August 1, 2007: The I-35W Bridge collapses.
Taking a couple Fortean and Mothman sidetreks, here is more pondering in the wake of the I-35W Bridge collapse. While reading the accounts about the fall of the Minnesota bridge, I noticed two names popped up, Reeves and McDaniel. Hang in here with me as I let that Fortean part of my brain wander and wonder.
Jay Reeves, 39, was one of the first people on the scene after the collapse. He tried calling 911, but all the lines were jammed. Then, he heard the sounds of children’s screams from the school bus.
“I opened my car door and was greeted by the screams of lots of kids. Screaming kids are good. That means they’re alive and full of a lot energy,” said Reeves, a trained paramedic and the public safety coordinator for the Minnesota American Red Cross.Associated Press, August 2, 2007.
It struck me in one of those “coincidental” sort of ways that how strange it is a Reeves, the head of the Red Cross there, would be driving by. But we are use to such things happening because they do.
The witnesses’ name, Reeves, is among those special family titles that have been pinpointed as playing a magnetic role in the “name game.” John Keel once told me that people named Reeve/Reeves have a lot of strange experiences. Many monster witnesses have been named Reeves. A glance at the indexes of Fortean Times will show a sprinkling of Reeves and Reeve, as witnesses and contributors.
A man named Reeves was the primary witness in a now famous Brooksville, Florida UFO case. As Jerome Clark has written: “A man so obscure as to be barely known to most other residents of the rural area where he lived, John F. Reeves, 66, became the focus of international attention in 1965, when he reported an encounter with a UFO and its occupant.”
Contactees Bryant and Helen Reeve reached celebrity status in the 1950s after writing their book, Flying Saucer Pilgrimage. Much has been written of the tragic coincidences whirling around the lives of the actors (George Reeves and Christopher Reeve) who played the television and movie Superman (a fictional character who was an alien come to Earth to assist humans) or the “superman” (Keanu Reeves) in The Matrix.
There is a reason it’s called the Name Game.Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (NY: Paraview, 2002)
December 15, 1967: The Silver Bridge – U. S. Highway 35 collapses.
Needless to say, the Minneapolis bridge collapse reminds many of the Silver Bridge fall of 1967, as I mentioned immediately on August 1st. The mainstream media is catching up with that feeling, and the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer re-visited the site of the Silver Bridge collapse. They turned to the mayor for a reaction. Point Pleasant Mayor Marilyn McDaniel was “a stay-at-home mom with three babies in those days. Her husband worked in Ohio and had returned home on the Silver Bridge maybe 30 minutes before it collapsed.”
This week Mayor McDaniel mourns for Minneapolis:
Our hearts go out to those people….You don’t forget these things. They stay in your mind.” Mayor Marilyn McDaniel, August 2, 2007.
McDaniel, of course, is a name familiar for its Mothman links.
This reminds me of my exchange with [John A.] Keel about the name game in 1973, when we were discussing the new reports out of Illinois, from Enfield. On April 25, 1973, Mr. and Mrs. Henry McDaniel returned to their home and Henry had an encounter with a thing that looked like it had three legs, two pink eyes as big as flashlights, and short arms on a four-and-a-half-feet tall and grayish-colored body, along the L&N rail-road tracks, in front of his house. I traveled to Enfield, interviewed the witnesses, looked at the siding of the house the Enfield Monster had damaged, heard some strange screeching banshee-like sounds, and walked away bewildered.
John Keel wondered aloud with me about these reports, as he had returned from Point Pleasant well aware of the vortex the McDaniel family had found themselves in. One of the first Mothman witnesses, Linda Scarberry, was, after all, a McDaniel. Her mother saw Mothman. The McDaniel home was the focus of MIBs, telephone troubles, and poltergeist activity, thus involving Parke McDaniel and Mabel McDaniel with the Mothman flap.
Keel had uncovered a 1870s story of an individual named McDaniel who had met up with the Devil in New York State’s Catskill Mountains. Western Bigfoot Society member Vic McDaniel led expedition members to where he had found a Sasquatch bed in August 1979. As the 20th century ended, Stanley V. McDaniel, a philosophy professor and member of the Society for Planetary SETI Research, began to make a name for himself, to turn a phrase, when he produced The McDaniel Report, and a book, The Case for the Face, on his research into the possibility of artificial objects on the surface of Mars.Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (NY: Paraview, 2002)
John Keel discussed the 1966-1967 Mothman-McDaniel family troubles further:
The McDaniel family had been living in the twilight zone ever since their daughter and the others had first glimpsed “Mothman.” Linda had repeatedly heard the sound “of a speeded-up phonograph record” around her own home after the incident, and peculiar manifestations indicating the presence of a poltergeist began. Finally she and Roger moved into the basement apartment in the McDaniel’s home. The poltergeist followed them. Strange lights appeared in the house, objects moved by themselves, and the heavy odor of cigar smoke was frequently noted. No one in the family smokes. (The smell of cigar smoke is commonly reported in many poltergeist cases throughout the world.) One morning Linda woke up and distinctly saw the shadowy form of a large man in the room. The house was searched. All the doors were still locked. There was no sign of a prowler. The McDaniels’ experience was one of many during the thirteen intense months of the Mothman flap.Strange Creatures from Time and Space (Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1970.
Mabel McDaniel had seen Mothman on January 11, 1967, near Tiny’s Restaurant in Point Pleasant; then later during March, had a run-in with one of those Mad Gasser/Springheel Jack-type fellows, the Men-In-Black. Parke McDaniel had likewise been frightened by the Men-In-Black on December 23, 1967. Keel felt the name McDaniel had a far greater recurrence in these matters than random….
Keel himself has raised the question of name selectivity in his writings: “Hundreds of thousands of phenomenal events have been described in newspapers, magazines and books, and hundreds of thousands of witnesses have been named in print. When dealing with such a large body of evidence—or population—certain laws of probability should surface. We might expect that more Smiths would see UFOs than anyone else, simply because there are more Smiths around. But, in actuality, the name Smith rarely appears in a UFO report.”
What Keel found was that unusual names were the point of convergence for the phenomena. He saw McDaniel, Reeves/Reaves, Maddox, Heflin, Allen, Hill, and others, as being selected for UFO and related experiences. The Smiths, Browns, Williams, and Johnsons—the four top surnames in America—are not the most frequent precipitant names to crop up. I would add that the most unusually named witnesses seem to have the more bizarre encounters.Mysterious America (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2007).
For recent blogs in the wake of the I-35W Bridge event, see:
For further information on Mothman, the movie, and more, please consult: Mothman and Other Curious Encounters.