By Shelley Germeaux
Note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2002 (No. 18) issue of Daytrippin’ – just a few months after George Harrison’s death.
Psychic phenomenon – precognitive dreams, strange coincidences, and intuitive hunches about people we care for – is always an interesting topic of discussion. It usually happens with relatives and close friends, but in this case I am talking about George Harrison. A few Beatle friends have shared with me some “strange” experiences they had between the hours preceding his death on November 29, 2001 and before we heard the news on November 30. Maybe some of you had similar experiences.
Writing about this reminded me of the profound experience I had the night George was stabbed and nearly killed in his home on December 30, 1999. I figured out later that the attack must have occurred about four hours before this. I was about to get into bed, and impulsively picked up the book, The Ballad of John & Yoko. I happened to open it to an article about John’s murder, and became completely engrossed in the memories of the doorman at the Dakota apartments. The details as he recalled them were so graphic, it felt as though I was reliving the whole terrifying experience, one second at a time. After that I had trouble falling asleep and vowed to never read such upsetting stuff like that before bed again.
I awoke a couple hours later after having a vivid image in my mind – the plaque on the gate at George’s house that says “Friar Park”. Startled, I wondered why I would think of that. It had been a year and a half since I’d been to Friar Park on a Beatle tour. But the images wouldn’t stop, and I kept thinking about being there, and taking pictures by the gate.
I tossed and turned until 2 am and finally went to the kitchen. Pacing with a cup of hot cocoa, I was panicked for no definable reason, and mentally chastised myself for how ridiculous this was. In the morning though, I was stunned to learn of George’s horrific brush with death when I turned on the TV, seeing that image of the Friar Park gate on the news. I think the sudden obsession to read about John Lennon’s death that night had been triggered by a subconscious but obviously razor sharp intuition that a terrible, similar event had just occurred, which then produced the images of the actual place of the crime, Friar Park, when I fell asleep.
After that, I had the occasional “George” dream, always that he and I were talking on the phone, and vivid enough to wake me suddenly. Was he “trying to get a message through” about his illness?
On November 29, 2001, I emailed a friend of mine, Mike, who operates a Beatle shop in L.A. called “Pepperland”. I told him that I had a strange dream the night before. We were all at a Beatle convention and there was a huge table full of flowers and cards that fans had sent to Yoko when John died. She had written thank you notes on the back of each card and was giving them back as souvenirs. I spotted a huge bouquet of tulips with Mike’s name clearly on them. I told Mike it was probably because John’s upcoming anniversary was on my mind.
After sending him this note, I noticed how tired I was. I worked awhile longer, but about 1:00 p.m. I felt so ill I had to go lie down. My head was fuzzy, my ears were ringing and I was exhausted. I groaned, sure that I was coming down with the flu. After sleeping for two hours in the afternoon, I seemed to feel OK – odd considering how sick I had felt.
The next morning, I woke up at 5:30 am sharp and immediately turned the TV on, where of course, I heard the sad news that George had passed away the day before at 1:30 pm (Pacific Time). I later realized that my odd sensation of illness the day before had occurred during the time George was passing away. The dream about the flowers hit a familiar chord as I saw all the flowers, cards and candles being laid at John Lennon’s Imagine circle in Central Park, for both John and George.
When I emailed Mike to say, “Isn’t it weird that I just told you about that dream yesterday?” He wrote back and said, “Yes… I had a call from Mexico about 4:30 yesterday. For some strange reason, I told this Beatles fan on the phone that I thought George had just died. Strange.”
My husband, Ron, called from Japan that night and when I told him about George, he was very upset, and said, “When I was leaving for the airport, I had a feeling George might die while I was gone. I was thinking how sad that would be, not to be with you.” Ironically, he was also about to visit the John Lennon Museum outside Tokyo.
The next day a friend of mine, also an avid Beatles fan, caught me in Starbucks, and came over to talk about George. At one point he said, “It’s very weird, I had been meaning to change my password on my computer at work for a long time, and finally decided that day (the 29th) to get it done. I decided to use George’s name in my password, and I happened to type it in at 1:30.”
I was stunned to hear this incredible story from another friend, Brian, who has loved The Beatles since his youth. He simply said, without hesitation, “I had a dream that night that George and I were walking together. We talked for nearly 15 minutes. It was so cool. I’ve never had a dream like that before. We were in New York. Finally I needed to go to a hotel where some friends were, and then he said he wanted to go by himself to Central Park to visit John’s Imagine circle. He said goodbye then. It was so real. After I woke up I found out on the news that he had died.”
Linda Wilson is another devoted fan who has worked with the Beatle tribute band, “Rain”. She helped to coordinate a tribute “rooftop” concert with them for John’s 50th birthday in Seattle in 1990. It was so well publicized that it was coordinated with Yoko Ono’s efforts in New York. Linda wrote to say she had “a very uplifting dream about George” early on the 29th, hours before he died.
“I was watching the Beatles perform,” Linda said. “They were having a blast playing their music together. George was having the best time of all, bouncing around between John, Paul, and Ringo with this huge smile on his face. He was so elated, he was beaming. As they finished up the song, George reached in his pocket and threw a button at me and it landed in my lap. It said ‘Love to you, George.’ As they walked off stage, I could still hear them all laughing but George’s laughter was getting louder.”
Linda continued: “I finally turned around to see him looking through a partition in the back of the room, and he smiled and waved to me. He threw a bottle of water at me, which sprayed all over me, and when I looked at the label, it said ‘ZEN’. When I woke up, I thought that wherever George was, he was very happy. Late that night I heard the news and felt that my dream had all the elements that endeared people to George – his joy of music, his wacky humor, his generosity, his undying love and his spiritual enlightenment through introspection (the meaning of Zen). Not only do I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful goodbye dream, but I was sprinkled with Zen water by George!”
I can’t explain the unseen forces that create these psychic flashes of intuition and profound dreams. But the Beatles have been like brothers of ours – for some of us, our whole lives. We love them, and we are deeply upset when something happens to any of them. We seem to have developed a deeper relationship to them on a soul level that is tuned into their frequency like a cosmic radio station.
Not to mention the mystical or psychic qualities that emanated from both John and George, and a high interest in spiritual matters. After all, it was John that gave us the Tibetan chanting of “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and George that introduced the Indian philosophies, including their spiritual music, to the pop world. Then we watched as all the Beatles learned meditation with the Maharishi. They were spiritual seekers who shared their discoveries with us as teachers, even if they never found all the answers.
Perhaps this is yet another lesson for us. Perhaps Linda’s dream that George was looking through the partition is his message that he will still be looking in on us from the “other side of the veil”. His laughter tells us to be joyful, both in life and in death as he waves goodbye and joins John “backstage”.
– Shelley Germeaux is the former John Lennon Examiner and former National Music columnist for Examiner.com, and a contributor to Daytrippin’ Magazine. She can be reached here.