The Hoax

On Friday the 12th afternoon a lecture from the tower block of LCC was interrupted by a sighting of five suspicious men hoisted on ropes on the very top of Elephant & Castle’s Strata SE1. It was said that this set of individuals were under the influence of modified genetics, targeting the number one ranking for successful business in the world.

Office workers were said to be interrupted amidst the havoc. Charlotte (23) from the scene says “There were no staples, plastic wallets went flying out the windows, I just couldn’t finish my job!”

Soon after the incident at Strata, more fugitives were witnessed scattered in several areas of E&C, including the tower block of UAL college. With these occurring events, a mass hysteria has spread amongst the public of Central London.


“Devastating. Absolutely devastating. ” comments deputy head of Sky Garden after their recipe to success was seized by the culprits. It is said that London is the focal point of global business organisations. But with the intrusion, the rest of the world’s economy is put into danger.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, is due to deliver a discussion on this matter.

“The hoax is ‘a deliberately concocted  untruth made to masquerade as truth. ” -Curtis McDougall, Hoaxes 1958

A hoax is created when an outrageous lie is publicised and misleads false information from its original source. It can also function to edit historical content and depict events. Correspondingly, on October 1969, the death of Paul McCartney was declared.

Bizarre Rumour Swept The World

The very first acknowledgement at a large-scale public notice was specifically announced by DJ Russ Gibb on WKNR-FM. It involved an elaborate theory on the ‘Paul-is-dead’ rumour that advanced from an earlier scandaled death of McCartney in a car crash of winter in 1966. The public was assured that the band kept Paul’s death a secret, opposing the idea of risking their popularity. A large section of the community believed that the band replaced Paul with the winner of a look-a-like contest held in Great Britain.

On the 12th of October in 1969, during Russ Gibb’s show in Detroit, Michigan, amongst his listeners’ phone calls, he received one peculiar caller who simply identified himself as ‘Tom’. The young man encouraged Gibb to test his hypothesis of playing a Beatles album backwards to hear a suggestion of Paul’s death. Russ was convinced by Tom’s interesting approach, and so, obey he did and played Strawberry Fields Forever in reverse. John was heard chanting ‘I buried Paul’. Gibb was struck by this finding, along with the swarming calls from radio’s listeners. Further clues were identified, and the hoax took off.

It was Fred LaBour’s entry to Michigan Daily that identified as a major catalyst in the spread of the rumour. Fred LaBour was a humorous staff writer for the University of Michigan’s paper.


The writing style was less rumour-invested, but sounding as if it were fact. The entire piece was just a college prank, but coincidences were fabricated as clues to Paul’s death, such as the cover art for Abbey Road, where McCartney is photographed barefoot in comparison to the rest of the band members, which ‘signified’ how corpses were buried (in reality, McCartney was wearing sandals that shooting day and found the weather to be hot, so he simply took them off and strolled barefooted). Paul McCartney was also known to be left-handed, yet this ‘fake’ Paul held the cigarette in his left. In spite of LaBour’s intentions as a parody, people were so convinced that they failed to realise what LaBour’s real motive was.

At first, Paul refused to dignify the rumour, however consequently his silence only added fuel to the rumous. Not long after he was forced out of hiding, leading him to revealing his whereabouts, assuring that he is well and declare the fake demise to an end. The next day, the singer was caught on camera with his family on the way to his private Scottish retreat. Life magazine pursued to follow to his hideaway. The material they gathered was formed into a cover story for their 7 November issue. In response, the rumour became irrefutable.


The misunderstanding finally took a different turn, and the public concluded that the band and their record label faked a death hoax to sell more albums, even if both parties denied this intention. Nevertheless, after the long period of misconception, sales did sky rocket in the last few months of 1969, and the record label and its successful music group benefitted after all.

Bibliography (accessed at 28 feb) (accessed at 28 feb)

Reeve, Andru J. (1994) Turn Me On, Dead Man: The Beatles and the Paul Is Dead Hoax. U.S: Popular Culture Ink (accessed at 10 march)


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