Friday, January 17, 2014

Rendlesham Forest Incident: Notes and Timeline

I’ve learned a good deal about the Rendlesham Forest Incident since my last post about it. At this point, over 30 years later I don’t expect to stumble upon anything previous researchers have missed, but rather I have a whole world of articles and resources at my disposal, to better understanding this event. (There is a list of resources at the end of this post, and I encourage you to check them out for yourself.) And like any UFO sighting, misidentification, or hoax, I believe understanding this event will help paint a cleared picture of the UFO phenomenon as a whole.

That said, while I still find this case fascinating, I must admit on a scientific level that there are several read flags, including:
* Local police, who better knew the environment, had reasonable explanations for all the ‘evidence’ of the UFO, and when they got to the ‘landing site’ they were able to see the local lighthouse.
* The first public reports of the UFO event appear in a tabloid, supplied by an officer who assumed a false name for the article.
* Witnesses’ stories contradict one another, and emotions clearly played a part in individual’s perceptions. Emotions alone may be reasonable enough explanation for any embellishments, you can hear this at work on the Halt Tape.

Below is a list of officers involved, followed by my preliminary timeline. It is color coded with the officers involved for your convenience (or your annoyance, depending on your temperament).

Identified Personnel Involved:

Colonel Charles Halt
- Wrote Halt Memo, Recorded Halt Tape
- It is suggested that his position makes the case credible, however Col. Conrad opposed his point of view rendering that argument invalid.

Sgt. Jim Penniston
- Supposedly interacted with craft, and made sketches of the symbols on it.
- Later, under hypnosis, attributed the incidents to human time travelers from the future.

Airman Larry Warren (alias: Art Wallace)
- Reports the incident to News of the World tabloid paper.
- Some sources debate his involvement at all. 

Colonel Ted Conrad
- Is mentioned in early interviews and reports, but denies the events are significant.

Airman First Class John Burroughs
- Part of the first investigation with Penniston, but tells a different story of the events.

Officer Cabansag
- ?


Late Dec 1980
(Note: The Halt Memo, written 2 weeks later, suggests events started on the 26th, but Halt admitted that it may be flawed. Date discrepancies has been a research issue for some time now.)

Dec 26th (27th by Halt Memo, 26th on Police Reports):
- 3 am - East gate security patrol sees lights descend into forest.
- 3 to 4 am - Officers enter the forest to investigate, suspecting a crash. Sgt. Penniston claims to have sketched, touched, and interacted with the craft; however he does not initially report that there was a craft and the dates on his sketches are out of sync with other accounts (27th). Burroughs on the other hand, claims they’d just encountered the craft, when it took off. Officer Cabansag is also present.
- 4 am - local police are called in, but they can only see the lighthouse.
- Daybreak - indentations and burn marks are visible. Colonel Conrad is said to have lead this investigation.
- 10:30 am - local police are called again, but they believe the indentations to be made by rabbits, and burn marks are logging cuts. (Halt Tape later refers to them as abrasions, accurately enough.)

Dec 27:
- The officer’s dinner is interrupted by men saying the UFO is back, however the identities and first hand accounts of these witnesses are not know. (Alternate accounts suggest this happened on the 26th, regardless, it may be a key spark for further investigation efforts.)
- Witness accounts are taken, and an investigation team is selected and briefed.

Dec 28th (29th by Halt Memo):
- Early Morning - Colonel Charles Halt leads a second investigation to check for radiation, readings are debated. He has with him a tape recorder (Halt Tape), and the recording suggests the radiation levels to be background radiation, or not much higher.
- Animals in the woods (misidentified as farm animals), seem agitated, crying out. (Spooked by aliens, or just humans being there at night?)
- Halt and his men see a yellow/green light flashing. (It is debated if they are able to see the lighthouse at the same time. The light is described as going side to side and winking, much like a lighthouse, and the timing is correct to the lighthouse in question, but the color Halt describes is red, while others call it yellow/green. Perhaps Halt is colorblind. [1])
- It should also be noted that no residents of nearby towns are known to have reported anything.
- This is followed by flashes and circular objects, and possibly light beams over the base.
- Objects may or may not have been on radar.

Jan 13th
- Halt writes his memo, it is not labeled as classified.

- Airman Larry Warren reports sightings to tabloid, mentioning Colonel Ted Conrad‘s involvement.

- Great Storm of 1987 wipes out much of the forest, though some of the incident locations were still identifiable.

- In a interview, Burroughs claims to have heard screaming.
- Halt claims the nearby livestock went crazy (there actually was no livestock, but there were deer and other animals in the forest).

- September 27 - Halt is one of six to testify that the US covered up Alien threats.
- June - Halt signs an affidavit claiming that US and UK governments have covered up the incident. Some of the facts contradict the Memo and Tape.
- Colonel Conrad makes counterclaims, and insinuates that the story has been further embellished over the years.

[1] - I have not been able to locate any information on when the US started testing airmen for colorblindness, but even if tested, certain diseases can cause colorblindness to develop.

Resources and Further Reading:

Dr David Clark, Folklore and Journalism, New light on Rendlesham,
Last update unknown, prior to 17 January 2014

Ian Ridpath, The Rendlesham Forest UFO Case,
Last updated in August 2013

“Rendlesham Forest” Alien Mysteries (TV series)

“The Rendlesham Files” Paranormal Witness (TV series)

Wikipedia, Rendlesham Forest incident
Last updated 1 January 2014

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