Skip Spence, 52, an original member of the rock band...

Deaths Elsewhere

April 19, 1999

Skip Spence, 52, an original member of the rock band Jefferson Airplane, died of lung cancer Friday at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Calif., where he had been fighting a number of ailments.

His death occurred weeks before the release of "More Oar," a CD tribute to Mr. Spence including songs by Beck, Robert Plant, Tom Waits and members of R.E.M. The recording was inspired by "Oar," Mr. Spence's folk-psychedelic solo album from 1969, which will soon be reissued.

Mr. Spence had long battled schizophrenia and alcoholism. He had been on a ventilator since entering the hospital April 5.

In 1965, Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence, born in Ontario, Canada, was set to audition as a guitar player for Quicksilver Messenger Service when another local musician, Marty Balin, invited him to play drums in his new band, Jefferson Airplane.

He had never played drums before but learned quickly. On "Oar," he played every instrument.

Mr. Spence left Jefferson Airplane in 1966 and became a founding member of Moby Grape.

Morey Bernstein, 79, a hypnotist who wrote the "past life" best seller "The Quest for Bridey Murphy," died April 2 of cardiac arrhythmia in Pueblo, Colo.

On Nov. 29, 1952, the amateur hypnotist tried an experiment in age regression on one of his most responsive subjects, Virginia Tighe, 29, a housewife. He asked her to remember her childhood. After several sessions she began telling him about a time before she was born, prompting Mr. Bernstein to believe his subject had recalled a previous life.

The hypnotist said Ms. Tighe spoke in an Irish accent and claimed to have been a woman named Bridey Murphy, who was born Dec. 20, 1798, near Cork, Ireland. The book, which disguised Ms. Tighe as a woman named Ruth Simmons, was made into a movie starring Louis Hayward as Mr. Bernstein and Teresa Wright as Ms. Tighe.

Pub Date: 4/19/99

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