Lindsay Kish

Pd. 5
Jim Morrison
He is often referred to as the “electric poet” for his tantalizing
words and mesmerizing music, and was called the “Lizard King” for his deep
obsession for all creatures of nature. His name is James Douglas Morrison.

Jim Morrison is one of the most influential artists in history. His life
brought inspiration to many young people’s lives, and his death continues
to weave us into the mysteries that he left behind for us to break through.

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One certain mystery happened the night his soul passed on. No one really
knows what happened to Jim that made him leave the world that night. There
are rumors of death from natural causes, a heroin overdose, or even that he
is still alive and well keeping the rest of his life a secret to us all.

To better understand Jim Morrison himself, a background of his life and
especially his character is necessary. James Douglas Morrison was born on
December 8, 1943, in Melbourne, Florida. He was the first child of George
Stephen Morrison and Clara Clark Morrison. He had two younger siblings,
Anne and Andrew. His father was an officer in the United States Navy and
his mother remained a housewife to act as the “dominant parent” over the
three kids. After graduating from Florida State University, he attended
film school at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1964, where
he met Ray Manzarek. A year later, the two form a band called The Doors
with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore after Jim reveals to Ray some songs
that he had written. Jim Morrison was on vocals, Ray Manzarek on organ,
Robbie Krieger on guitar, and John Densmore on the drums. The Doors became
a very successful band, recording fourteen albums altogether, not including
bootleg recordings. In 1971, the four Doors break up after Jim decides to
move to Paris to pursue a writing career. Jim Morrison was intelligent,
intimidating, sensitive, wild, just about everything a person could be
rolled into one. In a publicity bio recorded by Elektra, Jim said, ” I’ve
always been attracted to ideas that were about revolt against authority
when you make your peace with authority, you become an authority. I like
ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of established order. I am
interested in anything about revolt, disorder, and chaos, especially
activity that seems to have no meaning.” Jim had a “fascination with
authority and a devotion to its overthrow”. It was almost like he knew his
destiny, when his life was going to make a turn and how it was going to
happen. He once told a reporter, “You could say I was ideally suited for
the work I’m doing. It’s the feeling of a bow string being pulled back for
twenty-two years and suddenly let go”. He was the perfect example of a one-
of-a-kind character with a unique soul. Unfortunately, that soul had a time
to pass and that time was July 3, 1971, when Jim was at the age of twenty-
seven. Jim had moved to Paris in that previous March to reside with his on-
and-off girlfriend, Pamela Courson. He wished to be recognized for his
words as a poet, not as a rock singer. The “proper” story of his death
starts out at Pam and Jim’s Paris apartment. It is Saturday, July 3, in the
hours of the early morning. Jim vomited a small amount of blood. Because
this had happened before, Pam was not really worried. After Jim said he
felt okay, he went to take a bath while Pam went to bed. At around five
o’clock in the morning, she woke up to find that Jim was not lying beside
her. She went into the bathroom to find Jim, still in the tub with his head
laid back and his arms resting along the sides. He seemed to have had a
“boyish smile” upon his face. This caused Pam to think that it was just
another one of Jim’s crazy stunts, but realizing that he was not kidding
around, she phoned the police and fire department. According to Pam, they
all had come too late to save Jim’s life. There are a many people who do
not believe this story. The first published cause of his death is said to
be heart failure or death of natural causes. Police had first listed a
heart attack as the cause of Jim’s death, and The LA Times wrote an article
saying that Jim had died of a “heart ailment”. The medical examiner, Dr.

Max Vasille, is the doctor that released the cause of Jim’s death. His
report says, I note that the body does not show, apart from the lividness
of death, any suspicious signs of trauma or lesions of any kind. A little
blood around the nostrils. The history of Mr. Morrison’s condition, such as
it was described to us by a friend on the premises, can be summed up thus:
Mr. Morrison had been complaining for a few weeks of pericardial pains with
dyspnoea. It was evidently coronary problems, possibly aggravated by
abusive drinking. One can imagine that on the occasion of a change of
outside temperature followed by a bath, these troubles were suddenly
aggravated, leading to classical myocardial infarction, causing sudden
death. I conclude from my examination that death was caused by heart
failure. Most Morrison fans do not believe this allegation, however. Two
main factors cause disbelief among people: the time it took for people to
find out about the death and the fact that no one, besides anyone
originally in France, saw his body. It took a full six days after Jim had
died for the story to come out to the media. It was kept a secret so well
that Jim’s manager, Bill Siddons, did not receive even a rumor about it
until two days after the death actually took place. These two conditions
gave rise to the rumors that heart failure was not the actual cause of
Jim’s death. Another presumed purpose for Jim’s demise is that he
overdosed on heroin. While living in Paris, Jim and Pam had been “regulars”
at a club called Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus. This club was known as a “haven for
the local heroin underground. He always bought heroin for Pam because he
thought it was the “man’s job”. Also, the fact that Jim was found dead in
the bathtub suggests an overdose, too. This is usually the first place an
overdose victim is taken for attempted resuscitation. Although many of
Jim’s friends say that Jim was terrified of hypodermic needles, there is a
possibility that Jim sniffed the heroin. According to Jerry Hopkins and
Danny Sugerman, “the amount of inhaled heroin that is lethal is
considerably less when combined with alcohol.” A drug that Jim had been
continuously abusive with and also “the two act in concert to still the
central nervous system and respiratory systems, resulting in a quick
painless death”. A painless death may also explain the smile that was upon
his face he did not even expect his death coming. Linda Ashcroft, another
one of Jim’s girlfriends, apparently is one of the only people who Pam ever
told the whole truth to. Ashcroft says that when she met up with Pam after
Jim’s death, Pam confessed to persuading Jim that the heroin was only
cocaine, a drug that Pam knew Jim had taken before. Dr. John P. Morgan
reviewed this case in 1992 and said that he does not see any indication of
a heart attack and that all the signs point to a heroin overdose. The last,
important factor in suggesting that the cause of death was an overdose is
the fact that the police statements of Pam and Alain Ronay, a friend, do
not coincide. For example, Pam says that the firemen are called after Ronay
arrives at the apartment, while Ronay says that the firemen were already at
the building when he arrived there. There is much reasonable evidence that
Jim Morrison died of a heroin overdose.Finally, the last suspicion about
Jim and his death is that he is still alive. According to rumors he is
living in North Africa where Arthur Rimbaud, a favorite poet of Jim’s, had
disappeared. Jim had also referred to his nickname “Mr. Mojo Risin'” as a
contact to the office after he would escape to Africa. Also, according to
Steve Harris, Jac Holzman’s assistant recalls Jim asking him what would
happen if he had suddenly died without warning. Most of Jim’s former close
friends agree that staging his own death is the exact kind of stunt Jim
would pull, and he would especially get away with it with Pam’s assistance.

Jim Morrison was definitely in a league of his own. He was a poet,
writer, and singer, and he was skillful doing all of those. No one could
tell what he was going to do next, who he was going to be next. Everything
was left a mystery, even his own death. Over twenty years later, no one
knows what truly happened that terrible night in Paris. He is said to have
died of either heart failure, a heroin overdose, or not to have died at
all. All we can do is wonder and wait for the answers, and maybe even wait
for Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself to reveal the truth to us all.