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. 

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The Great Mogadore, Ohio, Ghost Hunt

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Back in 1959, carloads of local teens descended on the tiny village of Mogadore, Ohio, with the intent of finding a ghost. Some actually claimed to have seen a ghost or two. And at least a couple of them got more than they bargained for.

This wasn’t the first time Mogadore had gotten all Ghost Crazy. Back in November of 1906, after a rash of reported ghost sightings in the village, the Canton Morning News declared the village of Mogadore to be “in the throes of a ghost scare.” Seems that people were wandering the streets of Mogadore at night, looking for ghosts.

Fast-forward over 50 years and the ghosts of Mogadore were at it again. Over the course of several weeks in the fall of 1959, dozens of area residents reported seeing ghostly apparitions throughout the village of Mogadore; flitting about abandoned houses, wandering through moonlit fields, and even walking alongside the road. It got so bad that it became something of a nightly ritual for locals, especially teens, to load up the car and drive around the village in what could only be termed “ghost hunting.”

One particular evening, a group of teens were driving towards Mogadore with the intent of doing a little ghost hunting themselves. Right at the outskirts of Mogadore, they were flagged down by a man who said he was a photographer from the Beacon Journal newspaper, out on a special assignment. Specifically, he was to try and photograph one of the ghosts of Mogadore, which had recently been spotted at an old abandoned house over on Saxe Road. When the photographer asked the teens if they wanted to accompany him on his little ghost hunt, they readily agreed and they were all soon on their way to the abandoned house.

Once there, the group grabbed a flashlight and began making their way up the driveway to the front door of the house. They were halfway to the door when they heard a strange noise coming from some nearby trees. Turning, they were shocked to see a ghostly white figure appear from behind a tree and start advancing towards them. The group scattered, with one of them literally running into a fence, catching his clothes in the process. Perhaps seeing one of their friends in pain steeled the group, for almost in unison, they turned, grabbed some rocks, and being chucking them at the ghost. Apparently, ghosts are afraid of rocks because the spooky figure retreated into the abandoned house, where it promptly vanished.

Shaken by the incident, the group drove to the Mogadore police station and reported what had happened. Patrolmen and Portage County deputies were dispatched to the abandoned house, but they found no signs of any ghosts. As they were preparing to leave, they noticed a car on the side of the road with its hood up. Taking a closer look, police found two men and a woman, wrestling with a dead car battery. Nothing out of the ordinary. Well, not until you take into account the fact that one of the men’s face appeared to be covered in white shoe polish. Or that there was a ghostly white sheet and a white helmet in their trunk. When confronted, the three admitted that they were the ones “haunting” the abandoned house.

The plan had been hatched by friends Thomas Baumgartner and Richard Hamilton. After hearing so many people talking about seeing a ghost in Mogadore, the pair decided to have a little fun. For his part, Baumgartner would paint his face, put on the ghost costume, and hang out near the abandoned house. Hamilton would be responsible for bringing people to the house by posing as a local photographer covering a story. Baumgartner’s wife, Judith, wasn’t part of the plan, but still decided to tag along and watch it all go down from a hiding spot near the house.

Judith Baumgartner checks out the ghostly attire of her husband, Thomas. –via Ohio.com

Both men were charged with disturbing the peace and fined $50 ($30 of which was to be suspended if they kept their noses clean for at least a year). Judith Baumgartner was not charged.

And with that, the case of the Mogadore Ghost came to a close. Or did it? For while dozens of people had reported seeing the ghost of Mogadore over the course of several months, both Baumgartner and Hamilton maintained that they had only pulled their little prank once–the night they were caught. So who or what were all these other people seeing? A real ghost? Or just other pranksters? That question may never be answered, although it did give several people a chuckle pondering what would have happened if the pranksters and a real ghost decided to show up at that spooky old house on the same night at the same time!

Artist’s rendition of what would have happened if Baumgartner’s “ghost” and a real ghost had met up that fateful night in Mogadore. –via Ohio.com

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The original article on this story, written by Mark J. Price, can be found here.

For more great stories from Mark J. Price, check out his book The Rest Is History: True Tales From Akron’s Vibrant Past.