Timothy Green Beckley. The UFO Silencers. Inner Light Publications. 1990.

The Men in Black are a fascinating, frightening and absurd part of the UFO phenomenon. Their behaviour is threatening yet very stupid. If you want to keep the secret of the UFOs under wraps you'd hardly expect any organisation to employ agents who act like B-movie actors. MIB behaviour, their clothing and mode of transport is highly conspicuous. Beckley presents a wide range of MIB reports by famous and not-so-famous ufologists, and even includes a few first-hand accounts of MIB visitations.

There are a lot of bizarre stories here, including a MIB abduction of a woman, the revelation that Prince Philip used to keep a huge map of the world which pinpointed flying saucer sightings and contacts, and several stories of UFO researchers being followed and threatened by MIB. Many of the stories can be attributed to simple paranoia and/or hoaxes. I'm sure certain people would enjoy scaring ufologists or UFO witnesses by pretending to be MIB. The value of Beckley's book is that it gives a more direct view of MIB experiences. It doesn't provide an in-depth or scholarly analysis of the subject, but it does provide an excellent guide to grass roots attitudes towards the subject. Indeed, since it is aimed at a popular audience, it is likely to fuel and reinforce the MIB mythology as incubated originally by Albert Bender way back in 1952.

John Keel, in his short introduction to the book, mentions that MIB feature in fairy lore, oriental belief systems and witchcraft. It is a pity this aspect of MIB visitations is not explored more fully. In my own files I have the following story from Folk Tales and Superstitions by Sidney Oldall (EP Pub. Ltd., 1973, orig. pub. 1895 - p.l35l.) In Crowle, Lincolnshire, a mysterious man in black told a farmer that he would finish building a road for him. The only condition was that the farmer had to look away and not turn to see the feat accomplished. He complied with the wish but when he heard hammering and tinkering behind him he could not resist turning round. As soon as he clapped eyes on a number of little men working on the road they vanished instantly. the road went back to its old condition and could never be mended.

This account was associated with the activities of Robin Goodfellow and the god of the ways. Like modern MIB, and their associated UFOs, we are not meant to see or understand them. In the past and present MIB warn of the dangers of contemplating things beyond human ken. They are the celestial mafia who warn us not to tamper with or research aspects and elements of the unknown.

As a final note, the moody Hollywood post-war films that are now categorised as film noir seem to create the mood and style that has brought MIB to real life. Alienation and disillusionment combined with a lack of moral purpose or meaning are prevalent features of film noir. The MIB were created by Hell and Hollywood. therefore Albert Bender was the first, but not the last. UFO researcher to fall victim to the satanic casting couch. -- Nigel Watson, from Magonia 40, August 1991.


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