Sunday, October 17, 2010

The End of MJ-12?

My plan had been to hold off on this until later, but with some suggesting there is still life in MJ-12, I thought I would attempt to drive a nail into this particular coffin. It is clear, based on some early research, that MJ-12 is a hoax created in the early 1980s, probably by Bill Moore and Richard Doty.

Here’s what we all seem to know. The information contained in the Eisenhower Briefing Document (EBD) reflects the state of UFO crash research in the early 1980s. Bill Moore told a number of people, and you can find their names on the Internet, that he was thinking of creating a "Roswell-style document" in an attempt to smoke out additional witnesses. Moore had said that he had taken the investigation as far as he could.

By this time it was clear to many that the Barney Barnett (who died in 1969 long before he was interviewed) connection to Roswell was weak at best. Barnett, who told his tale of seeing a crashed UFO on the Plains of San Agustin, did not have a date associated with it. Barnett was important to the earliest Roswell investigations because he mentioned seeing alien bodies and that was the only mention of bodies. That made it clear the event was extraterrestrial in nature.

The connection was drawn by J. F. "Fleck" Danley who had been Barnett’s boss in 1947, and Danley said that he had heard the tale directly from Barnett. Pushed by Moore, Danley thought the date of this story might have been 1947, and based on sighting in Roswell on July 2, Moore and others assumed the crash to have happened on July 2. This sighting, by Dan Wilmot, has little relevance to the Roswell case other than Wilmot lived in Roswell and it happened on July 2, 1947. There is no reason to connect the sighting to the crash.

When I talked to Danley it was clear that he had no real idea of when Barnett had mentioned the UFO crash. It could have been 1947, but if I pushed, I could have gotten him to come up with another date. Moore knew of the shaky nature of the Danley date.

To make it worse, I learned, in the 1990s, from Alice Knight, that Ruth Barnett had kept a diary for 1947. It is clear from that document that the crash could not have taken place on July 2, if Barnett was there. In fact, there is nothing in the diary to suggest he had seen anything extraordinary or had been involved in anything that would have been upsetting. In other words, the only document about Barney Barnett that we could find suggested that if he had seen a UFO crash, it didn’t happen in 1947.

Of course, in the early 1980s, Moore wouldn’t have known about the diary, but he did know how he had gotten Danley to give him the 1947 date. He would have known that it wasn’t true and that the Barnett story had nothing to do with the Roswell UFO crash.

This is important because it explains why there was no mention of the Plains crash in the Eisenhower Briefing Document. Moore knew that those on the inside would know that the Barnett story did not fit into the scenario. Moore left it out because it would expose the MJ-12 hoax for what it was to those who knew the truth.

And now we come to the other crash mentioned in the EBD. This is the Del Rio crash that was dated in the EBD as 1950. This is the story being told by Robert B. Willingham, who it was claimed, was a retired Air Force colonel who had seen the crash. Because he was a retired colonel, his story had credibility with those in the UFO community. I believed it for that very reason. A retired Air Force colonel would not be making up something like this.

W. Todd Zechel, a UFO researcher of limited ability, in pawing through the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena files, found a newspaper clipping about Willingham and his alleged UFO crash. Back in the mid-1970s, when Zechel found the clipping, no one was taking much notice of such stories. They were considered, at best, to be mistakes and at worst, to be hoaxes. But Zechel believed the tale, and tracked down Willingham. At Zechel’s insistence, Willingham signed an affidavit about the crash, proving to many that this was a solid case. Even the Center for UFO Studies included the Willingham story on the LP (vinyl) record they produced of interesting UFO sightings.

Moore knew of this story because Zechel had told him. In Moore’s book, The Roswell Incident, he devotes a brief mention to the case which establishes the link between Zechel, Willingham and Moore. More to the point, Moore believed the story for the same reason that the rest of us did. Willingham was a retired colonel.

The thinking is easy to follow. Del Rio is a real crash, but Moore didn’t have all the details. Those belonged to Zechel and what he had learned from Willingham. But Moore believed this to be real and if those on the inside were going to believe MJ-12, he had to mention this crash. Without the details, he simply added a single paragraph to the EBD that suggested the craft had been nearly incinerated upon impact, which, in reality, wasn’t that far from what Willingham originally said.

So, the MJ-12 document, using the information developed by Zechel and supplied by Willingham, said, "On 06 December, 1950, (sic) a second object, probably of similar origin, impacted the earth at high speed in the El-Indio – Guerrero area of the Texas – Mexican boder [sic] after following a long trajectory through the atmosphere. By the time a search team arrived, what remained of the object had been almost totally (sic) incinerated. Such material as could be recovered was transported to the A.E.C. facility at Sandia, New Mexico, for study."

The situation, then, in the early 1980s was that Roswell was a real crash, the Plains might be but the date was wrong, Aztec was a hoax, as proven in repeated investigations, and Del Rio was real because there was an Air Force officer who said so. Which, of course, explains why both the Plains and Aztec were left out and Del Rio was included.

I learned, as I was working on Crash – When UFOs Fall from the Sky, that no one had checked on Willingham’s credentials. I became suspicious when the date of the crash shifted from 1950 to 1955. I asked, but no one had ever looked into Willingham’s background. Apparently everyone thought someone else had done it, most believing that Zechel had conducted that research. The whole case hinged on the credibility of Willingham.

But Willingham had not been an officer, had not been in the Air Force, had not been a fighter pilot and had not been in a position to see a UFO crash. In fact, though I didn’t find the newspaper clipping, I did find a one paragraph report in the February/March 1968 issue of Skylook that gave the crash date as 1948, and suggested that there had been three objects. Nearly everything about that original case had changed, some times more than once. It was clear that Willingham had invented his Air Force career, was not a retired colonel, and had served just 13 or 14 months from December 1945 to January 1948 as a low-ranking enlisted soldier.

If Willingham, as the sole witness to the crash had invented the tale, then there was no Del Rio crash and the MJ-12 documents, or rather the EBD, was a fake. But in the early 1980s, Moore didn’t know this, most of the UFO community didn’t know this, and Willingham was still talking about the 1950 date.

Yes, I know what the answer to this will be. What relevance does Willingham have to MJ-12? Two separate issues. Except, they aren’t. There is no other witness, document, indication, suggestion, or mention of the Del Rio case without Willingham. If not for his discussion about the case in 1968, if not for Zechel’s interview of him in the 1970s, there would be no mention of a Del Rio UFO crash anywhere. That it is mentioned in the MJ-12 EBD, and we can draw a line from Willingham to Zechel to Moore, that suggests all we need to know about this. There was no Del Rio UFO crash and if there was none, then it shouldn’t have been mentioned in the Eisenhower Briefing Document.

If we look at the state of UFO research today, we realize that much of what was said in the EBD about Roswell was not quite right and the information about Del Rio completely wrong. The more we learn about the events in Roswell, and the more we learn about the lack of detail for Del Rio, the better the case against MJ-12 becomes.

Couple the other problems to this, the lack of provenance, the typographical errors, the incorrect dating format, and the anachronistic information, then the only conclusion possible is that there is no MJ-12. There never was, except for a 1980 unpublished novel written by the late Bob Pratt with the assistance of Bill Moore and Richard Doty. The only question left is how long are we going to have to listen to the nonsense that is MJ-12.


cda said...

Interesting that whoever wrote the EBD knew that the Texas/Mexico object fell to earth "at high speed" and "after a long trajectory through the atmosphere"?

And just how did the writer know this amazing fact, when nobody saw the object either crash to earth or travel through the atmosphere.
Someone at the Sandia Labs was obviously VERY clever with the "incinerated" remains!

Did the Roswell object have a similar trajectory & speed, or did it simply fall lightly onto the desert floor? Again, nobody saw it fall or crash, did they?

I am not sure if your point is to try and prove MJ-12 is a hoax; this was done to nearly everyone's satisfaction in 1987 (yes I know there are always a few believers like STF), or whether you are out to prove Bill Moore was the main forger. I accept that he was. The date formats gave him away almost as soon as the main MJ-12 stuff first appeared.

starman said...

IIRC someone--Woody?--claimed to have seen it going down, apparently in flames. But there were reports of it flying around for a while before the crash--or explosion--over the ranch.

Frank Stalter said...

It's part of the lore now, it'll never go away. I think it's great fan fiction, I found reading them very entertaining.

BoyintheMachine said...

I bet the controversy will really get heated when the new "Majic Men" movie is released. MJ12 will probably get alot of maintream coverage at that point which would make it a good time to expose the documents as being fake.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Kevin, I think it's fair to characterize your position on UFOs is that some of them are craft produced extra-terrestrially and are piloted by biological entities not of this Earth... at least since 1947. Here's what I don't get:

If UFOs in the preceding sense are real, then government authorities would be most interested in same and convene _some_ kind of secret high-domed and propeller beanied panel to evaluate the impact of these UFOs on National Security. That seems reasonable, nes't ce pas?

Your abject dismissal of MJ12 is plain; however, and seems to argue that no such panel existed at all. This seems ludicrous given our shared acceptance that UFOs are real. If we "know" it, the government surely must, too.

Could it not be possible that what is dismissable with regard to MJ12 was inserted in the data stream to discredit the idea of such a panel at all, and that MJ12 —or something very much like it— must have existed in fact?

Where am I going wrong here?
>> AVG Blog --
>>> U F O M a g a z i n e --

KRandle said...

Albert -

No, I'm arguing that MJ-12, as constructed and as researched does not exist outside of the mind who created the documents. We can look at them, even the BIG three and see errors that shouldn't have been made. MJ-12 reflects the state of American UFOlogy in the early 1980s, but not now.

If MJ-12 is real, and Aztec is real, as some now claim (though I don't understand why), then why no mention in MJ-12...

And why is Del Rio, which was all now know to be a hoax, mentioned at all? Clearly those on the inside would know that this crash didn't happen.

So, I'm sure that some committee, agency, organizaztion, did exist to exploit the find... it just wasn't MJ-12.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Ok! So a dodge then, a deliberate obfuscation, a disinformation. A distraction from "some kind of evaluating body" that must have been there if "officialdom" is to have any credibility at all.

It was there, we just don't know what it was called...

Why, we could even call it "MJ12" until some other, more accurate, identification shakes out, eh? [g].

KRandle said...

Albert -

No. You imply that this MJ-12 thing is a disinformation campaign. I say it had no official status. It was born by those who wished to propel themselves deeper into the spotlight. It was invented, according to one, to try to draw out real witnesses who might have additional information. It was not a governmental trick but one from inside the UFO community.

Had it been governmental disinformation, then Del Rio would not have been included. Del Rio is another distraction invented by a man who wished to be an Air Force officer, who wished to be a colonel and who wished that he had engaged in combat mission. He was another wannabe which takes from those who truly served... a man who attempted to obtain a pension when no pension was due, using forged documents and more lies.

So infer what you will, but MJ-12, in any form, has nothing to do with the government.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

I appreciate the difference, while it remains that pretty severe inferences can be drawn, still.

I'm just loath to accept, I suppose, that your well supported research into a suspiciously distracting hoax be taken by the overly reflexive negativist for the conjecture that there was no MJ12, consequently no evaluating body of any type, ergo, no UFOs.

It's gratifying to hear you report out loud that you feel some kind of evaluating body must have existed, even if it wasn't this one.

So watta we call the real one? MJ12? Rofl!

Frank Stalter said...

"no MJ12, consequently no evaluating body of any type, ergo, no UFOs."

During the Truman administration, Truman was the evaluating body on UFOs. s

Alfred Lehmberg said...

It's not fair to surmise that Truman had a UFO "Kitchen Cabinet" providing for some learned insight on a very real and ongoing if très threatening affair?

How could he not; he was not a fool.

Frank Stalter said...

"It's not fair to surmise that Truman had a UFO "Kitchen Cabinet" providing for some learned insight on a very real and ongoing if très threatening affair?

How could he not; he was not a fool."

He definitely had Gen. Landry feeding him information. I'm sure Truman was briefed on some of the more famous military cases from those years, like Mantell, maybe saw the Mariana and Tremonton films. Even if Roswell was nothing, they were still looking for something.

purrlgurrl said...

If something is too good to be true, it is. Such is the case with MJ-12.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

...A comment, PG, seemingly apropos of nothing. Try as I can, I can't see how an organized and impaneled regard of a "known threat" with infinite potential —threat known across seven categories of compelling evidence to include the Historical text, Artistic Historical, quality Anecdotal, vetted Photographic, extant Physical Trace, the wholly Personal, and even the Mathematical— is "too good to be true."

starman said...


You say Moore left out Barnett's story because the date of the alleged incident was unknown. There was no reason to think a crash occurred on the Plains in 1947. But prior to the diary revelation, a crash on the Plains, at some time, still seemed possible, to laymen. On the basis of reports circulating then, it would've been tempting to include mention of the Plains. It seems that, in avoiding mention of it, Moore must've had a sixth sense, or...
I note, btw, the EBD does mention aliens, near the ranch. What evidence, in the early '80s, placed them there?

KRandle said...

Starman -

I think you said it well when you said reports circulating at the time. But remember, Moore was inside that investigation and he knew how the information about Barnett and the date had been gathered. He knew the connection to the Plains was shaky at best.

In fact, Moore has released over the years three different versions of the transcript of his interview with Jesse Marcel, Sr. as it related to the number of pictures taken in Ramey's office, among other things.

When I talked to Danely, it was clear that he had no real clue as to the date. Moore, I believe, got what he needed and didn't press any further.

When it came to MJ-12, Moore wanted the best information the document and left out the Plains because he wasn't sure how it fit into the Roswell case. I know that we had been unable to determine the connection as we did our research.

So, they didn't have to be clairvoyant, he just had to know how the information was gathered and how reliable it was. This he knew.

starman said...


Granted, the case for a connection between the Plains and Roswell was never great. But the EBD would've mentioned all crashes up to '52. Moore included Del Rio. IIRC Danely heard the Plains story from Barnett c 1950, so the alleged incident would've occurred prior to the supposed date of the EBD. In his 1988 ABOVE TOP SECRET, Good wrote that while Moore had doubts about the Plains story, he didn't dismiss it. In fact his own research corroborated at least one thing: archeologists were in NM around '47. But Moore somehow eschewed the plains in favor of bodies near the ranch. Up till the early '80s I don't know if researchers had heard of bodies in the Roswell area, as opposed to the plains, or Aztec. Marcel didn't mention any.

KRandle said...

Starman -

Don't tell Stan that the EBD would have mentioned all crashes up to 1952... he'll suggest you're psychic. But of course, you're right.

The problem is that neither the Plains nor Aztec are mentioned, which means that either the EBD or these two crashes are a hoax. You can't support both.

I agree... and I also know that in the early 1980s the consensus was that Aztec was a hoax and that the Plains crash didn't fit the timing. They were left out because to include them would tell those in the know that the EBD was a fraud.

By the early 1980s there was talk of a body site closer to Roswell. Some of the leads being developed suggested that and it made sense, given everything else.

I believe that those creating the MJ-12 hoax were aware of these rumors and believed them, just as they believed in the Del Rio crash. With that Del Rio makes MJ-12 but neither the Plains nor Aztec does.

starman said...

Who in the early '80s started a rumor of a body site closer to Roswell? I don't think any witness testimony at the time supported it. Not Bill Brazel or Marcel. Whereas, even years after the EBD came out(1984) in ABOVE TOP SECRET(1988)neither the plains nor Aztec is dismissed. There is alleged evidence for both. The timing of the Plains was unknown but it seemed possible, since Danely said he heard the story in 1950 and archeologists were in NM in '47. And then there was Steinman on Aztec. Surprising that Moore knew enough to leave out the plains and Aztec, while including Roswell bodies, on the basis of mere rumor(?)....

steve sawyer said...

I agree completely with Kevin and others (like Sparks and Greenwood, etc.) that MJ-12 was/is a complete hoax, most probably created by Bill Moore, and with input from Richard Doty. And a terrible error in judgment on their parts, due to the distracting effects on ufology in general.

It's really kind of amazing that over the last 25+ years that this fabrication has been known about, that so much time and effort has been gone into by elements of the ufological research community, such as it is, about this faux controversy. In retrospect, this seems a poor reflection on the will to believe, despite the facts, on the part of some ufologists.

Based on the Pratt tapes and documents (finally unearthed and digitized by Carrion, et al, at MUFON}, and the subsequent 2007 MUFON Symposium paper by Sparks and Greenwood, the fact is and was that MJ-12 seems to have been an effort derived from Moore's desire to "shake things up," in order to try to draw other Roswell witnesses and related government documentation out of "the woodwork," and which failed, with disruptive and discrediting repercussions of many kinds to ufology.

So, MJ-12 was a clever, but eventually self-impugning, hoax that took many ufologists and organizations for a very lengthy and tedious ride, and to the detriment of ufology for far too long, especially when the documents began to be determined as at least partially fraudulent, as Greenwood noted in detail in his Just Cause newsletters (and which are available online at:
under publications, new series), as early as December 1985.

Friedman is still a believer, but he is wrong, IMHO, and probably feels compelled to defend his earlier research and conclusions in previous publications and books due to not wanting to appear to be what he has become, a sort of dupe of Moore and Doty.

He seemingly cannot admit the truth, at this late date, as it would (and does, in fact) make him look not only bad, but rather incompetent. He's only made things worse by continuing to defend his conclusions that at least "some" of the MJ-12 documents are genuine, which is very sad, in several ways.

But (and this is my real point and critical question), could there have been and may still be some kind of US government, or military intelligence-based "control group" still being covered-up?

MJ-12 would strangely have served as a very convenient "foil," or inadvertent "doppelganger," and may have functioned in part to deny or mitigate the real question in the minds of some, once MJ-12 began to fall apart, of what or any genuine UFO "control group" (or disinformational psyop of sorts, in part) may exist, even if not MJ-12 per se, and could have been or may still be extant.

Anyone have any clues or opinion about that? What evidence or data exists that point to an actual "control group," and not MJ-12?

It would seem, since elements of the USG should have the best evidence, particularly compiled records of sensor data over time about the UFO phenomenon, that it would thus seem logically probable that some group like MJ-12 was or is involved in suppressing info on the "real" UFO phenomenon, and may have been or still be involved in continuing investigation, analysis, and policy issues within the government. [If not, this would also seem to be kind of an amazing error or misjudgement by elements of the USG regarding the evidence and its potential national security significance and extraordinary implications]

What do you think about that possibility, Kevin (and others here), and what, if any, real evidence points in that direction, of a genuine but still undisclosed USG-related UFO "control group" of some kind that may have been or may still be in existence?

Alfred Lehmberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
starman said...

The real government "control group" is like dark energy. It MUST be there, but you just can't see it.

cda said...

To Steve Sawyer:

Kevin's supersecret control group was the "Unholy 13", as told to him by General Exon. Kevin regards this group as real but the MJ-12 group as fictional, despite there being at least two or three members who were (allegedly) in both! Strange logic, but if you want to believe any such genuine group existed then the Unholy 13 seems to be the one. Nobody has yet improved on this, e.g. with a 14-member group.

KRandle said...


I wonder if you are deliberately obtuse or if you are merely engaged in rhetoric.

I have no super secret group. I have suggested that General Exon's group is more likely real than MJ-12 because we have an actual provenance for the information.

Now, if I was to devise a group, based on who was doing what in 1947I would not be surprised to find some of the names of those listed on MJ-12, those General Exon provided, and those I would suspect to all appear on the list. In one respect, the members would be finite.

Frank Stalter said...

The big IF statement is Roswell, of course. No alien crash there, and the whole chain may not have been much more than ATIC-to-Landry-to-Truman. Either way, the UFO buck stopped in the same place. That's a matter of historical fact.

Trevor Lang Carter said...

Roswell is nothing more than a distraction from the real UFO phenomenon.

Trevor Lang Carter said...

As for MJ-12, maybe the documents are forged, but what IF some of the content is legit?

cda said...

You would expect some of it to be legit. I stress the 'some'. No document forgery is 100% fake as the forger has to give some credibility to it. You are emulating Tim Good and others who say that even if the documents are fakes portions of it 'may well be true'. In this manner they can have it both ways; it enables them to say there is indeed a grand UFO conspiracy but that the documents supporting this premise are mostly faked.

Meanwhile these people dig out all sorts of genuine documents that initially impress but which, on closer examination, prove nothing at all.

KRandle said...

All -

Sorry to say, but I have to throw in with CDA on this one. Some of the information is probably good, but the document was created outside the government and not by someone preparing a briefing for the president. I think it's fairly clear who created the documents and why. We need to make these a footnote to UFO history.

starman said...

"...what IF some of the content is legit?"

Of course SOME of it is. Marcel's testimony corroborates the ranch debris for example.

TLC said...

The real question is, why is that some UFO researchers feel the need to sell the public on these MJ-12 documents and the whole Roswell affair? There is a wealth of other data on UAP, basically ignored. For one, mainstream UFOlogy rarely mentions the UFO water connection, which goes way back (e.g., Paul Hill, APRO). Appears that the focus is on the Air Force when it should be on the Navy in relation to a cover-up. Keep looking up at the stars...