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.

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Coming soon…

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Saucer Country

Saucer Country is a new comic book series written by Paul Cornell, drawn by Ryan Kelly and published by Vertigo.

Arcadia Alvarado, the leading Democratic candidate for President of the United States, says she was “abducted by aliens.”As the Mexican-American Governor of New Mexico, she’s dealing with immigration, budget cuts and an alcoholic ex. She’s about to toss her hat into the ring as a candidate for President in the most volatile political climate ever. But then…a lonely road and a nightmarish encounter have left her with terrible, half-glimpsed memories… SAUCER COUNTRY is a dark thriller that blends UFO lore and alien abduction with political intrigue, all set in the hauntingly beautiful Southwest.

The first issue has already been getting rave reviews in the comic press and the series looks set to be a sophisticated and enjoyable take on the UFO mythology. With so much rich material to play with, this could really be a fun, wild ride. Writes Cornell:

To know a country, know its mythology.  And this is the only modern American mythology. 

I’ve also been thrilled to spot this on Paul’s blog:

I should also take this opportunity to once again thank Mark Pilkington, whose fantastic book Mirage Men is one of the few sane works about UFO mythology.  Mark is one of the major influences on Saucer Country.

Shucks! I’ll hope to have a cameo appearance in a future issue!

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The Abuses of Enchantment


Here’s a video of a presentation I gave for Dr David Luke’s ‘Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness’ lecture series at London’s October Gallery in February 2011. The talk incorporates and expands upon some of the ideas outlined in Mirage Men.

In this audio-visual presentation Mark shows how military and intelligence operators have shaped and exploited beliefs in UFOs, ghosts, monsters, vampires, and elements from folklore and conspiracy theory to create an armoury of supernatural weapons of mass deception capable of manipulating consciousness on a grand scale. The inspiration for these toys, tools and techniques has come from a range of sources including fiction, cinema, stage magic, advertising and occultism and has, for many of its intended and unintended targets, altered their very perception and understanding of the world around us.

David is putting together an anthology based around this long-running series, to be published in the near future by my own Strange Attractor Press.

[Video by Gyrus]
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Mr Janus: The spaceman who came to tea

Nightmare #3

…in addition to being disturbed by the realization that Janus was reading his mind, he was even more disturbed by the fact that this extraordinary man ‘knew all Britain’s top-secret nuclear secrets’…. [Horsley was convinced that] they come from another planet somewhere in the universe but not in our galaxy. They are benign, not aggressive and, like us, are explorers.

Nick Redfern on the strange case of RAF Air Marshal Sir Peter Horsley and his visitor from Outer Space, Mr Janus. Was it a high-concept prank, a test of Horsley’s sanity, or of his loyalty to Crown and Country? Or was Mr Janus really who he claimed to be?

Read all about it here

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Iranian space tech brought down US drone?


In a topical variant of the super-weapon myth discussed in Mirage Men,  an Iranian scientist with a background in nuclear reactor technology claims that the US RQ-170 drone, allegedly brought down over Iran on 4 December 2011, was captured using his own ‘advanced space technology’.

It’s unclear whether Mehran Tavakoli Kashe’s technology also informed the Iranian flying saucer programme, but the engineer is adamant that there is no space technology in the world to compete with his own.

Continue reading

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Pinochet buzzed by UFO?

One for the very interesting if true dept, from Inexplicata:

Mexico’s NOTIMEX news agency published an interesting news item yesterday: a statement by Spanish UFO researcher / novelist J.J. Benítez suggesting that former Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet’s estancia was visited by a UFO on September 6, 1986. 

The object hovered over the property and was seen by “the General and all of the Police forces,” said Benitez…“A day before the coup attempt against General Pinochet, a UFO hovered over his estate and was seen by all the Police forces, his entire escort, the Carabineros – everyone, both inside and out. Weapons were drawn and bedlam ensued.”

The next day

…a commando raid by elements of the FPMR group (Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez) ambushed the dictator’s motorcade as it traveled through the Cajón del Maipo region outside the capital city of Santiago. Five escorts were killed during the attack, and Pinochet himself sustained injuries.

What did the UFO look like?
Was it a portent of the changes to come?
A warning from the Mirage Men?
A Soviet drone sent to sow fear and confusion before the FPMR strike?
Or is it a plotline for a new novel from Benítez?

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Japanese spherical drone

With material costs of about £1000 per unit, this incredibly maneuvrable UAV could make for a great surveillance tool or perhaps an upmarket big boys’ toy.

I wonder if it might be related to the spherical flying somethings that I saw in Yosemite in 1995 and describe in the opening chapter of Mirage Men.

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RIP Gabe Valdez

Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Valdez  passed away in his sleep at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico aged 67, on 7 August. Here he is on the right, alongside our mutual friend Project Beta author Greg Bishop.

Retired for some years, Gabe was a much-respected and honoured New Mexico State Police Officer and Gaming Control Board Investigator, based for many years around Dulce, New Mexico. It was here, during the mid-1970s, that Gabe took a lead in investigating a rash of bizarre cattle ‘mutilations’, conducted by persons unknown, and a wave of seemingly-connected UFO sightings. As a result, he was drawn into the sad and strange story of physicist and UFO enthusiast Paul Bennewitz, as told at length in Mirage Men.

John Lundberg and I met and interviewed Gabe twice at his home, where he was unfailingly friendly and generous with his time. Gabe had clearly been a fearless lawman, but he was still uncomfortable talking about the complex story that he’d uncovered around Dulce and the looming Archuleta Mesa, making at times for an awkward interview. Gabe believed that he had discovered a clandestine military operation and felt sure that his research back in the 1970s and ’80s had drawn the attention of some unpleasant characters, leading to his phone being tapped, amongst other things.

While no doubt some natural animal deaths were mistakenly attributed to the unseen mutilators, there’s a great deal of evidence, much of it pieced together by Gabe and his fellow investigators, pointing towards an organised programme of some kind. Although its true purpose remains unclear, over the years writers and researchers have connected the cattle deaths to the monitoring of radiation leaks or viral contagion and secret biological weapon tests, as well as to the inevitable extraterrestrials, Satanic / Masonic / Illuminati / NWO activity and, more mundanely, human poachers.

I’d like to think that one day we’ll learn what was really going on around Dulce, New Mexico, no matter how sinister, or prosaic, it really was. In the mean time, hats off to Gabe Valdez, a man who put himself on the line and made the concerns of his community his own.

Here are the Wikipedia and FBI pages on the mutilation wave, the now defunct National Institute for Discovery Science’s cattle mutilations archive – Gabe did research for the group – and an interesting NIDS paper connecting the deaths to an American BSE epidemic. Be prepared to open a steaming can of worms. 

For those seeking a more digestible summary of the mutilation phenomenon, after the break I’ve posted some video featuring Gabe, and extracted material from Mirage Men about his research.

Continue reading

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Mirage Men at dorkbot #75, 15 July 2011

dorkbotlondon #75

19:00-22:00, 15 July 2011
Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL (directions below)

Featuring the scientific and slightly irrational…

  • Automatically generating dubstep – Dan Stowell
  • e-Material Girl – Rain Ashford
    some examples of my adventures exploring wearable technology & electronic art using microcontrollers, sensors & e-textiles
  • Persuading global brands to Open Source – Joel Gethin Lewis
    Joel is going to talk about his experiences with Coca Cola, and persuading them to embrace Open Source in their recent 24 hour music project
  • Flying Saucers are (almost) Real! – Dreaming the Future from 1716 to the Present – Mark Pilkington
    Mark Pilkington, author of ‘Mirage Men: A Journey in Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs’, presents a true history of human attempts to build flying saucers.
  • Chrominoes – Mike Harrison

    By the way, Mike Harrison was behind this awesome UFO installation:

More at dorkbot

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