Google Groups no longer supports new Usenet posts or subscriptions. Historical content remains viewable.
Dismiss

My Personal Experience with Lisa Johansen

983 views
Skip to first unread message

mary hinds

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
Hi everybody,

I have been following the Lisa Marie controversy closely over the past few
days. Since it has become so intense, I believe that it is time for me to
describe to you my meeting with Lisa Johansen and her husband -- and to tell
of my beliefs at the conclusion of that meeting. (My apologies to Bill
Burk - email to you to follow.)

The purpose of the meeting was to decide whether or not to do a profile for
the magazine for which I write -- "Paradigm 2000." It is a Washington
D.C.-based policy and social issues quarterly that normally explores things
such as gun control, the Western Sahara struggle, and private enterprise
solutions to social problems.

The publisher, Nina May, was asked by Donna Rice Hughes (Executive Director
of Enough is Enough -- the leading children's anti-porn advocacy group in
DC) to meet with Lisa and her husband to ascertain whether or not their
story was valid and whether or not a serious, policy wonk journal should
veer off purpose and become involved. I was invited to the meeting because
I write personal profiles for the magazine. (Though they are usually about
people like Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, Elaine Chao of United Way, and
Elizabeth Dole.) My invitation was based upon two things: 1) I would be the
one writing the story if we went with it; and 2) I am, like most of you,
fairly knowledgeable about Elvis. (I am a regular Elvis Week attender, have
been to all the Elvis academic conferences since 1993, have presented at one
of them, am scheduled to speak at the proposed fall Smithsonian seminar on
Elvis, have just completed a serious book about the Elvis literature, have
been a contributing writer to Elvis World magazine, and own - and have
read - over 300 books about Elvis.)

We met on April 22 at the magazine's office in Washington, D.C. Present
were Nina, Donna, Lisa, her husband, and me. We spent three hours together.
The mood was friendly, conversational, and open.

My preparation for the meeting was thorough -- just as it would be for any
such meeting with a potential subject for a story. I consulted with another
Elvis fan/scholar who has an Elvis background similar to mine and works in
the field of law. (I do not have her permission to use her name which is
why I am not identifying her.) She and I both read Lisa Johansen's book
and, together, devised a list of questions whose answers (if given
correctly) would assure us that this young lady was indeed the true Lisa.

I then consulted a child psychologist - again I do not have permission to
use her name - showing her the questions and asking her how many of them
could we reasonably expect someone with Lisa Johansen's traumatic background
to answer about their childhood.

(Note: When I say that I do not have permission to use a name, that does not
mean that it is shrouded forever in mystery. At this time, I do not have
permission because I have not yet asked for it. No covertness here.)

First, let me explain why Lisa was in Washington, D.C., why Donna was
involved, and how we got hooked up. Lisa has benefactors in Falls Church,
VA, who support her. (Again, I do not have their permission to give their
names.) She stays with them for long periods of time, using their home as a
base for her travels in the U.S. Donna knows these people. Donna is a
friend of mine and Nina's, and someone with whom we have worked on child
pornography issues.

My purpose at the meeting was to ascertain the truth of Lisa Johansen's
claims. I believed the best way to do that was to ask questions about her
childhood on topics such as her pets, toys, who in the Memphis Mafia she
best remembered, as well as others around Elvis. Sadly, she failed to
answer them with specifics -- she couldn't even tell me the names of her
pets at Graceland. When I asked her about the famous "Get Lo," (Elvis' dog
who died in 1975), she asked if it was a dog or a cat. She did relate a
vague memory of going out into the woods in a limousine with a group of
adults to look for a wild cat to take home as a pet. She said they found
none, but the next morning she was presented with a wild cat that one of her
father's men had found.

She could not remember the nickname of Mary Jenkins ("Maywee"), although she
said she was close to Mary. She could not remember one person in the
entourage by name.

I also asked her about her Barbie doll .... which I had seen on display that
January at Graceland. (It is a brunette Barbie, btw.) She couldn't
describe it. I asked her if she remembered doing things to the Barbie (the
doll has one heck of a finger nail scissored hairdo!) After some hemming
and hawing, she responded that she had written things all over the doll.
Couldn't remember what. But none were evident on the doll displayed. She
did not recall cutting the doll's hair.

(My child psych advisor had encouraged questions about pets, toys, and names
she gave to people who were close to her as these are things that leave the
deepest and clearest impressions on children, irregardless of the trauma
suffered.)

One thing that was curious to me was how English words had to be explained
and translated for her while we spoke. The child psych later told me that
this was a strong indication that English had not been the language of her
childhood. (She went to Sweden when she was nine.) For instance, I asked
her if the Memorial Garden area of Graceland had always been cement or if it
was dirt and grass when she lived there. She did not know what "cement"
meant.)

Her physical appearance bears a small resemblance to Elvis (whom I have seen
only in on film and in photographs.) She has the same high cheekbones, but
lacks the distinctive undereye pigmentation that is obvious in the photos of
Gladys, Elvis, and Lisa Marie. She is a tiny, delicate and delicately-boned
woman -- not that that has anything to do with Elvis, just thought you would
be interested.

She is a sweet young lady in demeanor. She gives every indication of
sincerity when she answers questions (and please remember, Nina, Donna, and
I have been in Washington for a long time - so we have some experience in
recognizing insincerity!)
I believe that she honestly thinks that her story is true. I did work in
questions that would have given an indication that it was the $$$ she was
after -- her husband too. Her answers convinced me that the $$ is not an
issue. She truly believes that she is Lisa Marie Presley.

My take on her husband (who was the author of her book) is that he believes
this as well. And he is taking to heart his role as protector/defender.

One thing that I found interesting was that both of them do not read any of
the books about Elvis so that they will be influenced in the answers they
give. Cynics -- and I am a BIG one -- would say, "Yeah, right." But
strangely, I believed them on this one.

And speaking of books ... hers, which is a very expensive publishing job,
has no bibliographic information other than a copyright attributing it to
her. No publisher, date of pub, ISBN ... nada! I asked about this. She and
her husband told me that the publisher was threatened and was afraid to be
identified with the book. No info on where the money came from to publish
such a high quality (hardcover, slick professionally done book jacket, high
quality paper and printing) edition.

These are sincere people. But they are living a fantasy -- a sad, sad
situation as there are two little girls involved and this is all that Lisa
and her husband do. Neither have careers, and at the time we met, jobs.
The daughter of school age had not been attending school for several months
when we met --- she had been taken out of school in the winter when the
Swedish media started up on the story and brought to America. The girls
are hauled around by their parents in this endless quest for legitimacy.

I took a motherly tone and urged Lisa to get some normalcy back into her
daughters' lives. She agreed, but moved back to talking about her quest.
This whole thing appears to be just about her and her need to reunite with
Priscilla - her daughters seem to be almost an after-thought. The whole
family appears to revolve around Lisa and her desire to be recognized as
Lisa Marie Presley.

So, here's what I think: Lisa Johansen truly believes her story. Her
husband does as well. But it is not true. She believes it so thoroughly
that her sincerity is almost palpable - which is why so many people have
become convinced. If you who doubt her met her, I am sure she would be
convince some of you.

But there is no evidence of malevolence behind her story. This is her quest
in life, and she will undoubtedly continue it ... a la Anastasia ... for
the rest of her life.

We at the magazine had planned to submit the head measurement evidence from
Uppsala to folks at George Washington University - as well as tracking down
WHY the Canadian Mounties got involved in this. But the three of us were so
convinced by this meeting that this poor young woman is not Lisa Marie - but
a sad, sad emotionally disturbed person - that we stopped all pursuit of the
story.

I do not believe that Lisa Johansen is Lisa Marie Presley. I do not believe
her story, but I am convinced that she believes it with all her heart.

Mary


Peach

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
Thank you, Mary, for setting the record straight..... maybe this will
convince some of the people.....

Peach

mary hinds <mhh...@email.msn.com> wrote in message
news:eNt7vsYv#GA.307@cpmsnbbsa05...

Mickey Moran

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
>Thank you, Mary, for setting the record straight..... maybe this will
>convince some of the people.....
>
>Peach

Nothing will convince some of these people.


Mickey Moran
http://www.elvisalive.com/
http://forums.bruin.net/cgi-bin/fbn/fbn.cgi/bruin.action.elvis.is.alive
http://apps.vantagenet.com/aforums/thread.asp?id=1999520204313
Join the 'Elvis Is King' Webring at www.elvisalive.com/webring.htm

RADIOCOWBY

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
Snip it all, you've read it!

Wouldn't be surprised in the least if the money hasn't come from Shelby
Singleton himself. Or whatever his real name is.

Martin Genz

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to

Thank you for that very very interesting post, Mary. It is very good to see a
professional approach to this situation. It is very sad to see that a person
virtually gives up on their own family in pursuit of wanting to be somebody they
are not. Especially if her daughter has to bear the consequences by not being
able to attend school. And if her daughter were to attend school, she would have
to live with a certain amount of ridicule set upon her by the other children in
school. And undoubtedly it is not her fault that her mother thinks she is who
she clearly is not.

I think she she ever were to go on a television show, there would only have to
be an "expert" like Bill Burk, and her claim would disintegrate within minutes.

Out of interest, 2 questions, if you will:

1) When did this woman start believing she was was Lisa-Marie Presley ?

2) What is your "take" on the husband from a psychological point of view ?
Often enough, especially with people in professional sports for example, they
are gullible to gurus or the like telling them that if they do this and that,
they are gonna be better in their sports (there was just such a case of a young
swiss tennis player, who had this guy as a persoanl aid or something, who told
her to drink only orange juice making her believe that she would win all matches
that way. It took her a year or more to finally realize to get rid of the guy.
His method, obviously, didn't work).

Also, I am not talking about false prophets or any kind of religious people.
Could it be that this husband of this poor, unfortunate woman had something to
do with all of this ? Maybe he brought this out in her ?

Thanks in advance
Martin


mhhinds

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
I accidentally sent this to Martin via email. This is my response to his
post.

Hi Martin,
> First, please let me apologize to anyone who has asked me questions on the
> ng to which I have not replied. My MSN only downloads some of the
messages
> from this ng. Clint emailed me a solution which I will attempt this
> weekend. So if a question has gone unanswered, please email it privately
> and I will answer it publicly.
>
> Question one -- when did she start believing this? I asked her "when did
> you discover that all this was going on?" Her answer dovetails what her
> husband wrote in the book. I left it at that.
>
> Question two -- my take on her husband.
>
> I am not qualified for a professional psychological take ... I can only
> answer from a writer/journalist's point of view. And that is: he did not
> demonstrate the characteristics of a manipulator or "guru" type. His role
in
> all of this is more husbandly. Lisa seems to drive this, and he serves
as
> her back-up, supporter, protector, defender. He behaves as if he is as
> convinced as she. To wit: he kept his mouth shut and let her answer all
> the questions and make the comments. He would only interject himself to
> underscore something that she had said. He was passionate in his
comments,
> but behaved appropriately -- meaning, he did not threaten, express out of
> control anger, boast ..... Basically, he did not act like a jerk. I
could
> easily see my husband behaving in the same manner if I were Lisa J.
>
> I was especially impressed with his attitude toward the money issue. It
was
> obvious that her claims to legitimacy come first, cash second. I asked
him
> point-blank about the money, and he was answered in a refreshingly open
> manner. My writing career has taken place in Washington, D.C., where
> phonies, frauds, pretenders, fakes, wannabes, scam artists, big talkers
are
> the norm. Those who work here in politics and journalism quickly develop
a
> B.S. alarm. Lisa's husband did not set mine off.
>
> One thing that is important for me to point out is the impression I got
that
> these are too very unsophisticated people. They answer questions in a
> manner that is not contrived .. at least in my opinion .. and give answers
> that a media savvy person would never dare. My questions about the money
> demonstrated that to me.
>
> A concern has been raised by Lisa's DC area friends that she is being
badly
> served by Bill Beeny (sp?) and someone in San Antonio, Texas, who arranged
> interviews for her on two of the tabloid tv shows. I believe that "Hard
> Copy" was one of them .. or maybe "Current Affair." Anyway, I watched one
> of them and the show made fun of Lisa and sneered at her belief. I felt
> very sorry for her. She is obviously in the clutches of some very
> non-professional advisors.
>
> I hope this gives you the information that you desired, Martin. Again,
Lisa
> and her husband appear to be very nice people who honestly believe their
> story. But, I am convinced that she is not Elvis' daughter.
>
> Mary
>
> Again, if you posted a question to me and it has not been answered,
please
> email it to me.
>

Martin Genz

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to

mhhinds wrote:

> > A concern has been raised by Lisa's DC area friends that she is being
> badly


> > served by Bill Beeny (sp?) and someone in San Antonio, Texas, who arranged
> > interviews for her on two of the tabloid tv shows. I believe that "Hard
> > Copy" was one of them .. or maybe "Current Affair." Anyway, I watched one
> > of them and the show made fun of Lisa and sneered at her belief. I felt
> > very sorry for her. She is obviously in the clutches of some very
> > non-professional advisors.
> >
> > I hope this gives you the information that you desired, Martin. Again,
> Lisa
> > and her husband appear to be very nice people who honestly believe their
> > story. But, I am convinced that she is not Elvis' daughter.
> >
> > Mary
> >
> > Again, if you posted a question to me and it has not been answered,
> please
> > email it to me.
> >

Thank you for the reply, Mary. Also via email. It is a very interesting story
(the whole issue). I'll have to think about it.

Martin


0 new messages