You know this desultory investigative-blogging thing may really have something to it. I mean I wouldn’t have heard what may be Jeremy Blake’s last words if I’d been reporting in a conventional way. I don’t know if they were his very last words, nor does the source to whom they were addressed, but they were uttered not long before he walked into the waves at Rockaway Beach and drowned. (BTW New Jersey authorities have confirmed–with dental records–that the body found floating off the Jersey shore was in fact Jeremy’s).
I heard his voice on a cellphone voicemail recording. The message didn”t contain any deep revelation or smoking gun, but it does suggest that up til close to the end he hadn’t decided on whether to kill himself. At least that’s one interpretation of what I heard.
But to return to the haphazard but effective methodology here… I suppose that it’s in some way apropos to use blogging as a way of looking into the death of a blogger. And because of my blogging about the suicides somebody I barely knew (but know to be reliable) and wouldn’t ordinarily have thought of contacting in this connection, contacted me, told me he’d been a friend of Theresa Duncan, the suicide-blond blog diva and her art star boyfriend Jeremy Blake who both killed themselves last month to the great puzzlement of those who (like me) only knew Theresa through her genuinely impressive blog, “The Wit of the Staircase”. And that he had a story to tell that was somewhat different from the perhaps over-romanticized picture I’d painted of the two just on the basis of knowing her blog persona.
This person put the final message (the last one he got anyway) in the context of a kind of traumatic experience with the doomed couple, in which all of a sudden, after becoming close, out of the blue they turned on him, accused him of conspiring with their unnamed enemies, sent him brutal, threatening emails and forced him to break off contact with them. This was almost a year ago.
I’ve read the emails Jeremy, Theresa and my source exchanged and I’ll go into them further in a later post, but they’re pretty shocking, offer a different, disturbing and painful picture of the Theresa whose blog was so sophisticated and life-affirming, and Jeremy who seemed so stable to so many people. (My source, by the way is not a scientologist, or CIA operative, and still retains a kind of baffled affection and respect for the couple and can’t figure out what went wrong).But his story is similar to reports from people in comments and in the recent LA Weekly story by Kate Coe:
In any case after my source had heard nothing from either of them since the blow up, on the night of Jeremy’s suicide, Jeremy had made a phone call and left him a voicemail message. (Unfortunately my source was out of cell coverage range on a vacation). A message asking for “advice”. That’s it. No urgency. No mention of Theresa. he just wanted “advice”.
When my source got the message the following day he still didn’t know that Theresa had committed suicide the week before, nor that by then Jeremy, who had found her body, had just taken his life. He sent him an e mail asking Jeremy how he could help him.
My source was, needless to say, upset that he hadn’t been in range to take the call when it came and perhaps talk Jeremy out of killing himself. Whatever differences they’d had he’d have done anything to prevent what happened. And it torments him that if Jeremy was still seeking “advice” that late hour, it suggests he wasn’t sure he would go through with the suicide. It may not have made a difference, but it’s one of the ugly legacies suicides leave behind for those who would want to save them from themselves.
What struck me about listening to the voice mail was how matter of fact, non desperate Jeremy’s voice sounded. What was going through his head? He had everything to live for–except for Theresa. They’d become an inseparable unit believing it was them against the world, and so he must have felt some obligation to leave the world with her.
My source told me more about the crash and burn trajectory of his relationship with the doomed couple and I’ll perhaps paraphrase some of them in my next post along with some other things I’ve learned in the interim since my last post.
I’m not sure how deeply I want to go into them. As I’ve mentioned before there are two schools of thought on the question of what was going on in their lives: they were really being harassed or they had the delusion of being harassed.
And I still haven’t come close to figuring out the big question: just why–why now–anyway, Theresa Duncan decided to do herself in and Jeremy evidently felt compelled to follow.
But thank you to all those who have helped edge closer to the truth about this tragedy.
To be continued.