exactly what is going on here with Ron Hubbard and his ‘Motion Picture Expedition‘ – it’s a cover, a perfect British old-school one.

This expedition marks the point when Hubbard’s actual Office of Naval Intelligence career as a civilian (through his ROOM and Naval Reserve connections) begins officially getting off the ground.

In the Spring of 1932, an announcement appeared in the University Hatchet – the paper of George Washington University.

It said –

Restless young men with wanderlust wanted for the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition. Cost to applicant $250 payable at the dock in Baltimore before sailing. Must be healthy, dependable, resourceful, imaginative, and adventurous. No tea-hounds* or tourist material need apply.

  • *Tea-hounds is an American slang term referring to the idle rich, ie: men from high society known to spend more time socializing than working. The term also meant “ladies man”. Put together, it’s a sort of veiled accusation of an effeminate man that is border-line homosexual.

Young men that were snagged into this cover operation of Ron Hubbard’s, were instructed to contact Mr. Philip W. Browning of Port Huron, Michigan or Ron Hubbard himself in Washington, DC.

We get some more cover-building examples going on in the advertisements for this expedition. Such as, it was about “the filming of pirate haunts for movie house newsreels” and gathering information about “the terra and inhabitants of these little civilized islands“.

Two approaches to Martinique’s volcano, Mount Pelée

There was even a volcano thrown in there (Mt. Pelee in Martinique) where the goal was “photographs from the rim of active volcanos“, which, apparently, he actually did. If the Church of Scientology’s site is to be believed. (their photos on the right)

Hubbard had a life-long fascination with volcanoes, by the way, as did his mini-me replacement Mr. David Miscavige.

Dianetics CAR miscavige
photo ‘shoop’ of David Miscavige from forums.whyweprotest


Note: It turns out they did go to Mt. Pele, as this news article from the Sandusky Register, 30 September 1932 shows. And…it was actually rather adventurous, because per this their guides wouldn’t even go to the top with them and they went on alone anyway.


I found a copy of one of the later ads/articles in the Hatchet from May 24, 1932 – its not very readable, unfortunately, but you can still get the idea.

UniversityHatchetThe-19320524-HubbardCruise doris hamlin

It mentions Procter Nichols of “Mountain States Air Photo Service” – he would have been 30 at this time.

This is him about 30 years later

Nichols_Proctor_67_68image found here

It also mentions James S. Free as being part of the expedition “staff”, as well as a set designer named John J. White, and a few other odd additions, like that the “New York Agent” was Samuel something (unreadable) from the Postal Telegraph and connected with the Carnegie Institute.

This may have been Hubbard’s intelligence connection or relay point, because later on you’ll see how he went straight back to New York from Puerto Rico, not home to Maryland where he lived.

– – –


Part of the reason for this deliberate recruitment of unsuspecting dupes – as those who are ‘unwitting’ agents are called in the intelligence trade – would have been both to render the mission ‘innocent’ as to funds, since they were coming from these young men, but also to give the cover some teeth (meaning make it actually real) which is always preferred.

It was no small thing to be able to sail one of these old-school schooners. I think that so-called critics of scientology do themselves a disservice when they try to marginalize that fact, as well as another fact suffering the same treatment – Hubbard pulled this off in the middle of the Great Depression!

That was no small thing either, and most of the time it doesn’t even get mentioned.

That’s got to be intentional, because to understand an event properly it is always necessary to take into account the larger events or happenings surrounding the ‘small’ one. If a ‘critic’ leaves the fact that this is during the Great Depression, out? Then the viewer is viewing it from their time in history and then it does look pretty silly.


But not if it’s properly viewed from that time.


They know this, that’s why they do it.

Because subversive propaganda – aka ‘the war for minds of men’ – when dealing with an inconvenient truth, must build its house upon the quicksands of intentions and emotions.

The mechanism used here is to slip from the facts, which would demand factual judgment, to moral terrain and to ethical judgment.

…This is the real realm of the lie; but it is exactly here that it cannot be detected. …no proof can be furnished where motivations or intentions are concerned or interpretation of a fact is involved.

Therefore, it [propaganda] should be confined to intentions, to the moral realm, to values, to generalities.

Propaganda is necessarily false when it speaks of values, of truth, of good, of justice, of happiness — and when it interprets and colors facts and imputes meaning to them.

– Propaganda: the Formation of Men’s Attitudes by Jacques Ellul. You can read it here. It came out in 1965 originally


Did you know propaganda is meant to literally make your thought processes and decisions crazy?

Yes, indeedy.


… propaganda … plunges the individual into a neurotic state… To mistake an artificial conflict for a real one is a characteristic of neurosis.

– Propaganda: the Formation of Men’s Attitudes by Jacques Ellul. You can read it here. It came out in 1965 originally


Interesting, isn’t it.

I’ll give you another example of how ‘critics’ completely paint over the reality of that time period with the brush of the new millennium, knowing that most people won’t see the ‘missing’ difference without it being pointed out to them – Ellul calls that fact-slipping.

Hubbard was charging $250 per person to go on this expedition on an old-school schooner. Remember, these kind of ships that were still operational were already becoming a rarity, even then.

Think how much $250 was back then. Do you know? Here. I’ll show you. An online ‘dollars’ translator factoring in inflation tells us that –


250 of 1932 dollars is worth today:



If that’s right, that would feed a family for a year or more, during the Great Depression. Or, for you, today, this is sort of like you going on a dream ‘trip of a lifetime’ for you to be spending that much money.

Any way you cut it though, this was no ‘small’ investment that these people were making. How many college students today do you know that could throw away four thousand dollars on a trip like this?

Practically none.

Even for the average American who is already out of college and working – spending this kind of money on a vacation would be difficult, if ever done at all. So for these kids back in 1932? This was definitely the trip of a lifetime for some of them, at least those that didn’t have ‘rich’ families.

One of the first things that happened after Hubbard had the first advertisements placed, is that a man named James Stillman Free got himself involved.

Who’s he?

Well, he deserves some talking about, that’s for sure.


James Stillman Free

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James Stillman Free (November 5, 1908 – April 3, 1996) was the son of James Sylvanous Free and Henrietta “Nettie” Hazelton Bell. The Free family had been in Alabama for generations, all the way back to German-Jewish immigrant Nicholos Fruh (Free) who was born in 1688 in Dackenheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It was Nicholas that emigrated to America and started the Free dynasty.

James became a journalist whose 50 years of Washington-based reporting included coverage of 10 presidential administrations, seven national political conventions, the Cold War, labor relations, civil rights, and the space program.

Note what his age would have been in 1932 – he was 24 and already out of college. So, what’s he doing mixed up in this? Hold that thought…

In 1930, he obtained a graduate degree from the Columbia School of Journalism after only 1 year of the 2 year course. Yet, he couldn’t find a newspaper job, didn’t have any money, and yet in 1932 somehow he raises the 2016 equivalent of 80,000 dollars for Hubbard?

That seems rather unlikely to me. After all, this man moved in strangely similar circles to Hubbard, starting with the Naval Reserve.

I have discussed this point before in several other library articles and posts, but I’m going to say it again in case some reading this don’t know. Back then, the Naval Reserve was NOT like it is today. It was literally a private intelligence group started by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Vincent Astor. Even though Roosevelt enforced it to be a part of the Navy back during WWI, it was a covert anglophilic, BRITISH intelligence group operating in the U.S. Not just anyone would be accepted into this.


And yet, James Free and Ron Hubbard both were.


Not only that, they were both in exactly the same part of the Naval Reserve – Intelligence with it’s designation acronym of IV(S).

I was having a look in the Naval Reserve register for 1944, the same one that Hubbard is listed in and found James S. Free junior on page 225. (His father was still alive, had the same name, hence the junior)



Notice his pay entry date – that’s this number 1 29 33 or January 29, 1933. Given that James would have been 25 in 1933 that’s not real likely that he had 10 extra years of service before then, starting at the age of 15! Nope, not how that works. James started continuous service March 1, 1943 (that’s the 03 01 43 number), and then they backdated some kind of service he had done for 10 years total, subtracted from 1943. (that’s how they calculate pay entry date – I discussed that in this post)

My point is that he obviously did some military work starting after he was of age, 18, which would have been 1926, and I was right because I just found another interview where he discusses that, but again, this is not ten years of National Guard. He also joined up for the ROTC, Coast Guard section, down in Pensacola, but again, the two together don’t make ten years.

In light of that he is funneling the funds here for Hubbard in 1932, and that he was also allowed into the sooper-special Naval Reserve intelligence service – just like Ron Hubbard – I think it’s likely that he became hooked up with Vincent Astor’s “The Room” navy intelligence cluster in New York City, which of course he wouldn’t be mentioning even if he did. Top Secret and all that.

In another strange coincidence, James Free actually applied to be in the Naval Reserve in 1939, the same year that Hubbard became active in carrying out intelligence missions for Vincent Astor and Naval Intelligence in New York. But, he, like Hubbard, was also rejected for official commissioning (Hubbard in 1941 though) on the basis of eye trouble! That’s kind of interesting, don’t you think? Guess they had a lot more in common than people ever knew.

An online history gives us another clue that he was already conducting intelligence for the Naval Reserve between the years of 1930 and 1935. Much like Hubbard, you found him in oddly significant places where rebellions against the slavemaster 2-class systems were going on.

First “wandering” to Puerto Rico with Hubbard, then “wandering” through Central America.

Wandering…that’s what we call it.

air quotes

Strange places to be wandering…don’t you think?

Was he looking for Ovus Poli or Giant Pandas there?

Maybe it was ancient scrolls…



In 1935 he got a job with the Birmingham News, then the Washington Star in 1937, then the Chicago Sun in 1941. After Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the online history tells us he left to become a “naval officer” and that he retired as Captain. (didn’t see that in the register but oh well…)

Apparently his first commissioned assignment was in the Caribbean for German submarine intelligence duty, then moving on to the Pacific Theater as a “Beach master”? Sounds like a cover to me, that’s not ‘intelligence’ work. Maybe, like Hubbard said, because around the summer of 1942 the Navy was very short on trained ‘deck’ officers, maybe James also switched to being D VS (Deck Volunteer Specialist) for a while.

However, James can’t seem to keep his story straight, or perhaps we can blame it on the person who did the online history but in an interview given in 1994, James says that when Pearl Harbor happened he was working for the Washington Evening Star. But he also tries to cover that he was already involved in propaganda intelligence work by saying “by coincidence” – it obviously wasn’t a ‘coincidence’ at all.

Interviewer: […] To start us off, I wanted to know where were you on December 7, when the war started?

FREE: I came to work for the Washington Star, by coincidence in 1939, and 1940, my assignment was covering the war preparations for the War Production Board.

Transcript of an interview of James Stillman Free (JSF)  By Tomas Dinges (TD) for a Woodrow Wilson Senior High School Project December 1994


But then, just to get the story confused even more, a little later on in the same interview he says he had moved over to the Chicago Sun just before Pearl Harbor.


So much for “by coincidence…” part then, I guess.

It gets weirder.

James was actually enrolled in the ARMY first, and then lo-and-behold, the Navy overrode all that, his color-blindness and everything and brought him into Naval Reserve intelligence!


Shows you how important it actually was to the Navy that Ron Hubbard be allowed in, the same thing happened with him! (over-riding his blindness thing).

And toward the tail end of the training, about the fourth or fifth week, I got a dog-eared letter from the Bureau of Personnel of the Navy and it had been to two or three obsolete addresses, places I had been and moved on, and in effect what this said was, “We’re a little short and that was what we were going to be on people, and we’ll give you a waiver on your color blindness if you’ll come in and be sworn in” and so forth. I went to this second lieutenant who was running everything and showed him this letter and he said, “Oh well, it’s too bad you’re in the Army bucko, you can’t get out of the Army.”

After he told me that, I started walking out and there was a sergeant major, a sergeant major is a senior non-commissioned officer . . . whole outfit, he usually does sort of advisory stuff; he doesn’t have any responsibility; lieutenants run everything. Anyway, I was walking out and he just went like this, he said, “He doesn’t know his ass from the hole in the ground. You take a look… section number so and so,” I forget the name of it, and it said an enlisted man . .

so I knew some people in the Pentagon because I had worked over there, so I called a friend of mine over at the Pentagon and told him what this certain lieutenant said. He said. “The hell with that, I’ll take care of that,” so two-three days later I got a telegram through the communications system, to let me the hell go and sent me to Washington to accept this Navy commission.

TD: Oh wow.

JSF:   So I was a private citizen  for a couple of days after I was discharged down there and came back up here and sworn in to the Navy and they assigned me to the Tenth Naval District which is in Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, the headquarters. So I went to Norfolk and got my transportation on a ship and by coincidence it was an old United Fruit ship.

It didn’t have any water tight holds in it and they put bananas and stuff off in a hold, it had been turned over to the Navy and been turned in a supply ship to supply bases in the south and . . . naval bases and supply them.  Anyway the point I’m saying, this, it was an old United Fruit ship before the Navy took it, called the USS Pastores…

Transcript of an interview of James Stillman Free (JSF)  By Tomas Dinges (TD) for a Woodrow Wilson Senior High School Project December 1994


He’s in INTELLIGENCE now, remember, but he’s going on about supplying Navy bases?


Also notice the “I knew some people in the Pentagon because I had worked over there…” story. Knew some people, ok, yea, sure. Must have been quite ‘some people’ then – also kind of like Ron Hubbard.

wink wink

Ah, but then he says –

So I served in San Juan, I was commissioned as a first lieutenant, and I was in Naval intelligence. We handled travel control and various aspects of different things, we got reports of suspicious people, we worked with the . . .


various aspects of different things?

Come now…

Vincent - are we having fun yet

That’s certainly one way of putting it, but see how even more than 50 years later he won’t say what he was really doing? I love how he cuts himself off after the “we worked with the…” part. That would be THE BRITISH that he was working with.

He transferred to Trinidad, because he was ‘bored’ he said. Oh sure, like the Navy will just do that for any old person.

I’m bored…transfer me please.

whoo bored

Yes sir!

salute hans solo

See what I mean? Not usual at all.

They did the same thing for Hubbard, he was ‘bored’ with the intelligence work that he was doing and asked to be transferred to ship duty in 1942, the same year James got ‘bored’! They both get transferred no questions asked.


Nice seniority these two men had, don’t you think?


James transferred to Trinidad, Tobago (British-controlled) in November of 1942, per him. But for your David Miscavige and Scientology knowledgeable types – think Super Power project – check out what James intelligence training course in New York (probably same time Hubbard took it) involved.

JSF: I was in Trinidad for about a year and a half, and the only break I had, I got six weeks of training at a New York advanced intelligence school in a hotel in New York.

And oh, they gave us the whole  works, recognition of enemy airplanes and different types of ships and they would flash these  pictures on a screen and you finally got so it was just automatic; when you saw a picture you knew what it was.


When I was still in scientology, I was given this same ‘works’ as part of doing my ‘leaving’ routing form, one time when I was doing one of my Operating Thetan Level 7 six-month checks – where you had to go in every six months and get questioned about all your ‘overts’ you might or might not have, basically.

They guy demonstrating it to me couldn’t figure out how come I could do it no matter what speed he put it at (giggle) but…he told me it was part of the Super-Power perception drilling section.

So, now we know where David Miscavige got that lovely little idea from.


It’s spy training!


Not only that, it originated with BRITISH intelligence – because that’s (the British Security Coordination office) who was overseeing all Navy Reserve intelligence, especially, using their front man in the Office of Strategic Services, William Donovan.

I loved this part of James’ story – I’ll let you figure out why. It happened after he came back from his ‘intelligence training course’ we just talked about.

Note: Interesting factoid, the ‘Jimmy’ Roosevelt he’s talking about is James Roosevelt, eldest son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom if I’m not mistaken is the same man that helped JFK’s family start their liquor business.

James Free interview excerpt –

I got ordered to the Pacific fleet actually, but they were going to give us some training in San Diego at the Coronado, where Clinton went on vacation, because of the Navy base there. And this training was conducted by the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Roosevelt, the president’s son, and he had been in an outfit. Anyway he ran this thing and one of the guys who had played Tarzan in the movies was his . . . and they put us through the paces.


Ok, I give up. I can’t resist not getting into this further because this is just too funny for words.

Starting with the part about “was his….” what, exactly. Do we even want to know? (ha)

Because who he’s not naming is Johnny Weissmuller, he played Tarzan starting in the 1930’s. So, I have to wonder, did they train the men to do the ‘jungle call’?


Kermit the frog excited

From the New World Encyclopedia –

His career began in earnest when he signed a seven year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and played the role of Tarzan in “Tarzan the Ape Man” (1932). The movie was a huge success. The 6′ 3″ Weissmuller became an overnight international sensation. Even the author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created the character of Tarzan in his books, was pleased with Weissmuller’s portrayal of Tarzan.

Weissmuller starred in six Tarzan movies for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) with actress Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane. The last three also included Johnny Sheffield as Boy. Weissmuller said about the series, “Tarzan films are decent films, designed for family viewing. It’s an idealistic, down-to-earth story about a man’s love for animals and the care of his family.”

Production of Tarzan movies at MGM ended with the onset of World War II. Johnny Weissmuller’s contribution to the war effort was to teach navy recruits to swim to safety out from under waters covered with burning petroleum.

In 1942, Weissmuller went to RKO Studios and starred in six more Tarzan movies. Sheffield appeared as Boy in the first five features for that studio. Another costar was blonde actress Brenda Joyce, who played Jane in Weissmuller’s last four Tarzan movies. In a total of 12 Tarzan movies, Weissmuller earned an estimated $2,000,000 and established himself as the best known of all the actors who have ever portrayed Tarzan.

Although not the first Tarzan in movies (that honor went to Elmo Lincoln), Weissmuller was the first to be associated with the now traditional ululating, yodeling Tarzan yell. During an appearance on television’s Mike Douglas Show in the 1970s, Weissmuller explained how the famous yell was created. Recordings of three vocalists were spliced together to get the effect—a soprano, an alto, and a hog caller. This famous yell is still used in films.


Did you know, that during World War II, homesick soldiers asked that the Tarzan yell be broadcast to them at the battlefront, “both as a connection to home, and for the inspiration it gave“? This, according to Ken Lashway on the Immortal Ephemera website.

Johnny was an excellent swimmer. Correction – he was an Olympic Gold medal level swimmer. He won five Olympic gold medals and set more than 65 world records.

Weissmuller first took on the role of Tarzan, the character created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, in 1932. Other actors had played Tarzan, but critic David Thomson noted that Weissmuller became associated with the character because “he conjured up the notion of a swimming superman, a radio and newsreel hero, now lighted like a god,” according to American National Biography Online.

Weissmuller’s first movie line, ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane,’ became part of screen lore, with his co-star Maureen O-Sullivan.

hello there - jungle girl


Jane’s outfit looks a bit Roman to me, someone in costuming seems to have gotten their genres just a little mixed up, strangely in favor of British/Vatican fairy tale history.

Must be a coincidence.

trying not to laugh

So, here we have “Jimmy” Roosevelt the insurance commission hound (Evening Times, 12 August 1938) riding on his President daddy’s coat-tails, teamed up with…Tarzan… to train a select group of equally questionable men like James Stillman Free.

Can’t you just see it now?

Johnny and Jimmy – the dynamic duo.

Johnny Weissmuller tarzan

Jimmy looks a bit confused –

James Jimmy Roosevelt WWII

Anywhoo –

That’s a bit of history on James Free.

– – –

Of course, the dating of the beginning of all these Naval adventures appears to be just a bit off, because James says he joined the Naval Reserve in 1942, but the 1943 Naval register doesn’t show that (and it would have). As we already covered, it showed that his active continuous service date started March 1, 1943. Yet another of those pesky little documented details messing up the ‘story’ line here.

Here’s another example. James’ daughter did a partial biography of him that said –

As the magazine was folding, Jim responded to an ad in the Columbia University newspaper, The Spectator, offering a two month sailing cruise in the Caribbean for $250 under the direction of a twenty year old George Washington University student named L. Ron Hubbard. (Later the founder of The Church of Scientology). Hubbard, the son of a Navy supply officer, had an option to lease a four-masted lumber schooner based in Baltimore. Hubbard hired Jim to carry out his suggestions for classified advertising in several New York newspapers. By late spring Jim had signed up more than thirty mostly young men for the cruise in June.

– Elissa Blake Free, 2006, partial biography of James Free.

Here’s the problem with this version.

These are the ads that were in the Colombia Spectator, starting on 15 March. Short of reading every PDF, it appears that based on a search of the archives, these were the only ads that related to Hubbard’s movie expedition  –

#1 Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume LV, Number 101, 15 March 1932 (PDF is here)


There are multiple results in a search of the Specator’s new online archive database for that same ad in March and April issues. In May, we get a slightly different ad with a different contact too.

Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume LV, Number 136, 6 May 1932 (PDF is here)


Nothing whatsoever about 250 dollars, or even any colorful descriptions. Why James Free would respond to basically boring ads like this is anyone’s guess. I think his daughter is having trouble trying to make sense out of what actually happened, because, well, because it doesn’t make sense.

I think that’s because there is something else behind this story, an intelligence aspect to things, and that’s why the versions keep shifting around.

James own version, based on several interviews, has some interesting fact-slipping going on.

Besides the fact that it was in James Free’s papers at the Library of Congress that many interesting records of this trip were found, he also gave an enlightening oral history to the National Press club that included a nice chunk of information about his time with Hubbard.


And about that time – this is the spring of ’32 – and about that time I saw in the Columbia University Spectator newspaper an advertisement, advertising a Caribbean motion picture expedition, from Washington headquarters, said they were taking some people down to the Caribbean to make some motion pictures and you could have this three months cruise going to about 10 or 15 different islands down there for $250.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club, March 25, 1992


First of all – the Spectator ads I just showed you didn’t say anything like that, not even anything about motion pictures. Based on a search for ‘movie’ or ‘motion picture’ or “caribbean” – nothing like that showed up in the results

So, why is James saying there was?

The second point that goes to lending more proof that the ads were the ones I showed you, is in this part –

So I answered the ad just to see what it was – I was curious about it. And it turned out that the fella who was running this operation was the gentleman who later founded the Scientology Church, L. Ron Hubbard, who was then 21 years old.

  • JOHN: He started early, didn’t he?


See that “and it turned out” part? It implies that he didn’t KNOW it was Hubbard from the ad. That lines up perfectly with the ads I just showed you because Hubbard’s name is nowhere to be found on them.

Although it could be just a coincidence, in light of several facts stacking up here that are pointing to that this ‘expedition’ is really a cover for some sort of intelligence operation, it’s interesting that James actually uses that term “operation” to describe what Hubbard was “running” – as he put it.

This part then talks about James became Hubbard’s “New York Representative” for this adventure.

FREE: He was a student at the George Washington University. And so I, we made an agreement that I would be the New York representative and try to sell people going on this cruise. Well, we advertised some in the Columbia Spectator and put some classified ads in the New York daily newspapers.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club, March 25, 1992


OK, so now James is supposedly the ‘ad man’. As it turns out, I actually found an ad he theoretically placed.

This is the first ‘colorful’ version I have seen besides the University Hatchet one, which isn’t a major paper like this one. It’s also the first one actually showing L. Ron Hubbard’s name.

It’s from the Daily Tar Heel on 26 April 1932, page 3 –


Plain text –


Group of college men chipping in for windjammer cruise through

Caribbean-Martinique Vieques Haiti, etc.

on fourmast schooner


of Baltimore, 200’x38′. Primary object: Adventure. Secondary: Movies of old pirate haunts, volcanoes, and material for travel magazine. Total cost per member–

$250 for 100 days

payable June 1-15. Leave Baltimore June 15, returning Sept. 25. Write immediately to L. Ron Hubbard, 2124 Eye St. NW, Washington, D.C., stating qualifications.


OK, so now James is the “New York representative” who uses the name HARRISS on the ads placed in the Spectator, rather than his own name (for some odd reason).

The next thing that happens is that supposedly he raises more than 4000 dollars – 1932 dollars, that is.

And before it was over, by early June, I had signed up some 25 people to go on this cruise at $250 apiece.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club, March 25, 1992


25 people at 250 each? That’s a lot of moolah back then.  Apparently, per James interview, Hubbard was busy letting all sorts of people ‘just come’ and he hadn’t really accumulated much money.

So, it was James that apparently was the conduit of the real funding for this trip. Hubbard even said that thanks to James “we now have enough cash to go ahead.

Considering all this money came out of New York, where Vincent  Astor and The Room was, one has to wonder whether James was simply doing a Father Coughlin.

A “Father Coughlin” is in reference to his being used as a front man to fund the Nazi’s during WWII with lots of little donations that were actually funneled TO the American names/people, who then sent them IN to Catholic priest Coughlin as religious donations.

Because seriously, 25 people capable of shelling out the equivalent of 4k back in the Depression? Seems highly unlikely to me and more like some spurious set-up on how to get Hubbard the funding he needed for his trip.

I bet that most of all that money ended up somewhere else in someone else’s hands, probably at one of the ‘stops’ on this cruise.

Which stop? I’d say either Bermuda or Puerto Rico or both.

Bermuda was where the British’s big censoring operation was – where they sneaked into everybody’s mail headed to the U.S. and the Carribean/South America, and Vincent Astor was known to ‘cruise’ down there when he was probably really touching base with some British intelligence operatives. Puerto Rico was then in a rebellion against the Slavemasters and their, well, slavery conditions they were fostering there.

The usual method for the slavemasters in that situation is to covertly fund a chosen opposition – and that’s probably part of what happened here with Hubbard’s trip. He has some unexplained divergences in it, which I’ll get to later, but I thought I’d kind of ‘write out loud’ a bit on it now.

In the next bit, I think that James is giving a bit of a cover story here, and it won’t be the first time either. You’ll see what I mean as we get deeper into what happened, but as a teaser I’ll tell you now that James lied about what happened when Hubbard and he were in Puerto Rico and after that – they never “came in together on a freighter into New Orleans” as James says in this same interview. Ship records prove that’s a point-blank lie.

So, there’s that.

eye roll kara

His daughter tries to correct that rather blatant slip later (after James was dead) but it’s too late – James had already let the cat out of the bag by trying to cover for Hubbard – who was still in Puerto Rico for a reason – by lying that they ‘came back together’.

Comes under that ‘wandering‘ business they both had a habit of doing.

Speaking of which – here’s James continuing the story about how he came to be involved with Hubbard –

And that’s – so impressed Hubbard that he invited me down to Washington. And he had charted an old lumber schooner – 300 feet long –

  1. JOHN: Fascinating.

FREE: It was in Baltimore. They were going to use that for the ship. And I came down to visit with Hubbard and he made me co-director of the enterprise.

And it turned out later that one reason he did was that practically nobody else had paid cash to go. He gave people various concessions for being this and that. And he gave some students – one university cash credits for bringing along what they said was going to be a laboratory to study fauna and flora and so forth down in the Caribbean.

He made two different arrangements for photographers to come along to record the thing. He claimed that The New York Times was going to handle – to publish it.

And also he was going to sign up a Pathe News cameraman, movies, and make movies down there. He said he could make movies out of pirate haunts and even said you could make some underwater movies.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club.


See that part about being made ‘co-director’? There’s a bit more to that than meets the eye. Look what his daughter added in the partial biography –

Also, to protect the management from damage suits, Hubbard had incorporated in Delaware as “Wanderers Incorporated” naming Jim as one of the company officers. It turned out that Jim had sold some two thirds of the tickets.


Oh my god.

Wanderers Incorporated? Ha fricking Ha. Nice ‘cover’ there.

Turns out, that really did exist. I managed to find a rather obscure record that supports there was a corporation in Delaware named that, although technically it was referred to as Wanderers, Inc.


WHEREAS, Pierre S. duPont, Tax Commissioner on behalf of the Tax Department of the State of Delaware, has reported to me a list of corporations which for two years preceding such report have failed to pay the taxes assessed against them and due by them under the laws of this state.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, C. D. Buck, Governor of the State of Delaware, do hereby issue this proclamation according to the provisions of Sections 75 and 76, Chapter 6, of the Revised Statutes of 1915, as amended, and do hereby declare under this act of the Legislature that the charters of the following corporations, reported as aforesaid are repealed:

[huge list]

Wanderers, Inc.

…IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, C. D. Buck, Governor of the State of Delaware, have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal to be hereunto affixed this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord one- thousand nine hundred and thirty-six and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and sixtieth.

(Great Seal)

By the Governor:


W. D. SMITH, Secretary of State.

– Delaware Government website, Session laws, 106th General Assembly – retrieved March 16, 2016


This wouldn’t be the first time that money for what was actually an intelligence mission for Hubbard was channeled into an odd corporation – his later Puerto Rican expedition had the same thing going on with it.

Continuing with James’s timeline, we see that after various misadventures getting the Doris Hamlin ready for the journey, they finally left port on June 24, 1932.

And, anyway, we finally sailed out of Baltimore with 53 people aboard on June the 24th, 1932.

And we, just this big schooner did not have a propulsion motor. The only motor on there was to pull up the sails. And we were sort of – We had a little ballast but rode it high in the water.

We had to get towed out of Baltimore into the Chesapeake Bay. The winds weren’t too good. It took us four days to get out of Chesapeake Bay – [laughing]

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club.


I found a couple news articles – one covering that and one from a month earlier that I thought it would be kind of interesting for people to see it too.

This one’s from May 28, 1932, the Sandusky Register. It talks about a fellow engineering student from George Washington University that was from Ohio apparently. In this one we see all the colorful explanations of what they will be doing. Ray Heimburger is going to be the supercargo.


This one is from the Evening Sun, June 18, 1932 –

Evening Sun June 18 1932 Hubbard Caribbean expedition

This one talks about Captain Garfield – from June 24, 1932 after the Doris Hamlin had left.


Quite the itinerary there, listed at the end, isn’t it?

Now for some pictures –

The Doris Hamlin getting ready to sail



The Doris Hamlin underway in the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition



The not so happy college students in the hold

James Free center back holding bottle



The Laboratory –



The passenger/crew list –

You can see James is on it as J.S. Free

Doris Hamlin Hubbard passenger crew list2 Doris Hamlin Hubbard passenger crew list

Some humorous notes on it too!

Here’s a plain text of the passenger list, as best as I can make out anyway – so you can see better what some of the notes say.


Robert Wolf

(35?) W. Prospect Ave. Appleton, Wisconsin

Notes: “good old Rob, fine helmsman”

S. Stewart

512 Stanley St. Middletown, Ohio

Notes: (Bob) The bus driver, a wow with the gals (Left at Ponce.)

H. Bisham

(9?) Washington Ave

Notes: Bill – Telephone man in Ny. Comedian of the crowd.

Percy E. Knudson

Pierhead Light Staton, Racine, Wis.

Notes: Old sour Percy (something “list”) man.

Ralph E. Hinman

cut off – “ower” Malborough, Mo.

Notes: Ace – Professor – School teacher – never works.

W. Mead

…023 S. Holmes St. (Wayne -)

Notes: artist – but never saw any of his work.Was a ? director

C. Blackmer

..olial Record Ass. County Trust Bldg. 8th Ave & 14th St.

Notes: (Handlebars) The man with waxed mast. Publisher. The loudest and happiest man aboard.

Kaye (Sunburn Kay)


Notes: comm artist who gets 4 mo. Vacation per year.

Paul? Tietjen

…260 Virginia ave. Lakewood Ohio

Notes: The belly aker of the crew.

(25) R.G. Finch

1619 S. University Ave. Ann Arbor, Mich

Notes: The Un. Of Mich. (d)uck) collector bugs frogs plants, very narrow mind.

(26) W.R. Wright

30 E. 68th St. NYC

Notes: (Bill) Chief question an…self elected. A lot of bull…

(27) Frank Kasper

Box 43 Raspeburg, MD

Notes: The Balto boy – quietest man on the…volunteer fireman.

(28) J.S. Lachowe

1319 F. St. N.W. Wash. D.C. (John) left at Ponce

Notes: rising young lawyer, going to sue Hubbard as soon as he is admitted to bar.

(29) L. Ron Hubbard

2124 Eye St. Washington D.C.

Notes: (left at Ponce) (The boy wonder!) (A redheaded pr-man)

(30) Dick B. Schmidt

Schmidt Bottle Co. Springfield Ohio

Notes: (left at Ponce) Had the largest cache of ships food. Found when he left. (Our only crook…)

(31) Martin Foster

3593 Andwerp Place Avondale Cincinnati, Ohio

Notes: (left at Bermuda) He lost his nerve in the storm and left.

(32) Dan Kohr

1906 Jackson PL. N.E. (left at Martinique)

Notes: Long-legged Dan, slowest man, very thick headed.

(17) F.C. LeGost

413 Homestead Ave. Mt. Vernon NY

Notes: (Apple) the rope man always tying knots, left at Ponce.

(18) Capt. John B. Scott

5513 Beauregard, Ave. Baltimore, MD

Notes: Our 1st mate.

(19) J.B. Tanner

Alden Park Manor Apt. 801A, Germantown Phila, Pa

Notes: The youngest, 17 years, good sailor. Most kidded. Longest…a line is drawn here [this is probably a penis length reference that is “censored”]

(20) Paul Wilkerson

1308 Belmont St. N.W. Wash. D.C.

Notes: (Wilke) movie man, left at Ponce.

(21) R.P. Gates

4408 Volta Place, Foxhall Village Wash. D.C.

Notes: the real artist, did a lot of water colors.

(22) A.G. Lynn

21 Burgess Place Passaic, NJ

Notes: (Tony) (left at Ponce) only one who had been in Martinique before.

(23) Capt. F.E. Garfield

c/o Vane Brothers, Baltimore Md.

Notes: Skipper

(24) Dr. M. Hollander

2237 Linden Ave Balto. Md.

Notes: Dock.

(illegible name) 570 Jamaica Ave. Brooklyn, NY.

Notes: Bond Salesman, NYC (Jim) (left at Ponce)

F.J. Schweitzer

2578 N. Prospect St. Milwaukee Wis.

Notes: The good boy, doesn’t drink, smoke. (nickname Freddie)

G.W. Blakeslee

222 St. Dunstans Rd. Balto, MD.

W.F. Kristainsen

1121 Lake Shore Dr Escanaba, Mich.

Notes: One of the sailors (nickname criss)

(H or W) L. White

2516 E. 7th st Spokane Wash.

Notes: He came a long ways to waste 2 months

T.L. Pantz

40 Anderson St. New Rochelle, NY

Notes: The Boatswain, best sailor of the bunch (nickname Pants)

(W?) H. Snyder

476 Clinton St Brooklin NY

Notes: always drunk in port and half the time at sea – a lot of bull—- (bullshit)

(W?) H. Snyder

476 Clinton St Brooklin NY

Notes: always drunk in port and half the time at sea – a lot of bull—- (bullshit)

W.C. Colgan

326 Furrow St. Balto MD (nickname Hack)

Notes: our engineer-pessimist

(9) E. M. Airons

482 Fort Washington Ave. New York City

Notes: the banker….Richest man

(10) G.F. Winchester

1227 Howard St. Port Huron, MICH

Notes: (GPOTGP) Eddie’s shadow (left at Ponce)

(11) O.R. Fitz

146 E. 89th St. NYC

Notes: (OTIS) Good Sailor

(12) R. E. Johnson

327 Lexington Ave. NYC

Notes: Bill Wrights …(nickname Bob) adv. Man, a little squirt. (left at Ponce)

(13) J.S. Free

1104 Greensborough Ave. Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Notes: (Jim) (left at Ponce) Co-Director…a rotten one. Good fellow otherwise.

(14) W.W. Happy

849 State St Traverse City, MICH.

Notes: Our Radio Operator. He would make…good – (Oh. We…)


(15) J.M. Michaelson

2548 Univ Pl. NW. Wash. DC

Notes: (Mike) heaviest man, good natured.

(16) James Aver

1936 McCausland Ave. St. Louis MO. Nickname (Hour)

Notes: Most …(traveled?)…(artist)

(42) H.A. Glidden

I.C.C. Wash. DC

Notes: (Harold our electrician, durn good fellow)

(43) Tom Barbour

Rock Pt. MD

Notes: Collector for Smithsonian/ (???) Maryland – Farmer (?)

(44) Ray A. Heimburger

1312 N. St. NW Wash Dc.

Notes: sends in pix to NY Times, climbed Mt. Pellee With him.

(45) K.A. Haines

1501 Neil St. Columbus, Ohio

Notes: Our photographer, Bridge is only sport.

(46) E. Groth

44 Bardin St. Rochester NY

Notes: Other photog. E.K. Co. Lab man.


Quite a list!

I think it’s funny there’s a guy from Spokane (my neck of the woods).

Next we have an example contract these boys had to sign. (Blakeslee was the camera man)

contract hubbard motion picture expedition 1932

All of the above are from Library of Congress records, by the way, the collection of James Stillman Free.

One of the Church of Scientology’s websites provided a helpful little map of the route of Hubbard and his merry band of “wanderers”.

motion picture expedition map

Continuing with the James Free account of the trip – my notes in […]

…another nine days to get to Bermuda. [July 7 approx] We had a couple of storms and blew out a sail. Scared the bejesus out of some of these people aboard.

And the wireless – radio wireless we had– didn’t work too well. That scared some of them, too. So 11 of them left. We went to Bermuda, landed at Bermuda for provisions and regrouping. And 11 people left there. And by that time the money was a little low. And the food was getting low, too. It didn’t have any refrigeration on it.

And Hubbard had the bright idea of getting a whole lot of sawdust, putting it down in the hold in one section — Most of these people slept down in the hold on army cots, these folding army cots. He just built wooden stairways down to the hold, the cargo hold, for these people to sleep down there. And of course it wasn’t too comfortable at that.

But anyway, the only way you could get out of Bermuda – Hubbard sold shares in the expedition, telling he was going to make a lot of money. And some of these people bought it, and bought some shares. And he also borrowed money from a few others to pay our costs and get some new supplies and water and so forth, getting out of Bermuda. [he raised seven or eight hundred dollars]

And we did that. And we finally got out of there, three or four days.

And after four days going south we ran into the Sargasso Sea where’s no wind and a lot of seaweed. [July 10/11]

A lot of sailing ships get stuck in there for days. We were only stuck in there for four days.  [July 14]

And after we finally got out of there, 10 more days it took us, and we got to Martinique – [July 24]

  1. JOHN: Still going south?

FREE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. We had some problems — people – pretty green crew and all – but, anyway, the basic thing was when we got to Martinique we were practically flat broke. And although he had paid this Pathe cameraman fifteen hundred dollars to come on the trip – which is half of what he paid to get the schooner – he’d paid $3,000 to lease the schooner.

Well, we were broke about that time. So he sent a cable back to the company in Baltimore, “Send money and let us get out of here if you want the ship back.” It was called the Doris Hamlin. It was an old lumber schooner.

…Anyway, the owner of the schooner sent money down [Captain William Burke Vane] and we, brought us back, ones that wanted to come back.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club.


A bit different version of when and where the money was requested is from his daughter’s biography – apparently it was after they had left Bermuda, and was actually in Martinique when the “cable” was sent back to the Doris Hamlin’s owner in Baltimore that they needed more money.

They were only three days out of Bermuda heading generally south before entering the Sargasso Sea, which is a near – windless area where they were stuck for four or five days.

The passengers were not happy. The only entertainment was swimming, a chess tournament and fighting amongst each other. The food supply was dwindling, all fresh food had spoiled.  Most food came out of a can. When random winds blew them out of the Sargasso, they picked up trade winds andhad a wonderful cruise that wound up about a week later in Martinique.

Very soon it was apparent, aside from an unsaleable film about a cock fight, there were no other movie sale possibilities and Hubbard’s finances were depleted. He sent a cable back to Baltimore telling the schooner’s owner that if he wanted the “Doris Hamlin” back he would have to send money.

After the money was received and the schooner was repossessed, it sailed north for St. Thomas but blew out another main sail and was forced to go with the wind to Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Since Ponce was not a free port and passengers would have to pay customs fees on alcohol, there was a concerted effort to consume as much of the alcoholic spirits aboard as possible, before the tax man hit.  There was massive intoxication but no injuries before reaching Ponce!

– Elissa Blake Free, 2006, partial biography of James Free.


So, apparently they were in Martinique for quite a while before setting out again.

I wonder what James and Hubbard were doing.

More “wandering” perhaps?


Some news articles start trickling in ’round about then, here’s one of them –

Sandusky Register, August 19, 1932


From this, we can tell it must have been late July, beginning of August before they started trying to head for St. Thomas, so they must have been in Martinique for at least a week.

Actually, I found another news article showing when the owner, William B. Vane received the cable asking for money, which wasn’t until August 8 for some reason.

Send funds to bring the vessel home.


Baltimore august 9 1932 doris hamlin cables for funds

An 8000-mile radio transmitter was supposedly part of the equipment? That’s interesting.

Again, my question is still what were Hubbard and Free doing all that time mucking about in Martinique?

– – –


There was a very real reason for Hubbard’s timing in not only going to Bermuda, but especially ending up “having” to go to Puerto Rico was practically magically well-timed.

Going to Puerto Rico was a large part of the real point all along, actually, because guess what was happening right then in Puerto Rico? A “nationalist” uprising against the Sugar Trust British slavemasters.

You see that word ‘nationalist’ as a slur like that, you know somebody is rebelling against the 2-class system – as they should – and the slavemasters are stigmatising it as ‘communist’ or ‘nationalist’. Just like they always do (or have done) starting as far back as the American Revolution. Check out some Catholic Popes words for yourself – they’re really bonkers on the subject.

I had gathered quite a bit of information as to the backstory of the rebellion going on then in 1932, and my husband has incorporated much of it in his Scientology Roots book, particularly as related to Hubbard’s going there not just once here, on the Doris Hamlin, but two MORE times, including another bullshit cover expedition called the Puerto Rican Mineralogical Survey expedition.

*You can read more about it in my husband’s chapter 12-1: Hubbard’s Lifelong Intelligence Career.


James Free explains how they ‘ended up’ in Puerto Rico before the expedition ended –

We tried to come back by way of St. Thomas. And going into St. Thomas we blew out a mainsail. And they couldn’t go – And having no motor we couldn’t – We had a headwind. We couldn’t go into St. Thomas. So we turned around and went to Ponce Puerto Rico. And Ponce was not a free port. Customs was going to seize our liquor.

  1. JOHN: Such an adventure.

FREE: Anyway, so we cracked quite a bit of liquor before we got into Ponce. As it was the Customs sealed 55 quarts.

But, anyway, Hubbard and I got off the schooner, and some others did at Ponce, and it came back to Baltimore with only 37 of the original people on it. And we, we got a trip back from Puerto Rico on a freighter. We went to New Orleans.

And I was, wanted to go back to Alabama. And I don’t know where Hubbard wanted to go to, but he came in, we came in together on a freighter into New Orleans.

And that’s the last I’ve seen of L. Ronald.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club.


Elissa Free’s later biography corrects this story, she must have wondered why he told it wrong in the first place!

Little did she know…in my opinion it was James still covering for Hubbard and what they were actually doing once they got to Puerto Rico, let alone what Hubbard did there alone for more than nine days after James left.

I’ll get to that in a minute, but watch how Elissa’s version completely contradicts James own version.

At that point, a few of those aboard including Jim and Hubbard had arranged for receipt of enough funds to return home.  They went their separate ways–never seeing each other again.

Jim traveled back to Tuscaloosa by way of New Orleans on a cargo ship with a friend made on the schooner, Bob Johnson, a son of Owen Johnson, a popular novelist of the period who wrote “Stover at Yale” and other works of fiction.

– Elissa Blake Free, 2006, partial biography of James Free.


Bob Johnson is this member listed on the passenger/crew list –

(12) R. E. Johnson

327 Lexington Ave. NYC

Notes: Bill Wrights …(nickname Bob) adv. Man, a little squirt. (left at Ponce)


Now we’ll get into what really happened, who went where, and when, and on what ship.

James specifically said –

We came in together on a freighter into New Orleans.


Wrong –


That’s not what happened at all.

This is the ship Ron Hubbard came back on.


The S.S. Coamo –

New York City as seen from it’s decks in the 1930′s.


The SS. Coamo –



Passenger Records for

August 25th, 1932


L ron Hubbard ss coamo august 2 1932 puerto rico to new york

Arriving in New York August 29th, 4 days later.

Here’s a PDF file of the image for you –

passenger lists – hubbard SS COAMO from puerto rico to new york


Guess whose name is not on that passenger list?

You guessed it – James Free.

He lied when he said this  –

I don’t know where Hubbard wanted to go to, but he came in, we came in together on a freighter into New Orleans.


After those two go to Puerto Rico, there seems to be a missing couple of weeks in there somewhere, because Hubbard didn’t depart Puerto Rico until well after James did – nine days after, to be precise.

James S. Free is listed on a completely different ship, the SS. Comorio, and records have him leaving from Jobos (sp?) Puerto Rico on August 16th.

Notice whose name is also on the list, his new friend Robert “Bob” Johnson, right below James’s name.


Why did James lie and say they came back together – is he covering for Hubbard?


Given what was going on in Puerto Rico at the time politically, I can’t say I’m surprised to find out Hubbard got himself down there in such a roundabout way, and then had a mystery 9 days doing god knows what by himself…

There’s an odd article that I found with a pretty interesting picture of Hubbard. The article appears to be after Hubbard had returned the U.S.


Notice the part about –

The Ponce Harbor Board advised me as to my status and told me that I could easily throw the matter into court there. However, I knew that such a step would require months and I had no wish to cause our men such inconvenience. I then did the only possible thing and returned the States to straighten matters there with the owners who had sent the captain the money in Martinique.

Advised him as to his status?


OK. Well, whatever…

He also leaves out the part about wandering around in Puerto Rico for another 10 days or so.

smiley drumming fingers

Ray Heimburger was none too happy about how the Hubbard Caribbean Motion Picture expedition ended, as you can tell from this news article –

Sandusky Register – September 10, 1932



The article was written after the Doris Hamlin finally managed to make its way back to Baltimore, which another news article covered that story –

The Evening Hamilton, September 13, 1932


Despite everything, its interesting that the Doris Hamlin was the first boat to ever pull into Baltimore harbor at night under her own power. What a sight that must have been – I wonder if the moon was out?


Hubbard’s ‘expedition’ intelligence cover wouldn’t be the first time that the Doris Hamlin was used. A little known fact is that another intelligence ‘expedition’ was advertised to be undertaken on the ship, just months before she disappeared having been sunk by a German torpedo.

Puts a whole different light on what you are about to read.


Madera Tribune, February 18, 1939


Plain text –

Soldier of Fortune Will Lead Expedition


DETROIT, Feb. 10. — Plans for a 100-day expedition to photograph the “sunken city” of St. James off the Island of St. Christopher, are virtually complete.

Robert Hall, 38-year-old Detroiter and wealthy soldier-of-fortune, will head a 25-man expedition to the coast of the Caribbean island. Included in the party are professional men and four university students. Frank Picard, youthful professional navigator, will serve as first mate under Hall on the expedition’s schooner, Doris Hamlin. Picard once was first mate of Walter Wanderwell’s yacht Carma when it cruised the Pacific in 1932. Picard resigned only eight days before Wanderwell was slain aboard the craft.

Look how many similarities there are here to Hubbard! Wow.

It sounds like this guy Hall (the son of engine creator Robert S. Hall) may have actually been on the Doris Hamlin because not all the names on the passenger/crew list are readable. I say that because of what he said in a different news article that I found – he said that it was while sailing around the Caribbean in 1932 that he first ‘had’ this idea.

This article also shows that apparently they changed ships from the Hamlin to a motor-powered ship instead.

The_Bee_Thu__May_25__1939_(1) The_Bee_Thu__May_25__1939_

Frank Picard was the son, junior actually, of Judge Frank Picard. The fact that the first article mentions a claim that he was the first mate for Walter Wanderwell on the Carma, and that he left “just eight days before he was slain” is actually really interesting.

The murder of Wanderwell is still considered a big mystery even today.

He was murdered on the night of December 5, 1932 while he was aboard the yacht Carma in Long Beach, California – of all places. His real name was Valerian Johannes Tieczynski — he had been born a German-Pole. He was preparing the yacht for a South Seas adventure, apparently, when he was killed.

I like this writer’s portrayal of the events –

Take a suspected German spy, his beautiful wife, a soldier-of-fortune with a grudge, throw in a British peer, a mysterious “man in grey,” allegations of mutiny, and an unsolved murder aboard a barely seaworthy ship manned by an amateur crew of adventurers and you have a Hollywood melodrama that seems to write itself.

But the murder of 43-year-old Captain Walter Wanderwell in 1932 wasn’t dreamed up by Tinseltown scriptwriters. It happened in Long Beach not too far from Hollywood when Wanderwell, born Valerian Johannes Tieczynski — a German-Pole, was preparing his two-masted schooner Carma for a South Sea adventure cruise.

Wanderwell lived a life that most people can only dream about. He was a world traveler who literally had been there, done that. His resume included trips to the wastelands of Siberia, journeys through the darkest parts of the Amazon, treks across the scorching sands of the Arabian and Saharan deserts — where he witnessed the opening of King Tut’s tomb — and numerous sea voyages.

He was a mysterious man who achieved in death the notoriety he courted in life. During World War I, Wanderwell was suspected of being a spy for Germany and was interned in the federal prison in Atlanta.

…Wanderwell had no money of his own, but he was skilled at getting others to subsidize his adventures, usually by taking the bored children of wealthy families on tours to exotic locales.

…The Carma was a 20-year-old craft that had been seized by federal Prohibition agents with a cargo of 300 cases of whiskey when Wanderwell bought it for $2,500 and began recruiting a crew for a South Sea cruise of “adventure and riches.” The ship was described in the press as being “about as seaworthy as a cardboard raft,” but Wanderwell managed to skirt Coast Guard regulations by listing the dozen adventurers who had paid about $200 for the trip as crew members.


Sound familiar?

Cheesy overload.

daniel jackson stargate facepalm


Remember, this is the same year that Hubbard comes up with his expedition, and it’s also AFTER him, so it literally seems to be copying Hubbard.

But, talk about similarities, check out this part –

Wanderwell also wanted to use the trip to publicize his idea for an international police force that would make war obsolete. He had been trying to sell the League of Nations on the idea without success.

The trip, he thought, might help create international interest in the idea.

Viewing the League of Nations as an international government, Walter wanted to be the head of the League’s police force.

To do so, he organized the Work Around the World Educational Club, or WAWEC. Wanderwell assumed the title of the Captain Commanding, with multiple unit leaders around the globe under his direct command.

To join, members had to swear off alcohol and tobacco and adhere to a military-like dress code. The initial sign-up fee was $5, which quickly rose to $200 when WAWEC proved to be a popular idea.
Wanderwell’s money-making schemes earned him a reputation of scam artist; the ultra-paranoid J. Edgar Hoover had his G-men keep a very close watch on WAWEC because he believed that Wanderwell was a con man and because he feared the suspected spy was building a private army, but the FBI never had sufficient evidence to catch him doing anything more than wearing a uniform with a rank he didn’t earn.


That’s just….

Nicolas Cage Laugh

I don’t even know what to say about that.

Here he is in his ‘uniform’ just before he was killed.

aloha wanderwell and walter in his international police force uniform

The guy certainly has the bumbling ass routine down cold, I wonder which intelligence agency he was actually working for, because he obviously was. I’m thinking the British, because this guy seems so Aleister Crowley-ish to me.

Just minus the magic props and swami-hat.

Crowley’s bumbling kooky ass routine –



Another example of Wanderwell’s bumbling ass routine – here he is again in his ‘uniform’.

wanderwell-expedition example

Next –

The mysterious hit-man in grey?


It was a moonless, foggy night and the tired schooner’s creaking wooden decks and hull almost drowned out the bells and horns that sounded throughout the Long Beach Harbor.

The only incident that had disturbed the preparations for the long sea voyage was the strange disappearance of Wanderwell’s revolver that had vanished several days before. Despite a diligent search by the entire crew, the weapon was never found.

The mess hall conversation was interrupted by a face appearing in the open porthole.

“Is Captain Wanderwell aboard?” asked the man, dressed in a gray coat with the collar pulled up and a cap covering his eyes.

“Yes,” one of the crew replied. “Are you the electrician?”

The stranger answered that he was not the electrical expert the crew was expecting.

The man was directed to the captain’s cabin and the crew all said they heard his footsteps on the deck.

“Hello!” they heard Wanderwell say, more in a surprised manner than one of fear or alarm.

They all testified that they did not hear any conversation, but just a few moments after Wanderwell’s greeting, they heard a single gunshot.

Racing to the cabin, the crew found no sign of the man in gray, but found Wanderwell already dead on the deck. He had been shot through the back. The single bullet passed through his heart.

Robbery was not the motive for the murder, for Wanderwell’s wallet containing $600 in cash was still in his pocket.

…police quickly centered their investigation around a former WAWEC crew member who had led an attempted mutiny against Wanderwell during his last voyage from Buenos Aires to San Francisco.

That crewman, a Welsh “soldier-of-fortune” named William “Curly” Guy had been placed in irons aboard the ship and deposited, along with his wife, ashore in Panama.

Guy recently caught up with the Wanderwells (it wasn’t hard to track their movements because of the publicity that they generated) and threatened Wanderwell with violence when the captain refused to return money that Guy had paid for passage to the United States.

“I went to his hotel and found two men who were about to sign up for another of Wanderwell’s cruises,” he told police. “I told them what happened to me and warned them not to have any dealings with him. But I did not kill him.”

After four of the five crew members aboard the Carma identified Guy as the mysterious man in gray, he was charged with killing Wanderwell. Guy, however, had an alibi — he was having dinner with friends miles away when Wanderwell was shot. Six people corroborated his alibi. He made no bones about his feelings for Wanderwell, however.

“I hated Wanderwell. I had reason to hate him,” he told police. “I would not have minded killing him, but I would not have shot him in the back.”

Guy went to trial in February 1933, and after a two-week trial, he was acquitted of the crime. The jurors said the eyewitnesses, who hedged while on the stand, could not overcome Guy’s alibi. Guy, however, didn’t enjoy freedom for long. He was immediately arrested by federal authorities on immigration violations and deported.

Wanderwell’s dream of an international police force died with him, however many of the principals in the strange case went on to illustrious (if somewhat tragic) careers.

Guy was deported to Great Britain after the trial and continued his soldier-of-fortune ways by fighting with the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War, and with the Chinese partisans after the invasion of China by Japan. During World War II he served as a flight instructor and then as a pilot transporting warplanes across the Atlantic. He was also pilot-in-command when Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie flew to England to consult with Winston Churchill. Guy reportedly made more transatlantic trips than anyone else before he was killed in a crash in 1941.

The only other person arrested during the Wanderwell investigation, Lord Eugene Montague, younger son of the Earl of Manchester.

Well, now. This ‘Guy’ character sounds a bit British intelligence too.

william curly guy - supposedly the man in grey

Sounds like there must have been some sort of problem in-the-ranks necessitating the murder of Wanderwell, especially considering Guy’s career after this mysterious murder.

– – –


Whatever happened to the Doris Hamlin?


Not burdened with this colorful expedition of Robert Hall and Frank Picard after all, it still came to a sad end.

James Free tells us that –

About two years after — Had no propulsion at all. About two years after that it went out to sea with a load of coal and after being missing for 10 days became permanently missing. And they never heard of the ship or the crew anymore. This was 1934.

Oral history of James Free taken by the National Press Club.


But that’s way off.

It was in 1940, the schooner headed out for Tenerife, loaded with coal, and just disappeared – presumed sunk by a German submarine.

– – –


What about James Free?


What was he doing after the Hamlin adventure, and at the same time that Hubbard is mucking about in Puerto Rico and Central America?

More wandering that just happens to be right in the thick of the various revolts going on.

After a whole story about James buying a newspaper in a shady kind of deal, together with Bob Johnson as the advertising man, and then losing it in February of 1933.

Of all the things to do, he and fellow Doris Hamlin shipmate Bob Johnson decide to…wait for it…drive an old beater car down to Mexico and “see what happens”, basically!

vincent price - whoa


Yep. This is only about six months after the Doris Hamlin trip ended.

In February of 1933 the owner of the printing equipment raised the rental price so high that Jim was forced to give up the business. Jim arranged to sell the university printing contract and the Weekly Warrior to the man who had been successful in bartering enough farm and general produce to keep them going. He took over the paper in late February, 1933.

Bob Johnson, who had been acting as advertising manager, joined Jim in purchasing an old Dodge passenger car and they planned a trip through Mexico to end of whatever road lay beyond.

They paid $50 and with recapped tires and about $10 worth of mechanical work, the car was ready to roll. They set out for Texas in late February, crossing the border of Mexico at the beginning of  March on the day that President Franklin Roosevelt closed all the banks in the U.S. because the financial crisis.

– Elissa Blake Free, 2006, partial biography of James Free.


Yet somehow they accidentally on-purpose ended up “wandering” their way through Guatemala and Honduras, ending up staying with the American Consul at Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Right where things where really heating up, revolution-wise, no less.

The first problem with Elissa’s portrayal of this, she gets the Consul’s name completely wrong.

…Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

In a small world situation, the Consul at the American Embassy, Mr. Ackley, was the son of the people who lived directly behind Jim’s homeplace on Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa!  This made for an instant friendship. Ackley even invited Jim and Bob Johnson (the other two traveling companions had gone their separate ways) to accompany him and his wife for the weekend to a vacation resort leased by the American Embassy and run by Germans on the Pacific coast.

Jim and his friend Bob Johnson stayed in the capital city of Tegucigalpa for three months, renting a house on a hill overlooking the city.

…In November of 1933, Jim and Bob took a freighter to San Francisco and proceeded via Chicago back to their respective homes. They never saw each other again and failed to keep in touch.

– Elissa Blake Free, 2006, partial biography of James Free.

The Consul, or Ambassador to Honduras at that time was Julius Gareché Lay. He started in 1930, under President Herbert Hoover, and was in place until 1935.


I think James lied to his daughter about this for a really obvious reason, unless she just made this up herself. I kind of doubt that. But seriously, why would James lie about such an easily research-able detail like that? I guess he just figured his daughter would believe him. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’ll leave it at that.

Then there’s the utter oddness of the part where James and Bob just split up never to speak again after this months long excursion landing in Tegulcigalpa.

Who knows, maybe Bob didn’t have the stomach for what these sick slavemasters were doing to the peoples of these countries and didn’t like what he found out slavemasters and their igors are actually like.

I like to think that’s the case, anyway.

James and Bob weren’t there on some ‘road trip’, I do not believe that at all. Much like Hubbard’s further excursions to Puerto Rico (after the Hamlin) later in 1932 and on into 1933 – these are intelligence-related.



What these two men were supporting and helping to bring about was monstrous. They should be ashamed of themselves.


In closing – a word on Honduras.


With the transfer of power from Policarpo Bonilla to chosen dictator General Sierra in Honduras, things were primed for the formation of the United Fruit Company in 1899 – one of the most infamous slave-worker based companies ever created.

Sierra was overthrown just 4 years later in 1903 by General Manuel Bonilla, who proved to be an even greater friend of the banana companies than Sierra had been. Companies gained exemptions from taxes and permission to construct wharves and roads, as well as permission to improve interior waterways and to obtain charters for new railroad construction.

Meanwhile, John Jacob Astor IV’s attempts to free up Honduras from debt, build them new railroads, were completely stymied by the U.S. State department (which really meant British anglophiles were getting marching orders from the British slavemasters.) Note: John Jacob IV was killed in the later Titanic disaster – he was Vincent Astor’s father.

Bonilla was gotten rid of, he was a sadistic dictator, and President Davila was democratically elected. He was pro the people – always a bad thing to the slavemasters.

So, in 1909 J.P. Morgan and associates, with full backing of the United States Government, began strong-arming all the Central-American countries, plus Cuba and the Dominican, to turn over the collection of the customs taxes in Central America, in order to pay off Central American debts to European Banks.

Yes, you heard that right, the U.S. was made to interfere in another country’s affairs to make sure the City of London bankers get their loan payments.

President Davila wasn’t co-operating well with the U.S. bankers, why should he? He preferred the deal he already had with John Jacob Astor IV, and he had no love for the British, viewing them as enslaving his country.

Which they were.


As I said, Manuel Bonilla was then a deposed President of Honduras, Davila and the people of Honduras had gotten rid of him. He was still really, really irked by it.

Pouting to anyone who would listen.

angry pout

J.P. Morgan and Samuel Zemurray, the co-owner of Cuyamel Fruit Co, took him up on it.

Together with Sam the banana man – they helped launch a fake “revolution” to get rid of President Davila.

Zemurray gets together a crew composed of himself, Lee Christmas, Guy “Machine Gun” Molony, and Manuel Bonilla. They get together some arms, and some machine guns, they sneak out from New Orleans in the Hornet.

The Hornet

They met with with two other boats – the Centinella and the Emma – and proceeded to invade the Atlantic Coast of Honduras in July 1910.

Normally American Navy ships closely watched the Bay of Honduras, on this occasion they were nowhere in sight. Reminds me of all the U.S. personnel being ordered off the fly-base when the plan was launched to ‘assassinate” President Hussein of Morocco some years later.

eye roll kara

This particular machine-gun toting invasion did not succeed in overthrowing Davila, but the US government threatened further revolutions unless Davila accepted the Morgan loan proposition.

Davila was in a dilemma, if he accepted the Morgan loan, his countrymen would turn against him. If he rejected the Morgan loan, then Manuel Bonilla would overthrow him. And then…

You know what? I’m going to cut this here because there’s really a lot to understand about Honduras and I really think you need to read my husband’s rough-draft chapter 18New World Order In Central America to get the magnitude of all that was being done to these countries in the name of British interests – aka “American” interests.

I would like to leave you with this little overview though, of just what people like Ron Hubbard and James Free were supporting and assisting.

Starting from 1898, over the next thirty-five years, the U.S. military intervened in Latin America and Central America twenty-eight times.

In Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, and Guatemala. None of these were our countries.

We had no business interfering in any of them.

American foreign policy was ‘magically’ now no different than the role British and Vatican slavemasters had been infecting humanity with for the last five hundred years.

Our revolution was about breaking free of these madmen, and now, only a little over a hundred years later, the U.S. military had literally been forced into the metaphoric role of Vinnie the knee-breaker working on behalf of the New World Order and the British/Vatican slavemasters to enforce their banking, business and political interests in other countries.

We, the American people, were commandeered to be the cut-out, the fall guy, the point to they-did-it PR bonanza for these psychos.

I don’t think we should tolerate that any more.

I think its high time we limit the slavemasters to fighting their own wars themselves and only themselves, and see how long that lasts.

That’s what I think.