Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Paul McCartney's death—at least according to what Inverse calls "the original crazy fan theory." The conspiracy theory appears to have started with an anonymous call to a radio DJ in 1969, a month after the Beatles had officially broken up. The caller claimed McCartney had died in a car crash on Nov. 9, 1966 and been replaced by a lookalike named William Campbell. The theory was picked up by a trio of fanzines, and a segment of Beatles fans ran with it, finding clues throughout the band's discography. They claim the fatal car crash was referenced in "A Day in the Life" and "I Am the Walrus." They say it explains McCartney being dressed as a corpse on the cover of Abbey Road and looking "ghost-like" in photos from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
And it goes deeper. Fans pointed to Lennon repeating "I buried Paul" on "Strawberry Fields Forever" and someone saying "Turn me on dead man" when "Revolution No. 9" is reversed. And on and on. While McCartney is almost certainly still alive, Inverse has its own conspiracy theory: Lennon, a "witty and surreal humorist," planted the clues on purpose then made that anonymous call after the band broke up and he was mad at McCartney. What else, Inverse argues, could explain Lennon singing "Here's another clue for you all; the Walrus was Paul" in "Glass Onion"? Theories aside, Lennon called the whole thing "bullshit" during a 1970 interview for Rolling Stone. "We wouldn't do anything like that," he said. Read the full story here. (Read more Beatles stories.)