If you know your Men in Black history, then you will also know that the real MIB are nothing like their Hollywood versions, better known as agents J and K, and as played by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The real-world MIB look weird (plastic-like skin, blank expressions and staring, bulging eyes) and they act weird (such as seemingly not understanding what food is, and coming across as being “programmed,” rather than self-aware). There’s another issue too; it’s a very strange issue. Namely, that some of the Men in Black have almost constant grins on their faces. But, of course, there is nothing good about those smiles. They are the smiles of the likes of serial-killers and nutcases. But, you probably guessed that, right?
This brand of MIB with the sinister smile clearly falls into the equally odd domain of what has appropriately become known as the Grinning Man. The one difference being that not all Grinning Men wear black suits and old-style fedora hats. But, some of them certainly do. Clearly, there is some sort of connection between the Men in Black and the Grinning Man. And in much the same way that I think the likes of the Black Eyed Children, the Shadow People and the Hatman are all linked to the MIB and the Grinning Man, too. All of this brings us to one of the weirdest MIB-Grinning Man stories I have on file. If you are interested in finding out more about the GM phenomenon, the following serves perfectly to demonstrate the downright weird, and even eerie, nature of the phenomenon.
In 1987, the Maxwell family spent a week vacationing in and around San Francisco, staying with friends in Menlo Park. On their way back home, they traveled along California’s famous Highway 101, which provides a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, and for mile upon mile. They chose to drive through the night, when the highway would be at its least busy, thinking that it would be to their benefit to do so. How completely and utterly wrong they were.
After a couple of hours of driving, the family of four spotted a strange light in the sky. It was described as a bright green ball of light, about the size of a beach-ball, one which paced their car and that stayed with them for a couple of miles, at a height of around sixty feet. There was nothing frightening about the encounter. Rather, they were all amazed and excited. It wasn’t long, however, before things got very disturbing.
The day after the Maxwell family got home was a Sunday, meaning they had an extra day before returning to work and school. It was while one of the teenage children was sat on the porch and playing music that she caught sight of a man on the other side of the road. He was dressed completely in black, aside from a white shirt. He even wore black gloves, on what was a bright, summer day. The girl was particularly disturbed by the fact that the man sported a weird grin and was staring right at her. So unsettled was she that she went back into the home and told her father of what had just happened. He quickly went to the door but – no surprise – the smiling MIB was gone.
When Mr. Maxwell told the story to me, decades after the incident occurred, the anxiety in his voice was clear. Such is the effect that the Grinning Man has on those who are unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. Or, more correctly, maybe we should refer to him as “it.” It’s a far better description.