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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 18:47:05 -0000
Archived: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 09:21:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

>From: Richard Hall <dh12.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 18:01:40 -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


>>>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!


>>>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

I am sure everybody reading this will be baffled by the
suggestion that claims which, you agree ("right on!"), were made
13-18 years after the original event, and which contradict
explicit statements in the original account, were not "revisions
made years later". Please explain - without importing theory-
dependent assumptions - what other type of revision or retro-
vision you think this is.

>>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.


>>As for Halt's tape, nowhere, so far as I know, does it describe
>>anything nearly as "sensational" as the sighting of a
>>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.

That's because you haven't properly understood the points to
which I was replying and you have snipped out the paragraph that
made it clear. To repeat: Lan claimed that the Halt memo and the
Halt tape are the "most important and credible evidence" and,
specifically, contain more "sensational" detail about the
Penniston, Burroughs, Cabansag (PBC) event than did the original
witness statements. Not so. Para 1 of his memo is only a digest
of some of the info already in those statements, and the tape
along with his para.3 is irrelevant to them. Further, in case it
was being suggested that Halt's own sighting account and tape
are of more intrinsic interest than PBC in any case, I wished to
argue that this is not so.

>>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

Firstly, you are stating a personal trust in Penniston's claim
that the more explicit story which he produced 13-18 years after
the event is the truth. That's all. As I said elsewhere, your
judgment of character may have value but it is secondary to
questions of the internal consistency of that story and its
consistency with the historical record. It doesn't pass those
tests too well.

Secondly, Halt's recent claims about an event at which he was
not present can be no more "pertinent and reliable" in respect
of the PBC event than was his original memo. He may now claim to
have received additional information from P, but the pertinence
and reliability of such info is subject to the serious
qualification mentioned in the last paragraph. You argue that
Halt's statement of confidence in Penniston is evidence that his
story must be wholly truthful, a character reference which you
must surely concede would have more force if Halt and Penniston
were not, as you put it, giving more or less a "joint

Thirdly, by adducing the recent testimony of those "others" in
support of Penniston and Halt you are sipping from a poisoned
chalice, inasmuch as Burroughs' position does not sit very
comfortably with theirs. I already mentioned three (3) points of
friction that have been raised and invited comments. Your
response is to snip them and ignore them. Listers may think that
this tells its own story.

>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

Actually the impertinence of this example for your case is quite
striking. Your claim (not very clearly expressed by you or co-
claimants, but I have tried to make its implications explicit
for the purposes of debate and my framing of it stands
unchallenged) is that PBC, and Buran and Chandler, conspired to
make deliberate false statements, not merely omitting a minor
detail but actively inserting false information, whilst subtly
preserving the illusion of independent true statements. I on the
other hand see these five statements as convincing precisely
because they _are_ "garbled and inaccurate" to some degree. It
seems a simpler interpretation to me that they are really
ingenuous, than that their ingenuousness is cunningly contrived.
There would have to be good evidence for your interpretation,
and the mere claim by Penniston that it is so is not good
evidence, for all that you think he seems like a stand-up guy,
because it creates more and worse inconsistencies. Explanations
are supposed to simplify.

>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

This _is_ follow-up investigation. Logical investigation. I agree
that my contribution is little and late. But I'm coming fresh to
this case whereas you and others have the benefit of long
experience and wise rumination. It's frustrating, if not entirely
unexpected, to see how little rigorous thinking has been done
because of reliance on trust and belief.

>>>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.

OK I wasn't planning to raise all this because I wanted to get
some clarity on the other issues, but that was probably over-
hopeful, and so now that you bring it up.

As you surely know, where Halt and his men were located during
the events descriebd in para 2 of the memo and on the tape is
nowhere near the place where Penniston claims he spent 45
minutes photographing the landed UFO seen by him, Burroughs and
Cabansag on Dec 26. Halt was near the east edge of the forest.
Penniston's claimed landing site was about 1/2 mile away to the


 It seems that Halt was not alone in being confused about this.

'... new information on this subject was revealed in Sci-Fi
Channel's "UFO Invasion at Rendlesham". 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 (both were involved on different nights)
because of this it seems that Halt had indeed found a new
landing site.'


So, no, it appears that Halt did not seek out the landing site
and document it. The contents of Halt's para.2 are irrelevant to
the touching-distance encounter claimed by Penniston (although
they might still be relevant to the Dec 26 sightings reported by
everybody else).

[As an aside there are some questions you could answer about the
Halt site as well: The chipped and/or "burned"-appearing wounds
in the tree bark are reported to have been identified by
forestry workers as man-made marks used to identify trees ready
for felling. I have not seen this refuted. Please will you take
this opportunity to do so. (I have only seen these marks in
photos, probably like yourself, but I have seen forestry marking
much like them - not hereabouts, as they usually use red paint
for the same purpose, but in England)

I have not read any serious treatment of the radiation readings
that does not conclude the original MoD statement of levels 10
times above average expectation was at best compromised by
misunderstandings about the type of instrument and the type of
readings. The reported levels turned out, I believe, to be
_peak_ meter readings (not average readings, therefore not
representative of the expectation value which is the mean of
variation), and moreover were taken at the bottom end of the
scale on an inappropriate  instrument calibrated to measure much
larger radiation levels (and therefore were probably not too
accurate). The MoD science consultant who made the original
assessment of a "significant" radiation level on the basis of
incomplete information has himself stated that if these facts
had been known to him he would not have regarded the readings as
significant. Again, please take this opportunity to explain why
this is wrong.

I think it remains possibly interesting that according to the
Halt memo and tape there seemed to be a difference between the
readings on the sides of the trees facing the "landing site" and
on the sides facing away, and it is claimed that the areas of
the ground marks gave higher readings. But I also take account
of the fact that they did not appear to be experienced in using
the meter, and the whole affair seems to have been a bit
shambolic with people stumbling around in dark and difficult
circumstances. Consqeuently none of this was exactly
forensically done and none of it was properly documented. So all
we have is a few ambiguous remarks on tape, and no real
independent evidence that this clearing in the forest - which
was happened upon by accident during a rather random search -
 was ever the site of any UFO event in the first place]

>>>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.

Dick, please use the decent brain that I feel sure you were
blessed with. What I'm doing here is illustrating that Lan's
argument does not force upon us the unique conclusion claimed
for it, _not_ asserting that Halt exaggerated PBC's account in
his memo. How you can have read this far and imagined that I
think this is frankly astonishing, since the whole thrust of the
argumnent here is my _objection_ to Lan's claim that the memo
summary is in any way more sensational than the witnesses' own

>And the following comments.

Are... what?

>>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.

 . . . these comments are what? "Ridiculous" again? Why? Do you
then assert that Halt's memo summary _is_ more sensational than
the reports it summarises? In what way? Be specific. It shouldn't
take a moment.

>>>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.

Whereas constantly denying them makes them false? But you might
wish to beg Lan's pardon, since this was his comment, not mine. I
do, however, agree with him.

>There are not revisions made many years later

Yes, in point of fact there are. You have agreed as much in your
first words, above ("right on!"). In point of _interpretation_
of that fact we have this:

>there are more complete
>revelation of facts and clarifications as the parties resolved
>their fears and conflicts.

Well that is the unproven claim that you accept and push here
quite forcibly. But it is not the only possible interpretation.
And I'm not convinced that it's the favoured one, because of the
inconsistencies involved in the evidence latterly offered. That
is the nub, but I can see that we are never going to get to it.

>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."

It is inaccurate and irresponsible to berate me for a phrase
which, again, was not mine but Lan's, and is used in a more
general context. You need to pay attention to 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 suggest you try to understand human psychology and behavior
>under stress a little better. That might help.

Thought for the day: Psycho-logical insight needs to have some
logic in it.


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