Carlos Castaneda Interviews and Articles
The L.A. Times - Aug 1998
Seeking New End to Story of Castaneda
By: Ann W. O'Neill
A Georgia man who says he is the only son of Carlos Castaneda is contesting the reclusive writer's will, alleging in court papers that it was drafted by the executor and that the signature is a forgery.
"It's just madness," responded the executor, Los Angeles entertainment attorney Deborah Drooz. She denied doing anything improper and said Adrian Vashon is not the writer's son.
Vashon, a.k.a. Carlton J. Castaneda, charges that in the final days of his life, the author was "surrounded by a group of individuals who, in essence, built a wall" around him. Vashon says those people controlled who could speak with or see the elder Castaneda.
Vashon also says the writer was not in his right mind and may have signed the will under duress. He is asking a Superior Court judge to deny Drooz's appointment as executor of the $1-million-plus estate and to appoint him instead. A hearing is set for Oct. 15.
"All you have to do is look at him" to determine that Vashon is not Castaneda's son, Drooz said. The mystic writer, she said, was small and wiry. Vashon, on the other hand, is tall and ample-bodied.
Castaneda wrote the best-seller "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge," the tale of his peyote-laced adventures with an Indian shaman. The author died of liver cancer April 27 at his home in Westwood. The will leaves nothing to Vashon or his mother, Margaret Runyan Castaneda, the writer's former wife.
"Although I once treated him as if he were my son, Adrian Vashon, also known as C.J. Castaneda, is not my son," the will states.
Runyan Castaneda's 1996 book, "A Magical Journey With Carlos Castaneda," identifies Vashon's birth father as Adrian Gerritsen, a man with whom the book says she had an affair while married to Castaneda.
Copyright 1998 Los Angeles Times