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on July 18, 2011
I'm kind of ambivalent about this book. First of all, Redfern does a great job introducing the topic. He tells the history of the MIB mythos, introduces the key players and personalities (Bender, Barker, and Keel), the most famous (and not-so-famous) case studies, and interviews some great researchers on their thoughts on what is behind the MIB phenomenon. He even includes what could be the only photographs snapped of these strange, darkly clad dudes. So if you want to immerse yourself into the history and research of the MIB, the book is pretty good.

My qualms about the book are twofold. First of all, I don't care for Redfern's style. It's half pulp-paranormal-mystery-expose, with just a hint of tabloid fluff. In other words, he's not a very "serious" writer, but that's just my taste. My real problems with the book come in part 2: "The Theories". I don't think Redfern shows very much imagination here. For example, his explanation for Bender's experiences is pretty lacklustre, and ignores possibly overlapping reasons (kind of like those who dismiss all abductions as "just" sleep paralysis, neglecting to propose that sleep paralysis may be an integral part of the abduction phenomenon, or somehow induced). My margin notes often read "not mutually exclusive!", especially next to the quotes from Greg Bishop, who I also think tends to use the "juvenile dictionary" a bit too much when doing his theorizing. The chapter on "Tulpas" was the worst for this type of wiseacring.

That said, there are some interesting ideas in Part 2, but none of them quite hit home. I think John Keel, about whom Redfern quotes some unsubstantiated criticism, got closer to truth about these phenomena than the majority of others in the field over the last 60 years. His book, The Eighth Tower, is a classic, and only surpassed I think, by Laura Knight-Jadczyk's High Strangeness: Hyperdimensions & The Process Of Alien Abduction. She deals with pretty much all the features Redfern brings up, but ties them all together in a picture that actually makes sense. In other words, not the hodgepodge of pet theories Redfern collects.

All that said, it was a fun book, informative, and only at times overbearingly annoying. So if you can handle that, do check it out. Just round out your reading.
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on June 2, 2011
Men in black, mysterious figures in black suits that pop up at UFO sighting scenes like mushrooms after a spring rain, have become so solidly entrenched in pop culture that very popular - and imaginative - movies have been made about them. Nick Redfern's new book tracks their history from the days when MIB were esoteric lore known only to UFO geeks, to today's guys with cool shades who show up on your local theater screen. The real Men in Black are far more sinister than I had guessed.

The book was especially persuasive to me personally since it includes the experiences of colleagues I've come to know and trust over the years including Brad Steiger, Marie D. Jones and Raven Meindel. The terror they and many others experienced was subtle - compared to sightings of, say, Bigfoot or werewolves -- yet very traumatic.

Sporting black suits and hats some have compared to those of the Blues Brothers, Men in Black started showing their pale and unexpressive faces in the middle of the 20th Century, around the same time flying saucers entered the public consciousness. Witnesses and researchers of the UFO phenomenon found themselves threatened and harassed - often in unexplainable ways - by the lurking strangers who usually drove shiny black cars. Scarily, MIB continue these terror tactics to present day, sometimes updating their transportation to black helicopters or other vehicles.

In my book, Strange Wisconsin, I reported an incident told me by a farmer in western Wisconsin who was deer hunting with his children when the three saw a UFO rise from a nearby tree top and then shoot off over a field. They were so terrified they decided to forget hunting and just leave, but as they exited the woods they saw a convoy of shiny black pickup trucks heading single file across the field in the same direction the UFO had gone. Just the sight of so many new trucks in the sleepy area was strange enough, but where did they suddenly come from and why would they all take off across someone's field in mid-November? What was their connection to the silver, discoid craft and how did they know it was there?

Readers will discover similar weird anomalies in every tale in Redfern's book. And after grounding readers in many frightening examples of the MIB mystery, Redfern spends the second half of the book wrestling with possible explanations for the creepy figures. Redfern notes that strange people clad in black have appeared to those dabbling in occult studies and practices throughout history. If this is true, perhaps the MIB are not connected to aliens from space at all. Redfern explores such disparate possible origins for them as elaborate thought- forms created by human imagination, time cops from far in the future and perfectly human secret agents.

Author and MIB researcher Colin Bennett is quoted extensively in the book, and he comes to the conclusion that the MIB entities appear to "eat" human energy generated by the fear they provoke. This was interesting to me because I have often said much the same thing about the unknown, upright canines I have studied and written about for the past 19 years.

Are strange creatures, MIB, UFOs and other scary phenomena part of some massive, unknown entity that exists just one step above us on the psychic food chain? Perhaps unreality bites.

Whatever MIB may be, Redfern and the many experts he consults agree they are not desirable company. There is one simple weapon that seems to work against them but I won't give that away here. I'll just say that to be forewarned is to be fore-armed, and that you will want to read this book to know what to do before the MIB come calling on you.

Linda S. Godfrey, author of Monsters of Wisconsin: Mysterious Creatures in the Badger State
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on July 24, 2011
Since the 1997 film Men in Black, the MIB have largely, in the public consciousness, been seen as being as the movie portrays them--secretive cosmic cops, for want of a better term. However, those who have an interest in both UFO lore and paranormal history know them to be quite something else. They have appeared throughout paranormal history as sinister, confusing, and intimidating. Redfern's book, while far from definitive, brings back the paranoia about the Men in Black, restoring them to their proper place.

The book is divided into two parts: Cases and Theories. The paranoid among us will have the most fun with the first section, which gives a good overview of some well-known cases as well as updating the lore to bring more recent cases (even into this century) to light. While it's true that the reader can sometimes (not always) deduce plausible, less conspiracy/paranormal-minded explanations for some of these (in particular a case in London in Chapter 10, which Redfern spends quite a bit of time discussing), they all prove fascinating.

Theories, on the other hand, is where much of the value of the book lies. Most books or articles on the MIB take one theory for their existence (or lack thereof) and run with it. Redfern, to his credit, supplies us with many of the available theories, making certain to state that all or none of them could be responsible for the phenomenon.

In addition, the extensive bibliography he includes will help the true armchair researcher to delve more deeply into these mysteries, should he or she desire.

One problem with books on Fortean phenomena has always been that the more formal academics tend to write books that are largely pedantic, and offer little to draw the neophyte in. On the other side of the spectrum, the more sensational writers pepper their text with exclamation points, italics, and questions that remain unconsidered in the rest of the text. Redfern's book balances the two--the research is solid, and while he sometimes veers towards the sensational, he reigns it in quite well. Redfern's writing here is largely informal, and reminds one of chatting with a friend who happens to have deep knowledge of a subject.

Great paranoid fun with a solid dose of critical thought. Recommended.
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The author devotes an entire book to documenting real
life stories of the Men in Black (MIB) . The book begins
with Al Bender who almost single handedly ushered in the MIB.
He turned his upper floor into a literal house of horrors by
creating a Space Review for flying saucer enthusiasts .

The Men In Black, purportedly sport dark suits in public.
They also may wear sunglasses to disguise their
"piercing eyes" not unlike Bram Stoker's Dracula .
They are short and non-athletically inclined
with olive complexions and '50s hair.

They may be confused with "Gypsies" . Most MIBs are
purported to travel in groups of up to three and
usually ride around in shiny, new dark limos.
They may flash official - looking credentials.
These can never be verified conclusively.
Occasionally, the MIB's display badges with strange
emblems on them, or have unrecognizable symbols
painted on the autos. The purpose of the visits
seems to be to get people who have seen UFO's to
stop talking about them or face uncertain
consequences. 1)

The author advises readers to keep the door
closed if you are ever approached by the MIB.
There is an extensive bibliography including
references; such as,Daily Journal Gazette,
New Age Press, Inner Light Publications and
Anchor Books. The bibliography alone documents
that the author researched the topic considerably.

The next closest thing to flying saucers is the
Bermuda Triangle and the famous disappearances.
Some people have theorized the unexplained events
to be caused by UFOs, theoretical wormholes in
time/space, left over technology from the
Continent of Atlantis and other phenomena not
fully explained over the centuries. 2)

Overall, the book will interest UFO enthusiasts and
researchers in the MIB arts. This reviewer does
not have a research interest in UFOs; however, the
work is engaging and the contents provide an '
additional perspective on an unknowable topic
out there. ( or at least a topic that is difficult
to verify uniformly)

1)Think-about it /albert_bender
2) Bermuda triangle facts
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on February 11, 2012
Part 1 of this book, 'The Case Files', is very interesting. It talks about peoples' experiences with the Men In Black. These experiences are always very weird and always negative and menacing.

These Men In Black guys are something out of the depths of hell. They have pale white skin and look almost like walking skeletons.

There's a lot of UFO history in this book. He talks about some of the well known characters of UFOlogy. One of these is Albert Bender who spent long hours in a dark attic apartment with his images of horror movies, Ouija boards, etc. Bender experienced what I think was the first documented visit from the MIB and his life was forever changed.

Part 2, 'The Theories', goes off on tangents about what the MIB may be such as travelers from the future, government agents, demons, etc. Personally I'm leaning towards some sort of demonic entities.

This is a very weird subject. It's similar to the so called alien abduction phenomenon.

There are many strange and potentially dangerous things in this world which most people are not aware of and fortunately never experience.

Jeff Marzano

Crash at Corona: The U.S. Military Retrieval and Cover-Up of a UFO

Top Secret/Majic: Operation Majestic-12 and the United States Government's UFO Cover-up

Secret Life: Firsthand, Documented Accounts of Ufo Abductions

The THREAT: Revealing the Secret Alien Agenda

Fulcanelli: Master Alchemist: Le Mystere des Cathedrales, Esoteric Intrepretation of the Hermetic Symbols of The Great Work (Le Mystere Des ... of the Hermetic Symbols of Great Work)

The Philosopher's Stone: Alchemy and the Secret Research for Exotic Matter

Secrets of the Unified Field: The Philadelphia Experiment, The Nazi Bell, and the Discarded Theory

They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers

UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973

Ufo...Contact from Planet Iarga
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on July 29, 2013
First, I'd like to make clear that this book is a fun read. Yes, it is flawed. No, it is not an excellent reference book. But the author presents a series of interesting ideas and small biographies that are truly entertaining--kind of like a short short fiction anthology. If you believe in MIB, it is a great read for you as an overview of the subject. If you do not believe in any of it, it is a great read for you because it recounts a bunch of creepy tales, explains a few creepy people's lives, and theorizes about the MIB with a bunch of creepy metaphysical suppositions.

This book is like a crash course in the MIB, the people responsible for their incarnations (perhaps literally), and a series of theories as to what these MIB actually are. There were not as many tales of the MIB as I expected in such a book, but there were so many interesting paranormal ideas to consider that the book did not suffer as much as it should have for this lack of MIB accounts. I especially liked the idea that creatures like the MIB may in fact be Tulpas. That part is like a spiritual Frankenstein tale which is pretty scary--unfortunately not as in depth a study as it should have been. But that is the issue with this book.

Two big criticisms are 1) It does not include nearly enough MIB accounts and 2) it does not go in depth into any of the ideas expressed. It covers just enough to give you an understanding of the differing views on the origins of the MIB, then backs off from any real evaluation and intelligent discussion of the subjects. In fact, the author often quotes "authorities" on these topics and just leaves it at that. Many of these people, especially the Christian priest, have no business being held on a pedestal as experts in this field.

So, taking the good with the bad, the book still stands up as an informative and entertaining read for both the believer in aliens and the seeker of creepy tales.
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on January 15, 2012
Nick Refern explores all of the possiblities of what MIB might be from the usual government agency theory to Tuplas, an entity that is created by a person's thoughts and fears. It's an interesting exploration and brought up many ideas of what MIB could be, but nothing is singled out as the most likely source. So, in the end, you're left still not knowing who/what the "real" men in black are.
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on September 29, 2011
You don't need to be an expert on the UFO phenomenon to appreciate how complex and multifaceted it is. Clearly, the phenomenon isn't limited to reports of strange objects in the skies or cases of alien abduction, but incorporates numerous other elements, some of which belong to the realm of the occult and the truly weird. A few examples include cattle mutilations, the contactee phenomenon, and spectral entities like the mothman. And of course, who could forget the men in black (MIB).

Which brings us to Nick Redfern's latest book The Real Men in Black, a much needed investigation into one of the most unappreciated and little understood aspects of the vast UFO mystery. Born in England but now living in Dallas, Texas, Redfern is an expert in conspiracies and all things paranormal.

Much to my frustration, whenever I attempt to have a serious conversation with someone about the MIB, they invariably bring up the cheesy 90s sci-fi comedy film Men in Black, in which the MIB are portrayed as government agents working for the good of humanity. As Redfern's book demonstrates, however, the MIB are a very real presence on this earth and there's nothing pleasant about them. In fact, they couldn't be creepier. The MIB are named as such because of the black suits they wear and the black cars they drive. Commonly gaunt and pale in appearance, with mechanical voices and a mechanical manner of movement, they neither look nor behave entirely human. The MIB are known to spook and threaten UFO witnesses and researchers, and their aim, it would seem, is to prevent anyone from ascertaining the truth about UFOs.

The book is written in a fast paced and absorbing journalistic style, and, like all of Redfern's books, it captures the reader's interest from the very first page. Redfern begins with the case of Albert K. Bender of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the first person (in modern history at least) to claim an encounter with the MIB. Bender was an eccentric individual with an intense interest in the occult and paranormal, who, in 1952, established a UFO research organisation called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB). The IFSB became successful very quickly. About a year later, however, Bender closed down the organisation and dropped UFO research altogether, advising "those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautions."

It was later revealed that the reason Bender quit the UFO scene is because he'd been ordered to by three mysterious men dressed in dark clothes, who scared him half to death. Bender's story of terror and paranoia, first told in Gray Barker's sensational They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers (1956), shaped UFO lore in a profound and enduring way. Explains Redfern: "It was Bender...who almost singlehandedly ushered in the plague of the Men in Black - just as [Kenneth] Arnold inaugurated the era of the UFO [with his famous sighting of UFOs in 1947]."

Ever since the MIB first came knocking on Bender's door in the early-1950s, encounters with them have continued up until the present day, leaving many a victim shaken and terrified. Among the many cases included in Redfern's book (a large proportion of which, I'm pleased to say, don't appear anywhere else) is that of prolific author Marie D. Jones. In the mid-1990s, while living in San Diego, Jones and a friend, whom she calls Anna, formed a UFO research group that "took off really quick." Before long, however, both women started to receive threatening telephone calls from a man "with a very robotic voice."

According to Jones, the man displayed an intimate knowledge of the goings-on within the group. And, more disturbing still, he knew everything about her - what clothes she had on at the time of the phone call, what book she was reading, what room she was in, etc. Though Jones never saw the man (or men) responsible for the harassment, apparently Anna did. She told Jones that a number of men - who "moved like robots" and "stared without blinking their eyes" - trespassed into her property late at night.

Another fascinating, modern case is that of paranormal investigator and Wiccan priestess Raven Meindel, who first encountered the MIB in April 2008. For months following the encounter, the Meindel family home was plagued by paranormal activity, and on several occasions Meindel's husband heard "whispered voices throughout the apartment." Overcome by a very strong feeling that she wasn't supposed to continue with her UFO research, Meindel, frightened and intimidated, reluctantly gave it up. "I got the message," she explains, "and I'm not going to mess with the UFO thing anymore."

The Real Men in Black is more than just a collection of spooky and entertaining stories. There is plenty of food for thought within its pages as well. In the second half of the book, Redfern explores a number of compelling theories - ranging from the mundane to the remarkable - as to who or what the MIB might be. Some MIB, he explains, are probably nothing more than government agents, others civilian investigators. While others, perhaps, could be tulpas (thought forms) that, in order to sustain their existence, feast on human fear and other negative emotions, making them similar to vampires. Also presented is the intriguing time traveller theory of Joshua P. Warren.

Fans of the paranormal are sure to enjoy this book. It's immensely interesting, well-researched, and grips the reader from beginning to end.
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on September 12, 2013
Redfern can cloak the truth amid all kinds of nebulous hyperbole and anecdotes, but the reality is this book effectively debunks the entire Men in Black and Mothman Prophecies story. It effectively debunks Bender's experience as being caused by undiagnosed epilepsy, exposes Gray Barker (and the seemingly utterly contemptible bully, Jim Moseley) as a couple of hoaxers, and reveals Keel to be a gullible boob. Any of the additional talk of tulpas and other rationalizing is just to hide the actual premise -- it effectively debunks the entire field of study. I guess debunking books don't sell as well as this type of title.
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on October 5, 2011
I must admit that I am a fan or Nick Redfern, having read his books. I have found him to consistently be objective, especially praise worthy in a subject area which is laced with pitfalls of sensationalism and hyperbole! His selections of MIB incidents leaves the reader to decide the reality of the encounter, and further to put the different cases into a contextual assessment that leads readers (at least me...) to draw conclusions that are fascinating...albeit, a more than a bit frightening. Those curious minds who have dared to look "under the rug" of black ops, NSA, etc. easily can understand the phenomenon of MIB and their
obvious goal of suppression of information from the public domain. Just the fact
that the government has been so devious and down right ridiculous in attempts to
explain away solid UFO sightings and abilities to alter physical matter (resetting
destination of warheads), affect the psyche of those who encounter UFOs and/or their entities would find this book a wonderful addition to their library of the
entire field of UFOs and related issues!
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