by John Herrington
WMV Web News Cleveland

Story filed March 21, 1997

There still is a lot of local controversy over whether DNA test results proved that Dr. Sam Sheppard did not kill his wife. Many still believe he committed the crime nearly 43 years ago, regardless of DNA findings that indicate otherwise.

Another court hearing--they say it will be a full-scale trial--is expected on the matter later this summer.

So, now, consider this news release from a few days ago:

                "Categorical proof that Elvis Aron Presley was
                not buried August 16, 1977, came this week when
                a DNA laboratory on the East Coast gave a written
                18-page report on two slides of tissue sent them
                for analysis."


There are those who have long believed that Elvis is still alive. Foremost among them is Phil Aitcheson of the "Presley Commission Liaison Office" in Moneta, Virginia. (See "WMV Web News" story from Jan. 8: "Happy Birthday Elvis.")

And now, the head of the "Elvis is Alive Museum" in Wright City, Missouri, says that that laboratory (in North Carolina) studied two tissue samples, one taken from a liver tissue biopsy done on a living Elvis Presly in 1975, and another taken from an autopsy of the body, said to be that of Presley in August, 1977.

The news release says that after an 8-to-10 week examination, "...the laboratory's report concludes positively that these two specimens are from two different people." In other words, whoever is buried at Graceland is not Elvis Presley; or, at least, so says the "Elvis is Alive Museum" and so concurs the Presley Commission executive.

The head of that museum in Missouri is Bill Beeny.

Mr. Beeny is a successful, 70-year-old businessman, who owns a real estate development company, two restaurants, and an Elvis gift shop in a St. Louis mall, and who just a few years ago became convinced that Elvis is not dead.

His museum with Elvis research documents and other items is a 600-square-foot building behind his "50's Cafe" in Wright City, just off Interstate 70 about 50 miles west of St. Louis. Beeny has had the cafe about 10 years; he built the museum after he became interested in the Presley mystery (as it has been called) some four years ago.

"When I first got interested," Beeny recalls, "I thought all this talk about Elvis being alive was ridiculous. But, then," he says, "I found so many inconsistencies during my studies of information that I came to the conclusion he did not die August 16, 1977, and that he is still living."

Aitcheson and Beeny believe that it is not Presley, but "a donor body" that was declared to be the dead Elvis. Who's body? Several names have been suggested, among them the stepson of Col. Tom Parker. Parker guided Presley's career for 22 years; he died this past January at the age of 87. His stepson, according to reports, died at about the same time Presley's body was reportedly found on a bathroom floor at Graceland.

Why fake Elvis' death?

The contention is that Presley's life was in danger from a Mafia group because of testimony that Presley allegedly was going to give in a federal case.

"There were many death threats against Elvis and his daughter," Beeny says and Aitcheson agrees, saying Elvis may be in the federal witness protection program. Beeny says Presley's health and financial situation also were problems and that "...he just wanted to disappear."

Okay: so now they say there is this DNA report that says it isn't The King who is buried at Graceland...what next?

Beeny says he's not sure. He says he's negotiating with some national television programs about appearances (he has been on radio and television shows many times concerning Presley research), and he says there may be a book in the making over all this.


Well, if Elvis is still out there someplace, one might wonder if he might show up at Public Music Hall here in Cleveland next month to see "Blue Suede Shoes," another local showing of the Cleveland Ballet's production set to Presley songs.

The rock ballet premiered here in Cleveland last May 29. It came back for encore performances in September, and the four Music Hall shows (April 11-13) are warm-up for the ballet's nine-city international tour of "Blue Suede Shoes."

Elvis certainly would be welcome! (Wouldn't he?)

Heck; he might even want to stroll over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a look-around before the Hall ups its prices by a couple of bucks in May. During April, the Rock Hall is offering 2-for-1 admissions while much of the facility's main exhibition hall is shut down during the building of a new display that will highlight rock's psychedelic period from 1965-1969.

(Oh, and another thing: Beeny and Aitcheson aren't sure just who is buried in Elvis' place; there are no tissue samples from whoever it is while he was alive to compare with Elvis samples.

(And how did they get those Elvis tissue samples anyway? Beeny says they don't want to talk about that, but that "...we're covered, legally." He says he paid for the testing.)

Meanwhile, business at the "50's Cafe" and the "Elvis is Alive Museum" always picks up when nice weather returns. And it is springtime, now.

If you happen to be on I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis, and are interested, you can't miss the cafe: it has an Elvis theme--there's a 16-foot high statue of The King out front, and more than 3,000 Presley pictures inside--and it's just off the interstate on the north service road at the Wright City exit.

The museum is the annex in back.

And in Memphis, the folks at the much bigger edifice really don't think too much of all this stuff about Elvis still being alive.

If one were to listen closely, one might even hear something that sounds like, "You're Nothing but a Hound Dog," wafting from Graceland toward Wright City, Missouri, and Moneta, Virginia.

But then again, maybe not.

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