by Virginia Carraway Stark
The phrase “Men in Black” has become a widely known phrase and entirely misunderstood concept due to misinformation, pranks and Hollywood blockbuster movies. Many people assume that they know all about the Men in Black when if fact very few people know anything about the true origins of these mysterious figures.
The first known report of Men in Black was made by Albert K. Bender. Bender fought in World War Two in the air force. In 1953 he started one of the very first magazines about ufology called Space Review.
Bender created the International Flying Saucers Bureau in 1952, a small UFO group that nevertheless is considered by many to have been what gave later groups such as MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) their launching point.
It was the summer of 1953 when Bender claimed to have uncovered the ‘secret’ of UFOs. He said that he was going to publish all the truth behind the whys and hows and whos of UFOs in the very next issue of Space Review. It was then that things became a little peculiar.
Bender abruptly shut down the Space Review and the International Flying Saucers Bureau. He was silent until 1963 when he published a book with the help of a notorious shady publisher named Gray Barker. In his book, ‘Flying Saucers and the Three Men”. Bender claimed that three men accompanied by three women accosted him and threatened his life if he ever spoke about UFOs ever again. He described the men as being dressed entirely in black and the women as being dressed in tightly fitting white uniforms. He also said that they were monsters, sent from the planet Kazik to cause some sort of harm to humanity. Barker referred to the men as ‘The Silencers’ and said that their purpose on earth was to threaten anyone with knowledge of UFOs and make sure that the information never became known to the general public. He claimed that there were reports of The Silencers in New Zealand and Australia although there is no documentation to back these claims.
The Men in Black underwent a new evolution when John Keel wrote his document “The Mothman Prophecies”. Keel spoke about the Men in Black more as ominous forces that were manifestations of alien beings than as the silencers that Bender wrote about. Keel wrote about how the men were capable of distorting electronics and making phone calls.
In 1988 The Krill Papers, written by the pseudonym O.H. Krill spoke about The Men in Black as being involved in the Air Force’s secret UFO study: Project Blue Book. The Krill Papers defines itself as “A situation report on our acquisition of advanced technology and interaction with alien cultures’. The Krill Papers have led many to the conclusion that the Men in Black are aligned with the Air Force in enforcing a culture of fear and silence in those who would speak out about their encounters.
In the nineties the movies Men in Black followed an earlier Three Stooges movie about the phenomenon that made the Men in Black even more of a mockery than they started off being and made the concept nearly impossible to research or take seriously. It was an obfuscation that some argue has added credence to the concept of the Men in Black.
With shady origins and no evidence of any of the dire threats The Silencers made ever actually occurring, it is easy to be extremely skeptical of their existence. Since the only thing that is more or less universal is that the silencers always appear in a group of three and wear black suits, hats and sunglasses, it has also been an easy target for pranksters. This obscures the matter further as fraudulent reports and pranks of the paranormal so often do. There was the phrase, ‘black hats and mirrored shades’ that used to denote government secret agents and it is likely that agents and men from the Air Force who were gathering information or intimidating witnesses.
The supernatural and alien aspects of The Men in Black are consistent and would be possible to fake but many witnesses seem entirely convinced that the men are shape shifting aliens. Witnesses agree that they always wear hats and sunglasses, seem to be sensitive to the light. They speak in monotones
and wear strange, thick soled shoes. They reportedly move like robots and are awkward and clumsy. This has led to the conclusion that they somehow didn’t really belong in their bodies. They have thin lips and their skin is abnormally pale or white.
There have been few reports in the past decade or so. The combination of ineffective threats made by the men and the movies made about them have made them unfashionable and amusing. Nevertheless, The Silencers are an iconic part of Ufology and need to be at least addressed as a real possibility. So much research uses the books Albert K. Bender wrote and his assumptions as a foundation for further conclusions that it must be addressed.