In fact, say sources in a position to know, the superstar faked his death to escape the crushing pressures of life in a fishbowl – and he is now socked away in an undisclosed location in Eastern Europe, possibly Hungary, far from the clamor of paparazzi covering his “autopsy” and “funeral” in southern California.
And in the strangest twist of all, say the insiders, once he’s rested and ready, Jackson, 50, will blow the lid off his own hoax – and embark on the most spectacularly lucrative concert tour in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
“Michael is following in the footsteps of a man he greatly admired – another rock icon, Elvis Presley, who also faked his death and is still alive, and in hiding, today,” William Stern, who has written extensively on Presley, told me exclusively.
“Unlike Elvis, however, Michael is withdrawing from his celebrity before it destroys him. And he also is planning, once he has rested and regrouped, to stage a comeback unlike anything in rock history.
“Make no mistake, Jackson is a genius, both as a performer and as and showman and marketer and promoter. Remember when he made an offer to buy the remains of The Elephant Man from a British museum just to get the publicity?
“Remember when he reputedly was trying to find a way to live forever by spending hours in a hyperbaric chamber?
“If you look at his history, at some of the stunts he’s pulled to keep himself in the public eye, to maintain a sense of mystery about who he is and what he’s all about, the idea that he would fake his death makes sense.
“Let’s face it – Michael has been vilified by many in the press and by people who just don’t like him. He’s been accused of pedophilia. He’s been called ‘Wacko Jacko’ and a ‘Pop Weirdo’.
“Yes, he’s got billions of fans. Yes, he’s sold perhaps a billion records and CDs. But for all the love he gets, there are those who have been and continue to be unkind, and mean-spirited.
“I’ll make you a bet. If it takes six months, if it takes a year, if it takes two years, it doesn’t matter: When he’s rested and ready, and pulls the curtain up on his faked death, the world is going to stand still.
“With all due respect to the President of United States, Michael on a ‘Back from the Dead Tour’ will make Barack Obama look like a B-List celebrity.”
Stern’s sources say Jackson has been planning his escape for at least 16 months, but nobody, not even those who are closest to him, took him seriously, the expert said, “until now.”
“It’s unclear where he has gone – he mentioned South America, Canada, Russia, Kenya, Japan and Australia over the past year … all smokescreens, no doubt,” continued Stern.
“The best information I have suggests he is in Eastern Europe, in a medieval castle, possibly in Hungary. Right now, my sources are saying, ‘Leave him alone. Let him rest. Give him time.’
“They say that fans can help him recover by showing their love and respect for him. They say, ‘You better believe he is watching all the coverage.’ And they say fans can give Michael a boost by flashing peace signs to cameras – like he was famous for doing – and telling reporters they know he is alive.’”
More on this story as it develops – exclusively at tjmarsh.wordpress.com