Author’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on strange encounters in Missouri.
The man in the Jefferson City, Mo., Target seemed out of place. As Lynn Graves walked to the checkout line, she saw the man, dressed in an out-of-date business suit and thin-framed sunglasses, quickly approach her.
“I saw him walking in like he was really on a mission,” Graves said. “I was checking out and he comes up right behind me with one item.”
The man stood close enough to Graves to make her uncomfortable and began to mumble, although Graves couldn’t understand what he said. She purchased her items and stepped forward.
“After I paid I was still fumbling with my money while he was paying for his,” she said. “He told the lady, ‘Thank you’ in a very deep voice. It sounded like me when I try to make myself sound like a man. So it was kind of a fake voice.”
Graves’ daughter and a friend were standing a nearby and noticed something odd with the man as well.
“When we got in the car, we waited for him to walk out and he did,” Graves said. “Very straight and with a mission like he did when he walked in.”
The man got into an early 1990s model Crown Victoria and drove away. But the three got a look what the man purchased – adult feminine diapers.
“After we drove off down the road we were talking about how strange that guy was,” Graves said. “I told my daughter and her friend that he reminded me of an MIB.”
Men in Black, first reported in author and UFO researcher Gray Barker’s 1956 book, “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.” are reported as thin men, often exhibiting behavior like they don’t fit in with society. They wear sunglasses, old fashioned black suits or out-of-place clothing, and harass people who have UFO encounters. Some MIBs tell abductees they are government agents, others claim to be aliens, and still others just make their presence known.
Graves thought the man might be a MIB because of a dream.
“I had a very realistic dream only a couple weeks earlier about me, my daughter and one of my friends seeing an alien craft that ended up abducting us,” she said.
Like many who claim alien abduction, Graves can’t remember anything past the initial encounter, and woke up some time later feeling disoriented.
“(Graves’ daughter and friend) kinda took me seriously because he was that weird,” Graves said.
Graves might have brushed off the encounter with the strange mumbling man in Target if she hadn’t seen him again.
“I decided to just go to Jefferson City to Barnes and Noble to look for any book that related to this (MIB) subject,” she said
She took her daughter and two male friends on the trip and, during the drive, told them about the similar men she saw while at work at a Lake of the Ozarks hotel (more of this in Part Two).
"I told them about these men after they told me about a strange call they got on their cell phone from a man with a very low voice that asked if they called his phone,” Graves said. “I got a cold chill when they told me this, because I got a call similar to that at work on our work line. And the voice just cut right through you. It was scary.”
Pulling into the Barnes and Noble parking lot, Graves told her passengers she hoped they saw one of those men – not knowing they would.
“We were in the bookstore for a while looking at all different kinds of books,” she said. “After we all went to the new age section and started looking at the books about the government, aliens, and such, the same guy that I saw in Target comes up and starts looking in the same area that we were.”
And the man became intrusive.
“It’s like he kept buzzing around us and getting in our way,” she said. “He was doing that mumbling thing again, and I still couldn't make out words. I turned around to one of my friends and mouthed to him ‘that was one of those guys.’”
The thin, mumbling man never looked at Graves or her companions, but Graves felt he was monitoring them. Graves said the mumbling began to sound like a bee’s buzz as the man looked at books about 2012 prophecies.
“We all walked to the front of the store, I watched him over the shelves,” she said. “My daughter took a picture and a video of him. He was wearing the same sunglasses, and kinda dressed the same.”
The man also carried a cell phone, noticeably older than cell phones used today.
“We saw him walk straight over to the corner of the store and sit with a book across from a lady,” Graves said.
When Graves glanced back, the man was gone.
What did Graves see? A man simply out-of-tune with society, or do MIBs monitor her after an alien encounter that may not have been a dream?
“I want someone out there to know about these men I've been seeing lately,” Graves said. “The first ones I noticed in public, and the rest have been showing up at my job. These men I believe are non-human people of some sorts. The weird thing is I really think these guys are taking an interest in me.”
Next week: Encounters at work.
Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.