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No. 53: Sep-Oct 1987

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Men in black (mibs)

A.K. Bender seems to be one of the first humans contacted by MIBs. In 1953, just after he had written a letter to a friend stating that he had learned the origin and ultimate goal of extraterrestrial visitations to earth, he was approached by three men dressed in black suits. They had his letter! After this contact, Bender ceased all his UFO-related activities. So goes this classic MIB tale.

"MIB activity flourished with the increased sightings of UFOs during the 'flap' of 1966-67, and numerous UFO researchers claimed MIB experiences. MIB have been reported to arrive unannounced, sometimes alone or in twos, traditionally in threes, at the homes or places of employment of selected UFO witnesses and investi gators or their research assistants, usually before the witness or researcher has reported the UFO experience to anyone; or in the case of some investigators, before they have even undergone a UFO experience of any kind. People have reported that MIB know more about them than the average stranger could possibly know, and thus MIB can posses an omniscient air."

The central thesis of this lengthy article is the close relationship of MIBs and the ancient figure of the Devil. Also treated are the similarities between older folklore traditions and the UFO/ MIB phenomena. The author also notes that UFO percipients also often see Bigfoot-like creatures and other "monsters."

(Rojcewicz, Peter M.; "The 'Men in Black' Experience and Tradition: Analogues with the Traditional Devil Hypo thesis," Journal of American Folklore, 100:148, 1987.)

Comment. Little is said in this item about the objective reality of MIBs, UFOs, and the Devil, but the reader is left with the impression that all these phenomena are aspects of a continuum of experience as old as the human race.

From Science Frontiers #53, SEP-OCT 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987