Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Book review: The Real Men In Black

Some of you may wonder why on earth I'm reviewing a book about MIBs - those mysterious, UFO-related Men In Black, on this website. Well, for one, the author, Nick Redfern, is a good friend of mine, and secondly, a new book by Mr Redfern, is ALWAYS something to look forward to. However, there is also a third reason for mentioning this book - because although Nick is a dab hand at shedding new light on the classic encounters with the mysterious men, he even manages to find reports of bizarre monsters and their sinister relations to those black-suited gents. Now, Men In Black are a strange brew - and they've always been connected to UFOs, and those intrepid investigators who apparently get too close to the truth - but of course much of this is simply folklore - and Nick goes a helluva long way to prove that the MIBs are far stranger than we originally thought. I've often believed that every time a new mystery hits this globe, we always...and I mea nalways, blame the aliens! It's true - whether it's crop circles - blame the aliens, or cattle mutilations - blame the aliens, Bigfoot - surely dropped from a spaceship, phantom airships - blame the aliens, people abducted from their beds - blame the aliens and so on and so on. Those poor extraterrestrial visitors have been given a hard time by us earthlings over the years, and the Men In Black have often been said to have infiltrated this void of 'ours' to warn us not to report our UFO sightings.

Nick Redfern has scoured the archives, scanned the once hidden documents, and interviewed countless witnesses and investigators, to attempt to uncover the bizarre truth - if there is one - behind these sinister agents. The likes of Bender, Beckley, Keel, and Barker get the coverage they deserve, after all, these type of guys introduced us to these men, but alongside Jim Keith's 'Casebook On The Men In Black', Redfern's new look at the mystery is destined to become a classic. This isn't any old book talking about conspiracy and UFOs, instead Nick looks at cases where researchers have even investigated 'monster' sightings and other mysteries, only to be warned off by the 'three men'. And after every case is picked to pieces and then evaluated, Nick isn't afraid to cast new theories on such an enigma, and shares my view that such figures of dread could in fact, like so many monsters, vampires, spirits and the like, be tulpas - or thoughtforms - weird manifestations that exist as the product of the human psyche, and which exist the more fear them. This complex theory may sound ridiculous to some, but they clearly fit alongside other social panics, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, these men and in fact many of the mysteries around us, cannot be blamed simply on those bug-eyed aliens we've feared since Kenneth Arnold's 1947 'UFO' encounter over Washington. The Men In black, albeit for a short while, were local bogeyman, the product of conspiracy, rumour and moreso fear - they were projections, and media creations, harbingers of doom, agents of misfortune - or were they ? Maybe, as Nick argues, such figures were harmless but born from the shadows of a slightly, already unhinged and paranoid mind.

Whatever your opinions on the MIB phenomenon, 'The Real Men In Black', for me anyway, caps off a limited run of books, which, over the years have gradually given us a brief insight into such mysterious phantoms. I believe that the Men In Black are from the same void as the Black-Eyed Kids, mad gassers, phantom clowns, bogus social workers and spectral assailants - but they do not appear if there is no-one there to see them. The Men In Black are a social construct, that have embedded themselves into world folklore. They are real, but only in the sense vampires and werewolves are, and yet such figures have become household names the world over, given them strength and occasionally, on dark and stprmy nights they step from the realm of fantasy into our houses and our nightmares, and then are gone, in the blink of an eye. My only hope is that Mr Redfern doesn't get a visit from the terrible trio, although if he comes to the door in his Ramones t-shirt and black jeans, they may in fact mistake him for one of them and ask him to join their peculiar posse! A fantastic book that breaks the mould. Rock on Nick!
'The Real Men In Black' is available from

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