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URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

URECAT is a formal catalog of UFO related entities sightings reports with the goal of providing quality information for accurate studies of the topic. Additional information, corrections and reviews are welcome at patrick.gross@inbox.com, please state if you wish to be credited for your contribution or not. The main page of the URECAT catalog is here.

July 20, 1947, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, a man:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

The "flying saucers era" historically started when Kenneth Arnold made his observation of nine mysterious flying objects from his plane near Mont Rainer, US, on June 24, 1947. Supposedly much later, the theme of the mysterious "Men-in-Black" appeared in fringe ufology publications.

But I found an oddity.

The newspaper The Sante Fe Mexican newspaper, of Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA, had published as early in UFO history as July 21, 1947, on page 1, the following intriguing story, under the headline "Mystery Man in Top Hat Reported Seen". The article said:

"Now that flying saucers have ceased to be in the public eye, Santa Fe has a man who, according to the police report, appears "to be something out of this world." The description indicates he might be between an Abe Lincoln and Old Man Prohibition."

"A westside resident phoned headquarters at 11 Sunday night, saying he had seen the man roaming about the streets in that part of the city. He was abnormally tall, the informant said; wore a dark suit with a long black cape and a stovepipe hat and a stiff white collar; had on dark glasses."

"Night Capt. Tiny [Tony?] Garcia hurried to the spot where he was reported seen; but the man had vanished."

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001745
Date of event: July 20, 1947
Earliest report of event: July 21, 1947
Delay of report: None.
Witness reported via: Phoned the police station.
First alleged record by: Local newspaper.
First certain record by: Local newspaper.
First alleged record type: Local newspaper.
First certain record type: Local newspaper.
This file created on: October 7, 2018
This file last updated on: October 7, 2018
Country of event: USA
State/Department: New Mexico
Type of location: In the western part of the city of Santa Fe.
Lighting conditions: Night.
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
UFO/Entity Relation: Uncertain
Witnesses numbers: 1
Witnesses ages: Not reported. Adult or aged.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Local resident.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: MIB
Entities height: Abnormally tall.
Entities outfit type: Dark suit, long black cape, top hat, stiff white collar, dark glasses.
Entities outfit color: Not reported.
Entities skin color: Not reported.
Entities body: Not reported. Man between an Abe Lincoln and Old Man Prohibition.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Dark glasses.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported.
Entities arms: Not reported.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: None heard.
Entities actions: Roamed in the streets.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed, phoned police.
Witness(es) feelings: Not reported.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported, or something out of this world.
Explanation category: Extraterrestrial visitors.
Explanation certainty: None.

Narratives:

[Ref. sf1:] "THE SANTE FE NEW MEXICAN" NEWSPAPER:

Mystery Man in Top Hat Reported Seen

Now that flying saucers have ceased to be in the public eye, Santa Fe has a man who, according to the police report, appears "to be something out of this world." The description indicates he might be between an Abe Lincoln and Old Man Prohibition.

A westside resident phoned headquarters at 11 Sunday night, saying he had seen the man roaming about the streets in that part of the city. He was abnormally tall, the informant said; wore a dark suit with a long black cape and a stovepipe hat and a stiff white collar; had on dark glasses.

Night Capt. Tiny [Tony?] Garcia hurried to the spot where he was reported seen; but the man had vanished.

Points to consider:

The "Men in Black" or "MIB" are alleged characters who confront (very rarely) UFO witnesses. They are said to be generally wearing anachronistic suits, black or dark, often wearing a black hat, with facila feature and / or voice and / or behaviors that are almost "robotic". The stories sometimes present them as "US government agents" (or agent of others governments) whose aim is to intimidate the witnesses, but often, they are considered to be artificial "things" that would only have a fake, unconvincing, human appearance. They are then considered to be created by the alien intelligence responsible for the alleged observed UFO; their goals are almost always unknown.

They are widely regarded as a kind of folklore, including by many ufologists, for quite serious reasons.

These individuals, sometimes but rarely female, appear alone or in groups (most often a trio) at the home of the witness of a UFO sighting or alien encouter after a delay that can vary from one day to several months. The witness interprets them sometimes as agents of the government missioned to hush the affair, sometimes as non-human creatures (extraterrestrials or humanoids) with mysterious goals. Whatever the date of their appearance, they are generally dressed in dark or gray suits, usually in the style of the post-war years, just like their car, obsolete, when they use one.

In principle, the "invention" of these Men In Black is of quite dubious and not very credible origin:

One Alfred K. Bender had led for a few years a modest Ufology group called the "International Flying Saucer Bureau". But suddenly, in 1953, he informed his members that the group is disbanded, because he had found the solution to the mystery of the flying saucers and three weird men dressed in dark had visited him and telepathically instructed him to keep silent about the truth he discovered.

But in 1962, Bender published his book "Flying Saucers and the Three Men", (Saucerian Books, 1962, the editor being Gray Barker) in which he claims to divulge the secret of the saucers - which are hardly a novelty: the "Men in Black" would be extraterrestrials who "steal humans bodies to disguise themselves", the flying saucers would come from another planet - something that few people were embarrassed to "disclose" in the 1950s...

He assured that the "flying saucers" had their base in Antarctica. How did he know? By... "astral projection..."

The MIBs then appear in Gray Barker's own book - as if by chance - "They knew too much about flying saucers" in 1956. The problem was that Gray Barker had, by his own admission, no concern for the truthfulness of the stories he told about flying saucers. He did publish reliable reports that were corroborated by other sources, but he mixed these with reports that he invented on his own. He had been approached by John A. Keel from 1966 to 1967. Keel too, by his own admission, had little concern for the truthfulness of the stories he told; he seemed much more attached to creating ambiances of mysteries (contactees, "devilish" creatures or "ultraterrestrials", prophecies (never verified) etc. In fact, Gray Barker had, on sevral occasions "fed" Keel with hoaxes, himself posing as a "Men in Black" through mysterious phone calls to Keel, for example. So we find the MIBs in Keel's book "The Mothman Prophecy", in 1975.

Since then, there are about sixty other cases of "Men in Black", ranging from the unproven ones to the ones that are clearly not credible at all.

Suffice to say that I was quite dumbfounded to find these dubious Men in Black... in 1947 already, not in a publication of the "Gray Barker" kind but in a newspaper.

Here are the intriguing sides of the article:

  1. The witness of the odd character's presence was troubled enough to call the police about it. And the police wrote a report, which the newspaper comments.
  2. The link with the "saucers": the newspaper indicates that "now that the flying saucers flying saucers have ceased to be in the public eye", we have this man who appears "to be something out of this world." Just like in the later stories of MIBs, where the witnesses or UFO sighting location are visited by one or more MIB sometime after the encounter, never at the same time.
  3. The extraterrestrial interpretation ("out of this world"): whereas the idea that the saucers were piloted by extraterrestrials was still little publicized (it was far from non-existent, but the first idea was that the saucers did not exist at all, that they were the result "imagination" or of "seeing things." The Martians were in the minds, but in the "bakcs" of the minds for fear of ridicule), And here, we have talks about an extraterrestrial "Man in Black".
  4. In the stories about the "Men in Black" published later, we found this almost constant anachronistic clothing: "they" wear outdated suits. Those of the 1960s are dressed like people of the 1940s. Here, this 1940s MIB is also dressed anachronistically, with a similar shift in time: we are in the 1940's but the MIB is dressed like in earlier times ("between an Abe Lincoln and Old Man Prohibition"). Even the hat is out of sync, the later MIBs often wear a bowler hat, this earlier MIB wears a more outdated top hat! As if this shift in time should remain constant...
  5. An equally extraordinary detail is that this MIB wears dark glasses... And this, at night, at 11 p.m.... Just like, very often, post-1962 Men-in-Black, who almost often, precisely, hide their eyes under dark glasses.
  6. He is described as "abnormally tall", yet another strangeness that can be found later.
  7. It is clear that in July 1947, there had never been any mention of any of these "Men in Black". They "appeared" later, as I explained earlier. The "flying saucers" themselves had just appeared in the media for the first time less than a month ago! There can be no "influence" here.
  8. It is equally clear that this is not a "backdate", "late reported" story, as many are. It is not one of these cases where "someone said in 2004 that he saw a MIB in 1965". No, the witness saw this MIB and immediatley reported it. And the case does not come from sone "UFO book" or UFO lore, it comes from a newspaper at a time when there was no such thing as UFO lietterautre at all.

I believe I am the first one to stimble on this newspaper article; I have never seen any mention of it in any UFO sources. Quite frankly, I am quite dumbfounded by the find. In trying to find a way out, I obviously thought of a mere coincidence. I will certainly not claim this is "proof" that Men in Black are real. But all the same, I think it was necessary to make this story known. And who knows if I will not find some others of the kind...

Looking for an "ordinary" explanation more "appealing" than a mere coincidence claim, I thought that maybe, maybe, Albert K. Bender had read this newspaper article, and that this incident would be the source of his inspiration. But I have a hard time convincing myself it worked that way.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
1 Data Severe October 7, 2018 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Help needed. Opened.

Evaluation:

Extraterrestrial visitors.

Sources references:

* = Source I checked.
? = Source I am told about but could not check yet. Help appreciated.

Document history:

Authoring

Main Author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross October 7, 2018 Creation, [sf1].
1.0 Patrick Gross October 7, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on October 7, 2018.