UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 15

Re: 'Popular Mechanics' Accuses US Government

From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 22:45:35 -0400
Fwd Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 23:11:16 -0400
Subject: Re: 'Popular Mechanics' Accuses US Government


>From: Stig Agermose <wanderer@post8.tele.dk>
>Subject: 'Popular Mechanics' Article Accuses US Government Of UFO
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 02:21:45 +0200

Stig publicised:

>From the July edition of 'Popular Mechanics'.



>These UFO sightings continue to defy science and the skeptics.


>POPULAR MECHANICS offers no opinion on whether these mysterious
>flying machines originate from secret military airstrips here on
>Earth or spaceports somewhere "out there." We do, however, feel
>comfortable making one prediction: When the shell of security
>surrounding UFOs finally cracks, it will be because one of the
>sightings we present here provided the wedge.


>BENTWATERS, ENGLAND December 27, 1980

>For three years Pope was assigned to the MOD office responsible for
>investigating UFO reports.


>Among the cases he examined was an incident that has come to be known
>as England's Roswell.

>It occurred over the last days of December 1980, near a now-closed
>U.S. Air Force base in Bentwaters. For two nights security patrols
>observed unusual lights in the Rendlesham Forest just beyond the
>base's fence. On the second night they entered the forest with
>generator-powered floodlights, Geiger counters and 2-way radios. At
>the critical moment when an angular, 20-ft.-wide, 30-ft.-tall craft
>appeared, the radiation-detecting instruments started to clatter and
>the spotlights and radios began to sporadically fail.

What an ill-researched mess.

There was no 'craft' witnessed during the second night's
incident, involving Col. Halt's investigation of the 'UFO'
reports, no 'clattering' of any instruments, no sporadic
communications failure and the 'light-alls' are testified to
have been unreliable.

>Daylight revealed broken tree limbs and three 1 1/2-in. deep,
>7-in.-dia. circular depressions, suggesting something had landed,
>just as the observers claimed.

'Daylight', as indicated here, relates only to the first night's
events when originally nobody claimed anything had 'landed'.

>Initially, skeptics dismissed this physical evidence as wind damage.

Currently, there's no evidence for other than a prosaic
explanation of any 'damage'.

>They explained the unusual lights by constructing a complex chain of
>events that included unusual astronomical activity, satellite debris
>burning up on reentry, and the rotating beam of a lighthouse several
>miles away.

And what d'ya know, it turns out there was an apparent satellite
re-entry of COSMOS-749 earlier that first night, on 25 December
1980, and the lighthouse is now a proven factor in a relatively
complex chain of events.

>What the skeptics couldn't explain, says Pope, is a scientific report
>he found in the MOD files.

He didn't find any such report in the Ministry of Defence (MoD)
files and doubtless has never claimed otherwise. Pope asked the
Defence Radiological Protection Service for an opinion about the
readings referenced on Halt's microcassette recording/memo to
the MoD.

>It revealed radiation levels 25 times higher than normal background
>levels in the soil and trees surrounding the landing site.

According to Pope, their opinion was that the readings were
_ten_ times higher, not twenty-five times higher than might be
expected in the area.

There is some further, relevant information which may not be
familiar outside the UK.

On 27 June, 1997, the UK ITV network broadcast a 'prime time'
televised TV debate on the subject of UFOs. The 'Strange But
True?' program featured the 'Rendlesham Forest' case and Frank
Close, a theoretical physicist, claimed to have contacted the
manufacturers of a circa 1980s geiger counter which was standard
issue to the US forces.

The manufacturers reportedly confirmed that the tolerance of the
minimum reading was similar to that mentioned on the 'Halt
tape', i.e., it was comparable to a car's speedometer which
would flicker even though the car was stationary at traffic

Even Jenny Randles accepts the 'radiation readings' seem to be
of no significance.

The televised debate also included a contribution from Vince
Thurkettle, at the time a local forester, who commented that the
'landing marks' were without question, in his opinion, simply
'rabbit scrapings'.

Incidentally, a word on Col. Halt.

I have been fortunate in contacting a number of personnel who
were stationed at the twin base RAF Bentwaters and RAF
Woodbridge complex at the time of the 'UFO' excitement. Offering
to place Col. Halt's background in perspective, the then Area
Defense Counsel, the "lawyer charged with defending personnel
charged with criminal offenses or facing adverse personnel
actions", recollects:

"At the time, I was a Captain.

Most of us on base were embarrassed by this "incident." We
didn't believe the UFO hype for one minute. The next day, I
personally read the "Security Police Blotter" describing the
incident in detail. It seemed to document hysteria rather than
hard facts.

The "Deputy Base Commander" title is misleading. The senior
officer on base is the Wing Commander, who had several
subordinate commanders, i.e., A-10 squadron commanders, etc. The
"Base Commander" was one of these subordinate commanders,
charged with overseeing the housekeeping operations on the base,
e.g., security, housing, personnel, etc. The position of "Deputy
Base Commander" was generally viewed as a dead-end job reserved
for lieutenant colonels officers who had not demonstrated great
potential and were being permitted to put in time until

>Pope said the two Bentwaters episodes and others he investigated
>during his stint as England's top UFO investigator moved him from
>skeptic to believer, and inspired him to write a book titled Open
>Skies, Closed Minds.

>"As long as we are all afraid of ridicule, the UFOs are going to be
>ignored," says Pope. "Perhaps we ignore them at our peril."

In the UK UFO Network, IRC on-line conference, dated 23 May,
1998, Nick Pope was asked:

"What do you think of Easton's recent conclusions surrounding
Bentwaters? Also, what about Steuart Campbell's lightship (not
lighthouse) explanation, do you rate it higher than Klass'

Pope replying:

"I've spoken to Charles Halt about this at some length. He told
me that the lighthouse was visible at the same time as the UFO,
and was entirely separate. What's more, all the base personnel
were familiar with it, as it was a well-known local feature".

Apparently Halt, for some reason, didn't mention to Nick Pope
the critical original witness statements he had never disclosed.
That of the three security police officers who first
investigated the 'strange lights', John Burroughs wrote in his

"Once we reached the farmer's house we could see a beacon going
around so we went towards it. We followed it for about 2 miles
before we could see it was coming from a lighthouse".

Or that Ed Cabansag confirmed:

"...we ran and walked a good 2 miles past our vehicle, until we
got to a vantage point where we could determine that what we
were chasing was only a beacon light off in the distance. Our
route through the forest and field was a direct one, straight
towards the light".

What's your opinion on the case now, Nick?

Whilst on the subject of the 'Strange But True' debate, I'm sure
we would all care to determine some facts and their
consequential reporting.


1. Halt didn't take any witness statements until a full week
after the initial events, confirming in the April 1994 interview
for OMNI magazine that, "Around New Year's Eve, I took
statements and interviewed the men who had taken part in the
initial incident. The reports were nearly identical".

A full week elapsed between the incidents and Halt obtaining
crucial witness affidavits, proven by the dating on the
statements, during which time the evidence was susceptible to
what Halt acknowledges were rumours which were "out of control".

As has only recently become evident, following my disclosure of
the original statements, they were not only far from identical,
they revealed dramatic differences from the stories which later
emerged, especially Penniston's.

2. It is also proven from all of the statements that Burroughs,
Cabansag and Penniston chased a light through Rendlesham Forest
for some two miles, before they recognised it was a lighthouse

3. Penniston originally claimed he was never able to determine
the source of the elusive lights, Burroughs still maintains he
never saw an actual object and Cabansag's account is 'much ado
about nothing'.

Perhaps proponents of the 'Rendlesham' case remaining
inexplicable would first care to explain the following claims
which Halt made on the 'Strange But True?' program and which
were made _prior to the original witness statements and all they
reveal being publicised_.

In response to the question of witness testimony having changed
over the years, Halt declared to a nationwide audience, as
recorded on video:

"The story so to speak as for the size and shape has not changed
through the years.

I took original statements from the three people that actually
approached the object and did it the day afterwards and they all
said the same thing when they were independently interviewed and
they all said it was approximately nine feet on the side and it
was triangular. They have not changed that story.

...These three people have said the same thing consistently and
do to this day".

E-mail: pulsar@compuserve.com

[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com