Sunday, May 1, 2011

CryptoWA #23 - Men In Black

The first CryptoWA covered this, but the era of modern UFO-olgy (along with the term "flying saucer") kicked off here with Kenneth Arnold's sighting at Mt. Rainier in 1947. On the heels of this, another piece of modern folklore began: The Men In Black.

There was an explosion of UFO stories in 1947. It seemed like everyone was seeing saucers around the world. More than a few besides Arnold's cropped up in Washington State. One became known as the Maury Island Incident. The story is convoluted, featuring UFO debris, government investigators perishing in a plane crash, a dead dog and even Kenneth Arnold himself as a peripheral character.

Among the many facets of this wild roller coaster of a tale is the first description of a vaguely threatening, official looking man in dark clothes. Harold Dahl, the source of the Maury Island story, described a visit to his Tacoma home by an individual who seemed strangely well informed about his UFO experience, even though Dahl had yet to describe it publicly.

This kicked off a concept that would appear in countless UFO stories. Later accounts of Men In Black were similar to Dahl's. They usually appear soon after a UFO sighting, seeming like government agents with their their anonymous dark clothes. MIB are often described as being slightly "off" in their mannerisms, as if not quite human or ineffably alien.

The strange, convoluted twists and turns of the Maury Island Incident have made it a lightning rod for skeptics and disbelievers. It's easy to see why. There are just too many odd elements for a rational mind to believe.

Of course, that's just what the Men in Black would want you to think.