In the early hours of the 26th December in 1980 several military personal claimed to see strange lights over Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk. Sgt. Penniston was one of the first to investigate the scene and when asked what had happened he replied ‘What I once believed is no more, and what I’ve witnessed, defies all that I have ever imagined.’
So what happened?
At approximately 3 am on the 26th December the men reported seeing lights over the forest. Penniston, Burroughs and Cabansag, of the US air force, were sent to investigate. Penniston had assumed that they would be identifying an aircraft crash sight and bagging bodies. When they arrived there was confusion over the identity of the aircraft, they described it as black and shiny as if made from glass, but the men identified this later as metal. The craft was triangular in shape and roughly 7 ft tall, on one side there were strange hieroglyphs.
Several hours past while they were investigating the craft, but Penniston has attributed this, in part, to adrenaline. Col. Halt had expressed doubts over the validity of their encounter. This is because the three men could not be accounted for while their communication systems were offline, a total of 40 minutes. The men have said there were abnormalities on their watches when they left the scene, suggesting the craft could have shut down mechanical systems.At 4 am another personal called the Suffolk Police. They investigated the sight and returned later that evening. Reports state that the Suffolk Police were unimpressed. They suggested the lights could have come from the Orford Lighthouse and the noises from Muntjac deer, common in Suffolk, and known to make a screaming sound when startled.
Just prior to 10 pm that evening (27th December) the personal made claims that the lights were ‘back‘ and a party, led by Halt, was again sent to investigate. Halt claimed to have recorded high levels of radiation at the crash sight and saw damage to the tree tops overhead. They claimed to have taken a plaster cast of 1.5 inch holes marking the crash sight, but these have since gone missing.
When the UFO returned again Halt described the encounter; ‘It went one, two and then an immediate right hand turn and came right towards the base. I just said that can’t be one of ours. No jet at that speed can make an immediate right hand turn. Just absolutely phenomenal‘Was there really a UFO over Rendlesham?
While there are claims that the lights were from the lighthouse, and the strange sounds from local wildlife, this does not factor in that the aircraft was picked up on the base’s radar. The personal working at the base also remember discussions that this should be kept out of the media, on the basis that they could not identify the object. At the time of the incident local Woodbridge residents could not corroborate the sightings.
However, in 2015 Burroughs won compensation after claiming the radiation he was exposed to in the UFO incident left him with heart failure. The Mirror reported that ‘Burroughs’ lawyer said the ruling was effectively an admission that UFOs are real.’Ball Lightening?
The most popular theory to debunk the incident is the plasma or ball lightening theory. Ball lighting is a rare phenomena, where a ball of light appears, usually during a thunderstorm. These incidents can happen for longer than regular lighting and can be several meters wide. It usually ‘explodes’ when it dissipates which would match up with Halt’s claim that the craft seen at Rendlesham exploded and then disappeared. However this still doesn’t explain the descriptions the men gave about the landing of the craft.There are still reported sightings of UFO’s and strange lights over Rendlesham, the forest even boasts it’s own UFO trail where you can follow the footsteps the military personal took in December 1980.