Debunking the myth of Elvis Presley’s faked death

Elvis Presley died on August 16th, 1977; no fan theory will persuade me otherwise. The belief from fans that Elvis is still alive is born mainly out of denial of his death, and they hold onto the hope he’s still here just like Tupac Shakur’s fanbase, despite all the evidence which suggests otherwise.

The most famous theory surrounding Elvis is that he disappeared to start a new life in Argentina. Allegedly, on the day of Presley’s death, a man who resembled the singer bought a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires from Memphis and boarded his flight. Furthermore, he apparently travelled under the name of Jon Burrows, a pseudonym that Elvis regularly used when checking into hotels.

Over the years, some fans have claimed to have seen him in the Argentinian capital, but have they? For starters, it wasn’t even possible to get a direct flight from Memphis to Buenos Aires in 1977. Although Presley could have feasibly gotten around this issue, there’s a lack of evidence which supports the claim that he made the trip.

Fans also clung to an image taken by a visitor to Graceland, which allegedly shows Presley sitting by the pool. However, his former road manager Joe Esposito named the person in the photo as Al Strada and debunked the theory.

They also claimed to have spotted Elvis in an airport scene of Home Alone in 1990, and admittedly, he could feasibly pass as an AI-generated version of an older Elvis. However, the role was played by Gary Grott, who passed away in 2016. Besides, if Presley had been undercover for 13 years, why would he risk it all and appear in Home Alone?

Writer Gail Brewer-Giorgio is a staunch believer that Presley faked his own death, and she penned the 1988 book Is Elvis Alive after claiming to have had a phone call with Presley, which she recorded, but there’s no way to prove it was Elvis on the phone.

Brewer-Giorgio also claimed Presley had to go underground due to his Mafia connections after he helped the government take out a criminal organisation called The Fraternity. She told TIME in 2017: “Elvis faked his death because he was going to be killed and there was no doubt about it”.

However, in the FBI’s files about Elvis, there’s nothing about The Fraternity. It would have taken thousands of people to lie if this were to be true, making it one of the grandest undercover operations of all time.

In 2017, fans clung to an image of a man with a white beard visiting Graceland, which appeared on a live stream from an event on Elvis’ 82nd birthday at the residence. There is also seemingly a security presence, but that is normal for any public event, and it’s not clear they are working for the elderly man. Interestingly, the man’s identity has not been identified online, but, in truth, he barely resembles Presley, and the link is born purely out of desperation.

Elvis Presley died in 1977, and although it might be hard for some to accept, it’s the truth without the sugarcoating. Elvis was a superstar on stage, but it didn’t mean he was immortal and as susceptible to health issues as everybody else. While it might be reassuring for fans to cling to him faking his death, it’s a fairytale divorced from reality.

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