Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Here Come the Men In Black..."

I have an enormous collection of books.  While I have found that the best method is to read one at a time straight through, I sometimes get impatient and begin thumbing and perusing through the others just for fun.  Last night, I did just that with Casebook on the Men In Black by Jim Keith.  
Interesting stuff.  While Keith draws upon a number of sources (most notable of which is The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel), the research just boils down to "some guy told me that [fill in the blank]."  And it should be noted that Keith never pretends it to be otherwise.  In what follows, I would like to "spit out" a few bits of information on the Men In Black phenomenon that I found interesting.  Not necessarily valid, but intriguing.  As usual, the stuff mostly speaks to the fiction writer in me.

First of all, get the Will Smith movie out of your head.  While most reported MIB encounters do involve men wearing black suits and ties (naturally), driving black cars such as Cadillacs, that's where the similarities end.
Most MIB encounters are with men (or beings) that are swarthy or olive complected, with Asiatic features such as slanted eyes.  They are said to walk stiffly, almost mechanically.  A few are tall while others are barely over 5 feet.  Many are said to have oddly elongated fingers.  They frequently wear an insignia on their lapels of an eye inside a triangle (according to Keith, p. 221).  They most often identify themselves as "government agents" or "officers in the US Air Force," although when challenged to produce IDs, they either refuse or show identification that is later found to be fraudulent.  Most cases of MIBs occur as visits to those who claim to have sighted UFOs.  These witnesses are often threatened into silence.

MIBs are not new.  One historian claims that a mysterious Man In Black was present during the design of the U.S. flag in 1775.  He was known to colonists only as "the Professor" and he spent most of his time reading and translating ancient texts.  Thomas Jefferson is said to have met a "mysterious, dark-complected stranger wearing a black cape" while walking in his garden one night.  This man gave Jefferson the design for the Great Seal of the United States.  John Keel has argued that the seal is actually a representation of the city of Petra in Jordan.  This is a city that is called "half as old as time" by Arabs.

In the 1940s, MIBs were big in Haiti.  They were called "zobops" by the locals and thought to be black magicians.  They rode around the countryside in black cars called "auto-tigres," which projected bluish beams that disabled victims for abduction.  Most of these reported abductions took place in or near the town of Mirabal.  I was in Mirabal back in 1991.  I was not abducted.  Just setting that straight.

Louis Farrakhan claims to have been brought aboard a UFO to speak to Elijah Mohammed.  During one mass sighting of saucers, Farrakhan said he watched the discs (or "wheels" as he called them) be chased by black, unmarked helicopters.  "The Army followed the planes (UFOs) in helicopters or whatnot and reported this..."

The first labeling of "Men In Black" occurred when UFO researcher Albert K. Bender published his research into the Maury Island Case, a UFO incident in 1947 that actually predates Roswell.  These self-called "government agents" stalked witnesses, threatened them into silence, and were even suspected in the theft of supposed physical UFO evidence.

MIBs have trouble eating.  There is a curious case of a MIB in a Virginia diner.  He claimed to be very hungry but didn't know what to do.  The waitress suggested a steak.  The meal came out and the MIB had no idea how to eat it, so the waitress had to teach him to use a knife and fork.  When asked what he did for a living, the MIB said that he was a Lt. Col. in USAF.  Another patron happened to be a retired Air Force officer and struck up a conversation.  The MIB could not even answer the most rudimentary questions about the service.  When dessert came out, the MIB attempted to drink his Jello. 
There's a short story in there somewhere.

I can't say much as to the veracity of these claims.  But if on the off-chance that these MIB encounters are actually happening, then these are clear cases of perhaps our own government harassing and violating the civil rights of its citizens, citizens that have committed no transgression other than to speak of seeing something that they did not understand.  And THAT should concern us.

Pic is from Wikipedia, file created by RadioKirk at en.wikipedia

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