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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 17

Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 21:25:45 -0600
Archived: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 07:37:39 -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.

They have the ring of truth, but to some people they might also
have the ring of being downplayed in comparison to how the
object was described in the Halt memo. This comment by Burroughs
sounds like he's spinning his story in a pretty absurd way:

"A bank of lights, differently colored lights that threw off an
image of like-a-craft. I never saw anything metallic or anything

So, he says he didn't see an object - sorta kinda. He only saw
some lights that threw off "an image of like-a-craft." That
sounds almost as absurd as the "coveralls" story from the
Socorro incident, although Ray Stanford according to Ray
Stanford, it appears to have been Hynek's spin and not Zamora's.
Are you _really_ going to claim that you see nothing at all
strange about Burroughs' above statement?

>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.)

>Below, you obliquely criticise ufologists for declining to
>confront Buzz Aldrin's inconsistent evolving story (rightly so,
>if that is the way of things), yet you appear to give the nod
>here to Gerald's suggestion that in the case of Penniston
>possibly "jazzing up" his story, well, it doesn't really matter.
>You justify this because...

>>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".

The description of a triangular, metallic object was made a few
weeks later, not years later. Penniston's later description,
apparently made first to an Omni reporter in 1994, was that the
object was triangular and had symbols on it, that he touched it,
and that it was warm to the touch. These details added years
later did not greatly qualitatively change the description of
the object in Halt's memo. If your  characterization of all the
early descriptions as of a mere "will o' the wisp" were true,
then the description of a triangular object years later _would_
have been a radical qualitative change that should arouse
considerable suspicion. Unlike Buzz Aldrin, Penniston didn't
contradict himself on the nature of the object he saw, only the
distance from which he saw it. And 50 meters is not a terribly
large distance for viewing a 3-meter wide object.

>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 very first statements were not necessarily the more
reliable.  The description in the Halt memo was made within a
few weeks of the written statements. Since it clearly was not
derived from those statements, Penniston must have told Halt
what he saw at another time, perhaps before he wrote his
statement. Even if the descirption relayed to Halt came later,
the differebce of a few weeks is trivial, and the circumstances
under which a statement is made are as important as when it was

>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.

It was not a summary of those statements. The description of a
triangular object was not in any of the statements, was it? That
seems to be a rather important detail.

>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.

I didn't say that it wasn't important, and I also didn't say
Penniston was, in fact, 'jazzing up' his statement. I'll go with
Dick Hall's opinion of Penniston unless something consiberably
more serious than the 50-meter discrepancy has been established.

I mentioned that only as a hypothetical. But it does appear that
another alleged witness, Larry Warren did  "jazz up" a story
years after the incident about an alien contact with  US Air
Force officials, a claim that no other witness even hinted at,
and then wrote a book about it. That seems considerably more
suspicious than the witnesses describing (to Halt) a triangular
object immediately after the incident and Penniston then saying
he touched the triangular object 14 years later. You,
apparently, see no difference between Warren's credibility and

By the way: are you intending to arrive at the conclusion that
what the witnesses saw was the Orford-Ness lighthouse? That's
usually the purpose of these attacks on Penniston's credibility.
That explanation has always seemed absolutely ludicrous to me.
Even Burroughs' rather convoluted "image of like-a-craft"
description doesn't support the "flying lighthouse" theory.

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