White Lighters/ Club 27

“White lighters are said to be bad luck. The one time I got a white lighter I ran out of gas and someone hit the mirror right off my car…all in the same week. Plus Jimi, Janis, Kurt, and Jim all had a white lighter when they died. Those things are evil. No bueno.”


A cultural stigma against white lighters has developed. No one really knows how this urban legend came to be. My informant refers to the Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison- also known as 27 Club. This “club” is the group of revolutionary musicians who all coincidently died at the age of 27 of alcohol or drug related causes. Jimi Hendrix the legendary guitarist and songwriter died of asphyxiation on September 18, 1970 from wine and sleeping pills. Janis Joplin, regarded as the first woman rock star died of an heroin overdose on October 4, 1970. Lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison, died of presumed heart failure on July 3rd. 1971. Nirvana front man and icon, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide on April 5, 1994. These musicians are the most notable and well known among many that have died at the age of 27. Most recently, Amy Winehouse has also been considered part of the 27 Club. She died On July 23, 2011of alcohol poisoning. This strange phenomenon has many theories as to why these hall of famers die at such a young age, but none can really be proven.

According to autopsy reports, each of them had a BIC white lighter in their possession. It has also been suggested that when BIC introduced lighters there were only two colors: black and white. Black was preferred among smokers because on the white lighters, ash residue was visible on the bottom of the lighter from pushing down on the bowl of a cannabis pipe. While BIC was not established until after the deaths of two of the Club 27 inductees, it is highly doubtful that the white lighters was the cause of their death. The other reason may or may not be true. Nonetheless it is a widely known legend amongst cannabis smokers.