As someone who has written extensively on the mystery of the Men in Black, I know for sure that many people within Ufology take the view that the MIB are agents of some arm of government. That’s to say, dark-suited figures whose job it is to intimidate and terrorize witnesses to UFOs. But, in reality, there is very little evidence to suggest that the majority of the MIB are from any government. Yes, there are exceptions. They are, however, most definitely in the minority. The truth is that government agencies are as baffled as we are.
John Keel was not only the author of the acclaimed book, The Mothman Prophecies. He was also someone who dug very deeply into the matter of the MIB, who they were, and where they came from. In February 1967, Keel had the opportunity to speak with Colonel George P. Freeman. Colonel Freeman, of the U.S. Air Force, made the following, written statement about the MIB. Keel took careful note of it:
“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 to 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 offense. 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.”
Less than one month later, specifically on March 1, 1967, Lieutenant General Hewitt T. Wheless, USAF, penned the following memo. It was widely circulated within the military:
“Information, not verifiable, has reached Hq USAF that persons claiming to represent the Air Force or other Defense establishments have contacted citizens who have sighted unidentified flying objects. In one reported case, an individual in civilian clothes, who represented himself as a member of NORAD, demanded and received photos belonging to a private citizen.”
The document continues: “In another, a person in an Air Force uniform approached local police and other citizens who had sighted a UFO, assembled them in a school room and told them that they did not see what they thought they saw and that they should not talk to anyone about the sighting. All military and civilian personnel and particularly information officers and UFO investigating officers who hear of such reports should immediately notify their local OSI offices.”
Moving on to the FBI…
In 1956, Gray Barker wrote and published a book titled They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. A significant percentage of the book was focused on the MIB-themed experiences of Albert Bender, who, in the early 1950s, established the International Flying Saucer Bureau (in Bridgeport, Connecticut). It wasn’t long before the IFSB was no more. Bender supposedly closed it down after receiving repeated, menacing visits from the Men in Black.
Bender’s MIB were far less like 1950s-era G-Men or agents of the CIA. They were far more like something from the pages of a Bram Stoker novel, mixed in with a greater than liberal sprinkling of H.P Lovecraft. As a result of the publication of Barker’s book, a number of people contacted the FBI, demanding to know who the dark-suited silencers really were – and particularly because certain ufologists, such as Barker, were claiming the MIB were from “the government.”
The FBI has declassified some of its documents on Bender and Barker, and which demonstrate something notable. On January 22, 1959, none other than J. Edgar Hoover instructed the Chicago office of the FBI: “The Bureau desires to obtain a copy of the book written by Gray Barker entitled ‘They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.'” Records demonstrate that, behind closed doors and after reading Barker’s book, the FBI was as baffled in the fifties as the Air Force was, almost a decade later.
Now, I know some ufologists will claim that the USAF and the FBI were both out of the loop – due to the MIB originating with a deeply buried, “black budget”-type group that even Hoover and the Air Force couldn’t uncover. But, I disagree. Every bit of data that has surfaced from government agencies suggests they are as utterly mystified as the field of Ufology is, when it comes to the nature and origin of the Men in Black.
Yes, the MIB phenomenon is real. but it has practically nothing to do with agencies of government, of the military, or of the intelligence community. The Men in Black are…something else.