Imagine a Lennon seance

Times Staff Writer

PRODUCERS of a 2003 pay-per-view special that tried to reach Princess Diana via seance are at it again -- this time their moneymaking mystics will try to conjure up the spirit of John Lennon.

Paul Sharratt of Starcast Productions, interviewed in the British press, has defended his company’s plans to deploy psychics and television cameras to the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, the Dakota apartment building and Strawberry Fields memorial park in New York and other Lennon-centric sites in an attempt to reach the late Beatle in the afterlife.

“People say this is disgusting and I accept that criticism,” Sharratt said of the April 24 live broadcast on In Demand. “But we’re making a serious attempt to do something that many, many millions of people around the world think is possible.... Lennon was very interested in the spiritual world. It’s a natural follow-up to the Diana seance.”


Lennon himself apparently was open to the idea of communing with the souls of the departed; a Newsweek article published shortly after his death in 1980 noted that the rock icon and his wife, Yoko Ono, had staged a seance at their residence in the Dakota. But Elliot Mintz, Ono’s longtime spokesman, told Reuters recently that the show is purely exploitative and crass.

“John Lennon was an amazing communicator of heart, mind and spirit,” Mintz said. “He still speaks to those who choose to listen to his recordings. That was the medium he chose to speak with us. A ‘pay-per-view’ seance was never his style.... In the end, such a show only benefits the producers. It’s another example of the misuse of John’s affirmation of life as opposed to the preoccupation of his death.”

“The Spirit of Lennon” seance costs $9.95, compared with the $14.95 Princess Diana show, which pulled in a reported 500,000 subscribers in the U.S.

The seance show is the latest Lennon media moment that has rankled Mintz and others close to the estate. Besides an NBC “Dateline” report that focused primarily on Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, there’s an upcoming feature film on Chapman that will be “granting an assassin’s dream” of fame, as Mintz told Reuters.