Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2018
John Keel's visit from a dead friend that kept him “awake many, many nights”
by: Brent Raynes
John Keel received a visit at his New York City apartment from a close friend named Joe who he hadn't seen for a few years, but who he had formerly been quite close to going back nearly 20 years at one time. Keel was even his best man back in 1950 at this person's wedding. Then on December 15th, 1967, the old friend unexpectedly showed up at Keel's door and they spent hours together, from early afternoon until nearly midnight. My informant of this event, who wished to remain anonymous, also visited Keel's apartment that very day and remembers the man well. “Big guy with a powerful handshake,” he recalled. The problem was, about three years later, Keel described in a letter to this informant (which he provided me a copy) how he was in a store where he found his friend's wife working. He asked her how her husband was doing and she told Keel that he had died of a heart attack back in July 1965, over two years before Keel claimed that this friend had visited his apartment. “I argued that I had seen him in December 1967 and that she must be mistaken,” Keel wrote in the letter. “She was most indignant. How could she be mistaken about a thing like that? She was with him when he died. She went through the funeral and all. She insisted it happened in July 1965.”
Brent Raynes with Tim Frick dressed as an MIB at the Mothman Festival, September 2015
“It looked like Joe, had Joe's memories, was flesh and blood,” Keel continued. “But it couldn't possibly have been Joe. Strange, too, that he turned up on what proved to be one of the most important days in my life. You met him. All the people at Moseley's meeting saw him.” [Keel and this Joe attended a Jim Moseley UFO meeting at some midtown hotel] I had to leave this out of The Mothman Prophecies for obvious technical reasons. It would have been anticlimatic. But this has kept me awake many, many nights.”
I have learned from researchers Tim and John Frick, who have for some years now frequented Point Pleasant, West Virginia and the surrounding region, how they spent some 8 hours with him at the 2003 Mothman Festival, at which time he told them the same story wherein “the day the Silver Bridge collapsed he had spent part of the day with an old acquaintance of his” who Keel “later found out...had died” previously. When John Frick asked Keel what he thought about meeting someone under such odd circumstances, his “exact reply” I was told was, “I don't like thinking about it, because it makes my head hurt.”
When something makes John Keel's “head hurt,” you know you're dealing with high-strangeness that has been kicked up several notches! But in the paranormal world, such stories are not unheard of. I can think of two very similar instances that have been described by people very close to me. Keel, however, being a life-long athiest but a strong believer in deceptive, devilish elemental-type beings he called “ultraterrestrials,” struggled with this encounter. This was a very good friend, who seemed absolutely physical and ordinary, indistinguishable from his real friend. It had his memories too. Forty-six people died in the bridge collapse, that Keel had been receiving psychic warnings about from experiencers for months and weeks previous. But he was unable to put all of the pieces together until the night tragedy struck. Whereas I suspect most, under similar circumstances, would have seen such a visit from a dead friend as a hopeful sign from the great beyond, Keel instead perceived it as yet another mind-f**k from the UT tricksters.
I tried to see if any of the old timers in the field, like Allen Greenfield, Rick Hilberg and Tim Beckley might have had photos from that 1967 Moseley meeting, but no one was able to help. Keel's long-time friend Doug Skinner, who maintains a website (www.johnkeel.com) filled with all sorts of archived materials of Keel's, didn't recall this incident when I contacted him recently. I've read (devoured would be a more accurate word) Keel's books and many articles over the years (even corresponded with him going back to 1969) and until my informant mentioned this incident to me in 2015, I knew nothing of it.