Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Secret Service Suicide

With all the talk of the Bill Sparkman case, I wonder if anyone thinks the case of Gary Joe Bergsen might need to be reopened, or at least reexamined. (Thanks to Dan Brandenburg for reminding me about this old X-file.)

In September 1990, Bergsen, a Secret Service officer from Spotsylvania County, Virginia, was found dead of a gunshot wound in a remote rural graveyard (Mountain Springs Cemetery) in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The cemetery is outside of Furnace, KY, near the Estill County-Powell County line.

Bergsen was on annual leave at the time and was not in Kentucky on official business, according to Secret Service spokesman Mark Rupert, quoted in the Washington Post. Neither the State Police nor the Secret Service could say what he was doing in Kentucky, especially in an obscure cemetery in the mountains. Previously, he had allegedly been visiting relatives in California, and went on a deer hunting trip while there. His hunting and camping equipment were still in his vehicle.

Kentucky State Trooper Ed Robinson told the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star that all tests indicated that Agent Bergsen committed suicide with his own .38 pistol while sitting at the wheel of his own pickup truck. However, Robinson was also concerned about sightings of a 1976 Ford Sedan with Virginia license plates seen in the area that morning. Robinson noted it was unusual to see a car with Virginia plates in that area, but it may have been just a coincidence that two of them were around Mountain Springs Cemetery at the same time.


The Bergsen case was ruled a suicide, but the other troubling questions were never resolved. His sister said that during his visit in California just prior to his death, he was in great spirits, thrilled about his job and his life, and was, quote, "happy-go-lucky".

Two years later, the Free-Lance Star ran a follow-up piece about Bergsen's house at 7018 Soulier Lane, Battlefield Green subdivision, Fredericksburg, VA. Neighbors were starting to complain about his empty home falling into disrepair, and it was reported that after Bergsen's death, the house had been purchased by a pair of men named Carl Schleicher and Alton Perkins, both of whom were with an organization called the Mankind Research Foundation from Silver Spring, MD.

Although Schleicher told the paper that his organization's purpose was to provide low-cost housing to low-income families, a cursory Google search shows something quite different. This link describes them as:

"A New Age organization that aims to combine the efforts of leading researchers and experimenters in the multi-disciplinary and interacting fields of human development and humanistic psychology which include research involving the body, mind and those forces and phenomena acting upon the health, education and welfare of mankind. Areas of study include biocommunication, biocybernetics, biophysics, psycho-physiology, educational development, cancer research and mind-body developments. It is located at 1315 Apple Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910."

And this link opens up more cans of worms than I want to think about right now. And then there's mindcontrolforums.com, which states that the late Christopher Bird, co-author of The Secret Life of Plants, was a member at some point.

Now, I don't mean to imply any connection between Agent Bergsen's death and whoever bought his house - I mean, someone had to buy it, right? - and I certainly do not go along with the above-linked conspiracy-kook websites that automatically classify any Remote Viewing, Psychotronic, or Parapsychological project as being inherently suspicious. (Christopher Bird, in fact, has always been a hero of mine and I corresponded with him sporadically in the 1980s and 1990s about Orgone energy, plant intelligence, and pleomorphic organisms.)

But that Agent Bergsen's house was taken over by a group with such a mysterious, controversial, and self-contradictory mission statement is, to me, very interesting for its own sake. Why did they tell the newspaper they were a provider of housing to low-income families when there's every indication that they were not, and never have been, in that line of work? Or did the paper just get the facts wrong?

The DC/MD/VA area is so filled with all manner of weird researchers, Remote Viewers, and triple agents of shadowy orgs, that it's probably just a coincidence. But a fascinating one nevertheless. If nothing else, it's an illustration of just how easily one thing leads to another when examining "fellow travelers" in such circles.

Meanwhile, back in KY, you can find the Mountain Springs Cemetery at Latitude 37.73640, Longitude -83.80550. How the heck did Agent Bergsen get here, halfway between two extreme rural locales as Cobhill and Furnace?

Was he there to visit a certain grave? Whose? Why? You can get a partial list of who's who six feet under at the cemetery here.

Why didn't he tell anyone about this unplanned trip? What was out here that brought him to this place, and then what possessed him to place his Secret Service revolver behind his ear and pull the trigger?


C said...

pretty mind blowing stuff. gets me thinking in several different directions at once.

old said...

I don't know if you know much about this, but there have been reports of people going missing in between Jackson County and Rockcastle County in recent years and if they find the bodies they generally find that their hands have been cut off.

tstamps said...

This almost sounds suspiciously similar to the Philip Taylor Kramer case, except that one had no Kentucky connection.