Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident

Hmm. Halt started seeing the 'beams' at 03:15, while the star was quite a bit higher, and at 04:00 Halt says he thought the star was 5-10 degrees off the horizon; quite accurate for Sirius at 04:00. The mere fact that these witnesses saw the phenomenon for at least three quarters of an hour (moving westwards all the time) strongly suggests it was a celestial object of some kind.
HALT: 03:15. Now we’ve got an object about 10 degrees directly south, 10 degrees off the horizon.
snip (irrelevant bit about the objects [stars?] to the north.)
HALT: Now we’re observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground.
HALT: 03:30 and the objects are still in the sky, although the one to the south looks like it’s losing a little bit of altitude. We’re turning around and heading back toward the base.
HALT: The object to the south is still beaming down lights to the ground.
HALT: 04:00 hours. One object still hovering over Woodbridge base at about five to ten degrees off the horizon, still moving erratic and similar lights and beaming down as earlier.
Sirius fits the bill in many respects, but I'm quite happy to think that Jupiter and Saturn were also involved somehow. I've always assumed that the 04:00 observation was made from the base itself, where the horizon would have been a lot clearer.
 
And I have always also assumed that Halt and his associates were periodically using the Starscope, an instrument that can create a wide range of artifacts through internal reflections and refractions. This may be the cause of the 'beams' he reported.

A similar light-intensifier was responsible for the 'pyramidal UAP' reports from USS Russell, although the artifacts were somewhat different. Light-intensifiers do not seem to be reliable intruments for observing unknown aerial phenomena.
 
Last edited:
I thought people were supposed to quote stuff here.
Quite right, good call.

cabansag.png

Statement by Airman Edward N. Cabansag, 81st Security Police Squadron, from Ian Ridpath's website
"The Rendlesham Forest UFO Case", http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham2c.html

Ridpath adds,
External Quote:
Cabansag agrees with Burroughs that they walked eastwards for two miles from their vehicle towards a ‘beacon’ light; however, this estimate may be an exaggeration, as the difficult terrain would have made the distance feel greater than it was. Burroughs finally identified the beacon as a lighthouse.
Burroughs1.png
Burroughs2.png
Burroughs3.png


Statement by AFC John Burroughs; Burroughs also reports finding a lit farmhouse and the lighthouse.
The sketch is interesting in that Burroughs, unlike Penniston, did not report seeing a "mechanical" source for the lights (other than, eventually, the lighthouse).

External Quote:
Burroughs agrees with Cabansag (below) that they went towards what he terms a ‘beacon going around’ which they finally identified as a lighthouse. The ‘blue light’ they saw in the trees on their way back could well have been the lights on a police car, as by then the local police had been called to the scene. It’s worth noting that in an interview on The Paracast in 2009 Burroughs stated he had never been out in the woods before that night. Penniston and Cabansag were newly arrived on base and were no more familiar with the woods than he was (scroll to 08:40, 25:35 and 33:15 in the interview). Burroughs added a diagram of the lights he saw, which bears no obvious resemblance to the small, boxy object drawn by Penniston in his statement
Ridpath, ibid.

Only Penniston believed he saw a physical craft, he followed the lights and arrived at- -a view of the lighthouse.
Penniston's submitted sketches indicate that the object that he claims to have seen was partially hidden by trees.
However, he insists that his was not the source of the lights.

Penniston's sketch does not resemble his later descriptions of a triangular UFO, which much later he claimed to have touched.
Note that Penniston's statement does not mention that he ended up looking at the lighthouse, or mention a lighthouse at all...

Penniston1.png
Penniston3.png

Statement by Staff-Sergeant Jim Penniston, 81st Security Police Squadron, from Ridpath, ibid.

Penniston's later accounts- that he received a message (in English, encoded into a simple ASCII-like binary substitution code) when he touched the "craft" (which he did not state at the time) must raise some questions about his accuracy.
The pulp-fantasy nature of that message doesn't help, nor does Penniston's "re-discovery" of that message.

We know that, following lights, Penniston ended up viewing the lighthouse because of his senior NCO's statement
Master-Sergeant J. D. Chandler, 81st Security Police Squadron, using USAF form 1169 ‘Statement of Witness’, dated 2 January 1981:
Chandler1.png

External Quote:

Master Sergeant Chandler was the most senior officer [Sic] in the forest on the first night. He was in radio contact with Penniston throughout the incident, relaying progress back to Sergeant Coffey at Central Security Control, Bentwaters. Chandler reports no loss of communication or ‘missing time’, as some versions have subsequently suggested, and saw nothing take off from the forest. However he does mention Penniston’s identification of a ‘beacon light’ (i.e. the lighthouse), a significant detail that is missing from Penniston’s own written statement.
Airman Cabansag, AFC Burroughs and S/Sgt Penniston followed lights through woodland, they all ended up looking at a lighthouse. Penniston did not document this. Penniston went on to make increasingly extraordinary claims.
I agree that they may have seen other unrelated lights which they might have thought of as part of a connected phenomenon.
 

Attachments

  • Penniston2.png
    Penniston2.png
    278 KB · Views: 16
I speculate that Penniston saw some distant vehicle through the trees at some point; as a relatively new arrival in the UK he may not have been familiar with British agricultural vehicles, or maybe some other vehicle (Ridpath suggests a police car).

But Penniston's later descriptions seem to bear no resemblance to anything in the real universe, I'm afraid.
 
The alleged UFO was not on USAF territory, so USAF police would have had no actual jurisdiction. Indeed, I think I am right in saying that for the original UFO sighting Penniston and Burroughs had to leave their weapons behind at the base precisely for that reason.
RAF Bentwaters wasn't on US territory either.

Under the UK's Visiting Forces Act of 1952, the CO of (in this case US) friendly forces based in the UK has de facto day-to-day jurisdiction over his/ her personnel on-base. But the US bases in the UK are not US Sovereign Base Areas.

There is absolutely no evidence that US nuclear weapons on UK soil have ever been illicitly tampered with AFAIK, and no evidence from any source to indicate that Halt thought otherwise.
If Halt had any such suspicions, he would have been obliged to tell his OC. If he were sane, he would not consider a few unarmed men bimbling about in an adjoining forest an adequate response.
Whatever Halt's reasons for taking a Geiger counter into Rendlesham Forest, I think we can rule out any concerns about US materials going missing, unless any evidence to the contrary emerges.

If US fissile material went missing in the UK, it would have been politically disastrous for the US administration and the British government.
In November 1980, the left-leaning Michael Foot had been elected leader of the UK's Labour Party (the "official opposition" to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, elected in 1979). Foot strongly advocated UK unilateral nuclear disarmament, and the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable platforms from Britain.

Missing fissile material is national emergency-type territory. If such an event were believed to have occurred in Britain in 1980, we can guess at some of the units that might have been deployed (Comacchio Group Royal Marines, 22 SAS Counter-Revolutionary Warfare, elements of UK Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary). The deputy commander of the base at fault, and a handful of security police who had failed to prevent the "pilfering" in the first place, might have been questioned in a manner verging on "firm".
 
But when Halt went out there was already a team in the forest. There are various ( contradictory ) claims as to who was already there. My understanding has always been that Halt was at some dinner party and a junior officer came in and said ' They're back'...meaning the UFOs, and that Halt went out to 'debunk' the UFO claims.

The alleged UFO was not on USAF territory, so USAF police would have had no actual jurisdiction. Indeed, I think I am right in saying that for the original UFO sighting Penniston and Burroughs had to leave their weapons behind at the base precisely for that reason.
There is a "Status of Forces" agreement between the US and UK that details under what circumstances US military personnel may be armed and their rules of engagement. As you'd expect, those RoEs are not made public for security purposes.

Specific to Rendelsham, however, I definitely remember one of the NCOs claimed he drew his side arm on the first night. If I can find the quote/source I'll post it.
 
Is there a legible version of Burroughs statements ? The original is practically unreadable.

http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham2c.html
1714855763714.png


it says " disappeared once we reached the farmers house we could see a beacon going around so we went towards it. we followed it for about 2 miles before we could it was coming from a lighthouse. we had just crossed a creak &were"

edit: hit 3 key instead of 2 key.
 
Last edited:
this link has the full book (for some context)
page 184
It is possible that Cabansag was not a witness to the actual landing.

In hisstatements, Penniston points out that due to the radio transmissions breakingup, he stationed Cabansag back at the jeep to act as a communications relay.But Cabansag believes he was with Penniston and Burroughs the whole time.
However, Penniston does not suggest that Cabansag was with him during theencounter with a landed object. He told me that Burroughs and he had headedon foot towards the tree line, which was approximately fifty metres awayfrom the object. At this stage, Penniston seems to have lost all radio contactwith Cabansag. It was not until he was put under hypnotic regression thatPenniston discovered he had experienced forty-five minutes of missing time,and apparently Burroughs also experienced the same.

If all three men arereporting the exact same phenomenon then we must seriously consider if theywere involved in something even more sinister than witnessing a UFO. Werethey abducted or were they somehow locked in a different time ordimension?

It is interesting that Cabansag does not remember getting into the vehicleand returning to the base but recalls that he and Penniston went back onpatrol immediately after the incident. One of his concerns at the time waswhy they would allow a new recruit to go out on patrol and not know whatthe patrol was all about. When I asked him [Cabansag] if he was absolutely certain theywere not carrying weapons in the forest, he confirmed they had handed overtheir M-16 rifles but that John Burroughs was still carrying a sidearm.
 
Except that Sirius is in pretty much the opposite direction to the lighthouse, so we can't have Sirius be the object shining the beam of light AND have the lighthouse beam be the source.
Burroughs and Cabansag were looking at the lighthouse on the 26th. Halt was looking at the lighthouse on the 28th, somewhere between midnight and 02:44 am.

This was a completely different location from where they started to observe various stars and planets at 03:15 am - as far as I can tell they could no longer see the lighthouse from that location (although they may have seen its 'loom'- the region of sky illuminated by its beam).
 
this link has the full book (for some context)

Thanks for that. It shows that all the discussions about whether or not Holt saw Sirus or Jupiter or if anybody "just saw a lighthouse" is irrelevant as once in a different dimension, no debunk is possible:

External Quote:
If all three men are reporting the exact same phenomenon then we must seriously consider if they were involved in something even more sinister than witnessing a UFO. Were they abducted or were they somehow locked in a different time or dimension?
Seriously, whatever Penniston was telling the book author, which was after notoriously unreliable Hypnotic Regression was contrary to his supervising Master Sargent's recollection from a week after the incident. From the statement above that @John J. provided, all 3 men went into the woods and Chandler acted as the radio relay between Peniston and base:

1714858327844.png


Cabansag was not the radio relay:

External Quote:
In his statements, Penniston points out that due to the radio transmissions breaking up, he stationed Cabansag back at the jeep to act as a communications relay. But Cabansag believes he was with Penniston and Burroughs the whole time.
However, Penniston does not suggest that Cabansag was with him during the encounter with a landed object. He told me that Burroughs and he had headed on foot towards the tree line, which was approximately fifty metres away from the object. At this stage, Penniston seems to have lost all radio contact with Cabansag. It was not until he was put under hypnotic regression that Penniston discovered he had experienced forty-five minutes of missing time, and apparently Burroughs also experienced the same.
https://avalonlibrary.net/ebooks/Ge...eople - The Cover-Up of Britain's Roswell.pdf

I've often thought Cabansag was the most "lighthouse" witness, though Burroughs seems to agree at the time. IIRC, Burroughs may have been a bit more sympathetic to Penniston's story in later years, but not totally. In any event, it seems Penniston puts Cabansag as the radio guy, such that only he and Burroughs get near the "craft" and later he has missing time when he is touching the craft and getting the binary code while Burroughs is "frozen". Without Cabansag present, only one person has to get "frozen".
 
It explains the most important feature, the UFO. If there is a lighthouse and not a UFO, then there is no "landing site" with "unusual radiation readings" or "damaged trees" and there is no UFO for Jim Penniston to touch and receive "binary code" from to reveal some 20 years later. As noted above:



It's just more classic UFOlogy, keep pushing the jumbled up modern version of the story without really going back and looking at the actual origins.

I just finished going through MUFONs reports on the Stephenville TX case. The one that supposedly involved "dozens" to "100s" of witnesses "all seeing a huge craft" as referenced above:



Yeah, no. Even MUFON's 77 page super-duper report on Stephenville only mentioned 17 supposed witness statements and then cherry picked 8 of them. Of those, only 1 (singular) from a guy named Steve Allen claimed a massive craft in the air. That same guy told the newspaper and got the story rolling. That same guy appeared on the TV news. That same guy appears in various Discovery Network rehashes of the case to this day. It's one guy driving the story. All the other witnesses, less than a dozen and certainly less than 100s, just saw assorted lights.

The Italian UFO crash in Magenta, same thing. A few mentions in some likely forged documents from the '90s later got embellished to include the Pope, aliens, the US recovery of the craft and other elements that people like David Grusch are talking about today.

Stephenville case: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/stephenville-texas-ufo-2008.13446/page-2#post-314925
And, Roswell. Look at how that was embellished into something it was not. The classic example.
 
In any event, it seems Penniston puts Cabansag as the radio guy, such that only he and Burroughs get near the "craft" and later he has missing time when he is touching the craft and getting the binary code while Burroughs is "frozen". Without Cabansag present, only one person has to get "frozen".
johns quote in #51 says both were "new to the base". Penniston might have left him out of initial report due to not knowing his name and not wanting to write "and some other guy" ? Then over time he forgot the guy completely?

With all these guys new to the base and not being in the forest before, i'm kinda wondering how anyone knew what direction anything was.
 
Even Halt hadn't been at Rendlesham very long, and he does not seem to have been in that part of the forest at night before.
 
...as far as I can tell they could no longer see the lighthouse from that location (although they may have seen its 'loom'- the region of sky illuminated by its beam).
The reason I mention the 'loom' (the light cast by an invisible lighthouse on the sky) is that it affords another possible explanation for the 'beams' described by Halt on the tape. If the beams were not an artifact of the Starscope, perhaps the beams cast by the lighthouse in the sky may have been perceived as beams coming from an aerial craft of some sort.

It is often very difficult to determine the origin, direction and elevation of beams passing over one's head; I remember a lot of confusion associated by the Millennium laser beam that originated in Greenwich in the 2000s - few observers could tell where it was coming from, what height it was, or whether it was moving or not.

Orford Ness lighthouse was eight times as powerful in 1980 than it is today - it was the third most luminous in the country at the time, and I'm sure it caused confusion on many occasions that Christmas.
 
Orford Ness lighthouse was eight times as powerful in 1980 than it is today - it was the third most luminous in the country at the time, and I'm sure it caused confusion on many occasions that Christmas.
Another confusion factor may have been the beam from the lighthouse flashing consecutively off tree branches (bare, at that time of year) as it swept around.
 
I remembered that I'd seen a long back and forth in a comments section of a blog post about Rendlesham. It was between various people including Ridpath, Tim Printny (another astronomer UFO debunker) and a guy that claimed to have decoded Penniston's supposed alien provided binary code, even beyond the simple Lat/Lon coordinates it contained.

It was quite entertaining and a one point someone claiming to be Penniston's girlfriend or ex-girlfriend showed up and seemed to unknowingly suggest that Penniston was writing these codes down long after the encounter in 1980 IIRC. Penniston didn't reveal the pages of code for 30 years but claimed he had written them down right after the encounter.

Well, I found it on @Robert Sheaffer 's blog Bad UFOs. It was a 2015 post about Rendlesham prompted by Col. Holt making a number of sensational claims at the time: https://badufos.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-rendle-sham-case-phony-and-phonier.html#comment-form

External Quote:
The BBC reported on July 13 that Col Halt is now claiming,

"I have confirmation that (Bentwaters radar operators)... saw the object go across their 60 mile (96km) scope in two or three seconds, thousands of miles an hour, he came back across their scope again, stopped near the water tower, they watched it and observed it go into the forest where we were," said Col Halt.
At Wattisham, they picked up what they called a 'bogie' and lost it near Rendlesham Forest.
Whatever was there was clearly under intelligent control."

Halt does not name the supposed radar operators, and does not say how he obtained this information. He claimed that the operators said nothing about this until after their retirement, for fear of being "decertified" for reporting a UFO. Even if this unlikely claim were true, it does not correspond to what the supposed witnesses are reporting. A UFO allegedly whizzing by at thousands of miles an hour does not match the UFO(s) allegedly seen hovering for hours above the forest, and even landing there.
In addition, there was Col. Holt making the usual UFOlogy Conspiracy Theory remarks:

External Quote:
Lee Speigel wrote in the Huffington Post on July 21 that Halt says this new information will 'blow the lid off' the Rendlesham Forest sightings.

We previously reported how Halt accused the U.S. government of covering up UFO information, and he believes there's a top secret agency that's in charge of anything to do with possible extraterrestrial visits to Earth.

"There is a contract civilian agency, that is fed information, that is controlling everything. It's made up of either former military, high-level government agencies or high-ranking, very knowledgeable scientists. I can almost guarantee you. That's the way we do it. And disinformation is the biggest thing," Halt told HuffPost on Friday.
The same blog post mentions Burroughs experiencing Hypnotic Regression Therapy, same as Penniston did:

External Quote:
Another supposed witness, John Burroughs, has implied while supposedly under hypnosis that he and Sgt. Penniston were abducted by beings onto the UFO for about 45 minutes, and brought back to a different place. Supposedly base personnel saw them being lifted up to the object, and worried that they would never be returned.

1714944684979.png


Sgt. Jim Penniston (ret.), however, relates a completely different UFO yarn, in spite of supposedly sharing in Burrough's UFO abduction. He claims that he touched the landed UFO, and received a message from it in the form of a "binary code," which he subsequently wrote down. However, he did not tell anyone about it for thirty years
As I thought I had remembered and noted above, of the 3 main witnesses on the first night, Cabansag maintains it was just a light house. I think that's why Penniston puts him as the radio relay person, claiming he did not go into the forest with he and Burroughs.

The entertaining back and forth about the code is in the comments section. Not trying to violate the "No Click Policy", but its' over 200 comments and they guy claiming to have discovered secrets "people have been confounded by for 100s of years" in Penniston's code, has since published a book about it. I'll dig in a bit deeper time permitting.
 
Last edited:
its free to read on Kindle unlimited. 702 pages. Glad i cancelled my kindle unlimited so i dont feel obligated to read it!
Ah come on! Sometimes you gotta take one for the team. I coughed up $10 to read the Kindel version of Skinwalkers at the Pentagon so you didn't have to ;). I suppose in the current UFO world the Skinwalker book was way more relevant, than a rehash of Rendlesham. It was Osborn's "secrets" that he decoded that I thought might be interesting.

It's $5 for the Kindel version, but I'd rather spend the money at a used bookstore or antique shop. Of course, at over 700 pages, I'll have to remember to bring my truck just so I can get it home.

Reading through a few of the reviews one can speculate a bit about what's in it. This is first and foremost Penniston's version of what happened, at least as it was revealed to him under hypnosis many years later. Anything contradictory is part of the CIA cover up. Other witnesses are thrown under the bus for not going along. Osborn's "revelations" seem to be standard esoterica like hidden rooms in Kufu's Pyramid or vortices in Sedona.
 
"There is a contract civilian agency, that is fed information, that is controlling everything. It's made up of either former military, high-level government agencies or high-ranking, very knowledgeable scientists. I can almost guarantee you. That's the way we do it. And disinformation is the biggest thing," Halt told HuffPost on Friday.
Sounds a bit like the NIDS/BAASS/AAWSAP crew?
 
Ah come on! Sometimes you gotta take one for the team. I coughed up $10 to read the Kindel version of Skinwalkers at the Pentagon so you didn't have to ;). I suppose in the current UFO world the Skinwalker book was way more relevant, than a rehash of Rendlesham. It was Osborn's "secrets" that he decoded that I thought might be interesting.
i bought the ghost book. and a few (i guess couple would be more grammatically correct) 1.99 tv episodes.

at a used bookstore or antique shop
Anyone willing to spend that kind of money, likely isnt giving it up to a used book store so soon after publication :)
 
Osborn's "revelations" seem to be standard esoterica like hidden rooms in Kufu's Pyramid or vortices in Sedona.
i do have another free trial offer.
1714959568441.png
if youre seriously jonesing i can probably spend an hour for you screenshotting the numerology pages. for ya. let me know.
 
unds a bit like the NIDS/BAASS/AAWSAP crew?

That would be interesting, but I don't ever remember Holt's name coming up. Maybe in the general sense that, there were programs about UFOs and some like AASWAP were part of the government.

Or maybe he got wind of AASWAP through various UFO connections. These guys all appear at various conferences and MUFON shindigs together. While AAWSAP wasn't an SAP, someone could have told Holt a vailed version of a "government UFO program" that had a "contract civilian agency" it was working with. Kinda makes sense.

Anyone willing to spend that kind of money, likely isnt giving it up to a used book store so soon after publication :)

Yeah, almost $30. Ouch! Not for a UFO book.

f youre seriously jonesing i can probably spend an hour for you screenshotting the numerology pages. for ya

No worries. I can pony up $5 if I get a real hankering. It's less about the money and more about the time to go through 700 pages.
 
As well as the Orford Ness lighthouse, and whatever stars and planets were visible, other lights might have played a part.

External Quote:
The Suffolk constabulary file on the case was released in 2005 under the UK's Freedom of Information Act and can be accessed on their website.[7] It includes a letter dated 28 July 1999 written by Inspector Mike Topliss who notes that one of the police constables who attended the scene on the first night returned to the site in daylight in case he had missed something. "There was nothing to be seen and he remains unconvinced that the occurrence was genuine," wrote Topliss. "The immediate area was swept by powerful light beams from a landing beacon at RAF Bentwaters and the Orfordness lighthouse. I know from personal experience that at night, in certain weather and cloud conditions, these beams were very pronounced and certainly caused strange visual effects."
Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendlesham_Forest_incident, also on the last document image attached below, a copy of a reply from Suffolk Constabulary to an unknown correspondent.

Ian Ridpath thinks it's unlikely that the landing beacon was involved, though;
External Quote:
The landing beacon at Bentwaters was in the wrong direction and so not a factor; it might even have been switched off at the time as there was no flying over Christmas.
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/police.html.

Annoyingly, it's unclear if "The immediate area was swept by powerful light beams from a landing beacon at RAF Bentwaters and the Orfordness lighthouse" is recounting what was seen by the police officer who re-visited the site in daylight, 26/12/80, or if it is part of Inspector Topliss' recall of the area from prior personal experience.

Also annoyingly, the link ([7]) to the released Suffolk Constabulary file, cited in the above Wikipedia article, is dead.
Happily, on the website "The Rendlesham Forest Incident Official Blog", https://www.therendleshamforestincident.com/,
which isn't "Official" in any meaningful sense and which I can't vouch for, there are copies of Suffolk Constabulary records and correspondence about the Rendlesham Forest incident.
They look the same as the Suffolk Constabulary file documents which I saw online some years ago as far as I can recall.

-Note for non-UK people, some of England and Wales' police services call themselves "...Police" e.g. Dorset Police, Merseyside Police, some "Constabularies" e.g. Suffolk Constabulary, Durham Constabulary. There isn't any difference between the two.
Each is composed of attested police officers holding the office of constable who have jurisdiction anywhere in England and Wales. All those officers are referred to as police.

https://www.therendleshamforestincident.com/2022/04/suffolk-constabulary-have-record-dated.html,
Initial Suffolk Constabulary station log of contact from USAF at Bentwaters:

Capture.JPG

(My underlining).

From the above: USAF A.1.C Arnold, Law Enforcement Desk Bentwaters sent
External Quote:

We have a sighting of some unusual lights in the sky, have sent some unarmed troops to investigate, we are terming it as a U.F.O. at present
So not that long after the events of Dec 26 started, the term "U.F.O." is used, which made me think of this post:
...as far as I can recall he [Col. Halt] has subsequently claimed that he believes it was an extraterrestrial event, which makes me think that he was predisposed to the idea.

Suffolk police recorded:
External Quote:

Result
Air Traffic Control West Drayton checked, no knowledge of aircraft. Reports received of aerial phenomena over southern England during the night. Only lights visible this area was from Orford light house. Search made of area- negative.
The following day (still the 26th December 1980),
c2.JPG


From the above, USAF staff at Bentwaters:
External Quote:

We have a call from the L.E. [Law Enforcement? If so, USAF Security Police] at Bentwaters in reference to the U.F.O. last night. We have found a place where a craft of some sort seems to have landed.
Suffolk police:
External Quote:
There were three marks in the area which did not follow a set pattern. The impressions made by these marks were of no depth and could have been made by an animal. PC Cresswell attended.
PC Cresswell didn't seem unduly perturbed by the suspected landing zone.
It might be worth remembering that while Rendlesham Forest might not be Cresswell's home area, he would probably be familiar with similar environments in Suffolk.


Nearly 19 years later, Suffolk police sent this reply to an enquiry about the incidents (easier-to-read text follows this image):

c3.JPG


From "The Rendlesham Forest Incident Official Blog", ibid. For easier reading here's some of the content:

External Quote:

...A great deal of interest has understandably been generated in respect of this story, not least because of the apparent number and standing of witnesses. However, over the intervening years, various reports of the incident(s) seem to have taken on a life of their own to the extent that the "sighting" details and corroborative evidence have been substantially embellished.

This contrasts sharply with the views of the local police who attended at the time and did not perceive this occurrence as being anything unusual considering the festive significance of the date and expected high spirits.

...(Name redacted) has confirmed that he and PC [police constable](name redacted) were in the Law Enforcement Office at RAF Bentwaters when they were directed to a 'higher priority' task at Otley post office. As rural night-duty officers they would have sole responsibility for policing a huge territorial area (approx. 400 square miles) and would certainly have treated a post office burglary as more important than a recurrence of an earlier incident which was seen as somewhat frivolous.

PC Brian Cresswell's... ...visit to the alleged landing site would not have generated more than a standard incident log unless he was convinced that something worth reporting had occurred.
PC (redacted) had discussed the matter with him and it appeared that all three officers were equally unimpressed with the nights events.

Civilian police officers were not employed in guarding the area surrounding the alleged landing site(s) or to deter access as there was no evidence to indicate anything of immediate concern to the police had occurred.

...I have tried to be as objective as possible with the answers provided and, like yourself, would undoubtedly be pleased to see a local incident such as this substantiated as an authentic "UFO" experience. PC (redacted) holds similar views to myself and returned to the forest site in daylight in case he had missed some evidence in the darkness. There was nothing to be seen and he remains unconvinced that the occurrence was genuine. The immediate area was swept by powerful light beams from a landing beacon at RAF Bentwaters and the Orfordness lighthouse. I know from personal experience that at night, in certain weather conditions, these beams were very pronounced and certainly caused strange visual effects.
Perhaps "Civilian police officers were not employed in guarding the area..." does not rule out armed forces personnel doing so, but this seems very unlikely, and there are no records of restrictions on public access being put in place in Rendlesham Forest that I'm aware of.

The police inspector who wrote the above reply reminds us of the time of year of the sightings.
It was Christmas, kids/ teenagers do sometimes have unauthorised parties and let off fireworks if they get the opportunity.
We (well, I) tend to think of Bentwaters as a remote location, but it isn't really. There's a number of close-by villages and hamlets, and it's about 10 miles (16 km) from Ipswich, population approx. 145,000, and not much further from Felixstowe, the UK's largest container port.

Maps/ views of the area. -These are contemporary; the 1980 perimeters of the Bentwaters and Woodbridge airbases are not indicated, so I've indicated the runways as a rough proxy.
m1.JPG
m2.JPG
m3.JPG

m4.JPG



I think the possibility of poachers lamping for rabbits was raised, can't remember who by. With police concentrating on residential areas and town centres where people are enjoying the seasonal cheer, the Christmas to New Year period must be tempting for those who fancy cheap rabbit stew. If there were poachers present, they might well run from the unexpected arrival of uniformed men with torches.

-Just occurred to me, it isn't unusual for council gritter trucks to be out and about in the small hours in late December, with flashing amber lights (rotating beacon lights in 1980); they wouldn't go up forest tracks for any reason I can think of, but I wouldn't be surprised if the approach roads to airbases were prioritised.

A USAF Security Policeman who served at Bentwaters claimed he might have inadvertently contributed to the events:

b1.JPG

BBC News, 30 June 2003 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/3033428.stm

(It should be noted- which the BBC didn't- that "Brenda Butler, a local resident" is a UFO investigator and co-author of a book about the 1980 Rendlesham Forest events,
Sky Crash: A Cosmic Conspiracy (1984, pub. Neville Spearman), along with her friend and fellow investigator Dot Street and the fairly well-known (in Britain at least) Ufologist Jenny Randles https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/993593.Sky_Crash)

I haven't read anything else about this since. I don't know how many USAF Security Police were at Woodbridge / Bentwaters, but I'd guess that most were known to each other. Not sure if it's credible that Mr Conde would stage his prank on fellow Security Police but not be aware of the results within a day or two.
If his account is in part accurate, maybe he decided to keep quiet at the time: Spooking your mates is one thing, making the deputy base commander look a bit daft is another.
It might explain the red, white and blue lights of some accounts if Mr Conde's Volare had a lightbar like many US police cars
(UK police just use blue).

It's hard to know what to make of the Rendlesham Forest incidents.
Personally, I find Ian Ridpath's de-bunking convincing (but will happily concede to posters here about which stars/ planets were where). http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/sitemap.html

Mr Penniston made more extraordinary claims than anyone else who we know was present, and over the years his claims have expanded to the point where they can't be taken seriously. Regrettably, if he did witness anything of interest in 1980, it is difficult to determine what of his testimony might be reliable.
Colonel Halt's increasingly conspiratorial take on the whole affair has been criticized by his commanding officer at Bentwaters,
Colonel Ted Conrad:

External Quote:

For his part, in June 2010 Halt signed a notarised statement that included this paragraph:
“I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin and that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted – both then and now – to subvert the significance of what occurred at Rendlesham forest and RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation.”
When I asked Col Conrad to comment on Halt’s statement, he responded:
“Col Halt can believe as he wishes. I’ve already disputed to some degree what he reported. However, he should be ashamed and embarrassed by his allegation that his country and England both conspired to deceive their citizens over this issue. He knows better.”
Col Conrad told me he finds it very difficult to comment “given how huge the story has grown from its humble beginnings to the sensation it has now become”. He adds that he wants to “avoid the appearance of validating any of the stories have sprung up in the years since (1980).”
-Article "Rendlesham Forest UFOs", from the blog Dr David Clarke Folklore and Journalism,
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/
David Clarke is an associate professor of Media and Communication, Sheffield Hallam University- he's done some interesting work on Rendlesham (accessible via the link) but it's not as thorough or as easily navigated as Ridpath's website.
(Clarke has produced other interesting material, notably about the Calvine photographs).
 
Well...that's not what Halt himself says. In this short video, at 2.29 ' We went out into the field on the other side....' and that that's where he saw the objects in the sky and the beam of light. At that point he is standing at a ( newly erected ) fence pretty much at the start of your right hand arrow. And he's referring to the field at the end of your right hand arrow. So by Halt's own words my original line is correct, and that means that Sirius was not over the base.

I mean, to all extents and purposes Halt was due east of the base. So how can Ridpath claim that Halt was seeing Sirius south west over the base ?
Ridpath can claim that because he follows Halt's notes dictated to tape at the time:
SmartSelect_20240506-061831_Samsung Internet.jpg

As you can see, Ridpath only compares the position to the base a full 45 minutes after he first saw the Southern light, and that's half an hour after he notes that they had turned back—he could easily have crossed the forest in that time and, at 4:00, have a good view of the base with no trees in the way.

As you note yourself, Sirius was setting fast, which accounts for Halt noting that the light's altitude diminished.
 
It's hard to know what to make of the Rendlesham Forest incidents.
What I find interesting is that it's a textbook case of making a lot out of a little. It's known that a large meteorite passed over the area causing some to think an aircraft might have crashed, prompting the Americans to head off base and into the woods.

The police reports, the original witness statements and even Holt's audio recording amount to some guys running around an unfamiliar wooded area at night and seeing lights. The locals knew it was a light house and even most of the US guys figured out it was a light house. While Holt's group didn't seem to grasp there was a light house nearby, Ridpath clearly shows that they were seeing it though the trees. Add in some stars or planets, maybe a police cruiser or early morning garbage truck and that's about it.

Only Penniston described an "object" in any of the original reports, and when he tried to get closer, it just moved off into the woods in a zig zagging pattern. Sounds like classic parallax. That's really all there is or was.

To believe in the validity of the Rendlesham case, one has to accept a whole bunch of evidence obtained under Hypnotic Regression Therapy and subsequent retellings of those revelations and discard most of the primary evidence from the time. Even then, Burroughs and Penniston's "recovered memories" conflict each other, with Penniston's story ultimately winning out.

One also has to accept that Penniston received encoded messages in ASCII telepathically indicating the UFO in question was from the year 8100. And that he wrote those codes down a day or two after the encounter but never showed anyone for 30 years. He didn't even show the notebook to anyone for 20 years. You can't have Penniston's version of the crashed UFO and ignore the rest of his claims, they're all jumbled together.

AS for Halt, I don't know. His own audio recording just has him and his guys seeing lights, some of which is obviously the lighthouse. The other assorted lights may be up for debate. I think one problem is taking the directions giving in the recording, or any of the witness statements for that matter, as literal. These guys are running around in an unfamiliar wooded area at night, how exactly do they know what direction they are looking? Did they use a compass or just guesstimate?

Penniston, Burroughs and probably Cabansag seemed to have walked down a logging road. I assume Holt and company are likely doing the same thing. But when they say they looked or headed "South" or something was over the "Base" how do we now know where they were looking or what they meant?

Maybe Halt really thought he saw some sort of UFO. Maybe someone informed him of the lighthouse, and he just doubled down on the UFO to the point he really believes it now. And maybe seeing it go public, he got in on it, started going to the MUFON meetings and other big echo chambers where the story is reenforced.

EDIT: corrected Halt's name per Eburacum's post below. My bad.
 
Last edited:
Spoiler: comparison

There is an obvious difference.

One kept us entertained for years, leading a team of law enforcement personnel in pursuit of fictional suspects with hilarious consequences.
The other is actor Andre Braugher.

Incidentally, I'm claiming the title "Halt: Who Goes There?" for my next attempt to crack Hollywood.
In the thrilling climax, the fictitious characters Jack Pennystone and The Colonel rescue a US airbase commander and snatch the intruder's binary codes in a hail of gunfire and M203-launched grenades, thwarting their evil plan to steal the Pyramids and invade Hy-Brasil.
 
Last edited:
It's hard to know what to make of the Rendlesham Forest incidents.
Personally, I find Ian Ridpath's de-bunking convincing (but will happily concede to posters here about which stars/ planets were where). http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/sitemap.html
I just finished reading through all of Ridpath's site and supplementary materials. It was quite long, but extremely well documented and his conclusions and hypotheses seem very plausible to me as well. I can see room for differences in detail like what celestial objects were observed by Halt towards then end of the tape, but I think the core conclusion is pretty solid: a fireball, a lighthouse (and possibly some other mundane lights like distant buildings or radio tower lights or a lightship), and some celestial objects, were all misidentified, and there has been no solid evidence that stands up to scrutiny to show that something extraordinary happened at Rendlesham Forest.

(It should be noted- which the BBC didn't- that "Brenda Butler, a local resident" is a UFO investigator and co-author of a book about the 1980 Rendlesham Forest events,
Sky Crash: A Cosmic Conspiracy (1984, pub. Neville Spearman), along with her friend and fellow investigator Dot Street and the fairly well-known (in Britain at least) Ufologist Jenny Randles https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/993593.Sky_Crash)
On the page about radiation readings, Ridpath linked to an early investigation report by SCUFORI, but only just to say they had checked for radiation.

In September 1982, less than two years after the event, the site was checked for radiation by researchers from the Swindon Centre for UFO Research and Investigation (SCUFORI). They found nothing unusual.

I had never heard of SCUFORI and wasn't finding much, but I ended up finding details about them in a surprising place--on a blog talking about pop singer Kate Bush's alleged UFO patronage!
There the issue remained until a few days ago, when the writer was – quite by chance – contacted by Ian Mrzyglod. To those active within British Ufology of the early 1980’s Mrzyglod needs little introduction, being editor of the now legendary PROBE REPORT, a west-country based magazine considered one of most significant UFO publications of that era. Both PROBE and their magazine combined high production values with a critical approach to UFO reports, representing a key element of 1980’s rationalist UK Ufology. This reputation was notably consolidated when PROBE began to work closely with another UFO society called SCUFORI (Swindon Centre for UFO Research and Investigation), a body who represented one of the UK’s most critically-minded and accomplished UFO groups. As such they represented one of those brief “Camelot eras” that occasionally flower within British Ufology, a West Country rationalist “UFO Renaissance”, eventually overshadowed by what some then termed “The Neo ETH“. Sadly, as it transpired, it was not the PROBE and SCUFORI vision of a rationalist and critical Ufology that would flourish upon Albion’s ancient soil, but the American populist narrative of abductions, crash retrievals and “the cover up”. Today it seems the dominance of such ideas were an inevitability, but the work of PROBE and SCUFORI indicated that things could have been so much different. Mryzglod attempted to consolidate this vision by producing THE PROBE report under the aegis of BUFORA. However, internal group politics then dominant within the association stifled this dream; resulting in the demise of PROBE REPORT in around 1983-4. Mrzyglod left the subject shortly afterwards, disappointed that others within the subject were both unable and unwilling to support his vision. [...] Doubtless, dear reader, you are saying at this juncture “what does this have to do with Kate Bush”?

That description makes sense after reading the SCUFORI report Ridpath linked to.

http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/Probe Report Rendlesham.pdf

This is a summary:

Two investigators from SCUFORI went to Rendlesham on a preliminary investigation to determine if there was anything to warrant a full investigation. They were assisted on location by Jenny Randles, Brenda Butler, and Dot Street, who had been publishing about the event in UFO circulars like BUFORA Bulletin and Flying Saucer Review, and whose work they were relying on.

The SCUFORI investigators were shown the 'landing site' where they were told nothing would grow because of radiation from the landing/crash. They measured no radiation and determined the clearing was actually a result of tree-felling, and quickly found other areas with the same signs of forrestry as the 'landing site' (tree stumps with saw marks, broken off branches and lack of vegetation). Their description of "a huge open area" makes it sound like it may not have even been the same 'landing site' Halt and the other witnesses had examined.

At the time, Brenda Butler was the only one who knew the identity of the witnesses and was sworn to secrecy according to the report, so the SCUFORI investigators only interviewed locals. They interviewed a farmer (without Dot Street present) who they were told had been visited by the Men in Black about the 'crash'. They found that he had not been visited by MIBs, but by a man and a woman in normal clothes--whom they found out after the interview were actually Dot and a male friend.

It was reported that Brenda had been driving into the forrest with Dot riding along, when her dog began barking and going crazy, and then her car started violently shaking and accelerating and would not respond to her until they were going '60/70mph'. The SCUFORI investigators drove down the same rutted, potholed road at 40mph and could barely keep control of the car. Dot, who was in the back seat and could not see the speedometer during SCUFORI test drive, said it felt like the same speed as the incident with her and Brenda. Brenda admitted she had not looked at her speedometer during her incident and was repeating what Dot had told her.

The SCUFORI investigators didn't find much extraordinary about claims that cattle had been unusually 'playing up' after checking with a local farm-hand who reported that new cattle are sometimes frightened by the planes flying over. After visiting two old brothers who lived in a run-down cottage in the forest near RAF Woodbridge, they concluded the brothers' reports of television/electrical interference/lights flickering were likely caused by poor wiring to the house through the forrest or bad weather.

The report concludes that the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in reporting by Randles, Butler and Steet, combined with only Butler knowing the identity and story of the witnesses, made the case not worth persuring at the time.


I can see why Ridpath only mentioned the report in passing because it was essentially an examination of alleged second-hand claims made by some popular Ufologists before all the information about the case was out, but I found it interesting in its own right. Interesting because I learned about a "rationalist UK Ufology" group I hadn't heard of (I wonder if they would call themselves "debunkers" if they existed today? Going to try to find some issues of Probe Report and check them out). And interesting because we see the seeds of the mythology sprouting so early after the event; less than two years later we are getting unsupported stories that have all the hallmarks of the "classic" case: radiation where nothing will grow at the 'crash site', MIBs harassing locals, vehicles going haywire, pets and livestock disturbed, television/electrical interference. Well that's good enough to write a book.
 
I won't give more than a passing mention to the account of the local gamekeeper David Boast, who never gave an account in his lifetime, but members of his family have recounted second-hand stories that he is said to have told them about the event.

Or the radar witnesses found by Robert Hastings (the Saucers and Missiles bloke) who recounted some unidentified radar returns that seem to have occurred in the same time period (the 1980s). Ike Barker and Jim Carey both remember an unusual return, and Barker says he saw the object from the control tower. The researcher Georgina Bruni also found a radar operator (Nigel Kerr), who remembers an unusual radar event from this time. These sorts of 'corroborative' accounts often turn up many years after the event, when people attempt to integrate their own memories with popular news reports. Some of them might even be true, but there are no contemporary records to back them up.

One reason Rendlesham is interesting is that there are numerous contemporary statements to examine, and the tape is a significant source of data. Events with lots of contemporary data like this, (and the Nimitz event for example) are very useful when trying to determine what is going on.
 
I won't give more than a passing mention to the account of the local gamekeeper David Boast, who never gave an account in his lifetime, but members of his family have recounted second-hand stories that he is said to have told them about the event.
Do you have a link to this?
 
Only third-hand at the moment, reporting indirectly what the family said. But if I find a better one I'll post it.

For what it is worth, here is an article that mentions Barker, Carey and Kerr, but it has few details.
https://www.theufochronicles.com/2016/10/ufo-moving-at-incredible-speed-tracked.html
The now-retired controllers say they tracked a bona fide UFO that covered 120 miles in eight seconds, or three sweeps of their radar beam! If that were not stunning enough, Carey says the object also made an instantaneous right-angle turn as it left the vicinity. For his part, Barker says he actually saw the amazing interloper as it briefly hovered near the air traffic control tower, describing it as an orange sphere with a series of portholes positioned around its center.
 
Last edited:
And interesting because we see the seeds of the mythology sprouting so early after the event; less than two years later we are getting unsupported stories that have all the hallmarks of the "classic" case: radiation where nothing will grow at the 'crash site', MIBs harassing locals, vehicles going haywire, pets and livestock disturbed, television/electrical interference. Well that's good enough to write a book.

On another level, the summery you related also shows the proponents of UFOs becoming part of the story. One of the "investigators" knowingly or not became the MiBs. Driving near the site, it's not a rough road that makes the car bounce around, it's forces from the crash site, that are now affecting the investigators as well. They're experiencing and becoming part of the event 2 years after it happened. So, the book has an autobiographical bent to it, as well as a story from the witnesses.
 
Only third-hand at the moment, reporting indirectly what the family said. But if I find a better one I'll post it.
from the book i posted earlier by Georgina Bruni published 2000


David Boast is a local gamekeeper who lives with his wife and family in a farmhouse on the field facing the landing sites. The researchers claim that the first time they spoke to Boast, on 24 February 1981, he mentioned having seen a brightly lit object out in the field, but has since always refused to discuss it with anyone.
Almost three years later, in October 1983, Brenda and Dot would take ufologist Jenny Randles to visit the family and, whilst thetwo women conversed with Mr Boast, Jenny chatted with one of the Boast children. In a radio interview the following year Jenny told listeners that thechild had asked her whether she had come across anyone who had seen the little men. She also asked Jenny if she had heard about the UFO, saying, ‘Itwas so big, it should have hit the trees when it came down.’ Due to the timelapse, was the child referring to something she had overheard from local rumours, or did she actually witness the incident from her bedroom window during that Christmas week of 1980?

I interviewed Mrs Boast, who assured me that the family knew nothing about any UFO incident. I asked about her daughter’s comments, but she was adamant that the child could not have seen anything either. She insisted that if anyone went close to the house, especially at night, the dogs would have been alerted, and if they continued barking her husband would have got out of bed to see what was causing the disturbance. ‘There was no disturbance that I recall. The dogs didn’t wake us,’ she stressed. I explained that some of the US military had reported passing her home during the nights in question and again asked her if she was certain there had been no unusual activity. She pointed out that several media types had contacted them and if they had known anything at all they could have made a fortune by telling their story.
 
a guy that claimed to have decoded Penniston's supposed alien provided binary code, even beyond the simple Lat/Lon coordinates it contained.
The binary code thing is the biggest red flag to me in this whole sorry tale.

As discussed several times in the past, the "code" was simply the latitude and longitude of Woodbridge (the town, not the RAF base) as recorded to seven decimal paces in an old online database. Due to a transcription error, this got turned into mythical islands, Hy-Brasil, Atlantis and who-knows what!

Quoting myself from another forum:

External Quote:

I remember looking into those co-ordinates a very (very) long time ago.

The Hy-Brasil thing is a total red herring caused by a simple typographical error. Whoever wrote the binary code simply swapped east for west and messed up a decimal point.

The co-ordinates they used were from Tele Atlas, a Dutch (IIRC) geographic database which was used on Mapquest, a kind of proto-Google Maps. If you searched Woodbridge, Suffolk (which is the nearest town to Rendlesham, and the name of the air force base) back at the time the notebook "came to light", then the latitude and longitude it gave were exactly the same, to 7 decimal places, as the "Hy-Brasil" co-ordinates from the notebook. The decimal points were not present in the original code and were added by "interpreters", which is why the longitude only has 6 trailing decimal places, but the latitude has seven!).

So it's not 52.0942532N 13.131269W, but 52.0942532N 1.3131269E.

Modern geographic databases use a slightly different location point for Woodbridge than Mapquest did, but it you enter those co-ordinates into Google Maps you will see that they land directly on the road junction on the town square in the middle of Woodbridge.

1701767647766.png



Now, quoting a latitude/longitude co-ordinate to seven decimal places is sufficient to pinpoint an absolutely tiny area of ground.

At 52 degrees north, one degree of longitude is about 69km, and one degree of latitude anywhere on the planet is about 111km. So seven decimal places will narrow it down to an area 0.0000069km x 0.0000111km, or 6.9mm x 11.1mm. That's just over three-quarters of a square centimetre, or a little under one eighth of a square inch.

So the co-ordinates in the notebook match the co-ordinates you get when you searched (RAF) "Woodbridge" on the internet at the time the notebook appeared, to an eighth of a square inch. Or, put another way, the chances of the co-ordinates matching by chance are 1 in (360 x 10^7 x 180 x 10^7), or 1 in 6,480,000,000,000,000,000. Less than one in six quintillion.

Since I first found this remarkable coincidence I have been unable to find a copy of the old Tele Atlas database to prove my point, but I am sure it is out there somewhere...
 
Back
Top