John published a number of photos in the last issue of the New York Fortean Society, in 1989. Here they are in color, with John’s captions. Everyone looks so young!
Author Whitley Strieber
Caught with his hand in the till, David Walley tries to eat the evidence.
George Hansen, Princeton parapsychologist.
Star UFO speaker, Antonio Huneeus.
Murky picture of a group of Forteans on outing to Easter Island.
This is Mary Hyre’s last letter to John before the collapse of the Silver Bridge, on December 15. John marked the envelope “tape drop”; gaffer’s tape had fallen in the area, and Mary enclosed a sample. She also reports on a few UFO sightings. The tape sample was attached to the top of the page; I posted it after the letter.
Mary Hyre’s next letter to John was only a day later. A lot was happening. John marked the envelope “Checkered shirt,” and there is indeed a sighting of a prowler in a checkered shirt. (A footnote for newbies: Men in checkered shirts appear elsewhere in UFO lore; Chapter 14 of Strange Creatures from Time and Space gives a few examples.) There are also numerous UFO sightings, and the news that Roger Scarberry has gone missing. As Mary says, “Well I told you things would break when you left.”
John made this sheet up sometime in the ’80s. It’s notable for his usual burlesque bio, and for another mention of his phantom title, How to Build an Atom Bomb in Your Basement. I hope it got him some work.
Mary Hyre’s next letter is from a few weeks later, November 25, 1967. As readers of The Mothman Prophecies know, we’re coming up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge, on December 15. In this letter, a man is concerned about his dog, Mary’s sister has premonitory visions, and we learn that John’s last visit ended badly, when Mary’s car stalled in the rain.
Mary Hyre’s next letter is from November 1, 1967. There are more sightings of UFOs, lights, and Mothman. And she gets a call from a UFO investigator in New Jersey; she’s a bit wary of him.
I apologize for the quality of this image; I have only an old photocopy, not the original. I thought Keel fans would like to see it anyway. Gene Duplantier, ufologist and artist, drew this picture of John surrounded by “the denizens of his Superspectrum” for Gray Barker’s Newsletter, Feb. 1976.
John kept a folder marked “ABSM” (that is, “Abominable Snowman,” an abbreviation favored by fortean and naturalist Ivan T. Sanderson). It mostly contains clippings and photocopies of clippings, in the fortean tradition. There are also these four small hand-written pages of American sightings, apparently copied from Sanderson’s files. I don’t know how many of them have been repeated in the voluminous Bigfoot/Sasquatch literature, but some may be unfamiliar.
“Monsters and Mysteries in America” is devoting an episode entirely to John Keel. It will air Wednesday, April 1, at 10 pm ET, on the Destination America Channel. I declined to appear on camera, but I hear that John’s old friend Larry “Ratso” Sloman did a fine interview. He’s better at that sort of thing than me, anyway. So, tune in, and watch away!
Today is John Keel’s birthday; he would have been 85. He’s shown here with Jacques Vallee: when he published this photo in the NYFS Newsletter, he captioned it “Dr. Jacques Vallee chats with one of his ghost writers.”