By Beth Bird, Staff Writer
What do a fluorescent blue house, Elvis memorabilia and an electric chair have in common? They all form what is known as Graceland Too, a shrine created by a Mississippi man in memory of Elvis Presley.
Paul McLeod, owner of Graceland Too, operates this museum in the home his grandfather built in Holly Springs, Miss.
Though considered an Elvis hoarder by visitors like Amanda Simpson, of Mason, Tenn., McLeod has enjoyed the popularity of more than 500,000 visitors to see his blue house and array of collectibles.
“This place has more publicity than any place in Mississippi,” McLeod said right before beginning a tour for his guests.
“If you say ‘Elvis house,’ everyone knows what you mean,” said Wendy Wambo, a resident of Holly Springs.
While Simpson said Graceland Too does not compare to Graceland in Memphis, she said she thinks people visit Graceland Too for the unique experience it offers.
Visitors can view a mixture of memorabilia as Elvis music croons over a stereo. McLeod’s collection ranges from “TV Guides” with Elvis on the cover to an original copy of Elvis’ first album. McLeod even displays his prized scrapbook made from cutting out thousands of pieces of Elvis’ name from newspapers and magazines. Items that cannot be nailed to the walls or stacked in piles on the floor are taped to the ceiling.
Simpson conducted online research of Graceland Too before her visit, and she said she was surprised to discover McLeod’s intense admiration of Elvis.
“He literally gave up his life, his wife and his job to pursue this,” Simpson said.
But Graceland Too is not just about Elvis. McLeod spends much of the tour talking about himself. Known as a “wild man” by Wambo, McLeod displays pictures of his Elvis impersonations, pointing out similarities between Elvis and himself. McLeod even danced for visitors and sang part of an Elvis song.
Graceland Too focuses on McLeod’s Elvis fascination with the exception of one item — an electric chair in McLeod’s backyard. This is the only part of the tour in which guests are allowed to wander away from their host to see the deadly chair surrounded by a chain-linked fence.
The electric chair makes some visitors uncomfortable. Savanna Simpson, 10-year-old daughter of Amanda Simpson, said McLeod and his house scared her.
Amanda Simpson said she hoped to bring some of her friends during Christmas break to see McLeod’s outdoor decorations for his “Blue Christmas” theme.
McLeod offers tours 24/7, and charges $5 per person.