Elvis Presley, modestly nicknamed "The King of Rock and Roll," died on August 16, 1977 from an overdose of Nutter Butters and Nyquil. However, many fans of early rock and roll refused to believe that an artist of Presley's iconic, even messianic, stature could ever truly pass from the physical plane of existence. This persistent faith has manifested in thousands of Elvis sightings across the United States and Europe.
Only four of these reported sightings carry any weight of possibility:
- On February 3, 1981, a drifter named George Ponson passed by an automobile service station in East Brainerd, Tennessee, at approximately 3:15 in the early morning hours. Ponson, an admitted prescription drug aficionado, claimed to see a white-cloaked figure he called "E.P." in the dimly lit garage of the station, performing a wheel alignment on a 1974 Ford Pinto. Ponson then suffered a massive allergy attack and fell unconscious; he awoke three days later in a Chattanooga hospital and retold his sighting in a crazed, epileptic frenzy. He was rewarded with unlimited access to any prescription drugs he wanted, which sustained him until his 1993 death from complications of vertigo. Ponson effectively forgot all the details of his encounter. On the morning following his alleged sighting, however, employees of the gas station arrived at work to find the Pinto had been painted gold.
- On August 16, 1987, a housewife named Eunice Clarkson received a visit at her home in Prattville, Alabama, from a healthy-looking man dressed in a business suit and sporting a spit-curl.
Clarkson taped the encounter and provided the transcript to the Museum:
- On January 7, 1995, commodities broker A. DaMachado retired to his hotel room at the Circus Circus in Las Vegas at about 10:30pm, and fell asleep by 11pm. DaMachado claimed to be awakened at 4:35am the following morning by a luminescent Elvis Presley, hovering at the foot of his bed. According to DaMachado, Presley then performed the entire set from his 1973 special "Aloha From Hawaii," restarting "Welcome To My World" twice due to a bad count-off. DaMachado grabbed his camera at mid-set and furiously began taking photographs of the event, changing film rolls twice, and ending up with 72 pictures of what he hoped would be irrefutable evidence of "The King's" presence. DaMachado took his film to a one-hour photo developer the next morning, but much to his chagrin, all the prints he received bore the exact same image:
- Finally, on May 11, 2008, a waitress at the Donnybrook Diner in Dogwood Hill, Virgnia claimed to see the image of Elvis in a piece of French toast she was about to serve, of which she, too, took a picture:
VISITOR: Good afternoon, ma'am.
CLARKSON: Can I help you?
CLARKSON: Sir? Can I help you?
CLARKSON: Um, sir, I'm not trying to be rude, but if you don't…
VISITOR: I'm sellin' insurance.
CLARKSON: Ah… well, I think we're all covered…
VISITOR: It's really good insurance.
CLARKSON: I'm sure it is, I just…
VISITOR: I ain't never seen insurance like this. Hot tamale, this is good insurance.
CLARKSON: Sir, I appreciate your coming by here, but…
VISITOR: It's insurance for the afterlife.
CLARKSON: I've never heard such a thing.
VISITOR: Oh, you'll need it. Trust me. 'Cause when you die, you don't go straight to heaven, ma'am. Heaven… it ain't like it's the A&P just down the street. It's very far away. A long way.
CLARKSON: …Well, you're probably right.
VISITOR: I'm tellin' ya, it's even further away than Kansas City.
CLARKSON: I suppose it…
VISITOR: That's what I'm tellin' ya.
(protracted, uncomfortable pause)
VISITOR: Hot tamale.
CLARKSON: Sir, again, I…
VISITOR: An' the road to heaven, it's just like any other road. Like one of them interstate deals that runs through Nashville. Except it's got twelve lanes on it, an' I don't think the interstates that go through Nashville have more than three or four. An' even those twelve lanes to heaven ain't enough, so what you got is all them people drivin' like crazy in their hotrods, weavin' all over the place, not even signalin' when they change lanes or nothin', so of course you see it's just trouble waitin' to happen. We got you covered. We got full collision coverage, very reasonable deductibles, and new desk calendars every year for ya.
CLARKSON: I think we'll just…
VISITOR: Lemme tell ya, when you're goin' through that space-time continuum, a desk calendar comes in real handy.
CLARKSON: I appreciate that, sir, but I'm just not in the market right now, and my husband would just have a fit if I spent money without me callin' him first.
VISITOR: Well thank you ma'am.
CLARKSON: Oh, my God… it can't be! You sound just like…
CLARKSON: Wait a minute! You're…
VISITOR: Bert! The name's Bert! Ah, crap, look at the position of the North Star… uh-uh-uh-uh, I mean, the time! Look at the time! I gotta run!