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Music

John Lennon and his extra terrestrial experience

Whether you ground yourself within the cardboard box of logic or draw over the lines of spirituality, I’m sure you’ve considered the possibility of supernatural presences and extra-terrestrial visitations. The universe is a darn big place, allegedly infinitely big, if you can wrap your head around that. If that’s true, then surely there must be intelligent life outside of our cosy atmosphere? Well the writer of ‘Across the Universe’, John Lennon seemed to think so and he once even claimed to have seen a U.F.O.

While Lennon was famously outspoken against theism and enjoyed rubbing devout believers up the wrong way with remarks like “more popular than Jesus”, he made some pretty outlandish and illogical claims in his time. 

For example, after seeing a pattern in his past involving the number nine, Lennon became gradually obsessed with fate and believed that there was some supernatural meaning behind this numerical pattern. 

In Liverpool, Lennon’s first home was at 9 Newcastle Road, Wavertree, an address containing several different nine-letter words. It was here that one of The Beatles’ songs featuring the magic number was written, ‘One After 909’. “That was something I wrote when I was about seventeen. I lived at 9 Newcastle Road,” remembered Lennon, speaking with David Sheff of Playboy.

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“I was born on the ninth of October—the ninth month [in the Chinese calendar]. It’s just a number that follows me around, but numerologically, apparently, I’m a number six or a three or something, but it’s all part of nine.” Later, Lennon conceived The Beatles’ classic ‘Revolution 9’ after hearing the engineer’s testing voice saying, “This is EMI test series number nine.” If you agree with Lennon that this is a little spooky, just wait until you hear about his brush with the aliens. 

Always a man of abstract thought, Lennon’s words were often to be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, he was the mastermind behind the wacky practice of Bagism. If you haven’t heard of this before, in 1969, Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, promoted the idea of living in a bag that obscures the whole body. Sufficiently bagged, it was intended that one would be immune from judgement from others on the basis of skin colour, gender, hair length, attire and age. One could see where they were coming from, yet I feel attire would be one of the more obvious points of prejudice in this scenario. 

With the former in mind, let’s see if you believe the story of Lennon’s strange U.F.O. sighting. In 1974 during his notorious “Lost Weekend”, an 18-month period that was marked by Lennon’s romantic interest in May Pang, a production coordinator who worked on Lennon and Yoko’s music. After a significant spell of marital issues, Yoko and Lennon separated, and Lennon embarked on a short-lived relationship with Pang. Lennon would later return to Yoko and lament this period of his life. 

During this “Lost Weekend”, Lennon was so convinced he saw an alien spacecraft of some description that he wrote in the liner notes of his 1974 album Walls and Bridges, “On the 23rd Aug. 1974 at 9 o’clock I saw a U.F.O.” – notice the time?

At this low point in Lennon’s life, he had been plagued by a heavy alcohol and substance abuse issue, though the late Beatle insisted he was “very straight” at the time. When asked about the extra-terrestrial visitation by Interview magazine in November 1974, Lennon described what he saw from the window while he was “just dreaming around in my usual poetic frame of mind”.

Lennon said he saw “a thing with ordinary electric light bulbs flashing on and off round the bottom, one non-blinking red light on top” around 100 ft away, hovering over an adjacent building.

For those among us who find it hard to conceive that Area 51 contains an aquarium of amorphous Martians connected to electrodes, Lennon’s sighting could perhaps be chalked off as a daydreaming fantasy or a hallucination of some sort. However, adding to the validation of the story, Lennon’s then-girlfriend, Pang, also bore witness to the bizarre scene. 

“As I walked out onto the terrace, my eye caught this large, circular object coming towards us,” Pang remembered. “It was shaped like a flattened cone, and on top was a large, brilliant red light, not pulsating as on any of the aircraft we’d see heading for a landing at Newark Airport. When it came a little closer, we could make out a row or circle of white lights that ran around the entire rim of the craft – these were also flashing on and off. There were so many of these lights that it was dazzling to the mind.”