Brent Swancer's recent feature on Men in Black in Japan has prompted me to write an article showing that the creepy and strange MIB are seen just about here, there and everywhere. In 2005, I spent a week or thereabouts in Puerto Rico. I was there with Paul Kimball's Redstar Films crew. The subject of the shoot: the Chupacabra. While we were there, we met a number of interesting witnesses, including one guy who had encountered not just a Man in Black, but a Woman in Black too.
Late one night, some years earlier, he jumped out of bed to the screams of his pigs – he was a breeder and seller of the animals. And, given that this was his only source of income, he raced to the back-door, grabbed a handy machete and a flashlight, flung the door open, and charged out into the muggy darkness. The scene was one of carnage. The bodies of a number of dead, blood-splattered rabbits – which the farmer also kept - were strewn about the yard, many torn to pieces. And one of his prize-pigs was dead, too, lying on the ground.
All of them, the pig and the rabbits, were killed in the same fashion: via three, huge puncture wounds to the neck. As the man, pretty much in a state of shock, prowled around the tree-shrouded yard, he heard movement in the undergrowth. Wasting no time at all, he threw the machete in what he thought was the right direction. His instinct was right: the machete slammed into something solid. Oddly, the sound was akin to metal hitting metal. Whatever it was, it didn’t hang around. In seconds, it was gone, having leaped into the safety of the all-encompassing, nearby woods. There were even weirder developments to come – in the form of none other than the dreaded MIB and WIB.
It was early the next morning when the darkly-garbed, pale-faced duo descended upon the man's farm. They asked all sorts of questions about the previous night's events, making it clear to him that they knew far more about the attack in particular – and the mysterious attacker in general – than they were willing to admit. The strange pair listened, in an emotionless fashion, to everything that he had to say, then suddenly turned and vanished into the woods, along with his machete – which they made clear they were confiscating. Maybe wisely, he decided not to object. He never saw them, or his machete, ever again.
Moving over to the U.K., there are a couple of strange stories from Fortean author-investigator, Neil Arnold. Neil told me: "During the early ‘90s I was with two mates out walking at night, and I’d just got the reissues of The Unexplained magazine - and we saw a strange, hanging, dull yellow light in the sky which at first we took to be a firework about to explode. It was late October. The light eventually came over us, at quite a height and the light vanished (I believe because it was on top of the object). But the underside revealed a circle of lights and we watched in amazement as this thing silently glided over the houses out of sight. I recall a chap walking his dog who also looked up at it and everything was very quiet. Although I don’t recall it, when I spoke to one of the guys many years later (I lost touch with him shortly afterwards) he stated quite categorically that we lost about an hour in time."
Neil continued: "This is not something I've ever taken seriously, but anyway, a month or so later I began writing a lot about MIBs and UFOs, and the same two friends visited London to buy records. It was early afternoon and we were sat in the MacDonald’s in Leicester Square. I was facing the door, one of my mates faced me with his back to the door, and my other mate sat side on. I recall looking up over my mate's shoulder (the mate who was facing me) and there was a guy sitting there. He was about ten-feet away, staring, what I felt, right into my soul. He was about 60-70 years of age, he had grey hair slicked back, wide, staring, unblinking eyes. He wore a black suit, white shirt and a dark tie. Strangely, he had no food on the table, or no newspaper and he just sat staring at me. I went to mention it to my friend who was facing me and my mate just shuddered and said, 'I know!' He said he could sense this guy. We actually got up and left straight away...very odd."
Neil had another case to report to me: "I also have a relative who in the ‘80s saw a UFO and went to the local phone box to report it to the newspaper. As soon as he entered the phone box a man appeared by the phone box and was staring in rather menacingly. My relative thought the man wanted to use the phone and so he motioned he wouldn’t be long, but the man still stared. The man wore a dark suit. My relative came off the phone and said to the man: 'You can use it now.' But he just stood there. My relative told the newspaper that he would go to their offices to tell them of the sighting, but as soon as he got on the bus he got a shocking headache. He thought he was going to pass out but persisted, but when he got to the office no-one working there knew what he was on about and they all said they hadn’t received a call from him."
Gareth Medway, who has done an excellent job of collecting MIB reports, says of a 1957 case: "Luciano Galli of Rome [Italy] was walking from his home to work after lunch when a black Fiat pulled up and a man with piercing jet-black eyes spoke to him and invited him to come with him. They drove to Croara Ridge outside of Rome, where a saucer shaped craft was waiting. He was taken for a ride into space." And, one more from Gareth, this one from 1963: "Li Jing-Yang, a security guard in Yangquan, Shansi Province, China, saw an object like two plates sealed together hovering in the sky. The next day he was approached by a strange man dressed in black who warned him not to talk about the sighting."
That's just the tip of the iceberg. There is very little we can say for sure about the Men in Black. One thing we do know, however, is that the phenomenon is global.