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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Very Strange Visitors

     "Men in Black" were an unusual feature of the North American UFO scene in the early years, and have not completely disappeared. Dressed in dark suits, and driving black cars, they would descend, usually in pairs, upon UFO witnesses or investigators, making unspecific threats which were never carried out. One suggestion involves investigators/witnesses accidentally crossing paths with government agents undertaking investigations of their own. Add a certain degree of paranoia, and a cultural myth has started. It sounds plausible, but I shall leave it to those more familiar with the subject than I. Nevertheless, once in a while a well documented case turns up which is really, really strange.
     Dr Herbert Hopkins of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, USA was a doctor who also happened to be an experienced clinical hypnotist. Thus, between December 1975 and March 1976 he undertook eight hypnotic regressions in an alien abduction case which had occurred a couple of months beforehand. The abductors appear to have been fairly standard grey aliens, except that their eyes were white, and they wore long black robes. It is interesting to note that the witnesses had contacted the local press the day after the incident, and the very next day an earthly appearing man had approached one of them and warned him not to discuss the matter further. In any case, the results of the investigations were published in mid-1976. After that, the fun started.

First Visit
     It was 8 pm on Saturday 11 September 1976, and Dr Hopkins' wife and children had gone to a drive-in movie, leaving him alone in the house. Just then, the phone rang, and a man introduced himself as the vice president of a UFO research organization which, in retrospect, was found not to exist. He gave no name, but inquired as to whether he were entirely alone, and asked to come over and discuss the above mentioned case.
     In order to allow the visitor to find his way from his parking lot, Dr Hopkins immediately went to the back door to turn on the light.  Just then, he saw a man coming up the porch stairs, although there was no sign of any car. Also, this being long before the era of mobile phones, there was no way anybody could have arrived from any telephone that quickly.
     The doctor found himself acting out of character: allowing a person into his house while he was alone, despite a history of crime in the area, failing to inquire as to his name, but nevertheless listening without any fear at all. His dog reacted differently. Although the cat was unaffected, as the man entered, the dog barked and, uncharacteristically, hid in the closet with his tail between his legs.
     The man was estimated to be 5ft 8 in high, his weight about 140 pounds. He wore a white shirt and white gloves, but his trousers, jacket, tie, shoes, and derby were all black. He appeared not to fill out his sleeves or trousers. The crease on his pants remained razor sharp even at the knees, when he sat down. As he took off his hat, it became apparent that he lacked both hair and eyebrows. His small nose and small ears were set low, his chin receded, and his face was deathly white, except for a vivid read gash of a mouth. When he momentarily touched his lips with his gloves, it became obvious he was wearing lipstick. As the conversation proceeded, his head remained motionless, neither turning nor nodding. He spoke flawless English without an accent (for New England!), but it was merely a series of words, and completely monotone.
     After Dr Hopkins had finished his account, the stranger told him he had two coins in his left pocket. He did! He took out a penny.
I placed the shiny new penny on the palm of my extended hand and looked towards the strange man. He said, 'Don't look at me, look at the coin." As I did so the coin slowly became light blue in colour, and then it began to become blurred to my vision. My hand was in sharp focus, but try as I might I could not seem to focus on the silver-blue penny. It became more blurred, became round like a little blue fuzzy ball, and then became vaporous and gradually faded away. All the time this was going on I felt and heard nothing.
     "That was a neat trick," said Dr Hopkins. (Later, a magician and writer on magic confirmed that he had never seen such a '"trick", nor could he guess how it could be done.)
     The stranger then told him: "Neither you nor anyone else on this plane with ever see that coin again." (Note that he said "plane", not "planet".)
     He then told the doctor that Barney Hill had died because he knew too much. He had died because his heart had disappeared, just like the coin. (Wrong! Barney Hill died of a stroke.) He told his alarmed host that he would suffer the same fate if he did not destroy the tapes and correspondence relating to the abduction investigation.
     At this point, his speech started to slow down. Rising slowly and unsteadily to his feet, he said, very slowly, "My energy is running low - must go now - goodbye." Clinging to the railing, he climbed down the stairs, first one foot on a step, then bringing the other down next to it, rather than going one foot after another like a healthy person.
      Dr Hopkins saw a bright light shining up the driveway - brighter than an automobile headlight, and bluish-white in colour - although no light had been present when he had arrived. Rushing to the kitchen window, the doctor looked out to watch him, but the light was gone. He ran out onto the front porch, but saw no car leaving. Not only that, but the stranger walked in the diametrically opposite direction to the way he had arrived - not towards the driveway, but towards an impenetrable hedge. The doctor went out onto the front porch to watch for him, but he never turned up.
     When the rest of family eventually returned, they went out with a torch to examine the driveway. The only marks they found were what looked like a small caterpillar tractor tread about four inches wide and a foot and a half long. The driveway was so narrow, it would have been impossible for any automobile's tyre to get into the centre, where the marks were. They were also too deep and distinct for a motorcycle's. Also, of course, they were too short. By morning they were gone, although no-one had used the driveway in the interval.
      Terrified, but reluctantly, the doctor destroyed the tapes and correspondence as ordered.

Second Visit
     This took place a fortnight later, on Friday 24 September 1976, not to Dr Hopkins, but to his eldest son, John and his son's wife, Maureen in their mobile home. At 7.30 pm Maureen answered a telephone call, and a man introduced himself as Bill Post, said he was a friend of a friend, and asked to come over and talk with them. He told them he came from New Hampshire, and was driving with temporary New Jersey plates. He suggested they meet at the local McDonald's.
     Now, the McDonald's was quite close; it took John just three minutes to get there. However, when he arrived, Bill was waiting for him, although it should have taken at least 25 or 30 minutes to travel from the place where he had said he had been ringing from. His car's plates were devoid of numbers or letters, except for the words, "Temporary, N. J., 1975", although temporary New Jersey plates were valid for only 20 days, and they were supposed to bear numbers and letters. Also, it was obvious that Bill was quite familiar with the local streets.
     Both Bill and his female companion, Jane were dressed in a rather old fashioned style. Bill appeared physically normal, but was fidgety, and very talkative without really saying much. Jane wore very heavy makeup, but no bra, and her small breasts were set unnaturally low. She had a marked pot belly, and appeared to be lopsided. She talked little, and walked with very short steps, leaning forward.
     In the course of their conversation, he asked what John and his father, Dr Hopkins talked about, but John pointedly avoided bringing the discussion around to UFOs. Their behaviour was odd. When Maureen was temporarily out of the room, Bill was pawing his female companion and asking John if this was all right, and if he was doing it right. In contrast, when John was out of the room, he asked Maureen how she was built, and whether she had any nude photographs of herself he could study.
     He also knew that John was planning to visit New Hampshire, although he had never told them so, and he provided them with a complicated and detailed route which would avoid all the turnpikes and other well-traveled ways. Out of curiosity, John later checked the route, and discovered the information to be long out of date.
     A few weeks later, Bill phoned again and apologized to Maureen for anything untoward. He asked to see them again, but Maureen told him they wanted nothing more to do with them.

     Looked at objectively, there is not much to connect the two visits. They may have been completely independent. The temporary car plates are a mystery, but Bill and Jane may have been exactly what they claimed to be: friends of a friend, albeit very unusual friends, wanting to talk to them for motives of their own. As I pointed out in another blog, even the most bizarre human activities usually have a logical explanation if you know the back story.
     But I would really like to know the back story of the first visitor.
     (And if you think he was weird and sinister, wait till you read next month's post.)

Reference: Berthold Eric Schwarz M.D., 'The Man-in-Black Syndrome', Flying Saucer Review 23(4): pp 9 -15 (Jan 1978)


  1. A fascinating yarn- thank you for posting it!

  2. His nephew has made this story out to be purest fantasy... here is the link from Magonia with more details... the below is a quote from the nephew... Of course needless to say this statement of his nephew does not make what his uncle said false but it does account, plausibly, for the the story he spun.

    “My uncle was, unfortunately, a fantasy-prone individual, craved the center of attention and limelight and on a base level he sometimes just made things up—no matter how hyperbolic—to top everybody else. As brilliant as he was in many areas, however, he was unskilled at fiction.

    “And for much of the ‘70s and 80s, he was an alcoholic. Every night was spent alone with a magnum of wine (he made his own wine, too, in a still in the basement). He would stumble up the stairs at about 5am, tripping over the 'invisible dog'. How did I know about the invisible dog? Well, a handful of times when I was sleeping over I would be awake and hear that tripping and the inevitable curse, “goddamn dog!” The real dog, incidentally, was next to me on the bed, staring out at the hall, wondering what the hell the thud had been.“

    The bottom line for this particular Man in Black tale is unfortunately pretty mundane. This mysterious being in black, inspired by cheap fiction and alcohol, probably less of malicious intent and more from some sad need for attention, was, alas, a simple lie, one that needs to be corrected for those into serious research in this area.

  3. Thank you for the information. This is why I allow comments - to allow people with more information to come forth.
    I believe the link is: .