Behold, the real Men in Black

This footage, and its lively voice over, is what I believe to be the first appearance of the Men in Black (MIBs) on camera. The MIBs of course are the sinister, omniscient silencers who show up to question UFO witnesses and intimidate them into keeping quiet about their sighting, made famous by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the big budget film series. [For the record, John Lundberg has just told me that a third MIB film is due this year, so it’s possible that this footage is viral advertising for that.]

I didn’t get a chance to talk too much about MIBs in Mirage Men, though they’re one of the more entertaining ephemeral elements of the UFO lore and a great example of a smart prank that went viral. They’re a demonisation of the real military interviewers (themselves, I suspect, occasionally members of the intelligence community disguised as Air Force or Navy employees) who would sometimes show up to ask UFO witnesses about what they had seen, and indeed advise them to keep silent about it, especially if the interviewee was already in the military.

From its origins  in Gray Barker’s 1950s flying saucer books like They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers, the MIB lore was developed by his friends and co-authors John Mothman Prophecies Keel and Jim Saucer Smear Moseley, who enjoyed pranking each other as much as they did other UFO enthusiasts. [Note that Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are named ‘J’ and ‘K’ in the MIB films, for John Keel].

For those who aren’t familiar with the MIBs origins in Gray Barker’s imagination, here’s a good, personal overview of the story: Gray Barker: My Friend, the Myth-Maker.

About Mark

Author of 'Mirage Men' & 'Far Out' and publisher/editor at Strange Attractor Press.
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6 Responses to Behold, the real Men in Black

  1. PurrlGurrl says:

    Staged footage. But, entertaining.

  2. neal says:

    The MIB were common on Offutt AFB,Ne, in the early eighties. They seemed to manage the OSI, and caused some trouble about thirty stories down.

    Once they tried to run me over while crossing a street, I stopped, but that big black car nicked my watch. I have owned two more of the same watches over the years, the Olympia Moon Watch, and both have nicks in the exact same place from seemingly disparate and unrelated circumstances.

    Of course, the temporal order of events can seem surreal, maybe that is some kind of interaction, for what that is worth.

  3. Steve O'Rourke says:

    “Fedaro” hats? A.P.I.T.? Hmm….

  4. CDA says:

    The only real Men in Black are the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ rugby team, who were formed in 1903.

  5. Actually, this photo taken by Timothy Green Beckley a.k.a. ‘Mr. UFO’ should be considered the 1st image of an actual M.I.B.

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