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John A. Keel

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John A. Keel
BornAlva John Kiehle
March 25, 1930
DiedJuly 3, 2009 (age 79)
New York, New York

John A. Keel (1930–2009) was an American journalist and influential UFOlogist best known as author of The Mothman Prophecies.


A lifelong student of magic, his first book, Jadoo, detailed his search for the truth behind the fabled Indian Rope Trick and other adventures in Egypt and India.[1]

Keel had his first story published in a magicians' magazine at age 12.[citation needed] He later worked as a freelance contributor to newspapers, scriptwriter for local radio and television outlets, and author of pulp articles such as "Are You A Repressed Sex Fiend?". He served in the US Army during the Korean War on the staff of the American Forces Network at Frankfurt, Germany. After leaving the military he worked as a foreign radio correspondent in Paris, Berlin, Rome and Egypt. In 1957, he published Jadoo, a book describing his time in Egypt and India investigating the Indian rope trick and the legendary yeti. In 1966 he produced the "spy and superhero" spoof novel The Fickle Finger of Fate. Influenced by writers such as Charles Fort, he began contributing articles to Flying Saucer Review and took up investigating UFOs and assorted Forteana as a full time pursuit.

A member of the Screenwriters Guild, Keel reportedly wrote scripts for Get Smart, The Monkees, and Lost In Space.

In 1967, Keel coined the term "Men In Black" in an article for the men's adventure magazine Saga, entitled "UFO Agents of Terror".

Prolific and imaginative, Keel was considered a significant influence within the UFO and Fortean genre.

He died on July 3, 2009 in New York City, at the age of 79.

His effect "Music Lovers Revenge" was published in Genii (July 1961).


  • Jadoo (1957)
  • The Fickle Finger of Fate (Fawcett, 1966)
  • UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse (1970)
  • Strange Creatures From Time and Space (1970)
  • Our Haunted Planet (1971)
  • The Flying Saucer Subculture (1973)
  • The Mothman Prophecies (1975)
  • The Eighth Tower (1975)
  • The Cosmic Question (1978)
  • Disneyland of the Gods (1988)
  • The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings (1994) (revised version of Strange Creatures from Time and Space)
  • The Best of John Keel (Paperback 2006) (Collection of Keel's Fate Magazine articles)


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