Numerous witnesses of UFO sightings, as well as experts who study the phenomena, have reported having received visits from unusual, sometimes official-looking persons inquiring about the matter throughout the years. Such encounters spawned tales of “Men in Black,” the mysterious and sometimes terrifying individuals that have pervaded the mythology surrounding the UFO subject for decades.
Most likely, some of the Men in Black visits were actual government employees, as a number of US government departments have studied or indicated an interest in the subject for a variety of reasons. One such notification, dated July 30, 1947, was distributed by the FBI to all of its offices and included the following part labeled “Flying Discs”:
The Bureau, at the request of the Army Air Forces Intelligence, has agreed to cooperate in the investigation of flying discs….You should investigate each instance which is brought to your attention of a sighting of a flying disc in order to ascertain whether or not it is a bona fide sighting, an imaginary one or a prank.
Although the FBI stated its participation with UFO investigations was brief, it is possible that FBI inquiries into early UFO claims were the reason for at least a few purported Men in Black encounters.
“The first Bureau investigations [into UFOs] we are aware of began in the summer of 1947—the time of the now well-known incident in Roswell, New Mexico,”reads an FBI FAQ page at the Bureau’s website.
“A rash of reports of flying objects—some shaped like “flapjacks,” saucers, discs, and even a large circular saw blade that supposedly hit a lightning rod on top of a church—started to surface and make headlines across the nation.”
Add “donut” to the list of weird forms connected with saucers, since one of the early occurrences bringing both flying saucers and mysterious men in black coats to the forefront of the UFO subculture happened in June 1947, with the now-famous Maury Island UFO encounter.
The well-known instance involves Harold Dahl, who claimed to have observed half a dozen bizarre, donut-shaped flying objects floating over his boat while on a conservation trip around Washington’s Maury Island. Suddenly, one of the objects began to descend, eventually “fluttering and dissolving” into what seemed to be metallic debris, raining down from the ship and wrecking Dahl’s boat, hurting Dahl’s kid in the arm, and even killing their family dog.
According to a press memo released by the National Military Establishment Office of Public Information on April 27, 1949, publisher Ray Palmer sent pilot Kenneth Arnold to investigate the Maury Island incident, establishing contact with a pair of Army A-2 Intelligence officers and requesting that they investigate.
“Thus began a story of secret hotel meetings and mysterious anonymous telephone calls.”Press memo read
Following this strange turn of events, the plane carrying the two police on their way back to Hamilton Field, California, from their inquiry crashed, killing both men on board.
Although Dahl’s assertions were supported by truly bizarre circumstances, the United States authorities were unconvinced and the case was dismissed as fake. Gray Barker, a UFO researcher who detailed the case in his 1956 book” They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers”, didn’t have the same experience.
Dahl stated that the morning following his UFO encounter, he had a visit from a man dressed in a black suit who accompanied him to a diner, according to Barker’s description of the incident. Dahl and his son were present when the odd guy in black recounted the events of the previous day with astonishing precision, as observed by Dahl and his son.
“What I have said is proof to you that I know a great deal more about this experience of yours than you will want to believe,”The man in black allegedly told Dahl.
Whether or whether it was true, Dahl’s testimony may have been one of the earliest reported visits from what has come to be known as “Men in Black” throughout the course of the decades that have followed. A separate purported incident related by Albert K. Bender, who described his visitors as being almost spectral characters dressed in long black robes rather than porkpie hats and business suits, is considered to be the “classic” in this regard.
While reports of encounters with Men in Black would continue to be reported over the years, one of the most unusual accounts of such a character involves a story told by Dr. Herbert Hopkins of Maine, a doctor who specialized in hypnosis and became involved in the investigation of a UFO incident known as “The Stephens Case,” in which alleged teleportation was said to have occurred.
Following his professional involvement in the case, Hopkins claimed to have had a strange encounter with a mysterious, dark-suited stranger and the case was notable for being one of the most credible reported visits from a “Man in Black,” as well as one of the most unsettling encounters of its kind.
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