05 Sep 2012

All Shook Up At The King’s House

When I was growing up, the only music I was allowed to listen to was Disney records, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Hank Williams Senior, The Statler Brothers and Elvis Presley Gospel. My father is a Baptist preacher and was pretty strict about what we listened to. I remember, I saved up all my money one year and went to the mall and bought Michael Jackson’s Thriller on cassette tape. It was awesome! One afternoon my dad snapped it in half and stomped on it like it was a vile and filthy stinging bug and said, “He’s not going to sing a song in my house!”

Needless to say, I learned how to sing from the classic greats! If you ask anyone that knows me in this town who my favorite singer of all time is, they’ll tell you without hesitation, Elvis Presley! When I was finishing up with college I started singing in bands and sang professionally for about six years. Every band I was in, we did some sort of tribute to Elvis at the end of the night. No one else ever put as much heart and soul into music as he did. I still get the chills when I hear his songs.

Elvis Presley used to live in Killeen, Texas. Yes. You heard that right. How come you didn’t know this? It’s sad I know. Everyone should know this! We should still have signs everywhere in Killeen! There used to be a sign up in Killeen a long time ago before you came into town that said, “Elvis lived here. So can you.”

I love that! Where did it go? I can’t say. But…when a local realtor came into my office where I was selling homes at the lake and told me that the house he used to live in was available…I nearly hit the ceiling!

It took me all of 30 seconds to find out where it was and run over there to look at it. It was a beautiful single story home on a half-acre with gorgeous trees that shaded the whole lot. The house sat back from the street with a big covered front porch. I could just imagine Elvis’s pink Cadillac sitting in the driveway and people standing in the street just to catch a glimpse of him.

The house was in really good shape and a lot of the same fixtures were there. It was rumored that he had put in pink toilets. Those were not there of course. I had remembered a photo of Elvis taken in front of the fireplace of the house he stayed in while he was in basic training on Fort Hood. This is it! I was standing in the exact same place Elvis stood for that photo! I was in heaven and enchanted.

I called my husband and told him about it and said I wanted to buy it. He didn’t argue with me because he knew how much I loved Elvis. Our entire game room and half the house was covered in Elvis memorabilia. I put in an offer on the house that day!

I couldn’t believe that this house hadn’t been memorialized! Why doesn’t anyone know that Elvis lived here? I started to put a plan in place to turn it into a museum and a place with all the photos and memorabilia from when Elvis was in the army. The offer was accepted and a few weeks later, I owned the home that Elvis lived in while he was in basic training in 1958. I began to decorate and friends emerged and started to help make it a beautifully staged home full of Elvis army memories. My plan was to decorate it and try to sell it to someone with a lot of money who could turn it into something wonderful like it deserved to be!

I hired a company out of Tennessee that had just auctioned off a home that Elvis had lived in prior to his move to Killeen. That home appraised at around $80,000 and sold for nearly a million on Ebay. The company was very excited to get the house and start marketing. We put it on Ebay and the results weren’t as good as what we had hoped. We had a few celebrities that bid. We had bids up to our “break even” point the day the auction ended and would’ve lost money to close on it. So we decided to put it up again at a later date.

During this down time, I decided to have a party at the Elvis house. I invited about 25 of my closest girl friends to spend the night there. We had a blast! Four or five different people were taking pictures, including me, that night when we had a realization. In every picture that every person was taking with different cameras, there were orbs. Anywhere from one to eighteen. So we began taking more and more pictures with all the different cameras at different parts of the house.

We ended up spooking ourselves out so badly that only five girls ended up spending the night. When we finally turned out the lights, huddled together in our sleeping bags on the floor and got quiet, things got even weirder. Now, if you don’t believe in the paranormal, you can choose to read this and dismiss it. But if you do believe in the paranormal, this was one of the creepiest experiences ever!

One of my friends suddenly yelled out, “What?!”

I said, “What is it?”

She said, “One of ya’ll keeps whispering my name! Stop!”

None of us had done it. We were all so truly freaked out that out of respect for the other girls; we weren’t doing anything extra to scare each other that night. Right after that, another girl jumps up and screams, “Turn on the light!”

Someone turned on the light and she was really upset and said that she had watched an orb float through the room into the kitchen. Only when it went around the corner did she have the breath or guts to say anything.

We talked about it for a while until we thought we were okay to go back to sleep. I had just gone back to sleep when I woke up to a weird pressure on me. I felt the sleeping bag pulling on one side and then I heard the zipper. I was frozen! My friend was dead asleep next to me and there was no one on my right. The zipper kept going and it unzipped about five or six inches before I screamed and wiggled out of the sleeping bag. It had stopped and my sleeping bag lay motionless. But that was it. We didn’t sleep another wink that night.

We started to zoom in on the photos that we had taken and saw that the larger orbs had what looked like faces in them. One orb even had a gentleman with a top hat on and a frilly collar. In one picture, there was a woman holding a baby. You could see her arm perfectly with a pearl bracelet on and she was holding a swaddled baby. You couldn’t see the baby’s face, but you could see her face. It was terrifying! After we had seen this photo with the lady with the pearl bracelet, we started finding these little pearls in every room of the house.

When morning came, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I never went back into the house alone, again. I was really creeped out. I don’t know if any of these events had anything to do with Elvis but to make things even weirder, Uri Gellar, the famous mentalist out of the UK, had expressed an interest in buying the home. He’s most famous for bending spoons with his mind. His interest faded and it didn’t work out.

I ended up owning the home for two years and I let anyone who was a fan go in and check out all the articles, photos and memorabilia I had there. I became pregnant with our precious daughter and had a very rough pregnancy and nearly died after I gave birth. We had to let the house go and a very nice couple bought it who are also Elvis Presley fans. It tore me up inside to let it go. I wanted to be able to make sure that anyone who lived or came to Killeen would know that a music legend once lived here for a year and went to basic training at Fort Hood.

I learned of so many beautiful and interesting stories from people who had met him while he lived here. He was a kind man, kissed a lot of women who still live here, got clotheslined in a neighbor’s backyard running from their dog while he was dodging crazed teens, and bitten by a dog that was in a parade with a sign around his neck that said, “I bit Elvis.” He would just show up at bars and restaurants and would sing songs for them all night. There were many superstars that stayed there at the house and spent nights around the piano singing and laughing

Very recently, I met an older gentleman and his wife at an open house I was holding in Killeen. They said they had owned their home here since the fifties and were thinking that they needed a change, finally.

I asked them, “Well, I guess you got to see Elvis. He was here in 1958.”

The wife instantly changed expressions to a forlorn look and held her gaze in her husband’s eyes. He began to tear up. She talked for him because he couldn’t talk. He was completely overcome with emotion. She said, “My husband was Elvis’s staff Sargent in the army. They became very close friends.”

I told her how I had bought the home that Elvis had lived in and how much it had meant to me. We were all crying at this point when finally, the husband spoke.

He said, “Elvis was a good boy. He was dealing with things that no boy his age should have had to deal with. We talked a lot. He was my friend. When he was through with basic training here at Fort Hood, he was assigned to Germany. I went with him in the same group. He invited me up to his house that he had rented in Germany and I’ll never forget what he said. We were standing on a balcony one night overlooking a party at his house and he looked at me with so much sadness and with a wavering voice he said, “I don’t know who any of these people are. Except you. Thank you.”

As he finished his story, his eyes were full of tears and he was lost in a world that was still playing out in front of him. As I write this and remember the look on his face, I know exactly what type of person Elvis was and just how he affected everyone that he was in contact with. He died three years after I was born, yet I have been enamored with him since I was able to talk. I would’ve given anything to have met him, to have seen him sing or smile. At least for a little while, I owned something that was special to him, where he spent his family time. And that is as close as I’ll come. That’s enough. Long live the King.

The first photo is of Elvis in front of the fireplace in 1958. The second is the fireplace today.