A beautiful spring day here in Adelaide. Blues skies and mid 20's C.
I always look forward to reading a new book by Nick Redfern. I thoroughly enjoyed his work "Contactees" and recently reviewed "The NASA conspiracies." Part of the pleasure comes from his use of Freedom of Information requests to uncover delicious titbits of information that no one else has found.
Another 2011 new book by Nick is titled "The Real Men in Black-Evidence, famous cases and True Stories of these Mysterious Men and their Connection to UFO phenomena." Published by New Page Books. Pompton Plains, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-157-2.
The book is divided into two parts; case files, and various theories about the MIB.
I was aware that the concept of the MIB started with a man named Albert Bender, but Redfern's chapter on Bender revealed much of which I wasn't aware. As Redfern states, "It was Bender, in fact, who almost singlehandely ushered in the plague of the Men in Black..." (p.23.)
I didn't for example know that Bender's paranormal interests started with the 5 December 1945 vanishing aircraft squadron of flight 19. Nor was I aware of his obsessive-compulsive-disorder symptoms. Redfern paints a detailed picture of Bender's UFO life, which came to an end in 1953 following a visit by three men in dark clothes. He closed his International Flying Saucer Bureau.
Another player, Gray Barker, in his 1956 book "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers" indicated that Bender's visitations were actually from FBI agents. Redfern discusses this possibility, then notes that "The FBI subsequently noted that its files contained 'no information pertaining to the hush-up of Bender.' (FBI 1958.) This official, internal statement specifically denying any FBI involvement in the silencing of Bender strongly seems to imply that whoever Bender's mysterious visitors were back in 1953, they were not agents of the FBI..." (p.45.)
From here, we encounter Brad Steiger; Tim Beckley; John Keel and their accounts of UFOs, poltergeist activity and MIB tales.
Redfern traces MIB accounts through the 1970's where we read of a former FBI employee, who after a UFO sighting, was warned "You will stop investigating flying saucers." (p.73.) The classic MIB visit in 1976 to Dr Herbert Hopkins is related in detail.
Into the 1980's we hear of Colin Bennett's observation of a green light which transformed into a stationary Lancaster bomber then into a triangular shaped object. This bizarre sighting was followed by a visit from a man in a "Smartly cut jet-black suit with neat black tie and white shirt." (p.98.)
What I didn't realise was that MIB accounts continued through the 90's an 00's. Redfern outlines MIB like reports from researchers Peter Hough and Irene Bott of the UK; author Marie Jones in the USA, and Oregon based researchers Regan Lee.
Chapter 12 "Women in Black" reveals that there are a few accounts around of visits by females. In this case, not in the field of UFOs, but legends involving King Arthur. The woman who arrived at a researcher's house knew many details of his research, although he had actually kept most of his research to himself.
What are we to make with the MIB? Surprisingly, there are far more ideas about their origins than I ever knew. In part two of the book, Redfern covers the possibilities of hallucinations, hoaxes, Tulpas and vampires, tricksters, civilian investigators, G-men, time travellers, and demons and the occult. Quite a roundup of possibilities.
In the G-men chapter we learn that a 1960 Grand Blanc, Michigan incident involving "...two mysterious, dark-suited men..." (p.197) turned out, thanks to access to declassified FBI files, to really have been a visit by FBI agents. In the UK, declassified files revealed a 1962 visitor was an employee of the "British Royal Air Force's elite Provost and Security Services." (p.206.)
In his concluding chapter, after acknowledging the existence of mistaken identities and hoaxes, Redfern writes;
"But for the most part, when it comes to the Men in Black we are dealing with phenomena that are far, far stranger and much more terrifying than any government agent come to silence witnesses." (p.235.)
"As we have seen, there may well be several points of origin for the Men in Black. Some MIB, such as those experienced by Albert Bender, may have been borne out of nothing stranger than repeated misfirings of the man's brain...But out of the sheer potency of this MIB imagery a horrific birth was given to Tulpas of three shadowy men...(p.236.)
Redfern then suggests that "...it seems safe to conclude that their link with the occult is also a valid area of research." (p.236.)
Finally, that "...some of the Men in Black may originate from a point far in our own future..." (p236.)
Redfern concludes his work with a warning. "If you decide to pursue the MIB and you one day receive that dreaded slow knocking on your front door...let it remain firmly locked and unopened..." (p.237.)