8 - Procession
of the Damned
While Mothman and
Cold attracted all the publicity and turned everyone’s eyes to the
deep skies of night, the strange ones began to arrive in West
Virginia. They trooped down from the hills, along the muddy back
roads, up from the winding “hollers,” like an army of leprechauns
seeking impoverished shoemakers. It was open season on the human
race and so the ancient procession of the damned marched once more.
A doctor and his wife
driving along a country road in a snowstorm saw a huge, caped figure
of a man struggling through the snow, so they stopped to give him a
ride. He vanished. There was nothing but whirling snowflakes and
night where he had stood.
Black limousines halted in front of the hill homes and deeply tanned
“census takers” inquired about the number of children living with
the families. Always the children. In several instances, the
occupants of the big black cars merely asked for a glass of water.
The old fairy trick, taken up from the Middle Ages and dusted off.
A blond woman in her
thirties, well-groomed, with a soft southern accent, visited people
in Ohio and West Virginia whom I had interviewed. She introduced
herself as “John Keel’s secretary,” thus winning instant admission.
The clipboard she carried held a complicated form filled with
personal questions about the witnesses’ health, income, the type of
cars they owned, their general family background, and some fairly
sophisticated questions about their UFO sightings. Not the type of
questions a run-of-the-mill UFO buff would ask.
I have no secretary. I didn’t learn about this woman until months
later when one of my friends in Ohio wrote to me and happened to
“As I told your
secretary when she was here ...”
Then I checked and found
out she had visited many people, most of whom I had never mentioned
in print. How had she located them?
There were other weird types on the loose. In early December one of
them tried to waylay Mrs. Marcella Bennett, one of the ladies who
had had the frightening meeting with Mothman in the TNT area on
November 16. She and her small daughter, Teena, were driving along a
deserted back road outside of Point Pleasant when she became aware
of a red Ford Galaxy following her. It was driven by a large man, a
stranger, she said, who appeared to be wearing a very bushy fright
She slowed down,
expecting the vehicle would pass. Instead, it tried to force her off
the road. She accelerated and the other car raced around her, shot
down the road, and disappeared around a bend. When she circled the
bend she was alarmed to find that the Ford was now parked crossways
on the narrow dirt road, blocking it. Badly frightened, she warned
her daughter to hold on and jammed the gas pedal to the floor. The
other driver, seeing that she didn’t mean to stop, pulled over
hastily and let her pass. She had never seen the man before. And she
never saw him again.
Molestations of this
sort were rare, virtually nonexistent, in Point Pleasant before
Mrs. Mary Hyre entertained the first of her long string of peculiar
visitors early in January 1967. She was working late in her office
opposite the county courthouse when her door opened and a very small
man entered. He was about four feet six inches tall, she told me in
a phone call soon afterward. Although it was about 20°F. outside, he
was wearing nothing but a short-sleeved blue shirt and blue trousers
of thin-looking material. His eyes were dark and deep-set, and were
covered with thick-lensed glasses. He was wearing odd shoes with
very thick soles which probably added an inch or two to his height.
Speaking in a low, halting voice, he asked her for directions to
Welch, West Virginia, a town in the southeastern tip of the state.
She thought at first that he had some kind of speech impediment.
His black hair was long
and cut squarely “like a bowl haircut” and his eyes remained fixed
on her in an unflinching, hypnotic way.
“He kept getting
closer and closer,” she reported. “His funny eyes staring at me
He told her a
long-winded, disjointed story about his truck breaking down in
Detroit, Michigan. He had hitchhiked all the way from Detroit. As he
talked, he inched closer and closer to her, and she became
frightened, thinking she had some kind of a nut on her hands. She
pulled back from her desk and ran into the back room where her
newspaper’s circulation manager was working on a telephone campaign.
He joined her and they
spoke together to the little man.
“He seemed to know
more about West Virginia than we did,” she declared later.
At one point the
telephone rang, and while she was speaking on it the little man
picked up a ball-point pen from her desk and examined it with
amazement, “as if he had never seen a pen before.“
“You can have that
if you want it,” she offered.
He responded with a
loud, peculiar laugh, a kind of cackle. Then he ran out into the
night and disappeared around a corner.
The next day Mrs. Hyre checked with the sheriff’s office to find out
it there was any mentally deficient person on the loose. The answer
On the afternoon of January 9, 1967, Edward Christiansen and his
family returned to their new home in Wildwood, New Jersey, after a
trip to Florida. They had just moved into the new house, some
distance from the place where they had lived at the time of their
November UFO sighting. Neither their address nor phone number was
listed in the then-current phone book. They entered their house by
the back door. The front door was still heavily bolted and locked,
the way they had left it when they had gone to Florida.
At 5:30 P.M. there was a knock on the front door. Mrs. Arline
Christiansen was in the kitchen preparing dinner.
“Check and see who
that is,” she told her seventeen-year-old daughter, Connie.
“If it’s a salesman, don’t answer.“
Connie took a peek and
strangest-looking man I’ve ever seen.“
Mrs. Christiansen went
to the door, unbolted and unlatched it. It was growing dark and was
bitter cold outside. There was no car in view and this seemed
peculiar because the Christiansen home was removed from other houses
in a rather isolated spot.
A tall man stood on the doorstep.
Christiansen live here?” he asked. Arline admitted he did. “I’m
from the Missing Heirs Bureau,” the man continued. “Mr.
Christiansen may have inherited a great deal of money. May I
It was an approach that
was hard to resist. She stepped back and invited him in, calling out
to her husband.
Edward Christiansen is six feet two inches tall and heavyset. The
stranger towered over him and must have been at least six feet six
inches tall. He was also enormously broad and might have weighed at
least three hundred pounds. He wore a fur Russian-style hat with a
black visor on it and a very long black coat that seemed to be made
of thin material... too thin for the cold weather.
“This will only take forty minutes,” he said as he removed his hat
and revealed an unusual head, large and round while his face seemed
He had black hair which
was closely cropped to his head, as if his head had been shaved and
the hair was just growing in again. There was a perfectly round spot
on the back of his head as if that area had recently been shaved.
His nose and mouth seemed relatively normal, but his eyes were
large, protruding, like “thyroid eyes,” and set wide apart. One eye
appeared to have a cast, like a glass eye, and did not move in
unison with its companion.
Edward Christiansen told him at the outset that a mistake had been
made, that he could not believe that anyone had left him any money.
The man assured him that he might, indeed, be the Edward
Christiansen he was seeking and, in order to verify it, he would
like to ask some questions. He removed his coat.
There was a badge on his
shirt pocket which he quickly covered with his hand and removed,
placing it in his coat pocket.
“It looked like a
gold or brass badge,” Connie told me later. “But it wasn’t an
ordinary police badge or anything like that. We just got a
glimpse of it ... but it seemed to have a big K on it with a
small x alongside and there were some letters or numbers around
the edge. It was obvious he didn’t want us to see it.“
He was not wearing a
suit jacket. Underneath his thin outer coat he was wearing a
short-sleeved shirt made of a Dacron-like material. His trousers
were of a dark material, gray or black, and were a little too short.
When he sat down they rode high up his calves. He wore dark socks
and dark shoes with unusually thick rubber soles.
Arline and Connie were most fascinated by a strange feature on his
leg. When he sat down they could see a long thick green wire
attached to the inside of his leg. It came up out of his socks and
disappeared under his trousers. At one point it seemed to be
indented into his leg and was covered by a large brown spot. Connie
seemed to have studied him the most carefully and gave the best
In many ways, this odd man shared the characteristics of Mary Hyre’s
tiny visitor of only a few days earlier. Mrs. Hyre said the little
man had unusually pale skin, almost a sickly white.
The Christiansens said
their visitor had an unnatural pallor. They assumed he was sick. His
speech was also strange, with a high “tinny” voice that seemed
especially peculiar coming from such a large man. He spoke in a
dull, emotionless monotone in clipped words and phrases, “like a
computer.” Connie said that he sounded as if he were reciting
everything from memory.
Mrs. Hyre told me her
tiny visitor had spoken in a hard-to-understand singsong manner,
“like a recording.” Both men wore unusually thick rubber-soled
shoes. Both were ill-dressed for the weather, and both had eccentric
haircuts. Small points, perhaps, but significant in these cases.
After the man had introduced himself (none of the family could
remember his name; they all said it was something common like Brown
or Smith, but they did remember that he said his friends called him
“Tiny”), the family dog, Gigi, snarled and barked at him. He spoke
to the dog and calmed it.
When Tiny had seated himself, Mrs. Christiansen told him they were
about to eat and asked him if he wanted to join them. He replied
that he was on a diet but that he would like a glass of water in
about ten minutes. He seemed to wheeze, they all noted, like a man
with asthma, and he appeared to have difficulty breathing.
Tiny produced a small notebook and a pen and assured the family that
this was not any kind of confidence game. He was looking for an
Edward Christiansen who was due to inherit a large sum of money and
he would need information about Ed’s past history to determine if he
was the man. He then proceeded to ask a long series of questions.
Did Ed have any scars or birthmarks? Ed said he had a scar on
his back from an operation and an appendix scar. Tiny asked for
every detail—the length, width, and exact position of those scars.
He also asked for a complete list of all the schools Ed had
attended, and the number and type of auto vehicles the family owned.
At one point he asked the couple if they would be willing to fly to
any place in the United States to collect the inheritance,
explaining they would have to be present when the will was read. Ed
and Arline agreed they could make themselves available for such a
According to Connie, Tiny’s face gradually grew redder and redder as
he talked and after a few minutes he turned to her and asked:
“May I have that
glass of water now?”
She fetched the water
for him and he took out a large yellow capsule which he gulped down.
He returned to normal after taking it.
Tiny mentioned three specific names and asked Ed if he recognized
any of them.
He did not and later he was able to remember only one of them—Roy
Stevens. Connie said she thought another of the names was Taylor,
but she wasn’t sure. At this time Ed did not know about Gwendoline
Martino’s “Gwen Stevens” wrong numbers in December, nor had Gwen
heard about Tiny and the three names until I interviewed the family
in late February 1967.
We had started out by discussing their UFO sighting in November,
then I began to ask my routine far-out questions. When I asked them
if they had received any unusual visitors after their sighting, they
looked at each other with the shock of recognition. I separated them
and interviewed each member of the family individually. All of their
statements coincided exactly. Since five witnesses were involved,
Mr. and Mrs. Christiansen and their three children, all of
above-average intelligence and very observant, I regarded this as an
outstanding MIB-type [Men in Black] report. I did not publish it
until two years later, withholding the details to preclude possible
Tiny concluded his interview less than an hour after he arrived. It
was probably precisely forty minutes, just as he promised. He donned
his hat and coat and told Ed he would be notified by mail within ten
Arline was in the kitchen when he left and she decided she was going
to watch him and see where he went. She stepped out of the kitchen
door and stood in the dark watching the big man as he walked toward
“His shoes squished loudly as he walked,” she noted.
he reached the road, he made a gesture with his hand and a black
1963 Cadillac drove through the trees and pulled up. It was driving
in the pitch-dark with its headlights out so she couldn’t see the
driver. Tiny climbed into the car and it drove away, its headlights
The next morning Ed was alone in the house when the phone rang. A
female voice explained she was calling about the missing-heir
“We’ve located the Edward Christiansen we were looking
for in California,” she explained.
Ed said he had felt sure he
wasn’t the right one, thanked her, and hung up. When he told his
family about the call, they all dismissed the incident from their
minds until my interview with them.
The wire running up the leg is one feature I have been unable to fit
into my research in other MIB cases. It has never been repeated. Was
Tiny wearing electric socks? Or was he a wired android operated by
As for his badge, I suspect that the K was really the Greek
sigma [E], which has turned up repeatedly in other UFO cases, and is
often used by scientists to express the strange or unknown.
after Tiny, the pop-eyed missing-heirs investigator, invaded Cape
May, Mothman, the pop-eyed pterodactyl, visited Tiny’s restaurant in
At 5 P.M. on January 11, 1967, Mrs.
was walking near the drive-in restaurant when she saw an object
soaring down Route 62.
“I thought it was an
airplane, then I realized it was flying much too low,” she said.
She had been living with
Mothman witnesses for two months but never expected to see the
critter herself. Nor did she want to. Knowing that she was
psychologically prepared to, maybe, even hallucinate a sighting, I
interviewed her very carefully afterward. Her story held up. This
was a real sighting.
She froze in her tracks, scarcely believing her eyes.
“I thought I could
see two legs ... like men’s legs ... hanging down from it. It
circled low over Tiny’s and then flew off.”
She could not see any
head or neck, the wings were motionless, and it was completely
silent. In a way, it sounded almost like a hang-glider. But
hang-gliding was almost a completely unknown sport in 1967.
Martino and her daughter returned from Europe in January and visited
the Christiansens a few days after Tiny rode off in his darkened
Cadillac. At 3 A.M. on January 13, 1967, Gwen and Connie, who were
sharing a room, were awakened by a loud sound seeming to come from
directly overhead. The sounds were distant at first, like someone
hammering on metal with a rubber mallet or, possibly, walking over a
The noises grew steadily
louder until they were deafening.
“The whole house
seemed to shake,” Gwen said.
When she started to get
up to investigate, the sounds stopped instantly. As soon as she was
back in bed, they began again. The two women debated whether they
should wake up Ed Christiansen, a heavy sleeper. Gwen started to get
out of bed again, and again the noises stopped. Finally they faded
Two evenings later Mr. and Mrs. Christiansen returned home to find
their children in a very distraught state. They had heard the
strange hammering sound again, followed by heavy footsteps crunching
through the thick snow outside the house. Connie’s nineteen-year-old
boyfriend was present and he had looked out a window in time to see
a tall figure hurrying away from the house. It was wearing a long
white cape and when it reached a five-foot-high fence it leaped
effortlessly over it and disappeared on the other side.
The next morning Ed Christiansen examined the area for footprints.
He found a set of large human tracks deeply imbedded in the snow,
leading to the fence and continuing on the other, side.
These footprints went on
to another building some distance away and stopped abruptly at the
wall of the structure. There were no other footprints around the
building, an old abandoned shed, and the witnesses were puzzled as
to where the person could, have gone. Like our hairy monsters,
little green Martians, and Mothman, the caped intruder had vanished
lightweight frames covered with nylon. They look something like
kites and the rider hangs underneath on bars and straps. They are
launched from steep hills or cliffs. Route 62 runs along the edge of
the Ohio River and the terrain is very flat.
Enter Tad Jones, a rarity among UFO witnesses because of his very
common name. A gentle, handsome man in his thirties, Mr. Jones was a
deeply religious person who did not smoke or drink. In 1967, he
lived in Dunbar, a suburb of Charleston, West Virginia, and managed
an appliance store at a place called Cross Lanes. Urbane,
intelligent, and articulate, he was one of the most impressive UFO
witnesses I have met in my travels.
At 9:05 A.M. on the morning of January 19, 1967, Tad was driving to
his store along the newly completed multi-lane highway, Route 64,
about ten miles outside of Charleston. A large object was blocking
the road ahead of him and he first assumed it was a vehicle being
used by a construction gang still working on the highway.
But as he drew closer he
saw that it was hovering in the air, about four feet off the ground.
“It was a large
metal sphere,” he said. “Since it was broad daylight I got a
very good look at it. It was about twenty feet in diameter and
was the color of dull aluminum.“
He slowed his car and
studied the thing for about two minutes.
“There were four
legs attached to it,” he continued, “with casterlike wheels on
the bottom of each one. And there was a small window about nine
inches in diameter on the side facing me. But I couldn’t see
anything inside the sphere. On the underside there was something
like a propeller. It was idling when I first drove up, then it
started spinning faster and the whole object began to rise
upward. It disappeared into the sky and I drove on to my store.“
Shaken and puzzled by
his sighting, he decided to call the police and report it. His story
quickly found its way into the local papers.
The next morning a crude note was slipped under his door in Dunbar.
Written on ordinary notebook paper in block letters, it stated:
know what you have seen and we know that you have talked. You’d
better keep your mouth shut.”
He decided it had to be the work of
some local prankster.
In nearby St. Albans, Mr. Ralph Jarrett, a chemical engineer and the
local UFO authority, was shaving that morning when his telephone
rang. He put down his razor and went into the bedroom to pick up the
“I heard a very
clear ‘beep-beep’ sound,” Jarrett said, “The beeping continued
for about two, maybe three minutes. Then the phone went dead and
the dial tone came on. I’ve heard all sorts of code
transmissions on shortwave, but nothing quite like that.“
He went downstairs to
breakfast, opened his copy of The Charleston Gazette, and read about
Tad Jones’s sighting ... the first he had heard of it. Jarrett, an
aggressive, loquacious middle-aged man, was a highly qualified
investigator. He later contacted Jones and conducted a thorough
study of the case. He discovered the object had been hovering
directly above a major gas line which passed under the road. (There
have been other sightings of UFOs directly over buried gas lines.)
A few days later, another note was slipped under the door of Jones’s
home in Dunbar. This one was written on a piece of cardboard which
had been burned around the edges.
It repeated the earlier threat,
“. . . there want [sic] be another warning.“
I arrived on the scene several weeks later and during my questioning
he remembered another incident which seemed unimportant to him at
the time. About a week after his sighting, he was driving along the
same highway at the same tune in the morning when he came upon a man
standing by the road in approximately the same spot where the sphere
had hovered. Thinking the man was hitchhiking and was stranded in
this isolated stretch of road, Jones slowed his truck and called out
to him, “Want a lift?”
The man did not reply
but merely waved him on. The next morning this same man was in the
same place but this time Tad did not slow down.
“He was very
tanned,” Jones recalled, “or his face was very flushed. He
looked normal and was wearing a blue coat and a blue cap with a
visor ... something like a uniform, I guess. I noticed he was
holding a box in his hand. Some kind of instrument. It had a
large dial on it, like a clock, and a wire ran from it to his
Later we checked the
local gas companies to find out if they had had a man “walking the
line” in that area. The answer was negative. I also asked about
instruments such as Tad had described. No such instruments were in
When Mrs. Hyre and I visited the spot on Route 64 we found a series
of very strange footprints in the mud beside the road. One group of
footprints were identical to those I had found behind the power
plant in the TNT area the previous December. They looked like huge
dog tracks and were so deep the animal who made them must have
weighed two hundred pounds or more.
I couldn’t relate them
to Mothman, and there were a lot of dogs in the area, so I didn’t
think much about them at the time. Tad made plaster casts of these
new prints, however, and none of the local wildlife authorities
could identify them. They were not dog tracks. Zoologist Ivan
Sanderson later rejected the “big dog” explanation, also, and told
me similar tracks frequently turned up in places where paranormal
events had occurred. And, in fact, I have since come across them
myself in several separate spots around the country.
Aside from the dog tracks, we found a single footprint of what
appeared to be a large, naked human foot. This was planted in the
center of a muddy section with no other footprints of any kind
around it. But a short distance away I came across some old friends
... a type of footprint that has appeared at many UFO sites around
They look like the
prints made by ripple-soled shoes but their spacing is always
peculiar. They don’t start anywhere and they don’t lead anywhere.
Ripple soles had been in fashion in the early 1960s and then had
faded out. I once owned a pair myself. But these phantom prints had
a ridge around the edges. Years later, when the first men walked on
the moon, I realized the photos of the prints left by their
moon-walking shoes were identical to the footprints I had seen over
and over again in my travels.
Obviously, the Martians
and Venusians buy their equipment from the same companies that
supply our space program.
Carpenter’s sighting of Mothman in November 1966 triggered off a
long series of weird situations. She heard loud beeping sounds
outside her bedroom window on several occasions. Then, in February
1967, someone tried to abduct her.
Early that month she and Keith Gordon were married and they moved
across the river to a house in Middleport, Ohio. They did not have a
phone and their new address was known only to their families and
close friends. Middleport is a town of about three thousand people.
Connie was still attending school. An excessively slender girl, she
would never win a Raquel Welch look-alike contest.
At 8:15 A.M. on February 22, 1967, she started out for school. Keith
was already at work. As she began walking down the quiet, tree-lined
street a large black car pulled up alongside. Since all young people
are automobile conscious, she said she could positively identify it
as a 1949 Buick. The driver opened his door and called to her,
asking for directions, so she walked over to his car.
He was a clean-cut young
man of about twenty-five, she said later, and was wearing a colorful
mod shirt, no jacket, despite the cold weather. His thick black hair
was neatly combed and he appeared to be very suntanned. He spoke
with no noticeable accent. The car, though nearly twenty years old,
was so well kept it looked like new. Even the interior had a look of
newness about it.
When she reached the vehicle, the young man suddenly lunged, grabbed
her arm, and ordered her to get in with him. After a brief struggle
she managed to break away. She ran back to her house and locked
herself in, completely terrified. She cowered in the house until her
husband came home from work. And she decided to stay home the next
day, too. At 3 P.M. she heard someone on the porch and there was a
loud knock on the door. She waited awhile then cautiously went to
the door. There was no one on the porch and no car in sight, but a
note had been slipped under the door.
It was written in pencil
in block letters on a piece of ordinary notebook paper.
“Be careful girl,”
it read, “I can get you yet.“
That night Connie and
Keith went to the local police. The note was turned over to officer
Raymond Manly. In March 1967, I visited the police station, hoping
to recover the note so I could compare the handwriting with other
notes I had collected. Manly had lost it somewhere along the way.
When I asked to see
their file on the case they produced a printed form containing
Connie’s name and address and one scribbled line,
“Dark Buick, young
The police chief assured
me that no such car existed in Middleport and that it was obviously
a case of some maniac trying to abduct a young girl. Officer Manly
told me he was keeping the house under constant surveillance.
I had to break the news
that the Gordons had moved back to the West Virginia side of the
river shortly after the incident. Despite my sheaf of credentials
and press cards, both men were overly suspicious of me and asked me
repeatedly if I really wasn’t “from the government.” This fear of
government agents was already universal in 1967, long before the
general breakdown of faith in the government of the 1970s. The UFO
enthusiasts had done then-job well. Their twenty-year campaign
against the air force had really shut the government off from many
In the mid-1950s I had experienced a variation of this paranoia
while traveling through the Orient. The CIA had already earned an
odious reputation abroad, its butter-fingered agents often operating
as wandering journalists, particularly in the Himalayas where they
were trying to foment revolutionary activity against the Chinese who
were then settling down in Tibet.
More than once I was
openly accused of being a secret American agent provocateur.
Officials would “lose” my passport for days at a time while they
checked me out forward and backward. In Baghdad, and again in
Singapore, I was actually grilled by the authorities who were
apparently convinced I was after state secrets or was planning to
overthrow the government.
Since I knew very little about the CIA in
those days I was perplexed by all this attention.
Eventually I learned that the CIA had a habit of enlisting very
young people between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five,
frequently involving them in bizarre scenarios. Considerable
evidence exists indicating that Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA pawn
Today the CIA has an annual budget in excess of $11 billion, and it
doesn’t have to account to the president or Congress. A large part
of this budget is probably wasted on bureaucratic nonsense, and
another large part is spent on what can only be termed malicious
mischief. Technically, the CIA has no legal authority or
responsibilities within the continental United States, but if you
open a phone book for any moderate-sized U.S. city you will find a
local CIA office listed. They also maintain thousands of “fronts,”
offices disguised as legitimate businesses, throughout the country.
During the recent Watergate debacle investigating reporters
documented the fact that some of the participants were not only
longtime CIA agents, but also that these same men had been involved
in the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and some had
been present in Dealey Plaza in Dallas on the day President Kennedy
was assassinated. It is noteworthy that reporters, editors, and
citizens engaged in the investigation of President Kennedy’s death
suffered harassment and telephone problems identical to those
experienced by UFO researchers. Some of these tactics will be
examined in detail further on.
However, I cannot accuse the CIA as being the source of the weird
incidents outlined here. Rather, the phenomenon is imitative. This
paranormal mimicry is difficult for many to understand but I come
across constant examples.
Early in January 1973,
for instance, a reliable witness in Ohio observed an unusual-looking
helicopter which she was able to describe in detail. When she
sketched it for a local UFO enthusiast he was flabbergasted. He was
an aeronautical engineer specializing in helicopters and he knew the
thing she drew was a new secret helicopter that was still on the
Even closer to home, a few days after Tad Jones’s sighting on Route
64, True magazine hit the stands with an article of mine about
flying saucers. It was illustrated with drawings of all kinds of
odd-shaped objects, many of them the pure products of the artist’s
imagination. It included an exact replica of Jones’s sphere,
complete with wheeled legs and propeller. An object exactly like
this had never been described in the UFO literature before ... or
since. The artist had produced his layout many weeks before.
Somehow the phenomenon
had mischievously duplicated the artist’s conception for Jones’s