BBC reporter who was the first to see Elvis dead in his coffin admits truths

We filmed at the grave of Gladys Presley — Elvis’s beloved mother who had died aged 46 — in Forest Hill Cemetery.

(Her son would be interred next to her, until the fear of grave-robbers forced the family to move both graves to a ‘Meditation Garden’ at Graceland, which was opened to the public in 1982.)

We filmed the funeral motorcade; a dozen white Cadillacs, Elvis’s favourite car. By now the Americans had caught up with the rest of the grieving world; 80,000 people lined the streets.

And I reported that there were many people in Memphis who did not believe that Elvis was really dead.

There was speculation, despite statements from doctors and a coroner, that he may have faked his own death and gone into hiding. Regardless, when the job was over, Bob and I flew back to Washington. There were other stories to cover.

Twenty years later, in 1997, I was telephoned by a BBC producer. He said he was making a programme about cults.

Why was he calling me? Because he was investigating the cult of Elvis Presley. I wasn’t aware there was one.

He said there were many thousands of people who believed Elvis was still alive. They revered him. Some worshipped him.

Really, I asked? Yes, he said, they perform candle-lit rituals at Graceland.

Then he really surprised me. ‘We looked through all the newspaper, radio and television coverage when Elvis died,’ he said.

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7 thoughts on “BBC reporter who was the first to see Elvis dead in his coffin admits truths

  1. Was raised listening to all kinds of music..but my mother had a 78 Heartbreak Hotel too!…….remember loads growing up in the 60s!…… interesting article!

  2. I knew that he did not die he signed his own death certificate and one of his life insurance is still not being claimed because if they did Elvis would go to jail because of fraud

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