Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, June 2020
by: Brent Raynes
My spooky road trip to Mount Misery and my search for the MIB
Back in the 1960s and early 1970s, MIB [Men In Black] stories were popping up everywhere. It is was then, in my teenage years, that I edited and published a mimeographed newsletter called Scientific Sauceritis Review. In April 1972, my high school buddy David Ward and I took off on a road trip from Maine. I was anxious to venture out into the field to see what I might be able to learn firsthand, inspired by the writings of John Keel, who I had been corresponding with and exchanging newsletters with since October 1969. Back then Keel had an informative non-scheduled newsletter entitled Anomaly that he distributed to interested people in the field.
One of the first places on my list that my friend David and I ended up at was a reputed UFO/paranormal hotspot on Long Island, known as Mount Misery. Three years later, Mount Misery would come to figure very prominently in Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies. So would Jaye P. Paro, a local broadcaster with WBAB radio out of Babylon, New York, who had written an article in a magazine called Beyond [July 1969], describing her investigations and experiences at this site. It sounded like an active “window” location with UFOs, missing time, MIBs, frequently a “weird silence” and a “strange forebody presence,” and more. Keel came to spend a good deal of time investigating this site and Paro became one of his main contacts.
One night around 8 p.m., on January 12, 1969, Paro and two friends, Barbara LaMonica and Richard DiMartino, encountered a very strange and frightening apparition at Mount Misery. As soon as Paro had caught a glimpse of a black movement nearby she turned and snapped a couple pictures with her camera. “The three of us were horrified to see the figure of something that resembled a human, disfigured face, long wild black hair, and dressed in a long black garment,” Richard DiMartino recalled. “It retreated immediately further into the bushes, made no sounds, and made no attempt to communicate with us. Frozen in her tracks Jaye dropped her camera. I picked it up and shot the remaining two pictures. Barbara ran to start the car. Jaye and I followed and we took off in a cloud of dust.”
Only one picture successfully developed. The others were inexplicably fogged it seemed.
In those days, Michael Lindner, a young resident of the Big Apple, a fellow teenage student of the mysteries back in those days, had become my newsletter’s “Fortean consultant.” Years later, he’d become an active participant of Keel’s New York Fortean Society and an Associate Editor of its newsletter.
Michael Lindner (left) and John A. Keel (right)
On June 19, 1972, while on a trip to New York City with my parents [where my mom would always get lost in Macy’s huge store and my dad would likely visit a music shop (he was an accordian playing enthusiast)] I paid Michael a visit. He had been keeping me abreast of the investigative work of a New York ghost hunter friend of his named John Manno, who visited a number of haunted sites, including a very haunted house in New Castle, Pennsylvania, a story that I had written up in my Sauceritis. But what interested me most was Manno’s investigative work at Mount Misery. He and his team had visited there back in July 1970 and one evening [July 11th] they observed something they felt was quite odd. “At about 8:00 we saw a man-like creature approximately 90 feet away, partially hidden by a tree and thick foliage. It was about 7 or 8 feet tall, with dark hair and complexion, and a tan area on its chest resembling a vest or jacket. When we arrived at the spot where the creature had been standing we noticed a very strong odor…a combination of body funk and B.O.…very rank. We did not see the creature’s departure because as we moved toward it we had to keep our attention riveted to the thick foliage over which we were walking.”
On the day previous, Manno and his team also investigated the site. It was their first visit. “We found a number of spots that resembled saucer nests; circular areas of crushed bushes about 10 feet in diameter, with smaller 1 foot circles sometimes lying at the periphery of the large areas.”
During my visit, Michael and I also reviewed the case of a young man he knew in Flushing, N.Y. He had briefed Keel on this case several months before. This person had claimed to have dabbled in some “black magic.” The day before the winter solstice of 1965, which was December 21, he claimed he performed a dark rite during which a blue light filled the room he was in. However, he lost his nerve and ordered it to stop, at which it disappeared. Then on October 21, 1966, around 11 p.m., this person claimed that he observed a silvery disc-shaped object with a green glow hovering a short distance outside of his bedroom window. Then it began to come closer and closer, as a strange humming sound grew louder and louder. Though he was watching all of this from his bed, the next thing he knew he came to on the floor, next to the window, several hours later. This, his first UFO experience, from the information Michael gave me happened on this experiencer’s 16th birthday. I would later find that a number of other experiencers had their first UFO encounter on their 16th birthday too [or their 15th], several with Scandinavian ancestry [two with parents who were Swedish and one of Danish ancestry]. The experiencer in Flushing was Irish.
What did this mean? Beats me! I did come across other experiencer’s who had coincidental birthday/UFO sightings too, but not on their 15th or 16th birthdays, and not their first encounters either. But interestingly the majority were in October, for whatever reason. Or maybe there was no reason?
David and I arrived on the Mount Misery Road [one part of it anyway] late on Saturday night, April 15th. There was a thick fog over the area. It was definitely spooky, but at that point we were too tired to care. I located a spot off the road near an open field. David took the backseat and I collapsed in the front seat. About a half hour later, a beam of light began to move around in the interior of my car. Groggily I raised up and, with my eyes blinking and trying to come back to full wakefulness, I found a police officer at my window. I rolled the window down and he asked what we were doing there and asked to see my registration. As I fumbled around in the glove compartment I explained that we were visiting there to investigate stories that this location had unexplained occurrences, that it was perhaps haunted, to which he told me the Scouts were the only ones haunting the area [there was a local Boy scout Camp nearby]. Still fumbling for my registration, he no longer seemed interested in seeing it and directed me to drive into a nearby town and park my car at say a shopping center, in a well illuminated public parking lot.
I must admit I was rather disappointed that the light beam had a mundane explanation.
The next morning around 6:40 we were greeted by bright sunshine. The birds were singing, and I was ready to head back to Mount Misery Road, which in the light of day didn’t seem too spooky anymore. We had to navigate on to the other part of the site which was divided by the Long Island Expressway. As the morning wore on I was becoming a bit disappointed. Knocking on one door a young woman told me that a few years earlier she had seen an article on haunted Mount Misery in a school newspaper feature, but otherwise locals seemed unhelpful in confirming the area legends we had traveled so far to visit.
As we ventured down another dirt road there was a derelict volkswagon frame just off the road, laying on its side. It was stripped of all the essentials like motor, tires, glass, wiring, etc., etc. Just a metal frame. We drove on and soon came to a dead end, the expressway just beyond. At this point I had had it. Mount Misery had turned out to be a big miserable disappointment for me. I was ready to move on. But as we headed back, which seemed like 5 minutes, quite possibly less, the volkswagon was now upright and in the middle of the road! It was about 10:05 a.m. at this point. In the immediate area we hadn’t seen anyone who we felt would be responsible. Inspecting the ground I didn’t see any drag marks to show it had been dragged from where we had first seen it. I saw some prints made by horses. Before moving the VW frame out of the road I took a picture. We could have easily driven around it and simply continued on, but I stopped as the Beyond article had mentioned how various people had reported abandoned cars that mysteriously changed locations in this otherwise desolate area – even trees!
We drove up the road a short distance and returned. The volkswagon was still in the same spot this time. As we stood there scratching our heads a clean-up crew in a truck picking up bottles, cans, tree limbs and such appeared and began making its way down in our direction. Eventually they reached our location and a man who identified himself as the scout master came up to us pointing out that there were “no trespassing” signs in the area and that the police regularly patrolled there because of drug trafficking and car stripping activities. Being two young men out-of-state he was obviously suspicious of us. I came clean with what we were doing there and told him some of the strange stories I had read like hearing a drum beating and one person claiming to see two Indian looking men fighting, to which he laughed and suggested I read the Boy Scouts Order of the Arrow, as he said that they periodically would dress up as Indians and apparently run through the woods doing mock battles. At that point, while I certainly wasn’t satisfied that the good scout master had debunked everything about Mount Misery, I fell back upon my earlier assessment that I had just before we came back to the volkswagon, and that was that it was time to move on! But at least we came away with one somewhat odd and memorable episode that seemed to be part of the legend of Mount Misery, and certainly no one knew we were coming there and no one seemed to care either – so it just seemed rather peculiar to be confronting, during our brief visit there, one of the things that people had thought strange.
The Beyond article described how one team of investigators visiting the site twice had a couple experiences involving derelict cars. On the first visit they came upon a severely burned car in the middle of a dirt road. No tires or rims, the axles sunk into the dirt. The next day when they returned it was in a different location. “There were no drag marks as if it had been towed,” one of them noted. Also during their first visit they noticed an abandoned car surrounded by tall grass and brush. On their next visit the car was gone and there was no sign that it had ever been there. “Our second visit was too soon for the brush to have grown up to cover the crushed area that the automobile must have made. Yet the entire area was now completely covered with the tall grass and brush.”
A couple young men had told Miss Paro that shrubbery had changed locations too! Skeptical she had them spray white paint on some roadside trees and paint places on the ground to mark their locations as well. She described how when they returned a couple days later and the paint was on some trees but none on the ground, while in two instances “the paint was still on the ground but there was none on the nearest trees. The trees had apparently moved.”
Now that might have really jacked me up!
We next cruised into Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. My correspondent Floyd Murray had been writing me about people in his area who were heavily involved in the metaphysical and the witchcraft community and a couple of interesting local charismatic characters who seemed especially insightful and knowledgeable about such matters. In fact, one resembled an MIB, right down to his monotone voice, was quite knowledgeable on the subject, and seemed very psychic to many [in fact, I discovered how a local lady ufologist, who had also been a psychiatric social worker, had (her and her family) been having pretty disturbing MIB-type experiences and these two metaphysical guys she felt seemingly helped resolve the problem. People were nervous about the MIB looking metaphysician, though he was much more sociable than the sinister “better keep your mouth shut” variety. I actually ran into him one evening while visiting a community new age center called Parastudy. He was up on UFOs and the MIB subject, and I found out how the lady ufologist actually allowed him to slip in little messages for John Keel in her personal correspondence with him. Floyd claimed he had what he thought was a kundalini type experience one night, after which he felt his knowledge of metaphysics was acutely elevated. “After the experience I found my mind able to soar to heights of abstract thought which for me were quite advanced,” he explained. He introduced me to a number of people who had had experiences with the sociable MIB type. Some were rather freaked out though, like the woman who claimed she met him during an out of body experience where he appeared as a scary dark hooded figure. The woman felt he was quite evil. I heard about another woman who had a similar experience. One young lady shared with me how she felt that this man could partially control people, and she had witnessed it with both her and a male friend of hers who was involved in witchcraft practices. She told me that she felt the man was far more psychically evolved than many realized.
Later cruising on further to another Pennsylvania destination, David and I visited yet another young ufologist who had been writing me of MIB type activity in his area. We were graciously invited to spend the night there also. Some had been wondering why the MIB were reportedly harassing teenaged ufologists. Down in the basement, I was surprised to see the floor and a wall painted with occult type symbols. The ufologist had hoped to conjure contact! I was immediately reminded, of course, of the famous MIB stories of Albert K. Bender of Connecticut back in the 1950s who had been a reader of black magic and the occult, in addition to UFO literature, and had painted a room of his house with similar symbology. Some felt that it might have psychically contributed to his weird claims of apparitional type MIBs with glowing eyes. A few months ago, I touched base briefly with this ufologist once again. His paint work never did bring about any psychic contact results he admitted. I brought up the skepticism some had of the accounts of MIB harassing teenagers and he reaffirmed those incidents really happened to him and others. Today he’s still involved in UFO research, though cautious and skeptical of many stories in the field. I reflected on this and thought how numerous Marian apparitions often involved the young, children and teenagers, and later exploded into incredible episodes that involved many witnesses, and the same could be said of poltergeist incidents.
For me, over the years since that early road trip, again and again it has become obvious that UFOs and paranormal phenomena seem somehow interconnected. And yes, dark aspects of such occurrences like the MIB sometimes seem to be lurking close by and we hear stories too involving those dabbling into the occult and black magic. When Tim Beckley interviewed John Keel once, he congratulated him for helping make this paranormal component known in the field. Keel responded: “It’s a hollow victory. We have just opened pandora’s box. Instead of solving the mystery, we’ve created many new ones.”
In that same interview, Keel talked about the MIB. He had felt that some were humans who were perhaps under the control of an alien intelligence. “It has always been my hope that one day we could actually corner one of these guys and get him to talk,” Keel said. The odd guy I had met in Pennsylvania seemed to know a lot about the subject, told me how he knew I was seeking to look at the bigger picture behind all of this, even admitted that at that very moment he could be diverting me from something else [actually because of meeting him I did miss a possible opportunity to spend the night in a haunted building]. He cautioned me not to waste time on things that didn’t really matter, like so many “beautiful souls” in the world do, and then when I thought we might be gaining some traction in our little odd conversation he really began acting odd, talking about how fun it would be to torture an MIB by cutting off one of its fingers to see if it bled or was instead a robot.
Again in the interview with Keel, he joked about torturing an MIB a bit to get one to talk, but instead of chopping off a finger Keel suggested one might force the MIB to listen to a Jim Moseley lecture.
Oh, and by the way, also near to Philadelphia, according to Dr. Peter Rojcewicz (MUFON UFO Journal, March 1990, #263) in 1983 there was an MIB who could seemingly appear and disappear, the police became involved, and in this instance the MIBs identity was determined to be that of an “earthly military man in a possession state.” This MIB had somehow left behind some papers that revealed his intelligence and security background, and Dr. Rojcewicz claimed he knew his name, occupation, etc.
Any connection to the man I met?