- Something Happened - March 6, 2023
- The Beatles As They Were Heard: KHJ 93 Los Angeles - March 4, 2023
- All is well! - February 28, 2023
This morning, I received the following email:
Hello, I’m Tatiana. I’m doing a project.. my class got to pick from 41 different topics and I chose one about “Faul McCartney.” I was wondering if you had any information/ clues about this topic? If so could you email me back ASAP? Thank you very much!
Who says doing a Beatles blog is all arguments about heroin and Yoko?
I sent Tatiana to the Wikipedia for “Paul Is Dead.” Is there anything more to the contemporary theory? How else can we help this youth? Besides reassuring her that Paul is indeed alive, which she might not believe because THEY’VE GOTTEN TO US, TOO
Of course none of you believe that Paul is dead…but anybody believe it as a kid?
The best, bar-none, discussion of this issue and the psychological murk surrounding it is our own Devin McKinney in Magic Circles, which every reader of this blog is heartily encouraged to read. I attempted to cut and paste an excerpt of the relevant section here, but Google wouldn’t let me. (“Information wants to be free,” but apparently not THAT free.) Go read that book!
In 1958, a schoolboy wrote a letter to James Thurber, looking for help with a school project. This is how Thurber replied:
Mr Robert Leifert
New York City, New York
January 4, 1958
Since a hundred schoolchildren a year write me letters like yours—some writers get a thousand—the problem of what to do about such classroom “projects” has become a serious one for all of us. If a writer answered all of you he would get nothing else done. When I was a baby goat I had to do my own research on projects, and I enjoyed doing it. I never wrote an author for his autograph or photograph in my life. Photographs are for movie actors to send to girls. Tell your teacher I said so, and please send me her name.
One of the things that discourage us writers is the fact that 90 per cent of you children write wholly, or partly, illiterate letters, carelessly typed. You yourself write “clarr” for “class” and that’s a honey, Robert, since s is next to a, and r is on the line above. Most schoolchildren in America would do a dedication like the following (please find the mistakes in it and write to me about them):
To Miss Effa G Burns
Without who’s help
this book could never
of been finished it,
is dedicated with
gartitude by it’s
Show that to your teacher and tell her to show it to her principal, and see if they can find the mistakes.
Just yesterday a letter came in from a girl your age in South Carolina asking for biographical material and photograph. That is not the kind of education they have in Russia, we are told, because it’s too much like a hobby or waste of time. What do you and your classmates want to be when you grow up—collectors? Then who is going to help keep the United States ahead of Russia in science engineering, and the arts?
Please answer this letter. If you don’t I’ll write to another pupil.
I am not sure whether I agree with Thurber, and I doubt if he was a nice kind-a-guy, but his response is utterly brilliant and would provide that kid with a lot of material for a school-project. Wow!
I love Paul is Dead stuff like I love “Ancient Aliens,” and used to love “In Search Of … ” growing up. Entertaining even if it’s completely insane.
To that end here are a couple places I’ve come across. Everyone seems really serious about it.
A full-on Paul is Dead forum: http://invanddis.proboards.com/
Also there’s this:http://plasticmacca.blogspot.com/ with a lot of long interviews that are a hoot to listen to when you’re running the treadmill.
Content here and other PID stuff I’ve come across often veers into full-on conspiracy theory, Pentagon did 9/11, false flag nonsense, etc. But the Beatles stuff can be fun if considered fan fiction.
Speaking of letters, here’s a “please do not hand over any tapes to Paul McCartney” letter written by John:
And a letter from John to Paul&Linda:
Wow, that first one is depressing.
And so is the second one.
John Lennon circa 1969, armed with lawyers, is a terrifying thought.
Nowadays, the popular theory is that the Beatles are fabricated by the Tavistock institute, which apparently is run by the Illuminati/CIA. Some even suggest Faul is a clone, and Paul’s memories have been downloaded into said clone.
It really is a most fascinating rabbit hole. the 60if board, and the plasticmacca blog are good for endless hours of entertainment, as are several threads on the David Icke forum.
Be advised though, people with high blood pressure or low stress tolerance are better off not even going there. I myself usually end up yelling profanities at my computer screen after reading a few pages of PID theories.
The sad part is, some people actually believe all that crap…
I just wanted to chime in and say that I have played parts of the White album backwards (in my defense I was 15 and probably high at the time). I never really heard the “turn me on, dead man” part, but I did hear “Paul is dead, man, miss him, miss him” at the end of I’m So Tired, and that SCARED THE F’ING CRAP OUT OF ME.
Additionally, if you play Revolution 9 backwards you can hear Yoko hiss repeatedly “Satan, look at me!” …Also TERRIFYING.
Thanks, Michael! I recommend, as I did in the book, Andru J. Reeve’s Turn Me On, Dead Man, the definitive history. And this is the best single page I know of audio stuff, from WFMU’s indispensable Beware of the Blog blog:
Includes an ink-still-wet 1969 radio report on the rumor, and a link to a different program sometime in the 70s, I think.
And here’s a cool article from the November 1969 Creem:
I predict “Paul is Dead” will live forever, or until we all die.
There’s also the “clue” on the Abbey Road album: Paul is barefoot (presumably because the dead aren’t buried with shoes) and there’s three dots on the album cover (a manufacturing blip) that was interpreted as there being only three Beatles. There was also a tv special, courtroom style, with a lawyer type cross-examining people about the evidence. I remember Peter Asher taking the stand. Too funny.
I second Devin’s suggestion of “Turn Me On, Dead Man,” it’s the most comprehensive and least-conspiracy theory obsessed account of the “PID” issue I’ve seen. Plus, it has a fascinating, fairly scholarly essay included at the end of the book which was written while the actual “PID” theory was viral, which theorizes about the various reasons why Paul, and none of the other Beatles, was chosen for the chopping block. Its interesting in part because its from a female writer, and perspectives of the Beatles are, as we’ve noted, almost exclusively male, and because she argues that one of major reasons Paul got the axe is because he was the prettiest Beatle.
When I first heard of the PID theory I honestly thought it was a joke. I mean, why would anyone invent a conspiracy theory about something that isn’t a mystery or a tragedy? There wasn’t really any believable reason to suspect Paul being dead. All Beatles changed with their outlook when years went by, not just Paul, so that doesn’t explain anything. I could understand if their was a theory about John being alive, but Paul being dead… doesn’t make any sense psychologically. Why would people WANT to believe that?
Didn’t the rumors start in 1969? I’m not sure when Paul’s depression/mental breakdown exactly started but having experienced severe depression myself I can imagine that the brouhaha didn’t cheer up Paul who was basically struggling to stay alive at that point.
@Hanna, I take a crack at “why” in this comment. I think it holds water (obviously). 🙂
The only thing that really interests me about the Paul is Dead thing is that it’s an example of conspiracy theorism and pseudoscience. Do I really need to point out that the “forensic evidence” is bunk? Those PID websites exclusively use photographs, which real forensic scientists don’t use for comparison because even the “unretouched” photos you see published have been manipulated (copied, format changed, stretched, resized, flipped, etc.) You cannot measure facial or muscular skeletal characteristics using photos for that very reason. Nor are drawing lines in MSPaint all over photographs a scientific pursuit, either.
Here’s a quote from an actual forensic scientist who was shown a few PID websites:
“The resolution of the pictures is not comparison quality – different angles are not a scientific way to examine photographs especially to back up an argument. Different angles are there to give an overall view only but not for comparison. It has to theoretically be an exact of the one you are comparing it against.
“Changes in muscle movements in various photographs cannot be seen with the naked eye but can change measurements if you are comparing only photographs. That is why unless you can see beneath the skin to the actual muscle – then you cannot say precisely what a facial measurement is especially using two photographs that are that dissimilar in expression for comparison.
“Facial identification and reconstruction is a very complicated process which requires measurements using actual human skeletal remains not photographs. Even anthropologists have difficulty sometimes reconstructing the depth of tissue around the eyes and nose to fully determine the person’s weight. This website has attempted to take photographs and apply scientific principles in forensics that are just not applied that way.
“Eye color can be manipulated very easily and Paul could have contacts in or anything in those photos of eye comparison – that is a very weak argument when calling your claims forensic science. Also with the eyes, you cannot compare photos of eyes where in one picture the person is looking in a different direction. There again, I am referring to comparison photographs used in forensics. Those photos have to be as near exact as possible.
“Ear identification – which they refer to on their website has not been an accepted science. Refer to http://www.forensic-evidence.com. It explains a few of these principles. Holland had a case of ear id. Inspector Van der Lugt testified to the id of an individual based on ear evidence. You can find this at http://www.forensic-evidence.com/site/ID/IDearNews.html. It talks about the fallibility of this idea. After all characteristics that forensic scientists look for in identifying are INDIVIDUALIZING characteristics not CLASS characteristics like the antitragus, tragus, helix, helix rim, and antihelix The court just could not accept his testimony because this is not yet a clear, concise science.”
In November 1969, Mike Douglas hosted the L.A. deejay who popularized the original “Paul is Dead.” Also guesting on that same show were The Scaffold, which counted Mike McCartney, Paul’s brother, as a member. He was asked to comment and was notably upset about the whole thing (as he later recounted in his book, where he added that he and the deejay got into a physical confrontation backstage). This is audio of Mike’s appearance:
Impossible to understand the “Paul Is Dead” phenomenon without foregrounding the assassinations of the 60s, and specifically the JFK, MLK, and RFK assassinations.
By September ’69, people like Mark Lane had been lecturing on college campuses for years; the Garrison case wrapped up on March 1, 1969 after years of heavy coverage in the underground press; and the FBI and CIA had been penetrating, surveilling and sabotaging the New Left for two years via its COINTELPRO and CHAOS programs.
And millions of kids had been smoking pot… which can make you a mite paranoid. (And credulous.)
With all these currents swirling around in the culture, it makes perfect sense that the “Paul Is Dead” phenomenon happened when it did, to whom it did.
I wish I still had it, but there was a Batman comic way back in the day about a fictional pop band wearing Sgt. Pepper suits, and Bruce Wayne/Batman was interested in proving or disproving the “Paul is dead” business so he invited them all to Wayne Manor, secretly subjected them to a series of tests without their knowledge and ultimately concluded that “Paul” was very much alive — it was the other three who were dead! John, George and Ringo had been killed in an accident and replaced with look-alikes and then Paul floated the “Paul is dead” rumors to divert attention.
Would explain a lot …
Wow, haven’t really thought about the PID thing in years. I actually gave a speech about it in 1969 when I was in tenth grade, for my speech class. I brought in albums (Abbey Road w/the 28IF license plate among other “clues” like the funeral procession crossing the road, etc.; Sgt. Pepper’s album had the clues on the cover too, and on and on). I never really bought the whole thing; it was just too incredible to believe. But I did think The Beatles started throwing in clues just to mess with us. Good times….
If you like pop music conspiracy theories, I highly recommend ‘Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream’. You’ll never see the west coast hippies in the same way again.
Those interested in sampling this mindbender of a theory (I was researching something and stumbled across it years ago) can read the author’s posts beginning here.
Does anyone know some Beatles experts?
On what, @Tatiana? Happy to think on it, but that would be helpful.
By the way, a link to the cover of that particular issue of Batman:
Nevermind I got some 🙂
Anon, if you include more details about what kind of information you’re looking for, someone here is more likely to be able to help you. Glad you found what you needed.
Well for my project I need two people to interview it is a requirement. One person has to believe that Paul is alive and the other has to believe Paul is dead and was replaced. Unfortunately I couldn’t interview the people I got so I need two people that I can email. I need to get eye witnesses for this project that’s all. Would anyone help out? I’ll be sure to put you down as a reference and an eye witness. 🙂
Anon, I’m confused — an “eyewitness” would be someone who’d actually met Paul McCartney, right? Or how is “eyewitness” being defined for this project?
As Devin says in his post, the best book on the subject is Andru Reeves’ “Turn Me On, Dead Man,” and it includes plenty of quotes from eyewitnesses.
If what you need is an interview / e-mail exchange with people who want to weigh in on this question, I recommend contacting sites that are heavily into responding to it, on both sides:
Not dead: maccafunhouse.proboards.com
Best wishes with your project.
I’m sorry I didn’t mean eye witness. But thanks for the sites and the wishes 🙂 I really appreciate it