In January 1967, a new sci-fi series was launched on ABC. The brainchild of Larry Cohen and brought to life by QM Productions, it was titled The Invaders. It starred actor Roy Thinnes as a man named David Vincent. He finds himself plunged into a nightmarish, paranoia-filled world in which hostile aliens are secretly attempting to take over the Earth. Over the course of two seasons and 43 episodes, we see Vincent doing his utmost to thwart the invasion and warn the public, the media, the military, and the government of the growing extraterrestrial threat amongst us.
Although I’m not much of a fan of sci-fi (horror and mystery movies are more my thing), I do like The Invaders, which comes across like a combination of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Fugitive, and with more than a few Cold War fears thrown in, for good measure. Plus, it’s clear to see how the show inspired the likes of The X-Files and the short-lived 1990s series, Dark Skies.
About ten years ago I had the good fortune to meet Roy Thinnes, and I also conducted a very extensive interview with him about a year or so ago (which has not yet seen the light of day, but which hopefully will soon). And, every now and again, I’ll dig into my DVD collection of the show and watch a couple of episodes, which is what I did a few nights ago. In doing so, I noted something very intriguing.
One of the episodes I watched was titled “Panic.” It was first broadcast on April 11, 1967. The guest-star is Robert Walker, Jr., who plays an alien who uses the alias of Nick Baxter. There is, however, something very wrong with Baxter. He is infected with a deadly virus, one which has a bizarre effect on anyone he touches. The virus literally freezes them to death. It isn’t long before David Vincent is on the trail of the infected alien, who is causing havoc and death in rural West Virginia.
And on the matter of aliens roaming around West Virginia in the 1960s, it’s time to take a look at the next aspect of the curious story I present to you. Most people with an interest in UFOs, paranormal phenomena, and downright weirdness will know that West Virginia, in the mid to late 1960s, was an absolute hotbed of strange goings-on. And much of it was focused upon the town of Point Pleasant.
We are, of course, talking about Mothman, the Men in Black, bizarre UFO encounters, paranormal activity, and much more. It was a deeply strange, unsettling, and ominous period in UFO history, one that was chronicled in the pages of John Keel’s 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies and in a 1970 book, Gray Barker’s The Silver Bridge.
As well as Mothman and the MIB, there is another character that features prominently in the books of both Keel and Barker. It’s a character that has become near-legendary in supernatural circles. His name: Indrid Cold. The odd, and somewhat creepy, story of Indrid Cold began on the evening of November 2, 1966. That was when a man named Woody Derenberger, of Mineral Wells, West Virginia, was driving home from Marietta, Ohio.
As Derenberger neared the intersection of Route 47 he had a close encounter of the remarkable kind: a “ship,” said Derenberger, “quickly came up beside my truck.” It proceeded to do far more than that, as Derenberger noted in his book, Visitors from Lanulos. Derenberger continued: “This strange object pulled slightly ahead of me, turned sideways on the highway and began slowing down.” Eventually, the craft came to a complete halt, forcing Derenberger to put the brakes on.
An amazed Derenberger watched as a very human-looking man exited the craft. Derenberger said of the man: “His hair was very dark and thick, and it was combed straight back over his head. He seemed to have a very good tan and looked normal in every way.” The man revealed his name to Derenberger. It was Cold. He would later reveal his first name, too: Indrid. And, thus, a legend was born. Indeed, Indrid Cold is someone who continues to attract the attention of UFO researchers, chroniclers of the Mothman story, and Forteans in general.
Derenberger’s book details the long and winding saga of Indrid Cold – who is described in its pages as a definitive ET, one of a benign nature. Derenberger described a number of encounters with Cold, all of which placed the entire affair firmly in the Contactee camp. And, with background on Mr. Cold now in hand, it’s time to take a look at the next part of this story: the curious connections between The Invaders and Woody Derenberger’s mysterious visitor from the stars. Or, from somewhere.
Keep a look-out for part-two…