The Deaths of These Famous People Will Forever Be Shrouded in Mystery
When a well-loved celebrity dies, the world tends to come together in unity to mourn. If the person was a musician, radio stations might play some of his or her best known songs for several hours. When a beloved novelist passes, people might feel inclined to skim through the writer’s magnum opus. However, some famous people make their exits and leave the public no closure. Instead, their deaths remain shrouded in mystery. Some skeptics speculate that something more sinister occurred, while others might even suspect the deceased of faking the whole thing. Read on to learn more about famous people who might have faked their own deaths.
1. Abraham Lincoln
As history books reveal, Lincoln was enjoying an outing at a theater when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a political extremist. At least, that is as far as we know. Scholars have reason to suspect that the circumstances surrounding Lincoln’s death weren’t quite what they initially seemed owing to records of his gunshot wound. Nobody could really agree where the bullet entered his head, and this raised some questions.
Perhaps most striking was that Lincoln reported having some troubling dreams several times during the weeks leading up to his death. In these dreams, he envisioned himself dying, and what’s more, the same dream kept recurring with consecutive build-ups. Finally, he had some cryptic final words to offer his night guard: goodbye. Coming from a man who was sparse with his words, this struck many as strange in retrospect.
The myths surrounding Tupac Shakur are pretty extensive, to say the least. As far as most people are concerned, the American rapper was fatally shot while driving, and that was the end of it. The tragedy struck a chord with the general public, so much so, that people came to mourn his loss and have gone on to recognize Tupac as a key figure in the music industry.
Of course, when one has so much mystery surrounding one’s existence, simply resting in peace can be impossible. Tupac’s alleged shooter, Suge Knight, denied the series of events that led up to Tupac’s death. The ruling theory is that Tupac never died at all and staged his death in a desperate attempt to evade arrest. In fact, one police officer even admitted to helping with the whole ruse. As for Tupac’s whereabouts, nobody is certain, so many fans still cling to the fact that he died in 1996.
3. Marilyn Monroe
Locked away in her bedroom, Marilyn Monroe died in her bed surrounded by miscellaneous pills. The autopsy revealed several different substances in her system; thus the cause of death seemed pretty obvious. Monroe had several doctors attest to her frequent depression and volatile moods, but doubts surfaced quickly, even as the world mourned her death and accepted her as another vulnerable victim of suicide.
The claims varied wildly: she was murdered by the government, Mrs. Kennedy had her disposed of so that Monroe couldn’t take her place, and one of the wilder claims of them all, that Monroe didn’t die at all. Skeptics believe she retreated to an exclusive mental hospital and stayed there in hope of staving off public attention. Think this sounds bizarre? Wait until you read what’s coming up next.
4. Billy The Kid
Tales about the Wild West are sure to be wild even without the Hollywood embellishments and gratuitous details of smoky saloons and desert-swept ghost towns. Many stories of outlaws continue to intrigue audiences, but there is one story whose ending remains ambiguous: the death of the infamous Billy the Kid. As the story goes, Billy the Kid died at the hands of a long-time rival, Sheriff Pat Garrett. He sustained a shot to the chest and died immediately. Soon after, he was laid to rest near Fort Sumter.
The problem with this account? Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett might not have been enemies at all. In fact, one man recalled overhearing Pat Garrett’s late wife talk about her husband and Billy the Kid as though they had been great friends and partners in crime. According to several accounts, Garrett volunteered to help Kid get untangled from the law by shooting a different man but staging the body as Kid’s to avoid questions. Unraveling the mystery was not so simple, however. As it turned out, the victim was shot in the face, and therefore identifying the man was impossible. For over a half a century, several men have claimed to be Billy the Kid. Most were proven not to be him, but two men remain possibilities until today.
5. Amy Winehouse
When Amy Winehouse died in 2011, the world mourned the loss of yet another young talent who unfortunately succumbed to addiction. In Winehouse’s case, her demise was a result of alcohol poisoning. However, a small group of people were not so easily convinced, and decided to take matters into their own hands.
The skeptics bombarded Winehouse’s father Mitch Winehouse with various and strange tidbits of information. The most popular? That Winehouse was very much alive, just in hiding on some special island nobody knows about unless they are super rich and famous and need someplace to hide out. Of course, Mr. Winehouse dismissed such rumors. Still, speculation clouds the air to this day. It doesn’t help matters that Winehouse died at 27, making her a member of the notorious but elusive 27 Club. Who else made the 27 club, but might have just faked their death? Read on to find out.
6. The Notorious B.I.G.
Whether you know him best as Biggie Smalls, Biggie, or The Notorious B.I.G., you’re likely to know how influential he was as a rapper. In fact, even today he consistently ranks at the top of the charts as one of the best rappers of all time. His work often took on a dark but accessible tone, and much of the material he used could be traced back to some aspect of his life. In fact, it was the nature of his lyrics that had fans scratching their heads when they learned about his death.
In 1997, the rapper was killed in a drive-by-shooting, just a couple weeks before his latest album was to hit the shelves. Entitled Life After Death, the songs on the album contemplated exactly that: what might come after death. This led people to believe that Biggie was saying a lot through his music, even more than he let on. Even more coincidental: Biggie died about a year after the famed rapper Tupac died, and the two had a lot in common. Some even believe that both Biggie and Tupac disappeared together into the unknown and have since reunited away from the public eye.
7. Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith enjoyed a successful career as a model and rose to fame with the help of Playboy. She even earned the title of Playmate of the Year in 1993. Sadly, in 2007, Smith died of a drug overdose in a hotel in Florida.
This death seemed pretty clear cut, especially when her body was so easily recovered. Still, rumors flitted about. Even today, people claim that Smith is out there living it up just as she always had and can be spotted in any number of cities, depending on whom you ask. The next one has so much controversy surrounding it, but the skeptics make it seem very plausible.
8. Adolf Hitler
After World War II came to an end, few people wanted to think about Adolf Hitler and the all the atrocities committed in his name. After sometime, he and his partner Eva Braun disappeared into a bunker, where they allegedly committed suicide. Most would like to believe that that was the end of his horrific story. Sadly, some scholars suspect that Hitler lived on and escaped to South America.
To make matters worse, many supporters of the theory believe that Hitler and Braun might have murdered two others in cold blood to use as decoys. They wanted to convince the world that they had died, so they could flee without suspicion. And flee they did, the theory explains. While some might not agree on exactly where they escape to, it is generally believed that the pair settled down in Argentina.
9. Jesse James
We have already covered the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid, but perhaps one man who can rival him is Jesse James, at least in term of enigma. James continues to endure as someone whose past is riddled with more dubious legend than truth, and the story of his death illustrates this perfectly.
As it stands, James met his fate when a loathsome man named Robert Ford shot him, however, some doubt the role Ford played in James’s death. Skeptics believe that the Ford was just a pawn used to help James escape. There are also people who wonder if the body that was uncovered was the real Jesse James because some accounts claim that his wife never went to identify his body. The theory takes things even further with the conspiracy that some woman posed as his wife in order to make a fake identification.
10. Natalie Wood
For nearly three decades, Natalie Wood reigned as one of Hollywood’s finest actresses. You can watch her in such films as Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, and Miracle on 34th Street. She is also one of very few actresses to be nominated for not one or two, but three Oscars before the age of 25.
In 1981, tragedy struck when Wood’s body was found washed up on the shore of a secluded Californian island. As the story goes, she had a bit much too drink while chilling on her husband’s yacht, and as a result, fell to her death. But this information just did not sit well with some because there was no way to prove that the body was even hers. So as it stands, Wood died the way the story has been told. Continue reading to discover more crazy theories about famous people who might have faked their death.
11. Michael Jackson
When Jackson was pronounced dead on June 25th, 2009, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in California, the world came to a standstill. No one wanted to believe it was true, but it was confirmed as a severe drug overdose. It had to be true seeing that Jackson’s personal physician, Conrad Murray, was sentenced to two years in jail because the drug dosage in the King of Pop’s blood stream was so high. But this doesn’t mean everyone believed it …
A YouTuber called Pearl Jr made a series of videos on Jackson’s death claiming that Jackson is still alive. She insists that body in the hospital was in fact a waxwork, and that MJ switched out the bodies in the hospital. She said if you look closely, you can see that the patient body looks like a “cancer hospitce patient” and not MJ. She also suggests that the body lifted out of the rescue helicopter looked like a “surfboard [and] not a body.” Some other Jackson conspiracy theorists claim that the star has been sighted with Paris Jackson and by other people at various locations.
12. Richey Edwards
The frontman of the standout punk rock band Manic Street Preachers, Richey Edwards was never a simple character to figure out. He carefully placed parts of himself in his lyrics, usually in the form of biting political statements or morsels of philosophy. Off the stage and outside his music, though, even devout fans were never certain what to make of the Welsh musician. He always had a certain personal turmoil surrounding him. On several occasions, he was hospitalized for potentially suicidal behavior. He also struggled with body image and was known to drink a lot.
In February of 1995, Edwards disappeared seemingly into the shadows. Nobody knew where he went, although his car was found near Severn Bridge in New South Wales. This detail alone had people thinking the worst: that he jumped to his death. However, police never uncovered a body to confirm such claims. Not to mention, just weeks before his disappearance, his bank account underwent some unusual activity. For days on end, several pounds would leave his account. No one is certain of Edwards whereabouts until today. Which other celebrities just disappeared into thin air?
13. Aleister Crowley
Englishman Aleister Crowley, a rugged mountain man, wore many different titles. He was a passionate artist, writer, and perhaps most notably, he reigned as prophet and the leader of an esoteric religion called Thelema. Crowley changed popular culture’s understanding of magic and the occult, as well as the idea of being Wiccan. In fact, his system of magic (or, as he knew it, magick) was so influential that we can thank him for the nonsensical sounding, but still strangely authoritative chant “Abracadabra.”
Crowley is said to have staged his own death a number of times. When his “real” death was announced most records show that he simply perished from pneumonia, but people could not help wondering if he was not just pulling off another one of his elaborate schemes. Crowley has not emerged from the grave yet, but knowing him, some do not see it as totally implausible.
14. Andy Kaufman
Andy Kaufman enjoyed an illustrious career as a comedian. His approach to his stand up routines was unique in that he never strained to make his audience laugh with hackneyed jokes or gimmicks. He also had a stint as a wrestler. Kaufman succeeded at just about everything he did until he suddenly fell ill. After months of struggling with ceaseless bouts of coughing, the comedian was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
Kaufman continued to perform and assured his fans that he was actively seeking treatment via natural methods. Eventually, though, the cancer spread beyond control, and he died while seeking palliative treatment. However, people raised their eyebrows when his brother later mentioned that he was still alive. Kaufman’s comedic career depended on all sorts of elaborate stunts, so it was easy to believe that his brother might have been onto something. Of course, his brother later renounced his statement. Still, an air of uncertainty surrounded the comedian’s death for a while.
The notorious crony of Tsar Nicholas II, Grigori Rasputin frequently found himself caught up in tumultuous political drama. The public was split on how to feel about him. To some, he was a miracle maker, able to cure even the most ill. To others, he was a rotten phony who was up to no good. Nothing seemed to be able to take him down, and nobody seemed to be able to oust him.
One restless team of nobles went to great lengths to see Rasputin fall once and for all. On one particular evening, they invited him to Moika Palace under the guise of some harmless meeting. Of course, they had something much darker in mind. The plotting nobles fed him poison, but still he lived. Eventually, they tied him up and tossed him into a raging river. It took a while to recover his body, but in the meantime, speculation ran wild, many wondering if it happened the way it was described. Even today, much mystery surrounds his death.
16. John Stonehouse
This British politician found himself in quite a bit of financial trouble that he could not wriggle himself out of it, so he came up with a bizarre solution: to fake his own death. Only, things did not go quite as Stonehouse planned. He attempted to plot his death on November 20th, 1974 so that it looked like a tragic suicide by drowning, even leaving a few clothes on the shore of an Australian beach for extra effect.
The public presumed the politician dead and obituaries were released even though no body was found. That was because Stonehouse was on the way to Australia to start a new life with his secretary and mistress, Sheila Buckley. He also started transferring huge sums of money between different banks under the name Joseph Markham, but unfortunately for him, a banker caught on to the ruse foiling Stonehouse’s plan. Needless to say, he was arrested soon after. Initially, police actually thought he was Lord Lucan, a man who went missing two weeks before Stonehouse and was suspected of murdering Sandra Rivett, his children’s nanny.
17. Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix rose to fame quickly as one of the finest electric guitarists in the world with one of his most enticing acts at Woodstock. He transfixed his audiences with his highly stylized flair harmonizing the soul of the blues and the grit of rock. Sadly, Jimi Hendrix’s career ended as swiftly as it started when he died in 1970, at the age of 27. As his fame grew and his wealth swelled, Hendrix entangled himself in the decadent life of a rock star, which included copious amounts of drugs.
Hendrix, heavily intoxicated, died in his room at a hotel in London. The official report stated that he might have choked on his own vomit, however, the actual cause of death was wholly inconclusive. This left people questioning exactly what went on, especially because several people saw his body and didn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary. Others suspect that the star was in fact murdered by a gang who forced wine and pills down his throat. Nothing was confirmed, but people agree that an exceptional talent like Jimi Hendrix was taken far too soon. Read on to find out more bone-chilling stories.
18. Amelia Earhart
In just about every Grade school history textbook, Amelia Earhart flashes a humble smile in a black and white photo which portrays Earhart in her plane, geared up for flight. Below the photo, some text might boast that she was the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but never made it back. Her story remains one of the most mysterious cases in aviation.
As far as anyone is concerned, it isn’t really clear what happened to Earhart. Most people assume that she disappeared over the ocean when her plane crashed due to a shortage of fuel. There are several other theories and legends; one suggests that she was captured by Japanese on the Marshall Islands because she was suspected to be a U.S. spy., while another one suggests that she survived the flight, moved to New Jersey, remarried, and changed her name to Irene Craigmile Bolam. Until today, no one is really sure what became of Earhart.
19. Paul Walker
Fans of the Fast and Furious film franchise will instantly recognize Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner from all of the films. Ironically, Walker died unexpectedly in a fatal car crash in 2013. However, there are some people who doubt this.
The theory is a little out there. According to these skeptics, Walker was urged to fake his death as a publicity stunt for his movies. The shock value of it all would certainly sell tickets, right? Of course, this theory has yet to be confirmed as truth. In any case, some people have claimed to have spotted Walker out and about, perfectly alive and well. So who knows?
20. River Phoenix
River Phoenix hails from a family of performers. You might be most familiar with his brother Joaquin Phoenix, an acclaimed actor with a Grammy and a Golden Globe to his name. River Phoenix died tragically young at the age of 23, presumably of a drug overdose, and it is said that this is when Joaquain disappeared under the radar for a bit.
For many, this news was understandably hard to swallow, considering the promising actor’s young age. Some took it to the next level and dismissed the reports altogether. One piece of information skeptics believed destroyed the overdose theory was the lack of any marks on Phoenix’s body that would indicate drug use. Moreover, Phoenix allegedly despised drugs, so that he would go against his beliefs just didn’t seem plausible to many. Hold tight for many other jaw-dropping theories.
21. Kurt Cobain
Hailing from Washington, Nirvana’s front man Kurt Cobain is lauded as one of the leaders of the grunge scene. Critics viewed him as an unwavering voice for his generation. Unfortunately, such attention left Cobain feeling uneasy. He felt that these critics simply dissected him and his work just to find that glimmer and never truly understood him artistically.
After several dangerous stints with drugs and some alarming suicidal tendencies, Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home. He sustained a gunshot wound to the chin and left behind a suicide note citing his lack of enthusiasm for both listening to and composing music. This was easy enough for the public to accept at face value. After all, Cobain had appeared to be deeply troubled, plagued by a dark depression that only he could know. However, some suspect that he was in fact murdered, but nothing has been proven.
22. Lord Timothy Dexter
Lord Timothy Dexter was a lord only in his own mind. Still, you have to give the guy credit: even with no formal education to his name, he managed to make something of himself, even if not every one of his projects was a clear success. The books he wrote and published would be unreadable by today’s standards, as they appeared to follow none of the rules of basic English.
Believe it or not, though, people took interest in him and his work. Soon he had a decent following; so decent that he wanted to see how they would mourn if he died. Of course, this is not actually possible, so he did what anyone else would do in such a scenario: he faked his own death. Although his funeral drew a considerable crowd, Lord Dexter was not happy to see his wife seemingly unfazed by his “death.” Thus, when he was “resurrected,” he made it his aim to punish her for it. What a pleasant guy, right?
23. Lord Lucan
His formal name was John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, however, most knew him simply as Lord Lucan. Although he was displaced during World War II, Lord Lucan received a solid university education and secured a lucrative job at a bank.. He also had something of a gambling problem. He grew so confident in his skills as a gambler that he quit his job to gamble full time. Predictably, that ended pretty badly, and he ended up losing a handsome sum of money.
But the gambling addiction was not the extent of Lord Lucan’s shortcomings. His marriage ended in ruins, and he lost an intense custody battle, something Lucan did not too well. His greatest transgression was the murder of his children’s nanny when he beat her to death with a lead pipe. Evidence pointed clearly to him, and his wife was able to corroborate the story. However, getting hold of him was not so easy. In fact, he was never even found, and thus the truth behind the murders still a mystery today.
24. James Dean
James Dean ruled the 1950s as the ultimate pop culture icon. His roles in films as East of Eden, Giant, and Rebel without a Cause enthralled critics and casual moviegoers alike. Sadly, Dean died at the young age of 24 after getting into a serious car accident. He went on to be the first actor to ever receive an Oscar for Best Actor posthumously.
At least, that is how the story goes. Some skeptics simply don’t buy it, simply because of the nature of the accident. There was damage done to the car, certainly, but some did not think it was severe enough to cost an otherwise strong and healthy person’s life. Some theorized that Dean did in fact live, but might have been injured badly enough to jeopardize his career. The big guys at the studio decided that Dean would not bring in as much money if he were no longer smolderingly handsome. Thus, playing along with his death was the best option from a financial standpoint.
25. Bruce Lee
To many fans, there were very few things that Bruce Lee could not do. He captivated them on screen as an actor and stunned them as a masterful martial artist. Not to mention, he seemed to have plenty of sage wisdom to share. Some argue that nobody has been a better advocate for Asian-Americans in Hollywood than Bruce Lee. For these reasons, it was hard to come to terms with his death in 1973 when he was just 32 years old.
Lee did suffer from a severe medical condition that people thought was being carefully treated, but died due to complications of the condition. The world mourned the loss Lee, but some believed that more lurked beneath the surface. For instance, some recalled the death of Lee’s son Brandon, who was killed in a freak accident while on the set of a film. Rumors of a family curse permeated the air. Some believe that Lee never died at all, and that both he and his son simply feigned death in an attempt to flee the limelight.
26. Jim Morrison
Just like the great Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison died at the tragic, young age of 27. He was the front man of the Los Angeles-based band The Doors, whose work is still hailed as timeless and innovative. Sadly, when Morrison died, so did the band. Even so, they continue to endure as one of the best-selling bands of all time.
Of course, Morrison was arguably the heart of the group. With his poetic flair and distinct voice, Morrison both puzzled and entranced critics and music fans alike. His look was unmistakable, particularly his dark mane of hair. As mysterious as he was in life, he carried that aura of enigma to his grave. Supposedly, the cause of death was heart failure, although no autopsy was ever done to confirm this. This, of course, sent rumors flying. So, which other famous people might have faked their deaths? The next certainly did without a doubt!
27. Ken Kesey
Even if you have never heard of the name Ken Kesey, you likely encountered his novel at some point in your life. That novel was the widely read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a work that has been thoroughly praised for bringing to light the state of mental health institutions of the time, as well as the nature of mental illness as a whole. Unlike most of the other big names on this list, however, Kesey was in fact caught faking his own death. After being thrown in jail for possessing marijuana, he cooked up a scheme to evade the law altogether.
With the help of some sly acquaintances, he managed to get away and even threw police off his tracks by penning a faux suicide note. Along with that suicide note was his abandoned truck, situated near a precarious cliff. He had everyone convinced he had jumped to his death. Of course, this proved to be a big hoax. Eventually, Kesey did return to jail; this time for eight months.
28. John F. Kennedy
In November of 1963, the unthinkably tragic happened. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It happened out in the open and as a result was highly publicized. However, like most highly political tragedies, the JFK assassination remains shrouded in rumor.
Some even go as far as to say that the whole thing was staged and that JFK got out of that chaos perfectly unscathed. How did they come to this conclusion? Some reviewed the footage from that fateful day and noted how the bullet entered Kennedy’s body. It just did not seem scientifically possible for the bullet to enter the way it supposedly did. Don’t stop here; there are a couple more mind-boggling theories to read.
29. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley was the King of Rock and Roll. In fact, this weighty name became so associated with him that most refer to him even today as simply The King. This genuine Tennessee boy captivated many and went on to win three Grammy Awards. Sadly, in 1977, the King of Rock succumbed to a heart attack in his famed Graceland home.
Presley was just 42 at the time of his death, that medical experts pointed the sudden heart attack to Elvis’s egregious abuse of prescription drugs. While this theory is widely accepted as the truth, some posit that the King might still be perched upon his throne, alive and untouched.
30. Princess Diana
In 1997, the world got caught up in yet another mysterious celebrity death when Princess Diana died in a fatal car crash in Paris. The crash occurred in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel and also claimed the life of the driver, Henri Paul, and her companion, Dodi Fayed. While people accepted that it was simply a tragic accident, most likely with alcohol at play, others had reason to believe that things were not quite as they seemed.
For one, reports mentioned that the car was driving at a reckless speed, but another driver’s account contradicts that claim. Another factor at play is that Princess Diana became increasingly overwhelmed with all the media attention. Shortly before her death, the princess stated that she hoped to withdraw significantly from the spotlight, and therefore skeptics assume that she played a role in faking her death so that she could “go out” in peace.
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