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Born Patricia Lee Partin
September 4, 1957
Died date of death unknown
Death Valley, California
Patricia Partin, also known as Nury Alexander, was born Patricia Lee Partin on September 4, 1957. She was a member of the inner circle that formed the core of the group to which Carlos Castaneda was the guru. She was said to be the Blue Scout who is featured in Castaneda’s book The Art of Dreaming published by HarperCollins.
She was last seen alive in late April 1998, having disappeared shortly after Castaneda's death on April 27, 1998. Her whereabouts were not known for certain until her remains were discovered in Death Valley National Park in 2003 and positively identified by DNA testing in 2006. The cause of death could not be determined.
Patricia earned 116 of 190 required credits and then dropped out of high school in the spring of 1975. She worked as a waitress and married Mark Silliphant on January 23, 1977 in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to a divorce petition filed by Silliphant on February 22, 1977, he and Patricia separated after 19 days of marriage. Mark had been enrolled as a Theater Arts major at the University of California, Los Angeles from Fall 1972 through Spring 1974 during which time Castaneda also attended the university and both he and Patricia were members of Castaneda’s “inner circle” at some point during the 1970s.
In 1973, after Castaneda appeared on the cover of Time magazine, he bought a compound on Pandora Avenue in Westwood, California, and dropped out of the public view. It was at this time that he started to build his inner circle of associates.
Castaneda wrote about the concept of "erasing personal history" and advised his associates to sever ties with their family. Sometime in either 1977 or 1978 Patricia and Mark visited Patricia's mother and that was the last contact she had with her family for almost twenty years.
As part of the process of erasing personal history, the women of Castaneda's inner circle changed their names and refused to allow their pictures to be taken. Eventually all the women also had their hair cut short and bleached blond.
On June 30, 1978 Mark and Patricia’s divorce was finalized and the next month Patricia changed her name to Nury Alexander (on the documents the typed word Nuri is altered by hand replacing the “i” with a “y”.) On October 3, 1985 Castaneda executed an 11-page will in Beverly Hills, California leaving 1/4 of his estate to "Nuri" Alexander.
In 1993 The Art of Dreaming, which introduces the character of the blue scout, was published. In 1995 Partin, as Nury Alexander, was adopted by Castaneda. Her last public appearance was on April 4, 1998 at a Tensegrity workshop at the Santa Monica College Gymnasium. In 1996 or 1997 Partin's brother-in-law tracked her down through Cleargreen. They had a brief telephone conversation and parted on bad terms.
Sometime in late April Patricia Partin left Los Angeles, along with Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar, Kylie Lundahl and Talia Bey, and was never heard from again. All of their telephone numbers were disconnected on the same day. Early in May Partin’s car was found abandoned in Death Valley's remote Panamint Dunes.
The only recorded reaction of her family to her disappearance is an e-mail from her sister sent to the website "Sustained Action", six months after the fact:
"Just read about my sister, Patty Partin. Glad to see she is being exposed for what she is - a complete and utter phoney, not to mention a con artist. Among her other "attributes", I consider her to be murderess. She kills people in her mind. She killed me and she killed my family. She had "false memories" of a horrible childhood that simply did not exist. To think that people had to hold themselves up to her as the "perfect being" is laughable. I could not think of a more twisted, hateful or sick "being", although the part about her not being human does ring true..."
Richard Jennings, the founder of Sustained Action, seemed to maintain his opinion that the Partins were "a loving family", although he admitted he'd only talked to them once for a chat on Patty's background.
After the death of Castaneda, accounts started to come out about the cult-like activities taking place within Castaneda’s compound. In August 2003 Amy Wallace, who was at one time a sexual partner of Castaneda’s, published her book The Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda, which provided the first alleged inside look into the cult that Castaneda had been creating.
In 2003, Partin's bones were discovered in the general vicinity of her abandoned car. They were positively identified in 2006 using DNA analysis.