It’s Battle of New Orleans Day AND Elvis Presley’s birthday! In the past I’ve posted my review of Change of Habit, the Elvis movie with him as a doctor, Mary Tyler Moore as a nun and Ed Asner as a cop. I’ve also posted about the musical in which Elvis IS Andrew Jackson – Rock ‘N’ Roll vs the Redcoats. (With an Ann-Margret drag queen as pirate Jean Lafitte. )
This time around I’ll dredge up the often-neglected Orion business from decades ago. It was a fun bit of nonsense that only the most far-gone Elvis Conspiracy Theorists take seriously. As always I consider conspiracy theories, put-ons, hoaxes and ARG’s to be modern variations of myth and folklore.
Yes, Elvis died in 1977. That’s not the point. The point is the way the whole Orion/ Jimmy Ellis/ Elvis Conspiracy rabbit hole deserves to be studied forever because of the way fiction and reality seemingly influenced each other to the point where they became almost inseparable.
If you’re new to these events get ready for the Elvis Presley equivalent of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast. And let me make it clear I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I have no idea what anyone’s motives were regarding any aspect of the following.
I’ll present the tale in the style of the fictional Carl Kolchak – as “items” in a list:
ITEM: Elvis Presley died in August of 1977, yet in the years that followed an ever-increasing body of folklore and myth would develop regarding the late rock star supposedly faking his own death. His motives varied according to the theory.
ITEM: For a time Elvis sightings seemed to outnumber sightings of Bigfoot, UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster combined.
ITEM: The novel Orion was published. Conspiracy lovers often cite either 1977, 1978 or 1979 as the year of publication, so you can see how deep some of the rabbit holes run.
ITEM: Orion featured a very Elvis-like young man from the American south who becomes a sensation as a rock singer. In the end the character Orion is so weary of the stresses of stardom that he fakes his own death to get away from it all.
ITEM: Claims are made that enigmatic power players managed to get the novel removed from bookstores. The claims are sometimes accompanied by insinuations that this was done because the book might have struck too close to reality with its “fake death” ending.
ITEM: A masked singer – who looks like a standard Elvis impersonator except for the mask – appears and calls himself Orion. He begins releasing albums and performing in public. This Orion’s first album, tantalizingly titled Reborn, is released in 1978.
ITEM: Orion releases several more albums from 1978 to 1980.
ITEM: At various public performances there are moments – conveniently captured on film (supposedly secretly and ALWAYS at a distance) – in which the Orion who was just seen singing on stage slips away, passing a similarly masked and “Elvis-like” figure who takes his place for post-concert autograph signings and fan-chats.
ITEM: This repeating set of circumstances ignites speculation that the masked Orion who sings on stage is really Elvis Presley, who faked his death like in the novel Orion. The Orion who appears in photos, signs autographs and chats with fans is speculated to be an accomplice who helps “Elvis” continue his career by letting Presley himself perform while the confederate deals with the stressful fan situations.
ITEM: Skeptical minds (Dare I say “suspicious minds?”) probably wondered if the whole “Oh my God there’s TWO of them” moments were carefully choreographed precisely to fuel such speculation, to increase record and other sales for “Orion.” In other words, that the incidents capturing the two figures on film were set up “accidentally on purpose” to appeal to the Elvis Lives crowd by looking like a coverup was being exposed.
ITEM: The author of the novel Orion later released a book titled Is Elvis Alive? which was published alongside a cassette tape of an alleged interview with Presley recorded long after his death.
ITEM: Years later singer Jimmy Ellis admitted to being the singer calling himself Orion. On top of that, technical analysis of the cassette interview raised serious doubts about the voice on the tape.
ITEM: In the usual Leap of Faith nature of the conspiracy world many people still believe that the singing Orion was really Elvis Presley and Jimmy Ellis simply filled in for the album covers, autographs and chats with fans. Ellis’ shooting death (as a robbery victim) in 1998 provides predictable material for some of those faithful.
There you have it! A look at the way the mystique of wealth and fame can comingle with standard conspiracy theories and posthumous folklore. Human creativity takes many wonderful forms until truth, fiction, pretended truth and pretended fiction become nearly inseparable.
FOR FOUR ADDITIONAL NEGLECTED CONSPIRACY THEORIES CLICK HERE
22 responses to “ORION: THE ELVIS PRESLEY HOAX/ PUT-ON/ TEASE”
JIMMY ELLIS WAS NOT ELVIS,BUT THAT’S NOT TO SAY THAT ORION DID NOT PERFORM ON STAGE AT INTERVALS AS ORION,LEAVES STAGE,ELVIS COMES ON,AS ORION,THEN ORION EXITS STAGE,ELVIS DISGUISED AS ORIONMEXITS STAGE,THEN THE REAL ORION,COMES BACK ON STAGE! THERE WERE TWO ORIONS SPOTTED ON AN ORION CONCERT BUS,OF WHICH,ONE ORION,DUCKED INTO THE BU’S JOHN!!! ORION SANG A HALF OR FULL OCTAVE HIGHER THAN ELVIS! I CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE!!! ORION DID SAY ON TV THAT THERE HAD BEEN A SHOTGUN AIMED AND FIRED AT HIM,THEN LATER ON IN LIFE,ORION DIES IN A PAWN SHOP ROBBERY,SO DID ORION FAKE HIS DEATH,OR WAS ORION MISTAKEN FOR ELVIS,AND KILLED BY THE MAFIA??
ORION MIGHT HAVE BEEN ANOTHER ,OR A HALF BROTHER TO ELVIS,SINCE JIMMY BELL,,ER,ELLIS,WAS ADOPTED! JOHNNY HARRA THE ETA WAS ALSO ADOPTED,AND MOST LIKELY WAS A FULL BROTHER TO ELVIS,PUT UP FOR ADOPTION!!! JOHNNY HARRA IS RUMORED TO BE IN THE ELVIS CRYPT,(SWITCHED PLACES)!
Hi you are right there is a slight difference. But the late Jimmy Ellis had a slightly Deeper voice both singing and talking of course. But you make interesting points. Jimmy Ellis also know as Orion was a very talented and fantastic Singer.
I HAVE THE ORION REBORN ALBUM WITH ORION SPORTING A BLUE SHIRT AND TROUSERS AGAINST A BLUE BLACKGROUND!! THE VYNAL,NOT TAPE!!!
I DO, HOWEVER, FIRMLY BELIEVE, THAT ELVIS ARON PRESLEY, DID HOAX HIS OWN DEATH!!! THARE ARE WAAAY TOO MANY RED FLAGS SUGGESTING THIS FACT!!!
I KNEW RIGHT AWAY,THAT THOSE LIPS BELOW THE MASK,DID NOT BELONG TO THE KING OF ROCK!!! YOU’D HAVE TO BE BLIND,TO NOTICE THAT ORION DID NOT HAVE THOSE POUTY THICK LIPS!!!
THE LIPS AND THE VOICE WAS NOT AN EXACT MATCH, TO THE KING’S!!!
ELVIS PRESLEY DID NOT SING ON THE DVD “ELVIS FOUND ALIVE”! THAT ACTUAL VOICE IN SONG WAS ACTUALLY AN ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST NAMED JIM THE KING BROWN,FROM BELFAST!!
ELVIS PRESLEY DID NOT SING ON THE DVD “ELVIS FOUND ALIVE”! THAT ACTUAL VOICE IN SONG WAS ACTUALLY AN ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST NAMED JIM THE KING BROWN,FROM BELFAST!!d
ELVIS HAD BLUE EYES,ORION HAD BROWN EYES!
Esposito sure told a lot of stories .
1.He said that 1977 Elvis lying bed.
2.He said that Elvis lying carpet.
3.Elvis fell off his porecelain thrown.
4.Elvis dyed accidently .
5.Elvis didn’t die from over-dose?
6.He said al Strata went up stairs 1st.
7.Then He ran upstairs where elvis was.
8.He said Al called then He said he called.
9.He said ambulance came first then he said
That Dr Nick came first -he was confused?
10.Shortly before Joe Died he said :
a.He had Elvis presley note from day he died.
b.He had hidden Elvis presley drugs (from DrNick).
c.He had clean up the crime scene .
(David Stanley said he clean up crime scene).
11.Joe said he and memphis Mafia all did drugs.
Nancy Rook said: (after Elvis gone ambulance)aunt Delta told me to come with her to clean up Elvis room and bathroom. David Stanley said he clean up drugs in Elvis room and hid them.
(David stanley said he took up _ to Elvis )
Elvis cook/maid Nancy Rooks said day Elvis died David there.
August 16, 1977, David was among the first to find the lifeless body of Elvis. Elvis suffered from severe constipation that was brought about by his drug use.
(David Stanley, is convinced that The King’s death was not accidental) THE STANLEYS :Stanley said me and my brothers brought Elvis on a tray,package,which called attack.
David Stanley admitted that he and his brother had been partying with women all night at a nearby motel, and were passed out when Elvis died.
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Such a weird story.
I agree with you about that.
Funny but kind of creepy too.
You should hear the fake taped interview.
Great stuff to read. This became a stranger and stranger rabbit hole.
Thank you! I know what you mean.
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