UFO’s and the Rendelsham Files

The Cold War in the 1980’s was a time of great fear around Communism, and though the name seems to denote passivity, it was a very active time. There was a lot accomplished in the way of espionage, and much done to develop stealth technology.  In the atomic age, secrecy was how the Cold War was fought.

The USAF was allied with the British Royal Airforce and used the twin bases Bentwaters-Woodbridge during this period. The bases were in the county of Suffolk on the edge of the Rendelsham forest. The bases were said to have nuclear weapons and atomic bombs on them.  They were strategically located for the NATO alliance.

It was early December 26, 1980, about 3 a.m.  Airman John Burroughs was patrolling the east gate with a partner when he noticed a white bubble over the top of the forest, while lights seemed to be moving through the forest. He radioed it into the base for back up. Sargent James Penniston, joined by Burroughs went to investigate in the Rendelsham forest.

Penniston saw a bluish white light so bright he moved slowly to investigate it.  In a clearing in the wood he saw a black triangular object. The seams emitted a golden light. John Burroughs and Penniston stepped forward. Penniston was quoted saying, “My job wasn’t to worry about myself. It was to go ahead and find out what it was and if it was hostile.  This was unlike any aircraft I had seen before. It was so unique, so one of a kind, I was completely in awe.”  John Burroughs went on to say, “It was not an aircraft, it was not a helicopter. I had never seen anything like that.” (1)

Upon investigating, doing what he called a 360, Penniston touched the object which felt like warm glass. He noticed it had symbols or glyphs on the side.  The object began to vibrate and lifted through the trees it moved about 100 yards away, and then lifted up again each time they ventured closer, and finally it was gone. So shocked, Penniston reported the lights, but did not share the entire experience. The next day another contingency of servicemen went to the clearing and found 3 impressions on the ground in the shape of a triangle.

A couple of days later on the 28th of December Lt. Col. Charles Halt went to the spot Penniston and Burroughs had the encounter and It was during this investigation that a flashing light was seen across the field to the east, He also saw a bright light coming toward them. The tricky part to Halt’s experience is that there was a light house in the general area, and many believed that is what he saw. (2)  Or that least that is what they tried to say he saw. Now there was a Staff Sgt. Monroe Nevels who stated what he saw looked like a giant eyeball. 2010, A retired Lt. Col Charles Halt signed a notarized affidavit, in which he again summarized what had happened, and that he thought it was extraterrestrial and it had been covered up by the UK and the US. (3)

Here is something that might have illuminated the events, a few days after Col. Halts investigation, Penniston is ordered to give a detailed report on his close encounter to two government inspectors. After he completely related his story, he was told there was an open investigation and he was to suppress his original story and provide a cover story while the investigation.  Then he was injected with sodium thiopental. Sodium thiopental displays zero-order elimination kinetics, leading to a long period before consciousness is regained.  It took him years to recover the memories of what exactly had gone on.

The memo that Col Halt had written had come to the public’s eye because of the Freedom of Information Act. A 1983 Omni article says “Colonel Ted Conrad the base commander… recalls five Air Force policemen spotted lights from what they thought was a small plane descending into the forest. Two of the men tracked the object on foot and came upon a large tripod-mounted craft. It had no windows but was studded with brilliant red and blue lights. Each time the men came within 50 yards of the ship, Conrad relates, it levitated six feet in the air and backed away. They followed it for almost an hour through the woods and across a field until it took off at ‘phenomenal speed.’ Acting on the reports made by his men, Colonel Conrad began a brief investigation of the incident in the morning. He went into the forest and located a triangular pattern ostensibly made by the tripod legs. …he did interview two of the eyewitnesses and concludes, ‘Those lads saw something, but I don’t know what it was’. (4)

Upon interviews with Lt. Halt, he asked some important questions about the UFOs, “What was it? Who was controlling it and was it a threat?”  There were 3 UFO’s flying above a base during the Cold War within striking distance of nuclear weapons. There were many witnesses that have come forward, another Master Sgt. Ike Barker was sitting at the radar console when he got an item so fast instead of blips, it was a steady line moving forward, then it disappeared.  It appeared next to the window where he was sitting, he said it was ‘huge’. It hung next to him in the air, and then silence, no noise, no exhaust, nothing.

So when people try to explain it away, or minimize the experience, there are too many who remember it. The Rendelsham Files is considered the British “Roswell”, but it is only one of the 100’s of UFO’s sightings reported in history. There are reports daily now of UFO activity.  There is a reporting bureau now operated by Peter Davenport called the National UFO Reporting Center in the USA, http://www.nuforc.org/index.html. The UFO Truth Magazine is a reporting agency in Great Britain, http://www.ufotruthmagazine.co.uk/uk-ufo-reporting-centre.


  1. Paranormal Witness: The Rendelsham Files (Season 3, Episode 20), The SyFy Channel
  2. Conspiracy, Aliens (Season 1, episode 6), BBC, Ed Booth, NetFlix.com
  3. Ridpath, Ian.“The flashing light”. IanRidpath.com. Retrieved2007-10-01.
  4. Col Halt’s affidavit”. IanRidpath.com. Retrieved on 16 August 2011.
  5. UFO Update, Omni Magazine, March 1983, page 115

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