High Strangeness: UFOlogy the Way it Used to be Done

Saturday, March 17, 2018

UFOlogy the Way it Used to be Done

I sure wish someone would secretly leave a sheaf of top-secret government UFO documents at my doorstep, or surreptitiously drop a roll of undeveloped UFO-related film in my mailbox. That's how UFOlogy used to be done back in the day. If you just waited around long enough, a smoking gun would magically and anonymously appear in your life and you could blow the UFO mystery wide open!
Jim Marrs, R.I.P.

I was reminded of this fact this week as I read the late Jim Marrs' epic 1997 UFO book Alien Agenda. Jim had kindly written a cover blurb for my book, The Close Encounters Man, shortly before he passed away last year, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never read any of his books before now. So, it was with a sense of duty -- and excitement -- that I started Jim's book this week, and I am delighted to report that I am enjoying the hell out of it. Jim's balls to the wall, I-never-met-a-conspiracy-theory-that-I-didn't-love approach is strangely infectious, and it takes me back to my earliest days of reading classic UFO books by Frank Edwards, John Fuller, Brad Steiger and John Keel. It's just pure, unmitigated, old school UFO fun, and makes me wish I had gotten to know Jim before he passed.

Just yesterday I got to the part in the book where he relates the sad, strange story of the MJ-12 documents, and it got me thinking... Jim introduces the story this way:
"On December 11, 1984, UFO researcher and TV producer Jaime Shandera heard his daily mail drop through the slot in his front door. He also heard his screen door shut. Opening the door, he found a brown envelope. It bore no return address but was stamped and more a cancellation mark. Inside was a roll of thirty-five millimeter Tri-X black-and-white film."
The film turned out to bear images of classified documents revealing the existence of a top-secret government UFO study called "Operation Majestic 12," or "MJ-12" for short. MJ-12 was a panel of twelve very prestigious scientists, military people and scholars who had allegedly been brought together on the authority of President Eisenhower in 1952 to secretly study UFOs. How and why this material just happened to appear in Shandera's mailbox is anybody's guess, but, like I said, that's how UFOlogy worked back in those days.

So, I'm reading about the bizarre mythology that has come to surround MJ-12, it's sketchy members and its sketchy activities, and I start to get this very strange and very strong feeling of Deja Vu... MJ-12 is a team of "elite" quasi-governmental experts brought together to focus their incredible brainpower on solving the UFO mystery once and for all, and yet, as Marrs relates their history, they never seemed to produce any findings of any value -- at least, nothing that could be verified. "The whole thing," Marrs wrote, "carried the odor of rotting fish."

Hmmmm... What current team of "elite" quasi-governmental experts brought together to focus their incredible brainpower on solving the UFO mystery once and for all does this remind me of?

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