The Golden Suicides - Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake

BunnySkull

Silver Meritorious Patron
DuncanBlakeHeartbeat.jpg Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan at home in LA.

This story has fascinated me ever since their deaths. I had briefly encountered the couple years previously in NYC, and the stories of paranoia and crazy behavior in their final year NEVER made any sense to me. It went contrary to everything, I and others, knew about the couple. As this blog story about them even notes, the smart, urbane, witty, literate writings of Duncan are incredibly hard to contrast to the reports about their erratic and paranoid behavior.

Here is the new post on Gawker about the couple, their suicides, and the scientology connection that has always loomed large over it. (Beck is involved, Jeremy Blake did the artwork for his second album cover. Beck was supposed to star in a movie Teresa was writing and directing and they stated they were going to help Beck leave the cult - that he desperately wanted to get away from Scientology and LA.)

For those not familiar with the story, here is the introduction to it in the Gawker post:

In July 2007, the artists Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan ended their own lives. Both had grown erratic and paranoid in the preceding months, and on the 10th, Blake found his longtime romantic partner dead in their East Village apartment, overdosed on a lethal cocktail of whiskey and Tylenol PM. One week later, he drowned himself in the Atlantic Ocean at Rockaway Beach.

The official story, forwarded in a flurry of media coverage of the so-called "golden suicides," tells of folie à deux—a shared delusion, brought on perhaps by career-related stress and a lot of bourbon and champagne, and manifested in abruptly burned bridges with formerly close friends, bizarre "loyalty oaths," and an increasingly monomaniacal preoccupation with conspiracies, especially those related to the Church of Scientology. But alongside this, there exists a second vague narrative: that the shadowy forces that so captured the imaginations of Duncan and Blake in their final years were not merely a troubling obsession, but an active player in their deaths.

One new tidbit I was not aware of but certainly adds to the Scientology cloud surrounding the story:

1. The story Vanity Fair did about the couple (titled: The Golden Suicides) was in part written (though he had his named removed) by Thomas Connelly, who was revealed by Rathbun and Rinder to be a Scientology plant at Vanity Fair. He was paid by the cult to pump Andrew Morton for info. about his upcoming Tom Cruise bio. He was the first author on the story for VF piece, but later down the road refused an "additional reporting" credit on the story. He was the primary contact and interviewer for several sources in the story - which while it covers the Scientology angle, definitely pushes the idea this was just a sad case of dual-mental illness destroying two lives. (Rather than the cult slowly harassing two people to the point of suicide and insanity.)

2. Another interesting point was that Blake and Duncan became convinced a circle of people at Paramount were working with the Scientology to sabotage them. Of the group named, only Beck was a known Scientologist. However, one of the people named is P.T. Andersen?! Odd, especially when you consider years later his interest in the cult and its history was so strong that he wrote and directed "The Master." (I do not think Andersen is a Scientologist, but I do wonder what he witnessed/was exposed to in LA that possibly troubled or triggered his interest in the subject to the point he made "The Master."?)

Anyway, this is one of those stories that will drive you crazy the more you read about it. If it wasn't for the Scientology angle it might be easy to write off Blake and Duncan as two people slowing giving into a paranoia and suffering from mental illness (as rare as it is for two people to share a mental illness). But I'm sure the same thing could have easily been said about Paulette Cooper if the truth had not been revealed by the documents in the FBI raid that showed the extent the cult went to to drive her crazy, monitor her every move, make her paranoid and frame her for crimes. Scientology just as to long a track record of doing exactly these types of things to just write it off, which is what makes this story so frustrating.

I never give the cult the benefit of the doubt. When Scientology is thrown in the mix we know we probably haven't yet seen the bottom of the barrel when it comes to their abusive behavior and crimes against what it views as its critics, and esp. against people who they think may jeopardize the membership of one of their big celebrities.

I only hope if this story of their deaths keeps getting attention and articles written about it that one day some people from the cult who know something might step forward, in these days of mass defections it seems more and more likely that could happen.

I'm not saying all of Duncan and Blake's accusations or fears were true, but I do think there is something to their stories. I hope one day a cult member or PI involved with investigating or surveilling the couple in LA will open up about what exactly happened and to what extent the cult was involved in harassing and monitoring them. Since cult members tend to live in a bubble and constant hamster wheel of Hill 10's, they may not even realize who Duncan and Blake were, that they are now dead, or what they were involved in was any big deal. Maybe seeing a post about this will job some memories of an ex-OSA member who can shed some light on this tragic couple.

http://blackbag.gawker.com/the-scientology-conspiracy-theory-about-two-artists-go-1691694049
 

WildKat

Gold Meritorious Patron
View attachment 9799
I never give the cult the benefit of the doubt. When Scientology is thrown in the mix we know we probably haven't yet seen the bottom of the barrel when it comes to their abusive behavior and crimes against what it views as its critics, and esp. against people who they think may jeopardize the membership of one of their big celebrities.

I only hope if this story of their deaths keeps getting attention and articles written about it that one day some people from the cult who know something might step forward, in these days of mass defections it seems more and more likely that could happen.

Me too! Fascinated by this story, I mean. I tried just a few weeks ago to do some digging, because I believe there is a HUGE cover-up here. I tried to find her blog posts where she voiced her concerns, but couldn't find it. Have you seen it? Was info erased?

I think there is someone out there who knows something about this very weird story, and I would love to see the mystery solved one day.
 

BunnySkull

Silver Meritorious Patron
Me too! Fascinated by this story, I mean. I tried just a few weeks ago to do some digging, because I believe there is a HUGE cover-up here. I tried to find her blog posts where she voiced her concerns, but couldn't find it. Have you seen it? Was info erased?

I think there is someone out there who knows something about this very weird story, and I would love to see the mystery solved one day.

Her blog's name was "The wit of the staircase" and though the format is different I believe this person has archived all the text of Theresa's blog here:
http://theresalduncan.typepad.com

It looks like there's other stuff on that site too about Duncan, but I know her blog was archived by several people. The wayback machine would probably give it to you in all original form and context.

Edit: sorry I see you were asking for specific posts where she voiced concerns. I never saw the posts, but that's just me. There were things in the comments that discussed some details, but I don't know if they remain. The swayback machine is your best bet in that regard.
 

moontaco

Patron with Honors
Me too! Fascinated by this story, I mean. I tried just a few weeks ago to do some digging, because I believe there is a HUGE cover-up here. I tried to find her blog posts where she voiced her concerns, but couldn't find it. Have you seen it? Was info erased?

I think there is someone out there who knows something about this very weird story, and I would love to see the mystery solved one day.

I used to read her blog. I remember that she once posted that Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips had been harassed by Scientology after he worked with Beck. I posted a comment asking her for more info, but she didn't give any. Later on, I saw that my comment had been deleted. But her post about Wayne Coyne may still exist (I'll hunt for it).

In another post she wrote about how she and Jeremy were harassed. I commented and asked for details. I don't remember all of what she said, but the main things were a dead cat on their roof, strange cars parked outside their house, and some problems with a neighbor. I believe that entry was deleted later, after her death. But I'll see what I can find on that, too.
 

moontaco

Patron with Honors
Hey Wildkat, sorry it took me so long to hunt this stuff down. I found the two posts on Theresa Duncan's blog I was thinking of. There was a post about Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, and that still exists, though the comment I made asking Duncan about Coyne being harassed by the CoS has long since been deleted. The other post was completely deleted (after Duncan's death, as I recall), but it was captured on the Wayback Machine. In the comments I asked her about the harassment and she replied. (By the way, now that I've read her response again, I realize that some of what I reported before that she had said was not actually in her response. I think I melded it together with things I read after she and Jeremy Blake died.)

http://theresalduncan.typepad.com/witostaircase/2007/03/flaming_lips_wa.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20070616...om/witostaircase/2007/05/the_trouble_wit.html
 

Northern Shewolf

Patron Meritorious
Thanks Moontaco for bringing this story up again.
Another very good reason for everyone reading here to send email & snail mails both to your state Senators and House representatives and ask to have $cillonery's Tax exemption revoked.
JUST DO IT!:yes:
 

BunnySkull

Silver Meritorious Patron
I've read an article here in french

http://www.agoravox.fr/tribune-libre/article/theresa-duncan-et-jeremy-blake-64999

Very much interesting - can't find similar in english! :confused2:

The most detailed story on them in English is probably the Vanity Fair piece I mentioned in my OP, but failed to link it. I would suggest anyone interested in the subject read this to get some of the background:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/01/suicides200801

However, keep in mind that the cult planted one of their paid hacks on this story to try and ensure the scientology angle came off as paranoia and the result of mental illness. The revelation about one of the contributor's role with the cult puts the entire story into question, but there is plenty of factual background information in the story and a chronology that makes it very worth reading. It didn't end up being a the piece the cult wanted, because it does call into question many things but still leans heavily on the mental illness/ paranoia angle. (Which may or may not be the case.

Sadly, it's easy to write off the story as a sad case of a downward spiral of mental illness, but given their lives before their brush with the cult and how things quickly turned to shit after their involvement with Beck it's hard to reconcile. Two people both suddenly get struck by intense paranoia and mental issues, no previous mental issues, they were successful adults who's careers were blossoming - and then bam. Former social butterflies with many friends turn reclusive, solitary, fearful, paranoid?? I just can't write of Duncan and Blake as tragic case of mental illness snatching the lives of young creative people. Not given their history and especially not given the history of the CoS.
 

lotus

stubborn rebel sheep!
However, keep in mind that the cult planted one of their paid hacks on this story to try and ensure the scientology angle came off as paranoia and the result of mental illness.

Ah Okay thanks!

See I have been fooled by what they said of her pseudo-paranoia, alchoholism and violent temper. :confused2:

Now you warned , I can see it's ''stamped'' $cientology black mail :duh:

This story is fascinating!
In certain ways it looks like Paulette Cooper $cientology behavior in harrassment and black mail :unsure:
 

WildKat

Gold Meritorious Patron
Hey Wildkat, sorry it took me so long to hunt this stuff down. I found the two posts on Theresa Duncan's blog I was thinking of. There was a post about Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, and that still exists, though the comment I made asking Duncan about Coyne being harassed by the CoS has long since been deleted. The other post was completely deleted (after Duncan's death, as I recall), but it was captured on the Wayback Machine. In the comments I asked her about the harassment and she replied. (By the way, now that I've read her response again, I realize that some of what I reported before that she had said was not actually in her response. I think I melded it together with things I read after she and Jeremy Blake died.)

http://theresalduncan.typepad.com/witostaircase/2007/03/flaming_lips_wa.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20070616...om/witostaircase/2007/05/the_trouble_wit.html

Wow! Those are the links with plenty of strings to pull! Thank you!
 

moontaco

Patron with Honors
You know, personally, I don't buy the whole Media Bistro conspiracy theory--that is, that Kate Coe and others conspired to make Duncan and Blake look nuts. I read a whole lot about this after they died--I did lots of Googling. :) I saw a number of apparently random people posting on their blogs or interviewed in different articles. There was, it seemed to me, independent evidence that at least Duncan was somewhat disturbed. Plus, when I tried to read the various blog posts devoted to the conspiracy angle, it turned out there were multiple angles and so many twists and turns, each becoming murkier and less plausible the more I read. I finally gave up.

I do think it's possible the CoS was harassing them. I also think it's possible they were paranoid and imagined the CoS was behind unrelated things because they knew the CoS was capable of harassment.

I would love to see Blake's chronology of events. He listed so many people as being part of some plot against him and Duncan--most of whom weren't even in Scientology. So on the surface it sounds nutty, but maybe he hooked everything up together in it.
 
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