Subject: Re: Clues for you all Summary: Paul Is Dead (PID) hoax again In article +lt;92930

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

From: dmac@julia.math.ucla.edu (saki) Subject: Re: Clues for you all Summary: Paul Is Dead (PID) hoax again In article <92930406064529/0004456106NA3EM@mcimail.com> DPM%MRGPRE%Health_Net@mcimail.com (DPM) writes: > thf2@kimbark.uchicago.edu (Ted Frank) writes: > >>>He's repeated the story often enough (_always_ using the phrase "cranberry >>>sauce" and not some other permutation) for it to be credible. > >>All it's missing is the clause "so it must be true," but creative editing >>can add that in. > > The crucial difference being, of course, that John Lennon was undoubtedly > present while he was recording his own song and therefore has some insight > into what he actually said. Not to mention that millions of people can > verify it experimentally by simply listening to the song. > > - snopes It might be best to check tapes or copies of same closest to the source, viz., EMI/Abbey Road Studio tapes. The sibilance of "*s*au*c*e" can be heard quite clearly. In some alternate releases of "Strawberry Fields Forever" (the Italian single, for instance), the words "cranberry sauce" are repeated twice before the fade-out; in some vault-tape copies, you can hear it three times. I know that in some standard releases of the song, the words are just sufficiently buried in the mix to cause the ears some confusion. Further doubters may wish to apply their choice of voice-patterning equipment to ascertain what words are actually spoken by John during the fade-out. It's *not* "I buried Paul". Believe me. But these days---some twenty-three years after the appearance of this irrepressible myth---there are better questions to ask. Why does this story persist? It's not much like the sorts of urban legends one finds in modern life. There are no "vanishing hitchhikers" who turn out to be ghostly apparitions of John Lennon, for instance. Nor are there reports of cacti which explode, showering passersby with miniature "O.P.D." badges (Ontario Police Department/Officially Pronounced Dead). The most persistent folklore I can recall about the Fabs is the story that "someone" (a friend of a friend of a friend...the usual UL-source) was at a party where someone else asked if Paul wasn't in some group before Wings. That and the oft-repeated "fact" that Norwegian wood is slang for marijuana. The various legends surrounding the Beatles' genesis---their haircuts, their Hamburg attachments, their rise to fame---have either been lately confirmed by documentation or debunked by same. But the "Paul Is Dead" story seems too big to defeat with facts. And it appears facts aren't the issue, anyway. Most Fabs fans these days are pretty well convinced that the original Paul is alive. What originated as a story about Paul's "death" has nowadays transformed itself (not without help) into a belief that the Beatles perpetuated upon an unsuspecting public a myth so cleverly convoluted that "clues" are virtually endless. Without the merest hint of verifiable evidence or documentation, it is often proclaimed that the Beatles must have been behind all this. After all, the clues are there! Aren't they? Of course not everyone believes this is the case. Some of us rely on denials from the principals...or one of them, anyway. John was asked outright, by a Rolling Stone interviewer in 1970, whether there were "any of those things really on the albums that were said to be there". John's reply: "No. That was bullshit, the whole thing was made up." He *did* admit that the group put in the "tit, tit, tit" as a deliberate joke in "Girl", but that was the totality of secret messages, backwards or otherwise, in the Beatles oeuvre ("Rolling Stone", January 4, 1971). This is surely a fertile field for folklorists, some of whom have already considered it. One article I've seen about the phenomenon is Barbara Suczek's "The Curious Case of the 'Death' of Paul McCartney" in Urban Life & Culture, Vol. 1, Number 1 (1972). Even in this early work, Suczek picks up on the odd fact that true believers of this scheme are mightily piqued when confronted with denials---whether from John, Paul, or mere doubters like me. The suggestion that some reliable evidence is necessary to prove the Beatles originated this this hoax is, to ardent PID-fans, ludicrous. As Suczek points out, "Evidence was the whole point! [Believers] were fortified, bulwarked, armed to the teeth with evidence: they had a veritable overkill of evidence." And evidence seems to point, according to Suczek, right back to the Fabs---at least that's what the PID proponents say. Otherwise, one must suppose that the whole thing really *is* a massive joke, played by some anonymous wit who's still enjoying the stir he's created. Heaven forfend that the joke should be on the innocent Beatles fan. Even the suggestion causes tempers to bristle. To wit: "The fact of the matter was that each public would accept as credible evidence only such data as suited the logic of its cognitive system and thus it was that the more McCartney's death was denied, including by himself, the more the tension and hostility seemed to increase, feeding in and out of the interfactional dispute" (Suczek, p. 30). So it's *got* to be true...or else everyone's wasted a passel of energy on the subject. At this point in her article, Suczek wanders into musings on Dionysian elements in the McCartney resurrection myth, which is less relevant to today's PID folklore. I think she just misses the more interesting hypothesis for the perpetuation of this legend. It's not that people really believe Paul is dead; it's more or less a belief that one can share the joke with the Fabs themselves through these clues cleverly planted by their own hand (for so it must be) from 1966 onward. It's a big puzzle; and the Beatles relied on us, being True Fans, to cling tenaciously to the clues till the story was revealed. What a concept. That's even better than a concept- album! What other pop group planned such a hoax---and a long- lived one at that---of such remarkable proportions? It's like a search for the grail. And once PID enthusiasts get a taste for the hunt, they're not going to let go. The more random, disconnected, and illogical the clues, the better. That makes the game more of a challenge. The much better question is who *really* might have been behind the Paul-Is-Dead hoax. And it surprises me that some enterprising and qualified student of urban myth hasn't taken on the job. There actually *are* a few clues that point to the PID scheme's origination in the American midwest. The Oct. 22, 1969 San Francisco Chronicle and the Nov. 22, 1969 New York Times both name a U. of Mich. then-undergrad named Fred LaBour was said to have written a paper connecting the now-famous random clues; the Times also pointed to three DJs from WKNR-FM in Detroit, whom they named as the real source for the legend. And "Rolling Stone" Magazine that same month claimed that LaBour was not the first to propound the theory, which arose in *September 1969* in a student newspaper at Illinois University. I've even had email from a responsible gentleman, who wishes to remain nameless, recounting his participation with disc jockey Russell Gibb of Detroit station WKNR-FM in disseminating "clues"---even inventing new ones, which, the gentleman reports, have since passed into accepted legend---over the airwaves during one drug-hazed afternoon in summer 1969. That's intriguing corroboration for the NY Times. Brunvand actually traced the origins of several oft-repeated urban legends...which if course did not diminish their folkloric power. Finding out the origins of the PID hoax would likely not diminish the fervor of its adherents, but might teach us something about the resilience of personal belief. -- ------------------------------- "Lovely lads...and so natural."-------------------------------------- ------------------------------- saki (dmac@math.ucla.edu) -------------------------------------- From: SNOPES%MRGPRE%Health_Net@mcimail.com (SNOPES) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban Subject: Re: Paul is dead Date: 8 Apr 1993 13:28:44 -0500 lasner@watsun.cc.columbia.edu (Charles Lasner) writes: >You aren't addressing what I wrote. I am saying that in his explanation, JL >just made up "cranberry sauce" as a place-holder for what was unimportant >to him, namely whatever he actually used in the recording. I agree it's not >"I buried Paul". (Actually, I agree with those who say it's more like "I'm >very bored" but in any case not the alledged "clue" value.) I know what you wrote, and you (and the original poster) are just plain wrong: From _The Beatles Recording Sessions_ by Mark Lewisohn: Thursday 22 December 1966 " . . . At the end of the second overdub John Lennon muttered the words 'cranberry sauce' twice over. The red acidic berry, famous for complementing roast turkey, had no relevance whatsoever to the song and John's utterance cannot be satisfactorily explained beyond the point that it was just 'typical John Lennon'. One 'cranberry sauce' (two on some foreign pressings of the song) even made it onto the finished single, if you listen hard enough. [Further deflating silly Beatles myths, John most certainly did not say 'I buried Paul'!]" From _The Beatles In Their Own Words_: Paul McCartney: "That wasn't 'I buried Paul' at all, that was John saying 'cranberry sauce'. It was the end of 'Strawberry Fields'. That's John's humour. John would say something totally out of synch, like 'cranberry sauce'. If you don't realise that John's apt to say 'cranberry sauce' when he feels like it, then you start to hear a funny little word there, and you think 'Aha!'". So, John Lennon says it's 'cranberry sauce', Paul McCartney says it's 'cranberry sauce' and Mark Lewisohn (who had access to all the masters in EMI's vaults) says it's 'cranberry sauce'. You can go through all the verbal contortions you like to try and explain this one away, but you'll still be wrong. - snopes +-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Unless otherwise noted, all names of companies, products, street addresses | | and persons contained herein are part of a completely fictitious scenario | | or scenarios and are designed solely to document the use of a USENET | | newsreader program. | +-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | David P. Mikkelson Calif. State Univ., Northridge Northridge, CA USA | +-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank