Today, it’s time to take a leap into the past and take a look at a strange affair that went down on the night of Saturday, September 11, 1976. That was the decidedly ill-fated evening upon which the Orchard Beach, Maine, home of a certain Dr. Herbert Hopkins was darkened by a nightmarish Man in Black. Vampire-like scarcely begins to describe the terrible thing that descended on Hopkins’ home on that fraught night. When Hopkins opened the front-door, he was confronted by nothing less than a pale-faced, skinny, bald ghoul. Hopkins said that he creature – it certainly wasn’t human – was dressed in black, had dark and hostility-filled eyes, and sported the typical Fedora hat – that so many of the MIB seem to need to wear.
The MIB made it very clear, and extremely quickly, that if Hopkins knew what was good for him he should immediately cease all of his then-current research into the life and experiences of a reported alien abductee: David Stephens, who lived in nearby Oxford. Hopkins, frozen to the bone, didn’t need telling twice. Once was enough. Just for good measure, the undeniably malevolent MIB – in a creepy monotone fashion – told Hopkins to take out of the right pocket of his pants one of the two coins that was in there and then hold it in the open palm of his hand. Hopkins didn’t even think to wonder how the MIB knew the coins were there; he just did as he was told.
With a detectable threat in his robotic voice, the Man in Black ordered Hopkins to keep his eyes locked on the coin, which he did. To Hopkins’ amazement and horror, something terrifying happened: the coin transmuted. It turned blue in color; it then shimmered slightly – as if in a mini heat-haze – and then, in a second or so, became 100 percent vaporous. After a few moments the vapor was completely gone. The MIB implied that he could do exactly the same thing to Hopkins’ heart. Hopkins easily got the message – and quickly too. The MIB shuffled his curious way to the door and vanished – as in literally – into the chilled night. Hopkins’ Man in Black sounds like one of the strange and enigmatic characters that, hundreds of years ago, turned up late at night, dressed in black, and who threatened early alchemists to leave the matter alone. Brad Steiger spent a lot of time on this issue.
And, on this very point, there is one important thing that I have left until now, something which further amplifies the connection between Herbert Hopkins’ MIB and the alchemists of old. According to Hopkins, at one point the man touched his finger to his lips – deliberately, for effect, it seems. Although the man’s face and hands were utterly white, his lips were bright red. When the MIB removed his finger from his lips, it was stained red. This led Hopkins to suspect the man was wearing lipstick. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that, way back in the 17th century, one Wenzel Seiler’s exposure to the domain of alchemy occurred when he ran his finger across a large, oak table in the monastery in which he worked, and found it coated in a bright red substance. It was, supposedly, the enigmatic Philosopher’s Stone; the “key” to opening the “door” behind which the secrets of alchemy are said to be held. It was almost as if Herbert Hopkins’ MIB was playing some very strange mind-game with Herbert Hopkins, ones in which he dropped more than a few clues to his – the MIB’s – linkage to alchemy, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the transmutation of coins.
There’s a part-2 to all of this, one which revolves around more strange characters, swinging parties, menacing entities, and much more. Stay tuned.