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Ordered to Quit

by the Men in Black


One day in 1953, Albert Bender, a thirty-two year old saucer and occult enthusiast who ran the International Flying Saucer Bureau out of his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, received a surprise visit from "three men wearing dark suits" who "flashed credentials" from a "higher authority" and told him "not roughly, but sternly and emphatically, to stop publishing flying saucer information." Bender told a reporter from the Bridgeport Herald in November that the visitors took five copies of each issue of his newsletter.

He said that he was so frightened by the encounter that he could not eat for a "couple of days."

This incident would enter UFO lore as one of the original appearances of the sinister "Men In Black."

The story would seem to be just another case of a rather self-dramatizing marginal individual making sensationalistic claims, and gives the impression that the "visitors from a higher authority" - if they actually existed - were members of some secret government agency rather than anything more exotic. But it is typical of the weirdly convoluted world of UFOs in the 1950s that the CIA did get involved in this "MIB" case, if only in a peripheral way.

According to documents preserved in the CIA's own online Electronic Documents Release Center, in the summer of 1959 a Mr. George Patrick Wyllie of Cleveland, Tennessee sent CIA Director Allen Dulles a copy of Gray Barker's book "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers," which greatly embroidered on the 1953 intimidation of Bender.

Dulles did not, as would be reasonably expected, ignore the letter or return the book with a polite acknowledgment. Oddly, he forwarded it to the Agency's Office of Scientific Intelligence, and on July 2nd, OSI director Herbert Scoville replied to Wyllie, returning the book. Did Dulles refer it to OSI because he detected some indication that the book might refer to CIA activity in relation to the Bender case? The reply was drafted by C. W. Matthews of the OSI Fundamental Sciences Division.