5 Things To Know About Gram Parsons’ Mysterious Death

He was a promising songwriter with ties to The Byrds and The Rolling Stones, but his life came to a tragic end when he overdosed on morphine at a tiny inn outside California’s Joshua Tree National Park on September 19, 1973.

September 14, 2021
Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

Photo by: Gems/Redferns via Getty Images

Gems/Redferns via Getty Images

Gram Parsons

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Gram Parsons’ death isn’t the only mysterious happening at Joshua Tree National Park

For years, Joshua Tree National Park has been the site of UFO reports and conferences for people on the hunt for alien life. There have been a multitude of dead bodies found throughout the park, and some believe skinwalkers hunt the desert park at night. Parsons was reportedly drawn to the park in the few years leading up to his death and spent lots of time in the remote area.

Following Parsons’ death, his body was supposed to be flown to Louisiana so he could be buried by family members. Instead, Parsons’ road manager, Phil Kaufman, and a roadie, dressed up as funeral home workers and showed up at LAX in a hearse to intercept the body before it could be loaded onto the plane. Apparently, Parsons and Kaufman had made a pact—if anything happened to Parsons, he wanted his ashes scattered in Joshua Tree National Park, a place he would go for vacation and came to adore.

Fans placed an illegal monument in the park where his manager burned his body

Kaufman had kept his word and took Parsons’ remains back to the park and attempted to cremate him at Cap Rock and scatter his ashes. The site became an illegal monument where fans made a makeshift shrine to the musician. Items left in memoriam have included a beer, a necklace, handmade signs, and thoughts scrawled on rocks with paint. The National Park Service has repeatedly removed the shrine.

If he’d been two months older, he’d have joined famous musicians in the 27 Club

Parsons was 26, and his 27th birthday was looming less than 2 months ahead of him the night he died. The 27 Club is a macabre fellowship of musicians who died when they were 27. Its members include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Kobain, among others. Joplin, Hendrix, and Morrison all died after overdosing. Kobain commited suicide less than a month after an overdose that nearly took his life. Some believe the musicians were cursed.

Visitors to the Joshua Tree Inn can request to stay in the room where Parsons died

The small inn is still in operation, and fans of Gram Parsons can request to stay in the room where he died. Room number 8 still displays the mirror and a photograph that were on the wall the night of Parsons’ death, and some people report encounters with Parsons’ ghost during their stays at the inn.

Watch more

Zak Bagans and the crew investigate the motel where rock legend Gram Parsons died. Stream "The Joshua Tree Inn" episode on Season 24 of Ghost Adventures now on discovery+.

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