16 - Paranoiacs Are Made, Not Born
“The U.S. government is being taken over by the space people!“
This rumor spread throughout the country in 1967, an updated version
of the old devil theory. Actually it got its start in 1941 when
James V. Forrestal, the brilliant secretary of defense in the Truman
cabinet, went bananas and raced through the corridors of the
“We’re being invaded and we can’t stop them!”
was convinced that his phones were being tapped and some enormous
conspiracy was underway. Soon after he was placed in a hospital he
leaped out a window to his death. While the press blamed his
paranoia on the tensions of the cold war, the UFO enthusiasts knew
better. Air force Intelligence had compiled a Top Secret Estimate of
the Situation following their UFO investigations in 1947-48. Their
conclusion, according to the late Capt. Edward Ruppelt, was that
flying saucers were extraterrestrial.
Forrestal, so the story went,
was one of the few to read that report before Air Force Chief of
Staff Hoyt Vandenberg ordered all copies destroyed, and it blew his
Two other top military men, Gen. George C. Marshall and Gen.
Douglas MacArthur were obsessed with the flying saucer phenomenon. MacArthur
made several public statements declaring that the next war would be
fought against “evil beings from outer space.” A fabled “think
tank,” the Rand Corporation, was assigned to feed UFO data into a
computer and fight an imaginary war with those evil beings. Since we
wouldn’t know where they were from, what their technology was, or
how to attack their bases, the computer advised us to surrender.
Contactees adrift in the hallucinatory worlds were convinced the
space people were walking among us unnoticed. Los Angeles alone had
a space population of ten thousand. Actually this was just a
tiresome repetition of the earlier beliefs that devils and angels
were everywhere in human guise. Early in the Age of the Flying
Saucers (1947-69), air force and CIA agents undoubtedly came across
MIB cases similar to the ones outlined here and, being human, some
of those early investigators leapfrogged to UFO cultistlike
Paranoia gripped the upper echelons of government.
Millions of tax dollars were sunk into UFO research. (In 1952,
Captain Ruppelt said the air force was spending one million dollars
a year on the subject. Gen. Nathan Twining declared “the best
brains” in science and the military were trying to solve the
mystery.) Cold war hysteria added to the atmosphere of fear and
A 1953 CIA document, kept classified for over twenty
years, noted that the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO)
“should be watched” as a potential propaganda menace. APRO had been
founded the year before by a Wisconsin housewife and circulated a
mimeographed UFO newsletter to a few dozen scattered buffs.
Apparently more thousands of tax dollars were expended in “watching”
APRO’s Coral Lorenzen over the years, according to evidence she
published in a series of paperback books in the 1960s.
propaganda she ever distributed was anti-air force, and she never
sold any of our flying saucer secrets to the Soviet Union.
Military men—and the UFO enthusiasts—had no knowledge of or interest
in psychic phenomena. Their materialistic, pseudo-scientific
approach to the sightings and attendent manifestations merely
increased the lore and intensified the mystery. The age-old
changeling concept, for example, must have caused many gray hairs in
official circles when it was introduced into the UFO lore.
space people really switching human beings?
Many of the contactees
and their open-mouthed followers believed this was the case. Were
humans being dragged aboard spaceships and examined like cattle? The
contactees’ tales indicated this and their stories gave impetus to
the expanded devil theory; that government officials were being
kidnapped and replaced by clever androids obeying the dictates of
the sinister leaders of some other planet. Idiocy was piled upon
idiocy over the past twenty-eight years. The paranoia once isolated
to the very small lunatic fringe grew until it swallowed up a large
part of the world’s population.
I was concerned not with the sincere but falsified memories of the
but with a more worrisome question. What, I wondered, happened to
the bodies of
these people while their minds were taking trips? Trips that often
hours, even for days. A young college professor in New York State
was haunted by the same question in 1967. After investigating a
UFO-related poltergeist case he suffered possession and was led to
believe that he had committed a daring jewel robbery while he was in
a trance or possessed state. He abandoned ufology and nearly
suffered a total nervous breakdown in the aftermath.
Were our contactees being used by exterior intelligences to carry
out crimes, even murder? The answer is a disturbing yes. If you
review the history of political assassinations you will find that
many were performed by so-called religious fanatics who were obeying
the “voice of God” or were in an obvious state of possession when
they committed their crime. Even the ten co conspirators in the
assassination of President Lincoln were in this category. And the
soldier who shot and killed John Wilkes Booth against the orders of
his superiors claimed he pulled the trigger because a voice told him
to do so.
The madness that grips crowds and produces violent riots, some of
which have changed history, seems little different from the madness
that produced the widespread dancing mania of the Middle Ages when
thousands of people danced in the streets until they dropped dead
from exhaustion. The mania spread from Italy to Turkey.
claimed they believed they were knee-deep in blood and were prancing
to get out of it. This was a collective or mass hallucination. Even
today there are annual incidents in which whole towns are seized by
hallucinations, usually in obscure parts of South America and Asia.
Such events are traditionally explained as being caused by tainted
bread despite the fact that people who have not eaten the local
bread are also affected.
In contactee parlance, persons who perform involuntary acts are said
to be “used.” Apparently a relatively small part of the population
have auras or biological radiations which attract elements of the
super-spectrum. Such people are prone to controlled hallucinations
and possession. Since the entities probably exist as energy in a
field outside our space-time continuum they can only see, and be
seen, by these special people. (In innumerable UFO reports the
ufonauts apparently could not see the witnesses.) Derenberger’s Cold
identified himself as “a searcher.”
Searching for what?
biological, oddities like Woody, no doubt.
A contactee may feel a sudden impulse to go for a pointless
late-night walk or drive. During that drive he encounters, he
thinks, the space people and has a fine visit with them. Actually
his body proceeds on to, say, Point A where he picks up a letter or
object left there by another contactee. He carries the letter or
object to Point B and deposits it. Later he has no memory of these
actions. Meanwhile some poor slob with the wrong aura, like myself,
receives a phone call advising him to proceed to Point B where he
will find something left for him by the space people. In short, all
physical evidence and manifestations are produced by human beings.
They dig holes in fields, rifle mailboxes, and who knows what else.
These games have been going on since forever.
I have received thousands of letters from contactees since 1967,
many of them filled with glowing praise for their contacters, other
pathetic and touched with terror.
One of the first letters arrived
unexpectedly in the summer of 1967 from an elderly man in New
“I found your name and address on a slip of paper dropped onto my
kitchen floor by an ‘Indian-like’ friend,” he wrote. “If this letter
is not returned to me I will no [sic] you received it ... I wish I
could tell you how my life has been taken over & what condition our
country & government are in. If you have been through the ‘misery’
you no [sic] you are not alone. I am not a nut. I am sincere. I am
concerned for you ....
“P.S. I have been ‘used’!“
This letter, and others like them, helped to convince me that my own
investigations could be manipulated. I was being led to people and
support whatever theory I was working on at the time. I tested this
by inventing some rather outlandish ideas. Within days I would
receive phone calls, reports, and mail describing elements of those
This was the feedback or reflective effect. Other
investigators concerned with solving problems such as how flying
saucers are propelled have automatically been fed, or led into,
cases in which the witnesses supposedly viewed the interiors of the
objects and saw things which confirmed the investigators’ theories.
If the phenomenon can produce any effect through hallucination, it
can easily support any theory. It took me a long time to realize
that many of my Men in Black reports were just feedback. It is even
possible that affairs like Tiny’s visit to the Christiansens were
somehow arranged for my benefit, even though I didn’t know them at
the time. I came across the Christiansens during an investigation
far from Cape May. They were almost dumped in my lap, just as the
letter from the man in Massachusetts came at a time when I was
involved in cases with “Indian-like” entities on Mount Misery. (Note
he put “misery” in quotes.)
My thoroughness led to the discovery of coincidences that seemed
significant at the time. Two of my silent contactees shared the same
birth date—September 6. As soon as I realized this, circumstances
added several new contactees to my stable —all women and all born on
During one of her almost-daily conversations with Apol and Lia, Jane
was told that a number of women were being selected for artificial
insemination! They would be bearing very special children for the
space people. This led to a whole new game in which I found myself
trying to cope with pregnant women, though I eventually figured out
they were victims of pseudocyesis—false or “hysterical” pregnancies.
This was probably feedback from my concern over Derenberger’s
statement that if the truth were known, women the world over would
panic, throw their babies out the window, and commit suicide.
By mid-July I was in indirect contact with the entities through
three different systems.
First, contactees would relay my questions
to them and relay their answers back to me. I was still extremely
skeptical, so many of my questions were complicated and beyond the
abilities of the individual contactees to answer ... even if they
spent hours in a library trying to research the answers.
was able to communicate by mail by sending letters through the U.S.
Post Office to addresses which I later discovered were nonexistent.
I would receive replies by mail, often the very next day, written in
block letters. Some of these replies covered several pages.
was sometimes able to speak to the entities by telephone! A contactee would call me and inform me that an entity was present in
his or her house and wished to speak to me. Sometimes I just asked
questions and the alleged entity whispered the answer to the
contactee who relayed it to me. Sometimes a strange voice would come
on the line and speak to me directly. In some, if not all, of these
instances the contactee probably entered a trance state and the
voice came from their own vocal chords just as “spirits” speak
through mediums at seances.
As soon as I entered this communication phase my problems with the
mails and telephone intensified. Important letters of a non-UFO
nature went astray ... or arrived days late and had obviously been
opened by someone en route.
My telephone rang at all hours of the
day and night with beeping calls, eerie electronic sounds, and, most
interesting of all, frantic calls from people who were superb actors
and who described UFO incidents containing those secret details in
cases I was working on, but when I tried to check out these people I
found the addresses they had given me were nonexistent and the phone
numbers they gave were false.
Someone somewhere was just trying to prove that they knew every move
I was making, listened to all my phone calls, and could even control
my mail! And they were succeeding.
On July 20, 1967, the Vatican announced that the pope was planning a
Turkey. He would be flying to Istanbul where he would be greeted by
a huge mob at the airport. Several of my contactees had been gravely
concerned with the prediction of the pope’s impending death and the
three days of darkness that would follow. The accuracy of earlier
predictions led me to take this one seriously. Very seriously.
The assassination was supposed to take place on July 26. It would be
preceded by a violent earthquake.
On July 22 more than one thousand people were killed in an
earthquake in Adapazari, Turkey, one hundred miles southeast of
Istanbul. The news really shook me up. The whole prophesied scenario
was being carried out to the letter!
The night before the quake, there were a rash of telephone hoaxes
throughout the Northeast. These calls consisted of two people
talking indistinctly for the most part, but certain names were
clearly audible. Ivan Sanderson received such a call on his unlisted
phone in the mountains of New Jersey at midnight. My call came
through at 11:40. A UFO buff on Long Island received one at 1 A.M.
“Hang up, John ... and I’ll turn off the recorder.”
call the name “Jim” was used.
These calls were part of a broader nationwide pattern which had
successfully disrupted, even destroyed, many local UFO groups. The
receiver heard the name of a fellow UFO enthusiast and regarded it
as proof that the other person was responsible for all the hoax
calls he or she was receiving. The very same ploy was used against
the civilians quietly investigating the Kennedy assassination!
Jones, a Texas newspaper editor who has been investigating the death
of JFK for years, received similar calls, including the playing of a
tape of his phone conversations with other investigators ... proof
positive that his phone was being tapped by someone and they wanted
him to know it. This playback of taped conversations also happened
on my phone. The object of such gimmicks is clearly to incite
paranoia. Since many of the UFO enthusiasts are very unstable to
begin with, the device has been very effective.
I was now receiving many messages phrased in biblical terms. Some
came from unknown elderly ladies who phoned me late at night
claiming to be from Western Union. Then they would read long Bible
quotations that were supposedly telegrams. But Western Union
disavowed any knowledge of these messages.
I had hooked up a tape
recorder to my own phone so I could keep track of all these things.
“If it is the days of darkness,” said a message received on July 23,
“behold there will be voices, thunder and earthquakes and
disturbances upon the earth. And at their cry all nations shall
fight one against the other. And fear shall fall upon the earth and
the sky shall be darkened except for the illuminating round lights
that will be the only sparks of light. And rain shall come at the
end of the happening.
“John: Do not trouble yourself over trivial matters such as strange
calls. We’re in greater danger than you can imagine. Not only is
your world involved, but many others too.“
I am an amateur herpetologist and once kept three-fanged cobras in
my New York apartment ... until my concerned neighbors squealed to
the Board of Health. Some of the descriptions of the entities
impressed me as resembling some kind of reptile rather than human
mammals. I didn’t mention this reptile notion to anyone. But on July
24, Lia visited Jane and refused to talk about anything but eggs.
She took some eggs from Jane’s refrigerator and sucked out the
contents like a reptile! Jane was perplexed by this exhibition and
called me soon afterward.
That evening I received a phone call from Harold Salkin, a
Washington, D.C., UFO
researcher. He wanted to tell me that people all over Washington had
receiving strange phone calls during the past week. We had a perfect
until I started to ask him if he had heard any rumors about Pope
Paul. We were
instantly drowned out by heavy static. As soon as I changed the
subject, the static went away. Later in the conversation I tried
again. The moment I named the pope the static resumed. When I again
dropped the subject, the line cleared instantly.
Now they were even controlling my phone conversations!
Convinced that Pope Paul was about to be knifed to death at the
Istanbul airport, I rented a car, loaded it with flashlights,
candles, food, and bottled water, and drove out to the Mount Misery
area to await the blackout. On the way I stopped to see one of my
contactees and he informed me that a spaceman had just been to see
him and had left a silly message.
“Tell John we’ll meet with him later and help him drink all that
The contactee had no idea that I had several quarts of spring water
in the trunk of the car.
Near Mount Misery I picked out a motel at random (I thought). The
motel clerk asked to see my identification (very unusual).
“We’ve got a lot of messages here for you, Mr. Keel,” she said,
pulling out a sheaf of message slips.
I started to protest since I
had not even known I was going to stay at that motel until minutes
before. The messages were all nonsensical, meant only to prove once
more that my movements were being anticipated.
The pope landed in Istanbul safely. There was no three-day blackout.
The whole episode served no purpose other than to demonstrate to me
how and why so many contactees and prophets go and sit on hilltops
to await the end of the world.
Three years later, on November 27, 1970, Pope Paul VI arrived at the
Manila International Airport in the Philippines and the scene
described to me in 1967 suddenly became a reality. A man dressed in
the black garments of a priest came out of the crowd and sprang at
the pope with a long black knife in his hands. Fortunately, security
guards wrestled him to the ground and the pontiff was unhurt. The
would-be assassin was a Bolivian painter named Benjamin Mendoza who
allegedly practiced black magic and witchcraft. Witnesses said that
he had glassy eyes and seemed to be in some kind of trance during
The entities had correctly described the general circumstances of
the attempt, but their dates were all wrong, and it took place in
the Far East rather than the Middle East.
(In January 1968, I received a phone call informing me that the
Reverend Martin Luther King would be murdered on February 4. He
would be shot in the throat, I was told, while standing on a balcony
in Memphis. I took the prediction seriously and spent some frantic
hours trying to contact King by phone to warn him. I never got
through. He was not assassinated on February 4, but on April 4,
exactly as described to me four months earlier.)
August 3, 1967. Jaye P. Pare was awakened at 3 A.M. by the sound of
a baby crying. There were no babies in her house. She got out of bed
and searched for the source of the sound without success.
Reports of telephone hoaxes, beeping and electronic sounds, tapes
being played back, etc., reached me from as far away as Seattle,
Washington. Flying saucer enthusiasts from coast to coast were
suddenly having identical problems.
Obviously this was not the work of a few random pranksters. It was
well-organized, well-financed campaign. On the night of July 21
hours of 10 P.M. and 1 A.M. hoax calls were received in Florida,
Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
and probably many other places that I never learned about. Unlisted
no protection. Were these calls the work of the CIA, as so many of
the UFO enthusiasts believed?
They seemed too pointless and
expensive to be the work of the government.
After the UFO convention in June, Princess Moon Owl faded away, just
as I had suspected she would. Aside from the single interview on
WBAB, she had not been given any publicity. But in late August she
was phoning UFO enthusiasts again, showering them with predictions
... all largely silly. Then, unexpectedly, she became respectable.
She traveled around Long Island handing out money, usually less than
twenty-five dollars, to people in need. The entertainment editor of
the Long Island newspaper News-day, Bob Nickland, told me he
received “over twenty-five phone calls” in September describing the
Princess’s good deeds. Long John Nebel phoned me to see if I knew
how I could get in touch with her so he could interview her on his
radio show. I told both men that I smelled a large rat ... a blatant
bid for publicity.
The noble princess was the least of my worries. I was like a general
advising a dozen deeply troubled contactees and trying to guide them
through the games they were caught up in. One woman in Brooklyn was
searching for a mysterious crucifix that seemed to have special
meaning to the entities. It was like the search for the Holy Grail.
A man on Long Island was frantically making preparations for the big
evacuation. He even traveled to a secret underground flying saucer
base, in a black Cadillac with a dashboard festooned with flashing
colored lights, where he participated in a “dry run.”
human beings were present, he said, and manned various kinds of
equipment to communicate with the rescue spaceships somewhere
“Funny thing, John,” he mused, “all the equipment was
manufactured by Western Electric, Hallicrafters, and other U.S.
One woman told me she had been flown to another planet where she was
placed in a huge glass hospital and examined by a great eyelike
machine. Her hosts told her they were “copying” her insides.
I knew from my lengthy interviews and examinations that none of
these people were run-of-the-mill kooks or schizophrenics. And I was
impressed that many of their experiences were interrelated even
though they were scattered geographically and not one of them knew
any of the others. The entities adopted a system of code names,
giving each contactee a biblical name. I was the only one who knew
which name applied to which contactee. They would tell Contactee A
in New Jersey to give me a message or piece of advice about
Contactee B who lived in Connecticut. Contactee A wouldn’t have the
faintest notion of what they were talking about.
Another trick was to use certain key phrases. When a contactee
whispered to me,
“Do you know that cancer is contagious?,” I knew he
or she had been talking to this one set of entities.
Then there were those damned synchronized events.
The contactees stopped talking about the pope’s fate. They were
concerned now about an “EM effect” scheduled for sometime in
December. All of them said it would happen in the middle of the
month and would affect a large part of the United States. It was
going to be a massive power failure.
On September 24, Jaye P. Paro received a phone call from a man
claiming to be on the city desk at Newsday. He told her that
Princess Moon Owl was going to visit WBAB that afternoon and he was
sending a photographer to get a picture of the two of them together.
Miss Paro went to the radio station and waited all afternoon but
neither the princess nor the photographer showed up.
But, curiously, a photographer did turn up in Point Pleasant, West
Virginia, at the home of Linda Scarberry. He was very tall, wore a
black suit, had a heavy “sunburn,” and wanted to take pictures of
She and Roger had no children but she was very
pregnant at the time. She refused his offer and phoned her mother in
a panic after he left. Something about the man just hadn’t seemed
The next morning Linda woke up to find one of her eyes was swollen
All of the madness of this period came together in a single case
revolving around a young woman whom I shall call Shirley. She lived
in Seaford, Long Island, a town that enjoyed a brief moment of fame
several years ago when it became the center of a widely publicized
poltergeist case. Shirley and her husband were separated and she
lived alone with her small child.
At 3 P.M. on the afternoon of September 26, she heard a loud humming
sound outside her house, which was in an isolated, wooded area. She
looked out the window and saw a silver disc-shaped object hovering
about one hundred feet in the air. It seemed to be perfectly smooth
with no visible windows or doors. While she was staring at it her
doorbell rang. When she answered she found “an Indian woman”
This woman was about five foot nine inches,
dark-skinned “but not Negro,” dressed in a long gray gown that
reached her feet and was made from some-shimmering material.
“Hello, Pat,” the woman said.
“You must have the wrong house, my name isn’t Pat,” Shirley replied.
Unknown to Shirley, Pat was another of my long list of silent
“I’m sorry ... I meant Shirley,” the woman corrected herself, a
reassuring grin fixed on her dark, pointed face. “Could I have some
salt? I must take a pill.“
Shirley thought this was very peculiar. She had no idea that another
contactee was involved in a game which required her to buy large
quantities of salt, transport it to Mount Misery, and leave it in a
field for the space people in the belief that salt was an essential
part of their diet.
She went and got a box of salt and handed it to the woman who took a
large handful and swallowed it. Then she thanked Shirley and walked
away into the bushes. There was a loud humming sound, louder than
before, and Shirley saw the silver disc rise up and shoot off into
the sky. An hour or so later Shirley had an attack of nausea.
When I interviewed her I found her to be a sweet, if somewhat
homely, young lady, not very bright, and certainly not imaginative
enough to manufacture the things that were to happen later.
A lonely woman living in a lonely place, separated from her husband,
perfect fodder for the games the non-people loved to play.
Her birthday was September 6.
Following that first visit, Shirley repeatedly heard a baby crying
when her own child was sleeping peacefully.
The woman returned on September 30, asking for more salt. She
identified herself as Cloe (the name of a character in one of my
uncelebrated novels) and warned Shirley to lock all her doors and
windows that night. This time no UFO was visible.
Later that evening, Jaye P. Paro phoned me to tell me that she had
just had a narrow escape. While she was walking along a road near
Mount Misery, a black Cadillac had roared out of the darkness and
come within inches of running her down. All its lights were out and
it disappeared quickly into the darkness. She was very upset.
Shortly after Jaye hung up, Shirley called in a very nervous state.
A large black car was parked outside her house, she said, and two
men completely dressed in black, with broad-brimmed black hats and
turtleneck sweaters, were setting up a camera.
At first she thought
they were priests.
“They’re taking pictures of my house!” she exclaimed. “Now why would
anyone want to do that? At night yet!“
The camera they were using had a large bright red light attached to
“Don’t look at that light,” I advised sternly.
“Do you think I should call the police?“
“I’m afraid taking a picture is no crime. They’d probably laugh at
“They’re getting back in the car. You know, its headlights are out.
I don’t know how they can see. They’re driving off.“
While I was talking to Shirley,
Mary Hyre was trying to call me from
West Virginia. She finally called Dan Drasin and asked him to get in
touch with me as soon as my line was free. I called her back and she
told me she had just had a frightening encounter with a black
While she was walking down the deserted Main Street (the
sidewalks roll up about 7 P.M.), a car driven “by a very large man”
pulled away from the curb and slowly followed her. She walked to her
own car and the Cadillac slowly went around a corner.
She got into
her car and went looking for the stranger.
“I was heading out to Route 62 when I saw it again,” she said “It
headed straight for me. I pulled over as far as I could and it
almost ran right into me. It was the same car ... but now there were
three men in it. I could see that one of them was wearing glasses
... like those sunglasses that wrap around your head. I’ve never
seen any of them in Point Pleasant before. What do you suppose they
were trying to prove?“
“I think they were trying to prove something to me, Mary,” I
“I’m sure they didn’t mean you any harm.“
As I replaced the receiver I thought to myself: they’re doing it,
they’re turning this old boy into a raving paranoiac.
The phone rang again. I picked it up wearily.
Beep, beep, beep, beep.