Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, April 2022
Variations on the MIB Syndrome
by: Brent Raynes
Allen Greenfield (left), regarded as an expert on MIBs, and Brent Raynes (right) conferring at Nashville's Strange Realities conference in October
Allen Greenfield (L) and this author met up at the Strange Realities conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2021. A ufologist and occultist going back to 1960, he is considered very well read and researched on the MIB topic. Keel put him on my radar back in 1970 when he wrote me: “Allen Greenfield has published a list of references from books on witchcraft and the like, all describing rather typical MIB types.”
The MIB (Men in Black) phenomenon is but another archetypal piece of the vast puzzle of craziness that we catalogue beneath that broad umbrella of high-strangeness we today simply call the "paranormal." Researcher Allen Greenfield long ago helped John Keel to recognize how ufology's brush with MIBish events and manifestations was but a very small portion of a very big picture with historical branches that extend back many centuries into the annals of the occult, religion, witchcraft, demonology, shamanism, and assorted other recorded labels and lore of the so-called supernatural.
History is jampacked with bizarre tales of sinister men in black figures. The most sinister I'd say were the mysterious MIB-type characters that were associated with the Black Death that spread throughout Europe between 1347 and 1350, but that continued and periodically resurfaced with devastating consequences up until the 1700's - roughly four centuries - with a human death toll estimated at some 100 million, as researched and chronicled by William Bramley in his book The Gods of Eden. Though many historians today blame much of what happened on flea-infested rodents, records between 1347 and the late 1600's showing that rodent infestation was a problem prior to several outbreaks of the Black Death, Bramley however found that only a minority of the cases seemed related to an existing rodent infestation. "The greatest puzzle about the Black Death is how it was able to strike isolated human populations which had no contact with earlier infected areas," he noted. "The epidemics also tended to end abruptly." Meanwhile, the other explanation for such outbreaks, called the "pneumonic" plague, was attributed to over crowding, poor hygienic conditions, and conditions related to cold weather and poor ventilation. However, Bramley again points to some troubling facts with such explanations. Many of these outbreaks occurred during the summer, in warm weather and in uncrowded regions.
As one would expect, historians typically overlook reports of strange phenomena reported back during those time periods as the product of (as Bramley himself worded it) "fantasies and superstitions of badly frightened minds." And yes, he admitted that some of the unusual aerial phenomena that were reported to have preceded outbreaks of the plague, may have been regular comets, meteors and fireballs, but then some of the descriptions did match closely with our modern UFOs (which too are often mixed in with IFOs).
But then there was a second phenomenon that he described as "the appearance of frightening humanlike figures dressed in black. Those figures were often seen on the outskirts of a town or village and their presence would signal the outbreak of an epidemic almost immediately."
Bramley for example cited this one report (there were many others) from a 1682 account:
"In Brandenburg [in Germany] there appeared in 1559 horrible men, of whom at first fifteen and later on twelve were seen. The foremost had beside their posteriors little heads, the others fearful faces and long scythes, with which they cut at the oats, so that the swish could be heard at a great distance, but the oats remained standing. When a quantity of people came running out to see them, they went on with their mowing."
As happened elsewhere, this strange visit was immediately followed by a severe outbreak of the plague. Bramley speculated: "What were the long scythe-like instruments they held that emitted a loud swishing sound? It appears that the 'scythes' may have been long instruments designed to spray poison or germ-laden gas. This would mean that the townspeople misinterpreted the movement of the 'scythes' as an attempt to cut oats when, in fact, the movements were the act of praying aerosols on the town."
"Strange men dressed in black, 'demons,' and other terrifying figures were observed in other European communities," Bramley added. "The frightening creatures were often observed carrying long 'brooms,' 'scythes,' or 'swords' that were used to 'sweep' or 'knock at' the doors of people's homes. The inhabitants of those homes fell ill with plague afterwards. It is from these reports that people created the popular image of 'Death' as a skeleton or demon carrying a scythe. The scythe came to symbolize the act of Death mowing down people like stalks of grain."
Like many other components of the paranormal, the MIB syndrome is composed of a variety of complex and seemingly contradictory parts. With all of these enigmatic compositions of perception and experience, researchers will do well to familiarize themselves with relevant literature dealing with the likes of parapsychology, folklore, and religious studies, from apparitions to Jungian archetypes, and becoming grounded in classical psychology and physics, along with some quantum mechanics and theory for good measure too.
And, alas, while entertaining the many outside-of-the-box aspects, ideas, theories and beliefs that emerge as one ventures down the rabbit hole of the "paranormal," it is important to remain objective and scientifically grounded as much as possible while one navigates the turbulent and subjective undercurrents that embody this oft-times radical journey of exploration into the unknown.
Sinister men in black also figured into the famous religious wave of Wales during the winter of 1904-05, along with mysterious aerial lights. In one account two men claimed to have seen one of these lights appear above an MIB figure whereupon (the account read) "a white ray darting from which pierced the figure, which thereupon vanished."
Allen Greenfield, the author of The Complete Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts and Secret Rituals of the Men in Black, now combined into a single volume, began delving into the occult and ufology back in 1960, started practicing ceremonial magick in 1969, and today is known as a bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church. He is quite familiar with these historical MIB connections as well as modern occurrences. Back in 1991-92, he organized and conducted a series of 30 experiments [each experiment taking a full week to do] using Enochian "Keys" or "Calls" with a system that is called the Ritual Opening of the Portal of the Adepti. "The entities on 'the other side' of the Aethyr/portal were only seen by the scryer," Greenfield explained to me. A scryer is someone who clairvoyantly concentrates on a surface or object to aid in envisioning things. Often a crystal ball is used, which is also called a shewstone. "During the scrying, my attention was focused on the induction and the banishing after. During the session, I was focused on security of the session, and my Tyler [son] was doing similar guarding of the other door. After each session, since the participants were (by design) uninitiated into Enochian lore. I would read them the scrying of the comparable Aethyr from The Vision and the Voice, and then ask each person for any feedback. When it came round to my employee from my 'day job' he said, 'Well, I didn't experience anything, but who was the guy walking around the circle during the scrying?' Several others chimed in, saying they saw this dark shadowy figure circling our group from behind. The participants, except for the scryer and my Tyler and I were all facing inward, towards the scryer and the shewstone. I did not see the shadowy figure, but whatever it was, it was seen independently by several participants, but no person had entered the temple space."
In order for science to eventually gain some sort of a genuine foothold into this whole bewildering deep enigma, it must thoroughly delve into consciousness and physics both. Be warned though that there's a lot to unpack here. For over seven decades, the "serious" ufologists of the "nuts and bolts" mainstream have largely emphasized presumed ET physics. Their primary concern with the consciousness component was whether or not the witnesses were psychologically credible. The "paranormal" side of consciousness and its possible role in this matter has been grossly neglected, although in recent years a growing number of scientists and others with academic credentials are thankfully being drawn into a fuller perspective of the consciousness/psychic side of this coin. A good example, Beyond UFOs: The Science of Consciousness and Contact with Non Human Intelligence (2018) that took a comprehensive review and analysis of the 3,256 contactees surveyed by the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiences (FREE).
As my friend the late psychiatrist Dr. Berthold E. Schwarz, the author of the two volume UFO Dynamics (1983), once explained to me, "I don't see how one can really study the UFO problem without being aware of the psychic aspect, which seems to exist in so many cases, and if it doesn't, and you look and explore you will discover it somewhere."
While I chose to explore the MIB aspect in this essay, the fact is that whether you choose to explore the comparative UFO/fairy lore (Jacques Vallee's Passport to Magonia, 1969) or UFO/Bigfoot data (Joshua Cutchin and Timothy Renner's Where the Footprints End, Vol. 1 & 2), no matter where you enter into the forest of the forbidden you are going to encounter the same kind of reports embodying comparable bizarreness. FREE came to call all of these interconnected dots "contact modalities," emphasizing how all of these different experiencers, be their encounters with ghosts, spirits, angels, aliens, djinn, bigfoot, fairies, gnomes, etc., etc., ad nausea; they all potentially share a profile with a kind of psychic nexus. Carl Jung would invoke his archetypes of the collective unconscious, synchronicity and psychoid phenomena, John Keel his shape-shifting "ultraterrestrial" energy beings of the "superspectrum," Gordon Creighton and Rosemary Ellen Guilley the plasmoid "djinn," and some like Dr. Schwarz would wrestle with the human "psychodynamics" and complain to me and others how even after examining the best cases "psychiatrically it is my impression that we are still left with a first class mystery. The psychic aspects, aside from giving us a label, really tell us very little. The challenges to our ability to come forth with any type of unifying theory, of course, rouses our deepest resistances."
Beginning back in late 1968, a 21-year-old man in Massachusetts proved himself to be a truly "devoted investigator" for a Norfolk, Virginia UFO group called CAPER (Committee on Aerial Phenomenon Evaluation and Research). One Ramona Clark headed up this group and noted how over a seven month period this young man had displayed admirable qualities in this role. She pointed out how he could be "quite skeptical" when necessary and "sought scientific solution" in his work, and how he was "very careful to send in accurate, precise reports...maps of the area, signed statements from the witnesses, weather reports from the local Coast Guard station, and flight schedules from the local airport."
"Little green men, beauties from Venus and 'men in black' were not his cup of tea," she added. There had been credible seeming cases he was looking into involving landings and occupant reports in his area. But then he began writing letters to Ramona in several different colors of ink. (1) He claimed he was experiencing anxiety and nervousness and not comprehending what was going on.
Concerned Ramona suggested he discontinue his UFO work for awhile and perhaps take his family on a vacation for a few days. He followed her advice and seemed to improve for a short time. But then in late June 1969, he wrote how he was thinking about discontinuing his UFO work altogether. Then shortly after that, on the afternoon of July 3, 1969, Ramona received an operator assisted frantic phone call from the man. Claimed he had just been to the local post office to mail her a letter in which he was informing her of his decision to quit ufology. However, as he exited the building he said he was confronted by three MIBs. "I have never encountered such absolute fear in a human being," Ramona noted.
The next day, Ramona received yet another call. He described how he had taken his family on an outing for the day and upon returning home discovered his collection of UFO maps had been removed from their frames, correspondence had been disturbed, and in fact one of Ramona's letters had been removed from his files. As they talked strange "animalistic sounds, beeps, tones, and voices" interrupted their conversation. "He became quite disturbed and I had to speak harshly to him before he could overcome his hysteria," Ramona reported. "I told 'them' where to go in quite unlady like terms. The phone clicked and we were left alone. Several of our conversations were interrupted in this manner, or cut off completely. The operator could find no cause for the disconnections. Once we were cross-connected and six persons were on the line at the same time which proved rather confusing."
Ramona reported how at one point this young man sent her newspaper clippings regarding a car theft ring that was dealing in Cadillacs, Buicks and Oldsmobiles, in addition to the theft of license printing machines from nearby towns. He claimed that on two occasions he had been followed by black Cadillacs and twice was almost involved in accidents with them. He alleged how he had obtained license numbers but when checked they were unlisted.
"He began to hear voices and see images. These delusions occurred daily. Especially in the shop where he worked. His work made it necessary for him to be around electronic equipment and welding machines. (2) These tools 'brought on the hallucinations of creatures which resembled an alligator with a forked tongue and antenna.'" [A few readers, may recognize this description as John Keel briefly touched upon this account in chapter 15 of his book Strange Creatures from Time and Space (1970)]
Ramona received a phone call from his employer. "Strangely enough, his employer believed him and did his utmost to find the source which caused these images to occur. His employer stated to me that he also felt something in this area - a presence, a heavy feeling!"
Ramona managed to reach out to ufologists in his area who traveled to see him. One of them called Ramona during his visit. He felt the young man was telling the truth and while they were talking on the phone he said that there was a man walking back and forth in front of the house who was "dressed entirely in black, was tall and approximately 55 years old."
Interestingly, Ramona discovered that the young man's grandmother had been a spirit medium. "Her 'guide' had been an Indian," she explained. "She was quite famous in the area for her ability to find lost articles and missing persons. I learned that once she had been followed by black Cadillacs and men dressed in black." Ramona noted also that he had complained of episodes of amnesia. "During one of these seizures, he told me he had seen and spoken with an Indian dressed in a flowing robe! These seizures were followed by muscle cramps and soreness, which usually accompanies a form of epilepsy."
Not long after a psychiatrist interested in the paranormal paid this young man a visit and found him sitting in his home with a shotgun in his lap "waiting for them." He was soon institutionalized. "This was all a part of the 'reflective' aspect and a demonstration of how the human mind sometimes crumbles when faced with the unknown and the inexplicable," Keel wrote.
In 1989, this man reached out to me in correspondence, now released from hospitalization, and we exchanged a number of letters. I shared with Ramona details of our exchange, as she had been the initial and primary investigator on this case. She was concerned as he was reentering the UFO field again and was afraid a repeat of what had happened in 1969 was going to reoccur again.
During our correspondence he did touch upon the psychic family history and how he felt it might have overlapped into his MIB nightmare. He wrote:
"As I was growing up, from age 2 to 7 I grew up with my grandparents. My grandmother's mother, my great grandmother, was a spirit medium. My mother often related they would hear footsteps on the stairs, doors shutting, and find woodstove covers always removed every morning. I can remember sleeping upstairs in a cold back room. I can remember hearing footsteps in the hall and in my room, yet no one would be there. I used to put my head under the covers until they went away. I can remember calling out to my grandmother and telling her to come in my room and put the light on. She would. She would tell me that everything was okay. 'He' would not hurt me. I remember the fear and my now deceased grandmother holding me. The feelings are even now overpowering."
"During my MIB encounters also footsteps were prevalent. ...Once or twice articles floated and some disappeared in front of my eyes. i.e., watches, coins, even a metal cross!!! From my early days as a child to even now I am afraid of the dark. I have been analyzed as a borderline personality."
"My psychiatrist and therapist do not believe in the paranormal. They believe it is (was) coming from my own inner personality conflicts. I know different."
In the now defunct magazine Psychic (February 1974), Ramona had pointed out to me a quote in the readers section from Montague Ullmanm, M.D., of the Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at the Miamonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, in which the writer wrote on the subject of psi and psychosis that "there are certain individuals who as they approach a psychotic break apparently manifest psi sensitivity that is then lost should an actual psychotic break occur." Ramona felt that observation might well have applied to this troubled Massachusetts researcher, and perhaps others encountering similar harrowing situations.
Interestingly, exactly a year after the Massachusetts MIB encounter at the post office, on Friday, July 3, 1970, (3) Ramona had left work some five minutes early. The sky was filled with dark clouds and lightning. Suddenly a well-polished 1970 black Cadillac came flying towards her, but then veered to her left narrowly avoiding a collision. Despite the opaque grey windows she was able to see a "dark, swarthy-looking" driver with high cheekbones and "slightly slanted eyes."
With MIB encounters there can be this pretty strange overlap between perceiving the world, our surrounding environment, as we usually know it and the way it normally is represented to us, and inexplicable variations for a time (especially during an MIB episode) where one is experiencing a mysterious silence, an apparent altered state of consciousness, unexplained time lapses, as well as an absence of normal human traffic nearby. The experiencer may also suddenly find themselves one-on-one with an MIB [or some other unusual or otherworldly presence]. That presence, in and of itself, often possesses qualities and characteristics that contradict criteria for what we consider normal observational standards or artifacts of acceptable human experience. In these cases researchers may struggle to account for the anomalous perceptions reported. The fabric of reality in such instances can mirror our own, but with significant and at times almost dream-like differences. From Jenny Randles' "Oz Effect" to Carl Jung's "psychoid" to the occult's "elementals," there is a theater of the mind that seems to interact or mimic [partially or completely], temporarily substituting our everyday reality with an anomalous alternative.
A young man named Grant Breiland over in North Victoria, British Columbia, encountered two MIB types at a K-Mart shopping mall three days after witnessing UFO activity back in October 1981. His story was carefully investigated by Dr. P.M.H. Edwards, a former Professor of Linguistics at the University of Victoria, a gentleman who also was a very serious student of ufology. The story goes that on the afternoon of October 5th, Grant was disturbed to notice two unusual looking men nearby, who appeared to be standing at attention and who were starring at him. They were dressed in extremely dark blue clothing and shoes, were suntanned looking, and had dark eyes (that didn't blink) and black hair.
"Another thing that caused him fear," Edwards noted, "was the - at that moment - total absence of people passing through the vestibules while he was with those 'men.' Yet he distinctly remembered having seen many people walking about inside the store and along the outside sidewalk, since all the doors are transparent." The strange men attempted to engage him in conversation, speaking in what he described as a monotonous, robot-type voice. However, as they spoke their lips did not move, which naturally struck him as odd, plus their lips were the same color as their skin. Their faces were devoid of expression.
"What is your name?" one of them asked. "I'm not going to tell you," the young man replied. The other man then asked, "Where do you live?" Again he let them know he wasn't going to tell them. Then that same man asked, "What is your number?" At this point, he remained silent. He said they simply starred at him for about 5 seconds and then in unison together they turned on their heels and walked out the main doors to the sidewalk outside.
Edwards noted, "The strange thing, now, was that whereas in the vestibule Grant had distinctly seen very many people walking up and down the sidewalk outside, and many cars driving past, yet when he went out through the main doors to follow the 'men' there was no sign of life anywhere, and no moving cars."
Outside it was raining and the witness watched the two strange men walking across a muddy field. When they reached a point where they were about three quarters of the way across, they simply seemed to disappear into thin air. Rushing out into the muddy field himself he was surprised that he was unable to find any footprints of the MIBs!
Johnny Sands, a singer, songwriter and stuntman had just arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada on a tour to promote his first country-western album. He was going to be visiting radio stations and newspapers to publicize his upcoming appearance at the Sahara Hotel.
As Sands had been in Vegas several times before, he decided to go for a ride. He headed out to a western town nearby called Old Nevada, which he had once worked at as a stuntman. However, he soon found that he was lost some 14 miles out in the desert and so turned his car around to head back. It was shortly after 10 p.m., January 29, 1976. It was then that he noticed something in the sky. "It looked like an oversized giant blimp, but with lights rotating around it," he told me. "As I seen it, my car began to malfunction." He pulled over to the side of the road. "As I raised the hood, I could see that the object was still hovering above me and as I looked up a flash of light descended to the ground in front of my car about - I don't know - maybe 300, 400 feet in front. As it hit, I could see from the brightness of the light two figures standing, and they began walking toward me. As they began walking toward me I realized that I was motionless. I couldn't move."
They were pale looking figures with no visible hair or eyebrows. They looked human, appeared to be very muscular, had a very wide nose, were about 5 foot 7 or 8 inches in height, but with something like fish gills on the sides of their necks.
Only one of the beings came up face-to-face with Sands. "He began to speak, but when he spoke I noticed that he wasn't talking from his mouth. It was like a telephone call long-distance. I looked down and he had some kind of device on his belly, like a belt, and it sounded like it was coming from it."
Sands asked, "Where did you come from?" The humanoid pointed up to the sky. Then he spoke and asked Sands what he was doing there. "I'm doing a record," he recalled saying. "I'm a country music singer." The being seemed to understand. The being then produced a silver sphere that grew in size from about a grapefruit to a basketball. "Then he let go of it and it began to rotate in a motion with the circle and as it did that he would put his fingers over the top of it and like firecrackers would go off on top of this ball, and as it went off he said, 'You see nuclear explosions are causing a problem in the solar system. These things that you're setting off on this earth are causing troubles not only for you but for us and we cannot have this kind of thing to continue because it is going to upset the balance of everything that we intend for the future.'"
Sands asked, "How old are you?" The being answered, "We are before the beginning of what you know as time."
On his return to Las Vegas afterwards, Sands wasn't sure what to think of his strange encounter. It seemed so real but yet it was so strange. Had it all been a hallucination? He told John Romero, the director of the Sahara Hotel, who Sands said believed his story and told him he'd need to take measures to help verify his account in the eyes of others, like submitting to a polygraph, voice analysis, and hypnosis, which Sands agreed to do, and soon his story was a frontpage sensation in the Las Vegas Sun.
Later at the Sierra Hotel, Sands would find himself with several people as an artist tries to reconstruct the alien's facial appearance that he said that he had seen. As the artist got to the “gills” he commented that it seemed odd to him that such a being would have both a big nose and gills. He wondered why they would have both. “And two men walked up, dressed in black,” Sands told me. “One of the men...leaned over, almost like a robot, in front of my face, and he said, 'That's because of where they're from.' He said, 'You see, there's a planet in the solar system of a star called Sirius and that planet is an aquatic type planet, which is half the time under water and half of it is on land.”
Then one of the strangers patted Sands on the shoulder, just like he said the alien had done, telling Sands, “We've got to go now, but we will see you again real soon,” and quickly left the room. Sands asked a security guard to follow them. “The halls would normally be jam packed, but for some reason there was nobody in any of the hallways,” Sands said. “Nobody except us. These two men walked down the hallway with security right behind them. He was less than 15 feet behind them. They went out two double doors and before the doors could close he grabbed the (one) door and was pushing it open. When he went out, I saw him lean forward, look both ways, look across the street, he turned around and walked back. He was as pale as the aliens I was just showing you on the picture. He said, 'You won't believe this. Them people vanished in mid air. There's no cars – there's nobody on the streets.”
Sound familiar? Oz strikes again! I recall noted paranormal author Rosemary Guiley once saying something like, who is the Oz behind the curtain?
Houston we have a problem! Beside the "Oz Effect," we also have other terms that touch upon these oddball recollections, including "screen memories" that are presumably false memory implants of things like an owl or deer, that later in flashbacks, dreams, or hypnosis are revealed to have been alien beings.
A common presumption among UFOlogists is that in a UFO close encounter, or an alleged abduction or contact scenario, an alien intelligence has often tinkered with the minds and memories of experiencers. Many who claim to have had such experiences have described how they felt like they were under the complete control of this alien intelligence. Many feel like the beings are capable of a very powerful mind-to-mind telepathic influence and control over them.
However, from a historical perspective, as already pointed out earlier in this article, we can look back hundreds of years to very similar reports, although the cultural, social and religious lens through which they were perceived and understood at different time periods embodied different and unique beliefs and explanations - cover stories, or other frames of reference if you will.
John Keel felt psychological manipulation was involved and that to cover its tracks and conceal its true identity and purpose this outside intelligence would have to conform to the experiencer's beliefs and expectations, or to whatever might seem plausible to an experiencer of whatever particular time period and culture such an intrusive event might occur in.
There is a growing correlation, and with it an evolving speculation that an experiencer of a UFO CE-3 and beyond is host to a wide range of anomalies. They are often a "repeater" of other UFO-related events, and also someone who has an abnormally high incidence of classic psychic experiences (i.e., ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists, precognitions, healings, psychokinesis, telepathy, cryptids, etc.), what have in recent years come to be called "contact modalities."
The process is a complex one and whatever mechanisms of consciousness are at play here, once a person fully accepts a specific theory or explanation as "the answer" then that's it. Critical thinking, speculation, and discernment all too often go out the window at that point. This is the reason Keel came up with the expression "belief is the enemy."
Back in 1980, before he became a professor of humanities and folklore at New York's Juilliard School, Peter Rojcewicz was one ordinary seeming day sitting quieting by himself in the library of the University of Pennsylvania, reading a UFO book that a professor had recommended he read, when suddenly he noticed a pale, gaunt man standing before him, dressed in a loose black suit with black tie and a bright white shirt. The stranger simply plopped down in a chair across from Rojcewicz, in one single peculiar movement, folded his hands on top of a stack of books before him, and asked Rojcewicz what he was doing. Rojcewicz replied that he was reading about flying saucers whereupon the stranger asked if he'd ever seen one. Rojcewicz replied that he didn't know that much about the subject and he wasn't sure that he was really interested. The man then screamed back, "Flying saucers are the most important fact of the century and you are not interested?!" He then stood up, again in a single odd movement, placed his hand on Rojcewicz's shoulder and delared, "Go well on your purpose." And then left.
"I had a sense that this man was out of the ordinary and that idea frightened me," Rojcewicz would later recall. "I got up and walked around the stacks toward where the reference librarians usually are. The librarians weren't there. There were no guards there - there was nobody else in the library. ...I was utterly alone and terrified." He returned to his seat and tried to pull himself together. "It took me about an hour. Then I got up and everything was back to normal; the people were all there."
"A majority of our MIB seem to be three-dimensional apparitions," John Keel explained to me in a letter back in 1970, adding, "3-D apparitions are not biochemical entities. They are projections of a most sophisticated sort." But then he further explained that some were "possessed persons (who) can be made to play an MIB role." Rojcewicz described in a report for the MUFON UFO Journal (March 1990, #263) an incident near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1983 where an MIB unexpectedly appeared, as if out of thin air in a bookstore. After police arrived he vanished. The main witness named Robert Yates complained of suddenly becoming nauseated, light-headed and weak for no apparent reason. A store clerk there, Yates had been transcribing several audiotapes of MIB narratives for a local ufologist. He felt that his MIB was in fact an "earthly military man in a possession state" who reportedly left behind various papers showing that he held a governmental intelligence and security background.
Greenfield felt that he had his own MIB experience years ago: “It was in Charleston, West Virginia, on or about June 25, 1969, at the National UFO Conference that year. This was, be it noted, in 'Mothman Country' during the Mothman/UFO/MIB wave in that area. I noticed this atypical guy hanging around the convention but not directly involved. He fit the MIB description. When he followed us the last day of the convention across the street from the hotel and hovered behind us when a number of delegates were dining, I decided to take matters into my hands, so I jumped up without warning, knocking over my chair in the process, and he slowly walked to the door of the restaurant and outside, but not before I got in front of him. He paused – his movements seemed 'artificial' and I took a sunlit photo of him with my 35 mm camera. On Sunday in downtown Charleston, be it noted, it was truly quiet and dead. He rounded a corner and I followed, not more than two seconds behind him or it, or whatever, and he was - gone."
Over a year ago, discussing this incident and photograph while Skyping with both Greenfield and Ohio ufologist Rick Hilberg, Hilberg was able to positively identify the man in the photograph. He had met him and talked with him on the phone and felt he was a very disturbed individual. Once he made that identification, I remembered meeting this man myself during a Skywatch at the home of contactee Madeline Teagle of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, one summer night back in the mid-1970s. He was indeed quite an odd character, obsessed with the MIB and UFO subject. I remember he shared with me several photographs taken at a private UFO meeting where Gray Barker had asked him to put in an appearance. He was upfront about how he had done it for Barker, but he claimed he had had experiences that were real and not put on. I even came across a letter Coral Lorenzen, the former founder and director of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization wrote me how she had had some conversations with this man and how she suspected "he is either unbalanced or a very poor liar."
Greenfield had a different take on the man. "As I experienced him, he seemed like a boy possessed. He said, 'I am a man in black in training' in a machine-like voice, and then mysteriously vanished, only to show up at Mary Hyre's office at the Athens Messenger across the river in Ohio. I had heard the Gray (who was among the people at the luncheon) had 'put him up to it' and the guy was apparently pretty weird to begin with, but (like [Albert] Bender before him) the aethereal aspects suggest that this obsessive youth became possessed by - something - and was endowed with a mind and powers other than his own, probably just for the course of the events described."
I asked Greenfield if he cared to comment on the Bender case from the 1950s, to which he replied: "I never met Bender. I entered the field in 1960, and he had fled in terror some years earlier. Turns out, he was interested in magick and the occult as well as flying saucers, decorated his room with all manner of gothic spooky paraphernalia including an altar, and then the men in black appeared to him, gave him access to magick word and summoning technique. Same pattern; if one asks for it, one is likely to get it!"
Way back in April 1972, I made a road trip with a high school buddy to Keel's much written about Mount Misery, Long Island, and across Pennsylvania in search of clues about the MIB. Also near Philadelphia, I did my best to look into a man I was told was very knowledgeable about the occult and the MIB subject, and who a number of people felt was powerfully psychic. He was assisted by a man who also seemed to share "much in common" with the MIB, but how the two were "much more socially acceptable" than regular MIBs, and how they seemed to be "awakening latent awareness in humans" in the area (primarily those involved in metaphysics and witchcraft) while at the same time were "often charming liars" - engaging in what they called "creative truth." The one who most resembled a classic MIB and was most knowledgeable on the subject, I learned was secretly sending along messages and warnings to Keel though a local lady ufologist who had a background in psychiatric social work and who claimed these two men (who she liked to call "genies") had helped somehow resolve some troublesome MIB problems she and her family were experiencing at one point. "My son had MIB dreams at a period when I was deeply involved in the physical investigation of UFOs. (He) would wake up sweating and glassy eyed, crying that 'they' had come for him...Sometimes he would come downstairs and stare out of the window, shaking and resisting efforts to move him. On one occasion, a large black car parked outside the house, without lights... Only when it drove off did (he) calm down. He had no memory of any of this. We also had weird phone calls, a real MIB visiting the house and talking to my daughter, bad smells and TV interference.... all the classic manifestations."
Another local ufologist, who acted as a guide during my visit, introducing me to people who had had experiences with these "genies," and particularly the one who seemed most MIB like. One woman claimed she had met him in the out-of-body state where he appeared to her as a dark hooded figure. My guide shared with me how he'd awakened one night to a strange paralysis that he felt was "what advanced yogis call the 'awakening of the kundalini nerve," and how afterwards he found his mind "able to soar to heights of abstract thought" that were surprisingly "quite advanced," finding himself able to engage in heavy metaphysics discussions in a way he wasn't capable of prior. "It's a strange feeling to have your mind dive deep into the ultimate," he explained.
One night, by coincidence (?), my guide ran into his MIB mentor at a local metaphysical gathering, soon after I had spoken with the woman about meeting him on the astral plane. My guide quickly briefed him on my visit and interests in UFOs and the MIB and before I knew exactly what was going on as my guide opened the door to the man's car and I was face-to-face with him. I soon discovered firsthand how he could really mess with a person's head!
Here's how I described what happened next in my book John A. Keel: The Man, The Myths, and the Ongoing Mysteries (2019):
Naturally my first question was who he was, to which he replied that it didn’t matter and to “call me anything you like.” Then he added that I would need to ask a lot of direct questions in order to get anything meaningful from our conversation. I took a stab at it, beginning with something like whether he had ever had an out-of-body experience, to which he simply replied “yes.” I asked what it was like and he said it was a pure energy state. He began to talk about medical explanations, secondary personalities and such, while I was attempting to direct his focus more onto the paranormal/spiritual areas. Then he said he realized what I was trying to do and that if I would allow him to take the lead with the questions then we could move on. I agreed, and soon we went into a variety of interesting and odd areas of discussion. He said my absolute goal was not to document cases of UFOs, astral projection, and all sorts of other mysterious events, but that I was looking for something deeper and buried below the surface. He said I could continue to delve deeply into the investigation and documentation of case after case and still get nowhere. He told me I had to be careful not to waste my valuable time as so many other potentially “beautiful souls” are doing. He explored my interest in UFOs and got me to talking about my studies of contactees and MIB. He seemed particularly interested in the MIB aspect (imagine that) and displayed obvious knowledge as to how it was supposed to work, saying it was a psychological game (which was Keel’s belief). Whether he was doing a good “cold reading” or a genuine psychic reading, he did tell me things about myself that were accurate, but I can’t honestly say that he acquired such psychically. Regarding the psychological game playing, he also said that he could be, at that very moment, diverting my attention from some other area (where something significant might be going on). I thought that was interesting as we had planned to spend the night inside the home used for these metaphysical gatherings because it was reportedly haunted. But we hadn’t gotten around to getting permission, as my unexpected interview with him had distracted us from doing so, and the place was now closed.
Then things turned rather weird. It was a nice temperature outside, a star-studded night, but suddenly this man decided to put the top up on his convertible, roll up the automatic windows, and turn on the heater. I was forced to roll my window down while he continued to talk in a monotone voice, sounding as calm and cool as a cucumber, so to speak. Then he got into a silly mood, quite a departure from our conversation just moments before. We were talking about the possibility of robot-mechanical MIBs and he began to talk about how fun it would be to torture an MIB and cut one of its fingers off to see if it had blood, at which point he laughed.
The following year, in December, while serving in the US Navy, and while my ship (a destroyer escort) was homeported at a Navy base in Mayport, Florida, a buddy of mine out on liberty in nearby Jacksonville Beach told me he'd run into a strange young man I'd probably like to meet. The unusual stranger gave my friend a business card and indeed sounded like someone I should meet, openly talking with my buddy about UFOs and such. So I quickly tracked him down. This man, who would go out places dressed in a black suit coat, black pants and shoes, with a white turtleneck, wouldn't hesitate to approach complete strangers and begin telling them all about the space people.
He claimed that from an early age he had practiced witchcraft and that he was a walk-in for two space aliens, a male and a female. He would chatter on for hours about these beings and their reality. He said that he and his wife (they were filing for divorce at that time) and some friends were out riding around in a car when something like a fireball came down out of the sky and hovered over the roof of the car. Wanting to get a better look, he said that he climbed out the window of this moving car and it was just a couple or so feet from him, over the roof of the car. He called it an "android." A mechanical thing of some kind. He said later two Adamski-type scout ships had come to his home and the entities came to him in their “true astral form,” resembling glowing white bowling pins! His mother told me how she had once seen two “Ferris wheel” looking objects, large and “quite lit up,” sort of “rolling across the sky,” witnessed also by a neighbor. Were these what this young 26-year-old contactee was describing as Adamski-type scout ships?
While I was questioning him about his alleged dual identity with space intelligences he added that he was an MIB too. I thought to myself, here we go again. He described how one time he felt that the space beings tried to contact him through his black and white television. An insect like head with housefly type eyes appeared at the top of the TV screen and elsewhere a mother ship with smaller UFOs surrounded it also.
One of Keel's unfulfilled ambitions, since he felt it would be virtually impossible for him to run down a saucer and interrogate any of its crewmembers, was to come upon a physical MIB driving around in one of those black Cadillacs and interrogate one of them. He reportedly had a couple or so near misses where he arrived at homes just minutes after the MIB had allegedly paid someone a visit. So that seemed more of a plausible possibility, and Keel had claimed that he had received an anonymous phone call one time that directed him to a location where he did encounter a black Cadillac with two MIB-types inside, pursuing them down a dead-end road where they impossibly disappeared.
However, from my past experiences, I suspect that any such encounter with a physical MIB under presumed mind control influence or whatever, that any information gained from questioning them would have been about as helpful and revealing as interviewing one of the thousands of contactees out there who have already shared with researchers their complex and confusing tales.
The UFO mystery is composed of many, many parts. It's like the parable of the blind men, each one touching a separate part of the elephant and trying to determine what it is in totality from the limited perspective and exposure acquired by merely handling a mere portion of it.
1. In ufological folklore there is the well-known tale of how in 1955 one Admiral N. Furth, Chief of the Office of Naval Research, received a copy of M.K. Jessup's The Case for the UFOs, which contained several hundred notes written by presumably three different people in three different colors of ink (blue, blue-violet, and blue-green), the writers implying knowledge of advanced sciences like UFO propulsion systems, alien races, and of course the infamous Philadelphia Experiment.
When I read of the young man's letters in different colors of ink I thought of that story. Then in my own correspondence with him, on August 12, 1989, on his own he wrote: "Someday I may confide what I know about the Philadelphia Experiment and the investigator who was killed while I was talking to him on the phone. ...That was one factor that led me to fear 'them.'"
2. Back in the early 1930s a Richard Shaver claimed that while working as a welder for a Ford factory in Wisconsin he began to hear voices there describing vast cave systems beneath the earth that contained a dangerous prehistoric race of cannibals who possessed advanced ancient instrumentation that could prey upon human minds.
3. In Jeffrey Mishlove's book The PK Man (2000) there is an account where psychic Ted Owens wrote a letter to President Johnson on May 10, 1966, predicting that a man was planning to crash a plane loeaded with explosives onto either the White House or Johnson's Texas ranch. It wasn't until almost exactly a year later - May 4, 1967 - that a story appeared in the New York Times that described what Owens had warned.
Parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo felt that this one-year "delayed phenomenon response" was potentially significant, He pointed to the report of a noted German parapsychologist Dr. Hans Bender who had been working with a lady subject for nearly 19 years who had been sharing with him her precognitive dreams that became known as "anniversary cases" as the events that the dreams foreshadowed would occur exactly a year later.
Was Ramona's MIB black Cadillac encounter exactly a year later following her Massachusetts subject's initial MIB encounter somehow related to this "anniversary" syndrome? I have noticed something similar in my own studies.