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Edge of Realty: Elvis, is that you?

 

Everyone that has ever-visited Graceland, cannot deny the overwhelming feel of Elvis' spirit inside those hallowed walls. He loved Graceland. He loved providing for his family. And he chose Memphis as his home, not because he had to--he could have lived anywhere-- but because he was a true Memphian, through and through.

Elvis was Memphis. And Memphis is Elvis, and that remains true to this day.

For 45 years, since Elvis' passing, fans have been sharing odd happenings while touring Graceland, and yes, some even claim to have caught a fleeting glance of what they felt was Elvis' spirit walking the grounds. 

(Photo credit: Patricia Garber, 2010) 

The stories range from hearing a familiar laughter, smelling a sweet cigar in the air, and to even pressure imprints on a sofa where, if one didn't know better, they'd assume someone had just been lounging. But how could it be, the room is empty, and the living room sofa is roped off? 

These types of mysteries ignite imaginations!

I know it did mine, when in 2010 I traveled to Memphis to take one last tour of Graceland before the release of Dream Angel, book 2 in my Elvis fan-fiction fantasy series. I wanted to be sure I represented every detail of Elvis' beloved home, and well, it was a good reason to make the trip. As if I needed one!

I stayed at the Days Inn across the street from Graceland and was given a room in the back with a view of an empty parking lot and lush trees. I didn't mind. This trip was all about writing. And my publication date was fast approaching, so when I wasn't taking notes on a Graceland tour, I was in my room fleshing out the final details.

And it was on one of those tours, the last one of the day, when I found myself inside Graceland.... alone. See, there was only three of us on that bus headed for the majestic mansion across Elvis Presley Boulevard. Dusk was settling. The outside lights of the mansion had clicked on, giving off a worshiping glow, like a precious diamond under glass. And my hopes lifted when the two other patrons wandered further into the tour, leaving me behind to linger on my own. 

I lingered in Graceland's foyer, looking upward to the ceiling, my eyes scanning for the bullet hole I knew would be there. It's the remnants of a true story, one where Elvis shoots out his toilet in his private bathroom. Why? Because it's running and keeping him awake, of course. And even after so many years of painting and repainting, I can still see the mark, and it made me smile. That's our guy, never boring!

So, I took out a pad and jotted down the memory, intending to add this little story inside Dream Angel....

  That Elvis had a temper was well known, but the bullet-damaged wall truly brought home for me just how hot he could burn. 
 
 “Why would anyone shoot a toilet?” I whispered.
  “Aw, it never worked right, anyhow.” Elvis rubbed his chin pensively.
(Dream Angel: Chapter 3)

Then, I moved to the living room and the famous long white couch, the same couch a fellow fan had once told me they'd once seen an imprint on the cushion! It was as if someone had just gotten up, she'd said, and left the room. I kept my eyes on that couch. And as much as I'd hoped to see for myself, only real-life brilliance looked back at me, nothing supernatural. But once again, my pen took to pad, and this folklore made it into the book.

 “The way you started, I thought maybe you noticed it, too.” Said sue, pointing back to the couch.        

   Elvis and I followed her direction. There on the immaculate surface of the cushion was the distinct impression of his perfectly formed behind.  I glanced at Elvis for an explanation, but he only shrugged. 

(Dream Angel: Chapter 3)

 As I continued on, I paused at the staircase, lingering between the first step up and the dining room ahead. I merely listened, soaking in the essence of the air around me. Even on a crowded tour, one can feel an energy inside Graceland, as it pulsates inside every room. And as always, my imagination lingered in the past. 

 His majestically famous outline was unmistakable even in the shadows of night. The tip of a cigar glowed red in his hand. 
   “Old habit.”  Elvis turned the cigar around to inspect it before lifting his foot, and extinguishing its embers against the hard soul of his boot."
(Dream Angel: Chapter 8)

As I continued the tour, a sense of missed opportunity filled me, and I eventually found my way to Meditation Garden. Elvis' final resting place. I stood alone, across from Elvis' grave, and with the moon for light, I wrote....

My heart jumped. I was straining so hard to hear the smallest sounds over the rustling of the night that it took a moment before I registered the smell of a sweet cigar, floating lazily over the garden wall. That was no security guard on break.  I knew exactly who smoked that very cigar.
   “Y’all realize you’re trespassin’.” 
    That familiar drawl sent a chill down my spine.
(Dream Angel: Chapter 8)

It was winter, when darkness comes early. And an empty tour bus was parked just outside the garden. I knew it was for me. I was the only one left, as the others had long moved ahead. Only the sound of trickling water from the gardens center kept me company.   

"Ma'am, we'll be closing in 10 minutes." The guide interrupted my thoughts as I sat on the first step in front of Elvis' grave. 

"Thank you, I'm coming." I said, glancing up to a statue of Jesus' outstretched hands over head.

I left that day, assured that my notes were going to make Dream Angel extra special for readers. My story would allow for a revisit, or possible a first visit, inside Graceland and Memphis. And I couldn't wait to get back to my room and write down my thoughts.

Back at my room, I readied for bed, crawling in and drawing my computer to my lap. After thousands of words, my eyes became heavy. So, I put the work aside and shut out the lights. I lay there, drifting between sleep and consciousness, enjoying those moments before realm sleep where dreams often begin. And I was drifting away when an image of Elvis flashed through my minds-eye. It was a young, (1956) Elvis, and he was smiling at me. I gave myself over to the image, noticing the details, like the hint of mischievousness lingering inside those blue eyes. And I remember thinking how wonderful this dream was going to be--I did not want it to end--so, relaxing more, I opened myself to the moment. And just as I did, the vision leaned in closer....closer still and then said, "Boo!"

I shot straight up! My breath raced, my heart pounded. And for a split second, I did not know where I was, so I glanced around the room trying to get my baring's. Graceland. Memphis. It was all coming back to me. 

The vision of the 1956 Elvis was still fresh in my head. And the prank, or rather, teasing nature of it rang with some truth. It was Elvis' sense of humor. The thought kept spinning. I could feel the truth of what I was thinking in my very bones. But nothing like this had ever happened to me before.

At this point, I got out of bed, moving to the edge. A bathroom mirror was on my right, and when I glanced to it, I could see a green light flashing within the mirror. Odd! I then looked to the window on my left, drapes drawn and dark, trying to decipher the location of what, I assumed, was a reflection.

What in the world was happening, was someone filming me, was this a joke?  My heart was racing as I got up and went to inspect this light in the mirror. And as I got close to it, it seemed to blur. When I was directly in front of it, I could see only my reflection. 

"Elvis, if you're messing with me, this is not funny?" I said out loud. 

I don't know why I said it. I had not really considered it to be Elvis' spirit, it just came out. And as I was working out the why's, I begin to feel guilty for the words, as if maybe it was him and now, I'd hurt his feeling. So, I add, "I love you buddy, but you're scaring me."

Stepping back, I took another look at the mirror and the light was gone. Now, I'm really confused; bent on finding out what was happening. So, I yank open the drapes and look out into the dark parking lot---nothing! The place was empty. I then called down to the front desk, where a nice man listened to my concerns. I told him, I thought, I saw a glowing light inside my bathroom mirror. I ask him if there are devices outside that could be reflecting inside--not bothering to mention my drapes were closed. And bless-his-heart, he doesn't treat me like I'm crazy, he merely informs me that construction doesn't happen this late at night. 

As we talk, my heart begins to settle, and I apologize for interrupting him. I explain why I'm here, and after a long day of writing, I had fallen asleep only to be awaken by this odd dream. And so, here I am, calling and bugging him. He chuckles at this, explaining that odd happenings are always being reported from those back rooms. He says patrons often say they've been visited in their dreams, or in ghostly spirit, by Elvis, adding, "I've heard it all."

Before hanging up, and on chance, I asked, "Do you believe it?"
"Absolutely!" He wasted no time in answering. "How can you not, he's just across the street?"
The truth of his words made me laugh. Maybe it was just that simple. 

When I hung up, I crawled back in bed, rethinking the night and the man's words. I cannot say what happened that night, nor do I claim that the spirit of Elvis visited me. I can only say that out of all the times I've tour Graceland--over 30--Elvis' spirit felt strong on that tour, more than any time before.  And honestly, I believe that I carried that feeling back to the hotel. Now, did that spark my dreams? Was it a hallucination or was I still dreaming when I saw the blinking light in the mirror? I don't know. 

I have always insisted, God helped me to write Eternal Flame (Book 1) and Elvis handed me Dream Angel (Book 2). And that makes me feel special or maybe chosen, as if each story was approved first-hand by a stronger power. I know these stories have blessed me, and the charities they have supported all these years, so.... that's my story and I'm sticking to it! ((Wink))

Patricia Garber

If you too have a story about strange happens in or around Graceland, please share them in the comments below or email me at eternflame@yahoo.com

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