Oct 10, 2020 I Nick Redfern

What the FBI Thought of UFO Writer Gray Barker and the Men in Black

Over the years I've written a number of books on the Men in Black mystery. They are On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, The Real Men in Black, Men in Black, Women in Black, and The Black Diary. As a result of the fact that I write a lot on this strange subject, I occasionally get asked if government agencies ever take an interest in the MIB mystery. The answer is: yes, they do. Sometimes, it's a deep interest, no less. For example, in the late 1950s the FBI wanted to see a copy of Gray Barker's 1956 UFO/MIB-themed book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. It just happens to have been the very first book on the MIB subject ever published. The story goes as follows: On November 22, 1958, an inquiring citizen of Oklahoma City contacted J. Edgar Hoover about certain claims Barker had made, in his book, about the FBI and the MIB. The letter-writer said: "Recently many rumors have been printed in UFO periodicals, concerning reports that Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have discouraged certain saucer investigators, particularly Mr. Albert Bender of Bridgeport, Connecticut, from further research into the secret of these elusive discs. Since you are the Director of the FBI, I would like to know whether or not these reports are factual or whether they are just rumors." Hoover's response to the letter-writer was swift and right to the point: "I am instructing a Special Agent of our Oklahoma City Office to contact you concerning the matter you mentioned." A note from Hoover to the special agent in charge at Oklahoma City added: "An agent of your office should contact [the letter writer] immediately and secure copies of or information concerning the periodicals described."

Nick Redfern's MIB-themed books (U.S. and overseas editions)

In a memorandum to Hoover dated December 9, 1958, the Oklahoma office of the FBI reported that the periodical in question was titled the Saucerian Bulletin and was published by Gray Barker (it was previously just called the Saucerian). The FBI further noted for Hoover’s attention that the Saucerian Bulletin reported that the three men responsible for silencing Albert Bender were from "the FBI, Air Force Intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency." Director Hoover was far from happy with this - and that's putting things mild. An FBI report of December 12 reads as follows: "Bender formed the International Flying Saucer Bureau in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1952 to look into the flying saucer mystery. In 1953 Bender allegedly stated that he knew what the saucers are. Then 'three men in black suits' silenced Bender to the extent that even today Bender will not discuss the matter of his 'hush-up' with anyone." A month later, on January 22, 1959, Hoover was still on the trail of Barker, Bender and the Men in Black and wrote in a memorandum to one of his special agents: "The Bureau desires to obtain a copy of the book written by Gray Barker entitled They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. Reportedly, the book was published by University Books, Inc., Illinois. Contact this publishing house and if possible, obtain a copy of this book."

Three weeks later, a copy of Barker’s book was in Hoover's very own hands, as were all available copies of Bender’s Space Review. The FBI subsequently noted that its files contained "no information pertaining to the hush-up of Bender." On the subject of Bender's Space Review journal the FBI noted: “This magazine contains numerous articles and squibs concerning the sighting of flying saucers throughout the world. It does not appear to have any security significance." Collectively, this all demonstrates that whoever Bender's (and Barker's) mysterious black-garbed visitors were, they were definitely not FBI agents, as Barker had suggested in They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. The FBI were as puzzled as everyone else. In other words, the real Men in Black remain as mysterious and elusive as they always have been.

Nick Redfern

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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