Date: Fri Feb 19 1993 22:39:06 To: All Subj: MIB Primer 1/ UFO - What follows is three art

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Date: Fri Feb 19 1993 22:39:06 From: Marty Wade To: All Subj: MIB Primer 1/ UFO ------------------------------- What follows is three articles on MIBs. For those of you who are hazy on what they 'are', this should straighten you out. I cannot guarantee the veracity of their content, and welcome any 'corrections of fact' from anyone out there. ;-) Enjoy. A REVIEW OF MIB (MEN IN BLACK) A History By Linda Murphy From 'Astronet Review' No. 1 February 1992. A lot of people have heard of something about "MIBs" without really knowing any of the details. The purpose of this article is to acquaint readers with MIBs history, how they are related to the cover-up allegations, along with associated reference material and names of files which contain more current thoughts on the subject. When the Condon Committee was sampling public attitudes toward UFOs they gave this statement to a cross-section of the American Public: "A government agency maintains a Top Secret file of UFO reports that are deliberately withheld from the public." The respondents were supposed to answer TRUE or FALSE. A substantial majority, sixty-one percent, thought that the statement was true while only thirty-one percent said it was false. Among teenagers, the credibility gap was even wider - 73 percent believed the statement to be true. General opinion studies conducted by the Condon Committee, and other surveys about UFOs came up with the rather paradoxical facts that there were more people who believed in a conspiracy of silence about UFOs than believed in UFOs in the first place. It has often been said that we Americans today are a bit paranoid; that we always tend to believe that something is out to get us, or something is being kept from us. It certainly seems that we were a bit paranoid about UFOs. Most people thought vaguely in terms of an Air Force conspiracy or a CIA conspiracy or even of a world-wide scientific conspiracy. It was generally acknowledged that the reason behind such a conspiracy was a desire on the part of those in power to hide the "truth" from the public because people would panic if they knew that we really were being visited by superior creatures from another world. Conspiracy theorists constantly hearkened back to the old "War of the Worlds" broadcast, and the panic it started. Such a belief, however, is rather too simple for the true connoisseur of conspiracies. He has long ago rejected the simple, straightforward Air Force-CIA-science establishment cover-up as too obvious, and really rather ridiculous. The conspiracy connoisseur pointed out quite correctly that no government or group, no matter how powerful, could possibly suppress so much sensational information for so long - no earthly group that is. If the extraterrestrials WANTED to make themselves known then they would land in a central place, and all the feeble earthly cover-up would simply be blown away. It is out of this sort of background that the legend of the Men In Black arose. It concerns strange little men in dark suits who drive around in big shiny cars and harass people who claimed to have seen a UFO. The origin of the Men In Black legend can be pinpointed fairly exactly. Back in 1953 a man by the name of Albert K. Bender was running an oranisation called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB) and editing a little publication called Space Review that was dedicated to news of flying saucers. The IFSB had a small membership despite its rather grandiose title, and Space Review reached at best, no more than a few hundred readers. But they were all deeply devoted to the idea that flying saucers were craft from outer space. In common with other true believers, these saucer buffs were convinced that they were in possession of a great truth, while most of the rest of the world remained in darkness and ignorance. They felt very important, and thus it was with a sense of surprise, even shock, that they opened up the October 1953 issue of Space Review and found two unexpected announcements: "LATE BULLETIN. A source which the IFSB considers very reliable has informed us that the investigation of the flying saucer mystery and the solution is approaching its final stages. This same source to whom we had referred data, which had come into our possession, suggested that it was not the proper method and time to publish the data in Space Review." The second and more shocking item read: "STATEMENT OF IMPORTANCE: The mystery of the flying saucers is no longer a mystery. The source is already known, but any information about this is being withheld by order from a higher source. We would like to print the full story in Space Review, but because of the nature of the information we are very sorry that we have been advised in the negative." The statement ended with the ominous sentence, "We advise those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautious." Bender then suspended the publication of Space Review, and dissolved the IFSB. The tone of the announcements would have been familiar to anyone who had much experience with occult organizations. Occultists often claim they are in the possession of some great secret which, for equally secret reasons, they cannot reveal. Even the appeal, "please be very cautious" was not unique. It made those engaged in "saucer work" feel more important. After all, who is going to bother to persecute you if you are just wasting your time? Shortly after Bender closed down his magazine and organization he gave an interview to a local paper [in] which he asserted that he had been visited by "three men wearing dark suits" who had ordered him "emphatically" to stop publishing material about flying saucers. Bender said that he had been "scared to death" and that he "actually couldn't eat for a couple of days.". Some of Bender's former associates tried to press for a more satisfactory explanation, but to all questions he replied either cryptically or not at all. This state of affairs created considerable confusions among the flying saucer buffs. What were they to think about such a strange story? Some were openly skeptical of Bender's tale. They said that his publication and organization were losing money and the tale of the three visitors who "ordered" him to stop publishing was just a face-saving gesture. Yet, as the years went by the "Three Men In Black" began to sound more respectable and they took on a life of their own. Some of Bender's friends first thought that the Men In Black were from the Air Force or the CIA, and indeed Bender's original statements do seem to sound like [the men could have been] government agents. But after a while the Men In Black began to assume a more extraterrestrial, even supernatural air. Finally in 1963, a full decade after he first told of his mysterious visitors, Albert Bender elaborated further in a book called "Flying Saucers and the Three Men In Black". It was a strange, confused and virtually unreadable book that revealed very little in the way of hard facts, but did significantly enhance the reputation of the Men In Black as extraterrestrials. The book also introduced into the lore "three beautiful women, dressed in tight white uniforms." Like their male counterparts in black, the women in white had "glowing eyes". But even before the publication of Bender's book in 1963, the Men In Black (or MIBs as they were known to insiders) had already been reported to be visiting others besides Alber Bender. By now they have been reported so often that they have become an established part of the UFO history. The Men In Black, naturally enough, wear black suits. They also usually wear sunglasses, presumably to disguise their "glowing eyes". Most of them are reported to be short and delicately built with olive complections and dark, straight hair. They are often described as "Gypsies" or "Orientals". Most MIBs are reported to travel in groups of three and usually ride around in shiny, new, black cars - often Cadillacs. These cars are even supposed to "smell new". Sometimes the MIBs pose as investigators from the CIA or some other government agency. They may flash official-looking credentials. but these can never be checked out. Occasionally the MIBs display badges with strange emblems on them, or have unrecognizable symbols painted on their cars. The purpose of the visits seems to be to get people who have seen UFOs to stop talking about them, of somehow to confuse and frighten the witnesses. People who worry about MIBs tend to lump all sorts of mysterious visitors into the category, even if they don't wear black, have no glowing eyes nor show any of the familiar MIB characteristics. The primary qualification for the Men In Black is that they be of unknown origin, and that they appear to act oddly and vaguely menacing. Some of those who write about UFOs and other strange phenomena rather casually mention "countless" cases where people have been visited by Men In Black. In reality these "countless cases" are difficult to pin down. In fact, there really seems to be a rather small number of MIB cases where there are any details availabe at all. The impression given by the writers is that the publicized cases represent only "the tip of the iceberg". Beyond these, say the writers, are many "more sensational" cases, the details of which cannot be revealed for a variety of reasons. In any event solid evidence for a vast number MIB cases is lacking. But we are, after all, dealing with beliefs as much as with reality, and 'impression' is an important one. Often the MIB cases that we know of are not quite as sensational as Albert Bender's three visitors, but they are unsettling nevertheless. Take the case of California highway inspector Rex Heflin. On August 3, 1965, Heflin claimed to have taken a series of Polaroid photos of a UFO from his car while parked near the Santa Ana Freeway. The pictures were quite clear and they showed an object shaped rather like a straw hat apparently floating above the ground. These pictures got a great deal of publicity, and are still among the most frequently reprinted UFO photos. Heflin's story was investigated by the Air Force shortly after it became known. It was also looked into by investigators for the Condon Committee during their inquiry. (The committee investigator produced a pretty fair imitation of the photos by suspending the lens cap of his camera in front of his car with a thread and photographing it through the car window.) In addition, a host of unofficial UFO groups tackled the case in their own way. There was considerable suspicion on the part of official investigators that the photos had been faked, but this was difficult to prove or disprove without the original prints. Being Polaroid photos, there were no negatives. Heflin said that he had turned over three of the four originals to a man (or two men - the stories differ) who claimed that he represented the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD). NORAD denied that they had ever sent out an investigator, or indeed, that they had the slightest interest in the photos. The mysterious person who is alleged to have taken the photos has never been identified. On October 11, 1967, over two years after Heflin's original sighting, but while the Condon investigation was going on, Heflin reported another encounter with mysterious visitors. A man who said that he was Captain C.H. Edmonds of the Space Systems Division, Systems Command, a unit of the Air Force that had been involved in the first investigation of his UFO photos, came to his home. During the interview the man who called himself Captain Edmonds asked Heflin if he wanted his original photos back. When Heflin said no, the man was "visibly relieved". Inexplicably, the man then began discussing the Bermuda Triangle. This is an area near the island of Bermuda where a number of mysterious disappearances of airplanes and ships have been reported. These disappearances have been linked by some to UFOs, though the connection does not seem very convincing. While this strange interview was going on, Heflin said that he saw a car parked in the street. It had some sort of lettering on the front door but he could not make it out. To quote the Condon Report description of the incident, "In the back seat could be seen a figure and a violet (not blue) glow, which the witness attributed to instrument dials. He believed he was being photographed or recorded. In the mentime his FM multiplex radio was playing in the living room and during the questioning it made several loud audible pops." All attempts by the Air Force, various civilian researchers and the Condon Committee itself to find "Captain C. H. Edmonds" failed. As far as can be determined, no such person has ever existed. A much more bizarre story was supposedly told by an unnamed family who had sighted a UFO. Sometime after the sighting they said that they were visited by a very strange individual. Ivan Sanderson, who reported the incident in his book "Uninvited Visitors", described the individual thus: "almost seven feet tall, with a small head, dead white skin, enormous frame, but pipe-stem limbs." This oddity said he was an insurance investigator and that he was looking for someone who had the same name as the husband of this family. He indicated that the man he was looking for had inherited a great deal of money. Continued Sanderson; "This weird individual just appeared out of the night wearing a strange fur hat with a visor and only a light jacket. He flashed an official-looking card on entry but put it away immediately. Later on when he removed his jacket he disclosed an official-looking gold shield on his shirt which he instantly covered with his hand and removed." The strange visitor asked some personal questions about the family, but nothing at all about the UFOs. The creepiest part of the whole affair came when the eldest daughter of the family noticed that the "investigator's" tight pants had ridden up his skinny leg, and she saw a green wire running out of his sock, up his leg and into his flesh at two points. After the interview, the "investigator" got into a large, black car which contained at least two other persons, and seemed to disappear on an old dirt road that led from the woods. The car drove off into the night with its headlights off. In addition to scaring and intimidating people, visits of MIBs are also supposed to produce a variety of unpleasant physical symptoms. Bender said he suffered from headaches, lapses of memory and was plagued by strange odours following the first visit of the Men In Black. Others who say they have had similar visitations have made similar complaints. Another eerie thing attributed to MIB types, is the ability to look like anyone they want to. Some UFO researchers claim that MIBs have been posing as THEM in order to silence potential witnesses. John Keel, who has written a number of UFO books , said that he had encountered people who refused to believe that he was who he said he was. "Later contactees (those who say they are, somehow or other, in contact with the space people) began to whisper to local UFO investigators that the real John Keel had been kidnapped by a flying saucer and that a cunning android who looked just like me had been substituted in my place. Incredible though it may sound, this was taken very seriously, and later even some of my more rational correspondents admitted that they carefully compared the signatures on my current letters with pre-rumour letters they had received." As we said earlier, each era tries to explain strange encounters in terms of its own system of beliefs. I have been struch by the similarity of some of these MIB cases with medieval tales of encounters with the devil or some of hes demons. The devil, for example, was very often described as a man dressed in black. The ability to change shape and appear in any form was commonly attributed to demons, who were able to take the shape of a victim's friends and neighbors and even assume the likeness of angels and saints. Many of those who said that they had met the devil complained of the same range of physical symptoms reported by those who encounered the MIBS. The shiny new cars associated with MIBs is reminiscent of the Haitian belief in an evil society of sorcerers called "zobops". Haitians say that if you see a big, new car going along the road without a driver, it's under the control of the "zobops", and you had better not try to interfere with it. Now, I am not trying to imply that the MIBs are agents of the devil, or vice versa, anymore than I would try to say that the little green men from Mars were really the fairy folk of past generations. It is just that our visions and fears often remain the same over the ages, and only our explanations for them change. Of course, encounters with the devil during the Middle Ages were generally more frightening and overpowering experiences than current experiences with MIBs. Everbody believed in the devil, while today everybody does not believe in the creatures from outer space. Mideval society took devil stories in dead earnest, and anyone who made such a report might find himself facing a painful death at the stake. The worst one can expect from reporting a MIB encounter is a certain amount of disbelief and ridicule. In general, MIB tales are considered too bizarre even to be reported in local newspapers. They are published only in magazines and books put out for and by UFO enthusiasts. Usually such publications are provately printed and are read by only a few hundred. A few books however, have been issued by major publishers and have reached a far wider audience. These cases are also occasionally discussed on radio and TV talk shows, so the information gets around more widely than one might think. A lot of people have heard of "something" about MIBs without really knowing any of the details. There is one incident which bared certain similarities to the traditional MIB case that did receive very wide publicity. This is the story of the "kidnapping" of Betty and Barney Hill. While most of the MIB cases do not appear directly to involve a UFO, this one does. The couple was driving to their home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from Canada on the night of September 19, 1961. They were on an isolated stretch of road when they spotted what they thought was a flying saucer abouve them. Then followed two completely blank hours in their lives. They could remember nothing from the time they saw the UFO until a time two hours later when they found themselves in their car several miles down the road from where they had seen the UFO. For months after this experience both of the Hills suffered from severe psychological distress. Finally they consulted a psychiatrist, who hypnotized them, and under hypnosis the Hills revealed a strange story of being kidnapped and taken aboard a flying saucer. The Hills didn't rush out and try to get publicity about their experience or write a book about it. In fact, they were remarkably quiet. But the incident did ultimately come to the attention of author John Fuller, who had already written an extremely popular UFO book. With the co-operation of the Hills and of their psychiatrist, Fuller produced another best seller, "The Interrupted Journey", which was first serialized in the now defunct 'Look' magazine. Though the book is carefully hedged with qualifications that the experience described might be a hallucunation or a dream rather than a "totally real and true experience", the distinct impression left by The Interrupted Journey on thousands of readers was that the experience was a "totally real and true" one. The people or entities that were supposed to be controlling the spaceship that kidnapped the Hills can be squeezed into the Men In Black lore. Barney Hill described one of his captors as looking like "a red-headed Irishman", hardly a MIB type. But another wore "a shiny black coat", with a black scarf thrown about his neck. Under hypnosis Hill drew a picture of "the leader" of his abductors. It is a strange insect like face with a wide, thin mouth and huge slanting eyes that seem to go halfway around the creatures' head. The eyes were the most frightening part of the saucer inhabitant's strange physiognomy. Once during a hypnotic session with the psychiatrist Barny Hill cried out in terror, "Oh, those eyes! They're in my brain!" Glowing eyes, you will recall, are considered some of the key characteristics of the typical Man In Black. Unlike many of the books written by or about people who say that they had encountered the inhabitants of UFOs, The Interrupted Journey carries real conviction. One gets the feeling that the Hills and Fuller are intelligent, sincere and sane people who really believe that what they described is what actually did happen. So this idea was planted in the minds of thousands of readers of The Interrupted Journey: UFOs can land, the extraterrestrials can kidnap ordinary people, subject them to a degrading and almost brutal examination and then wipe all memory of the incident from their minds, leaving behind only an unexplained sense of anxiety bordering on panic. Well, what does all of this mean? Are we being invaded by some weird bunch of extraterrestrials who have in the words of the "Shadow" radio show, "the power to cloud men's minds"? Frankly the evidence does not support such an alarming conclusion. Are all the stories hoaxes and hallucinations? Psychiatrists could certainly have a field day with many of these accounts. Symptoms such as loss of memory, severe anxiety and other unpleasant reactions strongly suggest that many of those who report such experiences are in a disturbed psychological state, though they would claim the disturbance was caused by the encounter with the strange visitor. In any event they do not make the most reliable of witnesses. Some of the other stories are almost certainly sheer fiction, made up either by some practical joker or by a writer of sensational books. Whether all the stories are real of unreal is not a question that we can answer conclusively here. The point is that we Americans are building a mythology for ouselves, just as the Europeans did with their tales of dragons, ogres and elves, and just as all people have done in all parts of the world in all ages. We have often prided ourselves on being a practical, hardheaded, no-nonsense sort of people who were immune to the irrational fears and superstitious notions of less clear-sighted and realistic folk. This proposition is demonstrably untrue and perhaps we are better off for it. Our monsters, our space people, even if they don't exist, if indeed they are rather silly, also make life more interisting and exciting. ***:::::::::*** REFERENCES: Excalibur Briefing, Thomas E. Bearden, Strawberry Hill Press 1980. UFOs and Their Mission Impossible, Dr. Clifford Wilson, Signet Press. Flying Saucers on The Attack, Harold T. Wilkins, Ace Books 1954. MONSTERS: Giants and Little Men From Mars, Daniel Cohen, DELL Publications (paperback) 1975. ******* WHO ARE THE MEN IN BLACK? From 'The Unexplained' No. 10. Orbis Publishing. 1991. As UFO sightings increase, so allegedly does the harassment of witnesses - by the sinister so-called Men In Black. Albert Bender, director of the International Flying Saucer Bureau, an amateur organisation based in Connecticut, USA, once claimed to have discovered the secret behind UFOs. But unfortunately, the rest of the world is still none the wiser - for Bender was prevented from passing on his discovery to the world by three sinister visitors: three men dressed in black, known as 'the silencers'. It had been Bender's intention to publish his findings in his own journal, Space Review. But before committing himself finally, he felt he ought to try his ideas out on a colleague. He therefore mailed his report. A few days later, the men came. Bender was lying down in his bedroom, overtaken by a sudden spell of dizziness, when he noticed three shadowy figures in the room. Gradually, they became clearer. All were dressed in black clothes. "They looked like clergymen, but wore hats similar to Homburg style. The faces were not clearly discernible, for the hats partly hid and shaded them. Feelings of fear left me... The eyes of all three figures suddenly lit up like flashlight bulbs, and all these were focussed upon me. They seemed to burn into my very soul as the pains above my eyes became almost unbearable. It was then I sensed that they were conveying a message to me by telelathy." Bender's visitors confirmed that he had been right in his speculations as to the true nature of the UFOs - one of them was actually carrying Bender's report, and provided additional information. This so terrified him that he was only too willing to go along with their demand that he close down his organisation, cease publication of his journal at once, and refrain from telling the truth to anyone 'on his honour as an American citizen.' But did Bender really expect anyone to believe his story? His friends and colleagues were certainly baffled by it. One of them, Gray Barker, even published a sensational book, 'They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers'; and Bender himself supplied an even stranger account in his 'Flying Saucers and the Three Men' some years later, in response to persistent demands for an explanation of what had occurred from former colleagues. He told an extraordinary story, involving extraterrestrial spaceships with bases in Antarctica, that reads like the far-fetched contactee dream-stuff; and it has even been suggested that the implausibility of Bender's story was specifically designed in order to throw serious UFO investigators off the track. However, believable or not, Bender's original account of the visit of the three strangers is of crucial interest to UFO investigators, for the story has been parelleled by many similar reports, frequently from people unlikely to have heard of Bender and his experiences. UFO percipients and investigators are apparently also liable to be visited by men in black (MIBs); and although most reports are from the United States, similar claims have come from Sweden and Italy, Britain and Mexico. Like the UFO phenomenon itself, MIBs span three decades, and perhaps had precursors in earlier centuries. VISITATIONS Like Bender's story, most later reports not only contain implausible details, but are also inherently illogical: in virtually every case, there seems on the face of it more reason to disbelieve that to believe. But this does not eliminate the mystery - it simply requires us to study it in a different light. For whether or not these things actually happened, the fact remains that they were reported; and why should so many people, independently and often reluctantly, report such strange and sinister visitations? What is more, why is it that the accounts are so mimilar, echoeng and in turn helping to confirm a persistent pattern that, if nothing else, has become one of the most powerful folk myths of our time? The archetypal MIB report runs something like this: shortly after a UFO sighting, the subject - he may be a witness, he may be an investigator on the case - receives a visit. Often it occurs so soon after the incident itself that no official report or media publication has taken place: in short, the visitors should not, by any normal channels, have gained access to the information they clearly possess - names, addresses, and details of the incident, as well as those involved. The victim is nearly always alone at the time of the visit, usually in his own home. The visitors, usually three in number, arrive in a large, black car. In America, it is most often a prestigious Cadillac, but seldon a recent model. Though old in date, however, it is likely to be immaculate in appearance and condition, inside and out, even having that unmistakable 'new car' smell. If the subject notes the registration number and checks it, it is invariably found to be a non-existent number. The visitors themselves are almost always men: only very rarely is one a woman, In appearance, they conform pretty closely to the stereotyped image of a CIA or secret service man. They wear dark suits, dark hats, dark ties, dark shoes and socks, but white shirts: and witnesses very often remark on their clean, immaculate turn-out, all the clothes looking as though just purchased. The visitors' faces are frequently discribed as 'vaguely foreign', most often 'oriental', and slanted eyes have been specified in many accounts. If not dark-skinned, the men are likely to be very heavily tanned. Sometimes there are bizarre touches: in one case, for instance, a man in black appeared to be wering bright lipstick! The MIBs are generally unsmiling and expressionless, their movements stiff and awkward. Their general demeanour is formal, cold, sinister, even menacing, and there is no warmth or friendliness shown, even if no outright hostility either. Witnesses often hint that they felt their visitors were not human at all. Some MIBs proffer evidence of identity; indeed, they sometimes appear in US Air Force or other uniforms. They may also produce identity cards; but since most people would not know a genuine CIA or other 'secret' service identity card if they saw one, this of course proves nothing at all. If they give names, however, these are invariably found to be false. The interview is sometimes an interrogation, sometimes simply a warning. Either way, the visitors, even though they are asking questions, are clearly very well-informed, with access to restricted information. They speak with perfect, sometimes too perfect, intonation and phrasing, and their language is apt to be reminiscent of the conventional villains of crime films. MENACING ENCOUNTERS The sinister visits almost invariably conclude with a warning not to tell anybody about the incident, if the subject is a UFO percipient, or to abandon the investigation, if he is an investigator. Violence is frequently threatened, too. And the MIBs depart as suddenly as they came. Most well-informed UFO enthusiasts, if asked to describe a typical MIB visit, would give some such account. However, a comparative examination of reports indicates that such 'perfect' MIB visits seldom occur in practice. Study of 32 of the more reliable cases on file reveals that many details diverge quite markedly from the archetypal story: there were, for instance, no visitors at all in four cases, only subsequent telephone calls; and, of the remainder, only five involved three men, two involved four, five involved two, while in the rest there was mention only of a single visitor. Although the appearance and behaviour of the visitors does seem generally to conform to the prototype, it ranges from the entirely natural to the totally bizarre. The car, despite the fact that in America it is by far the commonest means of transportation, is in fact mentioned in only one-third of the reports; and as for the picturesque details - the Cadillac, the antiquated model, the immaculate condition - these are, in practice, very much the exception. Of 22 American reports, only nine even include mention of a car; and of these, only three were Cadillacs, while only two were specified as black and only two as out-of-date models. On the other hand, such archetypal details tend to be more conspicuous in less reliable cases, particularly those in which investigators, rather than UFO percipients, are involved. The case that comes closest to the archetype is that of Robert Richardson, of Toledo, Ohio, who in July 1967 informed the Aerial Phenomena Research Organisation (APRO) that he had collided with a UFO while driving at night. Coming round a bend, he had been confronted by a strange object blocking the road. Unable to halt in time, he had hit it, though not very hard. Immediately on impact, the UFO vanished. Police who accompanied Richardson to the scene could find only his own skid marks as evidence; but on a later visit, Richardson himself found a small lump of metal which might have come from the UFO. Three days later, at 11 pm, two men in their twenties appeared at Richardson's home and questioned him for about 10 minutes. They did not identify themselves, and Richardson - to his own subsequent surprise - did not ask who they were. They were not unfriendly, gave no warnings, and just asked questions. He noted that they left in a black 1953 Cadillac. The number, when checked, was found not yet to have been issued. A week later, Richardson received a second visit, from two different men, who arrived in a current model Dodge. They wore black suits and were dark-complectioned. Although one spoke perfect English, the second had an accent, and Richardson felt there was something vaguely foreign about them. At first, they seemed to be trying to persuade him that he had not hit anything at all; but then they asked for the piece of metal. When he told them it had gone for analysis, they threatened him: "If you want your wife to stay as pretty as she is, then you'd better get the metal back". The existence of the metal was known only to Richardson and his wife, and to two senior members of APRO. Seemingly, the only way the strangers could have learned of its existence would be by tapping either his or APRO's telephone. There was no clear connection between the two pairs of visitors; but what both had in common was access to information that was not freely and publicly available. Perhaps it is this that is the key to the MIB mystery. ************ [On the page is also a boxed article titled; IN FOCUS THE MAN WHO SHOT A HUMANOID, reproduced below.] One inclement evening in November 1961, Paul Miller and three companions were returning home to Minot, North Dakota, after a hunting trip when what they could only describe as 'a luminous silo' landed in a nearby field. At first they thought it was a plane crashing, but had to revise their opinion when the 'plane' abruptly vanished. As the hunters drove off, the object reappeared and two humanoids emerged from it. Miller panicked and fired at one of the creatures, apparently wounding it. The other hunters immediately fled. On their way back to Minot, all of them experienced a blackout and 'lost' three hours. Terrified, they decided not to report the incident to anyone. Yet the next morning, when Miller reported to work (in an Air Force office), three men in black arrived. They said they were government officials - but showed no credentials - and remarked unpleasantly that they hoped Miller was 'telling the truth' about the UFO. How did they know about it? 'We have a report,' they said vaguely. 'They seemed to know everthing about me; where I worked, my name, everthing else,' Miller said. They also asked questions about his experiences as if they already knew the answers. Miller did not dare tell his story for several years. *****End***** AGENTS OF THE DARK From 'The Unexplained' No. 39. Rarely - if ever - do the threats of the mysterious Men In Black, following a close encounter, come to anything. So what could be the purpose behind their visits? In September 1976, Dr Herbert Hopkins, a 58 year-old doctor and hypnotist, was acting as consultant on an alleged UFO teleportation case in Maine, USA. One evening, when his wife and children had gone out leaving him alone, the telephone rang and a man identifying himself as vice-president of the New Jersey UFO Research Organisation asked if he might visit Dr Hopkins that evening to discuss certain details of the case. Dr Hopkins agreed; at the time, it seemed the natural thing to do. He went to the back door to switch on the light so that his visitor would be able to find his way from the parking lot, but while he was there, he noticed the man already climbing the porch steps. "I saw no car, and even if he did have a car, he could not have possibly gotten to my house that quickly from any phone," Hopkins later commented in delayed astonishment. At the time, Dr Hopkins felt no particular surprise as he admitted his visitor, The man was dressed in a black suit, with black hat, tie and shoes, and a white shirt, "I thought, he looks like an undertaker," Hopkins later said. His clothes were immaculate - suit unwrinkled, trousers sharply creased. When he took off his hat, he revealed himself as completely hairless, not only bald but without eyebrows or eyelashes. His skin was dead white, his lips bright red. In the course of their conversation, he happened to brush his lips with his grey suede gloves, and the doctor was astonished to see that his lips were smeared and that the gloves were stained with lipstick! It was only afterwards, however, that Dr Hopkins reflected further on the strangeness of his visitor's appearance and behaviour. Particularly odd was the fact that his visitor stated that his host had two coins in his pocket. It was indeed the case. He then asked the doctor to put one of the coins in his hand and to watch the coin, not himself. As Hopkins watched, the coin seemed to go out of focus, and then gradually vanished. "Neither you nor anyone else on this plane will ever see that coin again," the visitor told him. After talking a little while longer on general UFO topics, Dr Hopkins suddenly noticed that the visitor's speech was slowing down. The man then rose unsteadily to his feet and said, very slowly; "My energy is running low - must go now - goodbye." He walked falteringly to the door and descended the outside steps uncertainly, one at a time. Dr Hopkins saw a bright light shining in the driveway, bluish-white and distinctly brighter than a normal car lamp. At the time, however, he assumed it must be the stranger's car, although he neither saw nor heard it. MYSTERIOUS MARKS Later, when Dr Hopkins family had returned, they examined the driveway and found marks that could not have been made by a car because they were in the centre of the driveway, where the wheels could not have been. But the next day, although the driveway had not been used in the meantime, the marks had vanished. Dr Hopkins was very much shaken by the visit, particularly when he reflected on the extraordinary character of the stranger's conduct. Not surprisingly, he was so scared that he willingly complied wdith his visitor's instruction, which was to erase the tapes of the hypnotic sessions he was conductiog with regard to his current case, and to have nothing further to do with the investigation. Subsequently, curious incidents continued to occur both in Dr Hopkin's household and in that of his eldest son. He presumed that there was some link with the extraordinary visit, but he never heard from his visitor again. As for the New Jersey UFO Research Organisation, no such institution exists. Dr Hopkins' account is probably the most detailed we have of a MIB (Man in Black) visit, and confronts us with the problem at its most bizarre. First we must ask ourselves if a trained and respected doctor whould invent so strange a tale, and if so, with what conceivable motive? Alternatively, could the entire episode have been a delusion, despite the tracks seen by other members of his family? Could the truth lie somewhere between reality and imagination? Could a real visitor, albeit an impostor making a false identity claim, have visited the doctor for some unknown reason of his own, somehow acting as a trigger for the doctor to invent a whole set of weird features? In fact, what seems the LEAST likely explanation is that the whole incident took place in the doctor's imagination. When his wife and children came home, they found him severely shaken, with the house lights blazing, and seated at a table on which lay a gun. They confirmed the marks on the driveway and a series of disturbances to the telepnone that seemed to commence immediately after the visit. So it would seem that some real event occurred, although its nature remains mystifying. The concrete nature of the phenomenon was accepted by the United States Air Force, who were concerned that persons passing themselves off as USAF personnel should be visiting UFO witnesses. In February 1967, Colonel George P. Freeman, Pentagon spokesman for the USAF's Project Blue Book, told UFO investigator John Keel in the course of an interview: "Mysterious men dressed in Air Force uniforms or bearing impressive credentials from government agencies have been silencing UFO witnesses. We have checked a number of these cases, and these men are not connected with the Air Force in any way. We haven't been able to find out anything about these men. By posing as Air Force officers and government agents, they are committing a federal offence. We would sure like to catch one. Unfortunately the trail is always too cold by the time we hear about these cases. But we are still trying." But were the impostors referred to by Colonel Freeman, and Dr Hopkin's strange visitor similar in kind? UFO sightings, like sensational crimes, attract a number of mentally unstable persons, who are quie capable of posing as authorised officials in order to gain access to witnesses; and it could be that some supposed MIBs are simply psuedo-investigators of this sort. One particularly curious recurrent feature of MIB reports is the ineptitude of the visitors. Time and again, they are described as incompetent; and if they are impersonating human beings, they certainly do not do it very well, arousing their victims' suspicions by improbable behaviour, by the way they look or talk, and by their ignorance as much as their knowledge. But, of course, it could be that the only ones who are spotted as impostors are those who are no good at their job, and so there may be many more MIB cases that we never learn about simply because the visitors successfully convince their victims that there is nothing to be suspicious about, or that they should keep quiet about the visit. UNFULFILLED THREATS A common feature of a great many MIB visits is indeed the instruction to a witness not to say anything about the visit, and to cease all activity concerning the case. (Clearly, we know of these cases only because such instructions have been disobeyed.) One Canadian UFO witness was told by a mysterious visitor in 1976 to stop repeating his story and not to go further into his case, or he would be visited by three men in black. "I said, 'What's that supposed to mean?' 'Well,' he said, ' I could make it hot for you... it might cost you certain injury." A year earlier, Mexican witness Carlos de los Santos had been stopped on his way to a television interview by two large black limousines. One of the occupants - dressed in a black suit and 'Scandanavian' in appearance - told him: "Look, boy, if you value your life and your family's too, don't talk any more about this sighting of yours." However, ther is no reliable instance of such threats ever having been carried out, though a good many witnesses have gome ahead and defied their warnings. Indeed, sinister though the MIBs may be, they are notable for their lack of actual violence. The worst that can be said of them is that they frequently harass witnesses with untimely visits and telephone calls, or simply disturb them with their very presence. While, for the victim, it is just as well that the threats of violence are not followed through, this is for the investigator one more disconcerting aspect of the pnenomenon - for violence, if it resulted in physical action, would at least help in establishing the reality of the phenomenon. Instead, it remains a fact that most of the evidence is purely hearsay in character and often not of the highest quality; cases as well-attested as that of Dr. Herbert Hopkins are unfortunately in the minority. Another problem area is the dismaying lack of precision about many of the reports. Popular American writer Brad Steiger alleged that hundreds of ufologists, contactees and chance percipients of UFOs claim to have been visited by ominous strangers - usually three, and usually dressed in black; but he cites only a few actual instances. Similarly, John Keel, an expert on unexplained phenomena, claimed that, on a number of occasions, he actually saw phantom Cadillacs, complete with rather sinister Oriental-looking passengers in black suits; but for a trained reporter, he showed a curious reluctance to persue these sightings or to give chapter and verse in such an important matter. Such loose assertions are valueless as evidence; all they do is contribute to the myth. And so we come back once again to the possibility that there is nothing more to the phenomenon than myth. Should we perhaps write off the whole business as delusion, the creation of imaginative folk whose personal obsessions take on this particular shape because it reflects one or other of the prevalent cultural preoccupations of out time? At one end of the scale, we find contactee Woodrow Derenberger insisting that the "two men dressed entirely in black" who tried to silence him were emissaries of the Mafia; while at the other, there is theorist David Tansley, who suggested that they are psychic entities, representatives of the dark forces, seeking to prevent the spread of true knowledge. More matter-of-factly, Dominick Lucchesi claimed that they emanated from some unknown civilisation, possibly underground, in a remote area of Earth - the Amazon, the Gobi Desert or the Himalayas. But there is one feature that is common to virtually all MIB reports, and that perhaps contains the key to the problem. This is the possession, by the MIBs, of information that they should not have been able to come by - information that was restricted, not released to the press, known perhaps to a few investigators and officials but not to the public, and sometimes not even to them. The one person who does possess that knowledge is always the person visited, In other words, the MIBs and their victims share knowledge that perhaps nobody else possesses. Add to this the fact that, in almost every case, the MIBs appear to the witness when he or she is alone - in Dr Hopkin's case, for example, the visitor took care to call when his wife and children were away from home, and established this fact by telephone beforehand - and the implication has to be that some kind of paranormal link connects the MIBs and the persons they visit. TRUTH - OR PARANOIA? To this must be added other features of the phenomenon that are not easily reconciled with everday reality. Where are the notorious black cars, for instance, when they are not visiting witnesses? Where are they garaged or serviced? Do they never get involved in breakdowns or accidents? Can it be that they materialise from some other plane of existence when they are needed? These are only a few of the questions raised by the MIB phenomenon. What complicates the matter is that MIB cases lie along a continuous spectrum ranging from the easily believable to the totally incredible. At one extreme are visits during which nothing really bizarre occurs, the only anomalous feature being, perhaps, that the visitor makes a false identity claim, or has unaccountable access to private information. At the other extreme are cases in which the only explanation would seem to be that the witness has succumbed to paranoia. In "The Truth About the Men In Black", UFO investigator Ramona Clark tells of an unnamed investigator who was confronted by three MIBs on 3 July 1969. "On the window of the car in which they were riding was the symbol connected with them and their visitations. This symbol had a profound psychological impact upon this man. I have never encountered such absolute fear in a human being." The first meeting was followed by continual harassment. There were mysterious telephone calls, and the man's house was searched. He began to hear voices and to see strange shapes. "Black Cadillacs roamed the street in front of his home, and followed him everwhere he went. Once he and his family were almost forced into an accident by an oncoming Cadillac. Nightmares concerning MIBs plagued his sleep. It became impossible for him to rest, his work suffered and he was scared of losing his job." Was it all in his mind? One is tempted to think so. But a friend confirmed that, while they talked, there was a strange-looking man walking back and forth in front of the house. The man was tall, seemed about 55 years old - and was dressed entirely in black. CASEBOOK The Odd Couple. On 24 September 1976 - only a few days after Dr. Herbert Hopkin's terrifying visit from a MIB - his daughter-in-law Maureen received a telephone call from a man who claimed to know her husband John, and who asked if he and a companion could come and visit them. John met the man at a local fast-food restaurant, and brought him home with his companion, a woman. Both appeared to be in their mid-thirties, and wore couriously old-fashioned clothes. The woman looked particularly odd; when she stood up, it seemed that there was something wrong with the way that her legs joined her hips. Both strangers walked with very short steps, leaning forward as though frightened of falling. They sat awkwardly together on a sofa while the man asked a number of detailed personal questions. Did John and Maureen watch television much? What did they read? And what did they talk about? All the while, the man was pawing and fondling his female companion, asking John if this was all right and whether he was doing it correctly. John left the room for a moment, and the man tried to persuade Maureen to sit next to him. He also asked her "how she was made", and whether she had any nude photographs. Shortly afterwards, the woman stood up and announced that she wanted to leave. The man also stood, but made no move to go. He was between the woman and the door, and it seemed that the only way she could get to the door was by walking in a straight line, directly through him. Finally the woman turned to John and asked: "Please move him; I can't move him myself." Then, suddenly, the man left, followed by the woman, both walking in straight lines. They did not even say goodbye. ***End***


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