Jason Beaubien, NPR
Bill Beeny says he's getting too old to run his Elvis Is Alive Museum, so he's selling it on eBay.
Bill Beeny says he's getting too old to run his Elvis Is Alive Museum, so he's selling it on eBay. Jason Beaubien, NPR
Jason Beaubien, NPR
The Elvis Is Alive Museum is overflowing with clips from tabloids, old photographs and FBI documents.
The Elvis Is Alive Museum is overflowing with clips from tabloids, old photographs and FBI documents. Jason Beaubien, NPR
Baptist preacher Bill Beeny has spent the past 17 years trying to convince the world that Elvis isn't really dead. This morning, his tool of persuasion and amusement — the roadside Elvis Is Alive Museum in Wright City, Mo. — went up for sale on eBay. One lucky bidder will walk away with several pieces of memorabilia, including a casket containing an Elvis mannequin, a 1974 Cadillac limousine and Beeny's trove of evidence that the King is still kicking.
"Yeah, a little bit of my heart will tear out and go with it when it's loaded up," Beeny said outside his museum on the main highway between St. Louis and Kansas City. At 81, he no longer has the energy to run the place, he said, although you can't tell from looking at him, with his slicked back hair and black satin jacket.
In addition to creating the museum, Beeny has written two books detailing why he believes Elvis did not die on Aug. 16, 1977. His theory goes like this: Elvis helped the FBI with a mob sting, the mafia got angry and tried to kill him, so Elvis staged his own funeral and went into the witness protection program.
Along with copies of his books and a scratchy recording allegedly of Elvis talking about his life four years after his funeral, Beeny's protege will receive the museum's key evidence — two human tissue samples. One, Beeny insists, is from Elvis, and the other is from the corpse in Elvis' grave. He had the DNA tested, he said, and found they don't match.
At 8:30 Wednesday morning, the highest bid was $8,200, which did not meet the "reserve" or minimum set by Beeny. Five hours later the figure had not budged. Beeny said he is eager to pass on his legacy, but he would have to wait until Thursday evening to see just how easy that would be.
Follow the auction at eBay.