You might wonder what do Vern Gosdin, Elvis, & Ghosts have in common? I know!
During the tour where I was playing guitar and singing high harmonies with Vern on the
road and my co-writer, Merri Carla Bryant was filling in on drums when Hugh Waddell was out, we had to get jobs between the tours dates to help with paying the bills.
We were grateful to work for Mr. Mike Moon in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN. where he was the owner of the two major Elvis Museums in East Tennessee. The museums included the certified real stage clothes that Elvis wore onstage and in his movies, one of his Cadillacs, and many personal items.
Carla and I were in charge of welcoming visitors, retail, and keeping the theater presentable. The theater aired constant Elvis films of his top performances for guests around the clock.
The last task of the night which began at 11:00 PM was making sure the museum was clear of visitors and go down a steep flight of steps where you would evoke the digital security system.
This last room was the showcase home of Elvis’s infamous white Cadillac with a gold bar in the back and gold leather seats throughout. You engaged the security controls as you entered the room. Then, it was lights out and the timer began and you heard the rapid pulsing of the security system. You only had seconds to get out of the room before the museum sirens would go off.
It was surreal and you could indeed feel The King’s presence near his genuine outfits and items each day, but especially at night when it was closing time!
Carla always cleared the theater and turned the lights out there.
The catch to this job was that the lights were to be switched off at the very back of the theater. You would have to walk in total darkness through the entire theater and then enter the section where the museum walk started.
Passing through this very low light of the museum you could still see and even feel Elvis’s presence! His belts, iconic outfits, family items, & personal accessories led to the dark steep steps to the Cadillac showcase garage below.
There you would key in the code and turn the final lights and rush through the garage in total darkness, walking within hands reach to his white Cadillac, and all of this while the final countdown of time was blaring through the security system. TENSE, to say the least!
Many times Carla would pay me to go handle the closing ritual when she was scared. LOL! I did it a couple of times and there was definitely an eeriness to it!
Carla spent her lunch with Elvis each day, obsessing over his talents of the top concert performances in the theater. I would be reviewing some of the sets we were to play at the next Vern Gosdin gig.
After writing songs with Carla and Amanda about Elvis and then Memphis, I guess I was inspired by this haunting and incredible experience more than I thought!
Listen to Teresa's acoustic version of the Vern Gosdin classic "Way Down Deep" on
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