UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Roswell/Rendlesham Competition

After the 1978 promotion of Roswell by Stanton Friedman et al., many countries vied to produce their own Roswell incident.

Today, the U.K. ufologists, boosted by our friend Nick Pope, have almost made the December 1980 Rendlesham episode as noteworthy in UFO lore as Roswell has become.

The 1980 affair has developed into a mythos not unlike the Roswell “event” but without dead alien bodies and an official military press release.

The current take on the Rendlesham “sighting” is heralded by men who were stationed at a military base nearby [Bentwaters/Woodbridge] and on patrol at the edge of the Rendlesham forest.

The two heaviest hitters for a Rendlesham extraterresrial visitation are John Burroughs and Jim Penniston, both making extensive television and conference appearances to tout their story that they encountered an alien craft in Rendlesham forest.

Since 1980, both men, and their commanding officer Charles Halt, have come to believe and proselytize their “encounter” as an extraterrestrial encounter.

But watching the three men, and in particular, Burroughs and Penniston, one has to come to the psychiatric conclusion that these fellows are enmeshed in a folie à deux or folie à trios – a “communicated insanity” [Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Hinsie and Campbell, Oxford University Press, 1970].

That is, these men did experience an unusual observation but, over the years, have extrapolated that observation, abetted by UFO researchers and buffs, into something quite beyond what actually occurred.

I won’t go into the vicissitudes of the evolutionary delusion because my point is that the UK contingent of ufologists – those on the believing end of UFO as ET craft – are pushing and have been pushing for several years now to make the Rendlesham incident comparable to the Roswell incident.

They want pride of place in the ufological pantheon just as some U.S. UFO researchers have garnered from Roswell.


UFOs make those involved a little or a lot crazy.

Facts and reality are set aside for fiction and contrived psychotic imaginings.



  • I am naturally suspicious of those who, in effect promote themselves for years as being at the center of what best could be characterised as inference. What is their goal or aim in repeating a scenario ad nauseum? Certainly they realise there will be no conclusive story arc. They seem to have a desire to become the story rather than the story itself. Why?

    I suspect that for every “evangelical “ stance based on proverbial fairy dust, there are those who view this sort of exposure as being the equivalent of being approached with a pair of pliers and being told their teeth would be pulled out.
    It’s really more of a case of human psychology than the intended subject.

    The only aspect of the event that is somewhat interesting is the potential role of magnesium after having done a fairly extensive survey of it’s geological properties, it’s role in a fair amount of alleged incidents as well as it’s presence historically and geologically in locations that are prone to anomalous experiential events. Of course a pattern does not translate to any pragmatic meaning..it’s just another “coincidental” puzzle piece to keep in my back pocket.

    The other aspect is a pattern of probable faux incidents involving aircraft purposefully inserted into a pre-existing sighting scenario armed with magnesium flares that fly in the face of credible witness reports as to the nature of what was seen. The same recently occurred ( sans flares) with conventional aircraft on a identical trajectory \ formation inserted into a post sighting of a X craft. The repetition of this possible strategy could be coincidental but I suspect something else is afoot. That and ten cents can’t buy a loaf of bread.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, May 27, 2014  

  • From my understanding with rendlesham ther were no bodies nor exotic materials recovered or rumoured to of been recovered.

    a fundamental difference between Roswell an Rendlesham in the grand scale of things in my opinion.

    By Blogger Al12, at Tuesday, May 27, 2014  

  • RR:

    Oh yes. How right you are!

    Rendlesham has 'evolved' just as Roswell evolved. Moreover, as it is only 33 years old as opposed to 67 for Roswell, it still has a long way to go. What fun to look forward to!

    And the literature on the case is catching up too (or trying to).

    No bodies yet, so I believe. But watch out - they may still come.

    Yes the British Roswell shows how the UK, as a nation, must always try to keep up with you guys in the US. But wait a bit. Wasn't there a Russian Roswell, a Brazilian one and a few other 'oddities' here and there of a similar nature?

    Perhaps it is time someone compiled a catalogue of all the alternative 'Roswells' round the planet.

    It would provide an interesting exercise, maybe suitable for a PhD thesis.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, May 27, 2014  

  • (Thank you Christopher for the Haut/Halt corrective.)

    That other countries have tried to promote a Roswell-like incident goes without saying but they don't have, unfortunately (or fortunately) a person like Nick Pope, with UFO cachet, to help their cause.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, May 27, 2014  

  • CDA wrote:
    "Perhaps it is time someone compiled a catalogue of all the alternative 'Roswells' round the planet. It would provide an interesting exercise, maybe suitable for a PhD thesis".

    Hi Chrisopher,

    Labels such as "the Brazlian Roswell" have been popular in the titles of UFO documentaries as a form of short-hand for "UFO crash" - so a catalogue (of which there are several) of alleged UFO crashes would probably serve as a catalogue of alternative "Roswells". I tried compiling a relevant list a while ago - it rapidly became rather long and most of the entries were, well, pretty rubbish cases.

    By the way, in relation to your reference to a PhD thesis you may be interested in a list I've collated of ufological PhD dissertations available for free online. (I hope to get permission to upload another few such dissertations shortly):

    By Blogger Isaac Koi, at Tuesday, May 27, 2014  

  • I anticipate a future article which will include a stunning confession from the former Chief of Security Police at Bentwaters/Rendlesham.

    This now-retired Major will (hopefully) publicly blow the lid off the whole thing as an extraterrestrial event.

    His credentials are impressive and his credibility unquestioned.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Tuesday, May 27, 2014  

  • AJB:

    See how Rendlesham is 'evolving'. Just as I predicted above.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • CDA
    I was going to comment that your observation was prophetic.The "evidence" for this will be the subject of much misspent gab that will probably prove nothing other than your powers of physic prediction are astonishing,

    In my tea leaves I see a book promotion tour, a History Channel documentary, the lecture circuit geared toward aficionados.

    Did I miss anything?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • CDA-

    It is indeed an 'evolution' of the telling of the Bentwaters event.

    We only learn of witness's stories when they are ready to tell them.

    And like any historic event, we learn more about that event when we look back at it as historians, often decades after an event's occurrence.

    Some people involved in such an historic (and classified) event may elect to say a little. Some may only hint. Some tell their stories in their unvarnished entirety. Some will say nothing.

    Our understanding and insight into historic events does evolve over the passage of time. And that is a good thing.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Anthony tells CDA:

    "Some people involved in such an historic (and classified) event may elect to say a little. Some may only hint. Some tell their stories in their unvarnished entirety. Some will say nothing."

    Mr. Bragalia left out that some tell lies, some imagine what they experienced, and some confabulate from the biased interview techniques of UFO researchers who don't have the professional acumen to interview/question properly.

    As for history and its intrinsic failures, I'll deal with that upcoming.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • AJB states that Rendlesham was "an historic and classified event".

    In what way was it classified? Can he or anyone point to a single classified document on this case? The same applies to Roswell, of course.

    Such a thing is only 'classified' because certain witnesses decades afterwards say, or allegedly say, it was classified. (And that they had death or other threats made against them, and so on).

    But actual classified documents?

    None at all.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Rich-

    Some do confabulate. Some embellish. I suspect that the reason some do this is that they have a sociopathic compulsion to insert themselves into history at the expense of truth.

    In fact I did a piece on this some years ago entitled "The Roswell Liars" archived on this site.

    That is why it is very important to fully vet such people. As you know, I find and 'vet' for a living. Before I do a piece that includes witness testimony to Roswell, I fully vet, as you well know.


    Tell me how one obtains original documents classified Top Secret Documents (which would be immune to FOIA requests) without going to jail?

    Can one request of the government, for instance, process diagrams for the creation of a nuclear bomb? As Dr. Robert Sarbacher noted in multiple interviews, the sensitivity of the crashed saucer subject is "ten times higher than the Atom Bomb."


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • CDA
    It seems that the evidence is witness testimony.
    Is this correct?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • @AJB

    The Roswell secret is so protected by supra-mega US instances/agents that "very common" people like you, or like "postal" Don Schmitt, "ophthalmologist" Rudiak and so on regarding the Roswell investigators (ufologists in fact), are free to reveal us the TRUE ;)

    The mega-malevolents / Men in Black / US gouvernement seem to leave you free concerning your findings -sic-, despite Brazel was in jail (and so on regarding the Roswell myth), and so you are touching a very hot spot by your blog and best-sellers...

    Sacred Roswell myth-tellers, it is always amuzing to read you and how you thing to be some heroes, revealing a cosmicgate. Well, that's ufology.



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Rich wrote: the biased interview techniques of UFO researchers who don't have the professional acumen to interview/question properly.

    Exactly Rich. Our dreamteam (and in general ufologists) have none credit/knowledge/formation/Phd how to interview people, like it is for Historians, Psychologists, Criminologists, etc.

    It is a fact, not a critic/hyper-critic. they dont realize how suggestibility/suggestion/background of the witnesses not controled, etc. are important variables...

    Such investigators -sic- are unable and do nothing to control (or at least to minimize) some variables well known in Human Sciences which influence interview.

    Such ufologists maybe are in good faith, but dont realize how their methodology is biased, not controled/standardized, and then why such ufological materials are red flag by some of the Human Sciences...



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • AJB:

    1. Sarbacher actually said: "It is two points higher than the H-bomb".(Whatever that means)

    2. S was talking about UFOs in general, not "crashed saucers".

    3. S did not say this in "multiple interviews"; he said it ONCE only, to Wilbert Smith (probably via a third party as well).

    4. You obtain classified documents once they have been declassified through the FOIA, as you well know.
    Postulating that other, still classified, documents exist in the archives means zilch until and unless you can eventually produce them. As of now, none whatever have surfaced regarding Roswell or Rendlesham.

    Enough said.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • ONLY for your Eyes and ONLY. CU later, UFO-mythtellers ;)




    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Re Sarbacher


    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • According to the new Nick Pope book on this UFO incident, the medical records of the two major participants (during the relevant time period) are, indeed, "classified". Even John McCain's office has not (yet) been able to secure them.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Dominick:

    All medical records are confidential, for obvious reasons. This has nothing to do with UFOs or national security!

    Police can sometimes get access to them if they need to, but otherwise such records are personal and confidential.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Rendlesham presents itself, like Roswell has - as a ufo guy's dream. The near perfect, nuts 'n bolts ufo encounter. Though some women have investigated it over the years (Jenny Randles, Linda Moulton-Howe, Leslie Keane), there is that simplistic, ETH presentation to it that guys interested in ufos really seem to be drawn to. It's straight forward and masculine. We see no-nonsense accounts from the primary witnesses on tv pseudo-documentaries.

    I do think something happened on that Christmas holiday at Rendlesham. I suspect it was a military psy-ops to observe how these men would initially react and then to follow their behavior regarding the incident over the years.

    And, I don't think it was coincidence this happened on Christmas holiday when the military brass would have been enjoying dinners and parties while the lower-ranking officers and non-coms were left to the responsiblity of investigating the extraordinary events. It may have been that these 'hands on, man on the ground' military people were of particular interest to the psy-ops masters.

    ~ Susan

    By Blogger brownie, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Susan:

    I think you've got the gist of the story pretty much spot on.

    I have a feeling Nick Redfern would agree with your assessment, as I do.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • Thanks Rich! I appreciate that feedback!

    ~ Susan

    By Blogger brownie, at Wednesday, May 28, 2014  

  • I’ve been reading “Encounter in Rendlesham Forest …..” (the Kindle version). Chapter 17 is supposedly written by Pat Frascogna, an attorney retained by Burroughs and Penniston to help them obtain (through FOIA) any US Gov. records regarding their service in the Air Force around the time of their supposed encounter. This is prompted by the fact that both individuals are apparently suffering health issues which they suspect were somehow involved with the “encounter”. They have been advised by their personal physicians to obtain medical records from that time because they might either support or refute the idea that their health issues derive from that “encounter”. Frascogna writes:

    “John Burroughs has even tried obtaining his medical records with the assistance of former Arizona senator Jon Kyl, who, after almost a year, had no luck whatsoever in getting John’s records. Senator Kyl did, however, through the many months he tried to help John, reveal to him that there is a classified-records section of Veterans Affairs (VA). Evidently, John’s records are classified, but why they would be is unknown.”

    I think this is the origin of the idea that Burroughs’ and Penniston’s medical records are classified (and not merely “private” as CDA supposes. Obviously, either veteran or his designated attorney would have a right to view his records, without violating any privacy concerns.

    By Blogger Larry, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • CDA-

    Whether two or ten times higher a secret than the A bomb, the essential point is ignored by you (as usual.) The point Sarbacher made was that the UFO secret is of an even higher order than nukes.

    And you are incorrect: Sarbacher was indeed referring to crashed ET vehicle and he did indeed confirm to at least three other researchers what he has written to Smith...


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • RR and Brownie:

    The idea of some military psy-ops operation taking place over the Christmas vacation makes no sense at all. Exactly who did these 'psy-ops' anyway? Were they US personnel, unknown to those at the base or the UK government? Which agency do you think was responsible?

    Do you see the consequences if, against every probability, you happen to be right? Burroughs and Penniston, both now allegedly severely affected decades after the said event, and having failed to obtain their medical records (I believe Larry Warren was affected too), will now be able to sue the USAF, or some other higher agency, and claim their health was impaired by this 'psy-ops' affair. That may well be the next step, once lawyers get involved.

    Oh those lawsuits again, on anything and everything! Where would the US be without their plethora of lawyers?

    If, on the other hand, it was a genuine ET event, no lawsuits are possible. What a letdown for those USAF men. What a great pity for those lawyers!


    Please name one other researcher, besides Smith (or was it a man named Bremner?), to whom Sarbacher said "UFOs are classified two [or ten] points higher than the H-bomb". Please produce the written evidence of this, and not decades old anecdotal evidence.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • Christopher:

    In the several books I have on covert, psychological warfare operations, the holiday seasons were ripe for testing.

    Why exactly I'll leave Nick Redfern to answer. He's the psy-ops expert in UFO-land.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • CDA-

    Sarbacher confirmed four separate times in interviews with four independent researchers in the 1980s what he had told Smith in the 1950s.

    The researchers who reached Sarbacher before he died are Stan Friedman, Jerry Clark, William Steinman and William Moore.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • For the psy-op angle for Rendlesham, see an article I wrote for Fortean Times a few years ago.

    The overall article will give an idea of where I'm going with it, but the final section (under the heading "Ball Lightning UFOs?") gets to the point.

    It deals with a specific military project designed to control ball lightning and plasmas as weapons - and the project was based at an installation also heavily involved in research into mind-altering things, such as BZ.

    Compare the project descriptions of Ball Lightning with the words of Colonel Halt, which I reproduce for comparison, a very eerie comparison...


    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • As for UFO psy-ops and holidays...

    Let's not forget the Belgian Flying Triangle wave of 1990 and the Flying Triangle encounter at RAF Shawbury, England in 1993 (Google it if you aren't aware of it.

    The date in both cases is important: March 30/31.

    And here's why it's important, the words of Nick Pope, who told me in 1997 (re his investigation of the 1993 FT for the British MoD)

    "One interesting point that then occurred to me was that we were dealing with activity on exactly the same night – but three years later - to the very famous wave of sightings of very similar craft seen over Belgium. And my favourite theory about this or at least an idea I floated about – was that this was a deliberate move on the part of whoever was operating the craft."
    Pope explains his line of thinking: "For example, if the media had got a hold of this, it would have been too late to get it in the newspapers on March 31; so, the earliest date that the story could have run would have been April 1 – April Fool’s Day! Again, a little indicator, perhaps, of an intelligence and possibly even some form of humor."

    I don't think this was done out of humor. I think these were tests of classified military vehicles and the date was chosen to ensure that, as Pope notes, it would have been April Fool's Day when the news broke, had the stories surfaced immediately, thus ensuring the reports might be dismissed by many.

    Had the Rendlesham story surfaced immediately (the Christmas period), I suspect we would have had the media making jokes that the UFO was Santa having got lost.

    And didn't Roswell occur around July 4...?

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • As per my words, ok April Fools' day is NOT a holiday, but you get the point!

    The dates of certain UFO events may be an important issue worth studying further...

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • Cash/Landrum took place on December 29, 1980. Between Christmas and New Year's Day. Hey, we may be on to something here!

    By Blogger Dominick, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • Contactee Wilbert Smith could claim anything, however ridiculous. He claimed he was in telepathic communication with space aliens. He stamped his insane "flying saucer propulsion" speculations "TOP SECRET" when they were nothing of the sort.

    Friedman-Sarbacher Interview, 1983


    F: He asked you a question that you didn't answer at that time which was rather fascinating (??) maybe you've just given me the answer in a sense, ah he quotes you as saying " Yes it is classified two points higher even than the H Bomb. In fact the most highly classified subject in the US government at the present time." and...

    Sarbacher: I don't have the slightest idea why.
    Meaning: [Grudgingly] I don't have slightest idea why Smith or anyone would make such a claim. And I don't appreciate someone putting words in my mouth.

    Sarbacher: It seems silly to me.
    Meaning: It's silly, it's a silly claim to make. It's very obviously a silly claim.

    F: Well, his next comment, that was supposedly what you said and then his next comment was ah "May I ask the reason for the classification" and you said " You may ask but I can't tell you." Well think that (cut off)

    Sarbacher: Well probably cause I didn't know.
    Meaning: If Smith asked such a question and I answered that "I can't tell you" it was because--as I just said--it's a silly claim. If Smith claims that I answered in such a way, it IS because I neither had nor have knowledge of such a classification or that it actually was classified as such.

    Smith most probably made up the ridiculous claim for which Sarbacher refused responsibility, despite Friedman's irritating leading questions, and which the aged Sarbacher refused to corroborate. Sarbacher's frank tone is obvious. And when Friedman tries "Smith" again, Sarbacher gives him a blunt "No."

    So much for ufoolery's myth about Sarbacher's confirmation of Smith's "silly" claim.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • Zoam:

    Thank you for supporting my answer to AJB, namely that Sarbacher made this statement to one person only, i.e. Wilbert Smith. He never said this to Friedman - it was Friedman who put the idea to him, hoping for a confirmatory reply.

    What on earth does "two points higher than the H-bomb" mean, anyway?

    Is there a 'points system' in US secrecy levels? Remember also that Smith did NOT speak with Sarbacher direct anyway. It was through an intermediary called Bremner.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, May 29, 2014  

  • CDA/Zoam-

    Read all the known letters and transcribed interviews from all of those researchers mentioned...

    I would also add that Sarbacher's namesake son Robert Sarbacher Jr. spoke at length to D.M. Duncan about this matter. The son said that his father was not only aware of ET bodies having been recovered, but that he even personally knew two of the scientists brought in to examine the bodies. Sarbacher Jr. insists that his father not only spoke the truth, but that he knew far more.

    The son also shared another time when I was writing "Of Roswell and Rockets: The Secret V-2 Flying Saucer Film" which appeared on this site Feb.28, 2010. He said that his father was involved very early on in official, classified UFO experiments, outfitting V-2's with specialized cameras and instrumentation and launching them when UFOs were seen. The UFOs were 'attracted' to the launches, and many incredible, classified images were obtained...



    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Friday, May 30, 2014  

  • AJB:

    Where are these supposedly "incredible, classified" photos of UFOs pacing the V2s?

    Still classified, of course.

    And yet again we get this second-hand, or even third-hand, testimony, of bodies & wreckage.

    Sorry, but you'll have to do better than this. A lot better.

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, May 30, 2014  

  • While I don’t subscribe to an extraterrestrial event having occurred, I have serious reservations that this was a protracted alertness exercise or a psychological intelligence operation. It is far too elaborate and the same result could have been easily undertaken without all of the “special effects”. In terms of what was described, it may have been ball lightning but even that in terms of the duration of the event and the characteristics of their trajectory, that seems unlikely as well.
    Unlike the other commentators, I would simply say it remains unknown as to it’s origins. I think at time the compulsion to provide an answer to everything at any cost overrides common sense.
    Once again there is so much manufactured hubris surrounding that event, it’s origin will never be known.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, May 30, 2014  

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