Who are the real men in black?
Depending on whom you ask, the “Men in Black” (MIB) are either another nutty UFO conspiracy or they are part of a secret government agency designed to prevent the public from learning more about UFOs.
The Men in Black always appear unannounced, are usually clad in black business suits, and warn people to give up their research into UFOs or face dire consequences. In many cases, the Men in Black have also seen aliens—in some accounts, they are aliens themselves or some form of “demonic supernaturals.”
But why would the government want to suppress information about UFOs? As the theory goes, it’s because aliens are closer to us than you think—they might actually be everywhere—and if ordinary citizens realized just how real the threat was, there would be a mass panic and a breakdown of the social order
Some folklorists, however, claim that the whole idea of “Men in Black” is itself a form of mass panic or of “psychological drama” due to suggestibility and a willingness to believe. Others, however, insist the Men in Black are part of a real government agency designed to prevent the public from learning “the truth about UFOs.” They also insist that their experiences are real and that anyone who thinks they’re crazy is merely a tool of government propaganda and manipulation.
At the moment, there is no way to definitively declare whether the Men in Black are “real” or not, because if they are part of a secret government agency, they may not have entirely kept the secret, but they’ve prevented any conclusive evidence of their existence from leaking out to the public.
As the dust settled from World War II and the USA launched into a Cold War with Russia, paranoia and conspiracies spread throughout the land. In this climate of high-tension suspicion arose the first mass sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in American history.
The first known report of a mysterious stranger showing up and warning someone not to talk about their UFO encounters was in 1947 with Howard Dahl (covered in Item #3 below). Since then there have been countless reports where people who’ve claimed to have witnessed aliens say that they were subsequently visited by men in black suits who warned them to keep quiet about their experience.
Writer John Sherwood claims that his friend Gray Barker concocted the “myth” of the Men in Black in a 1956 book called They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. Sherwood swears that Gray came up with the theory as a joke, similar to rumors of how L. Ron Hubbard invented Scientology as part of a bet with another science-fiction writer as to whether he’d be able to invent a successful religion. Whether or not Sherwood’s story is true, this still doesn’t account for the fact that Howard Dahl’s report of a Men in Black sighting predates Barker’s alleged hoax by almost a decade.
Since the 1997 release of the original Men in Black film and its sequels, reports of encountering MIBs have remained fairly steady.
There is currently no way to establish whether any of the claims made in the following stories were true, only that it’s true that several people have claimed experiences that are eerily similar.
Below we’ve collected stories about the encounters with the real men in black from across the web.
1. The real MIB agent who made a coin disappear as a scare tactic.
Dr. Herbert Hopkins was working as a consultant on a UFO case in Maine. One evening he received a phone call from someone purporting to be an activist in the UFO community, asking him if he could visit Hopkins to discuss the case. Only minutes later, the man arrived.
The man was wearing a black suit and black tie, and had very unusual facial appearances, with no hair or eyebrows, and an extremely pale figure. Hopkins’ dog began barking erratically the minute the man entered the home. After the bizarre visitor was finished questioning him about the UFO case, the visit got even stranger. Here’s how it went according to the website The Night Sky:
[The Man in Black] informed Hopkins that there were two coins in Hopkins’ pocket (which was correct) and asked him to remove one. Hopkins complied and held the coin, a shiny new penny, in the palm of his hand. The MIB told Hopkins to watch the coin closely. After a few moments the coin took on a “silvery” appearance and then appeared to be going out of focus. It then began to fade and, eventually, disappeared altogether. The MIB informed Hopkins that the coin would never be seen ‘on this plane’ again. He then inquired as to whether Hopkins was familiar with alleged UFO abductee Barney Hill. Hopkins replied that he had heard of Hill, but was under the impression that he had died in the not too distant past. The MIB informed Hopkins that was correct. “Barney didn’t have a heart,” said the MIB, “just like you no longer have a coin.” (It should be noted that Barney Hill actually died of a cerebral hemorrhage.) The MIB then gently suggested that Hopkins destroy any material he had related to the UFO case.
Hopkins, extremely shaken by the encounter, followed the advice of the man and burned all the files he had related to the case. While he had repeated phone troubles after (the phone company said his line had been tampered with, maybe to tap it?) he never saw the man again.
2. The doctor threatened by the men in black and told to stop his UFO research.
Dr. Albert K. Bender was a well-written and extremely intelligent researcher who founded the International Flying Saucer Bureau.
In 1955, his research was about to yield serious fruit, as he prepared to unveil a paper that would prove the US Government had — to one degree or another — covered up proof of UFOs. He planned to publish his findings in the Space Review. That was, until he was visited by the Men In Black.
Bender claims that three men, dressed in all black, visited him at his home and warned him against pursuing the topic of UFOs any further. The men left Bender scared for his life, and he immediately shut down all his research and the Flying Saucer Bureau.
Many people who knew him claim that Bender was a changed man after this encounter. His later works were rambly — almost unreadable — and he seemed to live his life in constant anxiety and terror. He purported to still receive mysterious phone calls, with nobody on the other end, until the end of his life in 2002.
3. The Maury Island incident…
Harold Dahl and his son were salvaging logs on a fishing boat when they spied six donut-shaped crafts flying in the air above them. The crafts drop molten waste onto the lake, which allegedly kills Dahl’s dog and injures his son.
A few days later, after talking about the affairs with his boss and friends, he was visited by a mysterious man dressed in all black. The man urged him to not discuss the encounter. Not long after, he was also visited by several Air Force agents who were said to be on a mission to “gather information.” Dahl’s story definitely got the attention of various law enforcement agencies in the United States, leading the FBI to write a report on the matter:
Not long after the encounter with the “Man in Black,” Dahl claimed that the whole thing was a hoax, but recanted years after, having allegedly made the first confession under duress.
4. The Solway Firth spaceman photo invites a government visit.
Jim Templeton was shocked to discover this figure in the background of a photo of his daughter. He figure was not in the camera’s view when he took the photo, and nobody had any idea where it came from.
The film was verified as authentic by Kodak, and Templeton’s story went public. Not long after, he was visited by two “government agents” who referred to themselves as #9 and #10. They demanded to see the site of the photo and questioned Templeton about the event.
When Templeton told them he didn’t see the figure personally, the men became angry, and stormed out of the field, never to be seen again.
Templeton was later contacted by two employees at a missile launch pad in Australia, who claimed that they saw two figures that resembled the man in his daughter’s photo on launchpad security footage. Apparently the missiles at that site in Australia had been produced only 20 miles away from the field where Templeton took the photo.
5. Guns no good against aliens.
Paul Miller was returning home after a hunting trip when they saw a “luminous” disc in the sky. The disc landed in an empty field, and two humanoids emerged from the craft. Miller fired his gun at them, and believed to have injured one, when he fled down a rural road in his car.
However, in that moment, he realized he had lost time. It was almost three hours later than when he first encountered the craft. He shrugged it off, and went back to his Air Force job the next day.
However, upon entering work, he was immediately confronted by three men in black suits. They told him that they “had his file.” Despite having told nobody about the event, the men said that they “knew all about it” and mentioned that the encounter would be best forgotten. Paul says:
They seemed to know everything about me; where I worked, my name, everything else,” Miller said. They also asked questions about his experiences as if they already knew the answers.
Miller, terrified, did not come forward about his experience until years later.
6. Radio personality harassed by “Journalists” for talking about UFOs.
Danny Gordon was a radio personality who became interested in a flurry of Wythe County UFO sightings. Multiple people across the county claimed to have seen bizarre objects in the sky, and Gordon decided to investigate.
Gordon became obsessed with getting photos of the objects, including one time where an entire school bus of students saw the UFOs flying over a shopping mall as Gordon took photos. Eventually, Gordon snapped a few photos at extremely close range that allegedly verified they were not of this world.
However, strange things began happening to Gordon. He received a phone call from a man who claimed to be “ex-military” and warned him that his research could “cost him everything” and urged him to stop for “his family’s sake.”
Gordon was also “interviewed” by two men in black suits who claimed to work for a magazine publication. Not long after the interview, Gordon realized all his photos were missing. He contacted the magazine for information, and they claimed to have never heard of him, much less commissioned an article about him.
Not long after, Gordon suffered a heart attack, and his doctor warned him that all the research and stress was jeopardizing his health. Gordon gave up the story, and was never bothered again.
7. UFO researchers harassed at home by real MIB.
UFO researcher Jack Robinson and his wife Mary began to experience extremely strange events as they pursued more alien and UFO-related research. They would come home to find their house rummaged and looked through, and their UFO files disturbed. Mary also began to notice a strange man in a black suit and hat staring up at their apartment from the doorway.
Mary mentioned this activity to a friend, who drove over and saw what she was talking about for himself. The friend, Tim Green Beckley, snapped a photo (above) of the man, which is believed to be on of the most ironclad pieces of proof of the Men in Black.
8. Professor harassed in library for reading UFO book
Professor Peter Rojcewicz claims that he was reading a UFO book in the library, when a strange pale man wearing all black sat down next to him. The man began talking to the Professor, and asked him about his opinion on flying saucers. The Professor replied that he wasn’t super interested, and the man became very agitated. He eventually left, leaving Professor Rojcewicz extremely uncomfortable and anxious.
He did not reveal this story until many years later, when he finally gave a lecture on the subject. He remains convinced that it was a Men in Black official who confronted him in the library, and to this day, is trying to find more people who have had similar experiences.
9. Actor Dan Aykroyd’s Show Shut down By MIB?
Dan Aykroyd has come forward with his story about how he was taping a show about the paranormal. He stepped out to take a phone call from Britney Spears, who was asking him to appear on Saturday Night Live with her, when he noticed a black ford parked across the street. A tall man stepped out of the Ford, and stared him down. Aykroyd turned away for a moment, and then turned back, to find that the man and the car had completely vanished.
After he finished his phone call, he returned to the studio to learn that his show had been cancelled and he was ordered to stop filming immediately.
Some doubt his claim, but Aykroyd says “he knew what he saw” and maintains that there was some kind of connection between these MIB and the end of his paranormal show.