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.
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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