Why do bad things happen to the Beatles?

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by Michael H. Brown

       Last week came news that a man who tried to kill former Beatle George Harrison was on trial. A year ago he had burst into Harrison's home and stabbed him. The man, Michael Abram of Merseyside, England, was described as a wild-eyed intruder who thought Harrison possessed him and that the Beatles were witches. 

       Why do strange things keep happening to the Beatles? Why do these famous rock-and-rollers -- who many consider the greatest musicians of the twentieth century -- keep running into bad luck with occult undertones?

      I'm not sure, but there are some eerie coincidences. Consider the fact that when the California cult operated by Charles Manson murdered actress Sharon Tate in 1969, they scrawled the words Helter Skelter in blood on the walls. 

        Helter Skelter is the title of a Beatles song that Manson, in his insane imaginings, interpreted as a secret signal to start killing people.     

       Tate was married at the time to director Roman Polanski, whose latest hit had been the movie Rosemary's Baby -- about a woman (played by Mia Farrow) who gives birth the a child of the devil. Much of the movie was shot at the Dakota apartment building in New York. 

       That was the apartment building that John Lennon, who sang Helter Skelter, later moved into with wife Yoko Ono. And now the plot thickens. For while Lennon lived at the Dakota, he and Ono immersed themselves in various forms of the occult. They participated in seances (the Dakota is famously "haunted"). They followed astrology. I once met a psychic, Dean Kraft, who used to personally visit them. The Beatles had a real mystical streak, and like many of us, it often strayed into dubious areas. They had also been involved in transcendental meditation, and their use of drugs opened the doorway to spirits. Indeed, in one of his last interviews, Lennon said he felt he was like a spirit "medium," with entities writing through him.

          Did that all come back to haunt him?

          It was twenty years ago next month that Lennon was killed, and his assassin, like the man who tried to kill Harrison, was a wild-eyed type with clear indications of demonism. His name was Mark David Chapman and he talked about "little people" he communicated with. Although he had once been "born again," Chapman had turned to the dark side. He read about the occult. He heard voices. He complained about waking up and feeling something evil in his room. He even prayed to Satan. Just before the assassination Chapman's wife heard his voice turn to a weird guttural voice proclaiming that John Lennon "must die." 

         And so it was that on December 8, 1980, Chapman went to the Dakota and waited for Lennon. 

       "A voice in his head said, "Do it. Do it!"

       For no logical reason, Chapman was obsessed with killing Lennon, who had been his hero. He short order he killed the Beatle, shooting him as he entered the Dakota.

       But this is getting a bit ahead of the story. For shortly before, as Chapman waited for Lennon -- right there at the Dakota -- he happened to spot an actress walking kids to Central Park.

       The actress was Mia Farrow.

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