The dominant theory surrounding Paul McCartney's death and replacement has the tragic events beginning one evening in November 1966 - possibly November 8, which was a “stupid bloody Tuesday” (from the song, "I am the Walrus").1 As the story goes, McCartney and the other Beatles had an argument at Abbey Road Studios, whereupon an angry McCartney stormed off, jumped into his car and sped off.2 He lost control of his car, and crashed into a light pole. In the collision, McCartney was supposedly decapitated, thus bringing meaning to “he blew his mind out in a car” from the song, “A Day in the Life.”3
McCartney was officially pronounced dead (an allusion to the O.P.D. patch on McCartney’s Sgt. Pepper uniform, which actually turned out to be O.P.P. - Ontario Provincial Police) at the scene during the early hours of Wednesday, November 9th, a supposed allusion to “number nine, number nine.”4
The story theorizes that, when faced with the prospect of losing revenue due to McCartney’s untimely death, the three remaining Beatles covered up his death by hiring someone allegedly called “Billy Shears” (the name of the fictitious leader of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), "William Shepherd," or “William Campbell” to pose as McCartney.5 This man was said to have once won a McCartney look-alike contest, however, Keith Allison actually won the 1965 contest.
According to the legend, the Fab Three gently broke the news to the fans by means of concealed subliminal clues and back-masked messages in their songs and album covers. These clues revealed the truth about McCartney’s terrible fate.6
The so-called “dean" of "Paul-is-dead" theorists, retired Delaware high school teacher, Joel Glazier, recalled:
At the time, people took it very seriously. It was the end of the '60s. You have to remember this was against the backdrop of the assassinations of Martin Luther King [Jr.] and Bobby Kennedy, as well as the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers. So this sounded like the perfect conspiracy cover-up. People stayed up all night talking about it, and some were actually quite scared.7
At the end of October 1969, the brouhaha over McCartney’s death became so extreme that LIFE magazine sent a team of London reporters and a photographer to the remote Scottish farmhouse where McCartney was living in seclusion to settle the matter.8 Researcher Brian Moriarty recounts the day’s events:
Alerted by the barking of his sheepdog Martha, Paul ran out of his barn and starting screaming at the reporters for trespassing, threatening them with arrest and physical violence. The photographer, Robert Graham, began taking pictures of Paul's temper tantrum, and got soaked with a bucket of water. The Life team then retreated by running away down the road. Sitting in his kitchen a few minutes later, Paul recognized the likely consequences of what he had just done. He jumped into his Land Rover, caught up with the soggy reporters, and invited them in for a warm cup of tea. After a bit of discussion, they cut a deal. Paul agreed to give the Life correspondents a worldwide exclusive interview. In return, Robert Graham agreed to give Paul the film in his camera.
The resulting article, “Paul is still with us,” appeared on November 7, 1969. In the article, the reporter asked McCartney if were still alive to which he responded:
Anyway all of the things that have been, that have made these rumours, to my mind have very ordinary, logical explanations. To the people’s minds who prefer to think of them as rumours, then I am not going to interfere, I am not going to spoil that fantasy. You can think of it like that if you like. However, if the end result, the conclusion you reach is that I am dead, then you are wrong, because I am very much alive, I am alive and living in Scotland.9
LIFE’s reassurances that Paul was “still with us” were enough to convince most people all was well.
Some remained unconvinced, however. For example, it has been noted that the reporter asked if he were still alive, not if he were the original McCartney. In addition, if one carefully considers the statement, “To the people’s minds who prefer to think of them as rumours, then I am not going to interfere, I am not going to spoil that fantasy,” one will note that what McCartney actually said was that he was not going to interfere with the people who thought of Paul’s death as “rumors.” He isn't going to “spoil that fantasy” that Paul was “still with us.” Others noticed suspiciously that the LIFE article had only included photos of McCartney from 1967 and later, but no pictures from 1966 and earlier for comparison purposes. [See LIFE proved Faul McCartney was "still with us" for more information]
In 2007, McCartney was publicly accused of having sent a double to give blood for a paternity test in 1984 by Bettina Krischbin. She claims her mother, Erika Hübers, had an affair with Paul between 1959 and 1962 in Hamburg. The suit was dismissed when the blood test came back negative, but Krischbin pointed to the photo in the files from the day blood was taken as evidence of a stand-in. Krischbin said, “[t]he real McCartney had at this time a much fuller face... the man in the photo looks like McCartney. But he isn’t.” She also noted that the signature on the 1984 paternity test: “It's a fake. We've found out that the signature comes from a right-hander but Paul is a left-hander.” [See "Paul McCartney's" stand-in gave blood in paternity case for more information]
Was Faul the stand-in? If so, there is no wonder the paternity test was negative.
Tina Foster is the author of
Email Tina at faulconandsnowjob at hotmail dot com.
1 Jim Yoakum, “Man Who Killed Paul McCartney,” Gadfly May/June 2000, http://www.gadflyonline.com/archive/MayJune00/archive-mccartney.html.
2 Alessandro De Arcangelis, “The Great Hoax: The Beatles Death Curse,” Newsblaze, February 07, 2010, http://newsblaze.com/story/20100207063528adea.nb/topstory.html.
3 Jim Yoakum, “Man Who Killed Paul McCartney,” Gadfly May/June 2000, http://www.gadflyonline.com/archive/MayJune00/archive-mccartney.html.
8 Brian Moriarty, “Who Buried Paul?,” http://ludix.com/moriarty/paul.html.
9 Id.; See also “Paul is Dead: Rotten Apple 34d,” posted by “Iamaphoney,” February 27, 2007 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuoRcuIij70.