Documents -> Homeclick!

Cette page en françaisCliquez!


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 anecdotic 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 sight 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.

Schemes, frauds, competitions, and dilettante rivalry:

Things become even more dubious when John Keel comes to his personal accounts of mysterious crossed phone lines, 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).

Above: Mothman, sketch by Maddie, 16-year-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...

Above: Mothman, by the famous artist Frazetta, as it illustrated one of the first edition of John Keel's book "The Mothman Prophecies." Every science fiction and Fantasy fan saw this illustration, without necessarily knowing that it was the cover of John Keel's book.

Above: Mothman, in a drawing said to have been made according to witnesses' descriptions.

Above: Mothman, with added color and details, in a mysterious fog and under an eerie moon. Realised for book illustration after the above sketch.

Tis is what the local Press said back then:

Oh, That 'Bird!'
It Was Seen Again

Mason County's famous "Bird" is apparently still with us and has made its appearance in the daytime for the first time.

Tom Ury, a Clarksburg resident, told the Sheriff's office he had an experience with the "bird" this morning at 7:15 a.m. as he traveled north on State Route 62.

Ury, an assistant manager of the Kinney Store in Clarksburg, was enroute back to the northern city after spending Thanksgiving with relatives when he encountered the "bird".

"I know people think you're crazy when you tell of seeing something like this", Ury said but I've never had such an experience. I was scared."

In giving that account to the Register, the frightened young man said as he went up the road he spotted a flying object that seemed to come from the woods on his right.

After his description of the area it was determined it came from the area back of the Homer Smith residence.

"It came up like a helicopter and then veered over my car. It began going around in circles about two or three telephone poles high and kept staying over my car" he added.

While his first thought was that of fear, Ury noted "I tried to get away and was going 70 miles an hour, but it kept up with me easily."

He stated that it kept soaring over his vehicle until he got to the Kirkland Memorial Gardens, and then made its way to the left and over to the river.

Appearing still shook up, Ury said "I have a convertible and at first felt it was going to come through the top, but after it stayed in the air at about the same height, I didn't feel it would attack."

I've seen big birds, but I've never seen anything like this" he commented.

In giving a description he said it was grayish-brown color, was some six feet in length and had at least an eight to ten foot wing spread.

Ury said he saw a bill, but not usually big. He did not see red eyes that have previously been given as characteristics. Some theorized the daylight could have accounted for this.

Mr. Ury is the son of Mrs Frank Ury and the son-in-law of Mrs. Dorothy Rhodes both of Point Pleasant.

Mason Bird-Monster
Presumed Gone Now

By Ralph Turner

POINT PLEASANT - Authorities here have concluded that the so-called Mason County monster was a large bird of some kind and either has been or soon will be frightened out of the McClintic Wildlife Station area by hunters.

It was a week ago today that the first sighting was reported of a large red-eyed winged creature in the MClintic area. Since then there have been about 10 or more similar reports.

The latest report was by four teenaged youth youths who said they saw a large bird with red eyes fly away from their car at a very high rate of speed. This was 3 a.m. Sunday.

Monday was the first day of open deer hunting season in the McClintic reserve and Chief Deputy Millars Hallstead of the Mason County sheriff's office said the influx of hunters undoubtedfully would bring any large bird out in the daylight. All "monster" sightings have been at night.

Duane Presley, wildlife biologist and manager at McClintic, believes small game hunters, which have numbered about 200 a day over McClintic's 2450 acres, would have flushed any such bird out earlier.

He said he didn't think a large bird, if it did exist, would stay in the area more than a day with all the commotion and hundreds of people searching at night for it.

A West Virginia University wildlife biologist suggested last week that the "thing" is a rare Sandhill Crane. Mr. Pursley suggested that maybe the "thing", crane, or whatever the people reported seeing, wasn't as large as they thought it was during their excitement.

"We have a lot of Canadian geese stop over here during migration periods, but nothing of the size of what these people report," said Mr. Pursley.

He said the hundreds of "thing hunters" had caused a littering and vandalism problem for the wildlife station. He said the area has been littered with cups, can, bottles and paper and some signs have been damaged.

"There was so much pressure - some people came in here with guns after dark - that we were ready to close off the station area tonight (Monday) but it's eased up and that doesn't appear to be necessary."

Just what was seen in the dark of the night may never be firmly established. The Mason County monster may become a legend. Maybe a new tourist attraction has been born.

That Mothman: Would You
Believe A Sandhill Crane?

By Ralph Turner

The case of the Mason County monster may have been solved Friday by a West Virginia professor.

Dr. Robert L. Smith, associate professor of wildlife biology in WVU's division of forestry, told Mason Sheriff George Johnson at Point Pleasant he believes the "thing" which has been frightening people in the Point Pleasant area since Tuesday is a large bird which stopped off while migrating south.

"From all the description I have read about this 'thing' it perfectly matches the sandhill crane," said the professor. "I definitely believe that's what these people are seeing."

Since Tuesday more than 10 people have spotted what they described as a "birdman" or "Mothman" in the area of the McClintick Wildlife Station.

They described it as a huge gray-winged creature with large red eyes.

Dr. Smith said the sandhill crane stands an average of five feet and has gray plumage. A feature of its appearance is a bright red flesh area around each eye. It has an average wing spread of about seven feet.

"Somebody who has never seen anything like it could easily get the impression it is a flying man," he said. "Carlights would cause the bare skin to reflect as big red circles around the eyes."

While such birds are rare to this area, Dr. Smith said this is migration time and it would not be too difficult for one or more of the birds to stop off at the wildlife refuge. There are no official sightings of such birds in West Virginia, although there have been unconfirmed reports in the past, he added.

The birds are rarely seen east of the Mississippi now except in Florida. Distribution mainly is in Canada and the population is increasing in the Southern California, in Mexico and along the Gulf Coast.

According to one book, the sandhill crane is a "fit successor" to the great whooping crane which is almost extinct. The book states that the height of the male when it stands erect is nearly that of a man of average stature, while the bird's great wings carry its compact and muscular body with perfect ease at high speed.

Dr. Smith said that while the birds are powerful fliers they cannot match the 100 mph speed one couple reported the "thing" attained when pursuing their car.

Dr. Smith warned that while the sandhill crane is harmless if left alone, that if cornered it may become a formidable antagonist. Its dagger-like bill is a dangerous weapon which the crane does not hesitate to use when at bay and fighting for its life. Many a hunter's dog has been badly injured, he said.

Some of those who reported seeing the "monster" remembered best the eerie sound it made. The description of the sandhill crane also fits there.

"The cry of the sandhill crane is a veritable voice of nature, untamed and unterrified," says one book on birds. "Its uncanny quality is like that of the loon, but is more pronounced because of the much greater volume of the crane's voice. Its resonance is remarkable and its carrying power is increased by a distinct tremolo effect. Often for several minutes after the birds have vanished the unearthly sound drifts back to the listener, like a tounting trumpet from the underworld."

Meanwhile, for the fourth night in a row, an area of the wildlife station again was clogged Friday night with the curious searching for the "thing."

The latest reported sighting came Friday morning from two Point Pleasant volunteer firemen, Captain Paul Yoder and Benjamin Enochs.

"As we were going into the picnic area in the TNT area, Paul and I saw this white shadow go across the car," Mr. Enochs reported.

"This was about 1:30 a.m. Paul stopped the car and I went into the field, but couldn't see anything. I'd say this definitely was a large bird of some kind."

Meanwhile, authorities issued a warning to "monster hunters."

If the "thing" is a migratory crane they had better not shoot it. Migratory birds of all kinds are protected by federal and state wildlife laws.

Sheriff Johnson said he would arrest anybody caught with a loaded gun in the area after dark.

There were earlier reports of armed people in the area.

Sheriff Johnson also warned that the scores of person searching the abandoned powerhouse in the TNT area after dark risk possible serious injury.

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, "magick" guru

Admittedly, disincarnated 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, 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; on the 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 prophecies 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, myth mania, 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 chaotic 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 ultraterrestrials, 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 "channelers," 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 successfull 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" 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, these are 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."


Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

 Feedback  |  Top  |  Back  |  Forward  |  Map  |  List |  Home
This page was last updated on March 21, 2004.