June 30, 2011

John Keel, Magician

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John was a lifelong magic buff.  As he used to put it, “Magic is my thing!”  Anthony Matt and I have restored an 8mm reel of him performing some sleight of hand for the camera; it probably dates from the mid-60s.  You can see it here!

June 29, 2011

John Keel Looking For Bargains

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On the Upper West Side, NYC, sometime in the ’90s.


John Keel Conducting Research

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Sometime in the ’90s.


June 22, 2011

A John Keel Promotional Sheet

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This bio probably dates from 1956; Pattern for Adventure was the working title for Jadoo.

June 19, 2011

Memories of a Halloween with Frankenstein

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John often reminisced about the Halloween broadcast from Frankenstein’s Castle that he did for the American Forces Network.  One of his collaborators, William Wolff, wrote a charming memoir for the November-December 1966 issue of New Age World.

It’s rather long, so I’ve posted it off the front page.  Please click to read it…


June 15, 2011

“Anomalous Mail”

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In the third issue of his newsletter Anomaly (December 1969), John printed what he called “Three Letters of Undetermined Origin.”  Here’s how he prefaced them:

“During the past three years we have received many ‘crank’ letters and pieces of ‘anomalous mail.’  Some of these made direct threats against our person, while others were cleverly and carefully composed.  We turned a few of the more serious-sounding items over to the F.B.I.  We attempted to investigate other items through Postal Inspectors.  A total of four proved to be the work of mischievous ‘UFO buffs.’  The remainder are still unidentified or unsolved.  Individuals involved in our investigations also received unusual letters which we added to our collection.”

He published this letter with the apology “The letters on this paste-up were in various colors and do not reproduce well.”  They are, in fact, almost illegible; so here is the original, as well as the envelope, which John did not print.  He added the following note:

“This is a classic ‘crank’ letter.  In 1967, a young man on Long Island, a student at a New York Police Academy, was involved in UFO investigations and several ‘Men In Black’ cases.  He appeared on an interview program on station WBAB (Babylon, L.I.) under the pseudonym of ‘David Kimble.’  This letter, postmarked from Farmingdale, N.Y., Jan. 14, 1968, was sent to ‘David Kimble’ in care of WBAB.  Both the address on the envelope and the letter itself were composed by letters cut from magazine advertisements and attached to the paper with strips of scotch tape.  The letter was on a sheet of standard “Sphinx” bond.  We were unable to trace it.”

WBAB was, of course, the radio station where Jaye Paro worked; she probably passed the letter on to John.

June 11, 2011

A Letter from Vincent Gaddis

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Vincent Gaddis was one of the first wave of Forteans.  His book Mysterious Fires and Lights is a classic of the genre; and he was writing articles on UFOs even before Kenneth Arnold’s sighting (“Visitors from the Void,” Amazing Stories, June 1947).

Here’s a letter he wrote John in 1989, expressing his admiration for Disneyland of the Gods, and his regret that he couldn’t attend any meetings of the New York Fortean Society.

John was a great fan of Gaddis; and, as you can read here, Gaddis was a fan of Keel.


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