Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 25th, 2012
Today is the birthday of John A. Keel, who was born as Alva John Kiehle on March 25, 1930, in Hornell, New York. His father was Harry Eli Kiehle, a musician. From an early age he was interested in magic tricks and idolized the great Houdini. After the divorce of his parents he lived with his grandparents until age ten, then returned to his mother and stepfather, working on their farm near Perry, New York. At Perry High School he edited a mimeographed one-sheet journal called The Jester. At age 14 he edited a column in the local weekly paper, the Perry Herald, using the name John A. Keel. In general, he always felt the “A.” was for Alva. Meanwhile he studied at Perry Public Library and planned to be a professional writer. For more on Keel’s life, please read here.
A young C.W.
On the same date, in a different year, as Keel’s birth, Craig Woolheater was born in Texas. When Craig was ten (a critical age, as it was to Keel), the tiny Woolheater discovered popular cryptozoology by reading John A. Keel’s Strange Creatures From Time and Space. On page 98 of Keel’s book, the youthful Craig would have read the following, crediting the origins and birth of Keel’s work’s words: “This material has been collected from many sources, including the files of Ivan T. Sanderson, Roger Patterson, Loren Coleman, FATE magazine, and, of course, our own swelling files.”
As it turns out, the one case from Texas that Keel highlights in his book, the Lake Worth Monster sightings of 1967-1969, was there because of articles I had shared with Keel.
Thus the circle of coincidences are compounded by the thought that as I was entering the world of cryptozoology in 1960, as Craig Woolheater was entering the world exactly 30 years after Keel. It is a small world, indeed.
Happy Birthday to the creator-founder of Cryptomundo, who, on this date, March 25th, was born 52 years ago.
Read details about Craig’s life, here.