According to UFO researcher and documentary filmmaker Jamie Shandera, in December 1984 he received an anonymous packet in the mail containing two rolls of undeveloped 35mm film. The film, once developed, revealed what appeared to be a briefing report to President elect Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969; president 1953–61), which had been prepared by a group of 12 prestigious and top-secret investigators who worked under the code name of “Operation Majestic-12” (MJ-12). Majestic 12 (also known as Majic 12, Majestic Trust, M12, MJ 12, MJ XII or Majority 12) is the purported code name of a secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, supposedly formed in 1947 by an executive order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The purpose of the committee was to investigate UFO activity in the aftermath of the Roswell incident – the purported crash of an alien spaceship near Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947. This alleged committee is an important part of the UFO conspiracy theory of an ongoing government cover up of UFO information. The document, which appeared to be authentic, described details of the recovery, analysis, and official cover-up of the 1947 UFO crash outside of Roswell, New Mexico.
The report also described the recovery of the bodies of four humanlike beings that had been found near the wreckage of the downed extraterrestrial spacecraft. According to these documents, all four of the entities were dead, and their corpses had been mutilated by desert scavengers and were badly decomposed due to exposure to the elements. Although the creatures were humanlike in appearance, the secret report stated that the biological and evolutionary processes responsible for their development had apparently been quite different from those of humankind.
The 1947 letter, purported to be signed by Harry Truman, authorizing “Operation Majestic Twelve”.
On June 14, 1987, at the 24th Annual National UFO Conference in Burbank, California, Shandera, together with Stanton Friedman and William Moore—the two prominent UFO researchers Shandera had enlisted to help him test the truth of the MJ-12 documents—made public their investigations into what purported to be documentary proof of a government cover-up of UFOs that began in 1947.
Many UFO researchers agreed upon seeing the list of MJ-12’s alleged personnel that if a UFO had crashed and been recovered in Roswell in 1947, this would have been the kind of panel that could have accomplished a thorough investigation of the craft. Each of these individuals had been at the top in their respective areas of expertise during the late 1940s and had the added benefit of government experience behind them.
The more skeptical investigators agreed that “Document A,” which purported to be a letter dated September 24, 1947, from President Harry S Truman to Secretary of Defense Forrestal, appeared to be genuine; but even though Truman did refer to “Operation Majestic Twelve” in the letter, there was nothing clearly stated that linked the group to UFO investigations. Others questioned why Hillenkoetter, head of the CIA, listed as the briefing officer on the MJ-12 document, would remain quiet about the crashed flying saucer and the alien bodies when he became active in civilian UFO research in 1957.
The biggest shocker to longtime UFO researchers was the discovery of the name of Donald Menzel, the Harvard astronomer, on the MJ-12 list. Menzel was well known as a passionate debunker of flying saucers and the author of three anti-UFO books. In spite of its defenders in the UFO research field, the authenticity of the MJ-12 documents remains highly controversial. Skeptical researchers have labeled the documents as clearly false and fraudulent, pointing out that a thorough search of the records of the Truman administration reveals no executive order for such a UFO investigative group as MJ-12.
Researchers who have served in the military have stated that the clearest indication of a hoax lies in the many incorrect military terms and language used in these alleged “official” documents, suggesting that the creators of the hoax have never served in the military.
The existence of MJ-12 has sometimes been denied by some agencies of the United States government, which insist that documents suggesting its existence are hoaxes. The FBI investigated the documents, and concluded they were forgeries, based primarily on an opinion rendered by AFOSI, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Opinions among UFO researchers are divided: Some argue the documents may be genuine while others contend they are phony, primarily due to errors in formatting and chronology.
In 1985, another document mentioning MJ-12 and dating to 1954 was found in a search at the National Archives. Its authenticity is also highly controversial. The documents in question are rather widely available on the Internet, for example on the FBI website, where they are dismissed as bogus (linked below). Since the first MJ-12 documents, thousands of pages of other supposed leaked government documents mentioning MJ-12 and a government coverup of UFO reality have also appeared, sometimes collectively referred to as the “Majestic Documents.”All of them are controversial, with many disputing their authenticity.
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