Majestic 12

By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.  | 
In December 1984 this alleged briefing prepared by "Operation Majestic-12" arrived in the mail to a Los Angeles man researching UFO secrets. Supposedly, Majestic-12 (MJ-12) comprised 12 prominent men with military, intelligence, and scientific backgrounds.
Jerome Clark
Key Takeaways
  • Majestic 12 is allegedly a secret committee formed by the U.S. government to investigate extraterrestrial phenomena and UFO sightings.
  • Some conspiracy theories claim it oversees government research and cover-ups related to alien encounters.
  • Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, Majestic 12 speculation continues.

In December 1984 a package with no return address and an Albuquerque post-mark arrived in Jaime Shandera's mail in North Hollywood, California. Inside was a roll of 35mm film. When developed, it turned out to contain eight pages of an alleged briefing paper, dated November 18, 1952, in which Vice Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter told President-elect Dwight Eisenhower of the recovery of the remains of two crashed spaceships.

In the first of these crashes, in e­arly July 1947, authorities recovered the bodies of four humanoid beings. According to the document, which appended a copy of what was supposed to be the actual executive order, President Harry Truman authorized the creation of a supersecret group called "Majestic 12" (MJ-12 for short) to study the remains.


Acting on a tip from sources who claimed to represent Air Force intelligence, Shandera and his associate William Moore (coauthor of The Roswell Incident) flew to Washington, D.C. They searched the National Archives looking for references in official documents to MJ-12. They found a July 1954 memo from Gen. Robert Cutler, an Eisenhower assistant, referring to an "MJ-12 SSP [Special Studies Project]" to be held at the White House on the 16th of t­hat month.­

When this document was released in May 1987, it sparked massive controversy. The document is believed to be a hoax, but the identity and motive of the perpetrator remain unknown.
Jerome Clark

In the spring of 1987 an unknown individual, allegedly associated with an intelligence agency, gave British writer Timothy Good a copy of the MJ-12 document. Upon learning Good was going to disclose its existence to the press, Moore and Shandera released their copy, along with the Cutler memo. The result was a massive uproar, including coverage in The New York Times and Night line, an FBI investigation, and furious controversy that continues to this day.

For various technical reasons most investigators agree tha­t the MJ-12 document is a forgery, but the identity of the forger remains a deep mystery that even the FBI cannot crack. The forger apparently had access to obscure official information, much of it not even in the public record, leading to suspic­ions that an intelligence agency created the document for disinformation purposes. Whatever the answer, the MJ-12 document is surely the most puzzling hoax in UFO history.


Frequently Asked Questions

How did the alleged existence of Majestic 12 influence popular culture and media representations of UFOs and government conspiracies?
The alleged existence of Majestic 12 has been a popular topic in science fiction literature, films, and television shows, influencing narratives about government secrecy, extraterrestrial contact, and conspiracy theories surrounding UFO phenomena.
What evidence, if any, supports the existence of Majestic 12 or its involvement in UFO-related activities?
While proponents of the Majestic 12 theory point to documents and testimonies as evidence of its existence, skeptics argue that much of the purported evidence is either fabricated or lacks credibility, leaving the true nature of Majestic 12 shrouded in mystery and controversy.