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, September 29, 2010

Natalie Wood's Sister Wants Death Case Reopened

Hypothetically Speaking

Although I strive to deal with facts at this blog, I'd like feedback on this hypothetical scenario:

Natalie is drifting and it's 4:15 in the morning and she feels she can no longer hang on to hopes of survival, but she hears a motor boat closing in on her, and then a light shines in her face. She knows she "reached" the water at about 11 PM and she knows HOW she reached the water, but she has no real idea of what time it is now, but she is feeling the elation of rescue, she will see her daughters this Sunday! The motor boat approaches her and pulls her onto their deck to safety. She is immediately taken to the cabin to be warmed as she is crying tears of relief. She sees on a radio clock that it is after 4 AM and realizes she had been in the water she feared her entire life for approximately 5 hours. She shudders, but is beyond grateful to be safe. She is told that no one looked for her until after a call came over the general island frequency at 1:30 AM mentioning that someone was missing from her boat. She's told that at approximately 3:30 AM, a call finally went out to the Coast Guard after the harbormaster encouraged her husband to make the call.

Hypothetically, knowing what we know, how do you think a rescue would have affected Natalie's choices for the rest of her life? This is not a poll...it is an inquiry to try to understand things from what might have been Natalie's possible reaction and perspective to what transpired while she was IN the water.

She struggled to stay alive that night, there's evidence of it. She did not want to perish. She called for help, she took advantage of her down jacket, she tried to survive. Anger must have enhanced her fear and vice versa for the hours she remained coherent.
I doubt she would've revealed details to the public, but privately, I believe she would have made intense life choices based on her experience. I also believe she might have understood Dennis's position, but that she would have fired him, and rightfully so. This hypothetical situation has actually helped ME to realize why some people can't get past Dennis's deference to Wagner. It may have been just as difficult for Natalie to believe that Dennis listened to his boss only because he thought she had to be in the dinghy, that he did not realize how grave the situation was. If Wagner didn't feel it necessary to make a call, Dennis hoped for the best. Maybe that's what bothers Dennis so deeply to this day, knowing Natalie probably never would have understood his postiion.
Yes, if Natalie had been saved, it still might have been Splendour's final social cruise.

It's hypothetical but an interesting perspective. Natalie would not have tolerated what happened to her, so why should anyone allow her death to go unjustified, knowing what we know? Why does the law tolerate it?
And, don't forget: in REALITY, Natalie probably did realize all of the above. The only difference in reality is that there was no motor boat or light shining in her face for a rescue. We never got to hear her voice in this tragedy. She floated for hours, frightened, confused, desperate, and utterly alone.

Hypothetically speaking, could she--would she-- have ever forgiven the three men aboard the Splendour who did not help her?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

11 Away from 500 - Reopen Natalie Wood Case Petition

We are only 11 signatures away from 500 on the petition to reopen the Natalie Wood Death Case. Email your friends, Tweet the petition to your followers, or mention it in emails, and hopefully by the end of Sept., we'll have 500 signatures. These signatures were acquired with virtually no publicity. The petition is mentioned in the new release of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour, soon to be available. Hopefully, we can reach 500 before then. Thank you for signing.

Reopen Investigation of Natalie Wood's death Petition

My Evidence Testing Explained Again

Once again, I am hearing that my testing of the socks and down coat theories were unnecessary, perhaps ridiculous. People can't seem to grasp the meaning of the important tests, so I will explain again.


THE COAT TEST: Coroner Noguchi was adamant that Natalie's down coat "weighed her down" and "hindered her ability to stay above water" -- he calculated her down coat weighed over 50 lbs when wet: my weighing showed only about 15 lbs OUT OF WATER.
My down coat testing proves how ridiculous a theory Noguchi's is. I WORE THE COAT WHILE IN WATER and weighed it out of water.
He claimed Natalie probably drowned fast because she didn't think to take off the jacket. Again, ridiculous. The jacket served as Natalie's life preserver because down jackets are 100% buoyant in water and I performed my test to prove it. I know of others who also tested down's ability to keep one afloat in water and their results were the same as mine...it's virtually IMPOSSIBLE to sink yourself while wearing a down jacket in water. THIS MEANS: until hypothermia overcame Natalie and she lost her ability to hold her head above water, the DOWN JACKET KEPT HER ALIVE. THERE WAS PLENTY OF TIME TO SAVE NATALIE HAD A RESCUE EFFORT BEGUN IMMEDIATELY.

Is this so hard to understand? Why do people ridicule this test I performed that proves an entire medical staff WRONG!?

The SOCKS TEST: Again, Coroner Noguchi instead of TESTING, blurted out THEORIES of Natalie's condition. Natalie's autopsy indicates over 25 bruises, scratches and abrasions on her body, many of them shown on her lower legs. Noguchi's quick THEORY is that Natalie acquired the bruises while trying to mount a dinghy for hours to save her life, but that her coat "dragged her down" --- he also SURMISES that she kicked her way across the cove trying to get to shore.

My socks test proves that Natalie could NOT HAVE ACQUIRED HER ANKLE BRUISES PER NOGUCHI'S THEORIES, because even with slight movement, socks WILL NOT remain on your feet with even slight activity in the water. While wearing a down jacket in water with socks on, the jacket somehow places you in a "sitting position" thus securing the socks even more. Had Natalie tried to mount a dinghy, her socks could not have stayed on her feet.
CONCLUSION: HER ANKLE BRUISES HAD TO HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED IN A DIFFERENT MANNER THAN TRYING TO MOUNT A DINGHY. Knowing about the stateroom argument, it's likely Natalie's bruises were obtained while still aboard the Splendour.

Some people have tried to say that debris in the ocean could have caused her bruises. That is absurd. Natalie FLOATED, and nothing in the ocean caused the circular "hand print" type of bruises her ankles showed.

How can I explain this any better? How am I missing my mark here? Is there a better way to explain these tests? Is there any neutral point that can be reached with the people who simply cannot grasp this LOGIC?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Protecting Natalie

I may be opening a can of worms with this post but I am so frustrated with hearing every now and then the notion that Wagner hasn't spoken in detail about the night Natalie died in an effort to "protect Natalie." With that absurd theory, only one question comes to my mind: protect her from what? Even in your wildest imagination, what can anyone come up with as an explanation for such an absurd excuse for his silence? Make NO mistake about it, Wagner stays silent to protect himself and for no other reason. I'll give him an inch on protecting Natalie's daughters from hurtful truth, but then again, if he had exerted one drop of restraint that night, chances are their mother would still be with them today. That's all I have to say about this topic, but I welcome CREDIBLE input. How could anyone suggest such a thing?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why was Christopher Walken aboard the Splendour?

Some people were occasionally intimidated by Natalie Wood, but not because she intimidated them deliberately. She was a strong woman who had learned to protect herself, thus she rarely had a problem voicing her true feelings. She was protective of her family and of her world. She had built her world, alone. She was the person everyone in her world depended upon, for all of her life.

She helped friends, family, and peers, but she had learned how to not be taken advantage of. She acquired friends she loved and trusted. Her name alone was something to cling to and many did, but for those in her circle, they indeed had a protective, caring, and honest friend in Natalie. But maybe they were also a tad envious and intimidated by this vivacious, directed, and steadfast woman who, finally, had come to terms with what was important in life. Natalie loved her family but also loved herself and she valued her lifelong Hollywood career. Is there really anyone who can find fault with that? Natalie was not career-driven to the point she ever neglected her closest loved-ones. But RJ had been intimidating her, making her feel guilty for working away from home.

Natalie, however, could be influenced to a degree, but only from or by someone she respected and was willing to allow influence her. She resented having to explain to RJ that working away from home was nothing more than a job. Natalie allowed Christopher Walken to influence her ideas about work because she liked his ideas. He was an Oscar winning movie actor whose career was on the brink of wonderful things when she and Walken crossed paths at a time she was trying to turn her career in a new direction. Natalie admired Walken and thought she could learn some of the "new tricks in the film business" from him. She listened to his ideas about the screenplay they were working on: Brainstorm. She liked his ideas only because she believed they were good ideas. She wanted the film to work.

Christopher was a bit starstruck, too. Natalie Wood was playing his wife. There were certain names in the business you would jump to work with as an upcoming, rising star, and the name Natalie Wood was one of them. Christopher knew this.  But, when a script is poorly executed, problems can and will arise and those problems existed within Brainstorm. It got to the point where the lead actors just wanted to get it over with.  Natalie missed her daughters while she was working on Brainstorm in North Carolina, and she wanted to get home.
Daughter Natasha cried and pleaded with Mom to not go on the Thanksgiving Splendour excursion, but it was a weekend in-between finalizing scenes on Brainstorn. Work on Brainstorm was not yet completed and Natalie and Christopher had work to finish at the studio the following week. Natalie was still in working mode. She knew she would be spending the complete month of December with her daughters, catching up, shopping, and doing all the fun holiday things with them.

Natalie had liked working with Walken, was glad to have met him, so keeping Walken as a family friend was not a bad idea in her opinion. She thought RJ would like him as well if only there was time to get to know him. Christopher took his work seriously but was also a personable friend. He liked to joke and laugh and he, too, wouldn't have minded befriending RJ as he had Natalie. He had set no designs on Natalie. Natalie wanted RJ to get to know Christopher, as people in their particular fields of work normally do. Where better than aboard the Splendour to help develop a relationship with this new family friend? THAT was Natalie's purpose in having invited Christopher for a holiday shopping weekend cruise. She wanted RJ to like him, too. Decades later, RJ finally admits that he does.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Wedding Gift

A few posts ago, I wrote about my friend Kathleen McKenna's new book released titled "The Wedding Gift" -- I finally wrote my review of the work, and if you care to read the review, here's the Amazon link below. All of the reviews for her book are fantastic, deservingly so. Kathleen wrote about Natalie Wood, too, and I am really hoping that manuscript is soon published. Both Kathleen and Natalie both deserve it to be published! In the meantime, this fantasy work is one of the best I've read in a long time. Honestly. Fortunately, in "The Wedding Gift" there is humor relief like you've never experienced before. I guarantee it. "The Wedding Gift" includes an "out there" twist on justice, but justice is definitely its theme.

Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Wedding Gift

Interesting Diagram for Natalie Wood Case

This is a diagram Dr. Lyndon Taylor created about 10 years ago. His way of simplifying things made it easy to see that if the authorities had done just a little more investigating all of these components may have surfaced. Lyn cannot understand how all these factors were overlooked. This diagram was his way to show the mockery of justice in Natalie's case. I had wanted this in the book on its own page, but again, it was something bounced by the editors.

Never Forget

Today is the ninth anniversary of the tragic day terrorists attacked our nation, a day that innocent plane passengers became contents of aircraft turned into bombs, a day too many people lost loved ones for no comprehensible reason.

I've told some of you in private emails how that day related in a sense to GNGS, and today I feel compelled to post about it. I had included a little of this account in GNGS but editors thought it distracting, and I agreed, but because of the Natalie story, I almost perished with many other innocent people on Tuesday 9/11/2001.

Not only was I a near miss once, but twice. Suzanne Finstad's book Natasha had just been released in Sept. 2001. Although she and Lana were doing the standard publicity tour, many producers and reporters started contacting Dennis and myself, and Inside Edition (IE) had located the Splendour in Hawaii. The owner had restored the boat to the way the Wagner family kept it, and had also restored the name to Splendour as a tribute to Natalie. The owner had agree to allow IE to conduct an interview on the yacht. Ironically, IE preferred interviewing Dennis and me over Suzanne and Lana. Dennis and I decided to not participate. I was ready to get back to work to finish GNGS and Suzanne had inspired me to do so. I thought interviewing would be premature, but I also felt it would help Suzanne's research to be known. I was torn.

After numerous calls from producer Josh Paris of IE, he convinced us to participate. I was looking forward to actually being on the yacht, too. All arrangements went through our agent (same one we have today) and IE was going to pay all expenses. Like many reporters before him, Josh started to act like IE was doing us a favor, sending us to Hawaii. Yes, not a bad to place to visit, but we really resented that kind of attitude, as it wasn't something we had initiated. To begin with, the thoughts of returning to Splendour haunted Dennis still and I had already been to Hawaii years before, and to be honest, the loss of time for such a long trip was not convenient to either of our everyday work schedules. But, we wanted Suzanne's book to succeed, too. We wanted the truth about Natalie's death known, and the media is the most helpful way for that to be accomplished.

Flight arrangements were being made Thursday, Sept. 6th. My husband worked in North Jersey at the time, so I asked for the first flight out of Newark in North Jersey so he could easily drop me off at the airport on his way to work at 7 AM. Dennis was flying from Florida and we were to fly Tuesday morning, the 11th, pre-interview on the 12th in Hawaii, then film the interview on the 13th aboard Splendour.

I worked for a magazine at the time and had taken the week off for the interview. I remember thinking I wanted to visit Pearl Harbor again if I had time in Hawaii.

Thursday night, when producer Josh was booking the flights, he called and we got into a little argument over what they expected from the interview. He, like most reporters, was interested in the word murder. I refused to use the word and told him Dennis would not use it either. That word, like always, we wanted reserved for authorities to decide upon. Josh kept pushing and I said that we would cancel if the attitude continued and then he made a snide remark to the effect of yeah, right, like the two of you would cancel a free trip to Hawaii.
I asked him, "Josh, why would you even want to interview us if you feel that way?"
He apologized, but then I said, "Josh, we won't be doing your show. We agreed to this trip for Natalie, not for the sensationalism you want, so goodbye."
He said, "Yeah, right, like Dennis will cancel."
I said. "Watch and see."
I hung up, called Dennis, and Dennis said, "I didn't want to go anyway, Marti."

Josh called us over a hundred times, apolgizing, pleading, and groveling, but I went to work the next day in Howell, NJ, about an hour south of NY City and said I wouldn't be taking off for Hawaii the next week. The editor, Alicia Ellis, asked me to go to NY with her Tuesday morning for a Hewlett Packard presentation. We went to NY often, so I said no problem. A car was being sent for us early Tuesday morning at work and we talked about possibly having breakfast at the top of the tower while we waited for the presentation on 10th and Broadway at 10:30 AM. Dennis and I did not answer any of Josh's calls.

That Tuesday morning, I got in my van, thinking how strange it was that I would've been flying to Hawaii that morning. My van's gas pedal started acting up ... it had no pick-up. I turned around and took the van to my auto mechanic and called and left a message for Alicia that I had to cancel NY. I waited for the mechanic to arrive and couldn't reach anyone by cell for a ride home. My husband Bob was working in New Brunswick, as usual on a Tuesday. So I walked a mile home, in heels, and saw the McGuire Air Force Base jets soaring overhead, nothing unusual in our area, but rarely on a Tuesday morning. Cars were speeding by...there was an eerie quality in the "air." Sound wasn't "right."

When I got home, my daughter-in-law, who lived across the street, called and told me to put on the TV. She said, "America is being attacked."
That's when I saw the second plane crash into the second tower hit.  I was freaking out because I couldn't get in touch with Alicia. All phone circuits were busy.

Turned out, my van was checked every which way and they could find nothing wrong with it. It's still in their computer system that I was there that morning and that no mechanical problem existed. (wow, that still blows me away.)
Finally, around 2 PM that terrible day, I got hold of Alicia and she had decided to not go when she got my message because she wasn't feeling well. We experienced "survivor guilt" and we cried our eyes out for those who were in that tower. But, we were spared, and glad our families weren't suffering having lost us.

It later hit me that I could've been on a plane this very morning on my way to Hawaii on the first available flight out of Newark. Turns out, that flight was Flight 93, the one that went down in Shanksville, PA with all the heroes aboard, the first to actually fight back on terrorism, the first to die for it. Flight 93 was the connecting Hawaii flight that morning, on its way to California. One of its empty seats would have been mine! If Alicia and I had made it to NY, we might've been on the top floor eating a bagel and having coffee when the pane hit.

Being a near-miss once was hard enough to handle emotionally, but being a near-miss twice was doubly upsetting. It was devastating to think about. It really affected me. It's almost, well, almost unbelievable. But everyone around me knows about it, everyone was so glad I hadn't made either trip...to Hawaii or NY.

Although I had been in the middle of trying to finish GNGS at that time, I quit my magazine job and interviewed other near-misses of the 9/11 tragedy. I met the most wonderful people during the year I took to talk with them and record their stories. We all got through the first year after together, leaning on one another, and many have remained my friends. I always thought about trying to get the journal published for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy which would be next year, but I've worked so hard on GNGS in-between that I've allowed the 9/11 manuscript to sit in a file, too. Today I am going to look at it. I am going to never forget.

It feels like we are so far removed from that tragic day now, but I know it is and will remain a day none of us will ever forget. In my journal of all the stories I collected, I know I will be reminded of the beauty of life. I guess that's why I am still so obsessed with what happened to Natalie. She was robbed of the beauty of life, and her life was beautiful in so many ways.

I know how my family, my friends, my work, my life, all became more meaningful to me after 9/11. Things took on new meaning, fuller meaning, and I've since appreciated like never before. Although I neglected Natalie for a while because of 9/11 (one of the other reasons GNGS took longer than hoped for), I always felt like I was spared to make sure GNGS made it to publication, too. That's just one of those things we all sometimes "think" -- that things happen for a reason. Sometimes, maybe they don't. Those are elusive things, abstract thinking if you will, but I know when I think about Flight 93, I still shudder, and I am always grateful for life.

I'm sorry if this post is a little long, but it does relate to all of us. My computer wall still shows a picture of the standing towers, with our American flag waving over them -- it represents our culture for all the good and bad it entails, but that day still comes down to all the empty seats at dinner tables because of the mindless acts of terror we collectively experienced. Terror is terror whether we experience it together or all alone, as poor Natalie endured. Thanks for reading this. It's personal but not without sincere meaning, and I really am glad to be here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Labor Day Weekend: "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" in production

I hope everyone has a nice Labor Day weekend and for those of you in the upper Northeast region, I sure hope Hurricane Earl passes you by. We're having mild winds in NJ but hardly any rain. We're more inland from Earl's path, but it's not looking so for Cape Cod at this point.

Production is in the works for the new release of "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" and I look forward to announcing its release date soon.
Coast Guard Lieutenent Roger Smith's account is included in the new issue. As promised, I will tell you about the new information that is explained in more detail in the new epilogue for the book, but basically, when Roger got to the Splendour the morning Natalie was missing, it was past 5 AM. Roger was accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Knoll.

Roger was told in the phone call he took that Natalie had been missing since 1:30 AM. He didn't know at that time that she had really been missing since 11 PM. Roger was angry enough about not being called until after 3:30 AM for a woman missing for two hours. The actual 4-hour delay, had ANYONE mentioned it, might have made a difference in how Rasure eventually handled the surviving cruise members, but, as with most information about Natalie's death, EXACT and VITAL information was kept confusing and vague and/or UN-corrected, the way Wagner preferred it.

When Knoll and Smith arrived at the Splendour, Knoll asked Wagner why he delayed in calling the Coast Guard, and Wagner replied, “You’re a public agency, and I didn’t want this to become public. I have my image to think about. We thought she took off to go boat-hopping and was out screwing around because that’s the kind of woman she is.”

Roger was astounded and furious with Wagner at that point, and he was thinking she had been missing only from 1:30 AM!! Roger is who dove beneath Splendour to look for Natalie. He thought the water was cold, but not cold enough to cause instant death...in fact, he figured there was a good chance Natalie could still be alive (based on his false knowledge that she might've been in the water for only four hours at that point) if she was clinging to the missing dinghy or IN the dinghy. He set out immediately by rescue boat to start the search, but knew it would be a difficult task until full daylight would help. 

An interesting information-discovery from Roger is that Wagner told Knoll that he and Natalie had been arguing...he also immediately offered up the banging dinghy theory to Knoll and said he REMEMBERED Natalie getting up to go adjust the dinghy!! This is SO DIFFERENT than the story he had available for Rasure, who, remember, did NOT press for information. Wagner told Rasure that he had no clue how or why his wife went missing. He said he and Walken had had a political debate and Natalie had gone off to bed in boredom. So how does he then remember her getting up to adjust a dinghy? (Just another one of the many lingering questions you would think the authorities would be concerned with.)

Roger Smith is 100% behind seeking truth and justice for Natalie Wood and will stand behind his information as he has tried to tell his account since 1981 only to be demoted, transferred and ignored, and treated like a troublemaker as all people who tell truth about the circumstances surrounding Natalie's death are. Roger Smith is a decent, caring, honest man who did not deserve to become another scapegoat in a scarcely investgated death case. Island politics and a husband desperate to not have truth exposed turned life around in an unfair and challenging way for an innocent Coast Guard Lifeguard/Paramedic who only cared about saving lives.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department should be ashamed to this day for this embarrassment of a case.