It was 40 years ago today that Elvis Presley passed away at the age of 42. At the time, people found the news hard to believe. Even after the funeral and all the tributes, some people still found it hard to believe that the superstar was gone. The number of disbelievers grew when reports started coming in from folks who swore that they’d seen Elvis alive and well. The first one was supposedly on the day he died.
On the afternoon of August 16, 1977, a man bearing a striking resemblance to Elvis is said to have purchased a one-way ticket from Memphis International Airport to Buenos Aires. He supposedly gave the name Jon Burrows, a pseudonym Elvis used when checking into hotels. Patrick Lacy, author of the book Elvis Decoded, claims to have debunked this popular and wholly unsubstantiated story by interviewing airport officials and determining that international flights weren’t available from Memphis in 1977. There’s also the question of why the most famous man on the planet would risk going into a public place in his hometown in order to book airfare for the purpose of faking his own death. Maybe Elvis figured his acting skills would help him avoid suspicion.
Even as the funeral proceeded, the medical examiner’s report was issued, and the stories of witnesses came out, fans preferred to think that Elvis faked his death, and looked for every possible clue that it was so. And for the next forty years, the stories and rumors proliferated. Read about Elvis sightings over the years at Mental Floss.