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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 16

Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

From: Richard Hall <dh12.nul>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 18:01:40 -0500
Archived: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 08:59:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:33:25 -0000
>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:31:56 -0600
>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>>From: Gerald O'Connell <gac.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:02:08 +0000
>>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>>Pardon my intrusion at this late stage in the exchange, but it
>>>has revived some thoughts about Rendlesham that have been
>>>puzzling me intermittently over the years.

>>>A fascinating discussion, this, on a fascinating case. Martin
>>>has been absolutely right to draw attention to these
>>>inconsistencies, because they are fundamentally problematic.
>>>Indeed, the entire case has been plagued by witnesses (whether
>>>confirmed, claimed or self-proclaimed) shifting their ground
>>>over time. Larry Warren is the most notorious example, but it
>>>applies to others too. I'm not really sure what conclusions
>>>Martin draws from this tendency (or whether he believes that it
>>>makes drawing any conclusions a fruitless quest - a justifiable
>>>response from somebody who places such emphasis on analysable
>>>specifics of hard evidence), but, for my own part, I think it
>>>perpetuates a concentration of debate and research in areas of
>>>the case that are likely to lead nowhere.

>My tentative conclusion (I would rather say my strong feeling at
>this stage) has been fairly clearly stated. It is that the
>original statements have the ring of truth. Some unexplained
>event was witnessed by three people, involving an apparently
>ordered arrangement of multiple blue, red and white lights that
>appeared to fly among the trees, and at least one of the three
>was convinced they were attached to a mechanical device seen as
>close as 50m distance.

>Gerald's opinion that the evidence is too ambiguous to be
>fruitfully argued about is not one I share in this case. I think
>confusion is a gift to both entrenched poles of opinion, who
>will rush to agree with the wisdom of not poking too hard at the
>status quo. Neither party wishes to to be mired in the low
>ground of confusion between their positions, and to point to
>that confusion as a reason for avoiding contention is to allow
>oneself to be exploited by their intellectual inertia.
>Eventually the deepening bog will swallow them all if the
>original evidence is allowed to be forever compromised by
>revisionism based on fresh embroideries.

>Are there more important issues and more interesting cases? I
>might well agree that there are, but the huge prominence of this
>one in ufological "discourse" (I didn't bring it up remember)
>tells me that ufology in general doesn't agree and ufology in
>general - and that includes this List - needs to take
>responsibility for the reasons why a case which is
>"fundamentally problematic" and "plagued by inconsistencies", as
>Gerald describes it, continues to get such exposure (I
>understand that more documentaries are underway as we speak) and
>to command such esteem out of proportion to that status, both on
>this List as well as off.

>>Probably. This debate has been around for a long time. People
>>unfamiliar witht this might get the impression from this
>>discussion here that Penniston made a story up for the recent
>>Larry King show. He did not. I think it's been 10 or 15 years
>>since Penniston first claimed he'd touched the object and seen
>>writing on it.

Right on!

>10 or 15 years during which Penniston's new version continues to
>be repeated uncritically. That doesn't mean it must be false, it
>is asking for it to be treated critically. Why is it that after
>10 or 15 years merely to raise a question about Penniston's
>changed story on this List caused the questioner to get
>instantly jumped on with the aggressive assertion that anyone
>who claims Penniston ever said anything inconsistent is either
>badly confused or a liar? Seeing such an attitude only makes one
>more inclined to be sympathetic to those who claim the
>Rendlesham affair has the momentum of major myth

>(I mention this here in so discourteous a fashion in order to
>respect the custom of "some on this list" which is to direct
>comments obliquely via third parties out of the corners of their
>mouths and evade direct address.

Oh, feeling sensitive are we? I have no problem with addressing
you directly and will do so below.


>>Halt's memo and his tape recording are by far the most important
>>and credible evidence and they're only slightly less
>>sensational than Penniston's later story.

>Excuse me, but the "most important and credible evidence" in
>respect of the Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag incident, in
>which Halt plays no part at all, is not a second-hand summary by
>Halt but the original first hand accounts by these men, and the
>original statements of two other men (Buran and Chandler) who
>monitored the event by way of Penniston's radio commentary at
>the time. If you focus on these you will be cleaving to your own
>principle (as stated below, and with which I generally agree)
>that "what people say at the time of an incident like this
>should be given far more weight than any new alleged details or
>revisions they make years later".

This is one of your repeated false premises, that revisions made
many years later are involved. Then you become very rigid after
accepting - in your own mind - that your false premise is Gospel

>Secondary to these accounts we then have the summary prepared by
>Halt. This is the sensational para.1 of Halt's memo, a second-
>hand summary of the statements by Penniston and the others
>concerning events Halt did not witness, and adding nothing
>substantial to the pre-existing accounts by Penniston and co. I
>have already agreed that use of the word "metallic" instead of
>"mechanical" could conceivably reflect additional information
>passed verbally by Penniston and co in interview, but this is
>far from either necessary or material since the one would
>normally imply the other. Halt's account agrees that "as [they]
>approached the object... it disappeared". The estimated size is
>probably the only feature that does not appear in the originals.
>>From Halt's para.1:


>Halt's para 3 describes events he himself witnessed on the next
>night and is claimed by himself and by its apologists to contain
>deliberate fabrication (just like the five other original
>witness statements) supposedly designed to obfuscate
>"sensational" parts of his story, so obviously these are exactly
>what it does not include at all. It says:

>"3. Later in the night a red sun-like object 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 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 of 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 8-10 power lens.
>They then turned to full circles. The objects in the north
>remained in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south
>was visible for two to three hours and beamed down a stream of
>light from time to time. "

>As for Halt's tape, nowhere, so far as I know, does it describe
>anything nearly as "sensational" as the sighting of a structured
>landed craft by Penniston and co the previous night. There are
>lights and beams, and lots of excitement, but no structured
>landed craft. In short this seems a much less interesting event
>than the sightings of the first night.

The meaning and significance of this totally eludes me.

>The most pertinent and reliable evidence we have in relation to
>the first night is, you will agree, the original statements of
>those involved. The facts above do not support your contentions
>that the Halt memo (which BTW also contains an erroneous date)
>is "by far the most important and credible evidence" or that it
>contains evidence about that night of a more "sensational"
>nature than the original accounts. It does not. And why would
>it, if (as Halt and his apologists now claim) his account was
>censored to remove sensational aspects of the reports, not to
>make them _more_ sensational than they already were?

"Most pertinent and reliable?" No! The most pertinent and
reliable information we have is from Halt and Penniston (and
others) after overcoming their fear of ridicule and loss of
position, and coming forth to flesh out the story of what
happened. Just as a highly pertinent example, the first reports
from the Kennedy assassination were garbled and inaccurate in
most respects, but obviously for different reasons than in this
case. My point is that there is nothing sacred about original
information. I put far more trust in follow-up investigation,
character assessment, and other routine procedues of vetting

>>Halt certainly didn't write his
>>memo or make the recording in order to get on TV years later.
>>Even if Penniston's later claim that he touched the object is a
>>lie, it doesn't affect the significance of the memo or the

>This paragraph risks confusing the two separate sightings on two
>different nights. Halt's tape has nothing to do with the
>Penniston, Burroughs, Cabansag event that is the topic of this
>thread. As I already pointed out, the part of Halt's memo that
>is relevant to that event is a summary of information already in
>the witness's statements.

Well, yes it does. They sought out the landing site and
documrented it.

>>And the fact that the witnesses' written descriptions
>>are more vague than what's described in the memo does indicate
>>that they were toning down what they put in writing, regardless
>>of whether Penniston was jazzing things up in his later

>This is incomplete reasoning. _If_ it were true that Halt's
>summary was more sensational than the content of the original
>reports, then _one_possible_ interpretation would be that the
>witnesses had decided to tone down their own accounts, just like
>Halt supposedly toned down his own (indeed the suggestion that
>has been made is that they all did this in concert for the same
>reasons). Another would be that Halt's second-hand summary was
>an exaggeration based on Halt's false impression of the original
>story. That would be more economical than the topsy-turvey idea
>that an inflated second-hand summary demonstrates that the
>original evidence must have been self-censored.

If you knew Charles Halt, you would know how ridiculous this
statement is. And the following comments.

>No matter. In any case, your hypothesis assumes Halt's summary
>_is_ more sensational, and is  _not_  toned down like
>the originals. Why would this be? Surely he didn't just forget
>that they were supposed to be keeping mum? This is after all
>para1 of the very same memo in which he has (ex hypothesi)
>carefully toned down his own account of the next night for the
>same motives.

>Fortunately this daft idea is not required to make sense,
>because the story in the original statements is in fact just the
>same story as the one summarised by Halt: The "positively
>identified mechanical device" moving erratically through the
>trees and observed as close as 50m, the drawing of a clearly
>artificial structured machine with a red light on top, the bank
>of blue lights below, the illuminated trees, the animal
>disturbance... it's all there.

>>I agree that Penniston's more sensational description doesn't
>>add much to the evidence embodied in the Halt memo, but it
>>doesn't detract from it either.


>>I think what people say at the
>>time of an incident like this should be given far more weight
>>than any new alleged details or revisions they make years
>>later. (Unless they are astronauts like Buzz Aldrin, who are
>>allowed to totally contradict their initial UFO descriptions
>>years later without anyone being impolite enough to point it

This is absolute hogwash that you keep repeating. Constantly
repeating false premises does not make them true. There are not
revisions made many years later, there are more complete
revelation of facts and clarifications as the parties resolved
their fears and conflicts. And the following statement is more
of the same. It is absolutely inaccurate and irresponsible to
say that Halt or Penniston have "jazzed up their stories."

>We appear to be in agreement on this at least. But if it is
>really the general feeling among ufologists that it's not too
>important if witnesses jazz up their stories, even if it becomes
>necessary to gut original documents of their credibility in
>order to accommodate the jazz, then frankly I despair.

>Martin Shough

I suggest you try to understand human psychology and behavior
under stress a little better. That might help.


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