Although many people think the Men in Black work for elements of the U.S. Government, that's most definitely not the case. In fact, these pale-faced, skinny, bulging-eyed creatures are not even human. There are, however, some MIB that are absolute monsters. And, I'm not exaggerating - as you will see now. We'll begin with an encounter in a library. It all began on May 13, 1982. On this day, a man named Peter Rojcewicz wrote-up a fascinating account of an experience he had in November 1980. On the day in question, Rojcewicz was working on his PhD thesis in folklore. It was while doing research at the Library of the University of Pennsylvania that Rojcewicz had an encounter of a type that will instantly be recognizable, in terms of its relation to Jane’s, some thirteen years earlier. Rojcewicz’s very own words are suggestive of the menace that was soon to follow: “It was a strange day, weather-wise, with erratic shifts of rain and wind and sun. It would get very blustery, and then it would become very calm. It was approximately 4:30 P.M. and already on the dark side.”
As Rojcewicz studied hard, and as nightfall loomed, he suddenly became aware of a darkly-clad, tall and thin man in his midst. The odd character had tanned skin, black and greasy hair, sunken eyes, and a hard to define accent, but one which had a strong European flavor to it. In addition, he wore a Texan-style string tie. Its color doesn’t even need describing; one and all surely can surely deduce that by now. The man asked Rojcewicz what he was working on, and Rojcewicz told him that he was researching the UFO phenomenon. The MIB then proceeded to ask Rojcewicz if he had ever seen a UFO. He replied he was more interested in accounts of UFOs than whether or not they were alien craft. The MIB was not happy by Rojcewicz’s response. In a loud voice he said, “Flying saucers are the most important fact of the century, and you’re not interested?!” The man then stood up – “as if mechanically lifted” – put his hand on Rojcewicz’ shoulder, and added, as he walked away, “Go well in your purpose.” Now, let's jump back to 1976.
Now let’s head to 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 MIB – an event that was soon followed by the appearance of a very odd woman. 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 a pale-faced, skinny, bald ghoul; one that was dressed in black, had dark and hostility-filled eyes, and sported the de rigueur Fedora hat. The MIB made it very clear, and extremely quickly, that if Hopkins knew what was good for him he would 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. Just for good measure, the undeniably malevolent MIB – in monotone fashion – told Hopkins to take out of the right pocket of his pants one of the two coins that was in there and 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 MIB 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 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 gone. The MIB implied that he could do exactly the same thing to Hopkins’ heart. Hopkins got the message. 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. And, on this very point, there is one important thing 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, rather oddly and unsettlingly, 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 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.
This next case involves a Woman in Black, rather than an MIB. It all went down on November 22, 2014. Gloria is an elderly woman who lives in Decatur, Texas and who I met with on the afternoon of the 22nd. I decided to make the approximately 110-mile-roundtrip, after hearing a bit of her story down the phone the previous evening. I set off early, wondering, as I always do, what exactly I might be in for. It was a typical November day in Texas when I hit the road. It could have been a less than extraordinary experience – as is sometimes the case. But, not this time. On this occasion, the trip was well worth it. I arrived at an old house – probably dating from the 1940s, and which was well kept and that had a welcoming porch, on which were a couple of chairs. I knocked the door and in just a few seconds it opened. In front of me was Gloria, a white-haired lady who smiled broadly. At least, her experience wasn’t affecting her character, I thought. She invited me in and I sat down, as a couple of caged canaries bid me welcome. At least, I think that’s what they did.
On July 19, 2012, Gloria told me – as we drank coffee and ate homemade lemon cake in her living-room – she briefly saw what can only be accurately described as a flying saucer, which hovered over her home as she sat in her backyard, reading a book and with her two dogs for company. In fact, it was the barking of both dogs - which stared intently and rigidly at the sky - that alerted Gloria to the presence of the weird craft. It didn’t stay around for long, however. It was a case of here one second and gone the next second. But that was not all. The next afternoon, that of the 20th, there was a knock at the door. It was a pale-faced, thin woman of about thirty, wearing a long black wig and dressed in a black jacket, a white blouse, and a flowing, black skirt. And then there were the huge sunglasses. And the WIB smelled of dirt – something I have heard before. Gloria felt deeply uncomfortable as, upon opening the door, the Woman in Black proceeded to warn her not to talk about the UFO she had encountered the previous day, due to the claim that “the government is concerned.” Concerned about what was never explained.
Clearly, the WIB was not from the government. Or, from any government. According to Gloria, the woman didn’t even look human. “Skeletal” would have been a far better description. After asking what the time was, the WIB turned, walked down Gloria’s driveway and vanished. Never to be seen again. It was a familiar scenario – one which I knew only too well. I still do. Gloria thanked me for offering some thoughts and advice on the affair – such as try and put it all behind you, as these things thrive on our fears – and gave me a plentiful supply of that delicious lemon cake to take back with me. We still keep in touch. I’m pleased to say that her WIB has not returned. So far.
The following account, sent to me by a Facebook friend, is without doubt one of the most disturbing and chilling stories of the WIB kind that I have on record. It begins as follows and relates events which occurred in late 2008: “Dear Mr. Redfern, I have an interest in Forteana and ‘high-strangeness,’ but I’ve always been a skeptic and only researched the subjects from a folklorist’s point of view. However, I have had one experience which a friend of mine said I should send to you, so here it is. I was speaking at the IAFA (International Association of Fantasy in the Arts) conference this March and attended a speech of a friend who spoke on high-strangeness in the desert and MIB. I told her of my experience, and she said, ‘You need to tell this to Nick Redfern!’ I had read some of your blog posts about the nature of Bigfoot-type entities (I agree with you there is more to them than an unknown ape, but I won’t digress) and knew you had written books on the subject of MIB. “I worked as a bar manager at a sports bar in Tampa, Florida, and at 2:00 AM I cashed out the servers and sent them home and closed down the kitchen. The bar itself closed at 3:00 AM, but my last few barflies stumbled out before 2:30. I closed out the credit cards, counted the register, abused my free credits on the jukebox, and sat down to wait out the clock. At about ten minutes to three a couple walked in. I told them it was last call and cash only at this point, and locked the doors behind them, not even really paying attention to them (rude, I know, but after 12 hours, give me a break). When I did notice them, I began to feel uneasy.”
“Neither one of them sat down on the stools in front of the bar. They each ordered a non-alcoholic beer, and then just stood there holding their drinks, about two stools apart. Then I noticed how they were dressed. I dress in a ‘goth’ style and prefer black, but these two were definitely not goths, despite the (almost) all-black attire. The man, who appeared older than the woman, maybe about 40-ish, wore a black double-breasted suit of an outdated cut. I’d say maybe 1950’s style, with a rumpled black shirt and a crooked black tie. “I’d say he was about 5’9 with a thin build. He had incredibly pale skin that showed blue veins underneath (I had turned on all of the house lights by this point, so they stood out in stark contrast), a very high forehead, prominent cheekbones, and deep-set, large, brilliant blue eyes, possibly the most vibrant blue I have ever seen. He had thin, dry, unhealthy-looking silvery-grey hair pulled back in a ponytail, with seemingly random dark brown patches in it, as if he gave a half-assed attempt to dye it and gave up halfway through the process.
“The woman, who was about 5’6, emaciated, and looked about mid-20s, wore a black evening gown with elbow-length satin gloves and had a clashing bright green knit shawl around her shoulders. She had a short bob haircut with bangs, though it really looked like a poorly cared-for wig. She had the same high forehead, cheekbones, and blue eyes as her partner, although her eyes were more narrow and slightly slanted. Neither one had eyebrows. As I started cleaning up behind the bar, the woman began clearing her throat impatiently, so I walked over to see what they wanted (I wanted them to get the hell out of my bar). That’s when I noticed the stench emanating from this woman. Not only did she smell like she hadn’t bathed in a month, she also smelled like chemicals. I used to apprentice as an embalmer, and I swear that woman smelled just like formalin.”
“When I walked over, the man beckoned me to him and placed a black leather satchel on the bar, from which he removed several photographs and asked me if I knew any of the subjects in those pictures. I decided I would humor him (part of me suspected this must be a police investigation), but when I looked at the pictures I became truly terrified. As I said, I am in the Goth culture here in Tampa, and as I am sure you know, that subculture attracts many paranormal enthusiasts, Wiccans, Satanists, occultists, and so on. Some of the people in these photographs were my friends! Most of the photos looked candid and snapped from hiding, and some of them bore time stamps and were obviously stills from CCTV footage. “As I looked over the photos, the Stinky Bitch (pardon the term, but it fits!) kept staring and grinning at me. I had the feeling that even though the man was talking, she was the one in charge. I have no idea why I knew this, but I did. I feigned ignorance and told them I had no idea who those people were, and that I was closing now, so they needed to leave. Mind you, they never sat down during this entire period. They both grinned at me like they knew I was lying, the man unlocked the door, and both quietly walked out. They had not even taken a sip from their beers.
“The whole experience seemed dream-like to me, and I almost wanted to believe I had hallucinated it. Remember how I said I abused my free credits on the jukebox? Well, once the two left I realized the juke was dead. I even remember what bands were playing before the two walked in: Iron Maiden followed by Siouxsie and the Banshees. That particular model of jukebox cannot be shut off by the remote; it would only die like that in the event of a power outage or if it had been unplugged. It was still plugged in, and no power outage had occurred. The bar closed two months later and I never saw the two again. There is my event, and you are the third person I have shared this with, after my friend and my wife. I would like to remain anonymous if you choose to use this in your future work, as in addition to a wife I have a step-daughter. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. - A Hesitant Believer.” I did speak to AHB again. That, though, will be a story for another day.