Tag Archive for conspiracies

Elvis Death Conspiracy Theories

Elvis Presley performing

There is this fun little podcast I listen too called Conspiracy Theories by Parcast, hosted by Molly Brandenburg and Carter Roy. If you’re interested in conspiracies, whether you believe them or not, I highly recommend you give it a listen. Some conspiracies they discuss will have you scratching your head. Not is all as it seems, it would seem.

Recently the hosts discussed the death of Elvis Presley and the many conspiracy theories that have cropped up after his untimely demise which suggest that The King faked his death and has been spotted alive in various places around the world, including in the film Home Alone.

Some people just can’t let dead rock stars rest in peace. Faked death conspiracy theories exist for many, allegedly, deceased celebrities including Jim Morrison, Michael Jackson, Andy Kaufman, and others. Over the years I had heard of the occasional Elvis sighting or death hoax and let it pass as nonsense, but after hearing this particular episode of the Conspiracy Theories podcast I decided to take a closer look at a few of these theories that some believe prove that Elvis faked his death and is still alive sipping Mai Tais in Tahiti.

ONE: The Overloaded Coffin Theory

Did some nitwit overload the coffin? In this entertaining hoaxed Elvis death conspiracy theory it is suggested that the coffin weighed in excess of 900 lbs, which would mean either Elvis had gathered substantial girth prior to his death, or that the person responsible for the simple, yet clandestine, task of loading some sandbags into an empty coffin screwed up and added a couple hundred pounds to the King’s bulk. Can this be true?

According to a 2016 article on Huffington Post, written by retired homicide detective and forensic coroner Garry Rodgers, reexamining the details known about Elvis’ health and the circumstances surrounding his death, Elvis was in bad shape at the time of his death and it is estimated that he weighed in the neighborhood of 350 lbs. I’m not sure where the author got that estimate but some reports of that weight claim the information came from a close confidante of The King, a member of his’ “Memphis Mafia”.

Other reports claim his weight at death was closer to 260 lbs or so. Let’s check out the deets.

Is 900 lbs a lot for a coffin with Elvis in it? For your standard coffin it is, most don’t typically exceed 200 lbs or so but a National seamless copper deposit casket, like the one Elvis was buried in, can weigh as much as 600 to 800 lbs. In the former case, a 600 lb coffin holding a 350 lb Elvis would have topped out at 950, which is, as the conspiracy states, in excess of 900 lbs. What about a 260 lb Elvis? Given the weight variation of the particular style of coffin, let’s say the coffin was closer to 700 lbs, this would still put the total weight well over 900 lbs.

So, if some sneaky goon loaded that coffin with sandbags to replicate the weight of Elvis while The King was putting in a call to the helicopter, they were pretty much right on nuggets. Just because the coffin weighed more than what some fervent conspiracy theorists expected, doesn’t mean Elvis wasn’t in it.

Elvis had gained substantial weight and was in pretty poor health. His regular use of prescribed narcotics and notoriously poor diet, along with some genetic predispositions, led to a rapid decline in health between 1973 and 1977. Sadly Elvis Presley passed away of cardiac arrest on August 16, 1977, while sitting on the toilet at his Graceland mansion.

Let’s let the sleeping King of Rock rest in peace. Yes, I said helicopter. Next…

Elvis Presley

TWO: The Mysterious Elvis Escape Helicopter Theory

Apparently there is a photo in existence somewhere that depicts a black helicopter flying over Graceland on the day of Elvis Presley’s death. I can’t find the photo in it’s entirety online however, just a fudged comparison between it and other Graceland images. The claim made by whoever brought the photo to pubic attention is that the helicopter is secretly flying Elvis, alive and well, away from Graceland at the time of his funeral.

First things first: the photo is not from 1977. The height of the bushes, trees or whatever they are, along the front of the house is consistent with the height of the bushes, trees or hedges, after it was turned into an historic landmark attraction, not at the time of the legendary musicians death. When Elvis passed the greenery along the front of Graceland mansion was quite a bit taller. At some point in the years after his death they were either trimmed down to the nubs or completely torn out and replaced.

What I’m thinking is this: why the hell would Elvis wait until the exact day of his funeral to fly off to parts unknown? Anyone trying to fake their own death would get the heck out of Dodge as soon as possible, before anyone notices the sandbags in the coffin. That’s what I’m saying.

The photo isn’t necessarily a piece of Photoshopery either. It could simply be a picture of a dark colored chopper flying along in the distance with the Graceland mansion in the foreground. This is an un-conspiracy. Simply a dumb hoax.

THREE: Elvis is Alive and Appears as an Extra in Home Alone Theory

This is a good one. I’m not sure of the actual number of people who resemble Elvis Presley, but I’m sure it’s a big figure. Many people can sort-of resemble anyone. I bet more ordinary people bear a closer resemblance to Elvis than most Elvis impersonators do.

Gary Grott, extra actor in Home Alone, and apparent Elvis look-alike

With that in mind, and the basic understanding that coincidences occur, I suggest that the extra standing behind Macaulay Culkin’s mom at the airline ticket counter in Home Alone is just some guy who happens to resemble elvis. In reality the fellow’s name is Gary Grott, and he also shares a passing resemblance to Bob Seger, and a guy who lived down the street from me when I was 15. Some people just have a look.

Sadly Mr. Grott passed away in 2016. So we’ll let him rest in peace too.

And FOUR: Elvis is Pastor Bob Joyce

Wait a minute, let me get this straight. Elvis faked his death so he could move to Arizona and pastor a faith ministry?

No. Just, no. Anyone with a functioning noodle in their head would immediately see that Bob Joyce looks like a lot more like an aging Jim Morrison than Elvis Presley. Regardless of this obvious oversight, some congregants and conspiracy theorists think that Bob Joyce might be the return of The King despite the fact that Bob Joyce himself doesn’t even support the idea.

If the man himself denies it how does the conspiracy persist? Easy, people living a vapid existence with too much time on their hands believe this kind of carp regardless of evidence to the contrary.

I don’t know what Pastor Joyce is selling but it can’t be much more than a hunk a hunk o’ burnin’ Jesus love. Give the guy a break.

That does it for me. I’m sure there are more Elvis sightings and theories but I’m up for just accepting the fact that The King of Rock and Roll was in poor health after eating way to many Fool’s Gold Loaf sandwitches and bugers, regularly taking prescription drugs and generally living an unhealthy and high stress lifestyle. The poor guy died. RIP Elvis Presley.

No confirmed conspiracies here. But, maybe Bob Joyce is Jim Morrison. It’s not much more of a stretch than the Elvis conspiracy to think that Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself faked his death in Paris and high-tailed it to Arizona to preach.

The Philadelphia Experiment

USS Eldridge (DE-173)

October, Rocktober, Shocktober… Schlocktober. Whatever kind of -tober you call it, it’s that time of month. The wind turns cold, dead leaves start swirling around in the streets, Home Depot shuffles out their halloween decor. Wait, that was last month, this month they set up all of the Christmas displays.

I can recall a time when Home Depot sold nothing but serious equipment, tools and materials for electricians, plumbers, construction and landscraping professionals. Now Home Depot, et al., are just department stores with lame, jumbo Halloween decorations and plastic Christmas trees, who also happen to stock building materials. And people think the paranormal is weird….

But I digress. It’s October! It’s almost Halloween! It’s that time of year when our minds drift to the supernatural and spooky, the creepy and macabre (the “r” is generally silent there by the way). So, what zany out of this world event didn’t happen this month in unexplained mystery history? I’ve got just the thing…

The Philadelphia Experiment
That’s right, didn’t happen, so stop watching all of those dopey “documentaries” that claim this nonsense is real and get on with the true meaning of the season: fun for fun-sake, bunk for bunk-sake. There doesn’t have to be anything real about any of it, it’s just fun fodder for fertile imaginations.

Now, how do we know that the Philadelphia Experiment didn’t happen? Easy, it’s called “Occam’s Razor.” In short Occam’s Razor is a reasoning tool which can be summed up like this: the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. Write that down.

The following is based on information easily digested at Wikipedia.org. See the main article at that website for any potential references. They did the research, I’m just summarizing.

The Philadelphia Experiment was first proposed in letters received by Morris K. Jessup, a writer on the UFO phenomenon who mostly earned a living as an auto parts salesman and photographer. Though he had a masters degree in astronomy he never persued that field any further than beginning work on and ultimately abandoning his doctorate.

The letters were written by a Carlos Miguel Allende, who also referred to himself as Carl M. Allen in other correspondence to Jessup. The mystery letter sender’s real name was in fact Carl Meredith Allen. Allen was a strange fellow with a very active imagination and just maybe a screw or two loose.

In these letters Allen claimed to have witnessed an experiment which occurred in October of 1943, at the Naval Shipyard in Philadeplphia, involving U.S. Navy ship USS Eldridge, in which the ship was made invisible with some kind of humongous electromagnetic field. Or something like that. After reappearing it was subsequently revealed, somehow to someone, that while invisible the ship had made a short jaunt to to New York and even encountered some aliens along the way.

Sounds fun, except for the part where, upon allegedly reappearing in Philly after its alleged vanishing, some of the crew were allegedly found physically blended with parts of the ship. Not just stuck half way into a wall, but literally part of the wall.

That’s an incredibly fantastical tale, so… Insert decades of bunky nonsense here, regurgitated and revised by countless television shows, documentaries, newspaper articles, books, magazines, websites, forums, podcasts and on and on…

Jessup considered Allen a whack-job, and for good reason: generally speaking Allen was a whack-job. We have it on first-hand account by Robert Goerman, a freelance reporter who has written on various topics in the paranormal camp. During his research into the persona of Carl M. Allen, Goerman found that the truth was closer than he expected. Turns out he was actually acquainted with Allen’s immediate family, though he didn’t know it until he mentioned his research to them during a casual conversation.

It was revealed that Carl M. Allen was literally disturbed and a “creative loner.” Read Goerman’s report on the matter at his website.

So, SLICE… Occam’s Razor cuts a huge chunk of bunk from the story of the Philadelphia Experiment and we come to the more logical, and practical, explanation that Carl Meredith Allen perpetrated a hoax with his letters to Jessup regarding the alleged vanishing of the USS Eldridge in 1943.

The truth is usually right under our noses, but all too often—more like all the time when it comes to the paranormal and “unexplained”—a simmering soup of speculation and stubborn beliefs among dedicated fans of these mysteries creates a sloppy glop of claims and fantastic ideas that obscure the truth, distract and mislead.

But why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?