Paul McCartney: Real or Fake?

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Paul McCartney died on November 9th, 1966


Paul McCartney: Real or fake?

Or so certain people would have us believe. And recently, it’s said, Ringo Starr confirmed this. Nonsense? I think so.

But according to conspiracy theorists, the bloke you see here isn’t Paul McCartney at all. It’s an imposter who has been playing the part for almost fifty years.

Yes, that’s a long time to live someone else’s life, isn’t it?

What’s the story about Paul’s death?

The story first appeared as a rumour in 1969, three years after Paul had allegedly been replaced. It started on a college campus in Iowa.

This is what they claim happened.

The Beatles were, the story goes, involved in a recording session at Abbey Road studios. They were arguing and Paul decided to leave. This was in the early hours and he supposedly sped into the night in his Aston Martin.

Then it gets really silly

I imagine that we all heard the ‘vanishing hitchhiker’ urban legend when we were kids. Well, the instigators of the Paul-is-dead myth, somewhere along the line, injected her into the story.

Despite storming out of the studio in high dudgeon, Paul was also apparently full of the milk of human kindness because he almost immediately stopped to pick up a female hitchhiker.

The story goes that when she realised that her benefactor was a Beatle, she went into hysterics, hugged him, caused him to lose control of the car and thus, the two occupants were killed.

Now despite the fact that this was supposedly a high profile accident, in the built-up City of Westminster in London – despite the fact that this was an unusual luxury sports car and that the driver who lost his life was one of the most famous people in England, this wasn’t reported in the media, nor was there a police report. It was hushed up, they say.

However, the surviving Beatles found out. They, at the instigation of their manager, Brian Epstein, decided to employ a doppelganger.

They managed to find someone who looked like Paul, sang like him, wrote music like him, played the guitar (left-handed) and piano like him, talked like him, walked like him… and probably the trickiest of all, managed to fool all his friends and relatives including  his girlfriend Jane Asher with whom Paul was living at the time.

Clever stuff.

Theorists pointed to the many clues that the remaining Beatles used to try to tell their fans that Paul was no longer alive. There were so many of these, they insisted. These ‘facts’ included:

  • McCartney wore no shoes on the cover of the Abbey Road album. (I don’t know how that’s supposed to indicate anything other than what McCartney said himself – it was hot day)
  • Certain parts of certain songs, when played backwards, ‘revealed’ sentences like ‘I buried Paul’. Clever of the Beatles to think that fans would trawl through all their songs – backwards. Impossibly clever, in fact
  • The Volkswagen Beetle parked in on the side of the road on the aforementioned album cover had the registration number LMW 28IF.What the theorists thought the LMW part stood for I have no idea but the 28IF clinched the deal for them Paul McCartney would have been 28 when the album was released IF he’d lived. Actually, he would have been twenty seven but what’s year between conspiracy theorists?
  • There was a palm of a hand above Paul’s head on the Sgt. Pepper album cover. This is a sign of death, they say. It is? Where? No-one else seems to think so
  • John Lennon say the world ‘the walrus was Paul’ and ‘walrus’ means ‘corpse’ in Greek. It doesn’t

There were many more ‘clues’.

Ringo reveals the truth!

The old theory from the sixties was still alive (particularly on YouTube) in February 2015, it reared its ugly head again. The website World News Daily Report fanned the flames by explaining that Ringo Starr had given an interview during which he had ‘revealed’ that yes, Paul had died in 1966 and that the person we know today as Paul McCartney is the double that was brought in to fool the public.

Social media was all over the story and spread the news of this revelation. Ringo, the article said, was the only remaining person who knew the truth (apart from the fake Paul,of course) and didn’t want the secret to die with him. There’s only one problem with this – the website is a spoof newspaper.

The disclaimer on their site reads ‘information contained in this World News Daily Report website is for information and entertainment purposes only’.

How gullible we are.

The main propagator of the theory was a chap called Fred LaBour. He heard the college campus rumours and turned them into an article, complete with his own embellishments, which was published in the Michigan Daily. It all took off from there.

Later he was invited onto a TV show to present the evidence. Prior to filming, he admitted to the host of the show, lawyer F.Lee Bailey, that the whole thing was hoax.But it was too late – the show had to go on.

Where was Paul?

It didn’t help that Paul McCartney seemed to be off the radar when the ‘news’ broke in 1969. Where was he? He was in his isolated Scottish home with his new wife, Linda.

Eventually he released a typical statement:

I’m alive and well. But if I were dead, I would be the last to know’.

Some interesting videos.




Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. Isn’t it? I don’t remember it at the time either but it’s certainly fascinating!

  2. I was only 3 or 4 when this story first came out. But, I can remember my oldest sister having the Sgt. Pepper album and all the rumors flying around because of this object or that on the cover.

    I don’t think anyone is this clever to pull off such a ruse. Amazing that it still persists.

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