Symbologist Robert Richard Hieronimus Ph.D. talks to ‘Conspiro Media’ about The Beatles’ animated movie ‘Yellow Submarine’ from an esoteric perspective.

To mark last month’s release of The Beatles’ 1968 animated movie ‘Yellow Submarine’ on DVD and Blu-ray, ‘Conspiro Media’ grabbed the opportunity to chat with artist, author, researcher and radio-host Robert Richard Hieronimus Ph.D. His 2002 book, ‘Inside the Yellow Submarine: The Making of The Beatles Animated Classic,’ has been dubbed, “an indispensable companion to the movie.” It not only features exclusive interviews with all the principle creators of the film and an intricate account of the details behind the making of it, but also a unique analysis of the esoteric, symbolic aspects within the movie itself. In fact, the occult archetypes that Hieronimus believes are bubbling beneath the Yellow Submarine’s waters are what initially sparked his interest in the movie. Given his life-long devotion and interest in symbols and ancient knowledge it should hardly come as a surprise either. In 1969, he founded the ‘AUM,’ America’s first state-approved school of esoteric studies which granted certificates in the occult sciences, mystic arts and religious metaphysics. In 1981, he received his Ph.D. for the doctoral thesis, ‘An Historic Analysis of the reverse of the American Great Seal and It’s Relationship to the Ideology of Humanistic Psychology.’ Furthermore, his research on the Great Seal of the United States has been used in the speeches, literature and libraries of the White House, the US State Department and the Department of Interior. A member of “a number of secret societies,” his expert knowledge and understanding of symbols and the occult has led to regular TV appearances in a number of documentaries and/or news-shows on the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the SyFy Channel and FoxNews (to name a few). He’s also an artist, having established a long career as a muralist and painter. His occult and symbolic murals include a 2,700 square-foot work known as ‘Apocalypse,’ which was completed during 1968-1969 at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Another of his works, the ’Historic Views of Baltimore 1752-1857,’ is now housed in Maryland’s War Memorial Building.

Apocalypse (1968 – 1969)

Speaking exclusively to ‘Conspiro Media’ last month, Hieronimus talked about the impact the ‘Yellow Submarine’ movie had on him after first watching it back in 1968. He said, “when I started to see all of the symbols in the film… I thought to myself, ‘these Beatles are brilliant! They are Multi-Levelled, they’re Multi-Consciousness, and it seems to me whoever it was… that thought up this movie was multiple genius!’”

The film tells the story of The Beatles’ efforts to rescue an underwater world known as ‘Pepperland’ from the music-hating Blue Meanies who’ve invaded it and transformed it from a colourful, beautiful paradise of happiness into a grey, barren, depressing wasteland. A sailor by the name of ‘Old Fred’ manages to escape in a yellow submarine which is perched on top of a Mayan/Aztec-like pyramid after he‘s called on by the mayor of Pepperland to get help. He travels to Liverpool where he successfully persuades John, Paul, George and Ringo to join him. They board the submarine and embark on a surreal journey which takes them through the Sea of Time, the Sea of Science, the Sea of Monsters, the Sea of Nothing, the Foothills of the Headlands, the Sea of Holes and the Sea of Green before finally arriving in Pepperland. They eventually win over the Blue Meanies with a combination of music, positivity and Love.

In an article on his website, Hieronimus explores some of the symbols in the film and any possible hidden meanings:

The very title of the film can be seen to represent the act of creation, or creativity. Throughout history Yellow has been used to symbolize the sun, fire, spirit or mental activity. It represents an active, outer-directed, centrifugal force, or masculine energy, expansion. Submarine could be considered a symbol for matter or the body. It is necessarily linked to the symbol of water, which throughout history has been considered representational of lunar or feminine energy. It is a passive, intuitive, centripetal force. The submarine is also something that dwells within, hidden and internal rather than external and obvious. By combining the two words “Yellow” and “Submarine”, one can see a pairing of opposites or a balance between spirit and body, sun and moon, or a uniting of male and female, which is an obvious symbol for the act of creation that produces a unity or oneness.

BEATLES AND BEETLES                                                                                            There is an ancient Egyptian beetle-headed god, named Khepera, who represented the rising or morning sun. To the Egyptians, the beetle or scarab was an all important symbol of profound meaning.

Egyptian beetle-headed god, named Khepera

Khepera was among the original creation gods in Egyptian mythology, and like the rising sun with which he is identified, he was said to be self-created, born of his own substance. The scarab was held as a symbol of resurrection and fertility as beetles were believed to be the incarnation of Khepera. Beetle amulets were worn to attract the power of this god and secure his protection. Khepera is also shown as the “generator” god with a beetle-head seated in the phantom or “spirit” boat, like the “Sunboat of Ra”, the Egyptian Sun God. Many other deities also had their “spirit” boats. Note the parallel between The Beatles afloat in a “Yellow Submarine” and the creator god Khepera with a beetle-head seated in a “spirit” or Sun boat. There is no reason to believe that whoever came up with the name “The Beatles” was consciously intending to link their name with the Egyptian god of rebirth, but conscious or not, they chose a name which reflected what they were to accomplish – the act of creation. Later in life, John Lennon is reported to have become interested in world mythologies and especially in Egyptian magic. He may have begun to realise that symbols carry psychic energy even when they have not been consciously selected. Some might say synchronicity (meaningful coincidences) played a role in the naming of the most revered rock and roll group in history. Like attracts like.

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: SEPARATION, INITIATION AND RETURN                            The storyline of Yellow Submarine lends itself easily to a comparison of what Joseph Campbell referred to as the “Monomyth” or the Hero’s Journey. There are three stages to the Monomyth that are used to describe the evolution of the hero: separation, initiation and return. During separation, Campbell explains that the individual rejects the social order and retreats inward or regresses. He reassesses his beliefs and moves toward the centre of his being. The second stage of initiation marks a clarification of his difficulties and an encounter with dark and terrifying forces. The candidate is victorious over them and feels fulfilled, harmonised, and whole. In the third stage of return, the hero is reborn into the physical world and applies the knowledge he has gained to the world he lives in. He rejects his self-serving and self-centring tendencies and shares his “treasure”, or new awareness, with the rest of society. The hero has become self-actualized, and he dedicates himself to a task outside of himself, serving society.

THE YELLOW SUBMARINE FOLLOWS THE HERO’S JOURNEY                 Separation: The Yellow Submarine with Fred aboard leaves Pepperland (from a pyramid-like launch-pad) in search of help.

‘Old Fred’

They travel to Liverpool, which can be translated as “the pool of life”, where they are joined by four more heroes and they embark for Pepperland, completing the separation stage.

Initiation: The now five heroes must pass through the seas of illusion, symbolising the selfish desire worlds of sensations, passions, instincts and the beast within. In Nowhere Land they encounter the Boob who fixes the engine and joins the team, bringing the number of heroes up to six, suggesting a reference to humanities sixth sense.

‘The Boob’ fixes the Yellow Submarine’s engine as Paul looks on…

It is the balance of energies and its six member crew that allow the Yellow Submarine to travel safely through the seas of illusion and escape from the vengeance of the Blue Meanies.

Return:  The Sub returns and brings music and love back to Pepperland, where the heroes transform their enemies into friends. They share their new awareness with the rest of society by combining music with the words: “All you need is love.” Ageless wisdom teachings and creation mythologies from all around the world describe how life was formed in the universe through a cosmic sea. The Yellow Submarine can be seen as a vehicle that travels through the ethers of these waters. It achieves its goal by one person going out in the Sub into the world of matter, leaving the beleaguered paradise, the utopia of Pepperland, and going into the physical world, obtaining help (The Beatles and The Boob), then returning to share the wisdom gained by the experience that “all you need is love” and music. While not the conscious intention of its Co-Creators or Lennon and McCartney, it could be why this film appeals so strongly to so many of us.

You can read the article in it’s entirety here:

As the closing paragraph of the above article suggests, Hieronimus isn’t wholly convinced that The Beatles played an active role in implanting occult symbols or hidden meanings into the film. He told ‘Conspiro Media,’ “the truth was, they had nothing to do with it. All they did was create four songs because they were required to – to put in the film. They were never really interested in this film until they got to see some of the final work and then they fell in love with it. And then they wanted to be involved, but it was just too late to put their real stamp on it from that standpoint.”

What about the movie’s producer, Al Brodax or director, George Dunning? Can they offer any explanation for some of the movie’s most intriguing images, such as the Mayan/Aztec-type pyramid with it’s Yellow Submarine capstone? Or what about the team of writers and animators? Did they consciously set out to create a film with hidden meanings and esoteric imagery? Well… apparently not. All the key crew members have maintained there was no deliberate attempt to implant hidden allegorical themes within the movie. ‘Yellow Submarine’ art designer Heinz Edelmann told Robert Hieronimus during interviews for his landmark ‘Submarine‘ book, “I knew that part of my subconscious would go into these things, but I chose to disregard that. I simply did not want to know what’s happening. I mean, otherwise, I couldn’t have done the work. I simply chose not to know what subconscious influences and things went into the work.” Animation director Bob Balser told Hieronimus, “many times it’s very interesting when somebody does something, and they have somebody else look at it, and freely see or analyse it. I know that a lot of little kids look at ‘Yellow Submarine’ and just love it. It works on so many levels… it was a synergy between all of these creative people coming together. It’s something I never really thought about until this moment…” But what about the movie’s animation director, Jack Stokes? What was he suggesting when he told Hieronimus, “I don’t think there’s any different (meanings). There are one or two little types, I suppose you might say, in there…“ Was he implying that there may indeed have been a few conscious attempts to include hidden sub-texts within the movie? He continued, “it’s kind of an adventure story. I mean, the first part was basically a travelogue, and the second part was an adventure story. If you would like to think about ‘Lord of the Rings‘, or something of this sort, it’s really, basically, the same thing.” Interestingly, it’s been widely reported that The Beatles were so keen to appear in a movie version of Tolkien’s classic tale sometime during the late 1960s, that they approached Stanley Kubrick. It’s said Lennon was a big fan of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ which was released in April 1968, just three months before ‘Yellow Submarine,’ and met with the movie’s legendary director who ultimately dismissed the idea as “un-filmable.” Hieronimus – in the main – doesn’t believe that the team behind the making of the ‘Yellow Submarine’ were consciously attempting to communicate an esoteric message via the use of occult symbology. In a 2008 article for ‘Octopus’s Garden’ magazine he wrote, “is it unfair to interpret symbolic meaning in The Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ film when most of the co-creators swear there was no time for such deep thinking? Perhaps. And yet, interpret we always seem to do with the Beatles, as if we can’t help it. It is my contention that a force greater than those who co-created ‘Yellow Submarine‘, greater even than the Beatles, was at work on this project.”

Of course, it’s no secret that The Beatles were interested in esoteric subject matter. The song ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ from their ‘Revolver’ album was inspired by the Timothy Leary book ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead,’ and George Harrison wrote ‘The Inner Light’ after reading passages from the Chinese classic text ‘Tao Te Ching.’

Interestingly, the furore surrounding John Lennon’s remarks in a 1966 magazine interview that the Beatles were “more popular” than Jesus Christ was partly inspired by a book he was reading at the time by Hugh J. Schonfield titled, ‘The Passover Plot’ which claims that Jesus faked his own death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection in order to become King of the Jews on Earth. It’s widely known that Lennon was a voracious reader with an interest in a wide variety of subjects including ancient history, religion and the occult. During the 1970s, he also explored numerology with his wife Yoko Ono and visited the pyramids of Egypt.

It’s generally assumed that the Beatles were first introduced to these concepts by the well-to-do intellectuals they befriended during the mid-1960s such as author and former art gallery owner, Barry Miles. However, there’s strong evidence to suggest their fascination with ancient mysteries and the occult goes back much further, back to their days in Liverpool when they were still struggling, penniless young musicians barely out of school and when the word “Beatles” was yet to be uttered. How or where did these working-class provincial lads acquire such knowledge at such a young age, and how does this connect (if at all) to the occult symbolism in the ‘Yellow Submarine‘ movie? The details surrounding this intriguing and overlooked episode in the Beatles’ story is discussed in the ’Conspiro Media’ interview with Robert Hieronimus as well as some of the occult symbols hiding in plain sight within the film. He also talks about his long and often rocky dealings with The Beatles’ company, ’Apple,’ and the friendly and fruitful relationships he’s forged over the years with some of the Beatles’ trusted inner circle including the bands’ long-time PR man Derek Taylor and famed record producer Sir George Martin (who contributed the introduction to Robert’s celebrated ‘Yellow Submarine’ book). He relives the night when he successfully assembled together most of the original crew members of the movie for a 30th anniversary reunion TV special at the BBC’s legendary Maida Vale Studios, and he also talks about the “genius” of ‘Yellow Submarine’ art designer Heinz Edelmann who died in 2009. However, the interview begins with memories of his early days as an album-cover and poster designer with ‘Elektra Records’ when he shared his knowledge of occult symbols with some of the biggest names in Rock music history, including Jimi Hendrix.

Incidentally!… Listen out for some exclusive never-before-heard news related to the Beatles at the end of the interview!

** The interview was recorded on June 26th 2012

Don’t forget, you can check out Robert’s weekly radio show every Sunday at 8PM – 10PM EST at his website,


Is Paul McCartney Dead? No… He’s Just “Hot!”

One of the music industry’s oldest conspiracy theories was put to the test a few days ago by the UK’s ‘Daily Mail’ which claims it has ‘evidence’ to prove that former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney is alive and well and not a replacement for the original ‘Paul’ who “died” back in the mid-1960s.

The web-article states that:

On the cover of the band’s ‘Abbey Road’ album, Macca is barefoot, supposedly indicating that he had died and been replaced by a body double.

Now, however, a photograph has come to light which supports McCartney’s own explanation – that he had merely kicked off his sandals because it was a hot summer’s day.

Out-take of the legendary ‘Abbey Road’ cover with Paul wearing sandals.

The picture used on the album cover was one of several taken near Abbey Road studios in London during the shoot by Scots photographer Iain Macmillan in 1969.

One of the ‘out-takes’ – which will go under the hammer this month – clearly shows a shoed McCartney walking with his fellow Beatles.

The picture, one of less than 25 prints thought to have survived, will be sold later this month.

London-based auction house Bloomsbury has put a ‘conservative’ estimate of £10,000 on the image.

The final, approved ‘Abbey Road’ album-cover (press to enlarge).

According to a theory at the time, McCartney had died in an accident and been replaced. Conspiracy theorists believed the Abbey Road cover contained clues, as the band wanted to reveal the truth of their guilty secret.

John Lennon, in white was seen as a preacher leading a funeral procession, Ringo Starr’s black outfit indicated an undertaker, while a denim-clad George Harrison was the grave-digger.

This left McCartney as the corpse because he was barefoot and out of step with the rest of the band.

You can read the ‘Daily Mail’ article in it’s entirety here:

The ‘Paul is Dead’ theory (also known by enthusiasts as, “P.I.D.”), gathered momentum just prior to the UK release of the ‘Abbey Road’ album on September 26th 1969. It gained such notoriety, that it was even reported on by mainstream news channels all across the world at the time including America’s ABC and NBC networks.
In November of that year, McCartney responded to the rumours of his demise by agreeing to an interview with ‘Life’ magazine in which he insisted that his decision to walk barefoot for the ‘Abbey Road’ photo-shoot was because “it was a hot day.” He also said:

“Perhaps the rumour started because I haven’t been much in the press lately. I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don’t have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days.”

The rumours of Paul’s supposed death in a road crash appear to originate from a mixture of reports and rumours that reach back as early as the mid 1960s. One of the claims is that McCartney met his death after storming out of the Abbey Road studios in London shortly after 5am on November 9th 1966 following an argument with the rest of The Beatles during a recording session. It’s said he sped off in a fit of rage in his Aston Martin and consequently failed to notice that some traffic lights had changed. His car spun out of control and smashed into a pole at full speed decapitating him in the process.
Fearful of the effect Paul’s death would have on the future of The Beatles’ monumental success, the band and their manager, Brian Epstein decided to stage a cover-up and hired a replacement who’d supposedly won a McCartney look-a-like contest. Some claim the impostor’s name was William Campbell, although others have said he was actually called William Shears, the very same “Billy Shears” as sung by The Beatles in the closing section of the title track on their ’Sgt. Pepper’ album. Paul’s replacement has also been referred to as William Sheppard, which is interesting considering that the cover of the ‘Life’ magazine article above shows “McCartney’s” step-daughter, Heather holding a shepherd’s crook in her hand (another ‘clue‘ perhaps?).

It’s said The Beatles wanted to break the news of Paul’s untimely death to fans gently and gradually via ’clues’ in songs and album covers. For example, the line, “he blew his mind out in a car, he didn’t notice that the lights had changed” from the 1967 song, ’A Day in the Life’ was said to be a reference to Paul’s decapitation after he failed to stop at red lights. John Lennon however, has always maintained that this section was inspired by the death of his and Paul’s friend, the ‘Guiness’ heir Tara Browne in a car accident in December 1966. Lennon said, “I didn’t copy the accident. Tara didn’t blow his mind out, but it was in my mind when I was writing that verse. The details of the accident in the song – not noticing traffic lights and a crowd forming at the scene – were similarly part of the fiction.”

There is no hard evidence to suggest that there was an incident in November 1966 involving McCartney’s Aston Martin. In fact, it’s claimed Paul was holidaying in Kenya at the time with his then girlfriend, the actress, Jane Asher.

There are also reported rumours that his Mini Cooper was written-off after it crashed on the M1 motorway outside London on January 7th 1967. This has been further reinforced by Jim Yoakum a writer who’s also the literary executor of the estate of Monty Python member Graham Chapman. In his 2000 article, ‘The Man Who Killed Paul McCartney,’ he writes about a Moroccan by the name of Mohammed Chtaibi who claims he was the only occupant inside the aforementioned Mini on the night of the alleged crash. Chtaibi (formerly known as, Mohammed Hadjij) was a young student at the time and in the employ of Robert Fraser, a hip London art dealer who was friends with many of the Pop stars of that era – including The Beatles.
The two of them visited McCartney’s London flat on the day the road accident was said to have occurred for an impromptu party. They were later joined by Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and the nephew of the former British Governor of Rhodesia, Christopher Gibbs. Following some hours of voracious drug-taking, they all decided to make their way to ‘Redlands,’ Richards’ secluded country mansion in Sussex, where they could continue their partying without any disturbances. Despite there being three available cars parked up on McCartney’s property, it’s said they all attempted to pile into Jagger’s Mini Cooper. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before they discovered that all seven of them couldn’t quite fit inside and it was then on Hadjij‘s suggestion that they eventually agreed to take a second vehicle with them to lighten the load. It’s claimed Paul gave the young Moroccan the keys to his Mini Cooper and suggested he follow them to ‘Redlands’ alone. He also handed Hadjij a large box shaped like a book but with a hollowed-out middle that was filled with hashish, cocaine, heroin and Acid. What none of them realised was that Hadjij accidentally left the car’s seat-belt dangling outside of the vehicle upon closing the door. Later on in the journey, another car began to overtake him and drove over the belt, Hadjij felt the Mini being pulled towards the vehicle beside him. The drug-addled Moroccan compensated for this by pulling the steering wheel in the opposite direction at which point the passing car drove off the belt and caused McCartney’s Mini to fly through the air and into a large metal streetlight. Some moments later, a heavily injured Hadjij awoke from his unconsciousness, climbed out of the wreckage and disposed of the box of drugs by throwing it down a nearby ravine fully realising the implications should it be found by police investigating the crash.
It’s said that the spectators who eventually turned up and saw the vehicle, immediately identified it as McCartney‘s state-of-the-art Mini Cooper, and when they noticed a dark-haired man covered in blood being placed into an ambulance, they assumed it was none other than the Beatle himself.

Mohammed Chtaibi (right), with Keith Richards

There are one or two questions that should perhaps be directed towards Hadjij’s claims. Firstly, he says he suffered multiple cuts, bruises and other injuries. However, he still managed to climb out of the wreckage just moments after waking from unconsciousness, then hobble down a highway, scale a high barrier fence and traffic island in order to throw a box of drugs down a ravine. Secondly, according to Yoakum’s accounts, the witnesses who saw Hadjij and mistook him for McCartney recall seeing him being pulled out of the wrecked Mini. So, assuming that he’d previously climbed out of the car in order to dispose of the notorious box, did he then climb back in again? Would this even have been possible? After all, aren’t Minis small, lightweight vehicles? Wouldn’t the damage inflicted in such a dramatic crash have left it almost mangled beyond recognition? If so, what was it that remained visible and recognisable enough to convince onlookers that it was McCartney’s Mini as is claimed by Yoakum and Hadjij?

Regardless of these questions, it’s possible that the ‘Paul is Dead’ rumours might’ve been born from this incident, for example, the following item in the Beatles’ official fanzine, ‘Beatles Monthly’ in February 1967 cites a crash on the M1 in January of that year involving McCartney‘s Mini Cooper and his subsequent “death“:

It’s interesting to note the news-item featured above with the headline, ‘Moustaches All Round,’ which reports on The Beatles’ collective decision to sport facial hair, because McCartney has since revealed that their reasons for donning this look appear to stem from a moped crash in December 1965. He said:

“I had an accident when I came off a moped in Wirral, near Liverpool. I had a very good friend who lived in London called Tara Browne, a Guinness heir – a nice Irish guy, very sensitive bloke. I’d see him from time to time, and enjoyed being around him. He came up to visit me in Liverpool once when I was there seeing my dad and brother. I had a couple of mopeds on hire, so we hit upon the bright idea of going to my cousin Bett’s house.
We were riding along on the mopeds. I was showing Tara the scenery. He was behind me, and it was an incredible full moon; it really was huge. I said something about the moon and he said ‘yeah’, and I suddenly had a freeze-frame image of myself at that angle to the ground when it’s too late to pull back up again: I was still looking at the moon and then I looked at the ground, and it seemed to take a few minutes to think, ‘Ah, too bad – I’m going to smack that pavement with my face!’ Bang!
There I was, chipped tooth and all. it came through my lip and split it. But I got up and we went along to my cousin’s house. When I said, ‘Don’t worry, Bett, but I’ve had a bit of an accident,’ she thought I was joking. She creased up laughing at first, but then she went ‘Holy…!’ I’d really given my face a good old smack; it looked like I’d been in the ring with Tyson for a few rounds. So she rang a friend of hers who was a doctor.
He came round on the spot, took a needle out and, after great difficulty threading it, put it in the first half of the wound. He was shaking a bit, but got it all the way through, and then he said, ‘Oh, the thread’s just come out – I’ll have to do it again!’ No anaesthetic. I was standing there while he rethreaded it and pulled it through again.

In fact that was why I started to grow a moustache. It was pretty embarrassing, because around that time you knew your pictures would get winged off to teeny-boppery magazines like 16, and it was pretty difficult to have a new picture taken with a big fat lip. So I started to grow a moustache – a sort of Sancho Panza – mainly to cover where my lip had been sewn.
It caught on with the guys in the group: if one of us did something like growing his hair long and we liked the idea, we’d all tend to do it.”

McCartney sporting his wounds following his moped crash in December ’65

Paul exposes his chipped tooth and fat lip whilst appearing in a promotional video in May 1966.

What McCartney has failed to mention is the fact that neither he nor the rest of The Beatles grew moustaches until late 1966/early 1967 – a full year after his accident, by which time the “big fat lip“ had disappeared.

NO BIG FAT LIP… Paul McCartney in Manila, July 1966.

Some theorists believe that the ‘fake’ McCartney grew the moustache as a form of disguise because, although his face was almost identical to the ’real’ Paul’s, it wasn’t entirely accurate. Others suggest the facial hair was to hide scars that William Campbell/Sheppard/Shears had received from plastic surgery.

Here’s an interesting photo of McCartney from the front-page of the ‘Beatles Monthly’ fanzine in March 1967 showing him sporting a moustache:

Now here’s exactly the same picture of Paul from 1966 – without the moustache:

Assuming the fanzine picture hasn’t been doctored since it’s original publication, the most obvious question to ask is, why did they do this?

The rumours of Paul’s death simmered away beneath the surface for a number of years – that is until September 17th 1969, when an article titled, ‘Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?’ was published in a student newspaper at an American university. It was written by Timothy Harper. Speaking in 2010, he said, “I was, and still am, a reporter, a journalist. I heard some people talking about the rumour, and it sounded like a good story. So I did some reporting, and wrote a story for the school paper. It’s a simple as that.” Timothy has always maintained that he doesn’t believe in the rumour himself, and had no intention of advocating it. He says, “I didn’t generate a hoax. I reported on a rumour. I said then, and still say, no one knows how the rumour started.”

Timothy Harper in 2009.

Harper says the main source and inspiration for his article was a fellow student by the name of Dartanyan Brown who told him that he heard about the rumours from musicians who he was sharing lodgings with. He also recalled reading about the “death” claims in a number of underground newspapers that were in circulation at the time, although this has never been substantiated.
In his article, Harper documents the so-called “clues” that are still discussed and examined to this day. He writes:

“Lately on campus there has been much conjecturing on the present state of Beatle Paul McCartney. An amazing series of photos and lyrics on the group’s albums point to a distinct possibility that McCartney may indeed be insane, freaked out, even dead.

The ‘Sergeant Pepper’ album, obviously, signified the ‘death’ of the old Beatles who made girls scream when they sang ‘yeah yeah yeah!” The new Beatles blew Grass and dropped Acid, criticised religion, studied under Maharishi in India, and had a new sound.”

The iconic front-cover of The Beatles’ landmark album, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ (press to enlarge).

“This album also started the hints that all was not right with The Beatles, especially Paul. On the front cover a mysterious hand is raised over his head, a sign many believe is an ancient death symbol of either the Greeks or the American Indians…”

“Also, a left-handed guitar (Paul was the only lefty of the four) lies on the grave at the group’s feet…”

“On the back of the same album, George, Ringo and John are smiling out toward the camera, but McCartney has his back turned…”

“The Beatles’ next album, ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ displayed a major idiosyncrasy. On the front of this album all four are dressed in walrus suits, after the top tune on the record, ‘The Walrus.’ No faces are visible, but three of the walrus suits are grey; the other is black…”

“Inside, under the words, ‘The Walrus,’ there is a phrase saying Paul is the walrus, not John, who sings the song.
Then came the group’s latest album: ‘The Beatles,’ with an all-white cover. With this record the whole mystery became even more spooky. On the tune ‘Revolution No. 9,’ there is a part where a lone deep voice repeats ‘number nine.’ When this is played backwards a voice quotes “Turn me on, dead man,’ and ‘Cherish the dead,’ and there are many sound effects, including the noise of a spectacular auto crash. In another song on the record, ‘Glass Onion,’ the Beatles sing ‘Here is another clue for you all: The walrus was Paul.’”

Just weeks after Timothy Harper’s article was published, a student at East Michigan University by the name of Tom Zarski telephoned DJ Russ Gibb whilst he was broadcasting on the radio-station WKNR and informed him live on air that Paul McCartney was dead. He then instructed him to play ‘Revolution No. 9’ backwards. Speaking in 2011, Gibb said, “when you played it backwards, it said, ‘Turn me on, dead man… Turn me on, dead man… Turn me on, dead man.’ That floored me. It wasn’t garbled – it was very distinct. I put that on and within 3-4 minutes, the phone lines were jammed in my studio.”

Russ Gibb in 2005

Gibb also remembers that another caller to the station suggested he play the end of the song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ backwards to hear John Lennon say: “I buried Paul.” Incidentally, McCartney has since said that his former band-mate was actually muttering the words, “cranberry sauce.” Be that as it may, the listeners of WKNR on that fateful October night were clamouring for more. Gibb recalls the owner of the radio-station, Frank Maruca wanted to capitalise on the sudden influx of callers. He says, “by now, people were pounding on the windows. Callers were giving me more clues. Frank said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.’ He realised the numbers were skyrocketing… Frank came and said, ‘milk it.’ He was a genius programmer. So now the other DJs are getting in on it because people were calling.”

Fred LaBour, an arts reviewer for the student newspaper ‘The Michigan Daily’ was listening to the show. When he was assigned to write an article about the new Beatles album ‘Abbey Road’ some days later, he decided to compose a satire about the P.I.D. claims. In the 2005 documentary ‘Who Buried Paul?’ LaBour says, “I invented a lot of the clues. So I just imagined this whole scenario and wrote it as sort of a quasi-news story with a lot of facts, and enough facts that were true to sort of keep pulling you along and enough facts that weren’t true that hopefully would let you know that this was a joke. This was a satire.” In another interview he revealed that he invented the William Campbell character. He says, “I made the guy up. It was originally going to be Glenn Campbell, with two Ns, and then I said ‘that’s too close, nobody’ll buy that’. So I made it William Campbell.”

Fred LaBour poses with his infamous article in 2005.

Within days, LaBour’s article and the rumours of Paul’s supposed death had attracted the attentions of the international press with reports in the London ’Times’ newspaper as well as the ’New York Times’ and the ’Los Angeles Times.’
All the media attention prompted a number of cynics to conclude that the rumours and “clues” in the songs and artwork were perhaps an elaborate publicity-stunt orchestrated by The Beatles themselves to sell more copies of their new record. The band denied these accusations. In a 1970 magazine article, Lennon talked about P.I.D. He said, “I don’t know where that started, that was barmy. I don’t know, you know as much about it as me… No, that was bulls**t, the whole thing was made up. We never went for anything like that… I know we used to have a few things, but nothing that could be interpreted like that.” Even so… a question mark over The Beatles’ involvement remains, no doubt further fuelled by a song titled ‘Saint Paul’ performed by Terry Knight which some believe is about Paul’s death. What makes it more intriguing, is that it was published by John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s ‘Maclen Music’ four months before Timothy Harper’s attention-grabbing article was first published.

‘SAINT PAUL’ (lyrics):

I looked into the sky
Everything was high
Higher than it seemed to be to me

Standing by the sea
Thinking I was free
Did I hear you call or was I dreaming then, St. Paul?
You knew it all along
Something had gone wrong
They couldn’t hear your song of sadness in the air
While they were crying out, “beware”
Your flowers & long hair
While you & Sgt. Pepper saw the writing on the wall

You say you want to live your life to the future
They say they’ve got dues to pay today
You say it’s the fool who plays it cool, Sir
And if tomorrow comes, you know, they’ll all hear St. Paul say:
Let me take you down

You have a different view
Hey there, Paul, what’s new?
Did Judas really talk to you
or did you put us on?
I think there’s something wrong
It’s taking you too long
To change the world
Sir Isaac Newton said it had to fall
Hey St. Paul!

You say you want to live your life to the future
They say they’ve got dues to pay today
You say it’s the fool who plays it cool, Sir
And if tomorrow comes, you know, they’ll all hear St Paul say:
I read the news today, oh boy.

You had a different view
Hey there, Paul, what’s new?
Did Judas talk to you
or did you put the whole world on?
I think there’s something wrong
It’s taking you too long to change the world
Sir Isaac Newton told you it would fall

You didn’t listen, St. Paul!

Terry Knight

Were The Beatles attempting to kick-start the rumour gravy-train? Well… according to official accounts, apparently not.
It’s claimed Knight had met The Beatles at Abbey Road studios in 1968 during the making of their ‘White Album.’ Noticing the growing tension between the group, he later returned home to America thinking about what he’d witnessed and also feeling a certain sympathy for McCartney. Others claim Knight had met Paul in February 1969 and had hoped to be signed to The Beatles’ ‘Apple’ record label, but, when this didn‘t materialise, he subsequently wrote ‘Saint Paul’ on the flight back to New York.
The song was eventually released by ‘Capitol Records,’ the sister-company of ‘EMI’ which (coincidentally?) distributed The Beatles’ music. However, when the band discovered that Knight’s song contained a number of lyrical references to ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ ‘She Loves You,’ and a nod towards ‘Hey Jude,’ they threatened ‘Capitol’ with legal action. As a result, the record was pulled from distribution and later re-issued in conjunction with ‘Maclen,’ one of the few (if not, only) times that a non-Lennon/McCartney song has been included in the company’s catalogue.
Terry Knight’s ‘Saint Paul’ continues to spark debate. Some believe it was written by the “fake” McCartney – or, perhaps the entire Beatles – as a secret message to their fans.

Since the dawn of the internet age, the P.I.D. rumours have blossomed. There are now hundreds of websites, videos and forums examining, discussing and debating what has become one of the longest running conspiracy theories in modern history. Thanks to the easy accessibility of photographs and film footage on the worldwide web, millions of people have added yet more clues and apparent anomalies into the mix. Questions have now arisen regarding the physical appearance of the “fake” McCartney (now known to all as, “Faul”) when compared to the “real” version such as inconsistencies in the shapes of their noses, ears, eyes and skulls and apparent differences in their height. Here are just some of the examples…

WHAT’S GOING ON EAR?… Spot the difference between Paul in the early 1960s (left), and ‘Paul’ during the 1970s (right).

THE EYES HAVE IT… Different coloured eyes; On the left, a recent photo of ‘Paul,’ and on the right, Paul from the early 1960s.

HEIGHT ISSUES… On the left, Paul and Ringo circa 1963, on the right, circa 1967 / ’68.

Sunglasses ‘truth’…

There are also those attempting to debunk the rumours by comparing photographs of Paul from the early 1960s to pictures of him post-1966 “car crash”…

Early ’60s Paul and a mustachioed Paul from 1967

Paul circa 1964, and Paul in the 1967 movie, ‘Magical Mystery Tour.’

Paul from the mid ’60s superimposed onto his live performance of ‘Hey Jude’ in 1968.

(Top right) Pre-fame McCartney circa 1960 / ’61, (left) McCartney during the 1970s.

Finally, more clues in the artwork…

In the closing sequence of the 1967 movie ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ John, George and Ringo wear red roses in their lapels whilst Paul opts for black.

In a scene from the same movie, McCartney sits behind a desk which bears the inscription, “I Was.”

When you hold a straight-edge mirror perpendicular to the centre of the drum on the ‘Sgt. Pepper‘ cover, in the middle of the words “Lonely Hearts,” the reflection reads, I ONE IX HE ♦ DIE (“One one nine he die,” or November 9 he die). The diamond points to McCartney.

Perhaps more compelling than any photograph, album-cover or song lyric, is the allegation made in 1984 by a German woman who claimed that McCartney had arranged for a look-alike to take part in the faking of a paternity test. Erika Hübers had previously failed in a 1983 court-case to convince the judge that the famous musician was the father of her 21-year-old daughter Bettina who was allegedly conceived in the early 1960s when The Beatles were still an unknown band working in the clubs of Hamburg. In an appeal hearing in 1984, she argued that the blood sample taken from McCartney was not McCartney but an impostor. Court officials however were adamant the results of the test were genuine adding that the former Beatle’s fingerprints were also taken. The case was dismissed.
In 2007, Erika’s daughter assumed control and succeeded in convincing German prosecutors to investigate the claims of him faking the paternity test. She told reporters that “the signature in the old documents is false. We have found the signature is from a right-handed person, but Paul is left-handed.” However, just days later, German authorities dropped the investigation claiming the case was “beyond their legal powers.” Michael Grunwald from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Berlin told reporters that, “the case falls outside the statute of limitations even if her claims are true. The investigation is closed.”

There were more startling claims to come.

In 2008, Paul and his second wife, Heather Mills were embroiled in a bitter and very public divorce battle in the courts following their break-up in 2006. In leaked documents, she complained that her estranged husband was a cannabis-smoking drunk who stabbed her with a broken wine glass, and pushed her into a bathtub when she was pregnant with their daughter Beatrice. However, it was during an interview for the UK breakfast show ‘GMTV’ that she revealed her most astonishing allegation of all. She told TV presenters that she has a “box of evidence” that will go to “a certain person” should she be ‘topped off,’ and added that there is “such a fear from a certain party of the truth coming out.” Heather made similar claims to the BBC, telling reporters that she had received death threats. However, Kevin Moore, Chief Superintendent of Sussex Police informed journalists that Heather was running “the risk of being treated as the little boy who cried wolf“ and that officers had “to respond to a disproportionate high volume of calls” from her.

During her GMTV interview, Heather also talked about her treatment at the hands of the tabloid press and the accusations made against her by various media outlets that she was a liar, a “gold digger,” and a prostitute. One allegation in the newspaper, ’The News of the World’ named the Saudi billionaire businessman and controversial arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi as a former client of hers during her days as an alleged escort girl. Meanwhile, the newspaper journalist Heather Mills (no relation), accused her of falsely using her name and pretending to be her in order to secure a TV presenting job on the BBC. In his final judgement at the end of her divorce battle with Paul, Justice Bennett described her as a “kindly person” who argued her case with a “steely, yet courteous, determination“, but concluded that much of her evidence was, “not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid“, and that overall she was a “less than impressive witness.”
Many believe that the hostile reception from various quarters within the media is a deliberate attempt to discredit any future revelations she might have regarding the “death” of the “real” Paul McCartney.

As time has progressed, so have the theories pertaining to the alleged “death” of Paul McCartney. There are those that believe he was murdered because he refused to go along with the Illuminati plan to use The Beatles as a tool in the late 1960s to corrupt the world’s youth through the promotion of drugs and the worship of “false” New Age religions. Indeed, McCartney caused a furore in 1967 when he admitted taking LSD and later championed the legalisation of marijuana. Many observers were surprised that Paul, the so-called “clean-cut” and “cute” Beatle, was advocating such activities. In the same year, The Beatles also began to follow the guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and in the process, popularised Eastern mysticism.

As well as Heather’s “box of evidence,” there are promised revelations to come later this year from the best known P.I.D. researcher of them all; Iamaphoney. This elusive character initially gained notoriety through regular ‘YouTube’ postings of strange, esoteric and often eerie short films that pointed towards clues of Paul McCartney’s “death.” In 2010, a full-length movie titled, ‘TheWingedBeatle’ was released on the internet, and in the sequel set for release later this year, it’s been indicated that there is earth-shattering information to be revealed.

The DJ Russ Gibb, who helped spark the original rumours back in the late 1960s, has always maintained a sceptical attitude towards the P.I.D. rumours but has also claimed that he has a secret that could prove valuable in any future attempts to solve the decades-old mystery. In the 2005 documentary ‘Who Buried Paul McCartney’ he says, “there’s some things that are best said after we leave the planet. Understand? And so that’s basically what it is. There is one piece of information that somebody gave me in London about this whole story. I’m not sure if it’s key but it certainly is important, and I’ll let the people just guess at what it is until I put it down on paper – and I may never see it, and then The Beatles may not even be around, but someday it’ll come out.”

‘Conspiro Media’ awaits these developments with interest, because as it currently stands, there is little to be convinced of. For example, assuming that McCartney did die in 1966 and was replaced by an impostor, how is it possible that he has managed to successfully fool not only his brother and his father (who died in 1976), but also members of his large family in Liverpool who he visits on a regular basis? Surely, at least one of them would’ve recognised the difference? Who knows?… Maybe some did? It’s claimed McCartney’s girlfriend at the time, Jane Asher was paid to keep her silence. Not long later, their relationship ended after Paul (or is that William?) was caught dating future wife, Linda Eastman.

Granted, some of the evidence presented in album covers and various other Beatle-related artwork is compelling and thought-provoking, and who’s to say for sure that major debunkers of the story such as LaBour, Harper and Zarski aren’t actually in the pay of shadowy figures keen to keep the hoax accusations alive?

It’s also important to acknowledge that other well known figures have used doubles in order to deflect attention and to deceive the public, the most notable examples being Saddam Hussein and General “Monty” Montgomery. Perhaps McCartney is alive and well but has also seen fit to employ the occasional stand-in (such as in a paternity suit for example)?

There is a danger of course that those of us who’ve examined the so-called “clues” and then formed conclusions are totally missing the point and taking it all too literally? After all, many of the symbols and allegories in the music and artwork are of an esoteric nature and as such, could be suggesting “death” of a different kind? A symbolic death? Perhaps a spiritual death or rotting of the soul? Maybe a ‘supernatural’ possession of a living being?

As the saying goes, “there’s no smoke without fire,” and this particular “fire” has been burning for over 40 years, no doubt partly fuelled by the intriguing and compelling clues on offer.
Whilst ‘Conspiro Media’ is yet to be totally won over by all the elements that provide the framework for the alleged conspiracy, it does sense that there is enough data on offer to suggest that something mysterious or untoward is afoot.
The question is… what?


*) An informative, engaging P.I.D. discussion at the ‘Above Top Secret’ forum:

*) ‘’:

*) iamaphoney’s blog:

*) ‘TheWingedBeatle’ official website:

*) CRANBERRY SAUCE: An Examination of The PAUL IS DEAD Hoax

An original documentary by Matthew Hawes that gives a detailed and insightful look into one of the most bizzare chapters of Beatles history. 

Follow along, listen and look at the many clues, and see what conclusions you come to about this fascinating subject.

Who was the Walrus? — Or is it just CRANBERRY SAUCE?

Written, edited, produced and directed by Matthew Hawes

*) “Who Buried Paul McCartney?”

In the late sixties the news about the death of Paul McCartney swept the world. But did Paul really die? This documentary explores the true story behind the Paul-is-dead mystery. Also features contributions from Fred LaBour, Russ Gibb, Timothy Harper and Tom Zarski. 

REFERENCE LINKS:,1518,483950,00.html