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The Mothman Prophecies

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  4,892 ratings  ·  616 reviews
West Virginia, 1966. For thirteen months the town of Point Pleasant is gripped by a real-life nightmare that culminates in a tragedy that makes headlines around the world. Strange occurrences and sightings, including a bizarre winged apparition that becomes known as the Mothman, trouble this ordinary American community. Mysterious lights are seen moving across the sky. Dom
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 18th 2002 by Tor Books (first published 1975)
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Travis Heermann The book and the movie have almost nothing to do with each other. The film tries to distill a dizzying array of bizarre phenomena happening all across…moreThe book and the movie have almost nothing to do with each other. The film tries to distill a dizzying array of bizarre phenomena happening all across the country in the late 60s into a modern Hollywood narrative. The movie is fine, but the book bears more resemblance to Men In Black, and in fact coined the phrase.(less)

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Karl
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read this book I was also on a huge UFO conspiracy reading binge and have to admit that this book kind of scared me at the time. Mr. Keel's realistic gathering of "Mothman" sightings and accounts especially as connected to the Black Helicopter sightings and various UFO's.

On November 12, 1966, five men who were digging a grave at a cemetery near Clendenin, West Virginia, claimed to see a man-like figure fly low from the trees over their heads. This is often identified as the first known s
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jv poore
Huge thank-you to my GR friends, Karl because until I saw this on his shelf, I didn't even know it existed. And to think I was just a little girl, about an hour away when these events were going down.

I'm glad I read this. I've learned that John A. Keel is the dude that coined "Men in Black" and that his theories behind mysterious flying objects and their freaky light-shows is entirely unique, to me, at least.

I lived half my life in West Virginia, but sadly, never witnessed weird lights in the s
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Mackey
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I read The Mothman Prophecies when it was first published - I know, scary, right? I was in high school and had just discovered Stephen King, a newish author that scared the hell out of me. It set me on a quest to read every horrifying book I could get my hands on and The Mothman Prophecies fell into that category.

John Keel was an avowed "UFOologist" - I'm not even sure that is spelled correctly, or a word, but that is what he claimed to be. He also absolutely believed every word that he wrote.
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Will
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm giving this book two stars (rather than just one) because of the seemingly unintentional hilarity of it as well as its psychological depth. John Keel is clearly both delusional and megalomaniacal, and this book chronicles what appears to be his descent into madness.

My favorite parts are the ones in which he goes out to an abandoned road at night to commune with the Mothman BY HIMSELF, with no witnesses or cameras to prove it.

So yeah, this is a weird one. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get
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Steph
some things to consider before deciding to pick up the mothman prophecies:

‣  it's not really about the mothman!! i love cryptids and was excited to read a cryptid classic from 1975. but ufologist john keel mostly just gives accounts of people seeing lights in the sky and getting strange phone calls. there are a few accounts of mothman sightings, and the book ends with the tragic collapse of the silver bridge. but i didn't even learn much about mothman!!

‣ john keel was quite racist and xenophobic
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Paul  Perry
Nope.


Got about a third of the way in and this continues to be nothing but a collection of anecdotes and bullshit. I have better things to do with my time.


I think Keel's attitude is best summed up by these lines that close chapter three:

"Camera malfunctions are remarkably common among would-be UFO photographers, and even those that try to take pictures of the serpent at Loch Ness. It almost seems as if some outside force fouls up cameras when monsters and UFOs are around."


I would like to think th
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Jessaka
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Quit Thinking About UFOs

I thought that this would be a fun read, and it was in the beginning for it was strange, scary, and downright creepy. But I never got it out of my head, after reading a friend’s review of this book, that the Mothman could have been a sandhill crane, a large bird whose eyes glowed red at night. I would be frightened of any creature whose eyes glowed red.

I had never heard of the Mothman of the 1960s. While I have been somewhat interested in UFOs in my earlier years, I neve
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Peter
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is really eerie and uncanny!
Mike (the Paladin)
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
In 1967 I was dating a girl from WV. She was very aware of the Silver Bridge disaster, so I was very aware of it also. Of course if she had been very aware of pink elephants in sweat clothes I would have been to. High school and "love" ain't it great? She was also interested in "esoteric literature" and as it happened I was to...and this time I had been interested in it before I got interested in her. Over the years that we were together we read a lot of this type of book, including Keel's earli ...more
Joshua
Feb 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
The book was pretty scary...veracity not withstanding. I like to look at it up on the bookshelf. It's a creepy title staring down at me, the haunting sound of fiddles off in the distance. Sometimes when I stare at this book for a while I get very hungry. Yet still scared and hungry in combination.

You might even say I get "Scungry". While reading this book on the toilet, my phone rang and and a disembodied voice on the other end screeched "Your in the bathroom aren't you?"

Turns out it was my mom
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Chris Gordon
What an absolute disappointment! Total trash!

While I do not actually believe in cryptids and other such mythical creatures like the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot, I do find the histories and stories behind these beings to be fascinating. One of these cryptids which I have always wanted to learn more about was the Mothman of Point Pleasant, mostly because of the comparisons made between it and my home state's Jersey Devil. The most lauded book on the Mothman was John Keel's The Mothman Prophecie
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Mike

"There wasn't much to do in Point Pleasant, a town of six thousand people, twenty-two churches, and no barrooms, so Mothman was almost a welcome addition."

More pressing than any of the mysteries that John Keel investigates in this book, I was earlier this month confronted by one of my own: why did my friend P ____, a responsible family man with a job in the U.S. government (I probably shouldn't get any more specific than that), loan me The Mothman Prophecies in the first place? Did he mean it as
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Baal Of
Feb 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an example of how sometimes the worst books generate some of the most enjoyable discussions at a book club. Our group of about 8 participants at the Nightmare Factory book club had a rousing, laugh-filled session ripping this book to shreds. This book is bad on so many levels from its terribly written prose, to the shoddy research, from the unfocused, disorganized approach, to the lack of references or bibliography, and the stunning arrogance and insulting attitude of John Keel, shi ...more
Dean
Oct 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mothman, UFOs, MIB, and much more...
Based on a true event in the sixties.

People begin to see a mysterious apparition called the Mothman because of his resemblance to it!
This diabolical manifestation haunts a whole city in the USA, and carries a sinister warning about some catastrophe that will happen very soon...

After watching the movie adaptation starring Richard Geere, I knew that at some point I had to read also the book!
I'm very happy to have done so...

To everyone interested in the UFO p
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Heidi The Reader
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it
What a disturbing book. I remember that the film was pretty disturbing too but it had nothing on this.

Account after account of strange lights, unexplained grey/winged creatures, animal evisceration, mechanical failures, hallucinations, strange phone calls- the list goes on and on. Then it gets truly bizarre as the "aliens" begin to predict world disasters, culminating in the bridge collapse at Point Pleasant.

John Keel leaves little doubt in the reader's mind that impossible things can happen to
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Paul Haspel
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: west-virginia
The Mothman lives on, in the Ohio River region that was once his haunt. There is a Mothman Museum in downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and a Mothman statue that shows a winged, human-like creature with glowing red eyes. The Mothman, as any resident of the region can tell you, began appearing to a number of people in the area around Point Pleasant in the fall of 1966. Mothman appearances, and other bizarre phenomena, continued to occur until December of 1967, when the Silver Bridge collapse ...more
K.T. Katzmann
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror Fans, Monster Lovers, UFO buffs, Cryptozoology Fans
Amusing, well-written crazy that veers into nightmare fuel. The movie is as watered down an adaptation as Disney's "Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Let me give out a caveat: I don't think your enjoyment of this book hinges on believing a word of it. Kenneth Hite called Keel one of the premiere unappreciated horror writers of the 20th century, and this book is why. Treat it as fiction; I did, and I loved it.

Keel travels to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in order to examine a UFO "flap." On the way, he i
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Darrell
Nov 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
While I didn't buy that this was based on a true story, I did enjoy the movie, so I thought I'd read the book. However, the book has almost nothing to do with the movie. The Mothman barely makes an appearance and there isn't really any narrative structure. Instead of "based on a true story" the book should have "a series of unrelated anecdotes" on the cover.

John Keel lists numerous contactee stories from people all over the world and attempts to connect them. He claims that similarities between
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Christopher Saunders
John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies is truly one of the craziest books I've ever read - and I mean that, sort of, as a compliment. Ostensibly, Keel's book chronicles the famous series of cryptid sightings that plagued West Virginia in 1967, where numerous residents claimed to encounter a giant, red-eyed flying monstrosity dubbed Mothman. But far more of the book's given over to Keel's bizarre experiences and ramblings on any number of topics, ranging from the conventionally strange to the truly a ...more
Scott Meesey
Jul 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'm actually surprised at the number of positive reviews of this book. Here's why:

0.5/5 stars because I feel obligated to give it something.

I enjoy reading about "unexplained phenomena". I really do. I love "real" ghost stories and the like. However, I prefer an author to take a very scientific stance, exhausting all possibilities. Keel does not. He's a "true believer" and that's the problem.

Somewhere in the book he supposes that this mysterious Mothman could have been a man on a hang-glider. "
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Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
In 1966, the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia experienced a host of UFO sightings, visits from mysterious men in black suits and panel trucks, and a far more sinister creature taller than a man with wings and red eyes. A little over a year later, the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River resulted in the deaths of nearly fifty people, and the Mothman has haunted cryptid mythology ever since. Professional UFO investigator John Keel documents the sightings leading up to the tragedy ...more
Jordan West
Keel is definitely no Charles Fort - he's too eager to make his case whereas the latter correlated, speculated, and encouraged the reader to come to their own conclusions; even so, if this ostensibly 'true' tale is taken with a generous serving of salt, it can provide an entertainingly unnerving reading experience for enthusiasts of the weird. ...more
♥Milica♥
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I watched the movie a few years ago and learned it's based on a book. It's been at the back of my mind to read it ever since.

I was expecting to remember the movie and learn more info about the Mothman cases but he's barely present in the book. Most mentions of him are near the end and they seem a little rushed.

The rest of the book is full of Mr Keel's investigations into ufo sightings, other alien related encounters and his interviews with contactees.

As a bonus, there's his own experiences wi
...more
Christine
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying if you’ve seen the Richard Gere film adaptation of this book, this is not like that at all (and thank god!). Don’t get me wrong; the movie is entertaining but its story is merely inspired by this book. If you want to know the true play by play of what went down then start with this book. I was far more interested in finding a first hand account of the true Mothman story compared to anything Hollywood could conjure up. It wasn’t immediately clear when I looked up this book ...more
Little Miss Esoteric
3.5 stars.

First off I'd like to mention that I have never been interested in UFOs or 'aliens'. This is fairly obvious given the title of my GR shelf for such books.

Secondly, John Keel rambles. Both 'The Mothman Prophecies' and 'Operation Trojan Horse' feel as if they were written in haste. Points are made then forgotten, or undermined by future passages. The writing and ideas simply don't flow. I will admit I skimmed many of the testimonials and sightings. Too repetitive by far.

My gripes aside
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Nathan
Mar 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandonded
I quit.

I liked the movie. I thought this was going to be "non-fiction" first-person narrative of John Keel's experiences in Point Pleasant and what he thought was the explanation.

He arrived in Point Pleasant convinced he had a solution and surprise, surprise, he found a mystery. I scanned ahead after reading 37 pages and the bulk of the book appears to be a compendium of the author's research "evidence" filled with phrases like, "Obviously the government was determined to cover up the facts."
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Eddie Watkins
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal-etc
John Keel died last Friday after a long career as the most interesting mouthpiece for strange phenomena. He was one of those Fortean writers whose very example made it clear that our own mental states are the critical factor in experiencing paranormal phenomena. And I don't mean that that means it's "all in one's head", I mean that our mental states leak out into the world and somehow affect what happens, or attract strange happenings, or bring to light strange things that are always there but u ...more
J. Gowin
This is one of those books that I don't know how to rate. The author has a talent for description and a flair for turning phrases which kept me reading. However, he seems more interested in painting a grand image, than in providing a coherent sequence of events. The book is constantly jumping around in time from immediately relevant events to things that happened years after or before the tragedy in Point Pleasant, WV. I cannot say if this was an attempt by the author to demonstrate a possible a ...more
Angelika Fuller
Nov 16, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cryptid
I just can't with this one. Too much self-important author, not enough Mothman. ...more
Kumonosu Joe
Jul 10, 2022 rated it really liked it
I really want to visit Point Pleasant now.
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Horror Aficionados : May 2020 Group Read #1: THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, John A. Keel 93 231 May 17, 2020 04:08PM  
Horror Aficionados : the mothman Festival 1 20 Jul 13, 2016 03:18PM  

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John Alva Keel (born Alva John Kiehle) was a Fortean author and professional journalist.

Keel wrote professionally from the age of 12, and was best known for his writings on unidentified flying objects, the "Mothman" of West Virginia, and other paranormal subjects. Keel was arguably one of the most widely read and influential ufologists since the early 1970s. Although his own thoughts about UFOs an
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