Cover-up?…

Featured below (as you’ll most probably already be aware) is the front-cover of The Beatles’ second album, ‘With The Beatles,’ released in 1963…

withthebeatles

As you can see at the very top of this site – ‘The Occult Beatles’ – there’s a different version of this photo, of my own making, recreated specifically to serve as the header banner because, to my mind’s eye, it conveys a neat enough representation of what the ‘occult’ in ‘Beatles’ may be. We have John, Paul, George and Ringo photographed in black and white, two shades so prevalent in esoteric iconography (such as in Freemasonry of course), considered to be, symbolically, dual opposites (i.e. white is said to be the symbol for good and black for evil). Additionally, all four band-members are partly hidden from us, obscured by a shadow presence and, of course, each of them is looking at us with one eye, a hugely prevalent occurrence in images of modern-day music-stars, constantly flagged up by researchers, reporters and commentators looking into the occultic and dark elements of the entertainment industry. The photo-session that spawned the picture for the album-cover was conducted by British photographer, Robert Freeman, in, it’s said, August of ’63 with the LP being unleashed to the public in November of that year. Now, here’s a thing. Over a year earlier, in February ’62 apparently, came the release of the French short-movie, ‘La Jetée.’ And here’s a screengrab from it… Look familiar?….la jetee beatles

Directed by French film-maker, Chris Marker, ‘La Jetée’ (translated into English: ‘The Jetty’) tells the story of a man in a post-nuclear war world who’s forced to undergo time-travel and, as a result, reaches back into the past and also communicates with the future which is where he sees the four faces in the screengrab above. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t help feeling a little spooked by this picture, that’s when I look at it within the context of the ‘With The Beatles’ album-cover. Did Robert Freeman, or indeed The Beatles, purposely aim towards recreating this scene from La Jetée, perhaps for some esoteric purpose – especially for those with ‘the eyes to see’ as it were? Well, based on what I’ve been able to gather thus far, no one who was closely involved with the making of the LP has ever mentioned it being a nod or a wink to this movie. Also, as far as I can tell, having watched it, I myself haven’t spotted any clues towards this direction. Nevertheless, further on down this page, there’s a synopsis of it and I’ll leave you to determine whether or not anything of an intentionally occult nature connecting it to the band is there or not… Or, are we looking at what some might no doubt describe as ‘coincidence’? 81dw02lpj6l._ri_sx300_For now though, here’s a little of what we know (or, let’s say, what we’ve been told); According to McCartney, the photo-session for the cover took place in a hotel in the UK town of Bournemouth. In his authorised 1997 biography ‘Many Years from Now,’ authored by his old friend Barry Miles, Paul claims that Robert, to the band as a whole, was considered “much more one of us than the other photographers we’d had. Apparently, a lot of photographers are still trying to work out how he did the famous one on the With the Beatles sleeve with the half-light on the faces. It was in a hotel and we had an hour in which he could take our picture. He pulled out four chairs and arranged us in a hotel corridor; it was very un-studio-like. The corridor was rather dark and there was a window at the end, and by using this heavy source of natural light coming from the right, he got that photo. He got this very moody picture which people think he must have worked at for ever and ever in great technical detail. But it was an hour. He sat down, took a couple of rolls and he had it.” Freeman has a slightly different recollection although he too has said the session took place in the hotel, but in the dining-room, not a corridor. “The ‘With The Beatles’ album-cover was taken soon after I met them for the first time in Bournemouth. Since the photograph was needed urgently, I had to improvise a studio situation in the hotel. The dining-room was the most suitable location. There was a broadside light from the windows and a deep maroon curtain that could be pulled behind them to create a dark background. They came down at midday wearing their black polo-necked sweaters. It seemed natural to photograph them in black and white wearing their customary dark clothes. It gave unity to the image. There was no makeup, hairdresser or stylist – just myself, The Beatles and a camera… They had to fit into the square format of the cover, so rather than have them all in a line, I put Ringo in the bottom right corner. He was the last to join the group, he was the shortest and he was the drummer! Even so, he still had to bend his knees to get to the right level – and look natural!” Apparently, so happy were The Beatles with the LP’s cover-photo that, prior to the album’s release, they became engaged in, Barry Miles’s words, “a full-scale battle” with ‘EMI,’ their record-company because it was “strongly opposed” to the picture describing it “as ‘shockingly humourless’ and one marketing executive said, ‘where is the fun? Why are they looking so grim? We want to project happy Beatles for happy fans.’” Also, “Freeman says that… EMI objected to using a black and white photograph for the cover.” So, whatever the intention behind the photo chosen for the album-cover (whether occult or not), if we’re to believe Barry Miles in his McCartney-sanctioned biography, the band – and their management too – felt so strongly and passionately about this that they took on the might and influence of a record-company as huge as EMI until they got what they wanted. Others might indeed have given up long before, thinking, ‘hey, it’s only an album-cover!’ For whatever reason though, Freeman’s black ‘n’ white shadow photograph is the image the band wanted to convey to the public, to the point of a ‘full-scale battle.’ Just a couple of years later, Robert also photographed and designed the front of The Beatles’ ‘Help!’ album, a cover that conjures up very potent comparisons with the doctrines of infamous occultist, Aleister Crowley… But that’s for another article perhaps. So, looking back at ‘With The Beatles,’ judging by McCartney’s comments regarding how the front-photo for that LP came to be, I’m left with the impression that it was quite accidental, certainly unplanned. However, according to a couple of sites I’ve come across on the ‘net, and Freeman’s own recollections too, this might not exactly be the case. For a start, Robert, who, I’m led to understand, was famed back in the 1960s for his black and white photographs of famous Jazz musicians including John Coltrane, was tracked down specifically because of this by The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein when he was looking for someone to come up with a cover for the ‘With The Beatles’ album, and Freeman has recalled, “this cover shot was an extension of my black and white Jazz photography.” Secondly – and here’s where my search for any notable/significant links between the LP cover-photo and the image from La Jetée has resulted in some info of a possibly tangible nature – it’s been claimed that all or some of the members of the band wanted Robert to recreate the look of photographs that had been taken of them during their pre-fame days in Hamburg, Germany by their German artist friend, Astrid Kircherr – such as these ones perhaps, shot in 1962 (bear with me here, I do explain why this might matter, why it might be tangible)…

johnastrid

georgeastrid

johngeorgeastrid

Astrid herself has said, “I met Bob Freeman once, and I like his work. His other pictures are great but I’ve got this idea, and I don’t know if it’s true, that The Beatles told him to take a picture like Astrid used to do because that half-lit idea was not his style at all.” This might matter, it might be tangible due to the fact that a German friend of hers and The Beatles, by the name of Jurgen Vollmer, went on to work during the 1960s for famed photographer, William Klein, who, would you believe, is also one of La Jetée’s faces from the future as depicted in the earlier screengrab here. In fact, this is him (so I’m led to understand)…

markerwilliamklein

Jurgen, same as Astrid, pursued photography and first came to know The Beatles in 1960 when the as-yet-famous band were labouring away honing their musical skills in the clubs and bars of Hamburg. From what I can gather from a number of sources available online, by 1961, just a year or so before the release of La Jetée, he became an assistant to William in Paris. Is it possible that Vollmer recommended Kircherr’s black and white ideas to the movie’s director Chris Marker – perhaps via Klein – prior to or even during the making of the film-short, and also, were John, Paul, George or Ringo privy to that? I’ve yet to find any information to confirm all or some of this, but it is possible I suppose. Certainly, if any of this can be corroborated, it takes the similarities displayed in the earlier screengrab and the front-cover of ‘With The Beatles’ out of the realms of ‘coincidence.’

paul visits jurgen in paris in 1961
Paul visits Jurgen in Paris in 1961

Unfortunately, any more info connecting The Beatles personally to La Jetée and/or its makers hasn’t materialised during my research. In a bid to remedy this, I considered sending maybe an e-mail or private ‘FaceBook’ message to either Jurgen or his former boss, William Klein and asking them outright (why not?), but I was unable to do so in the end as it appears both guys don’t have websites. I’m also at a loss in seeing any occult clues linking the band to the narrative of the film or its imagery (with the exception of the screengrab earlier in this article). But, of course, that might be just me failing to spot the signs, so, please, do take a look yourself and share any information or ideas you might come up with here at ‘The Occult Beatles’ via the ‘comments’ box, or, alternatively, you can e-mail me – Matt – at: conspiromail@gmail.com. There’s also some discussion about what’s been posted here taking place on this site’s ‘FaceBook’ partner-page, ‘Conspiro Media’: https://www.facebook.com/pg/conspiromedia/posts/?ref=page_internal  as well as at the group, ‘Strawberry Fields Beatles Mysteries’: https://www.facebook.com/conspiromedia/posts/292753394762542. Go take a look at one or both of these links and, perhaps, contribute to them too.

So, as promised, here’s a brief synopsis of the 26-minute film, which was constructed almost entirely from still photos – and that you can watch in its entirety below… (Incidentally, the entire plot of the film including its ending isn’t revealed in the synopsis in case you’d like to watch the movie and don’t want your viewing of it spoilt)…

As mentioned earlier, La Jetée is set in a post-nuclear war world and the film’s story is told through narration by William Klein.

We see Paris in ruins, destroyed by the Third World War. Many have died. Some believe themselves to be victors. Others have been taken prisoner. The survivors have gone underground, settling beneath the French city which has become riddled with radioactivity as has the rest of the planet. The prisoners down below are subjected to experiments by the victors who stand guard over them:jet1

The story of La Jetée centres on one of the guinea pigs up for experimentation…jet2

He’s frightened. He’s heard about the ‘Head Experimenter’ – The mad scientist, but what he gets instead is a reasonable, calm man who explains to him that the human race is doomed. The only hope of saving it is by travelling through a loophole in time, where it might be possible to reach food, medicine and sources of energy. This is the aim of the experiments; to send people into the past and future for the benefit of the present. So far there’s been little to no success, but this particular guinea pig – the protagonist of this story – is different to the others because he’s obsessed with an image from his past, an image the victors have identified from reading his mind. And so, the experiment goes ahead as planned…jet3

On the tenth day of this, images begin to appear, images in peacetime; children, countryside, birds, a girl on a jetty… She smiles at our protagonist from a car…jet4

As the experiment continues and he drifts in a trance back to his present and to the past again, he sees more of the girl from the jetty. They meet, befriend each other and form a relationship, its exact nature not explained fully…jet5

This is the starting point of a whole series of experiments for our protagonist who meets the girl in them again and again.jet6

When she sees him, she calls him her ghost. She accepts as a natural phenomenon the ways of this visitor – our protagonist – who comes and goes, who exists, talks, laughs with her, listens to her, then disappears.

Then, back in the experiment-room, in the present, back deep below the radiation-infested city of Paris, his masters plan to transport him to the future. He then realises he’ll never see the girl again…jet7

And so, he is transported to the future: Paris rebuilt. Others are waiting for him. It’s a brief encounter…la jetee beatles

Back in the present our protagonist awaits a dark, doomed fate from his masters who have no more use of him. But then, the figures from the future, who can also travel through time, visit him and invite him to join them, to be one of them. But he has a different request; He wants to return to the girl from the past. And so, he is taken back to her, on the jetty, from his memories…

Watch La Jetée, the movie, here:

 

 

 

REFERENCE LINKS

http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/apr02/include/colour_symbolism_in_freemasonry.htm

http://freemasoninformation.com/2009/03/the-checkered-flooring/

https://www.hamiltondistrictcmasons.org/upload/lecture_file87.pdf

http://secularfreemason.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-masonic-chequeredcheckerboard-floor.html

https://www.myfreemasonry.com/threads/what-does-the-checkered-pavement-symbolize.12461/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_the_Beatles

https://www.beatlesbible.com/albums/with-the-beatles/2/

http://www.wingspan.ru/bookseng/myfn/bmiles04.html

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056119/releaseinfo?ref_=tt_ov_inf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Jet%C3%A9e

https://www.amazon.com/Beatles-Private-View-Robert-Freeman/dp/1592261760

McCartney.com: Robert Freeman – All You Need Is News!

https://www.elsewhere.co.nz/absoluteelsewhere/505/astrid-kirchherr-beatles-photographer-interviewed-1994-young-free-and-wild/

http://5b4.blogspot.com/2007/07/le-jetee-by-chris-marker.html

http://www.spiegel.de/einestages/filmfotograf-vollmer-a-949010.html

https://books.google.de/books?id=KbY5AQAAQBAJ&pg=PT223&lpg=PT223&dq=jurgen+vollmer+beatles+william+klein&source=bl&ots=oGhY-t7CuD&sig=8Jk4XWI3mDyYOfHohWMmC0p_Tl0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiiyenXzOrfAhW0hqYKHfVUA0IQ6AEwDXoECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=jurgen%20vollmer%20beatles%20william%20klein&f=false

https://books.google.de/books?id=1BMCBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT86&lpg=PT86&dq=the+beatles+William+Klein&source=bl&ots=edNMK_Faan&sig=h62dunYI-EpqM5sBB_FrlrwSAc4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjZzfC6yerfAhVFhqQKHVBsD1o4ChDoATAIegQIAxAB#v=onepage&q=the%20beatles%20William%20Klein&f=false

http://citizenuniverse.blogspot.com/2007/05/real-wild-child-by-wendy-cavenett-in.html

 

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