February 4, 2004 by

Eddie Clontz


Categories: Writers/Editors

Eddie Clontz specialized in telling tales of Elvis sightings, Atlantis discoveries and alien encounters. The former editor of the Weekly World News, he spent 20 years entertaining millions of readers with outlandish stories.
The North Carolina native dropped out of high school and launched his journalism career as a copy boy on a small, local newspaper. He edited wire stories for eight years at the now defunct Evening Independent in Florida before joining the Weekly World News in 1981 as a desk editor. Clontz worked his way up to the top editor slot, then reveled in publishing stories based on questionable sources and facts.
Clontz was crowned the king of the supermarket tabloids in 1988 when his front-page headline — Elvis Is Alive!: King of Rock ‘N’ Roll Faked His Death and Is Living in Kalamazoo, Mich.! — sold over a million copies of the paper and launched a nationwide rash of Elvis sightings. The tabloid also published reports of a half-bat, half-human creature with razor-sharp teeth that was “discovered” in a West Virginia cave. Bat Boy was such a popular story that it was adapted into an Off-Broadway musical.
“I think every American journalist, with the possible exception of Bob Woodward, secretly envied Eddie Clontz. I know I did. Here was a man who simply refused, as a matter of principle, to allow truth to get in the way of a great story,” Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten stated.
Harold E. Clontz died on Jan. 26 from liver and kidney disease and complications of diabetes. He was 56.

2 Responses to Eddie Clontz

  1. Jackie

    Now I am devastated!!! I read WWN religiously and loved the “BatBoy” stories. We all know that this kind of “journalism” is not true but it is interesting reading nonetheless!!

  2. Steve Cobb

    I’ll never forget the story of how Raisa Gorbecheva was a secret Elvis lover, and made her husband dress up like Elvis. Now Raisa and Harold are in heaven together, while Gorby and Elvis live out their twilight years, remembering better times. Very sad.
    Steve Cobb
    Sakhalin, Russia

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