Nick Pope, with John Burroughs and Jim Penniston. Encounter in Rendlesham Forest: The Inside Story of the World’s Best Documented UFO Story. Thomas Dunne Books, 2014.

Rendlesham just will not lie down it seems, though in this latest presentation the story is largely peeled back to the story of Jim Penniston, with Burroughs playing something of a supporting role. The role people like Jenny Randles is minimized and it will come as no surprise to find that neither David Clarke nor Ian Ridpath are mentioned anywhere, and that though mentioned in the text neither Ian Mzyglod nor the Probe/SCUFORI research group are listed in the index. To say that the latter were underwhelmed by the investigative abilities of Brenda Butler and Dot Street would be a very considerable understatement. It would also be an understatement to say that they were less than enthused by the endorsement of this story by Jenny Randles.
There is of course no mention of James Easton’s discovery of the original contemporaneous notes, which gave a far less dramatic picture than Penniston’s later memories, which seem to grow with the years. Penniston claims to have transcribed a binary code, which translates as something every bit as unprofound as the alleged message in the Silpho Moor hoax.
The ETH now, however, seems to be being jettisoned, but in favour of what is not clear. Pope seems to hint that it might have been a secret Soviet spy devise, which certainly is more dramatic than a misperceived lighthouse. Pennington and Burroughs are now saying that the ETH was a cover for something else, but don’t say what that might be. It couldn’t be for the fact that service personnel who may or may not have been guarding nuclear weapons mistook a lighthouse for an alien spaceship, perhaps partly as a result of over enthusiastic Christmas festivities, perish the thought.
Penniston is claiming or has claimed that the object he remembers now seeing was a time machine or some sort. Now I might be being rather snobby here but if I had invested a huge amount or time, effort and money into building a time machine I as sure as heck could find a lot more interesting things to do with it the scare the bejesus out of a couple of lowly military cops!
Pope’s hint that there were in fact nuclear weapons already on the base might give a clue as to the real origins of this story. Local rumours suggested that discipline on the base was less than good and that at times it was leaking like a sieve. Then came the stories of the crashed aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon or the soviet satellite being brought down by a particle beam weapon and nasty things going on at Orford Ness; and then the suspicion that perhaps Butler and Street were really spies for the peace movement and the fear that real investigative journalists were about to start sneaking round, meant that the UFO story was now the best of bad bunch and the process of sexing up the stories was undertaken and people like Penniston are now trapped in those stories. – Peter Rogerson.

1 comment:

  1. The clue is in the book's title. "The inside story of the world's best documented UFO story". Each and every book or article written about Rendlesham adds to the documentation and therefore brings it ever nearer to being the "World's best documented UFO story". However, 'second best' would probably be more accurate. Assuming, of course, that Roswell always keeps one step ahead.