8 - Procession of the Damned



While Mothman and Indrid 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 mention,

“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 wig.


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 Mothman arrived.

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 almost hypnotically.“

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 was negative.

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 reported back,

“It’s the 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.

“Does Edward 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 come in?“

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 angular, pointed.

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 description.

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 trip.

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 hoaxes.

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 days.

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 the road.

“His shoes squished loudly as he walked,” she noted.

When 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 still out.

The next morning Ed was alone in the house when the phone rang. A female voice explained she was calling about the missing-heir interview.

“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 remote control?

As for his badge, I suspect that the K was really the Greek letter sigma [E], which has turned up repeatedly in other UFO cases, and is often used by scientists to express the strange or unknown.

Two days after Tiny, the pop-eyed missing-heirs investigator, invaded Cape May, Mothman, the pop-eyed pterodactyl, visited Tiny’s restaurant in Point Pleasant.


At 5 P.M. on January 11, 1967, Mrs. Mabel McDaniel 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.

Gwendoline 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 metal surface.


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 away.

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 into nothingness.

[*] Hang-gliders are 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:

“We 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 extension.

“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, adding,

“. . . 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 other hand.“

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 use.

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 the country.


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.

Connie 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 man.”

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 UFO reports.

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 early on.

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 drawing board!

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 benefit.

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