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When talking about the history of The Beatles, it is impossible to overlook the theory surrounding Paul McCartney’s death, something that has been attached to the band for more than 40 years now. Considered by many just a hoax, many others are convinced about the validity of the theory stating that the real Paul McCartney is dead, and was replaced by a double.
Everything started in 1969, when a DJ in Detroit received a call from a guy named Alfred, who claimed that Paul McCartney was dead, and had proof to back up his statements. Actually, according to Alfred, everybody had those clues. They were in The Beatles’ albums, spread throughout the music, the covers and the booklets.
Since 1969 the legend of the presumed Paul McCartney death has found no final solution, with many people convinced the current Paul McCartney is actually a double, and that the real Paul’s life ended in 1966 in a car accident.
The story says that Paul McCartney died on the 9th of November 1966. He left the EMI studios in London that night quite tired, sad and a bit depressed. Along the way he supposedly met a girl and gave her a ride. At one point he didn’t notice a red light and crashed his car against a telegraph pole after colliding with a lorry. According to this reconstruction, both passengers in the car were killed, and McCartney was decapitated during the accident. Some of the ones who are convinced of the actual McCartney death place the date of the passing in 1965, though the classic date is 1966.
The Beatlemania was running worldwide, the Queen of Great Britain had nominated the fab four baronets, and fans were crazy about the band. According to the legend, this led The Beatles’ management to cover the accident up, and replace Paul with a double, William Campbell, a Scottish policeman with a great resemblance to the late Beatle who had previously won a Paul McCartney look a like contest. Through plastic surgery, he became become Paul.
He also had to be very gifted, as he could keep on playing bass as good as, or even better than, Paul and his songwriting was excellent. The theory supposes that the surviving members would have felt guilty of covering up the friend’s death, and therefore would have let this feeling out by placing clues in the albums.
The Beatles did not perform live after this moment, and Paul McCartney appears taller than he used to be since that period. Moreover, some scientists applied studies on craniometry to photos of Paul McCartney that date back before 1966 and afterwards. Craniometry is a science used in forensic activity. Those scientists found out consistent discrepancies which would not appear in presence of the same person portrait in the photos. The level of discrepancy is high enough to make the scientists be doubtful about the identity of the current Paul McCartney, although they did not state with certainty that the Paul McCartney of before 1966 and after are two different people.
It seems odd that something like this could have really taken place. Nevertheless, it is true that after 1966, The Beatles inserted several clues in their albums pointing to the alleged death of Paul McCartney. More than 400 clues have been counted by advocates for the Paul Is Dead (P.I.D.) movement. Many have thought that it was only a marketing strategy adopted by the band, in order to gain attention. It is also true though, that they already had all the attention they needed, and even more than the one they could stand according to their statements. Others claim that they were playing the people who believed in the theory, feeding them clues in order to make fun of them. This seems impossible though, as the rumors of McCartney’s death got popular only in 1969, after the clues were already released in the various albums.
As it is impossible to list here all of the clues that are taken as evidence, we will just present some of the most relevant ones here. The clues are divided into visual clues and audio clues.
Some of the major clues include the artwork of some of the most famous Beatles’ records. Sgt. Pepper (1967) was the first album released after the classic date in 1966. There are tons of clues taken as evidence by those who sustain the death theory; we will cite only some of the most relevant. The whole cover is a grave scene, with the word “Beatles” being spelled out in flowers; furthermore, there is a composition of yellow flowers which have been interpreted as being a left-handed bass guitar complete with strings, the instrument played by Paul McCartney. He is also the only one in the cover holding a black instrument.
The photo sees a hand hanging over McCartney’s head, a symbol that surrounded him often, which is considered a symbol of death. The scene also includes a car model, which is supposed to represent the car in the accident, and a doll with red lines (blood perhaps) running thru her dress. If a mirror is placed horizontally across the center of the words “Lonely Hearts” in the middle of the Sgt. Pepper drum, a message is spelled out: 1ONE IX HE <> DIE, with the arrow before pointing at McCartney. 1ONE IX, 11 9, would be the date of Paul’s death.
In the booklet photos McCartney is portrayed with a uniform and the acronym O.P.D. (which in England stands for Officially Pronounced Dead). Some say that the patch stands for Ontario Police Department.
In the back cover McCartney is the only portrait with his back backwards, and the end of George Harrison points to the sentence “Wednesday morning at 5 o’clock as the day begins” which is supposed to be the time of Paul’s death.