CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Fall is coming, and with it—spooky season. The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center Tuesday announced that it will be hosting “UFOs – The Clarksburg Connection” with the Clarksburg History Museum this October.
The event includes an alien costume contest with cash prizes available to participants, a screening of “The Mothman Prophecies” (2002) starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and guest speakers like David Houchin of the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Midnight Talkers Paranormal Group and WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters Co-Founder Les O’Dell.
Guest speakers will introduce attendees to Gray Barker, a famous Clarksburg author and paranormal propagandist.
Clarksburg History Museum’s Michael Joseph Spatafore said he wants to make sure that people know it was Barker’s books that became the basis for the “Men in Black” film franchise.
According to a press release from the Robinson Grand, Barker is a Glenville State College grad who was working as a theater booker in Clarksburg in 1952 when he started collecting stories about the Flatwoods Monster, believed to be an extraterrestrial who lives in Barker’s native Braxton County.
Barker’s article about the Flatwoods Monster was published in FATE Magazine, and soon after, the release said, he began writing regular pieces about UFOs for Space Review, which was published by Albert K. Bender’s International Flying Saucer Bureau.
When Bender abruptly dissolved the organization, claiming he could not continue writing about UFOs because of “orders from a higher source,” Barker pressed him for more details, and ended up writing his first book, “They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers,” which according to the release was the first to describe the Men in Black. UFO enthusiasts believe the Men in Black intimidate individuals into keeping silent about UFOs.
Then, according to the release, Barker and Bender collaborated on a second book called “Flying Saucers and the Three Men”, Barker’s other works include “The Silver Bridge,” which linked the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, WV, with the appearance of an alleged paranormal creature known as the Mothman.
After the event, attendees are invited to visit the Waldomore and the Clarksburg History Museum, including the Gray Barker Room, which includes his writings and correspondence between Barker and notable figures of the UFO field from the 1950s to the early 1980s.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online or by calling the Robinson Grand ticketing center at 855-773-6283.