Back in the heyday of small magazine publication, the late John Keel zigzagged the length and breadth of America in pursuit of UFOs and mysterious apparitions, a Fortean gumshoe and philosopher seeking the grand pattern underlying everything that ever went bump in the night. Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies is a classic of Fortean and paranoid literature, and his ideas, along with those of Jacques Vallee, redefined the paranormal for the age of postmodernism and quantum physics. I love Keel, but he’s a tough character to figure out. He can appear canny and cynical one moment, a little too credulous of tall tales the next. You feel sometimes like he’s being completely earnest and serious, others like he’s pulling your leg near out of its socket. Anyway, I was surprized recently to discover on youtube that Keel’s journeys into the weirder spectrum of American life brought him face to face with David Letterman in 1980. It is interesting to note Keel’s reference to what he calls “sky quakes”, explosions in the sky which sound very much like the mysterious loud booms which have been one of the biggest Fortean memes of 2012 so far. Keel gets a surprisingly respectful treatment, although he seems to stretch Letterman and the audience’s patience when he refers to modern dinosaur appearances:
More from Tristan Eldritch at A Few Years in the Absolute Elsewhere.