It’s been seven years since John died, on July 3, 2009. I’m sure he’d be glad to know he was still remembered and read, but I can hear a faint voice from the afterlife, adding, “Yeah, but where’s the money?”
John is shown here with Gray Barker and Jim Moseley, from the Fall 1967 issue of Saucer News.
In August, 1967, Gray Barker sent John a long letter that he’d received from a college student in Tampa, Fla. The student, Sarita, was puzzled by a former boyfriend, Tom, who had claimed that he was in contact with Nordic aliens from the Pleiades. He called them “Eaureaphythians,” and said that they had an underground base in the Mojave Desert, and had taken him to their planet. Sarita thought that he was making it all up, because he knew she liked science fiction, but wanted to know what a UFO researcher thought of the story. After Barker referred her to John, she also mentioned that another friend of hers claimed an encounter with a bedroom visitant in a checkered shirt. Sarita, by the way, met no aliens or visitants herself.
Here’s Barker’s letter (which, as you can see, seems to be deliberately garbled), a star map from Sarita, and one of John’s letters to her. This last is a good example of the kinds of questions John asked witnesses. She may have been offended by his “very intimate question,” however, since their correspondence seems to have ended there.
In this “special report” from 1967, John describes the experiences of Reverend Anthony De Polo. De Polo’s story later appeared in a number of books (Jacques Vallee’s Passport to Magonia, for example), but usually not with all of these details: telephone beeping, a numbers station coming through the television, the sound of a crying baby. Are crying babies a common auditory hallucination? There are many Crybaby Bridges around the US; I visited one once in Oklahoma (but heard nothing). Another odd note: why was B. F. Goodrich interested in UFOs?
PS: Richard Toronto reminded me that in “Anomaly” 8, John mentioned that a slamming car door and a crying baby are two of the most common auditory hallucinations.
John spent part of 1967 trying to figure out what had happened to Joseph Henslik, a young man in Long Island who claimed harassment by the classic Men in Black. This report appeared, with a few minor changes, in the Fall 1967 issue of Saucer News, edited by James Moseley. John later noted that Henslik and his mother confessed that it was a hoax, and that they had been coached by Moseley and Gray Barker. (You can see his comments here, in his reaction to a letter from Gray Barker.) There was an article on the case in Flying Saucers, Feb. ’68, which I haven’t seen, and it’s still mentioned from time to time in the MIB literature.
I continue to work my way through John’s “Special Investigations” files. These bound collections contain John’s notes on his investigations in 1967: letters from witnesses, clippings, reports, correspondence with other investigators. These four pages follow the last report I posted: a page about “Telephone Incidents,” a letter from the Air Force about impersonations of officers in UFO cases, and an annotated clipping about a UFO sighting (John is dubious). Some of the old photocopies have faded; I’ve tried to darken them.
In the last part of this “Special Report,” written for other researchers, John describes more of his sightings, and gives some of his ideas about the meaning of the activity. The “angel hair” he mentions may have been the chaff the collected in Point Pleasant. I posted a scan of it here.
In this third installment of John’s “Special Report,” he discusses his own sightings around Point Pleasant. He also comments on the baffling wave of fear that overwhelmed him during one sighting. I previously posted excerpts from that notebook here.
In the second part of this “Special Report,” intended for other researchers rather than for publication, John lists more UFO sightings, contact reports, odd visitors, strange footprints, and fires around Point Pleasant. He visits Woodrow Derenberger with Gray Barker, and tries to figure out why the local Naval Station is stockpiling slag. Point Pleasant was certainly a hotbed of weirdness in 1967.
I continue to ponder the material that John called “Confidential File: Special Investigations.” These are three folders which collect his research from 1967, including reports, clippings, and correspondence with witnesses, contactees, and other investigators. It was a very busy year. Most of this material ended up in John’s books, particularly The Mothman Prophecies, but the raw notes often include odd details and intriguing dead ends.
So, next up here is a 16 page report called “Special Report on Ohio and West Virginia,” written April 11, 1967. I’ll post it in four parts. In this first part, John outlines some of his method, contemplates the importance of Wednesday, and reports on Leonard “Shy” Elmore’s encounter with a disappearing shed.
In his peculiar interview with the Christiansens, Tiny claimed that he was looking for a missing heir. John came across a few other odd solicitations like this, and began investigating to see if he could dig anything up. Even his old friend Red Jackman received a letter about a possible inheritance. John wrote to the Better Business Bureau to ask if they knew anything about it. He didn’t find out much, but he suspected it might be a piece of the puzzle.
If you can’t read John’s faint pen note, it says: Replied by phone – 4/14/67. BBB has nothing in files on this.