Longtime "Paul is dead" expert Joel Glazier wrote a 1978 treatise which included a theory suggesting John lennon's love of wordpaly and clever studio editing may have been responsible for the more bizarre clues in later albums, and that after Charles Manson claimed The Beatles were hiding references to an upcoming racial war in their song "Helter Skelter", the band members may have chosen not to reveal the joke. It was clear that The Beatles were pushing music and sound to its limits.
Many fans have claimed that the rumor was a hoax perpetrated by The Beatles themselves, either as a joke, or to stimulate record sales this was denied numerous times by all four band members.!
Evidence for McCartney's death consists of "Clues" found among the Beatles' many recordings, most of which are treated as if they were deliberately placed by The Beatles or others-as if McCartney's death was a mystery to be solved by the public.
According to believers, Paul McCartney was replaced with the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest. The name of this look-alike has been recorded as William Shears Campbell, Billy Shears (the name of the fictitious leader of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), William Sheppard (based on the inspiration for song "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"), or some combination of the names.
John Lennon joked about the rumor in the years following its initial growth and, in his solo years, referred to it in his vengeful song to Paul McCartney entitled "How do you sleep" from the 1971 Imagine album, commenting, "Those freaks were right when they said you were dead."