The Reason Some Are Convinced Jim Morrison Is Still Alive

If Jim Morrison were alive today, as of this writing, he would be a few months shy of his 78th birthday. The operative word in that last sentence, as you may have figured out, is "if" — the long-accepted narrative is that the Doors frontman, then only 27 years old, was found dead in his bathtub in his Paris home on July 3, 1971. Although no autopsy was ever performed on the singer (via All That's Interesting), it was no secret that he was a heavy drinker and drug user for most of his short adult life. So while it has never been confirmed, rumors persist to this day that Morrison, whose official cause of death was listed as heart failure, accidentally overdosed on heroin.

Tough as it was for many fans to accept it back in the day, just about everyone has long come to terms with the fact that Morrison is dead, and that his legacy will always live on through the timeless songs he recorded with the Doors. But like many dead rock stars, Morrison has been the subject of conspiracy theories claiming that he may still be alive and keeping an extremely low profile. In fact, there were a few people who made such claims in recent years, and they had gone as far as to insist that they had actual, face-to-face encounters with the Lizard King himself in his old age.

Jim Morrison: Alive and well as a rancher in Oregon?

Could Jim Morrison have gone from topping the Billboard charts, defying Ed Sullivan, and allegedly showing off lil' Jimbo to an enraged Miami audience to ... living the quiet life of a rancher in Oregon? In 2009, Gerald Pitts, a man claiming to be Morrison's agent, spoke to Classic Bands, telling the publication's Gary James that the Lizard King purchased a ranch in 1999 and that he helped him put together a "rodeo stage coach." He also went into detail about how Morrison supposedly faked his death in 1971 by purposely overdosing on drugs — surely, there are safer ways to fake one's death, including those that won't actually kill you if you aren't careful. But Pitts stood by his story, claiming that Morrison was in a coma for six weeks before waking up and proceeding to live his life in seclusion.

"I received news the other day from a pretty good source, they had scanned the grave and they claim there's nobody in there," Pitts continued. "Well of course there's not a body in there, and if there was in there, it's not Jim's! But there were only four people at the funeral."

After explaining that Morrison faked his death so he could evade the outstanding federal arrest warrants over the Miami incident, and so he could avoid the hangers-on who would frequently ply him with drugs and alcohol (as if there weren't any people like that in Paris), Pitts told James that he believes Morrison's fellow "27 Club" members Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were murdered in such a way that their deaths looked like accidental overdoses. James wisely shot those theories down and redirected the conversation to Pitts' insistence that Morrison was, at that time, still alive.

Doubling down on dubious claims

In his interview with Classic Bands, Gerald Pitts told the site that Jim Morrison was married to a woman named Marsha and that before buying his Oregon ranch, he was employed as a construction worker; as he explained, he took such a 360-degree turn from rock stardom simply because he wanted to disappear. He did not, however, mention the name Morrison had purportedly started using as part of his new identity — William James "Bill" Loyer. According to Willamette Week, a YouTube user uploaded a poorly-edited video in 2011 that showed Morrison's face superimposed over that of Loyer. The clip also showed blurry footage of Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek saying that Morrison was "in Oregon," though most people will likely sense the sarcasm in Manzarek's tone and facial expression.

In 2015, Classic Bands' Gary James spoke to another person who claimed to have been in touch with Morrison in recent years. According to John Ceperich, Morrison was still living as Bill Loyer at the time of the interview, "though you always have to be very careful about what subject you bring up, because when he wants to talk about Jim and The Doors and the old days, he will." He went on to warn that Morrison would instantly end the conversation if someone voluntarily brought up his past life with the Doors. But much like he did with Pitts, who was allegedly "on the outs" with Morrison as of 2015, James treated his subject with a great deal of skepticism, as any sensible music fan should.

Other theories claim Morrison overdosed in a Paris nightclub

With no solid photographic evidence — or any other kind of tangible proof — to back up their claims, it's safe to say that the likes of Gerald Pitts and John Ceperich can be taken just as seriously as your average issue of Mad Magazine. That said, there are others who have claimed that Morrison didn't die in his bathtub, as the official story goes. But unlike Pitts and Ceperich, these theorists firmly believe that Morrison is no longer with us, and hasn't been for the past five decades.

In his book, "The End: Jim Morrison," former New York Times journalist Sam Bernett wrote that the Lizard King overdosed in the bathroom of a Paris nightclub in the early morning of July 3, 1971, shortly after meeting up with two drug dealers. "The flamboyant singer of 'The Doors,' the beautiful California boy, had become an inert lump crumpled in the toilet of a nightclub," Bernett recalled, as quoted by All That's Interesting. "When we found him dead, he had a little foam on his nose, and some blood too, and the doctor said, 'That must be an overdose of heroin.'"

As for the allegation that Morrison's girlfriend, Pamela Courson, gave him the heroin that ultimately killed him, singer Marianne Faithfull alleged that her boyfriend at the time, Jean de Breiteuil, was the one responsible for supplying the drugs to the Doors frontman.