Beyond the Gemstone Files
is Stephanie Caruana?
Not a whole lot is known about this woman. If my research is correct, she (or at least someone named Stephanie Caruana Curaba) graduated from Bishop Kearny High School (Massachusetts?) in 1968, five years after I graduated from Pratt (KS) High School. She (or her namesake) is listed as a member of the Bishop Kearny High School Alumni Association. Because of her unwillingness to cooperate with anyone unless there's money it for her, it is difficult to determine just who she really is. There is very little in the public record. To my knowledge there are no photos readily available of her, as there are with most other people involved in this story.
She has put up several web pages and they have then simply
vanished. She is an avid feminist and, it would seem, quite iintelligent. Stephanie Caruana was at one time listed as member of the Boston Mensa
Society, but the e-mail address given seems to be long dead.
interest in The Gemstone File, she published The Spear Shaker, which claims
that William Shakespeare is basically a fraud, that his plays were written
by the Earl of Oxford.
She does a brief web site on AOL, set up in 2002: http://hometown.aol.com/gemstonefile2002/index.html
She uses that site to hawk her new CD-ROM which promises to provioe the "original" Roberts files. Alas, one will probably be disappointed, since her CD-ROM contains only a "transcription" and one tantalizing image of the cover. (It is probably a violation of AOL policy to use personal pages for commercial use, but that doesn't seem to have stopped her). It does not contain any actual copies of the files themselves. Here is what she says on that site:
Several people have reported that she is agonizingly slow in filling orders after she gets the money in her hands, and recommend you order the CD-ROM elsewhere if you want to see it in this lifetime, such as from The Last Hurrah Bookstore (see below)..
(5176) [CD-ROM] THE GEMSTONE FILE. Onassis, Howard Hughes, JFK, Jackie, Bobby, Nixon, Nader, and the CIA/Mafia/Big money take over of the U.S. in 1963. US history from the 1920s to 1975, by Bruce Roberts. Includes Skeleton Key edited with additions by Stephanie Caruana. 2001. ... $15.00
1) BY MAIL: Mail a check with your
order to: The Last Hurrah Bookshop, 937 Memorial Ave., Williamsport,
Howard Hughes Killed off Earlier Than Thought?
In the early 1970s, Ms. Caruana was a writer for Playgirl magazine, where she claims she first published Gemstone material in December 1974 (shown) in an article called "Is Howard Hughes Dead and Buried off a Greek Island." That article makes no mention of Bruce Roberts or of the Gemstone Files, and is based largely on an article that appeared in Midnight, a Canadian tabloid, October 18, 1971, and on other publicly available information.
In a public posting, she offers an excuse why her "proof" that this was Gemstone material never made it into print (third paragraph):
It is interesting to note here that Caruana, who has a tendency to call other people "liars", claims "We [her and Mae Brussell] wrote an article about the Patty Hearst kidnapping, "Why Was Patty Hearst Kidnapped?" and sold it to a small Berkeley underground newspaper, the "Berkeley Barb."
In fact, she did not write that article. Mae Brussell wrote it as a four-part series - by herself, apparently, since Caruana's name does not appear on it at all - and it was published in February 1974 in The Realist, according to Mae Brussell. "Why Was Patty Hearst Kidnapped?"
Reading this huge tome, one gets an immediate impression that Brussell was drawing directly from the Gemstones themselves, and revealing far more about one small episode than Caruana, myself or anyone else has ever come up with since. Even the writing style is classic Roberts - short, terse, clipped - not at all like Caruana's (compare it to the article below). Also, it makes a lot of assertions with no corroborating evidence or documentation - like Roberts. Reading it, one could even ask: Did Mae Brussell write the Gemstone Files instead of Bruce Roberts? A handwriting analysis might answer the question, but Caruana refuses to make her "originals" available.
Caruana did write another article with Mae Brussell, called "Inside the Hearst Kidnapping" that was published in the Berkeley Barb 1974 (#18). But why would she want to take credit for something she didn't write? And does it reveal a pattern that repeats itself in The Key? It is only after Mae Brussell's death that Caruana claims to take credit for Brussell's work.
Hyper-sensitive to Legitimate Criticism
Most people don't believe what they read in The Key, and one really can't blame them. Typical of such disbelief (which gets Ms. Caruana's dander up) is this posting from James H. Daugherty at a-alibionic.com on Dec. 26, 1994:
Apparently miffed that someone dared question her unproven allegations, she left the A-albionic board six months later in June 1995, with a parting shot that showed her disdain, if not hatred, for the male side of all species. While a lot of people would agree with her (and at times I have, too), can we ignore the bloodthirsty women leaders of history, such as Indira Ghandi, whose father, ironically, was the great pacifist Mohattma Ghandi?
This hyper-sensitivity seems to be endemic in virtually all of her relationships with others, where the Gemstones are involved. When it's been pointed out - quite often, I might add - that without any supporting evidence, the Gemstone Files are "a bunch of crap," she reacts as if she's been personally slapped in the face.
One example concerns a San Francisco web site which ran a three-part article on Angela Alioto, who is running for public office there. (Alioto's father, the late mayor Joe Alioto, is fingered as one of the bad guys in the files). The site, Mister SF, devoted a special article to Ms. Caruana's sensitivity.
All of the images that you see on MisterSF.com are Donat's own original photography unless otherwise indicated. Donat says, "I've lived in San Francisco nearly 20 years, long enough to know that my destiny is here. We have to share the City with 800,000 people at home and millions all over the world but would we really want it any other way? The heart of the City is in the hills. The soul of the City is in the people who live and work here."
First Known Publication of The Skeleton Key
The first documented publication of what could be Gemstone material occurred in early May 1975 in Modern People magazine and entitled "Modern People Exclusive: Who REALLY Killed JFK?" by James L. Moore. While it does not mention Bruce Roberts or the Gemstone Files by name, it does mention the link between Aristotle Onassis to the assassination:
This article was the first of a series that ran for maybe 26-30 weeks, and was a "teaser" of what was to come. Several articles had already been delivered to the publisher, Vincent Sorren.
The earliest possible mention of any published source that links Caruana to The Key is an August 1975 article in a now-defunct publication called The City of San Francisco. I have a copy of this and will try to transcribe and post it here. Oddly, she herself never mentions it. Gary Buell found the article after I told him about its existence. I knew about it because of the 1980 lawsuit against Hustler magazine. I'd been searching for it for years to no avail, but Gary seems to have quite a knack for tracking things down once he knows what he's looking for. This is also the first documented publication at all that specifically mentions the Gemstone Skeleton Key. On the surface, it would certainly tend to strengthen Caruana's case.
However, long before anyone tracked this article down, and long before the authorship feud ever started, I had filed police reports of repeated burglaries of my home office in which my manuscript had been stolen. Can I prove this? No, I can't. There may, however, still be people around who can corroborate that: songwriter Marjy Plant, Janice Plant, Melissa Thurman, Betsy ? and two other women. At the time one burglary took place, we were all sharing a house in Nashville off West End Avenue. While they have no idea what specific documents were taken, they can corroborate that at the time I was working on the Kennedy assassination. This, however, was about the same time I was working with Rep. Henry Gonzalez (now deceased) who was for a while chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
The other, earlier burglary of note occurred when I was living alone in Fairview, Tennessee, and occurred in mid or late May 1975. More details on this and other aspects can be found in the section dealing specifically with me and my timeline, which provides evidence, but not proof that I was providing Gemstone material to both Rep. Gonzalez and to Modern People magazine, a Chicago tabloid where I worked as a full-time freelancer doing nothing but pursuing the Gemstone matter since February 1975. While I have very few of the six-month or so series that ran, some of them received widespread publicity in the books of other writers, such as Walter Bowart's Operation Mind Control (1978-Dell Pub. Co.)
How Stephanie Caruana's name wound up in August 1975 on a document stolen from my home in May 1975, and which was the basis for a series of articles that began running in May 1975, I can't say, but it wouldn't be the first time that documents have vanished from one place only to wind up in the possession of Stephanie Caruana.
The Case of the Purloined Letters
The "original" letters were in the possession of Mae Brussell, a well-known conspiracy researcher (conspirologist) in California. These letters were the ones Roberts had given her; he had also been giving them out to many other people, as even Caruana admits. Brussell's ticket to fame was a small book which provided a painstaking index to the Warren Report. Somewhere in my own archives, I believe I still have that book.
the course of time, the original Bruce Roberts letters disappeared,
as Virginia McCullough, Curator of the Mae Brussell Archive tells it,
and somehow mysteriously ended up in Caruana's possession. At least
Caruana claims she has them, but won't let anyone see even
photocopies, forcing the world to be content with
"transcriptions", the accuracy of which can only be
confirmed by her word. According to McCullough:
most of my readers know, I am the custodian and curator of the Mae
Brussell Collection, referred to by many of her fans as the Mae
Brussell Library and/or the Mae Brussell Archives. In this
capacity, I receive hundreds of requests for specific information
from her massive research files.
researched thousands of subjects from 1963 until her death in 1988.
She placed more importance on some subjects than others.
Certain of these subjects took on a life of their own and were
published under names either Mae or others gave them. For
example: The Torbitt Document, also entitled Nomenclature
of an Assassination Cabal, by William Torbitt, Click
to read. and The Gemstone Files
based on several hundred letters sent to Mae Brussell by a Bruce
Roberts. These two examples given account for
perhaps one-fourth of the requests for information.
Mae Brussell Archives were placed in my possession in 1993, five
years after Mae died. The files had been moved several
times in the five years preceding their being placed in my trust.
The two files cited were not in the files in their original state
as has been described by those who had seen them prior to their
removal from Mae Brussell's home. I have been
unable to locate even one letter allegedly written by Bruce Roberts
or any original document written to William Torbitt. I
have, of course, read many of the subsequent printings of the two
documents from a variety of sources. …
the time she died her fans removed over 300 researched but unwritten
manuscripts, 38 four drawer file cabinets, over 10,000 books and
countless boxes of newspapers, magazines and unfiled articles.
The Collection takes up 2,200 square feet of space and touches the
7' high ceiling where it is stored. Small pathways meander
through boxes and file cabinets. The vast majority of
the archives remain boxed as they were at the time Mae died.
many of those letters seem to have turned up in the possession of
Stephanie Caruana, who claims to be the “sole” author of The
Key. This e-mail she sent me in 2000 explains:
I didn't start this letter to kid around, but to tell you that I am
doing a new book, which will contain a fairly large amount of the
original Roberts materials that I have. I am aware, as
many people are not, that Roberts's stuff was spread around to a lot
of people over a lot of years, in sections, before his death in
1976. (I knew him in 1974-5).
At one point, in 1970 or so, Roberts referred to "4 telephone-book -sized" piles of manuscripts that had preceded his current writing. I have a stack the thickness of about 1 telephone book, (we are not talking small-town–in-Tennessee phone books here), and I know there is a lot that I don't have. …
If you still have any of the originals (xerox copies, that is), I wonder if you could dig them up and send a copy to me. I have this desire, foolish though it may be, to try and assemble as much of the original material as possible. What I have dates from 1970-1972, and again, 1974-5--about 400 pages in all.
these the “several hundred” or so letters that have disappeared
from the Brussell Archive? Obviously, Caruana would have to have the
originals if she were to be able to “transcribe and edit” them
(unless she's pulling off a hoax similar to the Howard Hughes
biography, which I have to doubt). She clearly claims she does
have the originals. There would appear to be no other answer
as to who removed them from the Brussell Archives. Just how does she
explain this? So far she's totally ignored the issue.
According to Gary Buell:
to Martin Cannon, who takes a dim view of both Caruana and the
Gemstone Files, Caruana and Mae Brussell didn’t meet until 1974
– two years after Caruana claims she met Roberts (1972), whom she
didn’t meet until after she met Brussell (again, according
to Caruana herself). Until then, Martin writes, quoting Caruana, she
was a Playgirl writer.
did Caruana first gain access to the Roberts letters? Through a
fascinating, frustrating lady named Mae Brussell, the legendary
queen of conspiracy research. Brussell created the Gemstone File -
literally: She was the one who placed Roberts’ letters into a
manila folder and wrote the word “Gemstone” on the tab.
(Presumably, Roberts’ interest in jewelry prompted this label.)
Caruana’s own words best describe her time as a
was writing articles for Playgirl magazine, primarily about issues
of importance to women. I wrote about a new method of early
abortion, at a time when abortions were only legal in New York and
California, and coat-hanger-back-room-trips-to-Mexico stories were
all too common. I wrote about decent nutrition and care for pregnant
women as a way to avoid birth defects. I interviewed black poet Maya
Angelou, and black feminist activist Flo Kennedy. Playgirl got off
to a zooming start, probably due primarily to the male nudes, but
I’d like to think that some of my articles on issues important to
women helped. (This was at a time when, as now, women’s magazines
pretty much stuck to cosmetics, diets, and how to get a better job.)
1974, Cannon writes, Caruana helped Mae Brussell write about the
Patty Hearst kidnapping, claiming intelligence agency “plants”
manipulated the Symbionese Liberation Army into actions to discredit
the left. SLA leader William Harris responded to this article with a
tape-recorded “tirade” against “White, sickeningly liberal,
paranoid conspiracy freaks.” According to Cannon, Playgirl
suggested the two collaborate on an article on Howard Hughes. It was
during this project that Caruana stumbled across the Gemstone Files,
a stack of hand-scrawled “letters” Roberts had written to
Brussell and to several others – anyone who might listen. He had
started sending these missives to Brussell in 1972. According to
Caruana, as quoted by Cannon:
“ordered” me to not actually read the letters, but only to skim
over them, and only to read what related to Howard Hughes! At
midnight, exhausted after a long hard day, I started to read. The
first page was chock full of murders, poison, and dirty words. My
reaction was: Hey, this guy is a paranoid schizophrenic. I’ve been
told all my life about them. In a sense, I had been brainwashed to
automatically reject anyone who talked about the things he did, in
the ways he did it. I had to pull back and take a look at my
reactions, and to decide that I would read the material with an open
mind. It all held together - from first to last page.
Caruana's own words show how little regard she had for the trust that others placed in her. She seems to actually brag about disobeying Brussell's "orders" and doing what she pleased. Just how far did she take this betrayal of trust?
eventually broke with Brussell,” Cannon writes, “and visited
Roberts.” This implies that she did not meet him in 1972 as
claimed, but later – after she “broke” with Brussell. What was
the reason for the break? Was it because the files turned up missing
and Brussell suspected Caruana? We will never know, since Brussell
died in 1988, and we have only Caruana’s self-interest to guide
us. If Caruana didn’t meet Brussell until 1974 (the Hughes article
was published in December 1974) – and claimed just a year later to
have the files when she claims she released the first Key (take your
pick of March, April, May or June, depending on which of her various
stories you wish to believe, if any), then this would present a
strong case that the disappearance of those files took place just
before the two agreed to go their separate ways. (“Exposed at
Last: The REAL Gemstone Files” by Martin Cannon, 2001, as it
appears on the website www.newsmakingnews.com/mcgemstoneexposedatlast.htm).
look at the Table of Contents of her new book reveals the time frame
of her original documents to be, as claimed, 1972 and 1974. Caruana
is now hawking a $20 CD along with the book that may answer the
What we seem to have, then, based on the published comments of a number of people, including Caruana herself, is someone who has little or no regard for the private property of others, who somehow came into private property she was "ordered" not to even read (shortly after that property disappears from its rightful owner), and who seems to be obsessed not with documenting any of what she has, "but ... seems to insist on a way of making money on them before she releases them!" (James Daugherty quote - see above). In addition, the record clearly shows she "takes umbrage" at anyone who has the audacity to challenge or question even the smallest aspect of her story. Methinks she doth protest too much. Certainly, there are some "hot buttons" being pushed here and it would be interesting to know why she is so hyper-sensitive when asked for something as simple as proof of what she says.