Feb 02, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Rendlesham Forest “UFO” Event – and a Few Things You May Not Know About it

A couple of days ago I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe with this title: "Taking a Look at Some of the Most Interesting Figures Tied to the Roswell 'UFO Crash.'" It highlighted some of the very intriguing aspects of the Roswell affair. So, with that in mind, I thought today I would share with you some interesting - and lesser-known - aspects of the Rendlesham Forest "UFO landing" incident of December 1980 in Suffolk, England. Based upon their personal encounters, many of those who were present believed that something almost unbelievable came down in the near-pitch-black woods on the night of December 26. Lives were altered forever – and for the most part not for the better, I should stress. Many of those who were present on those fantastic nights found their minds dazzled, tossed and turned – and incredibly quickly, too. The incidents involved American military personnel who, at the time it all happened, were stationed in the United Kingdom. Their primary role was to provide significant support in the event that the Soviets decided to flex their muscles just a little bit too much – or, worse still, planned on hitting the proverbial red button and ending civilization in hours. Maybe, even in minutes. Depending on who you ask, those who were were in the area came face to face with a crashed Soviet satellite, a secret drone-type craft, extraterrestrials, an early stealth plane, time-travelers, and a top secret experiment involving mind-manipulation. It's clear already that the Rendlesham affair was confusing from the beginning. Perhaps, though, we might get a few answers to what really happened. And from some who knew more than the rest of us.

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(Nick Redfern) A Mystery that still continues

In November 2000, Georgina Bruni's Rendlesham-themed book was published. Its title: You Can't Tell the People. I found from Georgina that in late December 1980 a team from the U.K.'s biological-chemical facility in Wiltshire, Porton Down, was dispatched into the heart of Rendlesham Forest. Dressed in full-body protection (hazmat) outfits, they entered into the woods on a classified operation. It was assumed among those in the UFO research community who Georgina had confided in, that the Porton Down team was there to try and determine what happened over the course of those three nights and to see if there were any chemical or biological hazards still present. Georgina confided in me a list of various characters in this story who knew of the Porton Down ties to Rendlesham. By "a list" I mean she gave me the names of several people who had confided in her. Georgina was clearly worried about what she had uncovered – to the extent that she asked me to sign a sheet of paper that basically stated I would not reveal the names of those sources. It certainly wasn’t a legally-bounding contract, but, out of respect for Georgina, I agreed to take it as exactly that. I’m sure that part of the reason was because Georgina wanted to get the scoop for her own book on the case – which, as an author myself, is something I can easily understand. That said, I also got a feeling that Georgina had certain concerns about publicizing the names of the people who were sitting on the Porton Down story – and who had done so for years. So, the names stayed hidden. Now, onto another intriguing angle that was brought forth by people with something to say.

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(Nick Redfern) The Rendlesham  affair: Secret experiments, time-travelers, aliens or something else?

On October 25, 1988 Squadron Leader E.E. Webster of RAF Watton wrote me the following, after I raised questions about RAF Watton's claimed connections to the Rendlesham Forest case: "Our log book for the period does indeed say that a UFO was reported to us by RAF Bentwaters at 0325 GMT on 28 December 1980 but that is all the information we have." Apparently, though, it actually wasn’t “all the information we have." Someone – or an agency - was being decidedly economic with the facts, such as those facts were. Nick Pope revealed that Georgina Bruni’s RAF Police sources knew of a far greater story concerning RAF Watton than the brief one provided to me by Squadron Leader E.E. Webster in 1988. Apparently, on the very same night that staff at RAF Watton recorded the presence of a UFO (on December 28, 1980), a pair of military dog-handlers were patrolling the facility when something very strange happened. The pair was shocked and baffled to see just outside the perimeter fence a number of figures. No, they were not aliens. They were all too human: they were dressed in NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) outfits, head-to-foot. One of Georgina's police sources revealed that he and his comrades were interviewed, questioned, and warned to remain silent with regard to what they had seen on that cold, winter’s night. Or, rather, who they had seen.

Now, onto another revelation; this one from a man who wanted to reveal what he knew. The genesis of this part of the story dates back to 1986. That was the year in which the late Graham Birdsall – who ran the popular and successful U.K.-based UFO Magazine – had a notable conversation with a man named George Wild. Back in the eighties, Wild was employed as a prison officer at a facility called Armley Prison. Built in the 19th century, and located in Leeds, England, it is a "Class C" jail, which means the prisoners are considered those who "cannot be trusted in open conditions but who are unlikely to try to escape." George Wild quietly confided in Birdsall something highly disturbing, something that he had learned from a fellow officer: that on the night of December 27, 1980, the U.K. government’s Home Office was hastily readying local law-enforcement personnel to evacuate several prisons in Suffolk. Wild said that he knew for sure one of the prisons was HM [Her Majesty’s] Prison Highpoint North. It is situated in the village of Stradishall, Suffolk, which is approximately forty-four miles from Woodbridge. As for the primary role of the Home Office, its staff state that: "The first duty of the government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure. The Home Office has been at the front line of this endeavor since 1782. As such, the Home Office plays a fundamental role in the security and economic prosperity of the United Kingdom." The inference was that the planned evacuations were due to what was happening in Rendlesham Forest.

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(Nick Redfern) Graham Birdsall, Rendlesham and a prison

Still on this matter of significant sources, there’s a story that surfaced on July 31, 1994. The source of the story? None other than Charles Halt, the man who prepared the almost-legendary "Halt Memo" on the Rendlesham case. In a lecture at the city of Leeds, U.K., Halt revealed that only a few hours after the first night of activity in the woods, a C141 Starlifter aircraft, which was used in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, arrived. A number of what were intriguingly termed "special individuals" exited the plane and made their quick way to the East Gate of RAF Woodbridge. Not even Halt knew what was going on. The team was in the woods for a number of hours, after which they left the woods, took their seats on the plane, and got the hell out of Dodge. What all of this data means - from key figures willing to share what they knew - is that there is still a great deal to be solved when it comes to Rendlesham. Let's hope even more will come forward with what they know.

Nick Redfern
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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