Given my particular interest in conspiracy theories and the supernatural, I naturally have been fascinated by the various conspiracy theories that swirled around James Dean, who is the subject of the book I have been writing. One of these conspiracies alleged that Warner Bros. intentionally fabricated an urban legend that Dean had not died in the Sept. 1955 crash that killed him but instead lived on disfigured in some secret sanitarium. For nearly seven decades, writers have shrugged and passed it off as another tabloid craze. The claim of Dean’s continued life is, of course, false, and likely originated as a spontaneously generated bit teenager mythology, but it turns out there is a compelling story about how and why the media got hold of these rumors.
Read the full story of the publicity campaign that fed conspiracy and supernatural legends in my Substack newsletter.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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