England's sleepy Scientology town | BBC

The utterly bizarre tale of East Grinstead, a small town in Sussex that appears to be cosplaying as the fictional town of Twin Peaks. It boasts:

  • The home of L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology (now also a retreat and worldwide HQ for said quackery, making it a focal point for cult members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta);
  • Recent UFO sightings from commercial airline pilots using the nearby Gatwick;
  • A branch "stronghold" of the Rosicrucians ("ancient" order of knowledge protectors and general secret society types);
  • An Opus Dei church (the group infamously brought to the mainstream via The DaVinci Code's self-flagellating monk assassin);
  • The British home of Mormonism;
  • The first Waldorf/Steiner school in Britain;
  • A collection of Waldorf-based biodynamic farms (utilising some of Steiner's weirder teachings);
  • Ashdown Forest, real-world inspiration for the 1000 Acre Wood of Winnie the Pooh (AA Milne lived on the edge of East Grinstead) and literal site of the invention of Pooh Sticks (and the now-named Poohsticks Bridge, no less);
  • The forest also plays a central role in modern Wiccan and druidic folklore, due to it (and the town) being at the convergence point of multiple ley lines and the Greenwich Meridian, as well as containing several excellent-quality quartz outcrops;
  • The site (also in the forest, or nearby, depending on who you talk to) of an occult false-flag propaganda event during WW2 that saw Canadian airmen dress up in black robes and dance around a fire at midnight. "Operation Mistletoe" was designed to trick Nazi "mystics" into believing that the Allies had made an occult breakthrough, with the hope of drawing out spies in the south of England 🤯 (and may have been attended by Ian Fleming of Bond fame);
  • A specific radio mast that was solely used to broadcast fake news and propaganda during WW2;
  • And Queen Victoria Hospital, the site where Sir Archibald McIndoe (a Kiwi surgeon brought to the UK to help the RAF during WW2) pioneered multiple cosmetic surgery and patient-recovery techniques to help burns-victims heal, including some of the first surgical graft procedures for facial reconstruction.

So why so much weird in one place? I particularly like the idea that McIndoe is to thank. His efforts in modernising patient care during WW2 meant that he encouraged those under his care to venture into the town ASAP. In order to help them mentally rebuild, this required the townsfolk to treat them normally, despite quite severe deformities that would have resulted from their injuries. The town agreed and became known as "the town that didn't stare", a civic sensibility that has survived to modern times. Indeed, the town is a favourite of celebrities not just because it's incredibly quaint, but because the people that live there are statistically much less likely to inform paparazzi or hassle someone on the street, making it an extremely tolerant town for people of alternative faiths as wel. I think that's pretty great 😊

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  • The utterly bizarre tale of East Grinstead, a small town in Sussex that appears to be cosplaying as the fictional town of Twin Peaks. It […]
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