May 17, 2023 I Nick Redfern

More on the Matter of the Russians, Dead Aliens and Marilyn Monroe

If you have followed the saga of the Majestic 12 documents - that allegedly tell the story of Roswell - then, you'll know what it's all about. Namely, a secret U.S. government group (the Majestic 12) that, we're told, has stored away the likes of dead and preserved alien bodies underground, alien autopsies, and crashed UFOs. But, are the documents the real deal? I'm sure most of you know that the Majestic 12 documents have been around since the latter portion of the 1980s. But, there is another aspect to all of this. It revolves around a Russian aspect to the story. The late-1980s and the early-1990s were the periods when a Ufologist named Timothy Cooper started to receive sensational - and controversial - documents that were sent to him in what we might term a "Deep Throat" situation. It was 1990 when Cooper, of Big Bear Lake, California, began to publicly dig deep into the world of aliens. Cooper had every reason to do that. It all came down to Cooper’s father, Harry Bob Cooper. He was someone who spent a number of years in the U.S. Air Force; specifically from 1941 to 1945 and from 1947 to 1960. A few years ago I was able to get a full history of Cooper Sr.’s career from the National Archives. The papers show he was stationed at, among others, the Hawaiian Islands; the Marianas Islands; Alamogordo, New Mexico; and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Cooper was given the Good Conduct Medal; the WWII Victory Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; and more, too. He died on September 2, 2000.

(Nick Redfern) Big Bear Lake: I took this photo when I was checking the area where a great went down when it came to Majestic 12

Cooper Sr. confided in his son something incredible: nothing less than disturbing knowledge of what the U.S. government knew about aliens from other worlds – and of what was being kept from the public. Interestingly, but also frustratingly, Harry Cooper’s material was only spread by the use of aliases. For example, in his 1991 book, UFO Crash/Retrievals: The Inner Sanctum, Leonard Stringfield described Harry Cooper as an “enlisted man” and called him “Bob.” And that’s all Stringfield would call Cooper. Meantime, Ryan Wood addded a bit by saying that Harry Cooper was a “conduit” of many “document leaks.” One of those “leaks” was said to have been the Speriglio / Marilyn Monroe document. According to Cooper, Sr., the U.S. government was aware of a great deal on matters relative to extraterrestrial life. Quite out of the blue, UFOs had crashed to Earth in New Mexico in the late-1940s. One of those UFOs was the device found relatively near to Roswell, New Mexico, said Cooper, Sr. The bodies of the diminutive, somewhat-human-like creatures that were on-board were hastily taken to secure facilities where they could be autopsied and preserved for careful study. No-one had seen anything like this before. Nobody wanted to. “Nightmarish” was the all-encompassing word for it all. 

(Nick Redfern) From Russia to Marilyn Monroe

Planet Earth had visitors – and no-one knew why they were suddenly here. Things began to get even more worrying for the White House of the late-1940s. There was evidence the corpses of the retrieved, damaged aliens presented a biological threat to the Human Race. Fears of worldwide pandemics were quickly the order of the day. People were abducted against their wills. Minds were wiped cleaned by aliens. It would later become known in UFO jargon as “missing time.” Medical experiments, of an unclear nature, were performed on people in the dead of night. In rapid time, and behind the scenes, things were threatening to spiral totally out of control. The government was not just worried, but utterly panicked by the sudden, and unearthly, presence in its midst. What was to be done? What could be done? Anything? Nothing? Somewhere in between? The main thing the collective intelligence community, military and government agreed on was to hide the whole situation from the public and the media. In fact, from everyone who was deemed a threat to national security. Sometimes, it was rumored, those “in the know” were shut down forever. See what I mean. Killed Because of Aliens? Maybe.

For example, the jump (or, maybe, the ruthless push) of the first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal from the 16th floor of the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland on May 22, 1949, was rumored to have been directly caused by Forrestal’s breakdown. And what provoked that mental collapse? It all depends on who you ask. Ufologists will tell you Forrestal - a man with a mind filled with swirling secrets – was overwhelmed by the dark, alien secrets he suddenly found himself burdened with. The only thing we know for sure is that just a couple of months before Forrestal’s life was no more, he told his long-time friend, William O. Douglas, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: “Bill, something awful is about to happen to me.” Something awful did happen. Death came for Forrestal. The very first fatal victim of the UFO cover-up? Don’t bet against it. And, maybe, Marilyn was the next one up against the wall.  

It wasn’t long before Cooper began to receive more and more packages and letters in the mail. Such deliveries, to Cooper’s Big Bear Lake Post Office Box, continued up until around 1996. They contained nothing less than what appeared to be highly-classified documents on some of the same things that Cooper, Sr. had told his son about years earlier. Cooper, Jr., it seemed, had his very own “Deep Throat.” Or, as it transpired, a pair of them. They were Thomas Cantwheel and Salina Cantwheel: a father and daughter team. Both were said to have worked in the world of intelligence and espionage for decades. By the 1990s, they were ready to get the secrets of the Saucers out for all of us to see. They tried to do so, by providing a wealth of amazing papers on UFO secrecy.Since “Cantwheel” is not a real name, and never has been, it became quickly obvious that the mysterious pair were using very curious pseudonyms (the closest real name is “Cantwell”). The mail-drops became more and more regular and the documents grew in number. Cooper decided to seek out the advice and help of a number of UFO researchers, including nuclear-physicist Stanton Friedman, who died in 2020, and Leonard Stringfield, who I mentioned earlier and who passed away in 1994. It was advice on what was going down that Cooper wanted - and also to share with Friedman and Stringfield some of the material that had fallen into his lap.

Both men were excited, but cautious, by what Cooper had described to them. One of the things Cooper put together for Friedman - and that very few have ever seen - was a 14-pages-long document on Cantwheel, his history, his work and a great deal more. I was able to get my hands on that entire document in the 1990s (Friedman was good enough to give me a photocopy of it). It describes the elderly Cantwheel as being “6 ft. 2 in. tall,” “in early 90s,” “speaks with a southern draw,” “rambles and changes subject quickly,” and “has good command of Russian and German language.” Cooper also informed Stringfield and Friedman that Cantwheel had spent time in Japan in the post-Second World War era, something that continued up until 1949. From there onward Cantwheel spent his life and career in the world of intelligence, counterintelligence, and manipulation, mostly in the United States. God knows how much of all this was true. Or wasn’t. That was one of the sticky issues that nagged me throughout this entire investigation: what was real and what wasn’t?

(Nick Redfern) The Marilyn document: The real deal or the work of the KGB?

Many in Ufology were sure (or hoped) the growing stash of documents was the genuine article. That no-one had seen either of the Cantwheels’ didn’t help the investigation, though. Were they just the creations of someone’s fertile mind? Questions similar to those popped up now and again through the nineties. It was understandable. Since, then, however, Ryan Wood has confirmed that although most of the documentation on crashed UFOs and dead aliens reached Cooper by mail, Cantwheel “finally initiated brief face-to-face contact.” Always from behind the shadows, Cantwheel assured Cooper he wanted the truth to finally come out. All of it. But, a reasonable question had to be posed: how could someone, who had spent their whole working life in the fields of deception, manipulation, and disinformation, be trusted? That was the head-spinning question at the forefront of some in Ufology. So, Cooper put even more material on the table for the UFO community to see. Not everyone, it has to be said, was sure those papers were stolen from government vaults by the Cantwheels. Some strongly suspected there were no Cantwheels. A few characters in Ufology – such as the late UFO debunker and journalist, Philip Klass - pointed their fingers in the direction of Cooper himself. In one of my few phone-based conversations with Klass, he suggested to me that Cooper was a “Walter Mitty”-type character - a man who created the documents as a means to try and earn significant wads of money and achieve a high degree of fame.  

There were other theories, too. A Soviet Connection? The fact that Cantwheel was said to have spoken fluent Russian made some people in the UFO community wonder if he was working for the Russians – or, even worse, that he was a Russian and that Cooper had been dragged into a strange disinformation-driven operation, concocted by the high-ups in the bowels of the Kremlin. Was it possible that part of all this was some a strange “game” on the part of the Russians? A nefarious plot to try and create mistrust and paranoia within the U.S. Intelligence community? That was a scenario I seriously addressed. Incredibly, it had some merit to it. That part of the story comes later.  

As that mysterious duo of father and daughter continued to quietly work with Cooper, more and more material began to pile up – material that hadn’t been seen before. That included files and records Cooper had obtained from his sources and via the Freedom of Information Act. Mostly, though, those controversy-swamped documents were provided to Cooper illegally – if they were kosher to begin with, that is. There weren’t just manila files; there were boxes of such material. Their titles included “The Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit Field Order;” “The Oppenheimer-Einstein Draft;” “The 1st Annual Report;” and “The SOM1-01: Extraterrestrial Entities and Technology.” There was far more than that. The day came when I got to see all of Cooper’s files – an issue we’ll soon come to. Also, I can say with certainty that Ryan Wood was not exaggerating when he said that “literally thousands of additional pages” [italics mine] of alleged classified UFO documents were in Cooper’s hands.  Even to this day, I can say for sure that the UFO community has seen very little of what was in Cooper’s collection.

Most of those documents were said to have been smuggled out of government vaults. This was long before the likes of Edward Snowden did his bit of leaking to the media. It would be accurate, however, to say the Cantwheels were the Snowden of their day. Almost overwhelmed by all of those voluminous, controversial files was a one-page-long document that was short in words, but huge in content, implication and impact. It was the Speriglio document. And if the genuine item, then Marilyn was murdered because of what she knew about aliens and Flying Saucers. So, was there a real deal to the Cooper files. There's no doubt they were put together by multiple people and not just one. The same goes for the typewriters, too: they were aged and of various types. Could there have been a bizarre Russian-driven operation designed to freak out the United States? Well, That's a very plausible situation. Now and again, I still get questions asked about how the Russian/Marilyn Monroe/ KGB/Dead Aliens affair works. That I'm still being asked about all of this suggests the plot worked - at least, in some fashion that pleased the Russians.  

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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