“I wish to make it perfectly clear that the UFOs that I saw were structured machines moving under intelligent control and operating beyond the realm of anything I have ever seen before or since. I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin … ”
– Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt (Ret.), former Dep. Base Commander, RAF Bentwaters, in June 25, 2009 press release from Gary Heseltine, PRUFOS
July 17, 2009 Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England – A press release dated June 25, 2009, was released on the internet and contained this startling quote by retired USAF Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt:
“I wish to make it perfectly clear that the UFOs that I saw were structured machines moving under intelligent control and operating beyond the realm of anything I have ever seen before or since. I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin and that the security services of both the United States and England were and have been complicit in trying to subvert the significance of what occurred at Rendlesham by use of well-practiced methods of disinformation.”
That press release came from Gary Heseltine, a police officer and long-time UFO researcher. Col. Halt’s unexpected assertion is about the extraterrestrial origin of what he and his military team encountered in the British Rendlesham Forest near RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge air bases in the early morning of December 28, 1980.
Gary Heseltine, 49, was born and raised in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, U. K. until age 23 when he joined the Royal Air Force in police security. He served for six years until 1989 and then left to work for the British Transport Police. There are forty-three county police forces in England, Scotland and Wales and there is one national police force that polices the railway network in the United Kingdom. For the past fifteen years, Gary has served as a plain clothes detective constable in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
He sought out police work because of an experience he had when he was fifteen years old living in his home town of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England.
Gary Heseltine, Detective Constable, CID (Criminal Investigation Dept), British Transport Police, Wakefield, West Yorkshire County, England: “My interest began when I was 15-years-old and I saw a UFO, for want of a better word. A light in the sky that seemed to trigger a number of power grid failures – all the lights went out, which is often attributed to the presence of UFOs.
That incident created my interest in the UFO subject, which has stayed with me. So, for the last 34 years, I have been very interested in the subject of UFOs so much so that by 2001, I wanted to become an active researcher. But the problem was that as a police detective, if a rape occurs, your time is not your own. You can work for hours and hours and hardly be at home. I had to come up with something I could research, but it would have to be on my own because of the hours and nature of the police job that I work.
And one day, I came up with the idea of police officers. I’d read about one or two police officers in several books and began to speculate that police officers have probably seen many, many strange things, but there is never an outlet or mechanism to allow them to come forward.
So, in January 2002, I created what is called the PRUFOS database, which stands for Police Reporting UFO Sightings. I started off with half a dozen sightings by a dozen police officers. After seven years of research, I’ve now got 300 reports dating back to 1901, involving over 700 British police officers. So, it’s grown a helluva lot!”
Example of PRUFOS Police Encounter
Gary Heseltine says that one of the most startling reports came from Police Constable Alan Godfrey in 1980, who watched a diamond-shaped aerial object suspended in the air above a road in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. Policeman Godfrey tried to turn on his police radio to call for help, but the radio was strangely dead. Then he got out of his police car, but was blinded by a bright, white light. PC Godfrey’s next conscious memory was finding himself back in his car mysteriously moved to a different location down the road. The white light was gone. Haunted by the encounter, PC Godfrey sought hypnosis. What emerged was his description of being on a spacecraft with small, non-human entities examining his body. See: PRUFOS, Police Reporting UFO Sightings.
Gary Heseltine: “As a result of that database, I’ve become known within the UFO community and from time to time, I’ll be asked to take part in various television documentaries. And on one occasion in December 2007, the American History Channel was making a couple of documentaries in the U. K. – one about police officer sightings – so that’s why I was involved. And in the process of talking to their producer, I asked what else they were producing in England. They said they were going to make a documentary about Rendlesham Forest (the 1980 RAF Bentwaters encounters with lights and craft). I asked who else was involved and they said they were flying Col. Charles Halt from the U. S. to England.
Gary Heseltine Worked RAF Security of Nuclear Weapons
My interest in the Bentwaters UFO incident stems from the fact that during my six years in the Royal Air Force, I served on two nuclear bases – one in the U. K. and one in what was then West Germany, protecting nuclear weapons and the layouts of the bases of which Bentwaters and Woodbridge were leased from the RAF with a very similar design to the bases that I had worked on in security protecting nuclear weapons.
I personally had always suspected that there must have been many more witnesses involved who have yet to be tracked down. So I said I had a theory because I worked on nuclear weapons bases – was there any way I could visit them on the Rendlesham production?
They said yes and I spent three days on the documentary down at Rendlesham and during that process spent a lot of time with Col. Charles Halt, whom I had never met before.
THAT WAS WHAT YEAR AND MONTH?
That was December 2007.
SO YOU WERE THERE AT THE SAME LIGHT AND TIME OF THE ORIGINAL EVENTS OF DECEMBER 26 TO 28?
I think that was the idea of the American History Channel.
COULD YOU JUMP TO THE MOST RECENT JUNE 2009 PRESS RELEASE FROM YOU CONCERNING A FILM YOU ARE NOW WORKING ON AND THAT YOU COULD READ FOR ME NOW THE STATEMENT THAT YOU INCLUDE IN YOUR RELEASE FROM COL. HALT?
Yes, just before I do that, I want to make perfectly clear that at this moment in time a film is not being made. What I have done, having met Col. Halt some nineteen months ago, is I asked him during those three days of TV production had anybody ever tried to write a film script about Rendlesham Forest? He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, I sort of do like to write. Would you allow me to write it, research it, and collaborate with you on it?’ And he said there and then, ‘Yes, I’ll help you in any way I can.’
So, basically what happened is that I went away for about four months and researched all the known documentaries, books, articles that had been put out about the events at Rendlesham. I created, using some of my police detective acumen, a very detailed time line of the events from literally the first night through to the point at which he sends off the Halt memorandum to the M. O. D. (Ministry of Defence). And then I went back to Halt and began asking him question after question and that happened for perhaps the next fifteen months until we got to a stage where the first draft script was complete and I put it to him and said, ‘Look. What do you think?’ He didn’t get that draft until December 2008 (half a year ago) when he got the first draft version. He read that and said it was great, he loved it and would fully endorse what was written.
And since Christmas 2008, we have been adapting it and tweaking things as you would do with any film script. So, what we have is a film script, which is available and (would like) to meet with film producers and that was the idea of putting out the press release in June 2009, to announce that there has been a collaboration between Col. Halt and myself and that we now have a workable film script that I believe is crying out to be made into a feature film.
You’ve asked me to read the quote, right? The press release that was put out the 25th of June and which was mutually agreed upon and which Col. Halt is very happy to go out with.
June 25, 2009 Press Release by Gary Heseltine and Col. Charles Halt (Ret.)
Deputy Base Commander, RAF Bentwaters, U. K., December 1980
Col. Halt said: “I wish to make it perfectly clear that the UFOs I saw were structured machines moving under intelligent control and operating beyond the realm of anything I have ever seen before or since. I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin and that the security services of both the United States and England were and have been complicit in trying to subvert the significance of what occurred at Rendlesham by use of well-practiced methods of disinformation.
“I believe Gary’s script will lift a veil of secrecy about what really happened at Rendlesham, events that were and still are of tremendous defense significance to the United Kingdom and indeed the rest of the world.”
Brief RAF Bentwaters and Woodbridge History
In 1942, the British Royal Air Force constructed an air base between Butley and Tunstall (larger pink circle near top of map) in Suffolk County, England, on the northeastern edge of Rendlesham Forest. It was called RAF Butley – about 4 miles northeast of RAF Woodbridge (larger pink circle on far left). More trees were planted to build up the Rendlesham Forest in the 1940s to help shield military activities.
After the end of World War II, RAF Butley was renamed RAF Bentwaters by Britain’s Ministry of Defence and leased to the United States Air Force for its 81st Fighter Interceptor Wing and the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS).
In 1992, after the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Cold War thawed, the United States cancelled its involvement with RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bentwaters. The historic RAF Bentwaters is now a privately owned business park, while RAF Woodbridge is used by the U. K. Ministry of Defence for Army training exercises.
What Happened In Rendlesham Forest December 26 – 28, 1980?
What exactly did happen between midnight on December 26, to 5 AM on December 28, 1980, that provoked U. S. Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Halt and Airman 1st Class John Burroughs to describe lights in the Rendlesham Forest as “alive” and “speaking” to them telepathically on December 28, 1980? Those words were used by John Burroughs in a 1988 hypnosis session to describe his and Col. Charles Halt’s impressions of the lights. There were even rumors that Burroughs jumped on a craft or was taken up in a beam of light.
As the clock was about to change from Christmas day 1980 to midnight, December 26, 1980, 20-year-old Airman First Class (A1C) John Burroughs was on Security Police duty at RAF Woodbridge’s back gate, commonly known as the “East Gate.” With Airman Burroughs was Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Bud Steffens. RAF Woodbridge was four miles west of RAF Bentwaters (in Butley, Suffolk County).
Some time after midnight, Sgt. Steffens and Airman John Burroughs saw strange, colorful lights hovering at tree-top level in the Rendlesham Forest east of the gate.
So, Burroughs and Steffens drove their patrol car out the East Gate on a road along Rendlesham Forest. The colorful red, orange and blue lights in the clear night sky seemed closer than before. Suddenly a large, white light appeared moving along the edge of the forest as if pacing their car and seemed to move closer to them.
Later on, Airman Burroughs submitted a hand-written statement about what he saw to the RAF Bentwaters Deputy Base Commander, Lt. Col. Charles Halt.
John Burroughs hand-written statement about lights he and others saw in the early morning hours of December 26, 1980: “The lights were red and blue, the red one above the blue one and they were flashing on and off. Because I never saw anything like that coming from the woods before, we (Burroughs and Steffens) decided to drive down and see what it was. We went down East Gate road and took a right at the stop sign and drove down about 10 to 20 yards to where there is a (dirt logging) road that goes into the forest. At the road, I could see a white light shining onto the trees and I could still see the red and blue lights.
John Burroughs notes on January 2, 1981 sketch of lights: “This would move back and forth, up and down, but the blue and white and orange would come out when it was sitting in one place. Blue lights would come out of the beam and the white light below. Blue lights would blink on and off inside the beam, plus the beam would be red and orange. A white light would come out below the beam in the trees. ( AIC John Burroughs 81SPS SPOL CFLT”)
Signed, Airman 1st Class, John Burroughs, 81st Security Police Squadron, Security Police Operations, Charley Flight.
John Burroughs told me he was overwhelmed with the feeling “something was not right!” He and Steffens drove back to the East Gate. They phoned a Sgt. McCabe to report what had been happening and McCabe alerted the Central Security Control. That early morning of December 26, 1980, Staff Sergeant James W. Penniston was duty supervisor at RAF Woodbridge and drove to the East Gate in a truck with newly assigned Airman 1st Class Edward Cabansag to see for himself what was happening.
Sgt. Penniston asked Airman John Burroughs and Sergeant Bud Steffens if the lights could be from an airplane crash in the forest. Steffens replied: “It did not crash. It landed!”
Jim Penniston would later say in interviews that after a call to the Shift Commander’s office, he was told to proceed off base toward the mysterious lights with the two other security policemen, John Burroughs and Ed Cabansag. The three American men were told to leave their weapons behind to comply with the British military’s Status Forces Agreement.
Back in Sgt. Penniston’s truck, the men drove out of the East Gate and on to the logging road that ran through the Rendlesham Forest where Burroughs and Steffens had been earlier. Penniston said the road was full of potholes and was so frozen it was hard to drive the truck. So, the men decided to park.
After the three men stopped the truck, Ed Cabansag walked with Sgt. Penniston and Airman Burroughs into the woods until their first strange light encounter. John Burroughs wrote afterward that there was a light that rose in the air above the Rendlesham trees. “All three of us hit the ground and whatever it was started moving back towards the open field.” After that, the men decided that Cabansac should stay there to relay communications, while Penniston and Burroughs continued walking deeper into the woods.
Burroughs and Penniston also described feeling hair on their arms and back of their necks stand up like in the electrostatic atmosphere of a thunderstorm. But it was a clear, cold night without storms.
According to notes in Sgt. Penniston’s notebook shown here and his official written report, he and Airman Burroughs got to the center of Rendlesham Forest.
Penniston Text: “When we got within a 50 meter distance (150 feet), the object was producing red and blue light. The blue light was steady and projecting under the object. It was lighting up the area directly under extending a meter or two out. At this point of positive identification, I relayed to CSC, SSgt Coffey. Postitive siting (sic) of object … color of lights and that it was defidently (sic) mechaniclal (sic) in nature.”
Sgt. Penniston contacted Staff Sergeant Coffey at Central Security Control and told him that the object “was definitely mechanical in nature.”
Penniston much later in time on December 16, 2002, told a U. K. interviewer: ‘I have my notes from that night in my notebook. And it says what I wrote:
Notes about sketched craft in Staff Sergeant James W. Penniston’s notebook: “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 is appearing from what appears to
be the bottom of the craft. At the left side is a bluish light. And on the other side is red. The lights seem to be molded as part of the exterior of the structure that seemed to be landed on the forest floor.”
Penniston also said that the air was filled with electricity – like static. “You could feel it on your skin as you approached the object. There was also a sense of slowness, like time itself was an effort. I got to within ten feet of the craft in the clearing where it sat.”
Penniston estimated the craft to be three meters long at the base and two meters high, or 10 feet long by 7 feet high. No landing gear was apparent, but the object seemed like it was on fixed legs. Penniston said he walked right up to the craft and noticed the fabric of the shell was like a smooth, opaque, black glass. He said, “No animals were even making noise anymore. The nearer we got to that thing, the more uneasy I felt – it was as if I were moving in slow motion.”
John Burroughs agreed, “It was a weird feeling, like everything seemed slower than you were actually doing.” Strangely, John Burroughs to this day does not remember seeing Jim Penniston near such a craft. But Burroughs also knows his mind is blocked when he thinks about the lights.
John Burroughs also does not remember Sgt. Penniston having a camera, but Penniston says he took 36 photographs on 35mm film and sketched symbols that were engraved into the craft’s shiny, black surface.
Penniston has described the engraved symbols for TV programs this way: “On the smooth exterior shell, there was writing of some kind, but I couldn’t quite distinguish it. So, I moved up to see 3-inch lettering – or rather symbols – that stretched for the length of two feet, maybe a little more.”
Then Sgt. Penniston reached out his hand. “I touched the symbols and I could feel the shapes as if they were inscribed or engraved, like a diamond cut on glass.”
When Sgt. Penniston’s fingers touched the engraved symbols, he said the craft’s upper white light instantly grew much brighter, almost blinding. Both Penniston and John Burroughs fell to the ground in a defensive move.
Penniston said, “The craft moved up off the ground about three feet, still with absolutely no sound. It started to move slowly. It took a couple of minutes for it to maneuver itself back to a distance of about 100 to 150 feet. Then it rose up just over the trees, about 200 feet high. There was a momentary pause and then literally with the blink of an eye, it was gone. All with no sound! That still boggles my mind.”
After the craft disappeared, both men felt normal again. The slow motion feeling went away. Then John Burroughs saw more colored lights in the forest. Burroughs and Penniston tried to go after those lights, too, but changed their minds, turned around and went back to the truck.
On their way back, Burroughs found three indentations in the forest soil where the craft must have been resting on three tripod legs to form a triangle pattern of indentations in the soil with each leg ten feet apart. Further, each indentation was the shape of a triangle.
After returning with Airman Cabansag to the air base, Burroughs and Penniston were told “it is best to keep quiet about what you have seen.” But the two men decided to go back to the forest to look for more physical evidence beyond the tripod indentations. They found scorch marks on the trees and branches broken off.
Two nights later on December 28, 1980, after midnight, John Burroughs felt drawn back to the Rendlesham Forest and encountered lights again. This time RAF Bentwaters Deputy Base Commander Lt. Col. Charles Halt was in the forest with a tape recorder, light-alls and other equipment to document the persistent and unusual light phenomena.
Col. Halt said on the tape recording December 28, 1980: “Now we’re observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground. This is unreal! …”
Continued in Part 2
Former U. S. Air Force 1st Class Airman John Burroughs is now organizing a 2010 reunion in England for all the military personnel in RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge who were involved in the mysterious light phenomena of December 26 – 28, 1980. John would like to hear from all who were there and has created a website and email account to organize a 2010 Bentwaters reunion.
Website with email address: http://backtobentwaters.blogspot.com/
For further information about the worldwide UFO phenomena, please see Earthfiles Archive (partial 2009 list below) and my books, An Alien Harvest and the 2-volume Glimpses of Other Realities in the Earthfiles Shop.
- 07/16/2009 —Part 2: Silbury Hill “Quetzlcoatl Headdress” and Mysterious Tall Blonds
- 07/14/2009 —Part 5: Non-Human Entities (NHEs): One View from Alleged Government Insiders
- 07/12/2009 —Mysterious Aerial Lights Mimicking Stars in Texas and Oregon
- 07/06/2009 —Part 4: Non-Human Entities (NHEs):
- 06/25/2009 —Part 3: Non-Human Entities (NHEs): One View from Alleged Government Insiders
- 06/21/2009 —Part 2: Non-Human Entities (NHEs): One View from Alleged Government Insiders
- 06/17/2009 —Part 1: Non-Human Entities (NHEs): One View from Alleged Government Insiders
- 06/09/2009 —Update Podcast: Aerial Lights That Mimic Stars, Helicopters and Airplanes
- 06/05/2009 —Part 2: Mysterious, Silent, Large Aerial Triangles
- 06/04/2009 —Part 1: Mysterious, Silent, Large Aerial Triangles
- 06/01/2009 —Part 10: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 05/29/2009 —Part 3: 1954 SOM1-01 Training Manual and Challis, Idaho, Huge Triangle
- 05/29/2009 —Part 4: 1954 SOM1-01 Training Manual and Challis, Idaho, Huge Triangle
- 05/28/2009 —Part 1: Idaho Hunters Describe Huge Triangle Aircraft Over Their Campsite
- 05/28/2009 —Part 2: Idaho Hunters Describe Huge Triangle Aircraft Over Their Campsite
- 05/26/2009 —Part 9: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 05/13/2009 —Part 8: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 05/05/2009 —Part 7: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 04/29/2009 —Part 6: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 04/22/2009 —Part 5: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 04/21/2009 —Archive Reprint: Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell Says Governments Covering Up E. T.s
- 04/14/2009 —Part 4: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 04/08/2009 —Part 3: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 04/05/2009 —Part 2: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
- 04/03/2009 —Updated: Aerial Disc Photographed Over San Luis, Colorado
- 04/01/2009 —Part 1: High Strangeness Files about EBENs
03/17/2009 —Highly Strange Missing Time in 1947
- 03/08/2009 —Final Part 20: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 02/27/2009 —More Strange Aerial Light Patterns – Now in Wisconsin
- 02/24/2009 —Part 19: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 02/11/2009 —Part 18: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 02/04/2009 —Part 17: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 02/03/2009 —Part 1: Viewer Comments On Camouflaged V-Shaped Craft
- 01/29/2009 —Updated: Star Field Camouflage On Large V-Shaped Craft Near Cape Canaveral, Florida?
- 01/07/2009 —Part 16: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 01/02/2009 —Part 15: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 12/24/2008 —Part 14: Army/CIA Unit Studied the Real UFO Blue Book Cases
- 12/22/2008 —Part 2: CIA, UFOs and Hollywood
Police Reporting UFO Sightings, PRUFOS: http://www.prufospolicedatabase.co.uk/1.html
The Rendlesham Forest Incident: http://www.rendlesham-incident.co.uk
You Can’t Tell the People © 2000 by Georgina Bruni:
Left At East Gate © 1997 by Larry Warren and Peter Robbins; updated 2005 edition published by Cosimo Press, N.Y.: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Left+At+East+Gate&x=0&y=0
1967 Malmstrom AFB UFOs Over Minuteman Missile Sites:
1968 Minot AFB UFOs Over Minuteman Missile Sites: http://www.ufocasebook.com/minotafb.html
RAF Bentwaters History: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Bentwaters
Majestic 12 Documents: http://www.majesticdocuments.com
American Presidents: http://www.presidentialufo.com
© 1998 - 2023 by Linda Moulton Howe.
All Rights Reserved.