Hollywood did a very good job of creating a series of MIB movies that entertained and excited audiences the world over – and made those same audiences laugh loud and hard, too. But, there is nothing to laugh about when it comes to the real Men in Black. In the movies, the MIB are in the employ of an agency more powerful, and far more secretive, than even Edward Snowden’s old “friends” at the National Security Agency. But, we should not forget that the Men in Black movies are fiction. As is so unfortunately often the case, the real world often outdoes the domain of fiction – and seldom in a positive fashion. The so-called “modern era” of UFOs began in the summer of 1947, specifically on June 24. That was the date upon which a pilot named Kenneth Arnold encountered a squadron of strange-looking aircraft flying near Mount Rainier, Washington State – as the man himself noted in his 1952 book with Ray Palmer, The Coming of the Saucers. As an experienced pilot, Arnold was deeply puzzled that he was unable to identify the things ahead of him. As he got closer, Arnold realized exactly why he was unable to figure out what the objects were: they were not regular airplanes, but futuristic-looking half-moon shaped vehicles that resembled absolutely nothing in the United States’ arsenal at that time. And that was surely the case for the Russians, too. It was not long before word of Arnold’s encounter reached the eyes and ears of the media – in fact, less than a day. The terms “flying saucer” and “flying disk” all-but-immediately became the talk of 1947. Today, the term “UFO” is far more popular than the now largely antiquated flying saucer.
Although the latter part of the 1940s proved to be a period in which sightings of apparent unearthly craft abounded, it wasn’t until the early 1950s that the Men in Black stepped out of the shadows – in force –and set about snaring us, manipulating us, and ultimately digesting us. And, no, the “digesting” term is not an exaggeration. Over the years there have been numerous investigators of the Men in Black phenomenon, such as UFO researchers Gray Barker, Jim Keith, and Harold Fulton – all of whom are now long gone. None of them, however, came anywhere close to Albert K. Bender – the man without whom our knowledge of the MIB and their agenda would be sorely lacking, and who created the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB). Born in 1922, Bender was someone who served his country during the Second World War in the United States Army Air Corps. Post-World War Two, Bender lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in a somewhat creepy-looking old house that stood at what was, at the time, the junction of Broad Street and North Frontage Road. Today, the house is no more, the secrets it once held now being just memories and stories in books.