John Keel Interviewed by Kenn Thomas

Meeting Keel in New York 10/28/02

Kenn Thomas recently sent along a recording of an interview he conducted with the late John Keel from 1992. I played the recording on the July 19th show. Due to many requests for a downloadable version, I have obtained permission from Kenn to post the file for free and perpetual public access.

The interview features Keel at his cranky best, skewering UFO fans in particular and paranormal dilettantes in general. He also mentions a few things that I found surprising, such as his contention that Kenneth Arnold originally witnessed only bright lights from at least 50 miles away when Arnold officially opened the modern age of flying saucers with his sighting on June 24th, 1947. Keel says that publisher Ray Palmer had Arnold add details that were not originally reported, and that UFO fans have been extrapolating the facts ever since. I believe that there are interviews with Arnold that include more details than just “bright lights” (or reflections) before he wrote about the experience for the first issue of Fate magazine ion 1948 and four years later in The Coming Of The Saucers, which were both published by Palmer.

Keel also argues for his fugo balloon theory of the Roswell crash, which should still piss off a lot of people, which is just how old John would have wanted it. Keel was in an adversarial position with the ufological rank-and-file from the beginning, which made him a bit impatient with those he thought were stuck in a hopelessly bankrupt belief system, but his theories are still valid with respect to things that have not been explained to everyone’s satisfaction. If you can find a copy of his landmark book Operation Trojan Horse, I would highly recommend that you read it.

The interview was conducted on July  12, 1992.

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5 Responses to John Keel Interviewed by Kenn Thomas

  1. James says:

    Used copies of Operation Trojan Horse are going for no less than $100.. however, you can download it free in PDF form from here:

    Since its long out of print and unavailable, I didn’t think it would be an issue to post the link up.

    Keel’s niece also has new copies of the older edition of Mothman Prophecies up for sale on ebay for $12 shipped. These editions are the larger sized format, as opposed to the new mass market paperbacks

    • Greg says:


      For books published from 1964-77 the rule is 28 years for first term, with an automatic extension of 67 years. At present, the copyright is apparently held by John Keel and Lakeshore Entertainment. At least according to the U.S. Copyright Office.

      I couldn’t find which listing on ebay that you are referring to. Was it the Illuminet 1991 edition? I’d sure like to have an original hardcover.

  2. James says:

    It is the Illuminet 1991 edition, paperback.

    It looks like she doesn’t currently have any more listed. I bought this one, so its already ended, but I emailed her to ask about the edition and she said she has tons of them, so I would imagine she will probably be listing them as they sell. If you/anyone are interested, you could probably just contact her to arrange for a copy. Its not the hardcover, but it is a larger version(8.4 x 5.5) and cooler cover(IMO) than the current mass market paperbacks. I hate mass market paperbacks and have a really hard time reading the small print. There are several used copies of this edition listed on Amazon, but these should apparently be in “new/unread” condition, and the Amazon sellers don’t always list the correct version.

    (Item # 170660130350)

    • Greg says:


      Oops. That was the copyright record for Mothman. I can’t find anything on Operation Trojan Horse. Might actually be OK to put online for free.

      I just noticed that I have a copy of the Illuminet edition already! I also have a signed first edition of “Jadoo” and Keel’s softcore porno novel, “The Fickle Finger of Fate.” Just sayin’.

  3. Paul says:

    I’d like to add that Operation Trojan Horse and Strange Creatures From Time and Space are actually two parts of one major manuscript — he had to cut OTR in half, so SCFTaS became a separate book. Keel actually suggested reading both books in tandem for a more complete flavour.

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