Magnificent Obsessions

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Graceland Too Owner Found Dead 36 Hours After Fatally Shooting a Man

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

God Bless at Graceland Too
  • "God Bless" at Graceland Too

Graceland Too is a deeply weird place, and what appears to be the sad final chapter of this roadside attraction's story is no less strange. The museum's founder, Paul McLeod, shot a man at his door earlier this week. He initially claimed self defense, but the story is turning out to be somewhat more complex. Less than 36-hours after the shooting, McLeod was also found dead on his own porch in a rocking chair. Early reports suggest his death was the result of natural causes, but the investigation is ongoing.

Every square inch of Graceland II is covered in Elvis memorabilia. Piled with it, in many cases. And McLeod, the museum's live-in curator, was an intense host. His mile-a-minute talking tours of the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week shrine in Holly Springs Mississippi might include` off-color jokes, snippets of songs, some trivia about Presley, or a story from one of the 120 Presley concerts he claimed to have attended. Or he might rant about the price of a gallon of paint. On a good day, when his false teeth weren’t slipping too much, McLeod could cram all of that into his opening paragraph. For those unaccustomed to his stream of consciousness style, it could be a little unnerving.

“Okay, I hope I ain’t got to shoot nobody,” McLeod says in one of many YouTube clips documenting the weird Graceland Too experience. McLeod’s grumbling comment was a response to late night visitors who’d come banging on the door for “the tour.”

“I’ve got a hundred thousand dollars in guns here,”McLeod warned. Last week that line just seemed like more colorful banter from a quirky character. In light of current events it seems at least a little more ominous.

Fatally Shots Man Headline from the Clarion-Ledger
  • "Fatally Shots Man" Headline from the Clarion-Ledger

According to McLeod his museum has been visited by three American presidents, representatives from Fidel Castro’s Cuban government, and Mr. T on a night when the A-Team star had imbibed a few too many drinks. Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15 McLeod was visited by 28-year-old guitar player and handyman Dwight David Taylor who may have been attempting to secure work or to collect money owed to him for a previous painting job. Taylor was shot in the chest with a single .45-caliber bullet.

Taylor has been described as being indigent.

McLeod told police that Taylor had come asking for money and had forced his way into the house. No charges had been filed.

Graceland Too
  • Graceland Too

Graceland II is currently closed to the public and the future of the roadside attraction is uncertain.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Memphis Writer Hopes to Join the Hunt for a Lost Spanish Galleon

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM


Fly on the Wall tries to be many things for many people. In addition to posting real news so weird it seems fake and fake news so obvious it seems real, we also tell the occasional joke, trend spot cool things, and highlight bits of wonderful Memphisness that might otherwise fall between the cracks. Once in a while our bloggers like to spotlight the magnificent obsessions that drive our fellow Memphians to do the kinds of unusual things things that make our shining city on a bluff just a little more magnificent. And, of course, just a little more obsessed. This is one of those stories.

Meet Peter Ceren, author of historical fiction with fantastical twists. Ceren is currently raising funds in order to document an attempt by scholars and divers to find and explore the San Marcos, an ill-fated Spanish Galleon that sank off the coast of Ireland in 1588.

Ceren has been collecting information about the San Marcos since he heard his first folk stories about the ship while visiting Ireland 47 years ago. The San Marcos also featured prominently Ceren's novel Waking Remembering and he hopes the followup to that first book will be a work of non-fiction about academics, divers, and adventures on and under the sea.

Here's a video explaining the whole thing.

In the 16th-Century, anybody not betting on the Spanish Armada and its battle-hardened soldiers over Britain’s rag tag military and ratty, run down fortifications would have probably been accused of throwing away good money. The Spanish were an empire flush with New World gold, and able to claim God’s will as long as they at least pretended that the Armada was sailing north to win England back for Catholicism. But if the British weren't at the height of their powers, England's best sailors had at least learned a thing or two about how to fight the Spanish like pirates. Using those skills they managed win a major victory and spook Spain’s superior ships off mission and into an advancing storm off the coast of Ireland, where many troops were lost.

Previous searches for the San Marcos, a vessel with 60 bronze cannons, and 500 passengers, including royals, have proven futile.

Ceren sees the hand of fate in action. John Treacy a PhD. candidate in the final stages of his doctorate in Irish naval history isn’t so keen on the whole fate thing. But lately the two men, attracted to the San Marcos for different reasons, have been sharing information regarding the lost ship. Treacy is bringing 60 divers together for a search called Project San Marcos 2014. This is the expedition Ceren hopes to document.

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