New Elvis biography claims King took home syphilis from Weeki Wachee visit

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By Frank Fencil | frank.fencil@springhillcourier.com

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll may have said some kind words after his visit to Weeki Wachee, but a new biography shows Elvis Presley was anything but fond of the historic tourist attraction.

In fact, Presley’s three-hour-long 1961 visit to the park was a sort of wham-bam-thank-you-mer-ma’am affair that left him with a lifelong reminder of his trip, according to the new book’s author.

“I found a journal Elvis kept at the time of his visit, and he maintained extensive notes on the women he bedded,” said author and Presley researcher Michael Starke, whose new book ‘The Real Elvis: What The King Hid From His Kingdom’ comes out Tuesday. “And let’s just say that, according to his journal entry for that day, he made it upstream to spawn with every last mermaid on the staff at the time.”

Yet the pleasant afternoon fin-on-skin session left him with nasty reminder of his encounter with the denizens of the deep. Doctors records and more journal entries cited in Starke’s book detail Presley’s lifelong battle with a case of syphilis he attributed to one of the nine mermaids he claimed to have been with that day.

“Elvis was certain he caught that case of syphilis at Weeki Wachee, and he held a grudge about it the rest of his life,” Starke said. “Until the day he died, he wrote very regularly about the place — often calling it ‘Leaki Crotchi’ — and there is even some evidence that he tried to purchase the park with the intention of shuttering it.”

These new revalations have drawn mixed reactions from other Presley historians, Graceland and Weeki Wachee officials. In the case of the park, representatives said Starke’s new book “does not accurately portray the mermaid lifestyle” but they were prohibited from commenting further.

And at least one Weeki Wachee native and the self-proclaimed park historian said Starke’s allegations are downright offensive to those familiar with Weeki Wachee.

“Think about how little sense it all makes,” said Timothy Wells, a lifelong Weeki Wachee resident who has written three books about the park. “These mermaids had it all. They ruled an underseas kingdom. What would they even see in a mortal man?”

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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