Paul is dead

The informant is Chinese American. He has been a life-long Beatles fan. He went to Paul McCartney’s concert in 2013.


“Paul is dead” is a conspiracy theory that claims Paul McCarney, a member of the former The Beatles, died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike. The first time this theory was introduced was September 12, 1969. There was a phone call to a radio DJ Russ Gibb during the airtime. The caller identified himself as “Tom,” and introduced the theory that Paul had died. Later on September 14, college students of the Michigan State University published articles claiming that clues to McCarney’s supposed dead are found among the lyrics and album covers. Similar ideas were published, and within few weeks this conspiracy theory became an international phenomenon.

Those who believe the conspiracy theory to be true give lyrics and artworks as evidences. Some of the famous evidences include the Abbey Road album cover (how Paul is the only one who is barefoot), lyrics to A Day In the Life, the “turn me on, dead man” message when Revolution 9 is played backwards, etc.  Most of these people argue these evidences are devices installed intentionally by the Beatles members and associates, that it’s fan’s responsibility to decode the puzzles. Such notions were denied by the Beatles members numerous times, including Paul McCartney’s interview published in Life magazine in November 1969.


Informant: “As a Beatlemania, I was so shocked when I first encountered this conspiracy theory. At first, I thought it was one of those malicious cyber comments by some weird people who don’t like the Beatles. But later I found out this conspiracy theory was a big international phenomenon, with some actually compelling arguments. I got goosebumps all over me when I found ‘Turn me on, dead man” phrase in Revolution 9. Once I started making sense of the theory, other evidences made sense. It all seemed plausible. I still think he is dead. If not, why would there be so many coincidences? If there are too many coincidences, then they are longer coincidences. However, it’s not like I wouldn’t love Paul McCartney if he is a fake. I would still love him, because he did make so many  beautiful songs.”


This famous urban legend is still debated among people. Conspiracy theorists from various places threw evidences to consolidate their arguments, and within few weeks from when the theory was first introduced, it became an international phenomenon. I think one explanation for such viral reaction can be evidences that were discovered one by one, by people from all over the world. It left people expecting arguments to come, and people were eventually excited to see the conspiracy theory developing into a strong argument with various evidences. It’s important to note that this conspiracy theory was completed by many single arguments that came  from many different people. 



To see more evidences argued by “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theorists, see this link.