Jul 31, 2012 I Nick Redfern

When is a MIB not a MIB?

While I am absolutely convinced that many - indeed the vast majority - of all Men in Black incidents have a basis in reality (although what kind of reality is most certainly very much open to question!), certainly not all MIB can be considered to have bizarre, mysterious, conspiratorial, alien or even government origins. Evidence  available suggests that the overall phenomenon may have multiple, and wildly varying, origins. With that said, let us turn our attentions to one of the most obvious angles; namely, that at least some cases may be borne out of nothing stranger than good old misidentification.

I do not personally believe that this particular aspect of the subject can satisfactorily explain all the MIB cases presently on record – or even a large number of them. However, it may very well offer answers to at least a few incidents that have certainly gained at least a degree of legendary status. On this particular aspect of the MIB puzzle, Saucer Smear editor Jim Moseley says that: “One thing you need to know about is NICAP.”

NICAP, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, was the brainchild of a somewhat maverick physicist named Thomas Townsend Brown, and was established in 1956, the very same year that saw the publication of Gray Barker’s MIB-themed book, They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers. For the most part, the members of the group were staunch advocates of the theory that UFOs have alien origins.

NICAP was known for its strong advocacy of utilizing science and clear-thinking with respect to UFO investigations, and was certainly the most well respected public UFO research body in the United States from its beginnings to the mid-1960s. At least part of that respect was borne out of NICAP’s prestigious board of governors which included Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, who was the first head of the CIA; and Rear Admiral Delmer S. Fahrney, chief of the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile project.

There are those, however, who believe that certain NICAP investigators significantly overstepped the mark on a number of occasions when interviewing UFO witnesses. The result: they may very well have come across like genuine Men in Black, when, in actuality, they were nothing of the sort at all. Jim Moseley, for example, is absolutely sure that just such a scenario occurred at the height of the NICAP days:

“Doesn’t a name like that - the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena - sound like an official government group, to you? They weren’t official, of course; they were just UFO researchers, like me and you, really. But, if you’re some yokel out in the sticks who has seen a UFO, and maybe it gets mentioned in the press, and someone comes to your door and flashes a NICAP ID card and says ‘I don’t want you to talk about this,’ you might think it’s the government, or those Men in Black that people talk about. And some of the NICAP people would say that because what every Saucer group wants is the exclusive on the story.”

Jim Moseley’s perspective on this specific aspect of Men in Black lore is very much echoed by legendary author Brad Steiger: “I’m quite certain that in some cases - and I actually accused some of the officials of this organization face-to-face – NICAP were responsible for some of the Men in Black tales. I know that some of their pimple-faced teenagers were coming up to people’s houses, ringing doorbells, and saying: ‘I’m from NICAP, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena from Washington, D.C.’”

Expanding on his own thoughts on this specific matter, Steiger notes with keen logic the following: “You wouldn’t have to push it too far when people heard the words ‘from Washington’ and the person flashes a little identity card, to think you have been visited by the Men in Black. And there’s no field of paranormal research that is more jealous than the UFO field. So, if these pimpled teenagers are thinking: ‘This is my case; this one belongs to me,’ then they might have taken – or confiscated – photos and evidence from the witnesses and warned people: ‘Don’t talk to anyone else.’ So, I think that definitely accounted for some of the three Men in Black stories”

It's most important to stress, at this point, that Brad Steiger is firmly of the opinion that there are genuinely weird MIB, as well as those of a more mundane nature; and Jim Moseley has recorded more than a few MIB-related odd cases in his time, too. Indeed, we should never forget that while some MIB can be explained away in wholly conventional and down to earth circumstances - and in exactly the fashion that both Jim Moseley and Brad Steiger describe - many MIB absolutely defy convention. And, they're hardly what anyone of a sound mind would call down to earth!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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