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 usually called 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 Grinning Man is an obscure figure associated with Alien Lore. Some scholars and observers believe he is extraterrestrial, and others that he was one of the Men in Black. Indrid Cold is thus far his best known incarnation. He has been investigated by notable paranormal author John A. Keel and ufologist James Moseley.
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 each 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.”
The Grinning Man, aka Indrid Cold was linked to extraterrestrials due to a UFO report in the same area. A report states that a “blazing white light as big as a car” almost hit a 550-foot tall television tower near Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. A policeman and his wife witnessed an object move in a slow arc north, until it disappeared over some nearby hills. On the other side of those hills, two other cops—Sgt. Benjamin Thompson and a Patrolman, Edward Wester, of the Wanaque Reservoir Police, witnessed the same light at 9:45 p.m. as it flew over the reservoir. “The light was brilliantly white,” officer Thompson said, “It lit up the whole area for about three hundred yards. In fact, it blinded me when I got out of the patrol car to look at it, and I couldn’t see for about twenty minutes afterwards.”
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.
On November 2, 1966, a man named Woodrow Derenberger was driving his panel truck home after work when he heard a crash. A vehicle raced up behind him, cut in front of him and slowed down. Derenberger said the car looked like “an old fashioned kerosene lamp chimney, flaring at both ends, narrowing down to a small neck and then enlarging in a great bulge in the center.”
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.”
Are they the aliens’ lackeys or, perhaps, human-alien hybrid liasons? Are they phantoms or demons or creatures from another plane of existence who erroneously assume that wearing a smile will put their human counterparts at ease? These are just a few of the perplexing questions that continue to surround this mystifying enigma.
And what an enigma it is. Even in the already bizarre worlds of ufology, cryptozoology and the paranormal, the Grinning Man remains one of the most confounding, obscure and outright terrifying legends in the supernatural…