UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 13

Nua Blather: A Mothman Retrospective

From: Dave Walsh <dave@nua.ie>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 05:50:32 +0100
Fwd Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 18:42:31 -0400
Subject: Nua Blather: A Mothman Retrospective

Weekly free email of Dogma Destruction,
Forteana and High Weirdness

By Daev Walsh   Email: blather@nua.ie
Web: http://www.nua.ie/blather/
June 12 1998  Published By:  Nua Limited  Vol 2. No. 5


Having finally read previously neglected copy of John Keel's 1975
fortean classic *The Mothman Prophecies*, Blather would care to share
with you a smidgen of its worth.

Reading this thoroughly enjoyable book at this late stage has
caused me no real loss either -- if I had read it back when I began
delving into murky fortean literature, I may have enjoyed the book
less, as I would have been very conscious of how to deal with the
material therein -- after reading it now, it has allowed me to put
many predominant cultural motifs into chronological context and
mythical perspective.

So what's it all about? Seen the movie *Men In Black*
(http://www.meninblack.com), or ever noticed all those eerie West
Virginia episodes of the X-Files (http://www.thex-files.com/)? I'm
not a regular viewer of that particular TV programme, but according
to what I'm told, there was episode which mentioned the Mothman,
called *Detour*. Many of the predominant motifs in *The Mothman
Prophecies* have leaked into popular culture. This is not to say that
these motifs did not exist before Keel wrote about them, but rather
the book serves to illustrate how they soaked into pop media.

So - what, or who, is the Mothman? For a thirteen month period from
November 1966 until December 1967, the town of Point Pleasant, West
Virginia, USA was seemingly tipped into a state of chaos (or, if you
like, a 'state o' chassis!'[1]), overrun by UFOs, poltergeists, Men
in Black in beyond-fashion-clothing driving impeccable old cars and
fake service workers -- both groups had dark, sharp features, and
wearing thick soled rubber shoes. If that wasn't bad enough, a
surrealist abbatoirist left cattle cadavers strewn about the fields
of Point Pleasant.

The appearance of all these phenomena appeareded to revolve around
regular sightings of the more fearsome visitor of all - a winged
humanoid that quickly became known as the 'Mothman'. Mothman tended
to hang about the disused North Power Plant, which was part of the
dormant West Virginia Ordnance Works complex
(http://members.aol.com/mothmanwww/building.html). The area was used
as a shooting range and 'lovers lane', and kind of unofficial common.

There were hundreds of alleged witnesses to these phenomena -- some
members of the population claimed 'contact' with various
extraterrestrial -- or, as Keel posits *ultra-terrestrial --

It seemed that anyone even peripherally involved was affected, and
Keel, who had arrived from New York to investigate the reports, was
no exception.

Before long, he was experienced disconcerting sychronicities, such as
many of his 'contactee' friends knowing of his future actions
*before* he had himself decided on them. His phone line became almost
unusable with untraceable interference, tapping, line cutting,
crossed lines, harassments, hoax phone calls and dark photographers
trailing him round Manhattan. . . "Between the IRS, the
phone company. . . and flying saucers I was fast becoming a candidate
for the funny farm".

Keel received constant precise predictions throughout the 13
months, presumably 'channelled' by various contactees. These 'Mothman
prophesies' had a nasty habit of being *almost* right - but not right
enough. The predicted assassination attempt on the pope -- followed
by "days of darkness" didn't happen, instead the pontiff escaped
eradication in the Philippines three years later.

Things finally came to a head during rush hour on Point Pleasant's
Silver Bridge, which spanned the Ohio River. Keel's contactees warned
of a nation-wide power outage for December 5th. Instead, the Silver
Bridge crumpled into the river, taking 31 vehicles and 67 people with
it. There were 46 deaths.

The difference between *Mothman Prophecies* and other 'casebooks' of
this ilk is illustrated by Keels good humour (how he kept it I don't
know), his modesty, and his apparent realisation that he was not in a
position to assume an objective role in documenting the goings-on in
Point Pleasant. He knew that he was *too close*.

However, I would urge readers to keep their fortean hats secured to
their noggins with a suitable chin-strap. Although Keel's testimony
is invaluable, one should employ a liberal dash of salt when
considering many of the incidents involved. Keel succeeds in pulling
off a fairly convincing objective analysis of a subjective
experience, but I was left wondering where the objectivity began and
the subjectivity took over.

As Hilary Evans points out in Fortean Times 53:54, "Insofar as Keel
has encouraged serious and thoughtful researchers to extend their
notions of the possible, he can have done nothing but good. Insofar
as has encouraged flightier minds to espouse dubious notions for
which the evidence is less than adequate, he may have done more harm
than good."

Nonetheless, if 'fortean study' ever becomes an academic science,
*The Mothman Prophecies* should be prerequisite.

A damned fine book.

Note 1: Occasional Blatherskite Mark Pilkington met and interviewed
John Keel in New York earlier this year. This interview is expected
to appear in the pages of Magonia (http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk).

Note 2: See Fortean Times 65:27 for another interview with John Keel.

The Mothman Prophecies
IllumiNet Press
ISBN: 0962653438

The Mystery of the Mothman (Revisited)

Mothman: Alien Creature in West Virginia?

The Paranormal Project: Mothman

*Superspectrum Blues*
- The trans-electromagnetic nature of elements of the Fortean
continuum...by by Steve Mizrach

Point Pleasant County Seat of Mason County West Virginia

W.Va.'s own Mothman stalks the Net

John Keel on UFOMind

UFOpedia Website, see under 'K'

Mothman on UFOMind

[1] *Juno and the Paycock* by Sean O'Casey

Dave (daev) Walsh
June 12th 1998

Feedback and comments to <blather@nua.ie>

Have your say: http://www.nua.ie/blather/blabber


A weekly newsletter, Internet Surveys is a free digest of the most
interesting surveys containing data relating to the Internet.
It is available by sending an email to
with the word "subscribe" in the body of the message.

A monthly newsletter, What's New is a free monthly newsletter
highlighting the new additions, happenings and changes at Nua.
It is available by sending an email to
with the word "subscribe" in the body of the message.

New Thinking is a free, weekly, 500-word email column, whose
objective is to contribute to a practical philosophy for The
Digital Age. It is available by sending an email to
<newthinking-request@lists.best.com> with the word "subscribe" in
the body of the message.


While Blather will always remain free to the subscriber, Nua is
always willing to talk to interested parties with regard to
Contact Daev Walsh: <daev@nua.ie>


For the Blather archives, please go to:


To excel in the establishment and development of online relationships and

For further information on how Nua can help your organisation get the best
out of the Internet, contact our marketing director, Mary Gorman
<mary@nua.ie> or our representative in New York, Niall Swan <nswan@nua.ie>

Mary Gorman:   mailto:mary@nua.ie
Niall Swan:    mailto:nswan@nua.ie


Nua, a vibrant, innovative, Irish company whose focus is in helping
progressive organisations adapt to the new environment created by the
Internet. We have the management/marketing, design and technical
skills to truly understand your unique situation, and to translate
that understanding into a successful Internet presence for you.

Nua has received an array of awards since its genesis in 1996. Among
those are the coveted "Best Overall World Wide Web Business
Achievement" the top prize for website development in Europe.
Send an email to:
with the word
in the body of the message. An automatic acknowledgement
should be returned to you by e-mail within a few minutes.

Send an email to
with the word
in the body of the message.

If you are having any technical problems,
please email the Nua Webmaster at: <web@nua.ie>.


NUA : Internet Consultancy & Developer         http://www.nua.ie/
Dave Walsh <daev@nua.ie> Tel: +353-1-676-8996  Fax: +353-1-661-3932
Read Blather: http://www.nua.ie/blather - weekly weirdness by email

Search for other documents from or mentioning: nswan

[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com