Men in Black

From Academic Kids

This article is about alleged secretive government departments. For other uses of the term, see The Men in Black.

In UFO conspiracy theories, the term Men in Black (MIBs) are alleged to be men dressed in black suits claiming to be government agents, who attempt to harass or threaten UFO witnesses into silence.

Though some researchers—John Keel and others—have suggested similarities between MIB reports and earlier demonic accounts, the phenomenon was initially and most frequently reported in the 1950s and 1960s; it is contemporaneous with many other conspiracy theories.



There are variations, but typically after a presumably credible witness reports or witnesses a UFO sighting, the witness is visited by a man or men, who are often dressed in black suits, lending the reports their name. The men suggest—or the witnesses assume—that they are government agents, and often flash convincing-looking badges and demand that the witness recant their story, or hand over photographs or physical evidence of a UFO. If the witness refuses or questions their credentials, they often subtly or not-so-subtly threaten the witness or their family with bodily harm.

While it is not known if these threats have ever been realized, resistors have reported subsequent encounters where they have been chased or roughed up by the "agents". Houses have allegedly been ransacked or burned down, in an attempt to destroy evidence or scare the witness into silence.

The men are often reported driving large, late-model cars, typically Cadillacs; in rare cases, they are reportedly seen in black helicopters.

Some accounts report Men in Black behaving strangely, wearing out-of-date clothing, or speaking oddly. They wear sunglasses and speak like mobsters from 1940s film noir, in an attempt to intimidate people. This sometimes confuses people instead. Some report their skin is artificial-looking. They are sometimes reported to look Scandinavian (Tall and fair)

First report?

Arguably the first MIB report was made shortly after June 21, 1947. On that date, seaman Harold Dahl claimed to have seen six UFOs near Maury Island (which is actually a peninsula of Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, near Tacoma, Washington). Dahl, his son, two other men, and Dahl's dog were on the boat. Dahl took a number of photographs of the UFOs, and reported that one UFO shed some type of hot slag onto his boat. The slag, he said, struck and killed his dog and injured his son.

The next morning, Dahl reported a man arrived at his home and invited him to breakfast at a nearby diner. Dahl accepted the invitation. He described the man as imposing: over six feet tall and muscular, and wearing a black suit. The man drove a new 1947 Buick, and Dahl assumed he was a military or government representative.

While the two men ate, Dahl claimed the man told him details of the UFO sighting, though Dahl had not related his account publicly. Furthermore, the man gave Dahl a nonspecific warning—which Dahl took as a threat—that his family might be harmed if he related details of the sighting.

Some confusion and debate over Dahl's statements has occurred: Dahl would later claim the UFO sighting was a hoax, but he has also claimed the sighting was accurate but that he had claimed it was a hoax to avoid bringing harm to his family.

Alfred K. Bender seized on Dahl's story and printed it in his newsletter. In 1953, Bender claimed three men in black visited him, and warned him to stop his UFO research. Bender's account was popularized in Gray Barker's 1956 book They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.

The 1998 issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine featured John C. Sherwood's article "Gray Barker: My Friend, the Myth-Maker". Sherwood cites his own "youthful amorality" and an eagerness to see his fiction published, in that he wrote sensationalistic UFO accounts at Barker's request. Barker had earlier published one of Sherwood's tales, which Sherwood altered to give the fiction a "factual" veneer.

In a letter to Sherwood, Barker wrote that Saucer Scoop was printing a piece on Sherwood, calling it "a big deal on you, suggesting you really were hushed by the blackmen. I'll always be glad to print an article by you if you'll tell the real (or made up) story of how these strange forces made you quit. You might as well go out of saucers in the usual syndrome."[1] ( The "usual syndrome" being warned to keep quiet by sinister men.

Accounts of Men In Black have been reported since then and continue today.

It's been suggested that some Men In Black reports are due to FBI or Secret Service personnel harassing UFO witnesses.


The actuality of the phenomenon is highly questionable. The depth of the conspiracy theory leads some to believe that their odd mannerisms and dress are due to the fact that they are aliens or alien-human hybrids, and that their job is to eliminate physical evidence of alien involvement on earth. Others believe that they are actual government agents who intentionally dress and act ridiculously, in an attempt to get UFO witnesses to discredit themselves if they ever report such an encounter.

The belief does seem to have some slight basis in fact however, as on more than one occasion police have reportedly chased what some believe to have been MIB vehicles.



  • Barker, Gray (1956). They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. New York: University Books, 1956 and Georgia: IllumiNet Press, 1997. ISBN 1881532100
  • Keel, John (1975). The Mothman Prophecies. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1975 and Georgia: IllumiNet Press, 1991. ISBN 0765341972

See also

External links

it:Men in Black sv:Men in Black fi:mustapukuiset miehet zh:黑衣人


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