THE FIRST KNOWN ENCOUNTER with two ?Men in Black? happened in 1947. Two US harbour patrolmen, Harold A. Dahl and Fred L. Crisman, had spotted a UFO over the water of Puget Sound, Washington. Dahl said that a man dressed in black visited him shortly after the sighting and forcefully advised him not to discuss the incident further. A similar meeting happened to Carlo Rossi, from the area near San Pietro a Vico in Italy. In the early hours of 25th July, 1952, Rossi was fishing in the River Serchio when he witnessed a strange circular craft hovering over the river. Rossi hid, watching the craft as it passed over him, and then sped away. In the following weeks he told no-one about what he had seen, but on 15th September he found a stranger dressed in a dark blue suit waiting for him by the river. The stranger spoke Italian, but with an odd Scandinavian accent, and had very strange facial features. The man forcefully asked Rossi about what he had seen, but Rossi denied everything.
A bizarre Men in Black case happened on 18th May 1968, when UFO witnesses started contacting researchers. George Smyth was one of those who had seen a strange object in the skies above Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. He began to receive visits from strange men, and received phone calls warning him not to attend upcoming UFO conventions or speak to independent investigators. A bizarre aspect of this case was that the three visitors Smyth described were apparently the men he had been told to avoid ? the UFO enthusiasts John Keel, Gray Barker and James Moseley. What made this even more odd was that these three men were actually miles away from Smyth?s house at the time of the visits.
Other UFO investigators in the area, John Robinson and his wife Mary, also noticed strange things happening to them. A large dark car seemed to be parked outside their house in New Jersey City, with a strange man inside constantly watching them. One day Mary went out and noticed their friend James Moseley making a spectacle of himself further up the street. She thought this was very strange, but went inside to make a drink for him, thinking he was there to visit them. But then the phone rang. To her surprise it was Moseley, not on a street corner in New Jersey City, but at his home in Manhattan.
In recent years, more incidents have been reported. On 15th January 1997 William Shearer experienced a UFO encounter in Essex, southern England. Four days later he had a knock at the door and outside stood two strange men, dressed in dark grey suits and long coats. One man stood on guard by a large imposing saloon car, the other stood at Shearer?s threshold. This man was said to be very tall, deathly pale but with bright red lips, and spoke in a very unusual, almost automated, way. He repeatedly asked to come in but Shearer refused and the men finally said they would come back later.
A month later, Shearer was at work when two men appeared. One was the visitor who had stood by the car at the housecall, the other was a different man. They were both dressed in suits with hats, and they told him they wanted to talk about his UFO experience. They gave him exact details of the incident, details that Shearer felt only he should know, and were forceful in their requests. Shearer asked to see their ID, but the men just kept repeating a formulaic set of questions. In the end, Shearer refused to let them into his place of work and the two men disappeared. However, since then, he has reported blatant tapping activity when using his telephone.
Although no one can be absolutely certain, one theory is that these strange visitors are UFO investigators who belong to a research group that has standardised their visiting uniform. Others say they are actually aliens trying to cover their tracks. Sceptics believe they are pranksters or simply figments of witness?s imaginations. In most cases, they claim to be from the CIA or intelligence agencies, and there is a theory that these organisations have been happy to assume such identities in recent years as a ready-made method of intimidation. The other option is, of course, that they are from a secret department of government intelligence, trying to control UFO and alien-related sightings.