The skies over Austin are awash with phantasmagoria on the third Tuesday of every month. Like clockwork on some planet where clocks keep track only of the passage of Tuesdays, enigmatic shadows with burning, red eyes are seen floating in a most peculiar way before descending through the treetops to land at the entrance to BookPeople, adjust their otherworldly garb, and convene for yet another meeting of the Nightmare Factory Book Club. If you see mystery lights on Tuesday February 16th around the 7 o’clock hour, bear in mind that we are discussing John Keel’s classic work of paranormal investigation The Mothman Prophecies, and, if the stars look very different today, know that the things from another world may have noticed you, too.
For thirteen months, Point Pleasant, Virginia was host to an explosion of unexplained phenomena, culminating in the catastrophic collapse of the Silver Bridge into the icy Ohio River in 1967. Dozens of witnesses reported impossible lights racing across the night sky, visitations from strange people that didn’t quite grasp the intricacies of human behavior, and, lashing it all together, an enormous, winged creature with haunting, crimson eyes that the media dubbed “the Mothman”. UFOlogist John Keel made a pilgrimage to this hotbed of supernatural activity to take part in the madness, and, in so doing, he compiled the remarkable interviews and essays that would become his creepy 1975 masterpiece The Mothman Prophecies. Call it pseudoscience, call it sensationalism, but, if you call it anything less than pure, unadulterated fun, the men in black suits will come to take you away.
The Nightmare Factory Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the cafe at BookPeople to peer into the vast, inky blackness of literary horror fiction, hoping to catch something’s eye if it happens to be gazing back at us from the abyss. Join us this Tuesday to talk about the aliens, men in black, and moth monsters in John Keel’s “true story” The Mothman Prophecies. No matter how silly it looks on the outside, the Nightmare Factory always wants to believe.
- Steve(n) W.