Sunday, February 26, 2006

Astute Readers, Aspiring Censors, and IMDB: The Chapter 27 Page

Jared Leto as Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27.

As one astute reader of this blog pointed out, Nowhere Man, my John Lennon biography, is not the first book to mention “Chapter 27.” That honor, if I may use such a word, belongs to Jack Jones’s Mark David Chapman bio, Let Me Take You Down, which I used for my own Chapman research and credited accordingly. But one of the flaws in Jones’s book is that he was unaware of the numerological significance of the number 27—that it’s more than the number that follows 26, the final chapter of The Catcher in the Rye—and he didn’t show how Chapter 27 played into the heart of Lennon’s obsession with numerology, the number 9, and all its multiples. Nor did Jones show how, in a very spooky way, the number 27 karmically tied Chapman to Lennon, and gave the events a more chilling resonance. (For a full explanation of all this, please see my first two postings: “The Roots of Chapter 27” and “John Lennon’s Bible and the Occult Significance of 27.”) That’s why Jones mentions Chapter 27 only once, early on in his book, and never elaborates on it.

The Chapman section in Nowhere Man, which I call “The Coda,” picks up where the Jones bio leaves off, bringing Chapter 27 to the forefront of the story. It probes the meaning of what Chapman did more than it plumbs the ooze of Chapman’s mind, from Chapman’s lunatic point of view, as the Jones bio does.

That’s why the only people who seem to fully understand what Chapter 27 means are those who’ve read Nowhere Man or this blog. That’s also why the Mexican newsweekly Proceso has been covering this story in-depth, wasting no time in saying that Chapter 27, the movie, comes from “Chapter 27” in Nowhere Man. In other words, if the producers of Chapter 27 hadn’t read my book, then they’d be calling their film Let Me Take You Down. But they totally get the numerology thing, and they’re placing all their bets on number 27—which is one reason they’re releasing the movie in 2007, probably on September 27.

Some people, presumably enraged Beatles fans, are not happy about this. Perhaps believing that Chapter 27 will inspire other deranged individuals to assassinate a celebrity so they, too, can spend the rest of their lives rotting in jail, these fans are petitioning for a boycott of the film. Apparently, they don’t think that Chapter 27 is getting enough publicity on its own—even with 500 newspapers running stories about Lindsay Lohan’s asthma attacks and Jared Leto’s diet; Yoko Ono herself denouncing the film (except when she’s collaborating on it); and Sean Lennon “dating” Lohan. These fans are also apparently unaware that censorship always backfires.

The case of one Richard M. Nixon should serve as a cautionary tale. The week the Watergate scandal broke in 1972, Nixon, in an attempt to distract the country, ordered the FBI to shut down every theatre showing Deep Throat, confiscate the prints, and arrest the filmmakers and actors on obscenity charges. The result: a mediocre porn flick, shot in a week for $25,000, became the 11th-highest-grossing film of 1973, with earnings of over $600 million, and Linda Lovelace became the world’s first porno “superstar.” (And Nixon still had to resign the presidency, in disgrace, to avoid impeachment.)

I might also remind any aspiring censors that long before Chapman was autographing copies of The Catcher in the Rye in his prison cell, the book was a perennial best-seller, thanks in part to the high school principals all over America who’d been banning it for 29 years.


To get a sense of all the “bad karma” swirling around this film, I took a look at the Chapter 27 page on IMDB, the Internet Movie Data Base, which includes a public forum on which I posted a few comments. One of my postings, an attempt to explain the meaning of Chapter 27, prompted another writer, who calls himself Berberis, to talk about his aversion to the word “hate,” which he said “is bandied about on this board—and others—with a willingness I find both alarming and saddening.” Speaking of Chapman, he then asks if the level of hatred towards people we don’t understand is a recent development, or if it’s just easier to express now.

I told him, “Obviously the Internet has made it easy for any maniac who knows how to use a computer to broadcast their hatred worldwide. As for somebody like Chapman: a good way to become a target of virulent hatred is to murder one of the most beloved icons of the 20th century. I, however, think it’s better to make an effort to understand people like Chapman, which is what I did in the final section of Nowhere Man, what Jack Jones did with his Chapman bio—and what I hope the producers of Chapter 27 are doing.

“The original draft of Nowhere Man ended the afternoon of December 8, 1980, before the murder. I wanted to show people what the world looked like through John Lennon’s eyes, and that vision had nothing to do with Chapman. But my publisher insisted that I make an effort to explain what Chapman did—because he didn’t understand it. Since I’d attended the court proceedings and felt I had something new to say—and since the numerology angle gave the story a deeper resonance—I agreed to write the section called ‘The Coda.’

“I was, of course, horrified and repulsed by the murder. But in writing about Chapman, I came to feel a certain sympathy for him because he was (and probably remains) a deeply disturbed human being—the ultimate Nowhere Man.”

Chapter 27 should be allowed to stand or fall on its own. If the film’s a disaster, then the media will crucify it, as they did with Lennon, the clueless Broadway musical, which closed after 40-some-odd performances and lost millions of dollars. But if Chapter 27 is any good—and I hope it is—then it will bring us to a deeper understanding of an event which, on the surface, seems to make no sense at all. And that would be a rare step in the right direction—one that I might even get a little credit for.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Perfect 9: For Yoko Ono on her 73rd Birthday

John Lennon, age 29, and Yoko Ono, age 37, in Denmark. From Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon, AP/Worldwide Photos

February 18 is Yoko Ono’s 73rd birthday and to commemorate the occasion I’ve done a numerological workup, based on John Lennon’s bible, Cheiro’s Book of Numbers, on the “name number” and “birth number” of rock’s foremost widow.

17 = 8

19 = 10 = 1
8 + 1 = 9

Yoko Ono
30 = 3
8 + 1 + 3 = 12 = 3

Born February 18, 1933
2 + 18 + 1933 = 27 = 9
2 + 9 + 7 = 18 = 9

I explained in my previous post, on the occult significance of 27, how I calculated these numbers, and their numerological significance according to Cheiro. But I didn’t explain the numbers 12 and 3, which are also the name numbers of “John Lennon.”

The number 12, Cheiro says, is the number of “suffering and anxiety of the mind, it is indicated as ‘the sacrifice’ or ‘the victim’ and generally foreshadows one being sacrificed for the plans or intrigues of others.” Threes, on the other hand, love discipline, are “decidedly ambitious, are never satisfied by being in subordinate positions” and “rise to the highest positions in any profession they choose.” Their aim, he adds, is “to have control and authority over others.” (John’s nickname, “Walrus,” is a 3, as well.)


On my way to meet a friend (who blogs anonymously) at an Authors Guild gathering, I saw Yoko Ono on the street. It was about 6 p.m. on January 25, and I was walking uptown, at a brisk pace, on New York’s 5th Avenue, near 38th Street. She caught my eye from about a half block away—a tiny woman wearing a white leather jacket, a mod white cap, and black pants, walking downtown, at an equally brisk pace, accompanied by a tall, athletic-looking fellow, whom I assumed was a bodyguard. But I still wasn’t sure it was her until we strode past each other and I saw the side of her face, behind her sunglasses. I was amazed: she looked even younger than she did the last time I saw her, in September 2002, the day I testified on her behalf at a copyright infringement trial. I’d go so far as to say that she’s the youngest-looking 73-year-old woman I’ve ever seen—and it made me think about what she said in an interview that I’d read a few months ago in what I believe was a British women’s magazine. Death, Ono told the reporter, was avoidable and she didn’t believe in it—or words to that effect.

I’d like to know if she was talking about a Faustian bargain, cryogenic freezing, or an impending medical breakthrough. Because there is no other way to explain eternal life, at least in the physical sense.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Program Note

For any Spanish-speaking readers: I will be talking with Eli Bravo about Nowhere Man and John Lennon on Union Radio Venezuela on Friday, February 10, 12:30-1 pm eastern standard time (1:30-2 pm Venezuela time).

The broadcast is streamed but you need to register. The show is en español.

Photo by Mariola Guerrero, LUN

Sunday, February 05, 2006

John Lennon’s Bible and the Occult Significance of 27

The Catcher in the Rye was, of course, Mark David Chapman’s bible, and the “missing chapter,” 27, was the chapter he wanted to write, as I said in Nowhere Man, in John Lennon’s blood. But Lennon, too, had a bible: Cheiro’s Book of Numbers. After Lennon discovered this book, which explained in simple language the occult “science” of numerology, he couldn’t so much as dial a phone number without first consulting Cheiro, and he couldn’t walk out of the house without finding mystical significance in every license plate, address, and street sign.

Lennon, who was born on October 9, had always been aware of the strong presence of the number 9 in his life. He considered it his lucky number. His son Sean was also born on October 9; he’d written songs titled Revolution 9, One After 909, and No. 9 Dream; Brian Epstein first saw the Beatles at The Cavern on November 9; and he met Yoko on November 9.

But it was only after reading Cheiro that Lennon came to understand that the multiples of 9, particularly 18 and 27, were as important as 9 itself. As Cheiro explained, the single numbers 1 to 9 represent “the physical or material side of things” and compound numbers from 10 on represent the “occult or spiritual side of life.”

Here are a few things Cheiro wrote about 9:

“Number 9 persons are fighters in all they attempt in life. They usually have difficult times in their early years but generally are in the end successful by their grit, strong will and determination. They are hasty in temper, impulsive, independent and desire to be their own masters.”

“When number 9 is noticed to be more than usually dominant in the dates and events of their lives, they will be found to make great enemies, to cause strife and opposition wherever they may be and are often wounded or killed either in warfare or in the battle of life.”

“They have great courage and make excellent leaders in any cause they espouse. Their greatest dangers arise from foolhardiness and impulsiveness in word and actions. They generally have quarrels and strife in their home life. They strongly resent criticism. They like to be ‘looked up to’ and recognized as ‘head of the house.’ For affection and sympathy they will do almost anything, and men of this number can be made the greatest fools of if some woman gets to pulling at their heart strings.”

“This number 9 is the only number that when multiplied by any number always reproduces itself. The number 9 is an emblem of matter that can never be destroyed. At the 9th hour the savior died on the cross. All ancient races encouraged a fear of the number 9. The number 9 is considered a fortunate number to be born under, provided the man or woman does not ask for a peaceful or monotonous life and can control their nature by not making enemies.”

The symbol for number 18, Cheiro wrote, is “a rayed moon from which drops of blood are falling; a wolf and hungry dog are seen below catching the falling drops of blood in their open mouths, while still lower, a crab is hastening to join them. It is symbolic of materialism striving to destroy the spiritual side of the nature. It generally associates a person with bitter quarrels, even family ones, war, social upheavals, revolutions; and in some cases it indicates making money and position through wars. It is a warning of treachery, deception by others, also danger from explosions. When this ‘compound’ number appears in working out dates in advance, such a date should be taken with a great amount of care, caution and circumspection.”

Lennon spent a great deal of time making notes on the “birth numbers” and calculating, according to Cheiro’s arcane formula, the “name numbers” of those closest to him. There were 9’s and 18’s everywhere. Yoko Ono was born February 18. Paul McCartney was born June 18. John equals 18 or 9. (According to Cheiro’s laws, all compound numbers should be reduced to a single number.) Yoko Ono equals 9. Sean Ono Lennon equals 9. Paul equals 9. Richard Starkey (Ringo’s real name) equals 9. Mimi Smith (the aunt who raised him) equals 9. The Dakota, on West 72nd Street (9), was built in 1881, which equals 18 or 9. And the year, 1980, was also an 18 or 9.

In Nowhere Man, the number 27 doesn’t come up in relation to Lennon until Chapman appears on the scene. Cheiro, ironically, calls 27 a “good number” symbolized by the scepter. It is, he says, “a promise of authority, power, and command. It indicates that reward will come from the productive intellect; that the creative faculties have sown good seeds that will reap a harvest. Persons with this ‘compound’ number at their back should carry out their own ideas and plans. It is a fortunate number if it appears in any connection with future events.”

Once upon a time, Mark Chapman—whose first name, according to Cheiro, calculates to 9, and whose last name calculates to 27—I’m sure, would have agreed. He certainly did carry out his plan.


Here’s Cheiro chart for calculating name numbers. Each letter is given a numerical value from 1 to 8 as follows:

A=1 B=2 C=3 D=4 E=5 F=8 G=3 H=5 I=1 J=1 K=2 L=3 M=4 N=5 O=7 P=8 Q=1 R=2 S=3 T=4 U=6 V=6 W=6 X=5 Y=1 Z=7

Here’s the complete workup for Chapman:

4122 = 9

41614 = 16 = 7

3518415 = 27 = 9

9 + 7 + 9 = 25 = 7

Seven is also the number of John Winston Lennon. Sevens, according to Cheiro, “make extremely good writers, painters or poets, but in everything they do, they sooner or later show a peculiar philosophical outlook on life that tinges all their work. They often become rich by their original ideas or methods of business but they are just as likely to make large donations to charity. They create a religion of their own, but one that appeals to the imagination and is based on the mysterious. They have wonderful dreams and a great leaning to occultism; they have a gift of intuition, clairvoyance, and a peculiar quieting magnetism of their own that has a great influence on others.”

You can look it up—in the Book of Numbers.