Celebrities will do anything to grab our attention and keep us interested. So, in order to acquire fame or, in the case of stars that are already established, to stay in the spotlight, artists will do all sorts of things. They’ll wear the craziest outfits, leak their own sex tapes, and even date someone just because they’re famous.
Now, if they really want to stand out from the pack, they need to go that extra mile. Enter the occult. Including elements of the dark arts in their work or even simply hinting that they might dabble in it or believe in certain things is enough to make us want to know more about that person. Most people are scared of anything that has to do with magic, spirits, or the devil, so when we learn that someone famous is into any of these things, we are morbidly fascinated. But how do we know if they’re only doing it for the attention, or if they’re actually into this stuff? The truth is we don’t actually know these people, so we can’t just just meet them for coffee and ask them about it. The only thing we can do is guess.
Here are some celebrities who have been rumored to mess with the occult:
1. Elvis Presley
The King of Rock and Roll continues to capture the public imagination decades after his death. He truly embodied the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll lifestyle that ultimately led to his early death. However, according to his wife and other people close to him, he was also an avid reader, devouring book after book about several topics such as Satanism and witchcraft, as well as metaphysics. Despite his Christian upbringing in his native Mississippi, he still had questions about life and the universe that he couldn’t find an answer to in his religion. So, for many years in his short life, he embarked on a journey of self-discovery through these books.
2. David Bowie
This rock icon became a superstar known for his music as much as for his androgynous looks and eccentric personality. However, you might not know that he also believed in magic and witches. Actually, he didn’t just believe they existed, but he was convinced they were out to get him and steal his sperm. He was so scared, apparently, that he hired a witch to do an exorcism on him, and also performed protection rituals on himself in order to keep bad spirits away. Nonetheless, it is argued that his fears about witches were a result of his drug abuse and that he stopped talking about them after he got clean. So, was it all in his head? You be the judge.
Photo: Capitol Records/Photofest
3. The Beatles
Because of the level of fame they attained, there is no shortage of rumors and stories surrounding The Beatles. Generations of fans around the world love the band for their catchy melodies and beautiful lyrics. However, in the search for themes and inspiration to write their music, The Beatles experimented a lot with things that weren’t as light and innocent as their songs might suggest. Take for example the cover of their eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which came out in the late 1960s. The cover features dozens of familiar faces from popular culture and world history. However, one of these faces is not like the others. On the top left corner, we see Aleister Crowley’s face staring deep into our eyes. Yes, that Aleister Crowley. Did The Beatles put him on their cover just to be cool? Or was it a sneaky way of letting us know that they were into Satanism?
Photo by: Dick Barnatt/Redferns
4. Led Zeppelin
It’s no secret that this band, one of the most successful and influential ones in the history of rock, was seriously into the occult. Jimmy Page, the band’s founder, was allegedly a follower of Aleister Crowley, a black magician and Satanist. Evidence of Page’s beliefs is found all over the band’s discography. There’s even rumors that the members of the band sold their souls to the devil in order to become rock-and-roll superstars. This sounds crazy, of course, but the rumor is not completely unfounded. Inscribed in the original vinyl record of Led Zeppelin III is the phrase “Do what thou wilt,” a core tenet of Crowley’s philosophy. Does that mean they were all Satanists? No, but it is pretty solid evidence that they went beyond light dabbling.
Rounding up the list, there’s Grimes, because female celebrities of the twenty-first century have a right to mess with the occult too. Don’t let that sweet, girlish voice fool you: this girl is into some weird stuff. Her music has been frequently linked to Witch House, an electronic music genre whose visual esthetic includes many different occult elements. Grimes herself has been rumored to practice witchcraft and undertake long periods of sleep deprivation and starvation in order to reach higher levels of consciousness and produce the kind of music she wants.
Is there any way of knowing for sure whether any of these artists were genuinely involved in the occult? No. But is it fun to think about and let our imagination run wild? Oh, yes it is.
Cover photo: Sony Music