Nov 25, 2022 I Nick Redfern

How Did the Story of the "Marilyn Monroe UFO Document" Begin? It's An Eye-Opening Saga

Now and again, people ask me when the so-called "Marilyn Monroe UFO Document" first surfaced, and under what circumstances. Whatever you think of the document itself, there is a genuinely interesting background to the story. So, with that said, let's have a look at what is either a genuine CIA document or an outrageous hoax. On October 23, 1994, the Fox network broadcasted an episode of Encounters that told the tale of the Speriglio document, its contents, and its implications. The specific one-of-three segments in the program was titled “Mars Wants Marilyn.” There was another mid-1990s-period connection in all of this, too.The Fox show was directed by John Jopson, a screenwriter and film-director. Interestingly, one year later, Jopson worked on Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction, which was also a Fox show and produced by Bob Kiviat. Let’s see what Wikipedia had to say about the next step of the autopsy show: “Jopson then enlisted the services of his friend, well-known private investigator William Dear, but according to Jopson, Dear was held back by the producers for fear the hoax would be exposed before the air date, and he was limited to investigating the identity of the ‘mystery cameraman.’” What all of this tells us is that a lot of weirdness went down in the UFO television documentary world from 1994 to 1995. A fair bit of it was targeted on dead aliens (whether in the form of a claimed CIA document, or on screen); one of which turned out to be a very sophisticated dummy with a fat belly, black eye-lenses, a mouth agape, and six fingers on each hand. 

(Alleged CIA document) Marilyn Monroe, Dead Bodies, and a Mysterious Spacecraft

Steven Greer, of the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, came forward and said he also saw the Speriglio document in 1994. In Greer’s case, he said, it all came “way of a contact with access to NSA officials.” The “NSA” being the National Security Agency. Greer continued on and said of the document it had “…been authenticated by the best document researcher in the world – a man who for years sat outside [Lieutenant] General Odom’s door as his senior aide when Odom was NSA head.” When, in 2008, Odom died, Wired’s Nathan Hodge wrote: “The phrase ‘warrior intellectual’ gets thrown around rather casually, but Odom was the real thing. A West Point graduate, Columbia University Ph.D., Vietnam veteran, and National Security Agency director, Odom must be classed as one of the leading military intellectuals of our time. He wrote the book - literally - on the collapse of the Soviet military; he was tireless advocate for intelligence reform; and he was an unsparing critic of the current course in U.S. foreign policy.” But, that's nowhere near the full story. To get the full picture, we have to go back several years before the Marilyn document even surfaced. 

My next step was to uncover everything else I could find about Milo Speriglio – the one man who, along with UFO researcher Tim Cooper, knew the full story of the Marilyn document and its origins. Speriglio, I found, was born on November 17, 1937 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Over the course of his life, Speriglio wrote three books on the controversial death of Marilyn Monroe. They were: Marilyn Monroe: Murder Cover-Up (1982); The Marilyn Conspiracy (1986); and Crypt 33: The Saga of Marilyn Monroe – The Final World (1993). Whatever you might think of the man’s theory, he definitely knew his history when it came to Marilyn.

Father-and-son ufologists Dr. Robert Wood and Ryan Wood soon got into the controversy, too. They circulated what they had uncovered when things relative to Marilyn seemed to be exploding everywhere: “In the spring of 1992 Tim [Cooper] received the Marilyn Monroe document from what Tim believes to be a former CIA employee - most likely an archivist or someone with access to obscure classified historical files. The document arrived in the PO Box as normal mail. Later, Tim provided it to Milo Speriglio who runs the Nick Harris detective agency where Milo first published it. The publication spawned further popular publicity in UFO Magazine and was shown on the Fox Television program Encounters in August 1994 [it was actually October 23, 1994], which was the highest rated exclusive for Encounters. To the best of our knowledge Milo is the lead investigator on this document and has considerable unpublished investigation results.” The Woods shared important information with me, too, as they knew I was vigorously pursuing the story. They said: “Starting in the fall of 1992, [Timothy] Cooper began receiving apparently classified documents in his Post Office Box from an unknown person naming himself ‘Cantwheel.’ Cooper, not knowing how to evaluate these documents, contacted UFO researcher and author Stanton Friedman, who said, ‘Well, a friend of mine, Bob Wood, lives in Southern California. Why don’t you talk to him as you would with me?’ So, Bob initially and later Bob and Ryan visited Tim from time to time to discuss the direction of our research and pick up these leaked documents for analysis and authentication.”

(Nick Redfern) Was Marilyn killed because of UFOs?

Although the Woods were correct when they said Cooper had the document in 1992, there’s another thing to be aware of. Cooper, as early as November 1991, was already looking for government-based information directly concerning Marilyn and UFOs. How, then, did the document go from Cooper to Speriglio? I quickly found the “how” and “why” of it all. Both men were with the Nick Harris Detectives & Detective Academy, which was created back in 1906. The two knew each other and became friends. And as Ryan Wood told me, he and his father were 100 percent sure it was Cooper who gave the document to Speriglio – who then sat on things for a while, before finally deciding to get moving with that 1995 press-conference. From a retired CIA archivist, through the regular mail, then to Cooper? Then, from Cooper to Speriglio? And, next, from Speriglio to anyone and everyone else who might have cared to listen? That seemed to be a reasonable way the document appeared and, inevitably, began to circulate in the UFO community. UFO researcher-author, Don Burleson (who also wrote a Marilyn-UFO book) , got straight to the point and said: “The manner in which this document came to be known is a little tricky to follow.” Hell, yes, it was tricky! 

In 2001, there was another development. I was invited to speak at the annual UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada. It was a gig that led me to hang out for a few days with authors, researchers and conspiracy-theorists - and with truth-seekers Greg Bishop, Kenn Thomas and Rob Serling, who were all at the event for a day or two. Think of The X-Files’ “Lone Gunmen” and you’ll get the picture of the trio. Great guys. Something else happened in 2001. I moved to the United States to live. One year after that, UFO researcher Dr. Robert Wood asked me - in light of my transatlantic move - if I was interested in looking further into the Timothy Cooper files and to try and figure out their real provenance, including the Speriglio document. I certainly was interested. Bob Wood soon got a hold of all those Cooper’s files from the Cooper home in Big Bear Lake, California. From there, they reached Wood’s place in Orange County. And, finally, Wood gave them all to me - to do whatever needed to be done with them, he said, somewhat vaguely. The massive amount of material that had been in Cooper’s hands for years was now in my hands. Yes, that entire, towering pile of paper.

Since Wood was fine about me taking the reins, and seeing where things might lead, I began to work on an inventory of all of Cooper’s massive collection of UFO documents (real, questionable or somewhere in between). Wood had left nothing behind. And, said Wood, if it helped the investigation, it would be okay for me to share as much of the material as possible - at my discretion. Wood realized that storing all the material into bunches of boxes, and doing nothing with it, was pointless. It was for that very same reason both Ryan and Bob Wood created the Majestic Documents website: to get the word out, to share the documents, and hopefully bring forth people who might be in positions to further the research. And get some answers. I guess that’s exactly what I did by writing this book. As well as the documents, I dug through all of Cooper’s correspondence, too. Leonard Stringfield, Timothy Good, Stan Friedman and more: their letters were all there. I also scrutinized Cooper’s letters that he’d sent to government branches, to military facilities, to intelligence agencies, and to the Freedom of Information offices at all of those same agencies. Cooper had hoped to get as much information as possible on what really happened out in New Mexico in the summer of 1947 – and elsewhere, too. 

(Nick Redfern) A Conspiracy of Epic Proportions. Or, a well-made hoax

It scarcely needs mentioning the project would likely take a long time to complete. I was not wrong. It all began in February 2002. I flew out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to California, which is where Wood lives, and checked into an Orange County motel-room for eight days and nights. I have to say that knowing of Cooper’s gigantic collection was completely different to actually seeing it close-up. It was huge. My room, thankfully, was a large one, and with a small office-type, off-shoot from the main room. I’d got all I needed. Almost. Echoing Hunter S. Thompson’s classic Gonzo-themed book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I set to work – both day and night. I spent the time having the staff bring me impressively-sized club-sandwiches, strong beer, whisky-and-coke, and whatever else caught my eye on the menu. Juggling the booze with potentially-stolen, “above top secret” government documents – that the Men in Black just might have killed for - was no problem for me. What I can tell you is that while I was sprawled-out on the bed with all my scattered notes, and with the documents scattered all over the place, I got to see a lot of photocopied material that many researchers still have yet to see. Much of it was legit documentation. Original documents, I mean. Some, however, seemed to have an air of questionability about them. Others were caught somewhere foggily in-between. They included the “Blue Boy” document, a lengthy report on the early years of Ufology. It was said to have been put together by a U.S. intelligence agent with an extensive history in UFOs. I saw more, too. Much more: voluminous files on the White Sands Proving Ground, the Los Alamos Laboratory, and other sensitive facilities dating back to the 1940s. Then, on the second night, I hit on something that made me look twice.

Contained in one Cooper box was a bunch of material on Marilyn Monroe: newspaper articles, tabloid-magazine features, notes, FOIA requests, and more. I also got my hands on what I believe to have been the very first photocopy of the original Speriglio document (hoax or otherwise). Maybe, I suddenly thought, there was even more to the copy in my hands. Most of the body of it was slightly off-white and faded. The sides, though, were vaguely yellowish. It was folded three times. And, the corners were somewhat worn and, in some places, slightly torn. Whatever its provenance, this did not look new. The texture and appearance of the blacked-out sections of the document, however, suggested this was probably a first-hand copy and not the original. I was of the opinion there were two possibilities. One, I was working with a genuine 1962-period, second-generation document of the CIA’s Marilyn memorandum. Two, that someone had managed to get their hands on a batch of early 1960s-vintage sheets of paper designed to make it look like the document really did originate in 1962. 

While around midnight, I was stretched out on the bed and digging into the Marilyn matter when I came across another aspect of the story. So the controversy went, no-one – apart from Cooper himself, an anonymous CIA archivist, and Cooper’s very own insider-sources, the incredibly elusive Cantwheels - saw the Speriglio document before some time in 1992. Here, however, is where things got a bit hazy for me. And it wasn’t due to all that booze in Orange County. What I mean is, I can’t be fully sure when the story of Marilyn and aliens really began. It was all very interesting, but it was hardly helpful and only served to confuse the investigation even more. I could see that Cooper - as part of an attempt to solve the puzzle - had fired-off a number of FOIA requests. One of those requests was mailed on November 10, 1991. It was mailed to a Cecil W. Fry. At the time, Fry was titled the Director, Information Release, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C.

Documentation on this issue showed Cooper applied for files on two people. They were Marilyn and a Fred Crisman. There was writing on the letter. They read: “Received 17 Dec 1991;” “Timothy S. Cooper;” “Monroe Case Info;” “Fred L. Crisman Info;” “Majestic, MJ-12, Majic;” “Army CIC Files;” “IPU Flying Saucer Intelligence Files;” and “Project White Hot.” The CIC was the Counterintelligence Corps. The IPU was the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit. And Project White Hot was said to have been a classified UFO program of the U.S. government. We all know who Marilyn was. Crisman was far-less known. He was someone who, in 1947, found himself caught in a strange, even deadly, UFO incident (or hoax) at Maury Island, Washington State. Crisman was also someone that Jim Garrison - the District Attorney at New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1962 to 1973 - suspected was no less than one of the gunmen who, it’s said, filled JFK with lead on November 22, 1963 at Dallas, Texas’ Grassy Knoll. I have to stress, though, that although it was 1992 when Cooper was provided with the Speriglio document, something clearly made Cooper shoot a FOIA request on Marilyn in the final days of 1991. The man had to know of something that still has yet to surface. Based on what's gone down so far, I'm sure there will be further developments.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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