the murder of John Lennon

The murder of John Lennon shocked the world. Gunned down outside his apartment in New York in December 1980, the former Beatle was on the verge of a come-back after 5 years absence from the charts.

This is a factual account of the murder of John Lennon, based on well researched true accounts and a detailed time-line of events. But the book also proposes the idea that Lennon and Chapman were strangely drawn together by Fate, coincidence, synchronicity…call it what you will. For years, they had been moving towards each other on parallel tracks, until, on that dark December night, Mark Chapman drew his pistol and fired five shots to end Lennon’s life.

But Lennon had been singing about that moment ever since the release of his Walls and Bridges  album in 1974…the lyrics of #9 Dream can be seen as a premonition of his death. In the song, a figure steps out of the shadows and calls out his name…John is aware of two spirits dancing so strange…he hears the gunshots and feels the sudden cold….as the five shots echo through him on that river of sound, he begins to slip through the mirror to the other side…and as his life slips away, he feels “music touching (his) soul…something warm, sudden cold…the spirit dance was unfolding…”

The lyrics foretell the murder of John Lennon in startling detail.

“#9 Dream”

So long ago
Was it in a dream, was it just a dream?
I know, yes I know
Seemed so very real, it seemed so real to meTook a walk down the street
Thru the heat whispered trees
I thought I could hear (hear, hear, hear)
Somebody call out my name as it started to rainTwo spirits dancing so strangeAh! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, pousséDream, dream away
Magic in the air, was magic in the air?
I believe, yes I believe
More I cannot say, what more can I say?On a river of sound
Thru the mirror go round, round
I thought I could feel (feel, feel, feel)
Music touching my soul, something warm, sudden cold
The spirit dance was unfoldingAh! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, pousséAh! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé
Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé

Through the Mirror go Round – through the merry-go-round

The book gives a detailed insight into the murder of John Lennon. It offers an unusual and thought-provoking interpretation of the way Chapman selected John Lennon as the murder target.

Chapman was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and thought he was receiving signs and messages that he had to respond to…voices he heard inside his head and visual stimuli that could not be ignored.  

The book examines all the signs and triggers that prompted Chapman to kill. It includes details of the art work Chapman had collected and that he felt so significant, the album covers of Lennon and Todd Rundgren that influenced Chapman, and the books and lyrics that are a bizarre feature of this murder.

Below, is a small sample of the book’s contents:

Significant album covers:

With The Beatles album cover 1963 - the murder of John Lennon

the murder of John Lennon - Todd Rundgren's Utopia - Deface-the-Music-1980

Chapman was a dedicated fan of Todd Rundgren, and knew all Rundgren’s lyrics by heart. One of the most significant album covers, prized by Chapman, is Todd Rundgren’s 1980 “Deface the Music” album, released just before the murder. Placed alongside the classic “With the Beatles” cover from 1963, the parallels are obvious – the “Deface the Music” cover was seen by Chapman as a clear signal he must murder John Lennon, or deface the music of the Beatles.

Significant books:

the murder of John Lennon - Catcher in the Rye

Inspired by a close reading of J.D.Salinger’s “The Catcher In The Rye”, Chapman flew to New York and bought another copy of the book that meant so much to him. He had it with him when he shot Lennon, and as the rock star bled to death before him, Chapman sat down on the sidewalk, took the book out of his pocket and began reading it once more.

He identified himself totally with Holden Caulfield, the book’s main character, and wrote in the front of it 

“This is my statement. 

Holden Caulfield – The Catcher in the Rye” 

Why does “The Catcher In The Rye” feature in the murder of John Lennon? Because it is a novel about adolescent aimlessness, and a feeling of dissatisfaction with everything. Holden Caulfield, the main character, is disgusted with the phoniness of everyone he meets. The book describes a few days near Christmas, when Holden has been expelled from his school, and is wandering around New York, before going home to see his younger sister Phoebe.

The book deals with themes of teenage anxiety over sex, the feeling that everything is fake, and the realisation that innocence has been  lost. It is also, perhaps, for Holden, and for Chapman, a wish to journey back to a childhood when things were simpler. 

At the end of the book, Holden is trying to return to childhood…he stands in the children’s playground in Central Park, watching the Carousel go round and round, trying to spot his younger sister…he is watching the merry-go-round, the mirror-go-round…or as Lennon sings on his “Double Fantasy” album…”I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round”…

Lennon and Chapman are the two spirits dancing so strange.

Significant art work:

The murder of John Lennon - Triple Self Portrait

Chapman borrowed money to buy the Norman Rockwell print, “Triple Self Portrait”, seeing in it an expression of the power of multiple selves and mirror images. The painting introduces the idea of the three-way split, and the internal battle between multiple personalities. The warrior’s helmet perched on top of the easel signifies the battle within, the conflict between the person we are, the person we would like to be, the person we will become. By late 1980, Mark Chapman was all too aware of the triple personalities that dominated his life and were at war within him: John Lennon, Holden Caulfield and himself. He felt he had to destroy Lennon in order to set himself free.

These are just a few of the clues, or signals, that reveal the true motives in the murder of John Lennon. Chapman read the signs all around him, interpreting everything as a signal beamed to him, to spur him to action…to murder John Lennon.

The tragic irony of the murder of John Lennon is that he was consciously and sub-consciously sending out signals all through his career, via his lyrics and his album covers. Most poignantly, in November 1980, he released his “Double Fantasy” album (what an ironic title!) and the lyrics of that album, and the “Judas” kiss on the front cover were taken by Chapman as the final signal he had been waiting for.

Read what a recent reader says:

I read the “Through the Mirror Go Round” book and was very pleased with what you have written. For me it was a very cathartic reading. I always wished that I could have been there that night and somehow saved John. But after reading your book, I realised that no matter how many times I played the scenario out, your writing brought me to the conclusion that the murder had to happen. The bell triggering Chapman’s murderous thoughts was quite chilling.

Paul S.

Amazon Kindle


The author has also written a novelisation of the murder of John Lennon.

Read the novelised version…

the murder of John Lennon - Two Spirits Dancing

Two Spirits Dancing’ by D W Pryke