A new documentary feeding into the narrative surrounding one of the UK’s most famous “UFO sightings” has concluded that the mystery has reached "legend" proportions to rival Loch Ness or King Arthur lore.
Directed by Adrian Frearson and produced by Chill Factor Films, “Codename Rendlesham” retraces a spate of events in 1980 that took place in Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk, England, from the first incident that spawned numerous rumours to its current status as a "British Roswell", in reference to the Roswell UFO Incident of 1947 in the US.
The film, released on the internet on 28 January, is based on reports by US airmen who claimed to have seen a UFO in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980.
A subsequent memo made public by the US government in 1983 through the Freedom of Information Act and issued by deputy base commander Lt Col Charles Halt dropped a bombshell when it described the incident as an alleged UFO encounter.
The news immediately set off a host of theories pertaining to the incident, ranging from aliens to a hoax.
Bizarre Lights in the Woods
On 26 December 1980, several United States Air Force (USAF) security personnel stationed at RAF Woodbridge reported seeing unusual "lights" in the surrounding forest at the end of the runway, initially thinking they belonged to a downed aircraft.
Upon investigating more closely, they encountered what they later claimed was a glowing metallic object seemingly moving through the trees.
Upon retracing their steps the following day, the personnel came upon three triangular impressions in the ground at the same spot.
On 28 December the object purportedly reappeared, prompting deputy base commander Lt Col Charles Halt and a group of servicemen to venture into the woods again.
Rendlesham Forest - Suffolk pic.twitter.com/41otxOUwx0— Dave Clarkson (@dipper1967) October 7, 2019
"Our security team observed a light that looked like a large eye, red in color, moving through the trees… After a few minutes this object began dripping something that looked like molten metal. A short while later it broke into several smaller, white-colored objects which flew away in all directions,” said Halt later, according to released memos.
Immediately making headlines in the UK, the events of that time, found their way into books, dramas, documentaries and websites, with some suggesting it was a UFO visitation, others committed to the secret military aircraft theory, and sceptics debunking it as either natural lights playing tricks with one’s vision or simply a hoax.
Featured in the new film, scheduled for screening in Woodbridge later in the year, are recollections of former USAF personnel as well as theories suggested by UFO enthusiasts, sceptics and academics.
Just waiting for the weather to get a little better and then we are of to Rendlesham Forest 🌳 Awesome place. The claims of hoax still ring out. And yet.... pic.twitter.com/eLXGJtTf2Y— beyond our belief (@beyondourbelie1) March 5, 2020
The director of the documentary, Adrian Frearson, said he became interested in the story after camping in Rendlesham Forest and seeing the beam from the lighthouse on Orford Ness, which some tend to think was the “culprit” in the alleged UFO sighting in 1980.
Dr David Clarke, of Sheffield Hallam University, an Academic researcher into the UFO reports, says in the film:
"Now it may have been a lighthouse. It may have been some natural phenomena. That is beside the point… We've reached an impasse. There are those who can only see it in black and white terms - aliens or people from the future came here. Or it's the sceptical version - that people are lying or they have been misled by ordinary things. The more it is elaborated on, the more it becomes a legend."