Date: Fri Feb 19 1993 22:39:06
From: Marty Wade
Subj: MIB Primer 1/
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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"
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
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
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.
Excalibur Briefing, Thomas E. Bearden, Strawberry Hill Press
UFOs and Their Mission Impossible, Dr. Clifford Wilson, Signet
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
[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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.