“The Beatles are Divine Messiahs. Prototypes of a new young race of laughing free men.”
In my post “Better Call Paul: The Mystery Of The Winged Beatle,” I explored the classic “Paul McCartney Died And Was Replaced By An Impostor” conspiracy theory. Since, according to some accounts, the whole “Paul Is Dead” rumor started on October 12—Aleister Crowley’s birthday—I thought I’d revisit the theory with a slightly more occult lens. Keep in mind that Crowley was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and that McCartney absolutely was familiar with his work.
So I took another look at R. Gary Patterson’s book The Walrus Was Paul…possibly the most definitive tome on this particular modern folktale. Patterson—who also authored the excellent examination of rock n roll & the occult, Hellhounds On Their Trail (updated/retitled as Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Rock and Roll Myths, Legends, and Curses)—brings up a whole bunch of archetypal/mythological aspects to the theory that are quite interesting.
Patterson in particular explores the “religious” overtones of the entire conspiracy theory, which Patterson compares to the resurrection of the fallen hero gambit:
“The Beatles’ McCartney could have been that archetypal man, joining the ranks of literary heroes who died young and were later reborn as gods, like Achilles or Alexander. This may have paralleled Lennon’s statement that the Beatles were more popular than Christ…In this symbolic state McCartney may have represented a Christ figure born again not for the spiritual redemption of mankind, but raised like the Phoenix from the ashes of ignorance and intolerance to lead the way to wisdom and love.”
Patterson then ties this all into the myth of the Fisher King, as well as Giambattista Vico’s cyclical theory of history (which Patterson believed the history of the Beatles mapped in microcosmic form; quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius.). It’s the idea that the Beatles somehow ushered in this New Age, using (consciously or unconsciously) the “myth” of Paul’s death and resurrection as a ritualistic tool for that express purpose.
(Beatle=beetle=scarab=Ancient Egyptian symbol of resurrection)
Now, the article in Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader entitled “50 Years Ago—Was Crowley Behind The ‘Paul Is Dead’ Hoax?” references very similar occult symbology behind the “Paul Is Dead” mythos to what Patterson discusses in The Walrus Was Paul:
“Crowley understood the significance and sacred symbolism behind the beetle. In Egyptian mythology, the scarab, or dung beetle, was believed to be the incarnation of the beetle-headed god Khepera, who ruled over resurrection and fertility, symbolic of the rising sun, rebirth and creation. Synchronistically, if not consciously, The Beatles would carry the mandate of Khepera and become the sun center of our musical universe…
This process of transforming the dead matter of dung into renewed life represents initiation in the Egyptian mysteries. Paul’s “death,” rather than being literal, should be interpreted as symbolic of initiation. The candidate for initiation represents Osiris, who was murdered by his brother Set. Osiris’ consort Isis reassembles his body then gives birth to the resurrected god Horus, thus completing the cycle of death and rebirth.”
And that’s exactly how I see “Paul Is Dead.” It is a highly-archetypal mythology. And, if you have learned nothing else from these posts at all…it’s the idea that the deeper and more primal and subconscious the archetype evoked, the more powerful the symbol.
Now, as to whether the Beatles purposely evoked such imagery as part of a sinister occult “plot” (and it is at this point that I have to admit that there is a heavy element of “Satanic Panic” in a lot of “Paul Is Dead”), or whether they merely subconsciously “channeled” it (literally or figuratively)…that’s open for debate.
But if the whole “Paul Is Dead” thing was a conscious hoax on the part of the Beatles, then we are going back into “You Created A Joke Religion And It Became Real. Now What?” territory. Because The Walrus Was Paul also goes into just how deeply Charles Manson believed that the Beatles and their lyrics were part of a Biblical prophecy-type thing (conveniently placing Manson as the fifth Beatle):
“According to Charles Manson, there were still other references cleverly hidden throughout the White Album. There was the mention in ‘Honey Pie’ that ‘my position is tragic/Come and show me the magic of your Hollywood song.’ Manson believed that the Beatles wanted and needed his influence and involvement to help fulfill the deadly prophecy of ‘Helter Skelter.’ He was to provide the direction through his magical ‘Hollywood Song.’ Later, in the same song, the Beatles continue with ‘Oh honey pie you are driving me frantic/Sail across the Atlantic/To be where you belong.’ The lyric also mentions that ‘I’m in love but I’m lazy’ which Manson interpreted as meaning that he must make the first contact and lead the world to the brink of the apocalypse. Apparently, on many occasions, Manson and his family members unsuccessfully placed phone calls to the Beatles’ management trying to make contact with the four ‘angels of revelation’…”
Now: Manson is the guy who actually wrote a song for Beatles’ “rival” The Beach Boys (“Cease To Exist,” which was turned into “Never Learn Not To Love”)…the song title “Helter Skelter” infamously tied to the Sharon Tate murder…Sharon Tate’s husband Roman Polanski directing the movie Rosemary’s Baby…a movie shot at the Dakota apartments…Beatle John Lennon being shot outside his home at the Dakota…
So as the whole “Paul Is Dead” thing interpreting clues in the lyrics, was like this fun LARP-thing the public did…Manson was not only conducting his own parallel deep-dive of Beatles lyrics, but managed to become “part of the story.”
And if you go into the timeline between 1968-1974 (which I’ve touched upon my posts “Tripping The Manson-Nixon Line” and “The Manson Frequency”)…that’s some weird synchronous shit! You literally can’t make up all those coincidences even if you tried.
Anyway…I could go on and on. “Paul Is Dead” is one of the useless topics I like to revisit every now and then and keep-to-date on. I don’t think Paul McCartney died and was replaced with a double…but I keep an open mind regarding the more esoteric aspects of this story. Like the Flat Earth theory, it will “suck you in” if you broach that particular rabbit hole.