Sunday, August 30, 2009


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John Alva Keel (born Alva John Kiehle on March 25, 1930 and died July 3, 2009) was a Fortean author and professional journalist.


Keel wrote professionally from the age of 12, and was best known for his writings on unidentified flying objects, the "Mothman" of West Virginia, and other paranormal subjects. Keel was arguably one of the most widely read and influential ufologists since the early 1970s.[2] Although his own thoughts about UFOs and associated anomalous phenomena gradually evolved since the mid 1960s, Keel remained one of ufology's most original and controversial researchers. It was Keel's second book, UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse (1970), that popularized the idea that many aspects of contemporary UFO reports, including humanoid encounters, often paralleled ancient folklore and religious encounters. Keel coined the term "men in black" to describe the mysterious figures alleged to harass UFO witnesses[3]and he also argued that there is a direct relationship between UFOs and psychic phenomena. He did not call himself a ufologist and preferred the term Fortean, which encompasses a wide range of paranormal subjects.

Keel's first published story was in a magician's magazine at the age of 12. He later moved to Greenwich Village and wrote for various magazines. He was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War, but served in Frankfurt, Germany on the staff of the Armed Forces Network. He was then employed as a press correspondent for several years, before resigning to tour Egypt and the Middle East. His first published book, Jadoo (1957), was serialised in a men's adventure magazine. Jadoo details Keel's travels to India to investigate the alleged activities of fakirs and holy men who perform the Indian rope trick and who survive being buried alive.

Influenced by writers such as Charles Fort, Ivan Sanderson, and Aimé Michel, in early 1966, John Keel commenced a full-time investigation of UFOs and paranormal phenomena. Over a four-year period, Keel interviewed thousands of people in over twenty U.S. states. He read over 2,000 books in the course of this investigation, in addition to thousands of magazines, newsletters, and newspapers. Keel also subscribed to several newspaper-clipping services, which often generated up to 150 clippings for a single day during the 1966 and 1967 UFO "wave". Keel wrote for several magazines including Saga with one 1967 article UFO Agents of Terror referring to the Men in Black.

Like contemporary 1960s researchers such as J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallée, Keel was initially hopeful that he could somehow validate the prevailing extraterrestrial visitation hypothesis. However, after one year of investigations, Keel concluded that the extraterrestrial hypothesis was untenable. Indeed, both Hynek and Vallée eventually arrived at a similar conclusion. As Keel himself wrote:

I abandoned the extraterrestrial hypothesis in 1967 when my own field investigations disclosed an astonishing overlap between psychic phenomena and UFOs... The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs.[6]

In UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse Keel argues that a non-human or spiritual intelligence source has staged whole events over a long period of time in order to propagate and reinforce certain erroneous belief systems. For example, the fairy faith in Middle Europe, vampire legends, mystery airships in 1897, mystery aeroplanes of the 1930s, mystery helicopters, anomalous creature sightings, poltergeist phenomena, balls of light, and UFOs. Keel conjectured that ultimately all of these anomalies are a cover for the real phenomenon. In Our Haunted Planet,

Keel coined the term "Ultraterrestrials" to describe the UFO occupants. He discussed the seldom-considered possibility that the alien "visitors" to Earth are not visitors at all, but an advanced Earth civilization, which may or may not be human.

Keel took no position on the ultimate purpose of the phenomenon other than that the UFO intelligence seems to have a long-standing interest in interacting with the human race.

In 1975, Keel published The Mothman Prophecies, an account of his 1966-1967 investigation of sightings of the Mothman, a strange winged creature reported in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The book was loosely adapted into a 2002 movie, starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Alan Bates. Those two actors played two parts of Keel's personality. Bates's character was "Leek," which was "Keel" spelled backwards, and Gere's character worked for a newspaper, "John Klein," also a play on Keel's name.

In the May/June 2002 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, journalist John C. Sherwood, a former business associate of UFO researcher Gray Barker, published an analysis of private letters between Keel and Barker during the period of Keel's investigation. In the article, "Gray Barker's Book of Bunk," Sherwood reported finding significant differences between what Keel wrote at the time of his investigation and what he wrote in his first book about the Mothman reports, raising questions about the book's accuracy. Sherwood also reported that Keel, who was well known for writing humorous and outrageous letters to friends and associates, would not assist him in clarifying the differences thus raising doubts about Sherwood's supposition.

On Friday October 13, 2006, Keel admitted himself to New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, having suffered a heart attack, and underwent successful heart surgery on October 16. Keel then was moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation center on October 26, according to his friend Doug Skinner who remained in contact with him and who requested that well wishers contact Keel by mail in order to give him time to recover. Although annoyed by postings of his premature death, Keel continued to improve for some time. In early 2009, Keel moved into a nursing home near his apartment on the Upper West Side.

He died on July 3, 2009, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, at the age of 79.

Mothman stories in Point Pleasant, 1966: facts and fiction

During a discussion, a participant argued that John Keel provided

evidence that show that those beings believed to be extraterrestrial are not extraterrestrial but some illusion created by some yet to be determined non-extraterrestrial intelligence or phenomena.

Let me quote John Keel, who introduces his main point better himself:

"I abandoned the extraterrestrial hypothesis in 1967 when my own field investigations disclosed an astonishing overlap between psychic phenomena and UFOs [...] I feel that the ultimate solution [to the UFO question] will involve a complicated system of new physics related to theories of the space-time continuum [...] The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs."

One commenter elaborated:

"Keel is a disbeliever in the extraterrestrial theory of UFO origin. He subscribes to the theory that Earth is not so much a sovereign world controlled by human beings as it is some type of property belonging to entities from a plane of existence separate from ours. According to Keel, these entities are no more divine than we are, but are as much a part of Earth as mankind is, and have always been with us."
"Drawing on his background in folklore and the occult, Keel has dubbed these higher entities "Ultraterrestrials" (UTs). He believes UTs are the gods of our ancestors. Their influence is responsible for all human progress and human woe, from religious and scientific enlightenment to wars and murderous cults. Because our modern culture thinks in terms of spaceships and visitors from other planets, that is how we see the Ultraterrestrials when they manifest themselves today."

I answered that I did not feel necessary to grant particular credence to the stories of John Keel, which are not of the nature of a research of facts nor a scientific research; that the theory that John Keel proposes has, among other weaknesses, that of not resting strictly on factual bases.

The person then asked me the following question:

"Do you have elements or particular information showing that John A. Keel faked his investigations?"

My first answer was: "what investigations?"

It was a bad idea; my question was interpreted as signs that I would not know anything on John Keel, Mothman, Point Pleasant etc, which is not the case. It was understood that I charged John Keel of falsification or hoaxing. Which is not exactly the case.

Indeed, to me the problem is not to show that John Keel has "hoaxed his investigations," but that John Keel was not particularly interested in carrying out thorough and careful investigation, in the serious meaning of the word investigation. An investigation in the serious meaning of the term consists in examining in a careful and rational manner a certain thing. The investigator will do all possible efforts, in particular, to sorting between fantasies, lies, inventions, hoaxes, rumors, misinterpretation, and things of factual nature. If he discovers factual things, he will stick to examine them, question them, confirm them if there is anything that can be confirmed, he will seek clues and evidence that check, he will gather, evaluate, document and submit his findings to the examination of his peers. He will not let himself influence by fantasy prone personalities and hoaxers, on the contrary, he will make sure to avoid such people's influence.

I will show that John Keel did not practice such an approach. I do not say that it is condemnable per se, nor that other approach of unusual phenomena are of no interest; but as far as I am concerned, I cannot accept theoretical developments which would not rest on things of the order of the factual, theories worked out outside the factual are not appropriate to me, and do not qualify as theories, for theories elaborated on fantasies, are non-falsifiable.

I will show that John Keel had of no other concern than to gather a maximum number of any possible anecdotal stories, regardless of checking into them, most of them coming from others that him, including hoaxes, inventions and fabricated myths, that he deliberately gathered from writings which do not have anything of the nature of a research or an investigation according to scientific principles, but are nothing else than a collection of sensational, bizarre, curious unverified - or proved wrong - stories. Keel undoubtedly did that sincerely; but we will see that sincerity and honesty did not reign in its entourage. Moreover We will see that there are also a great shift between what Keel really writes, and what some readers want to read in his writings.

I will show that John Keel hid from his readers, or was unaware of, a number of pure and simple facts, known by local people, and systematically rather worked out a dantesque vision of the events than gave a fair and complete account to allow the reader to form an opinion of his own about their nature. Hiding what does not go in the direction of the defended theory is not in my practices (I was dubbed an "extraterrestrophile ufomaniac" by certain admirers of Keel), here I offer certain aspects of the question at the origin of the theory of the "ultraterrestrials" that you will not find in the works of John Keel, Gray Barker, their followers and admirers.

As I already noted that my initial correspondent does not see great value to the answers that he wants from me, I wanted to make this effort of giving more information on this subject, including the opinion of others than me, with the thin hope that he would maybe realize that not all things written have the same factual value, and hoping he may devote a few minutes of reading why some wild theories rest on pleasant stories going from the sensational to the imaginary up to purely fraudulent; that although we undoubtedly appreciate as much as him a sensational good story, we wish not to treat it as fact on which to elaborate theories on UFOs origins.

Here is a comment by Rick Kleffel in 1995 concerning John Keel's book "The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings," which does not deal with UFO or extraterrestrial affairs, so we do not plunge to early into discussion of the central theme here:

"Unlike many others who write about monsters, or, as the oh-so-serious like to call it, 'crytozoology', Keel does not take himself tremendously seriously, which makes this book a breeze to read. You -- or even Keel himself -- may not believe verbatim every anecdote he manages to scrape up. But Keel is a good enough writer to know that the fun is in the reading, not the believing."
"If you're looking for a serious, sober scientific study of bigfoot, sea serpents and other unverified terrestrial life forms, you can put this book down immediately, because that's not Keel's interest. Most writers who research the so-called 'paranormal' filter out as much of the 'para' as possible in order to make the rest seem more normal. Not John Keel. He embraces and seeks out the reports that other researchers leave out of their books, those with the most absurd and unbelievable stories. Some of them prove to be hoaxes, while others, such as the winged cat of the fourth chapter, remain firmly in the absurd."

Another commentator offers this innsight to which I entirely subscribe:

"As Hilary Evans points out in Fortean Times Magazine (issue 53:54), "Insofar as Keel has encouraged serious and thoughtful researchers to extend their notions of the possible, he can have done nothing but good. Insofar as has encouraged flightier minds to espouse dubious notions for which the evidence is less than adequate, he may have done more harm than good."

You can read that...

"Keel has written articles that have appeared in many leading periodicals including Playboy, Saga and Fate magazines."

... which are not particularly known as investigation magazines.

Does this portray investigation?

John Keel's theory:

An opinion frequently given in connection with John Keel's notion of the "ultraterrestrials" is stated by a commentator:

"I believe Keel has met with scorn even among other UFO researchers and paranormal investigators purely because his theory is so profoundly unsettling."

I do not intend to be the spokesperson of these other UFO researcher; but as far as I am concerned, one of the reasons for which I do not care so much for John Keel's theory is not at all because it would "unsettle" me. The reason is that it does not rest on the factual but on a collection of oddities for which the independent confirmations miss cruelly, while the signs of their essentially subjective nature abound. Before including in the discussion on the origin of the UFOS more embarrassing stories of winged cats and telephones calls of the supernatural, I ask that these are proven to be facts, and not just collected accounts that do not make anthologies of oddities, but anthologies of unverified stories of oddities.

Point Pleasant:

John Keel did not invent all the original accounts he provides on what was apparently a strange winged creature with red glowing eyes seen in the vicinity of Point Pleasant. There really was a good dozen, if not a good hundred testimonies of the winged creature, on which his book "The Mothman Prophecies" is based. We will see from where it came out, what the Mothman sightings are in the local press, and what Gray Barker made of it.

But what was John Keel's investigation?

He essentially collected these accounts. He was the cause of other accounts himself, such as the story that opens the book, where he tells how people have interpreted his own visit to their home as a "men in black" visit simply because he was dressed in black and did not have the same accent than the local folks.

In his book "The Mothman Prophecies," which acquired a renewed fame because of the movie which it loosely inspired recently, and in France, by the translation and publication under the aegis of sociologist and ufologist Pierre Lagrange, Keel criticizes ufologists (he defines himself as reporter, not as ufologist) for not providing their witnesses names. Not only is this largely false and absurd, the reader can easily realize that this is exactly what Keel does in Point Pleasant: collect stories, without giving the name of their alleged experiencers - unless the names were already in the previous book on the events by Gray Barker.

Mothman (LEFT), drawing by Maddie, young 16 years old artist, who wasn't born yet in 1966 and isn't from the area, who never saw the Mothman. The same drawing is found elsewhere as a drawing made by witnesses...

Schemes, frauds, competitions, and dilettante rivalry:

Things become even more dubious when John Keel comes to his personal accounts of mysterious crossed phonelines, odd phone calls, people who "know too much" about him. It has been quite some time since other ufologists leaned on the matter and discovered the disturbing part of the "paranormal" inventions of his arch friend and arch enemy all the same, Gray Barker, the inventor of the men in black mythology, the first to have written already exaggerated accounts on the Pleasant Point events in a published book. Barker is known for his lack of scruples in adding purely invented mysteries to already doubtful accounts. Keel himself suggests this type explanation all along his book, the only problem is that parts of his readers and certain ufologists do not care for this when they want to demonstrate that there are no extraterrestrial on board flying saucers.

Writer John C. Sherwood, who did not bother too much at the time when Barker changed one of his science fiction stories on "interdimensional" flying saucers so that it appears as fact in Gray Barker's magazine "Saucer News." Barker told Sherwood how truth is unimportant to him, that a good fiction used as fact makes a good entertaining saucer case. In a late article entitled "Gray Barker: my friend the myths-maker" in 1998, Sherwood says:

"An interim letter, recounting his work on a book about the West Virginia "Mothman" sightings, reflects Gray's attitude about publishing fiction as nonfiction: "About half of it is a recounting of actual sightings and events in the Ohio Valley circa 1966... I think that the `true accounts' are told in an exciting way, but I have deliberately stuck in fictional chapters based roughly on cases I had heard about." Evidently, Gray had few qualms about publishing as fact fictional material deliberately contrived for release under the Saucerian Press label and for Saucer News."

That, is the true nature of these so-called "disturbing facts which saucer-crazed ufologists refuse to take into account," with good reason indeed: they are sensationalized accounts of 1966 Ohio UFO reports, improved and enhanced towards the more fantastic... and this is the stuff that the promoters of the "ultraterrestrials" and "unfathomable non-ET intelligence which creates physical illusions of extraterrestrials" will not tell you, maybe because they do not know how dubious these stories are, since they do not check their casebook.

They will never tell you the deeds of Coon, Moseley (repented saucerist and converted debunker since), Barker (resident of Virginia, as a matter of fact), Keel and others, playing games against each other, sending false letters to contactees, shooting faked UFO footage, and voicing men-in-black impressions on the phone, all this for the sake of entertainment since flying saucers can only be fun, nothing serious, or an opportunity for money and fame, all things bear no relation to fortean research, in the sense that Charles Fort meant it.

Read Keel again, here in praise of Barker's "investigations:"

"The diehard fanatics who dominated sauceriana during the early years were a humorless lot and Gray's mischievous wit baffled and enraged them. At times it baffled me, too. This towering bear of a man was very hard to 'read.' But his investigations were always thorough and uncompromising."


With Barker and later Keel, Mothman turns into something really fantastic. Some of the testimonies also give this impression. But why should we be unaware of the opinions of local people? These opinions were delivered in the local newspapers of that time.

According to eyewitness accounts reported by Barker and Keel, Mothman was 7 feet tall when standing. It had wings spanning 10 feet across. Some accounts mention feathers, other more bat-like wings. The recurring feature is big red glowing eyes in the dark. Some eyewitnesses were unable to recall seeing a head and that the eyes were in the shoulders. No other detail was reported, such as feet, claws, nose teeth. No wonder; the mothman was reported either at night or up the air.

Some witnesses said mothman could fly without flapping its wings, and could match the speed of an automobile trying to flee at 100 miles an hour. They say the creature rose from the ground without flapping its wings. Other witnesses said to Keel: "It was definitely a bird." (Keel 1975, 56).

It should be noted that these ufologists which are claimed to be saucermaniacs such those of NICAP were not unaware at all on the issue of confusions between alleged extraterrestrial beings and ordinary animals such as birds, back then.

It should be noted that CSICOP, the well-known association which claims "to denounce the assertions of the paranormal " provided decades after the events an ad-hoc explanation. To CSICOP people, the mothman was an owl of the Tyto Alba genre, the white barn owl. This shows CSICOPians did not investigate too much on the case, otherwise they would have heard about the sandhill crane. Tyto Alba is in fact only 36 cm maximum, and white than grey, as its name indicates it. An owl does not account for the large glowing red eyes, its call is quite familiar and cannot match the cry of the "thing," contrarily to the eerie call of the sandhill crane. Tito Alba also does not that fly fast. Instead of capitalizing on a so-called incapacity of the witnesses to recognize things for what they are, CSICOP people should rather have made the very simple effort to check the local press and they would have found there that one week after ten nocturnal observations, which are logically not easily interpretable, witnesses noted that the thing was a large bird, and local fauna specialists came out with a much better candidate than the owl.

Ultraterrestrials on the phone:

Check again John Keel, in connection with a mysterious phone call:

"At 1 A.M. on the morning of Friday, July 14, 1967, I received a call from a man who identified himself as Gray Barker from West Virginia. The voice sounded exactly like Gray's softly accented mellifluous own, but he addressed me as if I were a total stranger and carefully called me "Mr. Keel." ... He had just heard about a case which he thought I should look into. It was, he said, similar to the Derenstein case. Gray and I had visited Woodrow Derenberger together so I knew this was not the kind of mistake he would make."

Enjoy the reasoning, "it was the voice and the tone of Gray, but it was not him because it showed that it knew what we had done together, and if it were him it would not have shown that it knew what we had done together. "

But, in interview with Jim Keith, Keel admitted that Barker was behind some of Pint Pleasant hijinks: "He did a lot of the phone nonsense, and I tracked him down one it," he said.

Barker and Keel's men-in-black at Point Pleasant:

    "They can induce a girl to embroider a tapestry, or initiate a political movement to culminate in a world-war; all in pursuit of some plan wholly beyond the purview or the comprehension of the deepest and subtlest thinkers...But are They men, in the usual sense of the word? They may be incarnate or discarnate: it is a matter of Their convenience..."

    -- Aleister Crowley, mage

Admittedly, desincarnated or material beings, sometimes with the luminous eyes, sometimes of Asian type, sometimes stuttering and sometimes speaking like machines, controlling our world without any limitation, were they named Aiwass or Jack Brown V.A.L.I.S, winged or wingless... that can explain everything explain, and certainly, such beings were called upon from time immemorial to explain... just about everything. But the first real question, as far as I am concerned, is not whether they are human "the devil" or "extraterrestrial beings" or "ultraterrestrials," but "are they anything else than fictional?"

    "Al K. Bender, a UFO researcher, had been the first known victim ...he performed a certain experiment and the lurking horror came. It began with glowing blue lights. Then came the stranger with the luminous eyes in the darkened theatre, and later on a dusky street. It culminated when the Men in Black, three of them, paid him a visit..."
    -- Gray Barker, "The Silver Bridge"

Just remember or learn that when Bender told "the secret" on the occupants of the saucers, which these men-in-black urged him to tell, he explained that they were a race resembling intelligent polar bears... Some will see there that "this nonsense is the proof that these people on board the saucers are not from another planet, but I more simply see the strong indication in there that such nonsense is only ... nonsense.

At one point, two short men wearing black overcoats called on Hyre at the newspaper office. According to Hyre, they looked almost like twins and dark complexions and "Oriental" features. One of them inquired about the rash of flying saucer reports and then blurted, "What would you do if someone did order you to stop writing about flying saucers?" Later that same day, another small Asian-looking man in black visited her office. He had abnormally long fingers and an unfamiliar accent. He introduced himself as "Jack Brown," a UFO researcher, and then stuttered, "What -- would -- what would you do -- if someone ordered -- ordered you to stop? To stop printing UFO stories" He denied knowing the other two men, but claimed to be a friend of Gray Barker's.

Apparently, it was the same Jack Brown who visited several other Point Pleasant residents that day, including a woman who had seen the Mothman. Again he mentioned Gray Barker, and added that he also was a friend of Mary Hyre and John Keel. He fumbled with a large reel-to-reel tape recorder that he apparently did not know how to operate. After observing a spherical UFO with four landing gear and bottom-mounted propeller, Tad Jones reported the incident to the police. The next morning, someone had slipped a note, hand-printed in block letters, under his door. It read, "We know what you have seen and we know that you have talked. You'd better keep your mouth shut. Several days later a second note arrived via the same means. It was printed on a piece of cardboard that had been singed around the edges, and read: "...there want [sic] be another warning."

And it is with material of that stuff that we are supposed to seriously agree to Keel statements such as "the general descriptions of the vampires themselves are identical to the 'men in black.'"


Woodrow Derenberger, contacted by a male spaceman called Ingrid Cold, said he continued to contact him telepathically and in person. Cold came from the planet Lanulos "in the galaxy of Ganymede." Derenberger became a bit of a local celebrity, and his story fleshed itself out as time went on, he claimed to have become pregnant through intercourse with Ingrid Cold, and left to Brazil announcing that he was going on exile on planet Lanulos... Another contactee surfaced, with same claims than Derenberger. Keel does not see in that any reason to doubt the whole contactee stuff, but evidence that it is all true: after all, when two people make the same claims, it must be true, isn't it?

A commenter wrote:

"Digested by culture, the events in Pleasant Point as they are reported by John Keel nevertheless remain very odd! Is it simply of the enthusiasm and the imagination of its storyteller? Personally, I do not believe so: something abnormal must have happened at the time, but something whose real origin was probably lost forever to leave the place to the myth of the mothman, elaborated and deteriorated by the saucerian context in which its author placed it."

The comment could not be more wrong, it not correspond at all to John Keel's idea: he did in no way put the "Mothman" in a saucerian context; ont he contrary he put the saucers in a mothmanian context. He made every effort in its course to withdraw every oddities from any extraterrestrial context: it was never Keel's intention to claim that Mothman was extraterrestrial; on the contrary, he intended to deny anything extraterrestrial in saucers and monsters for the benefit of the notion of an origin described in his words in introduction and which he names "ultraterrestrial."

Admittedly, Keel says he gathered innumerable UFO sighting reports, and claims to have seen UFOs himself. Admittedly, some of its texts and initial articles can seem those of a serious and fastidious investigator. But that holds only if one wants to be unaware of all that appeared with the passing of years on the type of "investigations," the original dubious source for stories he presents as proven facts. That holds only if one persists in ignoring of that the stories have only one voucher for authenticity, namely Keel, John; that others who cross-checked the stories did establish the freedom he took with facts, the effects of the schemes of Moseley and Barker on Keel. That holds only if one does not want to read... The Mothman Prophecies, Keel's own book, which reveals well quickly, after few "first hands witness accounts" actually labeled Gray Barker, the long and endless descent of the author into the paranoia of the "mysterious phone calls," his ramblings among contactees, the false phrophecies and so on.

That is to call "investigation" what really are "stories." People of Point Pleasant saw UFOS. Sure. Dates? Time? Duration? Direction of the winds? Planes flight plans? Advertising balloons flight plans? Independent confirmations? Angular sizes? Position of Venus in the sky? Nothing of the sort is taken into consideration. Using ufology as I want it to be, one may say: "high strangeness, null reliability," and pass on all that to care for cases of the "high strangeness, high reliability" class, win which, as a matter of fact, there are no meetings with the devil neither men in black neither giant birds with red glowing eyes nor unrealized prophecies.

That is also to be unaware of the warnings that Keel himself provides on the occasion, when he says he has become too involved to keep a necessary objectivity.

As for the rest, I can admit that one wants to believe that something out of the ordinary occurred there, despite the lack of evidence, but that is because all there was drowned in a wild pile of jokes, mythomania, total ignoring of any serious and factual approach of the things, inventions, hoaxes, paranoia and rivalry/friendship between Barker, Keel, Moseley that we will undoubtedly never know anything reliable on this subject. It is not in any way the fault of the real investigators UFO phenomenon, "saucerists" such as Ruppelt, McDonald, Hynek, Keyhoe, Hall and others cannot decently be blamed for Keel's chaoctic and undeterminable fantastic.

These latter people, if there had been something really odd at Point Pleasant, would have sought out the explanation quite differently than by blaming it all on unfalsifiable ultraterrestials, and if there had been commonplace explanations, they would have probably found it. John Keel preferred to make his way there on his own, however.


We then have the alleged "prophecies." Everyone is familiar with the notion that "Mothman" is supposed to have predicted the collapse of Silver Bridge. That is not correct. Actually, it was contactees friends of Barker and Keel, supposed "channellers," who made these predictions; and they appeared primarily distort. Those predictions of air crash Keel says came from an Asian looking character in a of gray dress, seated at the back of a black Cadillac limo and named Apol, which are said to have been succesfull predictions only have Keel's word to support them.

Moreover, there no was prediction of the collapse of Silver Bridge for the 15th. The prediction was that there would be a total power blackout in the entire United States at this day, which quite simply did not occur. Another prediction related to the assassination of the Pope, which was to be followed by "days of darkness and desolation," this did not happen either. Another prediction was that of the appearance of the Antichrist in Israel... Keel was to comment on all these failed prophecies that the "ultraterrestrial intelligence" is misleading "because" its goal is to mislead us. In this turn of things, what I am saying is of course not that John Keel is an investigator who faked his investigation; this all business has nothing to do with investigations. There are contactee predictions which proved to fail all the time, and a very disturbed John Keel who not sees in these failures the trademark of pure and simple inventions, but the perversity of his favorite "ultraterrestrial"an intelligence. Like it or not, it is my opinion that Keel was able to mislead himself without any help of the supernatural.

Let's not ignore the extent of the so called "prophecies" entrusted to Keel and Barker in 1967, which include: "hundreds of contactees will be the victims of the greatest manipulation of all times", "a general poisoning with fluorine will occur," "in 1968, only one oot of ten new born child will be a boy and it will be so for two generations," "an unprecedented genocide," and so on.

These are the ideas which inspired a class of speculators in believing that "UFOs are absurd; they are thus lures, we are being manipulated."

See a source of a mention often made by Jacques Vallée as of reality being a sort of "computer program," in this extract of a letter from Keel to Barker, in which he explains how he protected himself from the malevolent influence of the men in black on his brain:

"These methods, by which so far both myself and JWM [James Moseley] have not been really "bothered," have something to do with our behavior over the past few months. ... This "method" has something to do with upsetting the modis operandi [sic] of a "program," whether it be on a computer or whatever.... I was convinced that you would be the next victim of a "shush-up."

Paranoia, rivalry, hoaxes, mystification and confusion, that is the type of things that some ufologists reject, these are not "facts which disturb saucerists because they go against an extraterrestrial origin for the UFOs."

UFOs, Mothman, and Me


by John Keel

September 2007
In November 1966 four young people in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, reported a chilling encounter with a seven-foot-tall monster with glowing red eyes and a ten-foot wingspan. The press labeled it Mothman, and during the next year more than 100 West Virginians would see it. If it had been just another ten-foot-tall hairy monster I would have ignored the report. After all, Bigfoot sightings were superabundant. But the West Virginia critter had wings, could take off straight up like a helicopter, and was fond of pursuing automobiles at 90 miles an hour. In short, he was my kind of weirdie.

I found Point Pleasant was a quiet little town of 6,300 people, dozens of churches and no public bars. The Mothman sightings had taken place in a desolate World War II ammunition dump on the edge of town. More intriguing, there had been countless UFO sightings up and down the Ohio River all year. Eerie diamond-brilliant lights passed over Point Pleasant every night at 8:30 on a regular schedule. I decided to do something that the Air Force and the loud-mouthed UFO buffs had never thought of doing. I decided to investigate the situation instead of just holding conversations with the witnesses.

Within a few days a much bigger picture began to evolve. The region was not only haunted by strange aerial lights, the homes of the witnesses were plagued with poltergeists and other supernatural phenomena. Television sets were burning out at an alarming rate. Telephones were going crazy, ringing at all hours of the day and night with no one on the other end. Some people were getting calls from mysterious strangers speaking a cryptic language. Black Cadillacs bearing Oriental-looking gentlemen were cruising the black hills of West Virginia.

Mothman assumed minor importance as I uncovered all these other things. I had been investigating psychic manifestations all over the world for years and I recognized the pattern here. Some UFOs were directly related to the human consciousness, just as ghostly apparitions are often the product of the percipient’s mind. There are deeply rooted psychic and psychological factors in the UFO phenomenon, and the sudden appearance of a light in the sky triggers and releases the human energy that stimulated seemingly supernatural events. We cannot define the exact nature of those lights, but we can catalog the many manifestations that accompany them and we can demonstrate how identical manifestations occur in many different frames of reference. Religious apparitions are kissin’ kin with the tall, stately Michael Rennie types that claim to come from Ganymede, Uranus, Clarion (an unknown planet on the other side of the sun) and a dozen other absurd places. The “miracle” at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 was undoubtedly the best-documented UFO sighting of all time (70,000 witnesses) and certainly the most thoroughly investigated.

Unfortunately, those interested in flying saucers had no interest at all in psychic phenemona, and vice versa. Those who were busy trying to trap a Bigfoot frowned upon all other forms of the weird and supernatural. Yet sea serpents, Abominable Snowpersons, poltergeists, frog rainfalls, and UFOs are all interrelated. You can’t possibly investigate one without some knowledge of the others. For example, the Men in Black (MIBs) so well known in UFO lore are even better known in the histories of witchcraft and black magic. These mysterious gentlemen have been reported for a thousand years. The UFO buffs decided they were CIA agents. But another group known as superbuffs thinks the whole world is run by a secret league of wealthy men and that the MIBs are their minions. In the Far East, where belief in a “king of the world” still rides high, people think the MIBs are agents from the secret underground cities of the king. In West Virginia the MIBs passed themselves off as everything from Bible salesmen to census takers.

When I returned to New York City from that first trip to West Virginia my own telephone went beserk. At first I only had problems when I was speaking to Ivan Sanderson in New Jersey. He was on one of those freak pseudo-independent phone company lines and it was common to be drowned out by static, or have the call suddenly cut off. Ivan solved the problem by shouting obscenities into the phone. Strangely, it worked. It was not uncommon to be having a conversation with this dignified Briton when clicks and other noises would cause him to pause and then bellow, “Get off this line, you god******* son of a b****!” The line noises would cease abruptly.

My problems soon escalated. Someone would interrupt my conversations with a sound like a one-stringed guitar. The sound of an extension being picked up could be clearly heard. The telephone company ignored my complaints, naturally, until I wrote directly to the president of the company. Then fur flew. They checked out my line and happily reported that I did not have one tap on my wire—I had two! ......

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