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By Javier Sierra

I had to rub my eyes a few times to make sure it was real.

I arrived at Graceland, the mythical mansion of Elvis Presley, last week.

And I did it reluctantly.

I hadn’t liked shelling out eighty dollars for admission to a theme park full of relics and meaningless knick-knacks.

Or so I thought, but I was wrong.

What I had just found in the building for the King of Rock archives left me speechless.

Among his daughter Lisa Marie’s toys, memorabilia from her concerts, old newspapers, paintings, mailboxes, and old appliances, rested a curious shelf identified with a handwritten label: “Elvis personal books.”

Intrigued, I began to read their spines and, suddenly, all my prevention turned into curiosity.

Works by Herman Hesse, Gibran, Gurdjieff, treatises on yoga, auras, astral travel, mysteries of India or biblical prophecies were crowded together with titles such as Secret Teachings of All Times, by Manly P. Hall, whose Spanish edition I myself he had prefaced years ago.

I was immediately attracted by a purple tome, “Seth Speaks”, which some time ago had given me hours of wonderful conversation with Ignacio Darnaude, one of our greatest experts in heterodox literature.

Did the man who sang ‘Jailhouse Rock’ really read those kinds of books?

Seth Speaks was a five-hundred-page tome published in 1972 by Jane Roberts, a medium and poet from Albany, who between 1963 and 1984 had “channeled” the teachings of a spirit that had indoctrinated her about the nature of God and the structure of the universe.

The book claimed, among other things, that humans have multiple selves that live in an infinite cluster of parallel worlds, and that every time one of these copies experiences a strong desire, any of the others is forced to carry it out.

In fact, those kinds of revelations
new age extended to eight more books…
And they were all in that library!

I would have liked to phone Darnaude to share the find with him, but Ignacio passed away in Sevilla in 2018 without leaving an heir to his chair, so I took advantage of my hours at Graceland to do some research.

I discovered then that Elvis was a voracious reader, not only had he read Seth Speaks, but he had underlined and annotated it on almost every page. And that was not the only volume with scars. In fact, the more than a thousand that he left behind when he died were found in a similar state.

Although most of his biographers have written of his passion for “transcendent” readings, few have said that the King took refuge in them in his lonely hours, consulting them over and over again in search of illumination.

One of her favorites was ‘The Voice of the Silence’, a small treatise on Eastern mystical teachings compiled by another medium, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, which she sometimes chanted aloud to her friends.

But why this interest in mediumistic books? If Ignacio had lived, surely I would have headed to Larry Geller, Elvis’s personal stylist and the man who apparently introduced him to that world. Geller came to publish several essays on the “spiritual path” of the artist who reveals to us a genius far removed from the stereotype that the record industry built for him.

Elvis was a man tormented by the spiritual.

His beginnings were marked by the gospel choir of his parish. His mother was a devout Christian. His father believed in UFOs.

But it was in Blavatsky’s writings that he read that esotericism would triumph at some point in the 20th century, and also when he felt that he himself was part of a “plan” to fulfill the prophecy of a future for humanity more doomed than ever to the metaphysical.

Perhaps that is why Elvis, who began his career as a kind of “sex bomb” that caused his followers to go into hysterical trances, began to slip messages of a different kind, in the same tone as Seth, in songs like The Impossible Dream.

Graceland picks up many clues to that transformation. They are silent signs, rarely noticed by tourists, but they are there waiting to be discovered.

The wardrobe of his last years in Las Vegas, for example, contains embroidered mandalas, talismans of ancient civilizations, totemic animals and even the sacred geometries of the Native Americans in which Elvis sought protection and refuge.

His most beloved jewels also followed this path, such as the gold and diamond necklace with the Hebrew word “chai”, “alive”, which is not only a popular good luck charm but also hides numerological connotations to which, according to the Presley’s own family, was also very affectionate.

Consequently, he ended up walking for hours, with growing astonishment, the signs of that “other Elvis” scattered throughout the rooms of Graceland. I even found a crystal ball in the famous Pool Room where he played guitar for his friends.

After all, the entrance to “Elvis Park” was worth it. It has allowed me to discover that behind one of the great icons of modern music was a man as overwhelmed by the abyss of life as any other.

An unpublished Presley that has given me a good handful of reasons to study it further of his voice.

NOTE: Javier Sierra is a writer and the Planeta Novel Award.


Information provided by Elvis Shop Argentina


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