Saturday, September 15, 2012


If one is going to goof off and go fishing in shallow waters, they might as well be interesting shallow waters. I was cleaning up Sanderson's collection of anomalistic journals just before I traveled back here to Wheeling, and was surprised to see that he had accumulated a high stack of something called The New Atlantean Journal. I'd had very little "experience" with this magazine, and opened up a few. The first thing that you notice about it is the "Board of Consultants". J.Manson Valentine; John Michell; Brinsley Le Poer Trench; Brad Steiger; George Hunt Williamson; Vincent Gaddis; Riley Crabb; and Gray Barker. Mind-boggling. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have all those people in the same room. Surely the pillars of logic and reason in the Universe would shake, rattle, and roll right down a Black Hole which conveniently opened. BUT, interesting? Yes.

This magazine was the effort of Joan Whritenour, now Joan O'Connell, and her husband Patrick. Joan had previously run newsletters on these topics, especially UFOs, and her old first try, Saucer Scoop, actually began rather well before falling into paranoia about violence and conspiracy. SO.... I "scooped" up a bunch of these NAJs and hauled them off to Wheeling for some fun reading.

In the first one that I picked up while still back in Kalamazoo, there was a reported incident of an MIB encounter. It was one of the weird ones. I photocopied it, stuck it in the backpack, and now it has risen from the dead to inspire this post. But before I get to that Out Proctor tale, since there may be some readers who aren't too grounded on what we're talking about here [MIBs aren't really like Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith], I'm going to give a very brief background foundation.

The MIB phrase enters the anomalies literature in a modern way with this guy Albert Bender. He was an early UFO club founder, who was not wired too tight apparently. He did attract several well-known individuals to join his organization [Gray Barker was one] way back in 1953. 1953 was, one remembers, the year that the Robertson Panel cautioned the intelligence community to monitor such citizen groups for dangerous activities which could amount to producing hysteria to poking their noses in to places they didn't belong. As it turned out, Bender was a candidate for both.

In august of 1953, something whizzed into New Haven CT and blasted a hole in a metal sign. The picture above is from a page in the USAFs Blue Book files. [There's no evidence that the USAF investigated this incident, but pretty good evidence that the Navy did].

Somehow a member of Bender's fledgling organization beat the military to the punch and acquired some metal fragments from the scene, which were not originally part of the sign. These were sent through Bender to a lab for analysis. The analysis report above is also a sheet from the Blue Book microfilm. As the even-though-it-seems-unlikely explanation for this event is probably a wayward piece of military ordnance [from the Navy], this grabbing pieces and having them privately analyzed could definitely be classified as sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong.

In September Bender got a visit. And, despite that to all sense these were Navy officers following up on this case, the Three Men in Black legend was energized and on center stage.

It went into the spotlight because of this book. Gray Barker, who himself had been a pretty sane UFO researcher up to that time, became fixated on this. It was because Bender just suddenly quit, went incommunicato, and was said to be paranoid/terrified. Another researcher named Jarrold seemed to have the same thing happen. Barker never regained any seriousness about the field, and became an unhelpful nut for the rest of his life, creating hoaxes and all manner of disruptive crap.

Part of that pile of crap happened when Bender finally resurfaced from his own version of lunacy with a tale of "what really happened" which was either delusional or craftily invented to make money. Barker by that time was "all in" on such travesties. So, he helped Bender publish a tale which despite its fictional character then inspired a lot of others to engage in the most incredible of stories and claims. From that point forward, UFO investigators have been barraged by a huge variety of things, all claiming somehow a relationship to Men in Black, but manifestly of wildly different natures. But lest you become discouraged, some of these very high strangeness stories may well be true --- just not Bender's, and probably having nothing to do with UFOs.

In my way of looking at the topic, there are three entirely different categories of things which flow into UFO files trying to be called MIBs. The first is simple ordinary intelligence agents doing their jobs. This is what happened to Bender. This is the equivalent of any intelligence agent going into the field for any reason. The top picture above is Captain Edward Ruppelt down in West Palm Beach investigating the Desverges case in 1952. If he was wearing his dark blues, he could have been a man-in-black. The picture below is our buddy Kevin Randle. He was intelligence for some of his run. Kevin can be pretty scary when talking about Stanton Friedman, but generally he's a good guy. Have to admit he's got the glasses for the job, though.

Could Allen Hynek have been a Man-in-Black? Well, in a way he was one of the first. In 1953, after the Robertson Panel had fingered Coral Lorenzen and the fledgling APRO as a potential trouble-making situation, Hynek and Bob Olsson from Blue Book made a special trip to try to talk her into being more Air Force friendly. Unlike Bender, Coral was tough as nails and basically ignored their "patriotic" plea. [I have the dim bell ringing in my ear that she condescended to asking prospective new members about their political propensities in order to join, but I can't find my old reference, so take that with a grain of salt].

Hynek may also have figured in a somewhat weirder case as well.

In 1955 the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory moved its HQ from Washington DC to Cambridge, MA to accept the job of creating a worldwide satellite tracking network --- they knew that we and the Soviets were on the brink of launching something. The staff expanded and Allen Hynek migrated from Ohio to Massachusetts to join Fred Whipple in directing the project. He was, therefore, away from Blue Book quite a lot in the 1955-1959 years. Sometime in 1968, NICAP received word from a 1955 witness [at the time the chief pilot of the East Coast Pilot's Association] that he and two others encountered a UFO while on practice landing maneuvers on a lake near Worcester, MA. Their own flight landed then at Hanscom field, and the sighting was immediately reported to the base officers.

Three weeks later, the witness was told to report to the USAFs Cambridge Research Center [these guys did the green fireballs and had plenty of UFO experience]. He was met at the door of the facility by two men [in black?] taken inside AND BLINDFOLDED [!]. He then was taken into an elevator which rode up and down seemingly aimlessly for ten minutes. It stopped finally, they got out, the blindfold came off, and he was sent to an office. The person waiting for him inside was HYNEK! Hynek cross-examined him for quite some time, finally admitting that the witness' testimony interested him greatly, since scientists on the roof of the research center had seen a similar object one hour earlier than his encounter. Well, Allen, who would have thought it of you? You could have had Tommy Lee Jones' job.

The second class of wannabee MIB reports are of intelligence agent impersonators. I haven't some juicy case to retell here for you, but this phenomenon got so prevalent that the military began trying to find and convict these people for impersonating officers. AND they admitted to the public that they knew that this was going on. On reflection you can see where nothing would be so "natural" than for this to happen. Some UFO compulsive nut whizzes up some credential to flash, gets word of a case, shows up quickly, and confiscates pictures/negatives/whatever for his personal collection. Somewhere in my files in Michigan I have several cases from New England which smell of this going on.

Categories one and two are mundane almost to the point of boredom. Category three is not. Category three is straight out of Whackland. Albert Bender's own book, mentioned above, hardly qualifies. It's just really bad fiction. What we are encountering here is "The Very Strange Visitor". This is the kind of stuff that John Keel lived off. Keel, however, is all "dark" about it [probably a reflection of his own inner persona]. The cluster of incidents, though often frightening in their raw alien-ness, aren't necessarily "dark", but rather [usually] just absurd. These are things which just don't fit. They are worse than the Fairies or the Ghosts or the ABSMs. They are just WHACK.

Ivan Sanderson, who had no idea what to make of such extreme strangeness, received a letter from an admirer who told of one such thing. She said that she was in Kentucky enjoying a car race in 1962. She noticed a man some distance away, just standing. Uninterested she avidly turned back to watch the races. Suddenly she became aware that this man was sitting right beside her. He was medium height and build and age, but normalcy stopped [subtly] there.

His hands just lay down alongside his legs, unmoving. They showed no signs of veins nor any alteration of color anywhere at all. ['Too perfect", she said]. There were no markings even where the bending points of the fingers should be. He watched things, but only by moving his eyes, not his head. His head occasionally did change position, but it was as if it mechanically rotated to a new spot and stayed there. His clothes, though ostensibly work clothes, were perfect --- no wrinkles; no signs of perspiration nor stain. Never a sound. His face in profile was chiseled so perfectly as not possibly real. He didn't blink nor move any part of his face. His hands never moved. There was no sign of there ever being a beard.

She ultimately turned her attention back to the races. Suddenly he was right up next to her crowding her, even though she hadn't seen him move until they touched. She shifted towards her husband to gain some space. The "person" shifted again. This happened three times, and the "person" was suddenly gone. After exchanging remarks with her husband, who said "that guy was just weird", they settled into the races again. Back he was suddenly right along side. Now she turned to fully face him. He had somehow altered his head [she didn't see it move] and fully faced her.

" I was looking right into his eyes. Mr. Sanderson, the contrast between the life in the pupils of those eyes and the unaliveness of the rest of that body still makes me feel sick. Even the whites of his eyes were not real. No part of that body was alive but there was life in those pupils. It was like that artificial body just wasn't there when I looked into those pupils. I don't know what he was...."

And The Lord knows, neither do we.

The case which started this post topic, from the New Atlantean Journal is uglier and maybe I should be creeped out more by it than the last one, but that last thing is one of the creepiest things I've ever read. But this one is full-out WHACK, so maybe it's carnival enough to be more entertaining.

1975, Wauwatosa, WI: 7:30pm, the doorbell rings. The wife goes to answer. About four feet from the door was a person in odd clothes holding a 5-foot long white crooked cane. She, through the locked screen door, inquired: "yes? Yes?". Then hearing no response, she called her husband. He was boggled by the appearance of the visitor and murmured to his wife: What the hell is this, something left over from Halloween? [It was November at the time]. He unlocked the door and stepped out.

"The skin on his face was the same as smoked meat and the face was lined with deep grooves." The mouth was a small dime-sized puckered opening. He had an extremely pointed chin. He wore a hat. "It was shaped like a man's straw hat except the brim was more narrow". He had tufts of hair which stuck out beneath it. The hands were deformed and looked almost clawed. The legs were bent.

The husband reached towards the entity. It struck its crook on the pavement three times. The "visitor" then moved away, not by walking but simply drifting over the ground. It moved to the edge of the lawn and the street, where [the husband and wife suddenly noticed] were four other identical creatures --- dress, crooks, and all. One was a roly-poly shape, and it was at the center of the group. They would strike their canes and "bounce" into the air two to three feet high, in appearance like the low-gravity effect seen when the astronauts bounded on the Moon. When they affected walking, their feet would move, but they were not within two or three inches of the ground. The couple was surprised that they couldn't remember much about the dress of the "things" nor other details of facial features etc. But they did say: "They looked like oversized gnomes". As the couple retreated inside, the visitors drifted away. One raised its hand as if in final goodbye.

What is this stuff? Although the couple intellectually "punted" and thought that must have been visited by "aliens", these sorts of experiences carry almost none of the flavor of the core UFO phenomenon, even the Close Encounters. What are they? What "realm" do they inhabit? Why do they emerge? Why the apparent meaninglessness?

In the world[s] of the anomalies, some things are actually rather easy to grasp. Of them, UFOs are [in my opinion] the easiest --- they're just part of good old common physical reality, no matter how fancy their inventions are. Psi seems to be "just" an erratic personal brain talent, which takes a "short-cut" through spatial dimensions to accomplish what it does. NDEs and OOBEs seem to be "merely" the separation of the spirit/consciousness-focuser from the physical organism. Even Faerie seems less "alien" in the old dictionary sense of that word.

Whatever this stuff is, "J" and "K" don't have a chance. They need to stick to UFOs.

Till next time--- check under the bed....


  1. 1) Prof did you know Liverpool's been called the City of Wackers or Wackland [don't be saying that figures!]

    2) are you sure that was Hynek? Because if it wasn't then I've been in that 'elevator' as've a few others and it doesn't just go up and down

    3) concerning the Wauwatosa case did you know in the time of say Krishna being able to walk in midair was viewed as a surefire sign of high spiritual attainment viz Yudhishitra?

    4) there's a dimension in these sorts of stories which no one seems to consider enough namely Transfiguration.

    Some years back two school girls went missing for several days in the UK and it was announced on the news the police were go'n'o pay a visit to the house of the father of the suspect.

    That night as I was sitting in the front room of our old place I was startled to see two girls wearing what I took to be Liverpool FC shirts standing near the door looking at me. Thinking it was a bit late for some one to be visiting never mind bringing their kids out with them I went to say something and something very odd seemed to happen to the room.

    It stayed exactly the same yet SOMETHING sprinkled the whole shebang with moonbeams and pixie dust transfiguring everything in it in such a way the elements of the room also somehow became the elements of a map.

    The girls now looked over towards the far corner of this 'map' then back at me then vanished their meaning being or so I understood that where they'd looked was where the police'd be searching but where they'd stood was where they'd be found.

    Similarly over at the Daily Grail you can read Jack Hunter's Anthropology of the Weird where he gives Evans-Pritchard's account of chasing a witch light through the night which seems to foretell the death of someone the following morning.

    Evans-Pritchard seems to be dismissing the experience as supernatural when he says he never discovered the real origin of the light but he suggests it was probably a grass torch being carried by someone going for a dump in the bushes. The thing is though he quite clearly states the death "fully explained the light I had seen" suggesting to me he's talking about the same idea that SOMETHING sprinkled moon beams and pixie dust on someone going for a dump in order to transfigure it into something with a much more mystical appearance.

    My point being SOMETHING once took me for a long long walk all over the place to somewhere I didn't know then instructed me to lay down some money and walk away without looking back.

    Presumably the money was meant for someone but if they'd seen me would they have seen ME or would they have seen a transfigured Indrid Cold type version of me?

    Ditto some of these weird beings and decidedly odd MIB types.

    Were they all monsters from parallel dimensions or were some of them less extreme versions of the sort of people you hear about who apparently completely forget who they are and move to a new town and become someone else then a few years later suddenly recall this whole other life they had?

    It makes a certain logistical sense if you wan'o play God (especially if you ARE God) to burn a bush without actually burning it because then you can still use it as a bush later on.

    Ditto with people.

    Maybe sometimes it's easier just to sprinkle some poor unsuspecting b*st*rd with moonbeams and pixie dust so they appear to be a being from another dimension than to actually tear through the interstices of Space/Time just to transplant such an extradimensional here then not only have to transplant them back but also repair the Space/Time rift.

    But hell what do I know?

  2. hmm

    can it be that local or amateur UFO enthusiast got misidentified as a MIB ? especially those people who lacked people skill and just go on about interviewing people with monotone voice and taking notes? in the witness perspective, such appearance can be misidentified as alarming or even threatening.

    would it be funny if the source of MiB legend are the UFOlogist themselves, unknowingly off course

    1. I believe that the post covers all this.