Saturday, June 16, 2012
Mothman Vs. Mothra
Late last night I watched, for the first time in years, the Japanese "monster movie" Mothra.
And, on doing so, a few things occurred to me that suggested uncanny parallels between Japan's famous, flying, mothy monster and John Keel's acclaimed title, The Mothman Prophecies:
1. Mothra was released in Japan on July 30, 1961. Although Mothman is perceived as being very much a beast of the mid-1960s, John Keel's book tells of a summer 1961 encounter with a winged humanoid on Route 2 along the Ohio River that involved "a woman prominent in civic affairs in Point Pleasant, West Virginia."
2. In the movie, Mothra - after breaking through a dam - causes the collapse of a bridge. And no-one with a sound knowledge of the Mothman affair, surely, needs to be told that a collapsing bridge is a key and integral part of The Mothman Prophecies.
3. The film focuses on Mothra rescuing and acting as protector to a pair of foot-tall, fairy-like girls who are played in the movie by The Peanuts, a Japanese girl-group of that era. John Keel's classic book includes several notable references to fairies, including the way in which centuries-old encounters with such entities clearly parallel more modern day incidents with enigmatic creatures of a fantastic nature.
Fiction anticipating fact? The strange work of a cosmic trickster? Or just a case of coincidence and me seeing something significant that isn't quite so significant, after all?
Whatever the answers to those questions, in pondering on all this, I am reminded of the words of author Colin Bennett, who told me, when I interviewed him for my book, The Real Men in Black: "When we imagine, we create a form of life.”
Is that what happened here? Did a famous monster movie provoke such fascination that a real-life equivalent stepped out of the collective unconscious and imagination and into the heart of the real world?