ORIGINALLY POSTED by DAILYMAIL.CO.UK
No, Nick Pope isn’t a UFO fantasist, he’s an ex-Ministry of Defence expert with a compelling dossier of evidence
- MoD expert has worked with the two closest witnesses – both servicemen – of the unexplained phenomenon in 1980
- One recalls seeing a metal craft that could travel at ‘impossible’ speed
- Radiation levels in the area were measured at well above the norm
- The two witnesses wrote logs about the incident which they claim were later disappeared as part of a cover-up
- Staff Sergeant Jim Penniston touched the craft and claims to have ‘downloaded’ a message from the future in binary code
- The ‘ship’ was seen on three consecutive nights, including by the officer who was second-in-command of the base
Something eerie stirred in the Suffolk forest. Bright lights were flashing red, blue, white and yellow, piercing the darkness just beyond the perimeter of the U.S. Air Force base. Airman John Burroughs, on patrol in the early hours, went to investigate, the hairs on his arms standing on end with the static electricity that suddenly filled the air, his radio mysteriously malfunctioning.
Ahead, a small clearing among the trees shone as bright as day . . .
And so began a mystery that has lasted a third of a century, the truth of what took place remaining as elusive now as it was on that Boxing Day in 1980. Did an alien space ship land, as the world’s UFO-hunters, ET-watchers and X-Files fans have always been desperate to believe?
Nick Pope argues in his book that the ‘Rendlesham Forest Incident’ begs more questions than the establishment has so far answered
Or, this being a strategic base for American front-line fighter planes, was there an accident involving some clandestine Cold War super-weapon, ruthlessly covered up by the military? Or was that strange glow just a trick of light and atmospherics from the beam of a lighthouse on the East Coast a few miles away? Or a case of mass hysteria, perhaps? Or just a Christmas hoax by bored American servicemen a long way from home?
Flights of fancy run wild in any direction you want when it comes to what history has dubbed the Rendlesham Forest Incident — and has done since 1983 when the News Of The World revealed the mysterious happenings in a front-page story headlined ‘UFO lands in Suffolk — and it’s official’ and quoted a top-secret report from one of the base commanders as its source.
Official denials and obfuscation followed. ‘Fabrication,’ screamed the Ministry of Defence. ‘Nothing of defence interest in the alleged sightings. No question of any contact with “alien beings”.’
A local forester put forward the lighthouse theory, which was latched onto by other newspapers eager to rubbish a rival’s scoop.
And so the whole affair descended into a chaos of claim and counter-claim — Close Encounter fanatics on one side, sceptics on the other, and the twain never likely to meet.
Even Lt. Col. Charles Halt, the second-in-command at the American airforce base, admitted to seeing the unexplained craft
But now a new book tries to make a sober, sensation-free assessment of the evidence and trace a path through the undergrowth of intrigue, speculation and downright lies that bedevil this touchiest of subjects.
Author, Nick Pope, has credentials — he was for three years in the Nineties the civil servant in charge of a Ministry of Defence unit investigating ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’, its preferred term for UFOs. He learned to respect the unexplained and not dismiss it out of hand.
He collaborated with two of the closest witnesses to what happened at Rendlesham — Airman Burroughs and his immediate superior in 1980, Staff Sergeant Jim Penniston. Both are retired from the military but still troubled by what they experienced.
Their memories of the scene in the forest are different. In that clearing suddenly bursting with a strange light, Burroughs was engulfed in a beam and stood motionless. Afterwards, he could remember nothing.
But Penniston says he made out a small triangular metallic craft 10ft high, either hovering above the ground or resting on tripod-like legs.
It had a bank of blue lights on one side and a bright white light on top. He took photographs (which were fogged when developed) and sketched the craft in his notebook before stepping into what he calls ‘the bubble field’ — an area of stillness and silence immediately around it where time seemed to stop.
His heart was pounding with fear, he says, but he stretched his hand forward to touch its smooth surface. His fingers skimmed across several rows of strange symbols and hieroglyphics etched in the metal — ‘like nothing I have ever seen before, no aircraft marking, or no writing that I can identify’. He was transfixed.
After a while, he claims, he pulled his hand away, stood back and watched in amazement as the craft slowly lifted off the ground, manoeuvred slowly up through the trees and then accelerated away in an instant into the night sky. In his notebook, he recorded the speed as simply ‘impossible’.
Meanwhile, on the ground he and Burroughs — now brought to his senses — found a triangle of indentations where the craft had stood. Around them, branches were snapped off trees it had passed when landing and taking off. Later, men with Geiger counters picked up radioactive readings way above the norm.