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ELVIS PRESLEY. THE KING IS ALIVE AND HIS 75 TODAY

He appears in photographs and wrote his own death certificate. We went on to investigate the theories of the fans who don't let him die.

The King of Rock'n'Roll is 75 years old today. Away from the stages since 1977, after having forged his death, Elvis disappeared without a trace.

These would be the news today, if every theory surrounding Elvis Presley's destiny were to be proved. But for the time being, and until proven otherwise, the news are the icon would be 75 today if he were alive - the white man who tamed and turned popular the black American musical tradition, he moved legions of female fans willing to die (of passion) by his art and good looks and started a following of 85 thousand impersonators, convinced they incarnate a real Elvis. With more than 600 fan clubs around the world, the King of Rock'n'Roll is still earning a lot of money and his musical legacy is so vast that it is still possible to hope of finding new songs, even though the biggest American musician does not record for more than 30 years.

What does not die is the fascination for the singer, nor the wish of some that he still might be somewhere living in Hawaii in absolute anonymacy. Therefore, the theories continue.

THE BOOKS. Gail Brewer Giorgio and Marty Nicholson are the authors of two distinctive works on the disappearance of the King. "Orion", by Giorgio, tells the fiction story of a star that forges his own death in order to lead a normal life. According to the author, who later on would also write "The Elvis Files" and "Is Elvis Alive?", the book, edited shortly after the death of the King, mysteriously disappeared from the book stores without being possible to order it. Nicholson, author of "The Elvis Arrangement", complained about the same thing. Why? Certainly to try to hush the truth.

THE INVENTORY. Maria Columbus, president of one of the biggest Elvis American fan clubs, created in 1969, points out a series of bizarre events that lead us to doubt. According to Columbus, in the inventory of everything that should be found in Graceland, the residence of the singer, some things were missing, such as diaries, jewelry, photographs of the daughter and the family, the cars and a plane. The idea is that the King took his most prized possessions and ran away.

THE PHOTO. Mike Joseph, an Elvis fan, travelled to Graceland four months after Elvis' death. During the visit to the property he took photographs of everything that he saw. When he developped the photos, he was surprised to find a figure sitting behind the glassed door of the house: a bearded man with sideburns, very much like Presley. Mike rushed to Kodak in order to verify if the film was real and had not been manipulated. The image was real. Could it be the King?

OTHER EVIDENCES. Elvis' life insurance was never withdrawn and around a million dollars disappeared from his bank account without a trace. The singer had connections to the FBI and allowed that an undercover agent travelled as a member of his band. This led to several death threats from the kings of the underworld. It was urgent to disappear and nothing better than a witness protection programme. The writer Gail Giorgio, who believes the King is alive in Kalamazoo, Michigan, asked the handwriting expert Paul Weist to compare the handwriting of a letter written by Elvis to the president Nixon with the handwriting of his death certificate. Surprise of surprises... they are an exact match.

"ELVIS IS DEAD," the Portuguese Fans Say

Paulo Henriques, one of the founders of the oldes Elvis fan club in Portugal, Burning Star, cannot explain the fascination by the singer: "Elvis cannot be explained, but otherwise experienced. He was born precisely in the exact moment and his music appeared in the right moment; when everybody was listening to the foxtrot, he mixed rhythm and blues with rock'n'roll and created his own style." However, this fan does not believe that the King might be alive: "Elvis lived for his fans, even when he was sick he went to the stage. He could never live without them. Those are invented theories in order to sell papers."

Célia Carvalho, founder of the second biggest fan club of the American singer, Elivs 100%, isn't convinced either. "Each time someone famous dies, those rumours appear. The wish for the idols not to die is so great that people invent those theories. But I don't have any doubts that Elvis is dead." One thing is for sure: "While there is an Elvis fan, Elvis is alive," Paulo Henriques believes.

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