Monday, August 24, 2009

Best Evidence - The Rendlesham UFO case

Here is the segment from my film, Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings, which profiles the 1980 Rendlesham UFO case.

What happened at Rendlesham almost three decades ago? Some people are convinced that it was an encounter with aliens from outer space. Others maintain that it was a psychological warfare exercise. And a few, against all evidence to the contrary, still argue that nothing much happened at all, except for some over-excited American military personnel letting their imaginations run wild.

I don't know what the answer is - I just know that, for me at least, the explanation has nothing to do with misidentified lighthouses and excessive partying, or a practical joke. People took it seriously back then, and the case should continue to be taken seriously now, as one of the best, and still unexplained, UFO encounters in human history. That doesn't mean that Colonel Halt and his men met aliens from Zeta Reticuli, or anywhere else, but I think it's pretty clear that something out of the oridinary happened to them, and that there has been no definitive answer offered for what it was that fits all of the facts of the case.

That kind of stance angers alien believers and disbelievers alike - which is usually a pretty good sign that it's the proper way to look at things.

Paul Kimball


alanborky said...

I agree with you, Paul.

The 'flesh and blood' alienphiles too readily treat it as a perfectly obvious nuts and bolts hardware case; but even if it ultimately proves to be just exactly that, it'll also ultimately prove to be the case this particular alien hardware had more than a touch of Aladdin's Lamp about it.

The other thing I find hateful about this case is how readily the nay-sayers stoop to the psuedo race card: "Well, what d'you expect? They were Americans...", the implication being Americans're born idiots.

Or, just as bad, when you get actual middleclass Americans themselves resorting to, "Well, what d'you expect? They were GIs...", the implication being they were ill-educated working class people and therefore inherently stupid.

It's amazing how often these things prove to be Rorschach Tests of the universal human psyche.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

That doesn't mean that Colonel Halt and his men met aliens from Zeta Reticuli,...

Exactly. They were from Betelgeuse, just like Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Actually, it was the end of the same sentence that caught my interest: "...there has been no definitive answer offered for what it was that fits all of the facts of the case." It dovetails rather well with your next post on conspiracies, the key words being "all" and "facts".

purrlgurrl said...

This case is one of the most compelling and baffling in all the UFO literature. I believe these people. They are credible.

I've started wondering if most ufos are really a naturally occuring, random phenomenon that is beyond our current thinking and understanding of physical reality to conceptualize.

We are so handicapped by the limitations of our senses and brains. Perhaps what's "sensed" in an event such as this is only a distorion or delution of the totality of the event itself. It can't be identified because it can't be fully experienced.

Anonymous said...

I thought it had been shown that the radiation measurements were improperly taken and that there was therefore a significant probability that no anomalous radioactivity was present at the alleged landing site after all. Why does Nick Pope disregard the criticisms which have been made about the methodology that was used to assess the site's radiation levels?

For instance, Ian Ridpath says the model of the meter which was used to take the readings, the AN-PDR27, does not measure below 0.1 milliroentgens per hour, the value cited as representing the unusual radiation levels. If no value below 0.1 can be measured with the device that was employed, then how could a reading of 0.1 be distinguished from lower readings to show radiation levels to have increased to 0.1 milliroentgens per hour at the site?

David Haith said...

Minor mistakes perhaps but I am surprised they were made by a professional moviemaker.

At 2.24 minutes Halt says he saw three eliptical objects.

At 2.33 the film shows FOUR objects.

At 2.55 Halt says the beam from the single object "didn't radiate out". It was not like a torch beam but maybe some sort of laser.

At 3.01 the film graphics shows a beam which DOES radiate out.

These are important details Paul - why couldn't the graphics relect them accurately?

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Dave,

In short, we were tight against a deadline, I was doing myriad things, and the graphics guys screwed the pooch. I wound up not paying them over $10,000 they were owed because of their shoddy work, but that didn't solve the problem - there were far bigger issues than the two minor ones you point out, not in terms of accuracy as much as crappy work that resulted from them farming out some segments to animation students without telling me until two days before delivery to the network. The Rendlesham case was one of those segments. We had no choice at that point but to deliver it as it was. After the fact there was simply no money left to fix the things they had gotten wrong... 2007 was a different time, before animation became cheaper because almost everyone could do it. So it stays as it is, an imperfect film that actually hurt my career because the network was displeased with the quality of the animation, and the fact that we delivered it at the very last minute (a day before it aired). What was supposed to be a high end doc that would push my career forward further turned into the last doc I made.

Ultimately, however, it was my responsibility as the producer, so the buck stops with me. I still think the narrative of the film itself is accurate, i.e. what Halt is saying is accurate, insofar as he recounted it, so in the end folks should focus on what the people themselves are actually saying. Of course, that's true for pretty much every television program.

There is the short version.