The term “Men in Black” had become a very popular term in both movies and books depicting mysterious men wearing dark suits, driving somber-looking automobiles and behaving in an outrageous manner, often described wearing dark sunglasses, and threatening UFO witnesses to be silent in talking about their respective UFO accounts. Sometimes they confiscated any UFO evidence.
“Could they be secret agents of some covert – but earthly power or, even more fantastic, could they be aliens themselves who are disguised to look human,” said Jenny Randles. “Or, is it all just imagination?”
(The Truth Behind Men in Black: Government Agents — or Visitors from Beyond, Jenny Randles, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010, 1997, 248 pages, $5.99.)
The late Gray Barker in They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers (Werner Laurie Books, 1956) published the episode in the book. (Later events revealed that Barker, unfortunately, along with the late Jim Moseley, had been involved in UFO hoaxes.) To make matters worse, in 1962, Bender wrote a “tell all” book on the incident. Its contents were just as mysterious: the three men were actually aliens from the planet Kazik. Barker warned others to disbelieve Bender’s book. “Certainly, the version of Bender’s 1953 encounter as told here,” said Randles, “is remarkably different from that initially reported by Barker six years earlier.” Bender no longer seemed interested in promoting his book, and moved into hiding.
THE TACOMA UFOs
Another early case began on June 21, 1947 in Puget Sound near Maury Island, Tacoma, Washington where Harold Dahl and his 15-year-old son sighted six-donut shaped objects flying over the water. One of the objects spewed material, some of which struck and killed their pet dog and hospitalized the boy.
The tale escalated through several characters and included famed UFO witness Kenneth Arnold, the late publisher Ray Palmer, CIA spook Fred Crisman (Crisman was later discovered in numerous covert intelligence escapades best exemplified in Kenn Thomas’ JFK and UFO Military Industrial Conspiracy and Cover–up to Maury Island), Air Force investigators Brown and Davidson, and others. It was a matrix of intrigue and facts. Brown and Davidson died in a B-25 plane crash transporting UFO fragments. Harbor man Fred Crisman, Dahl’s boss, disappeared, which also included the dilapidation of Dahl’s home, which had appeared to be normal previously. The home appeared to be deserted and derelict for months, though Arnold and Major George Sanders had recently visited Dahl’s place. The “time line” of events seemed extraordinaire. The best rendition was Kenneth Arnold and Ray Palmer’s The Coming of the Saucers (Amherst Press, 1952).
ROOM WAS BUGGED
On June 22, 1947, about 7:00 a.m., a strange man about 40-years-of-age, dressed in black, driving a dark sedan automobile, ventured to take Dahl to breakfast for, what Dahl presumed, would be a talk about salvage. Instead, the MIB began to tell Dahl that he could relate every detail of the events of the day before. He revealed quite a bit of detail. “…if Dahl knew what good for him and loved his family he would keep quiet about the matter.”
Ted Morello, the head of the United Press in Tacoma, knew about everything that was going on in hotel room 502 at the Winthrop Hotel. He had been mysteriously and continually informed. Investigators suspected that the room was bugged somehow.
TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER
UFO-related photographs taken by Jim Templeton on May 24, 1964 at Carlisle, Scotland indicated that he had unknowingly photographed a “space-suited” figure behind his daughter. This became known as the “Cumberland Spaceman.” Sometime towards the end of June, MIB made appearances, first as a phone call, and then a visit from two men in black suits. The men drove a dark, shiny Jaguar automobile. They flashed identity cards that the men said proved they were from the government. The men began an interrogation about the weather that day, how did sheep and cows also react, what were the flight patterns of birds, wind in the trees, distant traffic, and other strange questions.
Former police officer and FBI trainee Rex Heflin witnessed and photographed on August 3, 1965 a disc-shaped UFO over Orange County, California. A mystery man in a dark business suit gave Heflin during an interview supposed proof that he was an North American Dense Command G-2 officer of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command [formerly called North American Air Defense Command]). He acquired Heflin’s photographs (NORAD later denied such an authorization). There never was a return of the photos.
Then, in 1967, two men arrived in a dark car with a violet glow coming from behind darkened windows. The alleged Air Force officers, uniformed as Intelligence officers, interrogated Heflin with odd questions such as about the Bermuda Triangle. Heflin’s radio set demonstrated interference when the men entered Heflin’s home. Heflin demanded identification, which the interrogators produced, but their names were never located in government records.
JOHN KEEL’S MIBS
Journalist John Keel had multiple encounters with mysterious visitors. One typical case involved a MIB and Jell-O. After encountering a UFO in November 1966 in Owatonna, Minnesota, two women appeared to communicate with the supposed occupants by “channeling” before the UFO disappeared. Strange phone calls ensued and a visit by olive-skinned Major Richard French wearing a dark suit followed. French drove a new Mustang car. The man came back for a second visit. He acted strangely: he tried to drink Jell-O for an upset stomach. Later, they traced the car’s license number to a “hire car.” French was not located in the USAF files (p. 102).
Many readers probably recall the macabre tales of the “Moth man” during 1966 and 1967 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia where a strange bat-like apparition with “coal red” eyes terrified witnesses. However, amidst mystery-telephone-calls, prophecy, ultrasonic radiation, poltergeists, and a collapsing bridge into the Ohio River, MIBs also appeared. A deeply suntanned, dark-haired man also attempted to grab Connie Carpenter unsuccessfully on February 22, 1967. A threatening note was pushed under her door. A mysterious “blond women” went about interviewing citizens.
During June 1967, following her UFO sighting, “Jane” was approached by a suntanned man in a dark suit. He drove a black Cadillac. He said his name was Apol. On June 12, Apol gave Jane a capsule that turned out to be a sulphur compound. On June 17, a “Colonel John Dalton” and a young Lieutenant, allegedly from a near military base, interrogated Jane in a threatening manner with a paper form listing questions about her medical history and personal life. Jane refused. The men left in a blue station wagon. Another similar incident followed. Jaye Paro was abducted by a man in a black Cadillac who queried her relentlessly, as flashing lights on the dashboard seemed to hypnotize her. The auto had a septic smell. The man held a “pungent smelling bottle” under her nose before she was released.
Keel received a series of phone calls from Apol, imbedded with prophecies, culminating in the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967.
“Many MIB stories are in essence simply about a strange visitor who asks seemingly odd questions and knows things he ought not to know,” said Randles. “From the evidence to date we have built up a picture of the Man in Black that is chilling in its consistency. There really do appear to be intimidators out there threatening ordinary people who simply have the misfortune to experience a close encounter.”
Randles contemplated the many theories and reported scenarios of the MIBs. Her book was rich in quizzical oddities. She scrutinized that some may be sophisticated hoaxes from terrestrial sources perhaps utilizing modern technology. She pointed to the Air Force Social Activities Center (AFSAC) and its predecessor, the 1127TH, as “an odd ball unit, a composite of Special Intelligence groups. The men of the 1127th were con artists; their job was to get people to talk.” Bill Moore deciphered this to mean they were a sordid crew of burglars, impersonators, disguise artists, “eccentric geniuses and useful flakes…even from prisons when necessary.” (p. 227.) Other theories were very decorative. Some suggested demons from Biblical times. John Keel felt that they were visitors from another dimension.
“Unfortunately, we cannot dictate what evidence we must investigate,” said Randles. “These Men in Black are real, and the people who report them deserve our attention. We should strive to find out whether these threatening strangers are just a part of some secret department investigating UFOs or are visiting this world from somewhere beyond our ken.”
Robert Richardson of Teledo, Ohio, had an accident with a UFO in the night during July 1967 as he sped around a bend in the road. Unable to halt, Richardson collided, finding a lump of metal later. He reported the case to the (now defunct) Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO). Three days later, about 11:00 p.m., two men in their twenties visited Richardson for about ten minutes. They made no warnings and left in a black 1953 Cadillac. The auto was in mint condition. There was no assurance of the license number yet. A week later, two different men came in a current model Dodge automobile. The men wore black suits. One spoke English; the other had an accent. They tried to convince him that he did not hit anything on the night of his encounter. Then they insisted he give them the metal. “If you want your wife to stay as pretty as she is,” threatens one man, “you better get the metal back.”
Only the Richardsons and APRO knew of the UFO facts. Discovery was not possible by anyone else, unless there was tapping of the phones.
A LUMINOUS SILO
One evening in November 1961, a Mister Paul Miller, returning from a hunting trip with three companions, sighted an object in a field near Minot, North Dakota. At first, they thought it was a crashed plane. Miller then said it resembled a “luminous silo.” As they approached the object, “two humanoids” confronted them. Miller panicked and fired his rifle at one of the creatures who responded with a bawdy curse and asked in surprise, “Why did you do that for?”
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