Friday, June 25, 2010

My favorite urban legend: Paul is dead!

Don't you see?! It's a casket - a casket, I tell you!!!

It's very unlikely that a dead guy would continue to record albums, tour around the world multiple times, and get married to Heather Mills, but it's just crazy enough might be true!

I see that CreComm instructor Duncan McMonagle recently had his summer students (School in the summertime? No class!) explore the idea of urban legends and how they can get past the most astute editor, which I believe has more than a little something to do with the old journalism adage (stated ironically here, for your reading pleasure):
"Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story!"
My favorite urban legend is one that still has a surprising amount of traction. It's the one that goes like this: the Beatles' Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike, soundalike actor/singer.

I first heard about this urban legend when I was a Beatles-obsessed kid. Paul was my favorite Beatle, so I worried that it was true and spent hours and hours reviewing "the evidence" - little clues that were supposedly placed by the other Beatles in their albums' songs and artwork.

How ridiculous that anyone could believe...then again, it could's true, and here's the evidence to prove it!

Paul is dead! The evidence:

1. The lyrics:
  • Come Together: "One and one and one is three..." What about Paul?!
  • Strawberry Fields Forever: At the end of the fadeout, ever so softly, we hear John say, "I...buried...Paul..." Or is that "I'm very bored?" Or "Cranberry sauce?" The first one!!!
  • A Day in the Life: "He blew his mind out in a car. He didn't notice that the lights had changed."
  • Glass Onion: "And here's another clue for you all/the walrus was Paul."

2. The backward messages

Play these songs backward - or follow the links to YouTube to hear other people do it - to hear about how Satan killed Paul McCartney in a car accident:
  • Revolution #9: "Paul is dead!" followed by the car crash that killed him and "Turn me on, dead man."

3. The album photographs and artwork

  • Yesterday and Today - The cover - the photo at the top of this post - clearly shows Paul looking out of a casket. But why is he so happy?
  • Revolver - Paul stares sadly off to the side of the album, like he doesn't belong.
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
In the photos, Paul wears a patch on his left arm: OPD = officially pronounced dead! Or is that "Ontario Provincial Police?"

Front cover:

Paul is "marked for death" by the hand being held over his head.

At the bottom of the picture, Paul's bass is surrounded with yellow flowers, sitting atop...a grave?!

Paul is the only member of the Beatles holding a black instrument.

In the younger representation of the Beatles, Paul consoles Ringo, because that's the era in which Paul died.

Back cover:

Paul's back is to the camera.

The words "without you" in the song title appear above his head.
  • The White Album
On the poster insert, a dead Paul floats in the bathtub in the top, left corner.

Paul also sports a new scar on his lip - though it's tough to see online.
  • Magical Mystery Tour

Turn the album upside down to reveal a "hidden phone number" in stars, where you can phone to find out details of Paul's death. If only we had an area code...and knew how to dial an upside-down "A."

In the album's photo booklet, Paul's "double" sits at a desk with a sign that reads, "I was you."

In the same booklet, another hand marks Paul for death.

In the video for Your Mother Should Know, Paul is the only Beatle wearing a black carnation.
  • Abbey Road
The gravedigger, the corpse, the pallbearer, the minister.

Paul, "the corpse," has bare feet, closed eyes, and is smoking a cigarette.

Volkswagen license plate: 28IF. Paul would be 28 IF he had lived.

On the back cover, a shadowy skull and bullet holes. The holes connected form a "three" - one for each of the remaining Beatles. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Beatles, for it tolls for three!


Duncan: can I please have credit for this assignment?


  1. While it's interesting to think the "original" Paul could be on the same island as Elvis and Andy Knaufman or that the Beattles had an "open-Paul-night," reality is, I doubt it happened. Although, there are a lot of freaky things to make us think otherwise, such as Paul being the corpse, the bizarre words in the songs, etc. But, on the other hand...who said this was an urban legend?

  2. If it was a fake Paul, he likely would have thrown in the towel when the Beatles broke up. Unless the double was just as talented! Ha!

  3. Yeah! And Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon! He walked on Texas! Them's crazy talk!

  4. Wow, this was a good post. You have successfully convinced that the fake-Paul is the Paul McCartney is Paul McCartney...

    I'm confused and intrigued!

    If I were Duncan I would give you an A+.

  5. Wait...My last post didn't even make sense.

    I'm not even going to delete it.

  6. It's an urban legend that I give A+ to anyone.

  7. Paul Is dead was solved

    on august 1, 2010

  8. Amazing I dont believe it but amazing!! :D


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