Within the UFO community the number of narratives confirming and debating the existence of extraterrestrials is unending. Often there can be a cyclical nature to some of these stories, in which someone will allegedly debunk something, only for it to resurface a few years later with new evidence or alternative accounts.
No other story fits this mold better than the MJ-12, or Majestic 12, conspiracy, with many of the characters proving to be familiar to anyone moderately versed in ufology. Whether the story retains a modicum of veracity or should be considered completely debunked, is up for debate, but in either case it shows a level of government deception that is undeniable
Operation Majestic 12
Operation Majestic 12, or MAJIC 12, was allegedly a program created after the infamous Roswell crash in 1947. Majestic-12 was a collection of top-brass, military generals and government officials coalesced under the orders of President Truman to investigate the crash and decide the best course of action to deal with the situation. The group put together a series of documents on its discoveries, as a briefing for the incoming President Eisenhower. These documents supposedly detailed the recovery of the craft, the extraterrestrial entities on board, and photographic evidence of the crash. Conspiracy theorists claim that it was created under the recommendation of then-Secretary of Defense James Forrestal and Dr. Vannevar Bush, then-chairman of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.
The documents were highly classified and labelled, MAJIC EYES ONLY, a security classification supposedly two levels higher than top secret. If proven to be legitimate, they would confirm all conspiracies surrounding the Roswell crash in New Mexico, as well as the long-running suspicion that the government has been holding information about extraterrestrial contact from the public. But when put under scrutiny, the authenticity of many of the reports becomes questionable, while the shady associations of players involved in the story also casts a shadow of doubt.
The government, in this scenario, responded to the veracity of the documents by reviewing them and literally labelling them, BOGUS, in large block letters. This was the verdict declared by the FBI after the documents were reviewed by the Air Force, four years after their discovery.
What Is The Majestic-12?
The Majestic-12 documents came in the form of an undeveloped roll of film, randomly mailed to filmmaker, Jaime Shandera in 1984. The documents displayed in the images, after Shandera developed the film, have been researched by Stanton Friedman, one of the more prominent names in ufology, and he maintains their integrity to this day.
Curiously, whoever sent the pictures of the documents to Shandera waited until the last supposed member of Majestic-12 passed away, eliminating the chance to question members as to their involvement. But some of the members of the group had directly been involved with groups like NICAP and Project Blue Book, government operations charged with investigating UFO phenomenon.
A memo from alleged MJ-12 member, General Nathan F. Twining, has become one of the more credited documents in ufology. This genuine letter sent to a fellow general, contains a request for research into UFO phenomena following the Roswell incident.
But even though the government has labelled the MJ-12 documents BOGUS, a report by Nick Redfern, another ufologist who has tirelessly investigated the MJ-12 files, states that there were several FBI investigations of the files in the late 80s. Some of these investigations led agents to believe that there could be a highly classified MJ-12 program that was being kept from them. One agent even stated that there are so many secret levels within the government, that even the government isn’t aware of it.
Who Are the Majestic 12?
The MJ-12 consisted of an array of Air Force Generals, Naval Rear Admirals, and government bureaucrats. Some have speculated that the name MAJIC- 12, the alternative name for the Majestic 12, is actually an acronym for Military Assessment of the Joint Intelligence Committee. One of these members, Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, is the specific subject of a letter pertaining to the conspiracy, known as the Hillenkoetter memo. Hillenkoetter was originally a rear admiral in the Navy, but then became Director of Central Intelligence and the first director of the CIA.
After Shandera received the roll of film containing images of the Majestic-12 documents, he set out on an investigation with Bill Moore, author of The Roswell Incident. While digging through archives of government and military memos, they stumbled across one of Hillenkoetter’s memos that read:
“The President has decided that the MJ-12 SSP briefing should take place during the already scheduled White House meeting of July 16, rather than following it as previously intended. More precise arrangements will be explained to you upon arrival. Please alter your plans accordingly
Your concurrence in the above change of arrangements is assumed.”
The legitimacy of this document has been highly touted by Stanton Friedman. Hillenkoetter is also said to have briefed Eisenhower on the recovery of spacecraft at Roswell and the subsequent contact with extraterrestrials.
But are the Majestic-12 documents real? What makes the story of the Majestic-12 seem spurious is the association between Shandera and Bill Moore. Moore came out to the public as having colluded with a government agent to spread disinformation about UFOs, despite being a ufologist himself. The disinformation agent was Richard Doty, the CIA agent tasked with feeding phony stories about UFOs and extraterrestrials to Paul Bennewitz when he became convinced of their existence in the 80s. Bennewitz had been working as a contractor at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, being privy to clandestine military programs that the government didn’t want him to expose. He believed he had been seeing UFOs, so the government convinced him of phony extraterrestrial conspiracies, driving him to the brink of insanity.
Linda Moulton Howe is another proponent of the Majestic-12 documents, claiming to have been shown evidence of an Majestic-12-related Project Aquarius and a presidential briefing describing UFO crashes and extraterrestrial contact. However, she too was given this information from Doty. Howe was preparing a documentary, at the time, for HBO after her famous production Strange Harvest, hoping to incorporate a significant amount of film from Doty as well as an interview with him. But it never materialized and HBO pulled funding from the documentary.
Recently, however a batch of new documents has surfaced that was thought to be legitimate by those who still have vested belief in the program. The document, dated 08 January 1989, states that the government found seven flying craft and the bodies of 27 “deceased non-human species.” The document also claims that three of the recovered craft are nearly intact and one machine has maintained power since its discovery. It goes on to lay out the history of the Roswell crash and the members of Majestic-12 papers.
Although the authenticity of these recent Majestic-12 documents has been debunked by Howe and most of her colleagues. Stanton Friedman is one of few who maintains their integrity, but much of the format and verbiage in the documents proves to obviously be fake. But who is behind these recent documents that has gone to such length to perpetuate an already convoluted story?
Whether the creator of the blatantly bogus documents could very well be a hoaxer with a lot of extra time, there is also evidence that government disinformation campaigns could be at work to muddy the waters. This is the greater issue that upsets the community of ufologists who continue to search for answers, but can see past the mendacity of documents like these. This same campaign that was promulgated by Richard Doty and William Moore that drove Paul Bennewitz mad, may be continuing to this day. Is the government concealing evidence of extraterrestrial technology and contact? Probably. But the disinformation campaigns that have been proven are not only deceptive to the public, but have ruined the lives of some who are simply seeking truth.