Red Eyes in the Dark: A Review of The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel (2002 edition)

If you are interested in high strange phenomena, this is a good place to start. The work is a solid look at ufology from a well-known researcher, whose influence is still felt in the ufology field.

I enjoyed the Richard Gere film of the same name – it was a solid exercise in creepy, under-explained menace and atmosphere. It was great to get an inside look at the “real story.” This book is cleanly-written, with a lot of anecdotes and connections made in and beyond Point Pleasant, WV during the Mothman/UFO flap of the 1960s.

Keel posits some really wild ideas about who and what these visitors are and what they represent. Basically he argues that all paranormal phenomena has a common origin, and it’s not extraterrestrial. This force has always been with us, and is at once very influential over and totally baffling to us.

He makes a compelling argument, and the wild stories about Mothman (who is not really the focus of the book at all) and company are really weird, creepy, and engaging. There’s plenty of weird little details and straight-up terrifying stories here that will keep you up at night.

However, the book does become repetitive and, once he establishes his hypothesis, the book doesn’t have much else to say except more of the same: more encounters, more weird stuff, more UFOs, more witness testimony, more tapped phones, more false memories…

The book’s final third is largely focused on Keel’s perception of being targeted by non-human entities: suddenly, every other person’s contact experience is about HIM. At some point the book crosses over from being an enjoyable read by a likable researcher to feeling like Keel is suffering a mental breakdown akin to mania, schizophrenia, and paranoia. However, I suspect Keel would offer a knowing smile at my statement: getting personally involved in ufology has a toxic effect on your personal life and state of mind.

These criticisms aside, this is clearly a classic of high strange literature. You don’t have to be familiar with the field to enjoy this book.

4/5 Giant Terror Birds

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