• Those Zany Men in Black

    “What passes for sanity on your planet is sending shivers down the spine of the rest of the galaxy.”—anonymous alien


    If you mention Men in Black, most people automatically think that you’re referring to those ridiculous movies with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. What most of them don’t realize is that these movies were based on a real phenomenon that has been experienced by hundreds of UFO witnesses and investigators – maybe even thousands since we have no way of knowing how many of them chose to keep their story to themselves.

    Men in BlackThe general scenario goes like this: Someone sees a UFO or has some UFO related encounter. A day or two later, they are visited by anywhere from one to three men dressed in black suits, ties and hats. Sometimes they even wear black sunglasses and/or gloves. They usually claim to be government agents and their obvious intent is to threaten and intimidate the witnesses into keeping their mouths shut about what they have seen. This sounds reasonable enough on the surface, but here’s one of the biggest kinks in that theory: Sometimes the witness hadn’t reported their sighting to anyone. There have been a few cases where the person didn’t even tell their own spouse what they had seen. How would government agents know what someone had witnessed if they didn’t tell anyone?

    There are some variations on this theme. Sometimes they dress in military uniforms and claim to be Air Force officers. This sounds plausible as well, but there are also some problems with this story. In one case, the witness said that the man’s hair was too long for him to be in the military. Another time, the man being visited was himself a former Air Force officer and he was able to immediately recognize that their uniforms weren’t authentic. He admitted that they were good enough to fool most people, but not someone who had worn the genuine article for years.

    In some cases, they aren’t threatening at all. In these instances they just seem to be interested in gathering information about what the witness saw. Sometimes they don’t even mention UFOs at all and invent some pretext for visiting the witness in an apparent attempt to gather personal information about them. They have also harassed some paranormal investigators whose area of interest isn’t UFO related at all…or so it would seem. There have even been people who have never seen or had an interest in anything out of the ordinary who have just encountered these men in their daily lives. Nevertheless, even when they’re not trying to be intimidating, they still tend to creep people out with their unusual appearance and bizarre mannerisms and behavior. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at examples of most of the above, with the exception of the most common scenario. There’s plenty of information about those available from a multitude of sources. This is about the ones that fall outside of the typical “intimidating the UFO witness” category. Sometimes these sinister entities can even be somewhat amusing and (dare I say it?) even a little endearing…in a creepy, inhuman sort of way.

    Obviously, it goes without saying that they have failed miserably in their mission if their true goal is to silence people about their UFO sightings. All that they’ve actually accomplished is to make themselves yet another infamous aspect of UFO phenomena, hence the movies bearing their name. Sometimes their visits even have the opposite effect of their stated purpose. There have been UFO witnesses who had no intention of talking to anyone about their sighting until they were so angered by the MiB’s threats that they went on record out of spite. Others have done the same out of fear. They believed that these men really were government agents and that by going public with their story they could protect themselves. If they were to mysteriously disappear or suffer an “unfortunate accident,” everyone would know what really happened. A third group who have decided to tell their stories are the witnesses who didn’t think that their UFO sightings were all that spectacular and therefore not worth making a fuss over. What changed their minds was the visit from the MiB. Their sighting may not have been all that interesting, but their subsequent encounter with weird, creepy men dressed all in black who sound like robots when they talk definitely was.

    The MiB usually fall into one of two categories as far as their physical appearance is concerned. They are most often described as being small and generically Asian with dark complexions, slanted eyes and pointed features, or pale and abnormally thin to the point of sometimes being likened to walking corpses. The latter type is also sometimes reported as being completely devoid of hair on their heads. That is, they aren’t just bald and clean shaven; they also have no eyebrows or lashes. One witness even reported that his mysterious visitor was wearing red lipstick in an attempt to hide the fact that his mouth was actually just a lipless slit. Their speech is often described as being monotone or robotic. They are frequently seen arriving and/or departing in black cars, usually Cadillacs and often with tinted windows, even when these were fairly rare. If witnesses get a license plate number, it turns out to be nonexistent.

    The Blues BrothersThey also often know a lot about their victims – intimate details about their lives that even a government agency wouldn’t know. On the other hand, they sometimes get simple things wrong, like mispronouncing names or mentioning someone’s four children when the person only has three. And they have a habit of disappearing around corners. If they are being pursued, they tend to turn a corner where they are momentarily lost from sight. When their pursuer rounds the same corner, they find that their quarry has simply vanished. If there happen to be other people there, they invariably say that they didn’t see anyone come around the corner matching that description.

    One of the more unusual and seemingly harmless MiB encounters took place in January of 1967 and involved the Christiansen family of Wildwood, New Jersey. In November, they had seen a UFO. Two months later, they received a visit from the strangest man that any of them had ever seen.

    At 5:30 on the evening of January 9, a man came to their door claiming to be from the Missing Heirs Bureau and said that Mr. Christiansen might have inherited a large sum of money. Mr. Christiansen said that he doubted that, but they let him in anyway and agreed to answer some questions.

    Unlike most MiB, this one was huge. He was about six and a half feet tall and weighed around three hundred pounds. Like many MiB, he was pale to the point that the family thought that he must be sick. He wore a black hat and a long, black coat over a white shirt and black pants, socks and shoes. His pants were too short for his size and rose halfway up his calves when he sat down. Both Mrs. Christiansen and their teenage daughter noticed that there was a green wire running up one of his legs from his sock up into the bottom of his pants. His eyes were large and bulged out from his head, and he spoke in a high, tinny, monotone voice that didn’t match his large frame. He speech came in short, efficient clips that made him sound as if he were reciting his lines from memory. His hair was black and very short and there was a round bald spot on the back of his head. When they offered him something to eat, he declined but said that he would like some water in about ten minutes.

    He introduced himself, but none of them could later recall his name. What they remembered was that he said that his friends called him “Tiny.” He then proceeded to ask them numerous questions about their family, some of which sounded like nothing that would be relevant to tracking down a missing heir, but none of which had anything to do with UFOs. As the interview continued, the man’s face became redder and redder until he said that he was ready for that glass of water. Once he got it, he used it to take a yellow pill, after which his face returned to its pasty normal.

    When he was leaving, Mrs. Christiansen watched him go. She had noticed when she answered the door that there was no car outside and thought that this was odd. She wanted to see how he was getting around. When he got to the street, he motioned to someone and a black Cadillac with tinted windows pulled up with its lights out despite the darkness of their relatively remote neighborhood. Tiny got in and the car pulled away with the lights still out.

    The next day, Mr. Christiansen got a call from a woman who told him that the actual heir had been found, and they promptly forgot the whole matter until they were interviewed about their UFO sighting by John Keel the following month. When he asked if they’d had any unusual visitors since their sighting, the stunned looks on their faces told him that they had. He quickly separated them so that he could hear each of their accounts of the event as they remembered it. He concluded that this was one of the more bizarre but least unnerving Man in Black encounters that he had heard.

    John Keel in blackAnother weird but harmless MiB tale from Keel’s files includes the poor, hapless Man in Black who just wanted to get a bite to eat. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t seem to any idea how to do that, at least if he was trying to be inconspicuous.

    He ambled into a popular Manhattan restaurant one day and sat down in a booth. He was tall and clumsy with a dark complexion, sharp features and bulging eyes. He wore a black hat and an ill-fitting suit that was out of style: two common features in MiB encounters. When a waitress asked what she could get for him, he replied “Something to eat.” She handed him a menu and he stared at it as if he had no idea what it was. “Food,” he reiterated. The waitress suggested a steak, and he agreed. When she brought it to him, he just looked at it for a moment, then looked around at the other diners and figured out that he was supposed to eat it using a knife and fork. He obviously had no idea how to do this, so the waitress, who was a bit confused herself at this point, showed him how they worked. She then asked him where he was from, which seems like a perfectly reasonable question under the circumstances. “Another world,” was the reply. A group of employees then gathered and watched from across the room as the man awkwardly hacked and slashed his way through the meal. How he paid and whether or not he was a generous tipper isn’t given.

    One might wonder if such a ridiculous series of events wasn’t staged. But if so, to what end? If Patrick Harpur is right, the Men in Black phenomenon, like the whole multifaceted UFO experience in all of its inscrutable guises, might fall into the realm of the daimonic (not to be confused with demonic), and daimons are all ultimately tricksters at heart. Maybe he was just there to screw with the reality of the staff and clientele of an upscale restaurant that was popular with successful, artsy types like Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg. That sounds like something that a Trickster would do to snooty, avant-garde types who are maybe a little too full of themselves. Or maybe he was just a guy from another planet who was looking for something to eat.

    Naturally, the MiB have harassed those who have photographed UFOs, but a man in England may have done even more than that. In May of 1964, a fireman named James Templeton was taking photos of his young daughter in a park near Solway Firth, but soon discovered that he had gotten more than he bargained for. When he had the film developed, one of the pictures clearly showed a man in the background in what looks like some kind of space suit. Templeton was certain that this person hadn’t been there when he took the photo, and you would definitely think that this would be something that you would remember. Both the lab that had developed the film and police experts examined the photograph and the negative and concluded that it was genuine. Some maintain that the figure is merely the back of Templeton’s wife along with some fortuitous tricks of light and shadow. That does seem like the most logical explanation, but it doesn’t explain what happened shortly after the photo went public.

    After it was published worldwide, Templeton said that he was visited by two men who claimed to be government agents but refused to show him any identification and who only referred to each other as Solway Firth Spaceman photo“Number 9” and “Number 14.” Despite this, he agreed to get in their car and take them to the exact spot where the picture was taken. During their time together, Templeton said that they not only asked him questions about the photo, but also seemingly irrelevant ones about such things as his knowledge of UFOs and whether he had seen any unusual birds in the area that day. Their time together concluded with the two men suddenly becoming argumentative and trying to get him to admit that the photo was a fake. When he refused, they got in their car and drove away, leaving Templeton to make his way home from the park on foot.

    If that really was just Templeton’s wife in the background and not something out of the ordinary, is it possible that beings who know when someone has seen a UFO (even when they didn’t report it) could not know the difference between a legitimate unexplained photograph and a simple case of mistaken identity? Maybe.

    Sometimes the camera is on the other foot. The Men in Black have turned out to be prolific shutterbugs themselves, and many witnesses have seen them snapping photos, including the occasional neighbor or bystander who has no knowledge of or connection to any UFO event. More often than not, they seem to be more interested in taking pictures of the houses of UFO witnesses and investigators rather than the actual people themselves. No one has any particularly good theories as to why this might be.

    There have many instances of this, and they’re all pretty much the same – so much so that there’s no single case that I’m aware of that stands out to the point of being worth going into detail about. The standard scenario is pretty straightforward. A strange looking man (or men) dressed entirely in black and driving a black car, usually a Cadillac, pulls up to a house, gets out with a large camera and snaps one or two pictures of the home, then gets back in the car and drives away without saying a word to anyone. When this happens at night, witnesses have said on many occasions that the flash used by the mysterious photographer is unusually bright. For some, this is the only MiB contact that they have, and they almost never consider it to be related to their UFO sighting until some savvy investigator asks them if they’ve had any encounters with unusual men dressed in black. There’s obviously no way of knowing how many people that this has happened to who either spoke to an investigator who was not so savvy or never bothered to report their sighting to anyone at all.

    And since this is taking much longer than I thought, this seems like as good a place as any to stop. We’ll pick it up again next week with cases in which it was the MiB who ended up being caught on film, as well as the story which is possibly the best combination of amusing and interesting of any Man in Black encounter…although maybe not so much for the teenage girl who was home alone when it happened. Her concept of reality definitely took a beating that day.


    and all the devils are here







  • Please Don’t Shoot the Weirdos

    “Violence is the way stupid people try to level the playing field.”—John Gregory Dunne


    Over the many years that people have been encountering seemingly paranormal creatures, more than a few of them have been armed and decided to take a shot at the unknown critter. Since we still don’t have any dead bodies of any cryptids or apparent aliens, you can probably guess how well this has worked out. What follows here are some of my favorite instances of the futility of trying to fend off the supernatural with bullets.

    One of the earliest documented incidents of this sort of thing happened in Robertson County, Tennessee in 1817. A farmer named John Bell saw an unusual creature in his corn field. He said that it had the body of a dog but the head of a rabbit (what I like to call a Tennessee esquilax). This being the early 1800s, he naturally had his musket with him in case any Native Americans dropped by to demonstrate their displeasure with his turning their former hunting ground into a farm. He must not have liked the looks of this thing, because he decided to take a shot at it. By some accounts, he hit Tennessee Esquilaxit, although other sources are less clear about that. In any case, it doesn’t seem to have mattered. The creature responded by vanishing before his eyes. One might simply dismiss this as a case of hallucination if not for the fact that this was but the first of many bizarre events that would plague the Bell family over the next several years in what would come to known as the infamous Bell Witch poltergeist haunting. These events would be witnessed by dozens of people, including no less than future president Andrew Jackson, who heard about the case while he was in the area and decided to have a look for himself. He didn’t stay long.

    One of the most unusual cases of shooting a paranormal beastie occurred on the Sherman Ranch (aka Skinwalker Ranch). It involved a very large and seemingly tame wolf that Mr. Sherman only fired on when it attacked one of his calves and hitting it with blunt objects had no effect. The events that led up to this are too involved for me to go into detail (and if you haven’t read The Hunt for the Skinwalker, you really should), but just the events of the shooting are compelling enough on their own.

    As the wolf had its jaws clamped down on the head of the calf, Tom Sherman fired three rounds form his .357 Magnum into its side from 10 feet away. There was no blood, and the first two shots had no effect at all. Only after the third shot did the creature release the calf and then turned calmly to stare at Sherman with its blue eyes. He fired again at the front of its chest where its heart should be. The only effect was that the wolf began to slowly back away. Tom then instructed his son to get his rifle from the house. By the time he took aim and fired, the wolf was 40 feet away, but this was still practically point blank range for the man who had used this rifle to drop elk from 200 yards. The first shot was as ineffective as the ones from the handgun. The second shot went right through the animal, and the family saw a chunk of flesh fly off the back of it from the exit wound. Only then did it turn casually away from them and begin to trot off as if nothing had happened.

    Tom Sherman and his son took off after it, but it was putting distance between itself and them. They chased it for about a mile before they came to a creek. The wolf’s prints were clearly visible in the mud, but this was where the chase ended. There were tracks in the soft ground for a few feet, and then they just stopped. There was no more wolf and no more tracks. It was as if it had just vanished into another dimension – perhaps one in which wolves are big and friendly and bullets don’t bother them. Only a few minutes earlier, the whole family had been petting this creature.

    If you’re familiar with Skinwalker Ranch, then you know that unusual animals were far from being the only form of weirdness going on in the area at the time. Like Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1967, it was a virtual paranormal funhouse with UFOs, poltergeist activity, cattle mutilations and more. Another region where these sorts of things were going on just a few years ago is a place called Marley Woods in Missouri. It’s an area in Oregon County in the southern part of the state and where, in 2008, a rancher spotted a pair of what appeared to be huge, white dogs traipsing through one of his fields. From his vantage point about 800 feet away, they looked to be about 200 pounds and therefore large enough to pose a threat to his livestock, so he took out his rifle and shot one of them. The creature never even broke its stride despite the fact that the rancher said that a portion of it “turned red.” They trotted on until they were out of sight, but multiple people reported seeing one or both of them in the area over the next several months, although none reported seeing any bloody fur and no blood was found at the site of the shooting. Some long, white hairs were recovered from a barb on a fence and sent to a lab for identification. So far, no match to any known animal has been found, and there are no large, white animals indigenous to the region.

    Drawing of ChupacabraThree years earlier in 2005, it was the heyday of Chubacabra in Puerto Rico, and paranormal investigator Nick Redfern was there looking into the matter. The standard description of the creature is that it looks basically humanoid but seriously ugly with spikes on its back and big, red, glowing eyes. What it generally leaves behind are dead farm animals with two puncture marks on their necks that have been completely drained of blood. (Chupacabra means “goat sucker,” as in “That damn thing sucked all of the blood out of my goat!”)

    While he was there, he met a farmer who told him about the night that he lost a pig and several rabbits to the creature. While the carnage was going on, the rest of the animals were raising such a commotion that it woke the man up and he ran outside with a machete. It was too dark for him to see what the predator was, but he was able to make out a large shape and hurled the machete at it. To his surprise, he heard a sound like the blade bouncing off of metal plating. At least that was enough to scare it off. Upon examining the carcass the following morning, he found that the pig had three rather than the usual two puncture wounds on its throat, so this would appear to have been the work of one of the rare armor-plated three-fanged Chupacabras.

    Okay, throwing a machete at something doesn’t qualify as shooting at it, but the sound of metal hitting metal in this instance has some interesting parallels with at least two other cases, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

    Spring-heeled Jack was a humanoid who primarily accosted young women, usually in the greater London area, off and on beginning in 1837 and possibly continuing all the way up to 1920. Early victims described him as being a hideous man in a long cape and top hat. He later reinvented himself by wearing a superhero-esque bodysuit with a bat wing cloak and helmet. What never changed was that he mostly liked to spring upon unsuspecting girls and fondle them with metal claws on his fingertips. He got his name from his ability to make impossibly high leaps over high walls and fences or up onto rooftops, some instances of which were seen by multiple witnesses in clear daylight. He also occasionally breathed a blue, plasma-like substance from his mouth into the faces of his victims. This left them either unconscious or severely disoriented.

    During the 1870s, Jack ventured outside of London and put in a number of appearances at two different military bases. Naturally, the men there were armed and fired at him on at least two occasions. As you can probably guess at this point, the shots had no effect, but the soldiers reported that when their bullets struck him that it made a sound like bullets hitting sheet metal. That sounds vaguely familiar.

    Fast forward to rural Kentucky in the 1950s and what has come to be known as the case of the Hopkinsville Goblins.

    People shooting at unknown entities isn’t just relegated to the files of cryptids or mysterious, fire-breathing men in melodramatic costumes. At least in one instance, the participants fired repeatedly at apparent space aliens over a period of hours. It is, as far as I can determine, the longest lasting and most investigated case of people shooting at the unknown on record. Even the military got involved in this one.

    There were 11 people in the Sutton home on their farm near the little town of Kelly, Kentucky on the night of August 21, 1955. One of their guests, Billy Ray Taylor, told everyone that he had seen a flying saucer come down from the sky and that it appeared to have landed behind a ridge near the edge of the property. No one believed him.

    Hopkinsville goblinAbout an hour later, the family dog began barking, and Taylor and Elmer Sutton went outside armed with a 20 gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle to see what was going on. What they saw was a small, glowing creature with long arms, a large head, big yellow eyes and huge, pointed ears walking toward the house. Even though it had its arms raised above its head, they began shooting. However, instead of falling down dead like a reasonable person would, the creature did a backflip and then scurried off into the woods. But he would be back…again and again, and usually with a friend.

    To make a long story short, the shooting continued for the rest of the night and didn’t end until shortly before dawn. The usual scenario was that the “aliens” would peer into the house through a window and the men would shoot at it until it ran off. One exception was when they shot one of them out of a tree. It then floated gently down to the ground before running away. By the time it was all over, the house was completely shot up and nearly every window blown out.

    More than 20 state and local law enforcement officers and at least two members of the military investigated the case but found no evidence to confirm the tale other than the seriously damaged house. One final note of interest: the witnesses all claimed that when the beings were struck that it sounded like bullets hitting a metal bucket. Where have I heard that before?

    But shooting at actual alien beings isn’t the only way that we’ve made our “guests” feel unwelcome. In 1980, Peruvian fighter pilot Oscar Santa Maria Huerta fired an estimated 60 rounds from his 30mm cannon into a spherical object approximately 30 feet in diameter as it hovered near the La Joya Air Base at Arequipa, Peru. By the pilot’s own account, the object “absorbed” the bullets without sustaining any apparent damage. He then spent the next 20 minutes chasing the object around the sky but never again managed to get off another shot at it. Every time that he got it in his sights and was about to fire, the object would suddenly dart out of the way as if it knew what was about to happen.

    I seriously doubt that this is the only time that a military aircraft has fired on a UFO, but it’s the only case that I’m aware of where the pilot has confirmed the details of the event to the media and the U.S. Department of Defense. This public confirmation took place in 2013 at the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC where Huerta told his story in person.

    It probably won’t come as any surprise to most of you that there have been numerous reports of people shooting at BHMs (big hairy monsters, aka Sasquatch or Bigfoot), and some say that they are sure that they hit it, although we obviously have no dead bodies or even blood samples to confirm this. Perhaps the most well-documented case happened in rural Franklin County, Missouri in 1969. A man named Arbie Boyer called the local police shortly after 2:00 am to report that he had pumped nine .22 caliber bullets into the chest of a seven foot BHM that was standing just 20 feet outside of his front door. Unphased, the creature turned and began to walk away. Rather than just being relieved that it didn’t beat the crap out of him for shooting it, Boyer went back into his house and got his .45 caliber rifle. He got off a single shot into the creature’s right shoulder area before it disappeared into the trees. About a dozen officers spent two hours searching the woods but found no trace of it.

    Fortunately, in my opinion, not everyone who has been armed at the time of their strange encounter has felt compelled to fire their weapon. Bob Gimlin, of the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, later said that he wished that he had shot the beast so that they would’ve had proof that they Bigfoot closeupweren’t lying. He did have a rifle, and while Roger Patterson was busy filming, Gimlin rode his horse across the creek bed to give himself a better shot, dismounted, took out the rifle and took aim in case the creature turned and advanced on them. Since it didn’t, he held his fire. As we’ve seen, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. He most likely could have fired away and it wouldn’t have made any difference, except that she might have turned around and flipped him off, which would have been hilarious.

    Another guy who didn’t pull the trigger was hunting guide Don Young. He claims to have seen the Michigan Dogman five times, once in southern Wisconsin as it was crossing a dirt road deep in the woods and he happened to have his rifle in hand. He took aim at it but decided not to shoot since he was afraid that it might be a man in a costume and he didn’t want to commit murder. And not that I condone this sort of behavior, but it might have been interesting to know what would have happened if he had taken the shot. As far as I know, no one has ever shot a Dogman before. I wonder if it would have sounded like shooting a metal bucket, but I doubt it. That doesn’t seem to happen with the hairy ones.

    Perhaps a better method of dealing with unknown beasties is the approach taken by Linda Bradshaw when she and her family began finding large footprints near the house on their ranch outside of Sedona, Arizona. Instead of shooting at it, she started leaving out plates of fruit overnight which she claims to have found eaten the next morning. There’s no way of knowing for sure if this made the BHM feel more kindly disposed toward them (or even if it was the one eating the fruit), but it at least seems to have befriended one of their horses.  

    They had a pregnant mare at the time which they were keeping in a separate pin from the rest of the herd. On several occasions, they found these large footprints inside of her pin. Unlike some other cases in which animals react with fear to unusual visitors, the mare appeared not to mind at all. Bradshaw grew up around horses and said that it’s easy to spot the telltale signs of a frightened animal in a pin. When they get scared, their instinct is to run. But when they’re in an enclosure, there’s nowhere to go, so they run in circles and leave a distinctive pattern of frenzied hoofprints. Bradshaw claims that she never saw any indication of this on the mornings when they found the giant prints in her pin, which clearly indicates that her horse had no fear of this creature whatsoever. Maybe we should take our cue from her.

    Those three or four of you who are regular visitors to this site might have noticed that I’ve made several references in the past to using a rubber chicken and/or a dog whistle to rid yourself of unwanted monsters. The rubber chicken thing is just part of my shtick, but the dog whistle might actually work. In The Eighth Tower, John Keel mentions that UFOs and monsters alike tend to flee from loud noises like approaching sirens. He further stated that you can clear the skies of UFOs with one good blast from a bugle. I’m not sure how he knew that unless he actually tried it, but if it’s true, I can’t help but wonder how they would respond to something of so high a frequency that humans can’t even hear it. I carry one with me at all times just in case I ever get the chance to find out.

    3 eyed smiley faceFinally, I know that it greatly annoys many cryptozoologists and extraterrestrialists when I imply that these entities are anything other than flesh and blood beings. Nevertheless, I maintain that there’s just something not quite “normal” about them…at least in the sense of their being normal animals or normal beings from another planet. How else do you explain their stubborn refusal to be harmed by deadly weapons?

    In any case, the bottom line is this: Please don’t shoot the weirdos. It doesn’t do any good, and you just end up looking foolish in the process.






    and all the devils are here