Curse of the MIB Article/Review
Are The Men-In-Black A Form Of UFO Terrorism?
By Sean Casteel
The Men-In-Back, or MIBs, as they are frequently called, have appeared on the periphery of the UFO phenomenon since the late 1890s, when witnesses first began to suffer frightening visits from entities who threatened them in no uncertain terms to cease speaking about the unknown aerial phenomena they had seen.
In a classic book on the subject, “The UFO Silencers: Mystery of the Men-In-Black,” by editor/publisher/writer Timothy Green Beckley, the story of an early close encounter is told. During the great airship flap of 1897, something strange and metallic fell from one of the passing UFOs. The witness who found it gave it to a local shopkeeper in the small nearby town in the American West for safekeeping. The shopkeeper was visited the very next day by a stranger in black who first offered to buy the strange material. When the shopkeeper refused to sell it, the MIB threatened to tie the shopkeeper to the whipping post and beat him. (To learn what happened next, one is advised to buy the book.)
According to Beckley, most people believe the MIB phenomena started in the 1950s with the experience of an early UFO researcher named Albert K. Bender. Bender is a story unto himself and worthy of some Googling to find out more. In any case, Bender capitulated to the MIBs who visited him and immediately gave up his UFO research efforts. But Beckley says the MIBs were driving black stagecoaches in the days before the black Cadillac had been invented and that even the famed 17thcentury witch hunter Cotton Mather was visited by a darkly dressed figure or two. If Beckley is right, then someone has been trying to repress some kind of vital truth for a very long time.
As is typical of the present day UFO phenomenon, there are numerous variations in the accounts of those who have had their doors darkened by the strong arm of whoever is behind the MIB presence. But it is consistently reported that the MIBs travel in groups of two or three, often in the aforementioned large black Cadillac, and that they are uniformly dressed in black suits and black hats.
From that point, the stories vary from witness to witness. Some report a tall blond man with handsome features accompanied by a smaller man who stares silently intently at the witnesses while his partner interrogates and intimidates. Other MIBs are said to have a ghastly pallor to their faces and be totally hairless, or in some cases to wear what is obviously an ill-fitting toupee under their black hat.
It has often been put forth that perhaps we are dealing with an alien attempt to appear human that falls far short of being the perfect disguise. It has been reported that an MIB, after displaying stiff, robotic movements, will suddenly seem drained of energy, as though some kind of internal battery has run out. An MIB may speak in a strange kind of monotone, which adds to the overall eeriness of the experience.
They sometimes speak in B-movie clichés. Say, for example, something like “We’ve got you dead to rights,” or “You and your family will be pushing up daisies if you go on with your UFO work.” It is theorized that the aliens are learning our language and culture by intercepting our television broadcasts out in space and that they genuinely believe those clichés are frightening to those who hear them. One would suppose that nearly anything they said WOULD be frightening in the context of the uninvited visit, but at some point a witness to an MIB surely must have asked, “Who writes this stuff?”
In any case, more than 50 years down the road from their first appearances, the mystery of the MIBs remains unsolved. We really don’t anymore about them now than we did then.
Which is why Timothy Green Beckley’s new Global Communications release “Curse of the Men-In-Black: Return of the UFO Terrorists” is such a welcome and timely addition to the lore on the subject. While Beckley does not claim to have solved the identity of the benighted gentlemen callers, he does provide lots of case histories in which the UFO bogeymen came to visit.
Beckley also presents a rare classic book on the subject called “The UFO Warning,” by New Zealander John Stuart. Stuart began his private investigations of UFOs in 1948, shortly after serving in the New Zealand armed forces in World War II. Some years later, in 1952, he received a strange phone call quite late at night.
“Are you the John Stuart who is interested in what earthmen call flying saucers?” the voice asked.
“That’s right,” Stuart replied. “What can I do for you?”
“I warn you to stop interfering in affairs which do not concern you.”
“Who the hell are you talking to, mate?” Stuart asked indignantly. “And who the flaming hell are you?”
The voice replied to Stuart by speaking an unpronounceable alien name and planet. Stuart then told the voice to go to hell.
“Beware, earthman,” the voice said finally. “You have been warned.”
The line suddenly went dead.
In his book, Stuart described the voice as mechanical, expressionless and cold. After thinking it over, he decided the call had been some kind of hoax and vowed to continue his research as though nothing had happened.
Stuart also tells about his being drummed out of a UFO research organization as the result of petty infighting, after which he took on a young woman named Barbara as his only research assistant. He scoffs at those who would call their relationship sinful, since he was a happy and faithful husband to his wife and he and Barbara, quite innocently, only talked UFOs during their sometimes nightly get-togethers. They begin to conjecture that the UFO occupants might be using Antarctica as their base of operations. They also suspect that perhaps the legendary explorer Admiral Byrd had encountered the aliens there himself but been forcibly silenced on the matter.
That particular leap of reasoning may have set off some of the bizarre events that followed. For example, there is a strange moment where young Barbara seems to be “taken over” by a possessing force and flagrantly offers to undress for Stuart right there in his living room. Stuart is embarrassed for her, and tries to smooth over Barbara’s odd lapse by continuing to talk about UFOs. Barbara then composes herself, and nothing untoward happens.
Stuart, like many in his position, feels he must have stumbled on to an “inconvenient truth” about the UFOs to draw the attention he did from whoever would keep us ignorant of the true origin and purpose of the flying saucers. He thinks he and Barbara may have registered on some “danger-meter” with their Antarctica theory. Whatever the reason, he and Barbara are visited one night by an enormous, monstrous, beastly creature with huge red eyes that casts off an impossibly foul odor. The creature is also seen by one of Stuart’s neighbors, who sketched its image for Stuart the next morning, proving that she had witnessed the exact same thing.
In the aftermath of the horrible creature’s appearance, Stuart tells Barbara she must cease in her UFO research, but she refuses to be intimidated. Shortly after that, she is visited in her own home by an invisible entity that leaves her body covered with scratches after first violating her in ways that Stuart refuses to repeat in his written account. I will leave it to future readers of “The UFO Warning” to see for themselves how Stuart’s account ends. No spoilers here.
An interesting thing about “The UFO Warning” is that it is presented in the format it was first written in, typed on an old fashioned manual typewriter and photocopied for inclusion in Beckley’s “Curse of the Men-In-Black.” It gives the roughhewn old manuscript a fascinating sense of authenticity, like that of a real dispatch from the frontlines of the old days when the subjects of UFOs and the Men-In-Black were relatively new. It functions like a museum piece, untouched by the hype or showbiz of the books and movies that would come later. Admittedly, Stuart and Barbara never see the classic MIBs, but the terror and intimidation they endured at the hands of the various monsters is more than consistent with what we now know of the MIB phenomenon.
But is there any proof of the MIBs? In the interest of full disclosure, I contributed a chapter to “Curse of the Men-In-Black” in which I tell the story of editor and publisher Timothy Green Beckley’s own encounter with a Man-In-Black and how he emerged unscathed and with a photo to reward all his efforts. In the mid-1960s, when Beckley was living in Manhattan and still a fledging writer in the UFO community, he received a series of phone calls from Mary Robinson, the wife of one of his coworkers, Jack Robinson. Mary complained that she repeatedly saw a strange-looking man standing across the street from the apartment she shared with her husband in Jersey City, New Jersey. She described the stranger thusly: “almost very wooden looking, with a very pale face, kind of standing recessed back in a doorway across the street and dressed all in black, with a black hat and a black suit on.”
The strange interloper appeared to be watching her leaving the building as well as observing the activities of other people around the apartment house. The Robinsons had also been receiving odd phone calls in the middle of the night, and it appeared that some of their files had been broken into and some of their UFO casebook material had disappeared completely.
Beckley and one of his early mentors, Jim Moseley, were publishing the “Saucer News,” the largest publication of its kind at the time. They decided to make the trip to Jersey City unannounced to see if their friend’s wife was right or just being paranoid. When Beckley and Moseley arrived, they discreetly passed down the block where the Robinsons lived.
“And sure enough,” Beckley recalled, “there was a fellow, just as described, standing in the doorway and peering just off into the distance and dressed in black with a black overcoat, black shoes and black pants. Out in the street, parked right in front of where he was standing, was a black car of some type or another.”
Beckley said it was fairly early in the morning and rush hour was still in full swing, so there was no place even to double-park. He and Moseley decided to circle the block again and try to engage the MIB in conversation. Just as they were pulling away, Moseley handed Beckley his camera. Beckley leaned out the car window and clicked the shutter, managing to capture a single photo of this “person” and his black vehicle. After circling the block, they returned to find that the MIB and his car were both gone. Beckley reasoned that perhaps taking the photo may have scared the MIB off, and the Robinsons never saw or heard from the dark stranger again.
More than 40 years later, Beckley still defends the authenticity of the photo, claiming it is the only genuine photo of an MIB in existence. In 2009, he was invited to appear on the History Channel’s “UFO Hunters” program, to show the photo and be interviewed about his unusual experience in capturing what still might be called a “forbidden image” on film. In the chapter I wrote about him, Beckley also tells some stories about UFO witnesses who DID give into the threats and intimidation by the MIBs and decided to cease forthwith in their UFO research. It is obvious that the MIB can be so frightening that choosing to abandon one’s research looks like a no-brainer. To hell with the truth if these sons-of-bitches are after me, right?
To amplify that point, Professor G. Cope Schellhorn contributes a chapter called “Are The MIB Killing Our UFO Researchers?” Schellhorn discusses the mysterious deaths of Phil Schneider, who died a short time after he went public with the story of gray aliens working underground at a secret base in Dulce, New Mexico, as well as the case of Ron Johnson, MUFON’s Deputy Director of Investigations, who slumped over dead while attending a Society of Scientific Exploration meeting in Austin, Texas. The chapter also examines numerous other similar cases of researchers and writers and media people who all suffered a mysterious death while in the midst of studying the UFO phenomenon.
There are subsequent chapters that deal with Phil Schneider in more detail, as well as a chapter on the late abduction researcher Karla Turner, who was extremely outspoken on the negative aspects of alien abduction and died shortly thereafter of a fast-working cancer.
As you can see, when you put all the information together, the cumulative effect is not a pretty one. We are not dealing with the light comedy of the movie treatment of the subject. There is no charming Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones in the real world of MIBs, no unsung heroes working to keep us safe from secret alien life forms by policing them with various high-tech toys and gadgets. The everyday truth is a good deal more grim and frightening, and the idea that we as members of the UFO community can be vulnerable to contact with a phenomenon that is potentially lethal is at the very least an unsettling one.
As the mysterious voice on the phone told John Stuart, we have been warned!
If you want more information or you wish to purchase this book, simply click on its title: Curse Of The Men In Black: Return Of The UFO Terrorists (Book & Bonus DVD) Includes the rare Classic The UFO Warning
[If you enjoyed this article, read more articles and interviews at Sean Casteel’s “UFO Journalist” website at www.seancasteel.com]