An interesting story popped up this week on a couple of paranormal sites and, since it related to the late Beatle John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia, it caught my attention … and its gist should catch yours too if you are interested in celebrity ghost and paranormal encounters. It concerns a little known story about a short time period when John and Cynthia lived together in a haunted house. Interested? While we’re talking Beatles and the paranormal, I’ll add a few more you may not have heard about.
“We searched out a vast villa with its own pool — we were told it had once been a convent,” Cynthia Lennon wrote. “No sooner had we moved in than we discovered the place was haunted.”
John Lennon met Cynthia Powell when both were taking a calligraphy class at Liverpool College of Art. They married in August 1962 and lived in a number of places before Beatlemania made them and the rest of the Beatles and their spouses rich. After that, John, Cynthia and their young son Julian lived in a mansion in Kenwood for four years – a time when The Beatles produced Revolver and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, writing many of the songs in the converted loft of the house. However, according to Cheatsheet.com, they also lived for a short time in a converted convent. In Cynthia Lennon’s 2005 memoir, “John,” she reveals some of the ghostly things they encountered there.
“Lights would keep going off, objects would move mysteriously and we all felt a strange presence. We planned a party to cheer the place up, but halfway through the evening the electricity was cut off and a huge storm blew up.”
As generally happens at a party attended by famous and talented musicians, the guests picked up their instruments and began playing – just as the lights went out. According to the book, the mood lightened – although it doesn’t say if or when the lights themselves came back of it there were any other ghostly visits that night.
While Cheatsheet.com has no other mention of the ghosts at the converted convent, a 2006 article in The Olive Press may shed some more light on this haunted villa. Journalist Adolfo Iglesias claims he heard John Lennon say that “Strawberry Fields Forever” was written in a Spanish villa called “Santa Isael” in Almeria – a place where they stayed in 1966 while Lennon was acting in the film, “How I Won the War.” Cynthia Lennon also mentions the 13-bedroom house on the outskirts of the city. Iglesias says Ringo Starr stayed at the villa with the Lennons.
“You expect all kinds of heroes with swords to come swinging round the corner on a chandelier! What a great place for parties. I was convinced beyond all doubt the villa housed many beautiful spirits.”
Ringo used those words to describe the villa in his own autobiography. It turns out he was right. Ringo also mentioned a party hosted by the Lennons for actors and crew members from the film where they “sang to the ghosts” they believed haunted the mansion. Other strange things happened in those six weeks – John’s beloved Rolls Royce mysteriously broke down and he began to wear those famous Gandhi glasses. The former could be due to locals who didn’t like the way he drove, while the latter could be the end result of changes the drugs they took at the mansion caused. Whatever the cause, the Lennons were gone from the haunted villa after six weeks … although both John and Cynthia apparently returned separately in 1968 – that was when Cynthia caught John with Yoko Ono. They were soon divorced.
“There were a lot of strange goings-on in the studio—noises that shouldn’t have been and equipment doing all manner of weird things.”
Jonn Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980, in front of the Dakota Hotel in New York City. According to the Seeks Ghsots blog, in later years fellow Beatle Paul McCartney talked of communicating with John’s spirit. In 1995 when he, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were singing Lennon’s song, “Free As A Bird” during a recording session, McCartney claimed Lennon was in the studio with them – messing around like he did back in their good old days. Another time, McCartney claimed a photo shoot for the song was interrupted by a single white peacock which had escaped from a neighboring farm. McCartney says he told the others: “That’s John. Spooky, eh?” Finally, the three former Beatles were listening to the single’s B-side ("Christmas Time (Is Here Again") which McCartney said he had added a Beatles signature joke - he had put a backward spoof recording on the end of the song to amuse fans. As they listened to the song one night in the studio, McCartney claimed he heard this: “zzzwrk ngggwaaahh jooohn lennnnon qwwwrk.” McCartney claimed all three agreed it was John sending his approval.
Others have also had contact with John’s ghost … just as he had promised Cynthia when they were still together.
“If there was life after death, he would prove it by sending her and Julian (their son) a feather as a sign.”
In 1986, Cynthia claimed that John had kept his promise to her and Julian; She found a dead jackdaw bird wrapped in old newspapers dated 1956 behind the fireplace in her home in Cumbria. John had formed the Quarrymen in 1956 – the skiffle and that became The Beatles. Was the date of the newspaper proof that the bird was from Lennon or just a coincidence? Cynthia seemed convinced it was a sign.
Yoko Ono once said she saw John’s ghost in their suite at The Dakota, sitting at his famous white piano. She claimed he turned to her and said:
“Don’t be afraid. I am still with you.”
Also at the Dakota, musician Joey Harrow claimed in 1983 that he saw Lennon’s spirit near the spot where he was shot surrounded by an eerie light. Amanda Moores, who was with him, also saw the spirit and wanted to approach it, but she said Lennon’s face looked troubled, so she passed.
It is not hard to believe an artist like John Lennon who was so connected to the creative arts would also be connected to the spiritual world. It is also not hard to believe he himself would try to connect with fellow artists. While these stories are certainly not undeniable proof, it would seem John Lennon gave it a try. Let’s hope he hasn’t given up. We could use his ‘help’ again.