March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, John Keel

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:23 pm


Today is John Keel’s birthday; he was born on March 25, 1930.  So, here he is, not long after the arrival.  A note with the photo says, “Just six months old.  Four teeth all showing.”  He looks uncharacteristically optimistic, doesn’t he?

March 12, 2012

Phyllis Benjamin

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:27 pm

I note sadly the news that Phyllis Benjamin has died.  She was long the President of INFO, the International Fortean Organization.  John was a frequent speaker at the INFO FortFests, in which Forteans from everywhere converged for a weekend of strangeness.  My thoughts go out to her husband, Al Rosenzweig (or, as he sometimes spells it, Rosensmyle).  He asks that you pray, meditate, or think about her this Wednesday, March 14, at 11 am, at the time of her funeral.

The photo above shows Phyllis with Bob Hieronimus at the 2011 Fortfest.  I took it from Bob’s website; I hope he doesn’t mind.  I don’t have any photos of John and Phyllis together; but here are a couple of snapshots of John at the 1974 FortFest.

ADDENDUM: I’ve posted a longer remembrance at


March 8, 2012

The Crisis

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:47 pm

“The Crisis” was published in the Bowery News, June 15, 1949.  (Some issues were dated; some were not.)  John was nineteen.





March 4, 2012

Dusty Feet

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“Dusty Feet” appeared in the Bowery News in 1947 (no date, but it was Volume 1, Number 10).   John was 17 at the time; it was one of his first sales.  I assume he was indulging in some poetic license in some of these lines….

The Bowery News, subtitled “The Voice of Society’s Basement,” was aimed at “mission stiffs and hoboes, dock wallopers and pearl divers [dock workers and dishwashers], wingies and plingies [one-armed beggars and panhandlers], smokehounds and canned heat artists [drug addicts and wood alcohol drinkers]”; John contributed occasionally in his teens.  It was originally called the Hobo News, reviving an earlier paper by that name. And here he is photographed by one of the paper’s regulars.

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