Interviewed by Nigel Patterson, October 2009 ©
Many fans may not be aware but Elvis had a major interest in the subject of unidentified flying objects.
The Elvis-UFO theme is a recurring, albeit largely hidden one in the world of Elvis literature.
For instance, novelist Jack Womack mixed Elvis, rock ‘n’ roll and Nazi UFO’s in his terrific book, Elvissey (1993); Martial Arts Grand Master, Ed Parker referenced Elvis’ UFO sighting in his book, Inside Elvis (1978) as did Jess Stearn and Larry Geller in their book, The Truth About Elvis (1980). Similarly, spoon bender Uri Geller included Elvis’ UFO sighting in his magazine, Uri Geller’s Encounters (1997) and the sighting also found itself a chapter in the Michael C. Luckman science fiction compile, Alien Rock (1995).
However, the most out there claim was made in the (once serious) newsstand magazine, Official UFO (1978), with the editors urging readers to “Help Us Find Elvis’s Clone!”
Aside from these momentary or fictional accounts of the Elvis-UFO theme, an intriguing entry in the Elvis in Print library was released by Castle Rock Press in 1987: Elvis UFO Connection – Non-fiction Account of Alien Intervention.
While its title may conjure evocative science fiction images, its narrative turned out to be a serious exploration of Elvis’ possible relationship with alien abductions, with incidents in the life of Gladys Presley also playing a key role.
EIN: Dan, many thanks for taking time to talk with us today. To start with, who are Dan Guyll and Richard Vaculig?
DG: Thank you Nigel. We sincerely appreciate your interest and thank you for your review of the book.
Richard and I have known and worked with each other since June of 1975. Richard, being ten years older than I, had been a performer in the Cleveland, Ohio area in the mid fifties with a group called “Ricky Vac & The Rockaway’s” (recognized and memorialized in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). His time with the band ended when called into the draft. Upon discharge, he moved to Seattle and subsequently began promoting local talent, which led to him managing and promoting an Elvis tribute act.
At that time, I had been in Seattle for a year and was resuming my career in entertainment after service in the navy. Richard happened to see me performing at a lounge in Seattle, gave his card to me. We met, signed a management contract that eventually led to a point where we became partners in a talent agency. Our friendship and working relationship has lasted to this day.
EIN: What are you both doing in 2009?
DG: Richard has been retired from the business for two years and is currently living, with his wife, in Arizona. I retired from performing in July of 2008, but am still working as a full time talent agent for local talent in the Seattle area.
EIN: How did the idea for Elvis-UFO Connection come about?
DG: Richard and I, having spent the majority of our lives in music, were and are huge fans of Elvis. For Richard, Elvis was the flame that fired his desire to perform in the fifties and early sixties. The same for me. I still remember the excitement and anticipation of waiting to see his first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. That’s all it took. The next day I was learning how to play “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” on the piano.
Richard was a student of the UFO phenomenon long before we met, which I became aware of as we began working together. I on the other hand, found it interesting but didn’t pay special attention to it. And the thought that Elvis Presley could or would be paired with the UFO phenomenon in any serious discussion was simply inconceivable to me as well as Richard.
We didn’t start out with and “idea” to write a book. It became a personal project between the two of us that began as a result of a simple conversation regarding the belt buckle as described in the book. The buckle Elvis was wearing on a TV special caught Richard’s attention. A few days later, while we were at lunch, he brought the subject of the belt buckle and it’s resemblance to the eyes of described alien beings in reported alien abduction accounts up for discussion. To be honest, I wasn’t interested and really didn’t want to pursue the conversation. It was pretty far out and thought that would be the end of it.
It didn’t go away, as Richard was persistent in thinking there was some significance to it all. So (in short) for our own amusement, we began to research Elvis’s personal and family history, comparing that with accounts of documented cases of reported alien contact with humans.
It began as whim that gained momentum with each comparison and similarity we found. When we had gone as far as we could with it, we realized we had compiled a lot of material that would be setting in boxes, so we decided to organize it and put into book form, which led us to self publish the book and then market it through a few magazine ads.
Mexico - 1994 December 21: The Carlos Diaz photo gallery is extensive. While taking photos of the eruption of Mt. Popocatepetl in Puebla, Mexico, he shot this photo.
It has been authenticated by many photographic experts and published in numerous magazines, newspapers, and books. This picture shows a glowing, yellowish, disc shaped object with a red hue toward the top and windows or portholes. Diaz has taken both still and moving imagery of many UFOs. (Source: ufos.about.com)
EIN: Aliens abducting Elvis on a number of occasions! This is an provocative theme which will catch many readers off guard. Without giving too much of the story away, could you elucidate on the theme for our readers.
DG: We are not saying Elvis was actually abducted during the course of his life, but state it is plausible, based on at least one incident described in the book, taken from an account provided by Sonny West in “Elvis What Happened”.:
Sonny states he “remembers at time in 1966 when (Elvis) believed there was visit from outer space.” Elvis and Sonny see a light, thinking it’s a plane and waits to hear the sound of its engine. Sonny says: “I didn’t hear any sound, the light kept coming, and it went through the trees and sort of over the top of the house…” Elvis tells Sonny to go back in the house to get Jerry Schilling. When they return they can’t find Elvis. They call but no answer. They finally find Elvis “two or three houses” down. Sonny says to Elvis: “Jesus, that light scared the hell out of me. I thought they had got you. When I said that I was only joking because I believe I had seen some kind of flying saucer or phenomenon which I can’t explain.”
Elvis wasn’t afraid and has been quoted as saying: “they will come, but they won’t hurt you”. This incident is detailed more complete in the book which illustrates and compares the similar circumstances of those who have reported episodes of missing time after they have had a UFO sighting.
This is one episode in Elvis’s life that led us to find other similar and parallel comparisons of his experiences to that of reported UFO contactees.
EIN: It is well known that Elvis had a deep interest in UFOlogy. Did you research this in writing Elvis UFO Connection, and if so, what did you discover?
DG: Yes, Elvis had a deep interest in UFOlogy. Sonny West states in “Elvis What Happened?” (that) “Elvis firmly believes there is life on other planets. He believes that there are flying saucers and that visitors from other planets often come down to earth”.
In doing the research we discovered there may be an alternative answer to the question of ‘why’ Elvis had a deep interest in UFOlogy. One answer is that he had an intellectual curiosity about the subject. Another answer, based on Elvis’s “firm” belief “there is life on other planets” and other incidents in his life that closely parallel documented cases of alien interaction with earthly individuals, young and old could very lead one to conclude that he had close encounters with alien life. It sounds crazy, but it is logical, if one reads with an open mind and considers the UFO cases presented in the book as plausible if not possible.
EIN: What do you say to those who will dismiss your ideas as fanciful and without merit?
DG: Richard and I when discussing the book and viewing it from an objective perspective agree that its premise is certainly a fanciful concept and don’t take the dismissal of it personally. It is not about us. Nor is it about Elvis the icon. It’s more like Elvis our friend or family member that, theoretically, may have been influenced or affected by a mysterious phenomenon that has touched others. Fanciful, yes but perhaps with merit due to the credible sources of information documented in the bibliography.
EIN: Rather than using both your names as authors, you cleverly chose a hybrid of your first names to form Richard Daniel. Was there a particular reason for this?
DG: Since our research was a collaborative effort we chose to use our first names. We tossed a coin to see which name to use first. Guess who won the toss?
EIN: The premise of the book is very different to most other books released about Elvis. Given its obscure premise what were your expectations on its release in 1987?
DG: Actually we began researching in 1987 and finished up around 1990. We had no expectations about sales or publishing deals as it was a personal project for the two of us with no idea of what to do with what we had compiled.
EIN: Dan, you and Richard chose to self-publish Elvis UFO Connection. How many copies were printed?
DG: I can’t recall the total number, but am thinking it was no more than 500 copies.
EIN: How did you market it?
DG: We submitted a copy to the “UFO Universe” magazine, which ran an excerpt from the book in 1991 plus a few ads in local publications as well as having a couple of radio interviews. We didn’t put much effort into marketing the book, as it was, as mentioned earlier, a pet project with no intent to make it a commercial endeavour.
EIN: How difficult was it to generate sales for the book?
DG: We were surprised at the orders we received through the books exposure in the publication and media previously mentioned. A good number of orders came from varied locations: Japan, Argentina, Australia, Canada and the US.
EIN: What feedback did you receive after releasing Elvis UFO Connection?
DG: We received positive feedback from all who ordered the book. One exception however was from a president of an Elvis fan club chapter in the US. The person felt we were demeaning the image of Elvis. I am not sure if the individual read the book, as I believe the information contained in it reads with utmost respect for Elvis, but we can see how the premise can be deemed irreverent.
EIN: Another book, ELVIS – THE UFO by Aileen Bringle, is listed in the bibliography of a number of Elvis books. Are you familiar with this release?
DG: We are not familiar with Aileen’s book but we have had the pleasure of meeting Aileen and speaking at one of her UFO Contact group meetings when the book first came out. Very nice lady with much knowledge and experience in the field of UFO/alien contact.
EIN: I’ve seen references indicating Elvis UFO Connection was published in both 1987 and 1990. Was there a re-issue or 2nd edition of the book?
DG: To my knowledge there hasn’t been a second printing. We began researching the subject in 1987. It took a bit more than two years to compile our notes and references and when finished with that we wondered what to do with it all, which led us to thinking, “why not have it printed?” At that point I took some time off from our talent agency to organize notes and reference material into the proper form for printing, which took place in 1990. This is most likely the cause for confusion regarding the actual publishing date.
EIN: Have you maintained your interest in Elvis since publication of Elvis-UFO Connection?
DG: Absolutely! Not as a subject to write about, and I speak for Richard as well, but as devoted fans and admirers. As with many, many others he is still with us in music and spirit.
|Coincidentally, at the time of publishing this interview, EP Gold has this autographed 7" vinyl record, The Flying Saucer, from Elvis's personal record collection for sale!
EIN: Have you written any other books besides Elvis UFO Connection?
DG: No. The writing of this book seemed to happen by accident and took its own course. I admire those whose craft it is to write as I learned it takes a tremendous amount of time, dedication, study, effort and organization to complete one piece of work. However we both found the research to be rewarding and I will admit to enjoying the writing of the book.
EIN: Do you have any plans for other book releases?
DG: Nothing in the works at this time, but I do have an idea spawned by a true life adventure of a friend that falls along the lines of a twisted and contemporary version of “Lonesome Dove”. It’s a very entertaining story that I would like to see take shape, but as for now I am still busy working with my agency. Richard has continued his UFO interest and may do something in the investigative realm of that subject area.
EIN: EIN understands you and Richard have the last remaining stocks of Elvis UFO Connection available for sale. How can interested readers contact you and what are the price and payment arrangements?
DG: We have about 100 copies left at $19.95 per book, including shipping. If any of your readers are interested, please have them contact me at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order. It would be nice to hear from those interested.
EIN: Dan, is there anything else you would like to say?
DG: Our concern and wish regarding the premise of the book, is that no one be offended. This is not a book that imposes any negative thoughts or smears on Elvis. To me and Richard Elvis is still the king and the memory of him should remain so.
In the book we present Elvis as a fellow human being that displayed frailties, fears and inconsistencies through out his life. There have been detractors that point to these weaknesses in his life in a demeaning way without considering why or how they developed. Others have explained the reason or reasons for Elvis’s quirks with conventional psychological reasoning. Perhaps there is another answer, unconventional as it is.
Perhaps his problematic manifestations were the result of the same phenomenon that caused others, completely unrelated to Elvis, to exhibit the same fears, insecurities, drug dependency, sleep deprivation and so on, that he did. These adults and children, truck drivers and doctors, who have come forth with accounts of alien intervention in their lives. Some stories may be fabrications, but not all can be fictitious.
If there is one account out the thousands or more documented cases, which some are included in the book and are identical to Elvis’s behavioural patterns, that are real, then is it reasonable to at least speculate that Elvis was victim to the same phenomenon?
Our intention in writing the book was not to convince anyone but only to pose an alternate answer, as far out as it seems on the surface, to the question of how and why Elvis developed his troubling traits. If one enters the pages of the book with an open mind, I believe will be, at least an interesting and thought provoking read
Thanks to you Nigel for providing us with this opportunity to discuss the book and more so in establishing the “Elvis Information Network”. It’s a great source for Elvis fans and one of the, if not the best Elvis sites we are aware of!
Read EIN’s review of: Elvis-UFO Connection – Non-fiction Account of Alien Intervention
Contact Dan Guyll for details on how to buy Elvis-UFO Connection – Non-fiction Account of Alien Intervention
Comment on this interview
AJ: Your interview with Dan Guyll was great.....as always!!
Mark Turner: I am a believer in life in outer space. Dan Guyll's interview was most interesting, even if I didn't accept all that he said. It is a pity a lot more is not known about Elvis's interest in UFO's and alien life forms.
Johnny M: Does this mean Elvis is still alive but living on another planet??
Sandra: You guys never fail to come up with something new and offbeat. Keep up the good work.
Win a copy of the very rare book, Elvis UFO Connection – Non-fiction Account of Alien Intervention
Courtesy of the authors, Dan Guyll and Richard Vaculig, EIN one lucky EIN reader can win a copy of Elvis UFO Connection – Non-fiction Account of Alien Intervention.
To enter, contact EIN and tell us if you believe in intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. Simply put YES if you believe and NO if you don’t believe.
We will collate the number of readers responding to both views and publish the result on EIN. The lucky winner of Elvis UFO Connection will be drawn on Tuesday 3 November.
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