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Posted at 01:46 PM ET, 11/06/2009

Tom Cruise. Scientology. Need I say more?

Apparently talking to an ashtray is not considered a nutty kind of thing to do, as long as you're doing it under the guise of deepening your Scientology practice. Oh, and if Tom Cruise is the one telling you to do it.

Just in time for the holidays, a new book exposing alleged details about not just Scientology -- but Tom Cruise's association with the church -- is available for stocking stuffing and hostess gifting. In "Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology" former practitioner Marc Headley details his 15 years as an employee of the church and his experiences with one Tom Cruise.

Some of Headley's recollections appeared in this week's Village Voice. Cruise, for instance, allegedly instructed Headley in what is apparently known as the "book-and-bottle routine," designed to help aspirants reassert their control over, umm, objects:

"You do a lot of things with a book and a bottle. It's known as the book-and-bottle routine." Cruise, he says, would instruct Headley to speak to a book, telling it to stand up, or to sit down, or otherwise to move somewhere.
"You do the same with the bottle. You talk to it. You do it with an ashtray too," he says. "You tell the ashtray, 'Sit in that chair.' Then you actually go over and put the ashtray on the chair. Then you tell the ashtray, 'Thank you.' Then you do the same thing with the bottle, and the book. And you do this for hours and hours."

Which, for some reason, leaves me with a mental image that has a soundtrack something like this: "Katie, sit down. Katie, stand up."

"Blown for Good" is available at Headley's Web site,

By Liz Kelly  |  01:46 PM ET, 11/06/2009

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