Danny Robins Re-Opens The Case File On The Rendlesham Forest Incident With First-Hand Account From Former US Air Force Colonel Charles Halt

May 17, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ PodcastsParanormalRadio
Rendlesham Forest Incident
Series two of 'Uncanny' continues as host Danny Robins embarks on a detour from the podcast's usual format. In this week's offering, available now on BBC Sounds, we journey into 'Case 7: The Rendlesham UFO'. Veering away from the typical cold case investigations, Danny instead delves into one of the most reported and famous UFO sightings of all time. Known as the Rendlesham Forest incident, the event took place in Suffolk, England over the Christmas period of 1980.

For a first-hand account of the incident that continues to spark debate and speculation to this day, Danny speaks to the central figure in the case, Charles Halt AKA Chuck, who was serving as the Deputy Base Commander of RAF Bentwaters at the time of the incident. Chuck revisits the event that has etched itself indelibly into ufological history. 

Chuck recounts the strange happenings on the nights of December 26 and December 28, when American servicemen reported seeing an unidentified flying object in Rendlesham Forest. Chuck was informed about the incident on the morning after the first sighting. Three military policemen reported seeing a triangular, shiny black craft with multicoloured lights that moved away every time they tried to approach it. Chuck initially dismissed the report, assuming there must be a logical explanation.

However, two nights later, during the base's Christmas celebrations, Chuck was informed that the UFO had returned. This time, he decided to investigate personally, taking a few men and his dictaphone into the forest. Upon reaching the location of the reported sighting, they found ground disturbances and broken tree branches indicating that something had descended through the trees. They also recorded radiation levels eight to ten times the normal background radiation, suggesting that something unusual had been at that location.

The servicemen then noticed a glowing object, described as the size of a large basketball or beach ball, with a dark centre, hovering in the field between them and a nearby farmhouse. As they tried to approach, the object moved through the forest, avoiding trees, which suggested intelligent control. Suddenly, a second object appeared high above them, stopping abruptly and projecting a beam of light that landed within 10 feet of the men. Chuck described feeling deeply unnerved, unsure if this was a weapon, a form of communication, or a warning.

Returning to the base in the early hours, Chuck reported the incident to his superior, who asked him to write a memo detailing his experiences. When the details of this memo were leaked to the tabloid newspaper, News of the World, Chuck found himself at the centre of a media frenzy. He also felt that the other witnesses were being silenced or coerced into forgetting the incident. Some were allegedly threatened or told that nothing had happened, while others claimed to have been drugged and hypnotised to implant false memories about the event.

Reflecting on the incident, Chuck remains convinced that he and the others saw something otherworldly in Rendlesham Forest. He dismisses suggestions that they mistook a natural phenomenon for a UFO, citing the numerous witnesses from different locations and the physical evidence left behind. Despite the controversy and the impact on his life, Chuck remains firm in his belief that they were not alone that night, and perhaps, are not alone in the universe.

What The Experts Think

Danny is joined by Ciarán O'Keeffe and Nick Pope, both experts in the field of UFO studies. Ciarán tells Danny that military personnel like Colonel Halt and his team are reliable witnesses due to their training in observation. However, he also acknowledges that they are still human and thus prone to issues with vision, interpretation, and memory.

Ciarán considers the Rendlesham Forest UFO case a magnet for conspiracy theories. This is largely due to the military involvement and a phenomenon he calls "selective attention," where people focus on evidence that confirms their beliefs while ignoring evidence that contradicts them. While he doesn't question the sincerity of Chuck's testimony, he raises concerns about discrepancies in the accounts, such as the varying descriptions of the colour of the light. These inconsistencies, he believes, could cast doubt on the accuracy of their accounts. Ciarán suggest that the most likely explanation for the incident is meteor activity, specifically the breakup of the Russian Cosmos 749 satellite, which aligns with the date and descriptions of the UFO reports.

Nick Pope, on the other hand, worked on the Ministry of Defence's UFO Desk and believes that the Rendlesham Forest case is unique and among the "crown jewels" of UFO cases. One of the most commonly shared alternative explanations for the incident was that the service men simply mistook the light from the nearby Orfordness lighthouse for the alien craft. Nick dismisses this theory based on his own experience walking the ground with some of the witnesses. He also suggests that there was an orchestrated effort to obscure the truth about the Rendlesham case. He notes that certain physical evidence was taken by a high-ranking official and that aggressive debriefings, potentially involving hypnosis or drugs, may have been conducted.

In the podcast, Ciarán reveals that a childhood experience that he first revealed to listeners in a previous episode potentially ties in with the Rendlesham case. This personal connection adds an unexpected dimension to the panel discussion. To find out what this intriguing link is, be sure to listen to the full episde on BBC Sounds now.

More episodes of Radio 4's 'Uncanny' are available on BBC Sounds now and will also be broadcast on Saturday nights at 11:30pm on Radio 4 from April 8.

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