At one point during this period, FBI agents raided church headquarters in Los Angeles and Washington. Hubbard and three trusted aides, fearing that his enemies had at long last gained the upper hand, ran for cover. They fled a Scientology compound near the town of Hemet and drove to Sparks, Nev., where they used false names and lived in a nondescript apartment for six months until things cooled off.
"When the raids happened he never really knew what they (the FBI) had," recalled Dede Reisdorf, one of those who accompanied Hubbard.
To disguise Hubbard's appearance, Reisdorf said, she cut his red hair and dyed it brown. He often wore fake glasses, donned a phony mustache and pulled a hunter's cap down over his ears.
"He got to a point," Reisdorf said, "where he wouldn't even walk in front of a window. ... He was afraid of being seen by somebody. There was always somebody in a bush somewhere. A reporter or an FBI agent or an IRS agent."
It was not the last time Hubbard would go into hiding. In 1980, on St. Valentine's Day, Hubbard pulled another disappearing act. This time, he never returned.