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John A. Keel, 79; authored 'The Mothman Prophecies'

JOHN A. KEEL JOHN A. KEEL (Tina Feinberg/Associated Press)
Associated Press / July 9, 2009
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NEW YORK - Writer John A. Keel has died. His book, “The Mothman Prophecies,’’ was made into a movie about paranormal phenomena and starred Richard Gere.

A friend, writer Larry “Ratso’’ Sloman, said Tuesday that Mr. Keel died of congestive heart failure. He was 79.

He was born Alva John Kiehle and was best known for his writings about unidentified flying objects and the paranormal. In his 1970 book “UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse,’’ he linked UFO reports to mysterious phenomena over the centuries.

“The Mothman Prophecies’’ was Mr. Keel’s account of his 1966-1967 investigation into sightings of a strange winged creature called the Mothman.

The book was loosely adapted into a 2002 movie starring Gere and Alan Bates, who played two parts of Mr. Keel’s personality.

He died Friday at a hospital in Manhattan.