The 5 Best Conspiracy Theories About Celebrity Impostors
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!
Just a heads-up: This next theory is kind of ... complicated. Actually it's not; that's just the name of a really popular Avril Lavigne song. Thanks, I'll be here all week. Moving on, I have bad news: The real Avril Lavigne died a long time ago. That's the theory put forth by a Brazilian fan site, anyway.
You see, stardom isn't always a pleasant experience, especially if you're trying to just go out and enjoy yourself in public without being mobbed by hordes of adoring fans. To combat this, famous people sometimes hire body doubles who act as decoys to attract all the paparazzi attention so they can conduct their daily lives in peace. Saddam Hussein did it. Some people say Kim Kardashian has one.
This is her! Allegedly!
And, according to this theory, Avril Lavigne had one too. Unfortunately, things took a dark turn around the time her second album was released. After her grandfather died, Lavigne allegedly fell into a deep depression and was later found dead in her home. Yes, I know there's a huge detail missing there, but that's precisely how this theory put it. She fell into a deep depression and was later found dead. I don't know what that means. Did she kill herself? Overdose on drugs? Did the depression spread to her liver and send her into kidney failure? What the fuck happened?
It doesn't matter, because she'd already hired that body double, and her doppelganger was more than ready to step in and take Lavigne's place. Hell, she even dropped a huge clue about what was really unfolding in the form of the hit single "My Happy Ending."
Admit it, you always kind of suspected this song was about Avril Lavigne being replaced by an impostor.
Sure, according to this theory the album that song is on was completed before Avril Lavigne died, meaning she would've been the one who wrote and recorded that song, but let's not get caught up in details. Well, except for the shockingly minor details that act as "proof" that this conspiracy theory is true. Ready to have your mind blown? Here goes:
The prosecution rests.
Are you not convinced?!?!? How do you explain away that those skin blemishes totally look sort of different? One is an outdoor photo and the other is a magazine photo that's almost certainly been Photoshopped? She's standing at a slightly different angle in each photo? Sure, whatever you have to tell yourselves to sleep at night, sheeple.
For years now, you've been asking the real Slim Shady to please stand up, but never once did you realize just how valid that request has become over the years.
Let's back up a bit. Everyone knows the true mark of hip-hop success is when people start speculating that you might be in the Illuminati. It's what separates the Jay Zs and Kanyes of the world from the Lupe Fiascos and Chance The Rappers. Sure, they're all great in their own way, but you have to reach a certain level of fame and influence before the internet assumes you're part of a vast conspiracy to spread satanic messages through rap and R&B music. You never hear about some unsigned rapper touring the country in a van participating in blood rituals so they can get booked at a club in Kansas City. That's not how it works.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that sometime around 2005, self-proclaimed rap god Eminem was approached about joining up with the bad guys. It makes perfect sense; he was and still is one of the biggest and most successful recording artists of them all. If anyone deserves the trappings that come with pledging your undying allegiance to the all-seeing eye of Horus it's that guy.
Jump-start your career by joining today!
Except there was one huge problem: Eminem didn't want to join the Illuminati, even if releasing the rest of his albums as Tidal exclusives would ultimately net him a better royalty deal. So he refused their advances, and that's when things turned ugly. Rather than handling the rejection like they'd been there before, the Illuminati decided to retaliate by having Eminem killed in a car crash. You'll note this is all alleged to have happened around the exact same time he disappeared for four years to go to rehab.
Sorry, I mean "rehab." What's far more likely (if you're a crazy person who believes these kinds of things) is that the fake Eminem who finally "returned" in 2009 spent those down years learning how to rhyme. Em's got bars; no way is a clone just going to come right out of the womb/machine spitting like that.
This all explains why the Eminem the Illuminati sent back to us seems to be a completely different person. Dark hair, deeper voice, less gay-bashing ... I could go on. Instead, I'll let an actual quote from the author of this theory carry us home:
In case you're wondering, this is the video in question:
You'll note that it's over an hour long, which might as well be a complete season of a network television series in internet time. The only way I'm sitting through all of that bullshit is if my clone does it for me.
Finally, after a seemingly endless stream of completely unbelievable theories, we have one that sounds completely plausible. Here's the short version: Taylor Swift is actually a reincarnated version of a former Church of Satan High Priestess. I trust you need no further explanation, but on the off chance you do, I'll explain a little more. First, have a look at this woman:
Do you know that face? You certainly do if you were way into the devil back in the '80s, because that's the aforementioned satanic icon, Zeena LaVey. She looks weirdly familiar, right? Like a happier version of pop princess and Kanye West adversary Taylor Swift, maybe?
What in the hell does this have to do with anything? Well, take it away, internet:
That person might be joking, but still, goddamn Illuminati clones. They're all over the place. At least they are depending on which version of this theory you choose to not believe. In this one, the real Swift was killed off and replaced by said clone. Another incarnation claims that LaVey made a pact with the devil that restored her youthfulness, thus freeing her up to align with Satan once again to live a second life as the pop star we've come to know as Taylor Swift.
Either way, I think we can all agree it's safe to assume this one is true. It almost makes too much sense, if I'm being completely honest. I mean, yeah, the "real" Zeena LaVey is totally still alive and cranking out YouTube videos on the regular ...
... but still, look at those eyebrows. That's not the kind of thing that just comes around twice in the same lifetime. Something is up.
If for some reason a slight resemblance in the face isn't proof enough that Taylor Swift has been replaced by an evil pretender, please take into consideration that LaVey renounced the Church of Satan in 1990. That means the last year she worked as an executive in the bad religion was ...
Show yourself, demon!
... 1989. I'll give you a moment to gather up what remains of your head, which I'm assuming just exploded. You might also recognize that as the year "Taylor Swift" was born. Or was it the year Zeena LaVey drank a vial of Debbie Gibson's blood and rebirthed herself as an immortal pop icon?
The world may never know for sure. Probably the first one, though.
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