Strange Hollywood

Imagine Ghosts Are Real

September 15, 2021

John Lennon was tragically assassinated in 1980. But according to some people, the Beatle never completely left the earthly realm.

And your bird can sing

In 1995, the three surviving Beatles at the time — George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr — reunited for the first Beatles recording in decades. They added their vocals and instrumentation to an old Lennon demo called “Free as a Bird.” McCartney says Lennon may have also been there, in spirit…literally. “There were a lot of strange goings-on in the studio — noises that shouldn’t have been there and equipment doing all manner of weird things.” Even more compelling: During a photo shoot after recording, Harrison, McCartney, and Starr posed…and a white peacock (a rare bird) wandered into frame. “It was like John was hanging around,” McCartney later said.

From me to you

According to Lennon’s oldest son, musician Julian Lennon (and the subject of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”) that should he ever die, he’d visit the boy as “a white feather floating evenly across the room.” Julian Lennon said that about a year after his father’s premature death, he was visited by a white feather floating around the room. Dad apparently kept his word.

He’s (not) leaving home

Lennon died outside the Dakota, a beautiful, gothic, 19th century building where he’d lived for years with his wife, artist Yoko Ono. It’s a grand, sometimes spooky building (it featured in the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby), and Lennon himself said he saw the ghost of a crying woman in a hallway there. In 1983, two residents of the neighborhood claimed to have seen the unmistakable figure of Lennon standing in the Dakota’s exterior doorway, not far from where he died. The witnesses say he was lit by a weird light and seemed lost in thought. Ono saw her late husband at home, too. She says his ghost sat at his famous white piano and turned to her to say, “Don’t be afraid, I am still with you.”

We all shine on

Liam Gallagher, front man of the ’90s British rock band Oasis, is a famously self-proclaimed Beatles super-fan (their songs frequently referenced the Fab Four), and he says that he once got to meet his idol, John Lennon. While sleeping at a friend’s house in Manchester, England, he woke in the middle of the night and felt strange. “I turned 'round and there I was, lying on the bed and I sort of fell back into my body. There was a presence there and it was him, John Lennon.”

Read more about rock ’n roll greats — and plenty of other famous folks — in Strange Hollywood, available now from Portable Press.

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