65th anniversary of UFO event Thursday
BRIDGEPORT — In the 1950s, flying saucers and mental telepathy were all the rage. People went in droves — often to drive-ins — to see movies like “The Man from Planet X” and “Invaders from Mars.”
It was in this backdrop of fascination with life on other planets that Bridgeport resident and UFO researcher Albert K. Bender, along with about 600 members of his International Flying Saucer Bureau, attempted to contact beings from outer space using — for lack of a better term — mind waves.
“This took place on March 15, 1953,” said Bridgeport librarian Michael Bielawa, whose book, “Wicked Bridgeport,” explores the quirky and nutty aspects of the Park City’s past.
Bielawa will be observing the 65th anniversary of Bender’s “Contact Day” with a public reading of the UFO fanatic’s “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” proclamation.
The brief ceremony will take place at 12:15 p.m. Thursday at the site of Albert Bender’s home — long since demolished for I-95 — near the corner of Broad Street and North Frontage Road, across the street from the Housatonic Community College bookstore, in downtown Bridgeport.
“It was Bender who came up with the term ‘Men in Black’ and we’re hoping that the people who attend the reading will be dressed in black suits, which shirts, black ties and sunglasses,” Bielawa said.
“Most people have heard about Men in Black, but what they don’t know is that it all originated right here in downtown Bridgeport,” Bielawa said. “Men in Black — Made in Bridgeport.”
Most people first learned of the ‘Men in Black” through the series of Hollywood science fiction comedies by that name, the first debuting in 1997.
Bielawa said that 65 years ago on Thursday, Bender and the 600 members of his International Flying Saucer Bureau — at the exact same time and from their own homes —all projected this thought: “Calling occupants of interplanetary craft — we of the IFSB wish to make contact with you. We are your friends.”
Afterwards, Bender was visited, he said, by three men in black suits, who urged him to stop his UFO contacting efforts.
At first he thought the three were U.S. agents, but he soon came to believe the “MIBs” were not of this Earth.
Bender wrote the book “Flying Saucers and the Three Men,” which is still in print. It’s considered one of the most influential UFOlogist books of the Atom Age.
Bielawa hopes that March 15 will become an annual Men in Black Day in Bridgeport, perhaps with the showing of schlocky sci-fi movies like “Invasion of the Saucer-Men” and “Cosmic Monsters.”