Who among us doesn't enjoy a good conspiracy theory? If it weren't for lurid tales of unseen forces guiding all of humanity toward enslavement at the hands of an evil one-world government, at least half the internet wouldn't exist. Fine, that's an exaggeration; everyone knows the internet is mostly porn. Still, conspiracy theories do a brisk business online, to say the least. One particular brand of conspiracy has become especially popular in recent years, that being the one kind that claims sometimes famous people are replaced with clones. We talk about a few examples on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by comic Chet Wild and director/producer/hypeman Chris Black. I'm also talking about a few in this here column today. Or is my clone doing it? You'll never know.
What better place to start than with the oldest of all "dead celebrity replaced by impostor" conspiracies. This one initially started circulating in 1967, when it was rumored that Paul McCartney was killed in a car accident involving his Aston Martin. A few months later, The Beatles fanzine assured the world that the story was false and everything went back to normal ... for two years.
The story came roaring back to life in 1969, when a student writing for the college newspaper at Drake University in Iowa (of course) published an article with the provocative headline "Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?" That was followed a few months later by another article, this time from the University of Michigan newspaper (again, as you'd expect), which reported on a litany of supposed clues and hints on Beatles albums that seemed to imply that Paul really was dead.
Here are a few highlights:
- In the final section of "Strawberry Fields," John says, "I buried Paul."
- The way the individual band members are arranged on the Abbey Road album cover is meant to represent a funeral procession, with Paul playing the role of the deceased.
You totally see it, right?
- The license plate of the Volkswagen in the background of that same album cover reads "28 IF," a reference to the fact that Paul would've been 28 if he'd actually lived to be present for that photo.
And the "LMW" means "Linda McCartney Weeps"!
There are a few problems with these clues. For starters, John Lennon said in an interview with Rolling Stone that the words he's saying at the end of "Strawberry Fields" are actually "cranberry sauce." I know that doesn't sound any less insane, but still, he'd know what he said better than anyone else. The funeral procession clue is reading a whole lot into the fact that four men showed up for an album cover photo shoot dressed exactly as they dressed in real life at the time and then, at some point, walked across the street in a particular order. As for the license plate, well, that's just all around false. Paul was 27 at the time.
Oh, also the article that first pointed out these "clues" was meant to be satire. Back then stopping false news stories from spreading wasn't as simple as posting the word "FAKE" followed by the emoji of your choice on someone's timeline. Much to the writer's surprise, the story was quickly picked up as national news. To this day, those clues are cited as proof among those who still cling to the "Paul Is Dead" legend.
At least the man himself has a sense of humor about it all. He proved that when he released a concert album in 1993 called Paul Is Live ...
Or is he????
... featuring cover art that was a direct response to the rumors of his demise.
Buckle up, this one gets dark. It all started with a post on 4chan. If that immediately makes you less inclined to believe it, that's good. Grab that disbelief and hold on to it really tight. It will make this entry a lot easier to stomach.
Anyway, as stated earlier, the rumor started with a post on 4chan from someone who claimed to be a "Hollywood insider." They first posted an insanely disturbing series of questions, ostensibly as a means to suss out if any other true "insiders" were present on that particular corner of 4chan.
If you can't read this, consider yourself lucky.
The questions cover a whole host of unsavory topics, mostly centering around how the entirety of the kids' television and film industry is a pack of rabid pedophiles who trade high-profile acting gigs for sexual favors from underage stars. Even worse, those who refuse to participate are often faced with threats or even sometimes actual violence.
I mean, it sounds crazy, but also doesn't sound that crazy, does it? If the Catholic Church and Penn State Football can end up at the center of sex abuse scandals, it's not inconceivable that Disney could as well. And Nickelodeon. And PBS. And ... CNN?
Anyway, let's hope that's all just internet trolling, because their claims of what happened to the real Miley Cyrus are goddamn horrifying.
Certainly not the kind of thing you'd read while listening to "Party In The U.S.A.,"
but if you must, I understand. Great song.
As the story goes, she refused the sexual advances of Disney executives and asked to be let out of her contract. They allegedly obliged by beating her to death and dumping her body in the desert east of Los Angeles.
The theory also claims that L.A. radio station KCAL reported that the body of Miley Cyrus was found and continued to report on it for an entire day, before retracting the story the next day and apologizing for spreading blatantly false information. Unfortunately, any video or audio of these reports has since been scrubbed from existence by those same villainous Disney executives.
So how do they explain the fact that Miley Cyrus is still very obviously making music? Simple: After her death she was replaced by another actress who sort of looks like her. A few plastic surgery appointments later, the plan was complete.
Since when do faces just change on their own between youth and adulthood?
Ha! That's way too crazy to be true! I hope!