Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strange Tales of the MIB

As some of you (but probably not many, at this stage) will know, I am currently working on yet another book on the Men in Black puzzle, for which I've got about 30,000 words complete so far. And in terms of final word-count, this is likely to be a very big one, and is significantly different to my earlier MIB-themed output.

Its title: Strange Tales of the Men in Black.

My earlier MIB-based titles have all been filled with files, witness reports, and data, but it was very much the case that I interviewed people, transcribed their accounts, and then presented the data in chapter format, partly in their words, and partly with me relating their accounts in summarized format.

But, it’s fair to say that my latest book on the Men in Black is somewhat of a radical departure from that format, in the sense that I am specifically letting the witnesses – certainly, the most important people when it comes to trying to understand the nature of the MIB phenomenon – tell their own stories, solely in their own words, and regardless of whether that's 500 words or 5,000.

And there won't be any chapters, as such. Rather, each case will have its own section - whether long or short. After all, there's no rhyme or reason to the MIB, so I figured why not have that reflected in the layout of the book?!

My role, in this new book - Strange Tales of the Men in Black - is merely to introduce you to the plethora of players in the seemingly never-ending saga of the Men in Black, have them relate the amazing facts - in wholly unedited and uninterrupted form - and then I;ll try and come to some form of conclusion with respect to each and every case cited in post-case "Comments from Nick"-style sections.

So, if you have (A) had a MIB experience, (B) have a theory about who or what they might really be, and/or (C) want to offer a comment or observation on anything MIB-linked, and are willing to share that info, do let me know, and I will be very pleased to hear from you.

I wish I could afford to pay each and every one who is willing to have their account included, but (despite what some have said and even written!), the field of a freelance writer is not a rich one! I will, however, send every contributor a free, signed copy of the book on publication, thank them in the Acknowledgments, and include any web links/blog links etc that the person may like to have included.

And if that appeals: You can reach me right here.

And for a bit of background about how I got interested in the MIB controversy and my previous output on the subject, here you go:

I was eleven years old when I was introduced to the menacing and macabre world of the enigmatic Men in Black. It was a typically bleak and windswept English evening in the late autumn of 1976 when they first darkened my door.

On the night in question – wide of eye and full of youthful excitement and anticipation - I eagerly began reading the disturbing pages of John Keel’s classic title, The Mothman Prophecies, which told of distinctly strange goings-on at Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the mid-to-late 1960s.

Strange goings-on? Hell, outright supernatural foulness and malignancy would be far more apt terminology! A glowing-eyed, winged-monster, surreal reports of contact with enigmatic alien intelligences on lonely, moonlit, tree-shrouded roads, occult phenomena plaguing the town, and lives manipulated and transformed in ways near-unimaginable were the order of the day - as was the brooding, predatory, and repeated manifestation of the dreaded MIB.

For reasons that I have never truly been able to fathom, from that very day onwards I became particularly fascinated by the Men in Black, their silencing of UFO witnesses, their near-ethereal presence in our world, and, of course, their overwhelming and mysterious elusiveness.

Who, or what, were they? From where did they originate? What did they want of us? Why were they so deeply intent on preventing Flying Saucer-seekers from learning the truth about UFOs? Even as a child, such questions plagued and tormented my mind. And, the further and deeper I dug into the world of Forteana, the more I found myself attempting to penetrate the veil of unsettling darkness and hostility that seemed to forever surround the MIB.

In the immediate years that followed my reading of John Keel’s legendary study of Mothman, I sought out just about as many works on the MIB as was conceivably possible. And, at the absolute top of my list – in joint first-place - were Gray Barker’s 1956 title They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers and a small, overwhelmingly bizarre book titled Flying Saucers and the Three Men. It was penned in 1962 by a curious and undeniably paranoid character named Albert Bender, without who there simply would be no MIB puzzle – period.

Barker, a skilled, atmospheric writer with a flair for all-things dramatic, gothic, dark and stormy, was the perfect person to address the MIB mystery. But, he would never have been in a position to do so had it not been for the eccentric Bender – who, in 1953, was allegedly silenced by a trio of black-garbed, glowing-eyed entities from some strange netherworld after getting too close to the truth about Flying Saucers.

For someone now just barely in their teens, I found both Barker’s and Bender’s books and tales to be even more captivating than those of Keel. Of course, as my teens became my twenties, and then my thirties, my views on the MIB phenomenon changed, in some ways subtly, but in other ways far less so. But there was one thing that never did alter: My earnest wish to solve the puzzle of the true nature, origin and intent of the Men in Black.

Since those now-long-gone days of my childhood, I have pursued the MIB on a scale that has far exceeded my quests for Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, and the truth about Roswell combined.

My first book, A Covert Agenda, which was published in 1997, detailed a number of curious MIB-style encounters in the British Isles from the 1950s onwards.

One year later, my follow-up title The FBI Files, detailed what the Bureau knew about the MIB puzzle.

My 2003 title, Strange Secrets, included a chapter on the little-known issue of government documents on the Men in Black.

Three years later, I penned On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, which was a full-length study of the secret surveillance of certain elements of the UFO research community by MIB-type characters in government.

In 2010, I contributed material to Curse of the Men in Black: Return of the UFO Terrorists, penned by John Stuart and Tim Beckley.

Then, in 2011, my The Real Men in Black hit the bookshelves. This latter title specifically addressed the paranormal side of the MIB phenomenon, with a great deal of page-space focused upon the possibility that the darkly-clad ones might be time-travelers, energy-sucking vampires, Tulpas, Trickster-style entities, or even demons from Hell – or maybe all of the above!

And, in that same year, I was very pleased to be asked to write a new Foreword to an updated edition of Gray Barker’s 1983 book: M.I.B.: The Secret Terror Among Us.

In other words, while I have never been fortunate enough to have received a late-night visit from the MIB (Yes, I would consider such a visit to be fortunate, as I might then be able to finally answer the riddle of who they really are!), they have certainly got their grips into me in other ways.

Having written about, and pondered so extensively on, the Men in Black, would I consider my research in this area to be a full-blown obsession? Maybe so; I can’t really deny such a possibility, as much as I would dearly prefer to.

But, if an obsession it is, then I’m certainly not the first – nor will I probably be the last – to be pulled, magnet-like, into the eye of the MIB hurricane. Bender, Barker, Keel: they all came before me, and all three became truly enveloped by MIB high-strangeness.

Will Strange Tales of the Men in Black be my last word on the MIB mystery? I'm 100 percent certain it won't!



  1. "In other words, while I have never been fortunate enough to have received a late-night visit from the MIB (Yes, I would consider such a visit to be fortunate, as I might then be able to finally answer the riddle of who they really are!), they have certainly got their grips into me in other ways."

    Be careful what you wish for... ;)

    So how did you get your hands of that first copy of Mothman Prophecies? Was there a spooky-looking bookstore in your neighborhood owned by an elderly gentleman with a mischievous smirk or what?

    PS: You should take a look at this:

    Mexican pilot Carlos de los Santos escorted by three UFOs:

    "When Carlos stopped, the other cars stopped also. Just when Carlos was about to exit his vehicle, four big burly men with broad shoulders jumped out.

    One of them put his hands on the door of Carlos’ car, to make sure he doesn’t come out. He spoke quickly, in a strange "mechanical" Spanish:

    "Look, kid, if you value your life and that of your family, do not talk anymore of what you saw".

    Carlos, too stunned to reply, watched the four men, who looked like Scandinavians with extraordinary white skins and black suits, returning to their cars and driving away. Carlos turned around and went home."

  2. Hey RPJ:

    Because of his radar/UFO experience when he was in the British Royal Air Force, my dad was (and still is) an avid reader of Fortean books and he had loads of first-editions from the 70s: Keel, Steiger, Von Daniken etc.

    I have heard of that Mexican case - will take a deeper look at it.

    1. You know, it's funny —My dad and I are like oil & water. He's always been dismissive of my Fortean interests, yet it was in his library when I first came in contact with books like 'Morning of the Magicians' by Pauwels & Bergier, and 'Beasts, Men & Gods' by Ossendowsky. So what's up with that?

      I know I should try to find a way to talk to him about this, but frankly it'd be easier to communicate with an alien :-/

  3. Very cool post. Have already read the Mothman Prophesies. Was able to pick up good copies of both books at a pretty decent price. So there are some out there if you look around. Can't wait to read them...

  4. Very cool post, Nick. Have already read Mothman Prophecies and several other books by Keel that I was able to track down. Was able to find good copies of both books for under $20 so there are some out there, can't wait to read them...

  5. Frank: There were some very good, now-classic titles from that mid-70s period.

    1. There was some real serious Fortean activity in 1973 and 74.