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Jim Morrison Lives: The Legacy of the Lizard King

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Jim Morrison is Alive and Well All Over the Place
by Jerry Hopkins

The telephone operator asked, "Will you accept a collect call from Jim Morrison?"

I wasn't sure what to say. As far as I knew, Jim had been dead for years, yet this was the third such call in a couple of months. Finally, I shrugged and said what the hell, why not? It was an interesting conversation, but it wasn't Jim. At least not the Jim I remembered.

As the coauthor of Jim's biography, No One Here Gets Out Alive, I've grown used to phone calls and letters from fans who want to know if Jim is really dead. Some of the more interesting communications are from those who answer the question themselves with a resounding, if unconvincing, no. In fact, many of these people claim they are Jim Morrison. Living one's life vicariously through that of a stranger is one thing; instant reincarnation is another.

What seems amazing is just how many people are willing to believe such claims. Whenever the three surviving Doors performed after Jim's demise in Paris in 1971, their concerts would take on the feelings of a seance. Many in the audience honestly believed that Jim would appear any minute and grab the microphone. Sometimes, Ray Manzarek would fuel the fire by calling out to Jim, or announce that he knew Morrison was in the hall somewhere. And remember that single by "the Phantom"? Surely that was Jim Morrison, said the devoted.

I suppose I'm as responsible for this sort of thing as anyone. After all, the final chapter of our book, which deals with the circumstances of Morrison's death, is rather ambiguous. However, I take no credit for any of the reincarnated Lizard Kings I have met or heard from in recent years.

The first one I encountered was a beaut. He surfaced in San Francisco shortly after Jim's reported death and began cashing checks in Morrison's name. He wasn't writing bad checks, mind you; it was his money he was spending. It was just that he dressed as Jim did in his leather period, and that he told everyone he was indeed the singer.

Our conversations were unsettling. He told me he wanted to go to Paris and dig up Jim's grave to prove he wasn't there. "But you have to have permission from twelve Catholic cardinals to do that," he said. A visit to his home was more jarring. There, one end of a large room had been converted into a Morrison shrine — posters, fresh flowers, religious icons, the works.

Meanwhile, there were at least two other Jim Morrisons alive and well in Louisiana. I don't know why so many seem to have settled, or arisen from, there. Perhaps it's because the Doors' final performance as a quartet was in New Orleans, a concert at which Jim tried to beat the stage to death.

The first of these "Morrisons" wrote and published a book called The Bank of America of Louisiana. It begins with the words, "This is the story of the reappearance on earth of a dead Hollywood rock star as superhippie, disguised as a mild-minded Louisiana banker." The 200 pages of prose that followed were described accurately by one of the few book reviewers who paid it any attention as "either prenatal or post-Quaalude." Nonetheless, several thousand copies of the book were sold, largely by mail.

Another Southern-fried Jim Morrison was reportedly seen by "Donny" of Baton Rouge, who recently wrote me about an incident he says happened in 1978. A good friend of his, Larry, had high hopes of succeeding as a rock musician in those days, Donny said. But he abandoned them after meeting a man who lived in a mansion with a bunch of small, naked children.

"I remember Larry telling of one whole wall of a room with nothing but shelves of books all across it," Danny wrote. "Every one of the books was about Satan or had something to do with him. He also told me of a large chair that looked like a throne on which this man sat and watched over his nude children running around. Now, this will really freak you out. Larry stumbled onto some letters from major rock bands and artists, such as Led Zeppelin, Rush and others. Larry became frightened and decided to get the hell out of there, and fast! Today, Larry is one of the best Christians I know of. After his experience at that mansion, he decided he wanted nothing to do with becoming a rock & roll star. I guess you probably have guessed who this kindly, weird old man is — JIM MORRISON, THE LIZARD KING IN ALL HIS GLORY!"

A somewhat less likely but more bizarre Jim Morrison was introduced to me by someone claiming to be his "cosmic mate." "This is to let you know," she wrote, "that Jim Morrison is living, incognito, with his cosmic mate, Rhea, and four-year-old son, Jesse Blue James, in Staten Island. His initial rising was in May 1979. Jim has evolved into a state of pure energy and can materialize and dematerialize. Jim and I are the first human examples of cosmic mate neutralization (a mental and physical process). We are part of a Divine Plan and are under Divine Direction. Jim and I can communicate telepathically/electromagnetically. You are the first, Jerry, to hear from us. We'll get in touch with you again, soon, and give you a way to reach us (if you want to). I, Rhea, am writing this letter under Jim's direction. I am his Ambassadress-Wife."

You might give me a call, Rhea. I'm in the telephone book. But please, don't call collect.

Next: Music Without the Myth

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