Every now and again, when I’m either lecturing on the Men in Black phenomenon, or being interviewed on radio on the subject, the matter of Jello surfaces. Yeah, really. It’s a fact that the MIB and Jello have a connection, as strange as it certainly sounds. Google “Men in Black + Jello” and you’ll see what I mean. You will find numerous references online to a certain case from the 1960s – involving a Man in Black and Jello. But, not everyone knows the full story. So, today, I thought I would rectify that.
John Keel, the author of the acclaimed 1975 book, The Mothman Prophecies, was someone who had a deep interest in the Men in Black enigma and who even found himself in their clutches from time to time. Of the many cases that Keel personally investigated, one of the strangest has persisted – probably because of its sheer weirdness. It’s a story which had its origins in late 1966. And, it’s a story which Keel shared in his 1970 book, UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse. Keel also made mention of the case on many occasions in his lectures, too. But, on with the story.
The location was a field in a rural part of the 19th century city of Owatonna, Minnesota. It was late one night in ’66 when a Mrs. Butler and a friend were staring at a patch of the night sky, watching a curious display of unidentified bright lights dance around. Without warning, one of the lights dropped from the heavens at high speed. Just before it hit the ground, the UFO came to a sudden halt, bobbing just a few feet above the field, not unlike a small boat on ocean waters. In disturbing fashion, Mrs. Butler fell to the ground and briefly appeared to be under some kind of supernatural possession. Suddenly, the light shot away, vanishing into the night sky, and Mrs. Butler recovered. Ominously, and for the next few days, whenever the two friends tried to share the details of their encounter they were hit by pummeling migraines and debilitating weakness. But, there was something else, too.
During the course of the interview between Mrs. Butler and John Keel, something very intriguing surfaced. Quite out of the blue, she asked Keel if he knew anything about mysterious men visiting UFO witnesses; men who looked like military personnel, but who may not have been. Keel, who was hardly a stranger to the MIB phenomenon, played matters down a bit and said that, yes, he had heard a few such stories. Actually, Keel had dozens of such cases on record, but he didn’t want to risk influencing Mrs. Butler. Instead, Keel sat back and listened as she told her story.
Mrs. Butler told Keel that some six months after the UFO sighting, a “Major Richard French” turned up on her doorstep, identifying himself as a representative of the military and asking questions about flying saucers. Just like all of the Men in Black, there was something just not right about Major French: his skin was an odd shade of olive. His face was extremely pointed, and particularly so his chin. He spoke English, but his accent was as blank as it could be. And he was dressed in a suit and a black tie, rather than in a military outfit.
Very oddly, Major French – quite out of the blue – said that his stomach was causing him some trouble. Mrs. Butler offered him some Jello, which he quickly declined. He soon left. The next day, though, the major was back. Yet again, he complained about his stomach. Mrs. Butler again offered him a bowl of Jello, hoping that it might help. Here is where surreal became beyond surreal. For a moment or two, Major French stared at the Jello, seemingly completely unaware of what it was. He then stared at the spoon Mrs. Butler had given him, as if he had no comprehension of what it was. He then awkwardly picked up the bowl and proceeded to try and drink the Jello. Mrs. Butler went silent and stared in disbelief. Major French did not hang around, realizing, it seems, that Mrs. Butler knew something was not quite normal – which is an understatement of absolutely epic proportions. He quickly left, never again bothering Mrs. Butler.
So, now you know.