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The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story Paperback – March 12, 2013
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“An essential read. Even if you just enjoy good suspense, when Keel talks of his own experiences with Men in Black, stolen evidence, and intimidation via eerie phone calls and visitations, you'll want to keep reading.” ―Strange Horizons
“The Mothman remains a potent piece of American folklore.” ―CNN
About the Author
JOHN A. KEEL was a prominent journalist and UFOlogist, credited with coining the term "Men in Black." His books include The Mothman Prophecies and Our Haunted Planet. He died in 2009.
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As I mentioned above, structurally speaking, the book is a mess. One reviewer commented that it felt as if Keel simply threw the finished manuscript up in the air and published it in the manner of how the pages fell and it does feel that way. In the opening chapter, we know that the Silver Bridge will collapse and the loss of life is going to terrible. However, from that point on, there is no build up leading to the tragic climax. Keel just veers off into other corners talking about whatever pops into his rather closed mind. One moment he's telling a fairly spooky story and these stories make the best sections of the book. But then he spends a great deal amount of time on entirely different subjects that have nothing to do with what's going on in Point Pleasant and, to be honest, are incredibly yawn inducing. And this makes up the bulk of the last half of the book and is where the author's sanity becomes truly suspect.
I guess he has in his mind a self grandiose image of himself as he consistently drops his name into conversations of people whom he's not present in. How would he know he's being mentioned? Also he breaks all credibility when he starts to downplay witnesses stories as crazy yet he expects us to believe that these "extraterritorial intelligences" are speaking directly to him either through telepathy or contactee possession (yes, apparently ET can also possess you like the Devil) and are screwing with his personal life. Phone services have problems from time to time. Things get lost in the mail every day. I just had three orders in a row from Amazon never arrive. Does that mean that Indrid Cold, Mr. Apol, Lia, and Princess Moonbeam have taken them for their own personal entertainment? If so, guys please send me my DVDs. Yet, to him these problems are directly related to either these external forces or the evil Government Agencies out to get him. Paranoia much?
I can't say that I would recommend the book as there are several better ones out there about Mothman and what really happened in Point Pleasant at that time. In fact, this is one of the rare cases where the movie is a lot better then the book. Just rent the movie and The Eyes of Mothman documentary and you'll get all the information you need without having to try and make sense of this mess.
I wish he just would have stuck to the many mind-blowing stories that he had collected over the years rather than having to read all his ridiclous contradictions and nonsensical accusations on the UFO community. His rants make him inconsistent and contrary when he condescends UFO events but then proceeds to present flying monsters with 10 feet wingspans and red eyes as legitimate while at the same time retelling stories about his own UFO experience and those of his friends. Why is one real, yet the others are hallucinations or evil reprogramming?
He also sounds unhinged when he writes so certainly and confidently of his own bizarre experiences - and then ridicules others' experiences as false, or ridiculous, accusing UFO believers as making all these crank phone calls - providing no evidence to support these accusations. Some times I couldn't tell the difference between the antics of MIB or the aliens themselves from the UFO enthusiasts that Keel called the "mob" "phonies" "lunatics" and "manipulative" which was somewhat laughable as he doesn't see that he is some of those things as well. In fact I often thought he was projecting onto them what he was guilty of himself.
Summing it up by calling Ufologists unstable is a word that I would most certainly apply to Keel himself as he readily admits toward the end of the book. He at one point lumped some early respected UFO researchers into this category as well, calling them deluded and manipulative. He makes these statement as if it's a fact, which there is nothing wrong with - but then back it up as to why you judge them to be so - which he doesn't. Condemning UFO believers and then proceeding to reveal his own outlandish and freakish experiences about UFOs makes him sound deluded. Well, it doesn't make him "sound" deluded. He IS deluded. As we all are.
He would often come to his conclusions about certain UFO cases based on half information, leaving out major facts about the events. That doesn't sound like a thorough investigative researcher, which I don't think Keel was. He had very strong personal beliefs about certain things and did not veer off of it even in light of other evidence that contradicted his convictions. What really made me question his mental state was his defense of government and military cover-ups and his laughable statement that it was the UFO enthusiasts that caused the military to stop investigating UFOs and causing government officials to cover up anything to do with extraterrestrials. So, according to Keel, our military and government were willing to explore this phenomenon openly but the crazy ufologists intimidated them and forced them to stop all transparent investigations and go underground. Seriously? Another "say what?" moment.
All in all, I would recommend this book for the baffling events that he recounts. His hostility toward ufologists and UFO believers makes no sense and seems to add to his delusional state of mind and to an already complicated and inexplicable subject matter. The book would have been more convincing and way more enjoyable if had just stuck to his detailing of certain events in his very matter-of-fact way rather than going off on the UFO community, a community that he himself is part of. Strange and mystifying indeed.