Did anyone notice Lisa looked bad?


1/26/97 -- 6:17 PM By DANIEL RUTH/Tampa Tribune Columnist Always remember that the weird founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, got his start writing bad, very bad, science fiction. Were the story of Lisa McPherson not such a tragic, sordid tale of neglect and anguish and death, the behavior of Scientology officials in obfuscating the details of her last comatose days in the ``custodial'' ``care'' of the ``church'' would seem like something out of ``Plan 9 From Outer Space'' - laughable, clumsy and unbelievable. On Nov. 18, 1995, McPherson, a longtime Scientologist, was involved in a minor fender-bender in Clearwater. Paramedics arriving on the scene discovered the 36-year-old woman wandering nude down the street. She was taken to Morton Plant Hospital for observation. Hotel Twilight Zone But no sooner did McPherson arrive at the hospital than she was whisked away by Scientology officials and taken to the clan's Fort Harrison Hotel twilight zone. The group's officials assured Morton Plant doctors McPherson would be well cared for by her ``friends'' 24 hours a day. Two and a half weeks later, Lisa McPherson was dead, dehydrated, covered by insect bites, bruised. And now the Hubbardites are claiming everyone is picking on them. Imagine how Lisa McPherson must have felt in the waning moments of her consciousness? Some friends. Some ``church.'' Where's Rod Serling when you really need him? Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood has concluded McPherson died of a blood clot induced by severe dehydration, perhaps as long as five to 10 days before her death. Since the McPherson story became public, thanks to the deft reporting by this paper's own Cheryl Waldrip, the Clearwater Police Department has begun an investigation into the woman's death, which law enforcement officials regard as ``suspicious.'' Gee, no kidding? As you can well appreciate, the Scientologists have branded any hint they might be responsible for McPherson's death a tissue of lies, all lies. The media has lied. The medical examiner has lied. The Clearwater cops have lied. So easily cleared up Of course, being called a liar by the Scientologists, masters of delusion, deception and dissembling on an order that makes David Copperfield seem like a mere three-card monte artist, is like being lectured to on human rights by Pol Pot. The death of Lisa McPherson isn't suspicious? Well, fine, let's take the Scientologists at their word. No question, they can easily clear up all the suspicions, such as: -- Why was a near-death, comatose McPherson schlepped 20 miles away to finally - FINALLY - see a doctor (who just so happened to be a Scientologist) when Morton Plant Hospital was literally blocks and moments away? Hmmmmm? -- As her weight precipitously dropped and sores appeared on her body and McPherson lapsed into a coma, perhaps as much as 48 hours before she DIED, didn't anyone over there at the Fort Harrison notice McPherson wasn't looking too good? ANYONE?!?! ANYONE AT ALL!?!? Or was everyone too busy reading ``Dianetics'' to pay attention to a dying, helpless woman? -- Oddly enough, three Scientology employees, Suzanne Schnuremberger, Ildiko Cannovas and Laura Arrunda, who had administrative oversight of McPherson during her life and death in the custody of the ``church,'' have oh, so conveniently ``left the country.'' Suspicious? No, not at all, according to the good friars of the Fort Harrison. There are many, many other questions surrounding McPherson's strange, suspicious death, but perhaps this one lingers most odiously: Just what parts of the Scientologists' evasions is anyone supposed to believe - with a straight face? Why, it's almost like a plot out of a . . . bad, very bad, science fiction story. How many Scientologists have to die? http://www.b-org.demon.nl/scn/deaths/