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Was vanished heiress Marcia Moore murdered — or ‘dematerialized’?

When Marcia Moore disappeared and not using a hint on a bitterly chilly evening in January 1979, her household obtained a number of “bulletins” from psychics throughout the nation. One of them stated that the heiress to the Sheraton Hotel fortune was “stuck in the fourth plane in the 12th dimension” and having bother getting out.

At the daybreak of the New Age motion within the Seventies — when many have been experimenting with crystals, astrology and private transformation — the reason appeared oddly credible to Marcia’s circle of buddies. The lacking 50-year-old was a yoga instructor and astrologer of some renown who had frolicked at an ashram in India and written six books, together with one on reincarnation. With her neatly reduce bangs, the lithe Radcliffe College graduate believed she shared a previous life with Cleopatra.

Before her disappearance from her residence in Seattle, Marcia had been experimenting with ketamine, a hallucinogenic drug, and brainstorming a venture to “dematerialize” herself, in line with Hollywood author and director Elisabeth Bentley, who’s engaged on a restricted documentary sequence about Moore’s life. The heiress’ story can also be informed in “Dematerialized: The Mysterious Disappearance of Marcia Moore” (Post Hill Press), by Joseph and Marina DiSomma, out now.

Marcia Moore as a child.From an early age, Moore was obsessive about the occult and reincarnation.

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The hocus-pocus, alongside together with her conservative household’s embarrassment over Marcia’s obsession with New Age philosophies, in addition to her personal marital historical past — Marcia was on her fourth husband when she disappeared — all labored to derail the investigation into her whereabouts.

“A lot of things Marcia did was mortifying for the family,” stated Bentley, who’s buddies with Marcia’s niece, Elizabeth. “If she were alive today, she would have been an Oprah-like person. She was one of the first to bring yoga to this country, and likely the first person to use the phrase ‘Age of Aquarius.’ Some of her conclusions have also been proven right. She intuited things that are being studied more rigorously, such as the use of hallucinogenic treatments for PTSD.”

But Marcia Moore might have been too forward of her time — and the embarrassment her highly effective household felt would in the end profit her presumed killer. In 1981, when Marcia’s stays have been lastly found close to her residence, the path had already gone chilly.

Marcia Moore demonstrating a yoga posture.Marcia Moore “mortified” her household when her yoga enthusiasm turned to dabbling in hallucinogens.Boston Public Library

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“Her story fades with each passing year,” write the DiSommas, a husband-and-wife investigation group who spent years piecing collectively the story of Marcia Moore after Marina DiSomma found her books in a storage and have become fascinated together with her story.

“Every drive by a Sheraton hotel is a reminder of how few people know the unusual, hidden story of Marcia and the Moore family,” they write.

Marcia Sheldon Moore was born on May 22, 1928, the one daughter of Sheraton Hotel chain founder Robert Lowell Moore and his spouse, Eleanor Turner Moore, in Cambridge, Mass. The clan might hint their lineage to the 1600s, and Marcia and her three brothers have been raised in a Colonial mansion on a two-acre property in tony Concord. According to the DiSommas, the Moore household residence was “complete with servants’ quarters, Japanese garden, grape arbor, raspberry patch and apple orchard,” and there was additionally a summer time residence on Cuttyhunk Island, west of Martha’s Vineyard.

Marcia Moore and Simons Roof on their wedding day.Moore’s first husband was struggling author Simons Roof.

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Although Robert Moore had dabbled in Theosophy, a Nineteenth-century non secular motion that dictated that data of God could possibly be achieved via meditation and transcendence, the patrician household discouraged the identical type of pursuits in Marcia. Her mom favored eldest son Robin, who would obtain world fame in 1969 with the discharge of his ebook, “The French Connection,” which impressed the Best Picture winner on the 1972 Academy Awards.

From an early age, Marcia was obsessive about the occult and reincarnation.

“She was often misunderstood and far ahead of her time in fearlessly exploring metaphysics with new, sometimes controversial ideas,” write the DiSommas.

Moore wrote books on spirituality, astrology and reincarnation.Moore wrote books on spirituality, astrology and reincarnation.

Shortly after abandoning her research at Radcliffe after her freshman 12 months (she would full her diploma a decade later), Marcia married her first husband, a struggling author named Simons Roof. They took off to India for a 12 months in 1955, touring round with their three younger kids as Marcia studied yoga and was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

After their return to the US, Marcia started to blossom as a author and yoga teacher, typically turning her entrance garden into an open-air Hatha yoga studio. But her marriage was falling aside, and in 1962, Marcia and Roof filed for divorce.

‘If she were alive today, she would be an Oprah-like person.’

Hollywood director Elisabeth Bentley, who’s engaged on a documentary sequence about Moore’s life.

Marcia took on a sequence of lovers earlier than marrying her second husband, a 21-year-old scholar named Louis Acker, whom she had met via her astrology circle. The couple “affirmed the engagement based predominantly on their compatible astrological charts,” in line with the DiSommas. Acker, a towering redhead, was 12 years her junior, and though the couple fortunately practiced yoga and lectured on astrology collectively, the wedding was over after three years.

Weeks after divorcing Acker, Marcia wed Mark Douglas, a Korean War veteran and grifter she claimed to have met in a earlier life. He was additionally, in line with “Dematerialized,” a hustler jailed for failure to pay baby assist for his two children from a earlier relationship. Douglas noticed potential in Marcia, and inspired her to jot down books. He began a publishing firm and opened a health-food retailer in York Harbor, Maine, the place she might promote her wares.

He additionally quickly started to regulate a lot of Marcia’s revenue from belief funds and inventory that she held in her household’s lodge firm. When she walked out on him in 1966 after struggling a black eye, amongst different bodily accidents, Douglas had already cashed in additional than $120,000 value of Marcia’s inventory in addition to taking on her mansion, the shop and an residence they’d owned collectively, in line with “Dematerialized.”

Rogin MooreMarcia’s brother, Rogin Moore wrote, “xxxx.”

Marcia then retreated to California and plunged into meditation and experiments with hallucinogenic medication. She was partly influenced by Timothy Leary, the Harvard psychologist and counter-culture hero who turned well-known for his advocacy of LSD for therapeutic use in psychiatry.

Marcia started to experiment with ketamine hydrochloride, an anesthetic often known as “Special K” — and infamous for later changing into a date-rape drug. She took the “psychotropic substance for what she hoped would be the next consciousness expanding breakthrough,” in line with the DiSommas.

Marcia felt that the drug would permit her to discover previous lives — a course of she referred to as “returning to the bright world.” She would later co-author a ebook together with her fourth husband, medical physician Howard Alltounian, titled “Journeys into the Bright World” and printed a 12 months earlier than she died. Marcia referred to as ketamine “the goddess” and sometimes introduced alongside the drug and needles to offer herself inter-muscular injections whereas the household vacationed on Cuttyhunk Island, in line with Bentley.

Marcia Moore and Mark DouglasOne of Moore’s ex-husbands, Mark Douglas, took management of her funds and left her.

“She wasn’t hiding it,” Bentley informed The Post. “The whole family was just mortified by her behavior because they had a prominent social place on the island. The fact that she was running around shooting ketamine and behaving bizarrely was deeply mortifying.”

Marcia’s niece Elizabeth Moore, an entrepreneur who spent summers on the island as a toddler, remembers her aunt at the moment as “distant, elusive, radiant.” Elizabeth, now 58, informed The Post that she final noticed her aunt about 5 years earlier than Marcia’s disappearance.

“We used to spend our summers on Cuttyhunk Island,” recalled Elizabeth. “One summer she was there, and one summer she wasn’t.”

The subsequent time Elizabeth noticed her aunt was at a grocery store in the summertime of 1979 — on the entrance web page of the National Enquirer below the headline, “Missing scientist has become invisible and is somewhere out in the cosmos.”

Marcia Moore and Howard AltounianMoore’s final husband, Howard Altounian, provided her with ketamine.

“In retrospect I wonder why we didn’t question it much,” stated Elizabeth of her aunt’s disappearance. “It really was a sign of the times. It was such a quintessential patriarchal society and we were a patriarchal family.”

On Jan. 14, 1979, hours earlier than she was to go away on a 20-hour automobile journey to Ojai, Calif, Marcia Moore merely disappeared. Her husband Howard Alltounian, an anesthesiologist she had married 14 months earlier than and who provided her with ketamine, didn’t name police till early the next morning. He informed police that Marcia had gone to the films and had by no means returned. He stated she was distraught, a manic depressive and had developed a psychological dysfunction from her use of ketamine. She had additionally, he claimed, threatened suicide.

But Alltounian’s characterization of his spouse was unusual to her closest buddies, who stated that Marcia was over the moon about transferring to Ojai — “a nexus of mystical forces,” because the ebook described it — and was planning to begin {a magazine} about reincarnation. What her husband failed to say to police was that he and Marcia had a troubled relationship.

Marcia MooreOnly the higher portion of Moore’s cranium has ever been discovered. Her disappearance stays a chilly case.Courtesy Concord Free Public Library

Alltounian seemingly ought to have been the first suspect in her disappearance, however evaded actual scrutiny till his dying in 2006.

“I can recall my uncle who was the executor of her estate, talking to my father and suspecting that it was the husband who killed her,” stated Elizabeth. “There was concern, but no rage. There wasn’t enough passion to find out the truth. They were all gentlemen and they took care of business.”

At the time, Alltounian appeared grief-stricken by his spouse’s dying. He informed an Enquirer reporter for the 1979 piece that they’d an idyllic marriage and have been inseparable. He stated he was planning to take a vow of celibacy till she returned — reincarnated.

Marcia Moore's graveMarcia Moore’s grave.

The vow didn’t final lengthy. Soon after her disappearance, Alltounian began relationship. In truth, police have been investigating him for serial rape, though he was by no means charged with against the law, in line with “Dematerialized.”

By the time police found Marcia’s stays — solely the higher portion of her cranium, containing a number of gold crowns, was discovered — in March 1981, two miles from her residence, the investigation into her disappearance was hopelessly stalled.

Although the detective main the investigation suspected Alltounian was in charge, he might by no means muster the mandatory proof, in line with “Dematerialized.” The couple’s residence had by no means been totally searched after she was reported lacking and Alltounian was by no means rigorously re-interrogated.

Marcia MooreWhen requested about his spouse’s wearabouts, Howard stated she had gone to the films and by no means returned.

“It must be acknowledged that the supernatural elements as they pertain to the investigation were heavily sensationalized, and clouded the judgment of Marcia’s friends, family, fans, even law enforcement,” write the DiSommas. “They served Howard well as an immense distraction from a conventional missing persons case, potentially forestalling a criminal indictment.”

In September 2021, the physique of Marcia’s son Christopher Roof, 59, was identified a decade after he had been reported missing, in Stacyville, Maine. As along with his mom, the trigger and method of dying have been undetermined.

Book cover of 'Dematerialized.'

The reality about what occurred to Marcia Moore on that freezing evening in 1979 remains to be not recognized to this present day.

In 1981, her novelist brother, Robin, revealed his own theory to the UPI: “I don’t for one minute believe that my sister died a natural death. I think her demise was assisted perhaps by a cult we don’t even know about. Marcia was targeted by these people on several occasions.”

He added that in 1977 Marcia had claimed {that a} “witches’ coven” was attempting to off her.

But Alltounian actually had an evidence he promoted.

“It all,” he informed the Enquirer, “points to dematerialization.”

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