In Memoriam: Five Strange Stories Related to the Death of John Lennon

John Lennon, 1940-1980.
John Lennon, 1940-1980.
Vickie Chang

Thirty years ago today, John Lennon's life was cut short by a disturbed fan while returning to his home at the Dakota on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As with any legend, countless tales--the bizarre, the depressing, the totally untrue--surround Lennon's murder.

In memory of one of the greatest songwriters and musicians ever, we've compiled a list of five strange stories linked to the death of Lennon. Shine on!  

5. Stephen King Killed John Lennon

A news clipping from
A news clipping from

Steve Lightfoot is a man who still stands outside of the Dakota (Lennon's former home and location of his murder) with his van plastered with the URL of his website, In his pamphlet Stephen King Killed John Lennon, he describes a scenario where the story of Mark David Chapman is a ruse ("...armed, a pawn, waiting to be moved into a hostile the giant hand of Ronald Reagan...") and "government codes" in headlines printed in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report around the time of Lennon's death revealed his real murderers. As the introduction to his site reads:

"...John Lennon was, not only politically assassinated, but that Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and, you'd better sit down, horror novelist Stephen King are the three people who can be proven guilty of the crime. King being the real murderer and Chapman but a look-alike, paid actor misleading you with an absolute hoax, the media in tow."

Okay, so the Nixon/Reagan connection isn't too far of a stretch--Lennon's political activism, etc.--but what's this dude got against horror novelist/weirdo Stephen King?:

Stephen King writes all about it beginning with Salem's Lot, five years before the crime, where he writes about shooting a man in the shoulder blades, stalking a politician with a gun in The Dead Zone, Johnny being the main character. He even writes about "...the fellow who killed John Lennon" in, I believe, three books. He practically confesses in his 1983 Playboy interview. He has even admitted to me, in his own handwriting, that I "...haven't got the whole story yet..." and in a subsequent letter, signed Stephen King, he throws in a veiled bribe if I'd quit exposing this.

For even more crazy, just read the rest of Lightfoot's introduction here.

Upcoming Events

4. Album Signed by Lennon For Mark David Chapman Up For Sale
One of the more famous stories surrounding the murder of John Lennon is that he autographed a copy of his album, Double Fantasy, for his own murderer on December 8, 1980 as he was leaving his Manhattan home at the Dakota. It was when Lennon returned later that night did Chapman shoot him four times in the back.

Well, according to the New York Post, that autographed album is now for sale--for $850,000. Unsurprisingly, the current owner has received death threats.

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