In May of this year Lisa Hagan Books published my book, The Rendlesham Forest UFO Conspiracy. It’s a book that totally discards a UFO angle for the famous December 1980 case. Instead, it looks at matters from the angle of what I call, in concise terms, a “secret experiment.” Part of the story revolves around a classified program designed to utilize and control ball-lightning in the sky – as a means to make the witnesses to the aerial activity believe they were seeing UFOs. They were actually seeing nothing of the sort. There were no UFOs: the whole thing was a test to see how the human mind could be deceived and manipulated. There’s another part of the story, however – one that I will share with you today. Months before the book was published, there was an incredible development in the overall story. It was a very welcome, but also mysterious, development that suggested not only was I on the right track; but, that I had sympathetic insiders who wanted the full, unexpurgated story out for everyone to see – finally. Before we get to that development, however, we need to see how the high-strangeness began and where things are at now.
There is a distinct probability that none other than the late Brad Steiger knew something of this secret project concerning ball-lightning. Steiger, who passed away in 2018 at the age of eighty-two, wrote more than 160 books. It is, however, just one of those many books that we need to focus our attention on. It is World of the Weird. It was published by Belmont Books. The book – an old paperback that I had never heard of before this 2020 development occurred – contains a chapter titled “The Mystery of Lightning Balls.” As can be deduced from the title of that chapter, it’s a study of ball-lightning. Before we get to my role in this latest development, I’ll give you some background material on Steiger’s book.
In World of the Weird, Steiger cited the words of Professor Harold W. Lewis, a professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin, who said: “Any normal, cynical scientist, on hearing of ball-lightning for the first time, almost instinctively places it in the category of folklore, along with flying saucers and ectoplasm. A brief survey of reported events, however, quickly convinces the skeptic that enough reputable observers have seen and possibly even photographed ball-lightning to leave no doubt that the phenomenon is real, although it is rare and as yet unexplained.” It wasn’t so much the mystery surrounding ball-lightning that intrigued Steiger. Rather, it was the potential military application of ball-lightning as a weapon. This gets to the very heart of the operation described in my book. Steiger’s book was published in 1966, having been written one year earlier, 1965. That was the very same time – we now know, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act – in which the ball-lightning program quietly began in earnest.
Steiger wrote: “Recent reports of lightning balls have spurred scientists, who before simply had no use for such rare phenomena, to become very curious as to how they can reproduce such a bundle of electricity in their laboratories. The new investigations have probably not taken place only in this country. Certain information indicates that the Soviet Union is just as curious about the production and control of this phenomenon as the U.S. is.” Steiger got to the heart of the situation: “Such a concentrated ball of energy, if harnessed, could be put to hundreds of military as well as civilian uses. As a weapon, it would be awesome. It could not be shot down by a presently available firepower, and its concentrated heat could penetrate any normal armor.” It scarcely needs stating that Steiger’s words practically mirror the words contained in the secret 1965 report. Did Steiger somehow have access to the report? Did he have an insider source who helped him to expose the story? While the chances of answering those questions are slim, there is another – equally intriguing – development in all of this. It ties in with my very own research into this field. And, it brings a degree of conspiracy and inside-information into the mysterious story.
It wasn’t until September 2019 that I finally decided – with the 40th anniversary of the Rendlesham events coming at the end of 2020 – to go ahead and write my book on Rendlesham. At the time, the only people who knew of the project were me and my literary agent, Lisa Hagan – who has been my agent for more than fifteen years. That’s it: no-one else at all. When I told Lisa of the idea for the book, she was highly enthused. A deal was made, a contract was drawn up, and the wheels began to turn, which included interviewing Ray Boeche. He is a UFO researcher who, in the early 1980s, did a lot of probing into the Rendlesham Forest case. Boeche became the third person to know about the planned book. My editor, Beth Wareham, was next to learn of the project. And, that was it. No-one else knew about the book until the day it was published and placed on Amazon, etc. We were, then, just a “Gang of four,” to shamelessly hijack the name of a post-punk band of the late 1970s.
Eleven days into the writing, something very weird happened: a package was dropped off on my doorstep. I say “dropped off” because it clearly didn’t come through the usual sources, such as FedEx, UPS or the Post Office. It was a manila envelope that was covered in scotch-tape – in fact, there was way more tape than was needed. My name was written on the front of the envelope with a black-marker. As for my name, it didn’t just say “Nick Redfern.”” Rather, it said: “Nick D. Redfern.” Not many know that I have a middle name. It’s David. But, whoever sent the package to me evidently did know. Maybe, it was done to let me know that someone knew more about me than most did. Who knows? The weirdness – and what I deduced to be strange mind-games – didn’t end there, however. I opened the envelope to find inside a first edition copy of Brad Steiger’s World of the Weird. It was when I read the Steiger book then in my hands, I realized that someone wanted me to know more of the military-based ball-lightning issue of my research – and that I was working on at that very same time.
I realized that the book had been sent to me with a specific purpose. But, who was the sender? I had zero chance of figuring out the answer to that question. In fact, there was no sender’s address on the envelope at all. There were no stamps on it, either. I could only conclude that someone, at an undetermined time between around midnight and 1:00 a.m. the night before – which is usually around the time I go to bed – and approximately 8:00 a.m. the next morning, when I got up, had deliberately dropped the envelope outside the door of my second-floor apartment. Did I have my very own “Deep Throat?”” One who, in a very odd way, tried his or her best to tell me exactly what I needed to know? Was someone trying to help me make a solid case for what happened in Rendlesham Forest? I think that’s precisely what happened. Someone had been keeping an eye on me. And they still want the complete story of what happened in Rendesham Forest in December 1980 to be blown wide open.