Here at Tyler Towers we're in a state of shock.
Like billions of others, Mrs T and I can remember exactly where we were when we heard Paul McCartney had died.
It was in that car crash on Wednesday, 9 November 1966. Recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, he'd had one more flaming row with Lennon, stormed out, and promptly crashed his Austin-Healey. That was it. Good night St Johns Wood.
Of course, at the time we didn't find out. Freaked by the likely impact on profits, the evil capitalist barons at Parlophone records imposed a total news blackout, and held a secret X-Factor Macca lookalike contest. After a few surgical tweaks and intensive training in the back story, the winner was slotted into the band, and the Beatles carried on spinning gold. They even managed a final live performance, on that Get Back rooftop in early 1969. And because "Paul" was hidden behind a big bushy black beard, and most of the audience was kept down at street level, nobody could tell the truth.
Not the Fab Four
Obviously, the other Beatles didn't like it, but what could they do? They'd been brainwashed by that Yogi Bear bloke, and the barons had threatened to kill their children. When the Beatles manager Brian Epstein tried to speak out in 1967, the barons had him eliminated. Just like that.
All the band could think to do was to alert us fans by dropping subtle hints into their records and on their album covers.
But you know what- it worked. Despite the evil barons and their lies, we found out. By late 1969, we all knew. We knew that if you played Revolution Number 9 backwards, you could clearly hear "turn me on dead man". And the absolute clincher was a barefooted "Paul" out of step on the Abbey Road cover that same year.
We knew alright. And there was soon a flood of learned tomes supporting our case:
Now you may say, if he was dead, how come we had Wings, and Mull of Kintyre, and the Frogs Chorus?
To which I say, pah! Don't make me laugh. Do you honestly think Paul would have produced such muzak?
And so, 40 years have passed.
Then, just a few days ago, some anonymous well wisher drew our attention to this:
"The doctor known as 'John' or 'Crippen' passed away in a road traffic accident mid-October."
It was a comment on Dr Crippen's excellent, one-and-only, industry leading NHS Blog Doctor.
We were shocked. We know Crippen, we know him well. I first met him the very year Abbey Road was released, and weddings, children, ups and downs, we've stayed in touch ever since. How on earth could his mid-October death have been kept from us?
Especially since- once I thought about it- I'd had contact with him since mid-October. And especially since he is still responding to emails. And especially since the original commenter has now admitted it was untrue.
And especially since by any normal standards the Doc is alive and well.
And then we remembered Macca.
How do we know Crippen is not now a Macca-style lookalike? How do we know?
How do we know the barons of the NHS, stung by his remorseless exposes of their wild incompetence, didn't arrange "a little accident"? They could easily have come up with a Stepford Doctors clone via a secret competition, or plastic surgery. They're the NHS for God's sake!
And the more we thought about it, the more likely it seemed. Consider the page banner on his site- it's almost Prussian Blue, the colour of Prussia. As we know, that's now part of Poland, home to all those plumbers. The symbolism is obvious.
And why does his cartoon character have a long white beard? Who else do you know with a long white beard? Exactly.
Then there are all the pointers and clues in his posts, far too numerous to summarise here.
The shocking truth is this. The Crippen we know- the man I've known since 1969- may be an automaton. Or a replicant like Harrison Ford in the new remastered version of Blade Runner.
Indeed, I've now come round to the sobering conclusion that Crippen may never have existed in the first place.
PS For more on conspiracy theories see here.
PS As we may have said before, back in the swingin' sixties Mrs T met Macca. At the age of 13, she and a friend used to hitchhike to St Georges Hill, Weybridge, where George Harrison had his mansion. They just used to go up to the front door, ring the bell, and hope to find him in. If he was, he used to let them in for a chat. And if they were really lucky, Macca or Lennon would drop round for tea. No funny business, just a bit of a star-struck chat. Can you imagine that? She assures me it's true and indeed has the snaps to prove it. A different world.