Yup, that’s right. In fact, Avril Lavigne’s been dead for years. A lookalike called Melissa Vandella has been impersonating the Canadian ‘Pop Punk Queen’ since 2002…
2002 was the year Avril Lavigne blew up the teen music scene. Her debut album Let Go was certified 6 x platinum in the US while hitting the number 1 spot in Canada, the UK, Australia, Argentina and a bunch of other places. She was winning awards left, right and centre. Meanwhile teens the world over were warbling the words to catchy smash hit singles Complicated and Sk8er Boi.
Ah, but that was the problem. According to a popular conspiracy theory that recently saw a wild resurgence online, Lavigne decided before 2002 was done that she just couldn’t handle the attention, the pressure, or the fame. And so her record label, Arista, hired lookalike and ‘best friend’ Melissa Vandella to pretend to be her in public.
Things went from bad to worse for Ms Lavigne. In 2003, she killed herself while at the very height of her fame. The money-hungry bosses at Arista Records weren’t about to let all that profit go down the crapper, so they decided to cover up her death and continue recording and releasing songs using Melissa.
Now where have I heard this before? Ah yes, a similar thing is said to have happened to Paul McCartney. Some people believe that he was killed in a car crash in 1966 and secretly replaced with a lookalike to maintain the Beatles’ continued success. They cite hidden clues in song lyrics and album covers, cryptic statements made by Heather Mills, and even the assassination of John Lennon as evidence for the conspiracy. (It’s a legend that forms the basis of my short story Paul, one of the Million Eyes Short Stories.)
There’s also the Hillary Clinton conspiracy from last year, in which it was alleged that she’d been replaced by a body double after collapsing and dying at a 9/11 Memorial ceremony.
But let’s get back to poor Avril and take a look at the evidence for her untimely demise…
The official story is that Adolf Hitler, one of evolution’s biggest mistakes, blew his brains out on 30th April 1945. However, recent forensic tests have revealed that the skull we all thought was his was actually a woman’s, lending credence to the theory that he was secretly whisked away to safety…
In his subterranean bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler met an unsatisfactorily tidy end via a suicide pact he made with his wife, Eva Braun, just as Germany was about to surrender to the Allies. He shot himself while Braun swallowed a capsule of cyanide, less than 40 hours after they got married.
This is according to eyewitnesses, including two of Hitler’s most loyal military officers, Otto Günsche and Rochus Misch, who found the bodies. According to them and others, Hitler announced to his commanders his plan to stay in Berlin till the end and shoot himself. Right before doing the deed, he reportedly said farewell to all of his staff, before retreating into his private study with Braun. At 15.30, a gunshot rang out.
Like I said, though, this is according to the witnesses. Witnesses often aren’t reliable as it is. But witnesses loyal to Hitler? They wouldn’t be at the top of my trust list. That means we need some physical evidence to corroborate their stories. Some bodies would be nice. Those should be easy to get hold of, right?
A convenient burning
Er, perhaps not. According to Hitler’s instructions, his and Braun’s bodies were immediately removed from the bunker, doused in petrol and torched. Hitler wouldn’t have wanted their bodies falling into Allied hands, granted. But this is an awfully good way of hiding evidence that you’ve escaped, too (as any Game of Thrones fan will know).
Today I’m investigating a frightening home invasion, a phantom hand, and an astronaut displaced in time or space—in the form of three highly mysterious and unexplained photographs…
The boy with three arms?
See anything weird about this photo shown below? Take a closer look at the topless boy with his tongue out. He’s got his arms round the two boys on either side of him, and making the devil horns sign with both hands.
Hang on. Do you see the fist with the thumbs-up just beside the head of the boy in the dark t-shirt? Whose hand is that? On first glance, it looks like it belongs—again—to the topless boy, because its position and alignment mean it can’t belong to any of the other three. But that would mean topless boy has three arms!
I’ve tried to investigate the origins of the photograph, which has been floating around for years, continually popping up in “Weird photos” articles (like this one you’re reading!). Every previous article I’ve found says that the person who took the photo has no explanation for the mysterious extra hand, because only four people were in the shot. But none of the articles identify the photo-taker or the four boys.
My short story Paul is now available to read! It was published today by online magazine Storgy.
The story is based on a famous pop culture conspiracy theory. The image above (used by Storgy for the publication) is a rather obvious clue as to what that might be, but if you’ve not heard of it, read the story first and then have a read of this blog article about the conspiracy. (I also wrote a follow-up article that you might find interesting.)
Click to read the story! And if you enjoy it, please do like and share it on social media! 🙂
Paul was originally shortlisted in the Aeon Award 2015 and reportedly very close to making the top six. It’s the fourth Million Eyes Short Story to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? (Scribble Issue 68), The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller (Tigershark Issue 11) and Rachel Can See (Metamorphose V2).
Just like those other stories, Paul is set in the Million Eyes universe.
Tomorrow: is Osama bin Laden really dead?
The Montauk Monster
Meet the Montauk Monster, a bizarre, unidentified carcass that washed up on the beach in 2008 and has dumbfounded scientists and animal experts ever since…
Jenna Hewitt and three friends discovered this hideous, hairless creature on Ditch Plains Beach, just east of Montauk, New York, on July 12th 2008. Hewitt took this photograph and passed it to local newspaper The Independent. As the story circulated through Montauk, more local newspapers interviewed other residents who had seen the creature, printing stories that were seized by the world’s media and went viral.
To be honest, mystery and controversy surround just the mere discovery of the Montauk Monster, let alone what the bloody hell it is. Nobody knows where it went after it was found on that beach. The original report in The Independent said that “someone took it away” — but gave no details of who this “someone” was. Hewitt said that some guy took the carcass and “put it in the woods in his backyard”, but wouldn’t say who or where. Another Montauk resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said she knew people who seen it at that person’s house. Again, she would not name the person or identify the creature’s location.
So the only physical evidence of the creature’s existence is Hewitt’s photo. This is why the Montauk Monster has been resigned to the realm of cryptozoology, because no scientist has been able to examine the remains to confirm what it is.
A dog? A raccoon? An escaped science experiment? An alien?
Plenty of experts have tried to guess what the Montauk Monster is from the photo. William Wise of Stony Brook University’s Living Marine Resources Institute said that the creature had to be a fake, because it couldn’t be anything else. It appears that Mr Wise did not entertain the possibility that it might be an alien or a science experiment. (Perhaps he’s part of the cover-up!)
Next week I’ll be on Canadian online radio station, Spaced Out Radio, talking to host Dave Scott about UFOs, conspiracies, time travel and general weirdness. Eeeek! I’m nervous and excited but I’m sure it’ll be great fun — for me and for listeners!
The interview, I’m told, will last two hours and Dave wants my take on some of the stranger conspiracies, mysteries and monsters out there. I’ve certainly covered some utterly crackers theories of late! Expect talk about royal lizards and Flat Earth. Hopefully we’ll get into some time travel urban legends (my favourites) and things like the Loch Ness Monster and the suicidal munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. I’ll also make sure to talk a little bit about my conspiracy fiction writing, namely Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories, which are ultimately the reason why this blog exists.
I understand I’ll also be answering questions from the audience in Spaced Out Radio’s chat rooms.
The show broadcasts from British Columbia and will start at 9pm Pacific Time, midnight Eastern Time, and 5am London Time.
And yes, as I’m a Brit on London Time, it’s going to be an early start for me! Hopefully I’ll be coherent. Thank you Flying Spaghetti Monster for inventing coffee.
The show will broadcast live on Spaced Out Radio’s website at all the times I’ve just mentioned, and you can also listen to it on Tune In. If you’re in the UK and, like most people, your bed is more important at that time in the morning, you’ll be able to listen to the show on the station’s YouTube page afterwards. I’ll post a link on the blog when I have it. I’m also told you’ll be able to download the show from iTunes.
Hello hello! Welcome, on this stifingly hot and sticky September day, to my monthly round-up of news, including the latest on Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories. And this month I also come bearing tips for writing flashback sequences in fiction—not as easy as it sounds!
I’m being interviewed on Spaced Out Radio!
Last month I was contacted by Spaced Out Radio in Canada, who want to interview me live on one of their shows and get my take on conspiracy theories and the paranormal! It’s currently scheduled for 25th October, and as soon as I know more re times and topics, I’ll announce it here.
New story published – The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller
Last week I announced the publication of the second Million Eyes Short Story, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? was published in Scribble, Issue 68 last winter. The story is called The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller and appears in Tigershark Magazine, Issue 11, which can be downloaded for free here.
The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller was actually written in early 2015 and entered into the Rushmoor Writers Fullbrook Competition. It received good feedback and was subsequently submitted to a number of short story magazines and competitions. It was retained by Mystery Weekly magazine as a very close contender for publication. The editor of Mystery Weekly asked me to flesh it out a bit, but ultimately rejected the newer version. She said it was far superior to the previous version but wasn’t right for their readers at that time (which could mean anything—perhaps they already had a story that was similar).
So, at long last, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller has found a home at Tigershark. As mentioned in my previous blog, the story’s main character is a real person—Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who specialises in horror and zombie movies. It follows his discovery of something out of place in a bonus feature on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, which sparked a media storm and 21st-century urban legend.
My short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, has now been published in Tigershark Magazine, Issue 11! You can download the PDF of the issue for free right here! Just click the link below. (The story starts on page 18.)
The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is the second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? in Scribble, Issue 68 last year.
The story is based on an urban legend about a extra on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an extra containing something rather out of place. Irish filmmaker George Clarke made the discovery and released a YouTube video about it, which became a runaway hit and was discussed and debated by the world’s media. At the time of writing, the video’s attracted more than 6,870,000 views.
The story stars a fictionalised version of Clarke as he investigates the mystery and embarks on a potentially dangerous journey to find the truth…
Here’s Clarke’s original video. See what you make of it!