Even in the strange, often paranoid, twisted, and highly speculative world of Alien Lore and UFOlogy, The Grinning Man is a mystery. The Grinning Man has been spotted several times during periods of intense UFO encounters (for instance, during the 1960s Mothman sightings). Maybe he has been seen around El Paso or Manhattan in the recent wave of sightings that were witnessed by thousands.
At the famous Mothman sightings, two teen-aged witnesses said he looked at them with what is sometimes referred to as a "s***-eating grin" on his face. According to researchers who interviewed the boys, he: “was over six feet tall, they agreed, and was dressed in a sparkling green coverall costume that shimmered and seemed to reflect the street lights. There was a wide black belt around his waist.”
The boys also said “He had a very dark complexion, and little round eyes…real beady…set far apart.” Oddly, “They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure.” During the Mothman sightings, the grinning man is alleged to have telepathically told a witness his name was Indrid Cold.
The most famous sighting of The Grinning Man went down on October 11, 1966 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. James Yanchitis and Marvin Munoz were walking home along Fourth Street. Yanchitis noticed the weird man first. "He was standing behind that fence," he told investigators, "I don't know how he got there. He was the biggest man I ever saw." "Jimmy nudged me," Marvin Munoz told the cops, "and said, 'Who's that guy standing behind you?' I looked around and there he was... behind that fence. Just standing there. He pivoted around and looked right at us... then he grinned a big old grin." During the same period of time, on that same street, on the same night, a middle-aged resident of the neighborhood was chased by a "tall green man" The boys skedaddled as soon as they saw The Grinning Man.
According to paranormal investigator/journalist John A. Keel, and the UFO lecturer James Moseley, Munoz and Yanchitis were interviewed by them separately and told the exact same story. "The man was over six feet tall, they agreed, and was dressed in a sparkling green coverall costume that shimmered and seemed to reflect the street lights. There was a wide black belt around his waist." The freakiest part of the encounter is that "They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure."
Numerous Grinning Man sightings happened in 1966, about the same time as the West Virginia Mothman sightings. They are reported by John A. Keel in chapters 5 and 10 in his book The Mothman Prophecies.
The UFO stopped on the road, and a door slid open. A man stepped out, wearing a "glistening green" uniform like the outfit worn by the New Jersey Grinning Man. Naturally, he was grinning.
The man communicated with Derenberger telepathically and said his name was "Cold", and asked him strange questions, and the two talked for a few minutes. The Grinning Man said he would visit him again.
Another case detailed in the Mothman Prophecies book, happened in the home of the Lillys, a family living in Point Pleasant. The Lillys claimed to see strange lights in the sky right above their home at least every night, and experienced strange events in their house. Mrs. Lilly said "We've seen all kinds of strange things...blue lights, green ones, red ones, things that change color. Some have been so low that we thought we could see diamond-shaped windows in them. And none of them make any noise at all." Automobiles near the Lilly home would stall for no reason, and kitchen cabinets and doors inside the Lilly home would slam inexplicably in the middle of the night. Mrs. Lilly said she sometimes heard a sound like "a baby crying" throughout the inside of the home.
John A. Keel, who investigated the Lilly family, asked "Did you ever dream that there was a stranger in the house in the middle of the night?" Linda Lilly, the daughter, said she had seen "a man, a big man. Very broad. I couldn't see his face very well, but I could see that he was grinning at me."
- Keel, John. A (2002) "The Complete Guide To Mysterious Beings", chpt 14:The Grinning Man, Tor Books, ISBN 0765345862 (reprint)
- Coleman, Loren (2002) "Mothman and Other Curious Encounters", chpt 7: Keel's Children, p133,146, Paraview Press, ISBN 1931044341
- Coleman, Loren (2007) "Mysterious America", chpt 20: Mad Gasser Of Mattoon and his Kin, Paraview Pocket Books, ISBN 1416527362
- Keel, John A (2002) "Mothman Prophecies", Tor Books, ISBN 0765341972 (reprint)