Interview with Andrew Colvin on "Flying Saucer To The Center Of Your Mind Selected Writings Of John A. Keel"
1. I hear you have just edited a couple of John Keel anthologies, one of which is now on Amazon. That is big news. Tell us how that all got started.
I first came across John Keel’s work in the early 1990s. When I read The Mothman Prophecies, my life was altered. I had grown up amidst the Mothman craze in West Virginia in the late 1960s, but few people there had heard of Keel or his Mothman book. It didn’t come out until 1975, and was barely publicized in West Virginia. When finally confronted with it, Keel’s reportage confirmed to me much of what I had already suspected about my “unusual” childhood. I knew that several family members of mine, and many friends and neighbors, had seen strange entities and craft in Pleasant Dell – a spattering of houses in a secluded meadow high above the riverside hamlet of “Mound.” I had seen a couple of strange things there myself.
Above Pleasant Dell loomed the misty summit of “Bird Mountain,” where one can still today see extremely large vultures and – when conditions are right – the Mothman. One can still find neighbors along the roadway that crosses Bird Mountain (Woodward Drive) reporting bizarre, anomalous events. The Kanawha River Valley, home to George Washington, Daniel Boone, Charles Manson, and the family of Mark Twain, was once filled with thousands of Indian burial mounds and large, unusual earthworks that referenced the mathematics of the Great Pyramid at Giza. During the first half of the 20th century, the Kanawha Valley became known as the “chemical capital of the world,” and was given the moniker “The Chemical Valley.”
Local legends speak of strange emanations that come from these mound areas along the Kanawha (called “The River of Death” by the Shawnee) and its tributaries, the Elk, Pocatalico, and Coal Rivers. (The village of Mound straddles all three of these rivers’ confluences with the Kanawha.) Most of these once-sacred areas are now covered with petrochemical plants, lending a spooky aura to the interplay between ancient myth and high-tech science. This clash of paranormal “magic” with corporate “conspiracy” has been at the core of my research into Mothman, UFOs, and the brilliant work of John Keel.
2. As a local, do you feel like Keel told the story as it should have been told?
Yes, John Keel captured the brooding essence not only of Pleasant Dell, Bird Mountain, and Pt. Pleasant, but also of that cosmic “nonlocal” locale where distortions of time and space occur. It is a very complicated area, filled with psychological and disinformational traps, and I would have gotten nowhere in my research without Keel. Most of my research has been personal – just trying to make sense of things that actually happened to me and to people I have known all of my life and trust. But I can personally vouch for the fact that many of the unbelievable scenarios Keel discusses did, in fact, happen.
And I am reasonably certain that the paranormal events and conspiratorial scenarios that happened in Pt. Pleasant and Pleasant Dell are connected. Mothman had more than one nest, and so did the spooks. The X-Files television series did a good job of describing this secret intersection of the supernatural and the supertechnical in West Virginia. We had real CIA, FBI, and NSA agents living in, or regularly visiting, our neighborhood, and we also saw just about every strange entity one can imagine: Mothman, aliens, ghosts, flying saucers, Bigfoot, Men in Black (MIB), the Virgin Mary, black panthers, and “intelligent orbs.”
Keel didn’t have access to some of the information we locals had – for instance, the fact that Charles Manson had lived there and may have triggered our particular Mothman phenomena by burning down Aetna School on Woodward Drive. We don’t know if Manson did it for sure, but he is a definite suspect. Ninety-five percent of the different creature and UFO sightings happened within a quarter-mile radius of that school; most of it right beside the empty field where the school once stood. We played tag football there all the time. Maybe that is why we saw Mothman. Maybe the spirits of the dead kids wanted us to track down Manson, because we were the only people who went into that field.
3. Didn’t you know Keel personally?
I first met Keel in September 2003, at the unveiling of the Mothman statue in Pt. Pleasant, WV. The weather was beautiful that weekend, and he and I were able to spend some quality time driving around or exploring on foot. We also hung out with two enthusiastic Mothman buffs, the Frick brothers (John and Tim), and Harriet Plumbrook, a Mothman witness I have known since early childhood. Harriet comes from a family of highly psychic West Virginians who have been recruited for government intelligence work for at least three generations. Harriet has the same marks on her neck as Agent Scully in X-Files, and is a “medical intuitive” – someone who can read people’s medical conditions and personal histories just by meeting them or “tuning into” them remotely.
When Harriet and I get together, strange things always happen; windows and doors start opening by themselves, weird things are seen, and prophetic dreams and visions occur. Likewise, when I get together with the Fricks, nearby electrical items burn out, odd messages come across the radio, and Men in Black in unmarked vans let us know they are watching. Unusual phone calls periodically come to us (often simultaneously), as they came to Keel years before. When Keel and all of us got together that weekend in 2003, it seemed to create a supernova of paranormal energy.
4. What happened?
Our visit with Keel sparked a flood of paranormal phenomena that lasted several years, up until Keel’s death. We saw and heard all kinds of strange things: poltergeists, swirling clouds of mist, shimmering beings, communications from mischievous entities (one of whom impersonated Keel), and so on. And the coincidences were unbelievable. The synchronicities were so stunning that I began to write primarily about that subject and how it might play into the UFO and Mothman phenomena. My basic discovery was that synchronicity can be used as a research tool, and that the psychic powers associated with Mothman and “natural” UFOs can be harnessed for good – for creative purposes or for healing. Through Keel’s advice and inspiration, I was able to expound enough on the matter that an entire new field of research came into being: “synchromysticism” (also known as “synchroconspiracy”). This idea of utilizing synchronicity and psychic ability greatly intrigued Keel. He was, I think, trying to come up with ways to help save the world from its imminent destruction – by us.
Interestingly, the key breakthrough into “synchromysticism” was our group research into the numbers “11” and “11:11.” All of us were experiencing unbelievable synchronicities with those numbers, including a witness who was grabbed on the shoulder by Mothman in 1973 in Pleasant Dell. (He now lives in Pt. Pleasant.) At that time (2005), there was almost nothing on 11:11 out there – nothing about its secret roots in Freemasonry and ancient religions. We had to play it by ear, but we came up with some good evidence connecting Mothman to both the 11:11 phenomenon and its corollary, the “XX” phenomenon.
Oddly, in 2013, Mothman was seen in Seattle, on Aug. 9th (Manson Day). Mothman told the Seattle witness to “remember Door 11.” Then Mothman tugged on the witness with his “talon.” The 1973 Pleasant Dell witness also describes being grabbed by Mothman’s talon. This Seattle witness claims the talon seemed to morph from a human hand into a talon. (This is the third time he has seen Mothman.) He is very psychic, just like Harriet. The phenomenon seems to zero in on these rare people. Only 10 to 15% of the population is highly psychic. The rest are clueless in this regard, and spend most of their lives searching out religions and other belief systems to give them what the psychics are already experiencing. This can create jealousy and could be one reason why there is so much harassment directed at the psychically inclined.
5. We seem to be more of a problem for Earth than the Reptilians, the skinwalking chupacabras, or the drunken, peg-legged Batsquatches.
This concern for Earth and humanity was in evidence when I asked Keel why he had bothered to come and investigate Mothman and the humble hill folk of the area. If I had not had personal experience with the phenomenon myself, I am not sure I would have researched it at all. Keel’s response was that he came to help people understand what might be going on. He cared about people, and had genuine concern for what the darker aspects of the phenomenon could potentially do. As you read through Flying Saucer to the Center of Your Mind, these dangers will become clear.
Keel was definitely on his toes when he was in Mothman country. He could never fully anticipate when he might be hounded either by the phenomenon itself, or by some secret agent or MIB. (For instance, a likely CIA asset signed books next to him that weekend; I think only Keel and I knew it.) And the fact that Keel could never really figure out the Mothman riddle only added to the tension. Keel really didn’t have an answer for it, and it bothered him. Jokingly, I told him I would help him figure Mothman out, since I had met the creature once or twice. He didn’t laugh, but got serious, and asked me to look into myself – to look at why I was obsessed with Mothman. There was a definite gravity to what he said. It seemed like this was the most important thing he wanted say to me.
And it was great advice. I did what Keel said, and eventually worked through many of my issues. Luckily, in 2012, I completed my 11-year study on Mothman without having gone crazy in the process. Along the way, Keel warned me about several things that might happen if I continued my exploration, and he was right on most counts. The nice thing about this was that his warnings prepared me for certain things that had to happen in order for me to fulfill a key purpose in my life. It wasn’t that I needed to change direction or avoid deep questions; it was that I needed a better idea of what was around the corner as I kept plowing ahead. Keel was, in a way, perhaps channeling the Garuda, who is said to help humans stabilize personal advances along the path of life. As one of my Buddhist mentors used to say, “Illumination is a continuing process, and the Garuda provides support for that process.” In old Appalachian church parlance, the Garuda might be said to “keep you from backsliding.”
6. Can you tell us much about Keel’s final years?
I was able to communicate directly with Keel for three years after the 2003 Mothman statue unveiling. He only lived two or three more years after that. It was always a great pleasure to get an email or call from him, since you knew some funny jokes would be coming your way. It was this congenial part of Keel that drew people to him. In the case of our local Mothman hunting team, Keel’s calming influence seemed to solidify us as a group. We all went through some hard times. When you are experiencing poltergeists, missing time, and doppelgangers, things tend to get weird. Because of John Keel’s wit and lightheartedness, all of us got through it in one piece, overcoming several emotional upheavals and disagreements. John Keel was, in a sense, a healer, although he would never admit this.
After a couple of years of discussing theories and ideas with Keel, he dropped out of the pubic sphere and entered senior-living facilities. It became difficult for anyone to contact him. I put things on hold rather than bug him about it further. But I always remembered what he had said when I had first approached him with the idea of doing a new Mothman book together. Rather than write something new, he suggested I collect and reprint his old magazine articles, many of which touched on what had happened in West Virginia. Keel suggested that there were “technical details” in them that would counter the pat, bogus explanations favored by the media. It almost sounded like he felt his work had been suppressed by third parties – that the scientific parts had been separated from the witness accounts, in order to make it harder to figure out what he had discovered. Once I started paying attention, I realized he was right. There is plenty of Mothman (and UFO) censorship going on out there.
7. So this was actually John Keel’s idea? That’s cool…
Yes. And so I did as Keel suggested. After his death, I collected as many of his old articles as I could, and added them to the material he had already given me. Most of these articles have not seen the light of day since they were originally written almost 50 years ago. In them, I found many interesting tidbits that shed new light on the UFO “problem,” particularly regarding the deadly MIB. Some passages seem coded, in fact, so that two messages are sent – one to mollify the ufonauts and the MIB, the other to clue us in to the secret truth. Over time, I put together a long text that (hopefully) places the Mothman events into this larger, somewhat conspiratorial perspective. This text was split into two volumes, the first of which is the new book, Flying Saucer to the Center of Your Mind.
8. So what did Keel figure out, exactly?
It’s tough to explain in a short article. Keel sometimes used blanket terminology (like “UFO” or “flying saucer”) when describing slightly different situations. He didn’t always parse out whether he was discussing a natural “diamond light” UFO, or a secret craft built by the government or some defense firm. This kind of generalizing cannot be helped, especially when there are so many possibilities involved. So, in traversing Flying Saucer to the Center of Your Mind, I urge readers to keep in mind the fact there seem to be two basic kinds of UFO phenomena: 1) “natural” or Earth-generated phenomena found within nature (i.e. “intelligent lights,” “orbs,” “energy balls,” and attendant psychic phenomena); and 2) “synthetic” phenomena (i.e., manmade craft or effects created purposely by humans).
This natural/unnatural polarity exists in most “paranormal” phenomena. But it is actually more of a spectrum, or continuous loop (occasionally referred to by Keel as “The Great Phonograph in the Sky”). Sometimes, manmade devices and practices cause “natural” paranormal phenomena to happen, even though a different, synthetic effect was initially sought. And this can work in reverse, too, as it did with Nikola Tesla – who got his technological ideas through paranormal means.
9. Yes, things get really hard to sort out. I had all kinds of crazy shit going on with black helicopters, aliens, and Ouija Board demons. And the stuff I have heard from my guests gets way weirder than that.
That is because there is also a third category, which readily crosses over into the other two: the induced UFO experience. This is where the percipient lapses into a trance and imagines an involved experience with a UFO, flying saucer, or entity (either “humanoid” or “creature”) that did not actually happen in everyone else’s daily reality. This can occur naturally (through stimulation from natural “geomagnetic” factors) or synthetically (through electromagnetic signaling from manmade sources, or through direct “brainwashing”). In certain synthetic “alien” abductions (i.e. “MILABS”), it is not uncommon for the victim’s assault at the hands of human experimenters to be replaced with a memory of abduction by “ETs.” One can also have an induced UFO experience by seeing a manmade saucer that one mistakenly thinks is from outer space.
10. Is there anything else you like to say about the project?
I have great respect and admiration for Keel’s writing ability. He was our twentieth-century Mark Twain. He wrote about all kinds of subjects. I hope that I responsibly carried out Keel’s wish to republish these previously suppressed secrets. Perhaps they will now be fully understood. Hopefully the methodologies expounded upon in the first book and its companion volume, The Outer Limits of the Twilight Zone, will help us gain a clearer view of the mysterious and inexplicable universe surrounding us.
To purchase this great book visit Amazon.com