The Majestic 12 Papers - An Analysis


The Majestic-12 papers- ostensibly "leaked" Top Secret memorandums- has long enjoyed substantial cachet among some authors and proponents of the UFO Crash at Roswell theory. They are proof, they say, not only that the Crash really happened (which version of the Saga is hotly debated, though), but that The Government is actively involved in a conspiracy to hide the saucer and alien bodies from the public.

Since the first appearance of the Majestic-12 documents, a small cottage industry seems to have sprung up to "leak" more papers, including yearly summaries, cryptic memos, and the Operations Manual detailing the engagement rules of UFO/Alien crash sites.  We look at the SOM-1 manual here.

There are many sites, both pro and con, dealing with the Majestic-12 papers.  One of the most complete is the Majestic Documents site- a site definitely of the opinion the the MJ-12 papers are authentic.  For another skeptical point of view, try's excellent three-part article or Tim Printy's outstanding site.

What the conspiracy advocates fail to mention in their writings is that the MJ-12 papers are a complete forgery!

The story of how the original MJ-12 papers came to light is an interesting look into the mindset of some of the leading UFO researchers, and an excellent example of the quality of UFO evidence that is acceptable to some people,


The Majestic-12 papers first came to light in 1984, when a film cassette with photographs of the papers were mailed to Jaime Shandera. At the time, Shandera was not involved with UFO research and was a little known producer of documentaries. So one might be quite curious as why the papers were "leaked" to him, unless you know that one of Shandera's good friends was UFO researcher and author William Moore (see below!). Together with Stanton Friedman, they eventually released the papers some two years later. These papers became cornerstones in several books about Roswell, including Stanton Friedman's Crash at Corona and TOP SECRET/ MAJIK.

The Majestic-12 documents consisted of an eight page briefing paper to President Eisenhower detailing a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, another crash at El Indio, Texas in 1950, and listing the members of the government's special Majestic-12 or "MJ-12" UFO group. It was dated "18 November, 1952", and it named "Admiral" Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter as the briefing officer. There was also a memo from President Harry S Truman to Secretary of Defense Forrestal that authorized the creation of the MJ-12 group.


One would assume that the term Majestic-12, which was the alleged code-name of a Very Top Secret panel of leading government and military figures, would not be known outside of the conspiracy. However....

The term "MJ Twelve" was apparently first used on a one-page "Secret" teletype message dated Nov. 17, 1980, which Richard Doty provided to Moore in early 1981, who in turn, showed a copy of the telegram to researchers Brad Sparks and Kal Korff on Jan. 17, 1980. Doty at this time was an agent for Air Force Intelligence, who had earlier admitted to forging other UFO documents (the Elsworth Document). At the time the Shandera received the film canister, Doty was stationed at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM. The envelope the film arrived in was postmarked Albuquerque, NM.

(Robert Todd, a very determined and competent UFO researcher, investigated the teletype message, and showed that it was a hoax in early 1983.)

We next hear of the term when William Moore approached former National Enquirer reporter Bob Pratt in January 1982. Pratt was asked to collaborate on a novel by Moore. The working title of this novel was to be MAJIK-12(!). Consider that the alleged MJ-12 documents would not be "leaked" to Shandera until 1984, and we see the seeds of suspicion starting to grow.

Next, we have this: "According to Friedman, among others, Moore had suggested as early as 1982 that he wanted to create Roswell documents, thinking that it might open doors that were closed."
(The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, Randle and Schmitt)

This was two years before the alleged MJ-12 documents were mailed to Shandera (Moore’s good friend) in 1984!

Then in 1983, Moore sought Brad Sparks reaction to a plan of his to create counterfeit government documents. Moore told Sparks he believed that counterfeit documents could be used to induce former military officers to speak out about what the gov’t really knew about UFOs and the cover-up. Sparks suggested strongly that Moore not do this. Sparks was so upset that he called Stanton Friedman and found, to his shock, that Friedman thought that the hoaxing of such documents was a good idea.

1983, a year before the alleged MJ-12 documents were mailed to Shandera (Moore’s good friend) in 1984!

To anyone of a suspicious mind, this activity of Moore’s might look slightly suspect!


Moore, Shandera, and Friedman altered the appearance of the MJ-12 documents in their first release of the Focus newsletter to give the appearance of government censorship. They later had to admit that they did it themselves.

At the ON UFO Symposium Proceedings, "MJ-12 and Phil Klass: What are the facts?" by William L. Moore and Stanton T. Friedman: They included a reproduction of the mail packet addressed to Jaime Shandera. The bottoms of the postmarks were blackened out on all three postmarks. This would have shown the state and city that the mail packet was mailed in. In the presentation, Moore and Friedman stated the package "bore no return address".

In reality, there was a return address. It was Albuquerque, NM! Guess who lived in Albuquerque, NM. Richard Doty- associate of William Moore! If the address had been shown, people might have started checking more on Doty. But Moore and Friedman stated that the package bore no return address.


Aside from the suspicious origins of the Majestic-12 papers, there are several problems with the documents themselves.

The Date: Military documents were formatted using strict guidelines, including the structure of dates. At the time the MJ-12 briefing was alleged to have been written, the format was day month year. No commas, no place-holding zeros. But the date in the MJ-12 document used a day month (comma) year format. This brief was supposedly generated at the very highest level of the military; a level that would not have made such a fundamental error in format.

Hillenkoetter's Rank: The document refers to "Admiral" Hillenkoetter, when his true rank was REAR Admiral. In casual speech or among civilians this error might occur, but a military man would never make such an error. It was the military that wrote the brief.

Verbiage: Two terms used in the document were not in use during the 50's. The word "media" to refer to the Press did not appear until the 70's. Likewise the term "impacted".

Security: The Cutler-Twining memo is stamped "Top Secret Restricted Information". There was no such classification in 1954. Not until the Nixon era was this classification used.

Code Word MAJIC: This appears to be the code name assigned to this project. However, this would constitute a major violation of the code naming scheme used by the military for well over a decade.

Secure projects are assigned code names from a one-time use list that is shared by all parts of the military and civilian government bodies. Just prior to WWII, the code name MAGIC was assigned to the effort to break the high security Japanese diplomatic code. The project was still under the wraps of Top Secret in the early 50's so it could not be "re-used". Yet, here we have the term MAJIC being applied to the Majestic-12, an assignment that clearly could not happen.

MJ-12 proponents point to the different spelling, but the code list was constructed to avoid phonetic similarities that could cause confusion in oral communications. It would appear that the author(s) of the Majestic briefing papers were conscious of the newly de-classified story of the MAGIC operation when this was concocted.

There are several other points that one might accurately call minor, but when you take all these errors together in one set of documents, the coincidence level redlines.


So, are the Majestic-12 documents forgeries? Anyone who has looked at the history and evaluations would have no choice but to be suspicious. Stanton Friedman continues to be a staunch supporter, but as much of his "proof" about the Roswell Incident would disappear if he changed his mind, you have to wonder about his motives. William Moore, on the other hand, has recently written that he his now of the opinion that a saucer crash at Roswell never happened. This would mean that the MJ-12 documents, which were released as a result of his efforts, would have to be a forgery!

Phil Klass says no. Kevin Randle says no. Carl Sagan said no. Curtis Peebles says no. Jacques Vallee says no. The National Archives say no. The FBI says no. The Air Force says no. When the GAO was conducting its Roswell investigation for Congressman Steven Schiff, it asked the same government agencies involved in that investigation to also check their records for anything on "MJ-12" or "Majestic". All of them reported that nothing could be found that mentioned either term. The final analysis was that the MJ-12 documents are forgeries.

If they were forged, then who did write them? The documents in the original group all seem to be centered on Bill Moore and Richard Doty. The Aquarius telex, the proposed novel, the proposal to "create" government documents. Ultimately, it really does not matter who did, so long as we understand that someone in the UFO movement felt that it was vitally necessary to create "proof" where none existed.