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The Rendelsham Files
Season 3 - Episode 20
The Rendelsham Files
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Subject Names: Lt. Colonel Charles Halt, Master Sgt. Ike Barker, Airman John Burroughs, Staff Sgt. James W. Penniston, Staff. Sgt. Munroe Nevells
Subject Location: Rendlesham Forest, England   
Paranormal Experience: One of the most well-known UFO sightings in England

Lt. Colonel Charles Halt had just been reassigned from the Pentagon to RAF Bentwaters.  This was 1980, the peak of the Cold War.  Tensions between the U.S. and Russia were high. Bentwaters was a nuclear alert base, and they had nuclear weapons on-site. 

It was Boxing Day morning, and all was quiet. Airman John Burroughs went with his supervisor to check the base's East Gate. His supervisor saw something in the distance, out in the forest.  Burroughs radioed it in to Staff Sgt. Penniston, asking him to come and take a look. Penniston saw what looked like a white bubble of light over part of the forest. They had to investigate.  They had to make sure it wasn't a downed enemy aircraft. They walked out into the forest, disturbed by the fact that the lights had gone. The forest was pitch black.  Almost immediately, their radios began to go out. Something was interfering. They pressed onward, until a loud, high-pitched squeal stopped them cold. The squeal was followed by the sound of several different animals (likely belonging to a nearby farm) panicking as though they were trying to escape something. According to Burroughs, something then hit the ground.  Both men saw an object in the distance. They weren't certain what it was, but when lights on it began flashing, Penniston was worried it might explode.

Penniston knew it was his job to find out what it was, and whether or not it was hostile.  He and Burroughs approached the object. Burroughs had no way of identifying the object, as it was like nothing he'd ever seen before.  He did know that it was not an aircraft or a helicopter. Penniston walked around the object, noting it looked like black glass. He could find none of the aircraft features that he would have expected; no crew compartment, no air intake, nothing. On one side, he found a set of symbols.  Burroughs felt it was something significant, but what?  Penniston began noting the symbols in his notebook.  One symbol caught his focus, and he reached out to touch it.  It felt warm.  Could it have been radioactive? The light began to pulsate, as though the object were powering up.  Penniston was once again afraid it was going to explode.  In an eyeblink, the thing disappeared.  Penniston made a note.  "Speed impossible."

When they returned to the base, they were debriefed. Penniston immediately questioned how much to tell without putting his career in jeopardy.  He reported what he felt comfortable reporting, and was told to go home and rest. 

Halt thought it might have been a joke. It was Christmastime, and the festivities might have gotten to them. Still, it was becoming a serious problem.  Too many of the base staff were spending time looking at the sky.  Staff. Sgt. Munroe Nevells, an instructor in chemical warfare defense, was called in to investigate. 

Nevells went out to the site, and found three impressions in the ground. The ground had been pressed to the same height, depth, and width. It looked to Nevells like some kind of tripod.  The nearby trees had been scorched. Nevells believed something had happened, but what?  Nevells pulled out the night vision goggles as it got dark. In the corner of his eye, he spotted something in the distance.  The guard who'd accompanied him looked, and both men were blinded by a white light.  The light appeared to be an eyeball. It brightened, and then dimmed, almost as though it were blinking.  Then, out of nowhere, it stopped.  Within seconds, they were blinded again. The light chased the two men out of the forest. They returned to the base, just in time for the officers' holiday party. 

The senior police officer on duty walked into the party and told Halt that the UFO was back.  Halt wanted to put the whole thing to rest once and for all. He went to the site with Nevells and the officer. When they arrived, there were four or five vehicles there, and—Halt estimated—25 people in the forest. If the press got wind of this?  How was he supposed to explain it?  One of the people at the site was John Burroughs.  When Halt got into the forest, he noted it was eerily quiet.  They walked to the scene of the incident.  Halt saw the indentations, and they were identical.  He had Nevells get out the Geiger counter.  Nevells took readings from the triangle, but he got residuals at the indentations.  When Nevells took a reading in the center?  The needle began dancing.  The area was radioactive.  When Nevells took a reading at the scorched tree?  The needle pegged.  The radiation readings were off the scale.

Halt turned on his pocket tape recorder and began dictating details as he went.  Suddenly, the animals began going crazy.  Nevells grew alarmed. Just as quickly as the racket started, it stopped and left them in eerie silence. Out of nowhere, the work lights stopped working. The police officer noted something in the distance.  Halt saw a bright, glowing object that had a "dark center, like the black pupil of an eye."  The glowing object moved toward them, and three men ran.  It exploded into five white objects, all moving straight toward the men at the road.  The white objects went straight into the sky and moved around.  Halt had no idea if he was dealing with a new weapon. 

At the air traffic control tower, Master Sgt. Ike Barker was sitting back and relaxing.  Out of the corner of his eye, he was something on the radar.  Something was moving so fast, they were getting a continuous line on the readout. They called another radar unit for verification, but before the phone call could connect, the ship was on them. It was right next to the window, and it was slowing.  Barker described it as an 80-foot diameter basketball.  It was absolutely silent as it flew past the tower. It eventually came to a stop over one of the nuclear storage bunkers. A bright beam struck the ground outside the bunker.  They had no way of knowing what the craft was going to do.  Would it detonate the nukes and start World War Three? Would it leave them be?  All any of them could do was watch and wait. Finally, in the blink of an eye, the craft was gone. 

In 1981, Colonel Halt wrote up his incident report. He believed it should have gone higher up the chain of command, but it didn't. He had no doubt that it was a UFO under intelligent control.  The Rendlesham Incident was one of many reported UFO incidents near nuclear weapons facilities. 
Subject Names:  Lt. Colonel Charles Halt, Master Sgt. Ike Barker, Airman John Burroughs, Staff Sgt. James W. Penniston, Staff. Sgt. Munroe Nevells
Subject Location:   Rendlesham Forest, England   
Paranormal Experience:  One of the most well-known UFO sightings in England

Lt. Colonel Charles Halt had just been reassigned from the Pentagon to RAF Bentwaters. This was 1980, the peak of the Cold War. Tensions between the U.S. and Russia were high. Bentwaters was a nuclear alert base, and they had nuclear weapons on-site. 

It was Boxing Day morning, and all was quiet. Airman John Burroughs went with his supervisor to check the base's East Gate. His supervisor saw something in the distance, out in the forest. Burroughs radioed it in to Staff Sgt. Penniston, asking him to come and take a look. Penniston saw what looked like a white bubble of light over part of the forest. They had to investigate.  They had to make sure it wasn't a downed enemy aircraft. They walked out into the forest, disturbed by the fact that the lights had gone.  The forest was pitch black.  Almost immediately, their radios began to go out. Something was interfering.  They pressed onward, until a loud, high-pitched squeal stopped them cold. The squeal was followed by the sound of several different animals (likely belonging to a nearby farm) panicking as though they were trying to escape something.  According to Burroughs, something then hit the ground.  Both men saw an object in the distance. They weren't certain what it was, but when lights on it began flashing, Penniston was worried it might explode.

Penniston knew it was his job to find out what it was, and whether or not it was hostile. He and Burroughs approached the object. Burroughs had no way of identifying the object, as it was like nothing he'd ever seen before.  He did know that it was not an aircraft or a helicopter. Penniston walked around the object, noting it looked like black glass. He could find none of the aircraft features that he would have expected; no crew compartment, no air intake, nothing.  On one side, he found a set of symbols.  Burroughs felt it was something significant, but what?  Penniston began noting the symbols in his notebook.  One symbol caught his focus, and he reached out to touch it.  It felt warm.  Could it have been radioactive?  The light began to pulsate, as though the object were powering up.  Penniston was once again afraid it was going to explode.  In an eyeblink, the thing disappeared.  Penniston made a note.  "Speed impossible."

When they returned to the base, they were debriefed.  Penniston immediately questioned how much to tell without putting his career in jeopardy.  He reported what he felt comfortable reporting, and was told to go home and rest. 

Halt thought it might have been a joke.  It was Christmastime, and the festivities might have gotten to them.  Still, it was becoming a serious problem.  Too many of the base staff were spending time looking at the sky.  Staff. Sgt. Munroe Nevells, an instructor in chemical warfare defense, was called in to investigate. 

Nevells went out to the site, and found three impressions in the ground.  The ground had been pressed to the same height, depth, and width.  It looked to Nevells like some kind of tripod.  The nearby trees had been scorched.  Nevells believed something had happened, but what?  Nevells pulled out the night vision goggles as it got dark.  In the corner of his eye, he spotted something in the distance.  The guard who'd accompanied him looked, and both men were blinded by a white light.  The light appeared to be an eyeball. It brightened, and then dimmed, almost as though it were blinking. Then, out of nowhere, it stopped.  Within seconds, they were blinded again. The light chased the two men out of the forest. They returned to the base, just in time for the officers' holiday party. 

The senior police officer on duty walked into the party and told Halt that the UFO was back. Halt wanted to put the whole thing to rest once and for all. He went to the site with Nevells and the officer. When they arrived, there were four or five vehicles there, and—Halt estimated—25 people in the forest.  If the press got wind of this?  How was he supposed to explain it? One of the people at the site was John Burroughs.  When Halt got into the forest, he noted it was eerily quiet. They walked to the scene of the incident.  Halt saw the indentations, and they were identical. He had Nevells get out the Geiger counter.  Nevells took readings from the triangle, but he got residuals at the indentations.  When Nevells took a reading in the center? The needle began dancing. The area was radioactive. When Nevells took a reading at the scorched tree?  The needle pegged.  The radiation readings were off the scale.

Halt turned on his pocket tape recorder and began dictating details as he went.  Suddenly, the animals began going crazy. Nevells grew alarmed. Just as quickly as the racket started, it stopped and left them in eerie silence. Out of nowhere, the work lights stopped working. The police officer noted something in the distance.  Halt saw a bright, glowing object that had a "dark center, like the black pupil of an eye."  The glowing object moved toward them, and three men ran.  It exploded into five white objects, all moving straight toward the men at the road.  The white objects went straight into the sky and moved around.  Halt had no idea if he was dealing with a new weapon. 

At the air traffic control tower, Master Sgt. Ike Barker was sitting back and relaxing. Out of the corner of his eye, he was something on the radar.  Something was moving so fast, they were getting a continuous line on the readout.  They called another radar unit for verification, but before the phone call could connect, the ship was on them.  It was right next to the window, and it was slowing.  Barker described it as an 80-foot diameter basketball.  It was absolutely silent as it flew past the tower.  It eventually came to a stop over one of the nuclear storage bunkers.  A bright beam struck the ground outside the bunker.  They had no way of knowing what the craft was going to do.  Would it detonate the nukes and start World War Three?  Would it leave them be?  All any of them could do was watch and wait.  Finally, in the blink of an eye, the craft was gone. 

In 1981, Colonel Halt wrote up his incident report.  He believed it should have gone higher up the chain of command, but it didn't.  He had no doubt that it was a UFO under intelligent control.  The Rendlesham Incident was one of many reported UFO incidents near nuclear weapons facilities. 

 

READ AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NICK POPE, AN EXPERT ON THE RENDELSHAM CASE.

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