After John A. Keel died on July 3, 2009, I wrote early in 2010: “In the age we are entering, post-Keelian, there appears to be one new voice that is speaking for matters Fortean, crypto, and weird. I recommend you trying out Skylaire Alfvegren. Ms. Alfvegren knew John Keel when he was young and innocent, and so was she. Maybe she still is but we don’t think so; she’s seen so much now. The world has changed.”
Now Skylaire is gone too.
Skylaire Alfvegren called herself a “gonzo journalist and a Fortean explorer.” Lots of folks knew her as a smiling person hiding terrible pain, joyful happiness, and deep questions, who was always willing, it seems, to get her photo taken with fellow Forteans. Skylaire Alfvegren has died tragically, at the age of 44, and many of us are in shock.
Caption by Alfvegren: “The actual Gray Barker archives at the actual public library in Clarksburg, West Virginia. A happy place for me.”
Skylaire Alfvegren, who most recently on July 16, 2021, posted an old photo of herself digging in the Mothman archives in West Virginia, is no longer in that “happy place.”
Still youthful, Alfvegren, who lived in the mysterious Tujunga Valley near Los Angeles, celebrated her birthday on April 9, 1977.
Musician/writer Ed Dawson, her roommate, wrote this on the evening of Friday, August 27. 2021, on her Facebook page:
“Skylaire is dead. She was taking a bath. I heard a loud thump from the bathroom. I went to the door and asked if she was okay. She didn’t answer. I asked again and again, respecting her privacy. No answer. She was in the tub gurgling. I tried to wake her. She was taking a few breaths, like 30 seconds apart, then stopped. I called 911. They came and could not revive her.
Skylaire Alfvegren began her professional writing career as a teenager with a column of Fortean exploration for a nationally distributed magazine. File O’ the Damned investigated cryptozoology, voodoo, UFO, paranormal and other, lesser known phenomena. From there, she acted as assistant editor for Ben is Dead Magazine and began writing for LA Weekly. Not yet of legal drinking age, she was hired as a consultant on Strange Universe, the Fox Network’s nationally syndicated “paranormal news program.” She was staff film critic for the multimillion dollar, ahead-of-its-time Gen Y web magazine, iFuse.com, and later, E! Online before being sought out as a researcher for SyFy Channel as well as a consultant and producer for various production companies specializing in ufological and unexplained programs. In the intervening years, her work appeared in publications as diverse as The Believer, Fortean Times, and Hustler (where she was known as “UFO Girl”), as well as many other publications, books, and websites, and was translated into 23 languages.
As a frequent radio guest, she was viewed as an adventurous, seasoned interviewer with on camera and improv experience, and appeared on the likes of Weird TV and The Conspiracy Zone.
Alfvegren co-piloted race cars in Mexico and roped cattle on the border of Area 51. She angered the spirits of a Mayan ball court in Belize and was blamed for giving arch-skeptic James Randi a heart attack. Her notions of reality were altered forever when, as a child, she witnessed her first UFO alongside off duty airmen at the landing of the Space Shuttle Discovery at Edwards AFB in 1988. Her “unerring sense for the oddball” and “extremely compelling and entertaining” way of processing data led her to work as a journalist, host, blogger, consultant/researcher, and lecturer. (Her lectures included “Conspiracy Theory 2012: More Fact, Less Fiction,” “Charles Fort: Dogma Be Damned,” and “The Secret Life of Southern California.”)
She worked for years as the associate editor of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Reader and as a columnist for UFO Magazine, while applying her vast knowledge of California—the esoteric, the dark and the weird—to the small screen.
Alfvegren co-founded (in 2007) the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists, an investigative organization and website dedicated to “exploring the mysteries and peculiarities of the American West,” which featured bloggers state-by-state from Washington to Texas, original guest editorials, readers’ reports, and a sense of community among Forteans hither and yon.