Although turned into some sort of comedic relief by recent science fiction motion pictures starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, the real history of ufology has been intertwined with the so-called bizarre “Men-in-Black” cases (or MIBs) for years. Intriguingly, Ohio was the host of a classic MIB case, which merged with the story of the Mothman (for more about Mothman, per se, go to the “Bizarre Beasts” section of Weird Ohio).Our story of Ohio’s MIB encounter begins first with an encounter with the giant birdlike creature called Mothman. On Sunday, November 27, 1966, at about 10:30 in the morning, 18-year-old Connie Carpenter was driving home from church, when she came face-to-face with the Mothman, almost causing her to have an automobile crash.
She described it as gray creature, standing on the golf course near Mason, West Virginia. The thing then suddenly flew straight at her car. She was one of few who actually saw the creature's face, but perhaps due to her trauma, her description—“It was horrible”—has never given enough detail to be helpful. In 2001, when I was involved with the David Grabias documentary “The Search for the Mothman,” (which is found in the Special Edition DVD of the movie The Mothman Prophecies), Connie Carpenter was one of the few witnesses to refuse an interview, instead having her husband talk on camera. Connie’s post-traumatic remembrances appear to issue not just from her encounter with Mothman, but also more importantly from her brush with the Men-in-Black.
Connie Carpenter was to have many difficulties after her Mothman sighting. Early in February 1967 she married Keith Gordon, and they moved across the river to a two-family house in Middleport, Ohio. They did not get a telephone immediately because they has had so much trouble over on the West Virginia side. Strange people seemed to be around too. And then there is what today is characterized as her near kidnapping by a MIB. At 8: 15 A.M., February 22, 1967, Connie left her house to go to school. As she started to walk down the street a large black car pulled up alongside her. She later identified it as a 1949 Buick.
The occupant of the car opened the door and gestured to her to come over. Thinking that he was seeking directions. Connie approached him. He was a young, clean-cut man of about twenty-five, wearing a colorful Mod shirt, no jacket (it was bitter cold), had neatly combed hair and appeared to be suntanned. This suntan was a very interesting detail, which has turned up in other MIB accounts. Connie said the car appeared to be brand new inside and out even though it was a vintage model. This detail has cropped up many times in our Men in Black investigations. Some of these cars smell new inside, according to various MIB witnesses. As she grew close, the “man” grabbed her, but she struggled, and ran away. Her husband reported during the filming of the recent documentary that Connie never was the same after that, never really went outside again, and certainly does not like to talk about those days.
Today the Connie Carpenter MIB episode figures in the history of the MIB as one of the more memorable cases of its kind, especially due to its overlapping relationship to the Mothman flap of 1966-1967.