Elvis on Tour: Trailer for 1972 documentary
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The upstairs of the Graceland mansion remains mostly a mystery to Elvis Presley fans. Ever since his home opened for tours 40 years ago, it’s one of the only parts of the building that is strictly off-limits. This is out of respect for The King, who died of a heart attack in the bathroom up there, but also because it was his private space was by invite only even when he was alive.
Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith is the last surviving original Memphis Mafia member and spent many hours upstairs at Graceland with The King in his elaborate bedroom.
On his YouTube channel Elvis Fans Matter, he and his wife Jo spoke of hanging out in the space that was kept very cold to the star’s liking. The couple said how they would talk, listen to music and watch television with Elvis who died in 1977.
Billy remembered: “He pretty much dominated what we were doing since it was his room. He was the boss! It always was interesting. He’d talk about different things it could be anything. Something scientific, aliens…”
Elvis was an avid reader with a special interest in religion, spirituality and the paranormal.
Jo Smith shared: “Sometimes it could be really, really serious and other times it was like the home for silly. We’d do goofy things that you’d have thought grown-up people at the age we were, would not have done that. But we did. It was like kids kinda.”
One ritual The King invited his inner circle to take part in involved a nightly protection chant.
Jo said: “It would usually be [The King’s girlfriend] Linda [Thompson], Elvis, Billy and me and we would wind up in the middle of his bed in a circle. We’d hold hands and we did all kinds of things. I remember one time everybody had to cover their eyes and then had to describe what we were seeing at that moment, what was going on in our mind and then he analysed it. I know one time I said, ‘I see stars’ and he said, ‘If you don’t come up with something better you are gonna see stars!’
When it came to the chant before leaving to go home around dawn, the four would all hold hands together on the bed.
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The words instigated by the spiritually curious Elvis would be: “Christ love, Christ life, Christ peace.”
Billy and Jo said how Elvis asked them and Linda to visualise a white aura around each person and a dome over the four of them. They added that it was “supposed to protect you and your family or whoever you were thinking about.” To this day, Elvis’ bedroom is preserved like he just got up and left on August 16, 1977.
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