Celebrity Ghosts

Welcome to Freaky Friday, where we discuss true crime and the paranormal.  Today is a paranormal topic.  We’re going to talk celebrity ghosts.

My good friend Julie Glover did a blog post this week about song lyrics and what makes them so poignant to us.  The post made me think about musicians who permanently marked the musical landscape.  Many of them died too young.  If anybody were to return in the spirit form, it would make perfect sense for it to be an iconic musician.

Today, I’ll take a look at a couple of these musicians and briefly relate the ghost stories associated with them.

Elvis Presley

Every been to Graceland during Elvis week?  I have. It’s probably a southern thing, but I am a big Elvis fan. Click here to listen to my favorite tribute song about Elvis.

Despite the crowds during Elvis Week, there was a still reverence in the air.  It felt like I’d see The King’s ghost if I looked closely enough.  It was a creepy–but good–feeling. I didn’t see The King’s ghost that trip.

Some people, however, have seen Elvis’s ghost.  In December 1980, several different people reported picking up Elvis’s ghost as a hitchhiker.  That’s like the Vanishing Hitchhiker Urban Legend on steroids.  One witness claimed the apparition sang for him.

A young Elvis in an Army uniform has been spotted a few miles from Graceland–ostensibly trying to go home.  People have also seen young soldier Elvis walking through Graceland’s gates.  Inside Graceland, tourists have heard The King singing.  Employees report toilets flushing in empty rooms, voices, and doors shutting by themselves.

The King’s ghost has also been spotted the Las Vegas Hilton where he often performed.  People have seen The King in his white rhinestone suit near the stage where he performed.  A ghostly Elvis has been seen driving a red cadillac near where his private driveway once was.

Watch a short video full of creepy pictures of the house Elvis rented in California:

Hank Williams

Hiram King “Hank” Williams 1927-1959

Hank Williams wrote some the most eloquently sad songs ever recorded.  My personal favorite is “Lost Highway,” which I often listen to while I’m driving.

Hank’s alcoholism and addiction to pain killers played a big part in his death at the age twenty-nine.  People have spent the last sixty plus years trying to capture some Hank’s magic. As a result, many tribute songs have been written about him.

Hank is rumored to have died in the back of a white cadillac.  The Blasters wrote a tribute song of the same title, which has been recorded by Dwight Yoakum.  The Ride by David Allan Coe is a very well known Hank Williams tribute song.

My favorite Hank Tribute is “Midnight in Montgomery” by Alan Jackson.  Watch below:

This song resonates with me because visiting Hank Williams’s grave is something I’d do.  And I’d expect to see his ghost. Unfortunately, I’ve not found any reports of Hank haunting his grave at Oakwood Annex Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hank is, however, reported to haunt Ryman Auditorium (formerly known as The Grand Ol’ Opry House and Union Gospel Tabernacle).  “Whispering” Bill Anderson was tuning his guitar before a show.  He strummed a favorite tune of Hank Williams, and the theater–lights and sound–went black.  Hank’s ghost has also kept staff company as they lock up for the night.

Jim Morrison

People want to believe in Jim Morrison’s ghost.  He was beautiful, talented, and mysterious.  He was the Lizard King.  He was Mr. Mojo Risin’.  And he was known to have an acute interest in the spirit world.

Jim liked his alcohol and was known for his drunken antics, but his death was reportedly from a heroin overdose.  He was twenty-seven years old at the time of his death in 1971.  More than forty years later, he’s still far from forgotten.

Layne Staley (of Alice in Chains), Scott Weiland (of Stone Temple Pilots), and Scott Stapp  (of Creed) all said Jim Morrison was their greatest musical influence.

James Blunt wrote a song called “So Long Jimmy,” which–according to who is talking–has been claimed as a tribute to Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and James Blunt’s former songwriting partner.

Listen to “So Long Jimmy” below:

If you can’t play the video, click here for a cool pictorial tribute to Jim set to “So Long Jimmy.”  The video plays after a rather long commercial, so don’t give up hope.

Oliver Stone made a biopic about Morrison’s life and his career called The Doors.   Tom DeCillo directed a 2009 documentary about The Doors called When You’re Strange.   A documentary about Morrison’s last days of life–Final 24– was released in 2010.

People still visit Jim Morrison’s grave in Pére Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France.  One of the two ghost stories I know about Jim Morrison takes place here.

In 1997, rock historian Brett Meisner took a snapshot of himself at Jim Morrison’s grave.  Behind him is an image–whose authenticity has been debated–that looks like Jim Morrison.  After taking the photo, Meisner had a string of bad luck.

See the photo in this You Tube video:

The other ghost story I know about Jim Morrison takes place in his childhood home in Virginia.  A resident of the house used the same bedroom Jim had during his residence.

During a rocky period in this woman’s romantic life,  a hazy apparition of Jim would climb into bed next to her and turn and look at her.  This story is met with skepticism, but it’s sort of romantic and neat too.  Knowing what I know of Jim, though, I have a feeling he wouldn’t have been so sweet.

Thank you for your interest in this article. I often receive requests for further information on these articles. Please understand my knowledge of this topic is limited to what you’ve read in this article. I have no plans to update or expand these articles. I am currently focusing on my fiction writing career and am no longer writing or researching for non-fiction articles. If you’re interested in seeing what I write, please check out the My Fiction page on this website or visit my Amazon Author Page on amazon.com. 

Sources:

The Ghost of Elvis Presley

Ghosts of the Ryman Auditorium

Tennessee Myths and Legends

Book Researchers Say Photo of Jim Morrison’s Ghost is Real

The Doors’ Jim Morrison’s Ghost has been seen in Childhood Home

36 thoughts on “Celebrity Ghosts

  1. I have seen no celebrity ghosts. One I would like to meet though is Piaf – a French singer whose haunting songs resonate deep in your soul.

    • I’ve heard Edith Piaf’s music! You’re right. Her voice is very haunting. Since I don’t speak French, of course, I don’t know the lyrics. Sometimes I listen to her while I write. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Fun stuff, Catie. Seems like Elvis is a busy guy and Morrison should stay in the “beyond”. Love the music, video, history blend :)

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. This was a fun one to work up, since I am (obviously) a fan of all three performers. Thanks for stopping by. :D

  3. I couldn’t help thinking of the Living Colour song, Elvis is Dead (http://youtu.be/8nvpRkn_R5g). It seems like ghost stories follow people who die too soon or in some tragic way.

    As for celebrity ghosts I would like to see, I would love for Karen Carpenter to make an appearance and sing again. Janis Joplin would also make a great ghost, don’t you think? I also wonder if there are ghost stories about the Day the Music Died — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.

    Fascinating post, Catie! Thanks for the shout-out.

    • I had never heard that song by Living Colour. Admittedly, I don’t know much of their music.

      Yes, ghost stories do follow people who die tragically or too young. How many people claim to have seen Edgar Allan Poe’s ghost?

      Like you, I’d love to see Janis Joplin’s ghost. Did you know there are claims that her ghost haunts both the Landmark Hotel (where she died) and the Chelsea Hotel? She was an interesting figure. I’ve listened to a few interviews where Kris Kristofferson (who I’ll always think is hot) talks about what it was like to live with her. I think she was someone who went as hard as she could until she couldn’t anymore.

      I have never heard any stories about Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, or the Big Bopper, but I do know one story, though. In 2007, The Big Bopper was exhumed and moved to another part of the Beaumont cemetery where he’s buried. While they had him above ground, an examination was done. There is a documentary about this whole thing floating around somewhere.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. :D

  4. on ,
    Dave said:

    What! Elvis is dead? I just saw him in the buffet line at the Holiday Inn just the the other day. BTW. Don’t go there. The food is not so good.

    This is such an interesting post. I wish I had more faith in the ghost thing but my gut feeling makes me sceptical……less so than in the past I reckon. I have never seen a celebrity ghost nor any ghost for that matter. I wish I could.

    There has now been many Michael Jackson sightings. He seems to have joined the ever growing cadre of celebrity apparitions. Like other celebrities, he is missed by his fans and the thought that he may still be around in some form has a certain appeal. Jim Morrison and Hank Williams died before their time and I think their fans had a yearning for more. When an idol dies unexpectedly it can be quite a shock even though you don’t know the person. It wasn’t any easy thing for me when Stevie Ray Vaughan passed.

    If I could see/ meet a celebrity ghost. It would have to Buddy Rich…….. Maybe Marilyn Monroe. If it was any famous person it would have to be General Patton. He believed in incarnation. That’s interesting!

    Great post Catie.

    • I did not know about the Michael Jackson sightings. I thought he was a great singer and dancer, but I wasn’t a true fan.

      Elvis, Hank, and Jim all died young. Hank and Jim died quite a bit younger than Elvis, of course. I recently realized that if I live as many years as Elvis did, I don’t have much time left. So that makes me think he was very young when he died. LOL

      You have a good point about the reason people look so hard for Hank and Jim’s ghosts. Hank probably would have gone on to write more songs. Jim, though, I think was done with music. He wrote some very beautiful poetry before he died, but I like to think he’d have gone into directing movies. I know at one time he was interested in that.

      Stevie Ray Vaughan, now that’s somebody I could go on about all day. When I was researching this blog post, I read an article where someone claimed they went to [Robert Johnson’s] crossroads and was met by SRV. I have thought about doing a blog post about him, but haven’t quite worked up to it yet. I was and am a fan. What a humble, talented guy. What a loss.

      General Patton did believe in reincarnation! My husband talks about that all the time. Like you, I’d like to see the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. She was so iconic. I don’t know much about Buddy Rich, but since you’re skeptic about ghosts, I hope you do see him sometime.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      • on ,
        Dave said:

        Does your husband talk about General Patton, reincarnation, or both? You mentioned that he likes colonial history. He sounds like an interesting guy. I enjoy reading military history and I’m starting to read more about the Civil War and U.S. politics. It’s kind of funny but I am a Canadian who is a total Americanaholic! I like everything that the good old U.S.A. represents. I really believe the world is a better place because of it.

        Can’t wait till the next post. Have a great weekend.

  5. Wow – this is a great post! Some of these tales are very eerie. I have never seen a celebrity ghost.
    My kid is obsessed with Mr. Mo Jo… I hope she understands soon that despite his hotness he was not a very nice person.
    and the closest I come to seeing Elvis is when my cousin Dean impersonates him (for true!).
    If I could meet a celebrity ghost, it would be George Washington or Alexander the Great.

    • Interesting choices on your celebrity ghosts. I suspect my husband would pick someone like George Washington as he’s very into colonial history.

      Mr. Mojo Risin’ was not a nice person. He was beautiful in both appearance, voice, and what he wrote. I’ve presumed his alcoholism made him mean, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that was really him. Even so, I find him terribly fascinating. I’ve watched hours of footage of him and have based some of my fictional characters on him.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for stopping by. :D

  6. Very interesting, Catie. My personal favorite was about Jim Morrison. I saw him in Berkeley when I was 16 or so and will never forget him walking down the middle aisle, singing. My friend and I used to listen to his songs over and over, all night long. And that really DOES look like him on that column! Unbelievable.
    Patti

    • Oooh, what was he singing when he was walking down the middle aisle? He had a beautiful voice, very rich. My favorite Doors song is Waiting for the Sun…or Peace Frog. And I can’t believe you’re old enough to have seen Jim Morrison in the flesh. I never would have guessed it. Thanks for stopping by. :D

  7. on ,
    PJ Sharon said:

    You are a research Goddess! Awesome post Catie. No celebrity ghost sightings, but if i could, I’d love to see James Dean. I’m not that old, but something about him and his old movies fascinates me. The epitome of the “bad boy”, probably.

    • Ooh, I love James Dean, too. He was definitely before my time, but his legend is so steeped in mystique and tragedy. I think he would have developed into such a great actor. He was so intense. Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for stopping by. :D

  8. I have never seen a celebrity ghost but if any want to stop by I won’t stop them (like I could). I’m sending out an open invitation to Hank Sr., Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. I would love to spend the weekend with their ghosts and listening to stories of the outlaw lifestyle. I also would love to invite Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, along with Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf over, only if they are allowed to play their guitars and sing.
    Really enjoyed the post and the videos! This was fun to think about.

    • on ,
      Dave said:

      A friend of mine is a huge Waylon fan. He was able to meet with Waylon backstage at a music festival and was invited back to one of the band trailers to socialize for a spell. Some famous people are so approachable.

    • Ooh, wouldn’t Waylon, Hank, and Johnny be interesting? I was on You Tube the other day listening to “The Highwayman.” I realized as I watched that two of them are already gone. Your other choices sound like the fantasy concert. LOL Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for stopping by. :D

  9. You know how I feel about ghosts and my personal experiences. These are some great sightings. What interests me most is where these ghosts “choose” to haunt. A predominant theory is that those who die tragically leave energy where it happened, and yet they are seen everywhere. Of course, 99% of them are hooey, but I’d bet there are a few real sightings in there. The Jim Morrison photo is creepy.

    For me, I’d have to say I would love to meet Nefertiti or Ramses the Great. Abraham Lincoln would be another choice.

    Great post!

    • That Jim Morrison photo gave me chills the first time I saw it. He was such a tragic figure, you know? And there are so many rumors surrounding his death. I would figure, if anything, he’d haunt the apartment where he died. But what do I know? Your celebrity ghost sighting surprised me. Did you know that people claim to have spotted an apparition of the train that was carrying Lincoln’s remains? Glad you enjoyed the post. I loved reading your comment. :D

  10. If I add Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette to the list, could you guess what my favorite kind of music is?

    For great figures from history, I’d pick Ronald Reagan, Douglas MacArthur and Thomas Jefferson.

    Trouble is, I don’t believe in ghosts, although I do find your stories fascinating.

    • Patsy and Tammy were both wonderful. My great-grandmother lived in the town where some of Sweet Dreams was filmed.

      Your history figures are great, too. My husband would totally agree on Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was such an intelligent person.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting…even if you don’t believe in ghosts. ;)

  11. Awesome post, Catie! I love these three and still love to listen to their music. Okay…I’m about to date myself, but I was fortunate enough to see Elvis in concert just before he died. I was in 6th grade. My mom took us with her. She’s like the ultimate Elvis fan. I probably knew all the words to every song by the time I was 5. LOL I haven’t see any celebrity ghosts and not sure who I’d want to see as an apparition. Now, if I could sit and chat a while…that’s a whole other situation. :-) You guys talking about Stevie Ray Vaughn brought up another good memory. I saw Vaughn at a bar on 6th Street one night in Austin not long before he died. I wish I’d gotten up the nerve to speak to him. But he seemed to be enjoying just hanging out and being a regular person. I knew the band playing and they said he had played with them just briefly before I got there. Those days hanging out in Austin were good times. Thanks for the memories!

    • So what if you dated yourself? Nobody can ever see Elvis in concert again…and you got to. Same for Stevie Ray. I bet I wouldn’t have worked up the nerve to go talk to him, either. He probably would have been nice, but you’d always wonder if he wished you’d just go away. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by and telling those two stories. They were worth the price of admission. :D

  12. Pingback: Blog Treasures 1-28 | Gene Lempp's Blog

    • That video was neat, but I had to look at it several times to see the face of Michael Jackson. Either it was real, or someone went to a hell of a lot of trouble. Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks for linking to the video. I hadn’t seen it, so it was new to me. :D

  13. Love the music and everyone of the celebs you featured! Celeb ghosts I’d like to see: Humphrey Bogart, Lucille Ball, Janis Joplin, Bobby Darrin, Elvis, of course, Marvin Gaye and John Lennon.

    • John Lennon. If anybody had cause to leave their ghost behind it would be him. You know, he’d probably still be alive, playing music and singing. Perhaps writing new songs. What a tragic way to go. I love all your other choices, too. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Another awesome post, Catie! I’ve never seen or felt the presence of a celebrity ghost, but I do have a close friend who had an eerie resemblence to Jim Morrison when we were younger, and he used to love doing karaoke and making others thing they had : ).

    • Oh, how funny. You know, I think everybody has a visual doppelgänger–by that, I mean someone who looks just like them but is in no way related. I bet you guys used to having fun messing with people’s minds. Thanks so much for stopping by. Good to see you. :D

  15. Pingback: Friday Favorites: Blogging Rockstars « Ellie Ann

  16. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Man Adopts His Girlfriend as His Daughter « Author Piper Bayard

  17. Did you ever read any books by Sylvia Browne? Visits from the Afterlife is her book about celebrity ghost rumors. And Elvis is in there, but not in the way you describe. According to her, he’s reincarnated as another singer who’s blonde with blue eyes. I wonder if he’s Justin Bieber?!!