As has been noted countless time in the past 48 hours, Amy Winehouse is not the first talented musician to die tragically at the age of 27. There’s even a name for this subset—The 27 Club or Forever 27—and some of its members include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Brian Jones. So, are all the deaths just a coincidence or is there some explanation for this eerie phenomenon? After the jump, five theories about the 27 Club.
- The Saturn Return. In astrology, the return of Saturn occurs when Saturn circles back to its position at the time of your birth. One Saturn cycle takes about 29.4 years, but astrologers say that its influence starts being felt at age 27. When Saturn returns for its first time, a person crosses over a major threshold and enters into adulthood. For those of us who have gone through it, this initiation into our second half of life can be both wonderful and brutal. It’s a time when relationships end, parents die, and careers change. One can get mired in these changes and be sucked down into an abyss or push through and experience a whole new level of satisfaction and contentment. Either way, it’s a time of great confusion and intensity that’s described by some as a second adolescence. Add the additional stress of being a creative soul, managing celebrity, and battling a drug habit and you’ve got a dangerous recipe for a possible deadly outcome.
- Drug Decay. Most members of The 27 Club have a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse. Sure, substance abusers are at greater risk for health complications or possible overdoses, but age may have something to do with it as well. According to psychotherapist Stephanie Sarkis, 27 may be the age that drug use starts catching up with the body. “People who have been using since their late teens and early 20s have really built up a tolerance for the drugs they are using. More drugs needed to produce the same high equals more chance of an overdose,” she explains. [Huffington Post]
- A Satanic Pact. For those of you who enjoy a good conspiracy theory, some believe that members of The 27 Club have all signed a contract with the devil to achieve fame and fortune in rock and roll, starting with blues musician Robert Johnson. The legend goes that Johnson had no talent at guitar, but yearned for major success. One night, he heard a voice that told him to visit the crossroads by Dockery’s plantation at midnight. There, he was met by a large black man who apparently was the devil in disguise. The big man took the guitar from Johnson, tuned it, and returned it to him. This devil offered him the guitar in exchange for his soul. Robert Johnson returned from the plantation with the magic guitar and became a blues virtuoso overnight. In 1938, at age of 27, he was poisoned and died. According to an “anonymous” Satanic high priestess, all members of The 27 Club since Johnson have been promised fame and fortune in exchange for their agreement to teach youth to serve Satan. She claims that they hold special ceremonies during recording sessions where they place satanic blessings on their music. As the music is played, these demons are called into the room to afflict the person playing the music and anyone who is listening.
- Numerology. In numerology, the number 27 reduces to the number 9, which represents the end of a cycle. These transitional cycles are highly charged, and can be too much for some to handle. When faced with the discomfort of the unknown, many will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, seek a way out through suicide, or engage in reckless behavior that ends up crossing the line. But this is oversimplified. To understand The 27 Club phenomenon, numerologists also look at life path numbers, period cycles, and pinnacle cycles. Without getting too technical, the theory is when all these numbers and cycles align at the age of 27, they may predict an untimely death. [Numerology]
- The Erikson Explanation. Is it possible that the deaths of The 27 Club are more psychological in nature? Perhaps, yes. German psychologist Erik Erikson, developed a theory about the eight stages of psychosocial development, which happen from birth to 65 and older. According to Erikson, the psychosocial crisis that occurs between the ages of 18 and 35 is the struggle between intimacy and isolation. A person at this developmental stage may ask themselves, “Will I share my life with someone or be alone forever?” Theoretically, someone prone to substance abuse and isolation (creative types, hello) may find this crisis impossible to pass through, losing themselves, and even their lives during a crucial time, which just so happens to be around age 27. [Rolling Out]
Do you think there’s an explanation for The 27 Club or is it just a seriously freaky coincidence?