John Keel Has Died

Author and Fortean John Keel died Friday in New York.

Not long after his signature book, The Mothman Prophecies was published, I saw on the Colorado Springs downtown library’s new-books shelf and passed it by–repeatedly–because the title sounded too weird.

From the Cryptomundo obituary:

After years of writing parts of the story in various articles and other books, in 1975, Keel published The Mothman Prophecies, an account of his 1966-1967 investigation of sightings of the Mothman, a “winged weirdie” reported in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Keel corresponded with Ivan T. Sanderson quietly for months, trying to determine what kind of bird might be involved with the sightings. It was later, as Keel more fully revealed the tale of the sightings and concurrent phenomena, that other elements came into the mix.

“Other elements” is putting it mildly. When I finally read The Mothman Prophecies, I realized that it offers a vivid depiction of the strangeness that any investigator of the paranormal encounters, the feeling that part of your body or part of your consciousness is sliding into an unfriendly parallel universe. Never mind the Mothman, read it for the psychology.