Truck driver Jesse Morgan thrust himself into the middle of the post-2020 election drama on Tuesday when he claimed at a press conference that he had unwittingly driven a truck full of suspicious mail-in ballots from New York to Pennsylvania ahead of Election Day.
“I know I saw ballots with return addresses filled out,” said Morgan, who claims to work for a Postal Service contractor. “Thousands of them, thousands.”
The appearance at a voter fraud event hosted by the right-wing Thomas More Society turned Morgan into the latest viral star on the Trumpist right. And, soon enough, his claims were being amplified by the president, his legal team, conservative groups unaffiliated with the campaign, and Trump supporters themselves all of whom have argued that nearly 300,000 bogus mail-in ballots were used in Pennsylvania, Morgan’s home state, to put Joe Biden over the top.
Video of Morgan’s speech on Twitter has been viewed more than 3 million times—helped along by a Trump tweet—while the president and his campaign have racked up more than 60,000 retweets on just their own posts about Morgan. Sean Hannity dutifully put Morgan on his show.
Left unsaid in it all is a biographical detail that prompts questions about the validity of Morgan’s already dubious claims. In addition to witnessing supposed voter fraud, the man believes his family has been stalked cross-country by ghosts.
Before he became a hero in MAGAworld, Morgan was an amateur ghost-hunter.
Morgan’s first success came with a 2016 video about a “shadow person” living in his basement, from where he claimed to hear strange noises.
“I will not raise my daughters in a place that is haunted,” Morgan declares in the video, dubbed “Shadow person caught on camera.”
Despite hearing those noises, Morgan—again, in the video—descended down the stairs. But as he walked down, he saw a “shadow person,” who looked suspiciously similar to a normal human wearing a black morphsuit, peeking at him from the stairs. Morgan’s camera suddenly tilted, and the supposed ghost disappeared.
Morgan claimed in a second video that he moved out of his house because of the spirit, only to find his new home in York, Pennsylvania, also infested with spirits. In that shaky, dimly filmed video, dubbed “follow up to shadow person,” Morgan narrated his concerns about paranormal infestations while a knick-knack moved suspiciously on a shelf behind him and a picture flew off the shelf.
It’s unclear what caused the latter two signs of shadow people.
Morgan’s videos were a hit, earning him an appearance on a Travel Channel show about ghosts. In that appearance, he laid out his theory that the shadow person from his first house hadn’t followed him, implying that he was being haunted by multiple shadow people.
“I haven’t seen the shadow guy since then,” Morgan said.
Morgan and his three brothers, who also claim to have been haunted, eventually made a low-budget documentary about their brushes with ghosts and shadow-men. A fundraising pitch for The Shadows Amongst Us describes the Morgans as a “family haunted by paranormal events despite living in different parts of the country.”
Much of the brothers’ 2019 film focused on Jesse Morgan’s blurry YouTube videos as evidence of the hauntings. At the end of the movie, Morgan offered some practical advice about fighting off the shadow spirits.
“It lives off your emotion, it lives off of stress, it lives off of dysfunction,” Morgan said. “So don’t be scared, don’t be afraid. As crazy and stupid as it may sound, walk around your house and say ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave.’ It’s helped me out 1,000 times, to tell you the truth.”
One Amazon reviewer remarked they’ve never seen a film on Amazon score so poorly—at 2.1 out of 5 stars—while others wondered how the “documentary” could have made it to the streaming service in the first place. Another reviewer compared it to “listening to your most boring coworker drone on and on.”
All of the ghost videos were deleted from Morgan’s YouTube account sometime after the press conference. Morgan didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Morgan’s voter fraud claims on Tuesday similarly lacked a convincing premise. He claimed a series of “weird” incidents — including interactions with a postal employee he described as “kind of rude” — on a truck drive from Bethpage, New York to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He said those incidents convinced him that he had been tricked into some sort of voter fraud scheme carrying bogus ballots. Much of Morgan’s speech centered on the fact that he couldn’t find his preferred trailer at work a day after the supposed voter fraud, with the implication that Morgan’s trailer had been stolen for nefarious purposes.
“I liked that trailer,” Morgan said. “It was a nice trailer.”
Despite the thin nature of the allegations, Morgan’s claims have been promoted by a handful of Trump supporters. The press conference was organized by Phill Kline, the former attorney general of Kansas who was suspended indefinitely from practicing law in 2013 over allegations of perjury and misleading officials.
Kline said at the press conference that he had pressed Morgan on any criminal background and substance abuse issues, in an attempt to test his honesty.
“Jessie revealed to me that he had been a drug addict, that he’d been arrested, that he served some time,” Kline said.
Pennsylvania court records show that Morgan has been arrested multiple times. In the most serious case, Morgan faced a raft of charges in 2005 that included forgery, theft, and receiving stolen property. Morgan eventually pleaded guilty to the forgery charge and was sentenced to more than six months in prison.
Kline claimed at the press conference that he was only revealing Morgan’s background with drugs and crime because he knew the media would eventually use Morgan’s history to attack his voter fraud claims. But neither Kline nor Morgan revealed his position as a prominent believer in ghost-stalking.