After someone has had an encounter with an Unidentified Flying Object, they are sometimes visited by one or more men claiming to represent an official government body such as the Air Force. They frequently dress in black suits, wear sunglasses, and have odd tech on their person (like unexplained wires up their sleeves). They may drive older model cars that appear to be brand new. They act in an unnatural manner, ask odd and sometimes deeply personal questions and make irrelevant remarks. Their visit usually winds up with a threat of some unspecified reprisal if the contactee goes public with his or her story.

Tales of these encounters date back to antiquity; some folklorists have pointed out the similarities between MIB and stories of meetings with the Devil, identified as "The Black Man". Residents of a medieval village suffering a plague reported a visit by several individuals dressed in black and carrying "scythes" with which they spread sickness (biological warfare?). Perhaps the most famous modern appearance of MIB was in West Virginia in the late 1960s, in the wake of the Mothman sightings.

Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek did an excellent job of portraying a pair of Men In Black as they are commonly described in the X-Files episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space".

Back to Serial Experiments Lain

This secret government (?) group was hired by or are part of Tachibana Labs to monitor the activites of one Iwakura Lain and, after their identities become known, to kill the Knights of Eastern Calculus. Very little is known about this agency/organization/whatever, as it more than likely keeps all of this a secret.

They don't exist...

Initially reported in the 1960s, these quasi-secret agents have ever since been a subject of discussion and conspiracy. Due to widespread Urban Legend and widespread rumour, it is difficult to establish whether or not sightings are genuine at all, rather than mere fakes. However, earlier reports were not as high profile and so are more likely to be genuine.

Several early reports have a high correlation. There are three main areas that correlate. The procedure, the looks and how they act. I will analyse each of these separately.

The procedure

1) A reasonably credible UFO sighting is reported to the authorities.

2) The Men In Black arrive, there are usually a pair of them, or, if not, there are always even numbers., at the sighter’s home. They knock on the door until they receive an answer, when they do, they flash official looking badges or identification and will varyingly claim to be from, the FBI, the CIA, or variation on “Special Branch.”

3) The MIB will only enter the house if they believe that there is evidence of the sighting within, photographs, sketches and tapes will be confiscated. When asked for an explanation, the response is usually given in very technical legal terms.

4) Once the evidence has been confiscated, the MIB will return to the doorstep, but will usually place a hand in the doorframe, preventing the door from being closed. The MIB will begin to question the witness, using the technique of hiding relevant questions among irrelevant and personal questions.

5) The MIB will then proceed to threaten the witness. Hinting at physical harm to them or their families if they do not keep quiet.

6) The MIB leave before police or other authorities arrive.

7) Should the witness not comply, several “accidents” may befall them, such as their house being burned down, or their families the victims of burglars and muggings. There have been reports of MIB “roughing up” witnesses.

Conspiratorial Explanation

The Men In Black are an organisation controlled by some Cabal that may be in league with the government of the United States of America, or even another, much more shadowy, world government. They seek to make sure that members of the general public are not informed about extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Supporters of this theory cite the “fact” that MIB are able to arrive at a person’s home before the police, they believe this points to extensive inside information. Supporters also point to the identification that the MIB carry as being better than any forgery; they believe this means that the government must be producing them. The final reason that people choose to believe this theory is that the witnesses often find that they have trouble in getting help from government services in the future if they refuse to co-operate. This is apparently, particularly, the case when help is asked for with regard to a burglary or assault soon after the visit.

Extra Terrestrial Explanation

The Men In Black are in fact aliens from another world seeking to cover up their activities on our planet. They may be in league with the government, but are generally operating in secret, even from them.

The reasons for believing this theory are not generally based in the procedure. However, two items could be cited as evidence. Assuming that they are not in league with the government, to discover who has reported a sighting would require reasonably advanced technology. Another supposed piece of evidence that this is not a government controlled conspiracy is that there are reports of police chasing the MIB vehicle, however, this may have more to do with keeping up appearances. The questioning might be the prime reason for suspecting aliens, the personal and intrusive questions may be an attempt to understand human culture to help the aliens blend in more. The other evidence is apparently found in the “fact” that the MIB rarely enter the house. It is believed that this is due to some alien religious belief about entering another’s dwelling. However this does not take into account the fact that the MIB have been known to enter another’s house to collect evidence of the sighting.

Normal and Boring Explanation

There have been several reported UFO sightings surrounding the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade in Maryland USA. The police officers in this area used to wear black paramilitary uniforms and might have been checking that the sighting was not of a new spy plane, or other top-secret military type thing.

The supporters of this theory claim that there may have been one or two reported MIB encounters in the nineteen sixties that were highly publicised. They detailed a fairly mundane police style investigation by the Police in the Fort Meade area. This investigation would have been carried out in a very abrupt style, and could have been quite intimidating, the personal questions may be designed to make the relevant questions seem less threatening and thereby increasing the chance of a truthful answer.

Later, various people copycatted the MIB investigations as a hoax, however each further “MIB Investigation” became more and more stylised until the familiar routine detailed above came about. It is also possible that when people make up tales of close encounters for profit, they use the MIB as an explanation for their lack of evidence and the time it took them to come forward. Only knowing of the stylised routine, they recount it as the remember it, possibly making it even more sinister.


  • Black Suit, white shirt either notably well fitting, or notably badly fitting.
  • Black Sunglasses
  • High quality digital watch
  • Unexplained wires in sleeves
  • Short hair
  • Old looking, but fit, sometimes scarred.
  • Drive a black car, often out of date by about ten years, but looks brand new.

Conspiratorial Explanation

The MIB wear a “uniform” of a black suit to blend in with the rest of the world, after all, in most areas, the majority of men seen walking around in daylight hours are wearing a suit of some kind, the short hair may also be to blend in, as well as pointing to a military or paramilitary organisation. The idea is that this will reduce suspicion. The concealed wires and high quality watch point to secrecy, but no alien technology. The sunglasses provide anonymousness, which can be intimidating. Sunglasses are used by military drill sergeants and prison officers as an aid to convince people to obey them, it is a government technique, used my governmental organisations. The fact that the MIB tend to be old looking suggests that the agents are recruited from other organisations. The out of date car that looks brand new suggests that it has been modified over a long period, secret government sponsored technology?

Extra Terrestrial Explanation

The slick uniforms are an advanced race attempting to blend in. They look at common Earth fashions and replicate them, either slightly too perfectly, or not well enough. The aliens monitored Earth from a great distance away, hence the old fashioned car.

The evidence is apparently in the slightly odd appearance, slightly botched alien intelligence. The black suits are designed to blend in, however, if the aliens are humanoid, they will often fit too well because the alien designers are superior to ours. However, should the aliens not be humanoid, they will be an odd shape, meaning that the suit could not possibly fit them. The sunglasses, apparently, are to cover the alien’s eyes, which would have to be uncovered so that they were usable. (This, of course assumes that the MIB never remove their glasses.)

The strange wires indicate that they are in fact wearing a “human suit,” and the strange devices are in fact alien gadgets, designed either to monitor humans, or some sort of communication with the mother ship, or other use along those lines. The out of date “newcar, suggests that the aliens come from at least ten light-years away, and self-assembled a car on their world. Of course this assumes that either the aliens don’t take the speed of light into account in surveillance, which, to be honest, seems unlikely. The only other possibility is that they assumed that in ten years the design wouldn’t chance much, and so simply manufactured a new car in the hopes that it would not look out of the ordinary.

Normal and Boring Explanation

Originally the MIB were from the NSA base’s police and so wore black uniforms and drove old cars that were in good condition. Over time the reports were copycatted and exaggerated forgers. If you dumb down reports slightly the become ordinary very quickly, like a reverse Chinese whispers game.

The initial reports may have been of the NSA police, or, alternatively the FBI, therefore the reports of black and suits, got mixed up. A suit is only really noticeable if it is either very well fitting or very badly fitting, therefore this is the only time it is likely to be reported. This led to it being integrated into the myth. It might be the same with the car; an old car in very good condition is noticed by a witness and reported, this is picked up by the rumourmongers and conspiracy theorists, then exaggerated by hoaxers.

The strange wires might have been seen once, possibly part of a recording device, again these were reported and exaggerated, they may then have been used by copycats, in the same fashion as the suits and car.


  • Short, clipped style of speech
  • If used, slang will be old-fashioned
  • Refer to each other using numbers or letters
  • Refer to procedures by strange codes, often made of Greek letters and numbers.
  • Generally very few gestures are used
  • Stance is to attention, straight back, legs close together.

Conspiratorial Explanation

The MIB are part of a government controlled organisation and were recruited for military organisations, hence the stiff way of acting and reference to procedural codes.

The short, clipped style of speech is reminiscing of police or military investigators, indicating that the MIB were recruited from their ranks, they may have been chosen because they were the best at what they do, and as such stick to behavioural rules as a way of getting things done. This includes the style of speech. The stiff postures may be out of habit having served in a military style organisation for some time, they also indicate that MIB use standard, government, discipline techniques and drills.

The letters and numbers may signify a rank, or be intended to prevent the identification of the agents. Both the CIA and MI6 (the American and British intelligence agencies) have used letters to donate rank and name, this suggests that MIB may have links to them.

Extra Terrestrial Explanation

Aliens are attempting to appear normal, but have not had time to fully immerse themselves in our culture, so they stick to very basic stances and ways of speaking.

The short, clipped style is reminiscent of how someone who has learned a foreign language from a phrasebook speaks, this suggests that the MIB are in fact extra terrestrials who have learned an Earth language in his manner. This is backed up by the use of old-fashioned slang, which might have bee learned from old radio and television broadcasts and mistaken for the normal way of speaking. Referring to procedural codes, and to each other, by letter and number, may have been learned from television programs that often show FBI and police officers using complicated codes when they refer to crimes.

The lack of movement suggest an unfamiliarity with human culture, or possibly an inability to move as quickly, or haphazardly as humans due to alien physique.

Normal and Boring Explanation

Many MIB reports turn out to be witnesses mistaking FBI agents, and other legitimate officials for something more sinister. This would account for the official way in which the investigation is conducted.

The clipped speech is used as a method of intimidation, it gives the impression of concealed information, which leads to the impression that the user can tell if you are lying. This is often used in door to door, official investigations. The old fashioned slang may come from an original report in which the MIB are quoted as using what was then contemporary slang, over time; the date of the report was lost.

The codes used may be genuine police or investigative body codes used for radio transmissions, they can sound somewhat clandestine and secretive, however they are in fact completely legitimate. The call up alphabet may also be mistaken for an incomplete knowledge of English.

The military, stiff, stance may be because of an affiliation with a military branch such as the air force who are checking that you did not merely see one of their fighters. Again all of these aspects may have been copied and exaggerated since the original cases.

Men In Black are most likely the product of people’s willingness to believe conspiracies that cannot be disproved. It is possible that an ultra secret service does exist, and it is possible that it has an ulterior motive. What is certain is that whether they exist or not, they are not going to let us know, and unless you are one of them, you cannot know if they exist either.

Small amount from the movies Unsolved Mysteries, Michael Thompson chapter 2 p29-34

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