Death at 27 for Kristen Pfaff: Conspiracy or Coincidence?

For Kristen Pfaff, love and death seemed to be very close together – and the pun is intended. It doesn’t take much searching on the Internet to find the concept put forward that her death by a heroin overdose just a few months after Kurt Cobain’s supposed suicide was not a coincidence, but a conspiracy. She and Kurt were close friends, and some have questioned exactly how close. Kristen was the bass player for Courtney’s band Hole, and naturally became part of an inner circle. The suspicions about the way she died center on the idea that she was a threat to the person who was also most involved in Cobain’s death, and it’s clear who that person is. But was it a conspiracy, or a coincidence?

The definition of “conspiracy” as it is used in a court of law is an agreement arrived at between at least 2 people to do something illegal, probably a criminal act. A look at the death of Kristen Pfaff certainly raises doubts about the official explanation, but there is no hard evidence of a conspiracy – perhaps. Her ex-boyfriend and band mate in Hole Eric Erlandson was the last person to see her alive in this life, and he was of course close friends with Courtney Love. Kristen had successfully kicked the smack habit months ago, and was getting out of the Seattle scene. Friends reported that she seemed to be worried after Cobain’s death, and was anxious to start her life back in Minnesota over again. At any rate, she was not using at the time and was happy in her new, clean existence.

No one knows what happened the night before she died, but speculations have flown. One theory is that Love provided a going-away present of a high-grade heroin to Kristen, delivered by Erlandson. She would not have had much of a tolerance for high-end dope, and it would have been too much for her. Other theories are more sinister – that he injected her without her permission, or that she was somehow knocked out before it was injected. But the question remains, why?

There are a few possible motives for murdering Pfaff, whether done by one person or involving 2 or more conspirators. One is that she knew something about the death of Cobain and was planning to go to the authorities. Clearly whoever was implicated in such a crime would have a motive to silence her. Another possible motive was jealousy – there are rumors that Pfaff was the mystery woman that some have said Cobain purchased an airline ticket for a few months ago, and that he was cheating on Love. If she had been involved with him romantically, it would explain the deep impact his death had on her, and her desire to get out of town and away from Love.

The fact is that we’ll probably never know the truth about the death of Kristen Pfaff at 27, nor the death of her close friend, and possibly lover, Kurt Cobain at the same age. There are so many unanswered questions surrounding their deaths that books could be written about the situation – and they have. In an expose published in 2004, Kristen’s mother Janet maintained that there was no way that her daughter would have knowingly taken such a dose of a drug that she had recently left behind, nor would she have killed herself on the eve of escaping a toxic dangerous scene. Maybe someday the truth will be known, but for now the question stands: was there a Kristen Pfaff conspiracy, and did it kill her?


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