Book Review-Boxes:The Secret Life of Howard Hughes
as told by Major General (Ret.) Mark Musick, and written by Doug Wellman
It started with a comment left recently on one of my Hughes related blog articles telling me that Howard didn’t die in 1976. It was chilling to read because back in early April 1976, that’s what Richard had said to me…”Don’t worry. That wasn’t Howard, it was one of his doubles.” As one might imagine, with that one sentence, Major General (Ret) Mark Musick had me hooked.
(To see Mark’s comment, click here: https://adriaen22.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/howard-r-hughesmysterious-billionaire/)
I immediately wrote back to him and a regular correspondence began. The photo of a much older Howard (or possibly, a version of Howard?) was given to Mark by Eva and appears to the right. (Courtesy of Major General (Ret,) Mark Musick
I obtained a copy of Doug and Mark’s book hoping that it would shed light on the mystery of my friend Richard and his claims of being Howard Robard Hughes‘ illegitimate son…but it did not. Instead, it added a thick, sticky layer of yet more mystery and confusion. But let’s begin at the beginning…
Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes, tells the story of Eva McLelland, who at age 86, met Mark Musick through a chance business encounter and she decided to share her secret with him, and what a show stopping secret she had! At first, as anyone would be, Mark was skeptical. But over time, he began to realize that Eva’s stories and answers were earnest, confident and consistent. Over time, she even shared her various documents with him and photocopies of Eva’s documents appear in the book.
According to Mark, she told him of meeting a very handsome man down in Panama at the Howard Air Force Base in 1969, a highly secretive and mysterious sort of guy. He was always surrounded by a small cadre of men in suits which he never explained. He was charming, highly intelligent, and breathtaking in a suit. He was Howard Hughes, but he had an I.D. for a Nik Nicely.
However, the physical description of Nik Nicely on the I.D. did not match the much taller (and older) fellow whom she married one year later. The mysterious Nik had trained her early on not to ask questions and not to expect truthful answers. “It’s better that you don’t know” was his typical response. So, for a long time, poor Eva knew very little with any certainty. In marrying this man, she had unwittingly crossed over into some kind of twilight zone existence, a feeling that I know all too well.
Eva described a man with bright blue eyes and a burn scarred hand, a man who was dying his black hair blond. Howard did have black hair, but his eyes were a dark brown, not electric blue….yet Howard did have a severely burned hand from the 1947 crash into a Beverly Hills neighborhood. Blue eyes???
He was secretive and strange, often disappearing for weeks or months at a time, even after they married. His absences always went unexplained. Where’s Waldo?
I might have discounted her personal tale but for one critical detail. She related an experience to Mark that links her firmly to Hughes and it is a detail that shocked me when I read it. The experience involves a phone call that “Nik” helped Eva to make from Panama using a technology that simply did not exist at the time…a technology that Richard Hughes had described to me back in 1975. This was a technology that was not to be released to the general public for many more years to come.
Eva was allowed to use a satellite phone. In spite of the blue eyes, that one detail did it for me. I began to believe.
There are several other details in Eva’s story that lend credibility to her tale and one in particular that shocked me as much as her story of using the satellite phone, but I will leave those for you to discover. Hughes was a man of great mystery, after all, so it is fitting to leave some things unexplained, is it not?
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