Dark Sorcerer sez:
Unpublished Papers: The Strange Case of Marcia Moore
Since I haven't had time to write much lately, I'm going to rock a few "from the vault", if you will - some random things I've written that have never seen the light of day. This particular piece was written about four years ago, and details a bizarre story that I became obsessed with for a period of time. I think it's got most of the necessary ingredients for an interesting story: occultism, drugs, and more than a bit of the macabre.
I never have derived a satisfactory conclusion to this story, and can do little but recite the hearsay and speculation of others. Its enigmatic nature suggests some sort of mystery at work, but perhaps that is just the wishful thinking inherent in a godless age.
This was back when I had first really started getting into writing things. When I look at this now, it doesn't quite flow as well as it should. Nevertheless, it's a pretty good example of some embryonic output, a relic of a time when I was obsessed with finding Ultimate Meanings.
Note: you can read a full .pdf scan of Ms. Moore's last book "Journeys Into The Bright World" here.
The Strange Case Of Marcia Moore
Some names have been changed to respect the privacy of those involved.
My penchant for the obscure has always led me to seek out new things. Somewhere in the mid 1990’s I had processed the fact that there was this drug called “ketamine” and what naturally followed was that I had to try it. The first time I tried Ketaset, I spent a good portion of the night sprawled out on the couch, blas to the implications of say, extraterrestrial contact in comparison to what I thought my girlfriend might’ve thought about me for sniffing a half a gram of “cat tranquilizer”.
My mind wandered back to a Usenet FAQ I had read years ago:
An excellent book on Ketamine is called "Journey's to the bright side"
I'm failing to remember the author's name but she also wrote the "Seth
speaks" books. Journey"s is completely about her experience's with "K"
it seem's that her husband was an anasthesiologist and regularly dosed
her.The story goes that she eventually started going to the same familier
place or dimension and meeting certain beings.She acually started a therapy
group called Samadhi,I believe in Seattle.The book is facinating,though it
was out of print when I found it in 1979.Unfortunatly she was murdered in
Seattle.Her husband believe's because she was writing an expose' on a local
satanic cult,apparently they never found her head.Anyway John Lilly the
"Dolphin guy" has some pretty amazing stories about "K" also.The same
kind of experience"s as Journey's.
Find your way back, crow.
I filed this in the back of my head. Subsequent explorations of this “cat tranquilizer” in a hotel room in San Francisco and during innumerable nightclub outings had led me to develop an incredible liking for the substance, to the point where it had supplanted MDMA as my substance of choice. It was only in December of 2000 that I had been introduced to these magical entities called out-of-print book search engines; on a whim I decided to try some different permutations of “bright” and “journeys”:
What I eventually came back with was “Journeys Into A Brighter World” by Marcia Moore and “Happy” Bocacci, M.D. There was only one copy on alibris.com. It was $21. Enthralled, I placed my order, only to be informed a day later that it had already sold out.
Distraught, I placed myself on an automatic e-mail update list – one that would inform me whenever new books by Marcia Moore came through the inventory. I grew frustrated, as days upon days passed with little inkling of “Journeys Into A Brighter World” – “Hypersentience”, “Astrology, The Divine Science” and “Reincarnation: Key To Immortality” flitted by on my monitor on an almost daily basis. And in the meantime, my consensus reality was taking a very dark turn.
My girlfriend – who was (and is) for all intents and purposes my wife – had suddenly decided that I wasn’t quite what she had in mind and, in a way that can only happen when you put all of your eggs in one basket, my life came suddenly crashing down me. As we all know bad influences always manage to be around when you need them the least, I had an acquaintance who worked as a male stripper at “The Longhorn” who could get me sealed vials of “Kettaminna”. And I figured there had to be a way to circumvent that pesky Walgreens clerk who wouldn’t let my non-diabetic self purchase Becton-Dickinson Micro-Fine II Short Needle Syringes – a consumer product that produces allegiances previously reserved for Ford cars and Apple computers, which shows again you can get anything on the Internet.
The Internet proved to be an all-providing Mother: alibris.com with what was actually called “Journeys Into The Bright World” (it seemed like no one could get the actual title right), a diabetic supply company with a box of B-D’s. The book proved to be absolutely mind-shattering, and I was in just the perfect state – what Pavlov would’ve called “transmarginal inhibition” – for new ideas to grow and take root. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I detailed all of my experiences – though doubtlessly paradigms have shifted since then, it was my visceral impression at the time:
I kept experiencing coincidence after coincidence –just when I had experienced something of paramount importance, I would be exposed to the exact piece of literature that would quantify just exactly what I was experiencing, with no recourse in my mind to the power of suggestion. I was amazed to find that the cartography Marcia Moore had so eloquently mapped out coincided perfectly with what I was experiencing. I experienced all of Stanislav Grof’s birth perinatal matrices and their associated imagery in a perfectly linear fashion, and was starting to call into question more and more of my taken-as-given agnostic presuppositions. The clincher came in the form of “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot – a grand metanarrative that made me start thinking about those Big Life Issues: reincarnation and the existence of the soul after death.
Marcia Moore, circa 1976
I had also become quite enamored by Marcia Moore, who had managed to so eloquently express the feelings that I had while I was under the influence of ketamine. She had the sort of influence on me that anyone who has spent any amount of time around those sort of affluent, naturally beautiful girls from the East Coast could instantly understand. She attended Vassar College before becoming a top Harvard graduate (in psychology) and came from a wealthy, aristocratic east coast WASP family (her father, Robert Moore, started the Sheraton Hotel chain and sold it in 1968.) She had spent almost all of her life researching esoteric and mystical subjects; she spent many years in India studying yoga and Eastern philosophy, attaining such a control over her body that she was able to control heart rate and blood pressure to the point where she could beat lie detector tests and could contort her body into fantastic yogic positions. In addition, she had given away almost all of her significant wealth to start “The Ananta Foundation”, an organization dedicated to spiritual growth, and she published the Hypersentience Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter dedicated to advancing reincarnation as a viable subject of study.
She had also published numerous books on occult and esoteric subjects: Astrology in Action, Astrology: The Divine Science; Reincarnation: Key to Immortality; Diet, Sex, and Yoga; and Hypersentience all predated Journeys into the Bright World. (Astrology: The Divine Science, which she coauthored with her ex-husband Mark Douglas, is considered a classic text on the subject.) The fact that Journeys into the Bright World was her last book in what was up until that point a prolific oeuvre had made me wonder what had happened to her, however. This was reinforced by the tone of impending doom throughout her book which made me suspect the worst. It is clear that in addition to multiple individuals harassing her, she also seemed to at least subconsciously know that she did not have long to live:
“The lows came about for a tangled variety of personal reasons, including the inexplicable happenstance that I became the target for a vicious onslaught by certain unknown persons who were willing to stoop to any means to discredit our work. My TV program was cancelled by an impersonator claiming to be me, and a vulnerable young female journalist who had interviewed me for the local newspaper was sufficiently intimidated to withdraw the story. Repeated phone calls to my coworkers in Ojai [California] conveyed scandalous lies, while psychic attacks were launched… The climax came when a phone call to Barbara Devlin in Ojai informed her that I had been critically injured in a car crash…” [Moore, p. 20-21]
“One night while in a state between sleeping and waking I had a dreamlike vision of two repulsive gray sluglike creatures coming at me, one from either side. It was impressed upon me that this was an emanation deliberately sent forth by the same satanists who had been so viciously harassing my friends over the telephone, and that they were using an effigy of my body in their rites. At that point my fatigue was so great I thought, ‘Oh, I just don’t care. I’m not going to fight it.’ Thereupon one of the protoplasmic masses seemed to penetrate my right side at the level of the hip joint.” [Moore, p. 96]
Moore also makes numerous references to her belief that she is doomed: her past life experiences seem to consist largely of incarnations that resulted in some sort of untimely death at the hands of the larger populace:
“The first lifetime to which I was regressed was one in which I had been a young maiden on a South Sea island… conducted up a steep mountain and hurled into a volcano as a sacrifice to the local deity. (Actually, I think I was supposed to be bearing a message to the god and this seemed a logical way to send it.) There was also a memory of having been shoved backward over an abyss, and, of course, Old Mary [referring to a previous incarnation as a witch] shivering on that damp dungeon floor. To this day it is hard to escape the conviction that we will once again be immolated, incarcerated or rudely dispatched as the result of engaging in forbidden practices.“
[Moore, p. 162]
With that in mind, I was not surprised to find what had interrupted her until-then prolific oeuvre: she had mysteriously disappeared from her home in Alderwood Manor, Washington on one rainy January night in 1979, with no clue as to her whereabouts.
Her death immediately took on an archetypal significance in my mind: I simply could not stop thinking about what had transpired that cold winter night near Seattle. I thought back to the Ketamine FAQ: Had she been killed by some sort of cult that she had been trying to expose? Absolutely nothing about it made sense.
What made this story even more bizarre was that it didn’t corroborate with the other popular story circulating through ‘the underground’ – that her skeleton had been found in a tree, indicating that she had climbed up a branch and injected herself with ketamine and frozen to death. This version is detailed in Karl Jansen’s excellent Ketamine: Dreams and Realities, an account corroborated by both her late husband and John C. Lilly, M.D.:
“Moore disappeared from her house on January 14, 1979. Her husband spent a year searching for her, including journeys to Hong Kong and Thailand, places to which she had traveled in the past. Her skeleton was found in early spring, 1981, in the place where she had frozen to death. She had made a journey at night into the dark world of the forest, a potent Jungian symbol, curled up in a tree, and then injected herself repeatedly with all of the ketamine she had been able to find. That night the pond froze over, the moon rose, and Fire Lady was killed by the ice.” [Jansen, p.54]
In addition, her late husband further believes that her death was a suicide:
“Marcia became addicted to ketamine and committed suicide. The drug is dangerous and its use should not be encouraged… I told her it was a seductress, not a Goddess.” [Jansen, p. 54]
From the evidence presented, Marcia Moore’s fate seems clear-cut: she more than likely became delusional after extended ketamine binges and wandered out into the Washington forest where she endured some sort of accident. However, there is a substantial body of evidence which not only brings into doubt why Moore would have chosen to kill herself, but directly contrasts to the account given above.
The account that crime reporter Ann Rule reported in her “true-crime” book A Rage To Kill corresponds closely to the account that I gleaned from other sources. While it is entirely possible that Moore walked out of the house in a ketamine-induced delusion, it seems unlikely that she would have committed suicide without at least leaving a note. Marcia’s brother, Robin Moore, was close to his sister and knew his sister would never disappear willingly: “She would not have disappeared without letting me know. She was writing a book for my publishing company. If there’s one thing she had, it was a very strong sense of deadlines. She would have called.” [Rule, p.258]
Rule’s account does not jibe with the “frozen in a tree” account listed above. In her account, Moore’s whereabouts were completely unknown until her skull was found at a building site approximately two years after her disappearance. If this is true, then it could not be possible that her skeleton could have been found in a tree – either one occurrence or the other of her remains had to indicate her fate! Rule’s story seems to be the more accurate of the two by a high magnitude – it was also verified by Carol Cunningham, curator of Solstice Point (a memorial site for astrologers). In fact, the exact latitude and longitude of her skull is given on the site:
“Marcia was last seen at approximately 8:30 PM PST on January 14, 1979, in Alderwood Manor, WA. 122W14; 47N10.
Her skull was found on March 20, 1981, at 3:30 PM PST near 172nd and Bothell Way, 122W12; 47N52.” [http://www.solsticepoint.com/astrologersmemorial/moorem.html]
Ann Rule consulted two psychics in the Northwest, both of whom gave stories that corroborated each other to a high degree. Barbara Easton summed up the key elements in Moore’s life as the following:
1. Marital problems, disappointments, frustration.
2. A renewed relationship with an old love.
3. A real estate transaction involving a lot of money.
4. Concern over another woman.
5. Phenomenal success ahead for Marcia and her work.
6. A hospital.
7. Death. Violent death.
8. A court trial.
Easton gave her own prognosis of the situation: “I think the decision was made for Marcia Moore to die.” [Rule, p. 264]
Psychic Shirley Teabo gave an account uncannily similar to that of Easton, the salient points being:
1. Trouble in the home.
2. A real estate transaction involving a lot of money.
3. Great success ahead for Moore’s career.
4. Concerns about another woman who was dangerous to her.
7. A “death” state.
If she were alive (which still uncertain at the times of these readings) both psychics suggested that she was incapacitated to the degree that she couldn’t let anyone know where she was. [Rule, p. 267]
I was determined to find out more about this case, and decided the best way to go about that would be to contact one of her associates who knew her during that time. I first located her then-husband, “Happy” Boccaci, who was still a practicing anesthesiologist in an unnamed Southwestern city. He did not respond to my letter for understandable reasons, and I did not wish to reopen old wounds. I then made an attempt to contact her friend that she had dedicated the book to – Marwayne Leipzig. I reasoned that Marwayne was probably a member of the Washington State Astrological Association based on her being an astrologer at the time of Moore’s disappearance. I found WASA’s website and one Mikel Poulsen told me via e-mail, that yes, he just so happened to be meeting her for lunch that very weekend for the first time – of course he’d be happy to deliver her a letter requesting some information. (The spooky coincidental nature of this first meeting was not lost on me.) I fired off a hasty message stating my interest in Marcia, having no idea what was actually going to happen. I was relieved to find out that Marwayne was simply alive, since I had found a broken link when searching under her name that led to an obituary page. I did not really expect anything to happen after that point.
That Sunday night, I received a call and I immediately knew who it was, not having a lot of 83-year old German women calling my house on a regular basis. I explained my interest in what happened to Marcia, and what she told me next was simply astounding. Marwayne verified Rule’s account: her skull had been found at a building site two years after her disappearance, with little clue as to her fate. All of this was eerie enough by itself, but Marwayne told me more macabre details which ensured that I was not to have any sleep that night.
Before her death, Marcia had evidently developed a growth on the back of her skull and had refused to see a doctor. She had gone from being youthful beyond anyone’s comprehension (she was 50 years old at the time of all of this), “walking, walking everywhere”, as Marwayne said, to being relegated to a cane due to her nascent hip pain. Rule’s account verifies that Moore suffered from this malady that she made allusions to in Journeys into the Bright World: “She had complained of pain in her hip. That’s why she would take walks around Floral Hills. The paths were a flat surface on which to walk. She didn’t want to talk about her hip, but she did say that someone was ‘bewitching’ her…” [Rule, p. 258]
She was “spaced out” all of the time towards the end; I was given a stern warning to stay away from that “keh-TAH-min” (as only a wizened old German lady could say it), and she suspected, too, that her death was a suicide. Whether or not her husband was involved was unknown, but in all cases he was definitely not guilty of any wrongdoing in any case, having been absolved by all as a good human being who by his own admission was “out of his depth” with Marcia per Karl Jansen’s interview.
Moore had also developed a growth on the back of her neck, and had refused to see a doctor. This is an interesting development: after several weeks of regular ketamine usage I also developed a small, transient bump on the back of my skull. It was not an ingrown hair or pimple, and it would disappear just as soon as it came. Its presence was verified by others. To anyone who hasn’t ever had a full-fledged “Kundalini” awakening this will probably seem completely ridiculous, and is outside of the scope of this document. However, the questions this raises are enormous. Either I developed some mild form of stigmata after thinking about Marcia Moore so much, or the development of this bump is a natural side effect of prolonged ketamine use and/or energy awakening. There are implications to be had in “Kundalini energy”, “chakras”, and in an esoteric reference I found to energy at the top of the spine being indicative of evolution to “Level Four” consciousness – the interested reader is encouraged to investigate these as to the possible cause.
The real bombshell in this conversation was that the Seattle Police Department had lost her skull after they had recovered it for evidence. (You can’t help but think of Homer Simpson on this one – the most high-profile crime case in Seattle in the last couple of years, and the skull gets thrown out with some stale Winchell’s). One could read any number of sinister implications into this, but it was enough to prevent sleep on my part for the rest of the night, as well as enough to resist filing for a formal police report from the SPD. I couldn’t help but ruminate on the mysterious connotation made in the ketamine FAQ: it did seem that whatever finally took her, it was a dark force beyond her control, but true to form, it allowed her resurrection as an archetypal image. She undoubtedly knew that Journeys Into The Bright World would be her last book, she would be thoroughly discredited, and that she would be once again immolated on the altar of martyrdom. Even her close friends and family do not want to be associated with this book, which is understandable given the context it originated in.
I will leave it up to the reader decide just what exactly happened to Marcia Moore that night in Alderwood Manor, but it should not be lost that she understood that there is no stopping an idea whose time has come. With Journeys being relegated to a meager 5000-copy press run, destroying the life and career of her husband, and all of the inevitable misunderstanding about the potentials and pitfalls of psychedelic drugs, there’s little doubt she knew just exactly what it was she was getting into. As probably the only person who has read Journeys cover-to-cover, talked with her associates, as well as reading other investigators’ literature, however, I can speculate on her final outcome. Consider the tone of prescient doom in Journeys when reading the following passage:
“There were even times when I felt as though the gods in their heavens were throwing dice to decide which archetype would make the most fitting finale for our labors. A spectacular martyrdom might just turn the trick in publicizing samadhi therapy…
Almost certainly, no one is going to refine the pure gold of a shining new value system without digging deep into the leadmines of the soul. The individual who sincerely strives to recreate himself in a new image may eventually achieve the desired alchemical regeneration… Only toward the end of the evolutionary cycle do we become co-creators of our fleshly domiciles, like a tenant who having rented house after house finally decides to take the trouble to construct a home of his own, now that he knows what he really wants.” [Moore, p. 162-163]
These passages succinctly illustrate two things: (1) Moore was aware of the power of ideas, and realized that succumbing to some sort of martyrdom or similar “spectacular archetypal fate” could very well assure the power of her ideas, and (2) that she was aware of the problems inherent in any sort of evolutionary step forward (change does not come easily.) She was undoubtedly aware that this book would probably be her last: it would cause her to be discredited (she said the biggest resistance to her work came not from professional circles, but rather from “old-line occultists”. It’s pretty amusing, and indicative of a lot of human nature, that people who believe in things like astrology would automatically dismiss the psychedelic drug experience right off the bat) and she subconsciously did not expect to live long as well. Psychedelic drugs have been clouded with so much misinformation and problematic behavior stemming from all sorts of underlying sources that it’s unlikely these drugs will be able to be put in their proper context any time soon.
It is also clear that she had run into health problems which had quickly deteriorated her physically. Whether this is due to prolonged ketamine usage is not clear, but is unlikely. Nevertheless, when putting her ketamine dependency in context, it is important to remember that she very well could have been constantly dosing on ketamine in order to relieve some sort of chronic pain.
When you add up all of these known factors, you have someone who is highly intelligent and willing to die for a cause who is in chronic pain under the near-constant influence of a drug that does nothing if not assure you of the existence of life after death. She was also notoriously afraid of growing old, and could have very well understood an attractive woman is a far more powerful archetypal symbol than an old woman.
But as Rule notes in her book, “committing suicide without leaving a body behind is not an easy thing to do.” Barbara Easton, the first psychic Rule consulted, speculated that although death showed repeatedly in Marcia Moore’s tarot cards, “these could also be interpreted as the death of the personality as it has been known.” “She could have been so enlightened by the drug that her known personality died – leaving her body. It’s called going into the void.” [Rule, p. 264]
To known the circumstances of her death would be to deprive this case of its mystery and its consequent archetypal significance. Anyone who has studied Jung and used ketamine has probably found themselves questioning former materialistic beliefs. Her ideas are made more powerful by her enigmatic death and consequent martyrdom to the ideal of elevating human consciousness. One of the last things Marwayne Leipzig told me was that “she KNEW what she was doing when she went out into the woods that night.”
Jansen, Karl. Ketamine: Dreams and Realities. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Press, 2001.
Moore, Marcia. Journeys into the Bright World. Para Research, 1978.
Rule, Ann. A Rage to Kill. Simon & Schuster Pocket Books. 1999.
Stearn, Jess. Yoga, Youth, and Reincarnation. Year and publisher unknown. This book contains pictures of Marcia Moore in some mind-blowing yoga positions.
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