I say “High”, you say “Low”.
You say “Why?” And I say “I don’t know”.
You say “Goodbye” and I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
–The Beatles, “Hello, Goodbye”
Since my recent “Part 2” on the “Paul Is Dead” classic conspiracy theory has seemed to do so well, I just want to follow up with some more thoughts and resources (in case this is a topic that particularly interests you).
First, just to reiterate a point I believe I did make in my first post in the series: I do not believe Beatles frontman Paul McCartney died during a tragic car accident in the mid-1960s, leading the band to secretly come up with a replacement. This is in part because I rarely believe the “literal interpretations” of these classic theories/folktales. Instead, I tend to entertain the “quantum interpretations.” (Read my post “Messenger Shiva Part I” for an in-depth discussion of Literal and Quantum conspiracy theories.)
I believe, at the very least, McCartney had a crucial “shift” in consciousness around that time period—maybe due to the encroaching influence of Eastern Philosophy on the Beatles, though it should be pointed out that the baby-faced Paul himself was not unversed in Aleister Crowley & other occult topics. This shift of consciousness not only resulted in the “energy” that produced and sustained the “Paul Is Dead” rumors, but also (I believe) had a massive impact on the quite jarring change in creative direction of the band.
This leads me to a related topic that has ground my gears for quite some time. The breakup of the Beatles is commonly attributed, in the mainstream lore, to John Lennon’s partner Yoko Ono. That everything was pretty smooth and copacetic between these four men until this foreign (first strike against her) intellectual (second strike against her) woman (third strike against her) stepped into the picture, poisoning Lennon’s mind and ruining everything.
However: the more one learns about McCartney, the more one realizes that he was an incredibly shrewd and controlling figure in that band. And by “controlling” I definitely mean, in part, the artistic direction. So a good portion of the Machiavellian machinations usually blamed on Ono could conceivably be placed directly in McCartney’s lap.
Which brings us to “Hello, Goodbye.”
“Hello, Goodbye” is my favorite Beatles music video. And before you say music videos weren’t invented then, this is indeed a music video.
It is my belief that if you study the dynamics of the video for “Hello, Goodbye,” you can witness true Paul McCartney. Note how strangely passive Lennon is in this video…and how aggressive McCartney is.
It was Paul who pushed the Beatles into their groovy psychedelic new direction, and this video is really a “document” claiming the credit for such. Note his arrogant body language in the video; once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
This is all not a dig at Paul. I loved the Beatles’ new direction. It was necessary; and it might have even changed the world.
It’s just…funny. Because Ono got such a bad rap, whereas Paul seemed like the “agreeable” guy who only wanted to write “silly love songs.”
But it’s clear Paul was steering the ship.
Of course…who was steering Paul’s ship?
In closing this topic out for now, I will refer you to two key resources.
The first is the self-pubbed book The Memoirs Of Billy Shears by Thomas E. Uharriet. This book is apparently a WTF rabbit hole of gargantuan proportions. I have not read it…but I know a lot about it. And it’s sort of presented as “fiction”…which really isn’t fiction…which is fiction…which may not be (you get the idea)…
A number of dyed-in-the-wool “Paul Is Dead” believers (a subculture which is a rabbit hole in itself) swear by Uharriet’s book, which is supposed to be a narrative by the actual man who replaced McCartney, “Billy Shears.” Crowley is mentioned (at least in some version of the text, of which there are a couple of editions).
Confusing matters is that according to some adherents of the lore, Billy Shears was a lookalike/soundalike “fan” music journalist called William Campbell/Billy Shepherd…a person who did exist and did have some sort of business relationship with the band:
Whether the existence of Shepherd really does mean anything is beyond the paygrade of this particular post.
The second recommended resource in regards to this urban folklore is the short documentary on the “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy theory Who Is This Now? which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube. Standing out in an increasingly crowded subgenre of a subgenre, the film takes a fresh approach not only to the subject matter but—importantly to me—the way it is told.
In Who Is This Now, the documentarian, Mitch Fillion, visits various friends and shares his increasing knowledge of the conspiracy theory with them. This occasionally gets into the realm of cringe, as you can almost catch some of these hapless individuals sort of “glazing over” as Fillion gets into more and more obscure detail.
But I really loved the way Fillion approached the narrative here, shaping it around these visits; relying far more on him just telling the information to others (and getting their natural reactions) rather than just voiceovers over footage.
There are also some weird visual choices here that I wonder if Fillion had made consciously, as in the first sequence when he’s telling a friend about the “hand over the head” symbolism on the Beatles album covers while at the same time there is a painting of a hand directly in the background over his own head.
About 2/3rds in he gets far more into wider conspiracy theory—”metatheory”—regarding Paul is Dead, involving Masons, Aleister Crowley, and LSD. Fillion’s final conclusion (spoilers) is that Paul McCartney indeed never died and was replaced by a double in ’66, but that rather the idea of a “Paul impostor” reflected more of a significant personality change within Paul during that time period (possibly triggered by LSD use).
And that’s very close to the conclusion I myself have made on this topic. (though I’m also open to the possibility that Paul was straight-up channeling stuff)
So if you are interested in an alternative take on an “alternative history” topic such as Paul Is Dead—you can watch the documentary, made by Near Death Films, below:
And there you have it, dear readers: all the pieces you need to either authoritatively debunk this theory or plunge down the crazy-hole with it.
I’ll leave you with an alleged quote by the alleged William Shepherd/Billy Shears from the intro to Uharriet’s book:
“Herein is an epic from our hero Paul McCartney, who entered the underworld, and then returned by taking possession of me…”