Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Due to conflicts behind the scenes, the Rendlesham UFO conference nearly didn’t take place this year. Fortunately a group of dedicated individuals not only managed to salvage it, but also organise what was arguably one of the best single day conference line ups ever seen! Living in Birmingham it’s obviously quite a way down to Suffolk, but after taking a look at who was planned to speak at the conference there was no way I would have missed it for the world.
So early in the morning of Sunday 17th June, I, my father Chris, brother Andrew and friend Adam set off on our way back to Rendlesham Forest for the second time (We had previously attended the 30th anniversary conference back in December 2010). The roads were pretty clear, and the weather also cut us a lucky break! After several days of rain the sun had decided to show itself, making the journey very pleasant indeed. We arrived at Woodbridge with only about 10 minutes to spare, and as we pulled into the Community Centre car park we all excitedly anticipated what the day had in store for us.
I immediately ran into Sacha Christie having a sneaky cigarette at the back door of the venue. I have known Sacha for a number of years since meeting her at a previous conference, and regularly speak with her regarding cases I am investigating. Sacha is both a contactee and outspoken researcher. She is also a consultant for AMMACH (the Anomalous Mind Management Abductee and Contactee Helpline). She was not only billed as the first speaker of the day, but had also been involved in organising the conference.
I also had the chance to briefly catch up with Larry Warren, whistle-blower of the Rendlesham UFO incident and one of the main organisers of the day, and UK UFO researcher Gary Heseltine. I have been friends with both Larry and Gary since they attended my wedding at the famous “black mailbox” on the outskirts of Area 51 back in 2010.
We didn't have long to speak as we had to go and grab some seats before we ended up sitting on the back row! After meeting up with my brother’s associate in parapsychology, Simon, we managed to secure some places near the front. A moment later Larry appeared at the front to welcome everyone and give a brief introduction. It was clear how happy he was that the conference had gone ahead, and he provided some details of what lay ahead.
It was soon time for Sacha Christie to take to the stage. Since her childhood Sacha has had numerous contact experiences, and her lecture focused on the incident which started it all. This experience completely changed her life in many different ways. It involved both her and her family while they were staying at a cottage in Wales. They witnessed a glowing UFO in the sky above them, and another glowing spherical object which landed nearby. There were many odd aspects to the incident and it has troubled her ever since.
Sacha then showed a short video film of her recent return to the cottage where the incident took place. She did not speak with the current owners of the cottage, but did walk around the grounds. This video was both fascinating and touching. It was clear how much the experience had affected her, and how un-nerved she was to return to where it had happened. The remainder of her passionate talk focused on the lack of support that contactees have and how they are generally regarded in a negative light by the public. She believes that contactees need to work together and help each other, rather than continue to search for answers which may never be found.
After a short break it was time for Robert Salas to give a talk on one of the most stunning and important American UFO incidents to have ever taken place, an event that he was directly involved with. Back in 1967 Robert was a Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander at Malmstrom AFB in Montana. One morning he was contacted by the NCO in charge of site security, who informed him that a number of unidentified lights had been seen in the vicinity. Minutes later he rang back and informed Robert that there was a red glowing saucer-shaped UFO hovering just outside the front gate! Robert woke his commander and began informing him of what he had been told. A moment later the armed missiles began to shut down one by one in rapid succession. The chance of this happening to so many was near impossible. It appeared that the UFO had sent out a signal which had shut down the missiles. This became known as the Echo Flight incident.
After covering what took place, Robert then spoke of the cover up of the incident. He showed numerous documents released through the Freedom Of Information Act which proved that this was the case, and that certain people had tried to brush the whole incident under the carpet. Robert also covered many other similar incidents which have taken place at missile launch facilities in numerous countries right up to as recent as 2010! The implications of these incidents are both far reaching and profound.
It was then time for lunch, and during the break an old CNN documentary on Rendlesham was shown. I was informed that this was well worth a watch, but I spent the majority of the time chatting with the various speakers.
The next talk was from American crop formation researcher and MUFON field investigator Jennifer Stein. I have seen many lectures on crop formations over the years, but I have to admit this was one of the best I have ever seen on this intriguing aspect of ufology. A lot of the time this angle of the subject inevitably has a “new age” tinge to it. But Jennifer’s lecture stuck closely to the facts and was presented in a very scientific manner. She provided some fascinating physical evidence that seems to suggest that there is much more to crop formations than just cleverly done hoaxes. Her lecture included many photographs, video sequences and drawings, and was very enjoyable indeed.
Jennifer is well aware that many of the formations seen are hoaxed. However some of them appear to be made by an energy force which has strange effects on both the crop and the soil, and can even be detected in the surrounding area as well as just the formation itself. She presented evidence which link the formations to glowing orbs, but also looked into the possibility that the formations are naturally occurring. In addition to this she discussed the apparent military interest in these formations and the fact that black helicopters have often been seen in the vicinity.
So far we’d heard about abductions, missile shut downs and crop formations, but it was now time to hear the latest on the incident the conference was themed around. Fortunately the next speaker was Gary Heseltine, one of the key UFO investigators who has looked into the case in depth over recent years. Gary’s credentials as a police detective constable means that he looks at the UFO subject in a logical manner, and assesses the evidence as he would do a crime that has been committed. He is extremely impressed with the Rendlesham Forest incident, and believes it to be one of the most important UFO cases which has ever taken place.
Over the years numerous sceptics and debunkers of the incident have stated that when Colonel Halt and the other soldiers saw lights through the trees, and later a red glowing UFO, they were really just seeing the pulsing light from the lighthouse in the distance. Gary began his talk by completely blowing this theory out of the water. He showed some night vision footage he had taken at Capel Green, the field where the soldiers sighted a glowing red UFO hovering close to the ground. He pointed out the location where Halt had stated the UFO was situated, and then pointed out the location of the lighthouse. It was clear that these locations were completely different and that there was no way whatsoever that this would have been responsible for what was seen.
The remainder of Gary’s talk focused on what took place over the three nights that make up the incident. He covered all the key points in the order in which they occurred. He also explained that there are likely to be other witnesses from the base who are yet to come forward. They would certainly have seen the UFO shine lights down into the weapons storage area, and may also have gone up the control tower for a look at what was occurring out in the forest. As always Gary’s lecture was well structured and very interesting.
While Gary knows a lot about the case, nothing beats hearing about it from the people who were actually there at the time. And who better to speak than the original whistle-blower of the case, Larry Warren? The next lecture was a joint talk given by both him and Peter Robbins, UFO researcher and co-author of the book Left At East Gate. Both Larry and Peter have experienced so much over the years, and they spoke passionately about the journey they had been on which had led to this point.
Larry’s claims about what took place on the third night of the incident have always been the most controversial aspect of the entire case – a close encounter with both a craft and its occupants, and a clear indication that the base commander knew this was going to take place. Extraordinary claims of course require extraordinary evidence. And it is exactly this which Peter presented during the talk. Evidence including medical records proving that Larry’s retinas had been burnt and that he had been exposed to a powerful energy source, documents proving that he was treated unfairly by the military following the incident and details of other witnesses who have also come forward to speak about the third night.
However the most controversial part of the talk was still to come. Earlier this year there was a special radio programme on the Rendlesham incident. Many speakers appeared on this, including Larry and Colonel Halt. During this show Halt openly admitted that he was present on the third night. Peter began by mentioning Halt’s statement on this show. He then displayed some video footage of Halt taken at a recent UFO conference. In this footage, Halt completely dismisses Larry’s claims and accuses him of making it all up. Read into this what you will.
The day had flown by faster than an unidentified blip on the radar. We now had an hour to relax and get some dinner. Our group decided to head on up the road to the Cherry Tree, a quaint pub just up the road from the venue. I ended up sitting alongside some of the sound crew from the conference. After a decent meal and quick pint it was time to return for the evening lectures.
We sneaked back in just in time for Timothy Good’s highly anticipated talk. Tim is one of the world’s most highly renowned UFO researchers. He has interviewed many high ranking military personnel, astronauts and governmental figures over the years, and written numerous excellent books on the subject. The majority of Tim’s lecture focused on the W56 group. This case involves a race of humanoid aliens who lived on Earth from the 1950s to the 1970s in secret underground bases which they constructed using advanced technology.Tim has spoken to numerous witnesses involved with this case and believes it to be genuine. As evidence for these claims Tim showed a number of black and white photographs reporting to show hovering craft, and even photos apparently showing a couple of these aliens, one of which was close to ten feet tall!
The implications of all of this should it be true are huge, but I was left with a lot of questions and felt that it would have been nice to see some more substantial evidence to back up these claims. However Tim’s credentials in the subject should not be ignored and I’m certain he has good reason to believe the case to be legitimate. There is no doubt much more to this than he had time to cover in his talk, and the case will surely feature heavily in his next book.
After a quick break it was time for the final speaker of the conference, a speaker who will need no introductions for anyone with a good knowledge of the contact subject: retired police constable Alan Godfrey. With a background in after dinner speaking, we were in for a thought provoking and at times amusing talk. Alan became famous in the world of ufology when on 28th November 1980 he had a close encounter with a UFO while on patrol. This involved a period of missing time, and after a while he decided to go for hypnotic regression to see if he could get these missing memories back. Under hypnosis he recalled being taken aboard the craft and undergoing an examination procedure by a number of short beings. Alan talked us through the details of his experience, even alluding to the fact that he was not entirely convinced that he had been abducted. I felt that in some ways this gave even more weight to his case, as he has clearly considered alternative explanations for what happened to him.
Alan not only spoke of his own experience, he also spoke of Zigmund Adamski, a man who had previously turned up dead under very unusual circumstances. Alan was one of the two officers who were initially called to the scene. Many people feel that Zigmund had been abducted, and that his death was in some way linked to what happened to Alan later the same year. Although Alan personally felt that the man had been tortured by someone rather than taken by aliens, he admitted that there were some very strange aspects to his death.
Alan ended his talk with some humorous tales from his job in the police force, followed by a Q&A. This was apparently to be the last time Alan would speak publically about his experience, and it was the perfect way to bring the conference to a close. After a few final words by Larry the Rendlesham Conference 2012 was officially over. However for our group it was not yet time to travel home. We next had plans to head on out to the forest, which seemed like the right thing to do given the circumstances.
I was pleased to find out that Brenda Butler would be joining us. Brenda is a local investigator; experiencer, author, and one of the first people to look into the Rendlesham incident. This meant we had our very own forest tour guide! Good thing too, as although I’d been there before I was still pretty sure it would be easy to get lost. Also along for the adventure was Brenda’s niece Beverley, a man we had sat near to at the conference, a contactee whose case I have investigated, her husband and some other gents who we had not previously met.
Luckily for us the weather was quite clear, although the moon was hidden by cloud cover. We arrived at the Visitors Centre car park in near complete darkness, and met up with Brenda, who was already taking photographs hoping to pick up anything paranormal on camera. Much to our surprise she asked us to turn our torches off, and we soon realised we would be wandering around the forest with minimal light sources. This would have been creepy enough, but to make matters worse Brenda and Bev started to tell us all about the various ETs and ghosts they had witnessed in the forest over the years! Needless to say we were on high alert for the slightest movement from the undergrowth.
Walking along the path that leads up to East Gate, it wasn’t long before we had our first glowing orb sighting. However this glowing orb turned out to be a brightly illuminated glow worm! By the time we reached the gate we’d seen about 20 of them along the edges of the path. It was the first time I’d ever seen glow worms, so this was certainly one of the highlights of our walk.
We soon reached the famous gate where Jim Penniston and John Burroughs had first sighted the lights through the trees back in 1980. After posing for some photos we made our way back to the car park. From here we headed into the forest in the direction of Capel Green. The forest was extremely still, quiet and atmospheric. We discussed the speakers of the day as we made our way along the tracks.
Our first destination was the official “landing site”, marked out with three wooden posts. It is believed by many to not be the actual location where the triangular craft was situated, but was still certainly worth a look. Moving onward, we soon came to the edge of Capel Green, the location of numerous key events of the Rendlesham incident. I was pleased to see the lighthouse pulsing away in the distance, as last time I was at the forest it was extremely foggy and could not be seen. We stayed at the green for about 15 minutes during which Brenda enthusiastically told us about some of the UFO sightings she had experienced there.
Heading back into the trees, we began our walk back along the tracks to the Visitor Centre, stopping briefly at a tree known to have an Steven Spielberg ET face shaped notch in its trunk. As with most round trips the return walk seemed to take twice as long.
Finally at around 2am we reached the car park bringing our exploration of the forest to a close. We hadn’t had any encounters (unless you count the glow worms), but it had been a superb end to a truly great day. While my brother, father and friend lay back in their seats and began to snore, I took a quick gulp of Red Bull and began the long drive back to Birmingham....
Copyright Dave Hodrien 2012