27 October 2015


I wonder if any readers might have some ideas to explain a strange phenomenon which has broken out over the last few months on the Magonia website.

In February 2009 following a tip-off from Fortean author Mike Dash we published a piece called 'The Sad Truth Behind an MIB Story'.
It involved Dr Herbert Hopkins, a consulting hypnotist who had performed the hypnotic regression for the 1975 abduction case in Oxford, Maine, which involved two young men who recalled memories of encountering strange, ‘mushroom-headed', entities. This was at the time quite a well-known case, with an extended account published in Flying Saucer Review. After his involvement in the case Hopkins claimed that later he had been targeted by MIB and involved in a bizarre encounter with two strange characters. John Keel described this encounter at length, and aspects of it were dramatised in a play, All Along the Watchtowers, performed at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London. 

Mike Dash's account of the MIB incident, taken from his book Borderlands,  is HERE.

However much later Hopkins' nephew, also called Herbert Hopkins revealed on a blog that his uncle was an alcoholic and "a fantasy-prone individual, craved the center of attention and limelight and on a base level he sometimes just made things up—no matter how hyperbolic—to top everybody else." You can read the full Magonia piece here, it is indeed a sad story.:

This story was posted on Magonia and it received a certain amount of interest at the time of its publication, then after a while settled down into the humdrum life of an old Magonia posting, getting the odd hit every now and then. Until about six or eight months ago.

I can't put an exact date on it, but some time earlier this year the story took off. We began getting hundreds of hits a week, shooting its count up from about 250 viewings in total in the seven years it had been on the blog, to the current number of over three thousand and it's is now one of the most visited items out of the 700 or so articles and reviews we have published online. A study of the statistics of traffic sources that the Blogspot platform produces seems to show no one point of origin for these links, yet they still come in at the rate of a couple of hundred a week. As I write there have been a dozen hits in the last few hours.

Does anyone have any idea what has propelled this old and rather obscure story to the top of the Magonia ratings? Answers on a postcard please, or at least in the comments section below.


  1. Simply bizarre. I was familiar with Herbert Hopkins's MIB stories and I do remember his nephew's revelations as well. However I always thought that even though of course the nephew had revealed his uncle to be something of a tall tale teller and alcoholic, it didn't necessarily discredit Hopkins's original story about MIB visitants. The waters were just muddied here, as they routinely are in this trickster topic of MIBs & ufology.

    Here is my 5 cents, and this is of course just speculation: If the MIB phenomenon has a paranormal element to it, as does ufology as a whole, then those covering the topic (in a serious way, as does Magonia) might just attract weird happenings of a paranormal nature. We all know that investigators of MIB (notably Keel), UFO cases, poltergeists etc, often report their own bizarre non-mundane experiences that follow in the wake of their investigations/contacts/so-called abductions. In our hi-tech age, poltergeist phenomena and the like have been reported to affect computers, machinery... Now in the age of the Internet. the smartphone and the virtual word, these effects are going to manifest on the Internet. Magonia is now online, that is its portal to the world, pretty much exclusively. The Trickster (speaking figuratively) behind the scenes of Ufology/MIBs is sending a reminder to the Magonia crew of what it's all about (even as Rogerson and like-minded Magonians deny this reality, because they deny it even). That Hopkins article is 'targeted' because of its (extreme) skepticism, its associated attempt to dismiss MIBs as a whole (and even the paranormal/Forteana by guilt by association), sweep it all under the carpet. So Magonia gets the paranormal/psi boomerang! Admittedly this asks more questions than it answers, but that is the nature of the beast. And why now? I don't know...

  2. I just want to add something further. As the link to the relevant pelicanist article from 2009 ('sad truth behind mib story') reveals, the original article by Hopkins's nephew Howard Hopkins (a writer of Westerns, horror and adventure characters from The Green Hornet to Sherlock Holmes) is no longer accessible (as of October 2015!). If any interested Magonia readers did not read it or download it, it is accessible from the Way Back Machine (I just checked).

  3. Mike Dash has also added this comment to the original posting:
    There were two Hopkins MIB articles, about the elder Hopkins's two MIB encounters. A second post addressed this second case (involving a strange female MIB with pendulous breasts)... and attributed it to another relative's wife-swapping exploits. Although the original links have failed, both posts are still retrievable via the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20080524015603/http://howardhopkins.blogspot.com/2008/01/truth-about-man-in-black.html https://web.archive.org/web/20080723185406/http://howardhopkins.blogspot.com/2008/01/more-mib-weirdery.html