It is a common misconception that Men in Black are something that only appears after a UFO sighting. These strange not-quite humans also appear after instances of the supernatural and other strangeness. Most people believe that Men in Black are aliens in disguise or super-secret government agents. That is what THEY want you to believe.
The truth is a bit more variable. Here are seven alternative origins for the Men in Black of your world.
The Vatican: The 70’s are a busy time for the Catholic Church. Exorcisms are being requested by New England psychics, satanists are in the anti-christ baby raising business and sinister folks from Lake Geneva are publishing RPG manuals with the names of unholy demons. There is a lot of bad shit going around and the Vatican wants to keep an eye on it all. They send their agents, usually an old one and a young one, dressed in all black, to investigate. Most of the time they arrive too late but they stick around to collect any demonic artifacts or to give words of comfort to Final Girls. They rarely have any official power, but their connections to Catholic members of the local police department give them an inside track. Vatican Men in Black also function as excellent Deus Ex Machina for desperate need of a rescue.
Pleasure Demons: These Men and Women in Black Leather are mortal incarnations of terrible cosmic beings. They arrive to subtly mock the survivors of terrible events and to point the authorities in the wrong direction. They might hide evidence or supply an instrument of torture to someone agony-curious. Some are genuinely curious as to what has happened and will question survivors in such a way that their glee is apparent. Unlike other Men in Black, these creatures are always touching something or each other. They can appear in the prologue, acting as sexy Johnny Appleseeds of ecstasy and terror as they give the main villain a crucial plot device.
Hunters: If the Winchester brothers taught us anything, it is that it is remarkably easy to impersonate a government agency. These Men in Black are usually ruggedly handsome, fond of diner food and drive cars that are far cooler than you would expect FBI agents to drive. They flash badges too quick to read and ask really unusual questions about whether the suspect avoided daylight or if the survivor experienced any cold spots recently. They appear infrequently during the story and may even serve as a love interest before getting horribly murdered.
Golems of the Atlanteans: Atlanteans are too busy practicing their dark magic and debaucheries to do the grunt work. That is what the Men in Black are for. Created from ancient arts, these barely humans will go out and search for lost artifacts of Atlantis. Deeply intelligent in matters or science, magic and stalking, they lack common knowledge of how to act normal. They use slang inappropriately and might have a hat on backwards. They never sweat and often forget to blink or breath. When recharging, they will go into a closet and enter into an inactive state that resembles mannequins.
Renfeilds: You know who else is too busy to do things, especially during the day time? That’s right, Dracula. There are only so many hours in the night and it really helps if some wide-eyed, nervous men in black suits do the tedious work. These Men in Black are more proactive than your usual Men in Black as they attack heroes and follow nubile high school teens home from their schools. Most of them have already been fed on and exhibit sensitivity to sunlight which requires them to always were sunglasses.
Doctor Frankenstein: Hunchbacks and grave diggers of loose morals can only do so much. Dr. Frankenstein decided to do away with crappy mortal help and build his own. The Men in Black are his own creations and they have proven quite useful. He sends them out to dig up graves and recover body parts from summer camp massacres. To head off any of the Men in Black demanding brides or rights, he limited their ability to speak or in some cases, made them eunuchs. Since they are reanimated corpses, they smell a bit which is why they all wear way too much cologne.
Future People: Centuries from now, man’s civilization has been cast in ruins. Terrible monsters roam the earth and no one knows how to stop them. Maybe the secret lies in the ancient past of the 1970’s? It was known to be a time of vampires, near-immortal serial killers and mutated flesh and body horror. These Men in Black come from a time when humanity doesn’t like, sound or act like we know it. They have evolved or devolved to something else. They wear dark clothes to cover their mutations and sunglasses to hide their radioactive eyes. Their misuse of slang would be hilarious if they weren’t so menacing. Are they here to gather information or are they here to stop events from happening? Maybe the cataclysmic event that ends civilization starts with the wrong Final Girl surviving and living to tell the tale to the wrong people?
Twin Moon Pictures Presents is a series of articles designed to give you things to use in horror games based in the 1970’s. Although the articles will be written for The They Came From Beyond the Grave RPG, the articles should be system neutral enough for your own 1970’s era games or stories.