Howard Hughes Lives Secret Life Decades After His “Death”

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Douglas Wellman’s book Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes tells the tale of Howard Hughes’s secret life under the assumed identity of Verner “Nik” Nicely, from the point of view of his wife, Eva McLelland.

Boxes, Howard Hughes

Boxes Book Cover

We first met in Panama in late 1969, he was continuing his business with associates and I was told to stay out of his business. It was too dangerous for me to know about.

April 5, 1976 is conventionally known as the anniversary of Billionaire Howard Hughes’s death. According to Eva McLelland, of Jacksonville, Florida, this is not correct.

Douglas Wellman’s book Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes tells the tale of Howard Hughes’s secret life under the assumed identity of Verner “Nik” Nicely, from the point of view of his wife, Eva McLelland.

As described in the book, McLelland's discovery that her eccentric Midwestern husband was really the great Howard Hughes was difficult, to say the least, and sent her on a path she had never expected to take. With photographs, authentic documentation, and professional research, this book examines one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. Douglas Wellman’s fascinating and touching real‐life mystery drama, Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes, is available now through WriteLife (visit http://www.writelife.com) and other major online book retailers.

No book has adequately explained Hughes’s later life, until Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes, was published. In the book, Eva McLelland describes how the reclusive Hughes was actually hiding, using another identity, in a remote location in Alabama for years. In the book, she detailed how she kept his incredible secret until his actual passing in 2001. His death released her to tell her highly unusual story of living with the reclusive Hughes for 31 years after they were married in 1970, in Panama.

“We first met in Panama in late 1969, he was continuing his business with associates and I was told to stay out of his business. It was too dangerous for me to know about.” The two moved to several locations in Arizona and Alabama, with aides in tow. McLelland continued to be loyal to him and kept his secret. They were living in a small house on Highway 29 west of Troy, Alabama, when the long finger-nailed bed-ridden, stand-in for Hughes died in April 1976.

In the book, Eva explains that after his “death” the aides disappeared, and the couple kept relocating. “He enjoyed introducing confusion into every aspect of life,” Eva remembers. Also, he would not let Eva unpack. “We had to be able to leave quickly and essentially live from boxes everywhere we went.”

Eva died in November 2009, in Jacksonville, Florida, spending the last eight years of her life relaying the story to Major General Mark Musick. Musick and Douglas Wellman turned her life’s story into the book, Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes.

For interviews with Douglas Wellman or Mark Musick please contact WriteLife Publishing at: info (at) writelife (dot) com. The book may be purchased at http://writelife.com/boxes/purchase.asp.

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