Memphis, TN – It’s a warm, quiet afternoon at Graceland. The Sun sets on a somber gathering of Elvis Presley conspiracy theorists, who, when the daylight fades, begin their planned candlelight vigil while humming a slowed-down rendition of The King’s rock ‘n’ roll hit, “Hound Dog.” The men remove their tinfoil out of respect for their beloved idol. Elvis Presley has passed away by now, probably.
Elvis truthers of all ages, backgrounds and degrees of misguided paranoia have joined tonight at Elvis’ false gravesite to commemorate the almost-certainly-now-deceased musician. Even a few Elvis impersonators have made appearances, provoking double-takes everywhere they go.
“He was a legend,” says Lynn Davis, a fan who traveled from Arkansas to pay her respects. “From Jailhouse Rock all the way up through his so-called ‘posthumous releases.’” She looks at the 1977 date of death on the grave marker and scoffs sadly.
Nearby, a mother sits on a blanket with her children and a scrapbook, showing them blurry photos of Elvis in his later years. Behind them, a Tennessee man sharing the story of his encounter with the famous performer: “Chick-Fil-A, man, swear to Christ. Think what you want, I’m not f***ing crazy.”
The evening has come together quite well, despite concerns that the gathering was organized a bit late. Mark Burell, the creator of the Facebook event that brought everyone together, shrugs this off. “We did what we could. While most of us are pretty sure he died around last November, a few are saying it was definitely early-to-late August,” says Burell. “But we all agree that he has to be dead by now.
“I mean, the man was 83. Have you heard the kinds of things he ate?” Some even think drugs may have been involved. “I honestly can’t believe he made it as long as he did.”
There are still skeptics. A closed Facebook group was formed in response to Mark’s event, with members claiming that Elvis has faked his death a second time, and that the pop culture icon is still alive and well. Mark dismisses these people as “whack-jobs.”
As the evening draws to a close, the truthers pack up their things and quietly disperse. Mark is peaceful. “We didn’t come to grieve; we came to celebrate The King’s accomplished and mostly hidden life, which, after his government-engineered death in ’77, was kept out of the public eye so he could continue his work with the DEA in private. And that’s just what we did.”
The perfect sendoff for a legend.
At press time, Mark was planning similar events for Jimi Hendrix and Tupac Shakur, “since these things usually happen in threes.”