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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 28

Re: Penniston NP Conference & King

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007 20:11:36 -0000
Archived: Fri, 28 Dec 2007 08:52:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King 

>From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 23:52:31 EST
>Subject: Re: Penniston NP Conference & King


>First, I must insist on a methodological rule. Certainties must
>control over uncertainties. Only facts that are certain and
>conclusive can resolve contradictions, discrepancies and
>confusion caused by a plethora of uncertain claims or "uncertain
>facts" (actually, if it is uncertain then it really cannot be a
>"fact"). No matter how many uncertain points are adduced they
>cannot add up to a certainty.

Agreed. Certainties control over uncertainties.


>Here is a conclusive, hard fact: It is an absolute physical
>impossibility for anyone to have seen and "chased" the
>Orfordness (or Orford Ness, ON for short) lighthouse for 2 miles
>east of the east end of the Woodridge base back in 1980, because
>the beacon is only visible at one tiny area where it is high
>enough to see it and it is unobstructed by trees. As one
>progresses eastward from this small spot the land slopes
>downward till it reaches sea level only 0.4 mile to the east.
>The view of the ON lighthouse is blocked by a ridge on the east
>banks of the Butley river, around Gedgrave Hall.

I generally agree.

It is a certainty that Burroughs (B) refers to walking "about 2
miles" from the edge of the forest towards the light, and
Cabansag (C) says that the point where it was identified as a
lighthouse was "a good 2 miles past our vehicle".

It is certain that these statements are not exactly equivalent,
as C's 2 miles includes the walk through the forest from the
point where they left the truck.

It is certain that the two accounts are discrepant, but I agree
that in either case a long walk is implied.

I'd say it is fairly certain that B's 4-mile round-trip from the
forest edge, stumbling in darkness through farm fields in
pursuit of a lighthouse, is wholly unrealistic, psychologically
as well as topographically. C's 4-mile trip from the vehicle
could conceivably (depending on assumptions) include 1/2 mile
out and 1/2 mile back through the forest, reducing the potential
walk through the fields to a 3-mile round trip. But I agree this
is still very unrealistic.

IMO it is _not_ certain that these discrepant guesstimates, in
rather cursory statements said to have been written a week after
the event for the personal use of Col Halt (not as part of the
then-completed AF formalities), should bear as much weight as if
they were measured or calculated distances between clearly
agreed points. Distances over unfamiliar terrain at night are
hard to judge at the best of times, and the men had other things
on their minds. They were greatly excited by their encounter in
the forest. It isn't certain that they recollected accurately
how far they'd gone afterwards and how long it really took.
Typically the direction of the error in such cases is to inflate
judgments of duration - lab experiments show that estimated
duration increases in proportion to the eventfulness of a period
(i.e., the number and novelty of stimuli).

It is fairly certain that they talked about it afterwards and
their memories of details like distance could easily have been
formed by a degree of confabulation during the ensuing week. It
is far from certain, but possible and consistent, that someone
had estimated the total excursion as about 2 miles (this could
fit the map) and that a figure of 2 miles entered B's and C's
narratives in slightly different but equally inaccurate ways.

It is certain that Buran's statement says that the order to turn
back was radioed from CSC at 0354.

It is certain that 0300 is consistently given for the start of
the affair in the witness statements that Halt had prepared for
him, and 0300 appears in Halt's memo too.

It isn't certain that this is the correct time. The witnesses
may have been lying, coerced by AFOSI (say) to give an
orchestrated wrong time-line for the purpose of throwing off
later investigators. There are difficulties with this because
these statements were not made as part of the official AF
investigation but afterwards and privately for Col Halt, who by
this time of course had his own experiences and his own
motivations for being interested.

Conceivably Halt and P, B & C could have had their own reasons
for obfuscating the time in documents that Halt made sure
remained private for 12 years, but such speculation is fraught
with uncertainty and takes us away from the immediate and
certain facts.

It's also true that statements made a week after the fact could
just be seriously in error. And aslthough Halt's memo was
presumably not written under coersion it was compiled even later
and could even be based solely on erroneous week-old witness
statements. On the other hand we appear to know (from Penniston
and Halt) that Halt spoke to the Security people the following
morning and had access to P & B's Form 1569 Incident & Complaint
Report. It was this "very detailed report of what we observed
out there" (said Penniston) that alerted Halt to "what had
really happened" so that a new entry was authorised for the
eviscerated Security Police blotter. Halt potentially had
various oral and written sources available to confirm the time.

Statements from personnel who were not involved directly as
witnesses also give 0300. Chandler, at Benwaters, said that he
monitored Burroughs' initial radio report at this time. Buran's
statement, from the point of view of the Center for Security
Control, gives "approximately 0300" for the time when he was
first informed of this "initial report", and said P and C
arrived "shortly after this". He concedes straight away that his
recollection "may be inaccurate" given the lapse of time, but
his record of the time he issued the order to terminate the
search (0354) is rather specific.

So although it isn't certain that 0300 is correct, there needs
IMO to be a rather good reason for overturning it.

There is another more recently claimed start time, 20 past
midnight. But this is arguably less certain still. It is
inconsistent with another time given by the same claimant (P) in
1983 - 2:00 AM - and the documentary support for it - the
alleged contemporaneous notebook - has also an inconsistent date
(Dec 27) and an inconsistent object description - smooth, black
and glassy - whereas in 1983 he had said it was "off-white" and
"dirty". Overturning the original 0300 on this basis doesn't
look like an attractive bet to me.

Inference: From the account of the preparation and dispatch of
the second security team after the initial a/c-down report one
imagines that some minutes would elapse before the truck got to
the start of the P & B expedition. Say they had about 45 minutes
from 0310 to get from the truck to the final position at 0354.
This would be consistent with Penniston's original statement of
arriving back at the truck "after a 45 minute walk".  At a
reasonable steady walking rate of 2 mph they could have got
about a mile and a half from the truck before turning back, but
allowing for the initial UFO encounter and pursuit in the
forest, the darkness, trees, fences and other obstacles a mile
might be more reasonable. Making possibly a total round trip out
and back of about 2 miles.

Tentative conclusion: It isn't ruled out that the origin of the
"2 mile walk" could be uncertainty and normal confabulation. If
there is a sinister origin for this figure (as part of a
deception to implicate the lighthouse) one might expect the
storuies to be more coordinated. In fact the two uses of the
figure by B and C are different and inconsistent. This is
suggestive of extremely subtle and elaborate deception, of which
B and C would not (it is claimed, in support of the theory that
the statements were part of an AFOSI plot to implicate the
lighthouse) have been capable. Or it is suggestive of ingenuous,
rather than ingenious, inaccuracy in diffrent recollections of a
confusing event, of which they probably would have been capable.

In support of the latter there is the certainty that Burroughs
stands by the account written in his own hand, and defends it
against "twisting" by sceptics who try to claim that it
implicates the lighthouse as the source of the object in the
woods. He objects strongly - and correctly - that it does no
such thing and that it explicitly distinguishes the blue-and-
red-lit UFO from the lighthouse which he says was only seen once
they got out from the forest into the field. Burroughs' recent
accounts seem to cleave quite closely to that written statement.
He has had every opportunity to disclaim it and tell us that he
wrote it under duress, but (AFAIK) has never done so.

There is also the certainty that Penniston's account reports
"positive identification" from close range of a "mechanical
device", which seems to counter-indicate the theory that it was
written to suppress evidence of a mechanical craft and implicate
the lighthouse.

>The area where the ON lighthouse is visible is less than 1/10th
>mile in size at the beginning of the forest clearing that opens
>onto the farmer's field at Green Farm and Capel Green. This is
>obvious from the OS maps I've examined in great detail and from
>simple calculations and it was confirmed by local skeptic Robert
>McLean who went out there at night around 2000 (who told me he
>couldn't see anything except at that one spot), and by Dave
>Rudiak in the daytime in April 2002. See Dave's webpage:


>No skeptics or debunkers have ever been able to do the simple
>scientific experiment and take a video camera out to Rendlesham
>forest and photograph the ON lighthouse, to prove that it can
>be seen in the woods and followed for 2 miles. Various film
>reporting on the Rendlesham incident have likewise never been
>able to prove the ON lighthouse was visible for a 2-mile
>"chase," not even the caustically anti-UFO BBC.

>Moreover, as nautical charts show and as Rudiak proved with his
>closeup photo of the ON lighthouse, the blinding light is
>"masked" to the west. Skeptics and debunkers have claimed it
>was the blinding light of the ON lighthouse that dazzled the USAF
>witnesses, when in fact no such blinding light was ever beamed
>in their direction. It is a simple fact that the hundreds of
>thousands of residents in SE England do not want to be blinded
>every frikkin night by a lighthouse beaming into their houses
>and bedrooms, so that direction is blocked and only a tiny
>amount of light leaks out by backscattering from mist in front
>of the eastward beam.

I'm not aware of any evidence or persuasive argument that what
was initially seen in the trees on Dec 26 was the lighthouse.
There's no way that this could be visible through well over 1/2
mile of dense plantation from the base or near the E gate access
road (the argument by Halt and others that everybody at the base
knew about the lighthouse because they saw it every day could be
said to suffer by this; but I understand that the lighthouse
_beam_ was regularly visible above the forest, so this could be
what is meant.) I think that in connection with the initial
sighting of the red, white and blue lit object by PBC, which has
been the subject of this thread, arguments about the lighthouse
are a red herring and I have tried to avoid getting involved
with the lighthouse. However its visibility is certainly
relevant to reconstructing the route PBC may subsequently have
taken and therefore material to the above estimates of time and

It seems possible to me that the subsequent sighting by PBC of
what proved to be the lighthouse could have begun within the
forest well before they emerged from the E edge of the trees
into the field.



is a photo taken in Nov 1983 from what appears to be a few
hundred yards inside the forest, most of which has been felled
except a narrow stand along the E edge which borders the
farmer's field. You can see the eastern skyline beyond fairly
clearly despite the gloomy weather



is the same stand of trees in darkness, again from inside the
felled forest looking E in Nov 1983. This appears to prove that
the potential area of visibility of the lighthouse is not
restricted to the small area in the field beyond, indicated in
David Rudiak's map here


(BTW the the horizon gap through which the light house is
visible appears not to be a "gap in the hills" as characterised
but is a gap between stands of trees. The left hand patch is
deciduous woodland which in winter could be seen through in
places. This is well shown here


where the trees are shown leafless in 2005. The practical area of
visibility of the light in winter, 25 years earlier, could have
been larger than some photos appear to indicate.)

Anyway, back to the view from within the forest: Of course there
were many more trees in 1980. Nevertheless it seems possible
that the lighthouse could have been visible to PB intermittently
in gaps through the trees during a walk through the forest. The
fact that the trees were mature and tall means that there would
have been minimal or no low branches and foliage and minimal
undergrowth, not like the dense low growth of the new
replanting. As everyone knows, mature plantations produce thick
tree-top canopies but near ground level are sparse, being
regular rows of bare trunks over basically dead ground.

So I can imagine that they began seeing the lighthouse when
still well within the forest and were not sure of its identity
until they'd emerged and started down the field towards the farm
house. But this cannot extend the distance to anything like 2
miles, which remains a gross exaggeration.

>So when the statements of USAF Security Police airmen Cabansag
>and Burroughs allege that they all had conducted a foolish 2-
>mile chase of the lighthouse through the woods and an "open
>field" near a "farmer's house," this was an absolute physical
>impossibility and a total lie. In fact, the 2-mile trek through
>the open field near the farmhouse was what Col. Halt's group
>did two nights later, _not_ Penniston, Cabansag, Burroughs trio
>("PBC" for short).. How did this 2-mile Halt trek get inserted
>into the statements of Cabansag and Burroughs (and is also in
>Penniston's by implication)?

I don't think it can be called "certain" in terms of your
methodological rule (which I applaud) that the "2 miles" is a
"total lie", inasmuch as the figure appears in slightly different
contexts in the statements by B and C - in B's case, the distance
they went past the edge of the forest, in C's case the distance
from the vehicle. Well, is it acceptable that two guesstimates,
at least one of which must be wrong, should be the same by
coincidence? Yes it's possible, but there could easily be a
causal connection if a 2-mile figure had been mentioned by
somebody and they both echoed this imprecisely in their different
recollections a week after the event. A subtle imposture is
possible, but I wouldn't say it is certain.

>But there is more inserted than just a purported 2-mile hike in
>the Rendlesham forest at night, but also the almost snide
>comments about how they were purportedly just foolishly
>pursuing a lighthouse beacon. There is no possible innocent
> explanation here. A hypothetical secretarial slipup with drafting
>statements for both Halt and the PBC group (but Burroughs'
>statement is handwritten) could hypothetically have gotten Halt's
>2-mile hike inserted into PBC's statements but it would not have
>resulted in the creation of an utterly fictitious and impossible
>lighthouse chase which didn't come from Halt.

Burroughs himself seems to be clear that his account most
certainly does _not_ implicate the light house and that to make
it read this way is a sceptical "twisting" of his words. I think
he has a point. As you say this is in his own hand, and he does
not disown it as an AFOSI forgery.

It's difficult to interpret Penniston's account of a "positively
identified mechanical device 50m away illuminating a 30m area
with steady blue light and a red light on top" as being
_designed_ to implicate the lighthouse. Not by AFOSI anyway,
because, according to Bruni, Penniston accepts the content of
the statement as being his own words. Well that's an opinion
many years later, he couldn't - and didn't - swear that it was
word for word. But he evidently didn't complain to Bruni, "Hey,
I never said anything like this!" Penniston doesn't actually
mention the lighthouse. Maybe such an omission could be
calculated to suggest that P wasn't aware of it and might have
been deluded by it? But Chandler's statement tells us that P did
report the lighthouse separately at the time, placing this in
the context of P's inability to "reach the area" (therefore not
necessarily in the context of P's approach to within 50m of the
initial object).

Chandler's corroboration that Penniston reported being within
50m of an object, and identified the light house separately,
doesn't read to me like a ruse to implicate the light house.
Given that they were now bound to be extra alert for mystery
lights, and that the lighthouse was bound to be a striking
presence among the trees when they approached the E side of the
forest, I think it's quite natural that B, P (apparently along
with C, see later) would be attracted by it and follow it out
into the field to a point where they were sure of what it was.
The sole area of difficulty here seems to me to be the "2 miles"
ambiguously recollected by Burroughs and Cabansag, which I've
discussed above.

Cabansag's account is the least specific where it counts, and
most easily interpreted as a possible smokescreen, even though
he too explicitly describes seeing the beacon separately from
the UFO lights and at the same time. But he was a very junior
new boy, his role is the least interesting and according to P
and B peripheral. According to them he wasn't actually present
at the close encounter. Would OSI fixers concentrate on C,
leaving P's and B's statements either only inconsistently
tampered with or (as in B's case, apparently) untouched? Maybe,
but it seems far from certain to me, and more likely that _if_
C's account _is_ deliberately smudged, rather than just vague
and confused, then it was done by him and/or P & B for personal

>Halt's team did not pursue the ON lighthouse and their magnetic
>compass readings prove it, as recorded on audio tape right while
>they were in the pursuit (their readings were about 110- 120
>degrees, whereas the ON lighthouse was at 98 degs Magnetic,
>after correcting for 1980 declination of 5.2 degs and 2.7 degs
>for "grid north"; the OS maps show that about 110 Mag was the
>only possible route Halt and his men could have followed without
>running into walls or more forest and it fits their real time
>descriptions on the tape). Needless to say, there was and is no
>lighthouse or beacon light out at about 110-120 Magnetic.

That's interesting, but I think the Halt affair should be kept
separate from discussion of the 26 Dec events. I'll come back to
this later if I may.

>Here are the lying statements from the Cabansag and Burroughs
>documents. First from Cabansag, right after admitting that
>"nothing was visible" when they were passing "through the woody
>forrest [forest]" (correct from the standpoint of a lighthouse,
>not correct from the standpoint of a UFO maneuvering through
>the trees) and it was only after getting through the woods into
>the clearing that they could see any lights, namely the "lit up
>farm house."

C says clearly that he too could see the red, blue and white
lights during the walk from the truck into the forest. He says
that when he was walking through the forest they weren't visible
any more. Possibly a lie? But when was he walking through the

This depends on niceties of timing we can't really be sure
about. B and P seem to say that C wasn't actually with them
during the close encounter but stayed back - apparently as an
intermediate radio relay between them and Chandler back at the
vehicle. All this is very far from clear, but it does seem
possible that C did not follow B and P directly into the
clearing after the blue-red object so didn't share their close-
range view of it flying up through the trees and away, that he
only caught up with them after this for their walk through to
the E edge of the forest during which the lighthouse was under

C does not say that the blue and red lights he saw were anything
to do with the light house. He identifies a _separate_ "yellow
light" which he says turned out to be the lighthouse beacon.
Granted he appears to describe seeing this from an an early
stage of the walk at the same time as the "UFO" lights, which is
a bit difficult to tie into the sequence of events. But his
whole recollection of time and distance appears suspect,
including the statement that they left the vehicle and proceeded
on foot from only 100m away from the East Gate, which makes no
sense and is further reason to suspect that his "good 2 miles"
of walking should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

>Then Cabansag's false statement alleges:

>"But we ran and walked a good 2 miles past our the 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 forrest [sic] and field was a
>direct one, straight towards the light. We informed CSC
>[Central Security Control by radio] that the light beacon was
>farther than we thought, so CSC terminated our investigation."

>This statement if it had been true would have been extremely
>damaging, not to Cabansag but to _Halt_. Here was a lowly
>on his first or second day on the job who makes a a
>laughingstock out of a Lt Colonel who evidently cannot tell a
>lighthouse from a UFO! Even though on different dates, a
>lighthouse has to be visible every night that is relatively
>clear, so the "fact" that the "same lighthouse" was seen on
>"multiple nights," as debunkers would claim, would ruin Halt
>and his UFO observation. The fact there were some odd date
>discrepancies could have been used to muddy the waters even
>further, enabling a propaganda innuendo that these were even
>one and the same incident.

>But a handwritten note at the bottom of the Cabansag statement,
>signed by "H" (possibly Halt) says: "I'm convinced that this is
>a 'cleaned up' version of what happened. I talked with Amn
>[Airman] Cabansag + can say he was shook up to the point he
>didn't want to talk."

Possibly C did see more than he wished to let on about, butP & B
took pity on him, being a junior, and agreed to keep his
involvement to a minimum. I think I read somewhere (possibly a
remark by Bruni, or Jenny Randles) that P & B gave the impression
that they might be covering for a third party.

According to Bruni the annotation is indeed Halt's. And this is
relevant to motive in the question of who these statements were
made for, and why.

>Georgina Bruni interviewed Cabansag and he "denied he walked a
>distance of two miles or anything close to it.

Yes, it does seem a grossly exaggerated distance, as discussed
above. I wonder when, and after what exposure to questions,
suggestions, personal reflection etc Cabansag was in a position
to say in recent years that he did not walk the 2 miles
originally stated in 1980? Because denying today that he really
walked 2 miles is not quite the same as denying that he could
have mistakenly thought it was 2 miles in 1980. As I read it C
is not claiming that he could not have _said_ this. He is not
claiming that he remembers saying anything else. He is saying
that he doesn't remember much of anything about what he said,
was vague, and paid scant attention to what he was signing.

I suppose that leaves open the possibility that he was duped.
But by whom? These statements were, according to Bruni (quoting
Halt), prepared after the official investigation and at Halt's
personal request, and were held by him as private papers, so I'm
not sure where AFOSI comes in. A probably-correct revision of
opinion years later about circumstances that were probably far
from clear at the time is surely not proof that the original
evidence was doctored. The best we can say, again, is that the
truth is uncertain, and I agree with you that the product of
several uncertainties can never be a new certainty.

>He also denies
>that he mistook the lighthouse for the UFO" (p. 192).

Indeed he does, and did so originally.

>In fact Cabansag says he saw BOTH the UFO and the lighthouse
>at the same time (p. 193):

>"It wasn't the lighthouse. I saw the lighthouse, this wasn't
>it, it was to the right of the lighthouse."

This is in his original statement, as discussed above, where he
says the yellow beacon light was visible independently of the
UFO lights.

>We have a very similar situation with Burroughs' alleged

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

>But it was an absolute physical impossibility to see the ON
>lighthouse from the vicinity of the Green Farm farmhouse, which
>is at the 5-meter elevation level about sea level, in a
>depression in the terrain, as noted before. From the one spot
>where the ON lighthouse was actually visible a course straight
>towards the lighthouse would have run the PBC group into the
>walled property of the Butley Abbey after 0.5 mile into the
>alleged 2-mile chase, something none of them reported seeing or
>running into.

I think it would be more realistic to allow some latitude in
these rather loose narratives that were written for Halt
apparently after all the AF debriefings and reports were
finished and evidently without much concern for absolutely
precise language. When Burroughs says "once we reached the
farmer's house" I think we can allow that this might mean "when
we were in the field where the house was" rather than insisiting
he means "once we'd reached a position perpendicularly abreast
the farmhouse on our route due east". This seems to me to be the
logical inference from the "absolute physical impossibility" of
seeing the lighthouse from the position of the farmhouse: if
they saw the lighthouse at all then they must have been in a
place from which it was visible, which would be nearer the edge
of the wood. I wouldn't personally insist that Burroughs ought
to have been absolutely certain, a week later, of exactly the
spot in the field where he first became aware of the lighthouse
- possibly a disorientated moment in the immediate aftermath of
the UFO vanishing; or, if he did recall, that he thought such
exactitude much mattered when writing it down.

I don't think we need to insist either that "we followed it for
2 miles" means that it was continuously in view for 2 miles. It
could mean that they walked in its direction, lost sight of it
in the dip, regained sight of it later at which point its
identity was obvious. But I agree the supposed "2 miles" from
this point is completely unrealistic anyway, so this is neither
here nor there.

It's possible that Burroughs inserted this as a cunning decoy to
call the rest of his account into question, or that some agent
did it on his behalf (unknown to Halt, for whom it was
prepared). But Burroughs does not say that his account was
tampered with. Burroughs does not accept that his account
implicates the lighthouse, and criticises those who "twist" his
words to fit that meaning. (I suppose he could have been acting
then and ever since as an agent of disinformation, but if we
took that seriously then we might as well throw the whole story
in the bin and give up.)

>Burroughs also later denied the lighthouse theory. He told
>Antonio Huneeus that they saw the UFO then when it disappeared
>they then saw the evidently much less prominent lighthouse.

Burroughs never did claim that the UFO was the lighthouse, did
he? He says in his original statement that they followed the red
and blue UFO lights through the woods and into the field. They
disappeared. Then they checked out the lighthouse beacon. As far
as I can tell he stands by that statement (adding only some
mainly subjective detail about sensations and impressions). He
had no need to deny anything.

>We must use certainties to resolve uncertainties.

Still agreed.

>It is certain
>that the ON lighthouse could not be seen and followed for 2
>miles east from the Woodbridge base perimeter road or from the
>start of the clearing leading to the Green Farm. It is therefore
>certain that the statements in the Cabansag and Burroughs
>documents claiming to have done so (and evidently repudiated by
>them later) are absolute lies. Then the question is who put
>those lies into their statements?

I disagree that you can reach such a very strong conclusion
about deliberate "absolute lies". You can suggest it as an
interpretation, but a certain fact it is not. The witnesses may
have been confused about times and distances, got an exaggerated
impression of how long they were walking, and confabulated an
approximately similar version of the half-remembered route that
firmed up during questioning and re-telling. That is also very
far short of a certainly established fact. It's just another
interpretation, but one which (IMO) is consistent with the fact
that B & C use "about 2 miles" and "a good 2 miles" in
contradictory (=uncertain) ways to describe different routes.

But if your "lie" interpretation wins out, then we have to
consider again the fact that these statements were not
considered by Halt to be AF property and were not made for the
AF. Halt had them made up and he kept them privately for 2 1/2
years unknown to anyone, then after his memo got out he gave
them to CAUS on condition that as long as he was in the service
the AF wouldn't find out about it. There they remained for
another 10 years. You are in a position to known more about the
background to that then me, but I find it very intriguing.

>The notion that a nineteen-year-old airman after only a few
>days on the job could have concocted the elaborate lying
>scenario of chasing a lighthouse beacon 2 miles through forest
>and glen is highly improbable. Cabansag's later testimony to Bruni
>has the ring of simple observational truth: "It couldn't have
>been two miles; it was cold out there." (p. 193)

Yes I agree, this does have the ring of simple truth. He
remembers that it was cold. But he also "remembers" that he saw
spinning lights with flakes of metal falling off, which appears
to come from the Halt tape of two nights later. On the other
hand he doesn't remember saying anything to Halt or remember
what he signed in Halt's presence. He also does not recall
separating from P & B as a radio relay in the forest, although P
explicitly describes this. He doesn't recall returning with P in
the vehicle to the base afterwards, either. So it isn't just
things in his own statement that he is vague or conflicted
about. Bruni interprets his absence of memory about the P & B
landed UFO scenario as "missing time". P says he just wasn't
there (although B originally said he was). C concedes he was
green, nervous and confused and inclined to defer to what people
told him. If he did say "2 miles" having heard this from, say,
Burroughs (albeit attaching it to the wrong points of the walk,
as pointed out above) then it would not be too surprising. So I
wouldn't follow you so far as to say that the polarised
alternatives are either complete accuracy and consistency from
C, or an elaborate lie from someone else. We can't rule out a
vague and confabulated account from C, at least not with

>My interpretation of the situation is that AFOSI deliberately
>falsified the statements of Cabansag and Burroughs (and probably
>that of Penniston as well but to a much lesser degree) in order
>to discredit Col. Halt, not them, and that it only incidentally
>had the effect also desirable to AFOSI of discrediting the PBC
>trio too.

It's a highly ingenious scheme. I wonder how this would have
been accomplished? Did AFOSI intercept the statements en route
to Halt and make forgeries, changing dates, times, durations and
interpolating what you see as "almost snide comments about how
they were purportedly just foolishly pursuing a lighthouse"?
Would not P and B be keen to decry such wholesale and insulting
exploitation, akin to identity theft? That would be very
different from saying that you'd "toned down" or "watered down"
your statement. If either man is saying this then I have yet to
hear about it. P apparently says the content of the typescript
appears to be his own. B stands by his statement, and by
implication his own handwriting. And there is a problem about
enlisting C's recent memories in support of this scenario,
inasmuch as he recalls (Bruni 195) that his summoning by Halt to
sign the statement was that same morning, Dec 26, mmediately
after he got back and came out of the shower. At that time Halt
had not even had any UFO experience, so an imposture at this
stage would be fortune telling. (Unless the Halt tape was a
staged event designed to discredit PBC by means of the
lighthouse - I don't know if anyone has ever tried to run with
that one! It would certainly make Halt's present support of P


>The PBC trio never had a 2-mile trek into the Rendlesham woods.
>They never crossed the "open field" and passed a "farmer's
>house" (the Green Farm and Capel Green) -- that was what Halt
>did two nights later.


>The statements of Lt Buran and Sgt
>Chandler both indicate that Penniston told them by radio that
>the unidentified lights were just beyond the end of the access
>road leading from the base's East Gate by no more than about
>100 meters. That would have been the approximate location of
>the Penniston close encounter.

The problem I have here is that if the AFOSI-statement-forgery
theory is true, then Buran's and Chandler's statements - which
interlock with B's and P's in terms of time, 50m distance and
lighthouse references, all features of the supposed cover story
- are also subject to it. It becomes awkward to appeal to them
for support because we are being selective about which details
we wish to regard as true.

>Penniston's interview with Bruni indicates that after his close
>encounter with the landed object he headed farther east perhaps
>about 1/2 mile (p. 175). This is in fact the correct distance
>through the woods from that 100-meter point to the clearing
>into the open field and the only point in the entire area where
>the ON lighthouse can in fact be seen. This last spot is where they
>saw the ON lighthouse, nowhere else. Then they turned back to base.

In general I don't object to this, but without necessarily
insisting on the exact distances. This is my pro tem narrative
of Dec 26 in a nutshell:

Heading off on foot at about 0310 they had the close encounter
described by Burroughs and Penniston where the blue and red
lighted object shot away. They headed E after it and picked up
the lighthouse instead as they got nearer the edge of the
forest. They "followed" that out of the trees and into the field
for a distance, until they could be certain that it was only the
lighthouse, then turned back at 0354. Later they were confused
about how far they'd actually walked. I think that is probably
the best we can offer.

>Once these absolutely certain facts have been established we
>can then move on to less certain facts and issues with more
>confidence and with some keys to interpreting truth and
>falsehood and accuracy and inaccuracy.

I don't know how absolutely certain any of the supposed facts
are, but I think there's a plausible scenario in there somewhere
that makes reasonable sense. Something unidentified was seen in
that forest, which one man at least was convinced was an unknown
mechanical device.

My concern is that Penniston's desire to turn that honest
conviction into an "absolutely certain fact", by way of his 45-
minute 360-degree tactile inspection, involves embroiderings
(the inconsistent notebook jottings, inconsistent date, time,
descriptions of shape, surface colour and texture) that are more
likely to undermine the foundations of the case.

Martin Shough

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