JOHN KEEL: NOT AN AUTHORITY ON ANYTHING

October 26, 2011

John Keel in the “National Lampoon”

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:59 pm

In the 1980s, John Keel made several attempts to return to his earlier career as a comedy writer.  He pitched a number of comic novels and plays, none of which made it past an agent.  Larry “Ratso” Sloman was then editor of the National Lampoon; and John also made a number of suggestions in the gross-out vein of that magazine (like a “sick humor” book on Hitler, called Hitler Was a Nice Guy).  His only published piece was in the November 1985 issue, entitled “The Mad as Hell Issue.”  105 celebrities were invited to write about their pet peeves.  most contributed only a paragraph or two, but John weighed in with a longish article.  Here’s the first part of it:

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However, he did make one other appearance: as an uncredited print model in the January 1986 issue.  The photograph was one of several illustrating an article by Ed Subitzky and Karen Dale Boss, “The  Modern Woman’s Guide to Time-Efficient Sex Planning and Management.”   Since this was a pictorial on sex in the workplace, it is, by definition, not safe for work; so I’ve placed it on another page.  It shows John in a way that may be unfamiliar to some of his readers.

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October 21, 2011

Apol and Agar

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:11 am

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I had posted a photocopy of Jaye Paro’s sketch of her alien/android contact Agar a while back; I’ve turned up the original, so I’ll post it here as well.

The sketch was included in a letter to John, purportedly from Mr. Apol, a dapper humanoid who also makes a memorable appearance in The Mothman Prophecies.  John carried on a fascinating correspondence with this enigmatic character, who always wrote in crudely lettered red pencil.  As I said in the last post, I think he was a product of Paro’s imagination or subconscious; at any rate, all of John’s dealings with him were through her.

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“Tim’na” was Apol’s name for Paro, by the way.  I’ll transcribe the letter, since aliens have notoriously poor penmanship; I will, however, keep the eccentric spelling and punctuation.  This is a good sample of the kind of material that John was contending with on a daily basis in 1967.

TO JOHN -

GREETINGS AGAIN – HELEN OBERMEYER HAS TURNED AGAINST US – SHE HAS BEEN INSINCEAR WITH ME – FOR NOW – BE CAREFULL WHAT YOU SAY TO HER – TRUST HER NOT – HER MIND IS NOT SHARP AN CLEAR – SHE DOES NOT THINK AS WELL AS THE OTHERS – WE SHALL JUST WATCH QUIETLY NOW – LOUISE IS STILL DOING WELL – IN HER OWN WAY SHE HAS HELPED US MUCH – SHE I A SINCERE ONE – SHE IS NOT ALWAYS AWARE OF HER ACTIONS – PAT DESPOSITO WILL SOON GO ON TO W VIRGINIA – RUTH WILL STAY ON L-I – YOU MUST WARN TIMNA THAT BERNHARDT IS SECRETLY SNOOPING AROUND FOR INFO ON MT. MISERY – HE LOOK TO WRITE ALL ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN – DO NOT LET HIM STEEL STORY – I HAVE ENCLOSED A SKETCH OF AGGARR THAT TIMNA DID WHEN YOU WERE AWAY – ITS A WONDERFUL LIKENESS – AGGARR WAS WILD ABOUT IT – TIMNA IS GOOD WITH HER HANDS – NOT ONLY DOES SHE THROW THINGS WELL BUT SHE THROWS THINGS WELL TO – WATCH FOR ANOTHER AIR DISASTER BEFORE CHRISTMAS – LIGHTS WILL STOP – AN THE CITY WILL AGAIN GO INTO DARKNESS – GREENFIELD WHO ARRANGED YOUR TALK IS NOT – BY THE WAY – A CONTACTEE -

AND LT. FRANK DAVIS IS BACK ON L-I- AGAIN – GLADYS HAS CONTACTED BERNHARDT – WE HAVE CONTACTED DON – OH YOUR MAIL IS OK NOW -

I HOPE TIMNA WILL SOME DAY DRAW ME – WILL YOU ASK HER PLEASE -

USA

USA IS GOING TO BACK DOWN IN VIETNAM – COME ABOUT LATE 1968 EARLY 69 – 1969 UPSWEEP OF CHINESE INFLUENCE, AUTHORITY AN PRESTIGE – A DEAL WILL BE ARRANGED BETWEEN – USA – AN CHINA: FORMOSA AND A PLACE AT THE UNITED NATIONS, IN EXCHANGE FOR PEACE IN VIET NAM

I CAN GIVE TIMNA PREDICTIONS UP TO 1976 AN 77

QUEEN FARAH DIBA IS NOW AT A COMPARATIVELY fatEFUL  PERIOD OF LIFE.  WATCH FOR EVENTS OVER THE NEXT 12/18 MONTHS WHICH FATEFULLY AFFECT HER FUTURE -

I MUST END NOW – I AM DEEPLY TIRED -

EVERYTHINGS GOOD

APPELL

October 20, 2011

Lia and Company

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:12 pm

Earlier, I posted Jaye Paro’s sketch of “Agar,” the librarian (and companion of Mr. Apol) mentioned in Chapter 15 of The Mothman Prophecies.  In the comments, S. L. Jones pointed out that John called her “Lia” in the book, and wanted to know about the contradiction.

On looking through John’s notes, I see that Lia was another of Paro’s purported contacts.  Agar was described as olive-skinned, with black hair and eyes; Lia as blond and pregnant.  Here’s a description of their meeting, from John’s notes (this was in 1967):

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I don’t know why John conflated Agar and Lia; writing several years later, he probably simply didn’t remember which was which.  There is, after all, some confusion over names in all of this.  The experiences ascribed to “Jane” in the book were actually those of Paro; I suppose John put a different name to some of her more unusual experiences to avoid her unwanted publicity.  She was, after all, a “silent contactee” in a public job.  Paro herself was really named Joanne Perranno; “Jaye P. Paro” was her professional name as a radio personality on WBAB, in Babylon, NY.  To complicate matters further, her contacts often called her “Tim’na.”

Paro claimed contact with a number of aliens and/or androids.  Agar was also known as Aggarr or Aggrr, and first identified herself as Afalyes of Trek.  Apol spelled his name in different ways, including Appell.  There were, at one time, two Agars, each claiming the other was an impostor.  And there were others, including one called Rubin, whom John found particularly irritating.

John never saw or talked with any of these beings himself: all interaction was through Paro.  Sometimes she passed along letters from them; sometimes she channeled them, both through voice and writing.  Sometimes John talked to them over the phone, but always through Paro, who relayed their answers.  I doubt that they had any independent existence outside Paro’s psyche.  John suspected so too, but was also baffled by some particulars — in those phone conversations, for example, he often heard a muffled voice in the background.  But he was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of high strangeness he was receiving that year, and, like a good reporter, just kept investigating.

October 13, 2011

Coney Island

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:13 am

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John Keel, Doug Skinner, and Mamie Caton crowd into a photo booth at Coney Island.  I provided the traditional rabbit ears, by special request.

October 12, 2011

Mack & Myer For Hire

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:55 pm

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Mack & Myer For Hire was a short slapstick TV show from 1963.  It was produced by Sandy Howard Productions, for Trans-Lux in NYC.  Mickey Deems starred as Mack, and Joey Faye as Myer; both were showbiz veterans, with long careers in nightclubs, burlesque, and legit.  Each show was about ten minutes, and was often packaged with other shorts and cartoons; it was meant strictly for kids.

John wrote many of the shows.  He remembered that they had a small prop budget, and kept trying to come up with gags for cheap items — balloons, for example.  He also recalled that Margaret Hamilton was cast in one episode, and had no objection to knockabout comedy, as long as she didn’t have to play a witch.

A few of the episodes have been archived here, if you’re curious.  They’re not exactly deathless comedy; but do have a period charm, and are remembered fondly by those who watched them as kids.  Watch for John’s screen credit; he’s listed as “script editor.”

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