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.
The Manson Family's slayings 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, was married to Polanski, and eight months pregnant when she was taken 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 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.
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 demise.
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.
Most people are at least a little nervous about their dentist, even though most dentists are decent people who would never harm anyone under their care. The Beatles weren't so lucky, however. They had a real jerk of a dentist, if the story about how they discovered LSD is true.
John Riley, the dentist in question, was apparently the kind of guy who spiked his guests' coffee with LSD after dinner. Without telling them. That's what the kids today would call "a dick move." Had he lived long enough, he'd probably have become a fan of roofies, too. George Harrison once called him "the wicked dentist," and it's not hard to see why.
The Beatles ultimately enjoyed LSD and used it consensually for years. It's just too bad they were introduced to the powerful drug in such an irresponsible manner.