Friday, July 6, 2018

Åke Franzén And Mothman, Part 1

Because of the renewed interest in Mothman and John Keel I have decided to translate the original interview Anders Liljegren and I made with Åke Franzén on May 19, 1973. It was published in our Swedish magazine Ufologen no 12, Nov-Dec 1973. I have written some blog entries on Åke Franzén before but here is the complete interview as transcribed from our tape recording. Åke travelled to West Virginia in the Summer of 1969 and spent five weeks in the area around Point Pleasant and also a few days in New York where he met John Keel. From a research point of view it is interesting that this interview was published before Keel´s classic The Mothman Prophecies, 1975.

Anders Liljegren and I interviewing Åke Franzén, May 19, 1973

What was planned as an ordinary field investigation proved to be much more. Åke fell deeply in love with Mothman witness Linda Scarberry and soon became a close friend with several people in Point Pleasant, including journalist Mary Hyre who was his chauffeur during these weeks, visiting witnesses and observation sites.

Åke Franzén, October 22, 1977

Åke Franzén: ”I was surprised by the openness I met from these people. Whether this was because they felt I believed them and wanted to listen to what they told me, or if it is an American characteristic I don´t know. Anyhow there were no closed doors.”

We asked Åke if there was any connection between Mothman and UFOs:

Åke Franzén: ”To my knowledge there is only one case where saucers have been observed together with ´the bird´. I have promised not to reveal the names of the people who witnessed this but they were out cruising late at night  and observed a saucer and a ´birdman´ with the characteristic luminous eyes, melting into one object and disappearing in the sky.”

Åke then related some of the encounters with Mothman:

Åke Franzén: ”One of the main witnesses, Linda Scarberry, had moved from Ohio when I came to Point Pleasant, but 2-3 weeks later she moved back to her parents home. I asked Mary Hyre to contact her and she drove me there. Linda Scarberry told that she and her husband, and another young couple, had gone to the TNT-area one evening. This place is a sort of nature reserve and ´lovers lane´. They were about to park their car behind a ruin of a closed power plant when one of them suddenly shouted ´look there in the corner´. They watched a creature, about seven feet tall, with glowing eyes or rings.

Linda´s husband, who was driving, tried to start the car real quick to get away from this horrible sight but because of excitement gave too much gas. The two young girls were hysterical and shouted ´drive´. They finally succeeded in getting away and when looking back they noticed how the creature turned around wobbling, and went towards the building like a clumsy duck. They reached the road, route 2. Halfway home one of them happened to look behind the car. Above them they could see the creature flying and its wing tips on either side of the car. The wings didn´t flutter, but were completely still. It was so low above them that the frightened witnesses could observe its legs hanging and dangling right above the windshield. I especially remember Linda saying she could see ´veins´, thick as rope, around the legs. They didn´t see any feet.

When they saw the first lights from Point Pleasant the ´bird´ made a turn and went in the opposite direction. The couples went straight to the police station where the chief of police listened to their story. He believed them as these young people were considered well-behaved and reliable. In spite of their fear they immediately returned to the spot accompanied by the policeman. On arrival there was nothing to see but the communication radio in the policar was turned up like listening to a 45 rpm record at 78 rpm. According to rumors a senior police officer made an investigation of the observation area and got a glimpse of the creature. After this encounter he refused to talk about this event. If anyone mention ´the birdman´ he withdraws from the conversation.

Linda Scarberry had to seek medical help because of the psychological trauma caused by the encounter. None of those traumatized by close encounters with this creature have recovered completely. Previously they were calm and harmonious which has changed to nervousness. Linda Scarberry woke up at the hospital one morning with her arms and legs badly scratched. She had large scars after this. The witnesses nervousness was above all evident in how much they smoked. My God, how they smoked. Even I who was a non-smoker when I arrived started. One witness, Marcella Bennett, could not be still. Most of the people who had seen ´the bird´ had these kind of symptoms. One witness started crying when she told me of her observation.

It was like they watched a movie when they told of their observations, talked like they experienced it again. I told them ´you don´t need to recount what happened of you don´t want to´ but they insisted on relating the event anyway. Maybe they noticed I believed them and felt confidence in me. I think it is important to the witnesses to behave in such a manner. It was fascinating but made me ill at ease listening to their encounters. When I talked to relatives they always said ´it is not the same old…´ and then the name of the witness.

Åke Franzén reading John Keel´s the Mothman Prophecies 1978

Marcella Bennett didn´t want to relate her experience to anyone else but John Keel and me. She said she had confidence in me. The night after Linda Scarberry´s encounter Marcella and some of her acquaintances were planning to visit friends living near the TNT-area. Because of what had happened the night before they decided to spook their friends by knocking on the window. They parked their cars on a slope and walked towards the house. Mrs. Bennett was just about to take her two year old daughter out of the car when she heard a sound like a wet sack had fallen behind the car. She turned around and noticed something gray rise up behind the car. What she especially saw was the shining red ´circles´. She felt like paralyzed by them.

Håkan Blomqvist: Was this some kind of eyes?

Åke Franzén: Yes, that´s the theory, but they are placed very low, shining with a hypnotic glow. The witnesses often talked more about these ´circles´ than the creature. Mrs. Benneett was unable to move when she saw the ´bird´ coming between the cars. Her arms were sort of straightened out and she dropped the little girl on the ground. Not until the child began crying did Marcella ´wake up´. She picked up the girl and together with the others started running towards the house. They were hysterical when they knocked on the door and rushed in. Only three of the children were at home. Their parents had gone to Point Pleasant on an errand. They locked the door. Mrs. Bennett was speechless from fear and the others hysterical. Suddenly they heard something moving on the porch and how the ´bird´s´ wings hit against the logs holding the porch. Someone picked up the phone and called the police but when they arrived there were no traces, nothing. Only some hysterical witnesses. They were five grown up people so it could hardly be a misinterpretation.

Håkan Blomqvist: Could they observe how it disappeared?

Åke Franzén: No, it´s understandable that after the chock of having seen the creature and hearing it hit the logs with its wings. They crouched, didn´t want to see. The girl Tina, who was only two years when her mother dropped her, was five when I met her. We became good friends and in spite of her age she was better in giving a clear and coherent picture of what had happened than her mother.”