Last June, I received an e-mail asking me if I wanted to perform an interview for a UFO program that was intended for the Smithsonian channel. Based on the e-mail’s subject line of “Smithsonian project”, I was interested and elected to participate. Originally, the producers of the program wanted me to talk about astronomical objects and UFOs. I was very happy to discuss this but, after an initial phone call, things began to change. The date of the interview was scheduled to occur within a week of my initial e-mail and
they changed the topic into a discussion about the Rendlesham and Belgium UFO cases. I had to change my work and personal schedule to meet their request but I agreed to fly to Toronto for the interview.
The interview and the end result
The film company was very pleasant and helpful in getting me to Toronto to do the interview and I was treated very nice. However, when I arrived to do the interview, I was a bit disappointed. The interview now became focused more on the Rendlesham case than anything else. Additionally, the interviewer wanted to keep the topic fixed on some specific points. It was difficult for me to freely bring up issues that were often not mentioned regarding the case. Even more disturbing was the interview was done in a studio beneath a coffee shop. The studio resembled my basement and there was water piping running from the coffee shop in the ceiling. During the interview, if water was run or a toilet was flushed, we had to stop as the water made too much noise for the microphones. I found it a bit disconcerting and uncomfortable. This all contributed to me feeling like I did not do a very good job representing the skeptical side and that the producers were going to use these limited arguments as a “straw man” they could knock down with the standard proponent counterarguments. Based on what I have seen on their Youtube channel, my suspicions appear to be accurate but I can not tell without seeing the entire production.
The finished product appeared on Canadian television in January. They had a clip of the program on their youtube channel, where I described how the lighthouse matched up with the audiotape. This went well until they allowed Nick Pope to counter that, based on his cold case review, the lighthouse was invisible to the witnesses and could not be the source of the report:
..for most of the places where the witnesses actually saw the UFO, the beam from the lighthouse isn’t even visible....1
He stated something similar in his book but made the point that the lighthouse WAS visible from some locations but not all. There is documented proof that the lighthouse was visible to the witnesses, who were at the “landing site” identified by Colonel Halt near the edge of the field across from the farmer’s house. Ian Ridpath has produced photographs from the landing site and even a video from the early 1980s showing this to be true. I don’t ever recall being asked about this claim during my interview so Pope got the final word. Ignored in all of this presentation are the statements by the principle witnesses on the first night.
Ian Ridpath’s photograph showing that the lighthouse IS visible from the location where Halt was located contrary to what Nick Pope implied.
The lighthouse chase
There is little reason to rehash the specifics of the Rendlesham case but there is evidence that is often overlooked or ignored regarding the first night’s activities. These are the signed statements by the security personnel, who were involved. The most important statements were made by Jim Penniston, John Burroughs, and Edward Cabansag. They were directly involved with investigating the “strange lights” that were seen in the woods that morning. While Penniston never mentioned the lighthouse in his statement about the first night, both Cabansag and Burroughs state that they noticed the lighthouse as they came into the field and pursued it for two miles in their January 1981 statements.
Burroughs wrote, in his own handwriting, that, after chasing some lights through the woods, they began a pursuit of the lighthouse:
We got up to a fence that separated the trees from the open field and you could see the lights down by a farmers house. We climbed over the fence and started heading towards the red and blue lights and they just disappeared. Once we reached the farmer’s house we could see a beacon going around so we went towards it. We followed it for about 2 miles before we could see it was coming from a lighthouse.2 Cabansag signed a typed statement, which stated:
While we walked, each one of us could see the lights. Blue, red, white and yellow. The beacon light turned out to be the yellow light. We could see them periodically, but not in a specific pattern. As we approached, the lights would seem to be at the edge of the forest...As we entered the forest, the blue and red lights were not visible anymore. Only the beacon light was still blinking. We figured the lights were coming from past the forest, since nothing was visible as we passed through the woody forest. We could see a glowing near the beacon light, but as we got closer we found it to be a lit-up farmhouse. After we had passed through the forest, we thought it had to be an aircraft
accident. So did CSC as well.
But we ran and walked a good 2 miles past our vehicle, until we got to a vantage point where we could determine that what we were chasing was only a beacon light off in the distance. Our route through the forest and field was a direct one, straight towards the light. We informed CSC that the light beacon was further than we thought, so CSC terminated our investigation.3 For those that think the report was “sanitized” by these witnesses, as Pope wants everyone to believe, I suggest they read Fred Burran’s report for that night:
I monitored their progress (Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag) as they entered the wooded area. They appeared to get very close to the lights, and at one point SSgt Penniston stated that it was a definite metallic object. Due to the colors they had reported, I alerted them to the fact that they may have been approaching a light aircraft crash scene. I directed SSgt Coffey to check with the tower to see if they could throw some light on the subject. They could not help.
SSgt Penniston reported getting near the “object” and then all of a sudden said they had gone past it and were looking at a marker beacon that was in the same general direction as the other lights. I asked him, through SSgt Coffey, if he could have been mistaken, to which SSgt Penniston replied that had I seen the other lights I would know the difference. SSgt Penniston seemed agitated at this point.4 Additionally, Master Sergeant Chandler wrote the following:
We set up a radio relay between SSgt Penniston, myself and CSC. On one occasion, Penniston relayed that he was close enough to the object to determine that it was definitely a mechanical object. He stated he was within approximately 50 meters. He also stated that there was lots of noises in the area which seemed to be animals running around. 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. He eventually arrived at a “beacon light”, however, he stated that this was not the light or lights he had originally observed. He was instructed to return.5 Both of these individuals had nothing to do with revelations over the years and can be considered to be accurate portrayals of what actually occurred. There was no reason for them to make false statements that agreed with the what the others reported. A few years ago, I communicated briefly with Fred Buran and he told me that he was frustrated with the Rendlesham story and considered
a lot of what is being said today to be over-exaggerated.
What this all indicates is that the events that night involved the men pursuing strange lights in the woods that appeared to move away from them. The lights disappeared from view and they eventually stumbled on to the lighthouse light, which they also pursued for some distance before realizing what it was. While the lighthouse may not have been initially observed, it was obvious that they did not know the lighthouse was there and thought it might be the UFO. The same can be said for Halt’s tape. There is little doubt that Halt’s flashing light WAS the Orford Ness lighthouse and that it CAN be observed from the “landing site”.
Where is this cold case review?
Nick Pope describes that he performed a cold case review but I have never seen a document that outlines what his review covered. In my opinion, Pope’s “cold case review” is a catch phrase he uses to make it sound like he performed some sort of official investigation. Other than in his mind, there seems to have never been an official review of the case. The only document he has ever presented regarding this “review”, is his book.
In that book, Nick Pope implied that all these statements were manufactured in order to cover-up the real story. However, he seems to overlook, ignore, or fail to understand where these statements came from. It was Colonel Halt, who collected these statements:
I took original statements from the three people that actually approached the object and did it the day afterwards and they all said the same thing when they were independently interviewed and they all said it was approximately 9 feet on a side and it was triangular.6 He used these statements to write his infamous memo, which is the cornerstone of this case. Does this mean Colonel Halt was part of the cover-up as well?
Just another UFOlogical legend
The Rendlesham case should have been discarded long ago as a UFO centerpiece. Unfortunately, too many people, like Nick Pope, have staked their reputation on it. Once a UFO case reaches this level, it becomes a UFOlogical legend that can not be explained no matter what evidence is presented.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2015