An Interview with John Keel
by: Andy Colvin
Mothman & Other Curious Conspiracies – Pt. Pleasant, WV – 2003 A very rare and candid interview with the late John A. Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, Operation Trojan Horse, The Eighth Tower, Our Haunted Planet, and Mysteries of the Orient-Jadoo Interview done by noted researcher and author Andy Colvin
Andy Colvin (AC): Did The Mothman Prophecies come out the way you wanted?
John A. Keel (JAK): Well, they took a lot of stuff out. They especially took out my profound, mind-bending philosophy...
AC: What was that?
JAK: I don't know, just my usual mind-bending philosophy. I went through all that so many years ago. Now I'm just concerned with keeping the planet Earth going. I don't think we have much of a future here. I think it's time for us to build a rocket and go to Mars or something.
AC: Do you think that there's something to these stories about the Mayan calendar and 2012 being the end of the world? Are we coming to a turning point?
JAK: Well, they've predicted the end of the earth every few years for all my life, and of course a lot of religions are based on Armageddon. It always seems like we're right on the edge of extinction, yet we keep going. All the things that are happening in the Middle East now are reasonably outlined in the Bible. People who read the Bible carefully get scared to death that these things are coming to pass.
AC: I have a little theory that this recent blackout in New York may have been the one that was predicted in 1967, and mentioned by you in The Mothman Prophecies. Mothman witnesses were having premonitions of a blackout in New York. And I think a partial one did occur at that time, when the president flipped the switch on the Christmas tree.
JAK: Oh, yes, President Johnson… He was having a high-level meeting with the Russians in Glasborough, New Jersey. When he flipped the switch, the lights failed in Glasborough, and they had a lot of trouble with telephones and things. There were a lot of predictions in that book that came to pass, like Martin Luther King's assassination. There were a lot of predictions of the assassination of the Pope. And there were assassination attempts. As you know, he got shot, which is not very healthy. Also, a renegade priest tried to stab him. It's tough being the Pope.
AC: The reason I bring it up is because, as I told you, we built a shrine to the Mothman as children. The Mothman showed up, and we had a premonition of 9/11 in New York in 2001. Having had that experience, it seems to me that some of these prophecies were way ahead of their time – maybe 35 years or more. This led me to think that maybe the 1967 prediction, of a big blackout in New York, was actually a premonition of this most recent one in 2003. It just took that long (35 years) to occur.
JAK: Right… Now the attack on the World Trade Center… None of our psychics saw that coming. Normally if we have a major event, like the assassination of President Kennedy, hundreds of people foresee it. But this thing at the World Trade Center took everybody by surprise – even the psychics. The pundits on television are telling us that London is now next. There have been a lot of predictions about something happening in London. Of course, that's a major city full of people, and it's pretty hard to protect. But very often, these predictions just lead us astray. While we're watching London, they're doing something in Cairo... The prediction business is very hazardous.
AC: Whitley Strieber talks about this topic in his Secret School book. He says that he thinks that these premonitions are warning tools that arise in humanity as we reach cataclysmic times. Premonitions allow for changing the future or a bad outcome, before it gets here. Do you think there's anything to that?
JAK: I don't think we can change the future. If we knew exactly what was going to happen six months from now, we couldn't do anything about it. We're not that well organized – that civilized. If we were, we could have a perfect world. But the world becomes more imperfect all the time. I've given a lot of thought to the future. It seems to me that for people to see the future, the future would have to exist in some form. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to see it. I have written about finding a way to tap into this universal mind. Then we could see the future. Once we can see the future – the future of the human race – then we are at “childhood's end.” And it's all over… We can let the dolphins and the Mothmen have the planet. We don't seem to be doing very much for this planet, anyway. We're systematically destroying it, and everything on it – killing off all the lifeforms. I'm not sure that's a real plan for this planet.
AC: I should clarify that our 9/11 vision showed greater damage than what actually occurred, which makes me wonder if there isn’t some wriggle room in changing the future. Perhaps events can be changed by the prior awareness of many people? Now earlier, you said that you're trying to keep ecological ideas going – trying to find a way to live more in harmony. Is that what keeps you coming back to Point Pleasant?
JAK: I don't know what keeps me coming back to Point Pleasant. It's pretty much the way they said it in the movies, where Dr. Leek warns Richard Gere not to go back to Point Pleasant. I had a lot of warnings like that. I can't see that Point Pleasant is the center of any universal harmony or whatever. There are other places in the United States where people who are more “attuned” gather with that kind of thing in mind. But the people in West Virginia are just people. I've run into very few psychics here.
AC: In my case, I approached the Mothman from a desire to see him. Most people just stumbled across him. It frightened them. Do you think there's a difference? If you're a person who wants to find the Mothman, like you or me, does that change the way the encounter might play out?
JAK: Well, I know this happens to many people. They want to see a flying saucer. They want to see Mothman – something to confirm their beliefs, whatever their beliefs are. There are people who sit cross-legged in a cave for 30 years to attain Godhead and become part of God. We had this group a few years ago that committed suicide, thinking that was the way to join the flying saucers – the Heaven's Gate cult.
AC: My theory on that? I don't know if you remember this, but that was the same day that the Martin Luther King family came out and said that they thought James Earl Ray was innocent. They felt that it was the government that had killed MLK.
JAK: And they went to court and won! It was too late for James Earl Ray, but they had a big court event claiming that another man was the mastermind behind the whole thing – a businessman who lived in the South. They had the evidence on him, and the jury agreed with them. And it didn't make the newspapers at all! The only press it got in New York was in one of the Harlem newspapers. The other papers just avoided the subject.
AC: Yes, that businessman was Jowers, the owner of the bar across from the Lorraine Motel. He had taken the gun and shuffled it out. Speaking of conspiracies, I was listening to a talk recently by Walter Bowart. He wrote an influential book in the 1970s called Operation Mind Control. He is now saying that the cutting edge of mind control research has to do with UFOs. But he didn't really go into the details of it. I was wondering if that rings a bell with you at all. Do you think that there is manipulation going on within this “phenomenon?”
JAK: I had a friend, Ivan Sanderson, who was a real scientist. He had looked into the UFO stuff and written a lot about it. He kept referring to the “mind patrol.” He felt that people's minds were being somehow tampered with, and there was nothing we could do about it. As you know, we've seen a lot of people who are obsessed – who go way out on a limb with this stuff. Whitley Strieber is a good example. He started out just wanting to be a writer, and he's ended up with his mind opened up to all kinds of things. He's now back in Texas with a radio program. Did you read his book about the coming storms and strange changes in the weather? It came out two or three years ago. It did not become a bestseller. Of course, timing is very important in any book. If you come out with the biggest, best-written book of all time at the same time Hillary Clinton’s book comes out, people are going to buy Hillary's book, not yours. That kind of thing happens over and over…
AC: In terms of trying to maneuver through this minefield of paranormal phenomena, I've speculated that it's important for people to look at their own experience, and try to figure out if it was a “natural,” bio-energetic event, or if there was some sort of a “synthetic,” governmental, or human influence on it. It seems to me that it's important to figure that out – to try and look at your own situation and separate the two.
JAK: Well, the thing that works against all these conspiracy theories is that the government is very stupid. They try conspiracies against each other, but they're very stupid, almost all the time. Mostly, governments consist of either madmen like Adolf Hitler and company, or small-town lawyers who have suddenly talked their way into a big position handling billions of dollars. But they can't even handle their own bank account! And there are other things at work here that we don't understand, like the fact that somebody runs everything, yet we don't know who it is. That's what it amounts to... If you look at the economic situation very closely – the oil situation and all – you see that there's somebody running this thing, and that they had it planned for a long time. But we don't know who they are. They're sitting on a mountaintop somewhere, or in a penthouse somewhere, keeping a very low profile. And when they die, they don't even get an obituary. These are the people we really have to think about and go after. George Bush spends a lot of his time on his ranch. We have the Arabian countries run by very wealthy men who have no real interest in running countries. They just want to run their oil business, or whatever they are running. There's got to be some guy out there – like a Howard Hughes type – who is really visionary and has knowledge of what he's doing and how he's doing it. For a while I did think it was Howard Hughes, because he fit into all of the patterns. He was a recluse; he was a nut; he was filthy rich; and he was capable of almost anything. When he moved to Las Vegas, he got them to stop the testing of atomic bombs in Nevada. Not many men have the power to do that. Nobody ever really found out where all of his money went. He did contribute heavily to the CIA. And there must be people in the CIA who are operating on their own or with overseas bankers.
AC: The Gemstone File claims Hughes was kidnapped by Onassis and held on an island for 20 years, while being force-fed heroin. Onassis, the CIA, and the Mormons supposedly appropriated Hughes’ money. But I wanted to ask whether or not you run into problems with people (like cryptozoologists) who think that if you're both a paranormal witness and researcher, your credibility somehow goes down. I was talking to you the other day, and you said that you started off as a “ridiculous,” low-credibility figure. As a result, did that issue – of their trying to lower your credibility through ridicule – become moot? How does one defang the spooks, dupes, and paid skeptics?
JAK: I spent years of my life writing jokes for television. I wrote Merv Griffin's ad-libs at one point. There are a lot of people writing ad-libs. You see these comedians on television, and you think they're very funny people; they aren't. They've got ten guys behind the scenes writing jokes for them. Take Regis Philbin and his show Do You Want to Be a Millionaire… Regis sits in front of a television set, and they have three or four guys sitting backstage. For every situation that comes up, these guys (who are crack-humorous) immediately type in a joke, and Regis reads it off the TV screen. Everybody says, “That Regis is really fast-witted and funny.” Well, the guys who are fast-witted and funny are sitting backstage earning $10,000 a minute. Jay Leno has twenty writers writing all of his monologues and jokes. Johnny Carson used to have a script with him onstage. You'd see him shuffling papers. If you were an outsider, you'd say, “What the hell are those papers?” They were the scripts. He had jokes for all the visitors that came on. The writers had prepared jokes ahead of time. And there would be subjects that people didn't want to discuss. Those would be listed there. Carson would follow the instructions.
AC: If people knew this sort of thing, they'd have more appreciation for what we are doing here today. We are having a real conversation. There are no cue cards here.
JAK: Oh, I wrote cue cards, too. [laughter]
AC: Have you talked much about your childhood? I remember reading that you had some paranormal experiences as a child, with some lights in your room.
JAK: Yes. Around the age of 12, I was living in an old farmhouse, upstairs. Everybody else was sleeping downstairs. There came a knocking on the wall. At first I thought it was squirrels in the attic or something. I did my “scientific” investigation of the whole house. I couldn't find anything. This went on for several weeks. I couldn't find any explanation for these knockings. Then I learned that you could communicate with them, just like the Fox sisters had – you know, “knock three times for this, and two times for that.” As a 12-year-old, I didn't have many interesting questions to ask, but I was communicating with this thing that was knocking in the wall. This drove me to the public library to find any books I could on psychic phenomenon. They only had about three books. Up until the 1960s, all of this stuff was really taboo. You don't realize today how taboo it was. It was almost illegal. They'd almost put you in jail for getting into psychic phenomena or parapsychology. There have been like five “New Ages,” and each New Age has brought us to another level. Every few years, somebody like Shirley Maclaine starts up again. It's a phenomenon in itself. It's like there's a timetable, and every generation is elevated a little bit. Did you ever read Childhood's End? I'm always quoting that. It's an Arthur C. Clark science-fiction book. Basically, his story was that we eventually evolve into something else. We evolve into a spiritual thing; then we don't need all of the trappings that go with being human beings. We abandon our bodies and just become spirit.
AC: Speaking of spiritual beings, there are stories now that the Sasquatch are psychic. When you were in Nepal, you saw a couple of them, didn’t you?
JAK: Well, I saw animals from a distance, and the Natives told me it was the Yeti. At that time, interest in the Yeti was very high, and the publisher asked me about it. I told him, “Probably a bear.” And he said, “We'll make it into a Yeti. It’ll sell.”
AC: Apparently there is an alternate form of bear up there, too, which Reinhold Messner, the great climber, has seen.
JAK: I read his book. He believes in it enough that he moved to Tibet. I think he's still chasing it. I don't think he's caught it. But the Chinese and the Russians are very big on this. They have financed big expeditions to go to these areas where they are seeing them. So far, they've turned up very little. Meanwhile in the United States, in the state of Washington, somebody gave five million dollars to one of the Bigfoot chasers. He got helicopters out, and all kinds of expensive equipment. Every time the phone rang, they'd all jump into the helicopter and try to go to the scene. They spent the five million dollars. They lived very well while they were chasing Bigfoot, but they never caught Bigfoot.
AC: A fellow named Lapseritis has written a book called The Psychic Sasquatch. He claims that you need to go into the forest and quietly meditate for several days. If you follow certain rituals and meditations, the Sasquatch will telepathically contact you. Do you think there's anything to that?
JAK: No, but it just wouldn't apply just to the Sasquatch. It would apply to almost anything. You know, so much energy has been spent on these subjects – writing about them and exploring them. And yet, we've always ended up with nothing. That's not made me sour on these subjects, but I know that we have to take another approach that's entirely different. In the 1960s, we had people sitting in the TNT Area all night long, simply because someone else had seen something there once. They still came, for years afterwards, to the TNT Area. Some of those who are into witchcraft and the black arts were obviously in the TNT Area, because they had put graffiti up in all the buildings. But Mothman may have been a very temporary or sporadic thing, just like most of the Bigfoot sightings there.
AC: In really old Buddhist paintings, they often have the Garuda floating above the Buddha. He’s a deity to the Buddhists.
JAK: It may be that when they “saw” the Garuda, they thought it to be a spiritual entity. It was so different that they included it in their spiritual drawings and paintings. As you know, in Indonesia they have belief in the Garuda going way back. The American Indians believed in the Thunderbird for generations. In some cases, they thought the Thunderbird was very dangerous and would attack you. This may be true, because if a giant creature attacks you like that, there's not going to be any evidence left of the attack. It's going to carry you away and eat you.
AC: Sort of like that situation in Braxton County, West Virginia that you wrote about, where some teenagers went missing.
JAK: There were a lot of disappearances of teenagers in those days. They were hitchhiking, which used to be legal. That was the way kids got around. They were hitchhiking to the football games and would never show up. The police tried to keep it as quiet as they could, which they always do. We had things happen here in Point Pleasant that they tried to keep quiet. It especially annoys them when someone like me shows up.
AC: The Men in Black probably weren’t happy, either.
JAK: The MIB would show up alongside UFOs and tell the witnesses to shut up. They drove black Cadillacs – expensive antique ones – and they were showing up all over the country. But most people are not going to report this to anybody. If someone gets out of a black Cadillac and takes a picture of your house, you’re going to think it’s a real estate agent. I thought I would have a better chance of catching an MIB than Mothman, because I can’t fly. But the MIB were always one step ahead of me. If I were driving to a small town in West Virginia, they would show up two or three hours before I would get there. And they would take pictures of people’s children – especially children who had seen Mothman along with their parents. I was concerned for these children. One parent, a dentist, had to deal with the black Cadillacs trying to nab his kids as they walked home from school. This was long before we had all of the perverts and serial killers, so it was really horrible. It stood out. I was also concerned for Mary Hyre, because her office was right next to the Silver Bridge, and the MIB were always coming in there. She hadn’t slept for three days when I finally contacted her after the bridge collapse... And there were female MIB, too. I have had mysterious encounters, particularly on trains, with very beautiful ladies. They looked like movie stars. They were obviously assigned to talk to me, so I wouldn’t tell them anything. When the train got to the station, they would always disappear, even if I had been talking to them for three hours.
AC: We found that the rivers in West Virginia seem to be where most of the Mothman sightings occur – along the Ohio, Poca, Coal, Elk, and Kanawha rivers. Do you think there's something about water that aids the paranormal process?
JAK: Oh yes – water, and also blood. In the Mothman days, the ufonauts seemed to have a real interest in blood. This also is sort of a taboo subject, especially if you're being interviewed for television. They don't want to talk about that. They usually are waiting for me to say something in particular; you never know what. In a two-hour interview, they may only take 30 seconds and put that on the air.
AC: Well, we're going to use the whole interview.
JAK: We've got so many mysteries on our hands. It's better to be normal and not pay any attention to mysteries.
AC: Are you still actively investigating?
JAK: Not actively... We had a bunch of sightings of Bigfoot up in the Catskill Mountains two or three years ago. The only reason I went up there was that my informant was one of the game wardens. We had very good witnesses. Whatever these things are, they vanished as fast as they came. I've had reports where witnesses have seen a Bigfoot reach down to the ground and catch the hand of another Bigfoot, and then pull it up out of the ground – the solid ground. Then the two of them would walk away. That's a pretty good indication that it's something other than a physical animal we're watching. We are watching the behavior of a paraphysical object.
AC: A friend and I saw a Bigfoot in the Catskills once, in the early 1980s, while camping after the Anti-Nuke Rally in New York City. Actually we never saw the creature, as it seemed to be invisible. The spot was fairly remote, and it came up to us soon after we got out of the car. How did it know where we were going to pull over? We heard the crunching of heavy steps, and I got this frightening chill up my spine. When we saw the tall vegetation parting – with nothing there – it was terrifying. Later, I decided it must have been Bigfoot. This was on Bear Mountain.
JAK: I know Bear Mountain. The recent paraphysical activity I mentioned was near there. So you got “the chill,” huh? Some people just see two red eyes in the woods, and it scares the hell out of them. These are experienced people who camp out all the time. These two huge, red eyes, each the size of a dinner dish, will appear in the woods. They don't see any forms besides that. They're terrifying, whatever they are. And with Mothman, they always reported that it had those red eyes.
AC: I have a friend who saw the red eyes in his bedroom. He said the bed started shaking violently. He saw the red eyes and then blanked out. He doesn't remember anything that happened after that.
JAK: I went into the old power plant in the TNT Area with one of the early Mothman witnesses. The power plant, you know, was a pretty big place. It had all kinds of steel stairways in it. It was a good place for a Mothman to hide. She volunteered to go with me into this plant, and she became hysterical. I didn't see anything, but she claimed she saw the eyes – just the red eyes. She saw something red in there, that’s for sure. We had a policeman standing outside the plant while we were in there. He wouldn't go in. I was such an idiot then – the “fearless John Keel.” I was convinced that I was right, and the world was wrong, and therefore nothing was going to happen to me when I faced off with these entities.
AC: Well, that power plant story reminds me of something in Gray Barker's book, The Silver Bridge. He has a couple of chapters in there where he describes things from Mothman’s point of view.
JAK: Well, you have to be very careful with Gray Barker. He was an intelligent, complex person with a very good sense of humor. In his Silver Bridge, he has people flying around in flying saucers with Indrid Cold and all that. He was having some fun. If you read his famous book They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers carefully, you can see that there's a point where he sort of gives up and starts fictionalizing. He just says, “To hell with it,” and throws in everything. That book was so popular, a copy of it was found in the home of the Heaven’s Gate people who committed suicide.
AC: Do you feel the Indrid Cold story is bogus?
JAK: Yes, but I think his original story had some substance to it, because he was scared enough to go to the police. Nobody's going to go to the police with a bogus story. They might come to you or me with a bogus story, but they're not going to go to the cops. Like Barker, Derenberger was a complex character. His daughter called me a couple of years ago, very upset that some television show had done something about him. He had “given the whole thing up” in the 1970s or '80s, and moved to Ohio. People were always writing to me. They wanted to contact Derenberger, because they wanted to contact Indrid Cold. Indrid Cold became a real entity to them.
AC: What about the other witnesses, who said they saw the “spacecraft” parked in front of Woody’s truck? Do you think there may be a part of the story that's real?
JAK: Yes, two men who lived outside of Point Pleasant had pretty much the same experience. They were going to report it, but one of their sons came by and talked them out of it. I knew all the details, and was going to use some of it in a book or article I was doing. In short, the witnesses got talked out of it.
AC: Switching gears, it sounds like you have a sense that we need to change direction as a civilization. Do you have a soundbite or a mantra for how to start that process?
JAK: No, and it would take somebody with great leadership ability to have any affect. As you know, the Bible and Nostradamus and everybody are predicting that a man is going to come out of the Middle East and start this process going. So we're over there, now, bumping off all the Arab leaders we can find.
AC: A lot of the old Sumerian tablets over there are being destroyed, too.
JAK: That's another habit we have, of destroying so many of these ancient artifacts. When we finally arrived at Easter Island, they had a lot of writings carved into wood, because all they had were trees there. The early explorers destroyed all of the writings. Of course it would have been a job to interpret them (similar to cracking the Egyptian hieroglyphs), but those slabs of wood should have been safely stored somewhere.
AC: If you were interviewing a witness like me – who comes up 30 years later and says they had this bizarre Mothman experience as a kid – what would you say?
JAK: I would ask: “Why are you still obsessed with this?” You've got to explore your inner self. This happens to many of the people who get involved, who would never think – in a million years – to get involved in something like this. It suddenly changes their whole lives, and they may not really understand what's happening to them. But it has opened up the minds of many people. I always recommend reading The Elegant Universe. Before we can understand the “paranormal,” we've got to understand the “normal” universe a little bit. The people who have been chasing the “Bird” (Mothman) are not bird experts. The people chasing the Loch Ness Monster don't know a damn thing about fish. I'd study the forms in the ocean before I'd really get serious about Loch Ness. Of course, now the British government has come out with a very firm statement saying that they have spent a lot of money at Loch Ness, and that there is nothing there. Well, that only convinces many people that there is something there.
AC: Would you say that you got into this originally as part of a self-journey?
JAK: Yes, it started when I was very young. I had a very bad childhood. My mother and father parted when I was about 3 years old. In a sense, I'm an orphan who raised myself. I was reading my own books, and reading books on many subjects. When I was a kid, there was a poltergeist in our farmhouse. It was a terrible farm, with an unheated outhouse (fun in the winter) and no electricity. It was so damn primitive. It had no insulation, and we heated it with kerosene lamps. You had to pump the water from a well, and it tasted sulfuric. It was still the Great Depression, and we didn’t really realize how bad it was… But I would get these knocks on my bedroom wall. I would tap to it, and it would tap back. Maybe it was Mothman. I worked out a primitive code and asked it questions like, “Who will win the war?” These interchanges drove me to the public library in town, looking for books on psychic phenomena. They had about three books, so I read those and slowly developed an interest in the paranormal. I was mostly interested in writing jokes, however. I read the works of Will Rogers and so on. Around the same time, I wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, and he thought it was so funny that he asked me into his office. He had inherited the newspaper, and he offered me two dollars a week to write a column. This was a big deal in those days. Some of those columns were really awful – really “scraping the keel” – but I did it for several years. It takes discipline to do that, so it was good practice. I was able to take off from there. I never finished high school, but people assumed I had a doctorate, because of the subjects I was able to write about at such an early age. By the time I was 17, I was really on my own, all by myself. I came to New York with 75 cents. It never occurred to me that this was a very dangerous thing to do. I just knew that I had to be in New York; that was where I was supposed to be. New York has been my home ever since. Even though I've traveled all the time, I keep going back to New York. I’ve met a lot of fascinating people there…
AC: Well, your Mothman Prophecies book certainly is fascinating. When I ran across it in 1993, it put it all together for me. At least, it got me thinking that I wasn't crazy...
JAK: Right, and that was my intention. That was a carefully done book. I really aimed that book at people who had had experiences, whether it was experiences with Big Bird, or small bird, or Loch Ness, or whatever. I've heard from thousands of them since. They know that they're not crazy, and they know that they are learning. It's a shame that the whole world doesn't go through this learning process, but they don't. It's only a small percentage... I did a lot research into parapsychology and psychic phenomenon. The Bird was here in the Ohio Valley for at least three weeks. I was convinced at the beginning that the Bird was a real bird – that it physically existed. But the sightings stopped after a month or so, so I figured it had moved on to another nesting area, or was looking for food somewhere else. However, it has turned up in other areas of the world ever since, so there is something to it. But no birdwatchers have ever seen it, and they are always looking. Whatever the hell Mothman is, it put a big scare into a lot of people here in Pt. Pleasant. Nowadays, they argue about it. Some say there is no such thing; others say there is. I am convinced that this thing we call “Mothman” is out there, but we haven’t learned much about it. We need more specialists on giant birds, or perhaps interdimensional birds, since we can never seem to find any Moth-scat or other proof that it is physical.
AC: Even though interdimensionality is proven by quantum physics, many naturalists still tend to doubt it.
JAK: The Elegant Universe is heavy reading, but it is the best book on this subject. It defines what we know, in general terms, about our place in the universe. Our home is a bubble of water filled with billions of peculiar lifeforms. They keep telling us they are finding new planets, but usually there is no life on them. If the earth were in just a slightly different position relative to the sun, we would either burn up, or be freezing. We will never be able to settle Mars like we did Virginia. We landed on the moon over 30 years ago – an impossible dream when I was a kid – but we haven’t been back for a long time. If we decided to go back again, it would take us ten years to rebuild the equipment, because the blueprints do not exist; they were supposedly “destroyed.” We should probably have a plan for getting off the planet, since the earth may eventually be hit by a comet and burn to a cinder.
AC: Is there really a way out?
JAK: I’ve run out of bad advice to give people, because I think so much of it is hopeless. We will never know what’s going on. People have been chasing ghosts since the beginning of times – for 5000 years or more – and we still don’t know anything about ghosts. There are many theories about “dead people returning” and so on, but we have no proof. What would be rapping on my wall when I was 12 years old? Maybe it was something inside of me that needed expression – that wanted to come out. We are doing more studies now of the human being than we ever did before. We need to learn a lot more about the human being. Why do young men go off to war? Why do we do these stupid things? This planet has so much on it that still has to be explored, and billions of lifeforms in every shape and form. If I were a young person going into science, I would just pick one of these forms and study it. There are plants thousands of feet below the ocean. The middle of the desert is filled with all kinds of living things. Life can adjust to anything on this planet; it has for a long time. Birds survive by eating all the insects and worms, or by eating each other. Hawks take other birds home for dinner. That’s the way nature has worked it out. Today, we go out and hit a cow on the head with a sledgehammer. (We have improved methods now.)
AC: Technology increases efficiency. Where would cattle mutilators be without black helicopters?
JAK: That’s why scientists specialize. If you want to study poison ivy, you have to study it for years. There are doctors who do nothing but study one organ. This is the age of specialization. And it is the same with writers, who specialize in all sorts of different things. Mark Twain – whose family was from Point Pleasant, incidentally – would write about everything. But writers today just write about one thing – usually politics. They waste their lives this way. The political writing from two years ago is useless today. Why did they bother? Most of it wasn’t true to begin with! We have big problems with education, and thus with logic and reason. If you meet someone who has been investigating UFOs, Bigfoot, and the like for twenty years, they are basically pretty crazy. Like any religious fanatic, they have usually lost all credibility. Some of them go on the lecture tour, because there are people who like to go to these conventions. People go to these lectures like they go to lectures on how to grow flowers. It doesn’t amount to much in the end. I have had many offers to do lectures on Mothman, but I rarely do. I have only given three or four lectures on Mothman in 35 years.
AC: That makes this interview all the more special. Thanks. I will take your advice and put a time-limit on my Mothman project, so that I don’t go crazy. But I have to do it.
JAK: That’s okay. The “coincidences” you have found between yourself and the other witnesses are really interesting. Just remember to pay attention to human psychology.