Alien encounters! Secret identities! Satanic curses! All this and more are part of the dark side of the Beatles, the biggest band in history. You might know their music, but there are a lot of creepy Beatles stories out there you probably don't know. This list highlights some of the strange, disturbing, and at times downright disgusting stories that circulated around the Fab Four.
John Lennon Was a Victim of the "Rosemary's Baby" Curse
The Manson Family's murders were committed in a house rented by controversial director Roman Polanski, who had just catapulted to fame with his horror movie classic, Rosemary's Baby. Sharon Tate, one of the victims of this horrendous crime, was married to Polanski, and eight months pregnant when she was murdered by the Mansons.
This crime came on the heels of other sudden, shocking deaths and tragedies connected to Polanski's film. Rosemary's Baby, it seems, unleashed a curse that destroyed the lives of numerous people with even tenuous connections to the film.
John Lennon was friends with both Polanski and Mia Farrow, the film's star. And he and Yoko Ono lived for many years in the Dakota Hotel, where Rosemary's Baby was filmed (though it was called "The Bramford" in the movie). The gothic building, constructed in 1884, lent itself perfectly to the brooding, oppressive, ominous mood of a movie about Satanists. And the fictional evil of the film seems to have rubbed off on the real building.
Because the Dakota Hotel is where John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman in 1980. Chapman, of course, wasn't inspired by Rosemary's Baby or any of The Beatles' music (he was taking his orders from that novel of choice for psychos, The Catcher In The Rye), but maybe it was the evil of the movie's curse that drew him to kill Lennon at that particular location.
The White Album Inspired Charles Manson's Crimes
The friendship between John Lennon and Roman Polanski was not the only connection between the Beatles and Charles Manson, the mastermind behind the Tate-LaBianca murders that shocked the world in 1969.
The Beatles' lyrics were an intricate part of Manson's off-kilter theology (he saw them as the four horsemen of the apocalypse mentioned in Revelations 9), and provided direct inspiration for the manner in which his Family carried out the murders.
Sgt. Pepper Might Actually Be Aleister Crowley
Rumors have circulated for decades that "Sgt. Pepper" was actually Aleister Crowley, the so-called "wickedest man in the world" (who somehow kept getting called that despite being alive at the same time as both Hitler and Stalin).
The Beatles featured Crowley's face among the famous people they admired on the album cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (he's at the top left-hand corner back row, right next to Mae West) and the album itself was released in the 20th anniversary year of Crowley's death ascension to pure ecstasy.
So, when the Beatles open the album by singing, "It was 20 years ago today/Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play," they're in fact declaring their allegiance to Crowley's occult and spiritual teachings.
John Lennon himself pretty much admitted this in one of his last interviews:
The whole Beatle idea was to do what you want, right? To take your own responsibility, do what you want and try not to harm other people, right? Do what thou wilst, as long as it doesn't hurt somebody.
"Do what thou wilst is the whole of the Law," was a Crowley teaching (followed by the crucial, and usually ignored, "Love is the Law, love under will").
So, basically, have fun and don't hurt anyone. Which is not bad advice, when you think about it.
Paul McCartney Might Have Died and Been Replaced by a Doppelganger
"I buried Paul."
These are the words many Beatles fans think they hear John Lennon saying at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever." Lennon maintained that the actual words were "cranberry sauce - because that's totally a thing you say when you're recording a song about your childhood playground.
There are persistent rumors going back decades that Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced with a double named William Shears Campbell, an orphan who had recently won a McCartney look-alike contest in Edinburgh. At this point, false-Paul believers (called "cluesters") claim, the Beatles began dropping subtle hints of the truth in their music and album art, to slowly break the news to true fans.
The body of evidence cited by cluesters is enormous, but some of the more significant "hints" include
- There's supposedly a back-masked message on the song "Revolution 9" from The White Album, which says, "Turn me on, dead man."
- The photo of the Beatles on cover of their Abbey Road album supposedly represents a funeral procession for Paul, who is walking out of sync from the other band members and carrying a cigarette in his right hand (the "real" Paul was left-handed). Also, a car license plate in the same photo displays the alpha-numeric sequence "28IF," meaning that "real Paul" would have been 28 that year if he had survived the car crash.
- A hand is being held up behind Paul's head on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. A raised hand is a mystical symbol of death in some religions - thus, Paul is dead.
- The entire Sgt. Pepper album is, in fact, a coded admittance that Paul is dead, and the surviving members had just started a new band with Billy Shears, his look-alike.
All of that would probably be enough to convince Fox Mulder. You're not smarter than Fox Mulder, are you?