It's been 30 years since "the King" passed away, but that hasn't stopped Elvis enthusiasts from traveling to Graceland to celebrate the life of the crooner; they get over 600,000 visitors a year. But there's bad news for the folks who weren't convinced that Elvis had ever left the building to begin with: The Elvis is Alive Museum is about to close. The bizarre Missouri outpost, just an hour outside of St. Louis, was once a coin-operated laundry, but for the past 17 years it's been the pet project of Baptist minister Billy Beeney. The AP reports that:
[T]he 81-year-old proprietor of The Elvis is Alive Museum... has placed his Elvis Presley memorabilia on eBay in hopes that someone else will take up the cause. His collection includes photographs, books, FBI files, replicas of the Cadillac the King drove and of the casket and gravestone from his 1977 funeral, even a painted Elvis head.
The museum's visitors, lured by the 16-foot sign of Elvis on the side of the road ("it's the only 16-foot wooden Elvis on the street") would find:
...a casket, complete with a mannequin that doesn't look anything like Elvis, hundreds of photographs and yellowed news clippings, and a poster of the famous photo of President Nixon and Presley from 1970...[They] can hear what is said to be a tape recording of Presley's voice, supposedly copied off a telephone answering machine six years after the funeral, as well as see piles of documents that Beeny said are FBI files proving Presley's involvement with federal authorities.
Beeney still believes that Elvis is alive and in the Witness Protection Program. He's closing the museum so that he can focus his energy on his charity work, but hopes that someone else will take up the cause. "Someone else can run, will run, the museum," he told the news service. "No one in the whole county is doing the job I intend to do."
Photo: Jane Linders