“There sit the Fates in solitude, far from the public eye. No one ever sees them smile and nothing makes them cry.” – Rik Emmett
So when last I left you, the nefarious Men in Black had just developed an interest in photography. They’ve taken pictures of people who saw UFOs, they’ve harassed people who have taken pictures of UFOs, but has anyone ever gotten a picture of them? It turns out that the answer is yes, it has happened a few times. One of them involved occultist and UFO researcher Allen Greenfield – a rather unusual character in his own right.
It occurred at a UFO conference held in West Virginia back in 1969. Greenfield noticed that there was an odd character present (at a UFO conference?). In addition to his black clothing and sunglasses, he had a pasty complexion and moved about in a stiff, robotic fashion. He also spoke in a mechanical, monotone way. When Greenfield and some others adjourned to a nearby restaurant for lunch, this guy showed up as well and seemed to be hovering around their table in an obvious attempt to listen in on their conversation. Realizing that they might be in the presence of one of the infamous Men in Black, Greenfield decided not to let the opportunity to possibly confront one of them slip away. He abruptly jumped up from his seat and demanded to know why he was following them. The man responded by quickly turning and heading out the door with Greenfield right on his heels. Once outside, Greenfield again asked the man who he was, and he replied that he was a Man in Black in training. Greenfield then raised the camera that he always carried with him at the time and snapped a quick photo. The man then once again walked quickly away and rounded a corner with Greenfield still in pursuit. However, as is often the case, when Greenfield rounded the corner no more than two seconds behind him, the man was gone, seemingly vanishing into nothingness.
Of course, there is one problem with this account, namely that the man was obviously wearing a light-colored hat. Well, he did say that he was in training. Maybe they don’t issue you your black hat until after graduation. (I bet that’s a fun ceremony.) One might suspect that it was just a prankster having some fun at the expense of UFO enthusiasts, and I would tend to agree if not for his sudden disappearance, assuming that Greenfield is to be believed on this aspect of the story. I do try to be charitable when assessing the veracity of witnesses’ accounts. Besides, if it was Greenfield who was perpetrating a hoax, wouldn’t he have had his accomplice wear the more convincing, stereotypical black hat? Why go to so much trouble and then skimp on such a simple detail? Dark fedoras were much easier to come by back then. My grandfather had several.
On another occasion, the photographic evidence came from a security camera inside of a hotel in Canada, where two of our friends tried to pay a visit to an employee there who had recently seen a UFO. In this case, our MiB’s usual omniscience appears not to have been working since the witness wasn’t there that day, and so they were only able to freak him out secondhand via his coworkers, who had to deal with these pasty-faced weirdos in his stead. The witnesses described them as looking like identical twins, right down to wearing the exact same outfits like twins tend to do (or their parents make them) when they’re kids. They were extremely pale, had no eyebrows or lashes, and their hair gave one woman the impression of being wigs that were sown into their hats. Their eyes were very large, very blue and hypnotic and, according to one witness, they never blinked. Fortunately for everyone, they left without incident and never came back.
The MiB are generally thought of as having originally arrived on the scene in the mid-1950s, but they may have been around much longer than that. Some have noted a possible connection between our modern MiB and other mysterious persons who were often clad in black going back centuries. They were usually encountered by alchemists and occultists and seem to have been sent to demonstrate their impressive abilities in these disciplines. There is even a rumor that the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States was given to Jefferson by a mysterious man in a black, hooded cloak. Some even imply that this man seems to have just materialized in Jefferson’s garden one night and handed it to him. Take this for what you think it’s worth, but it is indisputable that the origin and meaning of this seal is still of great interest today, primarily to occultists and conspiracy buffs, and mostly by those obsessed with the evil doings of the infamous Illuminati in the latter case.
We won’t be going back that far in time, but the earliest case of which I am aware in semi-modern times involving what we consider to be the standard Men in Black modus operandi took place back in the 1920s. In addition to harassing and sometimes photographing UFO witnesses, they are occasionally sent on recovery missions.
In Braxton County, West Virginia in 1924, a farmer reported seeing a plane crash in the woods. Airplanes flying over rural West Virginia were rare at the time, but this one was particularly unusual. The witness said that it had no wings, made no sound and was as big as a battleship. A group of men that included the local sheriff and a retired newsman named John Cole began searching the area and soon found the wreckage in a small clearing.
Much to their surprise, what appeared to be a recovery team was already on the scene, and a rather strange one at that. All of them were small (about five feet tall) and looked “Oriental.” Some were dressed in black suits while others wore shiny overalls. They spoke in a rapid-fire language that none of the local men could identify, and they seemed alarmed at the arrival of the search party. One of the men in a suit then told the sheriff in English that no one had been harmed and that he would stop by later to file a full report, which of course he never did.
Since no apparent crime had been committed, the men left. But while they were there, Cole picked up a small piece of debris and stuck it in his pocket. He later said that he didn’t know why he had done this. He also later said that while most of the farmer’s description of the wingless craft was accurate, it was really only about 25 feet long – hardly the size of a battleship.
As if all of this wasn’t strange enough, around 3 am Cole was awakened by a knock on his door. When he opened it, he was confronted by another of these Asian-looking men, but this one was dressed in the uniform of a U.S. Army officer. He demanded that Cole return the object that he had taken from the crash site to him. Cole retrieved the piece of metal from his coat pocket and gave it to him, and the man took it and walked away without saying a word. He then disappeared into the night on foot, which Cole thought seemed odd.
Upon further reflection the next morning, Cole couldn’t figure out how this man had known that he had taken the object in the first place. He was certain that no one had seen him pick it up. He also couldn’t figure out how they had found him so quickly since none of the men at the scene had been asked for or volunteered their names. A few days later, he went back to the crash site. The grass and bushes were still smashed down from the impact, but there was no trace of the craft left behind.
Another retrieval mission that took place decades later involved a man named Robert Richardson, who crashed his car into an unknown object that was sitting in the road one night in Toledo, Ohio. He claims that the object vanished – as in dematerialized – on impact, but left behind a mysterious lump of metal, which Richardson took with him. Three days later, he was visited by two men who dropped by his house at 11 pm. They asked a lot of questions about the incident, but they weren’t menacing and they never threatened him. There is also no indication that they behaved or appeared abnormal in any way. One might be inclined to think that they weren’t MiB at all except for the fact that they left in a black Cadillac that was over a decade old yet appeared to be brand new. Also, Richardson did think to get their license plate number, and it later turned out to be nonexistent.
Even this fairly common element seems to be more fishy than usual since the men never stated what agency they were with and Richardson didn’t think to ask. So he was astute enough to write down a plate number but not to ask them who they were? Interesting.
A week later, two different men in black suits came to see him, and they were more typical of our enigmatic visitors. They had dark complexions and seemed somehow foreign. They started off by trying to convince him that he hadn’t hit anything, but they also demanded that he turn over the piece of metal that he had found. In the time between the two visits, Richardson had sent the object to the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization for analysis, and the men were none too pleased when he told them that he no longer had it. They said that he had better get it back and made a vague threat concerning his wife. The men then left and never came back.
As usual, their threats amounted to nothing. And since no one ever bothers to mention what the analysis of the chunk of metal revealed, I can only assume that it turned out to be composed of nothing but ordinary, terrestrial materials. Or it was alien space titanium and the CIA has covered the whole thing up.
And in the category of “Man in Black, or just a crazy person?” we have this unusual tale.
Mary Hyre was a reporter for the Athens, Ohio Messenger in Point Pleasant, West Virginia during the whole Mothman/UFO flap that took place in the region in 1966-67. She had a number of experiences involving the Men in Black during this time, but none as strange as the day that she was visited by the man who I have come to think of as the Ballpoint Pinhead.
He wasn’t actually dressed in black when he walked into her office in January of ’67. He was only about four and a half feet tall and wore only a short-sleeved blue shirt and blue slacks despite the fact that it was a bitterly cold day. His strange, dark eyes were covered by glasses with thick lenses, and he was sporting a shaggy bowl haircut. he also wore thick-soled shoes, which is another common MiB fashion statement.
He claimed that his truck had broken down in Detroit and that he had hitchhiked there and needed directions, all the while inching closer to her and staring at her in a way that made Mary nervous. She decided to go to the back room to get her circulation manager to join them. As they spoke to him about where it was that he wanted to go, it became obvious to them that he knew more about the geography of West Virginia than they did. When Mary paused the conversation to answer the phone, the little man picked up a ballpoint pen and examined it with wonder, as if he had never seen such a thing before. When she told him that he could have it if he wanted, he responded with a loud, unnerving laugh and then abruptly turned and walked out the door. As far as she could later determine, he was not seen by anyone in the area following this incident.
One might easily dismiss this as a simple case of an odd character spooking a woman who had been up to her ears in weird events for months – if not for the fact that collecting mundane souvenirs is a frequently recurring theme in encounters with UFO related beings, as well as in the folklore of European fairies, who have sometimes been reported to take everyday objects for which they would seem to have no possible use.
(How was that for a really long sentence?)
And finally, in the grand tradition of saving the best for last…
In the town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England in 1968, a sixteen-year-old girl named Adele (not her real name, and definitely not that singer who seems to be having trouble getting over her ex) was home by herself when she answered a knock at the door and found herself face-to-face with the world’s weirdest insurance salesman. He was tall, dark complected, and wearing the requisite black suit and hat. After staring down at the girl for an uncomfortably long time with a goofy smile on his face, he launched into his “can’t miss” sales pitch.
“Are you insured? Is it now?” he inquired in a mechanical-sounding voice, like some animatronic character out of Disney’s Hall of Presidents. When she suggested that he come back later when her parents were home, he suddenly began to sweat profusely and removed his hat, revealing his pale, bald head which made it obvious that he was wearing makeup in order to make his normally pasty face appear more lifelike.
“Can I see a glass of water?” he asked and, doubtless fearing that the man was having a stroke, she invited him in to sit down. When she brought him some water, he did exactly as he had requested and just looked at it for a moment before becoming distracted by a clock which was sitting on the mantel. Adele noticed this and told him that the clock was a retirement gift for her farther, and this seems to have caused a very important spring in the “man’s” brain to suddenly come unraveled.
“Is it your father’s time? Is it here and now?” he babbled, then began repeating “Your father. His time,” over and over, like a malfunctioning android. He then limped to the door using his hands to help move one of his legs. Before hobbling off and disappearing into the night, he told Adele to “watch the lights” as he went out the door. She had no idea what he meant by this, but soon after he left, the living room was filled with small lights that danced around the room before leaving through an open window. And poor Adele hadn’t even seen a UFO. Why were they picking on her?
Most of you will have noticed that the majority of these stories from this and my previous offering are fairly old. The MiB do seem to have scaled down their operation somewhat since the 1970s. Or maybe they just decided to stick to the basic script and limit the scope of their work to the typical “intimidate the witnesses” missions and not put in any more of the stranger appearances that I’ve covered in these last two articles. As I said last time, there is no shortage of sources for learning about these cases, so I just wanted to cover some of the more unusual ones.
However, some insist that the MiB phenomenon continues unabated to this day and that they are as active as ever, but I’m not sure what they’re basing that on. The 1960s were clearly the era of the Men in Black at their sinister best. In fact, the most recent encounter that I know of was the one at that hotel in Canada, which happened in 2008 and actually was a typical intimidation attempt. I only included it here because they were caught on film, which does make it unusual.
And I didn’t even have time to get into the supernatural/occult connection to the Men in Black. MaybeI’ll do a first-time-ever three-part series to wrap this up. That does sound like it would make a good Halloween edition.