Elvis sightings

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Elvis before meeting President Richard Nixon in 1970, a White House photograph by photographer Ollie Atkins[1]

Sightings of the American singer Elvis Presley have been reported following his death in 1977. The conspiracy theory that Elvis did not die and instead went into hiding was popularized by Gail Brewer-Giorgio and other authors.

Notable sighting claims[edit]

A cover from the July 23, 1991, issue of Weekly World News

The earliest known alleged sighting of Elvis was at the Memphis International Airport where a man resembling Elvis gave the name "Jon Burrows", which was the same name Elvis used when booking hotels.[2] A series of alleged sightings took place in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the late 1980s. Such reports encountered public ridicule and became fodder for humorous publications like the Weekly World News.[3] In California, many people believed they had seen Elvis at California's Legoland amusement park shortly after opening in 1999. It was later revealed that Elvis impersonators were hired as an attraction to commemorate Presley.[4]

In late 1988, record label LS Records released the song "Spelling on the Stone", sung by an unknown vocalist purporting to be Presley. The song's narrative suggested that Presley had not actually died. Airplay received by the song on country music formats caused a number of listeners to call in to radio stations and report sightings of the singer after hearing the song, while program directors of said stations debated whether or not the song's vocal track was actually Presley.[5]

Elvis was rumored to have appeared in the background of an airport scene in the 1990 film Home Alone. It was alleged that the bearded man wearing a turtleneck and a sports jacket who could be seen over the left shoulder of Catherine O'Hara's character while she is arguing with an airline employee was Elvis. Paranormal researcher Ben Radford responded to Elvis sighting believers with, "Why fake your death and then turn up as an extra in a popular movie? How could the cast and crew have failed to notice the presence of one of the most famous figures in the world? Even if he looked very different, could he have disguised his voice and mannerisms?" Radford was challenged to find the actor who played that part to prove it was not Elvis. He explained that the burden of proof was on the person making the claim.[6] In an interview with USA Today, director Chris Columbus responded, "If Elvis was on the set, I would have known."[7]

After being challenged by Radford to locate the true identity of this extra, Kenny Biddle investigated and found the man to be Gary Richard Grott, who died of a heart attack in February 2016. Biddle located Grott's son, Roman, who explained that his father was indeed the extra in the airport scene of Home Alone, and that he had known director Chris Columbus personally. Because of this he appeared in a number of his movies as an extra, including Home Alone.[8]

Bill Bixby, who co-starred with Elvis in Clambake and Speedway, hosted two television specials investigating the conspiracy: The Elvis Files (1991)[9] and The Elvis Conspiracy (1992).[10] The conspiracy was also featured in the 1990 video game, Les Manley in: Search for the King, where the titular hero attempts to find Elvis (known in the game as "the King") to win a million-dollar contest.[11] Bixby was later lampooned on the sketch TV show In Living Color, where Jim Carrey played Bixby as he and a group of hunters track down Elvis in the manner of Bigfoot.

In January 2015, a fake news website claimed that an 80-year-old homeless man in San Diego named Jessie had been posthumously identified by DNA evidence as being Elvis Presley.[12] A similar-looking man was seen working as a groundskeeper for Graceland in 2016, and was also believed to be Elvis.[13] Some believe that Elvis attended his own 82nd birthday.[citation needed] An old man with security guards around him, all grey hair, grey beard, sunglasses and a ball cap on, was believed by conspiracy theorists to be Elvis.[14]

A group of people believe that Elvis was somehow involved with the Mafia during his time as a rock star, served as an undercover agent and was found out. Thus, they believe he faked his own death to try to fool the Mafia.[15]


  1. ^ "When Nixon Met Elvis". archives.gov. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Partridge, Kenneth (August 14, 2017). "Suspicious Minds: The Bizarre, 40-Year History of Elvis Presley Sightings". Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Schmidt, William E. (October 17, 1988). "Vicksburg Journal; Someplace for the King to Call Home". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Lewis, Connie (April 16, 2007). "Elvis Sightings in Legoland?". San Diego Business Journal. 28 (16): 1. ISSN 8750-6890.
  5. ^ Dan Rosenfeld (December 23, 1988). "Is 'The King' back? New song may be by Elvis or may be a 'very cruel hoax'". The Jersey Journal. p. 15. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  6. ^ Radford, Ben (2018). "Is Elvis Presley in Home Alone?". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 42 (1): 26–27.
  7. ^ Alexander, Bryan (October 5, 2015). "'Home Alone': Still a scream 25 years later". USA Today. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  8. ^ Biddle, Kenny (July 11, 2018). "Busting the 'Elvis Presley in Home Alone' Movie Myth". csicop.org. CFI. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Kogan, Rick (August 13, 1991). "The Once And Future King". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  10. ^ Kogan, Rick (January 22, 1992). "'Anything But Love' Axed By Studio And Abc". Evening: Best on TV. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Cobbett, Richard (December 24, 2010). "Crap Shoot: Les Manley: Search For THE KING". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Mikkelson, David (January 31, 2015). "Was the Body of an Elderly Homeless Man Identified as Elvis Presley?". Snopes. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  13. ^ Partridge, Kenneth (August 14, 2017). "Suspicious Minds: The Bizarre, 40-Year History Of Elvis Presley Sightings". Mental Floss. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  14. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (January 2, 2019). "Elvis Ain't Dead – The Weirdest Elvis Presley Sightings And Conspiracy Theories". NME. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  15. ^ Chan, Melissa (August 15, 2017). "Elvis Presley Died 40 Years Ago. Here's Why Some People Think He's Still Alive". Time. Retrieved November 8, 2021.