Men in Black (MIB) are men dressed in black suits who claim to be government agents who harass or threaten UFO witnesses to keep them quiet about what they have seen. It is sometimes implied that they may be aliens themselves.
Early reports of Men in Black often described them as men of short stature with swarthy complexions, as if they were deeply tanned. Some reported them as Gypsies. Sunglasses, black suits and black cars have been a feature for the entire period since modern sightings began in 1947, but according to UFO historian Jerome Clark, "All MIB are not necessarily garbed in dark suits. "The fabric of their clothes has been described as strangely "shiny" or thin, but not silky -- almost as if they have been cut from a new type of fabric.
They present an appearance often described as "strange" or "odd." They speak in a dull monotone voice, "like a computer". Their often mechanical behavior has caused them to be described by some as being like robots or androids
The visitors themselves are often on absurd missions. They have reportedly posed as salesmen, telephone repairmen or representatives from official or unofficial organizations. Their mode of transportation is usually large and expensive cars, Buicks or Lincolns, sometimes Cadillacs, and lately Hummers, all black, of course. There have been reports of MIBs following people around in black helicopters.
Their cars often operate with the headlights off, but ghostly purple or greenish glows illuminate the interior. Unusual insignia have been seen emblazoned on the doors and the license plates are always unidentifiable or untraceable.
According to the accounts of those reporting encountering them, Men in Black always seem to have detailed information on the persons they contact, as if the individual had been under surveillance for a long period of time. They have been described as seeming confused by the nature of everyday items such as pens, eating utensils or food, as well as using outdated slang, though accounts on the behavior of Men in Black vary widely.
Accounts indicate that they often claim to be from an agency collecting information on the unexplained phenomenon their subject has encountered. In other accounts, they seem to be trying to suppress information by, for instance, trying to convince their subject the phenomenon never existed. They have been described as behaving in either an exceedingly furtive manner or a completely outgoing one, with wide grins and disconcerting giggles.
In the UFO research community the Men in Black often claim to be from the U.S. Air Force or the CIA. Those who have encountered them say they produce identification, but when verification is later sought, the people described either do not exist, have been dead for some time, or do exist but have a different rank.
Some ufologists believe that Men in Black are in fact either aliens or androids controlled by aliens. According to this theory, they are sent out in order to cover up their activity on Earth. More prosaically, Clark cites Bill Moore, who asserts that "the Men in Black are really government agents in disguise ... members of a rather bizarre unit of Air Force Intelligence known currently as the Air Force Special Activities Center (AFSAC) ... As of 1991, the AFSAC, headquartered in Fort Belvoir, Virginia," and "under the operational authority of Air Force Intelligence Command centered at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas." (Clark, 321–22)
George Hunt Williamson (an early MIB contactee) in his book Other Tongues, Other Flesh, states that secret societies allied with Sirius use the Eye of Horus as an insignia. This symbol has also been seen on the MIB. The secret societies believe that there is a Great White Lodge on earth. They call it Shamballa -- and consider it to be the spiritual center of the world. Theosophists such as Alice Bailey say that the Great White Lodge is on Sirius.
This is confirmed by Stephen Jenkins, author of the book The Undiscovered Country, who was told by Buddhist priests that Shamballa was located in the constellation of Orion. If the All-Seeing-Eye is a symbol of Sirius' earth-allies and the MIB wear that symbol, and if Shambhala represents the Great White Lodge on Earth - then the MIB are emissaries of Shamballa. The entrance to Shambhala on Earth is usually placed in the trans-Himalayan region. Some assert it is in the heart of the Gobi Desert (where there have been allegations of crashed disks and bases).
According to the explorer Nicholas Roerich, there are caves in the Himalayan foothills that have subterranean passages. In one of the these passages, there is a stone door that has never been opened, because the time for its opening has not yet arrived.
In his book, The UFO Silencers, Timothy Beckley has attempted to provide an overview of important and representative MIB encounters. According to Beckley, MIB have been with us for many hundreds of years, speculating that such diverse characters from the history of witchcraft and folklore as the Elizabethan Black Men, the Native American Black Man and late nineteenth century reports of malevolent traveling salesmen, might have been manifestations of what we now know as Men in Black.
In medieval tales of encounters with the devil, he was very often described as a man dressed in black. The ability to change shape and appear in any form was commonly attributed to demons, who were able to take the shape of a victim's friends and neighbors and even assume the likeness of angels and saints. Many of those who said that they had met the devil complained of the same range of physical symptoms reported by those who encountered the MIBs.
In witchcraft trials "The Black Man" was often reported as meeting with the accused and having sexual intercourse with them. In Washington Irving's story "The Devil and Tom Walker" set in 1727, Irving tells how Tom asks "the black man" who he is. The man says he goes by many names and is called the black miner sometimes or the black woodsman. He says that since the Indians are gone, he presides over the persecutions of various religious sects, supports slave-dealers and is the master of the Salem witches. Tom replies that he must be "Old Scratch", which is another name for the devil, and the black man acknowledges that he is Old Scratch.
In 1932, H. P. Lovecraft also used the figure of The Black Man in his tale The Dreams in the Witch-House as a synonym for the Devil, but also uses the term and description for Nyarlathotep, a malevolent entity of his own creation. In the Middle Ages The Black Man was not a man with African features, but rather a man colored black and dressed in black.
The defining incident, and one much reported occurred in September 1953. Albert Bender founder of the International Flying Saucer Bureau claimed to have discovered the full truth concerning UFO's. He promised to publish his findings in his very own journal. However a visitation from three MIB persuaded him otherwise. In his own description of the incident Bender claimed his was overcome by an attack of dizziness and went to lie down. Suddenly he noticed "three shadowy figures in the room. All of them were dressed in black clothes". Continues Bender: "The eyes of all three figures suddenly lit up like flashlight bulbs....It was then I sensed they were conveying a message to me by telepathy". The message urged him not to publish his findings, and also persuaded him to close down his organisation. In 1962 Bender came down on the side of the alien school. Breaking his nine-year silence in Flying Saucers and the Three Men, which he insisted was not a science-fiction novel, Bender revealed that the men in black who drove him out of ufology were monsters from the planet Kazik. Even Barker, the book's publisher and a relentless Bender promoter, remarked privately and out of customers' hearing, that maybe it had all been a "dream."
In England an ordinary family snapshot taken in the Lake District in 1964 produced unexpected results. After processing, the Templetons were amazed to find the photo included the figure of a spacesuited alien who was not visible at the time of exposure. Subsequent media interest resulted in an unusual visit from men in dark suits. They asked Mr Templeton to accompany them to the scene of the sighting, and once there grilled him to accept the incident was nothing out of the ordinary. When he refused, the men became irritated and drove off abandoning Mr Templeton on lonely Burgh Marsh.
In 1967 the Christiansen family from New Jersey, USA, had a bewildering encounter with a hovering UFO. Shortly afterwards they were visited by a strange man in black wearing a badge engraved with unusual insignia. Inviting himself inside the man proceeded to question the family for nearly an hour. They described him as massively tall wearing a long black coat, and a Russian style fur hat complete with dark visor. Most frightening of all were his ominously bulging eyes and tinny computer like voice. The family also noticed what appeared to be wires running down the inside of the mans leg. Wires that actually appeared to penetrate the skin, and were held in place by a large round spot. When the man left the house he walked to the edge of the pavement where he was picked up by a black Cadillac with dimmed headlights and tinted glass windows.
In England a 17 year old witness to a UFO sighting was reduced to tears by two dark suited visitors who interrogated her at home in front of her parents. The men insisted she relate the incident to no-one - least of all to UFO investigators. A curious feature of the visit was that although it was raining when the men came their coats were completely dry.