Ron Rosenbaum

Two or Three Things I Know About Her

Some further preliminary, fragmentary remarks about the death of Theresa Duncan.

First of all thanks to those who have encouraged me to continue posting on the subject, but I must admit I’m uneasy or at least unused to doing “reporting” in this fashion. I’m more accustomed to getting out of the house and talking to people, not drawing any conclusions until I’d felt I’d done all the research. But two important previous obligations make doing that kind of research impossible for the moment.

On the other hand reporting-by-blogging has been a kind of revelation. People I would not ordinarily know about and might not have learned about from traditional reporting seem willing to confide things to my blog comments Many are anonymous and unconfirmable and I have a predisposition against posting such, but I will try over the next few posts to give more of sense of what people are saying. And aside from that since I knew Theresa Duncan only from her brilliant blog perhaps this method is somehow apropos.

In any case here are two or three things, general and particular I know. First opinion seems to be divided between those who think that Theresa either took her life or was driven to her death, or even murdered by harassment by various cults and mysterious adversaries the names and nature of which are apparent to anyone who reads several of her blog entries in the past two months of her life. On reflection I prefer to withhold judgment and not reproduce anonymous accusations without corroboration, but that’s the traditional reporter in me speaking.

On the other hand there are those who paint a picture of Theresa Duncan as brilliant but deeply troubled, possibly delusional in her suspicions. But as one commenter wrote in, the delusion of harassment is as real as harassment.

Then there is the matter of the suicide note. If she were being harassed why not name her nemeses in her last words, rather than leave a note described by the cops as suggesting a peaceful loving farewell?

I guess you could say she might be trying to protect Jeremy, her boyfriend who later seems to have killed himself over her death, but according to police his note didn’t mention any enemies either, and if not why not? I asked a NYPD spokesman what else was in the notes and have yet to receive any comment back although comment has been promised. I asked them if they were aware of. or investigating Theresa’s complaints of harassment but have yet to receive any comment although comment was promised.

I have tried to check out rumors that Theresa was upset at the way her first directing gig was going, but have yet to hear back from her agent.

I should mention that I have not found any evidence that Jeremy Blake himself had anything but an honorable role to play in her life. I learned that even though his death has not be confirmed his friends held a “Shiva service” for him, a term I’m not familiar with. I heard from well-informed art world gadfly (and friend of Theresa and Jeremy), Charlie Finch of (click on “magazine”) that Jeremy seemed like a stable type to him, someone solidifying a major position in the art world.

I also heard a chilling story I can’t verify that after Theresa’s death (which Jeremy discovered) he was indeed deeply upset and that a friend was staying with him until he (Jeremy) planned to fly to Theresa’s funeral in Michigan. But the friend had to work the day before the flight and that was the day Jeremy chose to walk into the waves. The whole thing just keeps getting sadder.

There is a lot more to say, this is just an interim report. I have to admit I’m at a loss to explain Theresa Duncan’s death and the more I re-read her blog and admire its remarkable elan vital, erudition and excitement about art, literature, love and life, the more mysterious her death appears.

I’ll keep posting more provisional, interim, fragmentary reports in the near future.