John Lennon was a man of many multitudes which is perhaps why he was so alluring to so many people. Along with everything else, there was a mystical side to the musician that lends him a certain gravitas. This spiritual air wasn’t limited to his peace and love protests either—he was also spiritual in the History Channelsense, and his sorcerer side seemingly started when he was very young as this eerie tale will tell.
As a boy, he always knew he’d be very different. He carried this knowledge of a strange fate in waiting around with him and it made him a somewhat peculiar child. As he told the writer Ray Coleman, “I had a feeling I was either a genius or a madman,” he once said. “Now I know I wasn’t a madman so I must have been a genius.”
When he was ten, this dawning fine line still hung in the balance. At that time his school opened up submissions for an art exhibition. The young Lennon snapped up the chance to express himself. However, his work was truly bizarre, and it startled his teachers. He seemed to have drawn a rather downtrodden Jesus Christ with round glasses perched on his thin nose and a big bushy beard. According to Jude Southerland Kessler, he later said that this wasn’t a painting of Christ, but himself as an older man.
While it isn’t all that eerie to anticipate that you might have a beard and glasses when you reach a ripe old age, the actual intent of the art is peculiar enough. And if you’re looking for fateful symmetry, you don’t have to search too far — 15 years on from the drawing he would controversially declare that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus and amid the ensuing uproar he drew himself as Christ once more in an art piece known as the Shroud of Tourin.
This sketch recently sold for around £75,000 at auction. So, if you measure ingenuity by someone’s ability to turn a dime from a shoddy picture then you may well have to declare that Lennon was indeed a genius after all.
And his depictions and strange foretelling didn’t stop at childhood either. During an LSD trip in later life he once more saw himself as Christ – which a psychologist would no doubt have a field day with – and he uttered: “They’re gonna kill me, you know? But I’ve got at least four years to go, so I’ve got to do stuff.”
He would later broadcast his fears, famously announcing in an interview, “We’ll either go in a plane crash or we’ll be popped off by some loony.” Tragically, as we all know, this came to fruition when Mark David Chapman killed him in 1980 outside of his apartment building in New York. Once more the prescience of this quote is somewhat diminished by the prevalence of gun crime in America and the frenzy that always surrounded the star.