Monday, February 22, 2010

Strange Brew: The Mothman Mystery

I like nothing better than to discuss and trade theories on crypto-zoology, UFOs, and all aspects of the unexplained with other curious minds. One of my new co-workers is a sharp, eccentric, funny guy who, like yours truly, is interested in the weird and the arcane. The other day at lunch, he and I were mulling over tales of a number of strange phenomena and our discussions harkened me back to some of the better books I have read on this type of subject. There exists for me, no tastier food for thought.

One of the weirdest, most unexplainable (in ordinary terms)cases of strange sightings, is the puzzle of West Virginia's Mothman. The late paranormal investigator, John A. Keel wrote the ultimate account of the happenings, a classic documentary of weirdness, from which a major motion picture was eventually developed: The Mothman Prophecies.

This book chronicles decades of sightings of a seven foot tall, brownish-gray being with leathery, bat-like wings and blazing, red eyes, reported by average folk in and around the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. As if being terrorized by a giant, demonic bat-man wasn't enough, at around the same time, these simple, church-going, working-class people also experienced multiple UFO sightings, as well as visits from the notorious "Men-In-Black", those odd-looking, humanoid types in rumpled, ill-fitting, three-piece suits, well known to those familiar with UFO lore, who ring the doorbell after you report that you've seen something strange. Various and sundry giant birds, Sasquatch creatures and other bizarre things also popped up along the dark roads of West Virginia in those days and still do from time to time.

To my mind, the best and most thought-provoking thing about Keel's master-work, with its exhaustive research and scrupulous regard for detail, is the theory he puts forth to "explain" this unexplainable wave of weirdness that has held a community in its' grip for decades.

Rather than being distinct, separate, strange phenomena, Mr. Keel seemed to think that all this weirdness is, in fact, the same thing...or at least, it emanates from the same source. He stopped short of postulating exactly what he thinks it is, or who (or what, exactly) is behind it all, but he hinted that it may be the fault of a lapse of the veil that separates the dimensions. He suggested that we are not being visited by the denizens of far-flung galaxies, in other words; they are here among us already, and always have been, along with big-foot, wolfmen, ghosts and yes, mothmen...we just don't perceive them except under special conditions. Those conditions were surely present in the hills of West Virginia in the late nineteen sixties, and in many other places throughout our world, before and since.

Having read extensively on spirituality, metaphysics, and a bit about quantum physics, I have come to understand that our visible, material world is far from the only "reality" that there is. I find these accounts fascinating and I never tire of hearing or reading about them; one person can hallucinate, one person might be crazy, drunk or lying, but dozens of otherwise reliable, sane and honest people seeing the same something that can't possibly be real? How is that possible?

John A. Keel passed from this reality on July 3rd of last year, but he leaves a legacy of intelligent, matter-of-fact investigations into the unknown, along with his paranormal classic, The Mothman Prophecies.


  1. You're realy hitting my topic..I've been caught in that space when the veil is lifted..amazing..not necessary to be frightened!
    Saw the movie..great effects..I'll try to see it again..thanks for this..

  2. It's an exciting thought that there may be other realities all around us that we are unaware of. Maybe the time will come when we can deliberately tune-in to other dimensions.

  3. Hamlet:
    And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet Act 1, scene 5
    Never were truer words written.

  4. I love crypto-zoology. Here in the UK the best we can manage is large black dogs / cats but even they are fascinating. There are so many reports from such 'ordinary' people that there must be something to cause them.

  5. Lyn: I know you and I have both had paranormal adventures - viva la mysterie!

    Lesley: That would be really exciting, if still pretty scary!

    GB: That is one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes: "...more things in heaven and earth..."

    Scriptor: I am FASCINATED by the black dog legends-please do a post on it sometime!!

  6. Wait Deedee, have you been to West by god Virginia? I don't mean to be unkind. Some of my best friends escaped from there, but.... While it is the home of many intelligent and accomplished people, a cloud of ignorance hangs over the state not unlike the lovely but obscuring fog over their breathtaking mountain roads. Honest and god fearing they may be, but also haunted by superstition akin to that in the dark forest of Romania. Having camped out in the Appalachian mountains I can attest to the tricks the imagination can play when you lie down to sleep in bear territory, but I have never encountered anything "unnatural" in my adventures. I shall remain a fascinated skeptic until the day (or night) that occurs.

  7. Deedee, this is absolutely fascinating. When my brother was a child, every night he was visited by a "shadow man". It went on for years and years. He described him as very tall, with red blazing eyes. He stood in the doorway and looked at him for a few minutes, and then left. My brother was terrorized by him. It sounds very similar, doesn't it?

  8. Hi DeeDee! How cool is this?! Love it - will hafta read up on this - always so fascinating! I believe anything is possible. We don't know near what we think we know!

    I'm doing a rather scathing expose on the lies, deception and cover-ups regarding our food - I think of it as a Public Safety Alert series, running Sat. and the next two Mondays - hope you will stop by and help me pass this around. It is critical to become educated consumers if we have any hope of changing things back to the REAL food we used to have access to!

  9. Hi Deedee, I loved reading these last two posts. I loved your take on office politics. Made me so glad not to be working still. I sure had my fill of it when I did work. And this post, well just so dang interesting. Thank you for always making it so much fun to visit.

  10. Spellbound: I too, am a seasoned camper and have heard and seen some frightening things in the forests and mountains at night; bobcat, coyote, barred owls can be startling and scary when encountered in a dark wood.
    The first chapter in the book does acknowledge the superstitious nature of the Appalachian folk at the center of the mystery. I myself, am an open-minded skeptic, but still at a loss for a good explanation of multiple sightings of something that stands seven feet tall, flies, and jumps on the hood of cars in the middle of the night without provocation, as tempting as it might be to pass it off simply to superstition.
    The identical creature has also been reported in California and several other states as well.

  11. Suzen: Great job on the food post! I too am concerned about the stuff they sell us too eat.

    June: I'm glad you enjoyed them! I'm only too happy to return the favor- your gorgeous blog is ray of light in my northern winter, for sure.

  12. Deedee: "I myself, am an open-minded skeptic, but still at a loss for a good explanation of multiple sightings of something that stands seven feet tall, flies, and jumps on the hood of cars in the middle of the night without provocation, as tempting as it might be to pass it off simply to superstition."

    I can personally only think of one explanation for those things: Batman.

    But in all seriousness, and joking aside, I too have always thought that there are possibly things out there that cannot easily be explained by conventional means.

    As easy as it is to disbelieve some things, I find it equally as rational to believe that there ARE simply things that defy our knowledge.

    Like, say, the exact workings of time and space, and life on other planets. Mankind does not actually have all the answers even when Mankind is tempted to think that they usually do.

  13. Hi Jo! - I have been reading/hearing a lot about what are known as shadow demons-dark figures, sometimes with red eyes that reportedly appear to people from time to time. They are thought to be negative beings from some other plane. They would scare the stuffing out of me if I ever encountered one.

    Hi Mike -I agree, and I think the idea of these things possibly being real and not just imaginary is just too frightening for some people to even contemplate.

  14. Oh my goodness, right down my alley, for sure. So glad to find you and vice versa. You are right about WVA being ripe for such things. I feel the same about my home state, Alabama. Although I'm in northern Virginia now, I love visiting my other-worldly neighbor to the west.

    I always thought it so odd that people would bring up their kids on the Bible, burning bush in the desert, Jesus walking on water and feeding multitudes with bits. Then insist that anything that smacks of the miraculous was the product of an overactive imagination or a hoax. I spent so many years ignoring, explaining the odd stuff away, afraid of it and scared of the ridicule. But as my blog attests, I'm done with that. I don't care anymore what people think. I'm standing at the veil, if that's what it is, and my eyes are wide open. I want to KNOW. Bring it on.

  15. Glimmer - Excellent! We are kindred spirits for sure! Welcome aboard.