Dead at Age 27: A Conspiracy or Tragic Coincidence?

William J. Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Dead at the age of 27. Dead at the age of 27. Dead at the age of 27. What is going on? The list keeps going as renowned musicians in the height of their careers, from Louis Chauvin to Amy Winehouse, drop dead at only 27 years of age.  Is it a conspiracy? Did they sell their souls to Satan? Is it no more than a coincidence? Since early 1900s, this 27 Club has created a mystery in the minds of many music enthusiasts.

According to USAHitMan.com (a website dedicated to news about conspiracies and alternate theories), the notoriety of the mystery first sparked when Brian Jones, one of the original members of the Rolling Stones, dropped dead at the age of 27 after drowning in a pool. Jones was the seventh popular musician to die at the age of 27, but the fire was truly ignited after 27-year-old Jim Morrison passed on July 3, 1971, exactly two years after Jones died. Within that two-year period, other musicians including Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix also passed at the age of 27. By the end of 1971, the 27 Club was a hot topic. “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club,” said Wendy O’Connor, Kurt Cobain’s mother, to HistoricMysteries.com (a website focused on “exploring the unknown”) after the member of Nirvana was found dead.

Musicians continued to fall at the age of 27 in the height of their careers. These included Kristen Pfaff of the band Hole, Malcolm Hale of Spanky and Our Gang, Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, Ron McKernan of the Grateful Dead, Dave Alexander of The Stooges. These deaths are just the ones in the 20th century.

As the year 2000 came around, the mysterious madness continued to strike 27-year-old musicians. Sean Patrick McCabe of the band Ink and Dagger died of asphyxiation. Following him was Maria Serrano Serrano, background singer for Passion Fruit. Serrano was killed in a plane crash two days before her 28th birthday. More recently was the death of Amy Winehouse in 2011 after drinking herself to death. Three years earlier, Winehouse had openly conversed with friends of her fear about joining the 27 club.

These deaths, and others of less-known musicians, have cause conspiracy theories to develop trying to explain the mystery. Some believe that there is more to the story than just a series of unfortunate deaths that happen to 27-year-old musicians at the height of their careers.  When original members Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison, and Cobain were found with white lighters in their pockets, the first conspiracy theory erupted. More madness was born when rumors that the original members may have made deals with the devil to have such talent. Johnson is famous for his unusually good guitar playing. The legend says that Johnson went to the devil as a terrible guitarist, sold his soul for guitar lessons, and returned as a talented musician. Morrison is reported to have openly admitted selling his soul to the Devil for fame, power, and riches. It is hard to tell whether or not he was serious considering Morrison is known for not only his talent but his experiments with various illegal drugs.

In the end, the 27 Club has caused a lot of hype. Various renowned musicians dropped dead and caused a wonder within the conspiracy. Whether it was truly a conspiracy or just an unfortunate sequence of deaths, the stories are still tragic and will forever be remembered in our hearts and minds.