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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 18

Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 18:46:04 -0000
Archived: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 09:16:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>From: Richard Hall <dh12.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 18:35:12 -0500
>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:33:57 -0000
>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>>>From: Richard Hall <dh12.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 05:39:31 -0500
>>>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King



Sorry to be tardy. Now the Snooker's finished I can find time to
reply properly.

>Okay, I had not read this when I responded at length to the
>previous post, but you deserve a point by point response and I
>will give it to you. But for openers, you have to look at all
>of the "historical record", not just the first draft.

I beg your pardon, but this is precisely what I have been urging
that we all should do, whereas your preference is to focus on
your favourable character assessment of Penniston and your faith
in the story he tells today. Looking at the whole historical
record means a cross-referencing of the many documents and
statements by Penniston and by all the others made over the
course of many years - not nit-picking at contradictions for the
sake of it, but asking what the most sensible explanation is
where inconsistencies arise. And they do.

>>Which causes me to agree with Gerald that the latter contains
>>difficult and inconsistent issues that are not satisfactorily
>>resolved. These are all, so far as I can tell, introduced by
>>claims made years after the event. I would be first in the
>>queue to hear explanations.

>There you go again, to borrow an expression from Ronald Reagen.
>Years after the event we often get a much clearer and more
>accurate picture of what really happened. And here I speak as a
>published historian.

It's really quite hard to believe that you have just offered that
as an argument. I am speechless.

>>Since you have recently questioned Penniston at length in order
>>to satisfy yourself that "no way is he embellishing or
>>exaggerating" I'm confident that you will be able to tell the
>>list how he explained to you the discrepant time and date on
>>the notebook which he claims to have written by the light of the
>>UFO in real time, but which Burroughs denies he ever wrote.

>Something I have observed over and over in your argumentation
>is a tendency to make a series of assumptions (premises) and go
>from there as if the premises were all true. I did not question
>Penniston to satisfy myself of anything; I simply had an
>opportunity to talk with him and took advantage of it. From
>having talked with Col. Halt at great length I had no reason to
>doubt pennistons honesty and integrity.

Oh dear. As Listers who are alert to a tone of mild irony will
have detected, I was having just a little fun with you. I did
not really expect you to have used your time with Penniston to
pursue the outstanding problems of his story. Your earlier
responses were sufficient to suggest that you didn't know what
they were and had little enthusiasm to find out. I'd have been
pleasantly surprised if you'd come back with a cogent answer to
my question. Instead the dismally predictable response is an
indignant admission that, no, of course you didn't need to
question Penniston in order to satisfy yourself that he could
not possibly be exaggerating or embellishing anything, his soul
being an open book to a man of your outstanding perspicacity.

>Secondly, when I spoke to him I was not even aware of an
>alleged date discrepancy and am not sure how valid that
>allegation is.

>The dates of the Bentwaters events have always been a little
>confused, but that has never bothered me particularly. It would
>be good to clear up that question and maybe Nick Pope could
>offer something definitive about that.

You can see Penniston showing his notebook to camera in this


or a still shot of the relevant page here


Consider that the date on this notebook - Dec 27 - was the date
previously believed to be the correct date on the basis of
Halt's inaccurate memo.

Why was it inaccurate? According to Halt,

"I tried to go back and recover the police blotter and the
security blotter think I mentioned to you earlier to reaffirm
the dates. Keep in mind, I wrote the memo several weeks later.
And it was not a really important memo. The date was not




All this must be old news to you. I've been looking at this case
now for about a week and it's plain that everyone accepts the
correct date was Dec 26. This is the date given on all four of
the original witness statements that contain one. It is the date
on the Suffolk police incident log, the original of which you
can view here


It is the known date of the Cosmos booster re-entry and a major
frireball both widely visible over the south of the UK which
evidently gave rise to the remark in the police log that reports
hade been made of lights in the sky over southern England during
the night. These interlocking facts leave negligible room for
doubt that Halt's memo date was wrong.

Did Penniston write the same wrong Dec 27 date by chance during
the incident on Dec 26, even though the witness statements show
that his associates at the time knew it was Dec 26? Or did he
really write this entry after the fact, when the true date
recorded in these statements and in the police log was still not
known, using the widely accepted but erroneous Halt date? The
balance of probablity is shifted further in favour of the latter
by Burroughs' statement in an email to Ian Ridpath that
"Penniston was not keeping a notebook" during the incident.


Another indicator is that when Penniston reads an extract from
his notepad on the Sci-Fi Channel documentary he says

"... triangular in shape. The top portion is producing mainly
white light, which encompasses most of the upper section of the
craft. A small amount of white light peers out the bottom. At
the left side centre is a bluish light, and on the other side,

Burroughs' drawing can certainly be construed as a triangular
object, as can the general arrangement of lights he described.
But this statement and drawing were buried in CAUS files unknown
until James Easton published them many years after the event.
Penniston's original drawing of the strange "mechanical device"
showed a drum-shaped or rectangular object with a red light on
top, a blue band around it and blue light beaming from the
bottom. The word "triangular" first appears publicly in Halt's

>I didn't know that Burroughs had denied that Penniston made
>notes. That seems to me to be a bizarre claim which I will take
>up with Penniston next time I am in touch with him.

Wouldn't it be appropriate to take it up with Burroughs first?
And why is this new information "bizarre"? Haven't you just
lectured us that "Years after the event we often get a much
clearer and more accurate picture of what really happened. And
here I speak as a published historian"?

>requires clarification, but I strongly suspect that Burroughs
>is wrong.

Ah, I see, Burroughs' account is bizarre because it disagrees
with Penniston and therefore is probably wrong, and so the
proper thing to do is to defer to Penniston for an explanation.

>>Of course if Penniston _has_ embellished his story that does not
>>mean the original event was not significant. That something
>>unexplained happened on Dec 26 appears clear, to me, from the
>>original documents. But I seem to be alone. The rest of you
>>appear bent upon totally devaluing those documents by promoting
>>the story that they were faked, which is the only way of
>>accommodating new and more exciting claims made years

>Where did I or anyone else say that the original documents were
>"faked?" And there you go again with "new and exciting claims
>made many years afterwards." You continue to falsely
>characterize the sequence and timing of events.

Once more, and slowly:

Many years after the event and many years after the date of all
the original documents Penniston has produced a version of
events that conflicts with those documents, along with a new
document (his notebook) to support it. If this new story of
spending 45 minutes photographing and taking notes at zero
meters distance from a stationary object soon after 0020 on Dec
27 is true, then the original documents collectively recording a
_brief_ minimum approach to within 50 meters of an elusive
object between 0300 and 0354 on Dec 26 are untrue.

Are you still having difficulty with this?

Now there purports to be a reasonable explanation of this, or
rather there is a buffet of justifications offered including
shock and disorientation as well as a conscious decision by
Penniston and Burroughs in particular to suppress a sensational
sighting of a wierd machine that would have laid them open to
ridicule or censure. All of this led, as claimed on this List
and elsewhere, to omission of "details".

Clearly this explanation requires not just omission of details
but commission of substantive untruths - altered time, altered
date, invented 50-meter minimum approach distance, embedded in
convincing narratives not only by Penniston, Burroughs and
Cabansag but also by non-involved security police (Chandler and
Buran) who were only monitoring Penniston's radio reports from
remote locations. It has also been claimed that this was done in
a manner designed to throw people off the scent and cast
suspicion on the Orford lighthouse.

But the suggested motivation is inconsistent with the fact that
Penniston explicitly _did_ report "positive identification" of a
weird machine, a metallic craft also described by Halt at the
time in an official memo in terms which do not differ
substantively from the original reports and which have been
characterised on this List as "sensational". In respect of
motivation the explanation doesn't add up.

As I've said elsewhere, there is the problem that Burroughs is
on record as defending the authenticity of his own, Penniston's
and Cabansag's original statements against some sceptics who, he
complains, try to "twist" their stories to appear to implicate
the lighthouse. Evidently he does not think that his statement
was fudged to implicate the lighthouse, and like the others it
records the date and start time as 25-26 Dec, 0300.

And it doesn't add up that Burroughs is recently on film
confirming his original 1980 statement to the effect that as
soon as they approached the object they all "hit the ground" and
it "went up into the trees". Burroughs describes, again, how it
stayed up there and they pursued it fruitlessly through the
forest. No 45 minute photographic inspection. And no Penniston
notebook either, as mentioned.


It can be claimed that Penniston's 45 minute close encounter
with the photos and the symbols happened later, perhaps when he
was separated somewhat from Burroughs and Cabansag on the way
back to the vehicle. That might explain why Burroughs does not
verify the more elaborate story told by Penniston. The Halt
"landing site" near the E edge of the forest has been assumed to
be the site of the near approach described in the original
statements, but as I cited elsewhere

" ...when Halt led Penniston and Bryant Gumbel (presenter) to
the location of the landing site, Penniston said that the landing
site he had found was in the opposite direction." (Sci-Fi
Channel, "UFO Invasion at Rendlesham")

Penniston puts his site 1/2 mile to the W of this near the road
leading from the Bentwaters back gate. So maybe this fits the
original statements that after the 50-meter approach and pursuit
of UFO#1 Burroughs and Cabansag returned via the road whilst
Penniston returned alone through the trees? Maybe he had a
closer encounter on his own during this walk back?

But this doesn't work out. According to the original statements
it was during this walk back that Burroughs and Penniston,
though separated, were both able to see a brief light streak by
to their left through the trees, which would be off to the
north. They weren't separated by much. According to Cabansag
they all made contact again and walked through the area where
they first saw the lights. Penniston's original statement
agrees, and he recently said:

"_We_ thought it had left, but then both Airman Burroughs and I
saw the same array of colored lights maybe a half mile away. So
_we_ pursued it, trying to follow its course as best we could on
foot. _We_ only got about 300 yards into the woods before we
turned around" [my emphases]

They then went and found what they thought was the landing site
with three imprints and all three men made their way back to the


Penniston's original statement says that the _walk_ took 45
minutes. There doesn't appear to be much room anywhere in this
narrative for Penniston to have had his 45 minute private
encounter, and there is more timing evidence that seems to rule
it out.

The start time of the whole affair is recorded as 0300, and at
0354 they were instructed by Buran to turn back to base from the
end point of their walk in the field beyond the E edge of the
woods. The walk back to the position of Penniston's claimed
landing site near the road to the Bentwaters back gate would
have been substantial. The statements say they were a good 2
miles from here, but this could easily be a gross exaggeration
in the circumstances. Say it was a mile, then at a reasonable 2
or 3 mph it must have been at least 0415 or so by the time
Pennisto got there, even ignoring the events mentioned above. So
45 mins from then takes us to 0500.

But the Suffolk police were called by A1C Arnold from Bentwaters
at 0411 and officers responded "immediately" according to their
incident log. They must have arrived in the area east of the
back gate within minutes, looking around but seeing nothing of
note but the lighthouse, all whilst Penniston should have been
in mid-sighting not 100 yards from the road, bathed in brilliant
light, taking his photos and jotting his notes.

In any case, Penniston himself has plainly said that Burroughs
was with him at the time and repeatedly uses the plural pronoun

"The nearer _we_ got to that thing the more uneasy I felt [my


"when we got to the wood line off the east gate we discovered a
craft of unknown origin. It was triangular in shape, on the
ground - touched it, walked around it, photographed it. We did a
full investigation of it on the ground for 45 minutes."


And, for emphasis, the text of a 2002 interview with Penniston
describing events during his touching, photographing and
note-taking encounter:


You are all standing there and do what next?

Well, I turned to my partner there and said, 'How are you going
to explain this?' And that was pretty much -- we were trying to
absorb what we had just seen. It was most unusual.

Who was with you?

The patrolman who was with me was John Burroughs. He has worked
the law enforcement side. In fact, he had worked directly for
Bud Stefans, but he was one of the guys who went out there with

So, is he the only one with you?

Well, immediately next to me at 10 feet, yes. We, of course, we
had another one back about 100 meters and there were others back
at a logging road. Of course, there were several people at the
East Gate. And all of this was observed from Bentwaters, too.

[End Quote]


Do you begin to see why reconciling the original narrative with
Penniston's new story requires much more than just omitting a
few details? It requires major re-jigging of the time line
embedded in all of the original documents, making them (ex
hypothesi) false.

>>appear bent upon totally devaluing those documents by promoting
>>the story that they were faked, which is the only way of
>>accommodating new and more exciting claims made years

>>The irony of this is devastating


I should have added "To those capable of appreciating the
irony". I'm reminded of the saying that "It is one of nature's
kindly dispensations that most of the questions which it is
beyond a man's power to answer never occur to him."

>>>Some people on this List seem unable to grasp the human factors
>>>aspects of close encounter UFO sightings, which generally scare
>>>the pants off of the astonished witnesses. In this country, at
>>>least, the ridicule factor is very powerful. So in the heat of
>>>the momemnt, fearing ridicule and/or loss of reputation,
>>>witnesses often (I repeat, often) are reluctant to come forth
>>>with the full details of their experiences. I know this as a
>>>fact, and know many highly placed witnesses who don't dare
>>>speak out.

>>They weren't thinking straight, not reacting rationally in the
>>heat of the moment. Yet Chandler's testimony indicates that they
>>had the presence of mind to make up a lie on the spot about not
>>getting closer than 50m and report this over the radio to CSC in
>>real time so that it would lend credence to what Penniston was
>>planning to claim.

>Well, I won't even attempt to respond to this sort of lawyerly
>spin doctoring, subjective argument.

Of course not. I don't believe you even understand it. Typically
you prefer to take a sideswipe at the supposed form of the
argument or the habits of the arguer on your way out of the
room. The fact is noted. You believe that to lay out the
reported facts from the recorded testimony and test inferences
drawn therefrom against other reported facts is "subjective" and
worthy of nothing but derision. But you think it is objective to
chat cursorily with a witness and form impressions in admitted
ignorance of the issues. I need add nothing to that.

>>Or else Chandler's statement and Buran's statement were
>>fabricated too, so that this 50m detail and the time-line in
>>which it is embedded was all carefully constructed at leisure
>>after the fact - even though neither Chandler nor Buran was a
>>witness and had nothing directly to gain by it, yet definitely
>>had something to lose by putting their signatures to lies on
>>official reports, as you point out:

>See above. Aristotle would be proud of you for your either - or
>reasoning amply loaded with false premises.

Dick, in many instances you present a model of rationaility, but
I have reluctantly come to believe that there are times when you
are incapable of following a simple chain of inference or of
really understanding the purpose of the use of "what if?"
reasoning in testing out the consequences of ideas. This is one
of those times when you are constitutionally incapable, it seems
to me, of the objectivity needed to try out thoughts that don't
emotionally appeal to you, and your literal-minded response to
the attempts of others to do so is typically churlish, baffled
and angry.

>>>In the military this Ridicule Factor can be especially powerful.
>>>You do things by the book, and you are required to follow
>>>certain protocols, and you don't go around telling wild

>>Yes of course in the military you know to do things by the book,
>>follow regs and don't purvey fantasies. So it's natural, I
>>suppose, for security police who are sticklers for protocol to
>>conspire to fabricate official statements and sign off on an
>>untrue wild story for fear of ridicule and to protect their
>>reputations. In fact it comes naturally to Buran and Chandler
>>to do this to protect someone else's reputations.

>God, Martin, get real!

Is that exhalation of wind supposed to signify something?

>>>So if you are a senior security policeman and see a rather
>>>unearthly metallic craft in the woods and touch it, you are in
>>>a quandary.

>>Are you in much less of a quandary if you only see it from 50m
>>away? Perhaps so, because you could then claim that you couldn't
>>honestly say if it was an unearthly machine or not. Yes, and you
>>could then, if you were a bit slow, totally subvert the point of
>>that strategem by claiming that you "positively identified" it
>>as an unearthly machine in any case. All you would have achieved
>>then is to make the same claim and expose yourself to all that
>>"ridicule and loss of reputation" whilst having hog-tied
>>yourself by watering down your own evidence for this "wild
>>story" which according to you military men just don't go around
>>telling. And what a shame when you had all those nice close-up
>>photographs too.

>Your reasoning is as convoluted as....a conspiracy theorist.

I'm afraid to say that my reasoning is sound and rather
childishly simple. You must decide what that says about your
difficulty with it.

>>>The behavior of both Penniston and Halt in initially
>>>holding back the details about what they experienced is
>>>completely understandable.

>>If you say so.

>I did say so and I will stand by what I said. it is based
>collectively on many years direct field investigation and
>interviewing of witnesses, personal knowledge of military
>affairs, many years experience as a senior editor of
>psychological and other human behavioral literature, oversight
>of a national and international investigation network, and...
>personal contact with two of the principal witnesses in this

Not that you wish to be pompous and stand on your dignity or
anything. :-)


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