The Ghost of Jim Morrison

Did The Doors' Jim Morrison fake his own death and release an album three years later under a pen name? According to some, 'Phantom's Divine Comedy Part 1' is proof he did.

By Elektra Records - eBay itemphoto frontphoto back, Public Domain, Wikimedia

The year is 1974. Capital Records releases a single "Black Magic, White Magic" along with liner notes stating the band consists of Drummer X, Bassist Y, and Keyboardist Z, with vocals and music written by “The Phantom.” This album would soon cause a whirlwind of conspiracy theories which still circulate today. The album, Phantom’s Divine Comedy Pt 1 was released three years after the passing of Jim Morrison, although the music and vocals sounded so much like The Doors, it gives one chills. Jim Morrison died under mysterious circumstances, at the age of 27, of a heroin overdose in Le Marais, Paris. An autopsy was never conducted, causing the speculation of his death being a hoax to spread among his fans like a wild fire.

Morrison, an accomplished poet who became one of the most prolific lyricists of the era by accident, kept journals religiously. In Macabre fashion, one of Morrison’s final journals labeled Paris Journal gives an allegorical account (quote found below) of a man who has to abandon his life and all possessions due to a death in connection with the Chinese Opium trade.  

“Weeping, he left his pad on orders from police and furnishings hauled away, all records and mementos, and reporters calculating tears & curses for the press: "I hope the Chinese junkies get you" and they will for the [opium] poppy rules the world.” - Jim Morrison

Breaking down the album track by track opens the possibility of believing Morrison grew to a ripe old age, hidden somewhere from the limelight and fuss, wearing a mischievous smirk on his face for pulling it off. "Black Magic, White Magic" (Phantom’s Divine Comedy Pt 1) has almost identical verbiage as "Moonlight Drive" (The Doors). It is well known and accepted that Morrison contrived his lyrics from snippets found in his journals. It would not be surprising to see patterns within his material, recycling the most profound words as he would see fit. Then there are the connections or better yet, the continuation of song titles. “Light My Fire” to the Phantom’s “Stand Beside My Fire,” and “Riders on the Storm” to “Calm Before the Storm” which will have even present day fans rooting for Morrison to still be out there, somewhere.

Furthermore, note the references of Knights of the Round Table throughout the album. The entire album consists of Magic, Merlin, Dragons, and Kings. When the identity of The Phantom was released, it was none other than the name Arthur Pendragon. Anyone familiar with the story knows this was King Arthur’s given name. Contrary to popular belief, King Arthur began as a Pagan King. Celtic Lore was carried by Catholic Monks through oral traditions and storytelling, so when Catholic writers were charged with the writing of Pre Christian European History, it was done so under “nihil obstat,” translated to “nothing offensive to the Church.” Somewhere around 1160 AD, Chrétien De Troyes, a French Catholic writer, used King Arthur among other Pagan folklore subjects for a series of Romantic Christian plays on morality, providing for the assumption most have today of his Christian roots. To make the hero of the story Pagan would be offensive to the Church. Therefore Arthur Pendragon was given Christian ideals, and morals along with objectively covering his Pagan beginnings with a Catholic veneer.

How does this help prove The Phantom, AKA, Arthur Pendragon was in fact Jim Morrison? Morrison was married to writer and author Patricia Kennealy in a Celtic Pagan Handfasting vow ceremony the year before his alleged death. The pair had met when she interviewed him for Jazz and Pop Magazine. Speculatively, one can assume Morrison, who was known to experiment with Ancient Mythology, Religions, and Shamanism, would have been familiar with Arthur's ties to Paganism at the time of his death. At the very least, the symbolism of Phantom's Divine Comedy could have been influenced by this point in his life. 

There have been many speculations and theories created to explain how the dead came back to life through an album, and as of now there is no concrete evidence supporting either side of the debate. What is known is if he was able to fake his own death, bury an empty casket, and remain out of the public eye for decades, he truly is the genius of lore. If you are out there, Jim Morrison, send us a sign.

Virtuosity Memphis is a booking agency out of Memphis, TN. Send any artists/ tracks for future consideration to [email protected] Please include name and any bio information, along with pertinent links, an MP3 with cover art or MP4, and contact information. For further information, email [email protected] All content of this vlog is property of Virtuosity Memphis with the exception of music and art affiliated with featured artists, and intro music which remains the sole property of the licensure/ copyright holder.  

'Phantom's Divine Comedy': "Calm Before the Storm"

The Doors: 'LA Woman'

Album Cover 'Phantom's Divine Comedy Part 1'

The album cover for Phantom's DC released on Capital Records label in 1974, three years after Morrison's death. 

Back Album cover and inlay for Phantom's Divine Comedy 1. One of the rare photographs of the Phantom with Robby Krieger (of the Doors) and manager of the Doors, Danny Sugerman, Courtesy of John Densmore.  The final picture is Jim Morrison in Copenhagen, 1968. 

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