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The Rendlesham Forest UFO Case - Another Perspective
- Did Ian Ridpath really get it completely right? Maybe not -

- by Jerry Cohen

"Colonel Halt, Burroughs, Penniston . . . I guess
this is a 30th anniversary present for you." - jc

Some Key Findings of this study
Table Of Contents (Updated: Nov. 9, 2011)
Initial agreements and disagreements with Ian's workup
Skip directly to the Witness statements

Summation of Witness statements from December 26th
The December 26th meteor
Colonel Halt's sighting December 28th
How far Ian would take his Venus explanation (Siriusly)

Click any chapter heading or section title to snap it to the top


. . . jerry cohen


Folks, this is a long piece but I believe, a good one. Obviously, you will be the judge of that. If you're curious about Rendlesham (1980) and you have patience to go through it as I have, I suspect this is probably a must read. For me, what I learned from this investigation in the last six months was more interesting than I ever could have imagined. For those interested in analyzing this case in-depth, this on-line rendition will be much easier to cross-check than anything most people could probably achieve in a standard book. Many of the internal links are redundant just to help people either instantly retrieve earlier points or check the veracity and/or accuracy of things I've said. I don't expect you to access all the URLs, but some are there simply for an instant replay of various issues in the proceedings if needed.

It is definitely important for one to realize that when I started my research into this, I honestly had no idea which way it was going to go. As it turned out, it necessarily wound up becoming a critique of The Rendlesham Forest UFO case by Ian Ridpath, located at Ian has been thought by a number of people to have written the definitive, scientific piece on this topic.

Although I didn't expect it, what I discovered for myself and have laboriously toiled to display for you here will hopefully demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that, as impressive-looking as Ian's website is, his on-line rendition concerning Rendlesham may not actually be as definitive as is presently thought. It is as much a surprise to me as to anyone else reading this.

Another reason I'm putting it on-line is because I believe it clearly and thoroughly explains why Halt, Burroughs, and Penniston were included in the prestigious international group of people who testified concerning their specific UFO experiences at the National Press Club conference in Washington DC, November 12, 2007. It also explains why a number of researchers haven't been able to fully agree with Ian's solution for Rendlesham in all this time. A link to the aforementioned conference has been provided at the end of this piece.

At the outset, it is necessary to say it is a pleasure to note the time and hard work which Ian, David Clarke, James Easton, Peter Brooksmith, Jenny Randles, Tim Printy, Georgina Bruni, Robert Hastings and others had put toward their investigations into Rendlesham. I am truly thankful for their diligent work. In particular, one can note the amount of honest thought and obvious effort and expense which went into Ian's presentation concerning same. His website's layout makes it very easy for other researchers to read and analyze. Therefore, nothing I am about to say diminishes in any way my respect for what he and others have accomplished in this regard. As a matter of fact, my own fact gathering and analysis for this piece probably would not have been totally possible without the excellent foundation Ian laid for us, including the impressive linking and data he presented.

That being said, the majority of what you are about to read will be the displaying of a number of items of agreement and disagreement between Ian's thinking and my own. Also included is my additional analysis of certain testimonial data which, as far as I can see, seems to have taken second place in Ian's investigation. When the result of that analysis is given its due, contrary to Ian's on-line presentation, I believe it is possible for others to conclude the summation of those testimonies points to an excellent chance one or more UFOs were present at Bentwaters/Rendlesham in December 1980.

(How and why I got involved researching this)

Concerning the 1980 Rendlesham/Bentwaters Incident:

. . . . . .. . Colonel Halt - 2007

Having had an email discussion concerning Colonel Halt's radiation readings which were taken at Rendlesham, and having it pointed out that what I thought about it was incorrect, I came face to face with the reality that Halt's actual readings did not agree with what Nick Pope had been stating concerning them. Attempting to find a reason for this discrepancy, I searched the internet and came upon Ian Ridpath's website (URLed in my opening paragraph). A number of individuals had contributed to the totality of it.

Although I didn't get my answer, information at Ian's website impressed me enough to get me to ask myself if I had been wrong in what I had been thinking all along concerning the Rendlesham case as a whole. Was it possible Colonel Halt and the witnesses really were all just simple victims of coincidence; i.e. had they merely been misidentifiers of normal astronomical phenomena and a lighthouse? It was clear, in order to find an answer for myself, I was going to have to review the whole thing. I knew it was going to be one heck of a chore, considering all the people who had already studied it. I might add that at that time, I was even personally leaning toward what Ian had to say about it.

However, as I was painstakingly examining case details pursuant to this end, I happened to notice some errors that Ian had made and some interesting issues both within those witness testimonies and within Ian's explanations for them. What I eventually discovered was that Ian's explanations, rather than solving those issues, generated a number of additional intriguing questions. It was to my great surprise that the answers to some of those questions began revealing a side to Rendlesham/Bentwaters which I could see Ian had missed. I began realizing that although Ian may have been right concerning parts of this case, his presentation had a couple of weaknesses which seemed to indicate it was likely he wasn't right about all of it.

What follows are my thought processes during this endeavor. Here I was expecting Halt's testimony to fall completely apart and yet, with each step I was beginning to realize some of it actually had both a certain solidity, and congruency to the other testimonies. Various discoveries and accrued bits of information kept pushing me further away from what I first thought were Ian's well-constructed conclusions. I guess it had to do with where I began my analysis as opposed to where Ian began his.

The main thrust of Ian Ridpath's research concerning the Rendlesham Incident

Vince Thurkettle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ian Ridpath

Ian began his introduction focusing on physical traces, Colonel Halt's original 1981 memo, his tape recording, policemen who were called to the scene, written statements by the witnesses, and an article Ian, himself, had originally written concerning the case. In his discussion column on the left-side of his introductory page, Ian’s first links concern a fireball occurring at 3 AM, followed by written statements by the airmen. One of those links is to a BBC interview in which we are introduced to Vince Thurkettle, a forester who Ian says gave him the idea that what the airmen saw in the forest was simply the Orford Ness Lighthouse. Click here for a quick quote from Ian which explained that. (See #1 - we'll get to quotes 2 & 3 as we progress.)

To put it in my own words, Ian's summation of the case said . . . the airmen had seen a meteor coming down which caused them to think something had crashed into the forest. Compounding this, those airmen had misidentified the blinking lighthouse as a UFO due to the fact that lighthouse was approximately in-line with what they they saw. When Colonel Halt was called to investigate, he fell in-step with the hype, misidentified stars, etc. for UFOs and rabbit scratching's for landing pod marks. He thought there was an over-abundance of radiation at a particular site when there was not, and additionally misidentified slash marks Thurkettle had said foresters put on trees slated to be thinned. Halt took them for burn marks made by an imaginary ET object he only thought he saw in the forest.


Well, I understood Ian's View . . . BUT WHERE DO I BEGIN?

Now that I knew where Ian was coming from, I had to pick a place to begin. I finally decided to start my examination with direct, deep focus on the exact statements from the airmen who claimed they saw something highly unusual in the forest, on what Ian considered to be the “first night.” It seemed to me that their statements were very important. If the airmen were wrong about what they claimed, Halt should never have been called out to the forest in the first place and this whole case shouldn't have had any reason to exist.

Therefore, I decided their testimonies and that first night should be the first things I look at. Since neither Ridpath, Thurkettle, nor I were there with the witnesses to be able to say for sure what those witnesses really saw, I felt it definitely made sense to look very closely at the sum total of the witness statements from that night to get the clearest possible picture of what they say happened.

It also seemed important to carefully juxtapose those testimonies, both with one another and with any others in existence, looking for congruities or the lack of same . . as perhaps police might do in one of their serious investigations. (I later discovered the police never bothered to accomplish this in this case because, at the time, they thought it was unlikely to be legitimate.) Only then would I be able to fairly compare the witnesses' descriptions of what they saw with Ian's solutions for same, and observe how tightly his solutions actually fit the sum total of those descriptions. That is pretty much what I set out to do. (As I proceeded, I slowly began to realize that accomplishing this might possibly be important.)

To do this, one obviously needed to be thoroughly familiar with both Ridpath and Thurkettle's comments and solutions to what the witnesses said happened, so I began working at absorbing a few of them.

Please forgive me. This next part is a little tedious, but extremely important to this analysis. It shows us some things I learned about Ian's website before I even began examining those witness testimonies in depth. Please bear with me. I promise it gets more exciting when we reach the actual testimonies, but I'm pretty sure what I have to say here might possibly surprise some of you.


(and some important issues noticed on my first read-through's)

Did I have any immediate areas of agreement with Ian?

After my initial light read-through, I found I agreed with him concerning the following:

1) His investigation of, and findings regarding Halt's radiation readings. Considering the science support he had concerning same from British physicist Professor Frank Close, I felt that what he said was most probably correct.

2) Ian's demonstration that Halt's second affidavit made in 2010 contained a number of inaccuracies. As a matter of fact, because of what Ian said, without even looking closely at said inaccuracies, I immediately thought it would make good sense to restrict ourselves to what Halt initially said in his first memo and tape. Halt's first memo and tape would probably contain the most accurate accounting of the original incidents, even though Ian had found a couple of errors there as well. This approach would certainly help investigators stick to the original facts. I also decided the two-week time-frame from the actual event to the writing of that first memo would be a short enough time span for Halt to recreate a fairly accurate sequence of events. (i.e. and probably the most accurate retelling possible for Halt.)

3) I assumed the 3 AM meteor-type object was present the first night as Ian had a report from Dr. John Mason, British Astronomical Association confirming same. However I did want to look closer at that.

4) With the evidence he presented, I also agreed that Ian was correct concerning the incorrect dates he found in Halt's first (1981) memo however, I did feel I could also see how mistakes in two of them might have occurred. If Halt made a mistake on the first date, he could have easily derived the second incorrect date from that one . . . or, by the time he wrote his memo, time-compression could have begun blotting out part of his memory. When one has experienced a series of events, some traumatic some not, he/she can sometimes tend to remember certain high-emotional moments compressed time-wise together, while other lesser traumatic moments occurring in-between begin fading from memory. One thing I felt fairly confident in was that they wouldn't have selected an incompetent person to have a main, albeit assistant role at a nuclear facility. [even if some questioned this after this incident.]
(How Ian arrived at his first date of the sightings
and date of the meteor)


Did I see any immediate areas of obvious disagreement?

Unexpectedly, yes.

On my first read-through, I noticed that Ian informed us of a problem he had concerning Halt's 2010 Affidavit. This is what he said.

. . . click here . . .

"In 2010 June, Charles Halt wrote and signed a two-page affidavit in which he committed to paper his current memory of the events of the night of 1980 December 27/28 in which he was involved . . . . . .

Unfortunately, this product of his 30-year-old memory differs so substantively from what he said and wrote at the time that it would be destroyed in a court of law."

. . . end quote . . .

Ian followed this by listing six or seven particular items that were inaccurate, then he said this at the end:

. . . begin quote . . .

"If the purpose of this affidavit was to add credibility to the events of the Rendlesham Forest Incident, its effect is almost certain to be the opposite. It should now be clear that Col Halt’s pronouncements on the case can no longer be taken seriously, although they continue to provide entertainment value for those who wish to believe in the incredible."

. . . end quote . . .

As I previously said, finding myself in agreement with Ian, I decided it definitely made excellent sense to restrict my analysis of Halt's statements to Halt's first memo and tape.

But, isn't what's good for the goose, good for the gander?
(You can't say one thing and do another)

However, reading further, I also noticed what appeared to be a slight mental error on Ian's part:

I could see there seemed to be a problem concerning the information Ian used to create his page titled, "About the lighthouse light and where Halt was standing." It seemed rather obvious . . . Ian hadn't restricted _himself._

Here are some quotes from that particular page. In the essence of fair play, his third paragraph below needs to be brought to your attention. I am sure it may have slipped by many people. See if you think anything there could be important. (We've already read the first paragraph. I'll get back to the second in a minute.)

1) "This was the first aspect of the case that I addressed once the story appeared in the News of the World in 1983 October, and I was quickly convinced by the suggestion of local forester Vince Thurkettle that it was the Orford Ness lighthouse. Within days of the newspaper report appearing, I visited Rendlesham Forest at night with a BBC TV camera crew to interview Vince and film the lighthouse flashing as seen from the forest."

2) "Of all the questions that need to be answered about the Rendlesham Forest UFO case, the most significant has always seemed to me to be the following: what was the flashing light seen in the forest by the airmen on both nights?"

3) "However, it was not until many years later that I was able to pin down exactly where Col. Halt had been standing when he saw his flashing UFO on the second night of the sighting (i.e. the early hours of December 28). The clue came from an online interview Halt gave to Salley Rayl on the Microsoft Network in 1997 May, by when he had retired from the air force and felt freer to speak. In this interview, the existence of which was brought to my attention by James Easton, Halt noted that the UFO had appeared closely in line with a farmhouse 'directly in front of us'."

Issue #1 - On not learning from one's own discoveries

jc: I couldn't believe it. The third paragraph above stood out like a sore thumb. The problem with it was that Ian had spent one whole page telling us that time is basically the devil . . . we can't trust Halt's memory regarding his 2010 Affidavit, and as I said, he even listed 6 or 7 items to prove same. However, having agreed with him and come to the conclusion that I should pretty much restrict my analysis of Halt statements to data from Halt's first memo and tape, I found myself a bit taken aback. "Why was Ian taking Halt’s testimony made in 1997, to prove anything concerning this 1980 case?" Everything Halt says in 1997 concerning where he was standing, the path he took in, etc.(N.B. almost 20 years after the fact) actually falls into the same category. It was likely to be riddled with inaccuracies as well. Therefore, any deductions Ian made from same could easily be based on similar inaccuracies. If one is to be completely fair to Halt, the case, what Ridpath himself discovered, and the overall investigation . . . the "facts" Ian extracted from that interview with Salley Rayl are certainly not admissible to conclusively prove where Halt was standing or the path he took. ( I believe I'm entitled to bold this . . . it's a legitimate issue.)

Issue #2 - Ian's "most significant question" actually fell a bit short

Then, as I read further, I noticed another problem. It was something in Ian's second paragraph above, the ignoring of which could negatively impact a fair, impartial investigation of this case in a major way.

It turned out I couldn't completely agree with Ian that the most significant question should be "what was the flashing light seen in the forest by the airmen on both nights." You see, it's a loaded question which can cause one to analyze this whole thing with blinders on. The way it is worded, Ian's most significant question concerns a singular light that was flashing. This tends to lead one to think the most important thing in this case was that singular, flashing light.

However, if we are to dutifully keep our minds fully open during our analysis, we have to fairly consider the possibility the lighthouse may not have been the only light-source. In that event, Ian's question would need a slight addendum. To include this possibility we have to ask; "Was any evidence found within the sum total of witness testimonies that indicated they might have seen something else in the forest in addition to that flashing lighthouse light at the time of the incidents?" Could there possibly have been anything seen in that forest that didn't really fit the description of the lighthouse . . . and if so, what do we think it was?

I should point out, I was also perfectly willing to say that if the sum total of testimonies failed to indicate there was anything else there, that would have been fine with me. That would have been the end of the story and I wouldn't have had to write the rest of this piece. It certainly would have saved me a humongous amount of work. Unfortunately, that was not how this thing unfolded.

[jc: Discovering these two issues also got me to ask myself if I was the only one who noticed these things. I was wondering if anyone else had said this in print up to now, or performed the type analysis I was planning on, but I just decided to forge ahead. I guess what I had already found, before even really digging in, had given me some serious motivation, and I was supremely curious as to what my own eyes and mind would find.]

There were two other items having to do with the lighthouse and forest area which then drew my attention.

The Lighthouse and Forest Area

1) Ian's Video-taped Interview of Vince Thurkettle

Since it was necessary to have a feel for the forest area and lighthouse when viewing the witness testimonies, I viewed the video-taped interview of Vince Thurkettle which Ian had provided. This portion, part of a longer video (made in 1983) showed us Thurkettle, the forest and the lighthouse.

2) Ian's 10/3/83 Times Article

Then I read Ian's Times article concerning Thurkettle. Something said in it regarding the trees had me thinking. It was a quote from Thurkettle himself.

In regard to the claimed object having
navigating through the forest

(The following is found at Ian's URL below -
2nd column from left, 6th paragraph when you get there.)

Thurkettle was living within a mile of the alleged UFO landing site. The “area was covered by Corsican pines 75ft tall and only 10 ft apart. It would have taken a fair feat of navigation to get among that lot.”
(Once there, you can also click on the article to enlarge it.)

Thurkettle's comment concerning navigating through those trees took me back to a science trip I had once taken to the Museum of Natural History in NYC. I remembered seeing a bat accomplish exactly what Thurkettle was talking about. (The museum staff had placed electrically monitored wires at all crazy angles in the cage to try to test the bat's abilities to fly past them . . . . I remember hearing their enthusiastic amazement as they related it didn't touch one of them.)

A crazy thought: If we imagine for an instant that a true UFO from out there might have somehow actually been here, perhaps just a little smaller (or not) than the size both the witnesses and Thurkettle mentioned, how impossible would it be for that UFO to silently imitate a bat's movement using advanced, sophisticated computers, radar/sonar system or the like? If it was surveillance equipment of some type, it may have been operating without an occupant. We might also postulate a silent propulsion system since the U.S. military has been working on this as part of its stealth program, and we've seen ads on television here in the U.S. extolling sound cancellation in stereo earphones (Bose?), etc.

But, back to solid reality. . . how impossible is all this? Coincidentally, I just happened to come across an article appearing in Newsday March 1, 2011 which demonstrates that the technology for this sort of thing isn't nearly as impossible as one would first think. It appears we humans, ourselves, are on the forefront of something very similar. We are developing parts of our technology by observing and copying animals and insects. By using this next URL to click to that article, one will note it talks about a newly invented device. The device is the first of its kind and, originally contracted to be developed only five years ago.

As you read it, try to picture something just a little bigger than that mentioned in the article. (and imagine someone having another 500 years or a great deal more to develop it.) But also keep firmly in mind, the Rendlesham case happened in December 1980 (i.e. approximately 30 years ago), and that what you are about to read didn't exist here back then because, if this article is accurate, the advanced technology and miniaturized electronics, etc., hadn't quite matured enough yet.

(If necessary, left-click to make it more readable when there)

After reading the article I thought to myself "If the military had that spy device in 1980, why would they ask these people to develop it only five years ago?" Obviously they didn't have it in 1980.

Then, I also happened to remember a film I had recently seen which showed a company seriously working on automobile avoidance systems for cars. If a vehicle stops in front of it, the car automatically knows this and will stop or go around said vehicle. It also mentioned that similar device presently being tested on airplanes which can take off and land without a pilot, and which also contains a vehicle avoidance system for in-flight safety.

After thinking about my museum experience, the article, and these present day marvels being developed, I realized that the concept of a mechanical device moving through the trees at Rendlesham definitely has a degree of plausibility today which it didn't have back in 1980.

To be fair, Vince couldn't have known this back then. However, it certainly doesn't take much imagination to extend this into the future or to a futuristic society which might develop in the same fashion. Vince's comment was intended to tell us it would have been extremely difficult to navigate an object amongst those trees without bumping into the trees. However, we can all see that his comment needs to be taken with a grain of salt when viewed from the year 2011 and beyond.

The forest edge was a bit more dense
than we see in Ian's picture

Still wanting to learn a little more about Rendlesham Forest, I continued my reading and noticed the following at the URL below (13th paragraph down.) This next quote from Ian appears just above a picture he provided of the forest edge.

“It was past midnight when Vince Thurkettle took us to the site of the alleged landing . . . The area had now been cleared of trees as part of normal forest operations, but enough pines remained at the edge of the forest to give us a realistic idea of what the airmen saw that night – see photo.”
(When there, scroll down to forest-edge picture)

I was looking at that picture and that's when it hit me that Ian had just informed us the environment shown here wasn't really totally accurate to the night the airmen had their experience. From what he had just said, I realized the forest edge was actually a bit more dense that night as compared to the number of tree trunks I was presently looking at.

How dense I wasn't sure, but this gave rise to three more questions:
1) If the forest edge was more dense, how much light from the lighthouse, etc. could actually make it through the whole forest from one end to the other; i.e. all the way back to the east gate? 2) How far into the forest from the lighthouse would the light reach? and, just out of curiosity 3) How big would the lighthouse look from further back, at East gate?



Understanding the Distance from
the Lighthouse to East Gate

(and figuring the true perspective)

Just below this paragraph and in the next two are three of Ian's pictures of the forest. Depending upon how wide your browser is set, you will either see a large picture or a smaller one which can be clicked on to expand. However, clicking between the smaller-sized and larger picture brought an additional three questions to mind: 4) "What was the photographer's placement to the trees and lighthouse" (other than the GPS numbers Ian gave us - I've got to be able to translate them to a specific spot on a map) 5) "what lens was he using when he took the shot?" and 6) "Is what we are seeing in the picture the perspective we'd actually be seeing it in just using our eyes, or is the lens accomplishing the closeness?"

Here's the first picture (Forest-edge picture taken from this URL at Ian's site):

In the following version of Ian's picture on my site, I used Photoshop Elements to blow it up and adjust the contrast so you can easily see the spacing between trees at the edge of the forest (after the thinning - now think of it filled it with more tree trunks, before the thinning - and that's just at the edge - I'd definitely like to have a marker on an overhead picture taken of the entire area to visually see where that particular edge is too.)


You should have already seen Ian's original picture of the preceding at the Rendlesham1a picture above, but if not, you can click on this next URL to see it again. Remember, it was taken three years after the incident (one can scroll down to see the date under his "Night light" picture)

Pictures #2 and #3:

Ian also provided us with two other pictures which were taken looking at the farmhouse with the lighthouse in the background. Here's the second one (farmandlighthouse). You can easily find the lighthouse in it because Ian circled it. Notice how far away it is. Now, having seen that one, you should also be able to find the lighthouse in this third one (fieldwide). It was taken from a slightly greater distance, not quite a full-field back from where the previous shot was taken. Of course, we really don't know the exact lens zooming on either of these shots.

[jc: Keep in mind how fantastic zoom lenses are on cameras which photograph baseball pitchers and batters from one end of the stadium to the other, allowing us to actually be able to read their lips and other features. It is definitely a factor to be considered. By the way, if anyone has a shot of the lighthouse at night from this distance without any zooming, or a video, I'd greatly appreciate it and I'll be happy to give you credit for it as well, if you'd like. (That would help us figure this out.)]

One thing that immediately caught my eye was that, as one would expect, as the photographer went back with the camera, the lighthouse in the background beyond the farmhouse definitely got visually smaller, being more distant . One can realize how really important knowing the lens and distance actually is.

Looking at the second picture again (farmandlighthouse), one can also notice there was more forest area after the farmhouse. We can see that pictures two and three give us a general idea of the relative size of the lighthouse when the farmhouse is in front of the photographer with the lighthouse behind it. (Unfortunately, we're still not sure of the actual perspective and one has to imagine how much light the naked eye would see coming from it, looking from that second distance.)

Then I started thinking about Thurkettle's video again: Notice how you can see the pupil in the middle of the light and the relative size of the light. It seems to me that when his video was taken looking toward the lighthouse, it was probably not taken from either of these distances with the farmhouse in front of us, unless the photographer used a zoom lens. I believe the very beginning of the video could have been taken well past the farmhouse . . . how far past is difficult to determine without using Ian's numbers to plot this. (Note to self: See if you can plot this to check it out, Ian may have answered it. He did tell us where he was standing for the pictures on page rendlesham2. But we have to be able to see this clearly; numbers have to be translated to a visual spot.)

Was there more forest behind us and, how much?

Then, another thought came to mind . . . "as we were looking at that farmhouse (in the pictures taken from the field), how much more forest was behind us . . generally back toward the east gate at the base?" I couldn't easily tell from the pictures when I had first looked at them. If there was a lot more, East Gate road is further away than one might think if one was only looking at those pictures. I wondered how small the lighthouse might actually appear from back at East Gate road, and how many trees would be in the way. So I set out to determine this.

I looked at the above picture from Ian's site. The general direction to Bentwaters is to the left (the lighthouse would be generally to the right). At the minimum, we can see some trees to the left. When I used a URL Ian had given us to go to a Wikipedia map, I could see a better perspective of what the whole area looks like today (but not necessarily back then), and the distances involved. You can see it for yourself.

When you get there using that URL below, you can use the map control on the left to zoom out a little. Just pull the bar to between the 7th - 9th line from the plus sign. If necessary, you can also use your left mouse button to click on the map, hold the button down, and move the mouse to the left, in order to scroll to the right. Play with these a little until you encompass the whole area from Bentwaters AFB to Orford Ness. Now you can notice there is quite a bit more solid forest to the left leading toward Bentwaters and Woodbridge, some of which not shown in the picture above. (At least 2000 feet altogether, perhaps more. That's a lot of tree trunks.) As a matter of fact, when I measured the entire distance between the east gate and where I thought the Orford Ness lighthouse was on the Wikipedia map, it looked to me to be at least 4 miles.
(map at wikipedia)

I looked at some other sources as well. Ian in one film said it was five miles, and a moderator in a U-tube video had said six. So I decided to accept Ian's measurement of five miles. (URLs included for those that wish to check this.)

I looked at Ian's photos of the area, thought about his comment that told us that forest edge was a bit more dense than it looked in his "Night lights" picture, and also remembered what I was thinking regarding what Thurkettle had said. I started to realize my previous thought was probably correct. I had said to myself,

If the trees were indeed more densely packed there, and the lighthouse appeared as low in the forest as shown in Ian's picture and as Thurkettle suggested in his video (remember, he also said the trees were 75 feet tall and ten feet apart), wouldn't one be less likely to easily see through those trees to the lighthouse, especially looking from the gate or not too far from East Gate road? It was about 4 1/2 miles to our camera from the lighthouse (looking at the farmhouse and lighthouse past it) with a minimum of 2000 feet of fairly tightly-spaced trees behind us.

But then what really knocked it out of the park and got me to realize the first three questions I had been asking about how far the light could make it through the forest were 100% legitimate and possibly important. It was something Ian had said as he was trying to demonstrate the airmen couldn't have been familiar with the lighthouse:

"It is sometimes argued that the airmen at Woodbridge would have seen the lighthouse every night and hence could not have mistaken it for a UFO. This is not true. Because of the way the land falls away to the east, as well as the intervening trees, the lighthouse does not become directly visible until you are well into the forest. " [jc: Italics and bolding are mine - the words are Ian's.]
(After clicking, please see right column.)

So, we all agree . . .
The light from the lighthouse could not reach East Gate

(Then what was the light they followed into the forest?)

This all eventually became extremely interesting because, as I at first skimmed through some of the witness testimonies, one big question began gnawing at me; "If it was impossible, how in the world did the lighthouse light (yellow - from Cabansag's testimony below - but let's say for the moment it did project white) make it through all those trees, all that distance, to be first seen by the airmen as moving almost all the way to East Gate road?" (<--one can click the underlined to read a quote from John Burroughs' testimony concerning the initial light the airmen followed into the forest - but please come back here before you start reading the rest of the testimonies.)

You see, from what we saw on the Wikipedia map above, and with both Ian's pictures and what both Ridpath and Thurkettle have said about the forest, we have learned he light from that source (the lighthouse) should have been entirely blocked by the general topography and that forest, especially at that distance. So one has to ask, what the heck was that light that almost came up to the road and that the airmen originally followed into the forest when this incident first began? You have to admit, this is a fair, important question. At this point we should all realize there was definitely more than one light in that forest, and one of them was particularly mobile. Evidently Ian and Vince had missed it, only being focused on the blinking lighthouse.

It seemed the more I examined our previous discussion and various other issues along the way, I came to realize there were a number of little details, stated by Ridpath and Thurkettle, that didn't prove themselves to be either completely true or definitive under close scrutiny.

Getting more interesting, folks?

Back to Thurkettle's video: What else does Ian say it is supposed to show us?

Finding the Lighthouse beam in Thurkettle's video
(from inside the forest - but where?)

Thinking about Thurkettle's video taken from inside the forest again, Ian's words in his second paragraph next to the picture caught my attention.

“So startlingly brilliant was the beam that the television cameras captured it easily”

So, I started looking for the beam. However, when I looked at the video I realized I saw no actual beam. (Put your finger over the blue circle clock above. That's not the lighthouse.) What was captured by the television cameras is not what one perceives as a beam but rather as Ian says, the circle of pulsing light coming from the lighthouse. I've seen this many times from various lighthouses on the coast of Long Island, USA where I live. The light flashes fairly quickly and then it's gone . . . to come again on the next revolution. (perhaps the Orford Ness light allows you to actually see the conical beam rotating very slowly . . . but in that case, I suspect people would tend to see and immediately recognize its repetitive rotation. We certainly do here on Long Island. From what I've read so far, I noticed in the testimonies the lighthouse light was only described as a blinking light the airmen had followed . . . and, at only one specific point.)

Concerning the word "beam": When I think of a beam, I think of a ray of light similar to that from a flashlight (or larger light), moving slowly enough to see it move up a road or through the trees. The illumination I was seeing on Thurkettle was coming from the camera-lights. That’s why we could see his face and body so clearly, but I couldn't see any "beam" of light moving either through or over those bright TV lights. (At the previous URL, one can scroll down and view the text alongside and under the picture of Vince to see to what I am referencing.) Here's the video again. Perhaps you can find it.

I had been wondering if a beam from the lighthouse could have somehow been responsible for the white light reported traveling through the forest at various times during the incident. However, I wasn't finding the video proof of this. I realized that in trying to apply anything from the video as a solution for the moving white light, I also had to consider the speed of rotation of the lighthouse light, its repetitiveness every five seconds or so, thickness of the forest, and the fact we all agreed the light could never make it all the way to East Gate road, etc. Whatever that light was that the airmen followed into the forest, I was pretty sure it wasn't the lighthouse.

An important reminder concerning the size of the forest:

It is also important to keep firmly in mind, the general use of the word "forest," actually implies quite a large area, not just what we've seen in this picture from Ian. The forest-like area past the farmhouse . . . is that considered part of "the forest?" That area extends quite a distance . . . almost to the lighthouse.

We can see that, to make any definitive statements regarding witness sighting events using photographic evidence, we must know exactly where the witnesses were standing during their sighting events, in which exact part of the forest the photographer was standing when taking pictures, what lens he was using at the time and, of equal importance, how any one of those pictures directly relate, or not, to the specific place(s) those witnesses were standing during each sighting event.

Ian's 1985 Guardian Article

On Ian's page "Rendlesham1a", he tries to show us how much hype and nonsense had been out there about the case and presents us with a tongue-in-cheek Guardian 1985 article "A Flashlight in the Forest." He then tells us how he discovered the lighthouse theory; he went looking for local opinions and found Vince Thurkettle, local forester, who offered his anecdotal evidence concerning people in the area not believing anything strange happened. Thurkettle also said "it's the lighthouse." He talks about a UFO coming over the trees, an explosion, the object moving under apparent intelligent control, landing marks, burn marks, aliens, and allegations of a massive cover-up by the government, a memo written by the deputy base commander to the Ministry of Defense, the lighthouse, red-lights on tall aerials, the low height of the beam above ground level, the lighthouse beam seemed to hover a few feet above ground level, because Rendlesham Forest is higher than the coastline. etc. Then, after showing us the picture he took in November 1983 "Night light," Ian eventually says; “All this matched the airmen’s description of the UFO.” [jc: italics are mine]


Realizing I have cause to dig deeper into the case
(Almost to the testimonies folks)

However, with what I had already researched to this point, I now honestly wasn't so sure. As I was thinking about all this, I realized both some of the things I had discovered for myself, and the logical answers to some of my questions during my initial readings, had given me a really good reason to dig even further into this case. So I realized it was probably time to begin a meticulous examination of the witness descriptions to see if I thought both what each said, and the solutions given for each, might actually summate to “the Orford Ness lighthouse.”

As I read the descriptions I was still asking myself [like everyone else], "Was it all simple misidentification and hype?" If it was, I certainly had no intention of continuing to support the case because it is rather obvious, it would make no sense to support something that is unsupportable. It would obviously weaken the other extremely solid material displayed on my website, which I had spent years researching. (

But, that having been said, I was now not so sure, and very determined to find out if Ian was correct or not. I said to myself . . "You know, I wasn't expecting this. It's really getting quite interesting."

Preparing to examine the witness descriptions

Fairly-brief, but important word on where I got the
descriptions and how I approached my analysis of them.

Since Ridpath seemed to have done a good job gathering the initial statements, made by various witnesses of the event[s] which had unfolded over several days, I decided to download those statements directly from Ian so I could become more familiar with them. They were downloaded from

I began with the testimonies from three airmen whom Ian considered to be the first night's witnesses. I typed out their statements to make them both larger and clearer for easier reading. (jc: My eyes aren't what they used to be.) Then I took each apart, spacing the events from each other, and eventually broke each into even smaller segments so I could more easily tell, to the best of my ability, each exact action that was occurring at any given moment. This produced a general sequence of events.

What follows are my summations of the statements from those airmen, two of whom claimed they had seen something highly unusual. I have either preceded or followed these with the actual statements themselves so that people digging deeply into what I have written can see I am accurate in my summations and that I'm not fudging anything in any way. They can also see if I missed anything. (Please let me know if I did. It would certainly be appreciated.)

One of the more important things I came to discover was that two of the airmen I just mentioned had drawn pictures of what they had seen. I decided that by comparing the airmen' statements and drawings, it might be possible to get some sense of whether those airmen were simply describing a meteor, the lighthouse light, the house, a prank by policemen, or anything else.

Here we go, one at a time. (Finally!)



. . . . . . Airman Cabansag

Airman Cabansag's statement was the shortest and most non-supportive of a UFO solution (at least at first.) He said both he and SSgt Penniston were Security #6 on patrol. SSgt Steffens and A1C Burroughs were Police #4 also on patrol. Steffens and Burroughs had seen some funny lights out in the woods so Cabansag and Penniston were called in to investigate. Steffens and Burroughs at first only went as far as the gate. After calling CSC and getting permission, three of the airmen [Penniston, Cabansag, and Burroughs] left their weapons with Steffens at the gate and left the base to go into the forest. As they were going in, each of them saw lights; blue, red, white, and yellow. Cabansag said the beacon turned out to be the yellow light. [jc: Please notice, he didn't say "white" light.]

A little later he saw a quick movement which seemed to spin left a quarter turn and was gone. He mentioned there was a glowing near the beacon but it turned out to be a lit-up farm house. Both he and Penniston thought the lights they were seeing might be an aircraft vehicle [which, as we discover, was suggested by CSC] until they got to a vantage point where they determined a blinking light they were following at one point in their search, was only a beacon light. Coming back, Burroughs and Cabansag took a road, while SSgt Penniston walked straight back from where they [originally] came. Burroughs saw the light again. This time it was coming from their left, as they were walking to their patrol vehicle. [Note to self: If it is possible, check the direction they would have been walking back and where Penniston would have gone.]

Link to actual downloaded Cabansag Statement
(His testimony at this URL was run-on, so I spread it apart
for easier reading in the URL below.)

Cabansag Statement - stretched, sub-divided, and enlarged
(This is from where I derived my two paragraph summation above.)

Tending to agree with Ridpath at this point

So, from this initial reading of Cabansag's statement, like Ridpath, I could see nothing out of the ordinary other than the white, and blue lights. [Remember, Cabansag said the yellow light was the beacon, and Ian had told us the reds (antenna lights) in his night light picture were blinking.]

I could see how Ian and others had arrived at their conclusion that nothing out of the ordinary had happened. [However, as you have hopefully already gathered, that was not the whole story, so please don't stop reading here.] It certainly seemed possible the airmen might have been fooled by simple farmhouse lights and the beacon. Ian also said it could have been a hoax by the military police but he didn't have enough evidence to prove it. So, at this point I was still thinking, "Maybe Ridpath is right."

But then I thought . . "after the airmen got to the point where they had total realization they were looking at the beacon, why didn't they all just conclude the whole thing was a simple misidentification?" I started wondering if there might be anything in any of the other airmen's statements that might clarify this, so I moved on to another testimony; John Burrough's.


. . .. .. . John Burroughs

As I began to read it, I immediately noticed how much more detailed it was than Cabansag's . . . . and I also noticed Burroughs had drawn a picture of what he claimed he had seen. I'll post that here first.

[Please note: Any typing you see on my version of these drawings is mine, simply added to aid in reading Burroughs' and Penniston's handwritten notes. Hopefully, you'll find my deciphering of their handwriting accurate. If it makes your reading a bit easier, my time spent typing and merging it onto the pictures was worthwhile.]

I've also included this next link to Ian's version of Burroughs' drawing first -without any typing, if you'd like to view it that way. You can also click on it to enlarge it.

Burroughs' drawing without typing

or at Ian's site:

or - Click here for my version below with my typing added.


jc thoughts re above picture: Whoops! This was not a small, simple circular, blinking light as per Vince Thurkettle's video, and it didn't look to me like the big picture of the lighthouse at Ian's site or a meteor, but I was still going to keep my mind open to that possibility.

Cabansag had said they identified the lighthouse. If the yellow light they came upon was just the lighthouse light, that should have explained it to Burroughs. I was also wondering if the yellow light was somehow sending out a white light?

Burroughs said the red/orange ball moved "back and forth and up and down." Possible optical illusion on the back and forth but . . . the light on a lighthouse doesn't normally go up and down, and an optical illusion shouldn't either.

Come to think of it, I don't remember there being a big, red and orange ball on top of the lighthouse, or blue lights, in Ian's pictures either. . . . I took another look. . . . . Nope, not looking like this.

Burroughs said blue lights were blinking on and off inside the beam, but they came out when the object was stationary? Does a lighthouse [or more specifically, Orford Ness] do this? From what Thurkettle said, what Burroughs drew is supposed to be either the lighthouse, a patrol car, or the house. It obviously isn't a meteor and I didn't think it was the house. Also, from Ian's farmhouse picture, if the farmhouse was in front of them, the size is off. I don't see the lighthouse being the general size and detail in which Burroughs drew his object , and I would think you'd really have to be fairly close to the lighthouse to see it that big. (i.e. See Ian's picture for a more accurate rendition. Mine is larger) If you were that close, would one not recognize it as a lighthouse with repetitive light, etc.?

For that reason, I thought that Thurkettle might have gone well-past the farmhouse or used a zoom lens when he made his video.

If you haven't already done so, check Ian's picture for the size comparison, then check Thurkettle's video once more and see if you find the blue lights under a big red and orange ball which is going sideways and up and down on top of the lighthouse.

At this point, I would hope at least some people should understand why I wasn't yet totally convinced what Burroughs drew was the lighthouse, farmhouse, meteor or patrol car . . . but I also didn't understand why Cabansag didn't mention that red/orange ball of light, etc. Kind of strange . . . we'll have to come back to this. One thing was for sure though . . . I was really glad I was taking this approach. I hadn't realized people had made drawings, etc.

Well, it was time to see what Burroughs actually said in his statement. (By the way, I was also wondering when he says he saw this.)

2. Statement by Airman First Class John Burroughs, 81st Security Police Squadron. It was originally hand-written and undated, in two parts:

Page 1 (Burroughs handwritten)

Page 2 (Burroughs handwritten)

I have placed two URLs to his handwritten notes above first so you can see why I needed to expand the page the way I did when I typed it. (Since his testimony was hand-written and run-on, its length made it less easy to read.)

John Burroughs Testimony (CohenUFO adjusted)

[jc 4/10/2011: My version of Burroughs testimony below spread out for easy viewing of individual facts, with original spelling errors. My spelling corrections and comments are interspersed throughout as part of my analysis.]


On the night of 25-26 Dec at around 0300 while on patrol down at east gate myself & my partner saw lights comming from the woods due east of the gate.

The lights were red and blue. [jc: I was wondering where the blue light was coming from? It's a color not indigenous to the forest.]

The red one above the blue one and they were flashing on & off.
[jc: O. K., the red was above the blue. I didn't remember any blue below the blinking reds in Ian's pictures or Vince's video. I looked again . . . and could still not see any blue at all.]

Because I've never saw anything like that comming from the woods before, we decided to drive down & see what it was.

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted for ease of analysis]

We went down east gate Road and took a right at the stop sign and drove down about 10 to 20 yards to where there is a road that goes into the forest.
[jc: I looked for the stop sign or any clue as to where they went into the forest in Ian's pictures at his site, but couldn't find anything. This would have been helpful.]

at the road I could see a white light shining onto the trees and
[jc: bolding is mine]

[jc 2/10/2011: N.B. He wasn't well-into the forest. He was at the road and said it was shining onto the trees. Note: He didn't use the words *flashing* or *pulsing*.]

[jc 3/18/2011: Additionally, he didn't say shining through the trees. If the lighthouse light was as low as Ian showed us in his picture, and the trees were more dense, how did the light shine onto the 75 foot trees. It should have been blocked. Take another look. Even if there was a channel that would somehow allow the light from the lighthouse to reach East Gate road (which it couldn't), it should have been shining into or through the trees. Therefore, I couldn't help but wonder if there may have been anything else above the trees. This becomes rather interesting when one reads the testimony of tower guard Rick Bobo in Georgina Bruni's book; not because this sighting happened the same night as Bobo's (it most likely didn't), but because of the possibilities it opens in our minds if this thing somehow was what Bobo says it was. We'll have to examine this further later. ]

I could still see the red and blue lights.
[jc: I'm still wondering where the blue lights are coming from.]

We decided we better go call it in so we went back up towards east gate.

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

I was watching the lights and the white light started comming down the road that lead [jc led] into the forest.
[jc: bolding is mine . . . BTW, I originally suspected that it may have been impossible to see the light from the lighthouse because that road was even closer to the trees and he hadn't gotten into the depths of the forest yet, where I thought it might eventually have been visible. Again, this was eventually proven to be true when Ian told us this. Also, Burroughs didn't mention any shadows from the tree trunks.]

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted] **

We got to the gate & called it in. The whole time I could see the lights and the white light was almost at the edge of the road & the blue and red lights were still out in the woods.
[jc: bolding is mine - Notice, the light is almost to the edge of the road. Remember what the distance was to the lighthouse from the gate . (about 5 miles) Remember, this shot was from only a field's worth from the farmhouse. How could they see the lighthouse light back near the gate? We all agreed this would be impossible. Also, it had to take some time to call it in and wait for the security detail, trying to figure out what it was. Although I could be wrong, this would seem to indicate the light, at this point, most likely wasn't a simple instant flash, or pulse from lighthouse light, similar to that seen in Thurkettle's video. Even if this could have possibly been the lighthouse, whatever the white light was doing should have been repetitive and probably noticed as such. (3 revolutions in 15 seconds) No indications of repetition, flashing or pulsing by the white light were given by the airmen at this time. Burroughs said the blue lights were blinking.]

[jc: Also noted - From what he said above, it would also appear the white light was moving, having nothing to do with the airmen's movement. They were still by the gate. However, Thurkettle had said that it was their movement that made them think the light was moving. We also note, the white light was completely separated from the blue and red lights.]

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

a security unit was sent down to the gate and when they got there they could see it to. [jc: too]

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

We asked permission to go and see what it was and they told us we could.

We took the truck down the road that lead [jc: led] into the forest. as we went down the east gate road & the road that lead [jc: led] into the forest the lights were moving back and they appeared to stop in a large bunch of trees.

[jc: Does a lighthouse light stop? Not any I've ever seen here on Long Island.]

We stopped the truck where the road stopped and went on foot.

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

We crossed a small open field that lead [jc: led] into the trees where the lights were coming from & as we were comming into the trees there were strange noises, like a woman was screaming. also the woods lit up and you could hear the farm animals making alot of noises & there was alot of movement in the woods.

[jc: So they just crossed the small open field.]

All three of us hit the ground and whatever it was started moving back towards the open field &

[jc 1/30/2011: Bolding above was mine. Important note re: above - Burroughs didn't say the light flashed through the trees. At this point, the airmen were stationary and the light moved its position. i.e. It doesn't sound like a flash, like you saw in the video, and . . . it wasn't any movement by them that caused this, once again disagreeing with what Thurkettle said in that video. I wondered if Vince ever read any of this testimony.]

after a minute or 2 we got up and moved into the trees & the lights moved out into the open field.

[jc: Sounds as though the lights may have moved behind them into the open field. N.B. Buran and Penniston seem to confirm this.]

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

We got up to a fense [jc: fence] that seperated [jc: separated] the trees from the open field & you could see the lights down by a farmers house. [ jc: Some confusion seems to start here. ]

[ jc 2/10/2011: Not sure whether he meant the lights were actually the farmer's house or if he meant the lights they were watching were separate from the farmer's house. Hopefully, someone asked him.]

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

We climbed over the fense [jc: fence] and started heading toward the red and blue lights & they just disappeared.

[jc: They hadn't reached the farm house yet.]

once we reached the farmer's house we could see a beacon going around so we went towards it.

[ jc 2/10/2011 VERY important: Italics are mine. There was some confusion here. They knew they were looking at a beacon, but Burroughs didn't say it was the same as the light they followed in. I, myself, was wondering if what they were seeing prior to that could possibly have been just the beacon _until_ I took another look at what Burroughs had drawn and thought about the light they had followed coming into the forest. Then I was pretty sure at least some of what they had been seeing wasn't the lighthouse. I said to myself, I'm pretty sure I've done this right. There was something else there.]

[jc: also N.B. - There was enough in Burroughs' testimony to this point to make us realize it wasn't just the lighthouse they were following. He only used the word “flashing” once at the beginning of his testimony, and that was about the red and blue lights. However, after that time neither Burroughs or Cabansag had used the words *flashing* or *pulsing* until they got to that "beacon," which they finally figured out was a lighthouse after two more miles. There was no mention of the white light pulsing prior to that, either. I will keep looking for flashing or pulsing in each of the testimonies. You might do so as well. Perhaps you'll catch something I missed.]

We followed it for about 2 miles before we could see that it was coming from a light house.

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

We had just crossed a creek and were told to come back when we saw a blue light to are [jc: our] left in the trees.
[jc 2/10/2011 N.B. - There's that "blue" again.]

It was only there for a min and it just streaked away.
[jc 2/10/2011 N.B. - But even if it was there for a few moments, it wasn't just a quick flash.]

[jc 1/30/2011: break inserted]

After that we didn't see anything so we returned to the truck.

- - - End Burroughs testimony - - -

jc further comments:

So, two of my questions . . . .

1) “Why didn't the airmen just assume they had been watching the lighthouse all the time?

2) Was there anything special about what they had seen previously that refused to let them just forget about the whole thing?”

. . . . seem to be answered by Burroughs' drawing and testimony. [<-- click here if wish to see his drawing or testimony again.]

Pointing out some significant items within Burroughs' drawing and testimony:

Items from Burroughs' drawing: This [jc: the red and orange light] would move back and forth and up & down, but the blue, white, and orange lights would come out when it was sitting in one place. Blue lights would blink on & off inside the beam plus one beam would be red and orange

(jc: Similar to what I asked before concerning the blue lights . . . . . . . . where was a red and orange beam [with orange lights coming out?] in Vince's video or Ian's picture?)

plus the white light below. A white light would come out below the [jc: red/orange?] beam in the trees.

jc: He didn't say the red/orange beam or the white beam was blinking or pulsing.

Items from Burroughs' testimony:

jc 4/3/2011: So, unless someone knows something which I haven't learned so far, what Burroughs described here does not sound like the lighthouse. I definitely had the feeling there was something else in the woods, not just fixed lights on or from a lighthouse. Even if the red and blue lights turned out to be nothing, the white light was definitely moving around through the woods. Evidently, it moved at the road while they were watching the lights from the gate. (where the lighthouse shouldn't have been able to be seen) When the security unit got there, they could see it too.

It also moved after they had hit the ground. Something was there and they felt it was causing the animals to make an inordinate amount of noise. It even moved behind them.

Also, Burroughs did see the blue light again for a minute as they were coming out of the forest. He said it _streaked_ away. So interestingly, that _blue light_ was seen moving as well. It wasn't just stationary. All this is probably why, when the airmen followed the blinking light which turned out to be the lighthouse, they couldn't totally eliminate what they had previously seen.

From what I can tell so far, it seems as though the lighthouse wasn't what they had already seen . Obviously I need to keep looking to see if there is anything more that confirms this. (N.B. Reading further I discovered this "blue light" point was eventually reiterated in Penniston's testimony)

jc: But right now I was thinking, "Is it possible Burroughs' drawing was hoaxed?" I'll have to look into this. I guess if it was hoaxed, I might understand why Cabansag didn't back him up, but I was also wondering whether they might have been told by investigators not to say anything. I'd need more evidence to prove either of those scenarios. Was it possible the other two airmen decided they weren't going to remain silent? I moved on to Penniston's account.

- - -


. . Jim Penniston

As I looked at Penniston's testimony I discovered he, too, had drawn something _he_ claimed he had seen. It wasn't just one picture . . . there were three. I looked at all three first, then I compared what he drew with Ian's picture of the forest and Thurkettle's video once again.

PENNISTON PAGE #1 - [jc: again, all typed notes are added by me]

Thoughts concerning Penniston's Page #1

Maybe the yellow glow was the lighthouse (yellow light) or farmhouse.
(I wonder if the farmhouse may have been behind them at this point?)

Still not sure about the red and blue lights.
He has them grouped tightly together to the right.

Actually, that is interesting.

Ian had written under his “Night light” photo

“The lighthouse is the bright yellow-white light at right of centre”

“At the left were two [jc: small] red lights on tall aerials on Orford Ness itself.

Click here to see Ian's forest-edge picture again

So, Penniston's picture showed the red on the right
and Ian's picture showed the red on the left.

- - -

Two other pictures from Penniston

(If I am interpreting these next two pictures correctly)

Penniston's next two pictures appear on top of one another,
both on one page below,
but they appear upside down from one another.
We'll call the two of them together, Page #2

I'm going to show you that Page #2.
Below that,
you will find another view of that same Page #2,
but flipped.

On each view, the side-up part appears at the bottom half.
(again please remember: the handwriting is his, but any typing is mine, not Penniston's)

The side-up part at the bottom of this first view doesn't show much.

Page #2 <- After clicking on the Page #2 URL, scroll down a little again to bottom half.


As I said, not much on the bottom half above.
However, flipping the page,
the next
bottom view shows a definite object.

- - -

Again, typing is mine, but look closely at Penniston's handwriting
near the typing. My typing is just a reiteration.

Page #2 flipped <- Click here, then scroll down a little again to bottom-half of this page.

Please note: The red light is basically centered on top of the object,
blue light across and blue glow below.

More thoughts

jc Initial thought: "This may support Burroughs."

2nd: "I don't think it looks remotely like the light-house, in Vince's video. Farmhouse? What's with the red light on top? I'll have to check his testimony."

3rd: "but it really doesn't look like the object in Burroughs' drawing either."

4th: "and, where did Penniston see this if they were all together?"

5th: "If this was a hoax and Penniston was in cahoots with Burroughs, why didn't he draw the exact same craft?" Why draw a different one?"

6th: ". . . and why didn't Cabansag back him up on this? I don't get it "

So I looked back at Cabansag's statement once more to see if I somehow missed something. Everything seemed O. K. until the very end when I got to the words (6 or 7 lines before the end on Cabansag's testimonial page):

"Airmen 1C Burroughs and I took a road while SSgt Penniston walked back from where we came." [jc: bolding is mine]

Airmen Cabansag's actual testimony (If desired for review)
My enlarged and sub-divided version of Cabansag's testimony (If desired for review)

jc 4/16/2011: Hmmn, . . . they separated on the way back. Why did Penniston do that? Could what he had drawn possibly have been . . something he saw on his way back to the vehicle? Also, I was now wondering if each of them saw a different object. Two separate objects might explain why he didn't draw the exact same thing Burroughs drew and why Cabansag's testimony didn't include what Penniston drew. I wondered if there was any proof of this anywhere?

Here is PENNISTON'S original typed statement. It is typed, legible and . . . interestingly . . . much shorter than Burroughs'.

Penniston Original Typed Statement

Penniston said he "received a dispatch from CSC to rendezvous with Burroughs and Steffens at east gate, Woodbridge. Directly to the east about 1 1/2 miles in a large wooded area, A large yellow glowing light was emitting above the trees. In the center of the lighted area directly in the center ground level, there was a red light blinking on and off in 5 to 10 second intervals."

jc: Was the red light one of the blinking antennas in Ian's drawing? The blinking was occurring in 5 to 10 second intervals. A regular interval would most likely be normal for antennas. Perhaps if it wasn't exactly a regular interval that might indicate something. But why was the red light directly in the center of the large yellow glowing light, and why was there only one red blinking light? I remembered, the two red lights were off to the left in Ian's picture . . fairly close together from where the LightsAtNight picture was taken. If a tree was blocking it momentarily, wouldn't they have eventually seen the second one when they moved?

"And a blue light that was being for the most part steady."

jc: Was this from the lighthouse? I didn't remember seeing blue in Ian's picture either. Also, they originally saw the lights from the gate area and/or the road leading into the forest. I looked at Ian's picture yet again . . still didn't see any blue . . and there were the two red lights. (not just one)


jc: Then Penniston says: (At URL, see lines 6-11)

"we proceeded off base past east gate, down an old logging road. They left their vehicle and proceeded on foot. Burroughs and I were approximately 15 to 20 meters apart and proceeded on a true east direction from the logging road. The area in front of us was lighting up a 30 meter area. When we got within a 50 meter distance, the object was producing red and blue light. The blue light was steady and projecting under the object. It was lighting up the area directly under extending a meter or two out."

jc: Penniston says the object he saw was producing both red and a steady [not pulsing] blue light extended out under it a meter or two. If we are to think this was one of the antennas in Ian's picture, where was the steady blue light coming from?

"On the way back we encountered a blue streaking light to left lasting only a few seconds."

jc: That blue light was seen again on their way back out of the forest.

And this was really interesting: Penniston doesn't mention separating from the group on the way back, and yet Cabansag remembers it . . . . and Cabansag's testimony seemed totally innocent. He was the least supportive of an ET connection. Why would he lie?

jc: Was this from the lighthouse? Remember, from looking at Burroughs' testimony, we couldn't see any blue in Ian's picture. thinking about Cabansag, the suspicion the airmen might have been interrogated by someone and told not to say anything about what they saw was getting a little stronger."

Having looked at these first three testimonies of the airmen who went into the forest, I now decided to look at some of the other people's testimonies to see if there was anything that might shed any more light on any of this. I also wanted to see if the other testimonies dovetailed with the previous three or if they were different. I started with the most senior officer who was on-duty back at CSC. His name was Fred Buran.

- - -


Buran's Original-Typed Testimony
(downloaded from Ian's site)

Some items extracted from Buran's testimony
(Senior officer on-duty at CSC)

1) Buran had communicated with Penniston, both through JD Chandler, (at the vehicle relaying what Penniston was radioing to him), and SSgt Coffey, the on-duty Security Controller. [N.B. Coffey was working the radio at CSC.]

2) When asked if they were marker lights, Penniston replied he had never seen lights of this color or nature in the area before. Colors displayed were red, blue, white and orange. [Penniston's colors are similar to colors described by Burroughs in his drawing.]

3) Penniston had previously informed Buran that the lights appeared to be no more than 100 yards from the road east of the runway.
[jc: Remember what was said about this? How could they see the lighthouse from there?]

4) When the three airmen went into the forest they appeared to get very close to the lights (Matches Burroughs' testimony at URL).

[jc: Reading further I found out Penniston had estimated only a little more than 50 yards. That's actually pretty close. Remember, to actually get that close to the lighthouse, they would have to be well on the other side of the farmhouse, probably miles since it looks about 3.5 to 4 miles to the lighthouse from the farmhouse and they weren't even near the farmhouse yet.]

5) Buran monitored their progress.

6) Due to the colors the airmen reported, Buran suggested to them they may have been approaching a light-aircraft scene.

7) Buran directed Coffey to check with the tower, but the tower couldn't help. [Another reminder to see highly interesting Rick Bobo tower guard testimony from Georgina Bruni's book ]

8) Penniston reported getting near the object, then _all of a sudden_ reported they had gone past it and were looking at a marker beacon that was in the same general [area] as the other lights [when they were originally approaching them].


9) When Buran asked Penniston if they could have mistaken the marker beacon for the other lights, Penniston replied "I had seen the other lights. I would know the difference." SSgt Penniston was somewhat agitated at that point.

10) Buran asked Penniston to take notes.

11) After talking to Penniston the next morning, Buran was convinced that Penniston saw "something out of the realm of explanation for him at that time."

12) Buran testified that Penniston was "a totally reliable and mature individual" and also said "nor do I think he is subject to overreaction or misinterpretation of circumstances."

- - - End Buran itemized testimony - - -

jc comment:) It appears that Buran basically confirms what Penniston said in his testimony. After reading Buran's statement and the fact that Buran felt Penniston was a totally reliable person and didn't seem to be "subject to overreaction or misinterpretation of circumstances", I could then understand why Penniston might have taken a different route back than the other airmen. Since he was the officer in-charge in the forest, it was his responsibility. I would think he probably wanted to go back to double-check he hadn't somehow missed what he had originally seen. Penniston said what he originally saw wasn't the same as the blinking, lighthouse light. He was rather clear about this when speaking to Coffey and Buran.

Now I was starting to wonder what else I was going to find.

Moving ahead:

I had seen what Coffey relayed to Buran at CSC and vice-versa.Now, since JD Chandler was just outside the forest at the vehicle relaying messages from Penniston to CSC, I decided to check exactly what JD Chandler had said Penniston relayed to him, and which he in-turn relayed to Coffey/Buran.

I wanted to compare it with what Chandler said to Coffey and if it was all being passed accurately from person to person. So I planned to read Chandler's statement next but before doing so, I extracted the following points from Buran's testimony.

Some items from Buran's testimony which are accurate to Penniston's Testimony:

"On one occassion Penniston relayed that he was close enough to the object to determine that it was deffently [jc: definitely] a mechanical object. He stated that he was within approximately 50 meters."

jc: That's much closer than the 100 yd. estimate made at the beginning in Buran's item #3 above. I would think that means it probably looked larger to Penniston at that point, since that's part of how most of us judge distance, and

also from Fred Buran's testimony:

Penniston reported getting near the object, then _all of a sudden_ reported they had gone past it and were looking at a marker beacon that was in the same general [area] as the other lights.

jc: In this instance, Penniston differentiated the marker beacon from the light they were following. They were past the light they were following, but they obviously weren't past the lighthouse, because it (the beacon) was ahead of them in the same general direction they had been going. Also, the light they were following, and went past, couldn't have been the farmhouse. The farmhouse was too big to miss. and

"Each time Penniston gave me the indication that he was about to reach the area where the lights were, he would give an extended estimated location." (jc: matches Cabansag's Lights were always further than they thought.)

What Ridpath stated concerning the fact they might have been underestimating the distance to the light had me thinking that might simply have been the answer except . . . there was something else Buran had told us regarding one other thing Penniston had said:

"He eventually arrived at a "beacon light", however, he stated that this was not the light or lights he had originally observed."

Penniston was certain of it, and this seemed to support Burroughs, even though they drew different objects.

[jc: So, it seems there was a light that was most-likely moving , and Penniston's testimony is actually supportive of Burroughs' testimony here. Ridpath seems to have overlooked this. I believe Penniston's statement gives definite indication that Ridpath's thinking may indeed be wrong concerning what he thought was Penniston's inaccurate distance estimation.

I believe it is more than likely Penniston was accurate in what he said and that at one point he was very possibly closer to something that was moving and wasn't the lighthouse or farmhouse. . . For those of us that are meter challenged, if I'm correct in my estimate, 50 meters is about 55 yards. That's pretty close.]

To this point, almost everything appears in sync, at least between the testimonies of the witnesses and conversations with CSC, and again, those testimonies to this point still seem to be telling us there definitely was something in that forest that wasn't the lighthouse, farmhouse or meteor. Let's see what Chandler says.

- - -


Chandler's typed statement as taken from Ian's website
(you can click on it to enlarge it - tilting screen back may make text darker and easier to read)

JD Chandler Statement - typed (jc version)

JD Chandler - typed - itemized (jc version)

Chandler's testimony was rather short, however . . .

Key points from JD Chandler's testimony which are accurate
to both Penniston's and Buran's Testimonies

He (JD Chandler) . . .

1. was called there by Penniston.

2. acted as a radio relay (just outside the forest) between Penniston in the forest and CSC.

3. verified Penniston saying he was within 50 meters of the object.

4. verified Penniston saying when he got to where they identified a beacon light, this was not the same light or lights they had originally observed.

5. After talking to the three airmen, he was sure they had observed something unusual.


I did not see a statement by Sergeant Coffey with the other testimonies at Ian's website, but Coffey was working the radio at CSC. Since Buran and Chandler's statements were in-line, both with what Penniston said and with each other, it would seem Coffey had to have passed the information he heard on the radio correctly.




Significant statement from Cabansag

Cabansag's testimony supports an ET presence the least, but it does present the fact Penniston separated from the group [second paragraph at URL] when they were going back to the car. It is possible that may have been when Penniston saw the object he drew in the sketch made regarding the first night.


Significant statements and drawing from Burroughs

Burroughs, too, drew an object he saw. I am still not sure exactly when he saw this. However, from what he wrote in his drawing, Burroughs said it had a fairly-large red/orange ball at the top which moved both sideways, and up and down. It produced a beam of red and orange. [N.B. he said a "beam" not a pulse or blinking.]

There were blue lights which were blinking on and off inside the beam. The blue lights would come out of the beam and a white light below. It is noted the blue light is not an observed part of the lighthouse, nor is the beam of red and orange. The object Burroughs' described didn't seem to resemble the lighthouse, farm house, or meteor. I also found it important to observe that what Burroughs drew does not appear in Vince Thurkettle's video or Ian Ridpath's pictures.

Early in his testimony (before they went into the woods) Burroughs had said the white light was shining onto the trees but didn't use the words "flashing" or "pulsing" for that white light [which a lighthouse commonly does]. What initiated their call was the white light and the blue and red lights:

"We got to the gate & called it in. The whole time I could see the lights and the white light was almost at the edge of the road & the blue and red lights were still out in the woods."

There was another statement,

"I was watching the lights and the white light started coming down the road that led into the forest".

This researcher believes if it was a repetitive motion such as the lighthouse would make, it would have been noticed as such and most-likely commented upon. Considering the speed of rotation of the beacon, it would have only taken approximately fifteen seconds (three rotations) to determine this. However, more importantly: Prior to even starting my main analysis of these witness testimonies, I had already demonstrated all had agreed that it was impossible for the lights from the lighthouse area at Orford Ness to have reached all the way to East Gate road. That white light could not have been the lighthouse light . . and the blinking red lights from the antennas couldn't have reached there either. Additionally, since the sum of the Dec. 26 testimonies indicates what they had followed was there for a great deal more than four seconds, it also could not possibly be directly attributed to the meteor.

Another Burroughs statement (further into his testimony): "as we went down the East Gate road & the road that lead [jc: led] into the forest the lights were moving back and they appeared to stop in a large bunch of trees." [jc: N.B. Lighthouse lights do not usually stop.] and yet another: "all three of us hit the ground and whatever it was started moving back towards the open field."

This demonstrates it wasn't any movement by them that caused this. In his video, Thurkettle had previously said it was their movement that made them think the light was moving, however he is definitely not correct in this instance. It was clearly stated that, in this instance, the airmen were in one place while the light was moving. Additionally, that white light had moved while they were near the gate, when they shouldn't have been able to see the lighthouse light in the first place. On the way back [after having gone into the forest], they also saw something for at least a few moments; "a blue light to their left that 'streaked' away;" again a blue light that was not indigenous to the forest. The "Streaking away" was most-likely not caused by their walking. Moving is one thing, streaking is another.

jc: Brief observation I had made regarding Burroughs - Burroughs' drawing and descriptions within his testimony, at least to me, do not seem to indicate a standard lighthouse. It would appear this is why, in one part of the sighting, when the airmen followed a blinking light which turned out to be the lighthouse, the realization of same didn't solve what they had previously seen.


Significant statements and drawing from or concerning Penniston

Penniston, too, drew what he saw. It did not seem to match what Burroughs drew in shape, but it did have a red-light on top, blue lights down below, and a steady blue glow underneath. [At the URL, 7 lines from the bottom] (Burroughs had also testified to blue and red/orange)

Whatever Penniston saw did not sound like the lighthouse light.

"On one occassion Penniston relayed that he was close enough to the object to determine that it was deffently[jc: definitely] a mechanical object. He stated that he was within approximately 50 meters." (See #3 at the URL - Chandler's testimony)

jc: That should make us realize that at this time, Penniston was probably close enough for him to not make a mistake. In Fred Buran's testimony, I noticed the following point:

Penniston reported getting near the object, then _all of a sudden_ reported they had gone past it and were looking at a marker beacon that was in the same general [area] as the other lights.

jc: If they were getting near the object and then, all of a sudden, reported they had gone past it . . . then the light they were following definitely wasn't the lighthouse. They were now seeing a blinking light ahead of them, and he called it a "marker beacon." That sounds like it was blinking regularly. That was most likely the lighthouse. However he said they passed what they were following and it wasn't the same as that blinking light. The passed-thing wasn't the farm house, either. That would have been too big to miss. If they were originally heading right at the object, I believe the object they were following actually had to have moved in order for them to completely miss it. . . and with regard to the following quote,

"Each time Penniston gave me the indication that he was about to reach the area where the lights were, he would give an extended estimated location." (jc: matches Cabansag's Lights were always further than they thought.)

jc: Ridpath's suggestion they might just be underestimating the distance to the light at first had me thinking he might be correct and that Penniston could have been underestimating the distance to the stationary lighthouse. However, that thought was eventually suggested to be most-likely incorrect when Penniston said:

"He eventually arrived at a "beacon light" however, he stated that this was not the light or lights he had originally observed."

So we have learned that Penniston definitely recognized the "beacon light" and differentiated it from the lights they had originally followed into the forest. He was certain of it. Therefore, the summation of the things I discussed above should indicate to most reasonable people that it is not written in stone that Penniston made any mistake here.

With the total accrued information gathered so far, we have a definite indication there most likely was something else in that forest besides the lighthouse; especially taking into account the testimonies of the airmen prior to and initially going into the forest plus other specific testimony and the drawing from Burroughs.

As I think I previously asked . . . if the two were in on a hoax together, why would they choose to describe two different objects? I believe I may have found a possible answer to this in Halt's testimony two nights later.

Furthermore, Buran and Chandler's statements were completely accurate to what Penniston said, and also appear to lend support to the other two airmen's versions of what happened as well. Since all the statements were basically consistent, Coffey had to have passed his information correctly.

Besides what I've already said about Buran, it is also to be noted, he supported Penniston's character when he testified that Penniston was "a totally reliable and mature individual" and additionally said, "nor do I think he is subject to overreaction or misinterpretation of circumstances." In other words, Buran felt Penniston was a level-headed individual and had basically good judgment which didn't seem to be affected by what they experienced. He was simply looking for an answer to what he saw.

[jc: Because of everything summated so far, I believe that Penniston was correct in what he said and that at one point he was very possibly closer to something that wasn't the lighthouse. . . . I estimate that 50 meters is about 55 yards or 165 ft. My small house is about 45 feet across. That 50 meter distance to Penniston's observed object is not much more than 4 houses, stacked right next to each other. That would seem to be rather close for him to have made a mistake regarding this. Therefore, it seems likely to me whatever the light was that Penniston described, it was probably continuing to physically move away from him and was not just sitting in one fixed place. This is also logical since they did follow the moving light (not lighthouse) into the forest.]

- - -


Having looked at all the airmen's testimonies we realize - Thurkettle's comment, which turns out to be only partially correct, is apparently much less significant than he and Ridpath originally thought

. .
. Vince Thurkettle

If you remember, in his interview from "Breakfast Time", Thurkettle had said the airmen described the light they saw as a "pulsing white light." . . . "and if that wasn't the light they saw, then what they are saying is that, within their line of vision, there were two pulsing white lights illuminating the forest."

(The following links provided in case anyone has forgotten the above quote:)


But, when we review the airmen's testimonies to determine the actual importance of Thurkettle's comment

One can note that having focused mainly on the pulsing light has limited Thurkettle's over-all ability to see around the blinders that have been pre-installed by Ridpath's original "most significant question." (or perhaps it was actually Thurkettle's most significant question.)

In reviewing the testimonies, we discovered Thurkettle's statement wasn't completely true because not all the lights seen were described as pulsing, flashing, or only white. Thurkettle either never read them or ignored them.

By simply looking at Burroughs drawing once again, and reading his testimony carefully, we discover Burroughs did not say the blue lights he saw were blinking on and off inside a pulsing beam. Although the only pulsing white light Burroughs and Penniston did describe seemed to be attributed directly to the beacon, it was recognized as a beacon.

Thurkettle seems to have missed that and the rest of it as well. He didn't notice the initial white beam the airmen followed into the forest which was never described as pulsing. But perhaps, Ridpath or Thurkettle can point out to us (in Burroughs' drawing) where the white "beam" Burroughs said he saw coming from the object was described in that manner?

Additionally, as mentioned several times, we all previously agreed (Ridpath included here as well) that the initial light the airmen followed into the forest could not have been from the lighthouse.

Furthermore, in Penniston's communication to Chandler, the accuracy of his comments supported by Chandler, Coffey and Buran, clearly stated that the light he saw from the beacon wasn't the same light he originally came looking for.

Therefore, there is much supporting testimony to indicate there was definitely more than one moving light they were following. In the total context of the testimonies, Thurkettle's pulsing white light comment, therefore, becomes greatly diminished in significance.

- - -



What about that December 26th Meteor?

(How well does it really fit with the testimonies we have from the airmen?)

Credit previously given to: Dr. John Mason, British Astronomical Association for providing the meteor report of 26 December 1980.

Security guard statement provided by Ian in an apparent attempt to support his *exploding meteor theory*

"This thing came down, the red light over it, and sat there maybe two seconds . . there was just a ball of light in the air, maybe twenty feet . . thirty feet . . and it dispersed in a multitude of colors . . . and they all seemed to fall on top of this thing . . . and before our eyes, it is almost indescribable, but there was a craft . . an alien space-craft, whatever there."

We note, on Ian's page URLed below, we were told Dr. Mason had informed us the meteor was only in view three to four seconds.

Click here to go to Ian's page regarding the meteor
(see latter part of paragraph 2)

Some observations and questions from CohenUFO: It seems we are being asked to believe that in that three or four seconds, the meteor coming down either exploded, or looked like it exploded, over the lighthouse in a multitude of colors, which thereby got the airmen to think the lighthouse, etc. was the object(s) we have already seen in the pictures at the URLs below. If this is what Ian is saying, we still need to see if his suggested solution could really cause or be responsible for what the airmen drew.

Click here to review Burroughs' drawing

Click here to review Penniston's drawing

The answer I get when I look at the above drawings is . . . no, I still don't see the connection. Perhaps some readers will see something different. In any event, this is why I found myself necessarily formulating the following questions. Whether or not you agree with me on the previous point, I believe you will find these questions to be pertinent.

A few questions which should probably be answered before Ian's hypothesis the meteor had suggested the UFO might be definitively proven:

1) Was the head of the "brilliant meteor" Dr. John Mason informed us of red/orange?
2) Have any other scientists described this particular meteor that came down that night as a red/orange meteor?
3) Do we have a picture of this particular meteor?
4) Who else saw it?
5) Were there any articles in any of the papers concerning this particular meteor?
6) Was it perhaps described as a red meteor in the article?
7) What direction was the meteor coming from?
8) Did anyone (especially scientists) see it explode or go into pieces? [jc: Dr. Mason didn't mention this.]
9) Do we have any pictures of it exploding?
10) Can we see this picture and its verification?
11) Did anyone happened to see where it landed?
12) Were any pieces of it recovered?
[jc: But then I thought, "wait a minute . . . since Ridpath used the words 'it burned up', it's very possible the landing site or any pieces from it may not have been found.]

13) Did anyone describe this particular meteor as having a flaming or glowing tail?
Both examples shown on Ian's page concerning other meteors of this type had the tails. [please see Ian's two examples below]

Meteorite in Sweden

Also see: WA Meteor

Why I asked about the flaming/glowing Tail

Interestingly, the security guard in Ian's Breakfast Time video did not mention a flaming tail following behind it, nor does this seem to appear in any of the other testimonies. I found it odd that detail was left out of everyone's descriptions. I thought to myself, that is probably something at least one person somewhere (airmen, scientists, etc.) would have noticed and probably mentioned if they were all describing a meteor. This needs to be examined.

- - -


Preparing to examine Halt's testimony regarding his sighting two nights later

CohenUFO: As I already indicated, Ian had made a really good point even though he didn't completely learn from and apply what he discovered in his investigation. It is important to stay focused on what Halt originally wrote down and recorded close in time to the incidents since, as Ian demonstrated, the facts in Halt's mind seem to have drifted with time.

Since Halt's early 1981 memo and his tape recording were both prime pieces of evidence regarding the sightings, it seems rather important to examine these particular two items against one another. In my analysis of the Halt data, I was still searching for information that might support what the witnesses had said in regard to seeing object(s) in that forest the first night and I was curious to see if Halt's testimony would relate in any meaningful way to their testimonies, even though his sighting occurred two nights later. Was there anything that might connect everyone's first hand testimonies and which might indicate Halt may have seen something other than the simple stars Ian had proposed. Let's take a look.


. . . . . . Halt . . . . . . . Penniston

I believe Ian would most likely say no to this question in that he believes Halt's sightings were mere misidentifications, since we have what Ian says:

"As for the star-like objects in the final paragraph of Col. Halt's memo, they were probably just that - stars. Bright celestial objects are the main culprits in UFO sightings and have fooled many experienced observers, including pilots. The object seen by Col. Halt to the south was almost certainly Sirius, the brightest star in the sky."

but we also have Halt's statements from his 1981 memo:

. .Colonel Halt

"Immediately thereafter: 3 star-like objects were noticed in the sky.

2 objects to the North, 1 to the South. (all about 10 degrees off horizon.)

[jc: Noting Ian's data I at first thought to myself, "I guess it is not impossible these might be stars."]

Halt's 1981 memo, section 3:


and I noticed another quote within that memo:

"Objects moved rapidly in sharp angular movements and displayed red, green and blue lights."

One of the first things that jumped out at me was the color blue I had been looking for from Burroughs and Penniston's testimonies. (and red, as well)

Then there was a discrepancy in the movement:

Although I've been an avid star-watcher ever since my own incident many years ago, I have never seen stars move quite in the manner Halt describes. I have seen them appear to vibrate slightly and/or flare at times, but never with "sharp, angular motion"; especially with the naked eye. In any case, if a movement of anyone's eyes were responsible for this, all the stars would most likely move together with this sharp angular motion; not just one star.

Additionally, since clouds move smoothly across the sky and do not jut around in an angular fashion, we cannot say that clouds were the cause of this "sharp, angular motion" either.

It seems to me . . . if the objects were truly moving the way Halt and others described them, and they additionally displayed some of the colors the airmen had seen and described two nights prior, this could be an indication they weren't seeing stars. I wondered if Halt said anything else that might lend further support to this.

During my search for this I noticed Ian's comment concerning something "puzzling" regarding Halt's tape:

He says,

"More puzzling, perhaps, is this quotation from Halt’s tape:"

“Here he comes from the south. He’s coming toward us now. Now we’re observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground”.
(8th paragraph)

jc: Wanting to learn more about this and gather more information concerning Halt, I downloaded other excerpts from Halt's tape also found on Ian's website. I read them carefully, notating some of my thoughts. Then I compared Halt's 1981 memo against the dialogue from that tape and discovered that several parts of the tape actually support and further clarify what Halt said in his memo. However, Ian doesn't mention this. Instead, he explains his thinking regarding the beams Halt claims he witnessed coming down to the ground.

Accidentally discovering something about Ian's Explanations

Ian's explanation did make some sense. However, in the same paragraph, he also gives us an example of another case he apparently felt he had solved. When examining it I discovered how far Ian would take his "stars/venus" theme to explain a reported event. (We all need to realize this.)

Ian says the following:
(Following quote located at this URL - Item #16)

"Perhaps the most sensational description on the whole tape is: 'Now we’re observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground.' This beam came from the starlike object in the south which, the memo tells us, remained visible for two or three hours. In Point 14 above, I identified the two objects to the north as the stars Vega and Deneb. This one is even easier to identify: it is Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Very bright objects cause glare in the eye which gives the impression of spurious shapes and extensions. A famous example was the ‘flying cross’ reported by two police officers in Devon in 1967. In another case I looked into, a UFO in Spain reportedly descended to a height of 7 to 8 metres above a car and lowered landing gear. In both cases the object was Venus. Although Sirius is not as bright as Venus it can still exhibit similar effects."

jc: I couldn't help but notice the last several lines concerning the Spain case. The people in that case had testified that a UFO "descended to a height of 7 to 8 meters above a car and lowered landing gear." Mind you, this is something someone claims they saw only 8 meters above the car. (approx. 9 yards) Ian then tells us what was seen was actually the planet Venus, and leaves us with the unspoken suggestion the whole thing was just the person(s) imagination.

I do not know much about that case but I do have to ask the following: Anyone who has ever had a star "cause glare in your eye (without using binoculars or telescope) and give the impression of spurious shapes and extensions" to the point you would think it was a space ship, please raise your hand. Anyone who has seen Venus look like it has "descended to 7 to 8 meters above your car and then lowered landing gear," also please raise your hand. Finally, anyone that thinks this specific methodology used to explain a case containing this type detail at the cost of intelligent, rational reasoning is truly scientific and that it will help us to learn anything about the case, please . . . . .

Certainly, if one believes the witness(es) were lying or hallucinating, then by all means, one should say so and explain or justify why he believes so. However, it seems to me, offering a ludicrous explanation of this type can have no other result than to make its proposer look more hallucinatory than the witnesses whose testimony he is trying to negate.

Getting back to Halt:
(Beam coming down to the ground and movement)

From the transcript of the tape that appears below, we can clearly see Halt specifically said two times and implied a third that he saw a beam coming down to the ground. The word "to" in this context implies actually touching the ground; "toward" would imply aiming directionally at the ground but not necessarily touching it.

I can categorically state, in forty plus years of star watching, I have never seen any star radiating a beam of light all the way to the ground in a beam, or even close to it. Therefore, I believe what Halt said may have great significance.

Does it really matter in this case whether stars sometimes twinkle with colors or if our eyes sometimes react with auto-kinetic movement? Halt did not say the stars were simply twinkling, flaring, or vibrating in the sky. He said the objects moved with "sharp angular movements" and that in some instances they were moving away, coming closer, and sending down a beam to the ground.

Looking at the material located at this immediately previous URL or other excerpts from Halt's taped comments below, one can note others present had even confirmed some of this on the tape. Did they all have auto-kinetic problems?

Now, when we examine Ian's methodology used to negate Halt's testimony, and then consider his methodology regarding the Spain case, I would hope one would not fault me for suspecting he could be applying a similar approach here.

When I came to Ian's following words . . .

Ian: "I reached my conclusion before Col. Halt’s tape recording of events was released."
(3rd paragraph)

. . . and remembering what he said early on and putting it together with what he said bolded above, I could not help but consider the possibility this is where his analytical thinking may have come to a complete halt. (Sorry folks, pun intended.)

I cannot be the only one who thinks the juxtaposing of the tape and the memo is an important facet of this investigation.


jc) N.B. I have temporarily removed comments regarding radiation and anything else not pertaining to the flying objects claimed to have been seen, so we can more clearly observe what Halt and others said concerning those flying objects on the tape. I have also added my own comments. (The following is downloaded from Ian's website)

Taken from:

. . . Begin Tape Excerpt (made December 28th, 1980) . . .

HALT: There is no doubt about it – there’s some type of strange flashing red light ahead.
[IAN’s NOTE: Halt is the only person to describe the light as red.]
ENGLUND: Sir, it’s yellow.
HALT: I saw a yellow tinge in it, too. Weird! It appears to be maybe moving a little bit this way? It’s brighter than it has been.
VOICE: Yellow[?].
HALT: It’s coming this way. It is definitely coming this way.
VOICE: Pieces of it shooting off... [jc: But this definitely doesn't sound like the lighthouse]
HALT: Pieces of it are shooting off. [jc: Was there another meteor today? Dr. Mason's meteor occurred two days ago. Is Ian correct concerning this being an observation of normal stars?]
VOICE: At eleven o’clock...
HALT: There is no doubt about it. This is weird!
VOICE (NEVELS?): To the left...
HALT: Definitely moving...
VOICE (NEVELS?): Two lights – one light just behind [?] and one light to the left.
HALT: Keep your flashlights off. There’s something very, very strange. . . . snip . . . . . . snip . . .
HALT: OK. Pieces are falling off it again.
ENGLUND: Sir, it just moved to the right.
HALT: Yeah! [jc: Halt saw the exact same movement.]
ENGLUND: to the right. [jc: So did Englund. This is not sounding like a small move, as in a simple star vibration and Englund's comment was verified by Halt.]
HALT: Strange! One again left[?] Let’s approach to the edge of the woods up there. Do you wanna do it without lights? Let’s do it carefully. Come on.
HALT: OK, we’re looking at the thing, we’re probably about two to three hundred yards away. It looks like an eye winking at you. Still moving from side to side. And when you put the Starscope on it, it sort of has a hollow centre, a dark centre, it’s...

[jc: I wondered if this could have been the lighthouse at this point. But why is it moving from side to side? One person might have an auto-kinetic response of their eyes, but would others eyes react exactly the same? If the answer is no, it is possible this could be an indication of actual side to side movement. If it's the lighthouse, the dark center should appear in the same place each time it makes one revolution. Why should it be moving side to side? We don't know if they had seen it with the naked eye first, then put the starscope on it. In any event,, in order to put the starscope on it, it is most likely they were stopped at this point to focus it.
Had they passed the farmer's house yet? I'm not sure. However, if they hadn't passed it yet, in order to see the dark center with the naked eye this thing had to be much bigger than what we see in either of Ian's two pictures . If they had passed it, they were closer to the lighthouse. However, from what Halt says below, it seems they hadn't completely crossed the next field at this moment . . yet they felt the object was two to three hundred yards away. Looking at the previous two farmhouse/lighthouse pictures at the URL above, I am not sure this really makes sense concerning the distances involved.]

ENGLUND (?): Like a pupil... [jc: Again, I am still considering the center part of lighthouse beam, but not sure.]
HALT: Yeah, like a pupil of an eye looking at you, winking. And the flash is so bright to the Starscope that it almost burns your eye.
[IAN’S NOTE: The starscope amplified light by about a thousand times and had a magnification of 4 times, so naturally the light appeared much brighter and larger than to the naked eye.] . . . snip . . .
[jc: Ian's comment does make sense here.]
HALT: We’ve passed the farmer’s house and are crossing the next field and now we have multiple sightings of up to five lights with a similar shape and all but they seem to be steady now rather than a pulsating or glow with a red flash.
[jc: What are the five lights with a similar shape?]
HALT: We’ve just crossed a creek...
VOICE: Here we go... . . . snip . . .
HALT: 3:05. We see strange strobe-like flashes to the... rather sporadic, but there’s definitely something there. Some kind of phenomenon.
[jc: Interesting that Halt said "rather sporadic" rather than indicating a regular interval. The lighthouse light should have been "regular".]

HALT: 3:05. At about ten degrees, horizon, directly north, we’ve got two strange objects, er, half moon shape, dancing about, with coloured lights on ‘em. At, er, guess to be about five to ten miles out, maybe less. The half moons have now turned into full circles as though there was an eclipse or something there for a minute or two.
[jc: We don't know if this was with or without binoculars. That does make a difference. If it was with
binoculars, Ian could be correct; without is another story. ]

HALT: 03:15. Now we’ve got an object about 10 degrees directly south, 10 degrees off the horizon.
NEVELS: ... to the left...
HALT: And the ones to the north are moving. One’s moving away from us. [jc: Bolding is mine]
BACKGROUND VOICE: [indistinct, but includes “moving”]
NEVELS: Moving out fast. [jc: This doesn't sound like a star.]
BALL (?): This one on the right’s heading away, too.
HALT: They’re both heading north. Hey, here he comes from the south, he’s coming toward us now.
[jc: We've just had a comparison here. Some were moving closer and some were moving away. Stars don't do this and if clouds were causing this, it seems to me the "stars" would probably seem to be moving only in the opposite direction from that cloud movement . . . not both towards them and away from them.]

***HALT: Now we’re observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground. [jc: Bolding is mine. This does not sound like simple twinkling. He didn't say coming down toward the ground, he said "down to the ground."]
HALT: This is unreal. [Laughs]
[IAN’S NOTE: RAF Watton logged a call from Bentwaters at 03.25 am on December 28 reporting a UFO. Halt instructed the command post to call them while these sightings were going on, but Watton reported that they saw nothing on radar. ]
[jc: It is important to be aware there are confirmed, well-investigated and publicized UFO cases where UFOs have been seen visually but not picked up on radar. - Chicago O'hare - Save this URL for another time. Still some important things to read here.]

HALT: 03:30 and the objects are still in the sky, although the one to the south looks like it’s losing a little bit of altitude. We’re turning around and heading back toward the base.
***HALT: The object to the south is still beaming down lights to the ground. [jc: Bolding is mine]
***HALT: 04:00 hours. One object still hovering over Woodbridge base at about five to ten degrees off the horizon, still moving erratic and similar lights and beaming down as earlier. [jc: Bolding is mine]

- - - End Tape Excerpt - - -

A number of statements extracted from above which do not seem to describe the lighthouse or any other houses, cars, etc. in the area

HALT: It’s coming this way. It is definitely coming this way.
VOICE: Pieces of it shooting off . . . [jc: supporting what the airman said on the taped interview]
HALT: Pieces of it are shooting off.
[jc: This coincidentally matches videotaped testimony from one of the airmen. Ridpath movie . Also, I've never personally seen this particular effect in any stars I've observed over the years. Perhaps Ian has a picture or video he can show us. I believe this is definitely necessary to prove his theory is at least possible, unless others can confirm this.]

VOICE: At eleven o’clock...
VOICE (NEVELS?): To the left...
HALT: Definitely moving . . .
Two lights – one light just behind [?] and one light to the left.
HALT: OK. Pieces are falling off it again.
ENGLUND: Sir, it just moved to the right...
[jc: So did Englund. This is not sounding like the slow movement of a normal star or a small move, as in a simple star vibration and Englund's comment was verified by Halt.]

HALT: Yeah!
[jc: Halt saw the exact same movement.]
ENGLUND: . . . off to the right.

HALT: 03:15. Now we’ve got an object about 10 degrees directly south, 10 degrees off the horizon.
NEVELS: . . . to the left . . .
HALT: And the ones to the north are moving. One’s moving away from us.
NEVELS: Moving out fast.

[jc: bolding is mine. Again, this doesn't sound like a star.]

BALL(?): This one on the right’s heading away, too.
HALT: They’re both heading north. Hey, here he comes from the south, he’s coming toward us now.

[jc: We've just had a comparison here. Some were moving closer and some were moving away. Stars don't do this; they move in an arc together. . . and if clouds were causing this, it seems to me the "stars" would probably really seem to be moving only in the opposite direction from that cloud movement . . . not both towards them and away from them?]

*HALT: Now we’re observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground.
[jc: He said it once here. Bolding is mine. This does not sound like simple twinkling. He didn't say coming down toward the ground, he said "down to the ground."]


HALT: 03:30 and the objects are still in the sky, although the one to the south looks like it’s losing a little bit of altitude. We’re turning around and heading back toward the base.

[jc - In this taped evidence, Halt gives us a 3:15 marker and a 3:30 marker. If this is a a star he observed, it took a full 15 minutes to have noticibly lost some altitude. Ridpath has told us the moving objects Halt and his troops saw were stars. Yet, we can see two types of movement here; the rather energetic, rapid movement of the objects described by Halt and his men vs. this star he noticed in the south. We seem to have some stars moving rapidly and others at a snail's pace.

And a momentary juxtaposition with a later testimony: Considering that star's noticeable loss of altitude over a 15 minute period brings a question to mind. Does this lie true with Ridpath's assertion concerning the object Rick Bobo told Georgina Bruni he witnessed. If a star can be noticed moving its position within 15 minutes, how could the object Bobo was ordered to watch and which he said remained in the same place for approximately five hours be a star? Does this really make scientific sense? Unless there is something I don't know about the movement of stars and have missed here . . in which case I totally apologize to Ian . . I don't understand how a science writer could not have noticed this.]

*HALT: The object to the south is still beaming down lights to the ground. [jc: He says it again here]

HALT: 04:00 hours. One object still hovering over Woodbridge base at about five to ten degrees off the horizon, still moving erratic and similar lights and beaming down as earlier.

jc 4/19/2011: From what I can tell, although the lighthouse light could have possibly been misidentified within one portion of this sighting, and there could have been a possible misidentification of stars at one point, many of these taped items appear to confirm definite movement in the sky not having to do with the star background, and do seem to further amplify section three (3) of Halt's written memo.


Additionally, the Above Previously negated Portion of Halt's Testimony May Explain Why Penniston And Burroughs Drew Two Dissimilar Objects

Furthermore, since the airmen from the first night also both testified to and drew blue lights (not native to the forest or the area in general), and Halt witnessed the colors blue, red, and green on the three objects he described flying indicates it is at least possible that what Halt saw during his encounter could have been related to what Burroughs and Penniston drew. Although not definitively proven, this circumstantial evidence should, at the very least, open a reasonable person's mind a bit to this scenario.


We also observe . . . items from Halt's original testimony still support his claim even after the "story-building," which Ian noted had built up over the years, has been eliminated:

Ian had pointed out Halt exaggerated the number of objects he saw as the years went on. However, now having carefully restricted our focus to Halt's 1981 memo and tape, we note that Halt was verified as having seen three objects flying. We can take the airmen's descriptions and juxtapose them with what Halt says he observed two nights later:

Airmen's and Halt's testimonies juxtaposed

Some of the lights seen pulsed with or contained blue, a color not indigenous to the forest. This color did not emanate from the lighthouse or the antennas previously described by Ridpath.

The three flying lights Halt had seen were radiating some of the same colors drawn by Burroughs and Penniston. Halt saw red and yellow in an object during the taped sighting. Penniston saw a yellow glow with a red light on top.

More importantly, if we take Halt's testimony regarding the three "star-like" object(s) at its face value (rather than just assuming he saw stars), we suddenly discover that his testimony has the potential of explaining how Burroughs and Penniston could have submitted drawings of two different objects concerning their incident two nights earlier on Dec. 26th.

With that number of observed objects (Halt 12/28) , it is not impossible two could have landed that first night (12/26) while one could have remained hovering. However, this rather important connection vanishes when Ridpath and Thurkettle, without having carefully juxtaposed all the testimonies with one another, and with blinders firmly in place, classify Halt as a simple misidentifier of standard astronomical phenomena.

Support from a later testimony

If one clicked on the last URL above he/she could see this scenario seems to have been further supported by the later testimony of Rick Bobo to Georgina Bruni. It seems possible, if not likely, Bobo's sighting happened the night of Halt's sighting (Dec. 28). If this is so, and three objects were flying there, would it be so impossible for one of them to have been hovering while two others landed two nights earlier during the Dec. 26th sighting? With all the other evidence we have throughout this case, it certainly is something to consider. We do have suggestive proof this may have occurred.

Summation regarding Halt:

Even if Ian and Vince are right about the fact that Halt misidentified some of the things he was seeing, which could have happened, there is enough additional data to indicate that Halt may well have seen some other legitimate, not misidentified objects as testified. The possible connection between what Halt saw and what the airmen followed into the forest has been more than adequately demonstrated within this analysis.

It is for all the reasons above, after reading the witness testimonies (including Rick Bobo) then reviewing Halt's 1981 memo and Halt's tape from Ridpath's website, I find it impossible to reach a definitive conclusion that the objects Halt saw in the sky on December 28th were simple stars. Whether one likes it or not, the determination of same is just not that simple.

- - -

(some of greater interest and importance than others)

Briefly regarding the elliptical vs. circular images seen:

I do not believe the elliptical vs. circular image issue is nearly as important as other information found in Halt's tape and first memorandum. Yes, Ian could be right regarding the elliptical vs. circular binocular item (Unless this observation was also made with the naked eye. Do we know it was only seen through binoculars for a fact?) and yes, stars certainly may have been visually present, but as I've shown, Halt's words still seem to indicate that certain things he saw appeared to be moving independently of the sky above.

Again, after thoroughly examining the testimonies from the witnesses regarding the first night's events (which had included drawings from two of them, taken from Ian's site) I believe it reasonable to think Halt's testimony regarding the "Starlike" objects is most likely accurate and exactly what he says it was. But I certainly find this next issue of even greater interest to me.

- - -


jc 4/19/2011: I also find myself having a slight problem with what Ian says in regard to Thurkettle's suggestion the craft imprints found and made by Penniston were "rabbit scratching's." Ridpath poses the following question:

"The question inevitably arises: how can anyone distinguish between
indentations made by an animal and those made by a landed UFO? "
(paragraph 1)

jc answer: It's a good question. It would seem logical there would be smooth compression of the earth where the weight of the alleged craft had pushed into the ground after landing. At the 2007 Washington Press Club testimonies, Halt (correction: Penniston) displayed a plaster of paris cast he said was made at the time of the sightings. Ian even displayed that photo for us.

Momentary interjection to make a point:

Rabbits have nails on their feet with which they dig holes for various reasons. The holes they create do not come out perfectly smooth and/or symmetrically curved at the bottom.

Now if a rabbit or another animal had dug in the holes from which Halt (Penniston) made the casts, I would think there should be at least some obvious scratch marks on the bottom of the cast. I simply note here for the record, Ian's picture of Halt's (Penniston's) generally symmetrical plaster cast, that appears at the URL at the end of my previous paragraph, does not seem to have any scratches on it.

I was wondering if anyone (Thurkettle, Hamilton, etc.) examined or asked anyone to examine the bottom of Halt's (Penniston's) cast impression to see if it was smooth or scratched? Look closely at the rabbit scratching's pictures displayed underneath the 4th paragraph on Ian's page rendlesham5. Unless I am mistaken, they do not seem to resemble the bottom of Halt's (Penniston's) cast in Ian's provided picture. (again, please note the symmetry of the cast.)

Therefore, I would be remiss in not asking "Would the cast be as smooth and symmetrical on bottom as it appears in Ian's picture if a rabbit or some other animal made them?"

. . . and this last issue leads us to this next one.

- - -

The absence of observable rabbit scratching's on the cast makes me wonder whether Thurkettle actually saw the original site:

Thurkettle says the site he saw had what he classified as rabbit scratching's. With what I have researched to this point, I find myself necessarily having to ask the following, as crazy as this may at first sound; Could it be somehow possible Thurkettle was at the wrong site when he took his pictures?

This question is not simply created by me, generated from the rabbit scratching's comments, or pulled out of thin air. Amazingly, it also emanates from something Ridpath quoted Halt saying within his memo to MoD. On a page titled "Where were the landing marks?" we note:


"In his memo to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, Col. Halt said: “Three depressions 1.5 inches deep and 7 inches in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground.” It is not clear how the airmen knew exactly where the object had been on the ground. Apparently they did not mark the site at the time but went out the next day and looked for signs of a disturbance that could be attributable to the supposed craft." [jc: italics are mine]
(paragraph 2)

jc 4/30/2011: From what Halt said in that memo, how do Ridpath and Thurkettle really know for certain Thurkettle was actually taken to the correct site? We can't have it both ways. If the airmen _didn't_ mark the site when they left, and Halt isn't sure how they found it again, how does Thurkettle positively know he was really at the exact spot of Halt's sighting when he was brought to it six weeks later and that the "rabbit scratching's" (and tree slashings) he observed were indeed from that original site? We do have the plaster cast from Halt (correction: Penniston).

- - -

If Thurkettle may not have seen the original landing site, did Ridpath perhaps see it?

I believe the following quote from Ian may possibly answer this question:

"We filmed the interview in the area where Vince had been shown the supposed 'landing marks' on the forest floor some weeks after the event. By the time of my visit in 1983, though, the trees in the area had been cleared and any sign of the landing site was long gone. A daytime view of the same area as it appeared in 1983 can be seen here."

This is approximately two years and ten months after the original sighting in December 1980. If this is correct, we can see there is good reason to believe Ian did not see the actual claimed landing site. Please see:

- - -


On the lack of Radar contact and the Mod dismissing the case

The following quote taken from Ian's site

(At the above URL, 10 or 11 paragraphs down)

Particularly significant from the air defence point of view were the events of the second night, when Col Halt reported three starlike objects hovering for several hours over Rendlesham Forest, apparently sending down beams of light. While this was going on, Halt asked his command post to contact Eastern Radar at RAF Watton, which was responsible for air defence of that region. The senior operations officer on duty at RAF Watton that night was Squadron Leader Derek Coumbe. In 2003 he recalled for BBC Radio 4 that several calls had come through from Bentwaters asking them if they were seeing anything unusual in the Bentwaters and Woodbridge area. “We scrutinized the radar time and time again completely, and kept a watch on it through the whole period when these phone calls were going on and nothing was seen. Nothing at all,” Coumbe told the BBC. (Thanks to Dave Clarke for the transcript. See also under the heading “Radar and Radiation” on this page from Clarke’s website.)"

"Undoubtedly, it is the lack of any radar contact that led the MoD to dismiss the case as of no defence significance back in 1981." [jc: italics are mine]

A note on the log in indicate that ATC at West Drayton were contacted and that there was no known knowledge of aircraft in that area to coincide with the time of the sighting.

However, mention is [also] made on the log of reports received of aerial phenomena over Southern England during that night.

jc) 1/22/2011: If the MoD actually did dismiss the case as Ridpath states, this could indicate a possible lack of knowledge on their part concerning a number of well-investigated cases where UFOs are seen visually but do not show up on radar. MoD may not have had enough of these cases 30 years ago, but this would have to be researched if it hasn't been already. It is important to realize, the lack of radar confirmation Ian Ridpath mentions above is not proof positive that Halt and his team misidentified what they claim they saw. Because there was no radar contact does not prove there was nothing there. As previously noted, we have existing well-investigated cases where this has been demonstrated to have occurred.

Example: O'Hare Airport USA November 7, 2006 - An object hovered just out of sight of the O’Hare control tower operators, over a main terminal, and left punching a hole in the cloud cover upon exiting. Although the O’Hare object was seen by many professional airport personnel it wasn’t picked up on radar, even though it was over one of the main airport radar facilities. A summary and direct links to the actual report, as well as a news video concerning the incident, are provided below.

O'Hare 2006 NARCAP (National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena) Report

. . . furthermore . . .

On the MOD not taking the Rendlesham sighting seriously:

"Also of great significance are government documents released since 2001, initially obtained by fellow researcher Dr. David Clarke, which confirm that the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) never considered the case worthy of a serious investigation, and we also know why. In short, there was no cover-up because there was nothing to be covered up."

jc 1/22/2011: If this actually was the case, one can still conclude it is possible the MoD could have been led to an erroneous conclusion at that time. However, this whole hypothesis is assuming that the MoD were the only people who might have been involved investigating the claimed event in question. If it is correct the US military was renting the use of the land for its bases, wouldn't they be likely to be doing investigation as well, even if it turned out not to be completely _legal_, since it was _their_ nuclear missiles, etc. which could have been compromised by what was reported? (I suspect they should have been entitled to do this anyway.)

I would actually surprised if this investigation were _not_ triggered by this event. Just because Ridpath couldn't find data that proved the MOD and Americans investigated this case thoroughly doesn't mean they didn't investigate it . . . especially the Americans. Are we to think they just ignored all this?

Would we know if an investigation occurred? - Americans have been repeatedly shown to be secretive throughout history regarding UFOs. Additionally, an investigation of this sort regarding a base, which contained a large arsenal of nuclear missiles, would certainly _not_ be broadcast to the public, if only for the simple reason they would not want people to become nervous about the nuclear missiles, or become focused upon the people responsible for them.

- - -



Ian provided us with the following claim made by a military policeman:

"In the summer of 2003 a former USAF military policeman at Woodbridge, Kevin Conde, claimed on television and in the press that the Rendlesham Forest UFO case was sparked by a practical joke he staged in his police car to frighten the guard at East Gate. 'It was fertile ground for a practical joke, and practical jokes are a tradition in the security police,' Conde explained."

But then, Ian negated Conde's role in it:

"Firstly, although there is no reason to doubt that Conde pulled the stunt he describes, there is considerable doubt over when it occurred. Conde himself cannot remember the exact date, but from his description of the circumstances, including the weather conditions, it seems that it did not coincide with the Rendlesham UFO sighting. Neither is it established that the guard he was trying to scare was one of those on duty at the time of the UFO sighting."

"Conde says that he drove along the Woodbridge runway, whereas the lights reported by the security guards were in the forest. Additionally, Conde was evidently not aware when he made his claim that the sightings stretched over two nights and involved lights that were nowhere near the air base."

After negating Conde's role in it, Ian adds that it is not impossible someone else pulled the prank.

jc 4/10/2011: First of all, concerning this whole topic, we need to know exactly what the prank was and how it was pulled off. What can be learned from nebulousness?

However, once again, the actual denseness of the forest issue previously mentioned by Ridpath and Thurkettle may counter Ridpath's suggestion: While thinking about that relative denseness early in this discussion, it occurred to me that denseness might possibly be prohibitive to driving anyone's patrol car into that area in order to perpetrate said unproven hoax. When you read the testimonies you can notice, the airmen had left _their own_ vehicle before venturing toward and into the forest. Another security policemen had come and stayed at the car as a go-between to facilitate the airmen's ability to radio back.
[once there, scroll down to “Night light” picture]

- - -

Regarding the use of People Not Seeing A Particular Thing
to Disqualify or Disprove Any Sighting of Same

It seems to me it left something to be desired to use people not seeing a particular thing to attempt to disqualify or disprove what others who _were_ ordered by their superiors to be awake and responsible for examining the area said they witnessed. Therefore, I am sure Ian and other serious investigators realize that in order to perform a fair examination of the evidence, the testimonies of as many observers [not non-observers] as possible need to be carefully juxtaposed and examined for congruities, incongruities, etc., to gather as much evidence as possible.

Additionally, a careful investigation should probably be performed by as many different investigators as possible, since each might notice something different within those testimonies. (N.B. Exactly the reason for my critique here. I've added one more analysis to the proceedings.) It also seems logical, at least to me, an analytical investigation of the testimonies of people who claimed to witness a certain event should certainly carry a greater degree of weight than some generalized comment concerning people who hadn't seen it, when one tries to prove it wasn't there. *

. . . and this leads us directly to . . . .



Specifically using the police to prove there was no UFO

Here again, Ian uses persons who didn't see the UFO to suggest there was no UFO. He tells us when the police came December 26th, they didn't see the UFO. Having already pointed out the fallacy in this logic, we note that Ian is not the first to use someone who didn't see a UFO as proof there was no UFO. I have commented concerning this approach on my website.

However it is also noted: Halt says the police never came when he called them regarding his sighting two nights later. Do we have proof of this? Evidently, the quote below provided by Ian appears to confirm this. It leads me to realize it is most likely the police did not perform the kind of analysis that I have presented to you in this electronic paper.

Confirmation the police never came to investigate Halt's 12/28 sighting (When the police investigated and when not)

Taken from:

The final letter in the Suffolk Constabulary file, dated 28 July 1999, was written by Inspector Mike Topliss to Georgina Bruni, and is reproduced in Bruni’s book You Can’t Tell the People (pp. 135–136 of the hardback edition).

In his point (2) Topliss reveals the little-known fact that two local police officers were in the Law Enforcement office at RAF Bentwaters on a subsequent night (no date given but evidently the night of Col Halt’s expedition) when lights were again seen in the forest. [jc: December 28th]

This time they did not attend as they received an emergency call to a break-in at a Post Office at Otley, a village some miles away to the northwest of Woodbridge which they considered as a higher priority than “a recurrence of an earlier incident [jc: December 26th] which was seen as somewhat frivolous.” [jc: Italics are mine.]

Col Halt has spoken of police being called out on the night on which he was involved but not turning up due to an alternative call, and this confirms his story.


The police investigation of Rendlesham can be summated as "The police came (Dec. 26th) and didn't see anything, so they tended not to think it important enough to send an officer for Halt's Sighting (Dec. 28th)."

Police evidence - from memo written 23 November 83
Telephone report 26 Dec 80 at 4:11am received from
person at RAF Bentwaters.

Two subsequent visits to the location by police officers.

The first visit followed immediately the reported incident, and the two officers who attended made a search of the area with a negative result.

[At the times of the officers visiting the incidents] the only lights visible to the officers were those from Orford Light House.

Because they found nothing the first day (December 26th), they gave higher priority to another case and did not come to investigate when when called concerning Halt's (December 28th) sighting. [jc: So Halt's personal sighting (Dec. 28th) was indeed never investigated by the police and therefore, I believe the data I have compiled and approach I have taken in its analysis should be an important contribution to this case.]

- - -


(He claims he saw a huge ship hovering over the forest.)

jc: Bobo may have been on-duty the night Halt had his sighting

The following testimony is downloaded from:

Taken from Robert Hastings book "UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites. (© Copyright 2008, Robert L. Hastings - All Rights Reserved). Hastings had referenced the Georgina Bruni book "You Can't Tell The People." I am in the process of obtaining Bruni's book.


. Robert Hastings

begin Bobo's testimony

R. Bobo: "I think I was the first to report the sighting that night. I was on the tower at Bentwaters; you get a good view from up there. There were several lights and there was this huge ship over the forest." [jc: italics are mine.]

G. Bruni:
"Can you describe the object?"

R. Bobo:
'I'd say it looked circular but, remember, I was over at Bentwaters and this was happening over at Woodbridge. I was instructed to watch it and can tell you that it was up there for about five hours, just hovering. I would say it was quite low in the sky." [jc: italics are mine.]

G. Bruni:
"Were you alone in the tower?"

R. Bobo:
"Someone came to the tower and watched it through a scope. I don't know who he was, he was from a different department. I wasn't told anything and I didn't get to look through the scope."

G. Bruni: "Could you hear the radio transmissions from your location in the Bentwaters tower?"

R. Bobo: "I heard some of the radio transmissions, not all of them, you understand, because there were different frequencies. I heard over the radio that London had spotted something on their radar. I heard some of the radio transmissions from some of the men who were out there. They were reporting a light going through the woods, it had bumped into a tree and they were getting radioactive readings from the area. They were discussing three impressions and stuff moving through the woods toward Woodbridge. They kept switching to different frequencies so I couldn't hear everything. I know there was a colonel with them." [jc: italics are mine]

REF: Bruni, Georgina. 'You Can't Tell the People.' Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 2000, pp. 243-44.

. . . end Bobo's testimony . . .

jc: summation of above testimony"There were several lights and there was this huge ship over the forest" and "I was instructed to watch it." This last comment would indicate Bobo wasn't the only one that thought there was a huge ship over the forest. Ian has suggested that Bobo actually saw stars. In my vernacular, and with the fact Bobo was instructed to watch it, "Huge ship" does not translate to a large star. If it was up there in one place for five hours, does it really make sense to say it was a big star? Also, if Bobo did indeed hear those radio transmissions that night, the items, "radioactive readings," three impressions, and "bumping into trees" is reminiscent of that which was reported during the night Halt and associated personnel had their sighting. (Dec. 28th) Therefore, it would seem at least possible this is when this sighting occurred.

- - -

Other quotes taken from Ian Ridpath's website
relating to Halt and Bobo

quote group #1

“As well as the flashing light near ground level that was seen to the east, Col. Halt’s memo on the Rendlesham Forest sightings reported three starlike objects in the sky at about 10 degrees altitude, one in the south and two others in the north. The one in the south, which was the most prominent, was visible for two or three hours and was reported to beam down a stream of light from time to time. “

“Another witness at Bentwaters, Rick Bobo, has spoken about seeing lights in the sky that night from the watchtower in the Bentwaters WSA. He told author Robert Hastings:

“The main object hovered out there for a long, long time [he had previously told Georgina Bruni “it was up there for about five hours, just hovering”]. It never really moved anywhere else.

jc question for astronomers re quote #1: The rotation of the earth normally causes all stars to appear to move a generous distance over time. Would Ian’s proposed “star” have stayed in the exact same place or should it have moved if it was actually a star?

quote #2

"Bobo’s account has all the hallmarks of a misidentification of twinkling stars, as outlined above. If this sounds implausible, think how less likely it is that a large, brightly lit alien craft should hover for hours over Suffolk without attracting wider attention."

quote #3

"It was kind of hard to see, but it was slightly oblong, I guess, and I seem to recall it had bluish and reddish lights on it. [jc N.B. congruency in the colors blue and red described by two of the three airmen on 12/26 and by Halt on 12/28] When the object first caught my eye, it was already stationary, I didn’t see it move to where it was and I didn’t see it leave. After it was hanging there a long while, I saw things shooting off it, really, really fast, like little sparks or something. Maybe four or five of them... They were shooting off in all directions, but up into the sky, not down to the ground.”

jc: comments re #2 & #3

One can also note the following: a) re: quote #3: If it was hard to see, this probably indicates it wasn't so brightly lit.

b) re: quote #2: If it wasn't brightly lit and it was extremely late at night (i.e. early in the morning), how many people would have noticed it?

- - -


Adrian Frearson: (movies were shown in Dec 1980 just before incident)

jc 6/19/2011: Even if movies were shown, there appears to be too much additional testimony and evidence in this case to attribute the majority of it to fantasies resulting from seeing a movie(s). Is Frearson saying Halt went to see the movies? Does he have proof of this?

Interestingly, there has been a thorough study by UFO skeptic Martin S. Kottmeyer which demonstrates movies of this type had little influence on the number of actual UFO sightings in various given years.

- - -

(Proof from Ian the Rendlesham sighting wasn't the Russian Cosmos 749)

Ian doesn’t agree with Jenny Randles concerning The Russian Rocket re-entry.

a) Russian Cosmos 749 re-entered over north-west Europe on the evening of December 25, 1980; six hours before the claimed UFO landing in Rendlesham Forest. [jc: The first night’s sighting is pinned down as Dec. 26th, around 3 am. Therefore, what the airmen saw wasn’t Cosmos 749 ]

b) Ian disputes the fact the NSA on Orford Ness had fired an energy beam into space to “jam the electronics on the Soviet military satellite and deflect its orbital path causing it to burn up in a controlled fashion.” He says “the object that re-entered was not what most people would think of as a ‘real’ satellite. It was in fact the upper stage of the carrier rocket that launched Cosmos 749 over five years earlier, in July 1975. (It is usual for the top stage of a launch rocket to go into orbit with the satellite, and is a major contributor to the amount of ‘junk’ in orbit). As such it was a dead, inert cylinder of metal, and there would have been no way to command it down even if anyone had wanted to do so. What’s more, the re-entry started 1,500 miles away over North Africa.”He gives other reasons on that page.

- - -


Concerning the following anecdotal comment
from Thurkettle

Taken From:
(News Of The World article, 8th paragraph)

Ridpath talked to Thurkettle who said:

"no one here believes anything strange happened that night" and thinks the flashing light in Rendlesham Forest was the lighthouse.


Thurkettle's comment above raised some questions
and elicited the following comments from me

jc: “How many homes in the area is he talking about, and how many people in and around the forest area were actually awake at three in the morning to witness the claimed events?” Most of them were probably sleeping, perhaps including Vince Thurkettle himself. Even if they were awake in their homes, if something was floating silently overhead in a forest at that hour and not brightly lit, it is not likely many, if any, people would have actually noticed it. How many people go out at 3 am?

Correspondingly, how many people actually saw the 3 am meteor of which Ian and John Mason have made us aware? Do we have actual pictures of that specific meteor? Why didn't Ian use them on his site? Are we positive what was seen was a meteor? Of course, pictures of that sort would probably be difficult to get, but I'm making the point that if you're not prepared for something and you don't have a really good reason to look up, and it occurs at an odd-ball time, you may not get a picture of it, or for that matter, see it at all. That goes for astronomers as well, unless they happened to be recording the sky in that general spot at that specific instant in time.

- - -


Also in the Times article:

David Boast, a gamekeeper, “was quoted in The News of the World as saying how cattle panicked near his house on the night in question.”

“There are no cattle near here,” he told me. “The Americans here will jump at anything. They come out regularly at night to investigate lights in the forest.”

CohenUFO response: The initial comment turns out to have been a muddled, erroneous reference concerning cattle. From what is written in the article, the error might have been made by the newspaper reporter who did the interview for the News of the World story. However, there is something offensively wrong with both Boast's comment concerning 1) the airmen and 2) the use of same to attempt to prove? the incident wasn't what the witnesses said it was.

What the airmen were doing was a mandated, standard part of their job; not to look for UFOs every night but rather, making sure no humans were wandering around doing things they shouldn't. Humans carry lights of various types at night to see what they are doing. It is necessary for the airmen to look for this type intrusion. This base is (was?) a nuclear military institution needing to be guarded. Therefore, the gamekeeper's off-hand anecdotal comment is simply a defamatory statement . . aimed at smearing the characters of the airmen.

Ian presented the article without commenting on this. Is he presenting this as scientific evidence? One would hope not. Did its use foster negative innuendo concerning those airmen? . . . of course it did. Boast's comment is obviously unnecessary in anyone's scientific analysis. Innuendo will not solve this case. Ridpath's use of this simply diminishes his scientific thrust and is certainly disrespectful to those individuals.

By the way, just for the record, I just re-read the testimonies again and have not seen any references to cows or cattle by the airmen. Anyone taking the time to read the testimonies in this critique carefully can discover this for themselves. It would seem, Ridpath did not. He might say this was not his purpose in presenting the article. My thought is . . . why present this (data?) in the first place?

- - -

An unfortunate non-case-related issue we would rather not have to deal with,
but which certainly requires a reply:


"Many people think the Rendlesham story is a nonsense that was debunked out of existence. One might even be tempted to argue that if a UFO case like Rendlesham falls, then none is safe . . . That, of course, is exactly why the UFO community dare not let Rendlesham fall."

jc: Although I respect a lot of what Ian has accomplished, I am rather disappointed that he chose to include the above quotation by Jenny Randles in his "scientific?" appraisal of this case; especially its concluding sentence. One may wonder why Ian chose this particular quotation to use in his piece on Rendlesham as it is not only improper in that context, but an insult to all those of us that have been performing honest investigation into UFO cases for years.

Jenny is such an artist and her paint brush so wide in this instance, she is able to paint an entire community as dishonest with one foul stroke. Her comment simply displays both a lack of respect for others sincere efforts and her own lack of personal knowledge concerning the solidity of a number of thoroughly-investigated, impressive cases (in some instances investigated by three or more separate investigational groups, scientists, etc.) The existence of these certified events renders what she has suggested totally moot.

Her generalization is just that . . . a _generalization_ (one of a number she tends to make), and does little to help researchers get to the truth concerning the UFO mystery as a whole. It should be obvious to most of us that generalizations without specifics to back them up don't really contribute much of value when one is searching for a definitive solution regarding either a singular UFO case or the phenomenon as a whole.

Unfortunately, Ian's use of this particular quote, once again, only serves to further diminish the scientific impact of his own arguments and aligns him with that negative facet of Jenny already mentioned above. I would hope well-educated and informed readers would realize a number of us in the UFO community, on both sides of the ufological fence, are owed an apology. Those of us having spent years performing legitimate analyses and seriously searching for truthful, rational explanations for various cases, have virtually no reason to do what Randles (and Ridpath) have suggested.

- - -

(Bottom of page in Ian's Postscript)

"One of the original promoters of this case, British UFOlogist Jenny Randles , who has probably spent more time investigating and writing about it than anyone else, has gradually come to accept most of the explanation outlined above, although she still nurtures the belief that something unusual may have happened even if it wasn't a genuine UFO." [jc: bolding is mine] ***

jc) If he is correct, Ian has informed us even Jenny believes something unusual happened at Rendlesham. Perhaps the information found within this essay will offer some clues, at least in part, as to why she has (or had?) felt this way.

- - -

(commentator's concluding comment)

"For Vince Thurkettle, the only mystery remaining is why UFO researchers, in two and a half years of investigation, failed to spot this most obvious of explanations."

jc) Since the majority of the material used in the analysis I have performed was acquired directly from Ian's own website, and noting the data extracted from same, it would seem one might be tempted to reiterate this exact statement to both Vince and Ian, while necessarily upgrading the time factor to thirty years. However, perhaps two of the most important lessons to be learned here are that the obviousness of some explanations may actually, not so simply, lie in the eye of the investigator, and . . . we all owe each other some honest respect for the research all of us are performing.

- - - End Critique - - -


A couple of observed coincidences: Those of you that have gotten this far reading this and think that I have done a proper job analyzing this case and Ian Ridpath's appraisal of same, may also be interested in the following three cases. What is seen in each has a number of similarities to the 1980 Rendlesham sightings.

Belgium and Iranian Sightings

The separate red/orange light described by the security guard was reminiscent of a light that was testified to as detaching itself from larger objects in two other thoroughly detailed, well-investigated, military cases; Belgium 1990, and Iran 1986.

One can view a video of Parviz Jafari's testimony concerning the Iranian sighting made at a 2007 Washington Press Club conference by clicking the preceding URL. (His speech located at 23.10 on the You Tube control.) Note the colors Jafari describes, then note the colors Halt described concerning his "star-like" objects above.

A more detailed account of Parviz encounter can be found in Leslie Kean's excellent book, "UFOs", Chapter 9, p 86, Copyright 2010, Harmony Books / NY. Leslie was with these people at the conference and has documented it all for us.

- - -

New6/11/2012: Incident at Exeter, John G. Fuller, Berklee Medallion Books, Paperback, Copyright 1966, pp 15/16 - This description was given in an AP dispatch from The New York Times of August , 1965. . dateline Oklahoma City. Note the descriptions and then juxtapose with witness descriptions (colors, exploding in shower of sparks, etc.) given in the 1980 Rendlesham case.

"AP dispatch from The New York Times of August 3, 1965 . . . The dateline was Oklahoma City:"

"Authorities in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas were deluged last night and early today by reports of unidentified objects seen flying in the sky."

"The Sedgwick County sheriff's office at Wichita, Kansas, said the Weather Bureau had tracked 'several of them at altitudes of 6,000 to 9,000 feet.' "


"The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said police officers in three different patrol cars had reported watching the objects fly in a diamond-shaped formation for about 30 minutes in the Shawnee area. The patrol said the officers had described the objects as changing in color from red to white to blue-green."


Descriptions telephoned to the police and other authorities included these:

"I was a disbeliever, but I saw something up there tonight, and so did other observers at the Weather Bureau."

"They were red and exploded in a shower of sparks and at other times, floated like a leaf."

"You could see it with the naked eye. It looked like it was on the ground or hovering just above the ground. It was red, greenish, blue and yellowish white, about 100 yards long and egg-shaped."


UFO Hunters - Code Red Here is yet another, totally pertinent to this 1980 Rendlesham case. It's scenario is similar to Rendlesham, although the UFOs seen at the time were also seen on radar. I just watched UFO Hunters case #65102 Code Red. It concerns a case that occurred at Edwards Air Force Base Oct. 7, 1965 . . . two years before my own personal sighting.

Objects were seen and recorded by five bases in southern California. The information has been declassified and recordings, radar records from five bases, and personal testimony from a tower operator and others support the fact that UFOs in groups of three (colors red, green, white) were sighted visually and on radar and that a plane was scrambled to intercept. All this occurred from 1:30 AM to daylight. (Drop the following three things into Google to locate the video: ufo hunter 65102 - as long as it remains at that address.)

A sincere thank-you to Sam Sherman, Bill Birnes and UFO Magazine for the major effort that went into obtaining and providing the public with this information.

- - -

The 1966 Southeastern Michigan Sightings

If the above cases have peaked your interest, take a look at this next group which occurred approximately five months later. One of them involved college students, police, a civil-defense director, and J. Allen Hynek, USAF's civilian astronomical consultant. The police report was kindly sent to me in 2005 by Dr. Harry Willnus, a prime investigator of same. It encompasses a small portion of his inquiry into several 1966 Michigan incidents and demonstrates what was seen was not swamp gas.

Additionally, important scientific evidence negating Hynek's proposed solution at that time was provided by William Van Horn, civil defense director.

Furthermore, Dr. Willnus also discovered, what appears to be, an excellent reason for Hynek's chosen solution.

Please note the colors of the observed objects, and police descriptions of maneuvers performed. Ask yourself if it sounds like any stars or planes you've ever seen.

- - -

National Press Club Conference, Washington DC 2007

As promised at the outset of this critique, here is the present YouTube address of the National Press Club conference in Washington DC, November 12, 2007. Although long, it is certainly worth every second of everyone's attention. Are these individuals all hallucinating or misidentifying? A number of them have quite impressive credentials. It is now not so easy to mentally dismiss Rendlesham from this group.


Jerry Cohen

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"Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." --Eric Hoffer (The Passionate State of Mind)

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