Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident

Assuming that is correct, I find it bizarre that Halt doesn't mention the first night at all on the tape, at least to say that they had not seen the lights the previous night.
We might as well speculate that he saw some lights on the first night, but found he couldn't take notes in the dark and therefore took the tape recorder with him on the second night. For the tape, Halt wasn't concerned with narrating what had happened before; rather, he wanted to create a record for himself of what he was witnessing right then.
 
Maybe- but surely all the Security Police on night shift would have had service police notebooks, torches (flashlights) and wristwatches.
Always thought it a bit odd that timings provided throughout the RF incident seem so approximate, and durations of lights not accurately recorded. Halt could have delegated note-taking to his driver on the first night (if that happened as Clarke outlines), time-keeping to someone on the second.
(UK service police vehicles usually carried clipboards with sheets of A4 so notes/ sketches could be scrawled and later transcribed to the note-taker's police notebook, which was an accountable document).

It's got to be unlikely that functions at the Officer's mess were interrupted two nights running by a Security Policeman entering and saying "They're back" or similar words, and each time the deputy base commander thought it was his job to investigate in person (and none of the other officers volunteer to take his place)- if this happened, it looks a bit Halt-targeted.
Even if Halt didn't question the reports of lights, it seems strange that not one other officer present thought,
"This is a bit odd, on-duty personnel disrupting our off-duty function again. I'll make a point of reading the witnesses' statements, just to make sure no-one's buggering us about forgotten that there are limits to teasing the officers".

We don't know of any witness statements, or claims made, about lights etc. on the night of 26-27th December, other than (AFAIK) David Clarke's timeline, https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/, which he seems unsure about
Sometime between 2100 and 2200 on [26 December?] members of the Woodbridge SP shift appeared at a Christmas party at the O’Club
Content from External Source
-David Clarke's parentheses.
Other than (Englund?) conveying this message, nothing seems to have been documented, or later revealed, about who originally claimed "they're back" and what they saw (still applies if these events actually happened night of 27 December, or on both nights).

Even if Halt felt that a commissioned officer should verify the sightings, the Security Police would have had commissioned officers familiar with the perimeters of the Bentwaters/ Woodbridge bases, and they would probably have had more recent training in operating "in the field" than Halt. I'd guess most of the A-10 pilots were officers, and had good eyesight (and some familiarity with the night sky).

The most serious possibility that unexplained activity in Rendlesham Forest could represent would be some sort of hostile action (if we discount humanity's 1st contact with ETI for the moment), in which case Halt would be needed to do his job on-base.

I don't think we can tell for sure with our current evidence, but parsimoniously I think it's more likely Clarke (and maybe Col. Conrad) got the date wrong in 2010 for the "They're back" incident at the Officer's Club -Clarke claims the 26th, but with a question mark.
In Ridpath's timeline, "The UFO is back" is reported to the Officer's Club on the evening of the 27th, and this is the catalyst for Halt to investigate. Clarke's timeline doesn't provide a reason for Halt to go out late p.m. 27th/ early a.m. 28th.

If we combine the Clarke and Ridpath accounts (which would be problematic, I think) and decide that functions at the Officer's Club were interrupted 2 nights running with very similarly-worded reports, with Halt responding in person each time, it might be asked if this was targeted at Halt (the new boy, maybe noticed to be interested in the events of a.m., 26th December), independent of/ exploiting the sightings of a.m., December 26. That none of his brother officers volunteered to accompany the 2IC or take his place might seem curious on one occasion, but twice, we might question the inter-personal dynamics at play.
This is less of an issue if it occurred only once (probably the 27th).

“There were no conspiracies, no secret operation, no missile accident, and no harsh interrogations by OSI [Office of Special Investigations, USAF]... ...If I have any regrets, it is that I should have challenged Lt Col Halt’s account of the events on the night of 28 December. However since I wanted to avoid the appearance of shaping the story, I was reluctant to require any changes to his letter to Don Moreland [sent to MoD on 13 January 1981].
Content from External Source
Colonel Ted Conrad, base commander (Halt's senior officer), speaking to David Clarke in 2010 (ibid.)
 
Even if Halt felt that a commissioned officer should verify the sightings, the Security Police would have had commissioned officers familiar with the perimeters of the Bentwaters/ Woodbridge bases, and they would probably have had more recent training in operating "in the field" than Halt. I'd guess most of the A-10 pilots were officers, and had good eyesight (and some familiarity with the night sky).
Yes, all USAF pilots are commissioned officers/university graduates. A-10 pilots have to met the same vision requirements as any other USAF pilot. The early A-10s were very basic aircraft with limited night attack capability. In the late 70s/early 80s, the two-seat A-10N/AW was developed as an night/all weather attack variant of the aircraft, but the project was canceled and the sole prototype retired.

https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/V...63/republic-nightadverse-weather-a-10-ya-10b/

Also a comment about the role of deputy/vice commanders in USAF units. Routinely they are responsible for taking care of issues within the organization, while the boss handles those outside the organization such as liasoning with other organizations or up-the-chain of command.

I was a deputy director of a couple different organizations, not a good job. You usually wind up doing anything the commander/director doesn't want to do. I can certainly believe Halt was detailed to go with SPs, doubt the boss wanted to do it.
 
It's got to be unlikely that functions at the Officer's mess were interrupted two nights running by a Security Policeman entering and saying "They're back" or similar words
That's why nobody has proposed that.
It's either a) Halt makes a hasty exit, collects equipment and a crew, and is in the forest 4 hours later, or b) Halt makes a hasty exit, checks out the SP's story, and talks to Conrad in the morning about doing a full investigation the next night (with the tape).

Personally, I think Conrad's sequence of events is more likely.
 
The 'Security Police' involved on the first night were Fred ‘Skip’ Buran, John Burroughs, Ed Cabansag, J. D. Chandler, and Jim Penniston. As far as I can tell, these individuals were not involved on the third night.

The party on the third night included Halt, Nevels, Englund and Ball. If any other Security police were involved on the third night I don't know who they were.
 
That's why nobody has proposed that.
It's either a) Halt makes a hasty exit, collects equipment and a crew, and is in the forest 4 hours later, or b) Halt makes a hasty exit, checks out the SP's story, and talks to Conrad in the morning about doing a full investigation the next night (with the tape).

Personally, I think Conrad's sequence of events is more likely.

Just speculating a bit, but if the Conrad sequence is right, this flap went on for a day longer than the other version. Which makes me think somebody convinced Halt and maybe Conrad that there was more to this than a lighthouse.

Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag went into the forest early Friday morning (Penniston later claimed Cabansag stayed behind as the radio relay, but MSgt Chandler's account and Cabansag's have Chandler as the radio relay). They see lights and Burroughs and Cabansag claim it was a beacon or a light house, only Penniston mentions a craft of some sort, though he can never get closer than 50m. That's the first encounter.

In Conrads telling, somebody comes to the Friday evening Christmas party saying the lights are back and Halt goes out on a ride along to check it out. He comes back unimpressed. Nevertheless, Halt then spends Saturday getting together a team and some gear, and it's unclear, but appears to go out and investigate the "landing site", maybe with Conrad himself. This investigation goes on into the wee hours of Sunday morning when the recording is made.

In this scenario, it seems Conrad gets convinced, possibly on Saturday, that there is something more than a light house involved. I don't see Halt just taking it upon himself to spend a day and a half farting around in the forest, when he had not seen anything of note the night before. I think it's Penniston. From Ridpath's summery of Clark's interview (bold by me):

3. Col Ted Conrad, Halt’s superior officer, debriefed Penniston in the days after the event. Conrad told researcher David Clarke in 2010 June that Penniston confirmed that he did not get close enough to the object for a detailed look, confirming what Penniston said in his written statement. According to Conrad, Penniston said he followed the light through the trees to an open field whereupon it disappeared beyond a small rise in the direction of a farm house. That is consistent with the statements of Burroughs and Cabansag, although the detail about the farmhouse is not mentioned in Penniston’s own typewritten statement.
Content from External Source
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham2b.html

I need to read through Clark's stuff a bit more time permitting, but if "days after the event" was more like "day after" than maybe it was Penniston's claim of landing marks and a craft that convinced Conrad that Halt need to go back out into the woods.

In the more known version of the story, Halt is interrupted at the party, goes and gets a team together with equipment and heads out and make the recording all in one night. It's all a bit frenetic. In the Conrad version, Halt goes out from the party, sees nothing and goes home. Its the next day before he even gets the team and stuff assembled. Much less frenetic, but also much more purposeful. There is something out there that we need to check on.
 
While agreeing with everything else in your post-
I think Conrad's sequence of events is more likely.
-Conrad's account is via Clarke, who is clearly uncertain if "They're back" was on the 26th.

I strongly suspect that if there had been sightings on three nights (as Clarke's timeline implies), with Halt taking a look on both the second and the third night, Halt would have said so.

But Halt's memo to the MoD doesn't state that (although it seems he gets his dates wrong, saying the 27th and 29th, not the 26th and 28th which seems much more likely, e.g. from the Suffolk police logs).
Halt describes sightings on two days, with an intervening calendar day.

halt-memo.jpg
 
Just speculating a bit, but if the Conrad sequence is right, this flap went on for a day longer than the other version. Which makes me think somebody convinced Halt and maybe Conrad that there was more to this than a lighthouse.

Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag went into the forest early Friday morning (Penniston later claimed Cabansag stayed behind as the radio relay, but MSgt Chandler's account and Cabansag's have Chandler as the radio relay). They see lights and Burroughs and Cabansag claim it was a beacon or a light house, only Penniston mentions a craft of some sort, though he can never get closer than 50m. That's the first encounter.

In Conrads telling, somebody comes to the Friday evening Christmas party saying the lights are back and Halt goes out on a ride along to check it out. He comes back unimpressed. Nevertheless, Halt then spends Saturday getting together a team and some gear, and it's unclear, but appears to go out and investigate the "landing site", maybe with Conrad himself. This investigation goes on into the wee hours of Sunday morning when the recording is made.

In this scenario, it seems Conrad gets convinced, possibly on Saturday, that there is something more than a light house involved. I don't see Halt just taking it upon himself to spend a day and a half farting around in the forest, when he had not seen anything of note the night before. I think it's Penniston. From Ridpath's summery of Clark's interview (bold by me):

3. Col Ted Conrad, Halt’s superior officer, debriefed Penniston in the days after the event. Conrad told researcher David Clarke in 2010 June that Penniston confirmed that he did not get close enough to the object for a detailed look, confirming what Penniston said in his written statement. According to Conrad, Penniston said he followed the light through the trees to an open field whereupon it disappeared beyond a small rise in the direction of a farm house. That is consistent with the statements of Burroughs and Cabansag, although the detail about the farmhouse is not mentioned in Penniston’s own typewritten statement.
Content from External Source
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham2b.html

I need to read through Clark's stuff a bit more time permitting, but if "days after the event" was more like "day after" than maybe it was Penniston's claim of landing marks and a craft that convinced Conrad that Halt need to go back out into the woods.

In the more known version of the story, Halt is interrupted at the party, goes and gets a team together with equipment and heads out and make the recording all in one night. It's all a bit frenetic. In the Conrad version, Halt goes out from the party, sees nothing and goes home. Its the next day before he even gets the team and stuff assembled. Much less frenetic, but also much more purposeful. There is something out there that we need to check on.
Seems like an obvious question, but to the best of our knowledge, were the base police daily logs and/or written reports by any of the responding SPs ever FOIA requested? I can't ever remember seeing either. They might clear up who was where when.
 
-Conrad's account is via Clarke, who is clearly uncertain if "They're back" was on the 26th.
Conrad is uncertain whether the party was on the 26th or the 27th. If the party was on the 27th, then Penniston was debriefed on the 28th and Halt took his tape into the forest on the following night (28th/29th).

Now compare what Halt wrote and signed:
SmartSelect_20240517-175850_Samsung Internet.jpg
That's the exact same timeline.
27th in the morning observations, 27th evening "they're back", 28th (the following day) investigation, night of 28th/29th Halt's tape.

Now Conrad seems to think Halt got it wrong, and everything happened a day earlier, but he's not certain.
 
Last edited:
Which makes me think somebody convinced Halt and maybe Conrad that there was more to this than a lighthouse.
Not really.

Early on the next day after the party:
Article:
“Frankly at this point, Lt Col Halt and I were discussing what level of involvement was required from my office. We knew that silence would likely lead to allegation of cover up. With the rumor mill already operating it was a matter of time before the press got the story. We did not want the press to report the appearance of misinformation or cover up. We decided that a brief in-house investigation was in order. If we could find any credible evidence to justify a request for more high-tech investigators, then we would be in a position to pass the entire episode on to the British authorities. If any meaningful evidence were not found, we would document that fact and close the entire episode down by providing our facts to authorities in a low key manner. Events dictated the latter approach.
 
Its the next day before he even gets the team and stuff assembled. Much less frenetic, but also much more purposeful. There is something out there that we need to check on.
That version does not ring true to me. You might well go outside and investigate if you were involved in running a military base and it was reported that something weird was flying around. Laying aside aliens, an unknown something flying around is a potential espionage attempt or even attack. Needs checking out

I'm not sure that you'd gear up to go investigate it the next night, thinking maybe it will come back again, unless you suspected it was a recurring phenomenon so it would be there most any night, and were pretty confident it was not a threat so there was no rush.

To me it feels analogous to the Kumburgaz, Turkey, UFO in a way. Awfully convenient that the UFO not only DOES hang around for however many nights are needed, but is EXPECTED to do so by the witness(es.)
 
That's the exact same timeline.
27th in the morning observations, 27th evening "they're back", 28th (the following day) investigation, night of 28th/29th Halt's tape.

The Service Policemen's statements about the first sightings all say the 26th (except Penniston, who doesn't give any dates or timings).

Buran, approx. 03:00 26th December, Burroughs night of 25-26th December, around 03:00, Cabansag 26 December, Chandler 03:00 26 December 1980.
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham2c.html, where copies of the statements may be viewed.

The Suffolk police station log's first entry, logging the call from RAF Bentwaters about the first night of sightings, is also dated 26th December.

There were a number of "fireballs" reported in the skies of southern England on the night of 25-26 December;
Ian Ridpath provides an excerpt from The British Astronomical Association’s Meteor Section Newsletter no. 4 (1981 February):

Capture.JPG
 
Last edited:
I'm not sure that you'd gear up to go investigate it the next night, thinking maybe it will come back again, unless you suspected it was a recurring phenomenon so it would be there most any night, and were pretty confident it was not a threat so there was no rush.
Well, SP had seen it twice by then, and there was no obvious threat. So both recurrence and harmlessness seemed likely.
 
The Service Policemen's statements about the first sightings all say the 26th (except Penniston, who doesn't give any dates or timings).

Buran, approx. 03:00 26th December, Burroughs night of 25-26th December, around 03:00, Cabansag 26 December, Chandler 03:00 26 December 1980.
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham2c.html, where copies of the statements may be viewed.

The Suffolk police station log's first entry, logging the call from RAF Bentwaters about the first night of sightings, is also dated 26th December.
Yeah.
That supports the idea that the Conrad/Clarke timeline is correct, and that Halt's dates are off by a day.
 
It supports the idea that Halt's memo dates are a day off; but it doesn't necessarily support Clarke's claim (with its question mark) that the "They're back" happened on the evening of the 26th, which would mean there were three nights of sightings.

If Halt's memo is internally consistent- a day out on both dates, but otherwise correct (as he saw it), it gives us two nights of sightings, early a.m. 26th December and the night of 27-28th December.
 
It supports the idea that Halt's memo dates are a day off; but it doesn't necessarily support Clarke's claim (with its question mark) that the "They're back" happened on the evening of the 26th, which would mean there were three nights of sightings.

If Halt's memo is internally consistent- a day out on both dates, but otherwise correct (as he saw it), it gives us two nights of sightings, early a.m. 26th December and the night of 27-28th December.
Halt doesn't mention the party, but he does mention investigations by day, so there's no reason to assume the party episode would happen after the daytime investigation.

Is there a problem with 3 nights of sightings? Do you suppose they turned the lighthouse off that one night?
 
Is there a problem with 3 nights of sightings? Do you suppose they turned the lighthouse off that one night?
That's obviously a reasonable question (well, the first bit! :) *)


As far as I know, the only reason we might think that there were any sightings on night 2 (Dec. 27) is from David Clarke's timeline, 'agreed' in conversation with Col. Conrad.
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/

On Clarke's website, Col. Conrad does mention his uncertainty about the dates,


(David Clarke): What is the source of the dating/chronology of the events set out in your letter?
(Ted Conrad): I believe the chronology…is the correct one. It is based on Halt’s letter and my own rather tenuous recollections of those days. If the known time line is respected, a shift of a day one way or the other shouldn’t matter much.
Content from External Source
(Emphasis added).

It does matter; not least because the fireball seen across south England at approx. 02:50, 26th December would not be visible on the 27th. And like many other things discussed here, if a witness gets a detail demonstrably wrong, it might give us call to question their account (but certainly not dismiss it out of hand).
We also know the dates in Halt's memo were wrong.

Also, Conrad states,

Take your pick for day 1, either 0300 26 Dec. or 27 Dec.
Content from External Source
We know it was the 26th December 1980. (Suffolk police logs, airmen's statements).

Conrad appears to go on to contradict himself (although in fairness to him, he was up-front honest about the limits of his recall):


One other significant thing happened on 28 December 1980. Maj Zickler finally convinced Sgt [James] Penniston to answer some questions for me.
After a sincere guarantee that his report would have no ill effects on his career, Penniston reluctantly told his story...
...Just to reiterate, if Penniston’s encounter on day 1 was at approximately 0300 hrs. the notification at the party was 18 hours later at approx. 9:00 PM, also on day 1. Penniston’s interview occurred the morning of day 2, and shortly there after we decided to investigate.
Content from External Source
Day 1 is the 26th December. If Penniston was interviewed on day two, that has to be the 27th December.
Conrad cannot be right about Penniston being interviewed on day two, and day two being the 28th December.
So Conrad's account has to be, in part, faulty.

In the same article, Clarke writes
In presenting Col Conrad’s detailed narrative of the events, I have altered the dating to reflect this agreed chronology
Content from External Source
...and indeed Clarke's chronology/ timeline shows Penniston talking with Conrad on the 27th.
But Clarke' source for his chronology
...agreed with Col Conrad in September 2010
Content from External Source
is Col. Conrad.
The chronology reported by Conrad has been changed, by Clarke, to fit better with what Clarke knows already (i.e. "day 1" was on the 26th).
But that isn't made all that clear to the reader.

We have absolutely no contemporaneous witness accounts of sightings on the 27th; compare with the witness statements (and ongoing re-telling) by those present on the 26th, and our knowledge of Halt et al.s' "sightings" of the 28th (and Halt's ongoing re-telling of events).

Halt's memo states there were sightings on the 27th and 29th: He does not mention any sightings on the 28th.
-We know Halt was a day out; the events he referred to almost certainly occurred on the 26th and 28th.

It was two nights later that Col. Halt decided to take the investigation into his own hands (contrary to the popular telling that says there were events on three nights in a row, there are no reported events on the second night).
Content from External Source
"The Rendlesham Forest UFO", Brian Dunning, Skeptoid Podcast #135, January 6, 2009
https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4135

Earlier, on 26 and 28 December, United States Air Force (USAF) security personnel stationed at nearby RAF Woodbridge had reported seeing strange lights in the surrounding forest.
Content from External Source
"Rendlesham Forest UFO: Are we any closer to the truth 40 years on?", Nic Rigby, BBC News (Suffolk) 26 December 2020
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-54649675

Evidence for 3 nights of sightings is very weak. Maybe I'm being a bit too sceptical, but I feel we should avoid increasing the claimed number of days that sightings were made unless there is a better reason to do so.


*You nearly got me there, Mendel - but I know that they turned the lighthouse off. And on again. And off. And on again, and....
 
Last edited:
As far as I know, the only reason we might think that there were any sightings on night 2 (Dec. 27) is from David Clarke's timeline, 'agreed' in conversation with Col. Conrad.
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/

On Clarke's website, Col. Conrad does mention his uncertainty about the dates,

(David Clarke): What is the source of the dating/chronology of the events set out in your letter?
(Ted Conrad): I believe the chronology…is the correct one. It is based on Halt’s letter and my own rather tenuous recollections of those days. If the known time line is respected, a shift of a day one way or the other shouldn’t matter much.
Content from External Source
(Emphasis added).
I'd emphasize the shift of one day. If there was no third night, then the day of interviewing Penniston and deciding on an investigation (mentioned by both Halt and Conrad) has no motive.
It does matter; not least because the fireball seen across south England at approx. 02:50, 26th December would not be visible on the 27th. And like many other things discussed here, if a witness gets a detail demonstrably wrong, it might give us call to question their account (but certainly not dismiss it out of hand).
We also know the dates in Halt's memo were wrong.
And the Clarke/Conrad timeline gets this right. Conrad was uncertain here, not wrong.

I also don't think it's warranted to dismiss a witness testimony altogether and replace it with speculation simply because there was a misremembered detail.

Please try to put all the events in the Clarke/Conrad timeline (quoted here) in your preferred order. Does it make sense?
 
Whoever wrote this police response in November 1983 would have been very aware that there was UK-wide interest in the story by this time, because of this 2nd October 1983 News Of The World front page (sadly the small print is unreadable):
I sent out some probes into the Bodleian, and alas there seems to be a hole in their NotW records - online there's literally nothing for several decades ("The Sun and the News of the World don't appear to exist any more"!). The archivist I know there (technically, he's at the Pitt Rivers, but it's part of the Bod.) scrobbled around and the best thing he could find that was relevant was the almost-certainly-already-known: http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/images/n/guardian-article-1508.jpg . Unfortunately, "the British library archive is inaccessible currently due to recent hacks".
 
try to put all the events in the Clarke/Conrad timeline (quoted here) in your preferred order. Does it make sense?
The Clarke timeline makes sense because Clarke has (in good faith) made it internally consistent. It might be an accurate timeline, but if so it does require three nights of reported sightings, which no-one else- those present (excluding maybe Larry Warren who makes various extraordinary claims), Surrey police, 'UFO enthusiasts', or sceptical investigators, claim AFAIK.
There is no description of anything seen/ reported p.m., 27 December.

And the Clarke/Conrad timeline gets this right.
Clarke's timeline gets this right, informed by Conrad but altered by Clarke to fit with what he knows is correct.
Conrad states (indeed "reiterates") that Penniston was interviewed on the 28th, Clarke changes that to the 27th so it fits with the known dates and with the rest of Conrad's account.

Conrad talked with Eric Mishara for Omni magazine column UFO Update (March 1983). The article states that the events began 30 December. Conrad is quoted as saying he interviewed two eyewitnesses ("Those lads", phrasing that probably rules out Lt. Col. Halt); the account he relates to Mishara would seem to be based on Penniston's statement alone.

Speaking with Clarke in 2010, Conrad says
Jim Penniston is the only first-hand observer I was able to interview.
Content from External Source
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/

Just-about readable jpeg of Eric Mishara's article; I've tried to improve readability. PDF attached of Omni, March 1983- maybe someone can improve on this (or maybe you'll find the PDF easier to read):
o2 - Copy.JPG


I also don't think it's warranted to dismiss a witness testimony altogether and replace it with speculation simply because there was a misremembered detail.
I'm not sure I see my take in the same way. Conrad gives us a sequence of events which broadly supports that known from other sources. The fact that he is unsure about dates,
It is based on Halt’s letter
Content from External Source
(from David Clarke, Rendlesham Forest UFOs) and uses Halt's, which are wrong, and is honest about his
...own rather tenuous recollections of those days
Content from External Source
must mean we should be a little wary about other dates and timings.
And like many other things discussed here, if a witness gets a detail demonstrably wrong, it might give us call to question their account (but certainly not dismiss it out of hand).

From what little we know about Col. Conrad, he was a professional, competent and amiable career USAF officer. The events of 26-28th December 1980 do not appear to have made as strong an impression on him as they did on Halt. We don't know, but I'd be surprised if Conrad spent much time ruminating over the events of December 1980 since. Differences (though minor) in his 1983 and 2010 dates and details, and ambiguity about dates in 2010, suggest he hadn't kept a record of what happened in his possession (outside the USAF).

Halt does not refer to any sightings on the 28th December 1980 (actual date, the 27th) in his memo to the MoD (13 Jan '81),
just 17 days after the incidents.
It is clear that Halt thought that the events were of some significance/ interest.
If there were sightings on three nights, 26, 27 and 28 December, I believe that Halt would have said so.
He didn't; in his memo he refers to sightings on the 27th and 29th (actually the 26th and 28th).

If the "They're here" happened on the 27th December, it might be an understandable (if perhaps questionable) reason for Halt to launch his investigation into the forest.

I'm concerned we might increase the number of nights that known sightings were made from 2 to 3, based solely on one witness, speaking 30 years after the event, when we know he's got dates wrong, and he has been open about his "tenuous recollections of those days". It seems to be inadvertently expanding the UFO narrative (which no-one here intends to do).

Ian Ridpath's investigation is lengthier and more detailed than Clarke's (although he didn't speak with Conrad IIRC),
and while the two can be seen as complimentary, Ridpath covers more ground, and doesn't require sightings 26-27th December.

Whatever; I hope most people reading this thread and its links conclude the Rendlesham Forest incident was not due to extraterrestrial or trans-temporal visitation.
 

Attachments

  • OMNI_1983_03.pdf
    5.9 MB · Views: 4
Halt does not refer to any sightings on the 28th December 1980 (actual date, the 27th) in his memo to the MoD (13 Jan '81),
just 17 days after the incidents.
It is clear that Halt thought that the events were of some significance/ interest.
If there were sightings on three nights, 26, 27 and 28 December, I believe that Halt would have said so.

It seems to me, the real question is when did the "they're back" interrupt the Christmas party. Skipping the dates, because it gets confusing let's just go with days of the week. It's almost certain that the original sighting with Penniston et al's trip in the woods happened in the early hours of December 26, a Friday. So, Friday is our start day.

The Conrad/Clark version would be:
  • Event starts early Friday morning.
  • Christmas party is Friday evening.
  • "They're back" happens Friday evening at the Christmas party.
  • Col. Halt heads out with the SP Friday evening and after seeing nothing heads home.
  • Saturday morning or mid-day Halt assembles a team with some equipment to go investigate. Maybe because as @Mendel mentioned in post #170, Conrad and Halt thought it best to cover their ass.
  • Halt and crew head out, possibly with Conrad, to the "landing site" and investigate on Saturday afternoon it sounds like.
  • For whatever reason, after several people leave, Halt and few others continue the investigation through the night and into the wee hours of Sunday morning when he makes his recording.
The more common Ridpath-like version would be:
  • Event starts early Friday morning.
  • Christmas party is Saturday evening.
  • "They're back" happens Saturday evening.
  • Halt assembles a crew and equipment Saturday night and heads out to investigate.
  • Halt and few of the guys continue the investigation into the wee hours of Sunday morning when he makes his recording.
I think the problem with the second version is again the frenetic pace of it all. Halt, or somebody, is interrupted at a Christmas party around 9:00pm Saturday and Halt then assembles a team with equipment and heads out around 10:00pm at the earliest? Maybe closer to midnight. On the one hand this would explain the trapsing around in the woods well into Sunday morning. But it means Conrad is totally off on his claim that Halt assembled a team and equipment then headed out during the day.

My own possible version would be:
  • Event starts early Friday morning.
  • Christmas party is Saturday evening.
  • After all the reports on Friday, Conrad and Halt decided to cover their ass and investigate. Halt spends Saturday assembling a crew and equipment and heads out to the "landing site", possible Conrad attends. They investigate and then head home for the Christmas party.
  • The Christmas party is interrupted by the "they're back" claim and Halt heads back out to investigate more, now at night. He already has his equipment lined up from the day's activities.
  • Halt and his crew stay through to the wee hours of Sunday when he makes his recording.
This keeps it 2 sightings, but allows for the conferring about what to do, the assembly of a team and equipment, the supposed day time investigation, the interrupted party and the overnight investigation.

Combined with some misdated memos and 30-year-old memories. Just a thought.
 
Whatever; I hope most people reading this thread and its links conclude the Rendlesham Forest incident was not due to extraterrestrial or trans-temporal visitation.

So say you! Actually, at this point it's just a few of us nerding out on minute details. I think the more canonical version many UFOlogist cling to has all sorts of stuff not in any of the primary sources, even if the dates are off and the timeline is confusing. Penniston didn't only add his notebook and binary code, but a whole new 2nd landing site in the ensuing years.
 
My own possible version would be:
  • Event starts early Friday morning.
  • Christmas party is Saturday evening.
  • After all the reports on Friday, Conrad and Halt decided to cover their ass and investigate. Halt spends Saturday assembling a crew and equipment and heads out to the "landing site", possible Conrad attends. They investigate and then head home for the Christmas party.
  • The Christmas party is interrupted by the "they're back" claim and Halt heads back out to investigate more, now at night. He already has his equipment lined up from the day's activities.
  • Halt and his crew stay through to the wee hours of Sunday when he makes his recording.
This keeps it 2 sightings, but allows for the conferring about what to do, the assembly of a team and equipment, the supposed day time investigation, the interrupted party and the overnight investigation.
That's basically the Conrad/Clarke timeline, with the party shifted from Friday to Saturday.
Since the first sighting was on Friday, the question why, after the sightings before daybreak on Friday, it took until the next day to decide on an investigation. Because Friday was Boxing Day?
 
because of this 2nd October 1983 News Of The World front page (sadly the small print is unreadable):
not that it matters but using the bits i can decipher below i found an archive dump that might be accurate as to the rest:

what i can see in my photo:
the ripped paper square on right is a piece of Halt's memo.
under it it says :
EVIDENCE Detail from [Lt.] Col Charles Holt's confidential report about the sightings of the "unexplained lights" and a strange glowing object that lit up the forest.

i can only read the first 3 paragraphs, they say:

By Keith Beabey

A UFO has landed in Britain-
and that staggering fact has been officially confirmed.

Despite a massive cover-up, News of the World investigators hae proof that the mysterious craft came to earth in a red ball of light at 3 a.m. on December 27, 1980

It happened in a pine forest called [Tangleham] Wood just half a mile from the United States Air Force base at RA[7] Woodbridge, in Su[ ].

An American airman who was there told us there were three beings in silver space suits [around] the craft.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

copy any bit of that (minus brackets) on this page for alleged full print out (ill pase in spoiler)
https://archive.org/stream/Awareness_1983-84_Vol_12_No_2/Awareness_1983-84_Vol_12_No_2_djvu.txt
A UFO has landed in Britain- and that staggering fact has been officially
confirmed.

Despite a massive cover-up. News of the World investigators have
proof that the mysterious craft came to earth in a red ball of light at
3 a.rn. on December 27 , 1980.

It liappened in a pine forest called Tangham Wood Just half a mile
from the United States Air Force base at RAF Woodbridge, in Suffolk.

An American airman who was there told us there were three beings in
silver space suits aboard the craft.

Farm cattle and forest animals ran berserk as the spacecraft, a
sloping silver dish about 20ft across its base, silently glided to land
in a blinding explosion of lights.

About 200 military and civilian personnel, British and American,
witnessed tlie astonishing event. The airman said tlie visitors appeared
to be expected.

Two nights later a series of fast-moving objects beaming powerful
lights earthward were spotted over the base by a number of airmen.

It sounds like aliens coming to earth in the film Close Encounters,
but the PROOF that an Unidentified Flying Object landed in Britain is
irrefutable .

The key witness is Lt. Colonel Charles I. Halt, deputy commander of
the USAF 81st Tactical Fighter Wing stationed alongside the RAF at
Woodbridge.

With the help of UFO experts in Britain and the US we have obtained
a copy of his official report on the incident, part of which is repro¬
duced below.

On official USAF note-paper and headed^"Unexplained Lights" Colonel
Halt wrote;

"Early in the morning two USAF security police patrolmen saw unusual
lights outside tl\e back gate at RAF Woodbridge.

FULSINC

I'hinking an aircral't miglit have crashed or been forced down they
called for permission to go outside the gate to investigate.

Tlie on-duty flight chief allowed three patrolmen to proceed on foot.

The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the








10


forest.

The object was described as being metallic in appearance and tri¬
angular in shape, approximately two to three metres across the base and
approximately two metres high. It illuminated the entire forest with a
white light.

The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue
lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen
approached the object it manoeuvred through the trees and disappeared.

At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy.

The object was sighted approximately an hour later near the back

gate.


The next day three depressions one and a half inches deep and seven
inches in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the
ground”.

The following night, the area was checked,the colonel reported,for
radiation^and readings were found in the depressions and on a tree.

His report goes on:

"Later in the night a red sun-like light was seen through tlic trees.
It moved about and pulsed. At one point it appeared to throw off glowing
particles and then broke into five separate white objects and disappeared.

Immediately thereafter three star-like objects were noted in the sky
two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about
10 degrees off the horizon.

The objects moved rapidly in sharp angular movements and displayed
green and blue lights. The objects to the north appeared elliptical
through an 8-12 power lens.

They then turned to full circles. The objects to the north remained
in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for
two or three hours and beamed down a stream of lights from time to time."

Numerous people, including himself, witnessed these events. Colonel
Halt concluded.

Last week he declined to say anything further when we called on him
at the base.

"This is a very delicate situation." he said.

"I have been told very clearly that I could jeopardise my career if
I talk to you about it."

But before filing his report Colonel Halt sough advice from the RAF
base commander. Squadron Leader Donald Morland who told me:

"The Colonel sat in my office and was a very worried man."


TRUTH


"The first I knew of these events was when he came to me and related
what he had seen. I know Col. Halt well and respect him and I fully
believe he was telling me tlie truth.





"\Nliatever it was, it was able to perform feats in the air which no
known aircraft is capable of doing. 1 put the events the Colonel related
to me down to inexplicable phenomena."

The Colonel's repoi't confirms the strange events in tlie forest that
night, but lacks the eyewitness detail given to us by Art Wallace, a USAF
Security Policeman, now back in America as a civilian.

he was sent to tlie site in a convoy of military vehicles from nearby
Uentwaters tliat niglit and describes what lie saw;

"We looked up in the sky and saw a red ball of liglit coming towards
us 1 rorn over the trees.


There was no noise, no sound at all. We were all mesmerised. All
of a sudden, the red light exploded. The place was filled with an ex¬
plosion of colours, all kinds of colours.

We were momentarily blinded and when the colours died down there was
a macliine."

Art said ther-e were beings in the craft, but he could not see them
as he was on the wrong side.

SlLVLk


"But others did. They said there were three, wearing silver suits."


Art Wallace - we have changed his name for security reasons -

tells his story on Page 3 today.


One theory is that the craft was a military space vehicle returning
to earth from a top secret mission, but that would hardly explain wliy
Colonel Halt knew nothing of it.


Last word goes to game-keeper Roger Boast, who lives in his cottage
near the airbase:


"Something happened that night. The cattle in a nearby field ran
amok, and deer and rabbits ran from the woods. It is all very strange."

This is tlie front-page report of October 2nd. Further accounts on
other pages and on subsequent Sundays should be consulted by interested
readers. We are not producing the entire set of reports in the News of
the World, to maintain balance, and knowing the lack of accuracy in many
popular press reports.



tfniini r booking like a giant tortoise, this is airman
(I k 11 I ^ Art Wallace's drawing of what he saw when the pul-
V LalllOLL craft come to earth in the Suffolk countryside
 
@John J.
i also found this 2003 BBC "TV movie" that shows all the main players, quite interesting seeing them in the flesh. and who the above article refers to as "UFO experts"

BBC documentary/TV Movie 2003
"Britain's Closest Encounter".
Ian ridpath, Penniston, Halt, Dot Street, Brenda Butler , Jenny Randall, Vince Thurkettle, Keith Beabey (News of the World), David CLarke, Nick Pope
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2220100/

31:45
"jenny decided to pay a visit to the regional editor of the News of the World. she took with her a colleague from a local ufo association [Harry Harris]"

32:32 Keith Beabey testimony. author of the World News article. He claims to have talked with Holt but gives no details.

35:00 Interview with Vince Thurketttle. basically just says it was the lighthouse.




Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3X6C-mDIMY
 
The missing bit of the Dec 26th/27th/28th chronology, the "sighting" on the evening of the 27th that led Englund to tell Halt "they're back", was described by Amn Greg Battram in various interviews.

From James Easton's old 'Voyager' newsletter:

The Lieutenant who drew Halt's attention to the flashing light
was Bruce Englund. Earlier that evening, Halt was attending a
belated officer's Christmas party when his festivities were
interrupted by Englund, who informed Halt the 'UFO was back'.

Why Englund believed the 'UFO' had returned, has recently become
much clearer.

The foundation was an incident which involved Airman Greg Battram
and his patrol.

As we shall see, Battram is about to be revealed as playing not
only a major role in the 'Rendlesham' story, it seems he merits
recognition for an action which would be one of the most
monumental incidents in the history of 'UFOs'.

After all, it's not every day the United States Air Force attacks
what is feared to be an alien spaceship..
Battram publicly came forward as a witness for the February, 1985
CNN special feature, presented by Chuck DeCaro. I have acquired a
transcript and Battram, at that time given anonymity as 'Airman
Greg', testified:

DeCaro: Airman Greg is a former Air Force security policeman who
says he was a witness to the second of the two UFO landings
within days of each other outside the USAF air base in
Woodbridge, England -- events documented in this official USAF
report released under The Freedom of Information Act. According
to the report, in the first encounter, before daybreak, three
security policemen saw a luminous metallic object and followed it
through the forest as it manoeuvred through the trees and then
disappeared... The following night, a four-man perimeter patrol
near the back gate of Woodbridge saw the UFO again. Airman Greg
was a member of the patrol.

Airman Greg: We were about halfway into the shift, I guess, when
we noticed some lights in the sky that, uh, didn't seem to follow
any pattern of aircraft we'd seen. And, uh, we, uh, watched them
for a while and they disappeared. And the next thing we saw was,
uh, the lights in the forest...in a clearing off the end of the
runway.
uh, didn't seem to follow
any pattern of aircraft we'd seen. And, uh, we, uh, watched them
for a while and they disappeared. And the next thing we saw was,
uh, the lights in the forest...in a clearing off the end of the
runway. And, uh, we called Central Security Control to tell them
we'd like to investigate it, and they gave us permission to go on
out. As we got in there, you could see into the clearing and see
a series of lights in there surrounded by a ground fog. And when
we got closer, you began to feel the hair on your arms, and back
of your heard, under your hat even, stand on end. Like there was
a real big static charge in the air.

DeCaro: Were you carrying a weapon?

Airman Greg: Yes, an M-16.

DeCaro: Loaded?

Airman Greg: Yes, we didn't know what we were dealing with. And
about that time, we decided that we'd better get the heck out of
there 'cause we were getting a little scared to stand around...

DeCaro: Bentwaters-Woodbridge air base complex in east England,
Christmas Week, 1980. Three U.S. airmen claim an encounter with a
UFO at close range. About a day later, this man, who asked not to
be identified, was on perimeter patrol at Woodbridge airbase.

Airman Greg: The four of us saw...the object. We didn't know what
it was...we got panicky. When we got close enough to feel our
hair stand on end...ran back for our vehicle...
[END]

Battram was also interviewed for Larry Warren's book "Left at East Gate":

The interview with Battram was actually
undertaken on 7 February 1984 by 'UFO' researcher and author
Larry Fawcett and describing the 'strange lights', Battram
recalled they seemed to be "alternating, mostly between oranges,
red, blues and whites".

His story is almost a replay of events from that first night and
the scenario being posed is how 'something' returned to the same
clearing. It's extremely unlikely and infinitely more probable
'something' was simply still visible. As revealed in newsletter
No. 4, long after BC&P had gone to investigate the 'red and blue'
lights, Jerry Valdez and others could still see 'strange lights'
from east gate - 'red, blue and green'. Also, in the interview
with Chris Armold, published last newsletter, he confirms some
red and blue lights were still visible from this clearing, after
BC&P had returned.

Battram states his patrol then met up with Lt. Bruce Englund and
told him about the forest apparition.

Presumably, this was the report which led Englund to inform Halt
that the 'UFO' had returned.

When Halt then assembled a "team of specialists" to investigate,
he included Englund [Duty Flight Lieutenant], along with Sergeant
Monroe Nevilles [Disaster Preparedness NCO], Master Sergeant
Bobby Ball [Shift Commander] and Master Sergeant Chandler [Flight
Chief], plus one other. Arriving at the clearing, they didn't
find anything unusual until Englund noticed a distant, flashing
light... which they did eventually discover - although absent
from any later retellings - was 'clear off to the coast'.

This brings us full circle and appears to set most of the 'UFO'
events from that night in their true context.

So in brief:

26th December - Burroughs / Penniston / Cabansag see lights in the forest

27th December - A patrol including Battram see lights in the same area, relaying this to Englund

28th December - in the early hours Halt and his team go into the forest, leading to the "Halt tape".

Easton's tongue in cheek comment about Battram "attacking a landed UFO" refers to the unpublished notes for his "Left at East Gate" interview, where he claimed to have fired a round in the general direction of the lights before running off (this seems unlikely).
 
Last edited:
If the argument is that what Halt saw was "directly South" and this is the sky at the time and place, then NO celestial object could account for what he saw. In the UFOlogical world that means aliens. Either he saw something that was not a celestial body, like an aircraft, or he was not looking "directly South". His descriptions don't really match an aircraft, so one can then pick a celestial body to the right or left of where he was looking and make their argument for their candidate.

Ah, right...I call this the Cinderella approach. Force the shoes to fit.
 
Honestly, by this point on the tape, I don't think they're exactly sure where they are looking. They look at the light house and take a compass reading of 110* while in the farmers field 150-200 yards from the "crash site".

Except the lighthouse isn't at 110 degrees. It's at 94 degrees, even from the second field Halt went into. In fact, even if Halt had headed north and taken a really circuitous route back along Woodbridge Road, the most angle you'd have got would have been 100 degrees. So we have 15 degrees unaccounted for...and the 'UFO' would have been to the right of the lighthouse.

Halt confirms in this video at 2:09 that the smaller field beyond the farmers house is the one where the beam of light came down...

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUTw4gMuihU
 
Easton's tongue in cheek comment about Battram "attacking a landed UFO" refers to the unpublished notes for his "Left at East Gate" interview, where he claimed to have fired a round in the general direction of the lights before running off (this seems unlikely)

So, Easton's notes say that Battram claimed to have fired a round at an unknow lights in the English countryside. That does seem highly unlikely, as does the notion that he was carrying an M16 OFF BASE and into the English countryside. It's been discussed multiple times upthread about US service personal leaving their base with weapons, loaded or not. It would have been VERY unusual for them to leave the base armed. Off base was the jurisdiction of UK law enforcement, who themselves are often unarmed.

Note on the first night, Penniston and the others checked their weapons, side arms not M16s, before leaving the base.

IF, big IF, Easton's notes really indicate that Battram told him he fired a round, I would begin to find Battram's story a bit of hyperbole.

Are there any statements made by Battram at the time of the event like there is for the other guys? If not, why? If he was running around Rendlesham Forest with a loaded M16 and possibly firing it at unknown lights, I suppose that's not something he would write down. But, he claims he was with 3 other SPs, and they all decided to cover for him and not report that he's taking pot shots at unknown lights on UK territory?

It sounds a bit like a Johnny-come-lately story with some added drama. In Battram's version, it's not the "lights" that "are back", rather it's a second landing, he and maybe the others are armed and maybe he took a shot at the landed craft. He wants in on the story, so he changes some lights to a landed craft and adds some dramatic embellishments. Assuming he was there at all.
 
Except the lighthouse isn't at 110 degrees. It's at 94 degrees, even from the second field Halt went into. In fact, even if Halt had headed north and taken a really circuitous route back along Woodbridge Road, the most angle you'd have got would have been 100 degrees. So we have 15 degrees unaccounted for...and the 'UFO' would have been to the right of the lighthouse.
I'm not sure a precise compass reading was ever taken on the Halt tape. It sounds like estimations as far as I can tell--"approximately", "about", and there's already at least 10 degrees of uncertainty in the approximation.

Article:
HALT: It’s a strange, small red light, looks to be maybe a quarter to a half mile, maybe further out. I’m gonna switch off.

HALT: The light is gone now. It was approximately 120 degrees from the site...

[...]

HALT: Well douse flashlights then. Let’s go back to the edge of the clearing so we can get a better look at it. See if you can get the Starscope on it. The light’s still there and all the barnyard animals have gone quiet now. We’re heading about 110, 120 degrees from the site out through to the clearing now, still getting a reading on the meter, about two clicks.


One could interpret Englund below as taking a compass reading, but one could also interpret the "hold on, there we go" as just waiting for the light to appear again to give another approximation rather than taking a precise reading.

I believe it was also noted previously that if Englund were taking a compass reading, it's possible that the reading could skewed by the big metal box being carried (the radiation detector).

Article:
ENGLUND: Now it’s stopped... Now it’s coming up... Hold on. There we go... about approximately four foot off the ground, at a compass heading of 110 degrees

HALT: He’s turned the meter off. Gotta say that again. About four feet off the ground, about 110 degrees, getting a reading of about four clicks?

ENGLUND: Yes, sir. (Sneezes). Now it’s dying.


Are there any further documented statements that a precise compass bearing was ever taken that night, or when and where it occurred?

In his 2010 affidavit Col Halt stated

Article:
The [lighthouse] was 35 to 40-degrees off where all of this is happening.

So if we are going to take the bearings on the tape as precise compass readings, how can we square that with this statement of where the lighthouse was located?
 
The missing bit of the Dec 26th/27th/28th chronology, the "sighting" on the evening of the 27th that led Englund to tell Halt "they're back", was described by Amn Greg Battram in various interviews.

That would be consistent with the Clarke timeline. I'm not at all persuaded by any of Larry Warren's narrative, though.

Agree completely with @NorCal Dave, I don't think USAF Security Police on USAF bases were empowered by Her Majesty's Government to initiate hostilities with extraterrestrials landing on British soil who had not performed any hostile acts, even if they landed near USAF bases.

The US M855/ NATO 5.56 x 45, the "Armalite" round fired from an M-16 has a supersonic "crack" which, even allowing for the acoustic deadening effects of woodland, would be audible for a few hundred metres around.

Civilian-owned firearms are relatively rare in the UK, but it's not that unusual for farmers, gamekeepers, pest controllers etc. to have small-bore (.22, short cartridge) rifles, or shotguns. Probably more common in 1980. The 5.56 has a much sharper "crack".
The largest predatory animal farmers have to deal with in UK, Ireland is the domestic dog; largest wild predators are badgers and foxes- .22 territory (and badgers are often protected). Livestock farms are much smaller than in North America; distressed animals are isolated and despatched by vets using captive-bolt guns, not shot at a distance.

As a teen I lived near a forest (much larger than Rendlesham) with red deer, Britain's largest wild animal. No natural predators; their numbers were controlled very discretely by a few individuals using a .303 cartridge with a mushrooming head, from elevated "chairs" (so rare misses ploughed into the soil). This would have a similar report to a 5.56mm (prob. louder).
Management was as needed; walked in that forest countless times, never heard a gunshot. No need to wear orange.

An M-16 being fired would be heard by the user's colleagues. If heard by any locals, it would probably sound distinctly different to firearms reports that they might be used to- any familiar with firearms (e.g. farmers, old soldiers) might reasonably associate it with the airbase personnel.

The USAF bases at RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge were not on a war-footing. I am going to guess (there are folk here better qualified to give an opinion) that a set number of live rounds would be checked out to each USAF Security Policeman (and Policewoman?) at the start of each shift from their armoury, that these rounds were accountable items, and that it would be expected that the same number of live rounds would be returned at the end of shift.
I can't see how Battram would have an opportunity to top up his magazine if he fired a round.

It would be possible for a serviceman to pocket live rounds on a range day or a live-fire exercise; he's missed the target and can't find all the spent cases. But that does require him lying, and committing a serious offence (as would firing a round on duty but not declaring it later). It would be near-impossible for Battram to privately acquire 5.56mm rounds in the UK in 1980.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Edited to add:
your pdf is blank fo rme. here is a link to all the OMNI archived magazines
Just checked; it does load but a bit slow, don't know why.
But thank you for providing the OMNI link for others (especially us non-Americans), best magazine ever.
Why wasn't I born to drive my brand-new 1985 Corvette down palm-lined boulevards, illuminated by the neon signs of progress shining through the violet-hued dusk on my way to the fusion research lab, listening to the latest William Gibson audiobook on my top-of-the-range Walkman? (Sigh).
 
Last edited:
So in brief:

26th December - Burroughs / Penniston / Cabansag see lights in the forest

27th December - A patrol including Battram see lights in the same area, relaying this to Englund

28th December - in the early hours Halt and his team go into the forest, leading to the "Halt tape".
Hi, and welcome to Metabunk!
Your post was very informative, and I hope it won't remain your only one!

In the light of this, a tip for future posts: when I quote external content, I use EX tags, available with this button:
Screenshot_20230311-061134_Samsung Internet.jpg
When replying, the forum removes "quote" quotes, but preserves these, which makes discussing them easier. It's not obvious, which is why I like to post this tip from time to time when the opportunity arises.
 
Hi, and welcome to Metabunk!
Your post was very informative, and I hope it won't remain your only one!

In the light of this, a tip for future posts: when I quote external content, I use EX tags, available with this button:
Screenshot_20230311-061134_Samsung Internet.jpg
When replying, the forum removes "quote" quotes, but preserves these, which makes discussing them easier. It's not obvious, which is why I like to post this tip from time to time when the opportunity arises.

Thanks! I've noted the external content tag.

As far as Battram's claimed sighting goes, I don't believe for a second he actually fired a round on the night of the 27th. It's telling that this detail is in the notes of his interview for 'Left at East Gate', but not in the book itself.

However, his patrol seeing a series of odd lights in an area off the end of the runway, and then reporting this to Englund who relayed the information to Halt, seems entirely consistent with other retellings of the events on 26th - 28th December. Easton made a good point that there are two witnesses (Valdez and Armold) who reported seeing various coloured lights ("red, blue and green") in the same area beyond the runway after Burroughs, Penniston and Cabansag returned from their excursion into the forest. Armold at least has gone on record as saying he was very unimpressed by what was seen (he was the guy who went back out into the forest with, I think, Burroughs in the early hours following Burroughs, Cabansag and Penniston's return).

The fact that these lights persisted in the same place, and were then possibly also seen by Battram's patrol on the night of 27th, strongly suggests that they were environmental rather than being caused by an 'object' manoeuvring around.
 
Last edited:
Except the lighthouse isn't at 110 degrees. It's at 94 degrees, even from the second field Halt went into. In fact, even if Halt had headed north and taken a really circuitous route back along Woodbridge Road, the most angle you'd have got would have been 100 degrees. So we have 15 degrees unaccounted for...and the 'UFO' would have been to the right of the lighthouse.

Halt confirms in this video at 2:09 that the smaller field beyond the farmers house is the one where the beam of light came down...

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUTw4gMuihU


I'm wondering how these angles fit in with the Shipwash lightship, which in 1980 would have been visible as a powerful flashing light off the coast at the point.

It's been suggested that Halt's conviction that he saw both the lighthouse and the 'UFO' resulted from him mistaking the lightship for the lighthouse, leading him to believe the lighthouse itself was a UFO.
 
Battram was also interviewed for Larry Warren's book "Left at East Gate":

His story is almost a replay of events from that first night and the scenario being posed is how 'something' returned to the same clearing. It's extremely unlikely and infinitely more probable 'something' was simply still visible. As revealed in newsletter
No. 4, long after BC&P had gone to investigate the 'red and blue' lights, Jerry Valdez and others could still see 'strange lights'
from east gate - 'red, blue and green'. Also, in the interview with Chris Armold, published last newsletter, he confirms some
red and blue lights were still visible from this clearing, after BC&P had returned. Battram states his patrol then met up with Lt. Bruce Englund and told him about the forest apparition. Presumably, this was the report which led Englund to inform Halt
that the 'UFO' had returned.
Content from External Source


BC&P being Burroughs, Cabansag and Penniston.
It's reasonably clear from Burroughs and Cabansag's statements that they followed lights and ended up looking toward the lighthouse.
Lt. Buran's statement can be read as Penniston doing the same, but being adamant that the lighthouse was not responsible for the lights he saw.

Do we know if Burroughs, Cabansag and Penniston returned the way they entered the forest (i.e. via East Gate)?
If so, and the lights were visible "...long after BC&P had gone to investigate the 'red and blue' lights...", and
"...red and blue lights were still visible from this clearing, after BC&P had returned" you'd expect someone to point it out to them when they got back to East Gate (if they hadn't noticed in their vehicle mirrors).

Curious they didn't realise it was all a bit of a nothing burger after an entertaining night out there and then.
 
BC&P being Burroughs, Cabansag and Penniston.
It's reasonably clear from Burroughs and Cabansag's statements that they followed lights and ended up looking toward the lighthouse.
Lt. Buran's statement can be read as Penniston doing the same, but being adamant that the lighthouse was not responsible for the lights he saw.

Do we know if Burroughs, Cabansag and Penniston returned the way they entered the forest (i.e. via East Gate)?
If so, and the lights were visible "...long after BC&P had gone to investigate the 'red and blue' lights...", and
"...red and blue lights were still visible from this clearing, after BC&P had returned" you'd expect someone to point it out to them when they got back to East Gate (if they hadn't noticed in their vehicle mirrors).

Curious they didn't realise it was all a bit of a nothing burger after an entertaining night out there and then.

As has been pointed out by some of the witnesses - I forget who, possibly Chris Armold or Kevin Conde - the majority of the men involved were young and unfamiliar with most of the area around the base. They didn't really know or care what was in the woods, and suddenly having their attention drawn to some lights that were very probably visible all year, likely seen through a ground fog, spooked them very easily.

Even then certain people involved, such as Cabansag and Armold, thought it was all a nothingburger at the time. But certain people are by nature less excitable or imaginative I guess.
 
Back
Top