All the way to Memphis ...

In the early 1990's a partner and I were invited to spend some time visiting an octogenarian friend in Memphis, Tennessee.  The gentleman's name was Mr. B.   -- he was usually called that by everyone who got to know him well.

Mr. B. had been a good pal and business associate of a man I once worked for known as Pop T., affectionately named so by the employees at the movie theatre he owned.  

In many ways, Mr. B. was like a mentor to me during my tenure at the cinema.  For a number of years I even drove the two gentlemen around to the many indoor and drive-in movies they had a percentage of ownership in. 
 Later on, after I'd left the theater, we even became business partners for a while.  It was during that time the invite came to visit Mr. B. in his stately home and see some of the sights Memphis had to offer. 
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Memphis's Pyramid
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Elvis's Pink Cadillac
Jen and I hit the road early from North Carolina, and despite only a couple of short stops, it still took us eleven long hours to reach Memphis.  We swapped off driving duties every now and then, as Tennessee is a long way to travel across end to end.  On arriving we were greeted by Mr. B. and given a tour of his home.  When we reached the back bedroom, he asked us if it would be alright for our lodgings.  It was the only other room besides Mr. B's that had a bathroom.  

Mr. B. had a large, four-bedroom house in an older neighborhood that had perhaps seen better days.  The home sat on an acre and a half of property inside the Memphis city limits.  As Jen and I looked the room over, it suddenly occurred to me that this was Mr. B.'s deceased wife's room.  It was also apparent the bedroom still held her furnishings and nick-knacks as though she were still alive, especially in the bathroom, as we soon found out.  While surveying the room, my eyes were drawn to the carpet near the foot of the bed for some reason.  

It then dawned on me that this was where a tragedy had befallen Mr. B.'s wife.  I asked if that was the spot where she died, at the foot of the bed.  In an understanding way, he said yes, it was, and offered us another room to stay in if we felt uncomfortable.  Glancing at each other, we both quickly told our host it would be alright -- the room would be just fine.  He then left to get ready for dinner and  we unpacked our luggage and toiletries.  At the table he suggested we visit Graceland the next day.  Of course, that idea was eagerly accepted.
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All photos by Alastar Packer - Dane Turnbull/ Graceland Mansion

Graceland visit and the ghost of Elvis Presley ...

Hitler and Eva surviving the bunker? An aged  Elvis seen pumping gas in the Heartland? Unlikely scenarios and for good reason, but the King's ghost or spirit, haunting his Graceland home, may be a different story.  In any case, we'll take a look in a moment at some of peoples' ghostly experiences from the mansion and estate grounds.

The first thing that struck me on entering the home was how intimate it  all seemed.  We were expecting a Dallas TV show type opulence, when what we got was decidedly different.  If homey isn't exactly the right word for it, something similar most certainly is -- like cozy? Yes, that's what it felt like.  Comfy as a fine fitting pair of blue suede shoes to be exact. 

As a matter of fact, the first surprise on viewing the place was its relatively small size in comparison to what was expected. Just the type of residence a spirit might have a particular affinity for, and after all, the upstairs are off limits to the tourists crowds, and and Elvis could enjoy downstairs,  playing piano, or just lounge in the Jungle Room late at night if he got tired of seeing curious fans during the takin' care of business hours.

One of the buildings on the property contains Elvis's jumpsuits, and that's where a lady devotee claims she saw the King.  In wonderment, gazing at the sparkling jewels on one outfit, she suddenly saw something, or someone, move in her peripheral vision.  Thinking no more about it, she turned back to the glass case, only to be confronted by the face of Elvis himself!  After calming down she checked for any source the astounding sight could have been reflecting from, but could find nothing.

Later, after seeing one of the estate's black horses head into the barn as if  being called by someone, she asked a guide if any of Elvis's horses could still be around.  She was told no, and the horses were elsewhere being groomed and couldn't possibly be near the barn.  Pale and trembling, she moved on to Meditation Garden, where the graves are.  Now, not as if what had already happened wasn't enough, there in the glass case, holding the eternal flame,  was the idol's reflection again!

Other haunting encounters with the great entertainer, range from folks giving a uniformed Elvis a lift up to Graceland's gates, sometimes accompanied by a song or two from the great singer en route .  Visitors also occasionally report hearing strains of Elvis' singing wafting down from the second floor.  Speaking of the upstairs, many people report feeling strange sensations when standing in the foyer of the mansion, which just so happens to be  directly under the bathroom where Elvis expired.

These are just some of the many unusual sightings and experiences folks have had over the years since his passing.  Supposedly a gentleman even caught the King's face on video in the meditation garden one time.  The maids have reported strange goings-on in the house as well.  Why,  it's even rumored a reluctant-to-talk-about-it  Lisa Marie knows a thing or two about all this.


(Top)State historical marker in front of Graceland
(Bottom) Elvis' swimming pool.
While this section on Elvis's ghost or spirit energy at Graceland may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, who's to say the black velvet superstar isn't a homeboy in the afterlife?  He certainly loved the house and estate grounds very dearly while alive and kicking, and maybe, just maybe, he still does.
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Graceland Stables
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Graceland Meditation Gardens

Memphis Site-Seein'

Although we didn't have enough time to explore world famous Beale Street, with its myriad of haunted places, we did walk through the Peabody hotel on Union Street.  The hotel lobby has been called the gateway to the Mississippi Delta.

It really was a shame missing historic Beale Street, with its blues and jazz joints, not to mention ghostly spots like the Orpheum Theater and Hunt-Phelan Home. The ever popular Ernestine and Hazel's dive bar, with it's jukebox and historic haunted upstairs-brothel, is another place.

The historic Peabody is also well known for the resident ducks who gambol about the fountain and lobby to the amusement of guests  If  there aren't any ghostly residents in the Peabody, there certainly ought to be with its long and varied past. 

I remember exactly where I was when the news broke of  Martin Luther King's murder in April of 1968: sitting on the couch as a little boy watching The Wild, Wild, West  TV show with my parents.  The Lorraine Motel, where the assassination happened, is a haunting of another kind -- one of memory that is.
(Top) Fountain in the Peabody-Memphis
(Bottom) The Lorraine Motel
The Lorraine Motel was located just a street or two over from Mr. B.'s office where he oversaw all his business's and investments.   Mr. B. took us by there later on in the visit.  He asked us to pull over so he could donate money for the site's non-profit organization.  Apparently, it was always the same dedicated young African American girl sitting at the outdoor table taking donations and Mr B. made it a point to stop and contribute most every time he went by the place.

A chilling night sweat ... 

On the second night of our stay, Jen and I went to bed around eleven o'clock.  I distinctly recall  Mr. B. asking us what temperature we'd like the thermostat set on before turning in.

One of us replied anything in the low seventies would be fine, as it was late autumn and the days had been mild. After saying good night, being a bit exhausted from all the recent activities, we quickly fell into a comfy slumber. 

Later, we abruptly awoke at the same time.  It took us only seconds to realize we were soaked in sweat: the pillows, the sheets, our very night clothes -- all were nearly wet enough to have come straight out of  a washer.  The room was still a comfortable degree of temperature as it had been when we retired for the night.  We talked in hushed tones for a few moments,  before I went off to the bathroom for some towels.  Thinking thoughts neither of us wanted to express to the other right then, we soon fell back to sleep.

 An hour passed, or maybe two, when we were startled awake again by a room nearly cold enough to see one's breath in. That did it for me and I roused up to check the windows  and vents for any drafts.  Checking those in the bathroom I was hit with a very uncomfortable feeling.  The deceased lady's things were really laid about in profusion here, like she'd never left.  Next I went down the hallway to check the thermostat -- seventy-three degrees it was.  On the way back I noticed Mr. B.'s door was shut and stifled a desire to knock.

Come the morning we discussed telling our host about the eerie experience, but decided to just ask if he had adjusted the thermostat during the night.  He replied no, he hadn't, and asked in return if everything was alright. Jen told him everything was fine, but of course it wasn't, not really.  We never did say anything to him about that night as things turned out.

A few years previous to our stay, the missus had opened the front door to someone she knew while waiting on Mr. B. to return home from his downtown office.  She'd even prepared a cocktail for him and placed it on a table in the foyer, as she always did, when she expected him to be coming back home from work.

Whoever she opened the door to knew where the lady kept her pin money -- two-thousand dollars hidden in her feminine hygiene bag as it turned out.  Before they plundered the cash, they had taken Mrs. B. to her bedroom, forced the lady onto the floor at the foot of the bed, and cruelly shot her in the back of the head.

As to the disturbing temperature fluctuation and heavy sweat Jen and I experienced, it can only be said there was never any reason we could come up with for them to occur.  Could they have been caused by the ghost of the murdered Mrs. B.? Or perhaps some kind of dark energy or memory imprint on time itself? Whatever the case my be, it certainly was an unsettling night in old Memphis-town and that's for sure.
 


Comments

09/24/2013 4:38pm

Alastar,

I see your globe has a few more lights on it. That always looks promising. :)

I'd definitely love a tour of Graceland and the Peabody-Memphis. I'm game to visit anyplace that lets ducks cruise through their lobby and swim in their fountains.

As for Graceland, can't help but wonder if they've not only got Elvis' ghost floating around, but maybe one of his horse's ghosts too. :)

It wouldn't be the first ghost horse I've heard of. :)

femme

Reply
09/26/2013 3:12pm

Yes indeed, Femme! They're popping up from all over the world - very exciting. You travel wishes will come true, that I am confident in predicting. Ha those ducks walk around like they own the Peabody! Very cool to see them waddling all over. You know the part on Graceland was written a bit tongue-in-cheek but who knows? Stars tend to return or at least linger around; it really must be hard for some of them to want to stick around in part ( if that's what it is) rather than completely gp on to the other side. And yes! If any should know about horses behaving similar it would be the Phillips sistas! Thanks so much for replying here, Femme!

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09/27/2013 4:02am

Hi Alastar! First of all, I would like to congratulate you to your beautiful blogsite. I truly enjoyed taking this tour through "The Carolinian's Archives." As always, I find your writing to be intriguing and exciting. I love reading about your interesting and chilling tales about your encounters. You sure do have a knack for telling a story, leaving your reader glued to your words.
Take care for now. I'll be back.
Sannel

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09/28/2013 10:58pm

How kind and thoughtful of you, Sannel. I've missed hearing my Swedish Nightingale! That's an insightful comment, Sannel, as I do so try and make these stories memorable as possible. You take care too, and please return anytime heart desires. I'll be over your way soon you know. It's exciting just thinking about what may be discovered in Sannel's Mother Svea!

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