The Paul Is Dead Story and the 'Clues'
The Paul Is Dead rumor started with a series of events in the 1960s that led fans of the popular rock band The Beatles to believe that bassist Paul McCartney was actually dead and replaced with a look-alike. McCartney remains alive, as of 2005.
The rumor began in earnest in 1969, when Russ Gibb, a radio DJ from WKNR-FM in Detroit, Michigan, announced that McCartney was dead. Other DJs, television news reporters, newspapers, and magazines picked up on the story and began to look for clues.
The rumor eventually became a full-fledged conspiracy theory as members of the media and Beatles fans searched album artwork and song lyrics for clues to the cover-up and McCartney's supposed death. Believers eventually decided that McCartney had died in a car accident that happened at 5 a.m. on a Wednesday morning (the time and day, mentioned in the song "She's Leaving Home"), and that "he hadn't noticed that the lights had changed" ("A Day in the Life") because he was busy watching the pretty girl on the sidewalk ("Lovely Rita"). According to believers, McCartney had been replaced with the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest. The name of this look-alike has been recorded as both William Campbell and William Shears. Though it has been denied by all four members numerous times, many fans are convinced that the rumor was a hoax perpetrated deliberately by the Beatles as a joke. The rumor has been exhaustively examined in the book Turn Me On, Dead Man: The Beatles and the "Paul-Is-Dead" Hoax by Andru J. Reeve, the latest edition released in October 2004.
Other alleged clues included: