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The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel.

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Title: The Mothman Prophecies.
Author: Dr. Hannah Fry.
Genre: Non-fiction, journalism, UFO's, paranormal.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1975.
Summary: West Virginia, 1966. For thirteen months the town of Point Pleasant is gripped by a real-life nightmare that culminates in a tragedy that makes headlines around the world. Strange occurrences and sightings, including a bizarre winged apparition that becomes know as the Mothman, trouble this ordinary American community, as well as an enormous amount of UFO sightings in the area. Mysterious lights are seen moving across the sky. Domestic animals are found slaughtered and mutilated. And journalist John Keel, arriving to investigate the freakish events, soon finds himself an integral part of an eerie and unfathomable mystery, presenting his experience and observations during that time, as well as his overall views on UFOs, their origins, and their meaning.

My rating: 6/10
My review:


♥ Those of us who somewhat sheepishly spend our time chasing dinosaurs, sea serpents, and little green men in space suits are painfully aware that things often are not what they seem; that sincere eyewitnesses can—and do—grossly misinterpret what they have seen; that many extraordinary events can have disappointingly mundane explanations. For every report I have published in my articles and books, I have shelved maybe fifty others because they had a possible explanation, or because I detected problematic details in the witness's story, which cast doubt on the validity of a paranormal explanation. On the other hand, I have come across many events which seemed perfectly normal in one context but which were actually most unusual when compared with similar events. That is, some apparent coincidences cease to be coincidental when you realize they have been repeated again and again in many parts of the world. Collect enough of these coincidences together and you have a whole tapestry of the paranormal.

♥ I am no longer particularly interested in the manifestations of the phenomenon. I am pursuing the source of the phenomenon itself. To do this, I have objectively divorced myself from all the popular frames of reference. I am not concerned with beliefs but with the cosmic mechanism which has generated and perpetuated those beliefs.

♥ And a strange procession of weird entities and frightening creatures have been with us just as long. When you review the ancient references you are obliged to conclude that the presence of these objects and beings is a normal condition for this planet. These things, these other intelligence or OINTs as Ivan Sanderson labeled them, either reside here but somehow remain concealed from us, or they do not exist at all and are actually special aberrations of the human mind—tulpas, hallucinations, psychological constructs, momentary materializations of energy from that dimension beyond the reach of our senses and even beyond the reaches of our scientific instruments. They are not from outer space. There is no need for them to be. They have always been here. Perhaps they were here long before we started bashing each other over the head with clubs. If so, they will undoubtedly still be here long after we have incinerated our cities, polluted all the waters, and rendered the very atmosphere unbreathable. Of course, their lives—if they have lives in the usual sense—will be much duller after we have gone. But if they wait around long enough another form of so-called intelligent life will crawl out from under a rock and they can begin their games again.

♥ Back in the 1920s, Charles Fort, the first writer to explore inexplicable events, observed you can measure a circle by beginning anywhere. Paranormal phenomena are so widespread, so diversified, and so sporadic yet so persistent that separating and studying any single element is not only a waste of time but also will automatically lead to the development of belief. Once you have established a belief, the phenomenon adjusts its manifestations to to support that belief and thereby escalate it. If you believe in the devil he will surely come striding down your road one rainy night and as to use your phone. If you believe that flying saucers are astronauts from another planet they will begin landing and collecting rocks from your garden.

♥ "Dr. Isaac Asimov, dean of science writers, commented: 'I am told, though, that so many people have seen objects that looked like spaceships that "there must be something in it." ...Maybe there is, but think of all the people in the history of the world who have seen ghosts and spirits and angels. It's not what you see that is suspect, but how you interpret what you see."

♥ My long and very expensive excursions into the borderland where the real and unreal merge have failed to produce any evidence of any kind to support the idea that we are entertaining shy strangers from some other galaxy. Rather, I have come to realize that we have been observing complex forces which have always been an essential part of our immediate environment. Instead of thinking in terms of extraterrestrials, I have adopted the concept of ultraterrestrials—beings and forces which coexist with us but are on another time frame; that is, they operate outside the limits of our space-time continuum yet have the ability to cross over into our reality. This other world is not a place, however, as Mars or Andromeda are places, but is a state of energy.

♥ The flying saucer/extraterrestrial visitants are not real in the sense that a 747 airliner is real. They are transmogrifications of energy under the control of some unknown extradimensional intelligence. This intelligence controls important events by manipulating specific human beings through the phenomenon of mystical illumination. Our religions are based upon our longtime awareness of this intelligence and our struggle to reduce it to humanly acceptable terms.

The ancient Ethiopians viewed their gods as black, snub-nosed entities. The Greeks and Romans populated their mountaintops with longhaired, handsome gods and goddesses. The Indians of South America worshiped bearded gods who traveled the night skies in luminous discs of light, as did the ancient Egyptians. But religious views were modified in the nineteenth century with the coming of the Industrial Age. The lights were still there but a new frame of reference was needed to cover their activities.

Somebody somewhere does not want us to understand the true nature of this phenomenon and its true purpose. For years the UFO enthusiasts believed in the U.S. Air Force was the culprit and that government agents were tapping the phones of teen-agers and little old ladies, tampering with their mail, and following them around in black Cadillacs. I wish the answer was that simple.

We have been victimized by this phenomenon, not just since 1947 but since ever! It is the foundation of all our religious and occult beliefs, of our philosophies, and our cultures. The ancient Chinese marked out the routes of the lights in the sky (LITS) and called them "dragon tracks" because, apparently, fearsome dragons appeared along with the mysterious lights. In a later age, these became fairy lights and were associated with the little people whoa actually plagued whole generations not only in Europe but also in North America... for the American Indians were telling stories about the little people long before the Europeans arrived here.

During the witchcraft craze of a few hundred years ago, people really thought they saw witches flying through the air... with lanterns hanging from the front of their brooms. The vampire legends of middle Europe are almost identical to the modern UFO lore. As late as the nineteenth century the devil existed as a physical personage to many people.

If you saw a strange light in the sky in 1475 you knew it had to be a witch on a broom because you had heard of others who had seen witches on brooms skirting the treetops. Now in 1975 you might decide it is attached to a spacecraft from some other planet. This conclusion is not a qualified deduction on your part. It is the result of tears of propaganda and even brainwashing. If you are under thirty, you grew up on a diet of comic books, motion pictures, and television programs which educated you to believe in the extraterrestrial hypothesis. A small knot of nits has talked to your year after year on interview programs, telling you how the sinister air force has been keeping the truth about flying saucers from the public; that truth being that UFOs are the product of a superior intelligence with an advanced technology, and that the flying saucers have come to save us from ourselves. The gods of ancient Greece are among us again, in a new guise but still handing out the old line. Believe.

Belief is the enemy.

The people of the Middle Ages were as convinced of the reality of the little people and their underground palaces as you might be of an extraterrestrial civilization with gleaming cities of glass on some far-off planet. One hundred years from now the phenomenon may be playing some new game with us. The whole interplanetary bag may be forgotten. But those lights—and that damnable procession of strange critters and nine-foot humanoids—will still be marching in our midst. Isolated individuals on lonely back roads will still be getting caught in sudden beams of energy from the sky, then shuck their families, quit their jobs, and rocket into notoriety or plunge into the hell of insanity and bankruptcy.

♥ The Indians must have known something about West Virginia. They avoided it. Before the Europeans arrived with their glass beads, firewater, and gunpowder, the Indian nations had spread out and divided up the North American continent. Modern anthropologists have worked out maps of the Indian occupancy of pre-Columbian America according to the languages spoken. The Shawnee and Cherokee occupied the areas to the south and southwest. The Monacan settled to the east, and the Erie and Conestoga claimed the areas north of West Virginia. Even the inhospitable deserts of the Far West were divided and occupied. There is only one spot on the map labeled "Uninhabited": West Virginia.

Why? The West Virginia areas is fertile, heavily wooded, rich in game. Why did the Indians avoid it? Was it filled with hairy monsters and frightful apparitions way back when?

Across the river in Ohio, industrious Indians—or someone—built the great mounds and left us a rich heritage of Indian culture and lore. The absence of an Indian tradition in West Virginia is troublesome for the researcher. It creates an uncomfortable vacuum. There are strange ancient ruins in the state, circular stone monuments which prove that someone had settled the region once. Since the Indians didn't build such monuments, and since we don't even have any lore to fall back on, we have only mystery.

♥ People were traveling for hundreds of miles to sit in the cold TNT area all night, hoping to glimpse the creature. Those who were unlucky enough to see it vowed they never wanted to see it again. It evoked unspeakable terrors. Like flying saucers, it delighted in chasing cars... a very unbirdlike habit, and it seemed to have a penchant for scaring females who were menstruating, another UFO/hairy monster peculiarity.

♥ The actinic ray burns were proof of his story. And I knew that UFOs often zero in on lovers in parked cars. Many—most—of the monster episodes in my files took place in remote lovers' lanes. Young love has to run enough hazards without the fear of a hairy weirdo hammering on the windshield.

♥ But I often found myself seriously wondering if we only hear about the people who get away!

♥ An unusual number of sightings and Fortean* events seem to be concentrated around schools and the largest percentage of witnesses consists of children between the ages of seven and eighteen. Another statistical oddity is that the majority of the adults who claim their autos were pursued by UFOs or monsters are schoolteachers, especially teachers specializing in abnormal children—the very bright or the mentally deficient. This is why I was so interested in the West Virginia "census takers" who were mainly concerned with the numbers and ages of the children living in the Ohio valley.

*A Fortean even is any event which does not have a rational scientific explanation. The word was coined after Charles Fort. There is even an International Fortean Organization (INFO); Box 367; Arlington, Virginia.

♥ It is interesting that the same terms would turn up at séances an ocean apart.

Even more interesting is the fact that the messages received by psychics everywhere bear remarkable similarities in content, even in phrasing. I have researched obscure contactee-type books written two and three hundred years ago and have found the same identical messages and phraseology were prevalent then. Since much of this literature is very obscure and hard to find, and since many of our psychics and contactees are poorly read, it is doubtful if this is a question of fakers repeating the earlier material. Rather, it seems as if there is a phonograph in the sky endlessly repeating the same material generation after generation as if there were a crack in the record.

Author Brad Steiger interviewed scores of psychics, prophets, and contactees for his study of this phenomenon, Revelation: The Divine Fire. He found that people claiming to be in communication with God, angels, spirits of the dead, and spacemen from other planets were all receiving essentially the same information. All spoke of an impending disaster, just as Zandark warned, "The time for your planet is crucial." But the prophets and seers of the last century were getting the same spiel.

..When the world was sparsely populated and the signals from the superspectrum were not smothered in so much static from the lower spectrum, men learned to place great faith in these entities and their prophecies. Priests, scholars, and magicians achieved a marvelous understanding of the cosmos and the cosmic forces through astrology, alchemy, and the magical manipulation of matter. But as man followed the angelic dictate, "Multiply and replenish the earth," our planet began to suffer from psychic pollution. The record in that great phonograph in the sky cracked and suck in a single groove... single groove... single groove... single...

♥ The psychedelic lights and flickering strobes so popular with the youth culture in the 1960s actually served to induce trances and produce quasi-religious experiences, particularly when coupled with the mind-numbing beat of hard rock music and hallucinogenic drugs. The euphoria of the big rock festivals was a direct product of this phenomenon. Young people voluntarily, and enthusiastically, submitted themselves to a brainwashing process... reprograming themselves, or being reprogramed by an outside force which, as the violence and social upsets of the period demonstrate, was not always benevolent.

♥ In religious circles the phenomenon is called "illumination."

In it purest form, illumination is not a religious experience. For a few brief moments the percipient understands, truly understands, the workings of the entire universe. He perceives all of history, past, present, and future, totally. He feels he is a part of the superspectrum and is one with the cosmos. Unfortunately, when the brief experience is over he cannot remember most of it because it has been added to his subconscious, and he cannot articulate those parts he can remember. But he has been reprogramed, even prepared for a new role in life. To some the experience is "the call" that propels them into the clergy.

♥ Although they are largely a harmless, humorless lot, a few of the ego-tripping characters in ufology are not above creating a few hoaxes of their own, placing prank calls, and, of course, circulating the idiotic rumors. Ivan Sanderson referred to them as "neurots," short for neurotics. Dr. Edward Condon of Colorado University labeled them "obstructionist." On several occasions I did find that some of these card-carrying ufologists had warned witnesses to report only to them. Members of competing correspondence clubs often engaged in open battles, trying to reach witnesses first and accusing each other of all kinds of misdeeds. Donal E. Keyhole, head of the Washington-based NICAP, had spent years building and publicizing his case against the air force. The only tangible result of his campaign was the quality of the people attracted to ufology, and to his ideas. Paranoid-schizophrenics and obsessive-compulsive personalities dominated the field.

♥ The air force and CIA did not have to try to disrupt the ufological movement. It is by its very nature a self-disrupting network of disoriented people.

♥ The messages include references to reincarnation, politics, and religion, but not within the loftier intellectual framework of some alien "superior culture." Instead of telling us things we do not know, they tell us the things we want to hear and believe. Our own fear of nuclear annihilation was epidemic in the 1950s and early 1960s. So many of the UFO messages of that period were stern warnings about our misuse of atomic energy. As our own paranoia subsided, so did these threats from outer space.

♥ "The U.S. government is being taken over by the space people!"

This rumor spread throughout the country in 1967, an updated version of the old devil theory. Actually it got its start in 1949 when James V. Forrestal, the brilliant secretary of defense in the Truman cabinet, went bananas and raced through the corridors of the Pentagon screaming, "We're being invaded and we can't stop them!" He was convinced that his phones were being tapped and some enormous conspiracy was underway. Soon after he was placed in a hospital he leaped out a window to his death. While the press blamed his paranoia on the tensions of the cold war, the UFO enthusiasts knew better. Air force Intelligence had compiled a Top Secret Estimate of the Situation following their UFO investigations in 1947-48. Their conclusion, according to the late Capt. Edward Ruppelt, was that flying saucers were extraterrestrial. Forrestal, so the story wet, was one of the few to read that report before Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg ordered all copies destroyed, and it blew his mind.

Two other top military men, Gen. George C. Marshall and Gen. Douglas MacArthur were obsessed with the flying saucer phenomenon. MacArthur made several public statements declaring that the next war would be fought against "evil beings from outer space." A fabled "think tank," the Rand Corporation, was assigned to feed UFO data into a computer and fight an imaginary war with those evil beings. Since we wouldn't know where they were from, what their technology was, or how to attack their bases, the computer advised us to surrender.

♥ Early in the Age of the Flying Saucers (1947-69), air force and CIA agents undoubtedly came across MIB cases similar to the ones outlined here and, being human, some of those early investigators leapfrogged to UFO cultistlike conclusions. Paranoia gripped the upper echelons of government. Millions of tax dollars were sunk into UFO research. (In 1952, Captain Ruppelt said the air force was spending one million dollars a year on the subject. Gen. Nathan Twining declared "the best brains" in science and the military were trying to solve the mystery.) Cold war hysteria added to the atmosphere of fear and loathing. A 1953 CIA document, kept classified for over twenty years, noted that the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) "should be watched" as a potential propaganda menace. APRO had been founded the year before by a Wisconsin housewife and circulated a mimeographed UFO newsletter to a few dozen scattered buffs. Apparently more thousands of tax dollars were expended in "watching" APRO's Coral Lorenzen over the years, according to evidence she published in a series of paperback books in the 1960s. The only propaganda she ever distributed was anti-air force, and she never sold any of our flying saucer secrets to the Soviet Union.

Military men—and the UFO enthusiasts—had no knowledge of or interest in psychic phenomena. Their materialistic, pseudo-scientific approach to the sightings and attended manifestations merely increased the lore and intensified the mystery. The age-old changeling concept, for example, must have caused many gray hairs in official circles when it was introduced into the UFO lore. Were the space people really witching human beings? Many of the contactees and their open-mouthed followers believed this was the case. Were human beings dragged aboard spaceships and examined like cattle? The contactees' tales indicated this and their stories gave impetus to the expanded devil theory; that government officials were being kidnapped and replaced by lever androids obeying the dictates of the sinister leaders of some other planet. Idiocy was piled upon idiocy over the past twenty-eight years. The paranoia once isolated to the very small lunatic fringe grew until it swallowed up a large part of the world's population.

♥ If you review the history of political assassinations you will find that many were performed by so-called religious fanatics who were obeying the "voice of God" or were in an obvious state of possession when they committed their crime. Even the ten co-conspirators in the assassination of President Lincoln were in this category. And the soldier who shot and killed John Wilkes Booth against the orders of his superiors claimed he pulled the trigger because a voice told him to do so.

The madness that grips crowds ad produces violent riots, some of which have changed history, seems little different from the madness that produced the widespread dancing mania of the Middle Ages when thousands of people danced in the streets until they dropped dead from exhaustion. The mania spread from Italy to Turkey. Survivors claimed they believed they were knee-deep in blood and were prancing to get out of it. This was a collective or mass hallucination. Even today there are annual incidents in which whole towns are seized by hallucinations, usually in obscure parts of South America and Asia. Such events are traditionally explained as being caused by tainted bread despite the fact that people who have not eaten the local bread are also affected.

In contactee parlance, persons who perform involuntary acts are said to be "used." Apparently a relatively small part of the population have auras or bioloigical radiations which attract elements of the superspectrum. Such people are prone to controlled hallucinations and possession. Since the entities probably exist as energy in a field outside our spacetime continuum they can only see, and be seen, by these special people. (In innumerable UFO reports the ufonauts apparently could not see the witnesses.)

♥ In short, all physical evidence and manifestations are produced by human beings. They dig holes in fields, rifle mailboxes, and who knows what else.

These games have been going on ever since.

♥ This letter, and others like them, helped to convince me that my own investigations could be manipulated. I was being led to people and cases to support whatever theory I was working on at the time. I tested this by inventing some rather outlandish ideas. Within days I would receive phone calls, reports, and mail describing elements of those ideas. This was the feedback or reflective effect. Other investigators concerned with solving problems such as how flying saucers are propelled have automatically been fed, or led into, cases in which the witnesses supposedly viewed the interiors of the objects and saw things which confirmed the investigators' theories.

If the phenomenon can produce any effect through hallucination, it can easily support any theory. It took me a long time to realize that many of my Men in Black reports were just feedback.

♥ Important letters of a non-UFO nature went astray... or arrived days late and had obviously been opened by someone en route. My telephone rang at all hours of the day and nigh with beeping calls, eerier electronic sounds and, most interesting of all, frantic calls from people who were superb actors and who described UFO incidents containing those secret details in cases I was working on, but when I tried to check out these people I found the addresses they had given me were nonexistent and the phone numbers they have were false.

Someone somewhere was just tying to prove that they knew every move I was making, listened to all my phone calls, and could even control my mail! And they were succeeding.

♥ These calls were part of a broader nationwide pattern which has successfully disrupted, even destroyed, many local UFO groups. The receiver heard the name of a fellow UFO enthusiast and regarded it as proof that the other person was responsible for all the hoax calls he or she was receiving. The very same ploy was used against the civilians quietly investigating the Kennedy assassination! Penn Jones, a Texas newspaper editor who has been investigating the death of JFK for years, received similar calls, including the playing of a tape of his phone conversations with other investigators... proof positive that his phone was being tapped by someone and they wanted him to know it. This playback of taped conversations also happened on my phone. The object of such gimmicks is clearly to incite paranoia. Since many of the UFO enthusiasts are very unstable to begin with, the divide has been very effective.

♥ Out there in the night those puzzling spheres of light still ply their ancient routes in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. A new geneearion of young people stand on the hilltops, expectantly scanning the skies. Their elders, jaded by nearly thirty years of signs and wonders, no longer scoff. Believers in extraterrestrial visitants and saviors from outer space are now welcomed on the most respectable television shows to broadcast their propaganda for that imaginary world with its superior technology and its marvelosly stupid representatives who adopt the names of ancient gods and moan they are prisoners of time.

People ask me still if I know what the future holds. But, just as I used Socratic irony in my investigations, I can only admit like Socrates that the more I learn the less I know. My glimpses of the future were all secondhand and were frequently garbled by accident or design.

All of the generations before ours were infested with false prophets, workers of wonders, and signs in the sky. In a sense, each generation is truly the Last Generation from their microscopic viewpoint. Not our modern electronic Communications and sophisticated press gentry have given present-day prophets tools the ancients lacked. Ideas, no matter how bizarre of fallacious, can span the world in a flash. And there are always people ready to rally to any banner, no matter how absurd. In recent years we have seen a worldwide revival of interest in psychic phenomena and the supernatural. Stern no-nonsense scientists now drag their beards to Loch Ness to search for the monster while others comb the woods of the Northwest seeking the Sasquatch, and still others soberly discuss robots from outer space with Mississippi fishermen. But gradually all these men are being drawn closer an closer to ontology; to an examination of the question that lies beyond the simplistic, "Can these things be?" The real question is, "Why are there these things?"

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

♥ We had begun the 1900s with an unlimited number of beliefs about ourselves and out universe. The world seemed to be a bright and wonderful place. Famed astronomers assured us that Mars was also bustling with life along beautifully engineered canals. Automobiles and flying machines were being perfected. The 20th century was going to be terrific. But, by the end, we were embittered cynics, exhausted by wars and suspicious of mysteries and those who promoted them. The century had become a bloody scam.

For one hundred years, no matter where you lived on this ball pf nitrogen, oxygen and cosmic spit, someone within two hundred miles of your home had personally seen a monster with big red eyes and, often, a penetrating stench. They were everywhere, along with the maddened dictators, publicity hungry generals and warlords, and wild-eyed scientists who kept mumbling incomprehensible formulae for manipulating things we could not see. Everyone was clearly nuts and very few of us were left alone to stumble through the forests, swamps and deserts, grimly determined to prove somehow that sanity would ultimately triumph.

We failed. Technology took over and our machines were nuttier than all of us. Our millionaires, who were multiplying like cockroaches, filtered their loot through TV networks, liquor companies, computer whizzes and assorted military contractors to try to capture dinosaurs in the Belgian Congo, giant sea serpents in the lochs of Ireland and Scotland, and tall, hairy humanoids in the Pacific Northwest, China, and Russia, along with kangaroos in the midwest and ghostly demons that mutilated cows and drank blood whereever they could find it. The end result was millions of bucks down the toilet while hundreds of bad movies and even worse TV shows were churned out, along with gigantic stacks of bad books that are still used to prop up tables in poorer communities.

♥ ..and in my dotage I am very aware that our entire planet is occupied by things we see only by accident.

♥ UFOmania is no different from demonomania. My forms of religious and political fanaticism are linked directly to these other manias and to paranoia and schizophrenia. We are meant to be crazy. It is an important part of the human condition. Otherwise there would be no war, no Hitlers or Napoleons, no Woodrow Derengergers (and his unfortunate psychiatrist). This planet is haunted by us; the other occupants just evade boredom byu filling our skies and seas with monsters.

~~from Afterword.
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