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Disneyland of the Gods

John Keel

IllumiNet Press

US trade paperback

ISBN 1-881532-06-2

176 pages; $9.95

Reviewed by Rick Kleffel © 2001



Non-Fiction, Horror

01-25-02, 01-31-02, 07-25-02, 11-23-02

America's favorite, perhaps only monster hunter, John Keel was encountering the unknown when most of today's tabloid hosts were getting lunch money from their parents. 'Disneyland of the Gods' offers up plenty of weirdness to support Keel's view that "The earth is not inhabited. It is infested." He covers an impressive range of subjects here, from the life of Charles Fort to sea serpents and "snalleygasters", from wide-eyed contact sagas with beneficent "Space People" to sinister abduction scenarios. Though the book occasionally reveals its age, there's certainly enough here to keep the average Fortean reader entertained for its short 176 pages.

Keel starts out strong with an anecdote about sinks falling from the skies that is hysterical and telling, and from there launches into a brief biography of the grandfather of weird, Charles Fort. When Keel is in the pocket, his writing is vehement and hilarious. He combines a keen sensitivity to strangeness with a healthy dose of skepticism. His doubt is aimed not only at standard science, which tends to dismiss the events that Keel finds fascinating, but also with the paranormal patrol, those semi-scientists as guilty of dogma as the establishment they condemn.

When Keel gets into archaeology, however, he starts sounding all too much like much discredited Von Daniken, and it serves to dilute his message. He's best when confronting the 'extraterrestrialists', the UFO mainstream who believe that UFOs are mechanical craft from another planet. He's very skeptical of all standard explanations of these phenomena, and will even, unlike most investigators, admit that at least some of the events are hallucinatory in nature.

However, the original copyright on this book seems to be 1988, and it occasionally reads as a bit out of date, even though Keel is clever enough to divorce his theories from the mainstream. While "Disneyland of the Gods" is not Keel's best work, it does offer more insight from a mind attuned to the strange and a prose stylist attuned to the wicked.