Thursday, March 09, 2006

Something to Believe In

Of all the UFO lore that exists in the public sphere,
no incident is more compelling or raises more eyebrows than the Rendlesham Forest Incident.

Sometimes called “Britain’s Rosewell,” the Rendlesham incident took place over the Christmas holiday in 1980 outside a United States Air Force Base in the English countryside . On two consecutive nights, four different U.S. Airmen claim to have witnessed a glowing object that landed in a small field within the forest, a pulsing red light that moved toward them in the distance, and finally a craft in the sky that sent beams of white light down to the earth, many in the vicinity of a nuclear weapons stock that was a then a part of the airbase.

Later, a civilian came forward and claimed to have witnessed a group of military men huddled around the spacecraft, speaking to three tiny alien beings in sign language. (At the risk of being glib and offending Tom Cruise, this guy is pretty obviously full of it and out to make money so his testimonials will be ignored by this article.)

That leaves us with three eyewitness accounts by military personnel (one of the officers has refused to speak publicly), as well as a tape recording made by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt during his encounter with the “craft” and a memo he sent to British authorities two days later that was accompanied by a drawing of what he believed he saw.

The tape recording is by far the most compelling evidence for some kind of encounter at Rendlesham. The embarrassment in Halt’s voice at having to investigate such an outlandish claim in the opening moments of the tape is in stark contrast to the obvious fear he feels as he talks about a “red light” coming towards the men and a bright beam being sent down from a craft in the sky.

Two days later Hart composed a brief memo documenting the encounter.

This memo, sent by Hart to British Intelligence, was somehow intercepted by a local newspaper called “News of the World” which ran an article about a week after the incident headlined “UFO LANDS IN SUFFOLK: AND THAT’S OFFICIAL.”

A number of documentaries have been made about the Rendlesham incident. (One of these “UFO Files: Britain’s Rosewell” airs intermittently on the History channel, presumably because it garners higher ratings than actual historical programming)

What makes this particular encounter so compelling is the caliber of the witnesses involved. All three continued to serve in the military after Rendlesham and have now retired. All are reluctant to call their experience a “UFO sighting.” For the most part, they seem to be down-to-earth, reasonable and unassuming. They don’t appear (overly) interested in money. (One of the men, Larry Warren, has published a book with a UFO researcher called "Left at East Gate". His claims are a bit more exaggerated than the other two, hinting at a government cover-up and a threat he received during an OSI investigation, “Bullets are cheap,” which seems to have become a bit of a catch phrase for conspiracists that report on the incident.)

That being said, nothing about their documented accounts or filmed interviews rings decidedly false and there is little evidence of the post-sighting hysteria, obvious exaggeration of facts, or manipulative insinuation that usually accompanies extraterrestrial allegations.

Skeptics of the Rendlesham affair claim it is much ado about little, sighting a lighthouse that stands a few miles from the forest and may have caused an optical illusion that convinced the men they were witnessing some otherworldly phenomenon. (One thing I am learning writing this, we certainly have developed a lot of different ways of calling something “Alien”)

There has also been talk of a meteor that struck the earth that same day, December 26, 1980.

(Cliché UFO documentary ending…)

So, what actually took place that fateful night outside a U.S. Airbase in Great Britain’s quiet backcountry? For now, no one is sure. Our government is silent on the matter. A silence that is read by some, like UFO researcher Georgina Bruni, as an admission of guilt. (Cut to way-too-attractive British author) “People want to know. What are they hiding. And why?” For others, it is simply an oversight. (Cut to old suit in glasses.) “The United States government has better things to do with it’s time and resources than investigate outlandish claims like Rendlesham.” Whatever your belief, one thing is clear. For those involved, the incident at Rendlesham is anything but a closed case. (Cut to UFO winess.) “To this day, it’s something I still think about. I’d like answers.”

Their plea is a plea we can all identify with. Are we alone? Is there something else? An intelligence greater than ours? Do Aliens exist? And if so, did they visit our planet on that cold winter night and brighten the dark sky?

The questions are many. The answers few. But still, we search…


At 2:57 AM, Blogger SMangat said...

Will the awkward toad ever team with irving longface to form a crack team researching the mysteries of the universe?

At 3:01 AM, Blogger SMangat said...

you certainly did a lot of research on this. kudos. it's a shame that it definitely wasn't an alien craft...or was it (cue X-Files music).

What is more likely to be real, aliens have come to earth or bigfoot?

At 11:16 AM, Blogger The Awkward Toad said...

Let's be fair...the wikipedia did a lot of research on this...i just saw the documentary on tv two nights ago

At 2:09 PM, Blogger The Awkward Toad said...

and I would have to say aliens...whatyathinkofthat longface?

At 1:58 AM, Blogger SMangat said...

this is your next blog, a must:
Cassini Spots Water Geysers on Saturn Moon

check out yahoo

At 1:01 PM, Blogger irving longface said...

come on homes, bigfoot is way more plausible. bigfoot is just an unclassified primate; believing in him doesn't mean anywhere near the leap of faith that believing in an intelligent life form that evolved on an entirely different planet does.

bigfoot is my copilot,

At 3:04 PM, Blogger The Awkward Toad said...

i'm not sure modern science is ready to classify a dude in an ape costume an unclassified primate...

also, unexplored regions of earth, very little...unexplored regions of the universe, infinite

know about it

At 12:50 PM, Blogger SMangat said...

one time at ud, ze flute bought a gorilla costume and harassed people at caffe gelato. does that count as a bigfoot sighting?

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At the risk of being glib and offending Tom Cruise" OH todd! hahah! excellent!


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