McCartney death conspiracy lives on

By Kevin Bartelt

The ghost of Paul McCartney may one day haunt — or maybe it’s already haunting — the Northern Star office.

Rumors of McCartney’s death began in 1966 after the Beatles’ bassist was supposedly in a fatal accident and was replaced by a lookalike. Several journalists, including the Star’s Barb Ulvilden, wrote about the rumors in September 1969, causing international controversy. The rumors spread to the point that Life magazine sent reporters to Scotland to interview and take a photo of McCartney.

Ulvilden’s column, which was published 45 years ago today, spiked popularity about the topic and has been cited by conspiracy theorists and authors when perpetuating the urban legend.

Ulvilden’s column describe how the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” featured a left-handed guitar (McCartney was the only lefty in the band) on a grave in front of the Beatles. She also said three of The Beatles attended a Bob Dylan concert but “Paul was conspicuously absent” and playing “Revolution 9” allowed listeners to hear someone saying, “Turn on, dead man.”

Ulvilden never wrote McCartney was dead, but the column concludes, “nevertheless, [his death] is something to think about.”

Although some credit Ulvilden for pointing out the clues to McCartney’s death, she was not the first to write about them. The Times-Delphic piece, “Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?,” was published six days before the Star’s column. Ulvilden’s column hints at Drake University’s Times-Delphic by saying, “On the campus of a Midwestern university, there has been much conjecturing on the present state of Beatle Paul McCartney.”

Eric Michaels, the Paul McCartney impersonator in the Beatles tribute band American English, said he heard about the rumors when he heard about the Beatles.

“I never thought he was dead because I looked at all the pictures and said, ‘It’s the same guy,’” Michaels said. “I know people like Sam Leach, who booked them 49 times … and wrote a book called ‘The Birth of the Beatles.’ He assured me that was all just a bunch of malarkey … . I just think it was great PR … . And, I think Paul recognized that and decided to shut his mouth. When he decided to open it, the Beatles were over and that was that.”

McCartney, or the world’s greatest McCartney lookalike, was unable to be reached for comment.

Is Paul McCartney still alive?

Lauren Iverson: Paul McCartney is still alive, and I have proof — well, maybe not, but he’s still alive.

All these conspiracy theories saying McCartney is dead are absurd. It is simply fans reading too deep into pictures and words put out by the Beatles.

Humans are naturally curious and want to believe in something at all times, and this is another one of those things. Think about how much effort it would take to hide this secret: After all the lies to Beatles’ fans, the guys definitely would have cracked.

By now — almost 50 years later — the truth would have come out.

Darius Parker: The facts point to Paul McCartney’s alleged “death” being false.

Who has the time and/or patience to find his identical twin, and where was his identical twin hiding for all those years before McCartney allegedly died?

For an iconic group like the Beatles, hiring a replacement who just happens to sing exactly like McCartney sounds ridiculous. Did they hold auditions?

Think of all the heartbroken fans who would never look at The Beatles the same way if this were true. The world would most likely riot.

Long live McCartney and long live the Beatles.

Claire Buchanan: I definitely don’t think Paul McCartney is dead. It’s just a little too farfetched.

Why would the Beatles go to so much trouble to convince people McCartney is alive? After all these years, why bother to keep up the charade? If McCartney actually died, just “Let It Be.” It doesn’t make any sense.

At least, I really hope McCartney isn’t dead. The night John Lennon died my mom was sent to her room because she wouldn’t stop crying, and I don’t want to see a repeat of that incident. It would be much more awkward now that she’s a grown woman.

Alex Hyde: With the amount of songs and shows Paul McCartney has done in the last 45 years, I think someone would have noticed if he was an impostor.

McCartney’s next stop on his tour is in San Diego on Sept. 28. Not to mention, his official, verified Twitter and Instagram accounts are loaded with photos from the past few years, some of which include video footage of him speaking to his followers.

How would his friends and family members not notice the lookallike?

McCartney is really alive, or someone has been pulling the world’s longest prank.

Sabreena Saleem: I’ve admittedly read one too many Paul McCartney conspiracy theory blogs, and for a second there I believed in the whole impostor theory.

Although those articles and documentaries are fascinating and entertaining, I think people may have gone a little too far with this one. Why would anyone go along with this weird story for this long? What’s the point?

Don’t get me wrong: I still have my suspicions from time to time, but common sense always kicks back in. Sorry, fellow conspiracy-theorists. I’m going to have to pass on this one.