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 Pentagon screaming,

“We’re being invaded and we can’t stop them!”

He 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 mind.

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 conclusions.


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 loathing.


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.


The only 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.


Were the 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 contactees, 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 lasted for 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.


Survivors 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?


For 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 England.

“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 cases to 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 ideas.


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 September 6!

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.

  • Second, I 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.

  • Third, I 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 trip to 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.


He heard,

“Hang up, John ... and I’ll turn off the recorder.”

On my 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!


Penn 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 been receiving strange phone calls during the past week. We had a perfect connection 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 water.“

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 attack.

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 more like a well-organized, well-financed campaign. On the night of July 21 between the hours of 10 P.M. and 1 A.M. hoax calls were received in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, and probably many other places that I never learned about. Unlisted phones were 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.”


Other normal human beings were present, he said, and manned various kinds of equipment to communicate with the rescue spaceships somewhere overhead.

“Funny thing, John,” he mused, “all the equipment was manufactured by Western Electric, Hallicrafters, and other U.S. companies.“

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 Linda’s “family.”


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 right...

The next morning Linda woke up to find one of her eyes was swollen shut.

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” standing there.


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 contactees.

“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 it.

“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 you.“

“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 Cadillac.


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 answered slowly. “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.

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