by Chris Davis
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.
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 II is currently closed to the public and the future of the roadside attraction is uncertain.