The Elvis conspiracy - is The King really dead?

Although Blue Suede Shoes is seldom played on hit radio stations these days, Elvis Presley’s music continues to captivate listeners around the world.

The King of Rock n’ Roll, as he was known, quickly found success with hits such as Jailhouse Rock, A Little Less Conversation and Hound Dog.

Presley’s influence was further cemented as he was credited with codifying the guitar as the key instrument of the rock n’ roll genre.

But it was all cut short when the blues singer died at just 42 years old.

Elvis death announcement in The Sun newspaper, and Weekly World News newspaper announcing Elvis
Elvis Presley's death caused a media storm. Since then, tabloids extensively covered the conspiracy that he was alive. Source: The Sun (via Robert Newman), Weekly World News

On August 16, 1977, Presley’s girlfriend Ginger Alden found him slumped over on a toilet and doctors later pronounced him dead, citing cardiac arrhythmia as the official cause.

But not everyone is convinced. In fact, Elvis sightings have been prevalent since his death, with the Elvis Sighting Society keeping track of alleged encounters.

Reasonable doubt?: Conspiracy theories explored

Futurist Dr Richard Hames told Yahoo News’ Conspiracies Unpacked there are several notable reasons that people are suspicious that The King didn’t actually die in 1977.

“There is mystery surrounding the autopsy among conspiracy theorists because there were three positions involved in the autopsy and one of them, Dr Francisco, broke ranks without asking the other physicians,” he said.

“He announced to the press that Elvis died of a heart attack before the autopsy was completed,” he said, adding “most likely he was pressured by the family to avoid drug addict accusations.”

Still frame from Home Alone, featuring a purported Elvis sighting in the background of the 1990 movie
One popular alleged sighting puts Elvis in the background of the 1990 movie Home Alone. Source: Hughes Entertainment

Dr Francisco’s involvement in a supposed cover-up has long been debated, but Dr Hames discusses some popular theories.

“He was an honorary deputy sheriff in Shelby County and it was said that he was involved in monitoring people in the music industry who were on drugs,” Hames said.

“There was some suggestion that the mafia were out to get him. That alone would have been a reason for him to fake his death.”

Is it believable that Elvis faked his death? Expert explores

When asked if the mystery surrounding Elvis’ death could suggest that the famed singer was "snuck out the back door," Dr Hames gave a surprising answer.

“It could indeed,” he said.

However, Hames has come to a far more logical conclusion to explain The King’s untimely death.

“When looking at hospital records it’s absolutely believable that Elvis did die on that day - he was a diabetic and he was taking drugs,” Dr Hames said.

“He was addicted to barbiturates (depressants and sedatives) and amphetamines (stimulants) and he wasn’t that healthy.”

As for the Elvis sightings - Hames isn’t convinced by blurry footage and grainy photos.

“If you want to believe something, you can believe anything,” he said.

Regardless of your stance on Elvis’s death, his music still continues to influence popular culture to this day, with the haunting lyric "the lights are goin' dim" from his final single Way Down still etched into the public's mind.

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