UFO: From New Mexico to Rendlesham Forest?

Is there a connection between a strange and controversial cattle-mutilation event that occurred in New Mexico in June 1976, and the equally controversial UFO incident that went down in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England in December 1980? Let’s take a look. We’ll begin with the 1976 affair. From 1975 onward, Police Officer Gabe Valdez, of Espanola, New Mexico, investigated multiple UFO/animal mutilation cases in and around Rio Arriba County, NM. In fact, the total was twenty-eight. One of the most bizarre events occurred in June 1976, as Valdez’s files demonstrate:

“Investigations around the area revealed that a suspected aircraft of some type had landed twice, leaving three pod marks positioned in a triangular shape. The diameter of each pod was 14 inches. Emanating from the two landings were smaller triangular shaped tripods 28 inches and 4 inches in diameter. Investigation at the scene showed that these small tripods had followed the cow for approximately 600 feet. Tracks of the cow showed where she had struggled and fallen. The small tripod tracks were all around the cow. Other evidence showed that grass around the tripods, as they followed the cow, had been scorched. Also a yellow oily substance was located in two places under the small tripods. This substance was submitted to the State Police Lab. The Lab was unable to detect the content of the substance.”

Valdez continued: “A sample of the substance was submitted to a private lab and they were unable to analyze the substance due to the fact that it disappeared or disintegrated. Skin samples were analyzed by the State Police Lab and the Medical Examiner’s Office. It was reported that the skin had been cut with a sharp instrument.” Seventy-two hours later, Valdez liaised with Dr. Howard Burgess, of the New Mexico-based Sandia Laboratories, with a view to having the area checked for radiation. It was a wise move. The radiation level was double that which could normally be expected. Valdez’s conclusions on this issue: “It is the opinion of this writer that radiation findings are deliberately being left at the scene to confuse investigators.”

The case was not over, however. Whatever, or whoever, was responsible for the mutilation made a return visit. Once again, we need to take a look at the official files on the affair. In Valdez’s own words: “There was also evidence that the tripod marks had returned and removed the left ear. Tripod marks were found over Mr. Gomez’s tire tracks of his original visit. The left ear was intact when Mr. Gomez first found the cow. The cow had a 3-month-old calf which has not been located since the incident. This appears strange since a small calf normally stays around the mother even though the cow is dead.”

Now, let’s move on to Rendlesham Forest and December 1980. The Rendlesham affair is a case which saw numerous military personnel from the twin-military U.K. Royal Air Force bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge experiencing profound UFO activity in the nearby East coast woods, between December 26 and 28. Without doubt, the most widely accepted scenario within the UFO research community is that extraterrestrials landed/manifested in those dark woods in late December. There is talk of a small, intelligently controlled vehicle moving through the trees, of lights beaming down to a weapons-storage area in the vicinity, of bizarre activity in the woods, and of strange, dwarfish entities seen at close quarters. There is even talk of local prisons being primed for evacuation at some point between December 26 and 28, 1980.

On January 13, 1981, Deputy Base Commander Colonel Charles Halt prepared a memo on the situation for the attention of the British Ministry of Defense. It began as follows: “Early in the morning of 27 Dec 80 (approximately 0300L) two USAF security police patrolmen saw unusual lights outside the back gate at RAF Woodbridge. Thinking an aircraft might have crashed or been forced down, they called for permission to go outside the gate to investigate. The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three meters across the base and approximately two meters high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank(s) of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared. At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. The object was briefly sighted approximately an hour later near the back gate.”

Halt had more to say: “The next day, three depressions 1 1/2″ deep and 7″ in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground. The following night (29 Dec 80) the area was checked for radiation. Beta/Gamma readings of 0.1 milliroentgens were recorded with peak readings in the three depressions and near the center of the triangle formed by the three depressions. A nearby tree had moderate (0.05 – 0.07) readings on the side of the tree facing towards the three depressions.”

And, finally, there was this from Colonel Halt: “Later in the night a red sun-like object was seen through the trees. It moved about and pulsed. At one point it appeared to throw off glowing particles and then broke into five separate white objects and disappeared. Immediately thereafter, three star like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about 10 degrees off of the horizon. The objects moved rapidly in sharp, angular movements and displayed red, green and blue lights. The objects to the north appeared to be elliptical through 8-10 power lens. They then turned to full circles. The objects in the north remained in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for two to three hours and beamed down a stream of light from time to time. Numerous individuals, including the undersigned, witnessed the activities in paragraphs 2 and 3.”

Now, let’s take a look at the similarities between the two cases, which were roughly four-and-a-half years apart:

(A) In the New Mexican case, the unidentified object left behind “…three pod marks positioned in a triangular shape.” At Rendlesham Forest, “…three depressions 1 1/2″ deep and 7″ in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground.”

(B) The radiation levels at the scene of the mute were twice the level of what could be called normal. In Rendlesham Forest, the radiation level was elevated.

(C) Officer Valdez reported that at the Rio Arriba farm a cow had been mutilated and its calf was missing. At the site of the Rendlesham incident, “…the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy.”

Of course, the connections are without doubt tenuous. But, they are also highly intriguing…


Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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