Fwd = The Mothman Prophecies: "Gordon Smallwood" and Some Strange Happenings
- Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
Original Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 11:19:12 -0800
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The Mothman Prophecies:
"Gordon Smallwood" and Some Strange Happenings
by Loren Coleman
In the new motion picture, The Mothman Prophecies ( based on the
book of the same name by John Keel), chemical plant worker "Gordon
Smallwood" (Will Patton), is deeply upset by late-night visits, he
thinks, from reporter "John Klein" (Richard Gere). "Smallwood" also
believes that an entity named Indrid Cold is communicating with him,
and this is slowly driving him, well, to turn a phrase, batty.
"Gordon Smallwood" is loosely based on contactee Woody Derenberger,
who reported encounters with an Indrid Cold in West Virginia during
the period of the Mothman sightings there in 1966-1967. This is all
rather obvious, and the "Smallwood" and Woody link is not hard to see.
Right after the movie's opening, Jerome "Jerry" Clark, author of The
UFO Book, posted the following on an online UFO group: "I wonder how
many of you who've seen the movie caught the
deep-inside-the-ufological-beltway use of the name 'Gordon Smallwood'
for the Will Patton character?"
No one answered, but many were interested in learning what the in-joke
was all about.
Jerry Clark explained: "Gordon Smallwood is a pseudonym Gray Barker
[the late West Virginia ufologist, and friend of John A. Keel] used
for Quebec ufologist Laimon Mitris, who allegedly was visited by a man
in black. See chapter 13 of They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.
Barker writes, 'I would like to know someone by the name of Gordon
Smallwood. The name in itself sounds honest and reputable. If there
are any Gordon Smallwoods reading this book, let them rest assured the
name used here is an invention. But let them write to me for I would
like to know people with such a name.'"
The Mothman Prophecies movie has many layers of meanings and a few
inside jokes: from the Fortean number game turning up in the night
visits related by "Gordon Smallwood", the selection of names (e.g.
Leek = Keel), and even on-camera appearances. Notice the imposing
figure of the bartender at the Marriott who helps the Richard Gere
character with the television channels. That's director Mark
Pellington in his Alfred Hitchcock-like cameo.
There have also been several strange occurrences associated with the
A special screening of The Mothman Prophecies for me and 199 of my
guests in Portland, Maine, on January 23rd, did not occur without a
visit from the weird. One of the most bizarre experiences of my
movie-viewing life happened with about 15 minutes to go in the film.
It was the point at which Richard Gere and Laura Linney are arguing
about whether her character should go help with the governor's
security at the chemical plant. During that conflict, up on the big
screen, the film stuck. It stopped. It slowly started melting. The
film was burning right in front of all of our eyes. It moved a little
and then burned more. Strange shades of black, orange, and red.
Richard Gere's ear seemed to be the source of ghosty images of melting
film footage. We all watched in horror, transfixed. We all were
trying to understand if this was part of the film. The movie strip
began to burn across the screen and people began to yell, "It's going
to break!" Then a fellow film professor, Dan Porter, jumped up, ran
down the aisle, and found someone to deal with the unattended
projector. Everyone was more than a little freaked out by this
experience happening with *this* film. The theater people turned off
the projector, the lights came up, and then we waited. And talked and
talked about the eerie melting. In about five minutes, we all were
watching it again. Bizarre.
(I've now seen the film again - an unburned print. The line missed
due to the projector problem was "You saw Leek." How appropriate.)
The real Point Pleasant, West Virginia, which had a special showing of
the movie on Thursday, January 24th (a day before the national
release) experienced phone outages and power blackouts all day. By
Friday, the hospital's phones in town could call locally, but not
across the Ohio River.
Also on the 24th, Arkansas wildlife artist Bill Rebsamen (who did the
Mothman cover art for my new book, Mothman and Other Curious
Encounters) reported "...can you believe I missed the FX program [the
documentary, Search for the Mothman] last night? Tuesday our phone at
home went dead inside the house...Strange, when you pick up the the
phone it simply sounds like there's a phone off the hook somewhere in
the house. We've never had this kind of problem before. Then, last
night we had a small thunderstorm come through very quickly around 6pm
(didn't even rain for more than an hour and really did not lightning
that much) and our cable went out and did not come back on until about
10:30 our time (30 minutes after the program went off)."
To round out the bizarre happenings, I was on Errol Bruce-Knapp's
Toronto radio show late on January 26th, and it was hit with the most
incredible phone problems I have experienced lately. I was literally
blown off the line with weird echoes and a blasting noise. It
happened not just once, but five times during my hour - twice with
ufologist Jerry Clark on another line from Minnesota. Jerry kept
humorously repeating the words, "I am not paranoid, I am not
paranoid," as it was happening. The line would finally go dead, and
the technical staff at the show would call back, apologizing about all
the "trouble they were having with the phones since they began talking
about Mothman today."
After the program was over, 12:23 AM to be exact, (yep, the Fortean
number game again), I wanted to look into a mirror to see what toil
Mothman had taken on my face. As I began to look into the mirror, an
overhead light that had been on all night, blew up. I was in the dark
This is just getting a little too strange.
Enjoy the movie.
P.S. As I was finishing this on Sunday, January 27th, news came that
on Saturday, January 26, two Point Pleasant area auto accidents
resulted in five deaths in Mason County. The first accident happened
around 7:05 AM when two vehicles collided on W.Va. 2 south of
Henderson, the town next to Point Pleasant. Michael Lee Wilson, 23, of
Point Pleasant, and Dana W. Chapman, 51, of Southside, were killed.
The second wreck occurred at 1:22 PM on U.S. 35 about one mile inside
the Mason County, and three people from one vehicle were killed and
five in two other vehicles were injured. The Charleston Daily News on
January 27th noted: "The large number of fatalities in one day is
unusual for a rural county such as Mason." Jeremy Bryant, chief of the
Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department was struck by the rare nature
of two such tragedies. "And to beat it all, today is my birthday,"
Bryant said. "I'll never forget it."
Copyright 2002 Loren Coleman
[LINK] Loren Coleman is a world-renowned cryptozoologist and
author of numerous books and articles, most recently Mothman and
Other Curious Encounters, available from Amazon.com. You can visit
him online at www.lorencoleman.com.
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- Ok, this might be hokey, and I didn't really think about it much until reading this article, and I don't know if it changes my opinion. Just want to see what others have to say about their own experience in or surrounding the viewing of this film, the Mothman Prophecies.
When I saw the film on opening day at a local theatre, during the film I had to leave because when the 'good' parts were playing, there was a cutting of the volume from lower to higher output. This happened all throughout the movie. It didn't stop after I informed the people at the theatre of the apparent problem, which was within the first 15 to 20 minutes of viewing.
I still think it was a problem with the sound projection, but who knows. LOL
Anyone else have something happen in or around the viewing?
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