Here come the Men in Black and, according to the song, they won’t let you remember. But that’s just one of the many falsehoods popularized by the 1997 film staring Will Smith. Actually, the real Men in Black don’t care if you remember the details of your paranormal experience or not, so long as you don’t tell anybody about it.

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Not the cast of Mad Men

That’s right, the Men in Black are real, at least if hundreds of witnesses across the United States are to be believed. These smartly dressed spin-doctors routinely visit the homes of those that have recently claimed to see a UFO or had an alien encounter of another kind. Their aim seems to be to hide the truth about UFOs and alien abduction, and to encourage civilians to keep their experiences secret. Their methods are a combination of intimidation, manipulation and confusion. They are also known for their shoddily made weather balloons.

Reported encounters with the Men in Black are often bizarre and vary so much that gathering any useful information about them is virtually impossible. Which is exactly what any secret group would want. One theory explains the MIB’s strange behavior as an attempt to hide their own existence, making reported MIB encounters seem too incredible to believe. Here is are some of those bizarre encounters with the les garsons noir.


There’s Always Room for MIB

After a UFO encounter, in which her friend had apparently been temporarily possessed by an alien presence, a “Mrs. Butler” of Owatonna, Minnesota was visited at her home by an alleged MIB agent. The man claimed to be Major Richard French of the United States Air Force and that he was there to ask a few questions about UFOs.

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Not even his best friends get to call him Major Dick.

Mrs Butler described him as having an olive complexion, a pointed face and hair that was too long for an Air Force officer. He wore a brand new suit (not black but grey) and drove a white Mustang. A later investigation revealed that there really was a Major Richard French serving in the Air Force but that he was nothing like the man who visited Mrs Butler that day. Why he didn’t choose to assume the identity of someone with a less hilarious name is unknown. The license plate of the car was traced to the Minneapolis area but was not owned by the Air Force or Major French.

Long haired imposters driving Mustangs are pretty strange, but the oddest part of Mrs. Butler’s story was the behavior of the Man in Black, er, Grey. When Mrs. Butler commented that not-Major French appeared visibly uncomfortable he claimed that his stomach was bothering him. She then suggested that a bowl of jelly would help ease the pain. Apparently that’s a thing people do. The man said that he would come back for some the next day if it was still bothering him. They finished their conversation and he left.

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Jello. The weirdo’s Pepto-Bismol.

Stranger still, he did in fact return the next day for his soothing bowl of jelly. Except, he also had to be shown how to eat it. That’s right, he couldn’t figure out how to eat the stuff they give to people recovering from surgery. She said that it was as if he had never seen jelly before. He picked up the bowl and tried to drink it until she ended up showing him how to use a spoon.


Robert Richardson’s MIB Encounter

In 1967, Robert Richardson of Toledo, Ohio, struck an unknown object with his car. The object immediately vanished but left one small piece of evidence – an anomalous lump of metal. When Richardson sent the metal to APRO (Arial Phenomenon Research Organization), he soon found himself the centre of unwanted attention, though not the kind Halle Berry’s driving earns her. Two MIB agents driving a black Cadillac turned up on his doorstep.

The men did not show him identification and Richardson did not ask to see any – their smart black suits were enough to imply that they were authority figures. It was not until the two men had left that Richardson began to think the meeting suspicious; he had told nobody about his experience other than his wife and the researchers at APRO. Furthermore, the Cadillac, which was a 1953 model but appeared to be in mint condition as if brand new, was marked with unregistered plates.

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MIB may also stand for Men iz Ballin’

One week later, two more men in black suits came to his door. This time they asked him to hand over the metal artefact. When Richardson told them that he had sent it to be analysed they said that he had better get it back and threatened to harm his wife if he did not. Richardson never did hand over the metal but his wife was never harmed, a gambit I’m sure went over without incident in their marriage.

The second set of MIB agents to speak to Richardson have been described as foreign, as have many MIB officers. They are quite typically ‘olive skinned’ (or possibly wearing makeup) and having Asian (or perhaps Native American) features. Although this might not seem particularly unusual for government agents today, it certainly would have been odd back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s when the MIB were at their most active.

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Institutional racism: occasionally useful.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the Men in Black would seem to be that their intimidation tactics rarely work (although there may be many cases in which people have been effectively silenced that we do not know about). Quite the opposite, in fact; many witnesses of UFO related phenomenon have come forward and shared their stories despite warnings by the MIB and would seem to have been urged by feelings of defiance. What’s more, they are also able to add their MIB encounter to the story, convinced that the government is trying to cover up some dark secret. If they are, this would seem to be an ineffective way of doing so.

Their failure to follow up on their threats is almost universal and they rarely exercise the powers we know the actual U.S government has at their command. This has caused some to claim that the MIB are in fact an anti-government organization and that they use reverse psychology to encourage people to publicize their UFO encounters and further accuse the U.S government of orchestrating a cover-up. Other theories, however, claim that an alien force is behind the MIB, even that MIB agents may be aliens in human form. This would certainly explain a thing or two, the MIB’s poor understanding of human interaction, for example.


A MIB in Yorkshire

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Speaking of things you’d prefer not to remember.

Another MIB encounter – perhaps the strangest of all – took place in the seaside town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1968. Adele (a pseudonym), who was sixteen at the time, answered the door to what appeared to be a very strange insurance salesman. He was tall, wore a black suit and tie, and had a ‘florid’ complexion. After staring at the sixteen year old and smiling for an unnerving length of time he ‘jerked’ into action and asked Adele “do you have insurance? Is it now?” Adele later remarked that his voice seemed to be computerised.

She suggested that the insurance salesman come back later when her parents were home. At that moment, the man suddenly began to sweat profusely. He removed his hat to reveal a bald and extremely pale head. Adele could now see that he was wearing makeup to darken his face. “Can I see a glass of water?” the MIB asked. Inviting the man in because this was before “Stranger Danger”, Adele fetched him a glass of water and he did just that – he looked at the glass of water and set it aside.

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That picture really hits the spot.

Next, he turned his attention to a clock on the mantelpiece. Adele told the MIB that the clock was her father’s retirement present, at which he seemed baffled. “Is it your father’s time?” he asked, “Is it here and now?” Then the MIB seemed to freak out like a malfunctioning robot. He began repeating “your father – his time” over and over and became stiff and immobile. Turning to the door he had to use his hands to move one of his legs. He told Adele to “watch the lights” before leaving in a hurry, disappearing down the street impossibly quickly.

What did he mean when he said ‘watch the lights?’ – Adele would soon find out. Shortly after the MIB left, Adele’s living room filled with small bright lights, which danced around before exiting through the window. Was this a robotic MIB agent, built by aliens and sent to add a little magic to the sleepy Yorkshire town? Or was it just a sweaty creeper with alopecia and a laser pen?

These are just a few of the multitude of stories about these mysterious men. But in the case of the Men in Black, there are more questions than answers. Are they aliens in human costumes? Shape shifters? Androids? Or yet more proof of a high level government cover-up? Or perhaps they are the result of paranoia, over active imaginations and UFO enthusiasts having too much time on their hands.

Written by Mark Ball – Copyrighted © Image Sources

Image sources:

  • – There’s Always Room for MIB:
  • – Robert Richardson’s MIB Encounter:
  • – A MIB in Yorkshire: