Like an invading race of aliens from a bad science-fiction novel Scientologists have slowly and stealthily taken over the city of Clearwater, Florida.
There are now very few non-infected humans left in the town. In 1975 the Scientologists bought one hotel in Clearwater. They then drew up plans to take-over the city. Over the years the church bought up properties in the surrounding blocks. The church now owns 185 properties in Clearwater. These properties cover 101 acres in the center of the city.
The Tampa Bay Times has created a story map which uses Google Earth satellite imagery to show the extent of Scientology’s control of Clearwater properties. As you scroll through How Scientology Doubled its Downtown Clearwater Footprint in 3 Years individual buildings are lit-up on a darkened oblique aerial view of the city to show which buildings have been taken over by the church. The technique is a very effective way to visualize the extent that Scientology has taken control of large parts of downtown Clearwater.
The Tampa Bay story includes some shocking details about other tactics that the church has taken to take control of Clearwater, including framing the mayor and planting spies in the local newspaper, chamber of commerce and the state attorney’s office. The take-over of such a large area of downtown Clearwater has also had a very adverse effect on local businesses.