This is the second part of the interview Anders Liljegren and I did with Mothman investigator Åke Franzén, May 19, 1973 and originally published in our Swedish magazine Ufologen, no 12, Nov-Dec 1973.
Åke Franzén: ”I also talked to a woman from New Haven. She and her husband were part of the group that investigated the ruin looking for traces. The walked around checking the various rooms. When she was about to leave a small room ´it´ appeared, crouching in a corner. She screamed and the others – Keel was there – hurried to the place, but saw nothing. The husband made fun of her in front of the others, which of course made her upset.
On the was home – now Keel was not there – they crossed a field and the woman noticed the creature standing in the field. Now her husband also observed ´the bird´ and became very pale. ´The Birdman´ disappeared straight up with a terrific speed, like a robot. It simply spread out the wings, but did not flutter with them, like an ordinary bird. Another woman I talked to was one of the few witnesses who had seen the face of the creature. She had observed an incredibly ugly, scaly head leaning towards one side.
Åke Franzén at AFU, May 30, 1989
Håkan Blomqvist: Did you estimate how many within the TNT area who had witnessed ´the bird´?
Åke Franzén: It is hard to say as I didn´t have time to visit all the witnesses. I talked to around thirty witnesses. I found it peculiar that they lived so far away from each other. It was pretty large distances. In spite of this they told the same story, with insignificant variations. Another common factor was the poltergeist phenomena. Something strange always happened in the house right after someone had seen the ´bird´. It was somehow connected. Certain witnesses received strange phone calls, any time day or night. When they picked up the phone all that was heard sounded like metallic clicking. Four of the witnesses I talked to – among them Marcella Bennett and Linda Scarberry – had experienced this.
One of the weirdest experiences was related by the Lilly family. One evening they were together conversing in one of the rooms. Mrs. Lilly happened to look in the direction of a bookshelf with a large vase. Suddenly the vase began moving, leaning outwards. Slowly, slowly, like in slow motion it fell over the edge of the shelf towards the floor where it shattered in two parts. Not in small parts, but straight edges! It was only the wife who observed the vase falling through the air and she felt paralyzed. She told me it wasn´t like the vase fell through the air, but rather ´sailed´.
Åke Franzén at AFU, May 30, 1989
No one could explain this incident but it was associated with the strange noices heard in the house. Several times it sounded like a woman or child crying in the house in the middle of the night. There were no children in this house and they found it impossible to locate from where the sound was coming. The sound was ´everywhere´. It was heard but they were unable to find out from which direction it came. The area seemed ´infected´ in some way. After a couple of weeks so much had happened that the family were forced to move. Nothing happened on the new adress.
Håkan Blomqvist: Did anything happen during your visit?
Åke Franzén: I don´t know whether you believe me, but it continued all the time. Even during my visits, now and then. But it seemed hopeless to have a personal observation. During these five weeks, I never got a chance to visit a witness directly after an observation, although I asked the people in the neighborhood to call me at the hotel any time day or night. It looked like ´the bird´ simply appeared in the most unexpected places.
Åke Franzén during a field investigation to a presumed landing site outside Södertälje, Sweden, Winter 1973
There were lots of theories about all this, but no one actually knew what it was. Some believed it was a sort of robot sent out and the large ´eyes´ were cameras that registred what happened. Then there appeared several rare birds in the area e.g. storks and a Turkish Snowy Owl. They were small birds compared to the ´Birdman´, but were used by summoned experts as excuses. The experts of course depricated the occurences and this was presented in the American media, and even in Vietnam.
Håkan Blomqvist: Before your return journey to Sweden you had a short meeting with John Keel. What were your impressions?
Åke Franzén: Keel appeared as a really honest, serious person. Above all he had humor and a natural distance to his work. This is my impression of him, both from correspondence and our meeting. I received the adress from his girlfriend. Because of various reasons he had been forced to change residence now and then. From what I gathered both known and unknown people were looking for him. Maybe it is not good to know too much… .
He lived in East End. One of the most notorious parts of New York, where you kill a man for ten cent. This was not because of economic causes but simply the place where he felt most secure, with all of the criminal underworld around. Few dared to enter this area. I barely had time to pay the cab when various gangs appeared from both the beginning and the end of the street. I rushed to the doorway.
I arrived at ten in the evening and stayed until two o´clock. Then I had to leave his tea to get in time for the plane to Sweden. Four hours with such an interesting person was of course too short. I only had time to get fragments of all his experiences. On one occasion Keel and a few others spent the night in one of the water towers in the TNT area. ”The Birdman´ did not appear but they watched saucers now and then. Keel once used his flashlight towards an object that passed overhead and it tipped back and forth, like answering. This happened twice together with several witnesses.
Håkan Blomqvist: Finally, what is your opinion on what´s going on in West Virginia?
Åke Franzén: After all I have read on the subject and talked with the witnesses my conclusion is that this is something non-physical. No one has ever found any feathers or markings.