; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Lessons Learned From A Contactee: Woodrow W. Derenberger (1916-1990) - Part II

An article, with rare and new content, written exclusively for Phantoms & Monsters

By Dr. Raymond A. Keller, author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising Trilogy, available on amazon.com while supplies last

Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet

Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus

Cosmic Ray's Excellent Venus Adventure

At Derenberger’s Home

In the October 1967 issue of Flying Saucers UFO Reports, Marling described her visit to the home of Woodrow Derenberger thusly:

“That night I went out to the Derenberger home, Woody was certain I would see something. It was a good night. He didn’t promise me Cold, but he promised me something. When I arrived he shook his head. ‘Nothing’s coming tonight,’ he said. ‘Look at the crowd. There must be 50 people out there.’

“Cars were driving in from every direction. One young man told me he’d heard the ship came every Tuesday night so he’d brought his girl over to see it.

“Many of the people were strangers to the Derenbergers, walking through their home and drinking coffee as fast as Mrs. D. could make it. ‘We lose a lot of stuff,’ Mr. Derenberger confided. ‘Little things are missing all the time.’”
Amazing Son

Amidst all the confusion that night, the reporter asked Derenberger’s then eight year-old son Greg if he was going to make a special drawing for her. Greg’s mother told Marling previously about her son’s remarkable talents, all acquired since her husband’s close encounter on 2 November. Greg, who used to be an average third grade student, was now on the Honor Roll, receiving straight A’s on his report card in place of the C average he held before. Now Greg could draw a sketch of the mystery ship, the planet Lanulos, explain advanced concepts like gravity compression and time travel, as well as list all the names of the visitors from outer space who had come over to the house to see his daddy. He would draw pictures of these all day long and talked of nothing but his father’s new friends from numerous planets, some of which local West Virginia folks never heard of.

“When I take him out for dinner, and we go out a lot now because it’s the only peace I can get,” Mrs. Derenberger explained, “Greg keeps right on talking about Cold and Kimi and Mars and Venus and Demos. I’ve told him he can do that at home, but he will have to talk about other things outside. This is all he knows.”

The following is the sketch that Greg Derenberger made for reporter M. S. Marling that night as it was later published in the October 1967 issue of Flying Saucers UFO Reports.

Greg Derenberger’s drawing and explanation of the time-traveling spaceship from Lanulos conforms nicely to the theories advanced by the prominent astrophysicist Dr. John Archibald Wheeler dealing with the creation of artificial wormholes for spacecraft to not only cover the vast distances between solar systems, but also break the time barrier in the process. See Dr. Raymond A. Keller’s Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet (Terra Alta, West Virginia: Headline Books, 2015), under the section, “NASA Encounters the Venusian Mothership,” pages 190-197 for a more detailed explanation.

State Police Involvement

On the night that Marling was interviewing the Derenbergers at their Mineral Wells home, Woodrow Derenberger needed to make a telephone call to the West Virginia State Police requesting assistance in dispersing a crowd. It was Sergeant S. P. Vandevender who came out to the Derenbergers’ residence to assay the situation and take charge. The police sergeant informed Marling that this had been the first time he was needed to direct traffic out at the Derenberger property, although the area had been attracting ever-larger crowds for months. He also confirmed that there was a sort of UFO flap going on around the city of Parkersburg and the surrounding vicinities.

Vandevender let Marling know that he was also working closely with Larry Murphy, a reporter for the Parkersburg News that had been assigned to covering the Derenberger story from the very beginning. One night, the state policeman drove up to Dry Ridge with Murphy following call-ins of several UFO sightings. The reported objects were flashing alternating white and yellow lights, moving from the south in a due north direction. By the time they got from the state police headquarters to a prime viewing location up on the ridge, the policeman and the reporter only had the UFOs in view for about 60 seconds. Murphy got a better look at them with a pair of binoculars. According to his testimony, one of the UFOs emitted a “funnel-shaped beam of light” that came straight down. This light beam lasted for the whole minute that the UFOs were under observation. The UFOs were noiseless and could no longer be seen once the beam went out and they disappeared over the northern horizon.

Marling wanted to know from Vandevender if anybody else reported UFOs on the night of Derenberger’s first encounter. The state policeman informed her that there were no unusual incidents coming to his attention that night, other than the Woodrow Derenberger episode. When Marling asked the officer if he believed in the existence of flying saucers from outer space, Vandevender could only reply with, “I think there’s something up there, but I’m not going to make any pronouncements as to what that might be.”

Reporter’s Sympathy

The journalist and ufologist for Flying Saucers UFO Reports found that her time spent with the Derenbergers was rewarding. She reported, however, that she “felt more sympathy than anything else for a family that had been practically displaced by the circus atmosphere that attended Woody’s experience.”

Even Mrs. Derenberger agreed with that assessment and told Marling that, “It’s really all too much.” Later, the entire Derenberger family had to move out of the area, settling in at 25408 Butternut Ridge Road in North Olmsted, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Even though they had an unlisted phone number at their new location, they continued to be pestered with calls day and night.

Of this turn of events, M. S. Marling could only conclude, “An unlisted number wasn’t enough. They really needed an unlisted planet. I hope these two likable people, genuinely trying to return to normalcy, can make it.” Unfortunately, as with so many other UFO experiencers, their relationship was not strong enough to withstand the constant strains.

Local Ufologist Defends Derenberger

Almost from the beginning, normally police beat reporter Larry V. Murphy of the Parkersburg News found himself assigned to cover the ongoing Woodrow Derenberger extraterrestrial contact case as well as the plethora of UFO reports emerging from the region. Locals from Parkersburg and the surrounding area were experiencing a wave of UFO reports from November 1966-March 1967, as these are amply documented in the personal files of John A. Keel, the premier paranormal investigator of the mysterious Mothman sighted on numerous occasions in nearby Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on the east side of the Ohio River. Keel was a frequent visitor to West Virginia investigating numerous reports of strange occurrences. Sometimes on these excursions he would team up with Gray Barker, the editor and publisher of the Saucerian Press in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

From the above-cited cache of Keel’s files, comes a report on his first meeting with Barker to discuss the Derenberger case:

“On Saturday, March 25th, 1967, I spent several hours with Woodrow Derenberger of Mineral Wells, West Virginia. Mr. Gray Barker of Clarksburg accompanied me on my visit to Mr. Derenberger’s home. On November 2, 1966 (a Wednesday), Mr. Derenberger was allegedly stopped on Highway 77, just outside of Parkersburg, West Virginia, by a UFO and was engaged in a brief conversation by the object’s occupant. His story has already been widely reported and I won’t retell it here.”

Keel does go on to report his first and general impressions of the UFO experiencer:

“Derenberger is a charming, outgoing man with a sincere, ingratiating manner. There were several witnesses to the original contact, people who were driving along Highway 77 and who claim they saw him actually “talking” to the UFO occupant. Since that experience, Mr. Derenberger has been frequently visited by the UFOs and has been taken for trips to the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn.”

(John A. Keel, “Special Report on Incidents in Ohio and West Virginia (2),” John Keel : Not an Authority on Anything blog, 8 May 2016, http://www.johnkeel.com/?p=2808 (Retrieved 8 May 2020): In his introduction to the original letters and correspondence of John A. Keel pertaining to his investigations in the counties of Southeast Ohio and the counties of Northwest West Virginia, the administrator of this blog writes: “In the second part of this ‘Special Report,’ intended for other researchers rather than for publication, John lists more UFO sightings, contact reports, odd visitors, strange footprints, and fires around Point Pleasant. He visits Woodrow Derenberger with Gray Barker, and tries to figure out why the local naval station is stockpiling slag. Point Pleasant was certainly a hotbed of weirdness in 1967.”)

Of Derenberger’s wife, Keel opines that she is “a very attractive lady who blandly backs his stories and claims that the UFO occupants have visited their home, which is located on a hilltop surrounded by wide fields. She is somewhat afraid of the occupants.”

Keel then describes the alien: “His original contact was with a man named ‘Indrid Cold,’ he says, and he came from the planet Lanulos. He has also been contacted by Jitro Cletaw of Venus and his wife Elvane. Dodd Hendricks and Vina of Mars have also been in touch with him.”

Perhaps Keel became a wee bit skeptical of Derenberger as he considered some of his more fantastic claims: “On Wednesday, March 8th, 1967, Mr. Derenberger was taken for a four-hour ride to several planets. Like most of the contactees of the old school, he seems to have an answer for every question. He is also able to reply with manufactured ‘facts.’ Yet he tells his story with incredible conviction and sincerity. Since he is planning to write his story for Dell’s new flying saucer magazine, I will not go into full details here.”

Gray Barker’s Role

As Gray Barker was the one who wanted to bring Keel and the Derenbergers together, in person for this interview, it was clear to the paranormal journalist that Barker put a lot of stock in Woodrow Derenberger’s contact claims. In the next paragraph of Keel’s Derenberger summation, he notes that, “Gray (Barker) insisted that he had not spoken with either Derenberger for months.” So taking Barker’s word for this, Keel assumed that nothing in the Derenbergers’ responses to his and Gray’s questions were in any way rehearsed.

Since Barker and Keel interviewed the Derenbergers in the last week of March 1967, and since Barker maintains that his last meeting with the Derenbergers took place months ago, that means that Barker probably spoke with the Mineral Wells couple not too long after Woodrow Derenberger reported his initial contact with Indrid Cold back on the night of 2 November 1966. Equipped with this information, I made a trip to the Gray Barker Collection at the Waldomore House on the grounds of the Harrison County Public Library in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia, to see if I could find some evidence of the initial meeting between Gray Barker and the Derenbergers. What I found was an article written by none other than the staff reporter of the Parkersburg News, Larry V. Murphy, confirming that Gray Barker was one of the first prominent ufologists on the scene, proving himself early on to be a staunch defender and promoter of Derenberger and his claims of contact with a cosmonaut from the distant planet Lanulos.

Murphy’s article was titled, “Ufologist Urges ‘Open Mind;’” but the clipping from the Gray Barker Collection did not have a date penciled in, like most of the other newspaper stories saved by the Clarksburg ufologist and assiduously cataloged and maintained in his files of the Saucerian Press. But based on the contents of the article and Gray Barker’s comments to Keel, I would estimate that the article was written and published sometime in mid-to-late November or early December 1966, within one month of Derenberger’s initial encounter on 2 November 1966.

The following is my preamble to Murphy’s rendition, followed (word for word) by the article itself:

Larry W. Murphy spoke extensively with premier ufologist Gray Barker, editor and publisher of Spacecraft News in Clarksburg, West Virginia, about his investigations into the alleged extraterrestrial encounter of fellow West Virginian and salesman, Woodrow Derenberger, from Mineral Wells, outside of Parkersburg. Barker was one in the first contingent of UFO investigators on the scene to interview Derenberger and document his claims of alien contact. Barker comes to believe that Derenberger is a “sincere man” and defends him against the assertions by some in the UFO community that he is just another fraud and huckster.

A West Virginia author and ufologist (unidentified flying object “expert”) has conducted his own private investigation in this area and personally interviewed Woodrow Derenberger at his home this past week, and has concluded that the Mineral Wells salesman’s story of meeting a spaceman on I-77 near Cedar Grove on the night of November 2 is “entirely plausible.”

At the same time he decried investigation methods allegedly employed by a group he refers to as a “Pittsburgh flying saucer club.”

Gray Barker of Clarksburg, editor of the staff of Saucerian Publications, which recently released its second Fall issue, of a publication known as Spacecraft News, in disclosing his conclusions following his personal and somewhat hasty investigation of the Derenberger case, said:

“They (the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena) are not an official organization, as their name implies. Instead, they are people just like me, private individuals who are fascinated by the subject of flying saucers.”

A “Very Sincere” Man

Barker, an audio visual consultant for a Clarksburg school equipment firm, stated:

“I found Mr. Derenberger a very sincere man.”

Barker claims he has in his files hundreds of cases of people who have seen mechanical craft of various shapes close up, many with “windows, doors, antenna, and other apparently logical configurations.”

According to Barker, “Creatures appearing humanoid, sometimes not, often reportedly have been seen in connection with these unidentified flying objects.”

In reference to Derenberger’s claim that he had engaged in telepathic conversation with the spaceman he encountered on I-77 near State Rt. 47, about two miles southeast of Parkersburg, Barker pointed out:

“A few other persons have claimed to have made various sorts of contact by radio, by voice communication, and even by telepathy.”
No Ulterior Motives

Barker said that since Derenberger told his incredible story to city and state police, an Air Force recruiter, and a number of news media representatives, he has suffered from ridicule and financial losses as a result of harassment by various teams of investigators.

Derenberger, according to Barker, “has no ulterior motives, and has displayed no interest in benefiting financially from what happened to him. Instead, it has caused him to lose valuable work time.”

Incidentally, Derenberger on more than one occasion since November 2 has told a staff reporter of The News:

“This didn’t happen to me for any personal profit. And, if I can help it, I’m not going to sit by and see somebody else gain personal profit from my experience.”

Barker Is Angered

The Mineral Wells salesman, who was employed as a welder at the Union Carbide Corporation mining and metals division plant in nearby Ohio, until the union went on strike there several weeks ago, indicates that he believes he is some sort of “middleman,” who is helping to pave the way for closer contact between inhabitants of the Earth ad intelligent creatures from elsewhere in the universe.

Barker seemed to be particularly angered by the “suggestion” by a group of investigators that Derenberger undergo hypnosis and various psychological tests.

“I think those investigators should take those tests themselves,” Barker stated. “I also think they plan to come up with a very negative report. And the people of the Parkersburg area should be righteously angry at the treatment afforded one of their citizens by this innuendo.”

Charges News Suppression

According to Barker, Derenberger had told him that the “Pittsburgh group” insisted that he tell his story only to them and give it to nobody else.

“That is definite attempted suppression of the news,” Barker remarked.

Barker, incidentally, is the author of several books about Unidentified Flying Objects, and a member of the Congress of Scientific Ufology, which plans to hold its next annual meeting in New York next year.

The Congress last year adopted a resolution censuring NICAP, and made several suggestions for NICAP’s improvement, including the use of computers in evaluating and studying the hundreds of flying saucer reports which reportedly have been received at the rate of 700 reports per week by the U.S. Air Force’s “Project Bluebook,” at Dayton, Ohio, during part of 1965.

Barker, incidentally, has been expelled from NICAP, which refused to renew his membership, according to Spacecraft News (Fall, 1966 issue), of which Barker is editor.

Urges “Open Mind”

“I do hope that the local people will keep an open mind about Derenberger’s experience,” Barker stated.

“After all, everybody laughed at the Wright brothers, and for years reputable scientists scoffed at meteorites and said they were hoaxes.

“Today people scoff at mental telepathy, such as Mr. Derenberger said he experienced. Yet a recent story described how electronic impulses can be directed at the brain and influence human behavior.

“Within 25 years,” Barker continued, “we will be able to transfer brain waves into greatly amplified electronic impulses and affect such communication. Right now the Russians are experimenting with telepathy on a scientific basis.

“Within a few years,” Barker added wryly, “I predict that Mr. Derenberger will be laughing at us!” (END OF PART II)

Lessons Learned From A Contactee: Woodrow W. Derenberger (1916-1990) - Part I


Editor’s Note: If you would like to ask the Cosmic Ray any questions about Venus or life on other planets, do not hesitate to send him an e-mail at rkeller1@mix.wvu.edu. The doctor will be appearing with Omnec Onec, the Ambassador from Venus, along with premier ufologist Laura Eisenhower, at the Promise Revealed Meet the Venusians Mt. Shasta Summer Conference, to be held Wednesday, 26 August 2020 through Sunday 30 August 2020 at the Siskiyou Masonic Lodge, Mount Shasta, California. For event information or to purchase tickets, please call Rob Potter at (530) 925-3502. Until then, in the profound words of Venusian Moon Base Clarion Commander Aura Rhanes, “Work, study, and meditate on all good things!”

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