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I'm reviewing a book call The Mothman Prophecies.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks.
Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 11.1 x 17.5 cm .
No pictures included.
It is available on amazon, new for around £5....used from £3.50 and on audible at £8.60.
Available from other bookshops and online.
I got my used copy for £2.81 some months ago.
**WHY I BOUGHT THIS***
There is a movie based on this phenomenon ,but because I know movies tend to mess about with facts and add romance where no romance needs to be included (or existed in real life) I decided to read the book to get the facts.
***SO WHO or WHAT WAS MOTHMAN ?***
He was a creature who began appearing to residents in a small town called Point Pleasant in West Virginia in 1966.
Point Pleasant stands at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.
Describing Mothman facially seemed difficult for people,other than that he had large red eyes.
Describing his body was an easier matter. He was described as totally human shaped but with the addition of wings which folded neatly down his back when not in use ,and these wings had a span of approximately 10 feet when unfolded.
So what did he do ?
Nothing really. He didn't attack people or cause any mayhem, other than scaring the bejazus out of people by just appearing and occasionally chasing cars by flying just above them or to the side.
He was seen both on the ground AND in mid air .
HOWEVER.....those who saw him found it was the prelude to chaos in their lives. Various things would start happening.
Ill health occurred . Immediately after seeing the creature people had to be treated for various conditions including severely 'sunburned' faces, eyes swollen shut,intestinal problems and migraines.
Their phones went crazy with static on the line,sometimes voices would be heard talking in a foreign language. The language was recorded and could not be linked to any language known to linguists .
Televisions would go berserk for no reason losing picture and sound and often would burn out or blow up.
Cars would cut out.
Farm stock was found mutilated in fields with organs surgically removed and the rest of the meat left to rot.
And there were dreams . Bad dreams amounting to nightmares .
Those who saw Mothman would later hear a baby crying in their homes during the night....in homes where there were no children. Frantic searching of property would uncover nothing.
People would wake in the morning to find their doors lying wide open and evidence that someone had been in their homes, yet had left without taking anything.Nor was this surreptitiously done, as in the lock unlatched, but doors actually left wide open.
OKAY, so far it seems a bit of an urban myth.........enter a man called John. A. Keel.
He was a part time reporter and Ufologist and was investigating the rash of UFO sightings across the USA.
You might wonder why the Ufologist bothered, but here's the kicker.......many of the people getting the freaky phone occurrences were told by a voice on the phone to give messages to John. A. Keel. None of them knew this Keel fellow (Keel lived in New York) and so most ignored the messages as best they could, but a few of the more dedicated 'visionaries' did some delving and found out who Keel was and contacted him to pass on the messages.....hence his involvement.
He went to Point Pleasant and carried out endless interviews and vigils ,the content of which totally intrigued him and kept him coming back for more.
It should be noted that while many of the visionaries involved lived in Point Pleasant itself,just as many lived in the areas surrounding it. Outlying areas and working farms where people had no time to hang over the garden fence or chat on the phone sharing daft stories. Yes, quite a few knew each other, but again, quite a few were totally independent and simply reported the things to the police after being pursued by Mothman while driving and getting the fright of their lives. And there were a number who refused to go to the police for fear of ridicule......these people were unearthed by Keel from word of mouth information and they would only speak of their experiences on the strict understanding they were not named.
***TO CUT TO THE CHASE***
Keel discovered the Mothman scenario appeared to be linked to the UFO sightings which were incredibly intense in that part of the USA at that point in time.
'Visitors' were described to him........the ubiquitous "Men In Black". They were appearing everywhere. Visiting homes, chatting to people, rapping on doors late at night,and on being refused entry by frightened residents they'd go walking off with their strange gait into the night .....no cars....in the middle of the countryside ! Funny little men, oriental looking and with high pitched voices. Always in black suits and wearing thick soled unusual shoes.....even in the heavy snow. At other times they were in cars. Really old model cars, yet looking like they just came out of a showroom. Spanking shiny new .Number plates were noted, but the numbers existed nowhere when Keel checked them out.
Then the prophecies came into it. Keel would receive messages regarding things about to happen. An attack on a pope for example. People were being given helpful messages regarding their health as well. At first he was into it entirely, but as time went on he realised he was being used in some sort of stupid game. He was realising that this wasn't something or someone trying to help with these tips.....but quite the opposite. They were messing with his head and people's lives.
The crunch came for him when he was warned (in those freaky phone messages,both directly and from other people in Point Pleasant ) that on 15th December 1967, just as the president of the USA would be turning on the lights of the huge Christmas tree on the Whitehouse lawn there would be massive power failures right across the continent causing chaos. Having known other predictions to be true Keel was prepared. He left in bottled water and torches and sat with a friend watching the president speak on live TV prior to switching on the tree lights at 5pm.
Within minutes of the president hitting the switch at 5pm a rolling banner along the screen announced that a bridge had just collapsed in West Virginia. In Point Pleasant. The bridge linking the town to Gallipollis on the other side of the Ohio river . Keel had used this bridge literally hundreds and hundreds of times while on his investigations. The traffic lights at one side had apparently faulted causing traffic to pile up ON the bridge. It couldn't take the strain and collapsed. Keel was devastated. He had made many many friends in that small town and around it . 47 people lost their lives.
This was a game too far for Keel.
He lost heart and gave up his investigations, until there was talk of a movie and he wanted the truth from his point of view put out there.
Much as I'm not into Ufology this was an intriguing book. No matter how much I want to disbelieve everything in it I just can't be so dismissive. Something strange was happening in that area. In other areas too, but this part of west Virginia was party central for UFOs(or whatever you choose to call them) and strange occurrences.
People would go camping there to witness the light shows put on by 'something' in the skies and low over tree tops night after night . It was an entertainment to thousands of people and Keel himself witnessed it often over the year he spent visiting Point Pleasant.
This was a man who knew the psychological tricks of the trade re getting stories from witnesses. He gave nothing away and simply listened and took notes and was anal about not prompting via comment or look . People complained to each other "That Keel guy ? .....he gets all your information but gives nothing back" . Quite.
The fact is that something incredibly unusual was happening over the time period Keel investigated, even allowing for kooks, bandwagon jumpers and general mass hysteria.....something was happening and someone was determined to drag Keel into it.
I felt that Keel was a pawn in a game. Government agency ? Men In Black ? Who knows, but someone was messing with his head and playing a massive game of Chinese Whispers.
Perhaps they hoped he'd openly announce the coming power failure on Dec 15th and then look a proper twonk when it didn't happen ,but by this time he was becoming aware that he was being used/set up in some way and had only told a few carefully chosen friends.
But what of the cruel twist in Point Pleasant that happened instead ? It smacked to me of putting two fingers up at Keel .Whose fingers ? I haven't a clue.
OK...Why? The only answer is that he had to be discredited .
But how could it be set up ? How did 'someone' know the weak bridge in a town that Keel frequently visited hunting UFOs would collapse at a time 'they' had told Keel there'd be a major incident occur ?
The book itself was not as I expected, as in a story.
Nor was it the vaguely paranormal/strange creature visitation book I had expected.
It was more of a running diary of events beginning with Keel being drawn into it and giving eyewitness accounts (but compacted) chronologically.
Many real names are given,and some have written their own accounts of events which it seems have been jooshed up/padded out to form subsequent books. Fair enough , they fancied making a few dollars on the publicity of the movie and went for it. Keel's accounts are taken from diaries and notes made at the time and seem quite basic with no unnecessary drama added.
Because it is so basic and only interesting rather than riveting I'm removing one star.
If one googles "MOTHMAN " there are some images. Including one of him in NY on 9/11......someone with Photoshop and too much time on their hands I think.
Is the book reality ? I think for the most part yes it is ,and I'm prepared to keep an open mind. You might feel differently.
The truth is out there.......................(cue creepy music)
Thank you for reading and sorry it is so long~~~myloh.