Book Review: The Mothman Prophesies by John A. Keel

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now. The fictionalized film version of this story is one I’ve enjoyed, so I was glad to finally pick up this book that was written in the 1970s and has achieved bestseller status.

The title refers to the events that happened in West Virginia in the 1960s leading up to the collapse of the bridge on the West Virginia-Ohio border. Leading up to this time, there were documented accounts of strange objects in the sky, with commonalities such as glowing red eyes and witnesses experiencing discomforts like burned skin, eye infections, and loss of perception of time.

The author shares his own experiences with this, as well as evidence he gathered from witnesses. Without spoiling everything: there are recurring phenomena that happen to those trying to document these cases, such as recording devices not working, tapes being erased, etc.

The author shares some speculation about what might be causing these events, and they suggest possible humans or beings from other time periods (there are some strange instances of beings showing up in out-of-date vehicles that appear brand new), wearing strange outfits, and speaking in weird inflections. My disappointment is in the dearth of actual explanation offered in the book, though I suppose that is to be expected.

I did like the analysis of humans – looking at how easily influenceable we are and suggesting ways we can be manipulated through technology, or what types of people are most easy to manipulate, or even the fact that most UFO sightings take places on Wednesdays after a specific time of night.

It’s an interesting book to read to go through some first-hand accounts of unexplained phenomena, and it would be a good companion to other mothman (or similar) books or films. It read quickly, but the accounts did seem to all be similar to each other, and I was waiting for the ending to build up to something insightful, and that didn’t really happen. In short, I’m glad I read the book, but I was hoping for more insights.

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