Jun 09, 2022 I Nick Redfern

A Famous UFO Case: Aliens? Time Travelers? Or a Secret Experiment?

In the final days of December 1980 multiple, strange encounters and wild incidents occurred in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England. And across a period of three nights, no less. 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 need to stress. Many of those who were present on those fantastic nights found their minds dazzled, tossed and turned – and incredibly quickly, too. Those 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. Various theories have been put forward to try and solve the riddle of what really happened in Rendlesham Forest. My own book on the subject suggests that the whole thing was a top secret, domestic experiment. The alien angle is definitely at the forefront for most. Then, there is the time-travel aspect that I'm going to share with you today. it’s important that we go back to the beginning: (a) the events themselves; and (b) a near-legendary memo on the incidents that was carefully prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt. At the time, he was the Deputy Base Commander at RAF Bentwaters. On January 13, 1981, Halt prepared the following report; it was sent to the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD) for scrutiny. It gives a fairly brief – but certainly detailed – account of what happened:

(Nick Redfern)

1.  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. 

2.  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. 

3.  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. Charles I. Halt, Lt Col, USAF, Deputy Base Commander.

One of the key figures in the Rendlesham affair was Jim Penniston. He entered the U.S. Air Force in 1973. At the time all hell broke loose in Rendlesham Forest, Penniston was a Senior Security Officer. Both he and Halt had startling encounters in those December nights. Penniston actually touched the whatever-it-was; something that he now believes caused him to receive a binary code message that was, essentially, downloaded into his mind. Techopedia explains what, precisely, binary codes are: “Binary code is the most simplistic form of data. It is represented entirely by a binary system of digits consisting of a string of consecutive zeros and ones. Binary code is often associated with machine code in that binary sets can be combined to form raw code, which is interpreted by a computer or other piece of hardware.”  Formerly of the U.S. Air Force, and one of the key military players in the famous UFO encounter at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England in December 1980, Sergeant Penniston – in 1994 – underwent hypnotic regression, as part of an attempt to try and recall deeply buried data relative to what occurred to him during one of Britain’s closest encounters.

(Nick Redfern)

Very interestingly, and while under hypnosis, Penniston stated that our presumed aliens are, in reality, visitors from a far-flung future. Our future. That future, Penniston added, is very dark, in infinitely deep trouble, polluted and where the Human Race is overwhelmingly blighted by reproductive problems. The answer to those same, massive problems, Penniston was told by the entities he met in the woods, is that they travel into the distant past – to our present day – to secure sperm, eggs and chromosomes, all as part of an effort to try and ensure the continuation of the severely waning Human Race of tomorrow. Ian Ridpath, a skeptic of the UFO story, said: “In the days following the events of December 26 and 28, Halt and Penniston were debriefed separately by [Colonel] Ted Conrad, Halt’s boss. These were the only two witnesses Conrad talked to. It is sometimes claimed in UFO circles that the witnesses were subjected to interrogation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), including injections by the so-called ‘truth drug’ sodium pentothal.” In January 2010, however, Conrad denied that drugs were used. 

UFO researcher Dr. David Clarke was told by Conrad: “There were no conspiracies, no secret operation, no missile accident, and no harsh interrogations by OSI. I was in a position to know about the OSI. They had their own chain of command, but in practice the OSI commander kept me informed of any ongoing investigations they had.” Try telling all of that to the personnel in the woods on those cold nights in December 1980. Are we likely to get the answers? A secret experiment? Aliens? Time travelers? One day, maybe...

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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