He began his career as a paid writer with a local newspaper at age 14. He moved to Greenwich Village at 17 and began making a living writing pulp articles ('Are You a Repressed Sex Fiend?' was a typical title). During the Korean War, he was drafted and sent to Frankfurt on the staff of American Forces radio. His Halloween broadcast from Frankenstein's Castle was a sensation and brought him to the attention of the US media. After leaving the military he worked as a foreign radio correspondent, in Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Egypt
Working in Cairo rekindled his childhood fascination with the Orient. At age 24 he quit his job, took his savings, and began a four-year odyssey across the Middle East and South Asia, working on a book on the magic and mysticism of the east. In the process, he learned the tricks behind the magic of eastern conjurers. But he also encountered apparently real out-of-the-ordinary abilities among some sheikhs and swamis.
While visiting Aswan in daytime, Keel saw a metallic disc, with a rotating outer rim, which hovered for several minutes over the old Aswan dam. Keel later surmised:
Although many UFO believers choose to assume that most UFO sightings are random chance encounters, there is evidence to show that witnesses are selected by some unknown process, and that strictly accidental sightings are rare, if not non existent.Keel claimed to have glimpsed two Yetis in Nepal and was deeply impressed by what he saw and was told of clairvoyance by monks in Tibet. Out of money, he found work in radio in Barcelona in 1956 and set to work writing an account of his eastern experiences, Jadoo. The book was met with some success, and after a promotional tour of the United States he settled there as a professional writer of books, magazine articles, radio, and television. He continued private investigations into the 'Fortean' - things outside the conventional paradigm - wherever he found them.
There was a major UFO flap in March 1966, which culminated with Hynek blaming a rash of sightings in Michigan on 'swamp gas' to universal derision. Keel's interest in UFO's was rekindled (and he saw undoubtedly saw a commercial opportunity). He paid a clipping service to begin sending him local newspaper reports of UFO sightings.
During the flap there were hundreds of sightings. When Keel called the local newspapers, he was assured that rather than exaggerating the stories to boost sales, reporters were so swamped with reports and that they only publish the interesting ones. In checking with witnesses, he found the newsmen were leaving out aspects of the sightings that seemed too incredible to be true.
By March 1967 he had received 12,000 clippings. In analyzing these, he found:
As if to reinforce the point, Keel found himself dogged by UFO's, one following him down the Long Island Expressway on 4 October 1967.
He also began to feel that he was not dealing with hardware. His review of UFO reports showed that most were not about metallic discs, but rather typically green lights and usually purple blobs. Ohio River boatmen would often see such lights at night, and found that if they directed their searchlights at the balls of light, they would scoot out of the way. Keel claimed to have seen over twenty blobs of glowing purple gas cavorting over the river at Gallipolis Ferry in West Virginia in early 1967. He claimed to find himself able to communicate with them with his flashlight. However they would follow the instructions he flashed to them (turn right, circle left, etc) regardless of whether he used Morse code or an arbitrary invented code. Keel concluded that the objects were in fact reacting to his thoughts rather than the signals his thoughts created.
The author also found that such lights and events went far back into history, and had not begun in 1947. He found sightings in earlier centuries, and read the accounts of the great airship flap of 1897. His analysis showed that UFO's tended to occur repeatedly in certain areas. Every state in the US had from two to ten window areas, where UFOs appeared repeatedly year after year. A huge number were along the arc of a circle drawn from northwest Canada, down through the central states of America, and back to northwest Canada. Another was centered in the Gulf of Mexico and covered much of Mexico, Texas and the southwest. Another defined the 'Bermuda Triangle' off the east coast of Florida. A majority seemed to be over areas of magnetic deviation.
From a different direction, Keel reached a similar conclusion to that of Jacques Vallee. The patterned but at the same time often absurd nature of the sightings seemed tailored to the period in which they occurred (gods in prehistoric times, airships in the 1890's, giant aircraft in the 1930's, foo fighters in WWII, Ghost Rockets in 1946, Flying Saucers after 1947). Not believing this could be a form of alien practical joke, he concluded the purpose was information gathering, and that the entities used deception appropriate to the times to try to convince viewers that they were seeing some kind of advanced human technology. Keel believed there were two kinds of these 'The Cosmic Jokers', the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys'-- and the bad guys were dangerous.
In late November 1966, Keel had interviewed the first in a series of witnesses of horrible entities dubbed 'mothmen' by the press. Often observers of this entity, or of flying lights, suffered from severe conjunctivitis afterwards -Their eyes watered and swelled until they could hardly see.
These sightings convinced Keel that UFOs were not hardware from another planet, but 'paraphysical' entities, related to religious miracles and spiritual séances - Fatima was an example. Keel saw the appearance and shifting colors of UFO's as related to an object shifting through the electromagnetic spectrum, most of which was invisible to the human eye. He claimed there were 'thousands' of radar sightings with no visual object seen. Conclusion: UFOs were a form of energy normally outside of the visible light portion of the spectrum. Keel theorized:
Let us assume that UFOs exist at frequencies beyond visible light but that they can adjust their frequency and descend the electromagnetic spectrum - just as you can turn the dial of your radio and move a variable condenser up and down the scale of radio frequencies. When a UFO's frequency nears that of visible light, it would appear first as a purplish blob of violet. As it moves further down the scale, it would seem to change to blue, and then to cyan (bluish green)The microwave end of the spectrum could explain the intolerable waves of heat sometimes reported. Reports of sunburn and conjunctivitis could be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet. VLF radio waves would explain stalling of cars and electrical outages (diesel engines, which used pressure-ignition, would be unaffected, as was often reported). Over the next twenty years, Keel's personal odyssey led him further into metaphysical explanations for the phenomena:
I have therefore classified that section of the color spectrum as the UFO entry field. When the objects begin to move into our spatial and time coordinates, they gear down from higher frequencies, passing progressively from ultraviolet to violet to bluish green. When they stabilize within our dimensions, they radiate energy on all frequencies and become a glaring white.
In the white condition the object can traverse distances visibly, but radical maneuvers of ascent or descent require it to alter its frequencies again, and this produces new color changes. In the majority of all landing reports, the objects were said to have turned orange (red and yellow) or red before descending. When they settle on the ground they 'solidify,' and glow red again. Sometimes reportedly they turn a brilliant red and vanish. Other times they shift through all the colors of the spectrum, turn white, and fly off into the night sky until they look like just another star.
Since the color red is so closely associated with the landing and takeoff processes, I term this end of the color spectrum the UFO departure field.
Somewhere in this tangled mass of electromagnetic frequencies there lies an omnipotent intelligence . . . This intelligence is able to manipulate energy. It can, quite literally, manipulate any kind of object into existence on our planet. For centuries the occultists and religionists have called this process transmutation or transmogrification. Thousands of books have been published on this process, many of them serving as secret texts for alchemists and sorcerers. The early occultists understood, at least partially, that energy was the key to the whole.In his personal research Keel moved past the multidimensional explanations of Vallee, integrated the extended cosmic consciousness aspects of Mitchell and von Lommel, but added his own paranormal angle as a result of a lifetime of encounters with psychic events.
…You are a chemical machine made up of electromagnetic energy. Your brain is actually an electrical computer connected to all parts of your body by a wiring system of nerves ... Although you can't see it, your body is surrounded by self-generated fields of radiation. The occultists have always called this radiation the aura. . . . Many contactees have been told that they were selected because of their aura. Occultists have long claimed that each person is surrounded by an aura which reveals his spiritual state. An evil person hits a black aura. A saintly type has a golden radiation. . .
. . .Another world of intelligent energy is intermingled with ours and is very aware of us, while we are only vaguely aware of it. Not only has it a clear view of future events in our dimension; it can manipulate past and present events to prepare the way for the more important future events. . .
. . In my early teens I found that I could sometimes sense what other people were thinking, and I assumed that everyone had this ability. . . Now and then I encounter someone whose mind is actually vulnerable to my own. I can not only sense what they are thinking. I can project my own thoughts into their mind and they accept these thoughts as their own. In short, I can control that person's mind on a modest scale. There are people who have this power to a very developed degree. They can control others, even from a great distance. It is probable that some world leaders, especially the evil ones like Hitler, possessed and exercised this ability. One famous psychic claimed he could hand a railroad conductor a blank sheet of paper and the man would punch it thinking it was a ticket.
. . For many years now, I have been quietly interviewing warlocks and trying to develop a book based on the actual experiences of natural witches and warlocks - people who are born with the ability to perceive and control the elementals. They seem to be several steps beyond mediums. Mediums are used by the phenomenon. Warlocks, on the other hand, are able to use these forces. Unfortunately, most of them seem to come to a tragic end - suicides, murders, bizarre deaths. But it is apparent that thousands of people in each generation suffer from this uneasy talent. I think that I had it when I was an adolescent but I diverted my attention by studying physics, chemistry, etc., and lost it by the time I was 18. At 18, I woke one night in a furnished room near Times Square and had what can only be described as an illuminating experience. For a few brief moments I suddenly understood everything and I was really one with the cosmos. The next morning I could remember very little of it but I'm sure it was all entered into my subconscious.