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With the suspicious birth of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' first offspring (or, if you're more prone to conspiracy, the final removal of the false stomach, pillow, or watemelon that's been strapped to her midsection the last few months) supposedly imminent, the paparazzi and tabloid press are on high alert for any sign of impending baby-expulsion. Always the leaders in gossip technology, the British Sun claims to have caught friends of the couple delivering the copious signage allegedly involved in the shadowy, much-whispered-about Scientology "silent birth" technique:

TOM Cruise’s pregnant fiancée Katie Holmes will be reminded to keep her vow of silence during birth — by signs plastered around their home.

The couple — following the Scientology tradition of a silent birth — had the posters delivered to their Beverly Hills mansion.

The 6ft placards will be placed so Katie can see them in labour.

One reads: “Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable.” [...]

Friends — believed to be Scientology elders — were pictured carrying the huge white boards through the gates.

The “birthing boards” will also tell staff and visitors to stay silent.

Assuming for a moment that the entire scene wasn't staged by scoop-happy shutterbugs or rag reporters (how considerate of the "elders," observing the Church's new spirit of openness, to get out of their cars and examine their delivery before passing through the compound's gate!), we're pretty sure that described sign was a decoy. The birthing lab will likely be covered in messages more easily readable by a woman in the throes of contractions, such as "NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM IN HERE. WHY BOTHER?" and "I SIGNED A ONE BILLION YEAR CONTRACT AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY TURKEY BASTER," the latter meant to replace the trauma-inducing sounds of natural childbirth with a knowing, yet resigned, chuckle.

[Photo: Splash via The Sun UK]