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Photographing a Zombified Man in Black

Back in the latter part of the 1960s, Timothy Green Beckley – paranormal investigator, UFO sleuth, publisher and author – was involved in an incident with nothing less than a Man in Black. This particular MIB was very strange: he (or, maybe even it) seemed to be what I can only describe as an old-school-type zombie of the hypnotized / mind-controlled variety. Check out some of those old B&W movies of the 1940s ( 1943’s I Walked with a Zombie being a classic, perfect example) and you will see what I mean. Beckley recalls the very strange, now long gone, events, which are still very much in the forefront of his mind. He says of that peculiar affair: “I had my own experience with a Man in Black, when me and Jim Moseley [a long-time UFO researcher, who died in 2012, and who is certainly best remembered for his hilarious Saucer Smear newsletter) photographed a strange individual one day back in 1968. There was a fellow by the name of John J. Robinson – Jack Robinson to his friends – who was the secretary for the National UFO Conference, the organization that Jim had started.”

Beckley continues with the story: “Jack lived over in Jersey City. He was known as the point man as far as UFOs went on the other side of the Hudson, and had a massive UFO library. Jack was married to Mary. She was the psychic in the family, whereas Jack was more of a nuts and bolts UFO guy.” For several days, Mary had seen an ominous-looking character lurking in the shadows of a building directly opposite the one in which she and Jack lived. All in black, and with a pair of black sunglasses, a fedora-style hat, and pale skin, the man made for a distinctly strange – even unsettling – sight. Indeed, the whole thing was chilling. That the strange character did nothing but stand there, utterly rigid, staring at the windows of the Robertson’s apartment for hours on end – and for a handful of days, no less – was downright sinister. So, Mary decided to a bit of decisive action: she called Beckley and Moseley to check out the man and try and figure out who he was and what he was up to.

Beckley recalls: “Mary told me and Jim he seemed to be oddly dressed, and kind of like a zombie – just standing there, very rigid. She had never engaged him in dialog but he seemed to be surveying those going in and out of the the building.” The very next morning, Beckley and Moseley quickly were on the scene and, sure enough, there was the staring zombie. This was the fifth day the Man in Black was there. The intrepid pair managed to snap a quick photo of the man – as they drove by – who seemingly vanished into nothingness as the two tried to find a place to park their vehicle.

What happened to the Man in Black, and who or what he was, remains an undeniable mystery to this very day. Of course, there was one big difference between the zombies of the big screen and the one which hung out by the home of Jack and Mary Robinson: it was a very well-dressed zombie. But, a zombie-like character all the same. And, we should note that the encounter occurred in 1968. That was the very year in which George A. Romero’s classic horror movie, Night of the Living Dead, took the world of the zombie to whole new levels. An interesting coincidence, to say the very least! The matter of the Man in Black across the road was never resolved. And, he was never seen again. But, we do still have that priceless photo, which eerily captures theĀ  strange man that, for the best part of week, terrorized Mary Robinson.

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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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