Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Woo Woo #1 ~ John Keel

Woo woo (or just woo) is a slang term used by skeptics to describe concepts or beliefs that are based on little or no evidence, or mysterious or unproven forces. I suppose skeptics consider astrology the ultimate woo-woo. Well they would, wouldn't they?

This is first of what may turn out to be a fairly brief Wednesday series about some well-known characters whose lives revolved around investigating mysterious phenomena and the unexplained. I'll be watching for any common factors in their natal charts.

First up: John Keel.

I came across him recently via a movie shown on HBO: The Mothman Prophecies. I'd never heard of Keel's book of the same name from which the movie is a loose adaptation. I was surprised to find later that events portrayed were based on fact. I'd watched the movie thinking it was going to be a fantasy-cum-horror tale. From comments on-line it appears that Keel's book contains much more information, and proves to be even more mystifying than the movie. Details of the story available HERE.

(Disclaimer - ish: I've become generally cyncical about such material, especially when it's written for presentation in book form, for profit. That's not to say I disbelieve eveything presented, but I do suspect that facts are embroidered and embellished quite a lot to entice readers and cause a stir.)

John Keel, American journalist and writer died last summer. The UK's Telegraph newspaper published a detailed obituary. An extract follows:

One of ufology's most widely-read and influential authors, Keel became an original and controversial researcher, and is credited with coining the term MIB (Men In Black), sinister and threatening entities who assume human form to confront ufologists and UFO witnesses.

Of particular importance was Keel's analysis of patterns. His work on "windows" (specific hot spots of combined phenomenal appearances), "waves" (cyclic appearances of the phenomena) and the "Wednesday phenomenon" (the theory that a disproportionate number of UFO events occur on that day of the week) influenced scholars and followers of the genre alike.

In his much-acclaimed second book, UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse (1970), Keel suggested that many aspects of modern UFO reports, including humanoid encounters, often paralleled ancient folklore and religious visions, and directly linked UFOs with elemental phenomena.

The Mothman Prophecies was Keel's account of his investigation into sightings in West Virginia of a huge, winged creature called the Mothman. Loosely adapted into a 2002 film starring Gere and Alan Bates, who played two parts of Keel's personality, the book explored the problems facing a UFO investigator when he becomes personally caught up in the unfolding of paranormal events.

The Mothman – so named by an excitable newspaper subeditor – was reportedly first encountered in November 1966, and again, repeatedly, the following year. Sightings dwindled following the collapse of a nearby bridge during the evening rush-hour in December 1967, in which 45 people were killed; the red-eyed apparition is popularly believed to presage or even cause disasters.

As well as producing novels such as The Flying Finger of Fate (1966), Keel began writing articles for Flying Saucer Review, a British-based publication which claims to number the Duke of Edinburgh among its readers.

Also in 1966, Keel became a full-time investigator of assorted paranormal phenomena, and for the next four years interviewed thousands of people in more than 20 American states. At first he sought to explain UFOs as extraterrestrial visitations. But a year into his investigations, Keel realised that this hypothesis was untenable.

"I abandoned the extraterrestrial hypothesis in 1967, when my own field investigations disclosed an astonishing overlap between psychic phenomena and UFOs," Keel wrote. "The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs."

Born 25 March 1930 in Hornell New York state. (12noon chart shown below in the absence of time of birth. Ascendant and Moon degree not accurate.)

Hmmmm - thought as much! Uranus close to natal Sun in Aries - sandwiched between Sun and Venus as it happens. Mercury is nextdoor in the last degrees of imaginative Pisces. This is interesting. Had Mercury been found in Aries or Taurus I wonder if Mr. Keel would still have been drawn towards this particular genre?

Digressing for a moment - I read an exchange on the forum at the other day concerning "confirmation bias". Confirmation bias means that, in any circumstance, people will tend to see things which match their own mental bias. I guess confirmation bias could indeed come into play when looking at a natal chart, yet if a factor isn't there - it ain't there, simple as that, you cannot invent it. Planets and other chart factors have reasonably limited interpretations, can be interpreted in a limited number of ways. You cannot "make it up" to suit your wishes. If it is there, it's there! Emphasis can be put one thing more than another if it fits the context, but if we seek something specific, such as Uranus being closely involved with a personal planet - it either is there or it isn't.

Uranus close to Sun allied with Mercury in Pisces are key here, I think. As an added extra there's Jupiter in Gemini the writer's sign. Jupiter is known as planet of expansion and publication and is in helpful sextile to the three Aries planets.

Whatever time of day he was born, Moon would have been in Aquarius, the sign ruled by Uranus, and quite likely in sextile to the three Aries planets. Aquarius isn't necessarily the whacky or rebellious sign some astrologers make it out to be - it all depends on Uranus. What Aquarius always does represent is mental acuity and an analytical mindset. From what I've read about John Keel, that certainly applied to him. Whether he tended to get carried away in his enthusiasm, allowing Jupiter's exaggerating influence to get in on the act, has to be up to the reader to decide.


Wisewebwoman said...

Oh blogger is acting up, deleted my long message...grrr.
I will come back.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~ Shuckks! Sorry. It's very annoying when that happens.

Twilight said...

FROM Wisewebwoman;
My 'lost post' to you a few days ago (before the blinding crush of last minute tax season) turned up on someone else's a few days later. Weird? And this is the post:

"I'm less sceptical than most, T, having had a very extraordinary experience myself which I must write about, if I can find the words. My experience was mirrored by a friend of my daughter independently (at the time) of any information on mine.
There are more things, etc.....
I like this WooWoo idea of yours ;^)

Outer forces? other elements...woowoo is right.


Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Thanks, WWW. Weird indeed!

anthonynorth said...

Interesting post. Keel wasn't alone - or the first - to compare with elementals, despite what the Telegraph said. Jacques Vallee might be of interest, too. He was the basis for the Ufologist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ Oh - thanks for the tip - I'll be looking for more woo-ish subjects soon, he'll do nicely for #3, perhaps. I've prepared a post on Charles Fort for #2. :-)