Vegas Myths Busted: Howard Hughes’ Mysterious Fortune Debunked
Posted on: September 1, 2023, 08:04h. Last updated on: August 31, 2023, 10:08h.
“Vegas Myths Busted” is back with another edition, shedding light on the intriguing story of Howard Hughes and his alleged $12 billion fortune. Today’s entry takes us back to September 22, 2022, when the myth surrounding Melvin Dummar’s claim to Hughes’ riches was in the spotlight.
Howard Hughes, the enigmatic billionaire of the 1940s, was often compared to the modern-day Elon Musk. However, the tale spun by Dummar, a gas station worker, has been met with skepticism by experts and former associates of Hughes. Despite the Oscar-winning movie “Melvin and Howard” in 1980, many serious scholars dismiss Dummar’s account.
Geoff Schumacher, author of the book “Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia, and Palace Intrigue,” has analyzed the story and called it highly improbable, if not impossible. According to Schumacher, Hughes’ meticulously documented daily activities in Las Vegas make it unlikely that he would have left his room at the Desert Inn, where he lived as a recluse for four years.
Hughes’ eccentricities, including his addiction to codeine and unorthodox cleanliness habits, further support Schumacher’s argument. These habits, along with his deteriorating health, make it improbable that Hughes would have ventured out and encountered Dummar on the side of the road, as claimed.
The myth revolves around Dummar’s alleged encounter with Hughes in 1967, where he provided the billionaire with a ride to Las Vegas. Nine years later, Dummar received a handwritten will signed by Hughes, awarding him 1/16th of his fortune for his long-ago good deed. However, Schumacher points out numerous inconsistencies and misspellings in the will, leading to doubts about its authenticity.
Additionally, Dummar’s claim that the will instructed him to deliver it to Mormon headquarters raises eyebrows, as Hughes was not associated with any religion. A Nevada jury ultimately ruled the will a forgery in 1978.
Despite a book published by retired FBI agent Gary Magnesen in 2005, which claimed to support Dummar’s story with new evidence, Schumacher maintains that the conclusions drawn from investigating the story lack substance. According to Schumacher, the idea that Hughes, known for his fear of germs and reclusive nature, would fly to a remote brothel without his organization’s knowledge defies logic.
While the story of Howard Hughes and Melvin Dummar may capture the imagination of many, experts urge caution in accepting it as fact. Howard Hughes remains an enigmatic figure in history, his true legacy obscured by myths and speculation.
Keep following “Vegas Myths Busted” for more debunking of intriguing tales from Sin City’s past.