Encounter in Rendlesham Forest

Encounter in Rendlesham Forest, The Inside Story of the World’s Best-Documented UFO Incident, by Nick Pope, with John Burroughs, USAF (Ret.), and Jim Penniston, USAF (Ret.). Published by Thomas Dunne Books, An Imprint of St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

The first encounter, in the early hours of December 26, 1980, was an actual landing of the UFO craft. The second encounter, on the night of December 26, involved the sighting by personnel of D-Flight of a fiery red/orange object that descended slowly into the forest. It was surrounded by an eerie blue/white corona. The third encounter took place from the evening of the 27th through the next morning, and several challenging UFOs with beaming lights were witnessed.

On December 26, the strange intense lights of the first encounter were seen in the forest outside the East Gate of the Woodbridge US Air Force base. At that time the Bentwaters and Woodbridge NATO bases, on British soil, were staffed by Americans. The twin bases were in “the sleepy county of Suffolk on the cold, exposed coast of the East of England,” an area described as “creepy” and “weird” by service personnel. The Rendlesham Forest was between the two bases. The red and blue lights were spotted by Airman First Class John Burroughs, who had been patrolling Woodbridge near the East Gate. He contacted his supervisor, Staff Sergeant Bud Steffens, and both drove out to a small track that led into the forest. An odd white light had also become visible. They returned to the base to inform others, including the on-duty flight chief at Woodbridge, Staff Sergeant and NCO James (Jim) W. Penniston, who thought there might have been an aircraft crash. As it turned out it was not a crash, it was a landing. “In the clearing was a small, metallic craft. It was about three meters high and maybe three meters across at the base. The craft was roughly triangular in shape … It had a bank of blue lights on its side and a bright white light on the top. There was no sound whatsoever. Penniston “had the presence of mind to take a number of photographs.” Unfortunately, the photography failed, probably due to high radiation levels. But Penniston managed to sketch both the craft and its symbols in his police notebook.

He also “plucked up the courage to touch the object. It felt hard and smooth, like a smooth, opaque glass.” However, when he touched the symbols, “they were rough, like running my hands over sandpaper.” The craft responded to Penniston’s touch with a white light at the top that “flared up and became so intense that Penniston was fear struck and temporarily blinded …” After a time, the craft rose above the trees, taking two or three minutes, and then “accelerated away in an instant.” It was noticed that three indentations were left on the hard, frozen ground, and that the line between them formed a near-perfect equilateral triangle. Later, plaster molds were made of the indentations.

Details of the first and second encounters quickly rose up the military chain of command, including to the Wing Commander, Colonel Gordon Williams. Colonel Ted Conrad, the Base Commander, gave the responsibility for the investigation of the third reported sightings to the Deputy Base Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt. The small group included Lieutenant Bruce Englund, the on-duty shift commander, Sergeant Monroe Nevels, and Master Sergeant Bobby Ball, the on-duty flight chief. John Burroughs and two others may have been present unofficially. Halt had a cassette recorder and the full transcript of the tape is included in Appendix E of the book. From that recorder: “Halt: Strange!… OK, we’re looking at the thing … It looks like an eye winking at you. Still moving from side to side, and when you put the star scope on it, it sort of like has a hollow center, a dark center; it’s … Englund: Like a pupil – Halt: Yeah, like a pupil of an eye looking at you, winking. And the flash is so bright to the star scope that it almost burns your eye.”

Further sections (chapters) include Charles Halt Over the Years, Debriefing the Witnesses, The Brits Are Coming, Skeptical Theories, Exotic Theories, The Story Gets Out, No Defense Significance? Beyond Rendlesham, The Search for Answers and Final Thoughts From John Burroughs and Jim Penniston.

In the section No Defense Significance? the author, Nick Pope, writes that he joined the MoD [the British Ministry of Defense] in 1985 and resigned in 2006, “after a successful, interesting, and enjoyable twenty-one-year career that culminated in serving as acting Deputy Director in the Directorate of Defence Security. From 1991 to 1994 I ran the UFO project, which at the time was embedded in Secretariat (Air Staff).” He concludes that “After investigation … Approximately 5 percent of sightings seemed to defy any conventional explanation. The cases that were of most interest to us were UFO sightings where there were multiple witnesses or where the witnesses were trained observers such as police officers or military personnel; sightings from civil or military pilots; sightings backed up by photographic or video evidence, where technical analysis found no signs of fakery; sightings tracked on radar; and sightings involving structured craft seemingly capable of speeds and maneuvers that even the most advanced aircraft and drones were unable to match.” Nick Pope adds in his conclusion that from April 29 to May 3, 2013 an event called the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, organized by Stephen Bassett, “who has long campaigned to end what he calls the ‘truth embargo’ about UFOs, the format of the event mirrored the congressional hearings on UFOs that many in the UFO community want to see.”

The 311-page book concludes with Selected Documents and Images, including Appendix B, Jim Penniston’s “Binary Code Message” From His Original Police Notebook, and Appendix E, Transcript of the Tape Recording Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt Made During His Encounter. The book also has a thorough Index. – Review by Martha Keltz




Regarding The Search for Answers: Ahriman and The Incarnation of Ahriman and Lucifer, by Rudolf Steiner, will be of interest to those involved in any way with UFO phenomena. See:


Also: The Incarnation of Ahriman, by Rudolf Steiner, is available as a book on Amazon.com.

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