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The Rendlesham Forest Affair: Grounds for a Lawsuit? Part 1

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Rendlesham Forest UFO event. There’s no doubt that the case is considered to be one of the most important of all. That is, if you believe that the incidents in the woods did have a UFO/alien connection, which I don’t. The basic details of what went down can be found in a one-page memo put together by then-Lt. Col. Charles Halt. In part, Halt wrote: “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 on-duty flight chief responded and allowed three patrolmen to proceed on foot. 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.”

Nick Redfern

The memo continues: “The next day, three depressions 1.5 inches deep and 7 inches 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 depressions. A nearby tree had moderate (0.05–0.07) readings on the side of the tree toward the depressions.” And, finally, there is this from Halt: “Later in the night a red sun-like light 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 then 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 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 an 8-12 power lens. They then turned to full circles. The objects to the north remained in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for two or 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.”

There’s another angle to all of this. Namely, the psychological and physical effects that many of the personnel suffered from – and not just briefly and at the site, but for years later. In some cases, we are talking about decades. This makes me wonder if there might be a case for a lawsuit in all of this. Of course, if the three nights of activity in December did involve extraterrestrials, then there’s barely a chance of going to court. On the other hand, however, if all of the activity was caused by a top secret experiment (or, rather, experiments) designed to see how, and to what extent, the human mind could be screwed with, then that might change the situation – and to a significant degree, too. If that was the case – and, personally, I think it was – then just maybe there might be grounds for at least some kind of lawsuit. Before we get to the matter of a theoretical suit, however, let’s first see how some of the guys suffered. There’s no doubt that one of those who was affected hugely is John Burroughs. Just a few weeks ago, Burroughs’ own book on the case surfaced and received a great deal of coverage. Its title: Weaponisation of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. And it makes for vital reading.


John says the following in his book: “[Jim] Penniston and I cannot be sure our memories are accurate. We can be certain that we think they are, but between the likely power of the real phenomenon to alter reality and the effects of sophisticated debriefing techniques, we can’t be sure that what we think happened, did.” John also states: “What did we encounter? Advanced technology developed in a special access program project intended to produce altered-perception of reality in the enemy?” Whatever the answer, John explains that what he personally encountered was not a “terrifying experience.” Rather, he makes clear, it was an “inexplicable experience.” John doesn’t stop there. He makes it very clear what his role and goal in all of this is today, four decades later: “Helping my fellow veterans get the kind of support they need and deserve for their service to our country’s ideals if they can’t get it because, like me, they were a pawn in a highly classified game.” That word “pawn” is an important one, as it makes it clear that the personnel in Rendlesham Forest were without doubt used and manipulated. No wonder so many of the personnel are still wondering what happened to them forty years ago. And who are still feeling the after-effects, so to speak.

Now, with that said, it’s time to look at the matter of that theoretical lawsuit. Read on in Part-2…


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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