Owner of Elvis shrine dies two days after killing man
Published: July 17,2014
HOLLY SPRINGS — A man who converted his antebellum home into a cluttered, quirky Elvis Presley shrine was found dead today on the front porch, two days after police said he fatally shot a man who forced his way into the museum.
A motorist called police this morning after seeing Paul MacLeod, 71, slumped in a chair outside the shrine known as Graceland Too, said Marshall County Coroner James Richard Anderson. He said there was no blood or trauma to MacLeod’s body.
“It appears to be natural causes but it is pending until we get the autopsy,” Anderson said.
MacLeod’s death comes two days after police say he killed Dwight Taylor, 28, at the 1850s home that doubled as a museum. Police questioned and released MacLeod. No charges were filed. MacLeod attorney Phillip Knecht said Taylor forced his way inside, demanded money, and the two men fought before the shooting.
The museum is in Holly Springs, in the kudzu-covered hills of north Mississippi. It’s about halfway between Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo and his final home and resting place at the Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.
Graceland Too — which is not affiliated with Graceland or the Presley estate — became a pilgrimage for fans. People could arrive at any hour, pay $5 and get a tour from the hyper-caffeinated MacLeod, who said in 2009 that he drank 24 cans of Coca-Cola a day. Wearing his hair in a perpetual 1950s slicked-back do, he would tap-tap-tap on visitors’ arms as he pointed out items in his floor-to-ceiling mishmash of photos, records, figurines, cardboard cutouts, clocks and other random kitsch featuring Elvis.
“My ex-wife told me, ‘Make up your mind. Either me or the Elvis collection.’ So that put an end to that,” MacLeod, who named his son after the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, told The Associated Press in late 2009.
MacLeod owned his home since the 1970s and said he started opening it to tourists in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Graceland Too attracted international tourists, and visiting there was a rite of passage for students from the University of Mississippi, 30 miles to the south.
Willie Carter, of McComb, said Thursday he toured Graceland Too five times while he was a student at Ole Miss. Like many others, he’d go with a group of friends around 2 a.m.
“It was extremely weird,” Carter said. “You just went with it. He seemed to have a real love for Elvis and all things Elvis. You could tell he was sincere.”
Floors would creak beneath visitors’ feet. Doorways were decorated with several Elvis-patterned curtains in ’70s-era hues of turquoise and lime. There were stacks of papers and magazines and MacLeod kept photocopies of a newspaper with his favorite headline: “Elvis Presley Excites Girls, Scares Critics.”
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