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Alien Casefile: Indrid Cold

Woodrow Derenberger, a Mineral Wells, WV resident was an ordinary Appalachian man in the 1960’s. He worked as a salesman for a sewing machine company and in early November 1966, he traveled to Marietta, OH on a business trip. Everything was going as you could expect, but when he was traveling home on November 2nd, Derenberger’s life was about to be flipped upside down. Around 7:30PM, on Route 77 in Parkersburg, WV, Derenberger suddenly heard a crashing noise and some brightly lit vehicle came up from behind him at great speed, flew over his truck and stopped in the road in front of him, hovering only a foot off the ground which forced him to stop his vehicle on the side of the road. A door opened and a being came out of the ship to greet him. This is the story of Indrid Cold…

Derenberger described this hovering UFO as resembling an antique “kerosene lamp chimney.” More curiously however was the occupant which exited the craft that began approaching his red panel truck. This being looked like an ordinary man - 6 feet tall, olive complexion, slicked back and dark brown hair. The man looked to be in his mid 30’s and wore a reflected, glossy dark blue coat. If this scene wasn’t weird enough for Derenberger yet, the man came up to his window and in the background his strange vehicle shot 40 feet up into the air and stayed stationary. While he looked human, the donned a kind of large grin that seemed fixed to his face. Without moving his mouth, the being began communicating with Derenberger in his mind, asking him to roll down his window so they could talk. Whoever this was had the ability of telepathy.

This being then revealed himself as “Indrid Cold” and he meant Derenberger no harm. The two “spoke” for nearly 10 minutes with Cold evidently wanting to learn more about the human race and asking strange questions. Derenberger had noticed that Cold was fixated on the city light from Parkersburg and wanted to know about them. Derenberg then explained that people travel into the city to work at the businesses there, and live outside of the city. Indrid Cold also revealed that his species is from a planet called “Lanulos” in the “Genemedes Galaxy” and they are just like humanity saying that they eat, breath, sleep and bleed too. Before returning to his ship, Cold told Derenberger they would meet again. After this he filing a report with police about his encounter.

In an interview, Derenberger later stated:

"I was very frightened and as far as I can understand, this was all mental, there were not spoken words from him. I knew what he was asking me but yet he stood there and his mouth did not move. He had a smile on his face, he appeared very courteous and friendly"

After Woodrow Derenberger reported his story to the police, a new media sensation quickly arose and he was interviewed by several parties on Live TV including the Dayton Ohio Air Force Base, the Parkersburg Police & Wood County Airport. After this sensational story aired, other anonymous people started claiming to have encounters with this strange being. An older man believed he had seen the same man on the side of the road, but was too scared to pull over because something was off about the figure.

Others reported witnessing lights and “fluttering vehicles” simultaneous with sighting a strange looking man on the road. Some even claimed they saw what appeared to be a flying craft, landed in the road. In fact, three weeks prior on October 16th, two young boys, Martin Munov and James Yanchitis from New Jersey believed they encounter a similar grinning man, who wore a metallic green suit. During this time there were also several UFO reports in their area. The man subsequently chased them, but thankfully the boys got away.

Woody Derenberger

The media storm lasted for close to three weeks as more people came forward with their own stories. The late John Keel, investigative journalist, UFOlogist and author of The Mothman Prophecies” actually traveled to interview Woodrow Derenberger and to investigate what was happening in Parkersburg, WV. Keel would go on to write the forward for Derenberger’s book about his experiences, Visitors from Lanulos” that he co-authored with Andrew Colvin and his daughter, Taunia. Gray Barker, another author on UFO’s and paranormal phenomena conducted his own interview and investigation as well.

The spotlight seemed to fade for Derenberger and his story of Indrid Cold, but this was only the beginning of his story. Interestingly John Keel believed there may have been a connection to the Mothman story as well, as he received a phone call during his Mothman investigations from a man who said his name was Indrid Cold. During the sightings of Mothman in Point Pleasant, the Lilly Family had been experiencing strange poltergeist activity in their home. One night, Linda Lilly, who was a kid at the time woke up and saw a large man with a huge grin on his face who then walked around her bed and stood over her. She screamed and hid under her covers. When she finally mustered up the courage to look again, the man was gone. Another possible connection to Mothman is that people believe wherever he shows up, high strangeness and disaster seem to follow.

In the years that followed, Derenberger would have several more encounters with Indrid Cold, going as far to claim that Cold took him on his spaceship to his home planet. He also met other grinning men, called “seekers” who were named “Demo Hassan” and “Karl Ardo.” One time Derenberger disappeared for 6 months, claiming that he was with Cold the whole time. His family also became exposed to this strange alien being as well since Cold would sometimes show up at the family home. In fact, Derenberger’s wife, terrified of the beings, especially since they looked like us, dressed like us, drove our cars, but were ultimately alien in origin. Allegedly Woodrow Derenberger would receive a kind of “long distance” telepathic message from his otherworldly acquaintance, which would leave him suffering from severe migraines.

Indrid Cold Illustration by TheIckyMan on DeviantArt

Beyond an alien showing up at their front door, the Derenberger family would frequently receive strange phone calls. Some believe they also sighted Men In Black showing up at their house as well. Sometimes there were threats from unknown parties who wanted Derenberger to stop talking about his experiences, other times there were strange electronic noises, or the line would just be dead on the other end. Despite changing their numbers, the weird calls would persist. Beyond this, the infamy of the story led to the media and other enthusiasts to flock to the Derenberger home at all hours of the day and night, hoping for a chance to catch a glimpse of the quirky smiling alien.

In the aftermath of it all, the experience seemed to negatively affect Derenberger’s life in irreparable ways, even extending to his family and close friends. The consequence took its toll with years of harassing phone calls, lost jobs, friends turning their backs, people constantly trespassing on his property, public ridicule, the migraines, divorce and even depression. Derenberger left the area for some time to get away from the notoriety and try to live a normal life. In the end, he never denied his claims, he simply stopped talking about them. Near the end of his life he moved back to West Virginia and passed away in 1990.

So who was Indrid Cold? Many believe this man was indeed an alien from outer space based on the UFO connection with Derenberger’s initial and subsequent encounters. Others believe Indrid may have been some kind of supernatural apparition, or ghost, due to the experience of the Lilly family of Point Pleasant. Skeptics suggest that Indrid Cold was simply a normal man or a hoax based around the fear of the Mothman as the two sightings happened around the same time and in the same area. In the end we may never know the truth, other than strange things were happening back in the 1960’s and that our world has a lot more going on than we realize.


Thanks to my Amazon Affiliate partnership I'm able to provide links to great reads about fortean subjects. As mentioned and linked above, John Keel's book, The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story is a fascinating and journalistic chronicling of the story of Mothman, and Point Pleasant, WV. If you follow through my link to purchase the book, it helps me out a lot and keeps the lights on with a small commission from Amazon. You can buy the book here (or click the book image)!

In 1971, Woody Derenberger wrote an autobiographical account of his contactee experience with Indrid Cold. Once a rare find, this book was reissued in 2014. Derenberger recounts his truly bizarre experiences and what happened after. Again, if you follow my link, Amazon will give me a tiny little commission, which helps me keep Strangeology going! Follow the link here or click the book image to buy! Thanks for reading!

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