The King is dead, long live The King!
Did Elvis Presley really die on 16th August, 1977?
Did he fake his own death in order to escape the trappings of fame?
Was he abducted by aliens?
Or is he hanging out on a remote island paradise with Tupac, Princess Diana, Shergar and Lord Lucan?
Elvis Aaron Presley was, and arguably, still is The King of Rock and Roll. From the moment he arrived onto the scene in 1956 he was adored by millions of fans all over the world and his untimely death in August 1977 shocked the world. But since that day there have been a number of conspiracy theories about what really happened to The King.
Elvis was only 42 years old when he died. He was last seen early that day playing racquet ball. The official version of his death says that he was found face down on the floor of a bathroom at Graceland at around 2:30 pm on 16th August, 1977. Elvis was officially pronounced dead at 3:30 pm at the Baptist Memorial Hospital. The official cause of death was given as heart disease, although many have speculated that the amount of prescription drugs Elvis was taking at the time may also have played a part in his death.
His funeral was a national event. Hundreds of thousands of fans, the press and celebrities lined the streets hoping to see the open casket at Graceland or in order to see the funeral cortege for themselves.
Elvis is alleged to have faked his death in order to escape his celebrity status and be free to live the rest of his life out of the gaze of the public eye. There have been thousands of alleged sightings of Elvis from all over the world but obviously none have ever been confirmed to be the great man himself.
There are a few reasons as to why people believe that he faked his own death:
The Headstone Theory
The main reason given in support of the belief that Presley faked his death is that, on his grave, his middle name Aron is spelt as Aaron. But Aaron is actually the genuine middle name for Presley. Apparently, either Elvis himself or his parents wanted to change his middle name to Aron to make it more similar to Presley’s stillborn twin, Jesse Garon Presley. Or was the name intentionally spelt wrong because Elvis was in fact alive and not buried there in the first place?
The National Enquirer Photos
National Enquirer reportedly paid one of Elvis’ cousins $18,000 to smuggle a camera into the funeral home in order to take photos of Elvis’ dead body. The National Enquirer went on to publish these photos and this issue of their magazine became the top selling issue ever. However some people began to point out that some features of the body in the pictures were nothing like Elvis, mainly the eyebrows, the chin, and fingers. Others say that the ‘body’ in the coffin was in fact a wax dummy made up to look like Elvis and that the coffin itself weighed over 900 pounds due to the fact that it had an air conditioning unit installed inside it to keep the wax from melting in the Memphis heat.
Col. Tom Parker’s Press Conference
Shortly after Elvis’ death, his manager and friend Colonel Tom Parker made the following remark: “Elvis didn’t die. The body did. We’re keeping up the good spirits. We’re keeping Elvis alive. I talked to him this morning and he told me to carry on.” He could have of course been talking in the sense that people talk to God and God ‘talks’ back to them and he didn’t mean it literally. But then again…
In 2001, an independent record label released ‘Kingtinued’ which was billed as featuring ‘the voice of Elvis.’ On the record there are fourteen Elvis ‘originals’ and a few cover songs including, Tears in Heaven – by Eric Clapton, Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen and Candle in the Wind – Elton John’s memorial to Princess Diana. The problem here though is that these cover songs were all released after Elvis had died. The conspiracy theorists latched on to this and set out to prove that it was Elvis on the recording, going as far as to have the voice on the record and Elvis’ voice matched and proven to be identical. The producer of the record however came out and denied this. He credited an Elvis impersonator named Doug Church as being ‘the voice of Elvis’ and therefore rebuffed the claims of the conspiracy theorists.
Conflicting circumstances surrounding his death
There are numerous circumstances which all seem to conflict and contradict each other. For example, some witnesses do not agree on a number of issues such as how the body was found, who exactly found the body, what Elvis was wearing at the time of his death and even if he was already dead at the time his body was found or whether he died in the hospital. Various resuscitation techniques were claimed to have been used in an attempt to revive him and it is unclear whether his death was caused by the drugs in his system or some sort of heart disease.
• Elvis was due to start a new tour in August 1977 but he did not order any new costumes for it. Did he know they weren’t needed?
• Some people say he fired several old friends shortly before his death because of a book they wrote about him when in actual fact it was members of the ‘Memphis Mafia’ who were fired by Elvis’ father. These men were part of a group of friends, employees, associates and Yes men that Elvis had around him from early in his career. The book was released on the 12th July 1977, months after they were fired and was entitled Elvis, What Happened? (left)
• During his last tour he sang Blue Christmas even though it took place in the summertime.
• It is alleged that several months before his death family members were cut out of his will.
On 17th August 1977, the day after Elvis’ death, it is alleged that a man at Memphis Airport purchased a one way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The man apparently looked and talked like Elvis and gave his name as ‘John Burrows’. This is the name that was given by members of Elvis’ entourage when making hotel bookings for him.
So, whether or not Elvis is still alive, I think it’s safe to say this debate will rage on and on. He lives on through his music. Maybe the reason why people believe he is still alive is because he was such an icon not only for the fans of his music but for a lot of other people to. He was cool, he had charisma, he appealed to people from all walks of life. He was the world’s first rock star! Girls wanted to be with him and guys wanted to be him. He was the poster boy for the Cultural Revolution that was rock and roll.
He was The King.