Is Elvis Alive? Why Some People Believe Elvis Presley Faked His Death

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. But has he left the realm of the living? His fame is unparalleled, so it would be surprising if the King of Rock and Roll didn't become the subject of conspiracy theories. The most popular one? The idea that he's still alive and kickin'.

Suspicious Minds

The death of Elvis Presley on August 16, 1977 stunned the world. It was the front-page story in the New York Times the following day. Upon receiving such shocking news, skeptics and fans in denial immediately examined the circumstances of The King's demise to look for reasons it wasn't true.

Here's where they were coming from: Imagine you were 42 years old and one of the most famous people to ever walk the planet. Maybe you'd consider faking your own death to live out the rest of your life in peace, away from the constant spotlight and scrutiny of the people eye.

Others believed Presley had infiltrated the mafia as an FBI informant. He was found out, they say, and put into the witness protection program, where he took on an alias and led a fake life until this day.

The "Evidence"

Elvis Presley

Sightings: Right after Elvis' death, claims of sightings began popping up. One such story maintains that, on August 16, 1977, a man with a striking resemblance to Elvis was seen purchasing a one-way ticket from Memphis International Airport to Buenos Aires. Patrick Lacy of the blog "Elvis Decoded" claims to have debunked this particular possibility, citing that international flights weren't available from Memphis in 1977. Then, of course, was the 1978 pool house photo. It's blurry, but relatively convincing for the right audience. Some people even believe he made a cameo in "Home Alone."

Medical records: The cause of Elvis' death has long been cloudy. Dr. Nichopoulos, Elvis' personal physician until the end, concurred with the coroner's conclusion that he died from a natural cardiac event resulting from an arrhythmia. The toxicology reports, on the other hand, pointed to drugs. California physician Forest Tennant, MD points to head trauma as the cause of death in his paper "Elvis Presley: Head Trauma, Autoimmunity, Pain, and Early Death." Dr. Nick added again to the conversation in 2010 stating that untreated chronic constipation is what killed the superstar.

The funeral: Onlookers at Elvis' funeral witnessed pallbearers struggling to carry The King's casket. Sure, the singer was in terrible health and physical shape at the time of his death, but conspiracy theorists believe there's no way he could've gained enough weight to challenge the strength of five men. The idea here is that inside the casket is a wax figure of Elvis, and the cooling fans needed to keep him from melting were the things weighing the box down. When the body was shown, Elvis' cousin Gene Smith noticed some weirdness in his relative's appearance: a pug-like nose, hair like a hairpiece, wonky sideburns, and uncharacteristically smooth hands.

The grave: The metal rectangle marking Elvis' final resting place reads "ELVIS AARON PRESLEY." The only problem there is that Elvis' middle name should be spelled with only one A. Skeptics look at this "purposeful" misspelling as a little wink. However, it's believed that Elvis started spelling his middle name Aaron instead of Aron later in life, because Aaron is how the name is spelled in the Bible.

If you're out there, buddy, drop us an email. But we won't hold our breaths. Rest in peace, Elvis.

Why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories? To get some answers, we talked to renowned skeptic Steven Novella of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe on the Curiosity Podcast. Stream or download the episode using the player below, or find it on iTunesStitcher, or Gretta.

Is Elvis Still Alive?

Conspiracy theorists believe he faked his own death. Here's why:

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Elvis Presley was found dead on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion in August of 1977. 00:00

  2. Elvis' father, Vernon, ensured the details of Elvis' autopsy remain hidden from the public until the year 2027. 01:29

  3. Elvis Presley, today, has a net worth of $300 million. 04:28

The Origin Of "Elvis Has Left The Building"

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Written by Joanie Faletto April 25, 2016

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