In this next part of John Keel’s dossier on harassment of UFO witnesses and researchers, he discusses the patterns of the calls, the manipulation of phone bills, and the people most likely to be targeted. (The file consists of carbon copies of varying quality; sorry they’re not crisper…)
John Keel’s book The Eighth Tower is back in print, thanks to Anomalist Books and the Estate of John A. Keel.
By the time John finished The Mothman Prophecies, it had grown much too long. He pruned it judiciously, and reworked the excised material into The Eighth Tower. It’s probably his most speculative and theoretical book, containing his ideas on the superspectrum (the expanded electromagnetic continuum in which we live), those mysterious ultraterrestrials, and man’s interactions with his gods. It’s long been a favorite of mine.
It’s also a book that has been increasingly difficult to find, and vintage copies have been commanding higher and higher prices from dealers. This new edition is long overdue. Anomalist Books can be found here.
I’ll continue here with the file that John called “Organized Harassment of Individuals.” This part details a number of types of telephone harassment. John also went into this subject in Chapter 17 of The Mothman Prophecies, “Even the Bedouins Hate Their Telephone Company”; his files are filled with puzzling phone calls, cryptic letters, hoaxes, disinformation, and miscommunications of all kinds. One note: WBAB was the radio station that employed contactee Jaye Paro; Moseley is James Moseley, editor of Saucer Smear, and occasional Keel nemesis.
Mark Pilkington has alerted me to the fact that the current issue of Soldier of Fortune magazine (Feb. ’14) contains an article entitled “UFO Mystery Solved: “Mothmen” Were Actually Green Berets.” The writer, Harold Hutchison, claims that special operations forces near Point Pleasant were testing high-altitude, low-opening (HALO) parachuting for use in Vietnam; and that the jumpers used luminous paint to be seen during the tests. And this, he says, explains the Mothman sightings. I’m not convinced that every Mothman report can be chalked up to a paratrooper; but it’s a plausible explanation for some, and certainly for some of the UFO reports. There was a lot going on in Point Pleasant that year…
In 1968, John compiled a dossier on “Organized Harassment of Individuals,” apparently not intended for publication. He made a thorough analysis of reported techniques of telephone harassment, mail tampering, and physical encounters, particularly directed against UFO witnesses and researches. I’ll post it a bit at a time, since it’s rather dense. Here are the first two pages; next will come a section on “Hoax Phone Calls.” And I’ll break it up from time to time with more of Mary Hyre’s letters, just for variety.
I’ll continue with Mary Hyre’s letters. In this one, from May 2, 1967, she confesses that she’s still afraid of the strange man with thick glasses who came to her office, and encloses a column she wrote about a local legend. (I posted this a while ago, but here it is in its proper sequence, in a more legible scan. There’s more to come…)
As a counterpart to Jadoo, I offer here some of John’s notes for A Handy Guide for International Diplomats, Wandering Correspondents, and Other Bums, in which he complains about European food and leers at the women. I suspect this was intended for one of the men’s magazines he contributed to in the ’50s. As John’s friends can attest, he was always a picky eater, and no restaurant was good enough. Only he could travel through France and Italy and not find any food he liked!
The next letter from Mary Hyre, just two days later, updates John on the continuing UFO flap.
For Veterans Day, here’s a photo of John in uniform, posing with his grandmother.
Although he must have entered the army with some some trepidation, he looked back on his service with nostalgia. He didn’t particularly enjoy boot camp (he joked it had turned him into “a trained killer”), but got valuable experience and publicity writing for the American Forces Network. Most of his scripts were dramatizations of military talking points, such as discipline, getting along with fellow soldiers, or interaction with civilians. He was also able to do some more personal projects, such as pieces on the Baker Street Irregulars and on UFOs, and broadcasts from Frankenstein’s Castle and the Great Pyramid. He saved his scripts; I’ve listed them in the bibliography on this site. You can also read a memoir of some of his radio exploits, by one of his army buddies, William Wolff, here.
In 1969, John Keel contemplated writing a history of stag movies. It wasn’t meant as a serious history, and he didn’t plan to put his name on it. Instead, he planned a sort of satire of the industry, and of the late ’60s growing permissiveness, using screenplays for imaginary films, However, he ran into trouble with the idea, and, as he said, “I had created a Frankenstein. Instead of writing a funny book about dirty movies I found myself writing a dirty book about funny movies.”
He sent an intriguing letter to his agent, Knox Burger, about the project, and a sample of one of the phony screenplays. I suppose I’ll post them on another page. There are no pictures, but he does talk about dirty movies, and somebody may be in a workplace that would find it NSFW.