The Majestic Documents

Introduction to Authenticity Ratings


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Introduction to Authenticity Ratings

Many of the most sensational and intriguing Majestic documents are not from official sources, such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or government document libraries. Because of this fact, the issue of authenticity becomes paramount if one is to believe the content of the documents. Authenticity is a manifold function; it is not as simple as "true or false" or "hoaxed or real."

Authenticity of a document involves examining many questions, such as:

  1. Where did the document come from?
  2. What are the results of the forensic paper, ink, watermark, typewriter and handwriting tests?
  3. Are there unique and obscure content markers that are accurate for this type of document?
  4. Are there direct first hand witnesses?
  5. How difficult is the document to hoax or fake?
  6. Who would have faked the document and why?

All of these factors as well as other subtleties weave their way into an authenticity rating for each document.

To fairly and effectively rate each document for authenticity there needs to be a weighting factor for each authenticity attribute under consideration. For example, there is a strong difference between forensic paper and ink testing, a weighting of 5.0, and more easily obtained document content, a weighting factor 2.0. Courts widely recognize this concept, discounting eyewitness testimony in favor of DNA evidence. In the end each document receives an authenticity rating based on the multiplication of the weighting factor and the document's score on that attribute. The goal is to make the rating system as objective as possible.

The final authenticity score for each document is based on a series of weighted factors:

  1. Eyewitness - First hand witness(es) that were directly involved with the questioned document - either they saw it, destroyed it, read it, wrote it, or contributed to the document's creation in a tangible way. Witnesses are fallible, there memories change with time and can be influenced. Eyewitnesses are given a weighting factor of 3.0.
  2. Zingers - These are aspects of any of the key authenticity metrics that go far beyond the norm. In essence, a zinger is a verified rare subtlety of a document that is obscure, weird, or odd. Examples would include typographical anomalies associated with the printed process of the era. Zingers are given a weighting factor of 5.0.
  3. Content - Refers to the words and meaning of the document. Are the dates, document references, and individuals mentioned appropriate? What does the document say in relation to what was known then and known now? Are there obscure facts that were classified then that were declassified or became public after the document was leaked? Content is given a weighting factor of 2.0.
  4. Chronology - This looks at the placement of the document content with respect to organizational history. Are the people mentioned in the memo or report supposed to be there? Is the document consistent with other documents of the era, does it fit in or is it out of place? Chronology is given a weighting factor of 2.0.
  5. Typography - This category relates to typewriters, typesetting, laser printing, photocopying, memography - in essence any technique that creates or reproduces writing on paper. Typology is given a weighting factor of 4.0.
  6. Forensics - This refers to the testing of original paper, verifying watermarks, and testing inks with known authentic standards. Forensics are given a weighting factor of 5.0.
  7. Linguistics - The use of forensic linguistics fits in this category. This is the examination by experts of sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and writing style. Both sophisticated computer tools and hand analysis are used to pinpoint unique style markers that uniquely define authorship. Linguistics are given a weighting factor of 3.0.
  8. Anachronisms - These are problems with the document: dates out of place, formats wrong, similar handwriting, copied content from other documents, or conflicting stories. These issues can be significant or minor depending on what is know about the frequency of such an anachronism. For example, addressing a military general by his first name in a document may seem like a major mistake in the modern era, but 50 years ago in the company of other generals, this anachronism could in fact be a hallmark of authenticity. The weighting factor for anachronisms is 5.0.

Sometimes the information in the public domain for the authenticity of a document is incomplete or uncompelling, but the internal research and verification by staff shows a more complete story. For those interested in the authenticity of a particular document feel free to contact us directly for further discussions.

Given these weighting factors, five different levels of authenticity are used to define each document:

High Level of Authenticity - 80-100%
This means that virtually all of the available investigation channels and ideas have been pursued and at each test the document has shown to be authentic. For example, tests in paper, ink, obscure content, handwriting, period typography and fonts, correct formatting, forensic linguistics (along with no sign of anachronisms), all indicate the highest level of authenticity. At this level, witnesses are present that have seen or read the document in an "official" capacity and will or have signed an affidavit to that effect.

Medium-High Level of Authenticity - 60-80%
The medium-high level means that a considerable amount of investigation and testing has been completed and their are strong signs of authenticity in the way of content, forensics, typography, zingers etc. Although there may be some anachronisms identified they do not seem to be major.

Medium Level of Authenticity - 40-60%
The medium level is the starting point for most documents that are under-researched. This level a document shows both signs of positive authenticity and questions as detailed in the eight attributes of authenticity cited above.

Medium-Low Level of Authenticity - 20-40%
The medium-low level means the document has been studied by many individuals or organizations and there are stubborn anachronisms that cannot easily be resolved. However, there are elements (many pages and or paragraphs) of the document that show signs of authenticity, but on balance there are more bad points than good.

Low Level of Authenticity - 0-20%
A low level means that significant irresolvable anachronisms have been identified that cast considerable doubt on the entire document. Virtually all investigative avenues have been pursued and shown little or no sign of authenticity. A credible motive for faking the document may be identified along with likely perpetrators.

For further discussion of authenticity, see the Document Authentication section. Here you will find in-depth analyses of several documents, such as "The Oppenheimer-Einstein Draft" and "Field Order 862, The Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit," and several detailed articles such as "Mounting Evidence For Authenticity of MJ-12 Documents" and "Validating the New Majestic Documents" that describe the authentication process in detail. You'll also find a videotaped discussion on the topic of document authentication.

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