I'm currently reading "The Mothman Prophesies" by John A. Keel. [I know... you can laugh at me]. I chose to read it because despite my being an atheist who is an extreme skeptic of anything supernatural... I haven't lost my taste for a good spooky tale. Being the thrill-chaser that I am, I enjoy all sorts of things that give a good scare... horror movies, rollar coasters, ghost stories, urban legends... and [as I apparently found out last Monday] scaling the side of a 15-foot [~4.6 m] rocky "cliff-like thing" without a harness or other safety devices. [Okay, so maybe that was a stupid, impulsive shenanigan, but I did get a real thrill out of it. 


But, the author of the book [covering the legendary Mothman sitings in Point Pleasant, West Virginia 1966-1967] spoke a bit of surprising skepticism for a "paranormal investigator." These are some interesting quotes, coming from a non-skeptic: "As we progress, you will see that many seemingly straight-forward accounts of monster sightings and UFO landings that can be explained by irritatingly complex medical and psychological theories." [I think "interesting" would be more accurate of a word that "irritating." Afterall, as he admits in the next sentence, quite often, the truth regarding so-called experiences of the "paranormal" is even more fascinating than the story itself! As he admits "In some cases, the theories will seem more unbelievable than the original events." - p.5 chapter 1: Beelzebub Visits West Virginia.


The Chapter's name is actually misleading. I was impressed when I read that he made a totally valid point [that I would never expect from a believer of the paranormal] that the demonic apparition that many Point Pleasant residents thought they saw on a stormy November night in 1967, showing up dressed strangely and asking for a phone on their doorsteps... was actually the author of the book, soaking wet and miserable, going from door to door asking to borrow a phone so he could call a tow truck for his broken down car. 

[From p. 4]

"My point, of course, is that Beelzebub was not wandering along the back roads of West Virginia that night. It was just a very tired John Keel busy catching a whale of a cold."


So, he does admit that things are often not what they seem.


But he goes further. In fact, he goes into a digression about ghostly appearances and alternate explanations.


As I have come to learn as a psychology major, people see what the want to see. Just as a young child sees ordinary objects as monstrosities in the dark, so do adults. In some way, aren't we all a bit afraid of the dark? Of what the shadows conceal? Of the unknown?


A person's mind has the ability to warp reality into something that it isn't. [Laypeople call this "your mind playing tricks on you"] 

So, when dozens of witnesses claimed to see a strange winged monstrosity haunting the abandoned power plant outside of town... isn't the most likely explanation that their minds were constructing imaginary beings out of the fabric of reality?

Red eyes staring in your window... couldn't those be the tail-lights of a passing car?

A huge black-winged creature... a bird?


As the author made clear... the events of the "Mothman" sitings remain unclear, and a great campfire story to gain a thrill, but whatever it was, as an atheist, I am CERTAIN that it was no ghost or monster of any kind...

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Comment by anti_supernaturalist on May 15, 2011 at 2:18pm
** Non-human supernatural persons -- or are 'demons' real?

Many otherwise rational people believe that incorporeal, invisible persons exist and influence daily life.

These entities are non-human persons. Some alleged supernatural examples: the Devil, demons, goblins, ghosts, angels, spirits, souls, minds, daemons, divinized heros, saints, godlings, gods, God (or YHVH or Allah).

The Big-3 Monster Theisms will assert that God is a person to be referred to as 'He'. Whatever sense can be made of faith-based paternalism, at least the theist will never assert that God was once a fertilized human egg.

I must say, though, that my favorite magical exorcism story comes from Luke, at 8:26-33, 37 NIV. Christ exorcises the demons which infest a howling madman named “Legion” because he contains a Roman legion’s number of demons within. Jesus removes Legion’s demons by exorcizing them into a herd of swine which become crazed, run into the sea and drown!

Unfortunately, it is all too easy to slide from an ancient text in which demons are apparently held to be real (as in Luke 8) to a text such as yours in which long tradition well before xianity, say in Homer’s Iliad, routinely presents ghosts as real beings.

When modern xians or believers in the occult use the words ‘ghost’ or ‘demon’ they often obscure what they intend to say:

1. that 'demon' or 'ghost' still has a non-metaphorical use; it can refer to actual invisible, incorporeal, malevolent agents -- so that in a text attributed to Luke when persons are said to have been possessed by demons or have seen ghosts, they may have.

2. that 'demon' can only be used metaphorically since demons in the first sense have never existed -- so that in any text when persons are said to be possessed by demons, they (logically) could not have been.

As always, the devil’s in the details.

the anti_supernaturalist
Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on July 31, 2011 at 2:16pm

Oh... people have been arguing over what mothman is for over 40 years. "He's an Angel!" "No! He's a demon!" "No! He's an alien!" "No he's an animal/ human that mutated horribly in that old TNT nuclear power plant!" "No! He was a government experiment gone wrong that they were trying to cover up" [see the whole "men in black" part of the mothman story Men in Black Explanation

Apparently many residents of Point Pleasant saw strange male out-of-towners wandering around the town during the mothman period. They were always said to be dressed in black. 


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