It turns out that Elvis was very into spiritual readings, Taoism, esoteric philosophies and learning about the different values in different cultures. When Elvis died in his Graceland bathroom thirty years ago today, he is said to have been reading a book about the Holy Shroud of Turin – normally identified as A Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus (1972) by Frank O. Adams, which argues that the Turin Shroud really is Our Lord’s Shroud. It has since become eagerly sought after by Elvis fans. Less impressive is the other book he was allegedly reading – Sex and Psychic Energy. Hmmmm, we better move quickly along.
These titles represent some of the books mentioned in his 1989 book If I Can Dream: Elvis’ Own Story (now out-of-print). We cannot be sure that Elvis read all of these books, but they concern subjects he was deeply interested in and felt were important to his daily life.
The Impersonal Life [written anonymously] is described as Elvis’ favorite book next to the Bible and the one whose “teaching, practice and discipline transformed his life.”
Aquarian Gospel of Jesus The Christ by Levi H. Dowling
The Huna Code in Religions by Max Freedom Long
On Elvis’s bedside table in 1960 was The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and How to Live 365 Days a Year by Dr. John A. Schindler. Elvis often read medical texts and was so well-versed in The Physician’s Desk Reference that he more than held his own when talking to medical professionals about prescription drugs.
Elvis’ eclectic book purchases in 1963 include the following unique collection: Antique Guns, Eyewitness History of World War II, First 100 Days of the Kennedy Administration, Guns, Joke Dictionary, Jokes for the John, World Atlas, Our Fifty States, East of Eden, Strange People, and
The Impersonal Life by Anonymous
Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Book 1: The Call 1924 by Agni Yoga Society
Leaves of Morya’s Garden, Book 2: Illumination 1925 by Agni Yoga Society
The Masters and the Path by C. W. Leadbeater
The Mystical Christ by Manly Palmer Hall
Sacred Science of Numbers by Corinne Heline
The following lists a few other books Elvis was interested in, but all of them are out of print:
Cheiro’s Book of Numbers by Cheiro
The Gospel According to Thomas by Raghavan Iyer
New Mansions for New Men by Dane Rudyar