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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How much do you weigh wearing a down jacket in water? Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour cut copy.

Following is a calculation chart Dr. Lyndon Taylor estimated for me but it was edited from "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" although I thought it was helpful.

This is from manuscript:

Buoyancy (By Dr. Lyndon Taylor)

Assume a 200 pound person:

1. About 80 of the body weight is water 200 lbs X 80% = 160 pounds of water

The water in the body has no weight in water so a floatation device does not have to support 160 of the person’s 200 pounds

2. 200 pounds – 160 pounds = 40 pounds

3. On the average, most people’s bodies have about 15% fat and fat is lighter than water so the floatation device does not have to support that weight either.

4. 200 pounds X 15% = 30 pounds

5. 40 pounds (from #2 above) – 30 pounds (from # 4 above) = 10 pounds.

6. A 200 pound person weighs only about 10 pounds in water!

7. A floatation device that has 10 pounds of buoyancy will keep the person afloat.

Assume Natalie Wood weighed 125 pounds:

1. 125 pounds X 80% = 100 pounds

2. 125 pounds – 100 pounds = 25 pounds

3. Assume that Natalie had 15% body fat - 125 X 15%= 18.75 pounds

4. 25 pounds (from # 2 above) – 18.75 pounds = 6.25 pounds

5. Natalie would have weighed 6.25 pounds in the water!

6. If the red down jacket had provided 6.25 pounds of buoyancy,
Natalie could not have drowned immediately!!

Wet down does not add weight to a person in the water—it, in fact, makes them virtually weightless! Natalie Wood was not hindered by a heavy down jacket to save herself. The jacket helped her to weigh less than 10 pounds in water. Official reports claim the down jacket’s saturated weight strapped her strength, and pulled her under. It has been repeated numerous times in relation to Natalie Wood’s death that a wet down jacket weighs 30 to 40 pounds. In fact, those claims were no more than an assumption. Apparently, no one weighed a jacket to prove the claim. Out of water, a wet down jacket weighs only half of those non-tested claims.

I had often wondered why Natalie wouldn’t have removed her jacket but, if she had, that would’ve made a bad situation even worse, for it was the down jacket that kept her afloat. She wouldn’t have been able to sink herself even if she tried. The jacket, even out of water wouldn’t have hindered her in mounting a dinghy. The extra 15 pounds wouldn’t even have registered until completely out of water. Natalie’s buoyant jacket made her virtually weightless in the water—providing an easier lift to the dinghy, not a cumbersome one.

As reported, wine may have distorted Natalie’s obvious choices, yet it’s more likely that Natalie didn’t take off the jacket because she recognized it was her life preserver, thus she had no reason to remove it. It protected her and probably offered her hope.

A down jacket has no saturated weight in water. It is 100% buoyant. Natalie was as safe as a duck wearing her jacket in the water. There would have been ample time to save her, even before hypothermia danger. Natalie would have had ample time to swim back to Splendour.

There existed ample choices, too, but also, as a floating object, she was prone to the strong ocean currents that could have pulled her out to sea further….just as Lyn Taylor’s drift tests proved.


  1. This is the kind of critical thinking that the authorties and experts at the time should have been doing. Why it took a "nobody" to point these basics of flotation is such a travesty of justice.

  2. ...which is the entire point of my book!

  3. Marti, I'm sure you're aware of internet activity about issues with your book. I like when you stick to basics because it's the basics that need to be explored, not the what-ifs, or what should've been done, or anything hypothicized. It's the basics and the facts that brings us to logic, like this calculation of Natalie's body weight in the ocean. I thought Dr. Taylor's drift test was a smart addition to your book. I wish this floatation equation was included too. Your editor was wrong to omit it. Was anything else crucial to this case omitted?

  4. There were things cut in various chapters but I understood the need for it. I would rather have had the editor cut more of the journey to get to the truth than cut the evidence information, but I left that up to the professional editors.

    For instance, I had included the actual letters that had gone back and forth between my and Wagner attorney's in the 90's but they were cut although very revealing.

    I was also upset that they cut my explanation about my "billions" comment on the Geraldo show in 1992, which was aired out of context. Believe me, it was nothing more than an off-the-cuff sarcastic comment in relation to something the producer had been saying to us for weeks, and she knew it but aired it out of revenge because we didn't want to interview. She called me probably 5 times a day for weeks and in every single conversation said the same thing: that we would make millions if we would tell that Natalie never took the dinghy out alone on her segment. We knew she was taking us for fools, but Geraldo had publishing interests so we went, but when Dennis told me about Natalie's coat the night before interviewing, I knew that so much more research was necessary before interviewing and that we should contact authorities before doing shows.
    So when I was in that room with Dennis I was mocking the producer's claims of making millions for something so well known as Natalie's dinghy habits, with sarcasm that we would make billions for the coat information by comparison. When she walked away, I whispered to Dennis, "After what you told me last night, we'd make billions." That's ALL that statement referred to and nothing more. It had nothing to do with actual "money" or expectations of money. I was mocking the producer. But used out of context, it was a false representation of its meaning.

    And, yes, I realize how passionate people are about this story and I try to respect all opinions as I KNOW it's a difficult story to accept, and, yes, I've questioned "is it worth it" to hurt those living for someone who is not, but then I think about how we have been called all kinds of names like scum and dirtbags and profiteers, and why should we have to tolerate that? We have family and friends, too. Of course, they stand by us, but still...it's not something we deserve as we are not responsible for Natalie's death.

    I would just like the authorities to look at all the details again about Natalie's death. If it hadn't been for Lampert's book, I felt that there would never be a need for my book after Finstad's book...even though she put Dennis in the position of watching Natalie die, and there was a need to correct that, but that could've been done in an interview. But Lampert's book was the motivator: Natalie didn't deserve that. It was so disrespectful. She deserved the truth.

    There are points on both sides of this story, and I think we all tend to overheat at times, some have even blown gaskets. This is the fault of a "bad job" by the authorities. What's needed is for this case to be reopened.

  5. Note: My explanation about the Geraldo Show WAS included in the galley proof, so if anyone wants to suggest I created this explanation for this blog, if you ever get to see the first edition of GNGS printed (galley book that was at the book expo in NY last summer) the above explanation is in it.

  6. Also, Pam Eaker's very first report of the details gathered early in the morning after Natalie was found was cut. I will find the report and post it. It is full of errors. How that could have happened is astonishing.

  7. My son is an avid ice fisherman. He fell through the ice one year. If it wasn't for his down jacket, he feels he wouldn't have made it. The oils in down and feathers provide water proofed material. If they are good quality and have been properly cared for they can provide great flotation aide. The other aspect is that the lining and outer shell are very tightly woven and tend to trap air, just like most clothing will do to a degree.

    These are semi water proof materials. Simply by being under water, the pressure locks the air in. Air can then only slowly escape through the lining that is exposed above water. This provides even better flotation, as my son found out. Now he never goes near the ice without a down jacket or down filled jumpsuit on! :D

    I would like to point out, Marti. That there is one quotient missing in the equation. But first a random fact. The human head on average weighs 20 to 25 lbs. This is the part of the body you want to keep up out of water or at least half of it. Now for the missing quotient. Salt! ....yes in salt water, the human body weighs much less, because the salt water is denser.

    Most sea water is about 3 1/2% salt and in the Salton Sea, you can float almost as if you're in a salt water isolation chamber.

  8. As I posted earlier at my blog, the new book "Not Without Hope" is the story of the four men who capsized in the Gulf. The only survivor had worn a down coat that kept him afloat and offered that tad of warmth the others didn't have, for over 48 hours.

    If Natalie was alive in the water, and that's where Marilyn Wayne is an important source to this story because she believes it was Natalie she heard crying for help, then Natalie's coat is likely to have kept her alive for enough time to have been saved, if not throughout the night as Roger Smith believes. But Roger Smith was ignored, as was Marilyn Wayne. (Why?)

    Marilyn also pointed out to me (and it is in the book) that the Pacific water instantly provides more buoyancy than the Atlantic Ocean because of the difference in salt content.
    There's so much more the authorities and forensic experts should have taken the time to examine and to explain.

    Natalie is bigger than anyone ever imagined, she truly is a legend. I imagine her death will be discussed forever as a Hollywood mystery but NOW is the time for the authorities to redeem themselves, whatever they discover when they reopen the case, by at least admitting they didn't give this case enough attention.

  9. Twice, I spelled Lambert's name wrong in a previous post...it is Lambert, not Lampert as I wrote it. Wanted to note this in case anyone choose's to look up his name. Gavin Lambert.

  10. I don't know if you've ever read this, but here is an excellent expose on polygraph testing:


    A news article by a reporter back then (some of the information is wrong, but on the right track):


    Note: I'm the one who left the review on Amazon and here. Along with the note about my son ice fishing. btw... down like wool, acts as an insulator even when wet!

  11. Thank you for your review. It's exactly as Dennis, Marilyn Wayne, Roger Smith and Lyn Taylor told me: that the ocean was not rough that night.
    There are many interesting factors (forensics) that could be analyzed to reach more thorough conclusions in this case and I really appreciate your input.
    I'm no expert but the obvious things are right there in front of everyone: why this case went ignored is beyond me.

    I know that Natalie's jacket is what kept her afloat, and I know that it was very warming as I was in a down jacket for hours on a very chilly night in cold water. But near the two hour mark, I started to feel the effects of hypthermia, not badly, but enough. It effected my vision more than anything else. I still felt very much "alive" -- and I was not numb yet.
    I really believe she lived for hours, possibly all the way toward morning in that horrible situation. I can barely fathom it.

  12. This is all so terribly sad. Every time I think about it, I get angry and sad all over again.

    Two weeks ago, I was feeding some ducks near my home. They were in the water, and I threw some bread, which starting sinking. One duck dove for it, but the bread was sinking fast, and although the duck tried its best to get the food, the duck quickly shot up to the surface. It instantly reminded me of Natalie's jacket--"Ducks float." I felt so wistful.

  13. Sometimes I wondered if Natalie tried to float on her back. When I wore the coat in water, I spent a good 45 minutes simply "resting" while floating on my back. I closed my eyes to see if it was possible to maybe even get to a dozing level, but when I relaxed like that, my face would fall sideways into the water. But I was thinking that if Natalie had thought to relax enough to reenergize, I always wondered if maybe should could have hung in there for a while longer. Yes, the water was cold, but she had the jacket on, and I think she could've survived the water temperature but had lost her energy to keep her head from falling forward. It's just a thought, another "what-if" since I read the story of the man in the Gulf who survived 48 hours wearing a down coat in cold water. I know the wine may have affected Natalie's judgment and I think Noguchi had a good point about the alcohol affecting her ability to deal with the situation, but sometimes I just wonder. If Wagner had allowed Dennis to call for immediate help, Roger Smith told me he would've been able to bring Matalie in alive. An air search wouldn't have started until morning, but rescue boats with search lights were all over the Isthmus, one only 100 yards away from Splendour.

  14. I know if we'd heard a call on the radio, we had three high candle power search lights on our yacht 100yds one column to the left and back in the fourth row of moorings. But all we head was the somebody was missing call or somebody was away with the launch or something. That was it! ...so we went to bed just after that, because it certainly didn't sound urgent!

  15. I appreciate hearing this. No one has yet described (in detail) the tone of that first call, although Dennis has said it wasn't a call Wagner wanted to make and it showed. Dennis had pleaded with him to make it, and Natalie's name was not mentioned in it to protect "the image" --how sad.

    You actually heard the first call? From your description, it sounds as if Wagner wanted to give the listeners of the call the impression she was probably with the dinghy, correct? That's what he tried to convince Dennis of, and because Dennis just couldn't believe Wagner would allow any grave harm to come to Natalie, he actually believed him. Chumming up to Dennis and offering the alcohol really had Dennis believing "what else could they do but wait for her to return?"

    If you can recall any more details about that call, actual words, or anything about its tone, please tell it, and if you have details you'd rather not say publicly at this time, please email me. Thanks, Marti martirulli@gmail.com

  16. I cannot believe how foolish some people are.
    Of course down floats!
    When Natalie was found, the only thing that kept her afloat was her down jacket.
    She was found literally hanging from her jacket.