Rendlesham Forest Incident

Carl Grove

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How so? Genuine question :)
Obviously we don't know what UFOs really are, but from the accumulated evidence some patterns have emerged, and the Rendlesham case seems to fit in to the pattern. Multiple witnesses (I had always visualised Halt and his men as a handful of people so was amazed to hear how many might have been out there with him). Halt and many of the others whose evidence has been cited here seem to me to be excellent witnesses. I'm sure they could tell the difference between autokinetic movements of stars (which are typically very small) and the lights that were moving about and even firing narrow beams down at their feet. I'm sure they could also have seen the difference between a large light moving in and out of the trees and the midnight Tilley lamp cyclist that has been hypothesised. After having regarded the case with some doubt for many years I am amazed at all the evidence that is now emerging and forced to admit that I was wrong. But as we now know some of the witnesses may have been processed by the AFOSI using drugs, so we still can't rule out a mind control angle.
 

Coastaljames

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Obviously we don't know what UFOs really are, but from the accumulated evidence some patterns have emerged, and the Rendlesham case seems to fit in to the pattern. Multiple witnesses (I had always visualised Halt and his men as a handful of people so was amazed to hear how many might have been out there with him). Halt and many of the others whose evidence has been cited here seem to me to be excellent witnesses. I'm sure they could tell the difference between autokinetic movements of stars (which are typically very small) and the lights that were moving about and even firing narrow beams down at their feet. I'm sure they could also have seen the difference between a large light moving in and out of the trees and the midnight Tilley lamp cyclist that has been hypothesised. After having regarded the case with some doubt for many years I am amazed at all the evidence that is now emerging and forced to admit that I was wrong. But as we now know some of the witnesses may have been processed by the AFOSI using drugs, so we still can't rule out a mind control angle.
Thank for your genuine and thoughtful answer.

I can never know what happened.
 

Comfortably Numb

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Something that's always bugged me about the observations ... The bright lights reported on the second night (2 north; 1 south) were claimed to have been at an estimated elevation of 10 degrees above the horizon. Ten degrees is a damned low angle of elevation / altitude.
I'm not sure if this helps, or confuses matters further.

However, I have come across the following, which was included in a newsletter I published back in 1999:

I asked Senior Airman Kenneth Green for an opinion on the overall issues and he commented:

"I will say that when I first read the account of the incident as reported by the personnel in the B/W WSA I immediately thought that whatever they were looking at had to be quite high in the sky to be seen from that location. This was primarily due to the height of the trees in the forest and the distance between the two areas.

However, I am now a bit confused. LTC Halt states that '04:00 hours - one object still hovering over the Woodbridge base at about five to ten degrees off the horizon, still moving erratic and similar lights and beaming down as earlier.'

I am also a former Air National Guard reserve SP and was trained by the reserves to estimate the height of aircraft. Take your hand and hold it at arms length in front of your face with the thumb resting on the horizon. You can now rudimentarily measure height in degrees. One finger covers approximately 2 degrees, one hand (palm and thumb) covers approximately 10 degrees.

With this reference in mind, the object observed and reported by LTC Halt would not have been high enough in the sky to be observed by the personnel at B/W.

Secondly, imagine the face of a clock. The B/W WSA would have been at the one o'clock position, the W/B WSA at the seven o'clock position, and LTC Halt and crew at about three o'clock most likely facing the nine o'clock position. I can not see him confusing the location between the areas as they were almost opposite of each other and separated by the forest and W/B runway.

I believe that he was referring to the B/W WSA when he states '...continued to send down beams of light, at one point near the weapons storage facility'."
 

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If it's the truth you're seeking on this one. You won't find it.
Just a case of proverbially going over the evidence in the hope something new and possibly significant might come up!

What's different at the moment, is that I am highlighting and we are revisiting a trove of early evidence gathered, some of which has rarely, if ever been seen and even then, not for over 20 years.

I believe there has actually been a development of note today.

We asked the question; was Penniston's testimony in the December 1994, 'Strange But True'? documentary, prior to his first, 'hypnotic regression', which he told Salley Rayl took place in September, 1994.

Yes, apparently it was.

That potentially makes a massive difference as his account in the documentary could not therefore have been compromised by same.

More on this later.
 

eburacum

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If all those second night's events have a mundane explanation, essentially Halt's observation of stars via a Starlight scope and others experiencing autokinetic effects viewing same, then would this be the scenario?...
Three participents - Halt, Ball and Englund(?) having a comparative optical aberration at the same time.
Two of those - Halt and Ball - are so significantly affected similarly, that both believe the unidentified aerial objects are moving around the sky as if embarking on a grid-like search.
I don't know what Englund saw, or claimed to see. Nevels saw at least one object 'moving out fast', and so did Halt. Since these objects were still there several minutes later, this 'movement away' was probably an illusion . You can't 'move out fast' and still be there minutes later.

Ball saw the objects moving in grid-like patterns, and Halt also remembers seeing this as well, and (although this may not be a true memory on his part) there is no reason that Halt and Ball could not have had the same illusion. Autokinesis is a remarkably powerful phenomenon, and I've seen it myself on several occasions. Because these stars were quite low, they would have occasionally hidden by trees, and almost certainly twinkling; these phenomena were not observed with respect to Jupiter and Saturn, which were higher in the sky and partially hidden by moonlight.

Memory is a remarkably fallible tool; because Ball described a grid-like pattern, Halt and others may have remembered this, without actually seeing it for themselves. Because only one person was using the starscope at any one time, the others had to rely on their audible description of the phenomena as they were using it - they could not all see through the scope at the same time, but I suspect they all remember it as if they could. So they imagined they saw the beams and distorted shapes when the one with the scope described them. Judging by the tape, Halt had possession of the scope most of the time. There may have been a second magnifying instrument available as well, but no-one mentions it on the tape, so this may also have been a false memory.
 
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eburacum

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These events appear to have become 'flashbulb memories' in the minds of at least some of the observers, and in general flashbulb memories are considered very reliable by the people concerned - much more reliable than normal memories. Recent research shows that the accuracy of flashbulb memories goes down to about 57% after three years, and are comparable in reliability to other memories.

For instance - most people have very clear memories of of the events of 9-11, and quite a large proportion of people who managed to see the TV coverage on that day remember seeing the second plane hit the tower on live TV as it happened. In fact this footage was not broadcast until many hours after the event, probably on the following day.
Perhaps the most important event in recent times is associated with mistaken recollections; this happens all the time.
 

Carl Grove

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I don't know what Englund saw, or claimed to see. Nevels saw at least one object 'moving out fast', and so did Halt. Since these objects were still there several minutes later, this 'movement away' was probably an illusion . You can't 'move out fast' and still be there minutes later.

Ball saw the objects moving in grid-like patterns, and Halt also remembers seeing this as well, and (although this may not be a true memory on his part) there is no reason that Halt and Ball could not have had the same illusion. Autokinesis is a remarkably powerful phenomenon, and I've seen it myself on several occasions. Because these stars were quite low, they would have occasionally hidden by trees, and almost certainly twinking; these phenomena were not observed with respect to Jupiter and Saturn, which were higher in the sky and partially hidden by moonlight.

Memory is a remarkably fallible tool; because Ball described a grid-like pattern, Halt and others may have remembered this, without actually seeing it for themselves. Because only one person was using the starscope at any one time, the others had to rely on their audible description of the phenomena as they were using it - they could not all see through the scope at the same time, but I suspect they all remember it as if they could. So they imagined they saw the beams and distorted shapes when the one with the scope described them. Judging by the tape, Halt had possession of the scope most of the time. There may have been a second magnifying instrument available as well, but no-one mentions it on the tape, so this may also have been a false memory.
There is, however, a limit to how much distortion autokinesis can create. I don't think there is any way it can account for a light flying overhead, stopping, and sending down beams to the witnesses' feet.
 

Carl Grove

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Thank for your genuine and thoughtful answer.

I can never know what happened.
We can never know for certain about any UFO cases, aside from the ones that are patently explainable or obvious hoaxes. But in terms of any criteria that you can name, this case is one of the best. Multiple, highly trained witnesses; radar return from that location at the time of the UFO's descent; landing imprints in frozen soil indicating an object weighing tons; marks on surrounding trees; unusually high radiation readings; witness descriptions of unusual atmospheric conditions (high static charge, malfunctions of equipment); witness interactions with small craft. All these things in extremely close proximity to an important air base with nuclear weaponry.
No, but false memory can do that.
No, if you take that line you can potentially explain away all witness testimony in every UFO case in the records!
 

eburacum

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Witness testimony is always going to be unreliable. The most likely situation is that all UFO sightings have mundane or celestial explanations, but we can't always get enough evidence to identify the real explanation. In this case we have one very good piece of evidence (the tape) and three good pieces of evidence (the early witness statements). Most of the rest is unreliable, and will get increasingly unreliable as time goes by.

The marks on the ground and on the trees were unassociated with the event, and there were no radar returns.

The 'multiple, highly trained witnesses' didn't know how to read the Geiger counter correctly. Nevels admitted that the readings were not significant. I'm quite sure they were unfamiliar with the Starscope, too.
 

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Im not a big folliwer of UFO, but i have been reading this, somewhat circular, discussion as best i can, if im reading correctly, the phenomenen here was view through a starscope, which if that was the case, would exaggerate any small movement.
 

Carl Grove

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Witness testimony is always going to be unreliable. The most likely situation is that all UFO sightings have mundane or celestial explanations, but we can't always get enough evidence to identify the real explanation. In this case we have one very good piece of evidence (the tape) and three good pieces of evidence (the early witness statements). Most of the rest is unreliable, and will get increasingly unreliable as time goes by.

The marks on the ground and on the trees were unassociated with the event, and there were no radar returns.

The 'multiple, highly trained witnesses' didn't know how to read the Geiger counter correctly. Nevels admitted that the readings were not significant. I'm quite sure they were unfamiliar with the Starscope, too.
If that is really your view, then there is little point in discussing any UFO cases, as you will always have assumptions that justify (in your mind) rejecting all of them!
 

eburacum

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The challenge is finding the solution; it's like a murder mystery. Sometimes it can't be done- not enough information.

And of course one day we might find a real case. The universe is probably full of aliens, and we don't know how far away the nearest aliens are; they may get here any day.
 

Carl Grove

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The challenge is finding the solution; it's like a murder mystery. Sometimes it can't be done- not enough information.

And of course one day we might find a real case. The universe is probably full of aliens, and we don't know how far away the nearest aliens are; they may get here any day.
Are you assuming that if UFOs did turn out to be "real" by your exacting standards, that they would necessarily be of extraterrestrial origin? And please describe exactly what would be a "real" case, in your view.
 

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Witness testimony is always going to be unreliable. The most likely situation is that all UFO sightings have mundane or celestial explanations, but we can't always get enough evidence to identify the real explanation. In this case we have one very good piece of evidence (the tape) and three good pieces of evidence (the early witness statements). Most of the rest is unreliable, and will get increasingly unreliable as time goes by.

The marks on the ground and on the trees were unassociated with the event, and there were no radar returns.

The 'multiple, highly trained witnesses' didn't know how to read the Geiger counter correctly. Nevels admitted that the readings were not significant. I'm quite sure they were unfamiliar with the Starscope, too.
There’s also the SAS revenge prank theory and the security guy who drove around with torches and flashing lights on his patrol vehicle. See the earlier posts in this thread.

I’ve come to the conclusion that to some, a belief in UFOs - of the ET kind - is a belief bordering on religious fervour without much in the way of proof and there is little point in providing a normal, rational explanation of events as it will be disregarded and we’ll be left arguing a shaggy dog story chasing our own tails over and over again.
 

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Strange But True?' was broadcast in December 1994.

Penniston's 'hynotic regression' seemingly didn't occur until September 1994.

So, was his interview in the documentary before or afterwards?
It would appear we can at least now resolve this.

Crucial in doing so, is the fact that Halt's aforementioned (earlier today) lecture at Leeds, took place on 31 July, whilst in England during the filming of, 'Strange But True'?.

Elsewhere, Halt has spoken of meeting up again with Burroughs and Penniston during filming and indeed they were all staying at the same hotel.

This would imply that the program's interview with Penniston also occured during this time, seemingly before his 'hypnotism' sessions.

Consequently and to my own surprise, Penniston's following claim during that interview does not seem to be a byproduct of, 'hypnotic regression':

"On the upper left side of the craft, was an inscription. It measured six inches high, of symbols. They looked familiar, but I couldn't ascertain why".

This is highlighted simply for the record and any resultant judgement, naturally, open to an individual interpretation.
 

EnolaGaia

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With or without hypnotic regression (or any other procedure) having been conducted with him, Penniston's comment emerged circa 13.5 years after the fact.
 

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Well, first we had Nick Pope on a TV program about British UFOs saying that Halt and his bunch were under mind control with Sodium Pentothal.

Now reading Wikipedia, they claim it was a hoax because there was an unspoken war between the British SAS ( special air service ) and the American troops at Woodbridge and Bentwaters.

They would do all kinds of crap to each other.

The theory was the UFO was SAS payback to the “ Yankees” .

This UFO event has a lot of moving parts.
 
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Comfortably Numb

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Accordingly, perhaps not surprising there are gaps, such as perhaps Halt not documenting on tape the source of our perceived light beam, having seemingly advanced towards his position, then returning back.

We would, however, expect Halt to remember this and subsequently offer a more detailed explanation.

He has done so on a number of occasions, for example, in discussions with Salley Rayl:

HALT: Well, we stood there in awe and watched and suddenly it was like it was switched off. It just clicked. It was gone.

The object was still in the sky. We also noticed it receded.
This is a more emphatic example of the point I was making.

Again, from an interview with Salley, Halt explaining why the object which approached from the south, was subsequently observed back in its original position.

"A pencil-like beam, six to eight inches in diameter, shot from this thing right down by our feet. Seconds later, the object rose and disappeared".

Nonetheless :).... as you astutely note, we have Halt's recording that what appears to be the same aeriel manifestation is "losing altitude" and 'still beaming down lights'.

If it always was a star, then that's one mother almighty of an autokinetic delusion?

When I read the star explanations from others and your good self, I tend to nod in approval.

When I then verify my same conclusion by reading the evidence just once more, to be sure about this...

I just end up shaking my head...

Might we all agree, the entirety of it, either way - a culmination of misinterpretations, or as yet unresolved activities of manipulated objects - is a classic case study in Fortean phenomena!

I'm just delighted to be able to discuss it here, on the most appropriate forum imaginable and appreciation to those who make this all possible is off the scale.

Thought occurred earlier, what would Charles Fort have to say if he could post here.

Possibly something like, 'Need a UFO case be sane'?
 

Comfortably Numb

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Additionally, I'd like to know how high the forest foliage stood at the time and how many individual spottings of lights occurred through the trees rather than above the trees.
I was wondering if it might be possible to identify where exactly Halt's various
recorded sightings took place.

Possibly one clarification here (my emphasis), from an interview with Salley Rayl?:

"Suddenly, it exploded - not a loud bang, just booompf - and broke into five white objects that scattered in the sky. Everything except our radios seemed to return to normal.

We went to the end of the farmer's property to get a different perspective.

(...)

Suddenly, from the south, a different glowing object moved toward us...
 

eburacum

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Here's Penniston's first sketch, before he started imagining hieroglyphs and binary notation. Note he saw it through the trees, and indistinctly. I've put a picture of a 1980-vintage tractor next to it to suggest what may have been the culprit.
1980.png
 

eburacum

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Let's take a look at the Starscope, to see if that gives any clues. The instrument was actually an AN/PVS2 Starlight scope, and Halt didn't know what it was when he first picked it up (this is on the tape). Despite this, he seems to have used it more often than anyone else that night; rank hath its privileges.
The AN/PVS2 scope is a large object, designed for night combat; despite its name, it's not that good at looking at stars, although it gives an advantage to snipers in the dark. Here's one, attached to a rifle

it is quite a large thing, and would have been tricky to hold steady, even when not attached to a rifle.

-----
These starlight scopes detect infra-red light and project it onto a cathode ray screen inside the scope, so the image you see is completely false. There are strange effects as well, due to the optics and internal reflections; here's a screenshot showing a long, thin, pencil-like lens flare that seems to come directly towards the observer.
starlight scope.png


I suspect that a similar effect is responsible for Halt's pencil-thin rays coming down from the object (s) he observed. Remember he had limited experience with this technology, and either didn't know or forgotten its name. The fact that the Starlight scope also magnifies would have exaggerated the movements of the stars, which movements were almost certainly caused by the hand-held nature of the scope.
 
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Comfortably Numb

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Makes you wonder though!
One wonders no more...

Re the question, was there ever a USAF investigation, the following evidence seems to provide our answer.

It's copy of a letter which exists in, even more, archive material uncovered this morning and was sent to myself for information, many years ago.

This relates to CNN's early (1984) interest in the story:

IMG_20210402_112215~3_resize_22.jpg
 

Comfortably Numb

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With or without hypnotic regression (or any other procedure) having been conducted with him, Penniston's comment emerged circa 13.5 years after the fact.
Absolutely, hence my, 'make your own mind up' disclaimer!

Naturally, the earlier our evidence in any enigmatic Fortean mystery, the more reliable it tends to be.

When did Penniston first speak about the object having symbols... so far as I can trace back, can't recall or locate anything prior to 1994's, 'Strange but True'? broadcast.

He didn't, of course, participate in the prior 'Unsolved Mysteries' feature.

I guess the pont was, whether his heartfelt recollection, or otherwise, it doesn't seem to have originated under, 'hypnotic regression', which at least narrows the possibilities!

I have found a reference to possibly something older within the ParaNet archives and presently trying to locate this.
 

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Let's take a look at the Starscope, to see if that gives any clues. The instrument was actually an AN/PVS2 Starlight scope, and Halt didn't know what it was when he first picked it up (this is on the tape). Despite this, he seems to have used it more often than anyone else that night; rank hath its privileges.
The AN/PVS2 scope is a large object, designed for night combat; despite its name, it's not that good at looking at stars, although it gives an advantage to snipers in the dark. Here's one, attached to a rifle

it is quite a large thing, and would have been tricky to hold steady, even when not attached to a rifle.

-----
These starlight scopes detect infra-red light and project it onto a cathode ray screen inside the scope, so the image you see is completely false. There are strange effects as well, due to the optics and internal reflections; here's a screenshot showing a long, thin, pencil-like lens flare that seems to come directly towards the observer.
View attachment 37556

I suspect that a similar effect is responsible for Halt's pencil-thin rays coming down from the object (s) he observed. Remember he had limited experience with this technology, and either didn't know or forgotten its name. The fact that the Starlight scope also magnifies would have exaggerated the movements of the stars, which movements were almost certainly caused by the hand-held nature of the scope.
The question is whether Halt would have been constantly using the image intensifier throughout the night. I would have thought that if bright objects were flying around, and especially when they started sending light beams down to the ground (a) it would hardly be necessary to use such a device, and (b) it might be a bit awkward -- you couldn't keep it stuck to your eye while walking about in woodland/uneven ground. I suspect he would tend to use it only when a distant light seemed worth a closer inspection.
 

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Note he saw it through the trees, and indistinctly. I've put a picture of a 1980-vintage tractor next to it to suggest what may have been the culprit.
Oh Good Lord Almichty...

It's scary...

No, not our seminal UFO case, the amount of related research material I gathered circa late 90s, wrote about and have little recollection of same.

On the subject of a tractor explanation, why not throw in controversies re Nick Pope, my stated displeasure with cover-up and conspiracy theories (no need for them!) and, the hell... just go for it with another potential 'new' (to ourselves, as such) witness to those enigmatic lights in the sky and what she had to say about them.

I had entirely forgotten about
Lori Rehfeldt's correspondence.

There's only one way to do this and that's to upload the entire newsletter:

www.forteanmedia.com/V20.txt

Again, although originally perfectly formatted, the back-up software used had other ideas.

Please enjoy over a :btime:, although perhaps in some cases, a large :beer: may be required after reading Lori's story.

No-one particularly in mind here... :)
 

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The truth is now a miasma.
:)

Your local insight is much appreciated and I wondered if, as a brief aside, you might help to resolve one Fortean occurence within the forest.

When participating in the, 'Network East' documentary, where they brought Kevin Conde across from the States to relate the story of his UFO hoax using the police car's side headlamps to beam up lights, I had time for a leisurely walk alone in the forest.

It was summer, a scorching hot day and such a beautiful place.

I turned around to go back and hovering behind myself at head height was the most enormous - must have been 2 -3 inches long - 'dragonfly' imaginable!

Any idea what that might have been?
 

eburacum

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I would have thought that if bright objects were flying around, and especially when they started sending light beams down to the ground (a) it would hardly be necessary to use such a device
I think we've got this backwards. The 'light beams' were only visible when using the starlight scope, and this image (taken using a 'gen 1' night sight) seems to show just how convincing that would look. In the movie clip you can see the pencil-thin 'light beam' sweep across the field of view, exactly like Halt described - and to be honest, nothing like a laser.

I was wrong about the infra-red though; mea culpa - the AN/PVS2 was an image intensifier, not a thermal camera.
 
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