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Critical Thinker's Dictionary

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men in black (MIB)

Men in black are believed to be very strange creatures, perhaps aliens or government agents, who visit UFO witnesses and warn them not to tell anyone about their UFO experiences.

John Keel in The Mothman Prophecies  (1975) talks about the M.I.B., as did Gray Barker in They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers (1956). The M.I.B. are said to favor older model dark Cadillacs. They don't like to be photographed, though they have been reported to dress in black. Their mystique may soon wear off, however, as a film, a TV series, a magazine and a video game have been developed around their strange antics.

John Sherwood (a.k.a. Dr. Richard H. Pratt) has come clean about the role Gray Barker, head of Saucerian Publications,  played in perpetuating the myth of the M.I.B. "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers made the Men In Black feared within UFO circles during the late 1950's and 1960's," claims Sherwood, but the book was impure fiction, written purely to make money with little concern for facts. It was Barker who published a 17-year old Sherwood's Flying Saucers are Watching You, which the author now claims was his "only corrupt journalistic experience," i.e., he wrote with little concern for the difference between fact and fiction. Sherwood admits that he encouraged the hoax by playing along when UFOers tagged him as having been silenced by the M.I.B.

See also Mothman.


further reading

Rojecewicz, Peter M. "The Men in Black Experience and Tradition: Analogues with the Traditional Devil Hypothesis," Journal of American Folklore 100 (April/June 1987): 148-60.

Sherwood, John C. "Gray Barker: My Friend, the Myth-Maker," Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 1998.

Last updated 20-Dec-2013

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