You’ve seen the movies. You’ve heard the stories. They are the shadow agents of either a secretive arm of the government or an extra-governmental organization, and they are the “someone” keeping the real truth from getting out there.
Conspiracy theorists will smile knowingly at the Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones movie. That is fantasy, inspired by the real.
The fundamental evidence is that the proof of their chosen theory(ies) has been kept under wraps, somehow. With as much corroborating information as they have found to “prove” their position, those last necessary links must be successfully suppressed.
According to Robert Anton Wilson, author of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, they should do more research. In his encyclopedia of conspiracy, Everything Is Under Control, Ray Palmer is the father of the Men In Black. Specifically:
Palmer also launched “The Shaver Mystery” (see Richard Shaver) and either invented or first publicized The Men In Black.
He was capable of doing this because Ray Palmer is better known as the editor of Amazing Stories in the 1940s. To match the illustrations of Frank R. Paul, the prolific and popular cover artist of Amazing Stories, Palmer actively encouraged authors to write stories of “flying saucers”.
Then, in 1947, he was contacted by an author about what became known as the Maury Island Incident. A man’s son was injured and his dog killed by debris from a torus-shaped aircraft. He was later warned not to talk about it by darkly clad figures who are easily identified as the modern Men In Black.
The problem is that the man in question, Harold Dahl, told the story to Fred Crisman, who in turn related it to Palmer. Crisman was desperately trying to become a successful science fiction writer. And Harold Dahl repeatedly denied that it happened.
Still, some of the local papers that had covered the story failed, and Palmer was removed from the helm of Amazing Stories despite increasing circulation. This, and the occasional reports that Dahl reversed his denial, only bolstered the conspiracy beliefs.
More research was done. It was discovered that Crisman had, on occasion, portrayed himself as Dahl, explaining the “recanted” denials. There were no hospital records of the injured boy being treated, although that had been the key element of the original story. And Palmer’s showmanship had increased circulation of Amazing Stories… but so had the return of veterans from WWII, grown accustomed to reading in their spare time.
The fact that Joseph Campbell’s Astounding was increasing in sales faster than Amazing, with far less prominent cover artists but higher quality stories from people like Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp also played a part in Palmer’s dismissal.
The story behind the Men In Black is just that – a story. And one that failed to get the author the publishing credits he desired.
But maybe everything is connected, after all. The popular movie series was inspired by a comic book by Lowell Cunningham. And Ray Palmer? Years after he was let go, one of the authors whose work he regularly bought for Amazing, Gardner Fox, decided to immortalize him as the diminutive comic book super hero, The Atom.