Elvis Aaron Presley, mononymously known as Elvis is one of the most prominent cultural icons of the 20th century. With his energized performances, musical talent, good looks and fashion, he gained a global reputation as the “King of Rock and Roll”.
Elvis’s mega popularity also meant that his name was, and still is on the rumour mill frequently. Apart from rumours surrounding his sudden death, there are many conspiracy theories relating to his twin brother Jesse Garon Presley.
In this article, we are going to discuss the mystery surrounding Elvis’ twin brother and their relationship. Read on to find out more.
King of Rock and Roll: Elvis Presley
One of America’s best cultural treasures was Elvis Presley. He revolutionized the music industry with his contributions to the rock and roll genre. His influence was so important that according to Rolling Stone “It was Elvis who made rock ‘n’ roll the international language of pop.”
Presley’s music style has been described as being heavily influenced by African-American blues, Christian gospel, and Southern country. According to some, Presley’s work was groundbreaking in that he created a whole new style of music: “It wasn’t black, wasn’t white, wasn’t pop or wasn’t country—it was different.”
One of his contemporaries and the Beatles member John Lennon has been quoted as saying, “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” His music was also avant-garde and invigorating, making him popular among the youth as most of his contemporaries’ music catered to the palette of adults.
Presley’s cultural influence goes beyond just the music scene; his recordings, sexually provocative dance moves, suave attitude and fashionable clothing made him an embodiment of rock and roll.
He is also credited with popularizing African American music in an age where racism was still publicly accepted. Presley used his privilege as a white man to bring Black music to the world stage. Little Richard said of Presley: “He was an integrator. Elvis was a blessing. They wouldn’t let black music through. He opened the door for black music.”
However, Presley was always careful to acknowledge and credit the Black artists who created the genre. He has been quoted as saying “The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I’m doin’ now, man, for more years than I know. They played it like that in their shanties and in their juke joints and nobody paid it no mind ’til I goosed it up. I got it from them.”
Did Elvis Presley Have a Twin Brother?
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Mississippi to Vernon and Gladys Presley. However, he wasn’t the only child born to his parents that day, as Gladys Presley was pregnant with twin boys but only one of them survived.
Gladys gave birth to Elvis’ identical twin brother Jesse Garon Presley 35 minutes before Elvis was born. However, Jesse was tragically stillborn. The exact cause of his death was never released to the public, but it was most likely due to complications during pregnancy or labour.
Gladys and Vernon did not have any other children, so the late rock and roll artist remained their only surviving child.
Is Elvis Presley’s Twin Brother Still Alive?
As it is with other celebrities, Elvis had his fair share of rumours and conspiracy theories surrounding his life. One of the most perplexing of those relates to his allegedly deceased identical twin, Jesse Presley.
Some fans and gossip tabloids claim that Jesse Garon Presley never actually died at birth and was hidden away from the public. They theorize that Elvis used Jesse as a body double on occasion and that Jesse helped his brother Elvis stay out of the public eye by replacing him at various public events.
According to some rumours, Elvis was haunted by Jesse’s spirit and they would frequently have conversations at night in Elvis’ room.
Whether this theory is just a baseless rumour or has some truth to it, many of Elvis Presley’s biographers believe that Jesse’s death and the many rumours surrounding it had a profound impact on Elvis’ psychological health.
Peter O. Whitmer, a clinical psychologist, wrote in his book, Inner Elvis: A Psychological Biography of Elvis Aaron Presley, that Elvis never recovered from his late twin’s death as he felt guilty about it deep down, even though it wasn’t his fault Jesse died. Whitmer believes that Elvis’s deep psychological trauma from Jesse’s death continued to haunt all of his relationships.
Here is a direct quote from Whitmert excerpted from Inner Elvis: A Psychological Biography of Elvis Aaron Presley: “Elvis’s twin’s death at birth was a tragedy that triggered a process that made his dead sibling the bedrock, the singular driving force in his life. Jesse was a restless spirit who eventually haunted all of Presley’s relationships.”
It is possible that Elvis felt some level of survivor’s guilt and held himself accountable for his twin’s death and the guilt continued to haunt him for the rest of his life. Some authors also assert that single twins feel a phantom connection to their dead twin. However, Elvis Presley never publicly talked about Jesse Presley, so we would never know how he felt about his brother’s death or how it truly affected him.
Is Elvis Presley Still Alive?
There are many rumours surrounding Presley’s death claiming he faked his own death to avoid media attention and lead a simple life. Some of these rumours even suggest that he is alive even today.
It was reported that Elvis Presley died at the young age of 42 on August 16th, 1977, in Memphis, Tennessee. His sudden death was deeply mourned by fans as many travelled to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, to pay their respects.
Elvis was found unconscious on the floor of the master suite bathroom in his famed Memphis mansion, Graceland by his then fiancee, Ginger Alden. He was rushed to the Baptist Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:30 PM after several attempts to revive him had failed.
The autopsy which was conducted on the same day of his death concluded that the immediate cause of Presley’s death was a cardiac arrest. The underlying cause of his death was initially ruled as cardiac arrhythmia, a condition which is only diagnosable in individuals who are still alive. This raised questions about a possible cover-up.
Elvis was also known to have extremely unhealthy eating habits, in fact, he weighed 350 pounds at the time of his death. This, coupled with prolonged prescription drug abuse, led to his untimely death. Forensic historian and pathologist Michael Baden said this about the complicated situation: “Elvis had had an enlarged heart for a long time. That, together with his drug habit, caused his death. But he was difficult to diagnose; it was a judgment call.”
Following his death, one of Presley’s cousins, Billy Mann, secretly photographed his body for USD18,000. The picture appeared on the cover of National Enquirer, making it the tabloid’s biggest-selling issue ever. Presley’s fiancee Ginger Alden, who wasn’t included in Elvis’ will, made a USD105,000 deal with the National Enquirer.
Presley’s funeral was held at Graceland on August 18, 1977, where over 80,000 people lined up for the procession to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Elvis was buried next to his mother. Following attempts to vandalize his grave and steal his body, Presley and his mother’s remains were exhumed and reburied in Graceland’s Meditation Garden on October 2.
Even though we don’t really know the concrete facts about what happened to Elvis Presley’s identical stillborn twin brother, Jesse Presley, there are many theories which suggest that Elvis was deeply affected by the loss of his twin. Jesse’s death continued to haunt Elvis all his life, until Elvis’s own death on August 16th, 1977.