In January 1952, Albert K Bender, a dedicated American UFO investigator, founded the International Flying Saucer Bureau in Connecticut. Bender spent an intensive year studying the UFO phenomenon from every conceivable angle, and then, one night, the 'solution' hit him. Bender later stated, "I went into the fantastic and came up with the answer."
silhouettes materialising in his bedroom. When the shadows became solid, Bender saw that they were three men dressed in black clothes. Their faces were partly shaded by the Homburg style hats that they wore. Bender said he felt the strangers probing his mind, and one of the visitors told the investigator that his speculation about the UFOs was correct, and Bender suddenly noticed that this man in black was holding the typescript of the article that had been written for the UFO journal.
But no one ever got to know just what this answer was, for according to Bender, he was silenced by three sinister men who appeared in his bedroom. The UFO investigator had typed an article about his findings for his own nonprofit journal, 'Space Review' when he experienced a sudden dizzy spell.He went to lie on his bed, and was terrified at the sight of three black
A strong voice in Bender's head told him, "You are not to tell anyone the truth; it is your duty as an American citizen. We have a special assignment down here and must not be disturbed by your people. We are among you and know your every move."
Moments later, the odd trio were nowhere to be seen; they'd vanished into thin air. Naturally, Bender was ridiculed when he told his colleagues about the etheric visitants but, unknown to most UFO researchers at the time, Bender's encounter with mysterious men in black was by no means a unique occurrence - reports of identically-dressed visitors have been cropping up since the flying saucer era began in 1947. In the early days it was assumed that the strangers were CIA or FBI personnel because of their clandestine behaviour. In all the early reports, the men in black were said to wear outdated black suits and trilbys, and were always seen to arrive in a black Cadillac bearing number plates that turned out to be bogus. The visitors' faces, invariably described as oriental-looking, were often said to be crudely daubed with make-up. The victim who was harassed by the men in black was always a person who had encountered a UFO, and this person was always alone at the time of the visitation, like Albert Bender.
In November 1961, office-worker Paul Miller and three companions were on a homeward journey to Minot, North Dakota after a hunting trip, when they noticed a 50-foot-long cylinder hovering in a field. The cylinder was glowing with a whitish-green light. Two figures descended from the underside of the strange object. From his stationary car, Paul Miller watched them advance, and panic seized him. He grabbed his rifle, got out the car, and fired at the creatures, wounding one of them. He jumped into the car with his friends and they tore away from the area, but when they arrived at Minot, they felt strange, and learned that they had somehow lost three hours. Then they started to recall how they had all suffered a strange blackout simultaneously while travelling down a secluded road. Still, the four men agreed to keep their experience of the UFO encounter a secret.
The next morning, three men arrived at the office were Miller worked. They said they were government officials, but never showed their credentials, and asked to see Paul Miller. They quizzed Miller in private about the UFO encounter, but did not mention the shooting incident for some reason. The men - described as sullen skinned and dressed in black took Miller to his home and asked to see the clothes he had worn on the previous night. One of the men kept examining the soles of the shoes Miller worn on the hunting trip. Miller asked the men how they had found out about the UFO sighting, but he received no reply. After probing the house for an hour, the men suddenly left and the Air Force later told Miller they too were in the dark regarding the identity of the visitors.
In August 1965, a Californian highway inspector named Rex Heflin saw a metallic disc-shaped object floating across the sky over the Santa Ana Freeway. Heflin had a Polaroid camera at hand (for his job), and took four photographs of the UFO. The fourth picture was taken of a doughnutshaped ring of smoke that the UFO left behind when it manoeuvred off into the heavens. The sighting attracted widespread media attention, and Heflin got a call from a man who said he was from the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD). An individual in typical men in black attire turned up at Heflin's home and persuaded him to hand over the Polaroid snaps of the UFO. Luckily, Heflin had took the trouble of copying the photographs, because the man in black never returned the original UFO snapshots. NORAD denied any knowledge of the 'representative' who had visited Heflin's home. Two years later, another suspicious-looking official turned up on Heflin's doorstep one night. Mindful of his last encounter with a dubious visitor, Heflin asked the stranger to show him some form of ID, and the stranger presented his credentials: a number of cards and documents that suggested that the caller was a Captain C. H. Edmonds of the Space Systems Division.
"What's your business?" Heflin asked Edmonds.
"It's about the photographs you took of the UFO. Are you going to try to get the originals of them back?" Edmonds asked.
"No." replied Heflin, and he noticed how his answer seemed to make the visitor smile slightly. Heflin suddenly noticed a black Cadillac parked in the street nearby. A silhouetted figure in the back of the vehicle was pointing a small device at Heflin and the visitor. This device was not unlike a modern camcorder, and Heflin felt he was being filmed with it.
The 'captain' then started to ask Heflin if he had heard about the socalled Bermuda Triangle, and Heflin nodded, but the stranger then digressed into mundane talk, before saying goodnight.
A subsequent investigation proved that there were four Captain C. H. Edmonds on the Air Force's list of officers, but none of them resembled the man who had visited Heflin, and none of the captains had any connection with the Santa Ana UFO case.
Heflin returned home one day and two of his neighbours told him that they had seen men in military uniform sneaking around the back of Heflin's house. One of the mystery men seemed annoyed and resorted to knocking heavily on the front door of the house - before storming off to a Cadillac. On several occasions, Heflin found that the envelopes containing his mail had been tampered with, and whenever he used his telephone, he heard strange clicks which convinced him that he was being bugged.
While driving at night in July 1967, Robert Richardson of Toledo, Ohio was negotiating a bend in a road when he found himself confronted with a strange circular craft that was blocking the road ahead. Unable to stop in time, his rammed the unearthly-looking object, which somehow 'faded away' seconds after the impact.
Richardson told the police about the strange collision, but when they accompanied the driver to the scene of the crash, the officers could only make out the skid-marks of Richardson's car. Richardson returned to the crash-scene the next day, and was surprised to find a small irregularshaped lump of metal that looked as if it had come from the UFO. Richardson informed the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) and told them that he had been in a collision with a UFO. A member of APRO recorded the time and date of the alleged incident and filed it. Richardson later took the strange piece of metal to APRO for analysis.
Three days later, at 11 p.m., two men in their late-twenties confronted Richardson at his home and, without identifying themselves, they asked a series of questions relating to the UFO encounter. For some unexplained reason, Richardson felt peculiar, and had no desire to ask the visitors for their credentials. The strangers were very pleasant, and when they'd finished with their inquiries, they left the house and climbed into a black 1953 Cadillac. Richardson scribbled down the car's number, but when the registration was checked it was found that no such number had ever been issued in the United States.
A week later, two different men visited Richardson. They were darkcomplexioned, and one spoke in a perfect English accent, while the other had a similar accent with a slight indeterminable foreign intonation. The men tried to persuade Richardson that he had imagined the UFO, but they later demanded Richardson to hand over the lump of metal. Richardson said that APRO had the metal, and one of the men in black warned, "If you want your wife to stay as pretty as she is, then you'd better get the metal back."
APRO concluded that the metal contained an unusually pure proportion of magnesium and iron, and when they handed the sample back to Richardson, he waited for the men in black to return for the metal lump, but they never did.
Another classic men in black incident took place at Maine, USA, in September 1976 at the home of Dr Herbert Hopkins, a 58-year-old doctor and hypnotist who was acting as a consultant on an alleged UFO abduction case. Early in the evening, a man phoned Hopkins and identified himself as the vice-president of the New Jersey UFO Research Organisation. The caller asked Hopkins if he could come to his home to discuss the abduction case, as it was of immense interest to him. Dr Hopkins said he was welcome to come over. After putting the phone down, Dr Hopkins walked to the porch of his house - and there was the caller, walking up the porch steps. There was no car to be seen, and even if the man had travelled by car, Hopkins knew that the stranger couldn't possibly have gotten to the house that fast from any phone (In 1976, personal mobile phones were not in use).
Hopkins later said that the caller looked like an undertaker. The hat, suit, tie and shoes he wore were a funereal black. His shirt was white, and his suede gloves were grey.
The visitant was admitted to the house, and he and Dr Hopkins discussed the abduction case for about twenty minutes, when the visitor suddenly suggested something that made the doctor suspicious. The man in black told Hopkins, "Erase the tapes you have made of the hypnotic sessions with the UFO witnesses. Have nothing further to do with the case."
The suggestions made the doctor uneasy. The man in black put his gloved hand to his mouth and wiped what appeared to be a thick layer of lipstick. Upon seeing the red smear on his glove, the stranger quickly took off his gloves and put them in his inside jacket pocket. Hopkin watched in fear as the visitor stood up and approached menacingly. He said, "You have two coins in your pocket. Give me one of them."
The doctor reached into his pockets and discovered that the visitor was right. He did indeed have two coins. Hopkins placed one of them on the visitor's outstretched hand. Seconds later, the coin on the man's palm seemed to go out of focus - and then vanished before the doctor's unbeleiving eyes.
"Neither you nor anyone else on this plane will ever see that coin again." the man in black said.
A few minutes later, the caller became unsteady on his feet, and his speech faltered. He enigmatically commented, "My energy is running low...must go now...goodbye."
The visitor staggered out of the house and descended the porch steps with great difficulty. Dr Hopkins saw a bluish-white light flashing in the driveway, but was too afraid to see what it was.
Later that night, when the doctor's family had returned from visiting relatives, someone noticed strange markings on the driveway. The black streaky markings ran along the centre of the driveway - where no wheels could have been. On the following morning, the markings had vanished, yet there had been no rain to wash them away.
Dr Hopkins was naturally reluctant to tell anyone of the man in black episode, but three days later, on September 24th, the mystery deepened when Maureen, the daughter-in-law of the doctor was herself involved in a men in black type of incident.
Maureen received a telephone call from a man who said he was a friend of her husband, and he asked if he and his girlfriend could come to visit. Maureen asked her husband John who the caller was, and he explained that he had met an odd man the a couple of days back at a fast-food restaurant. Maureen told the caller he was welcome to come over with his companion.
When the couple arrived, Maureen saw that they both appeared to be in their mid-thirties, but wore curiously old-fashioned clothes. The woman's breasts were set very low, and she walked in a peculiar way which seemed to originate with a hip problem. Bothe visitors took slow, short steps, as if they were frightened of falling.
John and Maureen offered them two bottles of Coca-Cola. The couple accepted the cola with enthusiastic nods but never even bothered to taste the drinks.
John and Maureen surveyed the way the couple sat awkwardly on the sofa. There was something artificial about the visitors; they almost seemed to be robotic in their movements. The man started to rub his partner's breasts with his hands. He looked at John as he did this and asked, "Is this the way it is done?"
John and Maureen were flabbergasted at the man's behaviour. "Do you and Maureen watch television much?" the man suddenly asked, and stopped fondling his partner.
"Yes, I suppose so. Why?" John answered. He was becoming intrigued with the couple. The man continued to quiz John and Maureen. He asked if they read books. What did they read? What did they talk about? The male guest then put two audacious questions to Maureen: "Do you have any nude pictures of yourself? How were you made?"
Enough was enough. Maureen ordered the couple to leave immediately.
The man and woman stood, but the former seemed unable to walk. This seemed to frighten the woman, and she turned to John and said, "Please move him; I can't move him myself."
The man suddenly became animated, and walked directly to the door in a straight line, followed by his female companion. They both left without saying goodbye.
The reports of these strange individuals who pop up at the home and workplace of a UFO witness are still being reported. The FBI has shown an interest in the men in black phenomenon, and has frequently attempted to track down the 'impostors' - but to date no one has been arrested. The men in black are always a step ahead of the authorities, and they now seem to be changing their mode of transport. The reports of black Cadillacs have now almost entirely been superseded with accounts of black unmarked helicopters buzzing the neighbourhood of UFO witnesses. In early 1994, George and Shirley Coyne, directors of the American UFO investigation organization MUFORA actually presented the FBI of a videotape that clearly shows a black helicopter tailing the car that the couple were travelling in. The couple have allegedly received threats from the men in black, but Shirley Coyne says, "We're not afraid. They haven't done anything to us yet."
Since the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union, the Russians have released many top secret reports of men in black incidents which have occurred in their country. In April 1992, one female witness who observed a UFO at close range near Moscow was later harrassed by three mysterious men in black. One of the men actually paralyzed the woman by simply touching her. Throughout the intense paralysis, the woman felt as if her mind was being ransacked by the 'oriental-looking' man. For months after the traumatic incident, the woman exhibited a strange bio-magnetism; pots and pans, anything metal would stick to her as if she were a magnet, and people who touched her hands often experienced a severe electric shock.
Who are the sinister black-clad stalkers? Suggestions that they are secret service men sowing the seeds of disinformation - a typical CIA practice, just doesn't stand up when we realise that these unearthly thugs have been reported in countries like the USSR and China, where Western intelligence agents cannot operate. That leaves us with only one other possibility; that the men in black are from another planet - perhaps another dimension, even. But what is their purpose here on Earth? Time will tell.
FROM TOM SLEMEN'S "STRANGE BUT TRUE"
PUBLISHED BY PARRAGON
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