LiveScience explores UFO buffs’ stories of the mysterious Men in Black.
Were any of these stories true? It is of course possible that at some point dark-suited men from government agencies made inquiries into UFO reports; there was, after all, an Air Force program that investigated flying saucer claims in the 1950s called Project Blue Book. Government officials (including those with the military, police, Secret Service, FBI, or IRS, for example) are sometimes known to throw their weight around and intimidate people, even unintentionally. Of course, hoaxing a Men in Black encounter would be very simple, and require nothing more than three somber, dark-suited pranksters to menace a UFO eyewitness. [The Real Men in Black: Secret Service Agents (Infographic)]
Mysterious, authoritative, and menacing figures dressed in black are hardly unique to UFO mythology. In fact, folklore from around the world often describe such figures as representing Satan or other dark forces. Ironically, if the Men in Black do exist outside of folklore and myth, it seems that their threats are always bluffs. They have popped up in one variation or another in dozens (if not hundreds) of high-profile UFO encounters, supposedly threatening people into silence — yet the fact that the stories circulate shows that the witnesses routinely ignored the supposedly menacing Men in Black and told their stories in books, magazines, and television interviews. If the Men in Black were real — and effective at suppressing encounters with extraterrestrials — we shouldn’t know about them at all.