On November 2, 1947, Howard Hughes flew The Spruce Goose, a massive Hercules H-4 aircraft that was designed by Hughes and built entirely of wood because aluminum and steel were sparse during WWII. He was told it wouldn’t fly, but on that date, fly it did. The flight was neither high nor long, attaining an altitude of 70 feet for only one minute but that occasion epitomizes the man and his determination to do what he wanted to do no matter what others said.
For those of us who are over the age of 50, or have a strong interest in aviation, Howard Hughes is a name we recognize. Stories of his life and death bring up memories of newspaper headlines of his business feats, his Hollywood affairs, and his decline to an emaciated, unkempt man with long hair and long fingernails and toenails, who died a lonely death in 1976.
But did he? Was everything we read and believed about Hughes true? Authors Douglas Wellman and Mark Musick uncovered evidence that Hughes did not die in 1976 but was actually living in Alabama under another identity and changed appearance with the woman he loved, Eva McLelland, finally passing away in November of 2001.
Eva McLelland was good at keeping secrets and she had kept this one for thirty-one years. When Hughes died, she was finally able to come forward and share a story that turned twentieth century history on its head and filled in puzzling blanks in the mysterious life of the tycoon Howard Hughes. And she chose to tell the story to her new friend Mark Musick.
In 2010, Wellman and Musick released the first edition of Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes in which they asked and answered the questions – How could Hughes appear to witnesses as an emaciated, long finger-nailed, mental incompetent, yet fly a jet aircraft four months later? How could a doctor describe him as looking like a “prisoner of war,” when at the same time investment bankers, politicians, and diplomats who met him said he was articulate and well-groomed?
But the story didn’t stop there, after the first book was published, new witnesses with stories, additional evidence, and photographs came forward, so a second edition has been written. The new edition adds significant insight regarding Hughes’ biological children, his extensive undercover connections with the Government, and accounts from close friends, which he and Eva developed during their years of hiding.
Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes – 2nd edition will release on March 22nd, 2016.