[Theo Paijmans sent this along for the site; many thanks to him! It first appeared in Stars and Stripes, April 22, 1977. ]
In his Strange Creatures From Time And Space, John Keel writes about “window areas”: “We have a theory. It is not very scientific but it is based upon the known facts. These creatures and strange events tend to recur in the same areas year after year, even century after century…” but there his theorizing did not stop. If there’s one important evolution in his oeuvre, it is his breaking away from the – at that time – predominant ETH explanation for the UFO phenomenon. This theory permeates his books like UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, Our Haunted Planet, and The Eighth Tower, this last title the least known of his tremendously influential titles, but the most comprehensive in regards to his theory on the “Ultraterrestrials,” and the intelligences or intelligence that inhabits the Superspectrum, all of which can be compared more or less to Charles Fort’s musings on the Supersargasso Sea encircling the earth.
That Keel had a hard time to promote his theories and to voice them inside the ufological communities, is demonstrated by the following newspaper account published two years after his Strange Creatures From Time And Space was published. While never having met Keel, I only talked over the long distance telephone a couple of times with him, I can imagine that he somehow would have enjoyed the protests.
I believe most of the activities of the Institute of Fortean Parapsychology took place in P.O. Box 20024. P.O. Box 20024, however, was quite a lively place.
In the mid-’80s, John became fascinated with the subculture of mail order: classified ads, ad sheets, and mailers. He was not alone; in that pre-Internet culture, many infophiles were swapping zines, booklets, and mail art. (Ivan Stang’s book High Weirdness by Mail was typical of the time.) Reverting to his old pseudonym, Jakeel, he went on an ad binge: “During the past two years I have systematically placed all kinds of classified ads in the many different newspapers and weekly tabloids here in New York City, testing various mail order scams and schemes, even making all sorts of free offers.” He printed an array of booklets, flyers, and ad sheets, which he sold or traded through similar ephemeral publications. He liked to get mail, particularly if it had dollar bills in it.
“Madison Avenue Confidential” (from which the above quote was taken) was a series of one-page ruminations on publishing and advertising; “Bamboozle,” “Big Apple News,” and “Filthy Rich Digest” offered clippings, jokes, and ads: for typesetting, mailing lists, how-to books, and other Jakeel sheets. “The Unicorn Review” reprinted a couple of clippings about unicorn sightings, and urged the reader to send in money to save the unicorns.
How to Rob the Mail promised the reader a lesson in scams. Instead, it delivered a mail-order primer: warnings against chain letters and pyramid schemes, advice on copy and marketing, and anecdotes about legal and illegal get-rich schemes, all with the usual Keel humor. At $2, it was no swindle.