Welcome To My Book Blog

A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Natalie Wood's Down Jacket

Since Monday, I have received 3 phone calls, 4 emails, and a copy of a review left by a reader of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour about the information in the People article and about this new book of survival in the ocean.

Archive : People.com

Amazon.com: Not Without Hope (9780061993992): Nick Schuyler, Jere Longman: Books

The article is not up at People Magazine site yet (probably will be available in about a week) but in the March 15th edition there was a story about the 24 year old personal trainer, Nick Schuyler, who on February 28, 2009, with three footbal player friends left for a deep-sea fishing trip.

The anchor of their 21 foot boat got stuck in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles offshore of Florida. Bad weather turned the water from calm to threatening.  Problems with the anchor caused the stern of the boat to sink, water flowed into the boat and the boat capsized. With no way to signal for help, as their cell phones went dead, they swam under the boat to retrieve lifejackets. They had no other supplies, not even water. For most of the dark, cold night, they were thrown from the capsized boat they tried to stay atop of, and spent hours in the cold water. When drifting from the boat, they would swim toward one another's voices.

They talked and thought about their loved ones, wondering if and when they would begin to be missed. They offered moral support to one another as the trying night tested their courage. They were up against every threatening thing such a situation offers: hypothermia, hallucinations, dehydration, rolling waves, and the will to survive. (Just as Natalie Wood had to endure.)

In the People Magazine article, it claims that the reason Nick survived and the others did not survive is because Nick was wearing a down jacket for the duration of his 43-hour ordeal (most of the time spent in the cold water at 64 degrees --The water Natalie was in was said to be approx. 58 degrees). Nick's jacket was an L.L. Bean down jacket, that is said to have been bouyant as well as helped him to retain body heat.

Nick repeatedly tried to climb back atop the capsized boat only to continually be thrust back into the Gulf waters by high waves. The other three who did not survive were wearing lifejackets. Nick only wore the down jacket until the others sadly succumbed at which point he retrieved a life jacket.

Nick's jacket did not weigh him down in water as Coroner Noguchi surmised Natalie's down jacket had done. Nick's jacket helped prevent the effects of hypothermia, and made the difference of life or death.

Natalie's jacket helped her to stay above the water and it helped to insulate her. Had an official call for help been made, Natalie Wood could have been rescued. My down jacket test is more important to this case than many may realize. It eliminates the excuse that there was no hope for Natalie. There was hope, if only action had been taken.


  1. Greetings Marti!
    I just wanted to say it's so good to hear from you! I must admit, a bit of worry kicked in with me for you and Dennis after not seeing any posts from you for a while. With so many new developments in the case, I know that Wagner and his team must be working day and night to try and shut down this fight for justice.
    True evil knows no bounds or limits and my concern for you both was heartfelt. I know that you have a career, family, friends and a home to care for and attention must be paid.
    Just so glad all is well. Keep fighting the good fight!

  2. I'll look forward to seeing the book. I've enjoyed seeing your tweets, and the blog was interesting. I never knew some of the details (jacket, water temperature) about Natalie Wood's death. Fascinating.

  3. Tiia Jones, Thank you so much for visiting this blog. It is a fascinating and compelling story. I would very much like to hear from you after you read more. Details are explained in the book, as the complete story is told. Please stop back. Twittering--or Tweeting :-) has brought many new eyes to this story many would prefer kept quiet. Again, thank you for your interest. Marti

  4. Marti -

    Nick's compelling story proves how powerful the down jacket is to savings lives - and, true, it could have saved Natalie's life! Life preservers will need to start incorporating the principles of down jackets.

    And Nick Schuyler is no relation to this Skyler!

  5. Skyler,
    Some readers haven't fully understood why my down jacket test is important.
    To be honest, I was afraid to try it in the river or ocean, even with a rope tied to me. Currents are so strong, and I didn't want to chance dying while trying to prove a point. The point I wanted to prove did not require natural elements. So, I used a swimming pool, always hoping professionals would later pick-up where I left off and perform the test in the elements.

    Regardless, my test proved that the jackets are 100% buoyant. At least for hours. (In the case of Schuyler, up to 40 hours). I've also learned that the Pacific salt water is more buoyant than the Atlantic, or the Gulf (salt content).

    The jackets do not become saturated, they repel water. They keep you afloat. I remember thinking, and actually saying to people taping my test, that if I were ever in a dire situation involving water, I'd prefer a down jacket over a store-bought life jacket any day. I was utterly amazed! I TRIED to sink myself and couldn't.
    I also wore socks during this test (and a flannel nightgown) and what was strange is that while wearing the jacket, the socks stayed on my feet. When I tried the socks test independent of the jacket, the socks came off quickly. Go figure! I'm no scientist, but how that jacket would make a difference in retaining socks astounds me. I figured that because I was so amazingly buoyant, it was totally unnecessary to move my feet. I doubt Natalie moved her feet much...it's the only logical explanation: she didn't have to move her feet much because the jacket did the job.

    Now, it WAS difficult to manuever around in the jacket...I tried to swim (with traditional arm strokes) but the jacket hindered progress...its buoyancy had a life of its own, which may explain how easily Natalie was carried away by a strong current.

    I do not know what brand Natalie's jacket is (am researching that info now) but Schuyler's was from L.L. Bean. Mine was from a department store (I think Macy's) ... and I tried another heavier one a friend gave me later. I also just learned from another author who performed this same test (she also has photos) and she ended up with the same results as all: COMPLETE BUOYANCY. I would suspect Natalie's jacket was high-end, and probably even made with finer down. She floated. She did not sink.

    Why was my test important? Coroner Noguchi, the chief medical examiner claimed that the jacket is what dragged her down, sapped her strength. That is absurd. The jacket is the only thing that DID NOT sap her physical strength. It helped her body temperature and it helped keep her afloat. Down jackets do NOT weigh 40 to 50 lbs. OUT of water as the coroner claimed, too. They weigh about 15 to 20 lbs. out of water. IN water, they are buoyant. It's just another slip in the Wood case that I wanted to point out. I wasn't trying to prove anything spectacular with my test. It was done simply for my own curiosity as to what Natalie MAY HAVE experienced while wearing the jacket, and I proved the coroner's speculations to be inaccurate.

    I also proved that there probably was plenty of time to rescue Natalie BECAUSE of down jackets' proficiency when submerged in water. On or off of a person, down jackets float and are effiecient in keeping a person afloat.
    For those who choose to call my test unprofessional, fine, it was a homespun test, but for those who choose to call it irrelevant, well that is simply someone being contrary. It was a very important test in relation to the details the public was offered in the Natalie Wood case.

  6. So will there be an article about natalie's death in the upcoming people?

    I am looking back at some articles from the early 2000s about this....the people who interviewed Wagner were talking as if he was victimized by Suzanne's book, the vanity fair article, Dennis, Lana, etc. How sad that he could have such power. Some people just refuse to see him as the bad guy.

  7. Fascinating that you tested this, what a surprise! For years I trusted Noguchi's report and thought it so sad that Natalie must not have had her wits together enough to consider slipping out of that "heavy" jacket. Thanks for taking the time to test this.