Fact Check

Were the Beatles Photographed Holding Upside-Down 'Satanic' Crosses?

Could it be ...... SATAN???

Published Mar 20, 2022

Updated Jul 29, 2022
Image Via Meme
The Beatles were once photographed holding upside-down crosses.


Two topics that frequently intersect in internet rumors and memes are celebrities and satanism. Among the popular culture icons who have been accused in recent years — falsely, we might add — of worshipping Satan and/or displaying so-called "satanic symbols" are Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, former U.S. President Barack Obama, Chelsea Clinton, Melinda Gates, and the list goes on and on.

Clinton and Gates, specifically, have both been accused of owning and wearing "satanic upside-down crosses," a claim for which the only evidence ever presented is blurry, low-resolution photographs that prove nothing. (We note in passing that the so-called "upside-down" or "inverted" cross is actually a Christian symbol, known to Catholics as the Cross of St. Peter, or Petrine Cross, representing the upside-down crucifixion of St. Peter.)

Another set of celebrities falsely associated with upside-down cross wearing -- ironically so, given their squeaky-clean image compared to that of their main rock 'n' roll rivals early on, the Rolling Stones -- is the Beatles. A photo of John, Paul, George and Ringo taken in the mid-1960s purportedly shows them proudly displaying four upside-down crosses as they mug for press photographers:

beatles upside down satanic crosses

However, it's easy to prove that this photo was manipulated to give the appearance that the Beatles were holding upside-down crosses, when in fact they were displaying the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medals they were awarded in 1965.

Here, from the Getty Images archive, is the original, unaltered photograph, dated Oct. 26, 1965:

the beatles mbe awards 26th October 1965: The Beatles proudly show off their MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) awards at a press reception held at the Saville Theatre, after an Investiture at Buckingham Palace, London. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)


“Did Chelsea Clinton Tweet ‘Happy New Year’ to the Church of Satan?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/chelsea-clinton-church-satan/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“Did Melinda Gates Wear an Upside-Down Cross?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/melinda-gates-upside-down-cross/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“Did Miley Cyrus Tell Fans to Worship Satan If They Want to Be Rich and Famous?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/miley-cyrus-worship-satan/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“Does This Photograph Show Barack Obama Dressed as Satan?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/barack-obama-illuminati-photo/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“FACT CHECK: Did Jay Z Say ‘Satan Is Our True Lord’ and ‘Only Idiots Believe in Jesus?’” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jay-z-said-satan-is-our-true-lord-and-only-idiots-believe-in-jesus/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“FACT CHECK: Did Katy Perry Say Praying to Satan Should Be On Your Bucket List?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/katy-perry-satan-bucket-list/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“FACT CHECK: Was Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Satanic?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lady-gaga-super-bowl-satanic-ritual/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

Lifton, Dave LiftonDave. “The Day the Beatles Received Their MBEs.” Ultimate Classic Rock, https://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-mbe/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

October 26, Jess Cagle Updated, and 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT. “The Beatles: Members of the British Empire.” EW.Com, https://ew.com/article/1990/10/26/beatles-members-british-empire/. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

“The Upside Down Cross: Satanic or Symbolic?” Catholic Answers, https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/the-upside-down-cross-satanic-or-symbolic. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.


Updated [July 29, 2022]

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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