18 February 2009


Paul McCartney face comparison: White Album Poster photo on Sgt. Pepper Paul McCartney face comparison: Spies Like Us on Sgt. Pepper

My first exposure to the Beatles as a kid was the four (five? seventeen?) part documentary, Anthology, that aired on ABC when I was ten. I watched the rerun too. My favorite part was the section about the "Paul is Dead" hoax, or conspiracy, or whatever. It's really a shame that I didn't have access to the internet at that point in my life, because I was always unsatisfied by the section. I think there may have been a thing on VH1 about it too, which I probably watched several times, I have a vague memory of that. I think I got the internet maybe a year or two later, and got a chance to check out some of these crazy websites, but I'm enjoying revisiting them now.

Paul/Faul ear lobe comparison

There's about a million of them. This one refutes the hoax. It's a real jem of a website. I especially like the previous page links which add up at the bottom of the screen as you go through it. This site has some pretty good info, but I realized that it only exists in order to hock some audio CD of the original radio broadcast about Paul's death.

The amount of evidence sited in support of the theory that Paul McCartney died in a car crash in November of 1966 and was replaced by a double, who apparently had to audition for the role. Like many other conspiracies, the strategy of the people who believe in it is to just bombard you with bizarre facts and coincidences, with little or no reference to reality, until you start thinking, hey maybe this is possible. But to their credit, I'm sort of convinced that the Beatles must have done some of it deliberately.

Beatles Paul is dead Life magazine or william campbellAbbey Road Album Cover Beatles Paul is dead

I don't know where that YouTube video came from, but there's also a bunch of legitimate documentaries that have been made about it. All of the sources site the same facts, more or less. The image comparisons are pretty unconvincing, not the least because doctored photos are so easy to make these days. But all the hidden clues in Beatles lyrics and images make the conspiracy really fun to delve into. Oh, and the audio. Click on "Revolution 9" on this little Flash app. Listen before you reveal the backward lyrics.

This is a great demonstration of how the mind can be so easily influenced to believe in mystery. At the risk of making people hate me, I have to confess that this is really the most I've ever thought about the Beatles, or listened to them, in my life time. Growing up there were no Beatles records around the house; instead there was Miles Davis, Dave Van Ronk, Mozart and Johnny Cash. I didn't go through a middle school, high school or college "Beatles phase." Maybe it's still coming.

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