This story is excerpted from Spirits of Christmas: The Dark Side of the Holidays.
It’s become somewhat of a joking urban legend to claim that Elvis Presley is alive and well and flipping burgers somewhere in East Podunk. As a part of American culture, “Elvis sightings” are right up there with UFO encounters.
But even with all the National Enquirer articles shouting otherwise, the undeniable fact remains that Elvis Presley did indeed die on August 16, 1977, at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
So what sort of phantom Elvis are people seeing? The best guess is that it’s just that simple–people who claim an Elvis sighting are actually running into his ghost.
The spirit of Elvis seems reluctant to leave this plane of existence. He appeared to an acquaintance, an elderly farmer named Claude Buchanan, just after he (Elvis) passed away. Claude said that before the news of Presley’s death was announced, the figure of Elvis showed up and told him, “I’ve come to say good-bye for a while, Claude.”
But one year, Elvis decided to go home for Christmas.
On December 20, 1980, a truck driver named Jack Matthews was taking a load to Memphis. About a hundred miles outside of the city, he picked up a hitchhiker. The night was dark, and the hitcher was just a dim form in the passenger seat, a hat pulled low over his face. But the hitcher didn’t seem like a threat to Matthews; on the contrary, he was well-spoken and polite, just the kind of company you’d want on a long trip. In a light Tennessee drawl, he told Matthews that he was going to Memphis to see his “momma and daddy” for the holidays.
The hours passed in pleasant conversation. They talked quite a bit about cars, and the hitchhiker mentioned that he owned several Cadillacs. Matthews took the boast (for surely that’s what it was) with a good-natured grin and a grain of salt or three.
The truck rolled into Memphis, and in the glow of the streetlights, the hitchhiker’s face began to seem somehow familiar to Matthews. The man asked to be dropped off on Elvis Presley Boulevard, and that’s when the penny dropped for Matthews. His passenger looked startlingly like the late entertainer.
Matthews found the boulevard and carefully pulled the sixteen-wheeler over to let his passenger out. He stuck his hand out to wish the guy a Merry Christmas, and realized he’d never told his passenger his name. “I’m Jack Matthews, by the way.”
The hitchhiker looked Matthews in the eye. “I’m Elvis Presley, sir.”
For more Christmas spookiness, read Spirits of Christmas: The Dark Side of the Holidays, available in both paperback and ebook. And enjoy even more creepy stories at http://darrenmarlar.com/2017/11/28/twelve-nightmares-christmas/
On this last episode of the Weird Darkness version of the Twelve Night(mares) of Christmas, Darren has pulled out all the stops to bring you even more wonderful stories of holiday chills from Spirits of Christmas. On this Christmas Eve, enjoy “Christmas Carols in the Woods”, “St. Mary’s Church”, “The Lady in the Pantry”, “Mrs. Eustace Returns”, “The Phantoms of the Mamie R. Mine”, “The Wreck of the General Arnold” (which is a), one of my personal favorites, and 2), available as an episode of Lights Out), “Up In Flames”, “The Battle of Edgehill”, and “50 Berkeley Square”. If you like what you hear, you can always subscribe to the Weird Darkness podcast, to get more dark weirdness forever! Visit www.weirddarkness.com to subscribe.
Thank you so much for joining me and Darren Marlar of Weird Darkness for these Twelve Night(mares) of Christmas. It’s been such a joy sharing tales of winter weirdness with you! We wish you the happiest (and spookiest) of holidays!