There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| The woo is out there|
|Aliens did it...|
|... and ran away|
| Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
Majestic 12 (also known by a variety of other names and abbreviations, including Majic 12, MJ 12, M12, Mars-Jupiter 12, Majority 12, Majestic Trust) refers to an alleged cabal of government and military officials and scientists as well as the set of forged documents purporting the existence of said cabal. UFO proponents claim that the Majestic 12 was a committee commissioned by President Harry Truman in 1947 to investigate UFO sightings which subsequently covered them up.
Original Majestic 12 documents (1984)
In 1984, UFO hobbyist and film producer Jamie Shandera claimed to have received an anonymously mailed set of documents on film detailing the creation of a committee of twelve government officials and scientists by Harry Truman as well as a briefing received by Dwight Eisenhower. These documents discuss the discovery and cover-up of UFO discoveries in Roswell, New Mexico and a secondary site near the Texas-Mexico border. In The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan notes the documents make reference to appendices that supposedly contain information about alien biology and the technology of their spacecraft, but no such appendices were included on the film.
Cutler-Twining memo (1985)
In 1985, Shandera and his associate William Moore received a tip to go to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Maryland, where they discovered what was called the "Cutler-Twining memo." This memo, dated 1954, references a "NCS/MJ-12 Special Studies Project" but makes no further mention of MJ-12 or UFOs. The memo was later investigated as part of Project Blue Book by NARA, which found no further mention of MJ-12 (or variations on that name) in the archives. The document is widely believed to be a plant due to the fact that it doesn't bear a Top Secret register number as do other documents in the series it was found in, and that its typeface cannot be matched precisely to any brand of typewriters in use in 1954.
Release and early investigations
The set of documents were released in 1987 by Shandera, Moore, and Stanton Friedman. Soon after, UFO skeptic Phil Klass performed a number of analyses on them, finding a number of problems with the documents. Among a number of other inconsistencies, the typewriter used to type them matched a model that wasn't released until 1963 and Truman's signature had been cut-and-pasted onto the memos relating to him. The FBI conducted a joint investigation with the Air Force in 1988 after being sent a copy of the Eisenhower memo and determined it to be fraudulent.
Further alleged MJ 12 documents and investigations
In 1994, UFO proponent Don Berliner received an anonymous mailing containing documents purporting to relate to Majestic 12. Berliner later denounced them as a hoax. Throughout the 1990s, Tim Cooper and Robert Wood brought forth a number of other MJ 12 documents, which Klass also exposed as forgeries. Various documents not explicitly mentioning anything relating to Majestic 12 are often touted as "definitive proof" of MJ 12 by internet conspiracy theorists and ufologists.
The MJ 12 documents have become something of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion of the UFO conspiracist subculture, with some viewing them as "proof" of a conspiracy and others believing them to be a hoax used to muddy the waters by a larger conspiracy. The alleged Majestic 12 committee has become a bridge for UFO hobbyists to cross over into conspiracy theory territory and vice versa, with the committee claimed to be "proof" of Men in Black and part of the Illuminati/New World Order/(insert conspiracist bogeyman here).
- Majestic Documents, archive of the MJ 12 documents operated by Wood
- The Majestic 12 papers - an analysis, Roswell Files
- Do I think that President Kennedy was assassinated solely because he was asking questions about UFOs? Yes, I do.
- Sagan, p. 90. 
- Project Blue Book FOIA requests, National Archives
- Philip J. Klass. "The MJ-12 Crashed Saucer Documents." Skeptical Inquirer, Winter, 1987-1988.
- Klass. "New evidence of MJ-12 hoax." Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 1990
- Majestic 12, FBI Records: The Vault. (You're probably a sheeple if you give any credence to this "investigation," though.)
- Philip J. Klass. The New Bogus Majestic-12 Documents. Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 24.3, May/June 2000
- 1995 GAO Report (hosted at Roswell Files)
- NASA's MJ 12 press release (hosted at Majestic Documents)