Aug 25, 2021 I Nick Redfern

The M.I.B.: How Can There be Two Types? Secret Agents and Supernatural

As someone who has written a lot on the controversy of the Men in Black, the one thing I get asked about most of all goes like this: how can there be two different types of MIB? Well, that's a very good question. Indeed, there are two types. Although the M.I.B. movies with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were good fun (and still are), the fact is that the reality of the situation is very different to the truth of it all. Yes, indeed there is a reality to all of this. There is a genuine phenomenon. But, wait for it, there are two groups of the Men in Black. One is a definitively down to earth type. Namely, human. The other is very different. And, despite all of the work I've done in this field it's still difficult to say what the stranger ones really are. So, let us say "hello" to both of them. The phenomenon of the MIB began in the early 1950s with a man named Albert Bender, someone who lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and who was deep into the paranormal and the occult. Indeed, he had in his home what he termed his "supernatural altar." He was also into the worlds of Ouija boards and alchemy. And, his attic walls were smothered with artwork of monsters, ghosts, skulls, demons, and - oddly - dozens of clocks on the walls and shelves. Indeed, Bender was a strange guy. Enthused by the whole UFO scene, he created in the International Flying Saucer Bureau. It all went well and he found himself creating his own newsletter - a newsletter that got hundreds of subscribers.  That is, until "they" came calling and terrified Bender into quitting the UFO field. Yep, the MIB made sure that Bender exited the subject and kept his mouth firmly shut. He did. Bender's MIB were not "secret-agents." They were pale-faced ghouls. Skinny things that "spoke" in a mind-to-mind way, who had shining eyes, and who could walk through walls. Those were quite a lot of incredible achievements!

Things got confusing "thanks" to writer Gray Barker. In 1956, Barker penned a book titled They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. The reason for the confusion was because Barker presented the MIB as normal, government agents. Of course, that's not what Bender described, at all. Barker, however, didn't know the truth that Bender did and, as a result, Bender "modified" the real story. In Barker's book, the MIB were just like FBI agents of the 1940s and 1950s: dressed in suits, slim ties and wearing fedora hats. All in black, apart from the white shirts. Barker's book was a popular one within the domain of Ufology. But, it wasn't long before there was a realization in Ufology that there were two groups of the MIB. One was the "G-Man"-type. The other was nothing like its counterpart: it was a walking nightmare. As the 1950s progressed into the early 1960s, it became clearer and clearer that the stranger MIB were becoming more and more present. Even Albert Bender - terrified out of the UFO field in the early 1950s - was driven, in the early Sixties, to write a book about his experiences: Flying Saucers and the Three Men. It was a combination of the UFO subject and the paranormal. And Bender still had his fascinations for alchemy, Ouija and supernatural; although he rarely ever talked about it. Eventually, Bender walked away and his creepy presence was finally no more.

In the early-to-mid 1960s, the MIB were back. This time, however, it was only the strange MIB who were on the scene. They looked like they needed a lengthy sun tan and a few good meals in them. There was something else, too: they didn't seem to be human. Their skin looked like tight rubber or plastic. Some people said they seemed like shop-store mannequins. Worse, they had the ability to make people enter their homes with nothing but an invite. Shades of the old vampire legends. Witnesses to UFOs, and who were terrified by the encounters with the MIB, said they felt as if their life-force was being drained from them. Poltergeist activity occurred in the homes of the people targeted by the MIB. Electric equipment would blow. People in close proximity to the MIB fell sick. Of course, this had nothing to do with the likes of government agents. They had zero to with it. But, there's no doubt there was another category of MIB. It was clearly non-human, but it did its best to try and make people think their chilling visitors were from "the government."

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Man posing in the dark with a fedora hat and a trench coat, 1950s Noir film style character

Who were (and still are) this undeniably weird group of MIB who still insist on dressing the way guys dressed in the 1940s and 1950s? The theories include: demons, aliens, time-travelers, psychic vampires, and thought-forms/Tulpas. As for definitive answers to the MIB mystery, there is none. There is one other thing, though: in the same way there are two types of MIB, there are also two types of "monsters" in the field of Cryptozoology. Some of the monsters in our world are clearly flesh-and-blood animals, but others are undeniably of a supernatural nature. You'll get to see that in my next article.

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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