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The Mysterious Saga of Indrid Cold

by Nick Redfern                  August 3, 2018                   (mysteriousuniverse.org)

• Redfern attribute the story of Indrid Cold to paranormal investigator Susan Sheppard: Shortly after 6pm (on November 2nd, 1966), Woody Derenberger was driving home from his job at J.C. Penny’s in Marietta, Ohio to his farmhouse in Mineral Wells, West Virginia in a light rain. Suddenly, Derenberger sees charcoal colored UFO without any lights on, following his truck. The craft flew around in front of his car and forced him to pull off of the highway. A hatch opened and an ‘ordinary looking’ man stepped out. As the man walked toward Derenberger’s truck, the “craft” jetted up to about 40 feet in the air where it floated above the highway.

• In his mind, Derenberger heard the words, “Do not be afraid, I mean you no harm, I only want to ask you a few questions.” The man walked up to his passenger side window, and in Derenberger mind he heard, “Now you can speak, or you can think. It makes no difference. I can understand you either way.” Derenberger later explained that this man, Indrid Cold, mostly wanted to look directly at him as they spoke as if Cold could know everything about him. And he felt he would also understand everything about Cold.

• Derenberger describes Cold as 35 years of age, six feet tall and185 pounds with a trim build and a tanned complexion. He had dark eyes and dark hair slicked back. Cold wore a long dark coat and beneath the coat Derenberger could glimpse the fabric of his “uniform” that glistened beneath the coat. Cold kept a frozen smile and curiously hid his hands beneath his armpits most of the time.

• Cold did, however, point at the city lights above the distant hills of Parkersburg and asked Mr. Derenberger, “What do you call that over there?” Derenberger said, “Why, that’s Parkersburg and we call that a city.” Cold responded, “Where I come from we call it a gathering.” Cold later added the curious statement that “I come from a place less powerful than yours.” As the men talked cars passed under the craft which drifted above the road. The occupants were seemingly unaware of the spaceship being there. After all, there were no lights that could be seen.

• Cold then asked about the nearby town of Parkersburg, “Do people live there or do they work there?” Derenberger answered that people both live and work there. Cold said that he was a “searcher” and noted that Derenberger was scared. “Why are you so frightened?” the visitor asked. “Do not be afraid. We mean you no harm. You will see that we eat and bleed the same as you do.” “We only wish you happiness.”

• Finally, Cold said, “Mr. Derenberger, I thank you for talking to me. We will see you again.” With that, the spacecraft came back down, Cold walked back into the hatch, it jetted up into the air about seventy-five feet, made a fluttering noise and then shot away at a very high rate of speed. The entire event lasted about ten minutes.

• Stunned by the incident, Derenberger drove home to his wife. He got home around 7:00pm. Mrs Derenberger said that her husband “could not have been any whiter if he had been lying in a coffin.”

• Derenberger reported the encounter to the West Virginia State Police.  The next day Derenberger agreed to a live television interview about his experience with WTAP-TV the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg. He was grilled by veteran reporter Glenn Wilson for an hour, and by city Police Chief Ed Plum for another hour and a half. Representatives from Wright Patterson Air Force base were in route to interview Derenberger, but whether that came about is not known. Derenberger drew a picture of the spacecraft which he described looking like an “old-fashioned chimney lamp.”

• In the live interview, Derenberger, quoted Indrid Cold as saying to him, “At the proper time, the authorities will be notified about our meeting and this will be confirmed.” Then came the strange visits from men dressed in black. They would arrive his house, ask Derenberger simple questions, and act in a threatening manner.

• Derenberger claimed that Cold visited him many other times at his farmhouse in Mineral Wells. At one point, Derenberger came up missing for almost six months and said he was “with the aliens.” The local population finally became skeptical. Derenberger even claimed to have been impregnated by the aliens. In 1967, Woodrow Derenberger stated to have visited Indrid Cold’s home planet of Lanulos where its residents walked around wearing no clothing. He said the aliens lived in a galaxy called Ganymede where everything was peaceful and there was no war. People began to snicker.

• The ridicule became too much. Derenberger moved his family from the area, to return in the 1980s. He died in 1990 and is buried in Mineral Wells. His family says that they believe something of an otherworldly nature initially happened but Derenberger later added to the tale to sell his self-published book, Visitors from Lanulos, in 1971.

 

My recent article on Mothman and a controversial story that appeared in a 2014 edition of Soldier of Fortune prompted a few comments here at Mysterious Universe. It also prompted one person to message me at Facebook, asking how I felt this impacts on the story of the ultimate “Grinning Man,” Indrid Cold, who – while not directly connected to the Mothman saga – has certainly become a part of the overall puzzle. Well, the fact is that it doesn’t – at least not directly. But, with the matter of Cold having been brought up, I thought I would share with you the strange story of the man himself (if, indeed, he was a man), and from someone who has lived in the area all her life.

        Woody Derenberger

Last year, paranormal investigator Susan Sheppard very generously prepared for me an extensive paper on Mothman, Indrid Cold, and much more. So, with that all said, I will now hand you over to Susan, to tell the controversial-but fascinating tale of Indrid Cold:
His name was Woodrow Derenberger, but everyone called him “Woody.” It was shortly after 6 p.m. in the evening, when Woody Derenberger was driving home from his job as a sewing machine salesman at J.C. Penny’s in Marietta, Ohio to his farmhouse in Mineral Wells, West Virginia. The ride home was overcast and dreary. It was misting a light rain.

As Derenberger came up on the Intersection of I-77 and Route 47, he thought that a tractor trailer truck was tailgating him without its lights on, which was unnerving, so he swerved to the side of the road and much to his surprise, the truck appeared to take flight and seemed to roll across his panel truck. To his astonishment, what Derenberger thought was a truck was a charcoal colored UFO without any lights on. It touched down and then hovered about 10 inches above the berm of the road. Much to Derenberger’s surprise a hatch opened and a man stepped out looking like “any ordinary man you would see on the street – there was nothing unusual about his appearance.”

Except the man was dressed in dark clothing and had a “beaming smile.” As the man proceeded to walk toward Derenberger’s panel truck the “craft” jetted up to about 40 feet in the air where it floated above the highway. What happened next was unsettling, because as the darkly-dressed man came up toward the vehicle Woody Derenberger heard the words, “Do not be afraid, I mean you no harm, I only want to ask you a few questions.” Derenberger did become afraid because as the man spoke to Woodrow his lips did not move. The man then moved to the opposite of the truck and told Derenberger to roll down his window so they could talk better, which he did. Next what formed in Derenberger’s mind were the words, “Now you can speak, or you can think… it makes no difference, I can understand you either way,” … this is what the dark man said.

Later, when Derenberger was questioned on local live television, he was scrutinized over what seemed a contradiction because if the dark man communicated through a type of mental telepathy, why would Derenberger need to roll down his window to talk? Wouldn’t it be easier just to talk mentally?

Woodrow Derenberger explained it was because Indrid Cold wanted to look directly at him as they spoke and he felt that, really, Cold wasn’t so interested in what was said but more interested in keeping up a communication with him. To Derenberger, that seemed the entire point of it all. Derenberger also noted that when Cold stared into his eyes, it was as if he knew everything about Woodrow Derenberger, and also, if he could only let go of his fear and do the same, he felt he would also know and understand all about Cold. In any event, Cold spoke through the passenger side window the entire time.

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Aliens In a Diner?

by Nick Redfern                  July 26, 2018                   (mysteriousuniverse.org)

• In the early 1950s, Truman Bethurum encountered an attractive alien female humanoid being named Aura Rhanes. The first time he saw Rhanes was at a distance out in the desert, with ‘her crew of little men’ next to their large spacecraft. But Redfern’s tale focuses on a subsequent encounter when Bethrum saw Rhanes with a ‘little man’ in a diner.

• It was at 3:00 am on an August morning in 1952, Bethurum and a work friend, Whitey, had just finished their work shift and went to an all-night diner in Glendale, Nevada. Bethurum had confided in Whitey about his experiences (?) with Aura Rhanes, but Whitey was skeptical. But when they went into the diner, they saw the petite woman with a diminutive man. She was dressed in black except for a “glaring red” skirt. They watched as the pair sat down at a table.

• Soon, Bethurum worked up the courage to walk up to her table. Whitey freaked out and went out to his truck to wait. Bethurum asked politely,“I beg your pardon, lady, but haven’t we met before?” Rhanes glared at Bethurum and just said ‘no’, almost like a “deadly hiss,” in Bethurum’s own words.

• Bethurum persisted, “You very closely resemble a lady I met some time ago out on Mormon Mesa.” Again the woman said ‘no’, threateningly. This went on with each question he asked her. The little man remained silent.

• Bethurum went back to his seat. The waitress came over to him and wondered if these folks were “the saucer people you told us about.” The waitress noted that the little man had ‘penciled on’ a scar on his face. The little man paid their bill and left. The waitress immediately came back over to Bethurum and said, “The lady told me to tell you that she knows you, and that she was sorry and ‘yes’ is the answer to some of your questions.”

• Bethurum went outside to find Whitey standing out front. When Bethurum asked where the pair went, Whitey replied, “They never came out. Honest, not a blessed soul passed through that door until you came out.”

 

The strange saga of Truman Bethurum – a man who, in the early 1950s, claimed flirty encounters with a hot space-babe named Aura Rhanes – is one which provokes either hoots of derision or deep intrigue. I have friends who fall into the former category and others who fall into the latter. A good case can be made, though, that Bethurum’s encounters were born out of a combination of sleep paralysis and a yearning for something beyond two failed marriages. But, according to Bethurum, it wasn’t all fun and flirty action.

Truman Bethurum

On two occasions, Bethurum said, he encountered Aura Rhanesunder circumstances very different to those which occurred out in the desert, with Rhanes’ huge flying saucer and her crew of little men in view. These additional encounters saw Rhanes operating in what can only be termed disguise. There was nothing flirty or friendly about these close encounters, however: they were downright hostile. The first occurred around 3:00 a.m. – a time when a wealth of supernatural activity typically occurs – one August 1952 morning.

Bethurum and a work friend, “Whitey,” had just finished their shift and decided to head off in Whitey’s pick-up truck to a favorite, all-night diner in Glendale, Nevada. Whitey was someone who Bethurum had quietly confided in about his experiences with Aura Rhanes. He was also someone who, although fascinated by Bethurum’s claims, was somewhat skeptical of the story. That is, until they entered the diner. Any skepticism Whitey had was very soon to be wiped out. As the pair sat and drank coffee and ate pie, a noticeably quiet Whitey elbowed Bethurum in the ribs and motioned him to take a look at the end of the counter. Bethurum looked up. He was amazed and shocked to see Aura Rhanes, and an equally small male individual, standing there.

“It’s her, isn’t it?” asked Whitey. Bethurum nodded, pretty much in a state of near-shock. Both men watched carefully as Rhanes and her colleague took seats at a window table. In stark contrast to everyone else in the diner, Rhanes was dressed in black: black beret, wraparound black sunglasses, black velvet blouse, and black boots. The only thing that wasn’t black: a “glaring red” skirt.

A worried Whitey asked: “What are you going to do?” Bethurum knew exactly what he was going to do. He composed himself, and walk over and talk to them. Whitey, however, was having none of it. He quickly exited the diner, preferring to sit in his truck, in the overwhelming darkness of the desert, rather than confront creatures from another world.

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Men in Black: Not Human

by Nick Redfern                July 23, 2018                (mysteriousuniverse.org)

• Hollywood has successfully imprinted on society the idea that so-called “Men in Black” are agents of clandestine government or military programs, and therefore they must be human. In Nick Redfern’s research, most of the people who have been terrorized by MIB say that they are not human.

• In the early 1950’s, when Albert Bender began the whole MIB phenomenon with his book, Flying Saucers and the Three Men, he was confronted not by agents of the FBI, CIA, etc., but by grim-faced, shadow-like characters with shining eyes and who left behind them an odor of brimstone when they quite literally vanished.

• When John Keel was investigating sightings of the “Mothman” in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, he was flooded with accounts of encounters with both ‘Men and Women in Black’. They were often described as looking not quite human. Their skin resembled plastic. They wore wraparound sunglasses that only partially masked their oversized eyes. They were clearly unaware of our customs and manners. Some of them didn’t even know how to eat food or drink water.

• Some people who have encountered MIB have suddenly become ill. The MIB are able to place people under some form of mind-control, something which compels the targeted person to open the door and let them in, regardless of the time of day or night.

• It has also been reported that people have encountered MIB when they are on the hallucinogens mescaline and DMT. 1960’s voice-over actor Peter Beckman said that while on mescaline, MIB came into his living room. “They were dressed in square, Eisenhower-era cop-clothing, or FBI clothing – which in 1969, 1970 was not that unusual. They came in and sat on the couch. They were pale and sickly; their clothes hung real loose and they looked as though they might expire at any moment. They appeared to have either trouble breathing, or trouble being. I don’t believe they said a thing,” claimed Beckman. In another incident, people on DMT described how uninvited MIB seemed surprised that they could see them.

• MIB seemingly have the ability to invade peoples’ dreams and turn them into nightmares. There are even a few stories of MIB shapeshifting into the form of a large, black dog with glowing, red eyes.

 

Just a couple of nights ago – while I was promoting my latest book, The Black Diary – I was asked by a caller to the radio show why I “insist” on stating that the Men in Black are supernatural in nature, rather than “accepting” that they are the secret agents of a clandestine agency within government. The answer to that question is very simple: it’s the witness testimony which makes me come to the supernatural conclusion. I have always said that the most important people in the collective field of Forteana are not the writers, the researchers, the radio-hosts, or the TV producers. It’s the witnesses who are the most important. Time and time again I am approached by people who have been terrorized by the MIB. On only a small number of occasions do the witnesses describe the MIB as looking human. For the most part, they look anything but human.

I know all too well why so many people assume that the MIB are agents of governments, of military agencies, and / or of clandestine projects buried deep within the world of officialdom. It largely comes from the Men in Black movies, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Yes, the trilogy makes for fun viewing. But, by presenting the MIB as the agents of a classified organization, the makers of the movies instilled in the minds of many the image of the Men in Black being “secret agents.” But, the Hollywood portrayal is actually very different to what the witnesses tell us – and that’s a very important issue to be aware of.

It’s worth noting that the man who largely began the whole MIB phenomenon in the early 1950s – Albert Bender, of Bridgeport, Connecticut – was confronted not by agents of the FBI, CIA, etc., but by grim-faced, shadow-like characters with shining eyes and who left behind them an odor of brimstone when they quite literally vanished. Bender’s strange story – which comes across like something akin to H.P. Lovecraft meets The X-Files – is told in Gray Barker’s 1956 book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers and in Bender’s own book, Flying Saucers and the Three Men.

When, from 1966 to 1967, John Keel immersed himself in the wave of sightings of what became known as “Mothman” in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, he was flooded with accounts of local encounters with both MIB and Women in Black. They were often described as looking not quite human. Their skin resembled plastic. They wore wraparound sunglasses that often only partially masked their huge, oversized eyes. They were clearly unaware of our customs and manners. Some of them didn’t even know how to eat food or drink water – as bizarre as it certainly sounds.

Things get even more disturbing: people who have encountered the MIB have fallen sick – and quickly, too. A kind of paranormal infection, we might say. The MIB are able to place people under some form of mind-control, something which compels the targeted person to open the door and let them in, regardless of the time of day or night. Witnesses to UFO activity who have been visited by the MIB talk of poltergeist activity occurring in the home – and in the immediate aftermaths of the MIBs’ vanishing acts.

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