By Nick Redfern
Within the world of UFO research, the Men in Black are just about as legendary as they are feared. These pale-faced, ghoulish entities have for decades terrorized into silence both witnesses to, and researchers of, UFO encounters.
Theories for who, or what, the MIB might be are many. They include: extraterrestrials, government agents, demonic creatures, time-travelers from the future, and inter-dimensional beings from realms that co-exist with ours.
While much has been written on the sinister, and occasionally deadly, actions of the MIB, practically nothing, at all, has been penned on the subject of their equally bone-chilling companions: the Women in Black. Make no mistake: the WIB are all too real. And they are as ominous and dangerous as their male counterparts.
They may not have achieved the iconic status of the MIB, but these fearsome females, and their collective role in silencing those that immerse themselves in the UFO puzzle, is all too terrifyingly real. Not only that: the WIB have a long and disturbing history.
The WIB are not the agents of officialdom – not at all. They are something stranger, something occult and supernatural. The story is not one of “government conspiracy” proportions in the slightest.
Centuries before they plagued and tormented flying saucer seekers, the Women in Black roamed the landscape by night. They silenced those that studied the subject of alchemy, those who claimed encounters with goblins, fairies and pixies, and those who delved into the realm of the occult.
Whereas today’s WIB arrive at homes in shiny – but curiously old-looking – Cadillac cars, in centuries past, this terrible breed invariably appeared atop equally black, glowing-eyed stallions and in later years, in black, horse-drawn carriages.
They were also up to their infernal tricks in the 1920s. A definitive WIB turned up in none other than a piece of publicity-based footage for a Charlie Chaplin movie, The Circus, which was made in 1928. The footage, undeniably real and shown not to have been tampered with, reveals what appears to be an old, short lady, wearing a long black coat and black hat pulled low over her face, while walking through Los Angeles in high heat.
If that was not strange enough, she is holding to her ear what some researchers claim appears to be a cell-phone, and which she talks into as she walks. Weirder still, the Woman in Black sports an enormous pair of black shoes, which look most out of place given her short stature. She also seems to be taking careful steps to avoid her face being seen clearly.
Fifteen years later, a terrifying WIB haunted the Bender family of Connecticut. It so happens that a certain Albert Bender, of that very clan, began the Men in Black mystery. In the early 1950s, Bender was visited and threatened by a trio of fedora-wearing MIB, something which set the scene for the decades of MIB-themed mayhem that followed.
Back in the 1940s, however, the Bender family had a black-garbed woman in its midst that tormented both young and old in the dead of night. Predating Albert Bender’s own experience with the MIB by years, the hideous silencer in black haunted the Benders near-endlessly. For the Bender family, long before the MIB there was a Woman in Black.
In the 1960s, the emotionless, evil-eyed WIB turned up in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, when sightings of the legendary flying monster known as Mothman were at their height. Claiming to be “census-takers,” the WIB practically forced their way into the homes of frightened witnesses to Mothman.
What began as seemingly normal questions about the number of people in the house, average income, and the number of rooms in the relevant property, soon mutated into something very different: Persistent and intrusive questions about strange dreams, unusual telephone interference, and beliefs regarding the world of all-things of a paranormal nature abounded.
One of the WIB that put in an appearance at Point Pleasant claimed to have been the secretary of acclaimed author on all-things paranormal, John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies. Just like her male counterparts, she turned up on doorsteps late at night, waiting to be let in, before grilling mystified and scared souls about their UFO and Mothman encounters, and then vanishing into the night after carefully instilling feelings of distinct fear in the interviewees.
Only when dozens of such stories got back to Keel did he realize the sheer, incredible scale of the ruse. Keel summed up the reality of the situation in four, concise words: “I have no secretary.”
Something similar occurred in Britain during the 1980s. A weird wave of encounters with “phantom social-workers” hit the U.K. They were out of the blue events that eerily paralleled the incidents involving WIB-based “census-takers” that manifested in West Virginia in the 1960s.
Just as menacing, sinister and unsettling as their American cousins, these particular WIB began by claiming that reports had reached them of abuse to children in the family home which had to be investigated. Worried parents, several of who had traumatic UFO encounters, and clearly realizing that these creepy characters were anything but social-workers, invariably phoned the police.
The WIB, realizing when they had been rumbled, made hasty exits. Most disturbing of all, there was a near-unanimous belief on the part of the parents that the Women in Black were intent on kidnapping the children for purposes unknown, but surely no good.
The above-accounts amount to the mere tip of what is a gigantic, largely overlooked and under-appreciated, iceberg – I know, because I am close to completing a lengthy book on the subject of the WIB.
When paranormal activity occurs, and when UFOs intrude upon the lives of petrified people, the WIB are ready to strike. They dwell within darkness, surface when the landscape is black and shadowy, and spread terror, malignancy and negativity wherever they walk.