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Dozens of local residents looked to the skies as a host of orange lights hovered, stopped, made shapes and danced above their houses for half an hour on Sunday evening.
As residents woke one another in wonder, Anglia TV viewer Sam Pitts managed to capture this picture on her mobile phone.
A spokesman for the USAF base at RAF Mildenhall told Anglia News that there was no unusual air activity on Saturday night and no one at the base saw anything.
However, peace campaigners at the end of the base's runway claimed there were a stream of lights - maybe twenty or thirty of them, which hovered silently around the area before drifting away.
Mildenhall Airforce Base
I was heading to work on midshift on Mildenhall RAFB around 2300hrs when I pulled up to a stop sign on perimeter road and saw orange spheres shooting up above the tree line. There were more that a dozen lights and they hovered in place until all of them were airborne.
They then moved from outside the fence line over the flight line toward Mildenhall village. These objects were fairly low for Aircraft yet they emitted no audible sound for their altitude and propulsion.
Being a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force. I have never seen any kind of craft of this configuration, that was soundless at such a low altitude. I contacted the Air Traffic Control tower on base and they said that they "didn´t" see anything.
For those with no aircraft experience, a control tower is very high up with windows all around. To say that they couldn´t see dozens of glowing orange spheres in the night sky is preposterous.
All I have is my account of that night and am shocked that the USAF says there were no witnesses that night. I saw the objects as their trajectory took them across the flight line for around 30 mins until I was called back to work.
I am still to this day curious and astonished as to what type of craft could do the things that these orange spheres⁄orbs were able that night.
Brenham (Slough Road)
A brother and sister watched a large round metal looking object with blue and red lights around the sides hovering over the field opposite their home. It was stationery for around three minutes, before disappearing in a flash.
When I was 17 or 18, 1993 I think, it must have been summer as it was warm and I never had a coat. My friend and I used to drive around in the evenings in her car chatting. Her having a car was a novelty then. We had been driving around the Newmarket villages. It was getting late and we both had college the next day. My friend wanted to stop to roll a cigarette. We were on Moulton Road and decided to park in a field where the gate had been left open.
We sat chatting and I was staring into the distance over the houses of Moulton. I saw a red light moving across the tops of the houses in a straight line left and then right. It was a solid light not flashing. It was then joined by another, then another until there were about 5 or 6 of them. They were all circular like balls of light. They seemed to touch each other. They looked like they were playing tag with each other. Together, apart, together, apart. They moved across the tops of the houses.
It´s difficult to judge how far they moved but they seemed many miles away so they must have been covering large distances.
I said to my friend, "look at that!"
"What are they?"
We knew they couldn´t be planes as they were too close together and kind of looked like they were playing tag with each other. We watched for a minute or so.
Then, suddenly one of the red lights shot from where we were watching it, which looked to be miles away, right into the field opposite where we were parked. Like a bullet from a gun, I opened the car door because I wanted to go and see what it was. There was a hedge in the way but I could see glowing red orange red through it. My friend grabbed my arm and said "No!!"
"What the hell are you thinking?"
"Stay in the car!"
As the light had come on in the interior of our car, it must have been noticed. The massive red craft came over from the field over the top of our car about the height of a house and was absolutely silent. From a distance they looked like balls of red light. But when it came over the top of the car underneath was flat. I THINK there was whiter light underneath it but not sure. It was more like light than structure.
There was no noise or smell, just strangely silent. I THINK the music stopped but I'm hazy about that. We blinked, looked at each other and it was gone.
We then noticed that instead of it being 11pm, it was 1am! We were dumb founded, we felt fuzzy. Shocked and couldn't speak well until we got home. We were afraid of what our parents would say as we were so late. We drove home.
We strangely decided to go a different way home from normal. We were followed home by a black car very closely that had no number plate. I'm not good with cars but I think it seemed like a large American car and very wide. There were two men in the front I think. Hard to know what I had in my mind if you know what I mean.
At the time I didn't know the significance, but obviously now I wonder who that was. It left when we parked outside my house. I swore blind I wrote about the incident in detail in my diary that night. But days later I looked and it wasn't there.
In late December 1980, there were a series of reported sightings of unexplained lights near Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, which have become linked with claims of UFO landings. The events occurred just outside RAF Woodbridge, which was used at the time by the U.S. Air Force. USAF personnel including deputy base commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt claimed to see things they described as a UFO sighting.
The occurrence is the most famous of claimed UFO events to have happened in Britain, ranking among the best-known purported UFO events worldwide. It has been compared to the Roswell UFO incident in the United States and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's Roswell." The Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated the event posed no threat to national security, and it therefore never was investigated as a security matter. The sightings have been explained as a misinterpretation of a series of nocturnal lights – a fireball, the Orford Ness lighthouse and bright stars.
The east gate at RAF Woodbridge, where the incident began, as it appeared in November 2014
Around 3:00 a.m. on 26 December 1980 (reported as the 27th by Halt in his memo to the UK Ministry of Defense – see below) a security patrol near the east gate of RAF Woodbridge saw lights apparently descending into nearby Rendlesham Forest. These lights have been attributed by astronomers to a piece of natural debris seen burning up as a fireball over southern England at that time. Servicemen initially thought it was a downed aircraft but, upon entering the forest to investigate they saw, according to Halt's memo, what they described as a glowing object, metallic in appearance, with coloured lights. As they attempted to approach the object, it appeared to move through the trees, and the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. One of the servicemen, Sergeant Jim Penniston, later claimed to have encountered a craft of unknown origin while in the forest although there was no mention of this at the time and there is no corroboration from other witnesses.
Shortly after 4:00 a.m. local police were called to the scene but reported that the only lights they could see were those from the Orford Ness lighthouse, some miles away on the coast.
After daybreak on the morning of 26 December, servicemen returned to a small clearing near the eastern edge of the forest and found three small impressions in a triangular pattern, as well as burn marks and broken branches on nearby trees. At 10.30 a.m. the local police were called out again, this time to see the impressions on the ground, which they thought could have been made by an animal. Georgina Bruni, in her book You Can't Tell the People, published a photograph of the supposed landing site taken on the morning after the first sighting.
The deputy base commander Lt Col Charles Halt visited the site with several servicemen in the early hours of 28 December 1980 (reported as the 29th by Halt). They took radiation readings in the triangle of depressions and in the surrounding area using an AN/PDR-27, a standard US military radiation survey meter. The significance of the readings they obtained is disputed. Halt recorded the events on a micro-cassette recorder (see The Halt Tape) below).
It was during this investigation that a flashing light was seen across the field to the east, almost in line with a farmhouse, as the witnesses had seen on the first night. The Orford Ness lighthouse is visible further to the east in the same line of sight (see below).
Later, according to Halt's memo, three star like lights were seen in the sky, two to the north and one to the south, about 10 degrees above the horizon. Halt said that the brightest of these hovered for two to three hours and seemed to beam down a stream of light from time to time. Astronomers have explained these star like lights as bright stars.
Rendlesham Forest is owned by the Forestry Commission and consists of about 5.8 square miles (15 km2) of coniferous plantations, interspersed with broadleaved belts, heath land and wetland areas. It is located in the county of Suffolk, about 8 miles (13 km) east of the town of Ipswich.
The incident occurred in the vicinity of two former military bases: RAF Bentwaters, which is just to the north of the forest, and RAF Woodbridge which extends into the forest from the west and is bounded by the forest on its northern and eastern edges. At the time, both were being used by the United States Air Force and were under the command of wing commander Colonel Gordon E. Williams. The base commander was Colonel Ted Conrad, and his deputy was Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt.
The main events of the incident, including the supposed landing or landings, took place in the forest, which starts at the east end of the base runway or about 0.3 miles (0.5 km) to the east of the East Gate of RAF Woodbridge, from where security guards first noticed mysterious lights appearing to descend into the forest. The forest extends east about 1 mile (1.6 km) beyond East Gate, ending at a farmer's field at Capel Green, where additional events allegedly took place.
Orford Ness lighthouse, which skeptics identify as the flashing light seen off to the coast by the airmen, is along the same line of sight about 5 miles (8.0 km) further east of the forest's edge. At that time it was one of the brightest lighthouses in the UK.
Primary & Secondary Sources
The Halt Memo
The first piece of primary evidence to be made available to the public was a memorandum written by the deputy base commander, Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt, to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Known as the Halt memo, this was made available publicly in the United States under the US Freedom of Information Act in 1983. The memorandum (left), was dated 13 Jan 1981 and headed Unexplained Lights. The two-week delay between the incident and the report might account for errors in dates and times given. The memo was not classified in any way. Dr David Clarke, a consultant to the National Archives, has investigated the background to this memo and the reaction to it at the Ministry of Defence. His interviews with the personnel involved confirmed the cursory nature of the investigation made by the MoD, and failed to find any evidence for any other reports on the incident made by the USAF or UK apart from the Halt memo. Halt has since gone on record as saying he believes that he witnessed an extraterrestrial event that was then covered up.
Letter from Lt. Col. Charles Halt to the UK Ministry of Defense.
The Halt Tape
In 1984, a copy of what became known as the Halt Tape was released to UFO researchers by Col Sam Morgan, who had by then succeeded Ted Conrad as Halt's superior. This tape chronicles Halt's investigations in the forest in real time, including taking radiation readings, the sighting of the flashing light between trees and the star like objects that hovered and twinkled. The tape has been transcribed by researcher Ian Ridpath, who includes a link to an audio download and also a step-by-step analysis of the entire contents of the tape.
Statements from eyewitnesses on 26 December
In 1997 Scottish researcher James Easton obtained the original witness statements made by those involved in the first night's sightings. One of the witnesses, Ed Cabansag, said in his statement, "We figured the lights were coming from past the forest since nothing was visible when we passed through the woody forest. We would see a glowing near the beacon light, but as we got closer we found it to be a lit–up farmhouse. We got to a vantage point where we could determine that what we were chasing was only a beacon light off in the distance." Another participant, John Burroughs, also stated, "We could see a beacon going around so we went towards it. We followed it for about two miles [3 km] before we could [see] it was coming from a lighthouse."
Burroughs reported a noise like a woman was screaming and also that you could hear the farm animals making a lot of noises. Halt heard the same noises two nights later. Such noise could have been made by Muntjac deer in the forest, which are known for their loud, shrill bark when alarmed.
The Halt Affidavit
In June 2010, retired colonel Charles Halt signed a notarised affidavit, in which he again summarised what had happened, then stated he believed the event to be extraterrestrial and it had been covered up by both the UK and US. Contradictions between this affidavit and the facts as recorded at the time in Halt's memo and tape recording have been pointed out.
In 2010, base commander Colonel Ted Conrad provided a statement about the incident to Clarke. Conrad stated that, "We saw nothing that resembled Lieutenant Colonel Halt's descriptions either in the sky or on the ground and that we had people in position to validate Halt's narrative, but none of them could." In an interview, Conrad criticised Halt for the claims in his affidavit, saying, " He should be ashamed and embarrassed by his allegation that his country and Britain both conspired to deceive their citizens over this issue. He knows better." Conrad also disputed the testimony of Sergeant Jim Penniston, who claimed to have touched an alien spacecraft; he said that he interviewed Penniston at the time and he had not mentioned any such occurrence. Conrad also suggested that the entire incident might have been a hoax."
A 1983 Omni article says, "Colonel Ted Conrad the base commander...recalls five Air Force policemen spotted lights from what they thought was a small plane descending into the forest. Two of the men tracked the object on foot and came upon a large tripod-mounted craft. It had no windows but was studded with brilliant red and blue lights. Each time the men came within 50 yards of the ship, Conrad relates, it levitated six feet in the air and backed away. They followed it for almost an hour through the woods and across a field until it took off at 'phenomenal speed.' Acting on the reports made by his men, Colonel Conrad began a brief investigation of the incident in the morning. He went into the forest and located a triangular pattern ostensibly made by the tripod legs. He did interview two of the eyewitnesses and concludes, those lads saw something, but I don't know what it was."
Suffolk Police Log
Suffolk police were called to the scene on the night of the initial sighting and again the following morning but found nothing unusual. On the night of the initial incident they reported that the only lights visible were from the Orford lighthouse. They attributed the indentations in the ground to animals.
The Suffolk constabulary file on the case was released in 2005 under the UK's Freedom of Information Act and can be accessed on their website. It includes a letter dated 28 July 1999 written by Inspector Mike Topliss who notes that one of the police constables who attended the scene on the first night returned to the site in daylight in case he had missed something. There was nothing to be seen and he remains unconvinced that the occurrence was genuine, wrote Topliss. The immediate area was swept by powerful light beams from a landing beacon at RAF Bentwaters and the Orfordness lighthouse. I know from personal experience that at night, in certain weather and cloud conditions, these beams were very pronounced and certainly caused strange visual effects."
Ministry of Defence File
Evidence of a substantial MoD file on the subject led to claims of a cover-up; some interpreted this as part of a larger pattern of information suppression concerning the true nature of unidentified flying objects, by both the United States and British governments. However, when the file was released in 2001 it turned out to consist mostly of internal correspondence and responses to inquiries from the public. The lack of any in-depth investigation in the publicly released documents is consistent with the MoD's earlier statement that they never took the case seriously. Included in the released files is an explanation given by defence minister Lord Trefgarne as to why the MoD did not investigate further.
The Orford Ness lighthouse as seen from the south-west. A white shield blocked the light from the town of Orford but not from the forest where the sighting occurred.
One proposed theory is that the incident was a hoax. The BBC reported that a former US security policeman, Kevin Conde, claimed responsibility for creating strange lights in the forest by driving around in a police vehicle whose lights he had modified. However, there is no evidence that this prank took place on the nights in question.
Other explanations for the incident have included a downed Soviet spy satellite, but no evidence has been produced to support this.
Forest clearing in the UFO Trail at Rendlesham Forest
In 2005, the Forestry Commission used Lottery proceeds to create a trail in Rendlesham Forest because of public interest and nicknamed it the UFO Trail. In 2014, the Forestry Service commissioned an artist to create a work which has been installed at the end of the trail. The artist states the piece is modeled after sketches that purportedly represent some versions of the UFO claimed to have been seen at Rendlesham.
Caravan Club in Suffolk
Sometime in the early 1970s my husband and I, together with our two young sons, took our caravan to a Caravan Club Certificated Location in Suffolk. These are caravan sites, usually on farms, which are allowed to have up to 5 touring caravans. Basically it was just a field and when we arrived there was only one other caravan with an elderly couple who had an Alsatian dog.
On our second day we walked around the area, had fun flying a kite and saw loads of hares in the field next to us. Because of this, and the weather wasn't great, I think it was probably the school Easter holidays.
We went to sleep on the second night, my husband and I at one end of the caravan and the boys at the other end, in the bunk bed. I was awoken during the night by the Alsatian dog barking. It was tethered outside the other couples caravan. I was annoyed because I didn't want it to wake up the children. I then realised that it was very bright inside the caravan and leaned across to look out of the window. I saw an orange ball in the sky which was getting larger, presumably as it got closer. No sound, and I have no idea how high in the sky except it didn't seem very far above the tree tops. As I leaned back in the bed with the intention of waking my husband, I found I couldn't speak or even move. The next thing I remember it was morning and we were all awake. I remember feeling incredibly uneasy and told my husband we had to move, I didn't want to stay on that site because the street light kept me awake all night! I remembered seeing the orange ball and I guess street light was the best logical explanation I could think of.
My husband said, "What street light? We are in the middle of a field, surrounded by other fields and when I pointed to where I had seen the 'street light' there wasn't even a road. I then explained that it wasn't just the light but the dog barking had woken me up and he reluctantly agreed to move to another site. At the time I knew little about UFOs, I wasn't interested in them at all.
I am now 67 years old and have only ever told one person my story, my present husband. He doesn't doubt what happened but he thinks an explanation could be sleep paralysis. I haven't researched sleep paralysis so I don't know if my experience is typical. I do know that I have never again woken up and found I couldn't talk or move. Did I see a UFO? I really don't know.
I decided to write to you after seeing on your website the photograph taken over Glan Conwy in Wales. It matches exactly the description of what I saw some 40 years' ago. The above image is for illustration purposes only.
Just want to say first that I am middle aged and have been an avid sky watcher for half a century in this neck of the woods – I know what I see, I lived here all through the American airbases and their flashing around the sky during the 60's and 70's. We are also on the flight path for Stansted airport so I am used to seeing aircraft lights. I have seen three things that were odd here on the North West side of Ipswich - just off the A14.
First sighting was around 7 years ago around 3.15pm, just leaving Ipswich and approaching the A12 Copdock interchange - waiting at the roundabout - looked over towards Caple St. Mary direction and noticed a silver grey metallic cigar shape going roughly North to South.
I was the career on the school bus for special needs children, I asked the driver to look at the object, he did and said it was the ad' blimp from a local country pub and dismissed it. I know that blimp, this was not it and the pub was a mile behind us. I told Ray the driver this and he said we would go back that way and look. We did and the pub blimp was still above the pub. The craft I saw was not plump and stubby as a blimp but longer and flatter. I asked around and hunted the papers for days but no word of it. The craft I saw had no running lights of any kind. Oh, by the way, the fireball that went over Ipswich some 32 years ago I saw, I was at a bus stop on the other side of town, an amazing thing!
Next was one evening last March, my husband and I had just arrived home – we live in a close of one story flats with a central car park. We had just got out of the car, it was dark, and just above the flats opposite ours there was a sudden blue–white light, it was just there, no noise, no movement. It was bright like an L.E.D but it did not light anything around it and it had no beam. My husband and I stood watching it, he said it was possibly a helicopter but I said, "Where's the noise then, and why is there no beam to the light?" All was silent, just the light, we watched it for around a minute or two and it just winked off. My husband saw it differently to me, he thought it was a long way off which might account for hearing nothing. I think it was near because we are in a close and from the center of the car park you cannot see very far away. We regularly get the air ambulance and police choppers over here as we are near the A14 and A12, this was not a chopper, it had no running lights at all – just a light of bright blue–white. Not a star, not a planet, not swamp gas! If a star were say a 50p size then this would be a dinner plate!
Next was three weeks ago. I work early in the mornings and at 5.30am I was at the bus stop and looking around the sky. The bus stop is just outside our close and about 8 meters off to one side. I was looking back at our flat – eastward, it was dark still and there were quite a lot of clouds in the eastern sky, as I looked I saw a sudden beam of blue–white light shoot through the clouds north to south, it was a beam but it was diffused somewhat by the clouds it passed through, it's difficult to say what length the beam was but up in the sky at around ten o'clock high it reached one end of the block to the other, I guess that could mean as much as several miles in the sky. A few minutes later it flashed again in the southern sky. A definite beam. Well there you have it, UFOs seem to pass here diagonally to the flight-path of aircraft. I do not think these things were normal everyday things or natural phenomena. I will keep a camera with me in future, thanks for your time, people don't usually want to hear about this sort of thing, or they think you're crazy!"