Since his apparent demise more than 40 years ago in 1977, few celebrity deaths have triggered more controversy and conspiracy theories, than that of Elvis Presley. To this day, there are those that say he is not dead, and Elvis sightings continue to make tabloid headlines.
Elvis would have turned 85 on January 8, and that milestone birthday triggered renewed interest in the cause of “The King’s” death. An autopsy was performed on Elvis, but at the behest of his father, it was ordered sealed for “50 years.” So, the world will have to wait another seven years for full disclosure of the document, but over the years some of the details of the report have been leaked, and those revelations are shocking!
The official story is that Elvis died of cardiac arrest in his bathroom. He had a long history of prescription drug abuse, which is said to have played a part in his sudden death. However, exactly how the 42-year-old musical icon came to suffer such a devastating ending, has been at the center of debate since he supposed left this earth.
An autopsy was undertaken the same day Elvis died to determine the exact cause of death, but, among the issues with the as yet unsealed results, was the competence and ethics of two of the medical examiners involved in the post mortem.
Among the questions raised at the time, Dr. Jerry Francisco had offered a cause of death before the autopsy was even complete, claiming the underlying ailment was “cardiac arrhythmia,” a condition that can be determined only in someone who is still breathing!
Another doctor involved in the autopsy, Dr. George Nichopoulos, had prescribed more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics to Elvis in just eight months. However, Nichopoulos was never charged with anything, at the time and was cleared of any wrongdoing in Elvis’ death. Later, however, his license was suspended for three months and it was permanently revoked in the 1990s after the Tennessee Medical Board brought new charges of over-prescription against him.
In the absence of the actual coroner’s report, writer Frank Coffey argued that Elvis’ death was due to Valsalva Manoeuvre, a form of constipation commonly caused by drug use. Coffey believed Elvis’ constant strains had forced his heart to stop.
Expert physician Dr. Dan Warlick, who was also present at the autopsy, agreed with the view of Mr. Coffey, citing drug abuse as the main concern.
Leaks from the report told a different story than what the medical examiner said. There were codeine pills, Dilaudid, Percodan, Demerol, and other prescription medications. Rather than the official cause as “sudden cardiac arrest, from the leaks, it is fair to presume that the concurrent usage of prescription drugs over a long period of time was his cause of death – or at least played a large role.
Other Elvis Conspiracies
Some say that the autopsy was sealed to cover up the fact that he was either deliberately murdered, or inadvertently killed by a drug overdose due to over-prescription by Nichopoulos.
But, inconsistencies in Elvis’ autopsy are hardly the most startling “conspiracy theory” surrounding the death of The King – that award goes to those that sincerely believe he never died at all!
There have been numerous reports from people that he has been seen alive and well, roaming around in the streets. But, how can a dead man be spotted? As the theories go, they believe that Elvis faked his own death!
The first thing to think about when asking this type of question is to consider motive. Would Elvis have a motive to fake his death? Some say yes, and for a good reason. Allegedly, Elvis and his father had cooperated with the FBI against a mafia group calling themselves the “The Fraternity”. Some say the group swindled Elvis out of money, others say they stole his jet.
There is a 600-page report of Elvis’ testimony against “The Fraternity,” many of the pages of which are still marked “Top Secret.” Proponents of the “Elvis is Alive” theory believe that he went into the witness protection program after the FBI “killed” him. Gail Brewer-Giorgio, author of the 1988 book Is Elvis Alive, backs up this theory. She explained to TIME that after looking at tons of the available FBI documents, she had concluded that Presley had had to go into witness protection, telling the magazine, “Elvis faked his death because he was going to be killed and there was no doubt about it.”
What is some of their evidence? Consider this:
- Shortly after Elvis’ death, a man headed to Memphis airport and purchased a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reportedly the man looked a lot like the pop star, and gave the name ‘Jon Burrows,’ an alias of Elvis often used when booking hotels while trying to stay incognito.
- On Presley’s gravestone, his middle name “Aron” is misspelled “Aaron.” Fans say this is a nod to the fact that it is not the “real” Elvis buried there.
- On what would have been his 82 birthday, a picture showed up on the Graceland Facebook page, of a large bearded man flanked by security guards, that many think was The King himself.
- Theorists claim that Elvis is alive and preaching the good word as a singing pastor in Arkansas, named Bob Joyce. Joyce does bear a striking resemblance to the singer in both his looks and his singing voice, and his sermons even echo the words of the King’s autobiography. To fans, Joyce’s continuous denials that he is not Elvis, only strengthen their belief that he is.
In the final words of her interview with Time, Brewer-Giorgio, said “Do I know if Elvis is alive today? No, I don’t know. But I do know he didn’t die on 16 August 1977.”
What do you think? Could Elvis have faked his own death, and could The King still be alive?