When I was a boy, I read an awful lot of shite books about Fortean matters.
I ploughed through Erich von Daniken, dodgy tomes about the Bermuda Triangle and witchcraft and Earth mysteries. Like Stephen King described the process of reading/watching bad horror stories, I was prospecting through mud, seeking those few glimmers of gold.
Every now and then, I found something truly good, which asked hard questions and offered theories without falling into the trap of declaring their point of view as pure Truth. One of these was UFOs – Operation Trojan Horse, by John Alva Keel. It made a difference in how I looked at the world. Like Robert Anton Wilson (who I read about the same time), Keel showed me that ‘maybe’ was not a bad perspective to take – and that orthodoxy can so easily trap a mind. In other works, such as Our Haunted Planet and especially in The Mothman Prophecies, his perspective and unapologetically personal approach were a breath of fresh air in the stale pulpiness of so much Fortean writing.
And now he’s gone. I’m startled at how sad this makes me – but perhaps I shouldn’t be. After all, we should mourn our ancestors when they pass, even (especially) when they aren’t blood kin.