[Note: See footnote dated 10/20/2016.]
When you ask how I’ve been here without you,
I like to say I’ve been fine, and I do.
But we both know the truth is hard to come by.
And if I told the truth, that’s not quite true.
(Some Days Are Diamonds, by Dick Feller, Performed by John Denver)
The National Transportation Safety Board on January 26 1999 held a public meeting regarding the 10/12/97 death of singer John Denver, real name Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. I called NTSB earlier this summer to get hold of a copy of that report, only to be told that they have no record of it. I did find it, eventually, in the Wayback Machine.
That’s odd, NTSB missing a report on one of the most high-profile plane crashes in recent memory. But it makes sense from another standpoint: If the death was faked, and if higher powers were involved, then people of integrity at NTSB might simply want to back away from it. They would not want their careers or character sullied by such an affair of deceit. So they allow the report to circulate, but do not claim ownership.
Here at this blog we do a lot of research of fake deaths, and on the surface, Denver’s had all the earmarks. He died at an appropriate age (53, 5+3 = 8, Spook marker*), and the circumstances of his death are completely hinky. He is said to have been struggling with the fuel tank switch in his Long EZ, a second-hand home-assembled model he bought and flew even as he could easily afford something new, something factory built. It doesn’t read well. Denver, a smart man and accomplished pilot with hundreds of hours of flight time, was not going to perish in an act of idiocy.
Other markers of fake death are present as well. Denver’s once-prolific output had dwindled, his more current offerings were just not very good. As with Elvis, Karen Carpenter, John Lennon and most recently Prince, faking death is a business decision that maximizes the monetary value of the body of work. Denver’s Greatest Hits, along with his cutting room debris, have all been repackaged and resold to the tune of millions of dollars, as with the others who fake their deaths.
I’ve been working on this issue for months now, off and on, and am convinced now that John Denver did not die that day. Too many things are wrong with the picture. And yet, I don’t think I will ever be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he didn’t. While the people who planned the charade were sloppy and while the whole day of his death seems a cheap and contrived detective novel, there is enough “evidence” to keep the myth alive. There is a fingerprint match, probably facilitated by Monterey Sheriff Norman G. Hicks, and the absence of two toes on the corpse, said to be a link to the real Denver, but probably contrived and circular. While I cannot disprove these two pieces of evidence, I will cast doubt.