Sunday, September 16, 2012
Men In Black, Addendum: A moment in UFO History.
Some time ago I had the pleasure [?] [well, in some sense of the word] to listen to a taped talk by John Keel on the Men-in-Black topic. At the time I didn't know enough to recognize its probable historical impact. [Don't overplay this, folks, it hardly changed the course of world history, but may have had significance in how the University of Colorado finished its UFO examination].
John Keel. In many ways one of the least helpful people to lurk within the wider UFO community. A sometimes riveting writer and speaker, who at times didn't seem to care one whit about what he was saying [truth-wise] and at others seemed to be simply out of his mind. The Men-in-Black topic was perfect for both of his mindsets.
In the talk on this tape, Keel claimed the following things: MIBs were responsible for strange disappearances of people and animals, most particularly teenage boys; MIBs are/were knocking out police car radios and are/were responsible for whole system power outages; MIBs drive around in mysterious cars three times the normal size of automobiles; "something very bad and very serious is in the works" he muttered ominously; MIBs are responsible for poltergeist activities, the eery sounds of babies crying in the night, of monsters and ABSMs; MIBs are beginning to start fires in buildings, and are showing up as monk-hooded giants to terrorize people. All of this is "A Nightmare on the Ground that has been completely unpublicized".
I will leave it to your best estimate as to whether this was Keel in his liar or insane mode.
If you think that he was "right on the money", well, please don't try to get my home address and come for a visit.
This talk by Keel was part of the equally-unhelpful James Moseley's 1967 UFO convention in NYC. And guess who attended? Edward Condon, showed up at that convention ready to fully enjoy himself with a great hoot at the UFO fools who he firmly believed composed the entirety of the UFO community. In one sense the convention did not disappoint. Even the talk by Ivan Sanderson [which we have a copy of in the SITU archives], came dangerously close to being chaotic, unpolished, lunacy. But Keel as you can see went far beyond that into a world of dark paranoia and unsubstantiated claims which would have better served the fictional pen of Stephen King than the mind of Edward Condon.
Condon was not amused.
What "percentage" the Nightmare talk of Keel played in this is just my speculation, but Condon came back from NYC a changed man. He returned to the project with the attitude that he was not studying some light foolishness as he had thought, but that the project was engaged in a report about a subject which had serious negative consequences for the mental health and reasoning processes of the people who became too involved with UFOs. UFOs, ridiculous as they seemed to Condon, were dangerous. Dangerous not in themselves [as they did not even exist], but dangerous in where they led the untrained mind.
Condon began to speak about UFOs as never being allowed into the schoolrooms of the nation, as the concept would damage the childrens' minds --- he is quoted as saying exactly that. He went from a sort of benign uncaring about how the project did its business, to a malign hostility towards the subject and even its sane researchers such as Hynek and McDonald, suddenly beginning to openly call them "kooks". After this convention, the Final Report of the Colorado Project had far less chance of containing balanced conclusions than it had previously. John Keel was certainly part of that. In that, Keel and Moseley were precisely what the intelligence community wanted: foolish dupes capable of turning off any serious person who might decide to look into the subject.
The previous post gave my thoughts on the three different things which are dumped into the MIB "bag" by indiscriminate observers and interested parties. Who can say what the third group [the crowd from Whackland] are? But regardless of what/who they are, they are not the thing John Keel described in New York in 1967. He was WAY over the top. He was in pure Hollywood horror movie country. He was wrong, and he either didn't know, or he didn't care.
John Keel was an entertaining writer and speaker. We could have done without him.
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