Everyone knows that Elvis Presley was the "King of Rock and Roll," and he was and still is one of the most iconic celebrities of all time. He had a larger-than-life persona but it wasn't all blue suede shoes and burning love.
There are a lot of things about Elvis that some people don't know about, especially about his family. His estate is now in shambles due to poor financial decisions made by his ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, and his daughter Lisa-Marie, who just lost her son (who is the spitting image of Elvis), Ben. But his granddaughter, Riley, is a successful actress.
But what a lot of people don't know about Elvis is that he had an identical twin, Jesse, who died at birth, and his death-wound up effecting the rockstar for much of his life.
What Happened To Jesse?
Elvis was not born into the vast wealth that his daughter, Lisa Marie, was later born into. In fact, his parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley were not well off at all when Gladys became pregnant with identical twins.
When Gladys went into labor in the family's two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, she gave birth to Jesse, a stillborn, first. Then 35 minutes later, she gave birth to Elvis, who remained an only child.
Later, Jesse was buried in a shoebox, because the family couldn't afford a casket, in Priceville Memorial Gardens in Tupelo. It's been reported that his grave was unmarked, but there is a stone where he is buried, just without his name, and it is next to the graves of his great aunt, Susan Presley, and great uncle, Noah Presley.
Elvis's Name Is An Anagram Of 'Lives' And He Might Have Lived With Survivors Guilt For Most Of His Life
A lot of biographers think that Jesse's death affected Elvis for most of his life, both in a positive and negative way. On one hand, his brother's death could have given Elvis the motivation he needed to become the icon he is today. On the other, some believe that a lot of the struggles he went through stemmed from survivor's guilt.
Dr. Peter Whitmer, a clinical psychologist, has been researching twins for years, including twins separated by death. He wrote the book, Inner Elvis, which is "a psychological investigation into the life of Elvis Aaron Presley," which reveals the "psychic trauma fueling Elvis's rise to superstardom and his subsequent fall into strange obsessions, behaviors, and addictions."
Whitmer believes that Elvis was deeply affected by his brother's death, saying in his book, "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." He continues to say that Jesse was "a restless spirit who eventually haunted all of Presley’s relationships."
Some times a "twinless twin" will feel guilt over their twin's death either because they think they caused their death or because they survived and the twin didn't. Either way, Elvis had to live with it and would, reportedly, visit his brother's grave. His mother once said that he was "living for two people."
Some also believe that the reason Elvis was shy and lacked self-confidence was that he was lonely and feeling guilt over Jesse.
Another author, Vernon Chadwick says, "We do know that twins who lose their partner, often suffer many problems and disorders in later life. The subject of Elvis' twin can help us understand both the great power that Elvis had to connect with an audience as if he were reaching out to connect with his absent brother, as well as the emptiness of the so-called 'black hole' which single twins often experience. Relatives and friends of Elvis in Tupelo have stated that Elvis felt guilty about the death of his twin brother, Jesse Garon. It's very likely t this guilt played a role in Elvis' later dysfunctional behavior."
According to some, Elvis was even haunted by his brother. The singer apparently would talk to Jesse in his room at night and once heard a disembodied voice that he believed to be Jesse's. Even stranger are the conspiracy theories that Jesse never died and that Elvis used his brother to go on interviews for him.
Meanwhile, some believe that Jesse's spirit drove Elvis to success, in a kind of guardian angel type way. Jesse might have spiritually been there for his younger brother, but that doesn't mean that Elvis didn't have a hard time feeling guilt and that "black hole," a lot of twinless twins feel.
We'll never know exactly how Elvis felt about Jesse's death, or if it affected him at all, but he clearly loved him because he made a grave for him at Graceland. At least now they're together again.