Death of Shawn Lonsdale

The St. Petersburg Times reports today on the apparent suicide of Scientology critic Shawn Lonsdale.

It was a lonely end for a man who emerged out of nowhere in 2006 as a thorn in the side of the Church of Scientology.

For a few months in mid to late 2006, Lonsdale stood alone in downtown Clearwater beside a sandwich board that read “Cult Watch” in the heart of Scientology’s religious headquarters.

Videocamera in hand, he taped hours and hours of footage: Scientology buildings, church staffers walking the streets, security guards watching his movements and verbal confrontations with Scientologists. He then edited them into a “pseudo-documentary” about Scientology that eventually aired on local cable television.

Lonsdale, who was never a Scientologist, was an odd nemesis. He had no connection to the church before arguing with a Scientologist over redevelopment issues at a Clearwater City Council meeting.

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35 Comments on “Death of Shawn Lonsdale”

  1. Bill W Says:

    Some idiot will asign blame to COS somehow in this situation, but let’s all get more facts before we jump on the COS blame wagon on this one. Please? Show a little more restraint here and don’t assume that just cuz he was a COS critic that he died as a result of COS activity.

  2. Decisive Says:

    As I broke the news of this to several of my in-the-know friends we all came to the same conclusion that this was anything but an every day suicide.

    The two trains of thought I’m running with at the moment are:

    A: It was done by $cientology, perhaps the suicide letter once released will give us some insight. However with the Clearwater Police force in charge..not very sure about that.

    B: Shawn did this as a statement against the Church..or maybe was harassed to the point where suicide he felt was his only option.

    Rest in Peace Shawn, I hope this investigation is thorough.

  3. XENU TV Says:

    Shawn was a troubled guy. At the time he was picketing, he faced eviction. Rather than get a job and get his life back in order, he decided to let his life spin further out of control.

    I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead but Scientology should not immediately be blamed for the guy’s death. It is most probably exactly what is being reported.

  4. JP Says:

    Did you guys remember that one pc technician suicide after he stole Tom’s Cruise Wedding Photos?
    here is the news:

    I don’t understand but there is always suicides around this cult.I don’t want to talk about conspiracies or things like that, but this all smells fishy.I know this cult mess with your mind but to make people to commit suicide seems something hard to believe but it’s true.
    I just want to tell you Mark to take care always of your health and be always around talking with us, i don’t want that something bad happens to you because you are a good guy and we need more people like you exposing this cult.

    Good job Mark.

  5. Xenu 101 Says:

    I don’t believe that Scientology was neccessarily behind this. They may have been a factor in shaping his life into a state at which he no longer considered it worth living, but I think it’s pretty ignorant to blame them entirely for this.

    From what I understand, while he did plenty of great work, he had his issues beyond Scientology. Pretty serious issues. So I don’t think we should let them off completely for his treatment, but don’t point the finger at them for doing anything more than their regular harassment. Wherever the blame may lie, it’s a shame.

    My condolences to the family, and I think he deserves tons of respect for his bravery is standing up to the Goliath that is Scientology in Clearwater.

  6. hypernation Says:

    It’s sad when anyone takes their own life. That’s about all I can add for now.

  7. vicky Says:

    Call me suspicious, but this whole thing stinks (unlike carbon monoxide). “They found a garden hose stretched from the exhaust pipe of Lonsdale’s car into a window of his home…” That strikes me as an odd way to go about it. And then the newspaper report of recent efforts by Scientology to silence this man: They dug up two misdemeanor convictions, called his employer and his landlord to denigrate him, subpoenaed him for a deposition… Regardless of the circumstances of Shawn’s death, it is a shame.

  8. Libraesque Says:

    AND xenu tv, he WAS on the path to getting his life in order…..

    According to the Times report, Lonsdale had backed off of his anti-Scientology activities, or at least the public ones. Perhaps he was editing his hours and hours of footage, or perhaps he simply pulled back from the stress of the battle with the “fair-gaming” Church. He’d found a job and was thinking about going back to school to get a private investigator’s license.

  9. XENU TV Says:

    Did no one ever try to put their life back together before turning to suicide?

    To automatically assume Scientology killed Shawn is a big leap. Did they kill him first to get his car keys to start the car so the exhaust would cover their nefarious deed? Did they just knock him out with ether to get the keys? Did they tiptoe into his room to sneak them from his pocket while he slept?

    I’ll trust the authorities to do an investigation before I leap to wild flights of fancy. Sometimes sad unfortunate things happen and Scientology isn’t to blame.

    I’ll concentrate on the documented evidence of abuse first before crying wolf over a terrible loss.

  10. The Under Toad Says:

    It is the logical consequence of Co$’s actions that whenever someone they consider a suppressive person appears to have committed suicide, they are immediately suspect.

  11. Nancy Edwards Says:

    A list of facts would be helpful.


    I was at 510 N. Lincoln , Clearwater FL 2-19-08 in the afternoon. I walked around the property.

    An odor not unlike decomposition was intense : I could smell it from the street.

    The house is sealed with red tape on all doors and windows. Red tape marked sealed as evidence 2-16-08.

    Yellow tape on side door marked as notice of lien by tax collector Diane Nelson on
    2-14-2008. I don’t know if the lien is against Mr. Lonsdale or the property owner.

    A corpse was reported removed from the house rented by Mr. Shawn Lonsdate on SAturday 2-16-2008 as I read in the St. Petersburg Times newspaper on 2-19-08.

    I spoke with several of the neighbors. Most were upset.

    Does anyone know the last time anyone saw Mr. Lonsdale alive ? When was the last time anyone spoke with Mr. Lonsdale ?

  12. vicky Says:

    Sometimes sad unfortunate things happen and Scientology is to blame. It is not a leap to wild flights of fancy. I don’t automatically blame Scientology for Shawn’s death but it is not wrong to speculate about it based on their past activities. Hey, if they’ve got the balls to infiltrate government agencies and “destroy” their critics, I don’t put much past them. They are ruthless and determined in their “rightness.” Nonetheless, we will see what the autopsy says. Apparently many of the Clearwater police are on the Scientology payroll part-time and I hope that will not color their investigation. RIP.

  13. Libraesque Says:

    I heard somewhere that a very dangerous lunatic was “promoted” to a high position and thats when all hell broke loose, starting with the MURDER of David Hans Schmidt the extortionist who blackmailed tom cruise. Apparently this guy has a Get It Done No Matter What policy and thinks nothing of killing people

  14. Sponge Says:

    Here’s one of Shawn’s video clips, intended for his Cultwatch programme on Public Access Pinellas but never aired (explanatory titles added plus tribute at the end)….

    R.I.P. Shawn.

  15. vicky Says:

    The IRS website has an interesting from #3949 A.

  16. vicky Says:

    Sorry, it should say FORM #3949 A.

  17. rob0t Says:

    Bill W – it isn’t just a “blame CO$ bandwagon”. It’s a deduction of motive and what facts are available. He died at Midnight, in his bedroom, a hose was hooked into his window from his car exhaust, thereby killing him from carbon monoxide poisoning. Kinda odd how he killed himself, wouldn’t you say? Most people who decide to kill themselves using carbon monoxide will sit in their garage where it’s far easier to suffocate from lack of ventilation rather than be in their bedroom with a complex fashion of asphyxiating themselves with the gas. Midnight, he might have been in bed at the time, though that’s no guarantee. Mighty strange way of killing yourself, isn’t it? Especially when you’re so very close to releasing a film about the Sea Org.

    I’m only saying that what is available is more than suspicious, it’s down right blatant. It reeks of murder and the stench is wafting from Scientology. The Clearwater Police are even bought off by the Co$. Even if they do a toxicology the result will still show traces of carbon monoxide and thus corroborate with the “apparent suicide”. Figure it out.

  18. tehMati Says:

    Oh, come on guys. I realize that it is extremely tempting to make this more than a suicide. It might be, but unless the police find otherwise, we have no cause to claim foul play. It may also be tempting to create a martyr out of Mr. Lonsdale, but this should, in my opinion, be avoided. He was an important figure in the fight against the Co$, to be sure, and his death is a tragedy, but using his death (which, until the police say otherwise, is a suicide) to garner public sympathy would be disrespectful.

    Our aim is to protest intellectually, to educate the public, and win this fight the rational way, not to throw around accusations which are unfounded, and use a long-time critic’s tragic death as a means to get attention.

    If we want to “avenge” Mr. Lonsdale, we should protest peacefully, mail our representatives, educate our peers and the public, and fight the good fight with dignity.

    Don’t jump to conclusions. Be smart, be careful, for great justice.

  19. Of course. But the alarmingly high “suicide rate” of the enemies of Scientology is part of what we’re protesting. I don’t know if they killed Shawn Lonsdale or drove him to suicide or none of the above. Just add his name to the list of mysterious deaths.

    Joel Campus, David Hans Schmidt, Ken Ogger, Theresa Duncan, Josephus Havenith, Noah Antrim, James Hester, Stacy Grove Meyer, Susan Meister, Roberto Deplano, Paride Ella, Giuseppe Tomba, Gabriella Bramucci, Oscar A., Mario M., Massimo B., Wilhelm Mack, Michael Leube, Bob Mills, Quentin Hubbard, John Buchanan, Nancy Graham, Sue Mueller, Richard Collins, Patrice Vic, Albert Jaquier, Rudolf Willems, Karen Simon………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    We are anonymous.
    We see far.
    We see to the finish.

  20. br549m Says:

    For xenutv you moron Shawn was NEVER in fear of eviction

  21. br549m Says:

    Read the st pete times article where his landlord said he paid his rent on time

  22. br549m Says:

    apparently this is another one right xenutv

  23. XENU TV Says:

    br549, I was referring to this period in his life when he was in danger of being out on the street and people were raising donations for him.

    In my opinion, he had allowed himself to lose perspective and spent everyday on the Clearwater streets videotaping when he needed to get other aspects of his life together.

    I was happy to see he re-grouped, got a job and tried to right his ship. I do not think Scientology killed him however. If there’s proof of that, I’ll be happy to see it and share it.

    As I said, I don’t want to speak ill of him in any way but it is easy to lose yourself on a quest. I’ve seen others come dangerously close to doing so.

  24. cm5783 Says:

    Of course.. you may not jump to conclusions, but, the killings that surround the CoS are disturbing. And this is an understatement! And the Clearwater police is doing duties for the CoS. I find that disturbing too. So, I wait and watch what will come of this. But, I do not trust the bastards!
    I’m so sorry for his family and friends.

  25. Libraesque Says:

    the point is, is you said “Shawn was a troubled guy. At the time he was picketing, he faced eviction. Rather than get a job and get his life back in order, he decided to let his life spin further out of control.”………when in fact his landlord said he always paid his rent on time… HOW would he be facing eviction?
    How did his life spin out of control?
    How was his life not “in order”
    How was he “troubled”

    It sounds to me like he HAD a job, he was researching $cientology for a REASON, and if people were supporting him what’s the problem? Other than by trying to help expose these frauds, it got him killed.

    I would bet the farm that if research were done re: suicide he would be the ONLY person in the world who killed himself by running a hose from his car into his house…it’s ABSURD

  26. Libraesque Says:

    I’ve been googling like crazy, and it’s very difficult to get an accurate percentage of death by carbon monoxide poisoning because it’s lumped in with poisoning which includes OD’s….and that category is still really low 1.8 % per 100,000.

    SO we’re supposed to believe that he would run his car with a hose leading into his house….running the risk of someone, a neighbor, etc hearing the car idling for what….hours? til it ran out of gas or sputtered out AND running the risk of someone seeing the hose………….rather than turning the gas on in his house?
    WHY? It makes no sense!!!!!!

    Just like David Hans Schmidt “hanging” himself, yet his feet were draggin on the ground because he was too tall to hang from where he was found….it makes no sense

  27. XENU TV Says:

    Look, I didn’t know Shawn and I know no more about his death or his situation than what was in the paper. I know no more about his life than what I’d seen on the web. My statements were conjecture on the little info I have.

    However, I am not about to say that Scientology killed Shawn unless there is some proof of that. That is a giant leap.

    It makes no sense that Heath Ledger would die at 28 when his career was at an early high and the Batman film about to open. But sometimes tragedy happens.

  28. cm5783 Says:

    I agree Libraesque, a lot of weird suicides surround the cult. It attracks a lot of unstable people.
    Reportage: Steven Fishman Deposition. Former member of the CoS. Gives a good inside in how they deal with members wich go totally out of control. How convenient if the man would kill himself. Ok, let’s send him some poison!

    But, still don’t know what happened to Shawn Lonsdale. RIP.

  29. Anonymust Says:

    WBM has it right. He has me convinced at least. I have my own reasons for it however.
    It’s too clean. Anyone in a cult wouldn’t be capable of getting away with such a perfect murder scheme. It takes someone who is psychotic or otherwise insane, not just brainwashed. This simply isn’t the way a brainwashed mind commits a crime.
    The point of evidence is that unless Shawn had the habit of leaving his keys in his car, there’d be no way for them to kill him. Also, they would have to open his window from the outside and do so silently enough to not wake him. I say they, just wildly assuming one person wouldn’t act alone. No neighbors witnessed any activity that I’ve heard of, and normally foul play is detected by now.
    I recently watched a movie called “30 days of night”. In it, there’s a scene where a man drives a large vehicle into a bar, then tries to kill himself with bombs. Before he is killed, the eldest vampire says in his native tongue, “This is what happens when they face a force too great for them to fight.” in so many words. That’s what I think happened here.
    tl:dr; Scientologists are vampires.

  30. Xenu 101 says:

    “I don’t believe that Scientology was neccessarily behind this. They may have been a factor in shaping his life into a state at which he no longer considered it worth living, but I think it’s pretty ignorant to blame them entirely for this.”

    Shawn Lonsdale had no reason to want to die, and his friend Randy Payne, as well as Attorney Luke Lirot, attests to this. Lonsdale had found steady work on the night shift at a local company, stocking shelves. He talked about going back to school and getting a private investigator’s license.

    “He was getting on with his life,” Payne said. “He had every reason to live.”

    Shawn was also a pretty smart person, he just isn’t the type to commit suicide. Just watch him on BBC’s panorama. He’s composed, cool-headed, and confident.

    Also, think about the timing of his death. On February 10, 2008, Anonymous launched a world-wide mass protest, with around 8000 people decrying $cientology. He was found dead around a week later. Apparently, some people dont think he was extremely happy about 8,000 people worldwide rallying to his cause…

    Shawn Lonsdale was killed by the Church of Scientology. And the scary thing is, they will get away with it, at least for now. Doubting that Scientology was not involved, or even considering that this competant, stable, and brave man committed suicide is doubting his courage. Spread the news, don’t let his death be in vain. The Church will have to pay for their crimes the day they are completely exposed. We will not forgive.

    I side with logic.

    R.I.P. Shawn

  31. Libraesque Says:

    anonymust…..a perfect murder scene??????
    I think this murder scene is BANANAS!!! who the fuck runs a hose from their car into their house? It’s absurd and exactly the kind of sloppy ass nonsense some whacked out $cienos would concoct if you ask me. I guarantee, if there was some way to actually check, that NO ONE has EVER commited suicide in this way…EVER in the history of suicide!!!
    As far as getting his keys, etc etc, it seems like that wouldn’t take a brain surgeon. I can come up with about a jillion different scenerios just off the top of my head on how someone could pull this off.

  32. Lou Says:

    Some questions I have. Did 1.Shawn Lonsdales’ rental unit have a garage? 2. I know he had a job when he died. but is there any other evidence that he was tying up lose ends in his life perhaps, because he was planning to die soon? Such as , closing bank accounts ,
    statements he might have made to someone or anything that might suggest he wasn’t planning to be alive much longer?

  33. Fritz Says:

    It was done on David Miscavge’s personal order,and arranged to look like a suicide.

    The one trick they missed was the length of the garden hose leading into the house…with all that back pressure in the exhaust system from the long hose,the engine would have died (the same effect happens when a potato is put into an exhaust pipe)before the level of carbon monoxide was high enough to be lethal.

  34. If anyone needs to fill out a form 3949-A, I found a blank form here This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few related tax forms that you might find useful.

  35. black thief Says:

    kennith Robins is a scientologist he is the man in the baseball cap on shawn longsdales you tube channel that said to shawn I called our mother,he harassed and gang stalked shawn longsdale.920 Pinellas st Clearwater fl,33756

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