Paul McCartney “died” with a little help from his fans. When the Beatles made public appearances, their fans tried to tear them apart, so the prototype of long-haired rock groups left mundane affairs for an interlude with Eastern mysticism. But they still communicate with followers by recordings, and now their disciples are tearing the records apart for information about the musicians.

What fans have found buried in record grooves and on album covers seems cryptic evidence that McCartney did indeed die, despite his recent disclaimers. Affirms the president of the “Is Paul McCartney Dead Society” at Hofstra University, “It’s all right there”—dozens of death symbols, like the picture of Paul sitting under a sign stating, “I was,” and the moaning (on one of the usually empty tracks between songs) that, reversed, sounds like John Lennon’s voice saying, “Paul is dead. Miss him.”

The current Beatle mystery is selling the group’s records and putting their pictures in American magazines, newspapers, and on newscasts. But some Beatle devotees claim McCartney will be resurrected, and his resurrection might be easier to believe than his death. Shortly before the alleged date of Paul’s death, Lennon claimed the rock group was more popular than Jesus. “Christianity will go,” he said. “It will vanish and shrink … Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary.” The Beatles’ disciples could never, of course, be that.

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