'Lost Symbol': Dan Brown's New Book Has Nothing on Real-Life Conspiracies

Dan Browns New Book Has Nothing on Real-Life Conspiracies

Dan Brown's latest novel, "The Lost Symbol," is flying off the shelves -- but some of the greatest conspiracy stories can be found for free online.

Read the one about a troubled music icon's relationship with his skin doctor?

It sounds like more on the death of Michael Jackson, but in this case it's about Elvis Presley, who died 42 years ago at the age of 42.

There are books written on the FBI's Elvis files, but you can read them yourself, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Amid newspaper clippings and hard-to-read scanned copies of what seem to be mimeographed reports are some really interesting passages. In Part 3, for example, Elvis made a criminal complaint of blackmail against a South African dermatologist who was giving him skin treatments for an undetermined problem while Presley was stationed in Germany after being drafted into the Army. The blackmailer, it turned out, was not really a medical doctor.

There is also an account, in the first batch of papers, on Presley's tour of the FBI building in 1970. Presley did not meet with then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who had been advised against meeting with Elvis because of the King's strange personal appearance and the fact that he was then embroiled in a paternity suit, ultimately discredited, in Los Angeles.

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On the tour of FBI headquarters, Presley told FBI personnel that "in his opinion on one has ever done as much for his country as has Mr. Hoover," and that he, Presley, considered the director the "greatest living American."

Presley also met with President Nixon -- a meeting for which there is photographic evidence -- and after his tour of the FBI, Presley "privately advised" that he has volunteered his services to the president in connection with the narcotics problem. Nixon responded by furnishing Presley with an agent's badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

More Than 1,600 Pages of UFO Reports in FBI Files

Presley, described by FBI agents in the memo as having "a bizarre personal appearance," had the badge Nixon gave him in his pocket for the tour of the FBI.

He went on to tell the agents that he felt "the Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people in their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music while entertaining in this country during the early and middle 1960's."

The documents also include descriptions of assassination threats made against Presley when he served in the Army in Germany in the late 1950s.

There are thousands of pages in the FBI's FOIA reading room on gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel, who was implicated in many murders, but whose death remains unsolved. Large sections of the Siegel documents remain redacted, making them difficult to read.

There are also files on people who interacted with gangsters, including Frank Sinatra. There are 2,403 pages of FBI documents, on everything from an FBI investigation into investments he made with Carlo Gambino to a tip that he bribed a doctor to declare him medically unfit to serve in World War II.

There are far fewer files on the UFO scare in Roswell, N.M., in 1947. In fact, there's one page total. It's a short, mysterious report on a hexagonal disc that the FBI office in Dallas believed to be a high altitude weather balloon.

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