Paul Might Be Dead, But The Clues Are Going Live!

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The Paul McCartney Death Clues has consistently been one of the most-visited sections within my strange and spooky world. At first glance, that might seem odd for a web site that’s primarily focused on ghosts. But I think it just goes to show that, regardless of whether you’re talking about ghosts, monsters, UFOs, or the idea that Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash and replaced by a look-alike, people just like weird stuff. And the weirder, the better.

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So many clues for just one album cover. You should buy your own copy and see if you can find them all!

Anyway, long before this blog existed, any time I felt the need to whip out all my PID (“Paul Is Dead” for those of you who have just fallen down this particular rabbit hole) materials (and boy, do I have more than my fair share of it), the thing I would hear most often was “man, you need to some sort of presentation where people can come to see and hear all this stuff”. Well, that time has finally come.

On Wednesday evening, April 17th, beginning at 5:30 pm, I will be given a special presentation at the Jackson City Library in Jackson, Ohio:

I buried Paul: An In-Depth Examination of the Paul McCartney Death Clues.

This is going to be a multi-media presentation where I bring out all my records, newspaper clippings, and tons of audio, and we’ll all roll up our sleeves and attempt to get to the bottom of this whole PID mystery.

Starting with how the legend got started and who might have been responsible, we’ll take a magical mystery tour through all the Beatles’ albums (and their clues) associated with the legend. And yes, we’ll be playing some records backwards, too.

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Is this the real Paul…or the man who replaced him? (from the White Album poster insert)

For me, this is going to be a truly memorable evening if for no other reason than we’re all going to be gathered together, looking and listening for clues—pretty much what everyone was doing back in the late 1960s when this bizarre legend first broke. How cool is that?

This presentation is free and open to the general public. Seating will be on a first-come, first-seated basis and there is currently no need to pre-register. But keep an eye on this blog and I will post any additional information if it becomes available.

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Paul Is Dead Clues: The White Album Poster

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For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the whole Paul Is Dead rumor is that the search for clues often extended outside the songs themselves.

In the beginning, people were simply listening for clues in the song lyrics, then pouring over the art on the album covers. From there, they started playing their records backwards. When that was done, they began looking at anything associated with the albums, including inserts like posters and booklets. That’s what led to people finding clues in the poster included in initial pressings of The Beatles’ 1968 release, The White Album.

In 1968, when it came time to develop the artwork for the Beatles’ latest album, the task fell to artist Richard Hamilton. It is said that Hamilton wanted to create an album cover that was the complete opposite of the elaborate production featured on the Beatles’ last release, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Hamilton also wanted to contrast the lengthy title of Sgt. Pepper’s. The result was a plain, all-white album without any title that became known as The White Album simply because, well, it was white.

As the story goes, shortly after the decision on the album cover was made, Hamilton and some of the Beatles started to feel a little bad about giving fans an album with no artwork to look at. So they decided to include 4 color photos, one for each Beatle, as inserts for the album. A decision was also made to create a photo collage poster, with lyrics on the reverse side, to accompany the album.

The White Album poster — via The Beatles Rarity

Most report that it was Paul McCartney who gathered up the photographs that would become the 23″ x 24″ poster. That in and of itself was enough to further fuel the “Paul Is Dead” rumors: “A dead man put this poster together, so there’s bound to be clues hidden in it.”

Most report that it was Paul McCartney who was given the task of gathering the photographs that would become the 23″ x 24″ poster. That in and of itself was enough to further fuel the “Paul Is Dead” rumors: “A dead man put this poster together, so there’s bound to be clues hidden in it.”

There are 3 alleged clues lurking in the poster. The largest, and therefore often referred to as the “most obvious”, resides in the upper left corner of the poster. The image is of Paul McCartney in the bath tub. Specifically, it’s a closeup of Paul’s head and portions of his arms.

Looking at the image above, you can see why people immediately claimed this was a clue. I mean, it clearly shows that Paul McCartney had been decapitated in a car crash, right? On top of that, Paul’s eyes are closed, further confirmation that Paul was, in fact, dead.

The next clue is towards the bottom left corner of the poster. Somewhat hidden amongst larger pictures is a small one said to depict Paul McCartney wearing a disguise he’d don to avoid being mobbed by fans when he went out in public.

Cluesters, however, will tell you that the photo is actually of William (“Bill”) Campbell, the gentleman who won a Paul McCartney look-alike contest and was chosen by the other 3 Beatles to take Paul’s place. To them, the photo shows Bill before his transformation into Faul; “Fake Paul.” (NOTE: Some believe the man’s name is actually Billy Shears, not William Campbell. You know, the same Billy Shears the Beatles “introduced” to us on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But that’s another story for another day).

The last, and spookiest, clue is near the bottom right of the poster. It shows Paul McCartney in profile, clapping and dancing. Nothing strange or out of place here. Or is there?

If you look right behind Paul, there appears to be a pair of skeletal hands reaching out for him. Those hands are said to represent all sorts of things, none of which are good. But basically, they are said to mean that Paul had been somehow marked for death and that, after his demise, the surviving Beatles added this photo to the poster to alert their fans to the fact that Paul was indeed dead.

I’ll be honest: Of the three “clues” said to be hidden in the White Album poster, this is the one that’s the creepiest to me. Not sure what caused the image to appear (operator error, mistake during processing, soul-munching ghouls), but they certainly do look like a pair of hands.

So there you have it, friends. What sayeth you? Are there really clues to Paul McCartney’s untimely demise lurking within the White Album poster? Know of any clues that I missed? Let me know!

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For more (non-PID) information on the Beatles’ White Album, check out this great, in-depth article on The Beatles Rarity.

More Paul Is Dead “evidence” can be found in the Paul McCartney Death Clues wing of The Strange & Spooky Museum. 

Paul Is Dead: Possible Origins of the Legend

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Those of you who know me just accept the fact that I have an unhealthy obsession with the urban legend surrounding the “death” of Paul McCartney and the subsequent cover-up by the remaining three Beatles. Truth be told, my interest has less to do with my believing in the legend and more with my fascination over how such a bizarre story could come to be accepted as truth by millions of people. Granted, this happened in the late 60s and there were a lot of controlled substances being ingested back then, but even today, there is a whole subculture devoted to finding clues related to McCartney’s death.

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The biggest question I’ve always asked is: how did this bizarre tale get started? Most people point to the October 12th, 1969 broadcast of Michigan’s WKNR, when then-student Tom Zarski called in and told the DJ, Russ Gibb, that he “wanted to rap with (him) about Paul McCartney being dead.” Years later, Zarski would state that he had heard the rumors of Paul’s demise and that there were clues hidden in the records and was merely calling the radio station to see if the stories were true. In other words, the legend pre-dates October 12th, 1969.

The earliest mention of “clues” that I’ve been able to find in print (so far) is the September 17th, 1969 edition of Drake University’s Times-Delphic, which contains an article by Tim Harper entitled “Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?” But once again, Harper has stated in interviews that he was merely re-telling what he had heard or been told about the clues.

Article from September 17th, 1969 edition of the Times-Delphic (click to enlarge)  — from lacaraocultadelrock, because my copy is tattered and torn

If we take the actual clues out of the legend, one of the earliest possible sources that people might have gleaned information about Paul McCartney being dead from was the single Saint Paul by Terry Knight, which was released in May of 1969. With numerous Beatle references sprinkled throughout the song, Saint Paul is obviously a reference to Paul McCartney. While the popular belief is that the song is about Knight becoming disillusioned after meeting several of the Beatles, including Paul, if one listens to the lyrics with their conspiracy hat on, they could be taken to be describing Paul’s death (click on the image below to listen to Saint Paul and decide for yourself what Mr. Knight is talking about).

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Of course, none of the lyrics of Saint Paul mention the cause of Paul’s alleged death: a car crash. The earliest appearance I’ve been able to find of that is The Beatles Book from February of 1967, almost two years before the Paul Is Dead rumor broke.

Beatles Monthly Book

Towards the back of this UK magazine, there is a section called Beatle News, which traditionally carried brief announcements of “light” news—this particular edition features a blurb about how all of the Beatles have decided to grow mustaches. But there’s also a rather intriguing article entitled False Rumour, which reads as follows:

False Rumour

For me, this would seem to be where the initial idea of Paul McCartney dying in a car crash came from. It’s interesting to note that even when the Paul Is Dead rumor finally hit in 1969, the story was that McCartney had died 2 years earlier, in November of 1966. That puts us in roughly the same time frame as the alleged January 1967 car crash.

So when you lay everything out in a nice little timeline, it appears as though the False Rumour article points to the original rumor that Paul had died in a car crash on January 7th, 1967. That story percolates for a while until Saint Paul is released, at which point people start thinking there might be clues hidden in that song’s lyrics. From there, it was only a matter of time before people were listening for clues in Beatles records…and playing them backwards. Of course, I might uncover another tidbit of information that sends my whole theory crashing down, but for now, that’s what I’ve come up with!

Interestingly enough, while researching the January 7th, 1967 car crash mentioned in The Beatles Book, I uncovered a whole slew of urban legends attached to it; did the crash really happen? Was it Paul’s car? Was Paul even in the car? But those are different legends for a different day!

Does Smithsonian Magazine Believe That Paul Is Dead?

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Not sure, but they did devote a couple of pages of their Beatles In America: The 50th Anniversary magazine to the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead.

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They even asked me to scan and send them a photo of my copy of Paul McCartney: The Great Hoax from The Paul McCartney Death Clues section of The Strange & Spooky Museum.

McCartney Dead Magazine

The magazine came out last month and is available at select booksellers. Click here if you want a copy for your Kindle.

New Addition To The Strange & Spooky Museum: Abbey Road

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No museum that chronicles all the alleged clues to Paul McCartney’s supposed death would be complete without this little gem: Abbey Road, the 11th studio album by The Beatles. Released in September of 1969, right around the time when the whole Paul Is Dead conspiracy was taking hold, Abbey Road was reported to contain the mother lode of clues, many of which were visible right on the cover.

Here’s just a few of the most popular “clues” said to be lurking on the cover of Abbey Road:

  • The order in which the Beatles are crossing the street, and the way they are dressed, is said to be depicting a funeral procession, with Paul as the corpse. Moving from right to left, the Beatles are said to represent a religious figure (John), an undertaker (Ringo), a corpse (Paul), and a gravedigger (George).

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  • The way that Paul McCartney (or if you believe the rumors, his double) is positioned on the street is also said to hold several clues. For one, McCartney is the only Beatle who is barefoot (which some say is how corpses are buried in India). He is also literally “out of step” with the other Beatles. Finally, he is holding a cigarette in his right hand, which is pointing towards the ground, said to symbolize that the real Paul McCartney is now “in the ground”. Oh yeah, and the cigarette in his right hand is also supposed to be a clue since McCartney was left-handed.
  • Take a look on the left side of the cover and you’ll see a white Volkswagen Beetle (a Beetle, get it?). Upon closer inspection, the license plate of that car reads LMW 28IF. The “LMW” is said to stand for “Linda McCartney Weeps” (Linda McCartney being, of course, Paul’s wife). As for the “28IF”, that is said to mean that Paul McCartney had died at age 27 and that the imposter on the cover was what Paul would have looked like IF he had made it to age 28.
  • Finally, on the right side of the cover is what appears to be a police vehicle with a man standing idly by next to it. The police vehicle is supposed to represent the authorities who first arrived on the scene of McCartney’s fatal car crash, while the man depicts part of the crowd of people who “stood and stared” at the grisly crash rather than help.

Still with me? Good, then flip the album over because there’s even more clues waiting there!

Abbey Road Back Cover

  • Have a peek at the word “Beatles” and you’ll notice that there’s a crack running through it, right near the “s”. This is said to mean that McCartney’s death has literally “fractured” the rest of the group.
  • If you connect the 8 strange dots in front of the word “Beatles”, they form the number 3, which then reads as “3 Beatles”, when there should be 4.
  • Rotating the album cover 45 degrees now makes it appear as though there is an image of a skull immediately after the word “Beatles”. Some take that to represent “death” while others believe that it is supposed to be the skeletal face of Mr. McCartney himself!

Abbey Road Back Cover Rotated

Oddly enough, even though Abbey Road, specifically the cover, would become synonymous with the Paul Is Dead rumor, the songs on the album itself were never alleged to contain any of the infamous backwards/subliminal messages that fans of the rumor were so keen on. Sure, there were attempts to connect lines from some of the songs (most notably Come Together and Carry That Weight), but those were just the straight-forward lyrics. So if you were looking to uncover the real spooky messages, the albums you needed to play backwards were Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White Album.

To see where Abbey Road fits in with all the other Paul Is Dead memorabilia in the Strange & Spooky Museum, click here.

New Acquisitions For The Strange & Spooky Museum

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The first round of editing for my Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories is now on its way back to the editor. Which means I’ve now got some time to start uploading my latest acquisitions for the Strange & Spooky Museum for everyone to see!

In the coming week, here’s just a few of the items I’ll be adding:

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Who Buried Paul? Special Wing of Strange & Spooky Museum to be Devoted to Paul McCartney Death Hoax

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Inside Sgt Pepper

Well, after years of being hounded to do this, I’ve finally decided to put my years of research into the whole “Paul Is Dead” urban legend online. So when the Strange & Spooky Museum cracks open its virtual doors on Sunday, February 9th, there will be an entire wing devoted to the materials I’ve collected about this fascinating subject.

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