The Mysterious Bentwaters UFO - Unsolved Mysteries

American military men encounter multiple UFOs near an air force base in Bentwaters, England.

UFO as described by American airmen

Airmen said they saw a glowing red object

CASE DETAILS

Eyewitnesses reported mysterious lights

Rendlesham Forest, England, is home to America’s Woodridge Air Force base. On December 26, 1980, at around 2 AM, Airman First Class John Burroughs, and his partner, were on routine patrol along the base perimeter. The base was nearly empty. But, according to Sgt. Burroughs, something bright was lighting up the nearby woods:

“There was definitely something out in the woods.  It seemed to me like a massive light show. I was nervous, he was nervous. We didn’t know what to expect, and we decided at that point that we better get back and let somebody know what’s going on in case something did happen.”

Burroughs quickly notified his immediate superior. In minutes, another security patrol arrived. They had also seen the strange lights.  Burroughs and the second security team went off base to investigate. Sgt. Burroughs said they were ordered to leave their weapons behind because they were moving out of American jurisdiction:

“We didn’t know what we were getting into. We started in on foot towards the lights. At the same time, we could hear the animals. They were very upset because you could hear a lot of ruckus. At that point we had a radio transmission. They’d just gotten contact from Heathrow tower in London that an object had been seen over our base and that it had disappeared on radar. All of a sudden, in the clearing, there was an object. It had a bank of blue lights on it. And it was sitting there strobing. It was unbelievable. We all hit the ground and it went up into the trees. When it was happening, everything seemed to go slower. We seemed to be in, like, I wouldn’t say a time warp, but like everything was happening slower to us and everything felt different. But when it disappeared, it was like everything was normal again, the perception of the ground, the air, the sky, the stars, the whole nine yards, were different.”

For more than two hours, Sgt. Burroughs said he and the two other men played a game of cat and mouse with the mysterious craft:

“It was off the ground and near the horizon above the trees. And it always stayed out in the distance at the horizon, and sometimes it appeared to get close, as if we were going to get close to it again, and then we never did.”

Col. Charles Halt, USAF (Ret.)

When Sgt. Burroughs and his men filed their report, they assumed no one would believe their account. Yet the events of that night resulted in one of the most well-documented sightings of a UFO in history. The next morning, Sgt. Burroughs nervously reported the sighting to his shift commander:

“He basically said, ‘Gentlemen, you saw something. Heathrow tower confirms that you saw something. And now, let’s go out into the area and see if we can find any physical proof of what happened.’  I was hoping when I got out there that basically I would see nothing. There would be no telltale evidence that possibly something happened. That would make it easier for me because, if there’s nothing proving that something happened to me, you can just kind of check it off.  But when you get out there and you find damage to the trees, depressions in the ground and stuff, that makes it even more unexplainable.”

Later that same day, Burroughs and a British police officer explored the site where Burroughs saw the strange object. According to Burroughs, there were circular impressions in the earth directly below the spot where the craft appeared to hover:

“It was more of a mystery because when I first saw it, I didn’t perceive it as something sitting on the ground with a tripod type thing.  Now, all of a sudden, there’s physical proof showing that something sat down in that area.”

Halt’s report, released through FOIA

The British police officer dismissed the circles as the marks of animals that had been digging there. But he did order his men to measure the distance between the circles.
They were exactly the same distance apart and formed a perfect equilateral triangle.

Rumors of the UFO sighting had spread like wildfire. Later that morning, Col. Charles Halt, deputy base commander, arrived at Woodbridge security headquarters:

“I was very skeptical. I found what had allegedly taken place hard to believe and I was really going to debunk it, quite frankly. And as events unfolded, I became more and more concerned that there may be something to this. I kept telling myself that there had to be some type of an explanation for it. But I certainly couldn’t find one and even to this day I, I can’t explain what happened.”

That evening, unusual lights were once again spotted in the forest. This time, the base commander ordered large floodlights, devices commonly known as light-alls, to be set up in the woods. At 9:30 PM, Col. Halt received word the lights had mysteriously stopped working. Base security was immediately ordered to set up more floodlights. Col. Halt put together a special investigative team:

“I called the on-duty, or stand-by, man of disaster preparedness and had him get his camera — he was a professional photographer — and calibrate several radiac instruments to take along. We were going to go debunk this.”

When Col. Halt arrived at the site, he said the second set of light-alls had also stopped working. And that’s not all:

“Some of the vehicles weren’t working properly and radio transmissions were limited at best.”

Armed with a Geiger counter, a starlight scope to enhance night vision, and a tape recorder to record his first impressions, Col. Halt led his team into the woods. Suddenly, a strange, glowing object appeared. As the object began to move away, Col. Halt said he and his men followed:

“As we were pursuing this glowing object through the woods, we noticed a farmhouse directly in front of us.”

The farmhouse appeared to be glowing very brightly, as though it was on fire. Then, according to Col. Halt:

“The object broke into five white objects and disappeared. And it was a very strange feeling in the air. It made your hair bristle, sort of like static electricity, you just had a very unusual feeling. And I don’t think it was all psychological. I think there was something physiological about it. I think there was some type of guiding force behind these objects. Whether it was trying to communicate with us, whether it was trying to warn us, or whether it was trying to do something to us, I don’t know.”

One of the members of Col. Halt’s team was Sgt. Robert Ball
“To me, it looked like a grid search, like they were boxing off an area and looking for something. And that was the thought that hit me right away, and it stayed with me over the years. It looked like a search pattern.”

Col. Halt said as the object moved about, it emitted laser-like beams of light:

“We could very clearly see it.  It sort of danced about in the sky and it sent down beams of light. I noticed other beams of light coming down from the same object, following different places on the base. My boss was standing in his front yard at Woodbridge and he could see the beams of light falling down. And the people in that weapons storage area and several other places on the base also reported the lights.”

Staff Sgt. John Burroughs wasn’t on patrol the second night:

“I woke up about 3:30, 4 in the morning and for whatever reason, I felt like maybe something had happened again. I don’t know why. I just woke up and felt like something had came back, don’t ask me why, it just was a gut feeling.  So I went ahead and got up and went up to the base. All of a sudden, a couple of blue transparent type lights appeared in the sky. They were all of a sudden on the horizon and one of them broke towards us. The only time the light-alls were working as far as coming on and off when I saw them, were when the blue light passed by. And I have no idea what caused the light-alls to come on and off, other than the fact that the blue light as it passed, the light-alls came on .”

At about the same time, just 300 yards away, Col. Halt and his team also had a remarkable close encounter:

“The object was coming at us at a very high rate of speed.  One of these beams of light fell very, very close to us, sort of a pencil beam of light.”

Once the object took off, it never returned. The next day, Col. Halt drafted a memo about the incident. It was submitted to British military authorities, who never acted on it. The United States Air Force would not acknowledge the episode either. Then, in 1983, a private citizen used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain Halt’s memo. But not everybody was convinced by what it reported. James McGaha is a noted UFO skeptic and director of two private observatories:

“The burden of proof for any event that is extraordinary is upon those making the claim, not upon those who look at it from a skeptical perspective.  Where is the evidence? Show me the evidence?  And that’s what science is all about.  On the first night, at about 3 o’clock that morning, a bright fireball, which is a very bright meteor came into the earth’s atmosphere.  And this is unquestionably what John Burroughs saw that night.”

Sgt. Burroughs says, not so:

“I’ve seen meteor showers come down before.  It wasn’t a meteor falling out of the sky.  And it went up, not down. Meteors fall from the sky. They don’t go back up into the sky.”

Col. Halt said what he saw was not a meteor:

“Meteor’s not going to go up, go back and forth and maintain position in the sky for a long period of time.  A meteor’s not going to send beams of light down.”

James McGaha believes both men were mistaken:

“I think both of them are being honest as to what their perceptions are. But human perception is very, very easily fooled. And I think when they went out there to the woods, everybody was out there expecting to see a UFO.  With a pre-conceived notion, the way you view things can be greatly influenced.”

McGaha believes that the glowing red light Col. Halt saw that night was simply a reflection from the revolving beam of a nearby lighthouse. Col. Halt doesn’t think so:

“There are too many unrelated things. If it were just a reflection, how does one explain two different sightings in two different places in the sky?  How does one explain the object moving through the forest?  How does one explain the sighting in the forest by the three airmen?  There were just too many things. I have a lot of unresolved questions I’m not sure I’ll ever have answered.  I’ve had people suggest all sorts of things, everything from, I’ve seen the second coming of Christ, to the devil’s after us. I can’t explain it, I really can’t.  I know it was beyond the realm of anything that we experience in ordinary life.”

Around the same time, two other unconfirmed sightings were reported in the vicinity of Woodbridge Air Base.  At least 15 men, all of them US Air Force personnel, witnessed the strange lights and objects first-hand.  The Air Force continues to have no official comment on the entire series of events.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

 

6 Comments

  1. Anon none 5 mins of fame wannabe

    Time travelers from the future 80 thousand years
    coordinates west from Woodbridge to hy brazil. ? Now add continental drift of the British Isles and your back in the forest maybe.

    Reply

  2. Strange

    This has always been a pet peeve of mine.
    It’s a bleeding UFO by any definition.
    Is it a flying saucer? Are little green men in it? Who knows.
    Is it unidentified, flying, and an object? It’s a UFO!

    Reply

  3. trev

    When Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was asked about the Rendlesham incident she replied “UFOs? Oh you can’t tell the people”.

    Reply

  4. Mulder

    One of the better documented UFO cases in recent history. The day after this event. The Cash/Landrum UFO Incident occurred. Another great UFO Case. I glad that Unsolved Mysteries didn’t interview Larry Warren. I believe he was in on trying to make this incident a joke. Disinformation. Whether there is a conventional explanation or not. Is still open to debate. Regardless, Something quite interesting happened on those specific nights.

    Reply

  5. DF

    The military will never admit it. They know something that would either cause mass panic or maybe give secret technology to our enemies. Its foolish to think in all this great universe God created that He would not have created life elsewhere.

    Reply

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2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.